September 30, 2008

To Spite One's Face....

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

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

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

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

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

Moon in Uranus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 28, 2008

Dhafer Youssef at Real Art Ways

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

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

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

September 27, 2008

Community Yoga - September 28 @ 3:00 pm

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

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

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

Lomax: The Hound of Music

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

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

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

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

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

September 24, 2008

Like a Virgin

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

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

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

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

September 23, 2008

Wait - it's Tuesday?

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

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

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

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

September 21, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

My dance card is full today, but were it not, I would surely be visiting Real Art Ways - where a showing of the 1924 silent version of Peter Pan will be accompanied by live music from the NoHo alt-country group The Stuntmen. Details here.

I've seen other silent films at RAW - once with a Tuvan ensemble, another time with solo cello. Both wonderful - if you have not seen a silent film scored with live music, do go!

Weekend So Far

Friday night: 6 pm yoga class. 8 pm yoga info session. 9:30 pm borthday gathering at Chili's.

Saturday: 5 am wakeup call for ballooning. Flight, champagne, then breakfast.
Shooting an approach to a neighborhood in Meriden, off Diamond Hill Road

Run home, hang out a bit, then off to Bristol to see MYA for a few. Last night, down to Mohegan Sun with a friend to watch the Connecticut Sun hold off the NY Liberty. My first time down this season, the Sun were in control most of the game until letting the lead slip and turning it into a nail biter. Svetlana is not the same since her cute short hair days at U-Conn when I crushed on her madly, but she still plays great ball, and it was fun to see her playing for CT and sharing the floor with my Sun fave Erin Phillips.
Svet inbounds as Erin runs the baseline. Bonus points for Janelle McCarville on the court at the same time.

I had gotten a call to work the game Friday afternoon, a few hours after my friends with the season tickets called and I had committed to them. Just as well; it's a long day working on broadcast days, even if one gets to be down on the floor. I had to settle for an action shot of my furry crush Blaze; MYA's baby brother also has a crush on Blaze, so I picked up a Blaze beanie doll for him, taking advantage of season ending 50% off sale.

This morning: hot yoga. Then off to a mentoring meeting at 1 pm. And then to a yoga studio staff meeting. No rest for me this weekend....

September 19, 2008

A Happy Little Asana

My friend Megan compared my gentle yoga voice to Bob "A Happy Little Tree" Ross - the venerable PBS artist and host of "The Joy of Painting". Wikipedia here. Official website here.

"I mean this in the most complimentary way - I could listen to his show all day, it was so relaxing and comforting." says Megan.

Heh-heh. Let's put a happy little vinyasa.....right HERE!

September 18, 2008

The Darker Side of Twain

Stumbled across an interesting video this evening:

An excerpt from a video, The Adventures of Mark Twain, specifically drawn from Twain's unfinished work The Mysterious Stranger. Claymation by Will Vinton (famous for the California Raisins)

Just very dark, very weird, very unusual.

An Organizational Lifeline

I've been funked out about my office for a while - it's a dump. And it's piled high with boxes (mostly financial records, but also some old projects and piles of ephemera awaiting a good purge) and test equipment.

The building manager dropped by - heard I was asking around about a larger office space or a storage closet. He's got one available down the hall - $25 a month. SOLD.

I'm looking forward to taking some of the things presently under tables and on shelves into the storage closet, and turning this office back into a professional, presentable work space.

Lots of Clay and No Excuses

Cribbed from a friend's Facebook status. She is a potter (clay artist? kiln owner? wheel spinner?) whatever the heck you call someone who makes beautiful things out of clay, paint, and love.

Lots of Clay and No Excuses. This could be my new life philosophy!

September 17, 2008

Busy Girl

So here's my September / October schedule, as of September 17. Green is yoga. Blue is work. Red is personal. As one might surmise - I'm kind of busy. I've already racked up 27 hours of work for my biggest client this month - and I have another 7 hours of work in the queue due by Friday. Plus two trip reports, and some log delayed projects for other clients sitting on the back burner.....

Maybe there is a recession out there, or some sort of economic slowdown. But you can't tell that from my calendar.....

A Bucket Ride

A rare mid-week balloon outing this morning. Our passengers included a woman with terminal cancer - perhaps a few more weeks to live. Her friends treated her to a balloon ride. Quite a lovely, and sobering flight.

We often have folks ticking off items on their "Bucket List" - hot air ballooning is right up there with sky-diving, visiting exotic places,

But the love these folks had for their friend, the awe of lifting a delicate human frame into and out of the basket, and the preciousness of this life we are living.

Check something off your own bucket list, while you have health and time. Or maybe lose the bucket list, and live each day as it might be your last.

As we said our good-byes, RZ and I hugged our passenger. I hope my hug conveyed what was in my heart: love for a fellow traveler, any healing or comfort that might be transmitted via contact, and a little sadness for the death that we shall each find sooner that we could imagine.

September 16, 2008

The Plan du Jour

For Wednesday:

5:00 am - Wake up
6:15 am - Balloon chasing
8:30 am - Ought to be at my desk, with any luck, working
12:15 pm - Teaching yoga (class theme, shoulders)
2:00 pm - Back at my desk, hopefully
6:15 pm - Practicing yoga
8:00 pm - Home. Recover.

Busy day. I'll try to sneak some healthy meals in there somehow....

When You Ain't Got Nothing....

Vibing Bob Dylan as the financial world crashes down around me. The Dow was down 500 points yesterday; though it seems to have found some buoyancy today.

It's not like I don't have a dog in the hunt (heh heh - I just Freudian typo'd "a god in the hunt" and am amused by myself). I've got a nascent little 401K that I have been faithfully stuffing for a few years, and yeah, it's pretty much down 20% over the past calendar year. So be it. It's not going to change my plodding monthly investment strategy, it's not gonna make me panic. Wish I had some extra cash at the moment - I'd plow it into something or the other right now just to get my 2008 contributions up. Bargain hunting....

But really, it's all pretty amorphous to me right now. I'm investing for a retirement I never expected to reach. I've been living without much of a safety net for close to 15 years. I've come to trust the process. And I have been without the finer things in life, the right home, the right clothes, the right car, the right gadgets - that it hardly affects me.

Let it go, try not to beat yourself up or get too stressed out by it all. It will come back. Or not. But life will go on.....

With a Fizzle

My summer gig leading a yoga practice at a gym in Unionville ended last night; somewhat anti-climatically. I got there to find the manager (who I had never met) signing in a new instructor (my replacement) - apparently our signals got crossed and she thought last week was my final one. So I turned around and headed for home.

No biggie - my heart was not in it, I had gotten to the gym to find I had left my music at the studio. I wasted a trip out, but I was not highly attached to teaching last night - I had taught a noon gentle class, and have classes Wed and Fri. Last night fell into the category of "doing them a favor until they got someone else"

So, I am free to focus on my upcoming classes - one last week of summer schedule - then we plow into the fall, with new opportunities and challenges. I'm glad I had the chance to teach some gym yoga this summer; a stepping stone for me. But also kind of glad it's over.

September 15, 2008

Ira Glass Porn

I'm watching an episode of Ira Glass Porn*, aka the This American Life DVD. I picked this up as a public radio premium a while back and have not watched it yet.

I'm really enjoying it. The two stories in this particular episode are remakes of TAL radio segments: Chance the Bull (dead but cloned, his successor Second Chance turns out to be not quite the same gentle spirit as the original) and Best Gig Ever about an improve group that populated an obscure band's gig, previously blogged here. The video versions were good - not simply rehashings of the radio show, but fleshed out with good background video, as well as follow-up interviews.

Be interesting to see what they do with material they have not done on the radio show.....

* Coined by friend Kimi, who has a thing for Mr. Glass.

September 14, 2008

Lazin' on a Sunday Afternoon

With apologies to the Kinks.

Went with a friend to see "No Child" at Theaterworks. Quite a powerul piece, I really liked it. A bit short (1:15) and in some ways the translation from a one-woman piece to a small ensemble (4 actors) worked very well, although I think it suffered a tiny bit from being betwixt and between - having 4 actors made for some character differentiation but also a bit of mild confusion - was not 100% keeping up with all the characters throughout. A minor quibble; it's a pretty amazing piece otherwise.

Afterwards, we wandered down to Bushnell Park for the Hope Out Loud festival / concert, which was pretty small. Hope was sort of talking in an inside to speak. A handful of tables, a small stage, not a lot of drama. Did run into WKW from RAW (who was out exercising) and I was pleasantly accosted by an Italian Ice vendor "You teach the $5 yoga classes at noon, right?" That has been happening more often, something I need to get used to.

After a quick circuit at the fest, we wandered up to The Russell for a bite; not particularly impressed. Although I recall going to that location about 25 years ago (no idea what it was then) for an art opening; I recognized the place inside once we were in there. I had a chicken curry sandwich, my friend had a salad. Mine was OK - nothing spectacular; my friend was less than impressed by her salad.

Cormac McCarthy

A most enjoyable evening in Watertown at a house concert featuring Cormac McCarthy, and his wife Sammmy Haynes.

Cormac McCarthy is one of those folkies I never got around to hearing. (And for the record, I've also somehow avoided his more famous literary doppelganger). Contemporary with one of my early favorites, Bill Morrissey - they were college roommates, and cowrote the song Married Man, which I know from Bill's 1986 release North). Last night Cormac played Married Man, and it was interesting to hear his version of it (very different from Bill's).

Mostly, I was struck by the way time takes it's toll. I'm sure I've had a sort of hunky folk-singer image of Cormac - young Boston folk circuit rogue in a denim jacket. And perhaps that was he, back in 1986 when the world was younger. I was probably just starting to listen to folk music back then (by dint of a musician spouse). And in the 20+ years since, Cormac has put out four albums - certainly not a deluge of work. But he's been busy with other things. He and Sammy recently celebrated 27 years together. Their son who just turned 19 is in college. I met his dog, whose been hanging around for 15 years.

Surfing around on his website, I find links to two more of my favorite folkies: Cliff Eberhardt and Lucy Kaplansky. they are both playing around; have seen each of them at Falcon Ridge in recent years as well as individual concerts. And a surprise - Kristina Olsen, who I saw back in the early 90's - and was impressed enough to pick up her first (and perhaps only, at the time) disk. She's in New Zealand these days and has had a fairly prolific career.

I picked up his newest (2006) album, Curious Thing. He and Sammy and their dog drove down from Maine for the concert - although it was a fullish house still it must have cost them some bucks to drive down, and it's nice to spread some love to these traveling folkies. He did not seem to play much from the newer work, playing to the living room with more than a few long time fans looking to hear the old stuff. But I'm interested to hear what he has to say today, looking back down the road a bit. I kind of think I might like the older, wiser musician with some miles on him more than the young raffish folkie I see in those old photos.....

It was a lovely evening - good food (potluck meal beforehand), a few warming drinks, and a chance to curl up on a sofa and listen to a poet and musician, with some of my folk festival buds. A girl could do worse on a Saturday night.

September 13, 2008

Two Flickr Sets

From user Buddy Stone, in Idaho of all places.

Mug Shots from the Ada County Sheriff's Department

Bumper Stickers found in Idaho (surprisingly liberal considering the location)

I loves me some internets....

OK, I surfed on over to a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Calculator linked from the Mug Shots site....I never have more than 3 drinks of anything (and that's a hard drinking kind of night, my 47 year old, hormone compromised and yoga aware liver tends to let me know to stop, usually at 1 or 2) and over many hours. For anything over two hours, I'm under 0.04 and usually under 0.02 (depending on what I drink) - so I guess I'm not really DUI risk. Good to know.....

Arts Weekend

Today: Morning yoga with the recently returned from the west coast (and much missed) Nyyki. Having just survived a practice with Christine, I ought to be laying low but the chance to get my back unwound is too good to pass up.

Tonight: Cormac McCarthy (the folkie, not the author) concert down in Watertown MA. I've probably been confused about this dual celebrity thing way too long to fully embrace Folkie McCarthy's music, so I look forward to the concert. It's at the home of (and will be attended by) many of my Falcon Ridge friends - so I look forward to catching up and seeing folks NOT caked in mud, exhausted from a week of camping, and glazed over from the Sunday storms of 2008.

Tomorrow: No Child at Theaterworks with a friend.

Midway Through September

I look up and suddenly September is 1/2 gone. It's been that kind of month, already. And the fun has not started yet.....

I'm finally catching up on my pile of reports in the queue for work - two large reports and one smaller one are pending, and if I actually head in to the office this weekend I can bang them out. Would be nice to go into Monday with no backlog (of that sort, I still have other things pending)

The week flew by - I traveled to Reading PA on Wednesday for work - visiting a small imaging center. Nothing much found - grounding that was not good but not horrible, no other serious issues. Need to put together a trip report, an expense report, an invoice (in that order) and get that off the pile. And once that is done, I can start to catch up on a few other things:

* A long delayed final report from a spring trip to OK
* A spreadsheet update for one of the my clients to incorporate some new data structures
* Learning Dreamweaver so I can take over maintenance of one of my client's websites

The webite side of life has also been busy; with a bunch of updates for my friends in Essex; Lomax: The Hound of Music is coming at the end of the month so there have been website updates, email blasts, and the like, on top of regular SELL OUT updates for the North Pole Express and Santa Special events at year end. And another client (albeit a pro bono one) has been sending some updates after a long silence. So busy there.

I worked at the studio two days this week for the vacationing studio manager - which chewed into my work and yoga time but was useful adn fun. I need a vacation. I rarely if ever take one; my excuses range from poverty to traveling too much for work (not so true anymore) to not having anyone to go with (more true these days than in the recent past). But I'd love to just go soemwhere fun, relax, do things for no reason, hang out, relax. Maybe next life :( I should not complain; not too many people have the sort of life that I do where one can sneak into yoga class pretty much any and every day, run out to matinees when the spirit moves, etc. But I would like to have a financial life that is a little more stable and has some wiggle room and a budget for an occasional visit to someplace nice.

September 09, 2008

Trinity Restaurant

Finally made it over to the Trinity Restaurant this evening, for dinner following the Werner Pfeiffer lecture.

The formal dining area is relatively unchanged from the Timothy's days, although the old entrance / counter dining on the corner of Bonner and Zion is now the kitchen entrance. The menu is a bit more upscale and conventional than back in the Timothy's days - less hummus, whole wheat, and sprouts, and more continental cuisine. Not inexpensive, but the food was yummy and portions large - Zippy had an entree, his dad had an appetizer, and I had soup and salad, and we were all well-fed.

No liquor license, so bring your own.

Seems to continue to be a professorial hangout - the folks from the lecture, including Werner Pfeiffer) showed up for dinner while we were there (we resisted the urge to continue the dialogue)

The place was understaffed this evening - with one waitperson (the woman who owns the place with her husband, perhaps?) - and a pretty busy night for a Tuesday - so our check took FOREVER to come, but while waiting we were comped a delicious dessert (a tiramisu, albeit in square format). So that was good.

I can recommend it for a date night before or after a movie at Cinestudio. Now I just need a date......

Out of the Sky - Werner Pfeiffer

Zippy, his dad, and I went to Trinity College this evening for a talk by Werner Pfeiffer, discussing, and assembling, his block print / sculpture memorial to the 9/11 attacks entitled "Out of the the Sky"

It's a quite cunning assemblage, emerging from a bookcase much like an old album collection (think "The Complete Beatles" in terms of size), but unfolding and assembling very thoughfully into replicas of the World Trade Center towers - wrapped in an artistic block print of his interpretation of the human panic and suffering of those who lost their lives in the tower.

This picture does not do the piece justice - either the scale of it (nearly 6' tall) nor the impact - I grabbed a spot on the floor at the base of the piece and looking up at it, it certainly reminded me of times I was in the financial district with the towers looming. Quite a moving feeling. I'm a little disappointed that I did *not* bring a camera; to grab a photo from my sitting on the floor angle, as Pfeiffer assembled the sculpture. It was quite impressive; and yet remarkably little information online about this piece.

The talk was as much about the construction / fabrication of the piece (many art professors / library geeks in the house) - materials, printing techniques, assembly techniques, design process, fonts. Quite interesting to see how he conceived it, how the mechanical assembly aspects and storage of the piece impacted the final size, etc.

A lovely little bit of culture in the city - free to any who would come. Helps to be connected - Zippy's dad is a Trinity professor emeritus and also a bit of a pop-up book and block print collector, so he had the inside skinny on the lecture, plus he had already been to another recent lecture on the piece.

Other pieces by Werner Pfeiffer here

September 08, 2008

Trophy Veep

I hate to say it, but the way McCain is parading around with his new veep, makes me thing of certain December-May marriages.....

If elected, will the new presidential limo be a convertible?

If I Had a Clone

She'd be teaching yoga tonight, and I'd be bopping over to the Monday-Monday event at the Pearl Street Arts Center.

More info at the Live in Hartford blog, props to Julie for the invite and heads up.

Alas, I am yoga committed for the foreseeable future, although perhaps in coming months I can sneak over there early (when I start teaching a Monday night class at 7:30). Sounds like a nice event.

Feeling Bad

About my last post, that is. Not very compassionate or yogic. Perhaps there are issues of class, of culture involved. Nonetheless, when someone is launching fireworks over your house, despite repeated requests to please not do that, it's easy to vilify them, to paint them as other. So yeah, hard not to want to see this particular family go.

Zippy was commenting the other day that houses on the street that are for sale are not moving, not due to lack of interested buyers, but due to lack of available financing. Which perhaps means that these homes will not sell to the young, up and coming first time buyer, and maybe sell to investors or those with money who end up renting them out. Which sad to say, tends to drag down the neighborhood.....

September 07, 2008

Good Riddance

The neighborhood scumbags seem to have been evicted....renters in a predominantly owner occupied neighborhood, there is a for rent sign on the door, and the local rumor mill confirms their imminent departure.

A long summer of police visits to the house, indiscriminate fireworks (launched over our house), loud fights, car alarms going off at all hours of the day and night, and just lazy ass porch sitting is coming to an end.

Oh good, the car alarm just went off. A nice nightcap to an evening of annoyance (mostly fireworks and screaming at each other) that we are hoping is the farewell party. Burning their bridges, so to speak.

It's Nice to Have you Back

Helen UbiƱas, that is, in a wonderful column in today's Hartford Courant called A Family Values Exception For Pregnant Palin Daughter

Helen nails it:
The hypocrisy is stunning, I told Bethany Casarjian, a teenage pregnancy expert who has written extensively on the topic.

I knew it was a dumb question, but I had to ask. How could people who refused to offer an ounce of sympathy — let alone funds or resources — for teens who found themselves in the same position justify their about-face? How could her mother, a champion of abstinence, say with a straight face: "We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents."

Casarjian's answer was simple. "Because she's one of theirs."

And might I add, had Bristol decided to have an abortion, many members of her class would simply withdraw some money from her allowance or savings account, figure out some way to travel to a state with lax laws, and do the deed. With or without parental support. No need to fuss with an abusive parent, perhaps, or economic hurdles. Nice and in the good old days.

Those with money and power have always had access to reproductive health stuff - birth control, abortion, medical services for pregnancy. And those without.....contrinue to struggle no matter what choices they make.

The Palin saga is not a tale of family values, or teen sexuality, or even pro-choice / pro-life. It's a story of class, a story of privilege. And in the case of the right wing, it's business as usual.

September 05, 2008

Butt Whipping

Let it be said that tonight I got my yoga ass handed to me in a hot class taught by Christine, a rising star down at West Hartford Yoga. She subbed Nykki's Friday night hot class (always a delicious way to end the week). But Christine took the "hot" thing literally, and led a super strong practice that just took me down to the mat. It's been a while since I cranked it back into child's pose during a practice, but there I was tonight. VERY good for the soul......

If you are craving that sort of on the edge hot / power yoga experience, which has not been seen around WHY in many moons, do check out Christine's classes - she's the real deal!

Afterwards, I went over the Blue Back Square where I:

* Bought three fabu yoga pieces (two tops, one pant) at Lucy, all on the clearance rack, total bill ~$55. Does not get better than that....

* Ate at Moe's (burp) - Christine's class had me so sweated out that I drank 3-22 oz glasses of water (on top of my water bottle in class)

* Watched some tango dancers outside the Borders, and they were awesome - it just felt totally cosmopolitan and romantic. They were from Hartford Argentine Tango Society - just lovely to watch. Or, as I said to my friend, "Dancing with the Insurance Executives". Not really. But Blue Back was happening tonight.....

September 04, 2008

Connecticut Yoga ONE Festival

September 20, 2008, 9 am to 9 pm. Fuller Movement Center, Hartford.

More Information here

CARC Summer Camp

A rather subdued fund-raiser this year, as compared to recent years gone by. A "Hartford's Got Talent" event that was reasonably high on talent, but not so hot on turnout. They need to generate some BUZZ....cause it could have been a more fun evening with more peeps.

The winner was Molly McLaughlin (a flautist who performed an Ian Clarke piece called Zoom Tube) turns out to know me (but not vice-versa) from an organization we have both volunteered at as well as the yoga studio. I promise to remember her name, in future. Bad, forgetful, getting old Judith.

But nice to see some friends and do a little networking.

Dr. Laura Does Not Love Sarah Palin

And we are greatly amused. Blog posting here.
I’m stunned - couldn’t the Republican Party find one competent female with adult children to run for Vice President with McCain?
Clearly, Palin sees the need for positive role models. I suggest that they be Mommy and Daddy, and not the hired help.
And good for her for sticking by her core values. I've never had a lot of quibble with Dr. Laura, I think she crossed over into Unforgiveable Curse territory when she dared to insist that Mommy/Daddy/Baby was the optimal family unit. I remember back when she started she was pretty homo-friendly (when it came to adopting or fostering kids, better a queer family than no family) but drew the line at making new babies, and I think that triggered a backlash.

Oh well, I'm glad she's not folding on this one. Good for the goose is good for the gander, I guess....

Changing Seasons

I'd write a long and thoughtful post about the changing of the seasons. But why bother when my friend and fellow yogini Jane just nails it, with a most beautiful essay.

Come to my Thursday night "Intro to Power" class. If I'm not there, Jane will be, and I suspect you will not be disappointed. Her thoughts, her language, betray the fact that she is far more than a kick-ass backbend! (although she *is* the most flexible and poetically fluid person I know)

"She's Like Dr. Laura"

...according to my friend, Helen Boyd, blogging about VP wanna-be Sarah Palin. I listened to her speech last night and Helen nailed it, in terms of the vivacious, refreshing, media savvy woman who just spouts nonsense and bigotry.

The canonical essay about the kind of leader Sarah Palin is (vs. the kind she wants us to believe she is) comes from someone who has known her and crossed swords with her for years, Anne Kilkenny from Wasilla - props to Helder for the link.

But Helen nails it as well. "Please, Dems, don’t rest easy. We need to kick this woman’s ass." Because, like Dr. Laura, she is gonna have a helluva lot of curb appeal to a certain kind of voter - who yearn for the good old days. Who are willing to look past bullying, bigotry, misuse of power, and trampling constitutional rights because someone is attractie, charismatic, and can bring down a moose with a firearm.....

September 03, 2008

The New Phone Book is Here!

Well, not really. But the Fall / Winter 2008 Brochure has arrived at the studio. I'm triply excited, in an attached and non-yoga-ish way:

* I'm listed on the title page, as part of the Staff (I assume I'll make it to the website eventually)

* My name made it onto the schedule a few places (the summer schedule simply said "staff" for my Friday class)

* There's a nice picture of Shankara and I playing at Kirtan (the one at right)

I've been a GDI since college days, and as a self-employed person for over a decade, even a corporate affiliation is hard to come by. So it's really meaningful to me for me to be part of an organization, a family, a tribe. I hope I'm able to fulfill the trust and belief that others have invested in me.

Analysis of a Postal Scam

We've all seen those spammish emails promising millions of dollars from a deposed Nigerian prince (or some other dubious source). Yesterday, I got a much more legitimate looking (but nevertheless equally criminal and spurious) letter via the U.S. Mail.

Starting with a sort of official letter, purportedly from Comcast Financial Services & Consultants, a division of Comcast LLC in Englewood, CO. I've won some money - $57,000 in fact. And they have been nice enough to enclose a check for $3988.95 to cover "...administrative taxes and Clearance fees...."

The way the scam works. I deposit the check into my account, and I am asked to wire (to some untraceable or temporary account, no doubt) some or all of the $3988.95 for these fees and taxes. A few days later, the check comes back as fraudulent, and I am out the money I wired off into the ether.....

How to know that this is a scam? Other than the obvious "you don't get something for nothing" princial.

* The letter was sent from Canada, not Colorado
* The phone number to call is 514-577-2407, a Canadian number
* The main Comcast HQ is at 188 Inverness Drive, not 183 Inverness Drive, although they seem to have some offices there.
* Both the letter and the check omitted the leading zero from my zip code (6106 vs. 06106) which is pretty much Database / Spreadsheet / Mail Merge 101 stuff that no legitimate organization would miss
* The check is written drawn on a Bank One account. Bank One was purchased by JP Morgan Chase in 2004 (I know, I lost about $10K of annual work in that buyout), and no longer operated under the Bank One name. Otherwise, the check looks very legit.
* The check uses the Comcast logo, but the letter does not.....corporations are pretty fussy about their branding and logo consistency

Anything else you want to know?

This piqued my attention only so far as it looked so legitimate that I wanted to dig a little to find the cracks. I wonder how many people will get taken in my this little scam. I dropped a note to the postal inspector, but I figure if I was out there googling some of the names and numbers in this little ruse, others would be was well.

BirdWings - Rumi

Your grief for what you've lost lifts a mirror
up to where you're bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here's the joyful face you've been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
if it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting
and expanding,
The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.

Came across this last night, browsing Rumi before heading off to sleep. Quite lovely.

September 02, 2008

Just Horrible Television

Not sure who made the call to put Bush's satellite broadcast up on NBC without the hall feed (applause), as it is being broadcast on ABC and CBS, but it makes the man and the conventon seem even more pathetic.

Dear Yellow Page Telemarketer

#1 - The only calls I get via the yellow pages are suburban homeowners looking to be reassured about the powerlines crossing their property (or the property they are looking to buy for a good price, due to the powerlines)

#2 - None of my clients come from the local area

#3 - I google #1 in so many of my target fields that online advertising is redundant

#4 - I'm about a week behind on work and trying to be nice to you while you click through your sales pitch script is not working

Sorry to be kind of abrupt in saying good-bye, but I tried to let you down nicely. Now please go away.....

Guerilla Yoga

I practiced on Monday morning. Shankara did something a little special (as is typical for a holiday class) with a Hara centered practice intent on raising the energy through the belly. I found a little overview of that (it's a Kripalu borrowing of a Japanese concept) here.

So it was a good practice, a deep practice, but one that did nothing for my slightly tweaky lower back, which got tweakier as the day progressed. So when my bud's Amy and Nykki texted me "Wanna practice?" I jumped at the chance, and met them over at the studio for a little guerilla yoga. Even though the studio is open to teachers to use when they want, it still felt a little subversive. Which was fun.

So we just set up our mats and worked on our own practices. I did not do anything formal but just followed my body's lead. I ended up with a nice little simmer of heat and fairly light practice, but with a happy lower back. Mission accomplished.

It was nice to spend the time and share the space that way. We talked occasionally; trading notes about teaching, about gentle yoga (which I seem to have a knack for, and Amy is interested in learning about), about our histories and practices. It was a very sweet hour or so on a quiet holiday afternoon. We all agreed it was something worth doing again; maybe setting up something more regular / formal.

I need to mix a bit more of that sort of self directed, intuitive, exploratory yoga into my own practice.....

The End of the Summer

Autumn has bene stalking us for a while now - cooler mornings, lower humidity, glorious golden sunlight. And now, even though it's only September 2, it's the day after Labor Day, and the summer season is officially winding down. There are kid in uniform heading off to school, as Julie over at Live In Hartford notes. Balloon chasing will peak in the coming month or two, before ending for the season in late October. My work email will, I imagine, soon be filled with projects and reminders from clients lulled into a temporary torper with vacations and summertime projects, who wake up this morning and realize they need to get back to business.

It's a time of changes in my life. Sept 21, the new yoga schedule comes online, and I will be teaching 3.5 classes per week. I'm doing a dry run for that; next week my two usual classes plus subbing three more. This week is the calm before the storm, with just one class to teach.

I've been conscious of poor eating and poor lifestyle choices as the summer winds down; fall is going to be a time of cleansing and renewal for me. This morning, I set aside the small pot of decaf coffee I have chosen each summer morning, and brewed a cup of Goji Berry green tea to accompany my bowl of oatmeal. I doubt that I will plunge into the abrupt changes of a crash diet or sudden purging of every questionable food or habit; but just choosing more carefully and consciously over the next few weeks, and making some space for a healthier life, should provide some big changes.

September 01, 2008

What Again?

Sarah and Todd Palin say their 17-year-old unmarried daughter is pregnant
By Associated Press

Senior McCain advisers said the Arizona senator and his top aides had known about Bristol's pregnancy before offering Palin the No. 2 spot on the GOP ticket.

Methinks, however, that it might be time for Senator McCain to be looking at a 2nd choice....not that it matters to me.

But damn....between the rumors surrounding Trig Palin's parentage and now this, can this get any weirder?