December 31, 2009

2009 Wrap-up

New Year's Eve finds me baby-sitting my little bud Andrew as his parent's go do 108 Sun Salutations - which would be a bit much for my body (specifically, my left elbow) right now. I'll settle for two hours on the mat with Barb tomorrow....

So I have the opportunity to go over my blog and review the past year.

Some highlights:

* Got a Roku Player
* Said farewell to Peter Anthony, headed home to Australia
* Balloon safety seminar
* Lost a balloon friend. RIP, Mike.
* Got an iPod Touch. Lost an iPod Touch.\
* Taught an Intro to Yoga Series. Taught a Core-Ab Power Series.
* Won a Hello Kitty diary at Wince, an Open Mic at real Art Ways
* Enlightenment Intensive #5
* My GPS took me off-road and I wrecked my tranny en route to the EI. Doh!
* Got a little mention in the Courant (mid life yoga instructors)
* Lots of ballooning
* Lots of hiking
* Got a new little buddy, Andrew James
* House hunted, found a condo, purchased it, and moved in
* Gave up my office and moved into a home office in the basement
* Staffed an EI in December
* Started rehearsing (bass) with the Guinea Pigs

Movies
Frost Nixon
Revolution Road
Slumdog Millionaire
Training Rules (Dee Mosbacher / Penn State)
Trinidad (Dr. Marci Bowers / Morning Glow)
Enlighten Up (Yoga)
Departures
Glastonbury Kids
Up in the Air
(not counting Roku/Netflix)

Concerts
Abi Tapia (House Concert)
Krishna Das
Hartford Symphony Orchestra "Conenctions"
Kenny White / Cheryl Wheeler
Rhode Island Sustainable Living Festival
Falcon Ridge Folk Fest
Jack Hardy (House Concert)
Krishna Das (again)

Yoga Events
Back Bay Yoga in Boston
Jill Miller Workshops
Guerilla Yoga with Nykki
Shiva Rae / Mandala of Asanas @ Kripalu
Yoga on the Beach (Mashpee MA)
Tias Little Workshop
Heather Tiddens Workshop

Not a bad year, all in all....

December 25, 2009

Worst Yoga Class Ever - Dream Edition

Xmas morning here. Up at my mom's in MA, and I awoke from a very vivid and remembered dream. Need to get it down and out of my system.

In the dream, I am subbing a yoga class for my teacher and mentor Barb, who owns my studio. The class is up in Boston (for some reason, she does not teach in Boston in real life) at a place I've never been to. And the class is oddly spread across 3 very large spaces on two levels (almost like a high loft, so its all open) - so to teach the class, I am constantly walking back and forth between studios as well as up and down stairs.

I have no headset or sound system so I am trying to be heard across all the spaces (not very successfully). Each studio has it's own sound system / stereo, and students have turned these on to a different CD in each space. So I am fighting that as well. And finally, the students in each space are set up in a large circle (not mat to mat as in a normal class).

So I teach the class(es), and it's going really poorly - I teach one room and as I walk to the next room they are doing something different. For some reason, something I am saying (not exactly sure what) is interpreted by the students to mean some completely unexpected (and unknown to me) dance that they all seem to know and do in sync, and I cannot figure out what posture or sanskrit word is triggering this. At one point, the students are complaining about the heat (Barb historically works with a very hot room), and we stop the class and get everyone who wants it cooler to go to the lower level (where it's cooler) and the rest to stay on the upper level; I also am running around closing windows (it's an old building, lot of those horizontal tilt out windows) which the students have opened when I am not in eyeshot.

Well, I look up and it's close to 8 pm (class started at 6) and I've barely gotten through a sun salutation, never got to savasana, so the class just ends. I call the students over and they are all surrounding me and I announce that they've just experienced "the worst yoga class I've ever taught, in fact the worst yoga class I've every witnessed" and they all break out into applause (presumably for me being honest and facing it). I kind of go through the circumstances with them (about the multi levels, the sound systems, the lack of a PA, etc.) but pretty much cop to being unprepared and unable to hold the space. I tell them they've earned karma points (payable by me) for sticking it out. A few of them stick around to brainstorm ways to make things better (like having a headset that plays on all the stereo's, and having one CD playing in all the studios).

As the dream ends, I am walking through the streets of Boston, calling Barb up on my cell phone to tell her how badly I messed up and asking advice regarding if / how I should talk to the owners of the studio in Boston.

So what does it mean?

I'm in the middle of a yoga teaching lull - I've been teaching 3 classes down at the studio but one has been cancelled (only getting a few students), and my Friday noon class is gone for 12/25 and 1/1. Meanwhile my Bristol Adult Ed class is off until the 2nd week in Jan. So I am down to one class a week for a few weeks. Am I recognizing some teaching burnout? Am I questioning my commitment to teaching? Or perhaps my qualifications to teach? Am I getting sloppy or unprepared for classes?

I am, at the same time, struggling to put together all the paperwork for my yoga teacher certification - due by year end. It's not really all that hard - a bunch of book reports (all but one already written) and class critiques (already completed) and some photocopying of class sequences and hunting down of some class sign-ins / rosters from my free teaching. Get it all assembled into a binder or booklet. Not exactly an insurmountable project, yet I have been procrastinating about it.

And I am also looking at a new endeavour - playing bass with an up til now folk/rock duo. Am I concerned about spreading myself too thin?

Lots to chew on. Just wanted to get it all down before I dropped back into sleep and forgot it all!

December 22, 2009

Saab Stories

This morning on Where We Live.

I always thought the passenger side mirror was developed due to Saabs (joke). Because back in the day (late 70s / early 80s) it seemed like if someone came screaming up and passed in the right lane, s/he was driving a Saab. Or sat on your bumper and flashed the headlights if one was not doing 20 mph over the limit. I've never quite shaken the stereotype of the Saab driver as being a bit of a speed demon / hothead, although certainly other cars have filled that wanna-be race car driver niche in ensuing years.

December 19, 2009

Random List of Snowstorm Chores

[ ] Clean yoga room
[ ] Clean bed room
[ ] Take upstairs and put away yoga mats, blocks, straps, boombox
[ ] Put away and organize musical instruments from kirtan
[ ] Do a couple of loads of laundry
[ ] Fold and put away a couple of loads of clean laundry
[ ] Clean bathrooms
[ ] Vacuum room
[ ] Hang up some art / photos
[ ] Get client holiday letters and calendars ready to mail
[ ] Put away random piles in the living room from the old house
[ ] Assemble yoga teacher paperwork for certification

Already got the kitchen cleaned, floor swept and mopped, and the coat closet reorganized.

Glastonbury Kids

Popped over to Cinestudio this afternoon for the premiere of a local film, glastonburykids, by Justin Donais.

Was not really planning to go, but I heard a small piece on Colin McEnroe's show, and drove up that way to check my PO Box and get out of the house before the snow came. When all my likely places to hang out for a few hours came up empty, I remembered the film, and headed over to the Trinity campus.

Pretty interesting and resonant on a few counts.

First, I too was one of those kids who got into trouble young. Not quite so egregious or destructive, but my posse went out on what we called "maneuvers" which was typically some form of minor vandalism with a social, political, or arts purpose. So we (for example) drove in to Boston to spray paint rolling stones lips on a Kiss 108 billboard (the local disco station back in the late 70's) with the words CARS REVENGE, ostensibly a protest of Taste of Honey winning the Best new Artist Grammy over our beloved Cars. That the billboard was three stories up, clearly visible from the Mass Pike, and we needed to scale the building on the outside (through various sub roofs and levels) added to the charm / mystique. For the record, I think I got about two floors up my friend Jim and Kevin did the dirty work.

Another "maneuver" involved breaking in to the local state college gym, stealing the plywood sign that hung over the student section "The Pit" and placing it on the roof of the outside smoking area (also called The Pit) of our high school.

Our final maneuver came the summer following senior year. After a night of sign stealing (mostly road signs with our names) we took a "Now Entering Framingham" sign. En route back from that little escapade we noticed an A-frame sign outside a local (as opposed to national) fast food place; since several of us worked at McD's, we decided it would be funny to grab the sign and put it in front of our restaurant. Unfortunately the police were staking out an adjacent bank watched us (What the heck are those kids doing?) and we were busted.

We spent a night in jail, got booked (the booking officer was all excited I was going to WPI and told me to look up his brother if I needed help there), bailed ourselves out. One of our number that night had a lawyer dad who got the case Nolo'd and closed - we ended up with a few months probation and a fine. Somewhere in the bowels of Framingham Police files there is a mug shot of me with a red "I survived three mile island" tee-shirt. It was written up in the paper - "Burger Prank Foiled" was the headline - and we were damned lucky the cops did not search the car and find the beer or other signs we had pilfered that evening. Stupid kids.

I just remember standing beside my mom's bed that morning to let her know what happened as I headed off to court. My dad had passed away just a few months before and already her worst fears were coming true as her eldest (the smart one) was headed to court. Poor mom!

So, glastonburykids kind of resonated on that line. But in addition, I spent a long year ferrying my mentee back and forth to the same courthouse that the kids in the film went to - as she struggled with an arrest and probation related to a stupid answering machine threat (I believe the exact words were "I'll stab you with a fork in your throat, b*tch") she made to a drag queen from the Polo Club; the DQ's ex boyfriend (who lived in Glastonbury, coincidentally) was dating my mentee. This 19 year old called the cops on a 16 year old high school kid who lived 20 miles away and had no way to even get to Hartford, and the cops arrested her. What a joke.

So I trucked her back and forth to court - first for the initial charge, and later when they picked her up for violating parole (she assumed parole officers could be ignored the same way the school guidance counselors could - she assumed wrong). She spent a night in jail - and I went and bailed her out. So I get where these parents are coming from. I must have spent more than 20 hours in that courthouse over a year.

Back to glastonburykids - good documentary. Interesting to see how these kids of privilege (cell phones, cars, little supervision) were left to roam and get into trouble. Interesting to see how "jackass" style stunts went from stupid to dangerous to criminal. And the film-maker did a nice job of slowly revealing the scope (and criminal nature) of the kids stunts.

The film-maker and 4 of the subjects were there this afternoon. The kids (for the most part) seem like they've got their lives back on track, although interestingly one of the kids NOT busted at the time of the documentary sounded (from his statements after the film) to have gottne in trouble later. So perhaps it was just a matter of time for all of them.

December 14, 2009

Trying Something New

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." (Albert Einstein)

After the intensive last night; I was asked if I'd like go out to dinner with the staff. Now, part of my charm (?) is that I tend to come and go pretty quickly (almost mysteriously, like the wind); I immediately, and completely without thought, said "no thanks, I need to get home".

But really, did I need to get home? Really, I had no compelling reason to get home. So upon a little introspection, I asked if the invite was still open. It was, and I went. I had a delightful (in terms of food, and company) meal at Bizen, an incredible macro/sushi place in Great Barrington (very close to my Falcon Ridge weekend) and got home just fine.

As I pulled up in front of the restaurant, Dougie McLain's "Caledonia" came on the radio. Now this is the song that (as performed by Mad Agnes) dragged me into transformative tears back in 2003 as I faced major life changes and it would have been easy in my post-EI state (even staffing, I got pretty open) to sit in my car and let the waves of sadness and tears wash over me. But friends were arriving and instead of sitting alone in my sadness, I opened the car door and went to embrace warmth, food, humor, and love.

I have worn some pretty deep tracks in the pattern of my life the past many years. Just seems like a nice time to step back, see the way I do things, and make some changes.

December 13, 2009

Back from EI

Survived a rather nail-biting ride home from Kripalu this evening (icy roads, especially 44 in CT) - should have gone I-90 to I-91 but we went down to Great Barrington for dinner after and back roads seemed OK up there....wrong choice but I got home fine and with only a 10 minute or so longer trip due to the conditions.

Some quick observations about staffing an intensive (vs. taking an intensive)

* It's a completely different world - much easier to staff. Despite similarly long hours (perhaps even longer; I was up earlier, did not sack out during resting contemplation, and worked through most of my "off" shifts just because I was engaged), and similar levels of commitment (not like I was doing yoga, hanging out in the sauna, or in the cafe) as well as eating the same food and following similar proscriptions (i.e. - no caffeine, no sugar) - I suffered almost zero of the withdrawal symptoms I have had while taking intensives. Although really the last few intensives I've taken I was similarly unaffected. But I was just constantly aware of how hard the participants worked the process and the intensive itself.

* I must have folded up 1000 blankets (or perhaps, 20 blankets 50 times each) blankets over the weekend. Exaggeration, perhaps, but not much. I also (mostly (ran errands, set up the meals, fetched late participants, woke participants in the morning or from rest, and went out walking (in the bitter cold, and today, in the rain) with the participants.

* It was also ironic that I, who never wear a watch, had one strapped to my wrist all weekend. I mean, these are the weekends in which one hands over watch, cell phone, and car keys at the start on Thursday and get them back Sunday night....

* I really enjoyed being of service, witnessing the intensive, and holding space. I am honored to have shared in the weekend. Watching the participants slowly unfold or open over the three days - amazing ad beautiful.

* I really think that monitoring this intensive has given me some wonderful insights into the process and the technique to help the next time I take an intensive.

* And due to some participant changes and illness, I got to step in for a handful of dyads. And (as is my wont) left my heart and a cup of tears on the intensive floor. Such powerful and life altering work, even stepping in cold like that.

Now, back to work, yoga, the rest of my life.

December 10, 2009

Making the Kool Aid

A couple of years ago, speaking to a yoga studio friend, I commented that I certainly seem to have "drunk the kool-aid" (a somewhat unfortunate reference, I know) in terms of commitment to my practice, and to personal growth and a spiritual path in general. "Not sure if you've noticed" she quipped "but you are making the kool-aid these days"

I'm headed out the afternoon to Kripalu for a 3 day Enlightenment Intensive. I've participated in 5 of these to date, but this time I have been invited onto the staff. I'll be a Silent Monitor - which means I (mostly) watch and learn, and hold space for the participants - listening if they need to talk but not engaging. I'm also the weekend "go-fer" and errand runner.

Pretty excited about this - I had a couple of pretty vivid dreams about the upcoming weekend. These weekends are incredible opportunities for self discovery - the Truth comes pretty close to the surface and many participants have direct experiences of the truth. I've struggled with the process of late, but its such deep, powerful, and sacred work that I am honored to be part of it. And I have no doubt that, even as staff and not doing the weekend directly, I will witness much and experience much.

I'm excited!

Productivity

So far, moving my office back into the house seems to be a win, with a higher level of productivity in all areas of my life. Mostly, this involves finding chunks of time to work that I might not otherwise - a few hours in the morning before yoga, or a few hours in the evening while watching TV. I've gotten a few proposals out (typically something I stall on), am all caught up on customer reports, and am focusing on new projects, new customers, etc.

But I'm also reducing my laptop time - with my desktop computer always on and accessible, I'm not sitting on my couch messing around with my laptop much. So when I am at my desk, I'm online. When I am not at my desk, I'm doing dishes, laundry, working around the house, etc.

The biggest concrete evidence of this newfound productivity is a piece of test equipment - a power and demand monitoring device that I have owned for a bunch of years. In early 2008, I dropped my XP laptop and the screen cracked. The laptop was quickly replaced, but the test equipment software was not Vista friendly. So I set the test equipment aside, intending to get around to dealing with the equipment "someday". Recently, I noticed that the manufacturer had released new software (Vista friendly) and although it took a few hours of messing around to get it working, I spent the time (admittedly, between 10 pm and midnight, when computer geekery seems to fit) and now the meter is back in operation.

I'm monitoring my house power for a few days (partly to see what my demand looks like, partly to exercise the software and test equipment) and I am planning to take it over to the yoga studio as well for a week of monitoring.

So far at least - moving into the house was a good move!

December 04, 2009

In Other News

My Pandora "Ferron" channel starts off incredibly strong - Ferron, Lucinda Williams, Tracy Chapman, Eliza Gilkyson, Cheryl Wheeler. Not a dud in the bunch. Now someone named Pieta Brown who I'm not familiar with, but right on track. And now Deb Talan whose voice and this particular song (Comfort) is very "Weepies"

In other, other news, walking through the back trails of the Farmington Reservoir today, we came across a bear. Somewhat nerve-racking and exciting. All parties were well behaved however (despite the lack of pepper spray) - I picked up a stick just in case the bear had friends....but we finished our hike without further incident.

His Name Was Anthony

Stopped by the old house this afternoon to say hi to Zippy, to find out that there had been a fire in the old neighborhood. Down at the far end of the street, a man in his 50s died of smoke inhalation. The fire was extinguished quickly, although it severely damaged the house; the first foor bedroom collapsed into the basement.

I never formally met Anthony Varjabedian; although we had a passing acquaintance. He was often sitting outside his home, or working outside as I drove past on my way to the office. In the summer, Zippy and I would walk the dogs past his house, or I'd ride my bike or scooter past, and he'd wave in the way that neighbors will. We never spoke, except for perhaps a quick hello. (Edit: and reading through some of the news reports, he was apparently disabled / mute. So of course we never spoke.....) It is only now that I know his name.

Not sure why but this unexpected death has hit me a little hard. One day here, one day gone. I wonder of the story of his life. Did he ever marry? Did he ever love? How did he come to live alone? And how did our lives come as close as to wave, but not close enough to intersect, to introduce ourselves?

Strange world we all live in.....

November 28, 2009

New Roku Apps - Pandora

Fairly quietly, Roku has come out with a whole slew of new apps, or as they call them, channels.

I've been a big fan / user of the Roku box for Netflix for a while - although I have yet to buy content (via the Amazon.com connection). But now there is a Pandora channel. I've never quite got into Pandora; it's a neat application / service but I'm usually taxing my computers with engineering work and streaming is too unreliable unless I've got a light workload. And I've never had a good computer audio system.

But the Roku box was a patch cable away from being hooked up to the stereo (I did that in fact for the Comcast music channels) and the Pandora app works great. A little convoluted to update my Roku player (it will auto-update eventually, but I did it manually to get it now), subscribe to the channels, create and link to a Pandora account. But all done now. I started with Richard Shindell and the list has grown from there. Pretty on target in terms of taste, just 20 songs in or so and I've hit John Gorka, Dar Williams, Loudon Wainwright, Bill Morrissey, Pierce Pettis. I'm judiciously using the Like / Dislike buttons to stter things a bit, but for the most part it's meandering successfully on it's own. Where are you, Lucy Kaplansky?

Roku's new channel store includes some other gems - Facebook photos, Flickr photos are both things I subscribe to. And a bunch of video channels (mostly podcasts and web videos, vs. television) although the golden marriage of Hulu (Simpsons! Glee! 30Rock! House!) and Roku remains tantalizingly unfulfulled.

November 25, 2009

Trinity-on-Main launches acoustic series

The 19 Chestnut Series is Trinity’s latest attempt to make full use of all the space available in the converted church building. The hope is that acoustic concerts in an intimate coffeehouse setting will become a regular monthly event.

Need to get networked and connected to my new hometown!

November 23, 2009

Procrastinating

I have a pile of mind-numbing, eye-strain inducing reports in the queue, which need to get out by Thursday. And every so often I channel a two year old throwing an "I won't! I won't! I won't! I won't!" tantrum. I think today was such a day. I sat down at my desk this morning to get started, spotted nothing urgent in the In Box, and set out into the world.

I tend to get a lot done when I am avoiding a specific task, and today was no exception. The items checked off my To-Do list include:

[x] Visit the bank, deposit a check
[x] Visit the studio, fetch my keys
[x] Hit the PO Box
[x] Stop by the old house and drop off Zippy's truck keys and my spare house key
[x] Hit the old office for an hour of cleaning and brought a pile of small bits and pieces back to the house
[x] Target to pick up a prescription. While I was there I got my eyes examined and ordered new contacts (a new brand designed to make close vision better, forestalling bifocals for a little while). Also got my sunglasses adjusted / tightened.
[x] Office Depot to buy a new desk chair (on sale) as well as new folders
[x] Home Depot for a timer for the dehumidifier (after testing to be sure it comes up live after power is removed; it does) - a planned purchase
[x] Home Depot for four small plants and a selection of pots - an unplanned purchase
[x] Emptied the car from the old office
[x] Assemble the new chair and slice up the cardboard box for recycling
[x] Repot the new plants - two tropicals for the altar in the yoga room. An ivy-ish thing for the bedroom. A hanging spider plant for the kitchen.

So....a bunch of accomplishments. And the report queue has not grown in the past 8 hours, so I can perhaps begin to knock those off now....

November 22, 2009

Underwood Typewriter

I gave away my typewriter.

It was an electric model - an Underwood 565 (I think) that my parents gave me for graduation. I say my parents, because sometime between purchasing it and my graduation day, my dad passed away - it was perhaps the last gift he bought for me and a typewriter as a gift has his hand all over it. I had not remembered that fact until sitting down to write this - on a Dell keyboard and an internet blog - and not on my Underwood typewriter. This fact saddens me a little; although it needed to go regardless. When it comes to sentimental remembrances of dad - his St. Christopher medal (which he wore constantly throughout his marriage and adult life) and his bowling ball (a 16-pounder that I have bowled a few rounds with back in the day) will have to do.....

But back to the typewriter. I made my way through high school with an old 1920's vintage Underwood (one of those big cast iron things) that I fed with corrosable onion skin paper (the better to type head-to-paper, as was my wont back in the day). It was a beast - and it survived into my adulthood, sitting in my basement in Waterbury until I decided to discard it (no freecycle or craigslist back then, but I left it on a table at the curb and it found a home before trash day). The electric model went with me to college, where it was sporadically used (not a lot of call for typewriters in engineering school) although I did peck out an Interactive Qualifying Project (IQP) on the MA Bottle Deposit Law (fairly new at the time and resonant with my working at a package store), as well as an analysis of the Who's "Tommy" using classical techniques. A handful of treatised on Shakespeare and classical music (in retrospect, I took a lot of non-engineering courses). Also a couple of dozen long winded letters to my buddy Jim out at Univ of Chicago. Think I still have one of those (written out, not typed) floating around here somewhere. I ought to send it to him, for the heck of it. Here's who we were, way back then.....

So, after having moved the typewriter several times (home and office) without removing it from the case, it was time to find a home for it. A lovely young woman and perhaps boyfriend stopped by tonight. I asked if she were a writer and she said no, but "....my favorite poet used an Underwood."

It has a good home and a new life, and will do the things a typewriter was born to do. And I have one less piece of stuff in my life. And the technology, plastic, and metal avoided the landfill.

Yogic unattachment? Getting old and realizing that life will not go on forever? Just getting tired of carrying stuff around? Not sure.....

November 19, 2009

My New Neighborhood

Some links to places I need to explore in my (new) fair city:

Greater New Britain Arts Alliance - http://www.newbritainarts.org/

New Britain Museum of American Art - http://nbmaa.org/

Hole in the Wall Theater - http://www.hitw.org/

Arts League of New Britain - http://www.alnb.org/

New Britain Industrial Museum - http://www.nbim.org/ (Warning, annoying flash site and I was visitor #58. Not exactly a "must visit, I guess")

Trinity on Main - http://www.trinityonmain.org/

Music Series at South Church - http://www.musicseries.org/

Sure I've missed some, but it's a start....

Note to Billings Forge, Re: Branding

Center for Community at Billings Forge - http://www.centerforcommunity.org/

Billings Forge Community Works - http://www.billingsforgeworks.org/

The Workshops at Billings Forge - http://workshops.billingsforgeworks.org/

The Studio at Billings Forge - http://studio.billingsforgeworks.org/

The Kitchen at Billings Forge - http://www.thekitchencatering.org/

Farmer's Market at Billings Forge - http://www.hartfordfarmersmarket.org/

Firebox Restaurant - http://www.fireboxrestaurant.com/

Billings Forge Apartments - http://billingsforgeapts.com/ (admittedly a placeholder site)

There is a lot going on down there on Broad Street - but it seems like energy, communication, etc. are a bit scattered. I had a hard time deciding which website to link to in my previous post. Take a lesson from Real Art Ways (cinema, visual arts, spoken word, community outreach, social events, music, all coming from one entity and accessible on one website) - brand yourself. Set up one website, one path for communications. You can target marketing or outreach, slice and dice your email communications, fund-raising lists and organization internally - but give us one unified face, and we'll be a lot less confused and more likely to come on down!

Where We Live @ Real Art Ways

I went to the taping of Where We Live last evening at Real Art Ways. The theme of the show was Locating Creativity in the city of Hartford - official guests were an official from the city of Providence (Water Fire....ooooo!) as well as the COO from the city of Hartford. Several local bloggers were in attendance (waves!) as well as a cross-section of the local arts community.

Meta Commentary: Just love watching radio happen. John Dankowsky is quite entertaining as he does his opening bit (using his hands and body to drive his voice) although he settled down for the interview itself. Nice to see the faces (oh so young!) behind the WNPR shows I listen to daily: Catie Talarski, Libby Conn, Patrick Skahill, Chion Wolf. Not *quite* as interesting (from a performance standpoint) as the Thsi American Life simulcast (for example) but good nonetheless.

I was not so thrilled with the guests (civil servants) - Providence seems to have hit the creativity jackpot with Waterfire but it was not so clear if this was the city putting together a framework that the ground level folks built upon, or if this was a vision of one person / group that the city reluctantly embraced once it became a success. Regardless, it capitalizes on a city that has embraced it's waterways rather than turned its back on them.

Asked for ideas to engage Hartford, one of the audience members (forget who) quipped "Daylight the Park River" - and yeah, I get that. Ever since I learned of the history (wherein Trinity College was relocated and the Park River buried to make room for Bushnell Park and the State Capitol), that seems like the fatal move that sealed Hartford's future.

An Artspace resident spoke highly of that facility; although I suspect there is a waiting list. Local artist Anne Cubberly countered with concerns about the cost of studio / workshop space. Janice LaMotta from Billings Forge spoke, as did a number of artists, U-Conn students, and other local arts / culture insiders.

There was some discussion of the iQuilt initiative to knit local arts and cultural destinations and make the city more walkable. Mention was made of Theaterwork's recent "City Arts on Pearl" project as well as the Bushnell working to connect the Capitol / Bushnell Park are to Main Street.

Discussion, but not a lot of solutions nor a lot of consensus. Most I spoke to afterwards felt that the focus on a governmental solution was not optimal. Many spoke of "silos" - individuals or organizations that are taking on their own corner of the world but not a lot of synergy or formal collaboration. So we have Real Art Ways, Billings Forge, Artspace, Theaterworks, Hartford Stage, Bushnell, the Wadsworth Atheneum (not represented....), and dozens of other organizations, each chipping away at their geographic and cultural plot of land. But not really working within an overall framework.

I'll add a concept in here are well - Interest Silos. Have been part of a few different communities, I see small groups of interest. The film clique - moving from Real Art Ways to Cinestudio to Cinema City to the Atheneum. The theatre group - from the larger equity theaters to the smaller community spaces. There are, I am sure, small communities formed around jazz. Around folk / acoustic music. Around indie / rock music. Around dance. Around visual arts. Around spoken word. Around sports (cricket? historic baseball? disc golf?). I am sure there are others.

I see the key to developing a vibrant local culture to expand the iQuilt concept past the geographic (still important) and figure out the connectors - individuals and organizations that, either by design or by accident, bridge these interest silos. Real Art Ways is one such entity, with connections to film, to music, to visual arts, to spoken word / performance, and to the corporate world (via the popular Creative Cocktail Hour which takes all these entities and stirs them together). Billings Forge seems to be there as well, mixing locavores, arts, music, with a healthy dollop of community activism.

An interesting evening; I look forward to listening to the show, to see how the show was mixed down and cleaned up.

On a personal note, sitting here in my new digs within the city limits of New Britain, I am torn between my relationship to Hartford, and a desire to look towards my new city - which has a number of burgeoning arts spaces itself. And I'm excited to be emerging from a few months of focusing on my personal saga (buying a condo, and moving) and looking once more outward, on the blog and in the rest of my life.

Addendum: Where We Live / Real Art Ways Collaborative Blog

November 17, 2009

Question and Answer: Frigidaire Dehumidifer

Model Number: FDL50S1

Subject: Dehumidifer Cycling

Message: Is there any way to increase the device hysterisis? My dehumidifier seems to cycle on/off a lot (under 5 minutes) - just a little annoying and I am concerned about motor and component life with all this switching. I would prefer it turned on, ran for a longer period, then switched off for a longer period. The device seems to be working fine. It's set on Low Fan speed and 50% RH. Just seems to bounce up and down through the RH set level pretty quickly...

Alternately, I may install a timer so that the device runs just at night (and presumably, for longer periods since the humidity will have crept up), unless you have other ideas.....

*********************************************************************

Response: Thank you for taking the time to contact us at Frigidaire. There is no way
to change the way the unit cycles, but the component are designed to work. After cycled off at the desired room relative humidity a dehumidifier could cycle about every 3 to 4 minutes on then 3 to 4 minutes off depending on the room's relative humidity and rate of humid air infiltration. A unit could run longer if there was higher moisture infiltration into the room.

Please let us know if you need any further information or assistance. Thank you for choosing Frigidaire products for your home.

*********************************************************************

Good: Quick response

Not So Good: Not the answer I wanted (I hoped for some toggle in the software to increase the run time or something). Looks like I will be installing a timer or something to keep the dehumidifier off when I am working.

Interesting: Slight off-kilter English, but pretty decent technical response.

Detoxing - Office Edition

With the realization that I can do my work with little more than a computer set-up, I have set upon the task of shedding "stuff" from my old office as I bring things into the home office.

Yesterday, that involved 8 boxes of ephemera hauled to the dumpster or recycling bin. Many many catalogs - test equipment, components, standards, logowear, office supplies, etc. Some of these dated back to the mid 90s. Many copies of trip reports and training manuals - I've been in business nearly 15 years and things pile up. Most of this stuff is archived electronically and I have a reasonably good backup scheme; in 15 years I've never had a truly catastrophic or non-recoverable computer crash. Piles of used (but saved for some reason) manila folders. Time to buy a fresh box.....

I brought over two large bookshelves last night along with the few items that escaped the purge - 3.5 shelves out of 10 once formerly full shelves. Good job! I also brought over a rack for storing / filing papers - which I intend to resurrect in the new place (as opposed to filing in piles, my most recent technique)

I still have much work to do. A handful of pots (with long gone plants) and some potting soil. Piles of tools and test equipment. A file cabinet. A desk. A table that has become a flat file. And a closet that houses tax records, test equipment, spare electronics, and yoga mats.

But it will get done by the end of the month....on track for that!

November 16, 2009

Opening the Heart

Headed to the Northwest Hills last night - to Washington Depot for a kirtan with Krishna Das. Carpooled up with Shankara's posse: Deb David, Joy, Shankara, and myself.

Great kirtan - I opted for a comfortbale chair in the cheap seats rather than a seat on the floor with my friends (a day of teaching and hiking left me a bit stiff) but I nonetheless got right in there in terms of chanting, swaying, connecting.

Amazing to me how quickly I dropped in. Many hours of kirtan, meditation, enlightenment intensives, and yoga - the divine spirit is never too far below the surface.....

November 14, 2009

Officially Moved

As of Monday morning, PowerLines (my business) has relocated to my basement. Carpet in place. Dehumidifer humming. And as of this morning, computer and phones have been relocated. Going to listen to Car Talk and Wait Wait while I reassemble the PowerLines home office.

Of course, no desk, no shelves, no files, and no mess - I'll be bringing stuff over a bit at a time. But the reality that I have almost everything I need to work on my computer is dawning on me, and that the shelves full of books and catalogs, and the files (mostly piled up and not organized) are either rarely used or wholly optional - so I think there will be a rather massive purge of catalogs, files, ephemera, old test equipment, etc. - rather toss it / recycle it than move it and clutter up the new space.....

Subscriber

Since my living situation has changed (and I therefore do not need to deal with kvetching about unread papers, waste, clutter, etc.) I have decided to support local news. I do this understanding that I may not have time to read the entire thing front to back, and that I need to conscientiously recycle the old copies. But I do believe in local news and want to do my part to support it.

Hartford Courant, I am hereby a subscriber.

November 13, 2009

Weekend Looms

I'm looking forward to my first lazy Saturday morning at the condo. Last week was moving day - balloon chasing and a busy day, not a lot of time to relax. This week with the moving done and the weather less amenable to ballooning, I might get the chance to just hang out, listen to NPR, drink coffee. Although, upon a small bit of contemplation, that pretty much describes my life this Friday morning as I write this, so I should not complaint.

Life here is good. I did a load of laundry last night and am testing out the "hanging things up to dry" process - I picked up 20 plastic hangers at Target and will use them hang things on my old metal clothes rack and the rafters, in lieu of a real clothesline. With my office carpet down (the Galaxy Carpet subcontractor finished up around 5:30 last night, just in time to get to yoga with Barb), I'm expecting to get my work computer out of Newington and into the basement this weekend - that will signal the beginning of the end of my office experience, which ought to take a few weeks. Lot of paper to sort through, catalogs and magazines to (mostly) recycle, piles to try to bring some sense to. I'll probably try to do a furniture moving day next weekend....before the holiday.

Need a run to Home Depot - small things (hangers for a rack for the stairs as well as some hooks and things, shelf supports, carpet protectors) as well as some plants (yoga studio, kitchen) and maybe a dehumdifier. One of these days I will wander through the house with my boxes of art and photos and put things up.

7:30 am. Time for a shower. Then hit the mat to loosen up my body and work on my classes for today. Perhaps a stop by Home Depot en route to the studio....

November 12, 2009

Not Wasting Time

I may procrastinate at times, but when it comes to taking action, I am swift and sure. Falling asleep at my desk yesterday afternoon, I decided to run back home, shed my yoga clothes and contacts (getting tough to do close work with them of late), and head back home. But en route down the Berlin Turnpike (with a vague goal of stopping into Home Depot to look at carpets) I instead pulled into Galaxy carpet. Where I found a low pile remnant ($1.77 / Sq Foot) suitable for the basement (not too dark to pick up lint, and not too light to get dirty). Where it will be installed this afternoon.

I've been going back and forth on the basement / office - no rug (linoleum floor is seeming awfully cold) and then just an area rug. But what the heck - decided to just go for it with a wall-to-wall carpet.

So, assuming all goes well, I could be minimally functional (computer, network, prnters, and phones) downstairs by Monday. Which I intend to be.....heading up to Newington to the office is getting old, fast. Self employment has totally ruined me for a real (9 to 5, 5 days a week get in a car and drive to the office) job.

November 11, 2009

Settling In

I've owned this condo for two weeks, as of today. I've been sleeping here for a few days. Yet already it's starting to feel like home. Not because of the mess (which I've been picking away at since the move) but just settling in - knowing where the angles are and the rise of the stairs on my feet, finding a routine in terms of heat and window blinds, tweaking the kitchen organization from my initial storing of utensils and foodstuffs.

There have been "firsts" of course. First shower. First night sleeping here. First pot of decaf. First garbage day. First practice in my yoga room. First wake-up call to go ballooning. First load of laundry. Each of them slightly remarkable and each of them building upon the feeling of "home".

There have been some learnings along the way. I decided the suspended ceiling in the basement was (a) a probable cause of smell down there and (b) claustrophobic for the taller folks (including myself) so I've started to tear that out. I'll probably leave the ceiling unfinished. And will most likely remove the garish fluorescents down there in favor of some smaller spotlights for the office. I'm close to deciding to just bite the bullet and get some low pile industrial carpet put in down there for the office. And my initial placement of the entertainment console was probably a mistake; so I need to move that at some point. Just an annoying tear it down and set it up process, plus I need to move the cable.

I've found some "what was he thinking?" moments. Under the kitchen sink (double), one of the drains leaked horribly - I tore into that to find one washer mangled and the other missing entirely. A 50 cent fix. But the cabinet floor under there was completely shot - and my predecesser had put down some small pieces of paneling (with tacks and brads and duct tape) and then layered contact paper over the mess. It was equally amusing and horrifying. All that is gone and I picked up a piece of plywood that I need to cut to size and refashion a cabinet floor for under the sink.

Similarly, the house cable appeared to be cobbled together - Dish cable enters the house in the master bedroom, and cables were jerry-rigged under the carpet to the 2nd bedroom, out the hall and downstairs, and then into the basement. (Did he really have 4 TVs in here?) I pulled them all out, coiled up the Dish cable, and ran my Comcast lines to the living room and the basement (for a small office TV, in case I want to watch something while I work, although without a Comcast box I just get broadcast / lifeline channels)

I'm slowly picking away at the mess. I did 3 loads of laundry last night (all the Queen sheet sets) and weeded out a bag full of mismatched or torn sheets to donate / dispose of. I emptied a box of bathroom / cosmetics / toiletries (still one left). I took some piles down to the basement. And as boxes of things get emptied I'm doing many sinkfuls of dishes (pretty much everything gets wahsed before I put it away) and tossing bagfuls of garbage. Trying to move slowly on that so as not to monopolize the shared garbage bin too much.

I posted some things on Craigslist for free - roller blades (since replaced), a VCR (replaced with a DVD/VCR combo), an old amplifier (remnant of an ill fated open mic project), and an electric typewriter (high school graduation present). All have been claimed (although not yet picked up)

Wednesday morning. Going to mess around online for a bit, savor my coffee and breakfast. Grab a shower. Hit the mat for a bit of practice before teaching this morning at 9. Then off to work. Life, as they say, doesn't suck.....

November 08, 2009

Moving Day

As is my norm, I overscheduled for my moving day.

Overscheduling event #1: After a month of rainy weekends (one flyable weekend day on October) this weekend proved beautiful for ballooning, so we went out on Saturday morning. Nice flight from Southington to Berlin, notable mostly for the passenger's husband riding in the chase van and marveling at my navigation and chase savvy. I guess I *do* know this area like the bak of my hand! We caught the balloon (literally) on a hillside in a small "active adult" community near the Berlin Fairgrounds.

After the ceremonial mimosa's and snacks - I skipped crew breakfast to zoom over to U-Haul in New Britain to pick up my truck. Sounded like hell (it ran on gas but sounded like a cold diesel) but it drove alright. Headed back to Hartford where I was met by Pat (mover extraordianire) - he and I made short work of loading up the truck. So when 11 (call time) came around and other friends showed up, we were pretty well set to travel to the new house.

Overscheduling event #2: I was slotted in to teach the Intro to Yoga class at the studio on Saturday, from 1-2. Smack dab in the middle of my move. And I guess I could have said no, but (a) it's an honor to be asked to teach it and (b) it's a good way to pick up new fans and students and (c) I just like it! So I was planning to load the truck, send the crew off to lunch while I taught my class, and unload around 3.

However, the early start light load, and excellent moving team pushed us ahead of sccedule. Pat was joined by BC and Kevin and Zippy, and we traveled to New Britain to unload. Everything got moved in plenty of time for yoga - and I left them off to lunch. THANK-YOU to everyone who helped. It was an incredibly fast and relatively pain-free move.

After teaching, I headed back to Hartford, where I finished the small piles of detritus in my former bedroom, and swept the place clean. Zippy also sent me off with a pile of food and some odds and ends, although I certainly have much more to collect from there.

Then I trucked over to West Hartford to collect a Washer and Dryer I bought from friends - Teo traveled back to the house with me to help me unload. And then back to U-Haul to dump the truck - having put 50 miles on it (UHaul NB - Hartford, Harford to NB, NB to Hartford, Hartford to WH, WH to New Britain, and New Britain to Uhaul). A really wise inevstment - being able to just pack it up and go (and use the ramp).

Finally, I Stop'd and Shop'd on the way back to the condo, picking up some bathroom stuff, as well as some veggies and salad makings. I spent the evening puttering around the house, and woke early this morning (a bit of insomnia).

I measure my progress in empty boxes - right now I am sitting next to a pile of 12 empties. Some will go back to Hartford (so Zippy can put things of mine he comes across) and some to the office (getting ready for that move by the end of the month).

November 06, 2009

Saying Goodbye

Lost in all the excitement of finding a house, applying for a mortgage, anticipating a new space, and managing the logistics (as well as the lifting) of a move, is the fact that as of this weekend, Zippy and I will no longer be living together.

We met back in 2000 or thereabouts. I was coming off a truly horrible half decade - was probably clinically depressed, at the tail end of digging myself a financial hole that am just now climbing out of. I was living alone in Waterbury, in a house I could not afford, and well - my life was a wreck. It might have looked OK from the outside, but it was most decidedly not.

Zippy met me at the Children from the Shadows conferece (I was staffing a table) and despite my cluelessness with regard to his intentions, and my inadvertant attempts to pawn him off on other support orgs, he hunted me down online (a rather remarkable feat, knowing now how the internet vexes and frustrates him). After a bit of an email wooing and a few dates (trivia, our first date was a walk round Reservoir #6 followed by a bite at Wild Oats), we, as the saying goes, hooked up.

After some months of a commuter relationship (he in Hartford, me in Waterbury) we decided to move in together. I found office space in Newington for my business, moved in with him, and started to get my house ready for sale.

Moving in with Zippy loosened slightly the financial vice that had clamped down on me - I eventually sold the house, got out from under the mortgage, and found the money to begin and complete my transition. I moved to Hartford where I found communities - bloggers, artists, musicians, yogis. And we have lived together for 8 years - far longer than my short lived marriage. We've each let go of two dogs in those years, and I wept for his Mauzie and Melina just as much as I did for my own; we now have two dogs that we adopted together.

Perhaps our relationship was doomed from the start. He's quite a few years older than I, and a lot of what has become my culture grates and irritates him. I'm perenially moving - ballooning, hiking, yoga, arts, music - and he just cannot keep up and resents my being away. His ideal - a quiet house and a book to read - pulls me down into depression and addiction. My ideal - a life filled with people and activities, and a perennial "glass half full" attitude that he calls pollyana, gets him cranky. And each of us have gone though major life transitions that have taken us physically and energeticlly in different directions.

When I fell in love with yoga, I think it was the last straw for him. I was too often gone, too often looking outward and away. My yoga friends see mostly his anger, his resentment towards a practice and a community that, at the end, took me away from him - so it is hard for them to see his humor, his generous spirit, his difficult journey. So for the last few years, even as our relationship became completely platonic, we have cohabitated with some friction, some resentment, some anger. It's time to move on.

But I leave with no small measure of sadness. He is, for all that, my very good friend. We have shared a bed, a household, countless meals and movies. I have come to love his family; my family has embraced him. I called him from a hospital bed in Trinidad, CO; I stood by his side in a hospital in Springfield. And I know that his life will be harder and a little less vital without me around to drive at night, to help out financially and logistically. (although he'd say, rightfully, that he'll have a lot less cleaning to do and a lot less clutter to put up with, with me gone!)

Even as I prepare to move we've been sharing the HBO series True Blood via Netflix; and I hope we can continue to have a regular movie night, an occasionally meal, and some time together.

So, in all this excitement for a new life to come, some sadness and letting go for what has been an incredible period of change and the person who was the catalyst for much of this change.

November 05, 2009

Home Improvement

Even though I've purchased a relatively new condo in good shape, I'm still signing up for a bit more home repair / home improvement projects.

So far I've changed out the locks (two door locks, two deadbolts) which went swimmingly. I also repaired the kitchen sink drain (leaked like a sieve; one washer was missing and one was wrecked) and I need to switch the hot / cold taps (reversed). I put in a front porch light timer and have started to replace a few light switches (the switched living room outlet had low voltage and high impedance, probably caused by a flaky light switch). And I've taken down a few rogue shelves in the basement (awkwardly placed, marginally useful, and highly likely to catch me in the head at some point).

One shelf stayed up - apparently placed to hold a small TV in the basement and I'm using it for the same. (So I can watch Fox News while I work....not)

I'm sure I'll have more projects cooking - hanging art and some kitchen stuff. Once the office and the laundry appliances get in place perhaps some strategic shelving. Some brighter and/or more strategically places lamps. I want to remove the ceiling fan from the yoga room (get's in the way of my sun salutations) and perhaps put in some track lighting. The bathroom fixtures are a kind of 70's wood that need updating at some point.

Kind of exciting. I've already been to Home Depot once, as well as the convenient and nostalgic Newington Hardware - suspect I will be visiting both places more frequently in the coming weeks.

November 04, 2009

Heading towards the Finish Line

There is so much stuff over at the new place; I am starting to feel like I'm camping out here. Shoes. Both closets, plus the seasonal clothes from the basement. Linens. Towels. Bathroom stuff. Kitchenware.

Went over there tonight with TVs, DVD/VCR, and a new wireless router. Comcast comes by tomorrow afternoon so I wanted to get everything in place.

My bedroom looks like a hurricane hit it - and will remain that way until after the move I imagine. Friday I'll start emptying the dressers and armoire and taking the clothes over ahead of time (everything will move around so I'm just going to start over)

Saturday, with any luck, I will officially reside in my new place. I'll still have lots of things to deal with here in Hartford; things to clean up, small piles of stuff. But it will be mostly mop up stuff and small piles to move - the big stuff will all be moved out by Saturday.

It's been a bit of a whirlwind, and I'm looking forward to living in just one place for a while. Although as soon as I'm done the houshold move, I need to start the process of moving my office.

November 03, 2009

Change of Address

It's been a while since I've moved. Amazed at home many "change of address" forms I can fill out online - bank, credit cards, services. Even the US Postal Service does this online these days - saves me a trip.

November 02, 2009

Empty Boxes

I've been carrying around a fleet of empty boxes for the better part of 20 years. Probably back in high school or college, I got into the habit of saving the boxes for my electronics: Stereo amplifier, CD changer, turntable, VCR, DVD, laptops - you name it, I've saved it. I had a pile in the back room about 6' tall. They have moved from my crawlspaces in Waterbury, to my office in Newington, and then to the attic here in Hartford.

Now, the reality is that except for a few years post college when I lived in a perhaps 4 places within a 6 year period, I've been pretty static. I lived in a house in Waterbury about 12 years. Then here to Hartford for 8 years. Now off to New Britain for what I assume will be a fairly long duration. The stereo stuff is over at the new place - did not even use the boxes.

So tonight I broke down about 10 large boxes, put the cardboard into the recycling, and the styrofoam packing pieces into the trash. One more pile of stuff out of my life...

Shedding Stuff, Reclaiming a Bed

I own exactly one piece of amazing furniture. It's a handmade, 4 poster bed - made by the folks at George G. Whitmore Company (now closed) in exchange for a website. It's some sort of special design intended to be easily taken apart and stowed in a wagon for a move - it breaks down and sets up pretty easily.

Zippy has been using it since we moved into separate rooms a few years back - just too big for my smaller room and I was find on a futon (very zen). But with my impending move it was time to reclaim my bed. Yesterday, we disassembled the bed, and moved the mattresses - giving Zippy a full sized mattress and boxspring I got from friends.

My four poster is now lying in position in my new bedroom, waiting for hardware (which I accidently left at home) - probaly assemble it today. Will not sleep over there until the mattress is moved (Saturday) but things are slowly getting in shape over there.

Spent some time over at the house yesterday - moved a lot of kitchen stuff and some storage racks from the office (which is slowly devolving into pre-move chaos - I need to remember that I am moving the office next). I mopped the basement a few times (the linoleum has red stains from pool chalk, so trying to mitigate that somewhat). And I spent a lot of time at the sink washing dishes and putting them away(while Amy, Nykki, and Andrew visited)

I definitely need to do some kitchen purging - between the "often used" things that I am taking from our kitchen, the "lesser used" things that are set aside in the dining room, and the "never used" things from the basement - well, I have a lot.

I have four coffee makers. One (4 cup) from the house. One (4 cup) at the office. One (12 cup) at the office that I've used for tea. And one (1 cup) that I thought might be cool for the office. I think I can survive with 2....

Similarly, who thought that a rice cooker was a good idea (made a few pots of rice, then went back to the stove, and the thing is HUGE). Who thought a bread maker was necessary? (Although it would be fin to make my own bread).

I dumped a box full of stuff already this morning (just woke up fretting about where I was gonna but everything - dumped an old cheap wok, many water bottles and "to go" coffee mugs, and some wretched tupperware). A lot of this stuff dates back 20 years or more (wedding presents or things I owned in my married days) and well, time for some of it to depart!

November 01, 2009

My New Neighbors

Met one of my neighbors yesterday - a young woman with a child. I went over after noon to see about the condo association check for Nov and roused her (bathrobe) - she apologized. "When I am not working, I'm sleeping". So no worries about a loud neighbor, although perhaps some concerns that I will be the loud neighbor.

Her daughter, however, came out on the desk as I was sweeping up, and spied on me, made faces and was all coy in the way kids are. Cutie. As my friend Kristen suggested "You'll be babysitting within the first month"

October 31, 2009

Big Day in New Britain

Spent a lot of time over at the new place today - really starting to come together.

A solo run over this morning with coffee table, end table, nightstand, mirror, vacuum, and some odd boxes. I spent the morning cleaning - detailed the fridge (it looked clean, now it really is) and scoured the cabinets. Even vacuumed the top. Cleaned the new (used) microwave, cleaned the table and chairs, washed and put away new dishes, flatware and old coffee cups.

After noon my friends Robert and Kristen came over - and after a tour, we headed out to lunch - the Paradise Restaurant is right down the street and is apparently pretty well known (well, Robert mentioned it as noteworthy, and I took them there not remembering the name but remembering that the place always looked busy). The pizza was great, they have three kinds of crusts and New York style is the pizza of my youth. Seems like a pretty great place for a quick breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Just like that, I am settling into a new 'hood.

Then we headed back to Hartford to pick up a load - with their help, the folk festival supplies and my spring / summer clothes were loaded up pretty quick, along with a ladder, XC skis, and snow shoes. We got back to the condo to find my friend Pat waiting with his son, a friend, and a UHaul. Patrick (son) wanted the pool table. Which was a b*tch to get out of the basement and up the hill to the truck, but brains won out. Lifting and carrying was not going to work, but I suggested we use the carpet scraps from the basement to create a path to slide the thing out the door and up the hill - which worked great. Then we tipped it up on end and into the truck where it slid in. I dunno how they got it out on the - other end - hope it went OK. But Patrick was beaming at the prospect of owning such a nice table - and I am glad it went to a friend.

Kristen, Robert, and I finished our unloading and then retired to the back deck for a beer and a chat. It was balmy for the last night in October and as we relaxed I felt the warm vibe of my new home, just felt like a wonderful christening of the place.

After they left, I hung out for trick or treaters (just had a few) and put away the seasonal clothes upstairs in the studio closet. Definitely have 1 or 2 tubs too many but I can work on reducing that, but everything is in the closet and the sanctity of the yoga space is intact.

Tomorrow, more time over there. The morning might bring balloon chasing (although the weather is iffy) - alternately I might hit the mat. Then back to work at the Condo - need to clean the bathrooms tomorrow, scour the basement floor (removing the pool table revealed a somewhat greasy / slippy floor, perhaps related to the pool chalk). Also clean out the understairs storage area (full of condo yard stuff) and put my camping gear away. Take some shelves over (fetched from the office). Perhaps take some kitchen things over.

It's a big project - but it's getting done. I'm excited to start living there....

October 30, 2009

Moving Update

The condo is slowly becoming mine....feeling like home.

I've trucked (or car'd) over a bunch of stuff so far. All my books are over there, all my music. My kitchen table (right at my limit for solo moving) and chairs. A microwave table / kitchen cart. Bookshelves. A few boxes of miscellany.

This weekend looks like a busy one - with planned trips to bring coffee table, end table, microwave, stereo components, televisions, video components, my bike, my folk fest / camping stuff, and my seasonal clothes. Probably a few other odds and ends as well.

I'm also planning to do a lot of cleaning this weekend. Want to clean the cabinets with Murphy's wood soap (inside and out), clean the fridge (it's in good shape but can't hurt), both bathrooms, all the windows, the new table and chairs. Maybe fire up teh grill to see if it works, sweep the deck (leaves), clean the deck table and stow (or toss) the umbrella.

I made my first run to Home Depot this morning. Dropped some bucks on washer hoses, a dryer vent hose, new house number, letters for the mailbox, new locks, a porch light timer, some 3 way switches. I replaced both the front door and basement door with new lock and deadbolts (with a single key) which ought to make for a lighter keychain (previously 4 keys). I am shopping for a new mailbox but did not see anything I liked at Home Depot. I want to put in a timer for the front porch light. And replace the living room light switches (the switched outlet showed low voltage and high impedance, probably a flaky switch).

I've got all my books put away (and brought the empty boxes back to be filled up). I laid out my yoga mat in the spare room (mostly to remind myself to keep that space somewhat uncluttered and set aside).

Lot's to do but I am picking away at it piece by piece. Fun, tiring, exciting.

October 29, 2009

My Moving Blueprint

Mostly for my facebook peeps.....but you blog readers can know too.

I'm planning the "big move" on Saturday Nov 7th. There is some slop there - if it's a nice (i.e. - flyable) day, I am sure there will be ballooning in the morning, so we'll get started later. I'm also on standby to teach an Intro to Yoga class at 1-2, if Shankara can not do it. But Nov 7th is the day, regardless.

We have access to Zippy's two trucks - and possibly 1 or 2 vans from friends. I'll rent a U-Haul if need be, but I'm pretty sure we can do without.

The key is, I expect that the move will be pretty simple. A mattress and boxspring. Two dressers. An armoire. An entertainment console. A rocking chair. I'm working at getting a lot moved over ahead of time. So it will be a pretty easy day and some pizza and beverages and hanging out in between it all.

As those who have watched me make other life transitions - I kind of put one foot in front of the other, not a lot of drama, everything gets done. So I expect that Nov 7th will be somewhat anti-climactic. But helpers are welcome to come along!

I do plan to be over at the new place this weekend - cleaning, moving, unpacking, etc. Helpers or onlookers or cheerleaders welcome. Not doing any major painting or changes - but I need to clean the cabinets, fridge, bathrooms, windows, floors, etc. I have some moderate sized things to move that could use a second body - not too heavy, just awkward. And since I now have a yoga room - maybe some guerilla yoga....

October 28, 2009

Home Owner

It's been the better part of a year since I imagined myself buying a home. The house behind where Zippy and I live was foreclosed - and I thought it might be a steal (and be a way to move out but stay connected). I did not get too far at that time, but the seed was planted. I spent much of the summer house hunting, and the past few months biting my nails as I waited for the mortgage to come through. And today, I closed on a condo in New Britain.

The past 24 hours had a small bit of drama. My mortgage broker called last night with the final settlement number - it was within the good faith estimate, but it seemed about $1000 high based on my calculations. I fretted a bit but did not panic, mentioned it to my broker, and this morning when I went to go over the numbers, I was proven right - the lawyer had added in some money for points which my new mortgage did not contain.

And after a grey but dry morning, I emerged from my office at 12:30 pm to a torrential downpour - so I arrived at the walk through soaked. I dried out en route to the closing (in East Haven) but the ride down (following my real estate agent in her zippy Saab) was nerve-racking (I need new tires, so was a little concerned about hyroplaning). Closing was pretty calm - I met the seller, and in a room full of people (two lawyers, two brokers, a buyer a seller, and my mortgage broker) I signed and initialed about 100 pieces of paper. And bought a condo.

After the closing I dropped by (in the rain) to empty my car (vacuum cleaner, some kitchen stuff from my office, my yoga toys and some musical gack), and then went to Target where I dropped $100 on house ephemera: garbage cans, light bulbs, cleaning supplies, laundry rack.

Zippy, our friend Pat, and I went over tonight after dinner - Zippy and Pat played pool (getting it in before I find a home for the table) and I unpacked more cleaning supplies, put some carpet freshener down and vacuumed the whole place. I have a lot of cleaning and organizing to do, and lots of moving.

I'm in the old place for another week or so - Nov 7 is the projected "big move" day.

But....yeah. Happy. Relieved.

In other news - I get a call from my primary credit card tonight. They were informing me of the new credit rules (and, I think, trying to sell me on keeping the "honor overdrafts and pay the fee" stuff, which I declined.) But in the process of that, the woman on the phone mentioned a credit line that was $4000 higher than it has been, historically. And so I checked tonight (as I updated my address to the new place) and indeed - my credit limit has been raised.

Does being a homeowner and having a mortage (which is at this point all of 9 hours old) automatically boost my credi-worthiness? I dunno. I am so not gonna come close to that extra credit limit, that's all I know....

October 26, 2009

Adrift in Wichita

I'm parked at a La Quinta outside Mid Continental Airport here in Wichita. Called my client contact #1 this morning around 8, to be informed "I'm in Tulsa, driving up this morning, will be there in 4-5 hours, will call when I get into town". Called contact #2 (the facility manager) to look for the rental test equipment. Which had not arrived yet. I asked him to call me when it got there.

It's now 12:30 local time, and I have not heard from either individual. So I have looked up a nice local yoga studio - Inner Works Holistic Health Studio - and took a nice hot class (thanks, Renee, for the private!). I've gotten another client report out (all caught up is a nice feeling, and 40+ hours of billable work for October is another nice feeling). And I'm mucked around online.

I'm about to give up, pack my things, and head over to the facility. Maybe grab a bite en route. Just cause I am bored out of my head.

October 23, 2009

Running the numbers

Sat down to go over the numbers in terms of my new condo, as compared to my present living and working situation.

My mortgage, taxes, and condo fees combined add up to $140 less that what I presently pay for my office and to Zippy for rent & utilities. Picking up a Comcast bundle for the new place is about the same as whT I pay for office phones and internet, combined. The only new expense at that point is electricity. Which will be higher than present (since I'm heating with electrics) - but Zippy's bill is around $100 / month - I have to imagine I'll be around $150 a month, on average (lower in summer, higher in winter). So pretty much the new place will be a wash, financially.

Of course, this ignores two tax issues - my office expense and utilities are presently 100% deductible on Schedule C. The new place will be partially deductible (Schedule C, home office) and also partially deductible as homeowner mortgage interest and taxes. Might actually be a bit higher overall deduction, although pulling income out of Schedule C saves FICA and Medicare taxes....and I trade the already pretty decent standard deduction for the mortage deduction - so will have to look for other itemized deductions (health care, donations, etc.) to leverage.

Intangibles will be interesting to watch. I presently eat my lunch out a lot and grab coffee on the go - and I expect that to change significantly. Maybe $50 a week, $200 a month, let's say I cut that in half (probably more). Saves another $100. Groceries will probably be higher (at least until the larder is stocked). Gas a bit higher (further to drive to yoga).

Bottom line - I'm not looking for too much to change, financially, once I am in the new place. Which is a good thing.

October 22, 2009

Condo Update

Last update, with any luck, prior to closing. I got word this week that my mortgage had been approved and that we had been given the green light to close this week. But there was a catch - my broker found a better deal, with no points (vs. 1 point originally) and 1/2 percent lower rate. But I had to wait for fair lending disclosure (received today) so we set a closing date for next Wed.

It's not all that much - $1000 less at closing, and perhaps $25 or $30 less per month on the mortgage. But a better deal is a better deal.

With any luck, Wed I'll own a condo. And start moving in shortly thereafter. I'm hoping to have my first moving day on Nov 7, although I might end up teaching Free Intro to Yoga at 1 pm that day. Splitting up the moving between the houshold stuff (Nov 7) and the office (later in the month) to give me some time to get in and get situated, and to give my brother time to come fetch the resident pool table in the basement where my office is supposed to be.

October 19, 2009

Our Town - Iris Dement

After the cold, wet weekend, the morning blossoms with sunshine and promises of warmer winds.

Listening to WWUH this morning, this song suddenly brings some tears.



Started the moving process this weekend; moved some things from friends' home to ours as Zippy and I slowly start the task of detaching our households. A little sadness there, even as there is the excitement of a new adventure.

October 17, 2009

Open Studio

Busy day down at WHY. No ballooning today (wind) so I snuck in to Nykki's 9:00 am class (strong practice, awesome savasana). Then back home for a bit, and returned to the studio at 12:00 for Open Studio. I kept pretty busy - attended Peter's EI preview (I've been invited to Silent Monitor at the December EI, looking forward to that).

Afterwards, I stepped into the studio (completely unplanned) to assist for Shnakara (Intro to Yoga) and then Nykki (Hot Yoga). Laurie was my partner in crime and we tried to keep newcomers from getting to tied up in knots. Shankara's class is always tough to assist in, since he does a lot of rolling around on the mat and feeling the body, and not a lot of formal asana. Nykki's class, on the other hand - yoga boot camp. But by the end of the hour long class they looked like yogis. Nykki's good like that. I was tired out and after a few quick tweaks from my friendly neighborhood Chiropractor (Peter was doing free adjustments, he looked at my knee but then went for the back and neck, which always freaks me out) I headed home. Where I fell into bed and napped for two hours - exhausted from Kirtan and Yoga.

So I'm up late (because of the nap) - headed off to bed. Yoga tomorrow, hopefully, and maybe a hike. And maybe get caught up on some work.....

Kirtan Post Mortem

Friday night Kirtan. As usual, a very busy Friday, with work in the morning, then teaching two yoga classes. A quick lunch and then back to the studio to set up for Kirtan. Back to work until 5, home for a dinner and a bit of relaxing, then back to the studio for 7:30 pm. Kirtan went pretty well - good crowd, and a bunch of new numbers that worked pretty well. But we seemed a little off - lots of little issues:

1) We really miss Molly our flautist, gone on to a job out of state
2) I personally need to practice more. If only to keep my callouses and be able to vamp more, especially on bass.
3) I think we also need to practice as a group more. We spent a lot of time on new pieces but not a lot of time working on old stuff.
4) To that end, I think we need to limit new numbers to 1-2 per performance (we brought 4 new pieces out this month). Just to permit some time to rehearse old stuff. We also need to do a better job of learning new pieces. Having the music and words available would help, I was working of fhastily scribble notes this month, and we were all trying to remember the new pieces since none of us had the CD or MP3, and I think that contributed to a longer than usual between song dead time.
5) I personally think we need to mix in a few more classic kirtan chants (Krishna Das kind of stuff) which the audience likes and can chant along with. Some of the newer stuff is less participatory.

All in all, a learning experience. Sounds like we're on track to tighten up for December.

Neko Case on Public Radio

She must have a new album out; hitting the circuit. Last week she was on A Prairie Home Companion.

And this morning, she was on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me in the "Not My Job" segment. Her questions were all about Necco Wafers, and the segment was hilarious. The first question had to do with the civil war (Necco wafers were apparently distributed to the union troops) and she's seen Ken Burns' series enough to vamp amusingly on it with the professional funny folks.

Sad or Scary Things About My New Condo

For the record, we're still not closed yet. I've gotten a verbal "good to go" from the mortgage broker and a projected closing date of early next week. So I'm confident enough to start picking furniture up on Craigs List, but holding off on the celebration. In the meantime, some projections into the future...

1. Isolating. I have this tendency to pull back, to withdraw. I'm afraid that being on my own, a few more miles away from my social center (the yoga studio and Hartford), will drag me down into isolating. I'm conscious of that, and plan to proactively stay connected, but it's a fear.

2. Zippy. Much as our intersecting lives ad cohabitation produces friction and frustration for both of us, I will miss the dude. I'm hoping to maintain a friendship and stay connected but it's still nice to have another body in the house, someone to watch TV with or just talk about the day, the world, etc.

3. Dogs. I've had dogs all my adult life, since my ex and I got a little Springer Spaniel pup back in 1990 or thereabouts. And right now Elo the Beagle / Cattle Dog mix is my little buddy - sleeping on the bed, begging for food, an occasional companion on walks or hikes. We've decided to keep the dogs together, with Zippy. I can have a pet at my new place, but these dogs might be a bit large, neither of them is particularly good on the leash (if I get a pet, I will need to walk it, right now we have a fenced in yard for the dogs to go run in), and I think the dogs will do better together than they will alone. So I'll be dogless (for a while, anyways) at the new place. Sad.

4. Electric Heat. Wonder how much that's going to cost me :(

5. Not Hartford. I've come to love being this close to the city. I eat at fun restaurants, I go to Real Art Ways and Cinestudio and Cinema City. I can pop in to local music and arts events without a lot of planning or travel. And I have a small circle of friends that I will perhaps see a little less often. So even though New Britain is not all that far away, it's still a few miles more to travel.

6. New Britain. Just new stomping grounds. Having spent many years in Waterbury, I imagine New Britain is somewhat similar. A lot of unknowns in terms of neighbors, the neighborhood, the local environment. And New Britain does have a certain reputation as a tough city. Then again, so does Hartford and I like that just fine....

7. Cost of Living. It's true, two can live cheaper than one. I'm kind of nervous about the budget and cost of living in my own place. On paper, it's a wash. My mortgage + taxes + condo fees are $150 less than what I'm paying today on rent to Zippy and the office. My office phones and internet are about the same price as a Comcast bundle. The electricity will be an unknown, probably a bit more than the $150 savings in rent. Perhaps I'll make it up in fewer lunches on the go. We'll find out. But I'm going to try to consciously cut back these first few months.

Hopeful Things About My New Condo

For the record, we're still not closed yet. I've gotten a verbal "good to go" from the mortgage broker and a projected closing date of early next week. So I'm confident enough to start picking furniture up on Craigs List, but holding off on the celebration. In the meantime, some projections into the future...

1. Yoga Space. I don't have a place to lay down a mat where I live now, and even a temporary space is marred by dog interference. So I just do not have much of a self practice right now. I'm planning to have a mat down 24/7 in the spare bedroom at the new place.

2. Music Space. Similarly, it's difficult to make space and time for music here - I have to bring the instruments out from the back porch and then deal with Zippy's "rama lama ding dong" comments when it comes to kirtan music. This last kirtan I really felt the lack of practice. I'm hoping to pick up the guitar and bass more often at the new place.....

3. Healthy Eating. Working out of the home, I tend to grab lunch on the go (invariably, Subway or some other fast food). I'm hoping to be able to eat a healthier lunch once I move back into a home office, and have my own kitchen / fridge / larder / etc.

4. Decor and Art. When I moved in with Zippy, I marveled at the walls filled with art (some of it quite large and vibrant). He's quite the collector. But the downside is that there has really not been a lot of space for my taste and preferences. So I'm hoping to find art and decor that nourish my spirit. I already have an eye on some artist friends who I would love to support.....and love to have their work in my home.

5. Radio. I'm a big fan of public radio and listen pretty much no-stop at my office. Zippy is not a big fan of talk radio. So I mostly defer to his tastes (college radio music shows or no radio) around the house. I suspect I'll be a bit more of a radio listener around the house once I move....

6. Organization. I'll admit it, I'm a messy person. I'm looking forward to the cleansing / detox (already well underway) as I declutter in order to move, and hope to retain a less cluttered, less filled with stuff lifestyle going forward. It's a goal anyway.....

7. Friends. I have this whole circle of friends who have never been to my house, never seen my space, because Zippy has been pretty negative on the whole yoga thing. So I am looking forward to having friends come by, having a home I can welcome others to. Tangential to this, occasionally we get wandering yogis at the studio (for trainings or workshops) who are on a tight budget (one dude was sleeping in his truck!), and I'm hoping to have my second room (with an air mattress perhaps) be a space I can open up to these folks who might not have the money for a hotel.

8. Productivity. As a self-employed person with way too many hobbies, interests and side projects - I need to fit the work in when I can. And I remember (from my previous days of working out the home) that I was able to grab long hours of work in unconventional times (early mornings, late evenings, weekends) as the spirit and my schedule permitted. Working outside the home these past few years, I've fallen into a more conventional 8 to 5 workday, with the caveat that I'm often not available for work (yoga, ballooning, etc.) from 8 to 5. So I'm simply not putting the hours in. It's hard to get over to the office at odd times - but I think if "the office" is down a flight of stairs, I'll be more likely to pop in for a few hours of work.

9. Bed. A few years back I was gifted with a beautiful hand-made four poster bed (well, it was payment for a website project). When Zippy and I stopped sharing a bed, I moved onto a futon (which has a certain monastic charm). But it will be nice to have my big comfy bed back.

10. Relationship. Zippy and I have been out of relationship for a few years now. But still, living together makes anew relationship awkward, and there is a certain companionship or at least domestic connection that remains. Yet I do desire a relationship and a connection to another. I'm hoping getting out on my own creates the space for that to happen.

October 12, 2009

Kirtan - Friday, October 16

The West Hartford Yoga Kirtan group returns this Friday starting at 8:15. Join Shankara (harmonium / vocals), Mare (vocals), Tom (percussion and vocals), Craig (percussion), Virginia (percussion), and myself (guitar and bass) for an evening of Bahkti Yoga. Come to listen, to chant, to sing, to move, to dance. Give yourself over to the music, the spirit, the rhythms, the melody.



More info here

Hartford Party Starter's Union

Follower's may recall a somewhat testy exchange between this blogger and the principals of the Hartford Party Starter's Union, here and here. At the time I was cranky about a "We're on the internet" catch phrase despite them being fairly hard to find on the internet.

Well, since then (Feb & Apr of this year), they have set up an easily findable and clearly named blog - hartfordpartystartersunion.blogspot.com/. (Slightly more enticing than "Central CT Foam Parties", from my perspective) And they are updating it regularly with events, photos, etc. Also pretty active on Facebook.

Nice job....

October 11, 2009

Note to Self: You Are an Engineer

I wandered down to Cables and Connectors this afternoon looking for a battery tester. I had several dozen assorted batteries (mostly AA and 9V) hanging around. Between a difital camera, computer muse, guitar and bass pickups, wireless mic, flashlights - well, lots of places for batteries.

I have developed a bad habit of pulling them out of my camera (during balloon chasing, for example, or at kirtan), putting the dead ones in my pocket, and then dumping them out (on my bureau at night into one of my car cupholders, into my purse, or my cable tub). Of course, I also put a few fresh ones in my pocket, never use 'em, and dump them out into the same places. So I had piles of batteries and no idea which ones were fresh, which ones were dead and which ones were in between.

Cables and Connectors is closed on Sunday (make a note) but as I pulled out of the lot I though "dummy, you're an engineer...." - I own multimeters, and have boxes of parts, resistors, etc. So it took me about 2 minutes to cobble together a tester - with an 8 ohm resistor to load down the battery, and a meter. Quick work to check the batteries and sort them into categories: "new", "used but still good", and "dead". When I get some time I'll jot down the voltage levels that I found.

Dead ones in the recycle bag (take 'em to Whole Foods every so often) and fresh ones into various places - my music kit, opened battery packages, the camera case, and my laptop stand.

Mission accomplished.

October 10, 2009

Open Mic at La Salle Market & Deli

Got a text last night from my friend Cheryl "We're at this great open mike up in Collinsville....come". Was just finishing up a meal with Zippy and his dad (Bombay Olive, I opted out of my usual 6 pm Friday yoga) so I decided to trek northwest. Collinsville is a mere 12.2 miles away (so says Agatha the GPS) but I seem to have this "it's way off in the northwest corner" attitude about it. Wrong....

So glad I went. Turns out that the LaSalle Market & Deli has a regular Friday Open Mike, and that many of the folks I ran with back in the day (10-15 years back) when I was on the Open Mic circuit are still at it. Kent Aldrich and Gil Dube in particular, but probably a few more (I got there late so some may have come and gone) - it was nice to see them. My friend Kate Callahan was also there - as wonderful as ever. She asked if there was a particular song I wanted to hear but I'm not that familiar with her new stuff - so it's all good. She and Gil actually traded songs (years back he had asked her to "write a short song" because all her songs were long and she did with the condition that he write one about himself and his time on the earth.) It was a beautiful and tears welling up kind of moment.

In the course of organizing and purging for my move; I came across some old photos from Open Mics (yes, photos, predating digital cameras) and there are pictures from the Chunky Tomato in Bristol - Jon Lewis, Gil Dube, Jersey Steve, Kent Aldrich, Gary the Crazy Flautist. I ought to scan 'em in and post em up on Facebook.....

So a lovely evening, thanks Cheryl for the invite. Not sure if my life has time for a regular visit to Collinsville, and not sure if I'll ever brave the open mike circuit again, but it felt like familar and welcoming ground. And I was listening to Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer en route home singing along, and thinking "I could maybe sing and play this....."

October 04, 2009

Can You Make a Living Teaching Yoga?

Over on the Yoga with Nikki Chau blog, here. Really good thoughts for anyone contemplating a career teaching yoga or embarking on their own teaching career. It's pretty tough to imagine anyone getting rich teaching yoga unless one is nationally renowned. Linda's Yoga Journey has also blogged about it Price We Pay and How Much is a Yoga Teacher Worth. Some of my own thoughts:

Product Mix
I've been self-employed for 15 years now. I do a variety of jobs - ranging from engineering, production support for corporate meetings, production support for entertainment, websites, powerpoint design. And for the last year or so, teaching yoga. And I have come to look at every project, every gig as being part of a product mix. Stuff I relly love to do that I might not be able to bill all that much for. Stuff that is perhaps more lucrative but less fulfilling or interesting. And work that lies somewhere in the middle. And I am constantly tweaking that product mix, depending on my finances, my time and energy, the available work, and where my spirit leads me.

Even something as fulfilling as teaching yoga has its "product mix" aspects. Nikki says "An average class at a studio can get anywhere between 1-8 people..." and well, I teach some big classes (15 - 25, sometimes higher) but they are often the $5 Gentle classes, which do not pay so well. But pretty awesome experience to teach to that large a class. On the other hand, some of my smaller full price classes pay better - rewarding in different ways. So even within a yoga teaching career there is a spectrum of "feed your spirit or feed your checking account" choices.

In her post, Nikki writes:

Do I want more students in a class? Not necessarily (workshops are different). First, I don’t teach yoga to make money. It’s not my primary motivation. If it were, I’d need a lot of math help. Secondly, the small class size lets me pay more attention to each individual person and adapt to their specific body, and that’s important to me.

And there is a balancing act there as well. Most studios pay a minimum per class with a percentage or per student amount above the minimum. And the amount that students are willing to pay for yoga is all over the map - locally $17 walk-in, $10 or $12 with a class card, or $5 for some classes. So limiting to 8-10 students is really going to cut back on earnings potential.

As much as it's hard to focus on individual bodies and practices in a larger class, there is something pretty amazing about a large class (speaking both as a student and as a teacher) - resonating with the energy, working flow, conscious of the bodies and spirits in the same postures and same-but-separate life journey. Some of my more memorable classes (as a student) have been with 40-50 students where the class energy just soared - I look across the row of mats with my friends and peers in Vira II or working through a dancing warrior sequence - and fill with love, respect, awe. Strong, brave, beautiful, and amazing. Perhaps not very yogic to step outside of my own body and my own practice like that - but I'm a yoga rebel and when the divine intervenes, who am I to not take a moment to watch and appreciate. So a mix of big classes (make some money, work with collective bodies and spirits) and small class (work with individual bodies and spirits) can work.

Something Else on the Side
Pretty much every yoga teacher down at the studio has something else going, workwise. Body worker (several). Counselor or therapist. Nutritionist. Engineer (guilty). Corporate drone. Stay-at-home parent (presumably with a working partner). So it's pretty realistic to look at who is teaching yoga, and perhaps decide to teach yoga as an adjunct to something else that can bring in some income. Oftentimes, the yoga teaching can be a good conduit / outreach for clients and business for the other work you do.

Paying Your Dues
I always thing of doctors doing their internships and residencies (Grey's Anatomy comes to mind) when I think of my first year of teaching. Even docs with years of education (and a far higher investment in education than a few thousand dollars in formal yoga training) spend a few years getting paid peanuts and working their tails off.

I came to look at my first years of teaching in that light - I'm a first-year, I'm paying my dues. Basically, I'd take any yoga teaching gig I could - to hone my teaching chops, to get experience, to build a reputation. Yeah, I've taught some classes for a few bucks. Yeah I've had some long days and long weeks. But more and more I am able to be selective in how and when I teach and am able to start to control my own teaching product mix.

So I think there is a certain level of "patience, grasshopper" here - teachers fresh out of training are probably not going to hit their stride, earnings wise, for a few years, regardless of how strong their personal practice or inspired their teaching. So be prepared to spend some time in the trenches.

As a sidelight, it's interesting to take the long view of this stuff. I've been embedded down at my studio for years, and in that time I have watched a lot of really top-notch teachers come through. Oftentimes they promote themselves to the studio owner as great teachers, talk their way into a chance to sub in for one of the senior teachers in a prime-time slot, and get handed their collective head by the students who just don't deal well with change (and are plenty vocal with the studio management). I suspect if they had invested some time hanging out, coming to classes to get the studio vibe, becoming familiar to the students and perhaps starting a little lower on the roster (in terms of what classes they sub and how much they ask for) they could potentially build up a reputation and a following, and end up with one of the prime-time slots and large classes that they seek.

As Bill Morrissey writes in his song Birches:
Oak will burn as long and hot as a July afternoon,
And birch will burn itself out by the rising of the moon.

Neil Young might disagree, however. My my, hey hey.

Subsidizing Ones Addiction
Before I started teaching, I was spending a lot on yoga - for classes, for workshops, etc. Now that I'm teaching, I spend a lot less money on yoga (although I practice as much if not more). My studio policy lets teachers take classes for free; there is also work-study, trading hours staffing the studio for free classes or workshops. And since I make money teaching and file a Schedule C, a lot of my yoga expenses come right off the top line as business expenses.

So even though I'm not getting rich from teaching, I'd still be practicing and spending money even if I were not teaching, so the actual net benefit from teaching might be expressed as Income + Subsidized Practices and Workshops + Tax Benefit.

Become Management
As a self employed person, I'm keenly aware of my income limitations related to my time and energy. If every dollar I bring in is directly connected to my time, I have a limitation based on the hours in a day, week, month or year and the amount of money I can charge for any given activity. But if I start to subcontract work - hiring employees, having people "downstream" (in a coarse, multi-level marketing kind of way) then I can start to get some income based on other people's time.

The studio owner gets a cut (I hope, although sometimes I know she takes a hit for small classes) everytime I step into the studio to teach (she also has to pay for rent and heat and all that stuff). So if I can get people downstream of me, I'll start getting an incremental benefit. Opening a studio is a huge risk, a lot of work, and perhaps might take a few years to grow, but it's a way to transition from teacher income (100% dependent upon being in the room) to a potential for higher income (some percentage of one's income derived from getting a piece of other's work). And I suspect there are other business models, heretofore unexplored, that can insert one into the yoga economy in ways others than direct teaching.

But yeah, mostly we do it for love. And every so often, we pick up a check.....