December 30, 2007

Date Book

I just bought a date book - Zippy and I went down to Barnes & Noble to get a book for a friend (Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation, for a dog lover we are visiting this afternoon) and I picked up a 2008 date book (1/2 price!)

I have not bought a date book in eons. I've been a PDA kinda girl for eons, but my Hand spring has been acting up (needs to be reset now and then, battery life is flaky) and in the recent storage hole abandonment / office reorg, the charger disappeared. I'm sort of thinking of a smartphone / PDA as a logical next step, but I'm not there yet - I need to go down the the Cinguler, I mean AT&T store and kick some tires, and figure out what I want.

In the meantime, my dance card is filling up for 2008, so I needed something. So back to a date book. And usually, I get a few of these as holiday gifts from corporations and clients - I did get one this year but it's book size - good for the office, not good for the purse.

And so I spent some time filling in 2008 dates. Six weekends (Fri / Sat / Sun) dedicated to yoga teacher training. A handful of workshops and seminars as well. A few days in Las Vegas (presenting a paper at a power quality conference). The folk festical. The True Colors conference. All sorts of ways my life is already scheduled out. Even this coming week, holiday and all - contains two therapists appointments, electrolysis, and a trip north to take Zippy up for a medical appt. And I have not even thought about the inevitable business trips for work, family visits, etc.

It'll be July before I know it - the next six months are gonna fly by. Good think I got a date book to keep it all straight.....

Required Reading

I got a mailing (well, since I picked it up rather than having it sent, it's kind of a leaving) from the yoga studio regarding teacher training. One would think that Yoga Teacher Training would be all about getting out of the head and into the body. One would be wrong.

The required reading list is 10 volumes long. I just placed an Amazon order for the first batch:

Nourishing Wisdom (Marc David) - which is required to have been read prior to the first class
The Self Healing Cookbook (Kristina Turner) - which is a "bring to the first class" requirement
Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual (David Swenson) - another "bring to first class"

These are the ones I need in hand at the start of training. The rest I will get when my finances improve, right now I have way too many $$$ hanging out there in receivables land.

There is also a recommended reading list - another 18 volumes ranging from food to spirituality to yoga. Plus a training manual. Plus an anatomy book (I'll wager).

I'm already getting a headache!

Here There Be Tygers

The recent story about the escaped tiger killing a man (and mauling two others) in San Fran has got me pondering wild things. No particular train of thought, just lots of images. Sparked, no doubt, by Mr. McEnroe's latest column, and Mr. McCarthy's musings as well.

Remember those underwater tiger photos that hit the internet a few months back? (from Russia, no less, where they know how to keep things contained, for the most part)

The title of this post is a story by Ray Bradbury, which has been rolling through my head. No tygers (or tigers) in the story, really - but I was actually thinking of the plot of another Bradbury short story called The Veldt - although there were lions in that story, not tigers. I think I've commented before how wonderfully corruptive and seductive Mr. Bradbury's stories were to a pre-teen loner like me. I think I had two collections, "R is for Rocket" and "The Illustrated Man" - purchased no doubt from Scholastica books through the periodic bookmobile that came through our catholic school. The nuns, I am sure, had no idea how subversive this stuff was and is.

And looking around for something else Tygerish, I come across Blake's "The Tyger", quoted in Bradbury's Farenheit 451. Odd. Neat. I seem to remember another short story about a tiger hunter in India - but can not put my finger on it.

And I'm thinking about zoos, and circuses, and wild animals in general (having recently read Water for Elephants will do that). We're so busy destroying habitat and colonizing wild places and pushing our habitat into that occupied by wild things, then we get all up in arms when they dare to mess with Homo Sapiens....

On some level, I sort of wish for a Star Trekkian world, where we humans can wander off into the galaxy and leave this little planet as a wild game preserve.

New Year's Yoga

Lot's of options out there.

Peg (my drill sargeant Power II teacher at WHY, who I adore) is leading 108 sun salutations at Fresh Yoga in New Haven. New Year's Eve, starting at 10 p.m. I have it penciled in....

New Year's Day, West Hartford Yoga has a 10 a.m. power class with Barbara (often transcendent, and always packed, be warned. It's not for the claustrophobic) as well as a 10:15 gentle class with Shankara.

And Samadhi Yoga (Manchester and Storrs) has a bunch of New Year's Day Classes as well.

Dogs Love Bananas

Ours do anyway. I peeled one today to a cacophany of clicking tonenails on the hardwood floor and wagging tails thumping against the metal cabinets. I broke off a small piece for each of them, which usually sends them away, but Callie, the hound who is normally quite timid, came back back for seconds, and was actually pushy about it.

I feel like a minor diety, doling out small pieces of godfood to the mortals.

December 29, 2007

Open House

Drove out to Windham this evening for an open house - old friends who built a new home on a pond. It's a lovely home, and beautiful property, and the party was nice - good food, old friends, etc. Our friend has a collection of old Indian motorcycles (as well as a handful of Harleys) - and the house is nicely tricked out with zoned, radiant heat (maybe 8 zones, which impressed me), and solar panels on the roof.

En route home, Zippy and I had a long discussion about wealth and capital and retirement - I move through many worlds including friends and acquaintances with lots of money, so I can appreciate it even if its not my life. Zippy on the other hand - has issues with wealth. Odd, because Zippy comes from a family with money. What it is.....

Feast or Famine

Not that we're huge football fans, but the Patriots / Giants game has some allure. And the offshoot of the big mess with the NFL network (and no broadcast options) is that the game is not on both NBC and CBS. (But not ESPN-kin ABC or Fox, which normally broadcast NFL games.

Weird.

December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

Not much to say that is not already out there - I guess I'm not surprised that she was assassinated - she's been dodging attempts on her life since October. I am also in awe of this woman's commitment to her country and her people. And am saddened by the continued need of we humans to kill each other - for any number of reasons.

Slow Week

Most of the world took this week off, pretty sure. I've been in the office: cleaning off a work table that had become a dumping ground, sorting and filing a few months worth of receipts, getting stuff ready for taxes. I have a website that will need a 2008 freshen up - although the client will have a list of changes and updates, and we want to do something with the color scheme, I can get started.

A few days off the mat over the holiday - back to practice yesterday and today, and most likely, tomorrow.

Been feeling kind of punk, just the holiday blahs, and we've been eating leftovers that are mostly meat and carbs, so I popped off to Trader Joe's (and Apple Tree) this evening for some fruits and veggies: pineapple, cantaloupe, bananas, apples, salad, broccoli, baby carrots, sugar snap peas. Just something to freshen up the leftovers.....plus some tofu and meatless sausage.

Zippy is off with his mentee at a local city open mic / social. Be interested to see how it goes.

The rest of the week is pretty low key - no serious plans. Might get together with MYA over the weekend, and I'd like to see the Joe Strummer movie at Real Art Ways. Yoga of course. I doubt the balloonatics will be flying this weekend, the frozen buns rally is usually the first flyable weekend after new years.

December 25, 2007

Namaste, Baby Jesus

Because christianity and yoga are not mutually exclusive: Yahweh Yoga: Get centered with Christ. On the other hand, some christians might find this sort of theological mingling to be heretical

I perversely like that their vinyasa class is called Faithful Flow. Although I do find their tee-shirt marketing to be somewhat disturbing.

And to all, a good night

Back home, after a quick trip up to the homestead. Called mom to report my safe return, and she gushed - such a nice xmas, thank-you for coming, the boys had a wonderful time. Not sure why she was so pleased - perhaps because the official script was followed. Her eldest slept under her roof on xmas eve, she had her four children with her, her grand-kids growing strong and sure. By all accounts a low-key holiday, nothing special - some food, some gifting, some chaos, some humor. But exactly right, for our family.

There is a family story. My mother, out on her own, working as a nurse with a good salary, brought gifts for her whole large family. As the eldest girl, she must have been one of the first to break free, and her family was neither rich nor extravagant in terms of giting. Somewhat dour and stern Pennsylvania Germans. So Mom, brought with her a carload full of gifts to her first xmas returning home - perhaps creating the christmas for her siblings that she might have wished for growing up. But the presents were stolen from her car. She was heart-broken - and not a christmas goes by without one of us remembering that story.

Perhaps that early disappointment advised our christmas rites ever since. Do not hope for too much, nor plan too grandly. Gift selflessly and grandly, often too grandly. Even the year that dad lost his job, and was unemployed for many months as money grew tight, when christmas should have been truly humble and small, it was large and grand. Such are the ways of my family.

My family remains clustered around mom - my brothers live in the same town as Mom, within a mile of the last house we all lived in together. My sister moved slightly further afield - but close enough. Only I reached escape velocity - moving a few hours south and west. So to get us all together, I am the keystone - the prodigal child returned. Kill the fatted calf. In years past I have been missing from xmas - a marriage kept me here in CT with my in-laws. A relationship that limited my time north to hours instead of a day or so. But this year, going up alone and free to spend the night, I fulfilled my part in the festivities.

Last night, before my mom and brothers returned from church, I stood and looked at mom's xmas tree. A fake one these days - far less messy than a real one. Small white lights replace the large incandescent bulbs of my youth, and no tinsel, carefully draped strand-by-strand at mom's direction. But the ornament's brought memories. The inexpensive department store bells that are now 40 year antiques. The dimpled ornaments that we called "the golf balls" that my sister and I fought to place. The stuffed elves. And there, near the top of the tree, in front, a cloth Santa Claus ornament with a sticker face, ribbon cuffs and belt, and sparkles, that "daddy made when he was a boy" - must be 60 years old by now. Things change, but there is a thread that runs through christmas that is as old as I am.

I am blessed, truly. Each December, my family calls me back, migrating north for a short visit. We add another memory onto a foundation that goes back many years - each brick similar to the year before, yet each year with some small changes and new variations on the theme.

One of these years, christmas will change. Some unexpected tragedy, perhaps. Or a major life change will drag one of us too far outside the sphere to travel back every year. Or my mom, the hub of our wheel, will leave us. Her chronic health problems have seemed to stabilize in the past decade, so that we forget how close we have been to losing her in the past, and how arbitrary something as simple as her next breath is. We've held her close for a long time. But it just might be the last xmas. You never know.

Tomorrow, back to my life. Some time on a yoga mat. Some time in the office. End of the year stuff. Cleaning and organizing stuff. Trying to untangle the knots of my present life, and plan for my future one. But for now, a chance to live in the past - small mourning for the things that have been lost, gratefulness for those things that have not been lost, and wonder at the things that have come into my life.

Merry Christmas, everyone.....

I Have Been Changed For Good

OK, I call foul. No fair making me sob on xmas morning.

My sister and her daughter went into the studio to make a xmas gift for each other and for the grandma's. I figured some cutesy novelty thing - but I clicked on the CD this morning, to hear the instrumentation from Wicked - as Galinda and Elpheba sing their farewells. And as I get ready for visiting, making the bed, cleaning up, I'm quietly sobbing.

My niece, a waifish (and in my memory) awkward thing who I best remember as a pudgy little baby has a great voice - her mother sang professionally, so it certainly runs in the family - but it was only when my sister's slightly more mature voice came in with Elpheba's part that I realized it was no tshe singing the other part. And to hear that song, sung by a mother-daughter, well, heartstrings.

A xmas gift for me then. To find that my niece is suddenly a young woman, and perhaps a bit of a theater geek. Who knew? On the way up I was blasting Rent - my sister noted that they would be doing NYC between the holidays - with a family trip to see Phantom (enough excitement for the boys), Cirque du Soliel with the inlaws, and Rent for my sister and niece. So I was already thinking of her in a new light. But after hearing her sing Wicked, a song that brings me to tears anyway - well.

I think I need to get to know my niece again.....

Xmas Morning

Nothing major to report, just checking in.

I timed my arrival here in MA pretty well, walking up my mom's walk just as my brother called from the way home from church, reporting a 5 minute ETA. A lovely open house, with the best homemade dumplings ever, was definitely worth missing church. (which was, reportedly, lightly attended and uninspiring)

Mom made lasagna and green beans, and there was a ham, which my brother fawned over. We mostly hung out, reminisced about xmas past, and of course, watched television. My family never changes. I recall years past, when I would come home from college, I'd come into a seemingl empty house except for the television being on. I would turn it off (ecologically minded even then) and minutes later, it would be on again. To my family, television is a background noise - soothing, comforting. So my brother guffawed at "A Christmas Story" and my mother kvetched about how she disliked the show. But the TV stayed on.

Nice to visit with my brothers - #1 is doing better at work, and seems to have found a personal mission in the sex offender's ward - the transfolk in the men's prison have an ally they perhaps did not expect, in terms of treating them with dignity and respect. And #2 seems to be doing well at work - after years of freelance / job shopping, his company (some sort of database management) seems to be growing and financially sound.

This morning, I got up and went downstairs to practice a bit of yoga (no mean feat in my mom's smallish living room further obstacled by a xmas tree), and as I was practicing, the upstairs television came on. Mom had woken, and switched it on.

Pretty low key day - we'll take our time getting moving, then head over to my sister's for gifting. Then I head back to MA.

Still, it's nice to be with family (warts and all) at the holidays.

December 23, 2007

Busted

The water main into the house, that is. I was doing a load of wash and the water sounded awfully loud. We went down thinking there was a leak inside the house, but no - the noise is simply being transmitted into the house via the pipes.

Two nice young guys from the city of Hartford water department stopped in, turned off the water, and determined that the problem is in the 19' between the cut-off and house. So we have an excavating contractor en route to take a look.

Not like Dec 23rd, Sunday before a Monday / Tuesday christmas holiday, is inconvenient time at all. No sir.

Adrift in the City

The week leading up to the xmas holiday is always an odd time. I've commented before about not being all that resonant with this particular holiday - the decorations remain in the attic this year; I ventured up there for the ribbons and boxes and bows. But really, the holiday is noteworthy for the clutter that cards, a busy schedule, and gifts in various stages of being wrapped have birthed.

MYA and I connected yesterday - she was gifted with a couple of retail cards so we went shopping first to TJ Maxx and then to Target. She scored on the shoes (although I'd love to see her get something that might actually work in the snow) - then we traveled east to Pho Boston on New Britain Avenue - I've been hankering for their tofu pho (C3 ont eh menu) since watching a yoga friend eat a bowl recently. It was good, but Zippy got an MSG headache and yeah, I felt the same sort of buzz, just not debilitating. Not sure how the yoga folks (usually pretty pure and holy, food wise) are OK with the MSG. Not sure you can ask for no MSG for Pho the way you can with more solid asian food.....still, it was a good meal.

Kirtan on Friday was pretty great - a lot of energy, a lot of people. I did *not* get to burn my Shiv papers - stuff I am letting go, stuff I wish to manifest - since the fire had burned out by the time we got there. I have a small burning bowl I got this past year, maybe I can break it in this week; before the year turns over. Per usual, a few of my yoga friends were in the crowd who had not realized I play guitar - so that's always interesting. Woman of many talents, and mystery - that's me.

Monday, I work at the studio in the morning (I volunteered to take an abandoned shift - since the xmas holidays are pretty low key for me, and I am local) - probably heading up north to see the family in the afternoon. Zippy is not coming along - uncomfortable with the family gifting, uncomfortable with the tenuous state of our relationship. A "churn up my insides" moment - I will feel weird being alone, I will feel guilty for leaving Zippy alone and with the dogs. I remains conflicted about our relationship - wanting to reach back and work on it, but cogniscient that it is what it is, and that Zippy will never really become the creature of light that I might wish for.

In any case, if I do get up there early, I may go to church with my mom and brothers. Always an awkward experience. I grew up in the church, my ability to play 3 hours of kirtan chants was honed and tempered at folk mass, especially xmas eve mass with a full church and an extra long communion. Sing all the verses. Twice. In any case, it's hard to go to a church that on some level considers me "intrinsically flawed" and an abomination. Many paths up the mountain, and all that, and I am not willing to turn my back on an expression of the divine, but it's painful. And I will not partake in communion (feeling not very welcomed) and I am sure that will cause a small heartbreak for mom.

Maybe I'll just skip church......

In the meantime, it's Sunday morning. My 8:30 a.m. hot class looms - as close to weekly worship as I get. And a day to clean, to launder, to catch up a bit.

December 21, 2007

Theaterworks

An early xmas gift, from one of my clients: a pair of tickets to the remaining four shows on the Theaterworks 2007-2008 season. I subscribed to Theaterworks in the past (and really enjoyed seeing productions there) but time and money have conspired over the years to break the habit. So it is a lovely and very appropriate gift - feeding my spirit and something I might not set aside the money for myself.

Zippy looked at the upcoming schedule and was not too excited about the rest of the season:
The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane
Directed by Rob Ruggiero / January 25 through March 9, 2008

Blackbird by David Harrower
Directed by Steve Campo / April 4 through May 11, 2008

Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Rob Ruggiero / June 6 through July 20, 2008

No Child... by Nilaja Sun
August 15 through September 28, 2008

....so I'll probably be looking for a partner in crime for at least some of these. Be warned.....

Don't Tase Me, Bro-o-o-o-m-m-m-m-m-mmmm

In front of a crowd of customers, a Volusia County woman was shocked by a taser while she was trying to shop. The 35-year-old yoga instructor got so loud and irate inside a busy Daytona Beach store, a police officer tasered her.

Story here

I'm trying to imagine her next few classes.....

December 20, 2007

Not blogging muchly

No particular reason. Busy I guess.

My holiday shopping is pretty close to being done - I have some odds and ends to pick up, some boxes, some stocking stuffers. I suspect Sunday will be wrapping day.....

Work has been somewhat slow - one major client is in the throes of reformulating - so the projects coming in have trickled to a crawl, the check due Dec 1 is still pending, and future invoices go to a different place. Annoying. On the other hand, I've had a bunch of calls and queries from new and different clients, and a few long simmering projects with existing clients, so there are enough irons in the fire to get 2008 off to a good start.

Getting my legs back under me down at the studio - the Enlightenment Intensive took a look out of my legs (no formal practice for 4 days, and a lot of sitting on the floor) so it's been a humbling few days of practice - issues balancing, issues with standing postures which are normally a strong part of my practice. On the other hand, Marcia took us from Bekasana (Crow) into Tripod on Monday , and I was befuddled, but then Tuesday messed around with it up against the wall before class, and when she did it again on Wednesday, (this time, Tripod folding into Crow), I popped up into Tripod without too much hesitation. Getting my butt down into crow is another story.

I'm working at the studio today and tomorrow from 10:00 to 4:00 or thereabouts. Kirtan practice tonight. Kirtan tomorrow night. Practice tonight with Barbara and tomorrow with Carissa.

Good thing work is slow :)

December 19, 2007

Baraka at Cinestudio

If you have not seen this film, please do. We went last year and it was very pretty amazing and spiritual.
This holiday season, join with a growing number of celebrants who bring together family and friends at pre-Baraka parties, followed by a screening of Ron Fricke’s masterpiece at Cinestudio. With its inclusive approach to spirituality and our inter-connectedness, Baraka remains the perfect alternative to the tired consumerism of the season. Without dialogue or narration, cinematographer-director Ron Fricke makes clear the planet’s beauty and fragility, traveling to 24 countries for an intimate view of humanity’s best and worst impulses, from hypnotic Whirling Dervishes, to burning oil fields in the wake of the (first) Gulf War. “A guided meditation, Baraka is intended to be a journey of rediscovery that plunges into nature, into history, into the human spirit and finally into the realm of the infinite.” - Director Ron Fricke. Presented in the awe-inspiring original super-wide screen Todd-A0 70mm


At Cinestudio, Wed Dec 19th through Sun Dec 23rd.

Official Baraka website here

Kirtan with Shankara and Friends

Friday, December 21 (Winter Solstice), 8:15 - 10:15 pm
$15 suggested donation

Join us for our special December kirtan celebration ushering in the light of Solstice. Participate in WHY's annual 'fire ceremony': write down what you wish to let go of and what you want to manifest into your life and then toss them into the flames in this ancient ritual. Devotional English and Sanskrit chants will be sung as we honor the outgoing and welcome the new calendar year.

Kirtan: an evening of devotional singing, chanting, and personal expression. It 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!

I'm happy to be one of the "friends" - I play guitar and bass with the WHY kirtan ensemble. So if you are planning to come, wave or wink or say hi or something. $15 seems a bit pricey but I think the money goes to charity - and the December kirtan is always packed (there is a pretty great fire ceremony and stuff)

December 18, 2007

Holiday Madness

Not really. I have stopped creating an historic or folkloric yule in my own life. I resonate to the season that I find in friends and in the public sphere. I spend time with my family of origin. But really, there's not a lot happening.

That being said, the official state religion of my family of origin is gifting, so I'm doing a bit of shopping. I actually drove the perimeter of Westfarms Mall yesterday, but could not bring myself to enter that den of iniquity (or is it inequity?). Not a bad thing, since they had a serious power outage within an hour of that time. Maybe even the threat of me entering that place brought commerce to a stand-still (and via electricity, aptly), not unlike someone of who it is said "....if I enter a church it's liable the roof is liable to collapse on me....". I was seeking the Apple Store, for an Ipod Nano Car Adapter for my niece, but she kindly provided a link to the Apple Store online where I purchased it. A few bucks for shipping is worth avoiding the mall, no doubt.

Similarly, I did enter Best Buy in search of electronics for my nephews - but the array of gaming systems, individual games and accessories quickly spun my head around, and my post-EI state of openness and sensitivity made the holiday crowds and noise somewhat unpleasant, so I fled, and visited amazon.com. Again trading shipping costs for sanity; although the amazon.com prices were a tad lower as well.

My sister's kids are all growing up and sophisticated - whereas once I was the family geek with the skills to hook up the electronics and troubleshoot the software, I have become the befuddled aunt, trying to suss out the difference between an Ipod and a Nano and a Nano 2. My nephews put their xmas lists together using PowerPoint (and did so at least as well as most high level executive's and their assistants that I have worked with). I looked over the list, called my sister, and questioned "OK, which of these games involves not shooting people?"

I picked up some yoga stuff at the studio - a bag and a mat for a friend, another mat bag ostensibly for my sister but the more I look at it, the more I'm liking it for myself.....I may buy her a yoga outfit today instead which perhaps will get more use. Since I am not the body size to support most of the cute yoga duds stocked in the store, might as well live vicariously through her. And take advantage of my volunteer discount. And support the studio.

I put together my own holiday list - it seems mercenary, but with my family, better to just put out a big list with lots of options and have them pick something. Because if I don't, I'm gonna get a pile of stuff regardless, and it's won't be stuff that fits my life. That being said - as I move through my own shopping lists, I have found things I probably would have liked to have added to my list - a Kripalu cookbook, for example, the aforementioned yoga mat bag as another. So I'm gifting myself as well.

I have a few other things to get. Brother #1 seems to vibe domesticity with his list, so we may take a run down to Kohl's, where Zippy has a 20% discount coupon with his card. Brother #2 is getting a big family chip-in gift. And Mom has some things on her list I'll probably get. Brother-in-law - who the hell knows. What do you give the guy with the spare Mercedes convertible in his garage? I usually end up spending some money at 10,000 Villages - small things for family members. I think Zippy and I are gonna gift each other a snow-blower.

I'm looking at a pile of holiday cards - I'll probably send some out but have not put much effort into that. There is time; I'll print out an address list today perhaps and start pecking away at it. And one of the volunteer's down at the yoga studio sent out an S.O.S. for someone to cover a shift for her xmas eve morning - I told her I would do it if she came up short. I don't have much going on - will probably head up north at some point, but am happy to grant a few extra hours to someone with a more committed to the season life. A small mitzvah to the universe, and perhaps a way to get me out and among people that day - to find a bit of holiday spirit.

December 16, 2007

Back on the Grid

Back from the Enlightenment Intensive. It's a very un-EI thing to be back online so fast, but this was not a typical EI. Normally I would have planned to stay overnight tonight to re-integrate but that was not really planned for, and when the option opened up tonight (due to the weather) I opted out - I assumed that Zippy was pretty pissed off about all the snow shoveling (he was, and understandably, but had gotten over it by the time I got back). Plus, sleet was predicted, and I thought it best to get while the getting was good. The ride from Kripalu to the Mass Pike was the worst, the Pike and I-91 were not too bad. Hartford streets were not clear but were driveable.

In addition, it was a hard EI for me personally, and I really did not feel all that warm and fuzzy in terms of hanging out. Some issue there (my issues, mostly) and I'll let it go at that. Some post-processing and follow-up needed, for sure.

First time up to Kripalu - I was always a little afraid of it. Maybe I'll sneak up there for a getaway weekend with a friend sometime, now that I know what its all about.....

The drive up was hellish - about 4.5 hours - but not as bad as some. I got on the I-84 gridlock mess on Thursday around 2 (Flatbush Ave), got off at Sisson Ave, and took back roads up to Bradley, where I hopped onto 91 (now mostly clear). Garmin GPS gets a huge thanks, and the new car did OK too with front wheel drive, all weather tires, and traction control / ABS. Snow tires and it would have rocked.

December 13, 2007

Work Now, Play Later

It's going to be a busy day - work this morning, kirtan rehearsal at 11, and then off to Kripalu for the EI.

I've been hungry for some yoga (having missed an entire day......) so was contemplating the 9:30 power class this morning, but yanno, I do have some work to do before taking off this afternoon and tomorrow, and errands before kirtan practice. If the weather and travel gods shine on me, I will be up at Kripalu for 4:15 yoga - so we'll leave my desire for asanas in the hands of the divine.

Blessed this morning with a Haiku from TM; commenting on my last post. Very sweet; and comforting to my snow fretting spirit. Oddly, I have the best vehicle (for snow) I have had in a decade, with ABS and traction control and new tires. I think it's simply the fact that I have not been through a weather event with this car before, so I just am not sure what to expect in terms of handling. We'll see, I guess.

Clothed in white robes, indeed.

December 12, 2007

Off the Grid

I'll be heading out tomorrow for an Enlightenment Intensive. So I'll be off the grid until Monday (at least). No puter. No cell phone. No clocks, even.

Of course, I head up in the midst of tomorrow's snowstorm, and I suspect we'll see more on Saturday / Sunday, when I am supposed to be heading back. Oh well. I'll pack my laptop and cell phone, so if I get stuck up there until Monday I can start to catch up.....

See ya on the other side.

Relatively Painless

Hartford Superior Court for my speeding ticket, that is.

They have two lines for entry (one for bags, one for not) which pretty much sorts out into women (bags) and men (no bags) - and since most of the folks entering were men, the women's line was pretty short and quick.

I got a no-points, donation offer for $150. Which I took. No need to wait for the judge, I was in and out before my 10:00 a.m. appearance time. Bonus: meter parking, cost me $2 in quarters. No biggie.

Note to self: SLOW IT DOWN. Stupid new car that does not rattle or vibrate at speeds higher than 30 MPH - it's way too easy to speed. I need to be more conscious......

But with all the driving I do, an occasional speeding ticket is expected, so hard to get too pissed off about it.

December 11, 2007

Maggie and Terre and Suzzy

The Roches are bubbling to the top of my cultural collective unconscious.

Colin was kvetching about xmas music the other day and I suggested the Roches xmas album We Three Kings as an alternative. Then I was Youtube surfing for something or the other and stumbled on this classic Tiny Toons episode featuring the Roches as, well, roaches.

Putting together my xmas list, I came across a Roches disk I do not own, 1994's children's disk Will You Be My Friend


And then, last night, en route home from Rye NY, who should pop up on the evening rebroadcast of Talk of the Nation but my three favorite musical sisters, in wonderful voice and humor. They talked, they took some calls, and they sang live in the studio (still in great voice). They have a new album out, Moonswept. Which will be added to my xmas list, posthaste.


I've been in love with Maggie and Terre and Suzzy since 1980 or thereabouts. Their first trio album got reviewed in Rolling Stone, which I was reading at the time in my "wanna be a rocker" days, and that prompted me to buy the vinyl. Probably got me started down the "folk music" road, really - I never picked up on Dylan, Simon & Garfunkle, Joni Mitchell, etc. until much later. But the Roches. I wanted to be them. Any of them. All of them. Urban and funky, serious and silly, and gloriously harmonious. I had serious crushes on 'em all.

I've seen them a handful of times - my most memorable was Town Hall in Tarrytown, NY - I was returning from a business trip overseas and was not sure I would be up for the concert, so I did not get a ticket ahead of time. I called that day to find out that tickets were still being sold, but when I got to the ticket window, found they needed cash. Off to the ATM, and when I returned, a guy pulled me aside to sell me a spare ticket - front row center. It was glorious - a sonic barrage.

I often pull out my Dar Williams bona fides when it comes to folkies - I caught the Dar wave in the early 90's, before her first CD in fact - as she schlepped her cassette tapes and Subaru through the wilds of New England to a handful of listeners. But the Roches and I go back at least a decade longer. Beautiful music, beautiful women. Providing the soundtrack to my life.....

So, the Roches new album, Moonswept for holiday giving. You could do worse....

December 10, 2007

Belay My Last

My speeding ticket court date is not until the 12th. And I wandered into the office intent on working, but found out some disturbing / annoying stuff about my #1 client, and decided to bag it (work, that is) and go to yoga. So my yoga binge continues with a fifth day of Marcia. Now back in the office and doing some odds and ends before heading down to Rye NY for an afternoon / evening gig.

Day of Rest

I've had four pretty strenuous days of yoga, probably in resonance with the Ana Forrest training going on at the studio.

Thursday was Nykki's last class for a while; I binged on her classes while she was temporarily back in town. A good strong class. Friday, hot yoga with Carissa in the morning. It was in the small studio, but not too tight (the 8:00 a.m. classes have yet to fully catch on).

Saturday, Peg at 9:15 with Power II - incredibly strong and deep class. She wrings me out and takes me to an edge, no doubt. And yesterday, a hot class with Shankara, all sweaty himself from working with Ana and charged up with Ana energy. He's funny that way, whenever a national teacher is in town he gets ideas and leans in that direction, so I could have predicted the kind of Ana inspired workout we got, crammed into the small studio.

Four wonderfully sweaty days. Today, a day off (I have a court date for a traffic ticket, and a site visit to Rye NY in the afternoon / evening). Tomorrow, probably Peg subbing for Nykki. Wednesday, Marcia with any luck. And Thursday I am off to Kripalu for the Enlightenment Intensive.

December 09, 2007

Plagues and Pleasures of the Salton Sea

AC and I popped into Real Art Ways last night to see this movie (official website here, IMDB page here)

A delightful film - part Discovery Channel documentary, part Jane & Michael Stern road pic complete with a down on it's luck diner, an outsider art religious mountain, and a naked man.

Sobering in many ways - the Salton Sea is a geological and ecological nightmare but also a neglected resource; those who have come to live on it's shores are a strange band indeed. It touches on many themes - the loss of habitat in southern CA, the water crisis that is in a race with oil and energy to be the #1 problem for the planet, the hubris of engineers, the social costs associated with global climate change. One wonders if we will all be residents of the Salton Sea at some point.....

Narrated by John Waters (perfect!) - we were graced by the presence of co-director Jeff Springer last evening. (who was charming and accessible, answering many questions afterwards). The film is at Real Art Ways until next Thursday.....

For Murdoch, Expansion Is A Religion

Colin McEnroe, in today's Hartford Courant:
It's tough to tell whether Murdoch is actively buying up religion or whether, in the course of buying up everything, religion is just coming up like a dolphin in his tuna net.

I read most anything Colin writes (some would say religiously), but every so often he puts words and ideas together in a particularly delightful way.

December 07, 2007

Women's Health Screening Day - Saturday Dec 8, 2007

The Hartford Gay & Lesbian Health Collective (HGLHC) is pleased to announce that it will hold its next Women’s Health Screening Day on Saturday, December 8, 2007. In collaboration with Hartford Hospital, the Hartford region’s largest and most comprehensive breast care provider, HGLHC will be offering FREE mammograms. Appointments are required to receive a free mammogram (please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment to complete necessary paperwork). All other services are provided on a walk-in basis from 9:00a.m. – 2:00p.m.

Kathey Fowler, Women’s Services Coordinator states that a day like this enables lesbian, bisexual and trans women to obtain the vital health screenings and exams they may otherwise not receive. It is also a great opportunity to support our community. Kathey also noted that lesbian, bisexual, and trans women have a greater concentration of risk factors for breast cancer and that breast cancer is most curable when detected early.”

In addition HGLHC will also provide Pap testing, breast and cervical exams, STD diagnosis and treatment, vaccination against hepatitis A & B, screening for hepatitis C and HIV counseling and testing. All screening services are free. Donations are always welcome.

We urge all lesbian, bisexual and trans women to “Take the Time” for these important preventative measures. If you have questions or would like to make an appointment, call Kathey Fowler at (860)278-4163 extension 16 or Donna Shubrooks, RN at extension 13.

The Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective empowers individuals of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions to lead healthy lives through the provision of health and support services, education and advocacy.

Bah, Humbug

Not that we are particularly anti-christmas, round these parts. We just are not really into it....

Can't say why, exactly. Partly, I am wrapped up in other parts of life - yoga and mentoring and work and therapy and enlightenment intensives. When you are hacking an alternate road up the mountain to the divine, it's hard to get excited about the cultural freeway. Zippy is a non-christian, so his holiday festing is somewhat obligatory and not heartfelt. And neither of us is flush with holiday cash this year....

SO even though we have an attic full of decorations and the like, I suspect they will remain there this year. Maybe I will get motivated to go fetch them this weekend, but maybe not.....if the weather warms up we have some yard work that needs to be done (mostly rogue piles of leaves and the gutters)

In other news, today will be a particularly social (and not particularly productive) day - yoga this a.m. with Carissa (I miss her, I've been binging on Nykki classes), lunch in Middletown with an old client / friend (Indian.....yum), then a social visit with some old friends of the Zipsters, then dinner with Zippy's dad. I'll squeeze in some work in there - before yoga, after yoga, and after lunch - but really, I'm not expecting to get too much done.....

Down at the studio, big doings. Ana Forrest is in town for a five day training. I'm not ready for continuing Forrest training yet, but I was sorely tempted by the 5 days of morning intensives (7 - 9, with optional meditation from 6 to 6:45). I was honestly on the fence until about 4:00 p.m. yesterday - it was sort of out of my mind , but I was working at the studio (getting sign-in sheets and stuff put together) when Ana arrived and in true fashion I just felt myself pulled to her, she has that way about her. So it was a hard decision. But with the holidays coming up, a fairly fruitful period of end-of-the-year work in progress, an upcoming enlightenment intensive, not a lot of extra cash and teacher training looming (along with a large check due for that), I decided better lay low this time. I'm getting a lot of yoga in, so it's not like its all or nothing on the asana front.....

December 06, 2007

Fighting Feminism - December 6, 1989

Today is the anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre - From Wikipedia

The École Polytechnique Massacre, also known as the Montreal Massacre, occurred on December 6, 1989 at the École Polytechnique in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Twenty-five year-old Marc Lépine, armed with a legally obtained semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife, shot twenty-eight people, killing fourteen (all of them women) and injuring the other fourteen before killing himself. He began his attack by entering a classroom at the university, where he separated the male and female students. After claiming that he was "fighting feminism", he shot all nine women in the room, killing six. He then moved through corridors, the cafeteria, and another classroom, specifically targetting women to shoot. He killed fourteen women and injured four men and ten women in just under twenty minutes before turning the gun on himself.

Something to keep in mind, as a woman engineer working in a what remains an almost completely male-dominated field.... 1989 seems like a long time ago, but I was 6 years out of my own engineering school at the time, a school where there were 13 male students for every female one at the time. Things have changed a lot since then, but such thinking remains fresh in the collective memory

Autism Study Lends Credence to 'Fever Effect'

A story that caught my eye on morning edition this morning. Fascinating stuff.
Craft says that she and her husband got a brief glimpse of a son who had been locked in his own world of autism. Then the fever went away, and so did Jackson's improvement.

Craft isn't the first parent to notice the so-called "fever effect." Autism researchers have been hearing reports about it for decades.

Now a team from the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore has done a study that suggests the fever effect is real.


Bonus: I've been to Kennedy Kreiger, a few times, for work. Did some power studies on the high power MRI's that they probably use to do some of this research. A neat personal connection.

Tumbleweeds

Courtesy of NPR, I bring you the Prairie Tumbleweed Farm. NPR story here

Apparently, a woman in Kansas needed to design a website for a class she was taking (the site looks like a home grown job), so she created a fictitious "tumbleweed farm" complete with online ordering, etc. Kind of a joke. I mean, who would order Tumbleweeds?

Then people started finding the site and ordering tumbleweeds. Set designers. Decorators. Even NASA, apparently. And so, a business is born. Nice.....

And hey, Tumbleweeds are $15 (small) - $25 (large) plus shipping. Perfect for holiday gifting.....

Predator or Prey?

Caught this on the 10 o'clock news yesterday. A janitor in Southington has been charged with "...having sexual intercourse with a 15-year old boy in exchange for money. Police also say Kusslow took photos of the teen while he was undressing." Story here. WTNH 8 / MY9 seem to have the lead on this one, every other media outlet is running the straight AP story without a lot of legwork.

But this one caught my eye: "Police are looking into whether or not the 15-year old victim is the same boy who allegedly had sex with a Waterbury police lieutenant and a Watertown businessman." I could have sworn I heard on Fox 61 last night that the teen has been the victim in eight (yes, I said 8) others cases of abuse from older men. (confirmed, the story is up on the Fox 61 news website now)

Makes one wonder who is the predator and who is the prey.... yeah, these creeps should not be messing around with teenagers - but you have to believe the kid was putting it out there to attract so many men. One messed up young man, sadly.

Sheesh.

December 04, 2007

Self Referential

OK, 30 Rock is weird enough, with Tina Fey playing a television show producer and Alec Baldwin playing a GE suit. On NBC of course. How weird to be ragging on GE from inside the corporation.

Then we have those Amex commercials, where Ms. Fey plays herself (she is the 30 Rock creator and a primary writer). But it's weird - as if she is playing her 30 Rock character but with her own name.

And I'm in the process of watching House (a pretty great episode - House and Cuddy on a plane, Wilson running a case back home) and watching all the GE medical imaging systems spotlighted. More corporate mixing of reality and fiction - House is a pretty great show but on one level its a 60 minute commercial for medical technology - selling the populus on the concept of salvation through diagnostic testing.

Weird.

Catch-22 on the Therapy Front

First session with a therapist tonight, as suggested by our couples counselor. I like therapy, I resonate with this person, so its all good.....

However, our couples counselor suggested I tell my new therapist that "I'm really good at convincing therapists how healthy I am.....but don't let me BS you...." (based on one of my concerns about individual therapy expressed in couples counseling). So I did.

Of course, telling a therapist that is sort of a recipe for them to marvel at how healthy one is, no? I like the therapist a lot, and do not think I really need someone who is gonna bludgeon me into a quivering mass of dysfunction (see how f*cked up you are?) or engage me in a psychological chess game. I'm sort of looking for someone to witness my process, listen as I get some things out verbally, ask a few wise questions, and perhaps keep me from avoidance / diversion.

But it's sort of weird to just out of habit work the whole therapy process thing (catch yourself not using "I" statements, for example, and correct mid-sentence), and have the therapist laugh and shake her head and say "You have done a lot of therapy, I guess" Less like a therapist and more like a partner in the work at hand.

Good thing or bad thing? Not sure......but its nice to have finding out to look forward to. It's been a while since I sat across the room from a therapist, and it feels good.

Magic Mirror

For some reason, Romper Room has drifted to the top of my memory stack....

My sister and I used to run up to the sides of the television when Miss Romper Room used to do the magic mirror bit, so as to not be seen by her. And then we'd listen for our names to be called:

"Romper, bomper, stomper, boo.
Tell me, tell me, tell me do.
Magic mirror, tell me today.
Did all my friends have fun at play?"

I see Becky....and Helen....and Mark....and Steph.....

We'd pretty much have ourselves worked into a frenzy such that if she called our names, we were scarred for life or something. I called my sister to remind her of this, she laughed like hell, then confessed that just yesterday, at tennis, she held her racket up to her face and did the magic mirror bit, although she had forgotten that there was a poem that went along with it.

It oddly echoes our behavior with fire-and-brimstone sermons at church, where we would crouch down behind the pew so as not to be seen by the priest.....

December 03, 2007

Power Outages

Sitting at my desk this morning, I've watched the lights dim 4x while my UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) clicks over to battery. Ice on the utility lines, perhaps compounded by cars sliding into utility poles, is making today classic day for power quality problems. That's my business, so I am interestingly watching things as I work. One of these days I need to set up a power analyzer here in the office, just to keep an eye on things....

No problems here - my computer and all of the mission critical peripherals are on the UPS - but the lights keep dimming. Probably a good day to be a UPS salesperson.....

December 01, 2007

No Ga

Tried to hit a power class this morning - alternated by two teachers I do not work with enough. But the class never got started, it was supposed to be subbed, but some miscommunication. So they were gonna combine it with a gentle class, and I bagged - the gentle / power hybrid was not where I was at and I was on a bit of a tight schedule.

While waiting for the class to start I got up into Sirsana a few times and some down dogs on the wall, plus some stretching and twisting, so not a total waste. Try again tomorrow.....

I got my yoga bumper stickers - now on my car - but I am having second thoughts about this one:


"I'd Rather Be in Savasana" - except that isn't yoga all about being present in the moment. So, wanting to be elsewhere or doing something else (even yoga) is not yoga. Conundrum, eh?

Besides which, Savasana is Corpse Pose which I have come to view as a sort of "practice for death" - so is the bumper sticker kind of saying "I'd rather be dead"?

Oh well, it is what it is. I also have a small Om symbol, and a Yin/Yang symbol with a rainbow instead of the white part. For my queerish buddhist leanings....