September 30, 2006

Some Movies

We've been in a Netflix flurry. I ran across some list of lesbian themed films that we've decided we need to see, so I just glommed them onto our Netflix list and we've bene getting them. Recently:

Show Me Love, 1999 - Really wonderful Swedish film about the popular sexy girl and the nerdy new girl. LOVED IT.

The Joy of Life, 2005 - Bit too cerebral for us. Jenni Olsen's musing on suicide, brelationships, butchness - but it was all a bit too disconnected. Interesting, thought-provoking, but not engaging.

Lakawanna Blues, 2005 - Not really sure how this one ended up on our list (probably the passing butch in a small supporting role) but a wonderful, inspiring movie, based on a play by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, about his youth and his "nanny" who raised him and serves as the neighborhood salvation to the outcast and down and out. True story. Great music. Great cast. Highly recommended!

On tap - Producing Adults, 2004.

Tweaky Back and Celtic Airs

For what its worth, I have a tweaky back. First time I've had any real physical concerns or restriction since I started yoga - over a year ago. I think I picked it up from meditating the other day; I was trying something new (since I keep falling asleep or close to it when I am prone in a very savasana-like position) - and had my legs up in a supta baddha konasana pose. Not good, for 40 minutes of guided meditation.....I need to talk to our facilitator for advice - maybe a seated posture might serve me better since savasana = relaxation is so ingrained.

I'm just being really stretchy and gentle with the back until things feel better. Well, not perfectly - today whilst on the balloon crown line I was mischievously struck by the fact that, with the balloon as a prop, I could do a backbend. (I did, head touched the ground) and also that I could get down into utkatasana (again, balanced against the pull of the balloon / crown line). By the way, there is a really good website of yoga postures here (I keep referring to it to get the spelling of these postures, which I only really know verbally). I also ended up bunny-hopping across the field as the balloon was heated up and pulled me in. BOUNCE.

After ballooning, I did drop by the studio (to get myself a discounted 30 class card) Repeat after me YOGA IS LESS EXPENSIVE THAN THERAPY. I keep telling myself that. Better for me too, I get all left brained and analytical in therapy. Yoga is much more emotional. Today was open studio day; I have never actually hung out there for that, just drop in and pick up a card. Saturday is not my usual practice day.

We ended up at the Pipes in the Valley fest. Heard some great Celtic bands, including Wicked Tinkers (a bit rough for my taste), Mac-Talla Mór (loved the sound, great use of the bagpipes, although at times it felt like a 10,000 Maniacs concert, I think teh primary vocalist just vibed Natalie Merchant to me), Albannach (BIG crowd favorite, really tight and unique sound, drums a plenty) and Barleyjuice (got me dancing).

Plus lots of interesting people watching, some OK food, a beer, fire and police pipe and drum corps, and the most nasty porta-potties I've seen in ages. An unexpected connection with a friend, and an expected encounter with other friends. And a wee bit of shopping, my yoga friend A has been jonesing for my rather inexpensive silver earrings (uhm, really, CHEAP SILVER FOLK FESTIVAL EARRINGS) and I did indeed find them at one of the celtic jewelry vendors today. So the next time I see her, she gets a present for being nice. (Which for the record, she is, in spades. And her little dog too.)

September 29, 2006

Has Anybody Seen September?

This month has flown by! I looked up today and it was the end of the month; Monday will be an invoicing, organizing, cleaning up kind of day. I have a couple of loose ends I wanted to get done today; might try to get them done this weekend.

The weekend will fly by as well. Balloon chasing tomorrow, assuming the weather cooperates. In the afternoon, Pipes in the Valley, down at the riverfront. In between, a stop at the studio (open studio tomorrow) to pick up a class card. Sunday morning, yoga probably. Then a dessert party.

In between, meditation. Music practice. We're just finishing up a movie "Lackawanna Blues" (a weird Netflix choice, but pretty great).

Meanwhile, my quads have not stopped aching from the Tuesday class with Heather Tiddens. Connective tissue work, indeed. Yow!

More catch-up

It's the last workday in September so I am busily cranking out work. No yoga this morning.

Yesterday was a work / yoga / drive all over the northeast with MYA in tow. Methinks we might have her tracked for appropriate medical services as of next Tuesday. If she walks away from a 10:00 am appointment with some little plastic bottles in her hand.....might be a very good day and a lot of my driving and time invested will have paid off. Jude to universe: Thanks.

A quickie graphics project (pro bono) for a friend this morning - nothing spectacular, just grab a bunch of images (deliberately sent in a not-too-useful format by another graphics geek intent on being perceived as indispensible, methinks), make them transparent, figure out a font, buy it and install it, text grab the content in Acrobat, and dump it all into PowerPoint with some layout shuffling.

I am the queen of cheap and dirty. Fear me. Sent it out, and waiting for feedback......

In the meantime, three small projects for a regular client that I need to get out today so as to invoice this month. And a few other things that I might try to sneak out as well.....

September 27, 2006

Meditation, Meet the MP3 Player

I'm taking a training workshop that involves meditation. At our first meeting on Monday, we were gifted with a small box with 3 CDs. This week's assignment, a 40 minute meditation, once a day. Quite the commitment. ALthough it seems like this is the "boot camp" week, the other meditations seem to be around 20 minutes....

I spent some time this morning ripping the CD's and have imported the meditations onto my MP3 player. Which means:

a) No need to find a place with a CD player to do the meditations
b) No fumbling around for discs and less fumbling around for tracks
c) A bit of insulation from external noise sources (more if I invest in some headphones in lieu of ear buds)
d) Higher portability in terms of nature, the office, and other places

I did manage to get my practice in this new in spite of dogs and Zippy coming home early. It's still warm enough to use the 3 seasons porch; although I suspect that will become less of an option as the fall moves forward.

September 26, 2006

Catching my breath

A special yoga workshop tonight with Heather Tiddens at the studio. Definitely a challenging practice for me, since I am not quite so flexible and fluid, but not so energetic and aerobic as some. Less sweat, more surrender and and some new concepts - Yin yoga, which is sort of a surrendering, not hot, do not force breath into ones body kind of practice. Apparently wonderful for loosening up the connective tissue. It was an evening of curiousity. And humility.

Extra special treat, one of favorite local folkies (from Mad Agnes) was in the workshop - did not notice her until afterwards. I made sure it was her (I only ever see her with a guitar) and stopped to chat and says thanks (she and her group were the catalyst for a large dose of catharsis back in December 2003) and they (a) have a new CD coming out called Revenants and (b) are playing Roaring Brook on October 14th. I'm hoping to be there.

Back on September 7th I blogged "....Tendrils wrap around my world, connect in weird and wonderful ways. Most interesting and delightful...." and that does not seem to be abating.....

In other (workish) news, I went to a seminar up in MA today - which was pretty good. 50 people in the room. One woman. Hmph. And Thursday I take MYA up to Boston again.....

September 24, 2006

Krishna Das in my ears

Yesterday I spent a few hours doing Kirtan homework - downloading music, digging up tabs, etc. So now I have a CD of burned chants, an MP3 player with them in, and some more formal music sheets with chords and capo'ing worked out and legibly printed. Also a few semi-spiritual popular songs that end up getting played. Go me.

I'm heading over to my Sunday morning ritual of hot yoga in a bit, but for now, I am bopping to some chants - hoping to get these grooved into my subconscious over the next few weeks. The goal is to get the music / chords and overall song chant structure and changes into a less conscious space, so I can experience a bit of the kirtan transcendence even though I will be playing guitar. Still no guitar decision....but I am pondering a purchase.

Chris Smither at the Iron Horse

Zippy and I traveled north last evening to see Chris Smither at the Iron Horse. Chris has been on the radar for a while, mostly via Falcon Ridge and WWUH, but we rarely sit through entire sets at FRFF, when we do its way up on the hill, and, well, its not the same as a live gig. We had a very enjoyable evening.

Chris was accompanied by David "Goody" Goodrich, a somewhat puckish sideman who provided some appropriately tasteful leads and accents. Not really the sort of concert we'd choose, but our friend Victoria was going, and the combination of good music, seeing her, and visiting Northampton was enough of a lure.

Victoria is in the process of finishing up a CD of her stuff, and Goody is working with her on it - part of her reason for being there. She also tends to get into stalking mode (not creepy, more like just really into their music) with particular acoustic acts, and right now Chris Smither is the target of that sort of attention.

Good night. I had a beer (gasp!) and a bean and corn burrito. Yum. We also shared some chips and salsa, and a sinful brownie dessert. It was nice to have a table with friends to share music with. So often in years gone by I'd be at that sort of thing alone.....I am sure I've been up to see the Nields or Dar or Cry Cry Cry or Gorka or some other act, and been there alone. ::sniff::

It was also Zippy's first visit to the Iron Horse (she liked) although she will be heading back up on Monday (with friends, not me....) for Tuvan rockers Yat-kha.

September 23, 2006

Wal-Mart to cut packaging by 5 percent

In this story.

OK, I am not a big Wal-Mart fan on a lot of levels. The whole killing rural downtowns, the whole driving companies out of business, the whole part time workers and benefits package thing. But I am also cognizant that (a) they do what they do because the government lets them and (b) they do what they do because customers want it.

My friend Lynne has some interesting things to say about Walmart here. Bear in mind that she enjoys shooting guns and dressing up in authentic wool military uniforms in order to play antiquated music, so take her with a grain of salt(peter)....

As someone who travels a lot for work to small towns in this great land of ours, I end up at Walmart more often then not when I need tools, supplies, or personal care things. Like it or not, American has been franchised......

Anyway, getting back to Wal-Mart and the environment. I propose that major national or international companies (like Wal-Mart or Home Depot or McDonald's or Microsoft) are in a unique position to effect global change, in the absence of government regulation or guidance. If the government is not going to step in to promulgate energy conservation, for example, then it is not going to happen unless an organization large enough sets some standards, pushes for change. Walmart may become enlightened on this front for the sole purpose of saving some money and earning some positive PR. But the clout they have, in terms of market share and R&D and information systems - will permit them to go places that would otherwise be unexplored, and other companies (and perhaps, the planet) will benefit from their initiatives.

Another tangeant - MacDonald's has heretofore been in the business of making food. They are very very good at making food that people want. And while the fact that a quarter pounder with cheese value meal costs under $5, can be procured in under a minute through your car window, and is (as one otherwise enlightened friend has described it) the perfect meal, are all good things from a marketing perspective, it nevertheless has a significant overpercentage of the RDA of fat and carbs and salt. Bad food. But imagine if McDonald's was prodded to channel its food technology, marketing savvy, and mass production to making inexpensive and healthy food, and marketing it in such a way that Americans actually want to but it and consume it. Yowza....

September 21, 2006

Phone Banking for Ned

I spent a few hours tonight up on Albany Avenue in Hartford, phone banking for Ned Lamont. I'm not a huge fan of the practice - for one thing, technology (answering machines, caller ID) mean that a lot of people just let it go to the machine. "No Answer" was the winner in this survey..... And, cohabitating with a decidely antagonistic phone answerer (when it comes to surveys and political calls and telemarketing) - one can certainly understand people being upset to get a call.

It was interesting. I talked to a few people - some adamantly pro-Ned, some were sticking with Lieberman (seemingly a decision based on sentiment and intertia). A lot of "I've decided but I am not telling" folks. Some undecided. But mostly, answering machines.

Not my favorite thing. But I'm definitely working towards some change in this election cycle, and aside from throwing Ned a few bucks, blogging, putting out a lawn sign, putting a bumper sticker on my car, and voting......well, its another small drop in the bucket. 2,692 US troops dead as of today. Untold numbers of Iraqi's. A world that pretty much despises my country. And a host of problems - global warming, a looming energy crisis, health care costs, you name it - that are not getting addressed by the present administration.

You can get Pizza Hut in Baghdad, though. Just saying.

Breast Implants Linked to Higher Suicide Rate

From livescience.com:
The researchers discovered the suicide rate is 73 percent higher in participants with breast implants relative to the control group. The connection between breast implants and suicide was not tested and no direct link was found between the two.

However, Bisson said previous studies have characterized women who receive breast implants by a low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence and more frequent mental illnesses such as depression.

The research team also analyzed a group of 16,000 women who had undergone plastic surgery procedures other than breast augmentation. They found similar results, with a lower mortality rate and a higher suicide rate than the general population.

While I am not sure this is particularly appropo to members of my tribe, it does give one pause for thought. I've certainly run across many who have staked a lot on body modification in the hopes of making significant improvements in their lives. And I have met many for whom the life improvements fell short of the expectations.

Some have opined that members of my tribe should not have to undergo psych testing to access body mods, and offer the evidence that nontrans folk do not need such testing to have the same or similar body mods.

This study, perhaps, suggests the opposite. Maybe psych testing should be required for non-trans women to access cosmetic procedures.....what's good for the neo-goose, is good for the goose-born-goose, right.....?

Call out Gouranga by happy!

From: "Neateye"
Subject: Gouranga

Call out Gouranga be happy!
Gouranga Gouranga Gouranga
That which brings the highest happiness

I know its SPAM. But I am always quietly joyful to get this little email. It comes often enough to be familiar, but infrequently enough not to be annoying.

September 19, 2006

Local Color - The Fernwood

Zipster and I noshed at the Fernwood in West Hartford for lunch. It was a singularly interesting experience. We were "girls" at the doorway, problematic until one realized that we were 20 years younger than the average age of the patrons. It seemed to be full of West End lawyers, doctors, retirees. It seemed like we were the only women in the place at first (other than the staff) although tables of women drifted in as we ate. Lots of walkers, hearing aides, and canes.

Beverly, the waitress introduced herself, and quipped "the soups are home-made, everything is good" and when Zippy asked for the bathrooms, was told "they're old but clean". The food was very good - Zippy had the salad nicoise (homemade dressing), I had a turkey club. The atmosphere - priceless.

September 18, 2006

Safe at Home.....

Corporate powerpoint geekdom went well, with a 1:00 p.m. drive off time, and a quick ride home (via the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Merritt, rather than 684 / 84) since it was mid-day. Only one near miss - a car was in the breakdown lane, and the person two cars in front of me decided to come to a dead stop (in the right hand lane) which I could not see until the SUV in front of me suddenly veered to the left. About the only thing I could do was zoom around the outside of the two cars, in the breakdown lane / shoulder. Ugh. Not a slick or safe maneuver but the alternative was to rear end the stopped car.

Lots of little projects perking around. Will be nice to be able to go into the office the rest of the week. Although between zapping, a dental cleaning, and some other things, it will still be an erratic work week.

The highlight of the past weekend was Kirtan rehearsal last night. It felt very positive - turns out the chord changes for the various chants were not all that difficult (I feared some obscure eastern intervals or scales) and in fact we were able to go through a lot of the chants. It feels so good to have a toe back in music again.....as much as the Kirtan leader was effusive about my coming on board, I am equally effusive about the opportunity to participate.

Although now I am thinking about guitar amplification - either buying a clip-in pickup / transducer, having one installed, or even purchasing a moderately priced guitar with a pickup already installed.

September 17, 2006

Strawberry Park Folk Festival

Spent most of the day and late into the evening in Preston CT at the inaugural Strawberry Park Folk Festival. Our experience was top-notch. Aside from not taking credit cards at the gate (which left Zippy and I somewhat cash poor; the onsite ATM was also down), the facility was wonderful, the music stellar. All good.

We missed The Nields (I would have liked to have seem 'em) but caught:

* The Kennedys - always affable, inspirational and entertaining. They sort of provide evidence to the old angst vs. art thing - they seem so connected and happy that you wonder if they just do not have the bad karma mojo to write a couple of the sorts of heartbreaking songs that hit the folk charts (such as they are).
* Jeffrey Foucault - new to us, singer songwriter who reminded me a little of Bill Morrissey, who I have not seen live in forever and I need to play some of his albums and catch up with his music
* Eliza Gilkyson - always wonderful. She had some guitar issues and played a borrowed one which I think threw her off a bit.
* Tracy Grammer - She's one of those "I hear her all the time at Falcon Ridge, but have never sat through a full set in the audience" artists. She was wonderful. Her "manservant" (as EFO quipped from the stage) Jim Henry accompanied her and plays some of his own stuff - and it was a nice pairing.
* Eddie From Ohio - Another FRFF "always in the background, never really sat and watched" act, and they were wonderful.

Mostly, we kind of shook our heads at the great lineup and artists booked for the festival, and how light the turnout. We're used to the FRFF folk music juggernaut of 15,000 people, and we pulled into day parking with maybe 20 cars in it. The amphitheater had maybe 300 tops. It was not a huge crowd. Kind of a pity, really - the space is wonderful, the facility is beautiful. The dance stage (smaller than FRFF but very nice) had maybe 20-30 dancers, at most, and often far fewer.

One could not help but compare to Falcon Ridge (there were lots of FRFF logo's in the crowd, I spotted Ernie and said hi, and several of the acts mentioned FRFF from the stage) and indeed, it looked as if the organizers of this festival had decided to try to recreate FRFF. My advice (as a 15 or so year FRFF volunteer)

1) Start smaller. FRFF did not spring from the womb as a 4 day juggernaut. You could have had a Saturday festival, with Friday night ad hoc music (open mike? song circle?) and Sunday morning light stuff.

2) September is tough - the kids are back at school. Anything extending past the traditional weekend is going to be an issue for families. Cut it back to a Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday festival.

3) FRFF is not sacred space because of its music, stages, artists, grounds. Its the community that has built up around it - and that takes both time and some community building savvy. There were no staff or volunteer tee-shirts to be seen, to give the festival a family feel. There was no real identity, except maybe the campground identity that was not exactly the folk festival community. Anne and Bub from FRFF seem to have stumbled upon the magic - and I am not sure how much of that was deliberate and how much intuitive, but the Strawberry Folk Fest needs a shaman to guide them.

All in all, a good experience - I suspect it may not happen again, depending on how much money was lost and how committed people are to making it work again. But it was nice to be there for the inaugural one, if it sticks around.

On a high note, the folks from Eagle Ray Traders were there, and I chatted briefly with them - and bought a pair of batik pants which will be ideal for kirtan. Gotta find a rust colored sleeveless top to go with 'em.....

September 16, 2006

Quid Pro Quo

So, I'm surfing blogs and livejournals and I come upon these lines in an introduction:
I am quite outspoken. And my journal is very bombastic, and avant gourde (sic), with an accent on various pontifications...

and also:
So, for those who can respond to me with love and kindness ... I truly welcome you with open arms and warm smiles. For those who want preach to me or pontificate about how much they know and how they are going to SET ME STRAIGHT... KEEP WALKING
So....let me see if we have this right: you will be preaching and pontificating, but we're not allowed to. Oh good.

I might suggest that if one were seeking love and kindness, one might choose to send a little love and kindness out there. Much as I am loathe to quote our friend Paul, "A man reaps what he sows" (Galatians 6:7). Perhaps a more contemporary corollary from another Paul (and John) "And in the end the love you take, Is equal to the love you make."

And now the news.....

Nothing serious to report. Since my last update, I have just been a bit overwhelmed with life, so few moments to blog. Hereby rectified.

Let's see, Tuesday, I worked. I yoga'd. I went to a doctor's appointment. I worked some more. I did dinner with the Zipster. I went to a mentoring meeting at the local pride center. When I got back, AC was here.

Wednesday I worked, then got zapped, then went to a diabetes support group meeting with the Zipster.

Thursday, I worked. I yoga'd. I drove to Bristol to pick up MYA, her mom, and baby brother, then drove the lot up to Boston for a doctor's appointment. It would have been a longish trip, but traveling with mom (who is not a fan of public restrooms) and baby bro (who is 19 months and needs things like diapers and car seats and strollers) makes for a much higher maintenance trip. The appointment was at 3 pm; I ended up rolling back into the house around 10 pm.

Friday, I was out the door at 5:00 am for a 6:15 meet-up in Fairfield, and an 8:00 am call time in New Jersey. Corporate powerpoint gig; set-up day. I need to go back Monday for the meeting. The set day was not all that hard (lot of hurry up and wait) but the ride home was horrible. We broke at 5 pm but it was 6:15 pm by the time we hit the road, then it was rainy and Friday night. Ugh. The driver (one of the crew) was pretty aggressive - tailgating, jumping lanes and stuff. And it was not helped by the fact that the passenger was messing with one of the GPS map things - and the driver was watching a lot (or a cell phone). I felt very nervous; when you see the driver looking down at a screen, red brake lights ahead, and you already feel like you are too close for speed, road conditions, and weather - you just can not help gasping a bit. I know its different in a newish care with ABS and good tires and stuff - my experience with the Saturn is that driving like that = accident. I hate to be such a wimp about it; but it is what it is; and I was completely tense and stressed out when I got home around 10:00 pm (driving was stressful enough with me at the wheel, being cautious - it was that sort of a rainy night) I suspect I am gonna drive myself down on Monday just to avoid a repeat.

So....a high stress couple of days. I got out to Jazzercise this morning, which was stress-reducing. We're going to a new folk fest this afternoon: the Strawberry Park Folk Fest. Tomorrow, yoga, maybe connecting with MYA, and Kirtan rehearsal in the evening.....

September 15, 2006

Still Alive...sort of

Will post more after I have a good nights sleep in the bag, and calm down a little. The past 48 hours have been somewhat stressful. Nothing horrible, just a lot of driving in not so ideal conditions. I need bed, and a restful weekend.....

September 12, 2006

The Pot Begins to Boil

Suddenly, we are back to work. A fax came in yesterday to do a magnetic field study down on Long Island. A nice little project, if it comes through.

And a phone call this noon for a two day production gig (Friday / Monday) down in New Jersey - been a while since I had one of them. I had to call and cancel my Edward Tufte seminar for the 18th, which bums me out (I was looking forward to it) but I will surely do it the next time its offered.

Much change

It's Tuesday morning and I am weeping lightly for the mother of an acquaintance, recently departed. Death and sorrow comes like that, sneaking in the side door at times. Not wholly unexpected, and not so close that I might have met this woman in life, but sadness still.

The week is a busy one, as is the day. Today - yoga, a doctors appointment, a mentoring meeting. And of course, work. Tomorrow, work and zapping and a support group. Thursday, heading up to Boston with MYA to try to hook her up with some resources.....Friday - I dunno. Breathing or something.

My car has been down a pint of coolant every day or so; I took it in for repair - water pump, thermostat, and a coolant change. $400 - annoying. Nice to have it back in shape, glad it was not worse, glad it was not fatal.

Yesterday, I went for an interview for a workshop / group on eating. It seems like a good fit for a bunch of reasons. A few weeks back Zippy and I had a discussion about therapists and support - she was firing off names and places and "you should call" - whereas I have come to trust a more organic approach. When the student is ready, the teacher appears. I have been watching for the invitation for a while now, and I spotted this flyer down at the yoga studio, and I knew it was right. Funny, cause I picked up the flyer on Thursday or Friday, glanced through it, put it down. Then could not stop thinking about it - and fetched a copy for myself on Sunday. I called on Sunday, and we set up an appointment on Monday.

Again, serendipity takes me where I need to go, when I need to go there, and puts people and things in my path that I need to be working with. If I were a hard-ass realist I would postulate that I have built the sort of social and support network where I have access to what I need, and I am smart enough to identify resources when I need them. If I were a mystic, I might guess that I have a guardian angel. Not telling which belief seems more authentic to me.....

In other news, I got a really lovely card from one of my clients - thanks for the hard work - with some nice gift cards to a clothing store (appreciated, I could use an autumn wardrobe refresh) and a local Thai eatery. Methinks the crew out in Trinidad is dangerous now: someone has found my blog......cause how else would they know to feed me Thai food and from this much searched for place. Pretty darn nice surprise.

Fall is here. The air says it; last night after Jazzercise it just felt like it, and this morning the heat came on (at which point the Zipster started freaking out cause some of the windows are still open). So I killed the heat and I think will be closing storm windows and buttoning up the place a bit in the next few days.

September 11, 2006

Another round of search engine self reference

The following search terms brought people to my blog in recent weeks:

- alyson court no longer loonette
- yanni's newington (a small neighbodhood pizza / pasta restaurant we visit now and then)
- colin mcenroe fiction - which led me to rediscovering this piece, which foreshadowed the whole J.T. Leroy thing by YEARS
- jazzercise - well, duh
- family affairs - in Korean, no less
- HOT BASIL WEST HARTFORD - my all time #1 search string, I got 4 hits for this search
- small town surgeon - Methinks a reference to Dr. Biber gets this hit
- "Andy Weir" "cheshire crossing" - well, thats a new one
- Cliff Furnald - from my Alash in Ridgefield reporting
- neybas - a musician friend is collaborating with a former neyba, Terry Rand who also got a hit
- mutta paneer - can't go wrong blogging about Indian food.....
- bran muffins weight watchers "1 point" - also can not go wrong blogging about weight watchers

A Beautiful Day

Stunning even. One could even say perfect, here in New England - crystal clear blue sky, low humidity, sun bright and at an angle where the golden colors and shadows of fall are predicted.

Much like Sept 11, 2001. And I wonder if this is how it will be every year, when the weather is this way, nearly perfect, will we always hearken back to that day? Will it become like Good Friday in my youth, where the nuns used to predict a cloudy afternoon around 3:00 pm - and although I am sure it was not always so, thats what I remember. The cloudy, rainy, dreary memorials to a crucifixion.

I do not have much to say. It's a day for feeling, not a day for talking. But if you do feel like reading something, read this. Props to Colin for pointing the way.

September 10, 2006

Who has the time?

So how do people fit role playing games or alternative reality online things or what not into their lives?

Cause I sure as hell am having a hard time finding time for all of the things I need to and/or want to be doing in this particular time and space continuum....

MP3 and Corporate Smarts

Ya'll know I am a Jazzerciser; have been for years. Not as much of late, since I've discovered yoga, but I still go once or twice a week. And when I travel for work, I try to find a local class and get some exercise; its always been a positive experience.

Now, Jazzercise works like this. Instructors are certified, pay a fee to buy in to the program, and pay a percentage of their gross to corporate. In exchange, they get the brand, they get scripted routines. They get these on DVD (formerly VHS) and after learning the routines, they teach them using music on CD's (formerly cassette tapes). Anyone who has been to a class has seen an instructor fumbling with the tape player or CD player between songs.

Seems like a perfect application for an MP3 player, eh? Instead of buying full CD's or cassettes, or producing and distributing compilations, one could simply license the MP3 and send it out via email. An instructor could burn a particular set onto an MP3 player and not have to mess around between songs. It all makes way too much sense.

A couple of years back, I went to a class in Chicago where the instructor was doing just that. I talked with her afterwards about the positive application of technology, and she was kind of lowkey about it (actually she asked me not to talk about it to my local insructor) - apparently, it was official Jazzercise policy not to use such devices.

Our substitute on Saturday had one, and I spoke with her about it. Apparently, Jazzercise corporate has come around, and MP3's are now an official distribution tool. I think she even had a pink Jazzercise cover for her IPOD. Nice to see a corporation coming around on something like this.

Oh, and here's the latest Jazzercise set list. Never fails to amaze me how Jazzercise has the hits before they become hits. Its almost as if somebody is programming the songs for chart pop success....and feeding the music to Jazzercise weeks or months in advance.....

Serendipity

I recently shared a moment of serendipity with a person online. I had emailed her a name and a link to somebody I had heard on the radio that I thought she might appreciate (This was out of the blue; we had never directly communicated before; I have no idea what motivated me to reach out) and it turned out to be something important to her. So I'm pondering serendipity.

Now, I set out upon my journey with zero prospects, zero funds, no plan beyond the next week or two. The fact that I have survived is a testament to serendipity. I can draw discrete lines from one magic moment (I have dates and names!) to the next that led through my self discovery and eventual transition. Weirdly, it was an almost conscious process - I'd be kind of adrift, the right person would come along, and suddenly, I knew. Or conversely, I would recognize a need, literally vocalize what I wanted or needed, and the universe would respond, and in such a way that I was able to recognize the gift.

Now, those who know me, know I am pretty down to earth. I burn no sage, I own no crystals, I wear no angel lapel pins. I am in most things annoyingly cynical and skeptical. Yet, I remain convinced that my path has been guided and protected, and I am almost giddy with expectation and annoying in my trust that the universe will provide for myself and for others in my world.

Pondering serendipity. I believe in something. Yet I am not sure that something can or wants to be named. Except possibly - that which is.

Pride and Prejudice

We ended up at Pride, for a change. I usually put in an appearance, although some years not. This year, I picked up MYA and took her over; she hung out with a friend from Boston all day. I was so impressed with the layout and venue (Main Street, in front of City Hall and the Wadsworth) that I drove home, cajoled Zippy into coming, and we went.

We walked the festival once; I ran into the usual smattering of community folks. Mostly, we sat (having brought chairs) and people watched, and ate crap.

It's always bittersweet, for me. I am not really connected to the community; having outgrown (and/or pissed off or been pissed off by) many of the support and activism branches. So in a lot of ways I feel alone and disconnected (and yeah, I know this is my issue). And so often, Zippy is not into it (physically, emotionally, mentally) that I go alone, and since a part of the reason that I am not connected to the community have to do with being coupled (time, energy, patience), it feels odd to move through a space like Pride alone. So I am glad she went.

That being said, kudos to the Pride organizers. It was a really nice space, a really nice event - much better than previous years in Bushnell Park or Elizabeth Park. Felt urban and connected to the city, and, as Zippy pointed out, there were persons of color there, for a change. Which was wonderful to see. Living in Hartford, we kind of move through a diverse world without really noticing; but then when we go to less diverse spaces, it becomes evident. And Pride (and the GLBT community in general) has traditionally been a less diverse space.

It rained between 6 and 7 - we took off just prior (MYA was tired, as was Zipster, and so I took 'em both home) - we ran into our WNBA friends as we left (hope they did not get too wet) and it seemed like the rain passed and it was OK afterwards, so I hope the rest of the festival went OK.

September 08, 2006

Catching Up

Well, it's Friday and I have not really caught up. I did get some stuff done though.

For future reference, I want to write some spec pieces for my freelance site: yoga, jazzercise, ballooning, search marketing. Just because.

Last night AC and I went to the CARC Uberman fund-raiser. Saw some wonderful people. Saw two ostensibly grown men moon the crowd. Had a nice time, and I guess the event raised a lot of bucks. Yeah.

Afterwards, AC came over, and we talked for a while, and then MP came by (en route home frome Ireland) and more talk until I begged off to bed around 11. Yeah.

Tonight, Zippy and I will probably catch some dinner. Tomorrow, Jazzercise in the morning, some soccer mom service in the vicinity of the Pride Fest. Sunday - no serious plans; probably yoga, probably doing some stuff around the house. We've been talking about doing something with the basement for a while.....

You Know You Want It

West Hartford Yoga is having another Open Studio on Saturday, September 30th. Free classes, discounts, positive vibes, all that.

Also, I see they have a free Intro to Yoga class on alternate Saturdays from 1 - 2 pm.

And you thought the Jehovah Witnesses were notorious for recruiting ::grin::

September 07, 2006

Random Sightings

Two random people I came across today.

Matt Sanford, a paralyzed yoga instructor, who run Mind Body Solutions. He's recently published a book called Waking: A Memoir of Trauma and Transcendence, which I hope to get. A lot of what he is saying (I am listening to an interview right on on WAMC's Roundtable) resonates with my experience of yoga, both from the perspective of recovering from trauma, as well as being connected to a body that I have cut myself off from.

While doing some web wenching for a client based in Trinidad CO, I came across Snatam Kaur
The sincerity and depth of commitment that this artist brings to her music is firmly rooted in a life of devotion. Soon after her birth in 1972, in the beautiful mountain town of Trinidad, Colorado, Snatam’s parents turned to the teachings and lifestyle of the Sikh tradition and became students of the renowned Kundalini yoga master, Yogi Bhajan. Snatam heard Yogi Bhajan’s teachings at her parents’ side and a close relationship developed between the venerated teacher and the very young pupil. One day, before she was even two, Snatam began to chatter away in the middle of class; Yogi Bhajan stopped speaking, looked over at her and said, “You’ll have your turn soon to teach, little one.” Indeed, Snatam has fulfilled this forecast, teaching yoga, chants, and meditation to both children and adults.


Tendrils wrap around my world, connect in weird and wonderful ways. Most interesting and delightful.

September 06, 2006

Stacatto

I kind of envisioned this would be a week where I could work some decent hours, catch up a bit, settle into an autumnal rhythm. Life had other plans.

A quick trip to take MYA to sign up for classes turned into a bit of a mess - the school system said that they tossed her file. So we ended up with more running around today, and probably more tomorrow. Not what I had planned. So today was a bit of work, yoga, running around, a bit of work, then home for date night. The culmination of which was walking up to the Marshalls on Flatbush.

Tomorrow, work, lunch with a friend, running around, then home to get ready for a fund-raiser. And have not even thought about what to wear.

September 05, 2006

Computer - 1 / Power Girl - 0

Well, I was getting an annoying Language Pack Update message. In the course of figuring that out I crapped out MS-word, Adobe Acrobat, my sound card driver, and a few other things. Took me most of the morning to get back to square 1, although the Language Pack update thing is gone too. Huzzah.

The IT department will hear about this. Oh wait, I'm the IT department.

September 04, 2006

Uber Man 2006

If you have some bucks to contribute and are bored on Thursday, consider the CT AIDS Resource Coalition (CARC) Summer Camp / Uberman fundraiser at the Riverside Park / Jaycees Community Boatyard from 6 - 9 pm.

I do not really have a dog in the hunt (Uberman competition) except that my yoga friend Alison is the event chairperson, and I dropped a ten-spot on votes for Colin McEnroe and Peter Shapiro for sentimental reasons. Although there are lots of worthy (i.e. - cute / smart / hunky / funny) competitors and its for a wonderful organization.

If thats a bit rich for your blood, well, Real Art Ways has their Writers & Readers event (FREE) running concurrently, with the theme Fiction. Versus. Truth. Bummer, really, I love the RAW literature events. And isn't it time you became a member at RAW?

Gonna be a kind of weirdly busy week for me. The frenetic work of last week should continue. One of my large clients has been on vacation and should be dumping work on me Tues or Wed. MYA has an appointment on Wed, Thursday I have lunch and the fundraiser, and next weekend is Connecticut Pride; not sure how much of it I will be participating in but I imagine at the very least I'll have soccer mom duty.....

Summer's Over

If there were any doubts, lay them to rest. It's September, its cool and autumnal out there, and Labor Day weekend is winding down. It's fall kids.

A filled with health kind of day. A holiday power yoga class was filled to capacity and fierce. I walked out in a kind of daze. Not to say that I was wiped all day; AC called up and wanted to bike, so we went to the Farmington Canal path. (alas, the West Hartford reservoir rangers would not let AC ride sans helmet). The path was a good solid ride though. So lots of exercise. I was trying to explain how I could be wiped out by yoga (or a yoga class could kick my butt) since she had the traditional "sit cross legged on the mat and chant" understanding.

After biking, we came home, and I cooked some yummy pork chops, some onion and pepper kabobs, and corn. Din din. Now AC and Zippy are up working on the never-ending MSDS sheets for AC's work.

Now I am kind of bored. I did the dishes, folded the laundry. Too late to start something new, too early to go to bed, and I am not much for curling up in front of the television.

Labor Day

Cross posted (with a bit of revision) from a message board....

I took MYA to get an application for a job yesterday (Friendly's, she likes the uniforms) and that got me thinking about my first job. Which (except for delivering newspapers) was at McDonald's.

In that era it was sort of like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" - everybody worked at a fast food place, it just depended upon which one. I suspect these days there is a lot more stratification by ethnicity and class, at least judging by my fast food experiences. In any case, McD's was a pretty decent place to work. Kids my age. Managers not much older. A relatively vibrant social life - bowling, crew picnics, softball team, roller skating, movies. A bit more diversity than my catholic high school.

I do not think I ever worked that hard. Working in the back on the grill, in the days before microwaves, in the days before sanitary gloves. Your hands ended up smelling like all the condiments - onions, pickles, mustard. Or you stood over a 375 degree slab of metal for a shift, as the burgers fried. I started out cleaning the Lot and Lobby, which is basically the worst / lowest job in the place, and ended up doing that forever. I found out later that the managers were betting to see how long I would put up with it. I never did complain, and eventually got moved in to do everything else. I worked there from about 16 to maybe 22 - part time at other stores when I was in college, full time at my old store over the summer.

Over the years, I did everything. I was really good on most of the cooking things (I liked the mechanical, time and efficiency aspects). I ran the register. I ended up being a swing manager for a while, and working the overnight shift cleaning up when I got older. I remember hot summer nights in winter coat and gloves, standing in a walk in freezer while frozen burgers and fries and fishsticks rolled down the ramp from the delivery truck. And working a contraption that filtered the fryolator grease which was kind of like pumping gas out of an open container, heated to 250 degrees. I got a lot of annoying burns over the years.

I do not think I ever worked that hard; and my work ethic and ability to put up with crap has always been pretty high as a result. I often think to myself, when work is tough, well, "its not as bad as working at McD's" and I think that has advised my employability and job satisfaction over the years. I still have a little fondness for the fast food workers I run across; I like to look at the equipment when I do go to McD's and see which pieces and processes have not changed in 25 years. And there was something visceral and imprinting about it - to this day, dreams about McDonald's (as well as college) still recur from time to time; occasionally I wake up thinking I have paychecks waiting for me all this time that I forgot to pick up, or that I am on the schedule to work a few shifts, and in my dream am hunting for my name on the board.

So.....thats my Labor Day tribute to work.

September 03, 2006

Do It Yourself

Well, I got down to Jazzercise to find SURPRISE no class today (Labor Day Holiday) - I had heard the "no class Monday" thing but today was news to me. Serves me right for not getting there often enough of late.

So, I came home and did some home grown yoga. Got good and sweaty, even with a coolish room (our three seasons porch) - but a good long practice. Mostly postures, not so flowy, and a good mix of stuff. Not a ton of hips and backbends - must make a mental note to mix those in to the next practice. I'm going to remix my yoga CD - move the bouncy flowy tracks back a bit later into the practice, and perhaps add some tracks to fill up the CD. But, good. The aches and pains that were more about fragility and creaky joints are gone, replaced with some general soreness that speaks of muscles and strength.

We popped over to Apple Tree for fruits and veggies, and I just made up some Chicken Salad, from leftover chicken and a bunch of veggie drawer leftovers - celery, onion, grapes, almonds. Waiting for a couple of ears of corn to cook, and then lunch!

Off to pick up MYA this afternoon; for Rainbow Room. Kind of a grey and rainy day although I suspect the sun may poke out before the day is done.

Spirit Willing. Flesh Aching.

We helped a friend move yesterday. As moves go - not so bad. We had the zippy-mobile (a beater Toyota longbed with a cap), a Ford Econoline for the big stuff, and a PT Cruiser. Moving from a second floor apartment to a first floor one (with easy access) - not so bad. And the threatened rain from Erneston never really happened - it was windy and cloudy and threatening all day but it never did more than spit a little. She had no big appliances, although a small love seat, entertainment unit, bed, and dressers provided enough challenge down the twisty apartment stairs.

We stopped for lunch at a totally charming general store out in Stafford Springs - the Mill Pond Country Store - which had some pretty incredible sandwiches. It was one of those throwback places - you can get sodas and sandwiches and penny candy and slushies and fireworks and lots of other things. And the sandwiches were perfect - I had a spicy turkey grinder that was delicious.

Being the youngest (my sister movers were in their 50's, I'm mid 40's) and least injured one there (two backs, one ankle), I got to do my share of the up and down stairs part, and my legs are crying this morning. I'm going to Jazzercise in a bit but I think I need 30 minutes of yoga to heat up the muscles and get some looseness going.

Not much else to report. Gonna go fetch MYA this afternoon for Rainbow Room. No serious plans for the rest of the weekend - Jazzercise this morning, yoga tomorrow....

September 02, 2006

Seeing a Few Pieces Ahead


Gonna be a fuzzy kind of weekend. We're slated to help a friend move today (dykes with trucks) but that might get pushed until Sunday due to the rain. We don't know. I want to get to Jazzercise this morning if I can (8:30 to 9:30) and we are slated to be at the "move" at 10, so it will be cutting it close. But if moving is postponed until tomorrow.....

I do not do well with uncertainty - I tend to cram my life full of stuff, and I need to know whats coming so as to arrange the Tetris blocks of my life strategically and efficiently.

Last night, I did sneak in a rare 4:30 power yoga class, which is different mostly because its not the 9:30 am regulars who I can count on at the M-F morning classes. Different energy too - both with myself and the class. Before class I prepped dinner (sauteed sausage / peppers / onions into sauce, put a spaghetti squash into the stove) and picked up an Italian bakery loaf and some sinful desserts at a local bakery. So we had a nice meal. AC was over, she and Zippy are working on some horrible paperwork project that involves (so far) 2 inkjet printer cartridges and a ream of paper, and a good 6 hours of work. Ick.

September 01, 2006

Still Alive (Such as it is)

Just a quickie update. I'm still here, but things have been busy. Wednesday night, I went out to dinner with MYA and her family. Thursday was work and yoga and taking MYA to visit a friend and more work. Then dinner with at Tinkers. Then Zippy and I had a fight. Ick.

I've been under a lot of work stress, with a lot of projects overdue or not getting done the way they should be - and I just need to bear down and focus and crank stuff out. I am hoping to do some of that today, and maybe get some extra work out over the weekend. With any luck, back on track by Monday. I have my monthly invoicing done, got a trip report out this morning, and am knee deep into an overdue project today.

Hopefully, I get a lot done today, maybe sneak out to some late afternoon yoga. And over the weekend - who knows. No big plans for the holiday; I need to catch my breath.