December 31, 2008

End of an Era

Colin McEnroe is off the air. Miss ya already, dude!

The Ballad of Colin McEnroe

In tribute to my friend Colin McEnroe's last show, a bit of folk music whimsy. I would NOT do this for anyone less beloved and respected than Colin, mind you.....

The Ballad of Colin McEnroe (circa mid 90's). Wav file here

Words by Mike Russell (who?) and music by Bruce Springsteen. (it's based on the song "Youngstown" from the Ghost of Tom Joad" album)
Guitar and Vocals by Mike Russell, Mandolin and Vocals by Jon Lewis

Colin played this on his morning show back in the day. I think he called it tedious. Ah well. Art isn't easy.....

In retrospect, a lot of dated references. Squids in the sound. Dubey and all those Barbaras. Dr. Laura (who grabbed his morning time slot, back in the day, this is not the first time Colin has lost a slot on WTIC). Tick inspections. Rush Limbaugh's ties. And Colin McEnroe circa 2008 is anything but equivocating, and has quite the backbone (back in the 90's he was a bit less sure of himself).


It's a golden word in the manufacturing sector - having a backlog of orders to be delivered is like money in the bank. No discussion of corporate financial health fails to mention the state of the backlog....

So to wander into the last day of 2008, with the global economy lying in tatters, with a backlog of about 30 hours of work for one client (30 hours is a decent month's billables for this particular client) - well, not too shabby a position to be in.

I have muchg to be thankful for. Now, back to work. See if I can knock 4 or 5 hours off the backlog today so I can bill them in December.....

A Strong Desire for the Yoga

One of my long time clients sent a letter of recommendation to one of my future yoga teaching gigs:
Jude is among the top rated electrical (power) engineering consultants in the global medical equipment market but she also has a strong desire for the Yoga

Heh-heh. It's a nice letter and "A Strong Desire for the Yoga" is gonna become one of my favorite phrases, I suspect.

December 30, 2008

You May Say I'm a Dreamer

I often make my way down Cedar Street in Newington. Looking off to the right (heading into Newington) - once can see the abandoned shell of a radio station, WPOP was one of the first stations to "get" the Top-40 / music format that has become ubiquitous, which it mined from 1958 through 1975. A brief history here. The station call letters are still affixed to the building, and a small tower is visible towards the back of the property.

Being a bit of a dreamer (ask Zippy, I have Mitty-esque plans for everything and anything - a gay bar, a coffeehouse, a yoga studio, a local publication to overthrow the gynophobes over at Metroline, you name it, I've pondered it), I've often thought (as I drove by) it would be fun to buy a small radio station and run it right. Nothing fancy, some leftist talk, local news, some music radio at night. An arbitron nightmare, to be sure, but a grand romantic venture.

Over the holidays, I had the chance to socialize with Colin McEnroe (who at the time knew his fate but was not talking) as well as Susan Forbes Hansen (another local radio legend, sadly stripped of her WFCR folk show some time ago). With all this great radio talent hanging out there (Susan, Colin, Stan Simpson, Diane Smith, and I am sure there are other and will be even more) wouldn't that be a cool thing to do?

Sad day for Hartford media, sad day for the local arts, culture, and tourism communities - right up there with the Tribune's stripping of the Courant news organization. I only hope all parties involved land on their feet, find something rewarding to do.....

End Times Alert II

Colin McEnroe, Diane Smith Laid Off By WTIC-AM

I've known this was coming for a few days - but the public announcement makes it all the more real. And while I can understand things like ratings and demographics and market share and all, it sucks nonetheless.

Colin McEnroe from 3-6 has been one of the shining lights of life in CT for a long while now.....I hope he lands somewhere local so we don't lose him to some more exciting, cultured, and left leaning locale.

Colin, you are loved and respected by many (despite what the rabble has been posting on your blog and the Courant website) - and will be missed! Hurry back onto the air!

End Times Alert

Just in case you want something else to worry about this new years.....

Scientists eye unusual swarm of Yellowstone quakes

Yellowstone National Park was jostled by a host of small earthquakes for a third straight day Monday, and scientists watched closely to see whether the more than 250 tremors were a sign of something bigger to come. Swarms of small earthquakes happen frequently in Yellowstone, but it's very unusual for so many earthquakes to happen over several days, said Robert Smith, a professor of geophysics at the University of Utah.

I saw something on Discovery Channel a while back about "super-volcanos" - which identified the Yellowstone Caldera as the largest of such volcanoes on the planet. This website goes into some depth:

Scientists have revealed that Yellowstone Park has been on a regular eruption cycle of 600,000 years. The last eruption was 640,000 years ago…so the next is overdue. The next eruption could be 2,500 times the size of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. Volcanologists have been tracking the movement of magma under the park and have calculated that in parts of Yellowstone the ground has risen over seventy centimeters this century.

Poking around online, I find a significant number of websites filled with prophesy and bible code predictions about a significant eruption in Yellowstone. Pretty scary. Am I messed up for taking some solace that (a) the bible code predictions seem to be in the past (2004, 2007) and (b) the scope of the cataclysm as described in these events is significantly less (mere global disruption) than that in the Discovery Channel series (end of life as we know it on the planet).

Of course, the way we humans have been treating the planet in recent years, I would not be surprised if a little karmic payback came our way.....

December 29, 2008

The New Department of Motor Vehicles

Just renewed my auto registration via the web. It took about 90 seconds (including time to type in a credit card number).

The DMV has gotten a lot of bad press over the past years, much of it warranted. But the last few times I've been to the DMV offices, the wait was short, the lines well organized, and the amount of "stand in this line for 45 minutes only to be told I was in the wrong line" opportunities were minimal. In fact, I stopped the information desk person (who happened to be the supervisor that particular day) to say "good job".

Last time I renewed an automobile registration, I think ti was via mail. Which was handy enough. And now we can do it online.

Nice to see my tax dollars working efficiently and well!

December 28, 2008

Movie Madness

As 2008 closes out, I am catching up on movies as well as some movie related technology.

Today I headed to Cinema City to finally catch Milk. Yeah to everything I've read - Sean Penn's performance is award winning (just say Mystic River for the first time on AMC as well, so his acting chops in two very different roles are on my mind). An incredible story - I knew the basics of the Milk / Moscone murders but Harvey Milk's life, and the politics of San Fran at the time were both revelations. I admit to shedding tears a few times. Was a wonderful film.

On the technology front, I *finally* jumped on board the Netflix download bandwagon - I installed the PC software and then watched an old Marx Brothers movie last night (Monkey Business) just to test the technology, and today I ordered a Roku Netflix Player for the television. I cost-justified that by dropping my Netflix subscription from 2 disks at a time to 1 at a time, figuring we'd download more films than we bring in via mail. And with 12,000 titles online now, I suspect we wil not run out of movies to see anytime soon......

We're technology refuseniks here. We have basic cable (broadcast plus a few channels - AMC, TBS, CSPAN, Weather). We have no Tivo or DVR or Blu-Ray. No HDTV or flat screen (I bought my 27" Magnavox when I worked at Philips, circa 1990, and it's still going strong). We have an old VCR and a cheap DVD player. So this will be a jump in technology. From the looks of things it has a built in web browser (to search the netflix site for movies) and a WiFi connection (so we can glom onto the existing home wireless). $99, and unlimited downloads come free with our Netflix subscription. It seems pretty simple to use (a big deal for the Zipster who gets frustrated by complex technology).


December 27, 2008

Christmas Wrap-up

Nothing deep or grand, just a little report of the day.

Christmas Eve I went to a wonderful party in WH with friends; met some really wonderful folks and had a surprisingly good time. Surprising because I am more likely to just go for an hour or so and hang out to be polite, but I really enjoyed the folks I met and talked to. YUMMY food, too!

Christmas morning, Zippy was in a mood - not celebrating xmas but not really happy to be left alone either. So we ended up fighting about something dumb (he was upset because I took a bath the night before and a shower that morning) and I ended up in tears.

Got that over with, and drove up to MA to visit my family. We had a lovely time - my sister wrote down a few "momisms" (funny things Mom says, especially when she is up on the prednisone) - the only one I can remember is that my niece got a gift card for a store called "Forever 21" and mom blurts out, aghast "Over 21?" but there were a few others as well. We cut back on gifting significantly; each adult got one name to buy for, as well as one person to "stuff the stocking" (small gifts and the like) but still there was plenty of gifting going on.

When I got home, Zippy was finishing up a dinner with AC and MP, so I hung out with them a bit. And then I wandered over to see friends.

All in all, a lovely holiday.

December 24, 2008

Little Red Wagon

So if you noticed someone pulling a little red wagon through downtown West Hartford this noontime, that was me.....

December 23, 2008

Last Minute Jude

Been that sort of holiday season.

Between business travel (2 trips to Tulsa and 1 to the West Coast) in the past 6 weeks and the short holiday season (Thanksgiving was late) - I just never got off square 1. Factor in tight money (I got a large check on Friday, but it still has not cleared, every other check from this client has cleared in 24 hours or so) and the recent weather, and I'm just not getting a ton done for the holidays. So be it. I have the basics covered, but I'm not gifting wildly (or even moderately) this year.

Some musings and reports:

* I hit the West Farms Mall* area yesterday (traffic madness). Was aiming at Border's but the traffic was too difficult to get through so I turned into Barnes&Noble - where I found everything I needed (some DVDs for nephew and niece, some books for nephew and friends, and a calendar for my bro). Bonus - minimal line, I heard one guy say he went over to Border's, drove around for 20 minutes looking for a place to park, then found the check-out line stretching around the store (I experienced that line last year). So good fortune.

* Where can you find jigsaw puzzles? I was looking for a puzzle for friends, and no place (B&N, Borders, Toys 'R Us) seemed to carry much. Then I trekked down to The Wooden Toy on the Silas Deane Highway - where I found a good selection plus tons of other really nice, educational, high quality toys. Definitely my "go to" place for kid (and young at heart) shopping. I also picked up a rather interesting puppet for another friend. Once again, no line, minimal traffic issues.

* I have a few stops to make tomorrow: The package store, for some wine. Some place to get a gift card. My office, to print out a gift certificate. Probably CVS if I decide I need some wrapping supplies. I'm hitting a yoga class tomorrow, the bank, and those few errands, and then sticking a fork in the holiday shopping madness - it's done!

* Even though I live about a mile from West Farms Mall and go to surrounding stores all the time, I think I average less than one visit every other year. Not my favorite place.

December 21, 2008

New Year's Eve Yoga

Just getting the word out - Nykki Poole will be be leading a Yoga Mala (108 Sun Salutations) on New Year's Eve from 10:00 pm to Midnight. West Hartford Yoga, of course. More information here.

I did one of these last year at Fresh Yoga in New Haven, led by Peg Oliviera, and it was pretty great. So come on out - no need to do all 108 sun salutations (and Nykki suggests wearing wrist support if you plan to) but it can be a sacred and meditative way to close out 2008 and welcome in 2009.

If you must party to make your New Year's official, perhaps come down for some Gentle Yoga on New Year's Eve day - I'm subbing for Sharon Smith so will be leading a Gentle Yoga practice from 12:15 - 1:15. Then go on and have a great time!

And if you really want fireworks, hit the children's fireworks show at Bushnell Park earlier in the evening - then come on down to WHY for some New Year's Eve yoga!

December 17, 2008

Oklahoma Farewell

At the airport - I bought some internets becuase I got here early and did not have time to do much this morning from the airport. When I'm in a hotel for a few nights, the room begins to feel like my luggage exploded - the desk is covered, the coffee tables, the 2nd bed, the bathroom vanity. I tend to spread pulling it all back together and repacking for the return trip takes some time.

If I really planned ahhead, I would throw some paper and scotch tape in my bag and get started on expense reports on the way home. I'd also have a litle envelope in my briefcase labeled RECEIPTS and file them there, instead of having to dig 'em out of my purse, my wallet, my trip folder, and every other miscellaneous place I stash 'em. Like THAT will ever happen....I'm sort of a lazy traveler.

Yoga last night, at Inner Peace Yoga here in Tulsa, was nice. It was called Deep Stretch, and it was sort of a slow class - not really Yin, not really gentle. A bit too quick on the draw into forward folds for my taste (when I am not powering through a vinyasa or power class, I tend to like to warm up the creaky spine gently, my gentle classes often never get near a deep forward bend until the end of class) - but all in all it was a fine class - I got some ideas for my own teaching, which is nice. And if I get into Hartford on time tonight, I might sneak over to WHY for a round of power with Christine.

Oklahomans are, by and large, friendly people. Chatty even. I wandered into Walgreens yesterday to pick up batteries and I must have gotten a huge greeting from every employee in the place. The guy at the donut shop this morning, equally friendly. I ended up chit-chatting with the woman behind me at security.

I suspect I will be back here in 2009 (this is my third trip in 2008) - this seems like a good new client. As the principal engineer quipped yesterday as we were saying our good-byes "Where has she (meaning, me) been the last 30 years?"

Nice to feel appreciated!

December 16, 2008


Last April, I visited Tulsa to look into some noise problems. Back then, I suggested some fixes, one in particular. It's taken the past 7 months to get these implemented; my trip out here this week was in part intended to see if my recommendations worked.

So when I clamped the leakage current, and found that the high frequency leakage current that ranged from 40 mA - 210 mA back in April had dropped to somewhere between 1 mA and 10 mA, well, big smiles all around. Making an "order of magnitude" improvement in ground currents, leakage currents, noise - not easy. So it felt like a win, like I have earned my consulting fee for the day.

My reward - a nice "Deep Stretch" yoga class this evening over at Inenr Peace Yoga. And a trip home tomorrow morning!

December 15, 2008

Frozen Tulsa

I'm in Tulsa. I rather stupidly assumed "south = warmer" and so I left my warm coat, gloves, hat, etc. in my car - I have a warm scarf (admittedly mostly for fashion) and a lightish leather coat. So color me beet red (in the cheeks and ears, anyway)

It's been bitter cold here - went from 60's to 20's on Sunday, and has hovered in the teens all day today. And Sunday night, we got sleet / freezing rain that coated sidewalks, streets, etc. with an icy coating that remains on the roads even now, 24 hours later. Apparently, there is not enough salt and sand in Tulsa to treat the roads, nto enough vehicles to deliver said ice treatment, and not enough municipal employees or subcontractors to drive said vehicles.

So it's been treacherous driving (although no hills, so not all that bad for a New Englander with a front-wheel drive car) - but the good ol' boys in their pick-ups are sliding all over the road. Pretty comical to see them, without sandbags in the back to weight down the drive wheels and gunning the engine so as to slicken the road and slide sideways. While I drive slowly around 'em.

I'm here for another day - then back home on Wednesday morning.....

December 14, 2008

Southwest Gate Area Chairs

If you gotta wait, do it in style...

Southwest has these awesome chairs available (in both Hartford and Midway, at the very least) that I have found myself sitting in. Note the little console with both AC power ports and USB charging ports.

More reason to LUV Southwest.....

Photo credit and thanks to BrettSnyder (aka CrankyFlier) who seems to have a Flickr account dedicated to air travel pics....

Blogging from BDL

All in all, it seems like a pretty nice day to fly - clear and cold but warming up. Bradley is prety quiet too - the lull between the holiday storms. I breezed through gate check-in and security. I'm heading to Tulsa via a circuitous route - Southwest to Midway and from there down to Tulsa. I had some SW credits from a cancelled trip that I needed to burn by Feb (or lose the funds), so figured this would be a good time, and besides, I kind of like Southwest. They tend to depart and arrive on time.... and no extra baggage fees (with my two bags, clothes and test equipment, most airlines would get another $50-$100 for the entire trip)

A semi long travel day - my travel bag is filled with time-fillers. Two recent issues of the New Yorker. Two issues of Yoga Journal. A couple of books (Iyengar's "Light on Life", a book of Rumi). And my MP3 player with some music to embed into my subconscious for kirtan.

This is the "real" trip that I took at the end of November, right before Thanksgiving. The equipment was not really ready for me back then, so it was more of a political trip (touch base, look things over, take meetings, etc.). This ought to be a more productive trip (i.e. - I can bring out my meters and scopes and get some things done). I have some work to do enroute - setting up some documents (tables and stuff) to expedite the measurements and data capture.

This time *I* am renting a car, so maybe I can sneak out to yoga some night at Inner Peace Yoga (yes, there is yoga in Tulsa). We'll see.....I brought my mat and yoga clothes so I'll practice in the hotel regardless, and I brought a swimsuit to maybe get a swim in (indoor pool) and/or a soak in the whirlpool.

The apartment hunt continues - the place I saw in New Britain last week that I kind of liked, I liked less in daylight. Mostly related to room sizes - the bedrooms were small, especially the one that I would use as an office, and the closets were miniscule. Would be OK if there were some storage space (basement, attic, crawl spaces) - but not much of that either. So I keep looking. I'm upping my rent window a bit, looking at a condo in Plainville and a 3 family in West Hartford. When I get back from Tulsa, I ought to have the funds to look in earnest....

December 12, 2008

Metro Meters

Scenic root special correspondant (and agent provacateur) who I've code named B has sent along some pictures of new parking meters on Capitol Avenue and Linden. Agent B reports "You can use credit cards, and it spits out a little ticket that you place on your dashboard. They are SO metro ..."

December 10, 2008

Boycotting Christmas

Reasons I am being a scrooge this year:

* I am moving into a new place, maybe as soon as Jan 1, and am not about to get too involved in the holiday if I am getting ready packing and stuff

* I am too darned busy, heading to Tulsa for work this Sun-Wed, and maintaining a engineering career, a yoga teaching career, and helping out around the yoga studio

* I pretty much gave up on xmas / holiday cards the last few years

* Zippy is not christian so we've never really done much in terms of tree, lights, etc. Maybe 1-2 years out of the 7 or so we have been together

* I am effectively broke right this second; I have a pantload of receivables which ought to start showing up any time now, but really, I'm too poor to hit the shops

* We're getting ready for a Dec 19th kirtan which ought to keep me pretty busy between now and then (when I am not working, teaching, or being in Tulsa)

So....catch me after the new year. I'm sleeping in this holiday. Will probably go visit my family in MA for the day, but other than that, I'm not doing much.....

December 09, 2008

Equal Time

The mystery does not get cleared by repeating the question,
nor is it bought with going to amazing places.

Until you've kept your eyes and your wanting still for fifty years,
you don't begin to cross over from confusion.

- Rumi

So What is Up with Bristol?

Cause there are a heck of a lot of apartments available in that town.....

Internet Scams: Craigslist Apartment Edition

Yesterday, I dropped an email in response to this Craigslist ad:
$700 / 2br - Beautiful Classic Two Bedroom w/ Lots of Character! (West Hartford, CT)

Seems pretty resonible right? The photos in the ad pretty accurately show an older, empty, two bedroom apartment. Here's what I get back:


Attn Applicant,

Thanks for the email. I own the house and also want you to know that it was due to my transfer to West Africa, Lagos that makes us to leave the house and also want to give it out for rent and looking for a responsible person that can take very good care of it as we are not after the money for the rent but want it to be clean all the time and the person that will rent it to take it as if it were its own. So for now, We are here in West Africa and will be staying here for the next 4 years in our new house and also with the keys of the house for rent, we try to look for an agent that we can give this documents and the keys before we left but could not find, and we as well do not want our house to be used any how in our absence that is why we took it along with us. I and my wife came over to Africa for a missionary work, so i hope you will promise us that you will take very good care of the house. So get back to me on how you could take care of our house or perhaps experience you have in renting home. Hope you are okay with the price of $700 per month.

This is the address of the house: 773 Farmington Ave, West Hartford, CT 06119


FIRST NAME:__________?
MIDDLE NAME:__________?
LAST NAME:__________?
KIDS _____ (YES/NO), HOW MANY ________
PRESENT ADDRESS: _____________________
CITY: _______________
ZIP CODE: ____________
NAME OF PET: _____________?
KIND OF PETS: _____________?
DO YOU SMOKE ______________ ?
DO YOU DRINK ______________?

Looking forward to hear from you with all this details so that i can have it in my file in case of issuing the receipt for you and contacting you.Await your urgent reply so that we can discuss on how to get the document and the key to you,please we are giving you all this base on trust and again i will want you to stick to your words,you know that we do not see yet and only putting everything into Gods hand,so please do not let us down in this our property and God bless you more as you do this.Our house number is +234-806-113-3966 OR 011-234-806-113-3966.

Thanks and Remain Blessed.


Seem familiar? I thought so too.....

December 08, 2008

Man's Best Friend

Puppies save three-year-old boy lost in freezing Virginia woods

"When I first saw him, he was like, 'Momma, I got cold. I slept in the woods last night. The puppies kept me warm.' He told me that ... the dogs slept up against him. And I'm sure the body heat kept him warm," said his mother, Sarah Ingram.

Billie Jo Roach, another member of the search party that found the boy, said the puppies refused to leave his side.

As the child was placed in an ambulance to be taken to a local hospital for examination, "The puppies were watching where he went.

What a beautiful story, with a happy ending. As someone who has a furry bed warmer and has noted the fierce loyalty of a dog, I'm not a bit surprised.

December 07, 2008

Tell Me What Life Is....

Enlightenment Intensive IV - I'm back. And voiding all the warranty requirements by hopping back on line so quickly and with both feet. Ah well, I am an old hand now, so I can bounce back faster.

Not gonna write a lot, but I like to set some markers to look back upon from the future (it was really sweet to go back in my blog for post-Intensive follow-ups, kind of reminded me of stuff). But some thoughts and memories:

* Life is large - me confronting the enormity of life
* Not having a headache all weekend (what was up with that? I usually get a honking headache)
* The planet (my first object of contemplation)
* Polar Bears and dead dogs
* The dead chipmunk and then the living chipmunk
* A reason to believe; waking up each day
* The beautiful and elusive woodpecker
* My left hand (my second object of contemplation)
* Building this hand out of bits of life that I have consumed
* The master plan in a single cell's DNA

I confess to spending much of the weekend in sadness and deep grief, contemplating the nature of life, the pain in the world, the immensity of the world, and the sureness of death. I did not have a direct experience of the truth (i.e - Enlightenment) which took me into some additional sadness and yearning, but it was a wonderfully cleaning and deep weekend nonetheless.

A most precious bit of work. Now back to the rest of life.

December 04, 2008

Off the Grid - New Age Style

I'm headed out this afternoon - so will be completely off the grid. No cell phone, no email, no texting. Heading up to Kripalu for an Enlightenment Intensive.

"Tell me who you are...."

December 03, 2008

Four Rooms

I'm supposed to be catching up on work this week, preparing for an upcoming Enlightenment Intensive, and in general, taking it easy. Instead, I got tapped to teach four extra yoga classes (besides my Monday night class) - a hot and gentle class last night, and an all levels class and an intro today morning. Teaching all this yoga is a bit tiring, but I'm flattered to be called in for sub duty, and pleased with my own ability to step in and teach at the last moment.

December 01, 2008

Heads-up: Heather Tiddens

Just a quickie for yogis - Heather Tiddens will be in town this coming Monday (Dec 8) from 6-8 pm - doing a Yin/Yang yoga practice with Barbara Ruzansky, at West Hartford Yoga. Regular class price too!

Not on the website yet, but this is one not to miss if you are in town.....

November 30, 2008


I've been shopping apartments for the past few weeks - looking to move into my own place sometime after the first of the year. My concept - find a 2BR (minimum) place so I can move my business into the 2nd bedroom, close my office, and apply my office rent and the rent I pay Zippy towards the new place. I figured I could afford $800 - $900 per month. I'd have to come up with an additional $1000 - $1800 for last month rent and security.

Now, that's a pretty reasonable mortgage payment for a small place, especially in Hartford. And coincidentally, the house directly behind us is for sale - having been foreclosed upon a several months back. The bank owns it; it's listed for $125K; I suspect it will go for much less. I also realized that I can burn $10K of my IRA towards the purchase of a home, under the "first time buyer" exception.

No idea if this will work out; no idea if there is mortgage money out there; if I qualify for same, if the house is worth a look etc. Being self employed is tough; I gross quite a nice chunk of change but by the time I deduct everything (and you know I deduct everything I can) my net is much lower. But hard to know if the argument that I have been paying $800 / month in "rent" over the past 8 years is going to carry much weight.

But it would be lovely to have my own place, lovely to stay in this neighborhood, lovely to be adjacent to Zippy (we could remove the fence and let the dogs roam between the houses).

I want this, badly - to the point where I might try to get creative to figure out how to come up with the money if conventional methods do not pan out.

November 29, 2008

Azur and Asmar: The Princes Quest

Wandered over to the cinema at Real Art Ways (after far too long an absence) to see Azur and Asmar, an animated movie by Michel Ocelot. Was an incredible film - wonderful story, sonically gorgeous, and visually stunning.

At Real Art Ways, the run finishes up tomorrow. Go see it if you are able on the big screen....otherwise rent it. Highly recommended.

November 28, 2008

And boom....the holidays are here

Thanksgiving was late this year (so they say) and I have to admit I am not in the xmas mood.

This weekend will blur by - with yoga stuff, a book signing this evening, a belated family dinner on Sunday, and sneaking into the office to catch up on work. I look at the calendar, and Monday is the first of the month. Already? Wow....

Next week, a lot of yoga teaching (one of the studio rock stars is away, so I get to do some subbing). Thursday I leave for a weekend at Kripalu, at an Enlightment Intensive. Then a week of catching up. Then a week of travel (Tulsa again). And then, it will be the holiday week.

So...pretty much put it in drive and see you in January. The only good thing is, all this work means I'll be flush with cash about mid-month, so I can do some xmas shopping and close out 2008 with my head above water.....

November 26, 2008

Heading Home

A quick report from the road. DFW, to be specific. It looks like I will be getting my toes back on nutmeg flavored soil a bit after 1:00 a.m. - right on schedule. Huzzah.

Air travel seems very light, comparatively. Tulsa was practically empty - and although the plane was nearly full, I breezed through check-in and security with nary a burp and no line to speak of. And here in Dallas - no problem finding a table in the little food court, the gate area is pretty quiet.

I've seen a handful of servicemen and women in desert fatiques. Just a shout out and nod to them all for their service, a happy thanksgiving with their families, and godspeed wherever their life takes them from today. In all the economic chos, sometimes forget that there is a war on.

Was up in the air about Turkey Day - mom and my brother are hitting the casino (no big family day, we are getting together on Sunday). Zippy is heading down to Westchester to eat with his mom. I think I am gonna tag along with him - so he can come home tomorrow (else he would stay overnight). Which means no yoga tomorrow, but whatever....

Happy thanksgiving everyone. I am just thankful to be etting home safe and on time.

November 25, 2008

Tulsa Update

Down here in Tulsa, on my 3rd trip with this particular sub-client* this calendar year. I've been out to one of their facilities in Long Beach, CA. Also to this facility, last April. Here this week, and it looks like I will be back one more time before the christmas holiday.

This trip was, to be honest, a bit premature. My primary functions - investigate leakage curent and grounding, and check the system demand and harmonics, were not possible because the system was not ready. The "system" is a large flight simulator. And "not ready" means that the 13 motors and variable speed drives that make up the bulk of the electrical load (and create the bulk of the potential leakage current and noise issues) were not yet operational. So....I need to come back.

But, exciting to be here. Nice to get a few more billable days this month. And this seems to be a long term client - with potential for site issues, site prep and installation assistance, and ongoing development work.

Also, I get to occasionally fly (and crash) simulated jets!

* Sub-client = Customer of my customer. I'm getting paid (this trip) by my customer.

Yoga on Television

Watching some yoga show on RSU Public Television as I get ready for my workday here in Tulsa. Kind of fun to watch someone else teach a class, and to plan my own adjustments to her students.

One more day in Tulsa; I am hoping to get out of here early tomorrow, if I can sneak onto an earlier flight.

November 23, 2008

Brought to You by Chesapeake Energy

I'm sitting by Gate D40 at DFW, at a handy little power station, supplied by the good folks at Chesapeake Energy. and not only do I get a stool, a flat surface, and a power plug - but also a hardwire internet port that permits me to save a $5.99 T-mobile Day Charge for another day.....

Oops, belay my last. The hardwire internet quit working (maybe it times out) so I popped the $5.99 T-mobile day pass anyway. Oh well....still the stool, desk-like surface, and AC power is handy and useful.

Off to Tulsa

I'm heading back to Tulsa OK, a follow-up to my trip back in April. My San Diego client is developing power supplies for a client who makes large flight simulators (for Gulfstream's and Learjets and the like). This client is simultaneuously migrating from a hydraulic control system to one based on motors and variable speed drives. When I went there in April, we found lots of electrical noise issues, grounding issues, etc. I made some recommendations back then; this trip out we are going to see what has been fixed, what is still an issue, etc.

It is, perhaps, symptomatic of my life that I never did get that April trip closed out fully (final report, invoicing) so hopefully this will permit that to happen. It also means I'm going to be able to bill my San Diego client a good 5 workdays and 4 travel days this month (plus expenses) which ought to return me to financial comfort moving into the new year. Good thing too....

I'm trying to be positive about this trip; I have not been looking forward to it in terms of life disruption, needing to sub out a yoga class, needing to travel the week of Thanksgiving, and being tied to my client (so I probably won't get any studio yoga in). S'ok. I can catch up on some work (book reports for yoga teacher training, some long term projects). I can catch up on sleep. I can do my own practice.

So, off to Tulsa...I'm back on Thursday. But I'll blog from the road as best as I can!

November 22, 2008

Sell Me on Hartford

I'm starting to sniff around for a new place to live. I'm looking for 2 decent sized bedrooms, because I plan to move my office into one of them. Off street parking for one car. Reasonably safe neighborhood.

I could be looking at a 2 or 3 family. A townhouse or duplex would be ideal. I've never lived in a large building - but even that might be OK. I'm older and not loud - so quiet is good. Since I will be combining my office rent and housing rent, I can afford a reasonable rent, but I'd like to not overextend myself with housing. No roommate situations - being self employed I need a work space, and I've been cohabitating for a while now; I need to find my own space.

Location - there is the rub. I've been living in Hartford for 7-8 years; before that I lived in Waterbury. Right now my center of gravity is around the yoga studio; that is the only place I really need to get to. I like the arts and entertainment I find in Hartford. But I also wander west (Southington / Plainville / Bristol) for things like ballooing, mentoring, medical providers. So I am definitely looking west of the river.

I find myself being lulled westward in my apartment search - New Britain in particular seems to be somewhat less expensive with some nice neighborhoods and buildings tucked away. Plainville seems to have some places.

Hartford denizens - help me out here. Point me at some nice neighborhoods and complexes in the city. I'd love to stay if I can afford it, and I can find a suitable place. I'm a little spoiled, having lived in a neighborhood filled with single family homes the past 7-8 years.

I'm not seriously looking yet - moving is slated for early 2009. But I am definitely hunting around.

November 21, 2008

Sharing Circle

We had a sharing circle this evening with a subset of our teacher training group. As I spoke my piece, and then listened to others speaking, I began to look at my upcoming move a little differently. I've been living in the margins for many years. When I moved in with Zippy, I was moving into a home fully inhabited and occupied. It's Zippy's house, and I was carving out space. Even having my own bedroom a year or so ago was a big step.

But now, the possibility of my own living space looms large. And I began to see this as an opportunity. I'm imagining:

* A place to set up a yoga mat, a dedicated place for meditation and practice.
* A refrigerator and cainets filled with healthy foods, and the opportunity to cook and eat the way I want
* The chance to listen to my music, my radio
* A place for my music, my books, my decor.

I know I am a cluttery person, a messy person. But I am looking at my own place as a chance to break out of that, to be more mindful and craft a living space that is both a home and a sanctuary.

So, I'm getting excited!

November 19, 2008

Farewell Ted Stevens

Looks as if Alaska's Senator Ted Stevens has been defeated in the recent election. Two weeks after the fact, the vote count is finishing up.

Relief, mostly because had he been elected, all sorts of scenarios involving Sarah Palin elevating herself to his Senate seat would have been in play. I suspect we have not heard the last of Governor Palin on the national scene, but for the moment, her 15 minutes are up.


Scenic Root is Back

The "scenic root" image at the top of this blog, that is.

November 18, 2008

2 Bedrooms.....

In other news, I am looking for an apartment. Zippy and I have been drifting for a few years now; I've lived with him since 2001 or thereabouts but we've been in separate room for a few years. We're less sympatico these days; I'm a mess, which grates on his desire for stability and order, and he's an Eeyore whereas I'm a bit of a Tigger. Frictionish.....and we've struggled to make it work but I think we're both ready to throw in the towel.

So, I'm looking for a place to call my own. Hoping to get a larger space (two bedroom), in which case I can close up my office and work out of the apartment (the rent I pay to Zippy + the office rent is about the same as a two bedroom space)

Huge change for me. I've been in exactly two living spaces in the past 20 years. So this is a once per decade kind of move. Needless to say, lot of angst, seasoned with some excitement and some fear. We're both sort of looking ahead - he to having his own space without my clutter and chaos. Me to having my own space for the first time in 7 or 8 years, and perhaps, a bit more sunshine and air with which to grow.

Catching My Breath

Life has felt like child's pose of late: I am on my mat, connecting to the earth, not moving, breathing.

I got back from San Diego early Saturday morning. Nursed a cold throughout my trip which caught me en route home; miserable flights (in terms of ears and pressure) but I made it.

Saturday, I nursed myself with Pho, echinacea, and alka-seltzer plus cold medicine. I also rented two movies: Iron Man and No Country for Old Men. Enjoyed both immensely.

Zippy spent the weekend in Essex, painting his Horizon a sort of cobalt / sky blue that Audrey mixed up from the leftover paint supplies down at the railroad. It's quite striking (which is to say, garish) so I guess he likes it.

I'm catching up on work; I have one long term project to get finished this week before a potential trip to Tulse next Sun - Wed (yes, I love to fly the week of Thanksgiving)

And I am slowly getting my wheels under me, taking it slow as I recover. I did an all levels yoga class on Sunday and Monday, and some guerilla yoga this morning. Maybe see if I'm up for hot / power tomorrow.....

November 14, 2008

Halfway Home

Free WiFi in CLT. I'm kind of sick. Easting mediocre airport chinese food. Home around midnight. Ugh, long travel day.

November 13, 2008

Small World Department - West Coast Edition

Two amusing incidents today, reminding me just how small the world is.

Arriving at my client's today, one of my customers calls out as I walk by "Hey, I saw you quoted in a magazine.....Best Life" Huh? I was stumped. Turns out that an article that Colin McEnroe wrote, in which I was quoted in the first paragraphs, has hit the press, and this guy read it, recognized me (from first names and life journey). I was amused and not so flustered at the reference to a certain notorious aspect of my life journey - my other clients were more amused that this guy was reading this particular (men's midlife crisis) magazine.

Incident #2, listening the KPBS, the local NPR affiliate, a piece on CT Gay marriage (licenses were issued as of today) - and one of my former yoga instructors was identified as applying for a license, and was interviewed.

So, here in San Diego, two shards of my life back home come reaching out to pull me back.

November 11, 2008

Very Well, Very Well

It was a long travel day with mostly positives and one negative.

* No problem with flight departures, arrivals, connections. I got in 20 minutes early in fact. Thanks USAir.
* Hertz Simply Wheels (used automated kiosk) worked remarkably well and was much cheaper than using a person
* I'm driving a weird Chevy HHR in an awful color. But whatever, it's a car.

* Got to the hotel at 2:00 p.m. (after stopping at the supermarket, the drugstore, and for lunch) only to find that check-in was 3:00 pm and no rooms were available until then. I popped out to the car to do some work (using the hotel wireless) and at 3 went back in. Room never opened up until 4:00 pm. I blame management, the desk clerk seemed to care and try to get info, the manager seemed to not give a damn. Homestead studio suites - bleah.

And finally, I popped over to Bird Rock Yoga in Pacific Beach. A kicking Vinyasa I class led by Roberta (studio owner). I was OK with a less vigorous practice (coming off a week of strong practice and a long plane trip), but it was really quite energetic and challenging. LOVE to find yoga that resonates with my home practice, and Bird Rock Yoga hit the spot, and nice to watch another teacher at work. HIGHLY recommended!

I'm hoping to get over to the studio one more night this trip.....

Traveling Again

And so it begins, I'm sitting at a USAir gate, waiting for a flight from Hartford to Charlotte, and from there to San Diego. At some point I felt a 6:40 am departure made sense, and perhaps it will if I can catch some Z's en route. I have a fairly loose schedule in town - a meeting on Thursday wherein I am speaking from 9 - 11 am. Today and Wednesday I have some meetings with my oldest client in San Diego, but also need to get my presentation together (right now it's a spread out over 3 or 4 Powerpoints, need to bring it all into one presentation, and get some hard copies printed out)

I have friends in Escondido I can hopefully connect with for dinner. And I've gotten a recommendation for yoga, at Bird Rock Yoga in La Jolla, from one of the studio regulars who hits a lot of the same hot/power classes that I do. We'll see how that works out. Of course, I have my mat and can get some practice in on my own as well.

I'm gonna miss home, this time out. Tuesday and Thursday mornings have become pretty special with some morning guerilla yoga. Oh well, I'm making money, reconnecting with clients. Hopefully this (and a Thanksgiving week trip to Tulsa) will be it for me, in terms of travel before the end of the year.

November 10, 2008

Five Feathers

Red. Yellow. Purple. Green. Orange.

At the end of each teacher training weekend, we returned to our blanketd to find a feather. We'd place them in our hair, and dance like lunatics, led by our teacher. It was a celebration, a catharsis, a sharing, a lifting up. So at the end of our five long weekends, we had five feathers. I kept these feathers, a keepsake of my training, a trophy of my surviving long, hard weekends. I wrapped them in a hairband (another keepsake) and stashed them in my room.

Tonight, I found the feathers spread out on the bed, chewed and ragged. Elo the beagle / aussie cattle dog had been bored, got a hold of them, and chewed them. The feathers are still intact, just a bit worse for wear.

Initially, I was a little sad, a little angry. Those feathers are special. But I must be picking up a little bit of yogish Vairagya or non-attachment. For I quickly remembered that they were just feathers. I gathered them up, retied them with the band, and placed them in a bit safer spot.

Maybe it's because, six months down the road, I have more than feathers. I've become a yoga teacher. I have students who seek out my classes, who come up to me after class and tell me how it worked for them. The feathers were a symbol of my training, and if I had stopped there, well, the feathers would be all I had for my effort and a precious few weekends. But my training was just the foundation of the building that I am even now constructing with my teaching and my own practice.

How often do we find something precious and special, take a snapshot of that moment, and hold on to that memory for dear life. If I were still holding on to those feathers, perhaps I would be missing all the moments that have come afterwards, and the moments still to come.

Working the Circuit

It's been a hard week of yoga; a mini-bootcamp almost. Starting last Wednesday, I did 5 serious practices (with a small break) in a row. Christine. Barb. Nykki. A rest day. Shankara. And tonight, Marcia. After a few weeks of low energy and healing, it felt like a week of taking this body out for a spin, open her up, see what she can do. Five kick-ass yoga instructors - I am blessed. And crazy. And blessed some more.

Today I taught a gentle class at noon (lot of shoulders, and I worked or demo'd most of the postures) and this afternoon, Marcia's hot class went the same direction. Eagle, dolphin, a bunch of warrior postures and chaturanga, even handstand. So by the time tonight's gentle class rolled around, the last thing I wanted was more shoulder work. Gladly, one of the student spoke of lower back stuff and another of wanting to work her legs - so we went in those directions. My shoulder have that dull throbbing of having done some hard work.

I'm out the door tomorrow, hitting the ground early for a 6:40 am flight out to San Diego. Been ages since I have traveled; I am looking forward to it. Tuesday and Friday are travel days; Wed in San Diego, and Thursday up to Tustin. Gonna try to squeeze some yoga in (of course) and visiting with friends as well. Should be a quick but nice trip.

Blog from the road (of course)...

November 07, 2008

Unintended Consequences

Last Tuesday, I clicked off one candidate for the Working Families party - Urania Petit - for Registrar of Voters. Now, I did not REALLY know that:

* The Republicans and Democrats have sinecure positions. No matter if they do not win, they get a spot (state law)
* Hartford now has (3) Registrars of Voters - a Democrat (who won the election), Ms. Petit (who came in second), and the Republican (who came in 3rd, but gets a spot anyway)

The Courant has details. Including the fact that this position has an 80K salary, and has an unspecified number of deputies ($60K) and assistants ($40K). Add in benefits, and I bet we are looking at $250,00 or more for this little loophole.

Does Hartford really need 3 Registrar of Voter? We have about 50,000 registered voters. We're spending $20 or more per voter for these positions (last year they spent $1M, with only 2 registrars).

I dunno. i'm happy to see more third party participation in the process. But $1M to register voters is a lot of bucks.

I'm going back to my cave and hate on the political process some more.....

Film Festivals this Weekend

A little late blogging about this, but here are two film festivals in town this weekend.

First up, the Hartford International Film Festival is taking place, eith interesting films all over town.

Eros Film Festival

Friday, November 7 - 7:30 p.m.
(Dir. Laurie Lynd, 2008, Canada, 109 min,

Friday, November 7 - 9:30 p.m.
( Dir. Ron Davis & Stewart Halpern, 2008, USA, 95 min,

Saturday, November 8 - 2:30 p.m.
( Dir. Brooke Sebold, Benita Sills & Todd Sills, 2007, USA, 74 min,
Filmmaker Brooke Sebold will be in attendance

Saturday, November 8 - 6:30 p.m.
Free. All are welcome to attend.

Saturday, November 8 - 7:30 p.m.
( Dir. Poppy Stockell, 2007, Australia, 55 min,

presented with

( Dir. Joan Birren, 2003, USA, 55 min,

Saturday, November 8 - 9:30 p.m.
( Dir. Jamie Babbit, 2007, USA, 85 min,

Sunday, November 9 - 2:30 p.m.
(Dir. Moises Kaufman, 2002, USA, 97 min,

November 05, 2008


After a fairly long hiatus, I am heading back into the wild blue yonder for work. Heading out to San Diego / Orange County next week - fly out on Tuesdy, visiting my San Diego client on Wednesday, and then bopping north to do a presentation for one of their clients on Thursday. Head back on Friday, getting in way late.

The week of Thanksgiving, I'm heading back to Tulsa - flying out Sunday, working Mon - Wed, and returning on Wed evening.

Been a long time since I hit the road like this. Gonna wreack havoc with my yoga, but thems the breaks. Ought to be interesting.

Filibuster Proof Senate

Kind of glad we are not close on that one. Because god forbid there were 59 Dems and Lieberman would be #60. That dude is over, and I'd hate to see him empowered by being a key player. Dems, kick him to the curb, stat!

Presidential Trivia

As we drank our beers last night and waited for results to come in, we got to talking about predidential elections of yore. And tried to recall various footnotes in the process. We got stuck a few times, bailed out (mostly) by Shane who has an encyclopedic memory for this stuff. Some places we got stuck:

* Mike Dukakis' running mate (Lloyd Bentsen)
* Who ran againt Reagan in 1984 (Walter Mondale) and his running mate (Geraldine Ferraro)
* Who was Gerald Ford's VP (Nelson Rockefeller, replaced by Bob Dole for the '76 election)
* Dole's running mate (Jack Kemp)


I was in the crowd at Real Art Ways tonight as the election outcome became evident. Ohio was called for Obama - and electoral geeks smiled. But when NBC officially called it for Obama - well, the place went wild.

I was glad to be out among friends, among believers, as the election results came down. And tonight, I go to sleep with a heart that is a bit lighter, a spirit that is a bit more joyful. There are still problems, still struggles, still many mountains to climb. But for the first time in so many years - there is hope.

Congratulations, President-elect Obama. Congratulations, America.

November 04, 2008

Not in Our Neighborhood

Today in the Courant, a story by Hilda Munoz.
Police are investigating a fatal shooting at 78 Gillette Street in Hartford early this morning.
The victim was shot multiple times around 1:32 a.m. Officers found him lying in the second-floor hallway of the building, police said.

One problem. 78 Gillette Street is in WEST Hartford. See the official West Hartford map here (PDF). It's ever so much more convenient to just tick off another murder in Hartford instead of dealing with such unpleasantness in West Hartford, no? Better for the town Media Relations, that's for sure.

I'd post a comment to the Courant site but comments are not enabled; I went looking for an email contact and all the CONTACT US emails are advertising and circulation. So I'll just let 'em stew in it.....

CORRECTION: I emailed the Courant, and they have corrected their story. It was 78 Gillett Street (note the missing "e") - their original story had it listed as Gillette, and their little Google Map pointed to Gillette Street in West Hartford. Now it points to Gillett Street in Hartford.

So....the story is now right. And the crime was, sadly, committed in Hartford. Not that it would be any less sad in West Hartford.....

I Voted Today

My civic duty and right has been exercised, without incident.

Batchelder School (Hartford's Voting District #11) was buzzing but orderly at 7:45 a.m. There were small (3-4 people) lines to check in as well as waiting for the privacy booth. A longer line to plug the ballot into the optical scanner, but I suspect that was due to personnel flow issues - the woman handing out the "I Voted Today" stickers was not well positioned to shunt people away from the scanner so the next person could step up.

But it was wonderful to see all 10 privacy booths filled when I walked in so early; my previous two elections with these machines (off year and primary) the polling place was pretty quiet. Nice to see the system working.

Not too much hubbub outside the polling place - I usually try to avoid the "75 feet away" crowd and had no problems today (except for one lonely Urania Petit supporter).

Now nothing to do but sit and wait. I might get my sorry ass out to Real Art Ways tonight to geek out on electoral vote and cheer as the returns come in. Zippy has little patience for news junkiehood, so better to get my fix outside the house.

November 03, 2008

Election Fatique

....seems to be setting in. For me, anyway. I have little patience for direct mail (kill a tree, slime an opponent). I donated some bucks to Obama, and for my trouble, I get 2-3 emails a day asking for more money. The day Sen. Obama spent untold millions to rent multiple networks for a prime time infomercial, I got an email asking for more money. After a certain point, one glazes over......

Edit: And apparently Diane DiMassa feels similarly. I got this via her email list this morning ---->

I have friends who have traveled to battleground states to chip in. Others are making calls. I dunno, I've actually voted against the candidate / cause that has irritated me the least (all things being equal, on the fence about something). One Democratic primary, I saved up all the negative, mudslinging direct mail I received, and voted for the candidate with the smallest pile. So I have to believe all this effort risks irritation, pissing people off, driving people into the arms of one's opponent.

I'm a big ol' election geek, and will be glued to a television tomorrow if I am not at some election event. But I'm just not that invested in the politicking part of it.

Ah well, 24 hours from now, hopefully this will all be over. And then we can get on with regime change.....

Time Change Madness

It never fails, the semiannual switch to and from Daylight Savings Time always seems to play little tricks on us.

I got bagged yesterday - went over to the office (where I had not to changed my wall clock) and so I worked for a while then headed home to prepare for evening yoga, an hour before I needed to. Minor "gotcha" - I realized my error as soon as I got home, so I changed into yoga duds, went back to the office, then off to yoga.

This morning, Zippy got all dressed, and was warming up the car in preparation for leaving for work an hour early. I had changed all the common space clocks - but he had neglected to change his bedroom alarm clock, and so got up and moving a bit too quickly this morning.

And the dogs seems to have already adapted - Elo got me up this morning precisely at 5:00 a.m. for breakfast. He's been sleeping in a bit of late, until 5:45 or even 6:00 a.m. - but 5:00 a.m. is his regularly scheduled "switch from sleepy bed warmer to hungry pup" mode. So we're back on track there ::yawn::

November 01, 2008

Elements Bistro - Elmwood

Had a nice lunch this afternoon at Elements Bistro, in Elmwood (New Britain Avenue, West Hartford).

Quite nice inside - upscale decor and art, light and airy. The menu was upscale light, with plenty of burgers, sandwiches, and salads, and a pricier selection of entrees. There is a good sized bar area; plenty of good beers on tap. The place reminds me a bit of Plan B (over on Park) but larger. Definitely on a par with the Corner Pug and Tapas in the same neighborhood, at least at first glance.

Zipster had a turkey sandwich with jicama slaw (he liked) and I had the Bistro Salad which was a real treat - perfectly roasted zucchini and asparagus, fresh sliced hams, turkey, and cheese, and slices of fresh cooked bacon, all atop mixed greens. Quite excellant.

Nice to have another dining option in the Elmwood area. They opened up on Wed of last week, and hopefully will survive a new restaurant launch in these troubling economic times.

October 29, 2008

Turning Back the Clocks

Can not happen fast enough for my taste. I've been finding myself uncharacteristically staying up late (past midnight, two days running) which means I get up slowly, late, or tired. Not my style, not at all - I am a morning person.

So bring on the extra hour this weekend, and maybe my body clock will be happier.

Grant Us This Day

Last week some time I got a robocall offering small business grants. In a fit of curiousity, I left my name and number, and yesterday, spoke to someone from the Small Business Funding Company in Henderson, NV (right there I'm suspicious). The schtick goes this way - there are millions in grants available, just waiting to be applied for. Many go unclaimed. This company knows how to put together the proposals and applications. They ostensibly interview you, check their database, and come back with some huge figure (in my case $384,000) that is "set aside" for me.

Very convincing, really. Their interview sets up scenarios - a transportation grant (buy a company car). Employee grants (hire people). Rent grants (pay ones office rent for a year). Capital equipment grants. I'm a woman (big plus). I'm in greater Hartford (urban development grants). Yadda yadda yadda. Bob the solicitor is quite charming about it all. Calling me Judy, keeps telling me I sound 36.

They faxed me a gazillion pages of stuff (semi impressive, although real companies would just email PDF files these days). When I spoke with them Tuesday en route to library yoga, and the sticky details started to emerge. There is a $7300 fee, $2600 of which they want up front (retainer, heretofore unmentioned) and the rest they will take out of the "grant". I decided to poke around a bit....

Found a bunch of small website queries (here, here, and here) about them before hitting the motherlode here, which pretty clearly spells scam.

They take your $2600. You wait and wait and wait while they do research. They try to convert you to a non-profit or not-for-profit (the better to be eligible for grants) at a cost of $7000 or more. They charge you to develop a business plan for $6000 or more. Etc. Etc. No thanks....

For a few moments visions of emerging from the financial lethargy I have been in for the past decade floated through my head. Temporarily forgetting my own more cynical and jaded nature, I let myself believe it all. You can see how folks get sucked into this stuff.

All in all, cleaning and organizing my office has been MUCH more therapeutic and good for my business.

Office Overhaul

I've been entrenched in the fine art of office cleaning and organization the past few days. My office has been overcrowded chaos for months - with storage racks filled with tools, parts, and all the detritus of 13 years of self employment that I have not been able to justify tossing, selling, or passing along.

A few weeks back I arranged to rent an unused, out of the way closet in my office building. So I've been spending some time in between work and yoga moving things into the storage closet. A real office is slowly emerging from the rubble.

Two tall plastic racks have made the office claustrophobic and dark; I pulled down two levels on each which opened up wall space and window space. I'm moving everything not mission critical to the storage space.

Eventually, the office will be presentable again - giving me room and energy to be more efficient and productive, maybe having some room for a part time employee and a second computer workstation.

Change is in the air....

October 27, 2008


Took some business suits to the dry cleaners this morning - my annual "get ready for business trips" cleaning. I rarely get to dress up nice for work - bumming around in casual clothes (or more likely, yoga duds) to work locally, and putting on some form of clothing appropriate for digging around in ceilings and basements when I go out on site.

Putting the storms down this weekend, we found a broken storm (probably a lawnmower kicked stone, if I had to guess) so I took that over to Capitol Glass to have it reglassed (repaned? rewindowed? repaired?)

And today, the receptionist at the office gives me the news - my storage closet is ready to go, so once I have a lock (I have a few kicking around here somewhere) I can start taking old files and test equipment and the like down there, and maybe get this office looking presentable for the first time in eons......

October 26, 2008

A Day of Rest

Not much happening today - slept in until 8, raked some leaves, did some laundry, cleaned my room. Elo and I went for a jaunt - a walk around Reservoir #6 in West Hartford which tired us both out (and tightened up my hamstrings). And tonight, some yoga with my friend Linda, who is pulling in good numbers for a Sunday evening. I did not get over to the Hooker Day parade.....

Tonight, chilling out - little televison, some cleaning, some reading. And head into my work week relaxed and refreshed.

October 25, 2008

Long Time Between Posts

I am, sadly, not blogging much of late. Just been in a catch-up mode. Changing the seasonal wardrobe. Lot of household chores. Cleaning up my life: bedroom, car, office. Catching up on overdue work projects. Catching my breath following a few weeks of heavy yoga teaching. The list goes on.

Not much ballooning going on - wind last weekend. Rain this weekend.

Hopefully, my blogging mojo will return anon.

October 20, 2008

A Friend in Need

Phone calls after a certain hour never bring good things. Last night's 12:15 call was no exception, but in the grand scheme of things, not so bad.

Our friend Pat had broken down (overheating) on the road - he was stranded on I-84 in Bristol / Southington. After waiting close to an hour for roadside assistance (police or good samaritan) he left the car and hoofed it up to a Sunoco, where he borrowed a phone (no public phone service) and called. The gas station attendant did not speak much English, so it took a while to translate "Salistown" (or something like that) into Southington.

So I got up and dressed and trucked down to pick him up; Zippy donated the keys to his Horizon (when you drive shitboxes, you end up with extra cars) so Pat can get to work. Pat will have the car towed in the morning; hopefully it's something fairly minor like a thermostat. I was back in bed a shade after 1:00 am.

October 18, 2008

Yoga in Plainville

Drove out to Plainville this morning for a Power yoga class with John Dorsey, at the Vital Life Center. A smallish yoga studio, but beautifully appointed, with nice changing areas and extra rooms (for meditation, life coaching, etc.)

They are just getting started, so class sizes are small - but I suspect that things will start hopping there soon - not many yoga options in the Plainville / Southington / Bristol area, and some good folks teaching at this new space.

October 16, 2008

Silver Lining

I left my laptop (and a mission critical software dongle) up in Western MA yesterday, so had to run up there again this morning.

But there are worse things than having to drive through the Berkshires at the peak of foliage season. And it gave me an excuse to stop by the shrine of doughnutty goodness in West Springfield - Donut Dip - where both cider donuts and pumpkin donuts are featured. story about this local mainstay here

October 14, 2008

Free Yoga

Two free yoga opportunities are coming up at West Hartford Yoga

Saturday, October 18, noon - 6:00 pm

* Free preview for The Enlightenment Intensive with Dr. Peter Meadow & Shankara Newton, 12:30 - 1:15 pm
* Free Chiropractic Consultations with Dr. Peter Meadow, 1:30 - 5:00 pm
* Free Chair Massage, 1:30 - 5:30 pm

Join us for free classes all afternoon. Take advantage of discounts on 10 & 30 - class cards, clothing, yoga props, books, and DVD's. Raffles and refreshments. A great way to meet our teachers and sample a variety of our classes. Bring your friends, family, and co-workers!

I will most assuredly be hanging out.....

In addition, WHY is offering free WHY Power and Hot Yoga classes the week of October 20th. The Daily 4:30 Hot and Power classes, by some of the most experienced teachers at the studio, are free this week only.

Monday, Oct 20 - WHY Power I (Marcia)
Tuesday, Oct 21 - Hot Yoga (Carissa)
Wednesday, Oct 22 - WHY Power I (Sarah)
Thursday, Oct 23 - Hot Yoga (Carissa)
Friday, Oct 24 - WHY Power I (Marcia)

Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead

In my version of the Wizard of Oz, the witch is killed by a hot air balloon, and Dorothy returns to Kansas in a flying house.

My friend Kristen and I, having a little fun on the balloon field last Sunday morning.....

October 12, 2008

Busy Woman

Apologies for the lack of blog posting. I've been knee deep in work; I've taught 8 yoga classes in 8 days, I've been out balloon chasing for two days running, and I'm getting ready for kirtan. So....zoom zoom.

Took lot's of pictures in hopes of getting one in the 2009 CLAS calendar; you can see today's pictures here
Heading up to NoHo this afternoon with the Zipster, then off to kirtan rehearsal afterwards. The fun, as they say, never ends.....

October 09, 2008

Encyclopedia Jude and the Case of the Singing House

I am headed up to MA this morning to visit a woman whose house is making strange noises. Singing, buzzing, humming. She suspects electrical harmonics, possibly transmitted through the building grounds. I'm going up to poke around, check ground currents and grounding in general, and other electrical things, install a power analyzer to capture some data.

It could be a wild goose chase. It could be something really interesting, paper worthy. We'll see....

Blindfold Yoga

Tuesday morning, the Nykkster started having us close our eyes during yinyasa practice. Being somewhat of a mischievous goofball, with an everpresent sweat soaking bandanna around my forehead, I slid said bandanna over my eyes, and did much of the practice blindfolded. Of course, at least some percentage of my bandanna antics was intended to amuse Nykki, which they did - she laughed out loud and said "I love you, Jude" when she spotted me.

It was a wonderful experience, one I hope to continue to explore. Simply shutting my eyes removed the temptation to watch others, to compare and judge, to put myself in autopilot and let my mind drift. I had to pay attention to my body, to Nykki's cues, to my balance, and to my practice.

Of course, balancing was tough; and I fell (or nearly so) out of crescent lunge and other postures felt very different in my body without that reassuring rudder of drishti and the horizon to steady me.

And I could not help but think, as I practiced, of those yogis who practice without sight - how precious such a gift (sight) is. When we finally opened out eyes, the studio, bathed in the golden sunlight of autumn and filled with healthy bodies in the midst of practice, was a beautiful place indeed.

Blindfold yoga - definitely something worth exploring.

October 08, 2008

Random Images

Snapped from my car, yesterday.
Anti-abortion protestors, in front of Hartford Hospital. Apparently not happy with the Lent and Advent options for preparation, the Catholics are engaging in a 40 Days for Life campaign prior to the election. Which perhaps will be deigned a holy day of obligation.

The upside to the crashing economy is that gas prices are falling; I watched the "On the Go" sign on the corner of New Britain and South Street drop from $3.29 to $3.27 on Monday and down to $3.17 on Tuesday. Oil is down to $90 a barrel.

My right arm, as I snap the gas station photo, captured in my right mirror.

October 04, 2008

Yoga Marathon

Looking back over the past week, I find:

Sunday - Morning practice with Christine, led a community yoga practice
Monday - Morning all levels with Carissa, then led my evening gentle practice
Tuesday - Morning power yoga with Nykki, then taught two classes: Hartford Public Library, and a subbed Gentle class
Wednesday - 6 Hours of Tias Little, meditation at the studio
Thursday - Some guerilla yoga (self practice) at the studio, six hours of Tias Little, assist Barb's Power II class, teach an Intro to Power
Friday - 8 hours of Tias Little
Saturday - 4 hours of Tias Little

Oy. Lot of yoga happening the past week.

Tias Little Wrap-up

A final Master Class this evening closes out my 24 hour teacher training with Tias Little. Packed room, so easy to get lost. I was kind of woozy to start - from the 20 hours of workshop (and deting) the proceeding 3 days, to not a lot of good sleep last night, to a full morning of ballooning fun. But I got into the groove, and it was good. I got to work next to one of my fellow teachers Linda, who I have come to know a bit better (and enjoy hanging with) and so we had a good class despite the crowded conditions.

All in all, a good class. Tias kind of takes me into my left brain a bit much - I like my yoga a bit more organic. For example, I do headstands pretty much daily, and without too much effort / thought / strain. I even lift my head up off the floor and support my weight on my forearms and shoulders pretty easily. But tonight, by the time Tias got done explaining how the forearms and hands should be (and I tried doing the things he said), my Sirsasana was awkward, forced, and I realized I was mashing my head into the floor (lovely for the cervical spine - not). Much better for me to get up into headstand my own way, then work to tweak the shoulders/ arms / hand fingers towards what he considers optimum. I need to remember that Tias is one individual working with a particular body, and I know my own body better than anyone else.

I am taking away from the training a ton of knowledge, good props and assists, and a renewed sense of excitement about it all. Definitely time well spent.

But it also brings into sharp focus the end of my teacher training. I am perhaps 8 book reports and 2 assisting classes away from my 200 hour Yoga Alliance certification. A bit of pride, a bit of wistfulness, a bit of awe and wonder.

Teacher training is an ongoing process - I am sure it will remain an important part of my life. But that first 200 hour certification is gonna be a big milestone for me.

Tomorrow, no balloon chasing. 8:30 with Nykki, assuming I get up. And 11:00 a gentle class to be taught over at Center Studio.

Tias Little Teacher Training

A detox of a different sort from the sweat it out and leave it on the mat detox workshop I did with Sean Corne, earlier this year.

Tias specializes in "deep studies" (per my friend Alison) and indeed he does - one hardly seems to be doing yoga, between the stops and starts to look at the manual and listen to lecture. Yet there was a ton of yoga happening, really deep twists and ends, all intended to explore and wring out the viscera, or the organs of the body. Wednesday was Kidney and Bladder. Thursday was Liver and Gallbladder. Friday was Liver and Stomach. In between, lots of meditation work, yoga poses, assists, props, etc.

Tias works in a chinese medicine / aruvedic hybrid mode, so lots of study of organs lines through the body. Lots of cross-reference to warm / cool, yin / yang, chakras, vayus.

I learned a lot. And I am freaking wiped out. Got up early this morning and sat in a hot epson salts bath to help the detox....I suspect I wrung a lot of crap out of my organs.

Not however, too wiped to go chase balloons this morning - with my bud Amy!

Real Time

Listening to my friend Kerri's Punk Rock Radio show on WWUH on my MP3 player (which has FM) so as to not wake the Zipster. Chatting with her via Facebook. And checking out her playlist on the WWUH website. Technology is kinda sweet, at times...

October 03, 2008

VP Debate Blahs

Count me among the tribe of Americans with zero interest in the sideshow / circus that is the VP debate.

I know who I am voting for at the top of the ticket, and it would be damn near impossible for any VP choice to impact that decision. And I dunno, Sarah Palin seems to have cheapened the discourse at the 2nd tier level. 1/2 the country seems to be ogling, and the other half seems to just want her to say something stupid so we can see it replayed on SNL or Youtube.

Talking points. Sound bites. No serious discussion of the issues. Blah. I tuned if for maybe 2 minutes on the radio in between the yoga studio and home, flipped through the channels once near the end of the debate to catch a glimpse of it and see how many channels were carrying it. But....bleah.

October 02, 2008

Trans for Obama

Blame it on Helen Boyd, but I finally coughed up a bit of support for our Democratic candidate for president. Just a bit over one month until the election.....after having had my heart broken the last few election cycles, it's taking me some coaxing to actually come out and hope....

Want to join in? Visit the Act Blue website here

Friends of John Dorsey

Got an email from my friend Mare concerning her new project, the Vital Life Center over in Plainville. Website here.

I was also somewhat happy to see John Dorsey on the schedule several nights a week - hope his classes there are a success for all involved. I'm likely to pop over now and then myself....

Until they get found by the various web worms and search engines, hopefully this will lead some folks that way....

October 01, 2008

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats

A cartoon series from Ape Lad on Flickr.

Yoga Marathon

Last night was one of those "be careful what you wish for, it might come true" kind of evenings. I taught two yoga classes - my regular class at the Hartford Public Library, and then a somewhat last minute gentle class sub for one of the most popular, charismatic, and skilled yoga instructors at the studio.

The library class went well. We flipped the room around 180 degrees, which kept the students facing the back wall of the space and from mentally wandering into the parking lot or to look at people coming to see what all the yoga fuss was about. In addition, I had a wireless headset, which took some mental, emotional, and teachnical work getting used to, but everyone said it worked out fine. I had 30 students, quite a drop from last week, but still a challenge in terms of working the sapce (people still spread out, the HVAC fan was still going)

Afterwards, I chugged back to West Hartford to teah a Gentle Class for Shankara. He is the sort of teacher (in terms of loyalty and fan base) that students adore, to the point of not wanting to practice with anyone else. So I am sure a few people called or showed up, and finding a sub in place, turned around and went home. I tried not to take it personally; most of these folks would have turned around if Iyengar were subbing. So it was a smaller class (than usual) - and I took them into restorative areas (Shankara' request / recommendation). I thought it went pretty well; good feedback on the way out. Apparently, I have a very relaxing voice.....

My new MP3 player is kind of cranky; it keeps burping or pausing. Not sure if its the way the music was ripped or something else. Need to troubleshoot that because it's pretty annoying in yoga class, I need to revert to burned CD's until I clear that up.

I have today off (teaching) - tomorrow I end up assisting right after Tias training, then teaching my Intro to Power class. Friday and Saturday off, then a sub gig on Sunday morning. Still, lots of yoga in my future.

24 Hours with Tias

Not all in a row, mind you. I am embarking on a 24 hour teacher training with Tias Little, starting today. I went back into the archives, and realized that I worked with Tias back in July '07 - not just one workshop (as I had thought) but rather 3, three hour workshops: the lymphatic system, backbends, and something else. So I've already had a good dose of Tias! I've commented before that I learned a lot in those previous workshops - assists, postures, ways of thinking about the body, ways of communicating alignment and adjustment. And it has stuck with me. So I'm excited to be back in the studio with him.

Not exactly sure what to expect here. Yoga practice? Classroom lecture? Combination?
Nevertheless, I am excited for the opportunity to work with him, excited to be finishing up the last of my teacher training classroom hours (still have those darn book reports to finish) and excited to spend a few days immersed in yoga and in that sort of teacher trainng space (although some would say I am already immersed, thank you very much)

But in the meantime, I'm pretty much off the grid for the next few days - in the studio 10:30 to 1:30, and then 2:30 to 5:30 today and tomorrow, and 8 to noon and 1 to five on Friday. Finishing up with a master class on Saturday afternoon.

September 30, 2008

To Spite One's Face....

The Wall Street Meltdown continues. I find it interesting that there is a groundswell of protest against the bailout. From today's Hartford Courant.
"Some of my constituents would sooner walk the bread lines than to see wealthy Wall Street tycoons not pay for what they've done. There was a real sense that these folks have to feel some pain," Shays said.

He said calls to his office came in 30-1 against the bill.

"In some districts, it was literally 1,000-1," Shays said. "Nobody wanted it."

I have to say I've been mixed about this whole thing myself. I've tended to have a distrust (and downright dislike) for those who make their living off the pushing around of capital without adding value. There is a small bit of leftist in me that find speculation in the markets, and investment banking and such to be somewhat morally bankrupt. So I'm all for a shakout in these systems, for tighter regulation, for having some pain be felt by those who have been playing fast and loose with the economy.

Ah well. Right now, it seems to have minimal impact on me. My work is busy, my life is busy. If anything, a gross devaluation of housing, services, and an economic slowdown will make life somewhat easier and more affordable for those like myself on the fringes of the economy.....but time will tell how things trickle down to my level.

Moon in Uranus

A quick websearch reveals that:
Uranus rules technology, but Pallas Athene personalizes how you integrate it into your life. As the goddess of wisdom and courage, Pallas Athene influences how quickly you adopt an innovation and how drawn you are to technological advances

My life is manifesting some technology at the moment. Yesterday, I received a wireless headset, for use at the library yoga classes. The space was too large and open, the students too numerous, and the tendency of people to set up at the edges too powerful to bring them all in close. So my voice just did not make it to the far corners of the room. I took the headset in to the studio and connected it up to the sound system there - it worked great: clear, no feedback, no static or hum, and not to disruptive of my own postures. So I am hopeful this will be a good tool this afternoon. I need to be a bit careful with my own breath - I tend to breath deeply while teaching (mostly to inspire my students to breath) and I really do not need all that wind in the microphone. And I need to remember to push the mic away from my mouth for individual assists and the like.

I am sure it will be a learning experience working with this prop - but life is a learning experience, no?

Yesterday afternoon, the UPS guy showed up with a small (4Gig) MP3 player. I'm on my 3rd generation - a small Dell device (lost), another small generic device (began to malfuction), and now this. Not stepping up to an iPod at this point (too cheap!). Right now my focus will be to load in my yoga music, and set up some playlists for classes - I have been relying on off the shelf yoga disks and typically find myself distracted by the music - always a few winners and some music I am less happy with or does not fit the rhythm of my classes. So will be nice to set up a few playlists with music that works.

Today will be a bit of a hustle - my 5:30 library class, this week introducing amplification and a teaching assist. Afterwards, buzz back to WHY for a gentle class - a last minute subbing for Shankara. He has quite the following, so subbing for him is a bit daunting. Students who walk in looking for him are bound to have some disappointment, and he often has huge classes. So...a challenge. He left me some rather explicit instructions for the class, which helps point me in a particular direction.

Wed-Sat, I'm doing a 24 hour teacher training with Tias Little. I'm looking forward to it, but I am pretty sure I am not going to have much time to breath. And Thursday night, I move right out of teacher training into assisting Barb's power class, and then teaching my own intro to power.

I've come to look at my yoga teaching right now as an internship - working my ass off, for not so much money, but getting put into new situations, testing my limits, learning, learning, learning. It's quite energizing, although I think I do need to take some deliberate down time to rest, recover, regroup......

September 28, 2008

Dhafer Youssef at Real Art Ways

My friend AC had tickets and offered to take me, and what a delightful evening. Dhafer Youssef plays the Oud, but also sings and composes. And his trio (percussion, electric guitar, and various synthesized and looped effects) was an incredible foundation for his oud playing.

Hard to really describe it all, and I can not find a video of the current ensemble online. But I saw some digital videocams in the house, so maybe something will be online anon.

Amazing that we can find this sort of eclectic and excellent talent in Hartford CT on a Saturday evening in September. Props to Real Art Ways, props to Hartford.

September 27, 2008

Community Yoga - September 28 @ 3:00 pm

I'm teaching this week. A special $5 yoga class with all proceeds benefiting charitable causes (I donate my time, the studio donates the space)

This year, one of the good causes is bringing yoga to the Hartford Public Library - but the studio also supports hunger, animal issues, homeless, HIV, etc. with the donations to this special yoga class.

If you have the afternoon free, come on down, the more the merrier!

Lomax: The Hound of Music

Spent Friday down at the Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, for a press event launching the new PBS series Lomax: The Hound of Music. It's coming soon to PBS, look for a special evening launching the show on October 8th (I think) on CPTV. A fairly comprehensive page about it all here.

Had an interesting time at the event. I'm the webwench for the steam train (how I got the invite) so I was somewhat drifting among the movers and shakers (state reps, selectpersons, CPTV execs, railroad board members). So when it came time for lunch, I draped my bag on a chair at the table at the back of the room, furthest from anything.

When I returned with my lunch, I found the table had been filled up by the cast and producers! So I had lunch with Amy, Delta, and Lomax. Well, the puppeteers who play Delta and Lomax (both of whom seem like great people). I should have known as much; I've been part of the crew before and we always seem to find the most out of the way place to sit...

Afterwards, a ride on "The Melody Hound Express" - a train consisting of Engine 97, a passenger car, and Amy's caboose, which figures prominantly in the series. It was a monsoon like day, there is something pretty amazing about a steam locomotive up close, especially spitting and steaming in a torrential downpour.

I loved the show; made me wish I were a kid again. Lot's of roots music - folk, bluegrass, blues inspired. The puppeteers were amazing, both on camera and live. I hope it does well, for all involved; in these days of educational testing and budget cuts, we need all the music inspiration and education we can get.

September 24, 2008

Like a Virgin

Taught a yoga class this evening at the Hartford Public Library. A HUGE crowd (40+ people, spread out over a warehouse like space cryptically named "The X Room". (X must stand for "Extra Large")

Some real challenges with the space - high ceilings, a persistant ventilation fan (probably the entire library cooling system), and a crowd drifted in over the first 15 minutes of class and that spread out after class began, when I could not easily get them to come to the front of the space. Even with my outside voice, I had trouble reaching the corners of the room.

So this morning, I am researching a wireless headset microphone (a la Madonna) that I can hopefully plug into the A/V system that seems to be semi-permanently installed in the space (judging from the taped down cables). With any luck it will be there and available for the rest of the series. Did not take me long to become one of those yoga teachers (you know, the prima donna rock star ones with the wireless headsets). I'll be in the green room, centering myself.

Actually, it was pretty incredible working that space; it's a population we normally do not see at the studio (transportation and cost issues, no doubt) and I am excited to teach the rest of the series. It's a joint project of my yoga studio, the city of Hartford, and the library.

September 23, 2008

Wait - it's Tuesday?

Monday was one of those days that flew by so fast I pretty much missed it. Yoga in the morning - a lower energy all-levels class. Just the ticket as I recovered from a bustling weekend and reserved some energy to teach Monday night. Good thing I saved some energy - I got a mid-afternoon call to teach a 4:30 gentle class which was full-up (19 people, I think 1 or 2 were turned away at the door) and then my regular 7:30 gentle (only 5 folks for this "first class, new on the schedule", which was a nice change of pace). So I'm pretty much taught out. Need to get my teaching mojo back, because tonight I'm teaching to a large group (31 pre-registered) at the Hartford Public Library. Anyone seen my bullhorn?

Sunday night we had a staff meeting at the yoga studio; most of the teaching staff was there and it was really wonderful to be in a circle with this group of people. It's hard to believe I stepped onto the mat a mere 3 years ago, and now find myself counted among these wonderful teachers I have come to love and trust my body and spirit to. Sobering and exciting.

Last night, my first yoga teacher (she took over my intro class a few weeks in, and I continued to rpactice mainly with her for many months) came into my gentle class and took practice. It was an honor to have her there, and she said she was welling up during class. I get that; a few of my regular weekday student show signs of getting the yoga bug, just as I have, an it feels wonderful to be passing this along. The seeds she planted in me a few years back, taking root, growing. I'm still a sapling here.....but I'm growing stronger and taller every day.

But the big picture will take care of itself. My body wants a hot shower, and a nice healing practice with the Nykkster. I've got work to do. And I've got a yoga class to prep for.....