May 31, 2008

Pipe Dreams

I am filled with imaginations of things I'd love to own, places I'd love to visit, jobs I'd like to hold, businesses I'd like to start. Drives Zippy crazy at times; he has no truck for foolish thinking.

Some of my little conceits:
* Own a small RV (which I will pick up for a song on Craigslist) to take up to the folk festival
* Buy a small motorcycle (I own a scooter)
* Own a small catering truck and sell interesitng and healthy food at festivals
* Own a hot dog stand
* Turn the (recently demolished) Piper Brook Restaurant into a gay bar / restaurant



* Turn one of the empty store fronts near my favorite whole donut into a (healthy) sandwich shop
* Buy an old, small manufacturing building - live in the back, have a small office, and turn the main factory area into a yoga studio / performance space / arts space. There is a particular building in Bristol (presently occupied) that I'm always looking at.



I've also got a yen to go to Ireland (not so far-fetched, my balloon friends go pretty much every year), the Galapagos Islands, and maybe Alaska (I think I have an old friend who lives in Ketchikan)

2nd Annual Northeast Drumming Expo

Event: 2nd Annual Northeast Drumming Expo
Date: June 8th, 2008
Time: 1:00 PM
Category: Special Events
Location: East Hartford Cultural Center, 50 Chapman Place

The Connecticut Hand Drumming Network- an association of Hartford area Drum Circle Facilitators (DCF) and Hand Drumming Educators- is proud to host the 2nd annual North East Hand Drumming Expo. This event will feature a continuous drum circle led by New England's top Drum Circle Facilitators. It will also feature a break-out room with continuously running classes on hand drumming and world rhythms. The Expo was designed to entertain and inform drummers of all levels of experience. This is a fun filled event open to all ages and previous musical experience is not required. Venders will be onsite selling drums and drum related material. Admission is only $10.00 and covers all events for the day. Children under 10 years old are free. For more information go to www.ctdrummingnetwork.com

Notice cribbed from my friends Virgina and Craig over at Playtivity

Chanting Stoned

No drugs were consumed. After a particularly deep yoga practice, we refer to ourselves as "yoga stoned" - tonight, the kirtan was particularly vibrant and high energy - the audience was present and connected, the ensemble clicked. So we were "chanting stoned" afterwards. I was, anyways.....


The right side of the ensemble: Jude, Shankara, Atticus (guest musician), and Tom


A group shot during a percussion chant; yes that is a drum in my hands (they only let me play once in a while).....from left, Virginia, Mare, Craig, Atticus, Jude, Shankara.


Shankara and Me


Me and My Guitar

See all tonight's photos on Flickr, here. Thanks Sharon for being the photographer!

May 30, 2008

Intensely Cool and Infinitely Scary

It is completely cool that the satellite photos on Microsoft's Virtual Earth are of such high quality that we can see:

Zippy's truck in the driveway, Julio's red mustang (to our right), and George's collapsed tarp / shelter (to our left)


And in this photo, Zippy's truck and car on the street and my old red saturn in the drive.

On the other hand, it's invasiveness and big brother aspects are hard to ignore. Pretty much, when the government wants to send the cruise missiles to take us out, I'm pretty sure they will know when we are home. Hopefully I'll be in the basement doing laundry and might stand a chance.

May 29, 2008

Aches and Pains

I assisted an Intro to Yoga class on Wednesday evening, and this morning, I was kind of creaky. Interesting. I would not think that assisting would be all that taxing - I mean, I'm on the mat for a strong practice nearly very day. How could assisting cause my body to complain?

Perhaps it's just a lot of different work - kneeling, crouching, bending. Perhaps it just seems like less work (because it is outwardly focused, because there is excitement and passion there).

An interesting teaching lesson, for sure. To take care of myself. To be conscious of my body while teaching and assisting. To understand the physical price I will pay to teach.

The Infamous Penguin Joke

It's a hot day in July, and a penguin is driving down the highway, when his car starts running rough. Fortunately, he spots a small garage with some service bays on the road, and pulls in. He walks into the garage to find a turtle underneath a car, changing the oil.

The turtle rolls out from under the car, and the penguin explains the problem. "I'll look at it as soon as I finish up this oil change", the turtle says. "In the meantime, there's a really good ice cream shop across the way, why not go have something to eat and when you come back I'll have an idea what's wrong with your car"

So the penguin goes across the street, and orders a vanilla ice cream cone. And the turtle was right - the ice cream is delicious - handmade, light and sweet, lots of real vanilla. The penguin has a hard time holding the cone - being a penguin, he has flippers instead of hands - but he does the best he can wedging the cone between his flippers and licking the ice cream. But with the summer heat melting the ice cream as fast as he can eat it, he makes a mess of things, with ice cream all over his beak, his flippers, and his feathers.

Finally, he finishes his ice cream cone and wanders back across the street to find the turtle emerging from under his car. The turtle looks up and says "Looks like you blew a seal"

"Oh, no" says the penguin "That's just vanilla ice cream"

May 27, 2008

Kirtan with Shankara and Friends - May 30th

KIRTAN WITH SHANKARA & FRIENDS
Friday, May 30, 8:00 - 10:00 pm
$5 suggested donation (note: not $15 as listed on website)

Kirtan: an evening of devotional singing, chanting, and personal expression. It is part of an ancient form of yoga known as Bhakti, or the Yoga of Devotion. The meditative quality of the music promotes a joyousness of spirit. Shankara leads our group in chants and songs in Sanskrit and English, from ancient Vedic text to traditional American music. Kirtan is for everyone, the experience itself offers possibilities of personal discovery or simply, the joy of raising one's voice in song. Allow yourself the gift of making a joyous noise. It's all about the spirit and the feeling. Bring yours to share! Expect surprises and unannounced musical guests!

Ya'll know I am one of Shankara's "friends" - I play guitar and bass (and sometimes bang a drum or shake an egg!) at the West Hartford Yoga kirtans. So come if you'd like and add your energy to a room filled with spirit and sound!

Scoot Again

Towards the end of last year, I had an incident wherein my scooter (an ancient Yamaha Razz I picked up used on Craiglist) just stalled out. I was down on Hartford Road / Newington Avenue and it sputtered out. I ended up walking it home (annoying). So I have not had it out much this spring. I figured it was something maintenancy: a clogged fuel filter, fouled spartk plug, or a tune-up.

Or maybe it was something less permanent - bad gas, vapor lock, or the like. I fired it up a few weeks back and it seemed to run fine. Yesterday I risked a ride from the house over to a barbeque not too far from Gold Roc - a pretty far trek compared to what I was doing last year - and it was fine. I am going to keep an eye on it (and if I can figure out how to clean / replace the fuel filter and spark plug that will be worth doing)

With gas at $4 a gallon, more miles on the scooter (and bike) and less on the Saturn is a good thing. I suspect the scooter has a higher footprint in terms of pollution and emissions, but it's a heck of a lot less gas burned than the Saturn.

Although I think I need to invest in a real helmet; the bike helmet I have been using is kind of goofy looking. Then again, me on a scooter has a certain comical visual footprint regardless of what I wear on my head.....

Free Intro to Yoga Classes

As part of my yoga teacher training, I need to teach some free yoga classes!

For the next 5 weeks, I'll be teaching a short intro to yoga series in Newington, on Thursday evenings, from 5:30 to 6:30. Classes will be at the Newington Office and Conference Center, 705 North Mountain Road, Newington.

Class dates are May 29, June 5 / 12 / 19 / 26. If there is enough interest I may continue things into the summer.....

If you are interested, feel free to drop me an email juderussell@aol.com or call the cell, 860-839-0235.

Keeping Busy

The weekend was supposed to be a quiet one; instead I ended up with a full schedule including a hot-air balloon flight and dinner with friends, a long and early day working down at the Wesleyan commencement, and a day of yoga, a cookout, and kirtan practice. Needless to say, very little in terms of household chores (inside de-cluttering, outside raking, garden prepping, and roof and gutter cleaning) got accomplished.

This week looms busy as well. Besides work (which I will fit in to every slack moment), and yoga (which I make time for every day) I have:

Today: Electrolysis, and perhaps a jaunt over to Bristol to spend some time with MYA.

Tomorrow: Assisting Shankara's intro class.

Thurday: Counseling, and teaching my first intro class at the office.

Friday: Work at the studio, setup for kirtan, and then then kirtan.

May 25, 2008

Barack @ Wesleyan

I don't have a lot to say about Sen. Obama's speech; I was busy running the graphics for the webcast to do a lot of on-the-spot analysis. Colin McEnroe was there and wrote fine words about it.

So instead, some pictures.

Our home for the proceedings, a small tent located at the far front left of the field, behind the media.


Here's my view of the proceedings, during Sen. Obama's speech; the media area in between us.


The Wesleyan Taiko drummers were pretty incredible, providing accompaniment for the processionals.


The hillside overlooking the commencement field, open to the public, which filled up, This was taken early in the morning, about 9:00 a.m.


A screenshot from the webcast. My job was to create the lower third graphics (keys) - typically these are done with a device called a Chyron (in a video production truck) but since we had a portable system (fly pack) without a Chyron, I put the graphics together in PowerPoint.


It's reassuring to watch the guys with rifles climbing onto the roof right behind you....this is serious stuff...


And more sharpshooters, keeping watch from the roof of the building behind the podium.

May 24, 2008

A Slow Weekend (not)

What started out as a slow weekend with not much planned became:

a) A hot air balloon ride this morning (I was gonna just chase, but the basket had space)
b) A work gig tomorrow, doing graphics for the Wesleyan Commencement (yeah, with a certain Senator from Illinois giving the commencement speech)
c) Dinner at Hot Tomatoes this evening with friends down from the Boston area (last minute thing)

Will report more (with photos hopefully) tomorrow.....

May 22, 2008

Squeeky Clean

Zippy picked up an ultrasonic toothbrush. A Philips Sonicare. He's not all that happy with it, so far; it makes his head vibrate in an objectionable way. But my teeth feel like I just got back from a cleaning by the hygienist. I'm pretty psyched.

Getting a Reputation

I popped in to the studio this afternoon; and in the course of chit-chat, mentioned "I'm wiped". A and K looked at each other and cheered. They cheered! Apparently, I've been the subject of some discussion, they've seen most of the teacher training folks (staff and students) drained by the weekend training, while I hit the mat every morning this week. So there has been some speculation about my stamina (the source thereof, and the unnaturalness of same).

For the record, I think moving my body (as un-classically-yoga-ish as it is) through pretty much daily practice builds a certain amount of resilience. I'm a workhorse, not a thoroughbred. I think I was wiped out by multiple backbend practices - Sunday with Barbara, Wednesday with Marcia, and today with Nykki. Only so much heart-opening one can take.

Also, that Sean Corne Detox Flow workshop a few weeks back remains fresh in my memory. Like tempering steel in a furnace; I've been heated, melted, broken, and reformed, and as a result, the usual hot / power yoga is not coming close to my melting point anymore.

Spin Your Back Foot Flat.....

Last Saturday, prepping for yoga teaching, I found myself bringing people into Warrior I posture with the cue "Bring your right foot forward, spin your left foot flat" (I was leading a Sun Salutation B sequence). The trainees I was practicing with commented on that cue - that they liked it.

Yesterday, working with Marcia, I realized that I got it from her. After class I gave her some props and thanks; she said it's a Shiva Rea thing....

Yoga teaching seems more and more like some sort of ancient knowledge - passed down from teacher to student, and each new teacher an amalgam of all of their teachers and influences.

Wonderful to feel as if I am part of this tapestry.....

May 20, 2008

Ten Things About Yourself.....

I've resisted for so long but.....

1. I was married by a bishop. I wonder if that made getting an annulment easier or harder.....

2. I was arrested for sign stealing the summer between HS and college and spent a night in jail. It was written up in the paper as Burger Prank Fails (we stole a fast food sign). If the cops had found the 1/2 dozen of so street signs in the storage hole of the station wagon, it probably would have been a felony.....also, as the only 18 year old in the bunch, if they had found the cooler of beer, I also would have been screwed.

3. I've been in 46 states (Idaho, Alaska, Nebraska, and Montana are the exceptions, although I've only been in the airport in Hawaii en route to Asia)

4. I've been to Asia 4 times (Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan)

5. I drove my last car (a Saturn) 253,000 miles. One engine, replaced the clutch twice.

6. I practice yoga strenuous enough to soak through my clothes pretty much every day. My need to do laundry is pretty much dictated by running out of yoga clothes.

7. I was an early acquirer, internet wise, so I own a pretty cool domain name

8. I grew up in south central PA, which seemed pretty backwards when I was in high school and college but is looking better as I get older

9. As a kid, I got lost on Long Island; took the wrong bus from the Sunrise Mall, and ended up walking a few miles to my uncle and aunt's place in Wantaugh - amazingly, I found my way home all by myself despite not knowing the area at all.

10. I worked at McDonald's throughout high school and into college, and I still check out the equipment whenever I go into random restaurants to see what has changed and what is still the same from way back then.

Prince Caspian

Zippy and I took a rare sojourn out to the multiplex to see The Chronicles of Narnia / Prince Caspian. Pretty good.

I somehow talked Zippy into the movies this evening - he's a hard sell to go see movies in the theater (usually too loud, usually too many previews, usually too many talking / texting teens, usually has to go to the bathroom in the middle) but it was a quiet Tuesday night show.....

We both loved it. I can see how some of the characters had a bit of Shrek influence, but it was muted enough not to be offensive. Must be the recovering catholic / nascent yogi in me but I was crying when Aslan showed up. Zippy gave it thumbs up, and he is usually pretty critical of books that he's read and loved adapted into film. Don't even get him started on Harry Potter.

And afterwards, I was crying a bit too - because the Narnia stories seem so beautiful, and well, my parents never really were aware of the classics. Zippy was spoon-fed that stuff all his life, his mom is a voracious reader and well educated, and both his father and step-father were college professors. My father once quipped that they could have steered me any way they wanted by leaving books around, because all I did was read as a kid. But they never really left the classics around.....I stumbled into things like dinosaurs and science fiction; and National Geographic. But there is a world of childhood / adolescent literature that I never knew was out there.

Ah well, never too old to have a second childhood - I can always play a little catch-up, reading wise. And Zippy has a formidable collection of classic books that I can borrow.

May 19, 2008

Folk'on Fridays

Former Connecticut State Troubador, Hugh Blumenfeld, will kick off a
special summer folk music series when historic Cheney Hall in Manchester
sponsors open-mic folk nights, called Folk'on Fridays.

Under the stars on the Hartford Road patio, weather permitting, sign up
by folksingers of all levels, will begin at 6:30 p.m. leading up to a 7
p.m. start. The dates for these special evenings are June 6, July 11,
August 1 and September 5.

This free event is open to both participants and folk music lovers and
those who attend are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. If the weather is
inclement, the event will take place in Cheney Hall's Silk Room.
Refreshments will be available to purchase. While the event is free, a
nominal donation of $5 is suggested.

Cheney Hall is the oldest operating theater in Connecticut and venue for
many folk concerts throughout the years, including Blumenfeld, Richie
Havens, Tom Rush and many more. Ticketed concerts scheduled for the
2008-2009 include Will Kimbrough, Amy Loftus, Vance Gilbert, Janis Ian,
Dave Mallett, Aztec Two-Step and Jonathan Edwards.

Sponsors for the summer series include Ecopedia Consulting, LLC of South
Windsor, and Corey's Catsup & Mustard of Manchester. For
information on the folk music programs of Cheney Hall, call the box
office at 860-647-9824.

Jude Notes: Hey Ecopedia Consulting! Ya need some work on your website or search engine profile. Because I was gonna throw you a link and I can't even find your website!

Weekend Redux

A quick summary of the teacher training weekend.

Three long and hard practices; Friday and Saturday were especially long; by Saturday, the smell of detox and dehydration was in the air. We were all pretty funky. My water bottle holds 28 oz and I went through nearly 2 full bottles on both days, during and immediately after practice. Yesterday, a bit of a respite in terms of arduousness, but when we starteout with cogniscenti knew what was coming: backbends. And despite the long hard workouts, I did get up into a wheel yesterday. Normally, wheel is an edge that I achieve when I am loose and warm but not too wiped.

I also got up into handstand by myself, which was pretty cool. Once I got up there, I did not want to come down, so I hung out upside down for a long while.....I'm also getting better at balancing off the wall in feathered peacock / forearm balance, holding the posture for several seconds before tipping earthward. And, when we got into inversions yesterday, and I opted for Shoulder Stand (because I got my headstand in before class) but then the segment went on for a while as the instructors did assists, so I grabbed a headstand and jacknife in the center of the room (usually, I set up near a wall just as a safety net)

I was kind of feeling deprived; they trainees order out to Alchemy most training days, and end up with delicious, healthy soups, salads, smoothies.....I've been a bit tight money wise, so brought my meals from home (pretty good, but its nice to have someone make your dinner). Next month, I'll order in something as a treat to myself.

We have one more teacher training weekend to go, plus a weekend anatomy workshop. The class is looking so much more confidant doing adjustments, giving adjustments, talking ourselves through questions and postures.

I'm so happy to have the opportunity to do this!

May 18, 2008

Being Seen

An interesting experience last evening at yoga teacher training.

We trainees taught a yoga class yesterday; 15 of us each taking a few minutes of teaching, with our instructors watching and taking notes, and a video camera running. Afterwards, we all sat down to watch the videotape together, and the instructors gave feedback on the details (cuing, technical stuff, projection, moving through the room) as our segment unfolded. Then, the tape was stopped, and with love but with honesty, the instructors (mostly, Barbara the studio owner and chief instructor) told us about ourselves.

Pretty freaking powerful - she's quite intuitive and on the mark; and has a way of saying, with compassion but holding nothing back, "This is what I see" - and more than a few people ended up in tears; ironically because her biggest feedback was that they were holding something back, not letting themselves be seen or connected to.

Anyway, when it got to my turn, I was, of course, squirming. My voice. My physical size. I avoid cameras and video for a reason. And though the logical part of me saw pounds added to even the lithest yogis by the camera, it was really hard to see myself.

But my feedback was interesting. Barbara started off apologetically; she had something to say that she had been thinking of for a while. That I was an expert at "blending in" - that she'd be teaching a class and about 1/2 way through realize that I was in the class. That I was not physically or personality wise the sort of person who one would tend to miss, but I seemed to have a chameleon-like ability to not be seen. Sounds like my survival skill - first as a bullied little kid, and later as a transwoman looking to become invisible - she pretty much nailed it.

Her apology came because she had noticed that I was becoming less and less that way in recent months and was very present and visible teaching, but that ironically, I was completely lost in the videotape. Unlike most of the trainees who glued themselves to the front of the room, I was moving through the class during my segment, and so was hard to spot (among all the students and the other trainees, doing adjustments) and hard to hear on the tape (I was both visible and audible in the room, just not picked up on tape)

It was really good, really powerful. Yeah, the whole watching myself teach a yoga class on video tape scared the shit out of me, in a sort of "wanting to wrap myself in baggy sweats and tee shirt and hide out in the back of the room from here on". But the feedback was wonderful - that I taught from my heart and my passion for the practice. That I connected with the students.

As I went to sit down at the front of the room after class, one of the other instructors whispered in my ear "Do you want to sub my Friday night class?" - she was joking (I think) but it was nice to hear. The same instructor said, during feedback, "Every studio has that girl, the one who always seems to be there, who is passionate about the practice and the people, who everybody loves to see, who is gonna be a great teacher just because how can she not be? You're that girl...."

Lot to chew on. There is a small part of me wanting to just crawl into a hole and disappear. Hopefully, the part of me that is brave and passionate and funny and wise will win out....and I'll stay the course.

May 17, 2008

In The Hood

There have been signs of change and renewed economy in my little corner of (West) Hartford, all along New Britain Avenue; I've been meaning to grab some photos, and I took advantage of today's sunshine and a few hours respite from yoga teacher training to document these.

The old IHOP, near the corner of New Britain and South Main, is quickly becoming an Indian-American restaurant called Bombay Olive. Looking forward to some new cuisine - reminds me a little bit of Great Taste in New Britain (also a converted IHOP, although it's been renovated several times and its heritage is less obvious these days).

Also new is a small place called "The Coolest Cow" (across from Pep Boys) - I stopped in once for a very affordable and yummy cup of tamarind ice cream, although they also advertise cubanos and sandwiches. My only complaint - they seem to close at 6 pm - far too early for warm summer nights when an after-dinner bike ride might take us there for a little dessert.




The entrance is on the side, not obvious from the road. And they have limited seating (a few tables inside, a few outside).

Down closer to our end of New Britain Avenue, the long vacant Caldor / Ames has fnally found new life as a Price Rite. Notice in this picture something missing - the Piper Brook restaurant (which I have long considered a good candidate for a queerish night spot a la Tisane; I could practically see the rainbow flags flying) has been bulldozed. The Dreams / Price Rite lot has been completely regraded and repaved, and nice plantings and curbs installed. It looks quite nice; another grocery store is welcome in this part of town.


Finally, the southern side of New Britain Ave, between the Price Rite and the Hartford line, has been improved - new curbs and curb cuts, brick inlays, small trees, and retro lamp posts in process. It all looks quite nice, and makes that stretch of walk between Hollywood (also being completely redone) and Shield Street much more pedestrian friendly and livable.

May 16, 2008

Creative Cocktail Hour

A lovely evening at Real Art Ways. Lot's of friends: yogi's, bloggers, artists, musicians, and just plain friends. The temperature and weather was about perfect.

One last evening of indulgence before three days of yoga teacher training discipline.....

May 15, 2008

Private to Bikram Choudray

Dude. You need a bit of brand standardization.

I'm doing a little project for the yoga studio, digging up contact information for all the local yoga providers for a mailing list. And every freaking Bikram studio out there has it's own highly unique website: different logo, different look and feel, different vibe. For a yoga practice that prides itself on standardization (26 postures in a specific series, no more, no less), your brand is all over the map!

If these were simply yoga studios in the Bikram school, well, that's one thing. But they put Bikram in the studio ame - so like Subway, McDonald's, Jazzercise, Nike - there is a certain amount of brand awareness.

May 13, 2008

Bike Me

Tweaking my bike a bit, in preparation for more biking this year (starting tomorrow). I doubt I will venture far past my immediate environs, but if I can save a few trips to work, to the yoga studio, and to the post office - well, that's something.

I went out and bought a bike rack to put things on (especially, my yoga mat). Also, I raised the seat a tad, and adjusted the front derailleur (I have been unable to shift into the top 7 gears for a while now)

A quick run down to Dunkin Donuts to pick up a couple of pounds of decaf, tested both the bike rack and the gears. Think I'll ride to work and yoga tomorrow.....should be a nice day out.

Be a Mentor!

Right now, at this very moment, 47 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth across CT are waiting for an adult to care about them - someone who is willing to invest a couple of hours a week into a young person's future. Someone who is willing to listen without needing to 'fix' anything; someone who is willing to share their own experiences without assuming the young person feels exactly the same way; someone with a sense of humor; someone who is willing to be a mentor in other words.

Where do YOU live? We have kids waiting in Bolton, Bridgeport, Bristol, Danielson, East Hartford, East Windsor, Enfield, Farmington, Groton, Hamden, Hartford, Lebanon, Ledyard, Litchfield, Manchester, Middletown, Milford, Mystic, New Britain, New Haven, Noank, North Haven, North Stonington, Norwalk, Plainfield, Shelton, Terryville, Vernon, Waterbury, West Hartford, West Haven, and Windsor? You survived your adolescence. Don't you think it is time to reach out and help someone else survive as well?

Trainings are coming up next week. Call or email for more information or for an application: 888-565-5551, ext 0. A youth is waiting for you.

Robin
True Colors works to create a world where youth, adults and families of all sexual orientations and gender identities are valued and affirmed. We challenge all forms of oppression through education, training, advocacy, youth leadership development, mentoring and direct services to youth and those responsible for their well-being. We can be reached at 888-565-5551, or on the web at www.ourTrueColors.org

Pissing off the Zipster


The one sure way to piss off the Zipster is to park your car in front of the house, on Tuesdays (Garbage Day and Street Sweeping Day)
The irony of parking directly under the No Parking Tuesdays - Waste Collection, Street Sweeping with the Tow Truck symbol is not wasted on us.

Zippy scrawled his own note, which sort of had the feel of a ransom note (letter size paper, large font); I left a more discrete note under the wiper. Oy!

494-WTG, White Pontiac Transport, we're watching you!

May 12, 2008

Nuala O'Faolain Passes Away

Washington Post story here

I have little to add to the litany of remembrances that have been and will be written by those wiser and more familiar with her work. I saw Ms. O'Faolain a few years back, at the Courant's National Writer's Workshop. One thing she said stuck with me: writing it down tends to "set ones condition in amber".

That remains with me to this day, and, I think, will advise my desire to write and my choice of subject matter for the rest of my life.

From the Post article:
"As soon as I heard I was going to die, the goodness went out of life," she told host Marian Finucane on RTE Radio One. She turned down chemotherapy because "it reduced me to such feelings of impotence and wretchedness and sourness with life . . . and fear that I decided against it."

Will I face my own mortality thus - with resignation? Or with a more peaceful acceptance? Or will I rage against the darkness, struggling for one more breath?

It is spring, a time of renewed life. Yet there is much darkness and death about: the cyclone in Myanmar, the tornadoes in the Midwest, the earthquake in China. The undertoad, as John Irving called it in Garp. Waiting for us all.

Rest in peace, Ms. O'Faolain, a peace that you did not perhaps find in this world.

Intro to Power Yoga - Saturday, May 17 @ 6:00 p.m.

Some of you may know that I am in the process of yoga teacher training at West Hartford Yoga (WHY). I'd like to invite you to a special Intro to WHY Power yoga class, to be held this Saturday at 6:00 p.m. It's a special class taught by the West Hartford Yoga teacher trainees (including myself). The cost is $5 (which will be donated to charity).

WHY Power is the West Hartford Yoga signature yoga style - it's a more strenuous form of yoga, with an emphasis on core strength, ab work, vinyasa flow, and standing sequences. If you've done yoga before but are interested in power yoga, its a good intro. If you have never done yoga before, but are in reasonable shape, you'll find
the power class to be challenging but accessible. It would be wonderful to have friends in the room as I make my teaching debut!

The class is at the West Hartford Yoga studios, 32 Jansen Court, West Hartford. (not too far from Bally's and the Corner Pug, in the Elmwood section). You can find more information and directions to the studio here.

May 11, 2008

Pressed Salad

I'm headed up to MA today for Mother's Day, a Pressed Salad in tow. This is a recipe from the teacher training program. You can see examples of this here and here, although I'm being a bit more adventurous.

My pressed salad includes: Savoy cabbage (was hoping for Napa, but could not find it at Appletree), Red Cabbage (just a bit for color), Baby Bok Choy, Carrots, Radishes, Radish Greens, Watercress, Mint, Arugula, Parsley. A few tablespoons of Tamari, a tablespoon of brown rice vinegar, some fresh garlic and some minced ginger. Also some dried cranberries as a bit of an accent.

It's been pressing overnight; after yoga this morning I'll drain the liquid and see how it is (too salty?) before packing it up (with a bit left down here for the Zipster, who seemed rather interested in the proceedings; he's a big fan of crunchy vegetables)

It feels good to have something interesting to take up to the family; I'm taking my Teacher Training book (packed with healthy recipes) up north for my sister, who could give Martha Stewart a lesson, to look through.....

Intro to Yoga Assisting

I assisted E (a new teacher at the studio) doing an Intro to Yoga class Saturday afternoon. Kevin and I assisted Shankara last month; but Shankara is pretty self-sufficient (also, his Intro to Yoga classes are fairly creative and unconventional) - so this was a better opportunity to do a bit of assisting of more classical postures.

Since Emily is new to the studio, she was not really familiar with the housekeeping stuff. Also, she ran into traffic, so the students were drifting in before she got there. It was nice to prep the room: open the windows after a hot class before hand, neaten up, put some music on. I got to talk to the students, set them up with props, get the mats arranged, etc. I felt USEFUL.

Once the class started, I bounced between demo'ing postures (front of the room or among the students), working with individual students, and fetching props. I found myself drawn to the students who seemed to be struggling the most, offering modifications either one-on-one or simply demonstrating a gentler option to help them get into postures. I think my own encounters with body size and limited flexibility in my own practice help me a lot there. But I got a couple of good assists in with some of the other students - a few down dogs pulled into alignment, and even a Barbara-ish "press the balls of your feet into my hands" during core work.

Savasana was pretty great - just to see a room full of students sink into the earth. A couple of "new to yoga, nervous and tense" students, and it was nice to just soften their legs, flip over their hands, and help them settle into relaxation. In some ways, I just felt very in tune to the energy in the room.

E led a pretty straight-forward practice, so nothing new for me to try to figure out myself. (Always kind of embarassing when the assistant gets more confused than the students!) And the students seemed really excited and happy afterwards; I hung out for a while and chatted about different class options and teachers.

This was a great experience; it really helped me to feel comfortable working with students, moving through the room, etc. without having the pressure of teaching. I tend to "wade in slowly" into new experiences and challenges, and this kind of assisting was a really good in between step for me. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work with students like this, I am also grateful to have had the chance to observe my fellow teacher trainees assist during last month's student teaching class - it was so inspiring and helpful to me.

Afterwards, E said I could assist anytime (I think having an assistant in the room was something new to her and she enjoyed it) so I guess I didn't stink up the place ::heh heh:: Seriously, it was reassuring to work with someone completely new (I have yet to practice with her) and feel competant enough to connect.

May 10, 2008

Blogger ex machina

Been sort of out of commission, both myself and my laptop.

My own physical rollercoaster has evened out a bit - going from extremely sour stomache on Wed morning, to crawl into bed on Wed afternoon and evening, to an incredible stiff and sore back on Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, things had loosened up eugh to venture onto the yoga mat that evening (remarkably, my almost debilitating stiffness was completely gone less than 12 hours later). Thursday night and Friday it felt like my body was shedding toxins by the gallon (I'll leave the details vague). Now I feel pretty good.

Similarly, my new laptop has been just crawling along - slowing down inexorably. Was not sure why. I dug into Windows Defender to look at what was loading on start-up, an disabled a bunch of apps that were either no longer installed or probably not needed. That did not fix things. So last night before bedtime I fired it up in Safe Mode, set it to to a disk scan and repair, and rebooted it before bedtime.

This morning, it's back to good health as well.

So hopefully, both I and my computer will do a better job of blogging in the coming days.

May 08, 2008

In the Shop

I got myself to work this morning; although I was completely stiff and sore this morning. The day's activities seemed to loosen me up, enough to go to a hot yoga class with the wizard this evening. Yum. I felt a little queasy, but not too bad, and I think the practice is gonna pay off big dividends in terms of not being stiff and sore tomorrow.

Good to be back.....

Broken Down

I'm a physical wreck, out of nowhere.

Yesterday morning, lying in bed, I was conscious of an all-over body ache. During the day, it evolved into a really sour stomache. I went to a gentle yoga class at noon (and barely made it through, I was practically asleep throughout) - my friend A gave me an Umeboshi Plum in hot water to sip to settle my stomache.

After yoga, I came home (no more work) and lay in bed all afternoon. No lunch, no dinner, finally a bowl of soup around 8 p.m.

This morning, I woke to a stiff lower back that was completely debilitating. I broke out a heating pad, then took an Epson Salts bath, which seemed to unwind things. Sucking on another mug of warm water and Umeboshi....

Allergies? Virus? Flu? Darned if I know. I'm a little better now, but I don't think I'll be doing headstands any time soon....

May 06, 2008

North by Northwest

I confess to never having seen this film in it's entirety, just snippets on television and clips. Rectified this evening, AC was headed to Cinestudio to see it on the big screen and I tagged along.

Quite classis in every sense - from the plot (reasonable straightforward) to the classic scenes (Mt. Rushmore, the various train stations and airports, the cornfield and the crop-duster). I've been to a bunch of the locations which was kind of cool.

Odd to see so much travel done on a cash basis, and where *did* Mr. Thornhill get all that money, even without paying for the train and plane, he was handing out tips left and right.

And of course, the closing scene was a classic double entendre.

As I said to AC en route home "It had everything. Trains going east. Trains going west. Pullmans. Dining Cars. Train stations. Conductors. Porters. Red Caps."

Holistic Health Counseling

Corrina is member of the family: she's in the yoga teacher training class as well as an accomplished teacher at the studio. Also, a pretty wonderful person, in general. Just found her website this morning: www.benourishedhhc.com

Cinco de Maya

Rule #47: Never go to a Mexican restaurant on Cinco de Maya

My balloon buds called up and wanted to go out. I pushed yoga up to 4:30 and headed down to Southington - tentatively to Agave. But Agave was a total zoo (96.5 WTIC-FM remote), and El Sombrero down the road was just as bad (but with a row of harleys parked in front) - we finally settled for Puerto Vallerta which was also a zoo. Plus had a hip-hop DJ in lieu of mariachis. Ugh.

The only positives - somehow we ended up with a free round of drinks, and my food (vegetarian enchilada, with lots of yummy spinach) was pretty good.

Also, note to self. Balloon buddies are notoriously time f*cked. I called BB at 5:50 as I was clearing the yoga studio, he said "how about 6:15?" I hustled and got down to Southington around 6:25 - he was still at home waiting for K2, and by the the time they got to El Sombrero, it was 7:05. I had time to stop at the Music Shop (for picks and string lubricant, kirtan is coming up) and Ocean State Job Lot (keeping an eye out for a yoga mat sale to stock up on training supplies) and also to call another friend.

May 04, 2008

Busy Weekend

Not a very typical one, however.

Saturday, up to Northampton for Pride, with MYA and a friend. Long day - caught up with lots of old friends. Ate festival food (Thai) and hid away in a little cafe drinking a Latte (a real caffienated one, a rarity for the decaffienated me). Took MYA and her friend out for Asian Buffet afterwards......


Sunday morning, I skipped my usual morning yoga to go down to Cheshire with Zippy to walk in the MS Society walk-athon, with the Joslin Hi Steppers. MS was a special cause for the Petit family, so the Cheshire walkathon was a big event. Kind of cold and raw, but no rain.

This afternoon, a 5 hour whole food cooking class at an incredibly beautiful condo in West Hartford. And the food was fabulous (I do not use fabulous lightly). I am energized to do some good cooking; there was a mock tuna salad (using tempeh) that was wonderful, as well as quinoa tabouli, arame, and chickpea salad. All wonderful.

May 01, 2008

Stalker

Kim and I were noshing on indian food when this impeccably dressed woman bursts in and asks who has the "I'd Rather Be in Savasana" bumper sticker. It took me about one beat to realize who it was (I initially assumed some Bikram yogi who happened to be in the restaurant, or a WHY yogini that I failed to recognize in real people clothes; and Kim failed to ut two and two together for quite some time.

Blog reader and commentor J, en route to Hartford for the Forum, tracked us down (aided by subtle clues in this blog, i.e. - I mentioned what restaurant we would be at). Delightful to meet her, and a very fun surprise.

The food was quite good (although the waiter was a little over-eager to sell us up on things), and the This American Life satellite broadcast was outstanding, from the pre-show game of hangman to the closing clip of Mr. Tory Malatia.

A wonderful evening, all in all.

Customer Service and the Little Things

One of my clients pays for clicks via Google and Yahoo. Not too pricey, really, although Google has gotten pretty obnoxious, with the price per click rising rapidly. I need to reassess the cost-effectiveness of our program there.....

However, I pulled the monthly site stats and figured out that we had 10+ referrals from a number of local hotels, B&B's, and campground. Free clicks! So I checked our listing page of restaurants and lodging, added seven listings and links, and then emailed the email contacts at these sites to say "Thanks!" and let them know we've added a link for them. Several have emailed back with profuse thanks and enthusiasm for my client's destination.

Common courtesy, yeah. But also an example of taking care of the details. I think a lot of folks drop the ball on that sort of thing now and then.

May Day

Is it May already? Who can imagine....

While my friend Helen reminds us of the labor and solidarity aspects of May 1st, and others will hearken to more pagan rituals such as the May Pole, I cannot help but think of my Catholic childhood. May was Mary's month, and in grade school we'd haul out to the playground for a crowning of the BVM, with appropriate songs - "O Mary we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels and Queen of the May....." Later, in high school, Sr. Denisita would feature prominantly in at least one school mass - supplanting the oh-so-hip contemporary folk musicans to wheeze out some old Mary chestnuts on the organ.

Regardless of one's political or religious affiliations, May is certainly a month of growth - when bright greens begin to burst through the empty branches. Speaking to my friend Kim last night, she commented that its spring, so she is starting to emerge from hibernating. But really, it's been spring in my life for a while now - my birthday in March is when I start thinking seriously about warmer weather - pushing the season with sandals and brighter colors. We've been regularly walking the critters for a while now, and working in the yard.

Happy May everyone. May you find love. Or new growth. Or some bright, clear breaths.