May 31, 2007

Blue Moon

Today, apparently, is a Blue Moon. At least in my part of the world.

This may help to explain the rash of weirdness and chaos and unsettledness in my life and the life of those around me. Maybe just the full moon part. I dunno.

Yoga Angst Redux

I am back to fretting about yoga teacher training.

Specifically, vague feelings that all is not settled in WHY-land. No official information about the teacher training yet. It supposedly does not start until January. Wondering how one crams 200 hours into a many fewer months (Samadhi starts in September). Wondering if I am getting 110 hours and a less certain certification, with perhaps the requirement to do some additional teacher trainings (at additional cost) to get certified.

Samadhi just seems like more of a sure thing right now, even with its potential conflicts with kirtan and its "not getting to work with Barbara" limitations. It's a fixed price, its a fixed schedule, and I know I walk out the door in June with certification.

::sigh:: Hot yoga with Nykki this morning. Perhaps I can chat with her, with Shakara, or with Alison about this - get some reassurance. I need some stability in my life right now and the teacher training being up in the air is messing with me, big time.

I have often referenced the ACOA learning "When there are family secrets, children fill in the blanks out of their own fears and imaginations, and the imagined reality is often far worse than the real one". And that's what the WHY teacher training feels like right now. I'm not getting information, and I am filling in the blanks with my own fears, insecurities, and doubts.

Presciently Disappeared

MYA has disappeared. Or rather, been subsumed into the bowels of the legal system. Per her mother a group of police officers stormed the house yesterday and collected her, in hello kitty jammies, around 12:00 noon.

No idea where she is - we've called the police and found it was a probation thing - calls to the adult probation number have bene unreturned. No idea what precipitated it, although an argument with a boyfriend may be at the root. I got the news around 1:00 pm via voice mail, and by the time I got through to mom (3:00 pm or so) it was later in the day and we were not able to track her down.

::sigh:: Nothing to do but wait and continue to call, hopefully she will resurface, and not be too badly damaged. But she could have three months ahead of her; most likely in a male facility.

Sadly, her mom called me last week to talk - in her eyes, MYA was heading for trouble with this BF, and she was worried. Mom's generally have a sixth sense about this kind of stuff. Not sure we could have done anything. We're adults - we worry too much, we know nothing

And I'll be honest too, I'm a lot disappointed and discouraged. This kid has people who care, people who worry, and seemed just about ready to pull herself out of her downward spiral with a new job. She picked up her first paycheck last weekend. And now this.

I'm at the point of being kind of glad she got bagged - sounds like she has been pushing the limits for a while (per her mom) and perhaps being less than up front with me. Maybe I need to set some limits and offer her something than unconditional support. Conditional support.... I dunno how that works. But something.

May 30, 2007

MRI and You Tube

Fans of the Judester will know she works with MRI now and then. So here - some You Tube bits and pieces related to MRI machines.

A pretty cool bit of MRI Magic....

I wanna know whose bright idea it was getting the chair stuck in there in the first place....

Not sure is covered under warranty...

Honey, I blew up the MRI....

Kirtan - June 8th: 8 pm to 10 pm

6.8 - Friday Evenings 8:00 - 10:00 pm

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.

Per usual, I'll be there in my official role as one of the "friends"

No Corporate Ice Cream!

After our river walk yesterday, Zippy and I were looking for a little something sweet. We found it (and more) at Bob's Fruit Stand (1825 Berlin Tpke, Wethersfield, CT 06109, (860) 529-2152)

While we got our ice cream (they have lots of flavors, both soft-serve and traditional, and lots of other summery treats) - we also spent some time browsing the plants, and walked away with a flat of annuals as well as our tomatoes (we have about 40 square feet of sunny space that can support veggies and is inaccessible to the dogs)

If you are looking for a summery treat and do not feel like corporate ice cream (DQ, Carvel, or the like) then give Bob's Fruit Stand a try!

It's at the top of the Berlin turnpike, just before the Maple Avenue / I-15 split.

May 29, 2007

Eastern Cottonwoods

Cottonwood seeds have made the air magical all day; I noticed these in the air today from the office. Tonight, Zippy and I walked Great River Park on the East Hartford side of the Connecticut River. Cottonwood city....

Cottonwood seeds fill the air....

Cottonwood seeds cover the ground, like an unseasonal snowfall.....

Cottonwood seeds ready for launch.....

It was kind of cool to see some crew teams, probably part of the community rowing program, on the river:

Arm Balances

Studies in frustration, today, and Nykki led us down into the humbling and frustrating world of arm balances. Definitely a "haves" and "have-nots" delineation - with some in the class able to access the postures, and others not.

Today's challenges:
* Eka Pada Koundinyasana - Scissors
* Astavakrasana
* Eka Pada Bakasana A - One legged crow or crane

I actually got up (for brief seconds, and with my nose inches from the mat) into Eka Pada Bakasana A. But usually arm balances like this are outside my zone. A good place of learning to be humble.....

That being said, there was a time when basic crow pose / bakasana was off my menu, but now its a pretty regular part of my practice - so hope springs eternal. Although I REALLY need to lose some weight lest I destroy my wrists....

Out of the Office

18,000+ people on a mailing list I manage are getting the word about Day Out with Thomas 2007. So I am watching the OUT OF THE OFFICE auto-relies come dribbling in this afternoon.

I on the other hand, am IN THE OFFICE. Although not getting a lot done - listening to Colin McEnroe, cleaning up small things, and getting prepped to do (3) reports and then dive into one large and overdue trip report.


It was a weekend of social discourse, food, and schmooze. Zippy and I had three picnics / parties this weekend. Saturday was my family in Framingham, MA, my brother opened his pool. Sunday was friends in New Britain (officially, a grill-warming party). And Monday was friends in Springfield, MA. On top of that, I crewed for BB on Sunday morning.

Completely enjoyable, all. Highlights were swimming in Framingham, some lawn games lite in New Britain, and meeting new friends in Springfield. Food was great all in all, if a bit much and heavy. I am gonna need this week to recover. We're just too old and creaky for all this fun!

Catch up week at work - its the end of the month Friday so there will be lots of invoicing to do, plus I have a trip report overdue from last week, and some other things to get done before then. I also have a conference call tomorrow.

But of course, having missed yoga since Friday morning, priorities are clear. I'm picking up A from SFO this morning at his mom's for a visit to the studio (for a power class with Nykki, probably) - and then we can get our work week on.....

May 27, 2007

Crown Line Cam

Ballooning this morning - I chased a flight from Berlin to Cheshire, in a rare wind to the south and west. Intrepid pilot BB (Balloon Boy) wisely had us meet at the commuter lot on Rte. 10 - we drove to Sage Park in Berlin for the launch, and landed at a driving range back on Rte. 10 in Cheshire. Nice flight, nice track which took the balloons right down the Shuttle Meadow reservoir. (good photos were taken, I am told)

My photos - from the crew perspective. A more conventional landing shot above. Below, the more innovative "crown line camera" perspective, as I pulled the balloon over with my right hand and snapped some pictures with my left. The Crown Line is the long rope that runs from the top of the balloon (i.e. - the crown) to the ground - its used during inflation to keep the balloon steady and pull it open, and at deflation to drop the balloon in a specific place, and to start to squeeze the air out.

Most passengers and onlookers do not get to see this perspective - usually clustering around the basket. It's a view I know well. In the winter, the warm air escaping from the balloon is a bit of a treat, in the middle of July, it't like opening a 105,000 cubic foot oven.

I think I have torn my rotator cuff over the years, tugging down large balloons via the crown line. I am sure this morning's antics - one armed crown line wrangling while I snapped photos with the other arm) did not help. But it was not a windy day - so not too much risk.....

May 25, 2007

Calm Before the (Social) Storm

Friday night here. We've been having a remarkably social stretch. Today, a friend from SFO was in town - I treated him to a yoga class (which he adored) and then we hooked up with the Zipster for lunch at East West Grille. Had a really great appetizer platter - satay chicken, dumplings, spring rolls, summer rolls, edamaumie, and then some salads. You can not go wrong with Lao-Thai food on New Park....

The weekend is similarly social - a pool party at my brothers in Framingham MA tomorrow, a grill-warming party with friends in New Britain on Sunday, and perhaps a party Monday night up in Springfield. Add in balloon chasing on Sunday morning. And probably some yoga somewhere along the line, although coming off a 3 day stretch, my bod needs some time off.....

I *should* drag my ass into the office this weekend and catch up on stuff. I have a trip report pending, T&E to go with, analysis of (2) reports, a teleconference on Wednesday to prep for, and a big ol' report template overdue that I need to finish up by the end of the month so I can bill for it. Friday is the EOM and that will mean invoicing. So a busy workweek ahead. But for now - time to relax.

Reunion Hill

Richard Shindell, courtesy of Susan Forbes Hansen's Mixed Grille show on WWUH, 91.3.

Shivers on the eve of this Memorial Day weekend. And tears, for the souls lost in the sands and quagmire of Iraq. For the destroyed limbs, the damaged brains, the wives and mothers and fathers and sons and daughters. Edit: And later on, John Gorka's "Let Them In" - more tears.

Fuck you Neocons, agents of death, servants of the evil one.

Bless you, troops.

Yoga Run Amok

I am getting an "A" in yoga and a "C" in work of late.

Wednesday I had a hot class in the morning with M, long time since I have worked with her and she is doing some new Shiva Rae inspired stuff. Yummy practice, I miss working with her. The curse of too many wonderful yoga teachers! Last night, I snuck over to Samadhi for an All Levels class, followed up with a Yoga Teacher Training Q&A. And this morning, a friend from SFO is in town and I am treating him to a hot class at WHY.

The teacher training Q&A was a little tough. I am starting to realize, I guess, that Samadhi is not gonna be the right space for me, for a bunch of reasons.

* It conflicts with kirtan at WHY. So I'd have to give that up for the coming year, and that's been prettty important to me.
* The drive out and back is a little more of a hassle than a road warrior like me wants to admit. Not bad on occasion, but multiply by 30 or 40 round trips, and its time and fuel burned, on a car that does not really need the miles, and probably yoga stoned to boot. Just an incremental hassle, time spent away from the rest of life, etc.
* The yoga itself seems slightly less resonant. I suspect Anne and Matt might be pretty great, but neither of them teaches often so it will be a few weeks before I can catch a class with one of them to confirm that.
* Samadhi has a 20 person limit, and I suspect they will be filling up the class sooner rather than later. I do not think I can make a decision quickly.

I left the Q&A somewhat down, and rather quickly, did not hang out afterwards to schmooze. Because it does look like a wonderful training program, a good space, and I felt the stirrings of a community coming together even among the group of interested folks, and the "left out" feeling was a good sign that it was not my space. It's funny, because I do think that might be something Samadhi has over training at WHY - I doubt there will be as much of a family feel to it. But that's OK - WHY is home in a lot of ways for me and I have less of a need for a "community" in terms of teacher training.

And it was kind of sad - because dammit if WHY was not doing training I would have wrote the deposit check last night and been excited as all heck over taking yoga training there. It seems like a wonderful program, and I mourn the loss of it. File this one under "too many blessings"

I did buy a class card at Samadhi and will visit there now and then to practice - just for something different. There are a few nice class options (times) that might work out, and there is a better selection of mid level classes (WHY tends to be gentle or hot / power, with less in between, and so when I need to ratchet it back a little but not all the way back to gentle, Samadhi makes sense.

May 24, 2007

Not Deciding

Regarding Yoga Teacher Training, that is. I had been beating myself up to make a decision between two training options by June 1st. The impetus behind that pressure was an early registration deadline at one of the studios. For background, I am choosing between a new teacher training program at my beloved studio WHY and an established (and well respected) training program at a nearby studio, Samadhi.

So, I decided I did not need to decide right now - if I opt for that program, I can register at full price - its only a few hundred bucks more. A small price to pay for not going crazy or making a rash decision.

I've officially asked the universe for some guidance here (and in my experience, once I've asked, I will get my answer. I spoke to a fellow yogi who practices at WHY and has been taking the Samadhi teacher training this year; she was helpful. I intend to take some classes at Samadhi to get a feel for the place (starting tonight, a power class preceding a teacher training Q&A). I will continue to collect information, talk to people, make lists and charts, look at the training dates. I am pretty confident that something clear will fall out from all this.

Regarding WHY: I love the teacher, who has touched my soul specifically (through practices with her) and generally (through the studio that she runs and the community that surrounds her). My heart leaps in my chest at the thought of working with her. I feel I will be more challenged by the practice and the training (and I have a history of avoiding challenges, taking the easier path, I was a slacker long before Gen-X and Gen-Y codified the identity). I am a bit concerned because this is the inaugural training for the studio. I feel perfectly comfortable with the yoga and the studio (I practically live there now) but feel a bit intimidated by the technical proficiency there. These are serious yogis and I dare not come to the training halfway.

Regarding Samadhi: Seems like a comfortable, one big family kind of place. I fear less in the way of fear or nervousness about training there. I am little concerned that the style of yoga will be less to my liking (the WHY practice has spoiled me in some ways because there is a particular energy or style there). Traveling to Manchester will be a little less convenient. I am concerned about teacher training weekends conflicting with kirtan (I suspect the WHY teacher training and kirtan will not overlap since the share the space)

But in general - I have two really good teacher training options, and I suspect if either dried up tomorrow, I would embrace the other option with no regret. Such a blessing to have such choices.

May 22, 2007

Sign of the End Times

No escape as mobile phone reaches Everest's summit

The call is one of several high altitude stunts being carried out in the current Everest climbing season.

Last week a Briton pulled off the season's first big stunt by making the first flight over the summit using a powered paraglider.

A Nepali mountaineer has also broken his own world record by scaling the peak for a breathtaking seventeenth time.

Other daredevils on the mountain include Wim "Iceman" Hof, a Dutchman attempting to scale the peak wearing just shorts, boots, gloves and a cap.

On second thought, let's not go climb Everest.

Coyote Grace

Just heard them on WAMC's Performance Place - they sounded pretty great. Friends of the family, too :) More info here. They will be playing in Haddam at Church House Concerts on May 26th; not sure if we can make it (family picnic in MA that day) but I'm gonna pencil it in, just in case.....

Yoga vs. Depression

Yoga May Elevate Brain GABA Levels, Suggesting Possible Treatment For Depression

"Our findings clearly demonstrate that in experienced yoga practitioners, brain GABA levels increase after a session of yoga,"

I've always felt (on some intuitive level) that my exercising (Jazzercise originally, Yoga these days) is my way of dealing with depression. Interesting to see this sort of thing being studied and corroborated scientifically.

May 20, 2007

Rainy Weekend

Not a huge problem for me. Sunshine would have meant balloon chasing; fun and frolic and hanging out wiht friends, but also an inordinate amount of food and champagne consumption for a Sunday morning. Rain means I eat healthier and get to hit the mat this morning. I win either way.

Hopefully next weekend will not be rainy; we have an uncharacteristically social holiday weekend planned, with a family thing up in MA on Saturday and a local picnic with friends on Sunday. Nothing on Monday (so far) although I suspect we will need a day of rest.

May 19, 2007

Decisions II

This morning's decision was easy - I hopped back in bed after blogging, and fell into a sound sleep until nearly 9. Caught up on my travel related fatique, and it made the yoga decision easy - so I visited Samadhi Yoga in Manchester fo an All Levels class taught by student instructors. I met some of the teachers and the owners, all seemed nice. A friend from WHY, who I knew goes there, showed up, which was nice.

It was a good practice - I missed a little bit of the WHY poetry and flow in terms of moving through postures, but I suspect that's a student thing vs a studio thing. Good learning (for me) in terms of understanding what makes a practice work (for me, and presumably, for others). I guess its something I might not notice unless its not there. But bottom line: a positive vibe, good people, a practice that was in tune with my own.

After class, my WHY friend gave me some thoughts to chew on with regard to the differences between teacher training at WHY and teacher training at Samadhi. I respect his opinion a lot (he has spent time on the mat at both studios, and knows me a bit). So I have some deciding to do. Good thing I'm the decider!

I'm going to tire kick a bit more - speak to the folks at WHY about teacher training there, go to a few classes at Samadhi in the next week. There is a teacher-training Q&A this coming Thursday, and a power class preceding it that I want to go to. I would love to see Matthew and/or Anne in action (teaching) but not sure that will happen before I need to make a choice.

Decisions, Decisions

Yoga today.

Do I hit WHY for Power II with Peg, or do I venture out to Manchester for a 10:30 All Levels class that has teacher trainees working with us? It would be a good chance to find the studio in Manchester, meet some of the people, and get a vibe. I am seriously considering yoga teacher training starting in the fall and that is one of two options (the other is my beloved WHY, which is starting up teacher training this year).

WHY: My last class was Tuesday (not counting my practice in Seattle which was pretty mild) and I am a bit fragile between traveling, eating poorly, sleeping poorly, etc. A Power II class might be a bit much. OTOH, I need / want to reconnect at WHY, I feel kind of adrift.

SAMADHI: An all levels class might be right up my alley today. And I do want to give them a chance. (Even though the opportunity to work with and learn from Barbara is incredibly

Actually, looking at schedules and stuff, I might end up with a Solomonic decision. WHY has an All Levels class at 7:30 which has proven to be pretty gentle for me. (generally leaves me wanting more) I could hit that class, come home for a bit, then truck on over to Manchester for their All Levels class at 10:30. That way, I get my WHY fix, I get a nice mellow practice to get me back onto the mad, I get to see Samadhi and practice there all warmed up.....

Surgery Sister

This one gets filed under the that which shall not be named category.

I've been a fairly lax friend and correspondant - people from my past tend to either fall into "periodic update" mode (1-2 times per year) or drop off the scene completely. So it has been with K, my surgery sister. We were roomies at MSRH back in 2003; I had my surgery a day before hers, and we spent a week co-recovering. She nicknamed me "dropsie" (remotes, phones, CD players, books all hit the floor with some regularity on my side of the room). We bonded in a way, despites differences in age and culture and experience.

Anyway, she has (over the years) dropped emails here and there, and I have (on occasion) stayed in contact, but not really. This past week, I got a few invites to her "Friendster" site - so I emailed her back, saying hi, telling her I did not really want to sign up for any social network sites but it was nice to hear from her, giving her an update, and inquiring about her life. Last I knew she was married, working as a hair stylist, and living in Palm Springs. But things have changed:
im so glad to hear from you, and that you are doing great, about me here, something happened to me, i am living here back in the phillippines now and not really doing well, i have no job here and cant find one, and i have so much indebt right now, i was asking my friends to help me but i think they wanted to but not now, due to financial problems too, i have no one to ask and sorry that i have to share this with you, but i am desperate and dont know who i can ran to, judith i really need help here to put my life back, i even live in like a squatter area, i even thought of just ending my life, but im scared, jude i really need your help please help me, and my regards to your parrtner ales and say hi for me to dr. bowers. i miss being in the states, but i think god put me back here for a reason, and that i dont know what. i am really sorry to share this with you but i just want to let you know my life here now, and maybe perhaps you can visit me here, i would love that and see you, till nest email, miss you girl and god bless

Not easy, eh? Another tale from down the line that dispels the myth of "happily ever after"

I wired her some money - less than she needs, more than I can really justify, but its something. I hope it helps. She is a sweet girl. Life has been good to be in the years since our time together in Trinidad, and I need to be thankful for that and give something back.

As an interesting sideline, its damn amazing what Western Union (how I wired her some cash) knows about me. To verify my identity (I set up the transfer over the net) they pulled some info from public records for me to corroborate. They came up with a client's website, my mom's hometown, my old address in Waterbury (I had to rack my brain for that one!) Apparently, I am who I say I am, and so the transfer went through.

Like I said, I hope it helps. Happily ever after indeed.

May 18, 2007


Inexplicably, I have internet access here via Boingo. Not sure if this is costing me anything (I did not put in a credit card number) but maybe it remembers me and bills automatically. No matter. SEATAC terminal A also gets points for having a nice standing counter where I ate my breakfast and from where I am blogging....

I was able to hop on an earlier flight - so I get in at 5:30 or so instead of 10:00 pm tonight. Which means I could conceptually make the Gaia Roots concert tonight (depending upon my energy, the Zipster, and various sundry variables and intangibles. I do not have a seat assigned yet, so I am imagining a center seat all the way back to CT - but whatever. Just happy not to have to hang around the airport all morning.

Yesterday, the work got done early afternoon, so I was able to sneak out to a bit of yoga. I found a Viniyoga class at Yoga Barn in Issaquah. Was not my favorite practice - no vinyasa, never actually got up into Warrior, no sun salutations, I barely broke a sweat. Yet challenging in ways. Something different, worth exploring.

Bout it from Seattle. Back to CT anon!

May 16, 2007

A Small Luxury

Inexplicably, I opted in for the Economy Plus upgrade for the trip out to Seattle. Mostly because I had back of the bus middle seats - so for $63 I get front of the plane aisle and/or window seats. Yeah for me.

I am also traveling a lot better that last trip (so far) - cell phone remembered. Digital camera too. All my power supplies and chargers. All my customer contact info.

Flights boarding - I am off!

May 15, 2007

May Madness

Someone turned the switch on, and all of a sudden I have work coming from all directions. I am headed to Seattle tomorrow, of course, and yes, I have reread my Off My Stride posting to try not to repeat the sins of the past. I am gonna pack my bag tonight; I have my tools already in the car, and tomorrow I just need to stop by the office and get my travel papers (maps, reservations, etc) together.

I also have an email from the same client (who, by the way, I have not heard from in over a year) to go to a site on Long Island (not sure if they will still need me next week, the earliest I can get there). And I've had another project going with some power conditioning equipment (another contact that's been dormant over a year). And some new energy with old clients. Just a lot going on.

Gotta pay for all that yoga, I guess. Although, its been tough sneaking in classes around all this work! I did get to a power class yesterday (sublime) and a hot class today (surprisingly energetic and sweaty, with a teacher I usually rely on for a slightly gentler practice). So I have my yoga mojo fulfilled - I'll take some duds and a mat out to Seattle to either practice in the hotel or maybe find a local studio. But I do miss my morning yoga practice and teachers.

Zippy and I did dinner tonight (Lemon Grass, West Hartford, which has been dropped down to third favorite Thai place, behind East-West and Hot Basil) - we dined with a friend from upstate NY - who seemed to connect with Zippy (always a pleasant outcome) Zippy is like tea kettle on low heat - takes hir a while to warm up to people but once the pot is boiling, there is a lot of energy and noise!

I am sure I will be blogging from the road tomorrow - so talk at you then!

Freelance-onomics 101: Bosses are for suckers

An audio essay from James Braly, that I heard on NPR's Marketplace today.
"But in my case," I continue, "as a freelancer, I have many clients who represent three levels of demand: A, B, or C." Demand being one of those words, like widget, that tells a businessperson, 'I speak your language.'

Then I pass out a chart that presents this argument as a kind of Food Pyramid: a foundation of many C Clients, fruits and vegetables; a solid middle section of B Clients, the meat and potatoes; and up at the top, a few choice A Clients, the nuts and sweets.

Of the A Clients, I say, "I never let one control more than 10 percent of my income," neglecting to add that they never give me more than 10 percent of my income. "At each level, if one relationship sours, I replace it with another from the level below. It's like a balanced portfolio of occupational risk. Really, I can't imagine being in a position where one person could end my career."

That's pretty much my life. I've been self-employed since the start of 1996 - and I am not sure I could work for a corporation again.

May 14, 2007

Catching Up

Just been busy. Long work day today (including a 3 hour web conference that I pretty much led). A power class tonight. More web conference tomorrow, some reports to crank out, and heading off to Seattle Wed-Fri.

I'll probably catch up on the blog on Wed, as I travel....

May 12, 2007

Shoulda Done This Long Ago

Post this one under "maybe the free market health care advocates are right"

I've been going to CVS forever - its right down the street, its a national chain. But since I signed up for an HSA health care account, suddenly I pay full price for prescriptions (out of my HSA account). In addition, the last few visits to CVS to pick up my scripts have been exercises in patience: long lines, slow service. So I decided to shop around.

Estradiol 2mG: CVS was $12.00 or thereabouts. Target is $4.00 (one of their $4 meds)
Simvastatin 40 mG: CVS was $70.00. Amusingly, the 20 mG (my dose) was also $70. So I have been getting the 40 mG pills and spliting them. Target's price for the 40 mG? $23.00!

Incredibly, the Target prices without insurance are lower than the CVS copays *with* insurance. And, bonus - Target offers different color pill caps so the Zipster and I can keep our meds from getting mixed up.

May 10, 2007

The Organizational (Wo)man

Spending tonight loading up a spreadsheet with folk musicians product. As part of my newfound responsibility as folk fest merchandise geek, I am hewing to the "more time spent up front prepping, more time available for hanging out and schmoozing" philosophy.

So far, 52 artists loaded with all the discography data I could find online. I'm on the fence about putting in contact info. I am sure there will be changes at the fest, but this is a start. I also will have 24 Showcase performer pages to load.....

But damn, can I throw a spreadhseet together!

Just Like That

Has been kind of a quiet month. Then all-of-a-sudden:

* A Webex training program that I am leading, for two four hour sessions, next Monday and Tuesday. Of course, lots of prep work (revising presentations, getting checked out on Webex, scripting my course to work remotely)

* A trip to Kent WA for an old client (who pops up now and then) that will take me out of town next Wed - Fri

May 09, 2007

Connecticut Sun Lose to Seattle Storm

Took advantage of a spare season's ticket to go to the game last night. Good seats, front row, upper level, mid-court.

First off, most of the stars were missing. For the Sun - no Nykesha, no Lindsay, no Ashja, no Margo. For the Storm - no Sue Bird. So it really was not a stellar game.

A few of the Sun newbies were note-worthy. #22, Kiera Hardy (9 points), played with confidence and drilled a few shots but she missed a lot too. (3-7 from the floor) A little bit of a hot-dog, that properly channeled, might turn into spark-plug. #30, Brooke Smith, was a bit disppointing - we noted her boucing pony tail but she seemed lost on the floor, and threw up some bricks (1-5). She seemed awfully young. Journey(wo)man Kristen Rasmussen (#52) was nice to see in lieu of Margo, Nykesha, and Ashja - she had 11 points. Quite the traveling career - with 6 teams in 7 years. Jamie Carey played pretty well, not a lot of impact on the Box Score but when she has the ball she was seemed in control and settled things down.

The Box Score tells the tale - the Sun had 26 fouls and the Storm were 20-26 from the foul line (vs. 8-11 for the Sun). On the othe rhand, the Sun drilled some 3's (7-27, but I guess that means they missed a lot) vs. 1-7 for the Storm.

Ah well, good to see a game from the arena (vs. the control room). I text messaged Bruce (who runs the arena game) at the start to say hello, thing were rough (I did not see a lot of the screen features, and a few either did not run right or had no sound or whatever) but I suspect they will manage without me this year.

Oh yeah, Blaze came and sat next to me. I got all excited, and touched his ear. He was hanging out during the "Kiss Cam" and I was hoping for a kiss. Sadly, he was all over the far cuter blond woman to his left. ::pout::

May 08, 2007

That Kind of Girl

It says something about me that, when Elo the dog reached onto the coffeetable and started lapping at my cup of decaf, I yelled at him, gave him a wack in butt, and then picked up the coffee and took a sip. No dog germophobia here.

Back to Mohegun Sun

Friends with seasons tickets called - there is an extra seat to tonight's WNBA pre-season game (Connecticut Sun vs. Seattle Storm) so I'll be back in the arena, this time as a fan.

Will be good to actually see a game from the fans perspective. (I've watched almost every game for the past two seasons from the control room). And will be interesting to see how the video production looks in the arena with a new crew - supposedly the director is still there, but the EVS operator is home-grown as is the Premiere operator (for ads and commercials). I imagine it will be rough (being the home opener).....

May 07, 2007

Please Come To Boston

MYA and I traipsed up to Boston for a quick visit today - blessed with light traffic, an on-street parking space in front of the building, and an uncharacteristically quick appointment. All good - I picked her up at 12:30 and I was back in the house about 6:30. Amusingly, she heard some song on the radio (tuned to one of her stations) about coming to Boston (I neither recognized the song nor discerned the Boston lyrics) - all I could think of was that Dave Loggins song. Which has been stuck in my head all night.

MYA has developed an addiction for Lemonade Coolattas from Dunkin Donuts. So that (and a need for a bio break) took us to the Dunkin Donuts at the truck stop in Willington, which is always a journey into the twilight zone. MYA sez "I'm not sure what the hell goes down there, and I don't really want to know, but I'm pretty sure something does."

This evening, the Zipster and I bopped over to Ocean State Job Lot to see what we could not live without - we found some curtains and a rod for the back porch slider (it gets warm back there in the summer with the morning sun). I also picked up some hair color, some light socks, and some dog toys. Zipster got some nasty ass pickles (from Poland).

The folk fest spreadsheet is coming along and is probably serviceable right now, but, being a perfectionist (as well as a geek) I am sure I am going to (a) try to preload the names of CD's for most of the artists and (b) implement a push button menu to jump to specific artist pages as well as jump back to the main menu page. Also, I may enable protection to mere mortals to work with it without crapping out the formulae and functionality.

May 06, 2007

Falcon Ridge Preview Tour

We attended the kick-off of the Falcon Ridge Folk Fest preview tour this afternoon, featuring the three "audience favorites" from last year's Showcase. So you have a field of about 500 submittals, whittled down to 24 by a panel of judges, and from there, the 3 fan faves. In other words - a pretty awesome afternoon of music.

Quick thoughts on the music. First up was Ellis who got cuteness points from the get-go. She's been around a bit (5 or 6 disks worth) despite her apparent youthfulness. Loved her voice, guitar chops I could embrace, and a winning style with the crowd. Her songs (shortish set) ranged from relationships to world issues - and were accessible on a lot of levels. She's a bit sneaky, you find yourself liking her music more than you think. And if she were from the east or west coast she would be (deservedly) stuck up and full of herself, but being from Texas she is sweet, friendly, dare we say a little goofy in a good way. I'd go for a full set any day!

Pat Wictor with Cheryl Prashker was up next, and his music was really resonant - gentle, spirit filled, beautiful. He plays (mostly) and open tuned guitar on his lap with a slide - a highly talented right hand and a judicious but effective application of slide licks makes it seem like there is another guitarist in the wings. I mentioned to him at the break another folkie - Kate McDonnell - whose "backwards and upside down" style has me awestruck because it is so different and interesting (from a technical perspective). Pat was like that, musically - I would have been happy just watching and listening to him play guitar! His songs and voice were happily on a par and we were bopping along, and at times cuddling for the gentle love and beauty of them. He also has the most beautiful red hair on the planet. Just saying.

Finally, Red Molly, who will I am sure be all over the festival stages this year. Multi-talented, think a distaff version of "Oh Brother Where Art Thou", with some Dixie Chicks tossed in. Guitars, banjo, resonator slide, and bass intertwined with three ethereal voices mixed the old fashioned way into one pretty amazing microphone. Funny banter, solid connection to the crowd. The music will have me dancing on the festival hillside, no doubt. Love 'em!

We had a good time - sunny, perhaps a bit cooler than one would like, but food, music, people, venue - all good. Most amusingly, seeing fellow FRFFers in civilian clothes, vs. festival fashion (sandals, shorts, tee shirts, sundresses, dust, mud, sunscreen, cold shower and port-a-pottie limited, and overtired from trying to squeeze a bit too much peace, love, and music out of the weekend)

July 26-29th in Hillsdale NY - be there!

Folk Spreadsheets

It's 3:00 a.m. and my monkey mind is roiling with logistics and spreadsheets and processes. At a crew chief meeting for my annual folk fest last night, and I walked away with a project - involving process and spreadsheets to track performer CD sales: logging in CDs and other merchandise, logging out leftovers, calculating payouts.

Not exactly rocket science, but its engaging in a geeky problem-solving way, and I awoke at 2:00 a.m. and have not been able to get back to sleep. Hopefully some herbal tea and a bit of computer time will calm my thoughts.

May 05, 2007

Suddenly Saturday

The past two days have zoomed by.

Thursday night, we went to see I Am My Own Wife at Hartford Stage. It was not my favorite show - engaging enough, and the actor James Licensi was talented. But the premise (one character researching, interviewing, and writing about another) did not sweep me along like I would have wished, and the confusion surrounding Charlotte's motivation and actions was not really gut wrenching. You kind of get the feeling that the playwright was completely enthralled with her to start, and then got confused and alienated over time, but it did not come across (to me) quite so strongly. Might have played better at a smaller space with a simpler production - Theaterworks or something. Still, a good piece.

I miss seeing the bard at Hartford Stage.

We started off the evening at Hot Basil (loved by all) - AC had been wanting to go for eons and was tickled to go there, MYA also liked it (the waitress was also raving about her makeup - very professional)

Yesterday, some work, then counseling (more crying by the blogger), then off to an art opening in Southington. I actually bought a piece (very reasonably priced) that reminded me of electrical cables (my work, don't cha know) for my office, if I ever get the side table cleaned off. Good motivation for that, perhaps. The artist, Linda Glass, works in Raku - her pieces have evolved from a somewhat commercial motif (looking like overgrown, stylized chess pieces that might house gnomes) to an industrial style that Zippy liked - "...reminds me of the sewage treatment plant..." along with some interesting pieces that combine, compare, and contrast the raku to more conventially fired stoneware.

You can see her work this week at J. Whitney Gallery in Southington.

After the gallery, home for dinner and a long walk. Then we started to watch East of Eden before we crashed.

Today, NoHo Pride - I am ferrying MYA and another mentee up so I am carpooling. I just invested $600 in my shitbox Saturn (brakes all around) so I guess I am committing to keeping it on the road through the summer.....

May 03, 2007

Stand Up for Health Care - May 5th

I'm overcommitted (as usual) so will not be there, but if you care about the state of health care in this country (and you should) - go to the Stand Up for Health Care rally, sponsored by the Universal Health Care Foundation of CT

What is it with restaurants?

Many moons past I blogged about a local Thai place, and it became my #1 search term for a long while. Last week, a new Asian place in Plainville - and again, search madness ensues.

Online marketers and enterpreneurs, take note.

Farewell Jazzercise

A bit overdue. My participation has been on life support for a while. I got busy in the fall, and let my class card expire - then took some time off. Come the new year I bought a class card but I did not even go often enough to make it worthwhile (vs. buying individual classes). A few weeks back I popped in on a Saturday for a class - which was fine, but I collected my mat and weights. Probably will not be back regularly.

Jazzercise has been an incredible space for me for a bunch of years - I started going back in 2001 (guessing) when I moved to Hartford, starting at the Elmwood Community Center, following my instructor to Tikvah Chadosah, and then moving to Rocky Hill. In addition, classes in West Hartford, and all across the country as I traveled for work.

Lately, I think its been catching up to my 46 year old body. Knees are pounded, quads and hamstrings get pulled. My elbows become sore from even 5 or 6 pound weights. My shoulder, injured from too many years on the balloon crown line, also complains at times.

But really, Yoga has stolen my heart. I spend hours on the mat each week in classes and I practice on my own. I am thinking of taking teacher training. I am hooked. And I already spend much time on myself and my body - need to balance other parts of my life.

Jazzercise, there will always be a place in my heart for you. Such a fun workout, the first physical practice that I ever enjoyed enough to get addicted to. You have been one of the common threads in what has been an incredibly life changing 6 years. Thank-you!

Insomnia and Catching Up

Zippy is out of town, and I can't sleep!

Actually, I slept fine from 10:00 pm to 2:00 am, when Melina clomped upstairs, and Elo woke me up (growling at Melina / licking me). All the dogs went out, and had cookies, and are back to snoozing. I could not get back to sleep. So, time for a cup of herbal tea (Peach Passion, could not find anything chamomille or sleepytime) and some web surfing. And then back to bed.

I'm in a yoga spurt - last weeks back crankiness is healing up, and so this week it was hot yoga on Sunday morning, power yoga Tuesday and this morning, and gentle last night. I'm taking it easy and slow - but its nice to be back.

Also heading into a bit of a social upswing. AC got 4 tix to I Am My Own Wife at Hartford Stage for this evening, so we (she, I, Zippy, and MYA) will be doing that. We're having dinner at Hot Basil (AC's choice, she has never been) although it was in my head too. We needed someplace close to the house (in case Zippy gets back from a doctors appointment late) as opposed to something downtown near the theater.

Then on Friday, we have an opening for an arts friend in Southington. Saturday is NoHo Pride. I also got a call last night from my Falcon Ridge Folk Fest crew chief - there is apparently a crew chief meeting this weekend (and I am invited since I am being elevated in the ranks of the recently merged and restructured tee-shirts and CD sales) - as well as a house concert featuring Red Molly, Pat Wictor with Cheryl Prashker, and Ellis on Sunday. Apparently this is the kick-off date for the Falcon Ridge Preview Tour. Festival will be upon us soon!

Monday, MYA and I have a date in Boston. Hopefully the weather will be nice.

Of course yoga - today and Sunday - not sure if I can sneak it in Friday and Saturday. Of course, with the warmer weather and a more or less cleaned up porch, I have a mat down out there so I can work through some postures there if I want.