April 30, 2008

Fixing the Toilet

The fill valve broke, so the toilet kept running. Zippy had to keep turning the valve off to stop it. He professes to home repair competency, but for some reason the toilet was still broken when I got home, so it was ff to Home Depot for a new fill valve, which went in without a hitch this evening.

Busy Stretch

Gonna be a busy few days, pretty sure. Tomorrow is the first of the month, so a busy day of invoicing and end of the month stuff. Follow-up from my trip to Tulsa. Yoga, probably. An afternoon appointment. And dinner with a friend followed by the This American Life simulcast in Manchester.

Friday, more work. More yoga. Another appointment (I had to push things back to go to Tulsa). Falcon Ridge barn concert in Watertown (maybe).

Saturday, Northampton Pride with MYA and the True Colors mentoring program.

Sunday, Zippy is going to Cheshire for the MDA walk, and in the afternoon / evening, we have a teacher training cooking class.

Next week, hopefully my life will get a bit back to normal. Whatever that is!

Wolfgang Puck or Chili's?

Chili's wins out over the pretense of Wolfgang Puck To Go - no particular reason, just menu, seating, vibe.

Enjoying a Caribbean Chicken Salad as I type this.

Lambert International

The airport in St. Louis is kind of depressing. The former TWA hub is now maybe 1/2 occupied (looking at the vacant gates on the way in) and the airport mostly service commuter jets. Southwest is here - a few bustling gates with 737s. And the major airplines have some bigger birds flying in. But other than that; it's small town city. Like I said, kind of depressing.

I have a hellish layover here - 3 hours more or less, which gives me some time to blog, to catch up on some email and some work, to have an early (and hopefully healthy) lunch. I would prefer to be home, but I found a power receptacle and WiFi. So I am at least connected.

Tulsa was not so bad. Two days of work were pretty productive - my brand of power and grounding seemed play well with the clients, and it looks like I will have some long term work here. Probably more trips to Tulsa as well. It seems like a nice enough city. The Hampton Inn was fine - did not investigate the pool area (which would be my prime spot to throw down some self-directed asana's - the room and the exercise area were not really suitable). But the free breakfast had good choices and was pretty healthy, the rooms were clean, comfortable, and newish, and they had good cookies at the front desk.

I did hit Inner Peace Yoga for a second night; a "Deep Stretch" class. The instructor mentioned Yin Yoga, but it was not really quite like the Yin Yoga I've experienced with Sarah Powers and Heather Tiddens, or the WHY instructors following their visits. Just not the same direction towards softness and letting go, and more traditional postures. Not sure I've seen a Yin crescent lunge, for example, and other postures were those both strength and softening. Most of the Yin I've done has been much less muscular. Not that it was bad, mind you, a lot of deep hip work and good strength work, but I would not really call it Yin. More like Vinyasa free yoga.

Seemed to be a pretty high percentage of men in the class, compared to most classes, which was interesting. And the walls seemed somewhat flimsy (standard drywall) and freshly painted, so did not seem like the place to be hurling my feet at the walls to practice handstands or forearm balancing. Though I did sneak in a headstand. Since it looks like I will be back to Tulsa in the coming months, a friendly and sympatico yoga studio is a decent find!

April 29, 2008

Inner Peace Yoga

Took a vinyasa yoga class at Inner Peace Yoga last night. A pretty straightforward practice - a bunch of warm-ups on the mat, some Sun A's, some Sun B's, some standing warrior postures, some mat work. Nowhere near as hot and sweaty as I'm used to at WHY (the windows were all open a crack...) - no fear of a slick mat.

Two minor cranks - a vashistasana wherein the mat hand was directed to be pointed to the side one is facing (quite uncomfortable, I gave it a shot, and not correct), and a fairly large number (maybe 8 or 10 times) of Purvottanasana or Inclined Plank postures at the start, which seems like a recipe for wrist injury. Not 100% sure what the intent was for all that - heart opening, heating up the core. No matter, it was yoga, a decent practice. If I get out in time tonight I might hit the Power Class (5:30) and if not that, the Full Stretch at 7:00 pm.

April 27, 2008

Of Course There is Yoga in Tulsa

Not sure if I will have time for a formal class, but in case I do, there are options (bookmarked for my future reference):

Inner Peace Yoga

The Organizational (Wo)Man

Along with sundry engineering geekery involving scopes, adapters, cables, and connectors, I spent some time yesterday with the more mundane aspects of a business trip.

I printed out a folder of my travel paperwork: plane reservations, hotel, rental car, maps from the airport to the hotel and the hotel to the site in case Agatha (my GPS) goes down.

I put together 10 copies of my training material for a morning class on grounding slated for tomorrow morning. It's a pretty standard session that I've done for multiple clients, but I tweaked it a little (updated some code references, deleted a few slides that were not applicable to this industry). Printed out handouts, along with a copy of a 2005 paper on leakage and ground current measurement, and GBC bound those. I love my GBC binding machine! Printed out some labels, and we are official!

I also assembled a trainers binder for me to work from. Made sure all my presentations and client folders are on my laptop, and switched over from the sleek "local" laptop case to the big travel one.

This morning, a bit of hot yoga, then packed my suitcase (a biggish one, providing ample room for a yoga mat, all my training material, and 3 days worth of clothes) and my computer bag (3 recent issues of the New Yorker, and 3 books on the teacher training list). Just finishing up this post, waiting for my nails to dry, and I'll be off! But first, to the bank and to pick up test equipment batteries en route to BDL.

April 26, 2008

I Are An Engineer

Spent a bunch of hours this weekend working - getting prepared for a trip to Tulsa. Perhaps I have credit due in the technology karma account, because a series of hardware and software "what ifs?" were settled positively this afternoon.

* A new hand-held o'scope I picked up to capture current waveforms worked great.
* It interfaced nicely with a current probe I have, via a BNC to banana jack interface.
* The O'scope software, downloaded from the website, worked fine with Windows vista
* A RS-232 to USB converter I picked up last time I was in San Diego (Jude hearts Fry's Electronics) also installed nicely on the laptop
* The whole shebang (current probe to scope, scope interface to RS-232, RS-232 to USB, and scope software) worked like a charm.

On the whole, a remarkably positive afternoon of technology implementation. If this keeps up, I may have another go at installing the database and software for my power monitor, which proved impossible on my old laptop.

Bonus: Talking tech with the folks down at Cables and Connectors. They see me often enough to know that when I come in, I know what I want and it's gonna be something unusual. Still, I think they have a gendered gut instinct that I'm gonna be looking for a remote control or a computer cable or something. So when I start slinging around baud rates and interface requirements and sampling rates and the like, or assembling a pile of parts that are clearly going to add up to something fun, in a techie sort of way, that they are a bit taken back....heh.

Handstands Again

I keep saying that I am close to nailing handstands. Last night, I think I got one step closer. Friday night hot yoga with Nykki, a smallish class that was not overly hot or aerobic. So when it came time for some inversions, I popped up into forearm balance for a bit, and then, with some time on my hands as the res the class worked on various postures on the wall, started to mess around with handstand.

I was jumping up in a way that John taught us - sort of in a narrow down dog and kicking a leg up and just going for some hang time. John used to lead us through 10 or so of these on each side. And I was getting pretty close, kind of balancing on my hands a few degrees from vertical, over and over. Then Nykki said something that opened it all up for me - bring my shoulders right over my hands, really narrow my stance, bring my center of gravity way forward.

I popped right up into a handstand, unassisted. Held it for a long time, too.

Let's see if I can get up by myself the next time I am in the studio.....

April 25, 2008

Clerical Work

There is something very satisfying about clerical work. In preparation for my trip next week, I spent some time printing out sheafs of schematics, photocopying them, collating and binding them. They are in a small legal portfolio I picked up at Staples. All very official and ready for work.

Today, at the studio, getting class sign-in folders ready for the summer intro series. Again, lots of little mindless tasks that nevertheless produce order and calm.

Falcon Ridge Folk Festival

Got my volunteer sign-up form in the mail this week. Kind of redundant (I'm a crew chief now) but it was nice to fill it out and mail it off. Will not be too long before I am on that hillside in NY, staring up at the stars, listening to great music, among friends. In the same way that the yoga studio has become my home, the campsite at Falcon Ridge is also home.

This year, the festival is July 24 - 27 (Thurs - Sun) with volunteers expected to show up on Wednesday.

The artist line-up has been posted:
Anthony Da Costa (2007 Showcase Fave)
Beth Molaro
Bill Evans Soulgrass
Chris Smither
The Clayfoot Strutters
Crooked Still
Culver Griffin & Country Spice
Dar Williams
Eddie From Ohio
Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul
Eliza Gilkyson
Falcon Ridge House Band: Mark Dann, Radoslav Lorkovic, and Jim Henry
The Farewell Drifters
The Folk Brothers - David Massengill & Jack Hardy
Gandalf Murphy & the Slambovian Circus of Dreams
George Marshall with Wild Asparagus
Guy Mendilow Band
The Horse Flies
The Ivy Vine Players
Janis Ian
Jason Spooner Trio
Joe Crookston (2007 Showcase Fave)
Jim & Madeline Christensen
John Gorka
Kathryn Wedderburn
Lowen & Navarro
Lori McKenna
Lindsay Mac (2007 Showcase Fave)
Martin Sexton
Mortal Beasts & Deities
Nerissa & Katryna Nields
Patti O'Brien Melita
Patti O & the Hip Hooligans
Patty Larkin (Long time, no see, welcome back!)
Paul Rosenberg
Railroad Earth
Ralph Sweet
Randall Williams (2007 Showcase Fave)
Red Molly
Roger the Jester
The Sevens
The Storycrafters
The Strangelings
Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience
Tracy Grammer
The Walker Family
Vance Gilbert

Want to volunteer? Check out the volunteer information page. While it's certainly nice to have the full festival, there is something special about being part of the Falcon Ridge family, and volunteers get to go / camp for free, get fed, and get to be part of the team. Also to wear a FRFF staff tee-shirt until it pretty much stands up by itself.....

Show Off

OK, I'm pretty happy about my headstands. But still, when Barb attempted to pull Kristin up front to demonstrate a headstand last night at practice, and Kristin mouthed the word "Jude" to our fearless leader, I was kind of nervous even as I said "sure". It's one thing to do a headstand before class when I am fresh, messing around in my own space, a few feet from the wall (in case of tipping), and with no pressure. It's quite another to do so at the end of a long, tiring standing practice, with Barb standing next to you talking about the various subtleties of the posture, in front of the room with no wall behind you, and asking if you'd come into ardha sirsasana, and then pull back up into sirsasana. Talk about performance anxiety and pressure.

I survived. No falling in either direction. Or tipping over and resultant crushing of unsuspecting yogi's at the front of the room. I guess I did the posture well enough forbarb not to be poking at my b or my feet to tweak me up a bit. And I got a rare (for the yoga studio) round of applause. Maybe some hope given to those with less classically yoga-ish bods that they too can do inversions.

* Photo glommed from Nicky Watts' Nick Yoga site in Austrailia. Someday I'll have pictures of my own yoga postures to post!

April 24, 2008

Rachel Gottlieb Steps Up

OK, I was kind of dubious about the Courant's new iTown feature, based on the first few weeks of blog posts. But this week, Rachel Gottlieb's Greater Hartford blog has been pretty great, with a mix of hard issues and slice of life stuff.

I'm adding her my blogroll!

Ambassador of India

Zippy and I had dinner last night at the Ambassador of India restaurant in West Hartford. Pretty wonderful. Entree's were inexpensive and really wonderful ($8 to $13). The mulligatawny soup was a fabulous bowl of deliciousness (and a bargain at $2). We both opted for vegetarian, and the medium spice level was just right - flavorful and a small bite but not in any way painful. I had the Chana Pindi, Zippy had the Navrattan Korma, we loved 'em both. Zippy also had the Raita and approved....

It's BYOB, so bring a bottle of vino or a six pack of Kingfisher if you'd like. And do stop by - the night we went it was pretty quiet, and this place is too much of a gem in the otherwise trendy and pricey WH Center to permit it to fail. And if it catches on as it deserves, it will be hard to get a table, its a small and intimate spot.

Highly recommended!

Ambassador of India
968 1/2 Farmington Ave West Hartford, CT 06107
Phone: (860) 523-4177

Lunch: 11:30am - 2:30pm Tuesday - Sunday (except Saturday)
1:00pm - 3:30pm Saturday

Dinner: 4:30pm - 9:00pm Tuesday - Sunday
Closed Monday

Catching Up

Been a weird week. Lot's of random work projects - cleaning up from taxes, setting up some new projects, some ongoing work, some long range planning, and some office time down at the studio. Can't say that it's been a hyper productive week, but I've gotten some things done.

My cell phone disappeared this week. I turned off the ringer the other day when I was teaching, and now it's MIA. With the ringer off, my usual trick of calling the phone won't work. I'm pretty sure it's around somewhere, but I looked everywhere twice and gave up this morning. So I have a new phone (nothing fancy) except this one has Bluetooth. And a camera which might make for some bloggish goodness, if I can figure out how to use it and export photos. So I have become a member of the cell phone Borg....

I'm off to Tulsa (adding OK to my list of states visited this calendar year) on Sunday - two days with a newish client, then back home on Wednesday.

April 23, 2008

Juggling Asanas

So I taught my first class yesterday. It was a bit of a mixed experience. Some random thoughts:

a) The venue was challenging, a grade school gym in Hartford's north end, set up for gymnastics and tumbling. So a real need to project my voice, lots of distractions, and a lot of space to fill....

b) A good class, with 5 beginners and 1 more experienced yogi.

c) A challenging schedule, with class slated for 3:45 to 4:45 but we never really got into it until nearly 4:00 p.m. (people drifting in) and so it was a shortish practice (I went a bit over). Also, hard to check for injuries when students are coming in minutes into the practice - two of the latecomers ended up having some physical limitations that I had to deal with mid-practice.

d) Note to self - less vinyasa. The beginners in the class found the stepping back into plank, chaturange, vinyasa, parts pretty challenging. After a couple of classical suns, I punted (on the fly) with my plan to do some Sun B sequences into warrior postures, and just stayed on our feet and moved into the warrior postures from standing.

e) Adaptation. One of the students had problems lying on her back for spinal twists, so on the fly I suggested a simple seated twist. I give myself points for that one. But another student, after class, said the spinal twist was painful, and even though I got to her with blocks (to prop her knees) during practice, I should have offered the option of doing the posture with feet on the mat.

f) I picked up 5 inexpensive "yoga kits" at Ocean State Job Lot - including a mat, a strap, and two blocks. So I now have a small bag of travel props (left the mats at home). Yoga To Go.

g) I really struggled with teaching the postures (from my mat) and getting up to adjust people. I found myself looking for places where I could not be on my mat, not demonstrating postures, so I could move through the class.

I have no idea how good the class was, from the student's perspective. I was subbing in for a friend and I'll get feedback from her.

The amusing thing was, before class, I was warming myself up in the gym (alone) and was stepping through various "calm and center myself" postures, including a headstand. I guess some of the students were peering into the window watching me. So they equated "headstand" with "good teacher". I told them at the start if class "no, it only means I can do a headstand.....". Still, after class, one of the students who did not see the headstand (but heard about it) asked me to do one. Heh.....

April 22, 2008

Power Yoga Fundraiser for The Diaper Bank

Power Yoga Fundraiser for The Diaper Bank
with Peg Oliveira
Fresh Yoga, New Haven
May 3, 2008 / 4pm – 6pm

Info here.

Founded in 2004, THE DIAPER BANK (formerly the New Haven Diaper Bank) provides over 80,000 diapers every month to hundreds of families living in poverty in Connecticut. We are dedicated to raising awareness of the many hygienic and basic needs that go unmet every day in the lives of thousands of low-income and poor people.

I'm pretty sure I won't be able to go (Northampton Pride that day, I'm taking MYA up for the day) but you never know. And if I don't go, this seems like a good cause to drop a few bucks on.....

Hey Colin, Your Next Job

Mascot Needed (Hartford)

Friendly person needed to fill chicken mascot costume from 11:30-4 p.m. at May 3 event in Hartford. No talking as the mascot - but you do need sense of humor and to pose for press photos at the event. We supply a brand-new chicken suit which will be returned end-of-gig. Great gig for the right person; other appearances throughout Greater Hartford in the upcoming months. Please send resume/experience/contact info and tell me why you'd like to be our chicken mascot! Serious inquiries only.

Location: Hartford
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: $15/hour

God, I love Craigslist!

Earth Day 2008

this is my home, this is my only home
this is the only sacred ground that i have ever known
and should i stray in the dark night alone
rock me goddess in the gentle arms of eden

Dave Carter / Gentle Arms of Eden

Here's a video of the late Dave Carter and Tracy Grammar playing this song.

Blogging Hartford

The Courant has a new initiative to try to get local with their website, called iTowns. It basically seems to be an attempt to consolidate town news by region (the Greater Hartford region includes Hartford, Bloomfield, Newington, Rocky Hill, West Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield) with the addition of a blog, by Rachel Gottlieb.

So far, not so good. Ms. Gottlieb's got 4 blog posts since the blog was started back on the 9th; and 3 of those are boilerplate "about the new blog" kind of posts. I might refer her to the Tony Pierce's 2004 posting How to Blog. Rule #1: write every day. Rule #2: if you think you're a good writer, write twice a day.

You want a good role model for blogging, one only has to look as far as Colin McEnroe's blog To Wit, also hosted by the Courant. We don't expect a full column every day, but a paragraph would be nice. Hey, I went to the new dry cleaner on Park. Or there's a new restaurant I've been meaning to try. Or whatever.

As for Hartford blogs, I can recommend:

* ¡Mira! Hartford by Helder Mira (note to self, add it to the blogroll)
* RealHartford by Kerri Provost
* Urban Compass by Heather Brandon (spanning Hartford and Springfield)
* Undercurrents by the Hartford Independent Media Center

I am sure there are others I am missing. For whatever reason, the print media keeps trying to fit square pegs (print journalists) into the round holes of the blogosphere, and its not always a great fit. There are some pretty great bloggers out there already doing this work (uhm, for love, for art, for the cause). I wonder why the Courant does not draw on these resources......

Edit: To be fair to the Courant, I just checked out some of the other iTown blogs; the other regional bloggers seem to be doing a pretty decent job.

April 21, 2008

Temporal Reference

It's been years since I wore a watch. Between a self employed lifestyle that really does not need a lot of time watching, ubiquitous real time clocks (cell phone, PDA, car radio, GPS, computers, etc.) and a general eschewing of adornment and jewelry, it's just never been an issue.

I'm teaching my first yoga class tomorrow. I'm gonna need to pay attention to the time. So....I bought an inexpensive (analog) watch.

Ironic, that yoga is the one thing that roots me into the 24-hour, 1440-minute division of the day.....

Beautiful Weekend

Not that I got all that much accomplished.....

A good yoga weekend, with some pretty challenging Shankara practices on Friday and Sunday mornings, and an opportunity to assist (at the free Intro to Yoga class, led by Shankara, on Saturday afternoon). Assisting was fun; although it was not so crowded (due to the nice weather) and Shankara took the class through a lot of less traditional postures and stretches so there was less formal adjusting to do. Mostly see to comfort (blankets and blocks), demo postures, and talk to students afterwards. I need to get comfortable with students - approaching, sitting on the floor, making eye and body contact - so these are good practice sessions.

Saturday night Zippy and I dined Al Fresco at the Elbow Room. Nice to sit and people-watch. Afterwards, we walked off dinner a bit, and stopped by a newish restaurant Ambassador of India located in that little place off Farmington Avenue. Prices look pretty reasonable, especially fro WH center. I saw some yoga friends out and about as we were dining, and it turned out they were headed there for dinner - they recommend it (good vegetarian options).

Sunday, I went to a Family and Friends concert at the Universalist Church in West Hartford. It was a lovely concert, my yoga friend Cynthia was the hub surrounded by family, and friends, and the music went from bluegrass to sing-along to four part harmony (Cynthia formerly sang with Concora). It was a very beautiful and love-filled space; a handful of my yogi friends were there.

In between all this, I did a conference with my mentee. I dug up and raked the front lawn (where the water main was dug up this winter) in preparation for reseeding. And we went to Home Depot to buy a shovel, some bricks to edge a new garden, and some grass seed.

April 18, 2008

R.I.P. Danny Federici


Terrance's comment prompts me to write a bit more. Danny Federici was there from the start - before Nils, before Max, before Roy, before Steve. Those two first albums, with David Sancious, Vinnie Carter - a strange assemblage for those of us who first met the Boss in the Born to Run / Darkness era.

Springsteen was my first concert - sophomore year in high school, driving into Boston with a carload of friends, must have bene the Darkness tour. I seem to recall us scraping the front bumper on the big parking garage near the Boston Gardens. Horrible place to see a show. Sounded like crap. We were on the floor, but way back.

Two keyboard players. Danny stage right, Roy stage left. Roy was always flashier - the booming chords of Backstreets, the delicate opening bit to Jungleland (that I can still bang out). Danny always seemed quieter, a little less accessible. I'm glad I got to see him, one last time, when Bruce opened up his latest tour in Hartford.

Kind of stings a little more than the usual celebrity death. Always, the E Street Band was there when Bruce came calling. Not anymore....like the Who after Keith Moon died; there will always be an asterix from here on....

I think I'll go listen to The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle - for old times sake....

Good Advice.....

I've been messing around with Linked In for a few months now. Mostly, it's been a good place to network - reconnect with old colleagues and customers, connect with new ones. I've reconnected with a college housemate, for example, who turns out to be working in a field not too far removed from my own. Mostly, it seems to be like MySpace or Facebook for grown-ups. You can see my Linked In profile here.

Linked In has a feature where one can post an open question, and people volunteer to answer the question. Quite interesting. I've answered a few myself, so far, and my own questions have gotten some quite helpful and thought-provoking replies.

My questions:

Growing out of the one-person, sole-proprietor business
I've been in business for 12+ years (engineer consulting). I've found my income to be relatively flat over the past few years - limited mostly by my available time and willingness to take on certain kinds of work (travel). I'm at a stage where I could conceivably grow the business, but I've struggled with how to do that.

In the past, I've brought on part time help with mixed success. A graphics person one day a week was great for improving a lot of my presentations, colors, etc. - I was able to drop projects on his desk and get good outcome without a lot of hand-holding and supervision. It was a win-win; he had a 32 hour a week job in another field with benefits, but wanted to keep a foot in the graphics world while explanding his experience and portfolio with digital graphics. On the other hand, a young IT / network person pretty much needed constant supervision - adding no value whatsoever.

My thought is that if I were to bring anyone on board for a day or two a week, it might be more of a clerical person, and develop a fixed set of responsibilities (billing, expense reports, filing and organizing). If that worked out, I might be able to expand this individual into some of the more mechanical aspects of my engineering work. I rent a small private office in large office building, with shared services (copies, receptionist) - my office is large enough to put a second person in there, if I wanted to.

Any thoughts on making the jump from one person shop to a larger organization?


I limit any single client to 25% of my available billable hours. Good plan or no?
I've been in the consulting business for over 12 years (engineering / power quality). In those years, I've operated with the unwritten rule that I will limit clients to 25% of my billable time. My thought are - these are large corporations, and often the work can disappear pretty capriciously, due to management changes, market forces, or decisions 2 or 3 levels up the corporate ladder that do not have a lot to do with the quality or value of my work to the client. "When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled"

It's been a relatively successful strategy - when large clients either slow-down temporarily or disappear completely, I've had enough pots simmering on the stove to be able to take up the slack relatively quickly. I've always got a list of "some day we'll get to this" projects that I can promote if I end up looking for work.

My fear is, however, that I am limiting myself with this strategy.

Have others imposed that sort of limit, or got caught when a large client changed directions suddenly and left you hanging?

April 17, 2008

Arts and Arts

An arty kind of evening. AC and I wandered over to NBMAA, to hear (and see) Zemi17 (aka Aaron Taylor Kuffner) playing the robotic gamelan. Pretty amazing. Note to self, become a member at NBMAA. It's only $45 and they have nice events and great art.

Then off to Real Art Ways for the Creative Cocktail Hour, where I ran into Colin, Alison, Cheryl, and Caresse. I also downed a couple of unyogish beers.

Sometime in the next few days I hope to catch Buster Keaton's classic The General, at RAW, accompanied by Gideon Freudmann on Cello (yes, the same Gideon Freudmann who played cello on Dar's first CD The Honesty Room, way back when.

Trial Run

All in all, it's not a bad thing to figure out how to open the hood of the new car, and find the proper jumper cable landing spots (the battery is in the trunk, with the spare), on a sunny and warm day than on a rainy cold night on the highway.

Zippy left his lights on; I had to go home and give him a jump.

I cannot let this story go.....

Today on Morning Edition, I heard another snippet about the pope's vestments that hits close to home. Doing some web snooping, I find this:
It's work that only a chosen few ever get to do, and a Connecticut company is at the forefront. Baker Liturgical Art, LLC designed the vestments and the sacred vessels featured in the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict XVI.

Baker Liturgical Art (formerly, Baker Brothers Religious Goods) has been a Southington CT mainstay for years. The Baker homestead was for years adjacent to St. Thomas Church where I met my former spouse, where we played together in the folk group, where we got married.

My balloon guy, Robert, ended up in Southington because he was in a small plane crash and broke his leg, and ended up recovering on one of the Baker boy's couch over the summer. The Baker family (good Irish Catholics) threw one hell of a summer party every year, with a real band and lots of food and alcohol. They come flying with us every so often.

Who knew? Good for them!

Leaving the Nest

Watching my fellow yoga teacher trainees teach on Saturday, it's hard to communicate how my heart opened up - with love for the yogis who came to support us, with love for our teachers who created this opportunity, with love and respect for those who were teaching and assisting. It's funny, because I am not so good at names and faces. But watching these people teach - now I know them. It was delightful seeing each person's different style, rooted in the same place, yet different.

Many years ago, a small bird built a nest in a houseplant that I had hanging on my front porch. I came home one night and the bird flew out - nearly scared me to death! When the bird was not at home, I examined the nest, and was touched to find the scratchy thorns and twigs from which the next was made were lined with dog hairs - no doubt the spring shedding from my springer spaniel Nipsy. When the bird laid eggs in the nest, I became very protective of my adopted family. The eggs hatched, and four chicks were born - I would hear them hungrily chirping. I felt blessed by this, as if the universe was showing me my own capacity for love. I was careful not to disturb the nest, although I did take a picture of the chicks in the nest.

One beautiful warm day in the early summer, I was drinking my coffee and hanging out, and something told me to go outside. I did, and realized the birds had left the nest. But they were not gone - the family was perched on the telephone line outside my

For the next half-hour, I sat on the front steps in the warm sunshine, sipping my coffee, and watching as they flew back and forth from the wire to the nest, testing
their wings. They flocked together, tumbling through the air, delighted in their flying and in their togetherness. I felt as if they were saying good-bye, thanking me for keeping that space for them. Again, I felt the subtle touch of the divine - calling me outside on this day, to witness this event. And then they flew off - I never saw them again.

Watching my fellow yogis teach, was like watching those birds taking their first flight. I am honored to have been present for that, and my own faith and trust that things are just as they are supposed to be is rediscovered and strenghtened.

Living in the Future

So I'm into a wide leg forward bend, alone on a mat in the middle of a circle. One of my fellow trainees is "reading" me - trying to get some sense of where I am, what my body is communicating. I must have been leaning forward or something, not centered, because she came up with me living in the future, strugling to say present.

Right on track. I'm so excited at the idea of teaching yoga - that I am thinking about teaching - assisting this Saturday, teaching my first class on Tuesday, teaching at the folk fest in July, teaching a week of classes in October up in Ptown.

Hopefully once I have a few of these classes under my belt, I can return to the present. Because it's spring out there, the sun is shining, the weather is warming, and there is a lot of life out there waiting to be experienced.

April 16, 2008

Free: Intro to Yoga

This Saturday, April 19th, at 1:00 p.m. at West Hartford Yoga. Details here.

Shankara will be leading the Intro class this weekend. And I wrangled my way into assisting, with a few of the other teacher trainees....

April 15, 2008

Men Explain Things to Me

By Rebecca Solnit, Tomdispatch.com - online here
Posted on April 14, 2008, Printed on April 14, 2008
Every woman knows what I'm talking about. It's the presumption that makes it hard, at times, for any woman in any field; that keeps women from speaking up and from being heard when they dare; that crushes young women into silence by indicating, the way harassment on the street does, that this is not their world. It trains us in self-doubt and self-limitation just as it exercises men's unsupported overconfidence.

Props to Diane Frank, who I run into over at MHB.....

This American Life - Live

A satellite livecast of the radio show This American Life, simulcast to various theaters, including Buckland Hills and Springfield Showcase, and other local cinemas. Thursday, May 1st, at 8 pm.

Detail here

$20 a ticket plus service charge - not cheap but doable. I might be there....

Fop Pope

COMMENTARY: Benedict's vestments choices are about tradition
By DAVID GIBSON / Religion News Service (Houston Chronicle)

With increasing regularity, Benedict has been reintroducing elaborate lace garments and monarchical regalia that have not been seen around Rome in decades, even centuries. He has celebrated Mass using the wide cope (a cape so ample it is held up by two attendants) and high mitre of Pius IX, a 19th-century pope known for his dim views of the modern world, and on Ash Wednesday he wore a chasuble modeled on one worn by Paul V, a Borghese pope of the 17th century remembered for censuring Galileo.

On Good Friday he donned a "fiddleback" vestment dating to the Counter-Reformation era of the 16th century, and he has used a tall gilded papal throne not seen in years. And that's not to mention the ermine-trimmed red velvet mozzetta, a shoulder cape, or the matching camauro, a Santa Claus-like cap that art students will recognize from Renaissance portraiture.

I Said No!

A week or so ago, I got a call from a telemarketer, telling me I was qualified for a free subscription to Pollution Engineering, so just give my OK and they'd be sending it.

No thank-you, I said - I do not work in that field, and besides, I'm already not reading the trade magazines directly related to in my own field. Save a tree.....

I got a bit of a hard sell, but I said "No" quite firmly, and the caller hung up. Today, in the mail, I find a copy of Pollution Engineering. Grrrrr.......

Got Fuel to Burn, Got Roads to Drive

Apparently, Senator McCain thinks its a good idea to INCREASE fuel consumption and encourage driving this summer. Story here.

To help people weather the downturn immediately, McCain urged Congress to institute a "gas-tax holiday" by suspending the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day. He also renewed his call for the United States to stop adding to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and thus lessen to some extent the worldwide demand for oil.


Hours to Spare

Finished up my taxes this morning, with the assist of TaxAct (online preparation and filing of both state and federal returns for about $25).

I've been doing my taxes for so many years that I have a system - I create a large spreadsheet (actually, just copy it from the previous year), with 365 rows and columns for every major expense category: medical, charity, taxes, and many business expense categories.

Then, I go through my records: personal and business checking accounts. Credit cards. IRA. HSA. PDA calendar. EZ-Pass records. Paper receipts (filed in the obligatory shoebox). All entered into the spreadsheet. Then I drop the sum of each category into the appropriate Schedule C form.

Not much trauma. I netted a bit more than last year. I paid about the same taxes. I get $200 back from the Feds and owe the state about the same amount.

What is scary is that TaxAct will compare ones return to average returns - and according to that, I have significantly lower deductions, and pay significantly higher taxes, than others in my income bracket. Only slightly depressing.... I'm not particularly creative when it comes to tax accounting, I have to believe some people are just making stuff up.

I am, however, just happy to have them done.

April 14, 2008

Teacher Training Wrap-up

I'm reconnecting after a few days of teacher training mandated silence. It was an interesting weekend on a lot of levels; so I'm gonna hit the highlights, and maybe some other things will fall out afterwards.

First off, it was a weekend of silence. Was not sure how that would pan out; I've done silent retreats before, but never on my home turf. On Friday night, one of my fellow trainees spoke of how her devotion to a Friday morning yoga practice had gotten in the way of her connecting with a friend / neighbor who really needed her - that moved my heart deeply. I decided that being in silence with Zippy would have been a bad thing; yoga and my spiritual path is already a huge issue between us and I felt as if keeping silent with Zippy would violate the yama Ahimsa (non-injury) more than foster Tapas (spiritual discipline). So I avoided the phone, the internet, email, blogs, television, and radio - and kept conversations to a minimum, but I remained in contact with Zippy. I think that was a good decision.

Because I was not on the internet; I had time on my hands. I spent some time detoxing - cleaning my room, doing laundry, doing dishes, cleaning my car. I took some time to give myself a pedicure. It just felt good to be cleaning up my life a little, making a little more room for order and beauty.

On Saturday evening, we hosted an Intro to WHY Power class at the studio, led by teacher trainees. I was part of the 2nd group (so I do not get to teach until May) but I got to site and observe on Saturday. I can not tell you how deeply my heart was movedby the experience. First, the studio was filled with 30-35 people (a good size class under any circumstances). Some familiar faces, some new to the studio, some new to yoga. I felt so supported and loved (as a member of the teacher training class) by the community. And then, to see my fellow trainees teach their segments - it was beautiful. Each person, filled with fear and with hope, bringing their own personality and style to the class. I was rooting for each and every one of them.

When trainees were not teaching, they moved through the class, helping students, doing adjustments. It felt like a swarm of bees in some ways to see so many assistants, and I was afraid that the students would get overwhelmed. I know I like an assist but I also like to be left alone in my practice at times. But my fellow trainees were so gentle, so loving, so pure in their attentions - it was delightful to watch individual attentions.

I will most assuredly let you know when the May workshop is - while I tend to be a bit of a rugged individualist, Saturday's class was so moving and delightful that having a friend or two in the room when it is my turn to teach would be sweet.

There was sadness as well. This was weekend #3 out of #6 weekends, counting the anatomy workshop. The formal part of my yoga teacher training is 1/2 over, and as much as I am looking forward to teaching, to exploring my own space as a teacher, I am keenly aware of how precious this space is. On Sunday evening, we were doing an empathy / seeing skills exercise - one of us got into a posture to be seen, another would come into silence and "read" the other student. Most of us got into pretty safe poses (we had to be in them a long time while the other person read us), but when it came to my turn (I was the one being read) I stepped into Prasarita Padottanasana (wide-legged forward bend). Afterwards, I sat down and a fellow trainee scribbled the word BOLD! on a piece of paper and passed it to me. I dunno, it felt right. I wanted something strong, yet something I could hold for a long time, I wanted something vulnerable (ass in the air is pretty vulnerable), and I feel so safe and supported in that space.

April 11, 2008

Off the Air

Scenic Root is officially off the air until late Sunday night or Monday morning for transmitter maintenance. Or something....

Oh, The Places I've Been

Plugging away at taxes. Today's trivia - the places I traveled to for work in 2007.

Rye Brook, NY / Madison, WI / Little Rock, AK / Portland, ME / Philadelphia, PA / Goshen, IN / Cary, NC / Scottsdale, AZ / Hackensack, NJ / Chicago, IL / Kent, WA / Uncasville, CT / Brooklyn, NY / Cleveland, OH / Grand Rapids, MI / Philadelphia, PA / Alton, IL / Milford, PA / Naples, FL / Chicago, IL

Sixteen different states in one calendar year! (plus MA, VT, and NH for fun). And no trips to CA or the Southwest last year (I've been to CA twice, Las Vegas, and Phoenix already in 2008)

Folk Runneth Over

Kind of an unfortunate weekend to be ensconced in a yoga studio. The local folk music scene is chock full of some of my favorite artists.

On Friday: Brooks Williams in New Canaan, Eilen Jewell at the Iron Horse

On Saturday: Catie Curtis is in New Hartford, CT Troubadours at the Sounding Board, Gordon Bok in Branford, and at the Calvin in Noho, Dar, the Nields, and Shawn Mullins

On Sunday: Brooks Williams has a CD release party at the Iron Horse

I'm sure I am missing some (heard a lot of great names on WWUH this morning). Alas, I'll be breathing and sweating and filling my brain full of yoga-ese.

Yoga Font

A free, downloadable font of yoga postures, which I have been using in my teacher training write-ups.

Not completely comprehensive (there are lots of postures specific to WHY Power that aren't there) but its pretty cool nonetheless.....

Tip of the hat to Bill Grainger from the UK for his labour of love!

Piercing the Corporate Vale

I'm messing around over on Linked In this morning and reading a Q&A regarding LLC vs. Sole Proprietorship. An attorney responded to the question; his answer had a number of references to "the corporate vale"

Dude, it's "the corporate veil". I am not an attorney, but damn.....

Rule #1: If you are gonna be responding to questions on Linked In, try to get the spelling right on a key term in your area of supposed expertise. Otherwise, you look like a rube, to your entire network.

Rule #2: Even if you are planning to be attorney, try not to sleep through English classes....because "corporate veil" makes perfect sense, linguistically. And "corporate vale" is silly.

April 10, 2008

Silence is Golden

Starting tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. - I'll be offline. We're doing a silent weekend during yoga teacher training - no talking, no chit-chat, no television, no radio, no recreational reading, no internet, no email.

No blogging.

I'll probably blog a few times tomorrow, and promise to be back after Sunday evening....

April 09, 2008

Spring is Sprung

Back on March 28th I took a picture of a bunch of daffodils, pushing up. Today, I noticed that this same bunch has blossomed into glory.

27 Minutes

I popped into hot yoga 45 minutes early this morning, with a paper and pen and a stopwatch. I felt like I was doing sprints, or yoga tryouts. In reality, I was stepping through a 30 minute yoga practice that we had to come up with for teacher training.

The sequence clocked in at 27 minutes, not counting opening meditation or savasana. Pretty useful exercise. I tightened up a few sequences. I dropped one sun salutation. I worked backwards from a sequence, realizing that if I started up facing backwards, I'd end up pointed the right way. Stuff like that. I'm hoping to squeeze another few minutes out of the sequence to give a little more time for sitting down into postures.

Someday, I hope to be able to lead a practice through instinct. But for now, a watch and a sheet of notes is who I am.....

April 08, 2008

Pho LA

There is a new Pho Place being installed as we speak on New Park, in the old Norman Marine property on New Park, a mini-strip mall which now house a consignment shop, a Curves, and the problematically named "Oriental Nails".

Zippy and I were gonna try it out the other night but it's still not open. We like pho, but Pho Boston seems to give Zippy an MSG headache....so we don't get there much. Not sure if the LA stands for Los Angeles or something else.....will report once its open.

Instead we rustled over to Plan B Tavern, where we gorged on juicy, delicious burgers. Not too enlightened, but yummy. (warning, annoying website music). My second time there, Zippy's first. Not gonna be a regular stop (we're not veggies but we'd like to lean that way more), but a once in a while treat or a place to take a client for lunch....yes indeed.

Driveway Moment

NPR radio is always touting the "driveway moment" - that time when you are coming home from someplace, and listening to something on NPR, and arrive home but just sit in your car listening until the story is over, because it's just THAT engaging. I've certainly had a few of those. And of course, they want you to remember that one as you consider sending them some money (for the record, I did, on Sunday, as I listened to This American Life).

I think I had a sort of driveway moment of another sort today; WTIC frequently streams Colin McEnroes' show during Red Sox games. So as I was working today, I fired up the stream. Nothing unusual there, but I had so many things going on with my puter (downloading some large files, web surfing, slinging around 500Meg data sets) that the stream kept breaking down. But I had the Toshiba laptop kicking around the office, which I ended up wiping clean and reinstalling a clean set of software on. So I made that my dedicated streaming computer.

If WTIC were running a pledge drive, I'd feel obligated to donate.

Special "Intro to WHY Power"

Saturday April 12 ... 5:45 - 7:15 / Taught by WHY Teacher Trainees
Details here (I think there is a $5 fee or something, probably similar to Community Yoga)

I'm not teaching / assisting this month, so I'll be part of the class, but I am sure my fellow trainees who are teaching this month will appreciate some new faces.

April 06, 2008

Survived Detox Flow

Today was actually a lot more accessible than yesterday. Or else I just got comfortable with the level of collapse....

In any case, I'm happy to have gone through it, and happy for it to be over!

April 05, 2008

Day #2

Only one practice today, 2.5 hours long. I was running on fumes from yesterday's marathon, so I continued to lay low: cobras instead of up dogs, down dogs instead of chaturanga. A few of the postures were held way too long for this tired body - some one legged planks with a leg crunched up, some forearm planks, and again with the head-to-ankle, held for what seemed like days.

Sadly, it's kind of triggering my type A yogi nature - where I am trying to tough it out, ignore my body to try to keep up. That's not good (I know, I know) so I am giving myself plenty of space to back off. It's so tricky to know when one is taking care of oneself, and when one is being lazy or backing off from sensation.

The best part of practice was having my mat set up next to a friend's; as she wore us down we each overheard the other grouching under our breaths, or sighing in exasperation, and on occasion just looked at each other and rolled our eyes or grinned.

I'm getting better acclimaterd to Seane's style - her running talk is less intrusive today. Maybe it works on a sort of subliminal on unconscious level, because I sure as heck am trying not to pay attention, just staying present in my practice is all I can manage.

Vaguely Familiar.....

Lying in bed last night trying to process 5.5 hours of exceptionally difficult yoga with Seane Corn, it struck me that "she's got to be catholic". The cadence and tone of her verbalizing echoes with the religion of my childhood - "let us be open......and we ask the spirit....." with liberal references to god, a higher power, the mother, and the spirit. Lots of embedded references to the source material, so to speak. Put Bishop Sheen in a new age blender with Swami Kripalu.....

So I went looking for a web reference, and indeed, this article of GaiamLife Finding Spirit: Q&A with the Body Prayer Diva, Seane confirms my intuition.

But growing up in an environment that was both Jewish and Catholic yet didn't really celebrate either spiritual avenue, I really felt that this is what's missing — that mystery. Very interesting. Not a good thing or bad thing, just something I've noticed. I can see how some people might like this sort of style a lot, and others be turned off. I'm in between, it's familiar in many ways but the verbal echoes of the catholic prayers were a bit distracting.

In some ways I am not really resonating with her style; if I had a mute button for my ears I'd probably have hit it a few times yesterday, especially towards the end of practice when I was deep into a seated posture, and deep within myself. If the inner spirit was trying to reach me, the line was busy listening to her. I prefer to have a bit more silence at that point in the practice. At other times, when she would place us into a deep posture (head to ankle comes to mind) and then tick off a laundry list of fun facts about toxins (illnesses related to them, or sources of them, or ways the body deals with them, or what not) I was imagining her accessing an internal wikipedia page, and wondering how many things were added to the list since she started doing this workshop which served to effectively lengthen the time in the pose. So I'm sitting there listening and hoping for her to be done talking about whatever it was to get us out of the pose. Distracting. When I am working my edges, the last thing I want to be doing is processing information. Sorry, my left brain has left the premises and my right brain is not taking calls.....

There are yogi's who bring notebooks and pens to practice with these national teachers (I am not one of them) and write down everything that the teacher says that seems important, and I was laughing to myself at their inner struggle: stay in the pose, or write this stuff down? Because in a lot of ways there was a lecture and a yoga practice all wrapped up in one. Fortunately, my Homeresque brain is lulled into a comatose state by actual content and information, so it just became part of the background buzz of left brain monkey mind that yoga permits me to attenuate.

All that being said, I'm feeling pretty good about the physical practice. Yesterday's afternoon practice left me with some shakiness - a tweaky back and a sore right wrist (from a remedial chaturanga session that had has us going up and down repeatedly) - I actually thought (for the first time ever) about getting one of those wrist supports; I might end up taping my wrists today and tomorrow as Nykki has shown us. But I took it easier last night; I hit low cobra about 1/2 the time to save / stretch my back, and skipped a handful of vinyasa flows and headed straight into downdog a bunch of times as well.

Two more long sessions: today and tomorrow from 11:00 to 1:30.

April 04, 2008

So whose bright idea was it.....

....to sign up for TWO classes today. I'm home from Part I (1 - 4 pm) and pretty much wiped. My yoga mats are a hot mess. My yoga clothes peeled off me; I could not have been wetter had I been tossed into a lake.

And I haev to go back for another go round - 6:00 - 8:30. And then tomorrow and Sunday as well.

Doing a 12 hour workshop is part of the teacher training, but sheesh. My only hope is that the reset of the detox flow, aimed at a wider range of students, is gonna be slightly easier and less energetic.


Vinyasa Flow Uh-Oh

Dreaming last night / this morning. I dreamed I was in today's workshop. We have our mats down, we do some things. Then it's time for a break - we are given some sheets to complete (personal information and issues), and given the chance to go to the bathroom (there is only one, so we need to go in shifts).

I'm filling out the sheets and finding it hard - all I have to write with is a grease pencil. We used to use those at McDonald's, when I worked there. Then, as I struggle to complete the sheets, the room empties out, but I do not notice. I see cardboard boxes piled up - the kind that french fries and hamburger patties used to come in - so I start to clean up, to break them down and stack them. They are coated in wax and have little bits of food stuck to them. As I am doing this, I notice a rack of fry baskets, and a french fry machine - the baskets are lowering in and cooking. There is a grill there, and a few rows of 1/4 pound hamburgers are frying away; I notice they are getting too done. Finally, someone comes over to tend the grill.

Then, I notice that the room has emptied, that everyone is gone. I open a door, and the yoga class is getting started in another room; I am the last one in. I woke up about this time, and noticed my body was clenched, curled up, as if I were holding onto something. And in the sleep-wake period following, I saw myself teaching a yoga class, and talking to my students about the body storing away emotions: pain, grief, etc. - as it stores fat into tissue, and that it's normal to release those during strenuous practice, to feel the pain and the grief.

I worked at McDonald's in high school and college. It was a singularly visceral experience - working on fries and the grill, the cooking grease coated everything. Working on the dress station, the cheese, onions, and pickles would get under ones fingernails and into the creases of the hands, and my hands would smell for days regardless of how much I washed. So those memories and images are deeply ingrained into my system.

And today - I have few vices per se. Not a big drinker. Never smoked. But fast food remains an addiction I have yet to fully face. For all my yoga, my food awareness, my desire to clean up my life, one will often find the remnants of my last meal on the go in my car: the golden arches, Wendy's, Taco Bell.

And so, to have this dream, on the eve of a three day detox yoga workshop, is meaningful. I recall one of my teachers, who, during an enlightenment intensive (she was not even on the intensive, she was staff) mentioning "I dreamed of a big pile of cocaine". Well, I have met my cocaine. It's a quarter-pounder with cheese and a large order of fries.

Suddenly, the workshop looms large and scary before me.....I've got some work to do, pretty sure.

April 03, 2008

Vinyasa Flow

Heading into a yoga weekend - three days of Vinyasa Flow / Detox Flow yoga with Seane Corn.

I have not worked with Seane before; so I am looking forward to it. I've worked with a number of national teachers in the past year or so: Ana Forrest, Heather Tiddens, Sarah Powers, Tias Little. So not a lot of concern about working with someone new, someone with a national repuation. But still, 2 hours of yoga in three days is a lot, and anytime you throw the words detox and vinyasa into a yoga practice, you have to figure there will be sweat involved. At least on my mat.....

April 02, 2008

My Kid Sister

Talked to my sister Kathy today. Her birthday was yesterday; I was a day late in calling to wish her well. S'ok, her life is busy. Plus, she missed mine by a day or two.....

She's back on the stage, with her daughter / my niece, in minor roles in the play Annie, put on by the Clinton (MA) Community Theater. The play is next weekend. I'm bummed I can't go; it's a Yoga Teacher Training weekend - so I'm chained to the yoga studio for 20+ hours and can't break free.

It's not the first time my sister has been in the spotlight. She spent much of her youth with a baton in her hands, or walking down the street on her hands in various holiday parades - I spent many night with my parents in the recital audience, or parked on a curb waiting for her dance troupe to come down the street. Later, she graduated to cheerleader, and to musical theater geek. I remember seeing her in Little Mary Sunshine in high school, and Pippin in college. As an adult, she fronted a top-40 / wedding band named Calliope. She was (and continues to be) pretty amazing.

She's been doing the mom thing for a while - but her kids are getting older: Joe is driving, Sara is old enough to be in the adult cast. Her youngest is still a freckle-faced kid - but his life too revolves around baseball and soccer; soon he'll be in high school and reaching escape velocity. She'll be dealing with an empty nest before too long.

So it's good to see her back on the stage. Perhaps it will be videotaped - my nephew Joe fancies himself a videographer and editor, maybe I can get him to Youtube it. If not, I am sure she'll do another. She's too talented and has too much fun in the spotlight to stay out of it for long. And based on my niece's apparent aptitude for music and performance, the apple has not fallen far from the tree!

Rest in Peace, Gordo.....

Gordon Wallace Sousa Sr. passed away this past weekend at the age of 85. Obituary here.

He and his wife Marilyn have been our friends for many years. We're loosely connected - Zippy's sister works at the Lupus Foundation; Gordon and Marilyn were founding partners of the Connecticut Lupus Foundation. So when Zippy moved to CT, they got acquainted. They have come to our annual Gemini party; we see them a few times a year socially.

Over the winter, Zippy and I went over to their house - Gordon insisted we come to see his photographs. They were quite lovely - he had a good eye and took much delight in the technical aspects of photography (shutter speed, focus, aperture) as well as the composition - and he shared his passion for the art as he explained why he was drawn to particular shots, and how he captured the image.

Reading his obituary - his life seems so very full: a decorated soldier in WW II, a husband, father, and grandfather, working for the IRS and the State of CT, starting his own company, and a full life of volunteer and charitable work and hobbies after he retired.

I am honored to have crossed paths with him; and I grieve for his family and especially for Marilyn. They have been married 61 years.

You've earned a peaceful and blessed sleep, friend.

You Heard Wrong

Yesterday morning, in yoga, I parked my mat in the back corner of the room. I had been to Barb's class the evening before and a hot class that morning was a bit of a stretch, so best to stay on the outskirts.

Of course, when Nykki asked if anyone had any injuries, I knew it was was April 1, so I pointed to my belly and mouthed "pregnant". Then I said (aloud) "I'm recovering from Barb's class".

Somehow Nykki put me pointing to my stomach and mentioning Barb to mean "We need to do more abs" - so she made us get blocks and we did some ab work, because "Jude wants to do abs"

Ouch! Actually, abs are never a bad thing and her abs were not killers. But I think I'm just gonna keep my mouth shut in the future!

April 01, 2008

Evil Yogi's

My teacher training class is spending the day pulling an April Fool's joke - many of us are emailing our fearless leader / studio owner telling her we need to pull out of training - with concocted stories ranging from work (my excuse, a 3 month business trip to India!), to pregnancy, injury, mental collapse, and finally, to dropping out and joining an ashram!

One of our fellow student's (and also a co-instigator of the prank) is with our teacher today, working, so hopefully will spill the beans before our emails set off any panic!

Bad yogi's. If we end up with 30 minutes of ab work each training day next weekend, we'll know that payback is a b*tch!