August 29, 2008

Second Time is the Charm

It was a two yoga class kind of day. I hit the studio at 9:30 for Shankara's Power II class (normally a real killer) but he was in an Ashtanga kinda mood - not my favorite practice. Not enough heat, and way too many intricately twisty and bindy postures. I get a lot of good stretches in, but I'm way too in my head trying to devise modifications and alternatives for binds and arm balances I cannot get into, and more often than not I get practice working with frustration and humility. Not exactly a recipe for catching a wave of spiritual awakening. So I left feeling worked out but not all that sustained.

Then a few errands - my office in Newington was evacuated for some sort of perceived gas leak (false alarm) so I never got in there today. Then teaching my gentle class at 12:15, then working at the studio until 4.

When I got home, Zippy was with a friend who he was driving home, so I opted out of dinner and hit the studio again for Nykki's hot class. Much more resonant with what I needed (heart opening, sweaty exuberance, and spirit stretching). And to cap it off, a two part savasana. Part 1 was typical lying down corpse pose. Part 2, was an optional seated meditation. I gave up my relaxation to meditate a bit, and found myself drawn back to my EI question "What Am I?"

And after all that struggle back in December, tonight, out of the blue, comes a small bit of truth. I sat there, tears pouring from my eyes, and left the studio in a bit of awe; a mini-direct experience perhaps. It was quite beautiful, but sad, and delicious.

N&A were worried about me (cause I left the studio somewhat quietly and quickly) and called me up afterwards to see if I was OK, so I went out to Moe's with them for a burrito. They are so sweet and loving.....

Yeah, I am OK. Wonderful, in fact.

Now off to bed. Emotionally, that second practice was a piece of cae. Physically, I am whipped.....

One Perfect Moment

Taught an All Levels class last evening. It's certainly different than a Gentle Class - different energy, different pace, different style. The theme was shoulders, and if I did not get to 1/2 the postures I had penciled in, well, I got to a lot. Some heart opening, shoulder flexing anusara arms in Warrior I that I cribbed from Desiree Rumbaugh. Thread the needle (thanks Carissa!) - which resulted in much rolling over. A little shoulder opener in Warrior II from Barb, I think. Archer. Dolphin and Bird's Wing. Shoulder opener with the strap (Shankara, surely).

Just not enough time to get to it all, I had penciled in floor boat and hands clasped behind the back, eagle warrior and bow. All to get right into those shoulders....

And then, the coup de grace - some inversions. Down dog on the wall. Dolphin on the wall. Feathered peacock (forearm balance). Handstand for those who wanted it. Most of the class tried something.....

Energizing, fun to teach, I still have so much to learn to really orchestrate a class the way my teachers do.....but learning I am.

And this morning, poised between sleep and waking, coming off a class last night and another I am teaching this noon, the world felt right. I felt like I am who I am supposed to be.

A rare gift, that. Trying to savor it.....

Pundits and Poets, Prophets and Politicians

I've been mostly avoiding the Democratic National Convention. Not that I do not care - I most certainly do. But for whatever reason my life seems to transcend politics these days. As the zen story reminds us:

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit.

"Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.

"We'll see," the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.

"How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed.

"We'll see," replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

"We'll see," answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

"We'll see" said the farmer.


So I am excited for the new energy, the new blood, what Senator Obama's nomination means. I pray and work for his victory. But I am conscious of the political machinations and strategies, resonant with my own baser instincts for manipulation and scheming. I recall working the 2000 RNC in Philadelphia, and seeing so many Democrats in the arena, behind the scenes. In some way, it seems like a big game. So the spectacle of four days of politics and speeches - no thanks.

I am jaded perhaps. Unlike last night's rousing finale, with the Boss's dark and yet stubbornly proud "Born in the USA" thundering through the stadium, I leave you with Patty Larkin's song Pundits and Poets

Pundits and Poets, prophets and politicians
Buyers and sellers and keepers of information
Ivory towers look large on my television
Between commercials
Tell us all about your vision of

The sound of hope
The winds of change
The song of joy
A little light in the middle of the page


Gonna be a pretty crazy few months until November. Keep breating, y'all.....

August 28, 2008

Waiting for Memory

Note to self. Slinging around 500-600 MB data files on an XP machine with 512M of RAM is not really all that much fun. I have some memory ordered (and will probably order more once I confirm it works and all)

A long neglected puter upgrade is in the works; I think the native is fine (for now) but it definitely needs some mojo....

August 27, 2008

An Undiscovered Country

Being a Type A yogi (an oxymoron, if ever there was one) - I do have my favorite teachers.

There is S, who I can always rely on to bring my practice back to it's sacred source, to ground my in alignment and posture and breath as he reconnects my practice with the divine. There is N, who unwinds my back and never leaves my tender lumbar region tweaky, and makes me laugh as she takes me deep into myself. There is M, whose flirtations with fluid vinyasa and heart-opening anusara bring delight and poetry to my practice, as her strong practices harden my body. C, of course, my first teacher and a continuing source of nurturing and learning as I begin my own teaching career. And B, the master, who never fails to take me deep and draw some truth and some catharsis from this body that my spirit is experiencing and exploring.

And now, a new teacher. One of my fellow teacher trainees, in fact. I've taken two classes with her in recent days, and in both cases, was delighted to find myself challenged, intrigued, learning, falling deep into myself. At one point during tonight's practice I made a note to myself "remember this stuff, it's really good to incorporate into your own teaching", but by the end of practice I was so deep into myself and the moment, that mental notes and thinking about something as tenuous as the future were lost. It was yummy deep yoga goodness.

During savasana, I crawled under a blanket despite the internal heat and the warm room - my usual indication that a practice has crossed over from the everyday into the sublime.

One the way out, I commented to another teacher (who happened to be web-surfing on Netflix) - it's like discovering a new television series on DVD. So many delicious hours of experience as yet undiscovered, a brand new resource.

Pass the popcorn!

August 25, 2008

The CT Blues Society - 13th Annual Band Challenge Finals

Blue Moon and The CT Blues Society present the 13th Annual Band Challenge Finals.

Saturday, Sept. 6 2 - 7 PM
@ Hannon-Hatch VFW Post 9929 83 South St. West Hartford, CT

Donation $10 or 2 for $15 under 16 free. 6 Bands for just $10!

See the Blue Moon Girls from 4 - 6. Food provided by Hannon Hatch VFW
Local Blues Music, Raffles, Prizes, Food, Beer and FUN.
Live Radio Broadcast by WHUS 91.7FM w/Washboard Pat.

Music begins @ 2PM with;
D. Smith Blues Band
Eran Troy Danner
The Blue Lights
Sharp Harp Jr & The Blades
TL & The Allstars
Fade To Blues

The winner will represent CT in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
Come party w/CTBS outside from 2 - 7PM! No Coolers or Pets. In case of inclement weather we move inside. Sound provided by Roundhouse Productions.

August 24, 2008

Canoe trip: CT River and Selden's Creek

We're not all that sporty (although I do have kayak envy) but our friend Audrey wanted to do something outdoorsy today so we hit the CT River with a canoe. We put in at Deep River (where the Essex Steam Train meets the Riverboat) and paddled north, crossing the river a little ways up (being careful to not get hit by speeding motorboats in the channel nor tipped by their wake) - then into Selden's Creek. I had the middle seat, behind Zippy.

We encountered:

....A great white heron, which Audrey thought was an egret but when it took to flight, it was much larger


A family of swans with grey cygnets (one of several families we saw)


Flora growing atop a tree fallen into the river

And finally, a preening yogi. We also saw an osprey, fishing, a bunch of lesser birds, and lots of recreational boaters.

Lovely day, but boy are my arms tired!

August 23, 2008

Balloon Weekend

Spent last evening and this morning at the Plainville Balloon Festival.

Last night was a "glow" - balloons inflate but do not fly off, and after dark, they fire a special burner to get the balloons to light up. The Kirkwoods were the first to inflate, with an old balloon (affectionately known in the trade as a "rag bag") that they inflated and permitted folks to go inside of for a $1 (donation to the Plainville Fire Department)


Other balloon teams soon followed, including Bill Colyer's "Last Penny", who tethered (ascended a few dozen feet, with straps attached to the earth to keep them down). There were plenty of folks willing to plunk down a few bucks for a tethered ride, both Last Penny and Party Time were busily ascending and descending all evening.


Once it got dark, the balloons glowed. A handful of balloons participated, including Last Penny and the Barn (see below).




Finally, team Berkshire Balloons glowed, at the hands of pilot trainee Kristen, inflating Robert's small home built balloon. The winds were a bit tricky, and as the evening darkened we deflated and packed up, and settled down for the fireworks display.

This morning, the field started to fog in, with morning haze coming off the nearby Quinnipiac River. Balloonists flew, nevertheless, keeping low to the ground but occasionally popping up to the clearer skies above the cloudbank.


Robert took a brief flight from Norton park over to a nearby school, where we traded passengers and I went for a foggy ride down Rte. 10 to a nearby park where e got in with the help of a drop line. I was up long enough to grab this photo of the balloon shadow on a cloud (with a little brightness / contrast tweaking)


A pretty icky day to fly, and true to form, the skies cleared and turned beautiful as we were packing up.

We capped off the morning with breakfast at the Plainville Fire Department - quiche, bacon, sausage, and pancakes.....

Coming Soon - Elmwood Eateries


We're still waiting for Bombay Olive to open on New Britain Avenue on teh corner of South Main Street. They've been working on it a while, and it certainly looks like it's getting ready to open. They seem to have put some money into the exterior (signage and stuff) and we've seen positive write-ups about other locations - so looking forward to having anotehr Indian option.....



Meanwhile, in the old McDonald's location (in the Shield Street Plaza, where A Dong is located), a new restaurant named Cora Cora is getting ready to open. A few months ago I saw "Coming Soon: CORA CORA" painted on the whitewashed side of the building (as if with a paint roller). Minimal renovations (a coat of yellow paint, really) hardly disguise the fast food origins. The drive through windows are still in place. But there is a nice sign on the window, the place seems to have been cleaned up, and tradesperson trucks are in the parking lot most days. Will be interesting to see what this turns out to be.

August 22, 2008

Hartford Sangerbund Bierfest

This weekend, in Newington (right behind my office building). Not that I actually go, but might as well throw them a little free PR.

Friday from 4 pm to 11 pm
Saturday from 4 pm to 11 pm
Sunday from Noon to 8 pm

Featuring a band from Germany, Schuhplattler dancers, German Beer, German Wurst, Homemade Cakes, Homemade Potato Pancakes. There's an $8 cover charge,

More information here

You Blog, Right?

Shout out to Megan, on staff at Real Art Ways, who apparently combs the blogosphere for RAW references and links as part of her fund-raising and communications gig.

We were introduced last night at the Creative Cocktail Hour, and she recognized my name from this here blog.

Heh, nice to be famous for something. I swear the membership renewal is en route, as soon as I get a couple fo client checks I'm expecting.....

August 21, 2008

How YOU doing?

Yoga last night with Christine (a really nice class, she has her own style which I like and is a nice and strong alternative to my regular teachers, so proud of my fellow teacher trainees).

She took us to the wall to do dolphin with legs up the wall. Since she tapped me to demo the posture, I had already done it once, so I did it again (with legs up) and then moved to feathered peacock (basically a forearm balance inversion, legs up). So I was upside down facing the other yogi's (still in dolphin) and I caught Megan's eye and said "So...how YOU doing?" (vibing, I think Joey from friends....)

She cracked up, I cracked up, and we both fell to the mat.....

I kind of like having yoga friends in class like that.

August 19, 2008

Plainville Balloon Festival


There's a smallish balloon festival this weekend (Aug 24-26) in Plainville. Details here

I'll probably be there for the Balloon Glow (they inflate and maybe tether, but do not fly off, instead lighting up the burners after dark as part of the show) on Friday night (and fireworks!) and then a little feast for the pilots and crew. And probably at least one of the weekend mornings (weather and yoga permitting). It's a fun little fest, with crafts and music and things for the kids and crappy carnival food (although the 6 am launch time puts off some folks)

The photo above is my friend Robert's smaller balloon during inflation (now his primary commercial balloon), as taken from the basket of his larger one (which he sold last year) at Plainville in 2003.

If you have nver been up close and personal with a hot air balloon, it's a lot of fun.

Moe's Southwest Grill

In other news, I am getting closer to Moe's Southwest Grill. My friend Amy raves about the burritos, and I've been meaning to try it. (OK, OK, Moe's has taken on epic, holy grail meaning in my life. I MUST TRY THAT BURRITO!) Yesterday, I met a friend at the Daily Grind for a bit of an interview / brainstorming meeting (about the mentoring program) and she ran over to Moe's to pick up a bite.

She was heading to softball afterwards; I was heading to teach yoga. So I was not up for dinner at that point (teaching on a stomache full of burrito....er....not a good idea). But I mean, I was right there, the church of burrito goodness was right across the street and my companion was noshing on the staff of life.

Sooner or later, I'll get there.....swear.

Jinx

Yesterday, I posted a Facebook update "Judith has a quiet week ahead of her". Definitely spoke too soon; for yesterday my largest client got back from vacation and dropped about 20 hours of work into my In Box, a fair number of them marked URGENT or ASAP.

For the record, URGENT means "today...maybe tomorrow" and ASAP means before anything else, but not URGENT. Took me a while to figure out that coding....

So no worries about work, but plenty of worries about backlog and time management.

One problem is efficiency and technology - some of the work involves slinging files around that are 600M to 1.2G in size, and my older desktop, while able to deal with it, slows down considerably. So working on those files is an exercise in patience. I've been meaning to upgrade for a while, but it would involve many hours of reloading software (and getting everything to work on a new operating system). Ugh.

Although the next time I get some less encumbered money, I might pick up a faster box and just get it set up for the applications needed to write the reports (I have space in my office) and migrate the rest of life over there as time permits....

August 18, 2008

Pretty Flowers


Black Eyed Susans, at the Aquaturf, in Southington.

August 17, 2008

Ballooning Today


A fairly routine flight, from the Aquaturf in Southington to Miner Hill Golf Course in Middletown. Good distance.....


Notable because:
a) Team Confetti (Jen and Mike Kirkwood) were flying with us
b) We saw some wildlife (cardinals, flying geese, flowers)
c) We saw some faux wildlife (cardboard coyotes)
d) Aquaturf was the alternate launch site, since Panthorm Park (on a hill) was a bit breezy
e) Landing on the first fairway of a golf course is always exciting, but no drama. It was a pretty quiet morning, and the golfers on the tee box thanked us for making their day as they passed by.


Fake Coyote, at an industrial building off Country Club Road


Packing up in the shadow of the first tee box at Miners Hill Golf Course, Middletown

More Photos, on Flickr, here

The Thrill is Gone

Zippy and I went to Lake Compounce today, guests of the state of CT as a perk for our participation in the mentoring program.

Zippy took his mentee (let's call him Skippy); my mentee was non-committal about the day (and was unreachable yesterday). So my job was to take Skippy on rides (since Zippy does not do rides)

So I did the Wildcat (old wooden coaster) and the Boulder Dash (new wooden coaster) and the Thunder & Lightning (insane high swinging ride) and the Tornado (spinning ride). Skippy also did a few other rides solo.

I'm pretty much over amusement park rides. My 47 year old bod does not bounce back quite so quickly, and with all the yoga I do (and anatomy I've studied as part of my teacher training) I rode through the coasters with a certain panic about my cervical spine. I've got an 8-10 pound bowling bowl perched on the top of that fragile bit of anatomy and I was slinging it all around pretty good. Uhm...no....it just felt very foolish / mindless. I have no need to shake my body up or punish it to feel it, and I have sufficient awareness of my mortality and the inevitability of death to want to flirt with it, regardless of how safe these things are.....

All in all we had a good day. We skipped out at 4:00 pm, before the free dinner at 5:30. And I forgot to bring sunscreen so I got a good burn. I jumped at the chance to do some yoga tonight to work out the kinks and soothe my bod - achey from sun, crappy amusement park food, walking around on hot asphalt, and riding those insane rides.

All things considered, Boulder Dash (the new woooden coaster) was pretty great. And even though I have not been to Lake Compounce in decades, I have ridden the Wildcat (old wooden coaster) before. In 1983 or thereabouts, I was working at Superior Electric in Bristol, and one of my co-workers (Eric) was lodging with the Norton family (who at the time, owned the park). Even though the park was declining quickly, and the Wildcat was not officially opened, they kept it in running condition, and I got a special "friends of the park" ride. I think I also saw a Don McLean concert at the park that year....

At the time, I recalled the Wildcat being at the north end of the park, so it was interesting to see how the park has grown.

Of course, as an occasional balloon passenger in the greater Southington / Bristol area, I've seen Lake Compounce from the air many times.

Early Mornings

There is something special about being up before 99.9% of the world. I think that's why I've continued to chase balloons all these years - it's an opportunity to get up and get moving.

To drive the length of New Britain Avenue with all the lights flashing yellow (except for the one in front of the Corner Pug) - turning that usually annoying road into a pleasant drive. To see the full moon setting as the first dawn light breaks. To stop in for coffee with the smell of fresh baked goods greeting you at the door.

The day is new, unspoiled. Life is cleaner, cooler, more innocent.

Yeah, I'm a morning person.

August 16, 2008

Fall Yoga Schedule

West Hartford Yoga has posted their fall schedule, and I'm happy to be teaching two gentle classes (Friday 12:15 pm and Monday 7:45 pm) and sharing an Intro to WHY Power class with another teacher training graduate, Jane. In addition, I'll be leading an 8-week Yoga for Health and Wellness series at the Hartford Public Library, on Tuesdays at 5:30 (starting Sept 23rd)

August 13, 2008

0 for 3

As is typical with my voting record, none of my candidates won. Per this morning's Courant:

Also victorious were incumbent state Sen. John Fonfara in the 1st state Senate District and newcomer Hector Robles in the 6th House District. Fonfara defeated Edwin Vargas Jr., 1,881 to 1,444, and Robles defeated Carmen Sierra, 832-730.

and
In the race for Democratic registrar of voters, Registrar Shirley Surgeon lost narrowly to challenger Olga Iris Vasquez, a former registrar, 2,085 to 2,153. Vasquez, who has been endorsed by the party, lost to Surgeon in 2004.

I'm not particularly upset; not being particularly invested in any of the candidates, and feeling OK about any of them. Call it a slight lean in one direction that got me to the polling location. Speaking of the polling place:
(Hartford Mayor Eddie) Perez, who had mentored Robles since his first run in 2004 against Feltman, said Robles' win was deserved. Perez stood outside a polling booth at the Batchelder School all day, greeting voters and handing out fliers for Robles.
I'm kind of glad my polling place intuition had me parking at the far end of the lot at Batchelder to vote, where I had to walk by a solitary Sierra supporter, and avoid the glad-handing politicos including the mayor. I did not spot Mayor Perez across the parking lot, but there was a crowd of folks at the polling place and I am not surprised he was there.

In an election season where the politicos were particularly annoying (in terms of calls, visits, mailings) a last minute sales pitch from Perez at the polling place would have been just perfect. Not.

August 12, 2008

Getting Out the Vote

At 6:30 this evening, the political machine (i.e. - a woman driving a minivan festooned with campaign signs for Carmen Sierra) pulled up in front of the house. The dogs (as usual) went berzerk.

She was checking if we had voted. A quick check of her clipboard showed that I had voted (before noon, right after yoga, although I'm pretty sure her clipboard just had a yes/no tally) but she was not so sure about the Zipster. I called up upstairs, to find that he had indeed voted (after work).

So....is it legal for them to have a list of who voted? Even if it is, it's still kind of creepy.....

Primary Day

Thank the gods and goddesses. No more phone calls, flyers, visits, etc.

Fonfara's people left a flyer in the door last night; touting his endorsement by "Love Makes a Family", no doubt in response to the rainbow flag on the door. Sorry, Charlie. We're queerish but gay marriage....not so much. Not that I don't think it's a worthwhile project, but its way down on my list, and it's taken up all the oxygen in the queer world for far too long.

Fonfara's issues around his billboard business is a turn-off. And though Vargas kind of got me cranky with his campaign mailing focused 100% on electric rates (what? there is nothing ELSE to address in the region?). Besides, Ken Krayeske likes Vargas. So I'm leaning that way.

In the Robles / Sierra race, a little research this morning uncovers that Robles has been "supported and mentored by the mayor" and that's enough of a turn-off to point me to Ms. Sierra.

And finally, for registrar of voter.....who the heck knows? I kind of like the fact that Surgeon won the electrion despite not being endorsed by the Dems. I always liked a rebel, but I'll probably make my decision on that one at the polls.

August 10, 2008

This Is What It Is

One Killed, Six Wounded After Parade In Hartford
By JEFFREY B. COHEN | Courant Staff Writer

The popular West Indian pride festial / parade was marred by violence last night, by all accounts a gan related shooting, in a crowded venue, with much collateral damage. Three individuals, and three guns, have been taken into custody.

Just a few blocks down the street, a group of young men and women were gathered for a Stop the Violence campaign, having spent much of the day handing out T-shirts and speaking to children about the importance of education.

The shootings left them deflated, they said.

"It's our reality," Mike-Charles Nahounou said of the shootings. "We're born and raised here. A lot of the people that end up dying or doing the shooting were people we watched grow up, or even our peers. This is what it is."


I spent a lovely evening in Hartford, watching a movie with friends. Just a few miles from the carnage but a world away. Increasingly, there is a sense of two Hartfords, in multiple strata. There is Hartford Proper (dangerous, poor, scary) and Greater Hartford, a poor city ringed by affluent bedroom communities. And there is even within Hartford, a divide between the safer neighborhoods, and the war zones. And there are a lot of good people, innocent people, living in these violent areas.

I don't know what to say, I don't know what to do. The police force and the city government seem ineffective at dealing with this stuff. Cracking down on drugs, on violence, on parole violators, on quality of life issues would surely just increase the number of young urban city residents rotting in jail, a ticking time bomb when they are released, hardened and angry.

Indeed, this is what it is. So sad.

August 08, 2008

Primary Season II

I'm afraid I was downright rude to the young man canvassing the neighborhood for Ed Vargas.

First off, somehow my name is on the Democratic voter list, but Zippy's has not, Maybe it was a recent minor name change, maybe he became a registered democrat only recently. So I have gotten 100% of the calls, mail, and personal visits. Now Zippy has mixed emotions about this - he HATES unsolicited phone calls (telemarketers, bill collectors, politicos) but at the same time he likes to talk to politicians. He also hates being left out of stuff or marginalized. So every time someone comes to the door and asks for me, he kind of fumes.

Yesterday, we spotted a young man across the street, clipboard in hand. I was on the way out the door to yoga, so I asked Zippy to get it, but the young man asked for me, and Zippy just walked away. So I literally, yoga bag across my shoulder, talked to him as I walked to the car. First telling him I knew all about the Robles / Sierra race. But he was promoting Ed Vargas, running for Jon Fonfora's senate seat.

I took the literature, I told him I was undecided and would remain that way probably through the weekend. And then moved to the car. Near as I can tell fron the flyer, Vargas seems to be running on a kilowatt platform (electricity prices, he's in favor of more regulation and oversight) which honestly, seems a bit of a thin reason to vote for someone. I'll have to dig deeper.

August 13th can not come fast enough.

Fallout

Yesterday's monsoon stirred up mucha drama in our corner of Hartford.

Our perennial small body of water, dubbed, the Lake of Shining Waters, was back. Basially, our block (between Newington Ave and Hollywood) slopes ever so slightly to the west, and I suspect, drains into our backyard. So whenever we get any sort of meaningful precipitation (a lot in a short time, or a long drenching rain), the backyard floods.

It only happens 2-3 times a year, at most, but often enough so that we have a remediation plan - involving rubber boots (both Zippy and I own them) as well as a sump pump, garden hoses, and an electrical cord on a GFCI, clipped to the clothesline. No humans or dogs have been electrocuted. So midway through yesterday's storms, I came home to get that set up. It's been running ever since, the lake has shrunk significantly (area) but it's still got a few inches in the middle of the yard. Suspect it will be gone by lunchtime.

Of course, for the few hours following the storm, our driveway did a pretty fair imitation of Niagra Falls, with a stream of water pouring out the backyard, through the small garden, and down the driveway. So the sump pump was merely window dressing until the water dropped enough not to flow directly down the driveway. And after the rain, I looked up the block - nobody had the same sort of run-off coming down their driveway - further evidence that we are the official neighborhood low spot.

In addition, our side yard (which has been newly cleaned out) flooded - resulting in water leaking somewhat insistently into the basement via two side windows. This has only happened once before (winter melt, with an ice dam) - but this caused minimal chaos - everything in the basement in the water path is elevated or in plastic tubs, the water ran right into the drain, and the dehumidifier worked to dry things out once again. Minimal problem.

Finally, the biggie - the roof seems to have sprung a leak, perhaps related to the combination of wind and rain. We've had smallish leaks before - although I think those may have been related to antiquated and clogged gutters (our ladder is not quite long enough to reach the 2nd floor gutters in the front, so they are cleaned out less often than the others). My bed got wet yesterday (rain coming in sideways through a window with a fan in it, plus a ceiling leak).

So, Zippy was, as expected in an incredible mood. I'm yoga / serenity princess when it comes to this stuff. I worked on fixing the things I could (the backyard lake, the basement flooding), accepted them as part of life. Got my bed out of the way of the dripping and set up a bucket. Zippy will call his mom to discuss the roof (truthfully, its probably overdue to be replaced). But I am not gonna let it wreck my life. Zippy, on the other hand, Eeyore'd his way to global warming, destroyed property values, conspiratorial neighbors, etc.

Sometimes you just need to pull on your rubber boots and go deal with what life throws at you, yanno?

August 07, 2008

Give Us This Day....

FBI says evidence points uniquely to Bruce Ivins in anthrax case
By David Willman and David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
August 7, 2008

A weird little sub-twist of the Anthrax case, presently unfolding:

Ivins, a Catholic whose two children attended a parochial school in Frederick, described himself in a 2002 e-mail to a colleague as "pro-life . . . consistent with a Christian."

Two of the intended recipients of anthrax-tainted letters -- then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) -- are Catholics who favor abortion rights.

Summer Weather

1:34 - Hail....loud crashing thunder (with what seems like cymbals in the echo), rain (much of it coming down at a steep angle), wind, intermittent sun, and now hail again - grape sized at least.

The Newington Fire Department drove by - three trucks at least - a few minutes ago.

Nice weather we got here. I'm glad to be inside.....just hoping the power stays on....

2:34 Edit: An hour later, it's still raining torrentially out there. Apparently, the thunderstorms are moving very slowly, 3-4 MPH, and so taking their time moving on. Throughout this weather event, I can spot blue sky, looking eastward from my office. Incredible.....

2:55 Edit: Still coming down, hard. We had a small break there, looked like it might blow over, but its back to a downpour. And much darker now, with no blue sky to be seen....

August 06, 2008

Is it too late to opt-in for the benign dictatorship?

The local primary for State Representative, to fill Art Feltman's seat, is driving me bonkers.

The phone rings 2-3 times a day now; just got a call asking for support for Carmen Sierra (Row 2B). Ms. Sierra also paid a personal visit, sitting down on the front steps with me as the dogs barked in the house. "The is a nice neighborhood" she commented, and then turned darker "....we want to keep it that way." Immediately I imagined hordes of vandals and miscreants descending upon the neighborhood.

I've also spoken personally with one of her competitors, Hector Robles. Mr. Robles seems to be winning the sign war on this block, with perhaps a 2:1 advantage. Never have I felt so sought after, coddled, and frankly, annoyed by a political campaign. We've taken to ignoring the phone. Private to GMAC, the payment went out yesterday.....

Art Feltman was a no brainer; I've met him a bunch of times over the past years in teh community, he got my vote on multiple levels - as a gay man, as a city resident, ad a smart cookie, as a hard worker. Now, not so sure who to vote for.

Ion Hartford has a nice introduction of the candidates here to get started, and I'll be doing a bit more web surfing between now and then.

But sheeseh, August 13th can not come fast enough.....

Slug-a-Bed

Woke up at 5, fed the dogs, had a bowl of cereal and some decaf. I blogged a bit, surfed a bit. Then around 6:30 I headed back up to bed, lulled under the covers by gentle rain and cooler winds. Finally up and about, hitting the road. But a rare (for me) few hours of downtime.....

Desiree Rumbaugh

Three hours on the mat this evening, with Desiree Rumbaugh. A special Anusara workshop, on backbends.

I have never worked formally with Anusara (heart-opening) yoga before, but I get the feeling that I pick up a lot of Anusara influence from my teachers, and that anusara language and energy infuses my teaching. So I'm looking forward to this evening. And though backbends are always challenging for me, my experience with other national backbending workshops (Ana Forrest) was quite positive. With a few hours of prep work and opening before we get into the serious bending, I imagine I'll be fine....my lower back was a bit tweaky on Monday morning, but I worked it out with yoga and teaching this week.....

Of course, Ms. Rumbaugh has her own yoga blog - ten points for Gryffindor....

Baron Baptiste Wants to Be Your Friend.....

....on Facebook, that is. I'm assuming that Mr. Baptiste is not actually surfing facebook, but rather than one of his minions or underlings maintains a facebook profile for him (or rather, his yoga empire) and seeks out other yogis to "friend". Apparently, actually having met or knowing said yogis is not an actual requirement for being a "friend".

I guess I'm not going to friend anyone I have not met personally, and maybe even have spoken a few words to. So I'm not Baron Baptiste's "friend". I'm probably not going to "friend" Ana Forrest either (although, at least I have met and worked with her)

Odd little socially networked world we have created online.....

August 05, 2008

You Know.....

A week or so ago, Steve Campo of Theaterworks was on Colin McEnroe's show, talking up the new production, No Child.... (which I most certainly plan to see)

Steve must have said "You know...." about 100 times. No exaggeration. Just one of those verbal tics that people develop (I've had that one myself in the past, and I am sure I have others now). In fact, Steve's "...you know..." (or the more familiar "...ya know..." was so infectious that Colin, himself a seasoned radio host without too many verbal tics, started doing it as well. It was kind of funny. Would love to play the tape back and keep score, I'm guessing it would be Steve 105 to Colin 15. Fortunately, Steve was amusing and interesting, and the verbal spam was a small irritant (with some entertainment value) on an otherwise wonderful segment.

Today on NPR's "On Point", Tom Ashbrook interviewed author Anita Jain (Love and Marriage in Modern India). Ms. Jain apparently has westernized sufficiently so that she too, has been infected with the "...you know..." bug. Unfortunately, Ms. Jain was not so amusing and engaging; it got so bad, I had to turn it off and ended up surfing over to listen to Jim Vivevich (gasp) for a few moments.

I know doing radio (and speaking extemporaniously) is tough work, and far be it from me to cast asparagus on folks. But the "You Know" thing is something I'm somewhat aware of, and would notice it cropping up, and I really have not heard it overused too often in recent years. So, odd to have it pop into my consciousness twice in a week or so.

You know?

Blue Black Virgin No More

After dinner this evening, Zippy and I headed over to Blue Black Square - my first time in that part of West Hartford.

Kind of interesting / amusing how they have appropriated a NYC streetscape (but cleaner and nicer) - the buildings are just tall enough to make it feel like an old city, without being claustrophobic or cavelike. And if the chain restaurants and upscale shoppes are a bit too faux for a real urban landscape, well, there were enough people hanging out, schmoozing, loitering, etc. to make it feel authentic. All we need is a panhandler or two, a few street musicians, and a couple of scam artists to make it all real.

We stopped by Barnes and Noble, where I picked up Coleman Barks "The Essential Rumi" (fodder for savasana patter). I also stopped in to a little shop called Lucy which has yoga tops to die for. I picked up something on the sale rack for $20 (Marshall's or TJ Maxx pricing!), and even their off the rack pricing is pretty decent compared to my favorite yoga studio. Although since it's sort of a chocolate color, I'll have to wear my brown pants or find something else to wear with it.....

All in all, I can see (a) why West Farms fought Blue Back Square tooth and nail, because I could see a pretty similar demographic and (b) how frustrating it is to be yearning for something like that in Hartford, maybe along Front Street, but so far, nada.....

Oil Change

I've been chasing oil changing places into oblivion the past few years. The Jiffy Lube on New Britain Ave in West Hartford was my place of choice - until it closed a year or so back. Then I migrated over to Valvoline Instant Oil Change on New Park (sort of across from the Corner Pug) - I went there a week back but was sent away (we don't have your oil filter in stock right now) and by the time I got back (today) they were closed.

So I puttered over to the Valvoline shop on Park Road. Quite a nice experience. No waiting room, so I sat in the car - but they were quite polite - chatting, offering Tootsie Pops, showing me maple seeds under my engine cowl (also showing me how to remove it so I, or more specifically MY HUSBAND, could clean them out), and working with me to reset the Oil Change feature on my odometer. Just a nice group of folks, and a quick and positive experience.

And I just realized that for the first time in my memory, an oil change cost LESS than filling up the tank. Something ironic or funny or wrong about that.....

Oh, and I filled up my tank this afternoon, at $4.05/gallon, at the Sunoco on New Britain Ave. As I pumped, one of the employees lurked around the sign. As I finished (and other customers drove off) I saw him change the price on the sign to $4.01. Doh! Pumped too soon!

I know it's less than 50 cents difference, but still.....

August 04, 2008

Dog Days

It's August already. How did that happen?

Not much new in Scenic Root land. I spent today just hopping from thing to thing - work to yoga to the studio office (I expected to work, just not right after class) - worked for the afternoon with a brief stop home to pick up my puter, change clothes, and grab some lunch. Worked at the studio until 4. Then home for a bit, before zooming off to Unionville. Then back to the studio, where I found out I did NOT have to assist. Then home.

In between it all, I got a few reports done, although I have a bunch more queued up.

Tomorrow, work, and morning yoga. Wednesday, a workshop with Desiree Rumbaugh. In between, scrambling to catch up with work.

One of these days I'll go see a movie, do something artsy, eat out, or get the bug to write about something meaningful. But right now - just swimming upstream and barely staying in one place.....

August 02, 2008

Temporal Reference

I'm going to blame my folk fest fatique and catching up afterwards for this, and not some early onset of dementia or alzheimer's.

This week, I woke in bed one morning convinced that I had an intro to yoga class scheduled in the coming weeks, that I forgot when, and I was thinking I might have missed it. In fact, I taught the class in the middle of July.

And this morning, waking from a post-ballooning nap around noon, I convinced myself that it was Sunday morning and that I had slept through a 9:30 am gentle class I am subbing tomorrow morning. I literally got up panicking!

In fact, with my little PDA and dry-erase calendars at work and stuff, I'm pretty good at scheduling and keeping appointments. I have not blown off an appointment or commitment in ages.

I need (a) some sleep and (b) to catch up on life.....

August 01, 2008

Digging Out

Slowly recovering from Falcon Ridge 2008, a festival that will go down in history due to the horrendous storm that closed the weekend prematurely.

Right now the backporch is jammed with camping stuff, much to Zippy's frustration. I've cleaned and aired out the storage tubs, and am starting to fill them with cleaned and dried out stuff - air mattresses, tarps, camping supplies. It's happening rather piecemeal, as I try to catch up on the rest of my life.

My big medical imaging client has chosen this moment to get busy - so I came home to a small backlog of work that has grown to a fairly scary number of sites needing to be analyzed and reported. Unfortunately, I think I've been sleep deprived from the fest so sitting in front of the puter watching graphs and numbers has sent me off into sleepyland on a few occasions this week. So not getting a lot done on that front.

Also be slowly teasing my way back onto the mat - Monday I had to teach a class in Unionville, Tuesday morning a short class with my nurturing yoga teacher Carissa, and Wednesday a morning power class with Sarah, subbing for Marcia. Which was just as well, my lower back got tweaky suddenly that morning, and Marcia sometimes exacerbates that (lots of vinyasa and forward folds). Yesterday, a class with Barbara which I think, got me back on track, yoga wise. At the end, when she offered inversions, I just popped up into handstand without hesitation.

Today - it's the 1st of August (already?) and so I need to do my invoicing and reporting. One of my website clients is starting to sell tickets online for a holiday event, so I need to make sure that's up and running. They also want to implement another online coupon. And the backlog of medicla imaging reports. So lots to do.