March 31, 2007

No Caffeine?

Back in October, I kicked caffeine. I had a 4 day retreat to go to that was sans caffeine, I did not want a 4 day headache, and I recognized how addicted I was. So I slowly weaned myself down, and after the weekend, I stayed off.

I've been pretty good since then - I occasionally will have a cup of leaded coffee in the afternoon on a slow day, I drink caffeinated soda, but my morning fix - a 4 cup maker, and maybe a cup from Whole Donut when I went out for the mail at 10:30, has been kicked for good, replaced by Decaf or Herbal Tea. I am guessing I dropped my overall caffeine intake from 500 mG or more per day.

But I've had some reservations - how much caffeine was there in Decaf? And soda? and other beverages? Was I really off the smack?

Thankfully, an October 2006 news report says that although decaf coffee has some caffeine in it, its minimal - maybe 10% of a cup of regular coffee at worst. And a list of caffeine in other beverages points to other beverage choices - diet coke (45 mg), iced tea (40 MG) when I dine out - as being a bigger contributor. I also stopped buying diet coke for the house, preferring a diet sprite or sierra mist (0 mg) and even my caffeinated tea is green(15 mg) - much lower than regular tea (40 mg).

Still Sickish

Friday was a pretty much non-stop sick day. Sniffles, sneezes, mild headache - I got my spring cold. I spent most of the day chopping away at a website for a client - I had a meeting with them early in March and came away with some pretty major layout and design changes - many of those are now put to bed. So being home was not such a bad thing. But I am not a fan of being sick.

Due to illness, I bagged on the Real Art Ways movie / Ralph Nader appearance last evening - AC called up from some social event to report that it was sold out. Pretty cool. I would have gone. As it is I will be marginal for tonights Abigail Washburn concert at Wesleyan. The only good thing was that I actually slept pretty well last night - my nose stopped running, I did not toss and turn, and I did not sneeze nor snore. Much to Zippy's relief. I've been keeping hir up.

In other news - I got a generous gift check from my family for my birthday, which I am spending on a Garmin C330 GPS. I was so enamored of the GPSs that I have encountered over the last few weeks that I decided to treat myself - my family is forever looking for a birthday gift for me. So there you go. I am looking forward to it being useful for business trips, personal trips, and finding stuff (food, shops, etc.) while traveling - and I vow to never get lost on the way to visit my Milford friends. My getting lost en route there is a recurring theme, personal joke and source of relationship angst.

I also got (via mail) a new guitar toy - a Korg AX3G Modelling Signal Processor. Which (from what I can tell) is a pretty amazing programmable effects box. Price was right ($50) and if I can get a few basic effects programmed in (reverb, perhaps a little ethereal phase shift) it will be a nice addition to my Kirtan sound - although to be honest most of the pre-programmed sounds are various electric guitar distortion / cranked up amp effects. So I have some playing around to do. I am gonna hunt around online for some apps notes or something - the manual is pretty spartan.

I have my guitars out - its getting near time for Kirtan (April 13) and I ought to work on my callouses and refamiliarize myself with the chants. I am sure we will have some practice in the coming weeks.

March 30, 2007

Sick Girl

You know I am legitimately sick when I opt out of yoga. Not much gets in the way of me and the mat. But today - no practice. My week long throat tickle, sniffly nose, and work lethargy has blossomed into a full-blown spring cold. Slight headache, tired, sneezing, coughing. Should have been dosing with Vitamin C and Zinc all week, should have been a bit more proactive. Ah well, good day for a sick day. I have a bunch of work for a web client that I can not do from the office (because my office internet connection has been unable to access the client URL, and so far calls and emails to Cox Communications have not been helpful)

So, I'm home today (although I will probably pop out for mail and to check the office sometime today).

In other news, I found a beautiful video of an ashtanga practice on You Tube:

Which is both incredibly inspiring and incredibly humbling. I mean, just the way these folks jump forward from down dog into forward fold - like finely tuned machines, pivoting on arms, every joint precidely oiled and balanced. I see this stuff and feel like a piker, yoga wise.

March 29, 2007

Around the Dial

I've been around the dial so many times,
But you're not there.
Somebody tells me that you've been taken off the air.
Well, you were my favorite d.j.,
Since I can't remember when.
You always played the best records,
You never followed any trend.
F.m., a.m. where are you?
You gotta be out there somewhere on the dial.
On the dial.

One of our yogis is missing....and yoga studio drama ensues.

I am of mixed minds about this. The teacher in question (let's call him John) has been one of my faves all along - his teaching style is mischievous, and engaging, his classes are challenging. He has a habit of finding a theme for the week and working up to it such that Fridays were a climax of opening, exertion, ecstacy - if you stuck with his class all week you got a mini workshop and were ready for Friday. If you dropped in Friday you got your ass whipped, yoga style (not always a bad thing).

I always balanced he and the other weekday morning teacher in a sort of "mother / father" way - she is nurturing, encouraging, kind, whereas he has been challenging, engaging, adventurous. I loved having both options open to me. I love them both equally.

On the down side, I've noticed some back tweakiness coming out of his classes over the past few months - to the point where I had backed off and mostly avoided his classes. In one class in fact he kind of worked me down into a forward fold in a way that I paid for later. Not great, and admittedly my own issues with weight around the belly and core strenght are key here. It's been a few weeks since I even went to a class expecting to find him there (until this week) so the drama has been somewhat muted for me; I was aware of it but was not experiencing it directly, in the studio.

And, balancing all of this is my understanding that things change - people move on, people grow, people find new opportunities. Regardless of why he is no longer teaching (I am sure there are lots of rumors which I am trying to ignore / avoid, and the truth is in there somewhere), well, its a natural part of life. He most certainly was one of the rock stars down at the studio, with a following that went just for his classes - so I can imagine all sorts of dramas and intriques. Yogis are (I have found) all too wonderfully human.

In the meantime, when I have gone to what were once his classes, I am getting a balance of familiar faces. All wonderful teachers. So it adds a little bit of life to my practice - an uncertainty of what is ahead, an expectation. I had a really good practice on Monday morning with another man who I enjoy (he of the long and deliberately held postures), my other morning yogi fills in, and I am hopeful to snag an extra class or two with the owner of the studio who has filled in now and then (her style is delightful, although I get the most out of her in 3 hour workshops where she can work slowly and deeply as opposed to 90 minute classes)

Yoga drama.....

March 27, 2007

Four Fun Things

Just because life is not all work....

This Friday evening, Real Art Ways has a premiere of the bio-pic An Unreasonable Man which will be attended by the protaganist of the film, Mr. Ralph Nader. I am hoping to be there....

On Saturday, Zippy is spearheading a trip to Wesleyan University for a concert by Abigail Washburn, bringing her "...unique blend of Appalachian mountain music and haunting Chinese melodies to Wesleyan for an evening of music, history and crossing cultural boundaries." No idea how the Zipster stumbled across this one, but it sounds interesting, and Zippy's eclectic tastes never fail to broaden my horizons and entertain.

On Sunday, Snatam Kaur is coming to Bryan Memorial Town Hall, Washington Depot, CT. Concert info and tickets here. She is actually up in NoHo on the night before (3/31) but I'm already booked. Not sure if I will make her concert in CT ($25 is a little pricey) but you never know....

And finally, West Hartford Yoga's bimonthly Kirtan is coming up on Friday, April 13th:
Join us for an evening of devotional singing, chanting, and personal expression. Kirtan is part of an ancient form of yoga known as Bhakti, or the Yoga of Devotion. The meditative quality of the music promotes a joyousness of spirit. Shankara leads our group in chants and songs in Sanskrit and English, from ancient Vedic text to traditional American music. Kirtan is for everyone, the experience itself offers possibilities of personal discovery or simply, the joy of raising one's voice in song. Allow yourself the gift of making a joyous noise. It's all about the spirit and the feeling. Bring yours to share! Expect surprises and unannounced musical guests! $5 suggested donation. No registration required.

I'm excited for Kirtan - I am honored to be counted among the "and Friends" as a musician at this celebration / devotion, and to be able to add my talents and energy to the joyous noise that always ensues.

Now, back to work!

Slowly Digging Out

I'm consciously and mindfully avoiding a couple of hot-button net discussions because I (a) have no time for them and (b) that stuff drags me right back into the pain and the left brain logical BS that characterized much of my life.

I am slowly digging out on the work front - got some reports done yesterday and more underway today, but it will be a long slogging week of digging out.

Some appointments today and tomorrow. And I've been fighting off a cold or something - scratchy throat, sneezing, slightly foggy head. I did some hot yoga Sunday and Monday and did not feel bad, but taking today off, tomorrow probably as well (dental appointment in the morning). Hopefully I will shake the sick stuff in the next few days.

March 26, 2007

So, about those wrap pants.....

I got a lot of "where can I get those?" at the conference so here's the link

They are based in Reading PA, delivery was pretty quick, and the wrap pants range from around $9 to $15 sized to 2X)

For those in the dark, these are sarong style pants, which are sort of half way between a skirt and pants - unworn they look sort of like a misshapen sheet - and putting them on is somewhat complicated (kind of like wearing a diaper) but they are flowy and allow movement and very comfortable. There is sort of an explanation of what they are and how to tie them.

I was wearing a pair at the conference and people kept asking me where I got them - the inquiries came from a diversity of identities - drag performers (I can move in those) and lesbians (I could wear those without feeling like I had a dress on)

Happy shopping!

Work Week

Finally, a week stretches before me with no business travel, no missions of mercy, no personal growth experiences, no conferences or other extracurricular activity. About time - I have some serious catching up to do.

In an ideal world I will have the next three weeks to get myself caught up. Surely this week will be such - with the end of the month looming, and a few projects pending. I have a website client with a serious queue of updates and freshening up. I have reports for another client, along with a few longer term projects. I have a site report for a third client. And at the end of the week - my monthly invoicing.

In addition, I have my taxes to do (so far unstarted, I am late this year and I tend to be a DIY tax person because it takes me about as much work to organize my books for someone else as to do it myself and the tax software is pretty damn good these days). The good news is I have all my quarterlies paid (and have already made my 1Q07 payment) so it should be mostly a matter of paperwork.

On other fronts, I got word regarding my still confusing to me HSA account - I can deposit up to $2850 into the account. A nice little tax avoiding hidey hole, and making me feel better about being able to use the HSA funds for glasses and dental and the like (I thought perhaps I was limited to the $1250 medical deductible). In years past I have had stuff to deduct (mortgage, health insurance premiums, a few years with some one time medical claims) so I would be able to itemize but these days (no mortgage, self employment health insurance fully deductible on Schedule C, no major medical expenses) I am taking the standard deduction. So anything I can do to turn expenses into additional deductions is a good thing.

Bonus - the HSA can roll over into retirement moneys as well - so its some more savings in that arena assuming I do not spend it down. I have a standard IRA fully funded, but have not really had the spare funds to set up something that permits more funding, so this sort of incremental "way to save a little more for retirement" is a good thing.

March 24, 2007

The Working Life For Me

The True Colors conference is history for 2007. Zippy and I ended up working all afternoon - so no workshops for me. But good - we got to chat with lots of people. I ended up meeting Cris Beam (author of Transparent) and gave her enough info so that she found and chatted with MYA, and signed her copy of the book.

Now, safely ensconced in jammies and catching up with life - some laundry, some television, some bonding. Tomorrow, yoga, and relaxing and getting ready for a full work week.

Not So Other

Home for lunch and to let the dogs out - then back to the conference. I was not planning to work but Zippy and I got cajoled into being building monitors together from 1 - 4, which ought to be interesting.

And I am feeling less outside; spent most of the morning hanging with friends and community folk - connecting, bonding.....feeling more interwoven into the fabric of the conference.

Og, and speaking of weaving. Robyn has given me a new phrase "People Weaver" - yeah - that fits. I like to weave with people - bringing strands and colors together, looking at the whole tapestry. Robyn is wise indeed.

(Not) My People

The True Colors Conference was.....odd. I ended up being building manager for one of the lightly used buildings - two active classrooms on the 3rd floor, only one of them used for sessions 1 and 3, both used for session 2. I pretty much hung out in the halls, and was visible - by the end of the day I was letting the kids hang because the workshop was packed to the gills and I imagined some might have issues with crowds / claustrophobia but wanted to listen, and maybe wait for friends. No hard-ass, I. As long as they were quiet....which they were.

There was a presenters / volunteer dinner last night which I missed - first, I never heard about it / got info. Second, I was unsure about my schedule in terms of taking MYA back home. Third, I did not want to spend more time away from Zippy and the home front. As it was Zippy and MP went to Tinkers for dinner - I tried to call in case we could have met there, but Zippy is not a "leave the cell phone" on kinda person, so I ended up with leftover rice topped with mutter paneer.

I dunno. I feel "other" this weekend. Not really part of the conference "in crowd". Not really part of the kids. Not presenting. Sent into volunteer exile.

Not sure what's up today - I'm gonna dress up a bit and go to some workshops. Zippy may or may not end up working.

March 23, 2007

True Colors Conference Bullets

* The staff tee shirts are bold lemon yellow. Accessorize accordingly.
* I'm being a building manager (i.e. - adult in charge) today. So no workshops on Friday. Saturday, with any luck....
* Namoli Brennet is the opening act this morning. I can not imagine a better fit (well, Ani maybe) - I hope the kids go wild (good for Namoli, good for the kids)
* Abby Denson is presenting on Saturday, I hope I get the chance to meet her. I've had a bit of a crush on her (in terms of her art and humor and energy) for a ton of years, but have never met her.
* Moonhawk Stone will be there as well. I doubt I will hit his workshop (Professional Track) but I will hopefully get a chance to see him and say hello.
* Chris Beam, author of Transparent, will be there as well. I need to remember to tell MYA to bring along her copy of the book on Saturday, perhaps she can meet Chris and get is signed.
* Robyn Ochs, one of my favorite people on the planet. Need I say more?

Oh, and even though this violates one of the prime directives of this blog, I note that there are two (2) workshops on Trans and Intersex inclusion:

a) Neither presenter (I know both, they are good people, but.....) identifies as trans or intersex
b) Let's just continue to blur the lines between these two very separate (and oft conjoined) identities, shall we?

March 22, 2007

True Colors Conference

The next few days will be pretty much consumed by this annual juggernaut of youthful queerishness (or queerish youthfulness). Online here. The conference starts today but the big days are Friday and Saturday, over at Central CT State University in New Britain. This year's conference is titled True Colors XIV: Family Matters A - Z

I'm not doing anything this year (in years past my mom/sister and I did workshops) but I am volunteering as usual and am planning to schlep MYA around (she is on a panel and is doing a workshop plus she will be hanging with friends). Today we're going shopping (she got a gift card and has a shop in Hartford scoped out to spend it) and afterwards over to CCSU to help set up for the conference. Tomorrow and Saturday pretty much conference all day with perhaps some latish nights.

So, gonna be pretty much offline for a few days. Going to get some work in this morning, and then yoga (right now its a coin toss between Gentle and Power) - and then the True Colors madness begins.

Not a capitalist, but....

I took advantage of last week's stock market belch to dump the last $1300 of my 2006 IRA contribution into a couple of funds which had tanked - and now each of them is up significantly. (One is up about 7% from when I added the funds) so I am feeling pretty punk about that.

It was none of my doing - I needed to get the money in my tax day and I have not had a spare $1300 lying around until recently (I also got my 2007 quarterly IRS payment in a month early, and pumped up my HSA account a bit)

But its nice to be on the positive cycle of whatever is goin gon in the world of money rather than on the negative cycle, which has heretofore been my wont.

Out my office window

I am visited these days by a stray cat who likes to sit on the warm sill and catch the spring sun reflected off the window. I see kitty crossing the building drive now and then but zie seems pretty skittish. I am hoping to get a picture at some point.

And yesterday I sat and watched a robin hunting for worms. Pretty fascinating to watch - the process of deciding where to poke, the score and cataclysmic struggle as a worm is extracted, and then a complicated ritual of preparation, checking for predators and perhaps competitors, waiting for just the right moment to gobble down the worm.

I think the same robin was out there for a few hours - my personal harbinger of spring.

March 21, 2007

A Full Day of Work

Sitting at my desk with a full eight hours available for work. No yoga, no appointments, no mentoring, no nothing. It seems luxurious. It will hopefully be a productive day.

March 20, 2007

CVS and Enteric Aspirin

So, I go to CVS to purchase low dose (enteric) aspirin - my doc has me on a daily pill to prevent blood clots / stroke / heart attack. Pretty minor, all in all.

Except CVS has three kinds of generic enteric aspirin. One targeted at Ecotrin customers, one at Bayer customers, one at St. Joseph's customers. All seem wholly different - different pill size, different color coating, different package size (quantity), different package colors / designs related to the competitive product.

Who knows, maybe the powers that be at CVS have figured out that they sell more of their own products with such targeting. And surely CVS is large enough such that the volume warrants it. It's just odd.

I ended up with the CVS version of Bayer low dose (120 count), which was on sale. But really, do we really need 3 versions of essentially the same thing?

Coming Up for Air

Whew, its been a weird day. I'm sort of in between gears here - some times its business as usual, some times its a shock to the system. Media remains a large shock - with television and radio being particularly grating. And Zippy and I have been in some loud discussions verging on arguments on a couple of topics. Think we are getting caught up - she's getting some pent up energy released. But as a result of not avoiding the media as much as I should, and our energy, I have a low grade headache.

Mostly, its been heightened awareness - colors, details, patterns, etc. A whole lot of life that has been passing below my radar, suddenly visible.

The funniest moment - during yoga, M had us do a lot of work with one leg. As we lay that leg down next to the other leg (as yet unworked) she commented "notice if one leg feels longer than the other". I did, and whether it was a remnent of the intensive itself or the giddiness of the reintegration day, I audibly giggled. Violating yoga etiquette (I imagine) and uncommon for me; I am generally pretty serious about it all. Perhaps my post intensive heightened awareness made the percieved leg difference more pronounced - it felt like one leg was 6 inches longer than the other.

The next few days are pretty much of mish mosh. I had double scheduled some medical stuff (doctor / dentist) for tomorrow, so I rescheduled the dentist, and now the doctor cancelled (family emergency) so I am free tomorrow to simply work - and I have plenty to do. Thursday is morning yoga, then off to start the True Colors weekend - picking up MYA in Bristol, shopping, fetching her friend down in Middletown. Friday and Saturday will be long days (at the conference).

Lest I Forget

Some memories and images from this weekends intensive. One theme of the weekend was forgetting - at one point, deep in a dyad, I came to the realization that I had done this work before, but I had forgotten. So I set down some breadcrumbs here, to help me find my way the next time, to help me remember.

Letting go of the fish. Looking for something large and finding something small. A small brown bird in a cage. Feeling my wings budding. The wisdom of the windchime. Removing my armor. My head on another's shoulder. Feeling old pain in my back and my inner thighs. Nature's practical joke at the doorway. A box of tissue.

Some Poetry and Prose

From the EI reintegration morning. I am transcribing these to email to another and might as well add them to the blogpile....

To see a bird, through eyes clear and bright
To hold a hand with no expectation, no fear
To drop ones head on a shoulder and receive love
To taste the warmth of happiness, with no anticipation of its ending
To feel pain - unnumbed, sharp, true

and

In contemplation, the odd person, I watch this room.
Intending on the feeling of being alone, being left out, being other.
Distraction - the room buzzing with energy, with hurts undone, minds spinning, bodies engaged.
The staff, circling like border collies protecting their flock. Alert. Intense. Bright.
The group ticking like a clock, like the solar system, like the universe.
To hell with enlightenment!
This is so beautiful and so true, that I cannot look away.
And my intending - a failure. I am not alone and left out. I am a part of this.

Dedicated to those others who were part of my experience. Thanks.... I love you all.

March 19, 2007

Kinda Raw

Three days of Enlightenment Intensive completed. Today was a gentle reintegration and long drive back (with wonderful company, who drove)

Zippy and I went out to dinner at Yanni's to get reacquainted. They had music on, the television on CNN, the clatter of a restaurant with open kitchen, and the conversations of the others in the space. My head pretty much exploded. But Zippy needed some time with and attention from Jude.

Jammies on, gentle soothing music, and doing some mindless tasks to try to gently reintegrate. The only reason I popped online was to grab email and see if there was anything urgent for tomorrow morning....then I am offline for a while until my brain catches up with the world.....

March 15, 2007

Signing Off....

Got one report done today (that's enough) and a power yoga class (Marcia in a chakra mood, I was pretty zoned through savasana) - now I'm all packed and waiting for my ride to VT.

See ya on Monday night....

March 14, 2007

Finish Line in Sight

About 16 hours from now, give or take, I will be heading north to Greensboro VT for a 5 day Enlightenment Intensive. My second, and I am looking forward to it, with some small excitement and some small reservation.

I've had such a busy period at work that the downtime will be good. At the same time, the EI is not exactly Club Med - its pretty intense and challenging. I used to describe good therapy as having a rake dragged through my brain, and the EI is pretty much 3 solid days of that. On some levels I think its intended to break a person just a little bit, in order for the divine to slip in through the cracks. I love and respect the leaders, I am excited to work with a slightly different configuration as last time, and I am excited to work with old friends as well as meet new ones. I'm even excited about the ride up; a friend from another workshop and I are carpooling and it will be nice to get to know her better.

I had such a delicious and formative experience last time - I head into this one fearing a sophomore slump, that things will be so different, or that I will try to hard or not try hard enough or having figured out the system I will try to take short cuts or whatever. I'm a type A yogi, and dammit, if I do not emerge on Monday with a slightly better experience than last time or a bit more enlightenment, I'll be disappointed.

Work has been ultra busy and I would be lying to say I was comfortable with what I am leaving undone, what I should have finished up, documented, sent off, prior to tomorrow. Maybe I will get some things done tonight or tomorrow morning (although I am also grabbing one more yoga class). Likewise, I have been so busy that Zippy has gotten the short end of the stick, and I feel bad about that. Sh-h-h-h, I plan to get a card and drop it in the mail tomorrow so she gets it Friday or Saturday. A little "I love you" reminder.

Oh well. Life happens. I have been pondering a thought the last few days "Every breath a gift". And it feels that way.

At the last dyad of my previous intensive, I felt like I was close to another experience - like I was running a quarterback sneak at the goal line. I hit the ground, the clock ran out, the buzzer sounded, and I came up short. I went to be that night kind of drained and empty, but woke refreshed and happy. I need to keep that feeling in mind - my desperate desire for the enlightenment experience, my passion and energy for connection to the divine, my awareness of time ticking by. I have been gifted with three more days of Enlightenment Intensive. It all starts again. I just had a whole body shiver typing this. Wow. Blessed Am I.

OK, I lied. I am excited as hell!

March 13, 2007

My Vinyasa Life

I'm off to Hackensack NJ this afternoon, with some morning time to reintegrate a little, a few hours in the office, some power yoga, pick up a rental car, pick up some test equipment, and then drive drive drive.

It srrikes me that my life at the moment is like a long vinyasa practice - I am in the flow, I am sweating, I am motion and postures. Tomorrow, home all day, although I may fetch MYA for some shopping. Thursday, another yoga practice and then off to the Enlightenment Intensive through Monday the 19th.

Zippy has been most patient with my shenanigans, although I fear her patience might not last too much longer. I think I made a decision on the plane coming home that April is going to be a travel free month - just so I can catch up and spend time with my life.....

National Writers Workshop - Hartford

Dennis Horgan writes thus:

Signed Up? Tell a friend!
Still considering? Why wait??


Spread The Word

The Hartford Courant's National Writers Workshop in Hartford is back, better than ever - April 14 & 15, 2007

More information here.

March 12, 2007

SkyHarbor Airport in Phoenix

Free WiFi. Rockin. Just Saying.

P.S. - Also, as I tagged along with my client into the First Class preferred line at check-in as well as for security, I commented "This offends me in so many ways even as I secretly enjoy the benefits"

Truth be told, the regular self-serve check-in migh thave been quicker. And the security line was not all that long.

Home Again

Armed with her trusty laptop, air power supply, and first class ticket on a direct flight, our intrepid heroine faces what will likely be a long travel day, but not as long and uncomfortable as it might be. I actually was hoping for a few reports from a client in this morning's email, just to have something productive to do on the plane. I do have a trip report I can work on, which really should take top priority.

I'm pretty sure I am gonna wrap up the used bar of bath soap and bring it home; it was really good soap (lemony and sharp, I rarely look forward to soap) and it will just get tossed here. And its a healthy sized chunk. I am becoming a grandmother. Hide your sugar and sweetener holders in restaurants.

In other news, I got an email from my Intensive master promising piles of snow (carpool please, not so many places to park) and suggesting snow shoes for walking meditation. Apparently she has not seen me on snow shoes. The only thing I'd be meditating on is not falling on my rear end in the show or twisting a leg.....

Mission Accomplished

Meeting over. The production went well. For the record:

* The schtick was "Deal or More Deals" and the entire thing went pretty well - no obvious goofs or gaffes, maybe 1 or 2 slides that the client skipped the content for. But all in all, we done well.

* One bit of pre-show angst, as the producer (friend) stopped by about an hour before the rehearsal with nada (zero zip zilch) done towards creating a confidence monitor presentation (for the speaker to see / read his script on). I had no problem working on it (heck, I'm getting paid good money to be the powerpoint princess) but the fact that nobody really thought of telling me we needed it, it was just hanging out there. I tossed the scrip text file into PPT. split it into about 65 slides, with appropriate paragraphs and breaks, different color text for stage directions and other speakers. A little over an hour (rehearsal was late).

If I had doubts about earning my keep out here, that little bit of geekery dispelled those. If I were not there, the producer would still be typing in the text. I got a bit cranky during rehearsals (trying to run the screens and the confidence monitors) with some segments needing 2 or 3 slide changes per section.

* The post-meeting entertainment was comedian Darrell Hammond, who had his moments, although he was really pretty right-wing (not sure if those are his politics or if he was playing to the banking crowd). And on a few occasions, he sort of started a joke and then drifted off before getting to the punchline. It was like he had 5 or 6 extended bits he was riffing on, and just kept jumping from one to the other without really fleshing out any of them. We were backstage and did not have a visual, so perhaps we were missing part of it....

But, it went fine. we've got an 11:10 am flight tomorrow (direct flight and first class again), should be wheels up from the hotel at 8:00. Back in CT late tomorrow night. For now, a very comfortable Four Seasons bed awaits.....and a hopefully gentle flight tomorrow....

March 10, 2007

I'm SO Confused

So I just got a letter dropped off at the door (along with an offer for turn-down service) that apparently Arizona does NOT adjust the clocks for Daylight Savings Time, so at 2:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, my clock will NOT be changed but instead I will be on Pacific Time.

Good - not losing an hour of sleep tonight.
Bad - I think my flight arrives at 7:35 pm instead of 6:35 pm on Friday. Grumble.

Lap of Luxury

OK, a direct flight, JFK to PHX is pretty swanky, in my book. That my client booked up first class seats - rare but not unheard of. My new airpplane power supply meant I could work for a bunch of hours (and watch some DVD). The movie was Casino Royale - not something I'd go see or Netflix, but a reasonable diversion. So, all good.

But getting into Scottsdale, and our intrepid heroine finds her sorry lower middle class rear end ensconced at the Four Seasons. Sheesh. This sort of luxury and opulensce makes me nervous. I have no idea what to tip, etc.

Also sucky, my summer clothes are still in storage so I am kind of overdressed. S'ok, I'll be working 14 hours tomorrow, so no time for fashion tomorrow.

Tonight, allegedly, we will be hitting The Paisley Violin @ El Museo to see Trina Hamlin. It's a long story - Namoli Brennet's former manager Wendy is out here, and insisted we (me, my client) go see Trina, who I had never heard of, but then I find out she was a "Most Wanted New Artist" (2002, so I assume she was in the 2001 showcase) at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, which I have attended and volunteered at 14 out of the past 15 years. So I am pretty sure our paths have crossed.

Anyway. With my proletariat ethos, my fair, sunburn prone skin, and my still winter in New England wardrobe, you can pretty much point your "fish out of water" links here.....but what the heck. I'm breathing. I might even drag my sorry ass out onto the patio to throw down some asanas sometime this visit. It's big enough although I may have to shove the furniture aside.

Happy Birthday to Me

To celebrate, I am leaving the house at 4:30 am and heading to Milford, NYC Kennedy, and onward to Phoenix. For work.

March 09, 2007

Air Travel Charger

I'm due. I've been laptopping for over a decade and I have never treated myself to one of these. So en route home from Boston, MYA and I are gonna stop by CompUSA in Manchester and pick up one of these for the trip from NY to Phoenix.

Not that I actually end up on airplanes with travel ports all that much, but might as well have one. And I can watch Beautiful Boxer (got the Netflix DVD that I've been sitting on for a while) en route.....

Because I Can

Sitting in the waiting area of the Fenway Community Health System, grabbing some free internets courtesy of an open wireless hub, probably in the apartments across the street. Thank you kind stranger. MYA is in getting her checkup.

Not a bad drive up, and hopefully we cna get back on the road and get home at a reasonable hour. I have to be down in Milford at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Zoom zoom zoom

Still breathing.

I've been in NC for a few days - flew down Tuesday evening, got back Thursday noon. Good day of meetings with a client - some hands-on time with a new power analyzer, some working on long term projects. Nothing mission critical, but all positive. The highlight was a sushi dinner with one of those damn Sushi boats. First time in forever I have had more Sushi than I knew what to do with.....

I tried to catch up on work yesterday, got a bit done. I have trip reports to crank out, expense reports and invoices, and lots of miscellany. Argh! I did manage to sort through the large pile of bills and receipts and statements, and sort through my desk piles (collecting the receipts for the 3 T&E reports I need to assemble) which was a positive. I also snuck out for a pretty gentle yoga practice with Kate. (dinner, art opening, yoga) I need yin yoga; my regular life is way too much like a fast vinyasa class of late.

Today - some work, then taking MYA up to Boston for medical junk. Hopefully it will be a quick trip, although we'll be heading back around rush hour.

Tomorrow, I need to be in Milford around 6:00 am, heading to Kennedy for a direct flight to Phoenix for a production gig. I'm out there Saturday night and Sunday, returning on Monday.

Tuesday down to Hackensack NJ for a quick site visit for a medical clients. And Thursday, off to Vermont for an Enlightenment Intensive; I'm off the grind until Monday.

Oh yeah, and tomorrow is my birthday. 46 in case you are counting. I'm hoping the day passes pretty much under the radar. I love life, I love breath, I am ever so thankful for this body, this world, this opportunity to dance. But on this side of the hill, birthdays just remind me how much precious time has passed, and how few years remain......thankful and sad.

Mandelbrot Set Art - Rees H. Acheson

After diner, Zippy and I bundled over to the Learning Corridor for an art opening in the Black Box Theater lobby at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. Rees H. Acheson creates art from Mandelbrot Sets. His works are large and beautiful, and he has spent years experimenting with software, computers, and tools to realize these works, that take 10's or 100's of hours of computing time, and special software to create, modify, save, print, and realize.

Mr. Acheson seems to be a modern day Renaissance Man. He invented a bore welding system and founded Bortech Corporation. He got interested in wood framing, and developed a system of Hip and Valley Framing angles. And of course, Mandelbrot Sets.

We spent some time talking with Mr. Acheson, he's really interesting. I know just enough about the various things that go into his work - computer hardware, programming, graphics palattes, etc. to be dangerous. AC and Zippy were impressed and bemused - and I am going to end up showing Zippy some basic programming and color stuff on the puter, I am sure.

Want to see the art for yourself? The Lobby Gallery is open by appointment 12:00 noon to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday until March 16th. Call 757-6172.

Tropical Mist Restaurant

36 Franklin Ave. | Hartford, CT 06114 | 860-296-7088

Zippy has been eyeing this place for a while now (just south of Ipanema), so last night, freshly home from North Carolina and soon to be back in the air, we decided to splurge. We tend to talk more when we eat out, and I've been too busy to actually be a good partner. So we trekked down to Franklin Avenue before hitting an art opening.

Quite a charming little place. Two rooms, clean and bright, with cloth napkins. Our waiter might have been the owner (he apologized at one point for the service, which was not poor at all, indicating that the waitress had called in sick). Never having been exposed to Guyanese-West Indian Cuisine, we found an interesting amalgam - some of the dishes seemed to be chinese inspired, others seemed like mild Indian (Roti, Dahl), but with a subtle caribbean flavor throughout.

I had a vegetarian dinner, with a small bowl of eggplant (very good) and pumpkin (sublime) which came with warm Roti (flat bead, somewhere between a tortilla and a pita). I also got a small salad (which Zippy scarfed), a bowl of delicious soup (mildly sweet and creamy, with plaintain, and a root vegetable that was almost potatoe like and I forget the name but will edit this when I remember it), and a bowl of mild Dahl, almost like a pure split pea soup, puree'd.

Zippy had Hot Pot Pork which was mild and delicious, and came with a large plate of fried rice. Zippy is not usually a biggie for friend rice (too many carbs) but she tasted a bit of this and the next thing you know it was half gone.

Reasonable prices, we got out the door for $25 including tip (no drinks), although the curries get a little pricier for the boneless option. Next time we go (and there will be a next time) we'll tried one of the Curry recipes - chicken, pork, goat, or fish.

A quick web search came up empty on this place, so I imagine I'm gonna have another search engine winner here. Go, enjoy. It's a welcome addition to the Hartford restaurant scene, and a wonderful break from franchised food and dining experiences.

March 07, 2007

Children will Listen

A few weeks ago, I did something with MYA that involved me actually dressing up, and wearing makeup. She noticed right away, and then went on to tick off my normal makeup (about 11 dabs of concealer, auburn eyeliner, clear lip gloss) and comment on my more elaborate look of the moment.

Lest I thought she was not paying attention :)

Plenty of Space

For the record, I have way too much room and features here at the Homewood Suites in Cary, NC. A bedroom. A living room. I kitchenette. A small dining area. An actual hall. Two televisions. More square footage than most NYC apartments, I imagine.

On the other hand, plenty of room to put down a yoga mat sometime this evening or tomorrow morning....

Sentenced to Microsoft

Alas, the laptop problems I have been noticing for the past week have been fine tuned. Symptoms - when I connect to WiFi, my computer slows down to a crawl and my CPU usage goes up to 100%. I thought it an issue related to my wireless hardware / software or maybe to my virus protection. But last night, I figured it out. Firefox.

Working with Internet Explorer, and all is well. I might try to figure it out anon, but for now, I have too much on my plate and so here I am with Internet Explorer. Grrrrr......

March 06, 2007

I Don't Like Mondays

....House played the piano intro tonight. We are tres amused!

From Bradley (Again)

Heading southward into what I hope is a bit more warmth - North Carolina. A quickie trip (working all day tomorrow). I opted for two nights away just because the flights were better (direct) and my client wants to do dinner on one night, so I head back on Thursday morning. With any luck I can get some work done tonight and tomorrow night. I have some reports to knock out, along with prepping for the meeting tomorrow.

Get back Thursday, hopefully grab some yoga on Thursday night, and heading up to Boston with MYA on Friday. Then an insane wakeup on Saturday to head down to Milford - we're heading out of JFK en route to Phoenix on Saturday. My life, lived at 30,000 feet.

But for now, another 30 minutes of free bradley wifi and then Southwest en route to RDU. Moo!

March 05, 2007

March Madness

One things I kind of miss from corporate employment is the frenzy of time wasting brough on by college hoops and March Madness. I was not even a huge basketball fan, but the enthusiasm of coworkers was infectious. I learned soon enough who was out, who was in, who was on the bubble, how many Big East teams got in (and resulting arguments about league dominance and how the Big East was under-rated), seedings, brackets, all that. We'd take a long lunch or sneak out early during the Big East tournament when U-Conn was playing for something; we'd do the same on the first Thursday of the tournament.

Except for the fact that I am so incredibly backlogged and busy right now to actually pay attention to college hoops, I kind of miss that.

March 04, 2007

Imperial Buffet

Apparently, Sunday evening is prime time for the Imperial Buffet in Plainville. MYA and I are regulars there (sad, I know) but she likes having food options, is addicted to peach buns, and we can take our time and chat. Sad when the sushi guy knows us by sight and knows our orders, however. Almost as sad as being on a first name basis with the folks at Whole Donut (which I am).

So we had our usual fare (I lamented the lack of garlic green beans, my fave) and enjoyed the spectacle of people loading up on crab legs - when a new batch was brought up, they were lining up like fish in a tank when you drop in the food, and walking away with plates piled high. Scary, and sad.

Point to Ponder: If you need to ask to be reseated because you do not fit in a booth, maybe the Imperial Buffet is not the right dining choice.

Bowling!

MYA and I went to a mentoring program activity today - bowling at Highland Bowl in Hartford. What a cute little bowling alley - duckpins, 12 lanes, completely nostalgic. No automated scoring, pin setters one step up from manual, but clean, neat, functional. There were a couple of birthday parties there, plus our mob (probably close to 25 of us, mentors and mentees). Not everyone bowled, but we all had a good time.

We were not keeping score, but I got several strikes. No mean feat with duckpins. I was insufferably self congratulatory, of course.

I also own bowling shoes, believe it or not (remnants of a previous life of social singlehood, when I was actually going bowling on occasion) although the shoes pulled free from the sole midway through (which is what happens when one has 15 year old bowling shoes, that get pulled out of the closet once every 5 years.

I want to go bowling more often.

Mid Weekend

Yesterday was pretty low key. A yoga class with Yom, who is becoming one of my faves - pushing my edges in terms of stamina / endurance without frustration (difficult poses) or risk (I've had a few yoga back tweaks in the past few months). I really respect a lot of her teaching stuff - she does some things, then drops us into child's pose, and then asks if anyone would prefer not to be touched / adjusted (so they can raise their hands in relative anonymity) - totally a respectful thing, and not something I have seen anyone else at the studio do. She also rolls us through three resting postures (down dog, child's pose, and dangle) and mentions that moving into them is a sign of strength, not weakness. Again, wonderful. And yet she pushes during class, with a tempo and energy that is nearly aerobic, and a cadence that is close to drill instructor. I pulled back into child's pose at least once, just to get back my center.

Again, WHY, with its wide selection of classes and instructors, is such a great space. Just when I thought the menu could not get fuller / better, I find Yom.

I also went to a three hour Poetry and Philosophy of Yoga workshop with Dr. Peter Meadows. I have always wondered about him; he is on the staff page and is a founder / owner at the studio, but our paths never crossed. It was a wonderful workshop and I am glad I have finally met him / spent some time with him. I also ran into a blog reader there (waving to K) along with a bunch of my yoga / kirtan friends.

Probably going to grab a class this morning with Shankara (pretty sure) - my yoga strategy is this morning and Tuesday morning, before heading out to North Carolina. MYA and I are connecting this afternoon for bowling (mentoring program) and hanging out.

Spring is in the air. Do you sense it? I have not seen a lot of signs but I can feel the energy.....

March 02, 2007

Hey, It's March

It's also Friday. Both facts feel somewhat unexpected.

I've been digging out of work piles all week - and enter the weekend with a queue of reports pending, a powerpoint thingee that I will work on once I get some client feedback, a trip report, two site visit invoices & expense reports, some significant web site revisions, and a new power analysis package to install and play with. So, not like there is much chance of catching up any time soon.....

Next week seems like it will not be all that useful in terms of catching up - I am headed to NC on Tuesday afternoon, down there all weekend, flying back on Thursday morning. Then I head out to Scottsdale, AZ on Saturday, returning on Monday.

Tonight, we're headed to Manchester to see our friend Peter Anthony noodling and crooning (as are his wont). Tomorrow, probably some yoga of some sort, and a yoga talk / workshop in the afternoon. Sunday, MYA and I will connect - hopefully some duckpin bowling with the mentoring group.

I'd love to squeeze some catching up for work in there. Probably can bang out a few reports, the trip report is similar to another recent one so I can do some cut-n-paste work. We'll see.....

March 01, 2007

Timing is Everything

Do not ask me why I am sitting at my desk, downloading a 300MB file via FTP while I time it using a stopwatch. I will also be uploading the same file and timing it as well. I just am.