October 29, 2008

Turning Back the Clocks

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

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

Grant Us This Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Office Overhaul

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

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

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

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

Change is in the air....

October 27, 2008


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

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

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

October 26, 2008

A Day of Rest

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

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

October 25, 2008

Long Time Between Posts

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

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

Hopefully, my blogging mojo will return anon.

October 20, 2008

A Friend in Need

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

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

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

October 18, 2008

Yoga in Plainville

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

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

October 16, 2008

Silver Lining

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

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

MassLive.com story about this local mainstay here

October 14, 2008

Free Yoga

Two free yoga opportunities are coming up at West Hartford Yoga

Saturday, October 18, noon - 6:00 pm

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

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

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

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

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

Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead

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

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

October 12, 2008

Busy Woman

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

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

October 09, 2008

Encyclopedia Jude and the Case of the Singing House

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

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

Blindfold Yoga

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

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

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

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

Blindfold yoga - definitely something worth exploring.

October 08, 2008

Random Images

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

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

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

October 04, 2008

Yoga Marathon

Looking back over the past week, I find:

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

Oy. Lot of yoga happening the past week.

Tias Little Wrap-up

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tias Little Teacher Training

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

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

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

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

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

Real Time

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

October 03, 2008

VP Debate Blahs

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

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

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

October 02, 2008

Trans for Obama

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

Want to join in? Visit the Act Blue website here

Friends of John Dorsey

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

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

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

October 01, 2008

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats

A cartoon series from Ape Lad on Flickr.

Yoga Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

24 Hours with Tias

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

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

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