March 30, 2009

Tell Me How This Makes Sense

Date Time Location Event Details
March 30, 2009 01:03:00 PM NEWINGTON CT Arrival Scan
March 20, 2009 08:29:00 PM HEBRON KY Arrival Scan
March 23, 2009 01:36:00 PM HARTFORD CT Shipment received by carrier
March 23, 2009 11:28:00 AM HARTFORD CT Shipment has left seller facility and is in transit

So my iPod Touch traveled from Hartford to Newington, by way of Kentucky....

Weekend Warrior

It was one of those sorts of weekends that one needs a weekend to recover from, a Monday morning that makes one reach for the Advil. I'm not a pain med person - I think the last time I took a pill for body ache was back in teacher training; a year ago, and I tend to want to feel my blody (aches and pains and all) rather than doping it into silence. A frame of reference for my state of being this morning.

Thursday night was yoga with JD; not a killer practice by any means but he is someone I have not practice with in eons and he works on minute little places buried in the body, so I felt it on Friday. Friday I taught my 12:15 gentle class (not all that strenuous, but I do get a workut when teaching), and Friday night was the HSO Connections concert. Not physically demanding but a bit of walking, some vino, and a later than usual evening.

Saturday, morning practice with Nykki (always a good workout) and then a walk round the reservoir with my friend Kimi. Been a while since I laced up sneaks (note to self, get a decent pair of running shoes, Saucony maybe) and so the walk put a little ache in my body.

Sunday morning, gentle yoga instead of Shankara (wise move, but not enough) to loosen things up, and then Shake Your Soul with Daniel Leven. My soul has been shaken, but I tend to forget that it's connected to the musculo-skeletal system. So even though my spirit may be that of a 20 year old wood nymph, it's connected to a 48 year old body with a fair number of limitations, injuries, and weight issues. So now that it's Monday morning - ow ow ow ow ow!

And of course, I teach today; I'm starting my Monday / Friday mid-morning power classes. And the suck part is that both studios will be full prior to class, so no chance to lay out a mat and loosen up a bit before class. Oh well.....

March 28, 2009

CRRA Electronics Recycling


In Hartford, next Saturday (April 4th, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.) at the CRRA Trash Museum at 211 Murphy Road. Info here

Home electronics, including: computers, monitors, cell phones, TVs, VCRs, copiers, fax machines, printers, radios, stereos. (Electronics from businesses and institutions are not acceptable.)

Keep some heavy metals and various other toxic industrial byproducts out of the landfills or the incinerators.....

New Yoga Classes

Starting next week, I pick up two more yoga classes. I will be teaching WHY POWER I classes on Monday and Friday - 10:45 a.m. (although starting at 10:30 a.m. this week before getting pushed back)

I'm kind of excited (it's a full price class, not a $5 class, and it's power, and it's my class) but also a little nervous (these are newish class times, have not been going gangbusters, and are at an odd time)

We'll see how things go. Drop in to these, or my Friday gentle class at 12:15, at West Hartford Yoga.....

Reprieve

My new iPod Touch, with 16Gig of memory and a touch screen and WiFi access, and all the bells and whistles, did not show up on Friday. Off because the USPS tracking shows it leaving the Hartford CT facility on 3/23 (uhm, that was Monday) - they (the USPS) must be deliberately sitting on it. Can't let the surface shippers get Priority service lest they come to expect it or not buy the higher cost shipping options....

Probably all to the good, because I got a lot of work done this week, and once I get this puppy I am sure I am gonna be running around to all the various WiFi hot spots in my life to test it out - home, office, yoga studio, coffee shop. I am not sure I will use it (much) as an actual iPod, maybe a few tried-and-true "put me to sleep on the airplane" sets of music. (16 Gig is not that much memory) - I think its mostly a replacement for my PDA, a way to access all the cool apps, and a way to web surf and check email on the go.

In any case, I get a weekend reprieve from techno-crack. So I can enjoy the weekend.
This morning - yoga with Nykki. I ought to be fresh, took yesterday off (just taught a class). This afternoon, a quarterly visit to the local support space. And perhaps a walk round the reservoir afterwards.

Tomorrow, Shake Your Soul workshop with Daniel Leven at the yoga studio. And probaby squeeze some more web-coding in there as well....

Leonard Bernstein at HSO Connections

Wandered over to The Bushnell last night for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra "Connections" series with Colin McEnroe. I was able to get a single seat last minute (I am the procrastinator to whom Colin speaks), right up front (3rd row) and it was pretty amazing being that close to the orchestra. Although being that close, I could not see past the string section. So I kind of watched the violins, violas, cellos, and basses all night.

The spotlight composer was Leonard Bernstein - and there was a selection of his work over the years. West Side Story, of course, with a wonderful ensemble of Hartt School of Music theater majors. Pretty fabulous (especially to be so close to the stage). They also performed Bernstein's Serenade for Solo Violin, Strings, Harp and Percussion, which is reputedly a tough piece for a soloist (and in fact, an orchestra) to play - Leonid Sigal was pretty amazing on violin, shredding horsehairs as his fingers flew.

I really liked the format (Colin would come out and rap with conductor Edward Cummings about the music, Bernstein, etc.) The funniest bits were:

a) That West Side Story started out as a bit about the East Side of Manhattan, and the Jets and Sharks were to have been Irish Catholics and Jews. Colin noted "America would have been a klezmer song". He insisted this was true (though I was not convinced), but wikipedia confirms it. Heh.

b) He also sang a few chorus of "I want to be on Medicare...." (as opposed to America) which was funny (get a new knee on Medicare!) and also kind of ironic in the blue haired theater crowd.

And the orchestra introduced the 2nd half with the horns in the mezzanine, playing the mambo prelude from West Side Story. Awesome to be surrounded by music that way.

Lots of fun - I am a closeted classical music fan (I minored in music in college, not so impressive at an engineering school, but still) and musical theater geek (I never met a Sondhein score I did not love). Ran into a mini posse there - a foursone from the Real Art Ways / OPM crowd. Friends Kim and Kapil. And I wandered over to the Bushnell with friends Alison and John; Alsion lives nearby so it was nice to actually walk somewhere in Hartford on a mild spring evening.

March 25, 2009

%$*(&$# HTML and Javascript

I picked up a javascript HTML menu a few weeks ago, to implement on a client's site. Just cheaper to buy a bit of code than to write something.

Unfortunately, the code was being flaky on IE; not launching reliably, so last night I started digging into it. The script itself was inaccessible, and after a 1/2 hour or so of tearing apart the HTML, looking for some issue, I punted. Went and hunted up a different script.

Then spent an hour or so merging the new script with the old menu, and reformatting the menu (colors, fonts, etc.)

Finally, took a look at it in Firefox (I usually use IE on the laptop at home, Firefox at the office) and the page barfed. So another hour of troubleshooting. Turned out I had left rogue "/li" commands at the end of each menu item (the old script made submenu choices a separate list item, the new one did not).

So, problem resolved, pages up and happy, all is right with the world. And I killed 3 hours on a Tuesday night wrestling with this stuff, did not get to bed until close to midnight. Yech.

Gigger

I rent space at an office condo.....a former corporate headquarters that was purchased as an investment, and is rented out piecemeal to smaller companies. Some suites are larger, others (like my office) are a good sized executive office (with windows, curtains, and glass facing the hallways), and still others are small internal rooms fit for a desk, a chair, and a phone. Kind of interesting mix of clients - self-employed folks, local offices for the trades, lawyers, therapists, body workers, a few tech companies.

The office next door was vacant for a while, and a guy recently rented it. He came by to borrow some push pins, and we got to talking about what we each did. "I'm a gigger" he said. I had heard he was in demolition, so I assumed "gigger" was the term for someone who set the explosives or something.

But no, he went into some detail - a gigger was someone who did whatever one could to make money - which in his case involves demolition, stripping and recycling materials from abandoned buildings, etc.

Amusing - I guess I've been a "gigger" for 15 years or so. People ask "What do you do?" and I reply "What have you got?" - I've done graphics, coding, powerpoint, writing, and all sorts of engineering.

Kind of funny, this guy was all puffed up and proud of his tough economic times hustle, as if he invented the concept of working freelance, and I've been living in that space for 15 years.

Gigger, huh? I've googled the term; it's certainly not in common usage or urban slang. But...whatever.

March 24, 2009

Recycling

The good part about living in Hartford is that most things we put out to the curb to be collected as bulk waste gets picked up before the sanitation trucks come around. Last night after 11, I heard a truck out front, and a dude hefted the fridge (sans doors) into his pickup, along with the wire racks, and the freezer door. Oddly, he left the fridge section door (maybe there was a space issue, and not that much metal to recycle. The fridge door and a few plastic bits look somewht forlorn out there; on the way out the door I plan to toss the plastic bits into the garbage bin.

A week or so back, the dehumidifier met a suitable fate; although it took a few days - placed it on the curb on Saturday, and it was gone by Monday morning. And many months back I hefted an old water heater (which may have been lined with copper, for all I know) out and that too was scrounged.

I'm assuming the scroungers are seeking the metals to recycle - copper, aluminum. Even though prices have fallen since they peaked out a few years back, they are still worth something. I would not know how or where to start on finding a place to for that stuff - do they take appliances in total, or must one strip the good bits out? I just hope the unrecyclable bits end up in a landfill or waste recycling, and not in the river or stream somewhere.

In any case, I'm happy to provide something for the scavengers to earn a few bucks and keep some metals out of the landfill. It makes me feel kind of interconnected, like an industrial food chain where materials and technology flow downstream, to be reused and re-enter the commercial stream.

March 23, 2009

New Fridge

Unusually flush, I suggested to Zippy that we invest in a new refrigerator. Our fridge is probably 20 years old, and a bit worse for wear - veggie bins busted, gasket worn, a little louder. Although we looked at some new models over at Home Depot, Zippy thought a used model would do fine. (And cost perhaps 1/2 the price of a new model)

So a net gain for the environment (no doubt a more efficient model, and reusing an appliance rather than purchasing a new one) and a mixed blessing for the economy. We're moving some money around but not sending it as far as the manufacturer. We did buy a new dehumidifier recently, so we're doing our part to get the economy moving.

The new box is a little larger, with nice glass shelves (the old one had wire racks), in very good condition. And I took advantage of the upgrade to swap the door around (an interesting and not so difficult project, although the star drivers might have stymied someone with fewere tools). The old one opened away from the counters, sink, and cabinets, so maybe a little more ergonomic as well.

A completely mundane blog post, I know. But it's the little things.

Long Term Investment

In these disposable times, I have been thinking about some things I have kept around for a long time.

Revereware
I have a set of copper bottom cookware that was a wedding present (circa 1987). And although the marriage was short-lived, the cookware is still going strong 22 years later. Every so often I clean the bottoms up, nice and shiny.

My Guitar
I picked up my acoustic guitar, an Ibanez V320, in 1979, as a Freshman in college. I've played it at countless folk masses, vacations, trekked out to folk festivals, college band gigs, and most recently, kirtans, although I've recently picked up a new guitar (also an Ibanez) and so the old guitar is on the bench for the most part. Still, it's been with me 28 years.

Television
I worked for Philips Medical Systems from 1989 - 1995; right around 1991 I picked up a Magnavox television from the company store. Maybe a 22" or 24" (I forget), not top of the line or anything (maybe it was $250 back then). But here we are, 18 years later, and it still works great. Don't really watch all that much television, but still I got my money's worth.

Cross Country Skis
As my marriage was falling apart, I bought two pair of cross-country skis, boots, and poles for what was to be the last xmas. A romantic gesture perhaps. I still have the skis, still in good shape, 17 years later. Granted, I do not get out much (not at all this past year) but still....

I'll add more long-lived things as I come across them.....

March 22, 2009

My Fair Lady

Drove up to Massachusetts yesterday, to see a production of the play "My Fair Lady" at Nashoba Regional High School. My niece Sara, a sophomore, had a minor role. Have not been to a high school musical in a while - I think the last was Rave at the local performing arts magnet school, which was wonderful but a far cry from Lerner and Loewe. So it was fun to go see what Sara is up to.

First off, Nashoba serves a fairly affluent group of western MA towns - and that affluence shows in the production. I counted 5 or 6 costume changes for my niece (in a fairly minor, non-speaking role) and the cast must have numbered 30 or so. The set pieces too were top notch. Professor Higgins' study was a multi-level affair, a London street set had a faux church, a beautifully painted scrim (rented, I am told), and plenty of little electrics (a glowing fire in a barrel, lighted street lamps, etc.) A far cry from the little productions of my high school years (catholic school) even though the student population is about the same.

The leads were phenomenal - well past high school and into a community or regional theater level of performance. Kudos especially to Jackie Murtha (Eliza), Michael Sestito (Higgins), Kyle Mendes (Alfred Doolittle), and Nicholas Sestito (Colonel Hugh Pickering) - all were top notch, wonderful voices, wonderful emoting, great movement.

Lots of parental involvement as well - my sister was house manager, my brother-in-law was photographer. Both my nephews went to see their sister (although the oldest reportedly fell asleep, the performance clocked in at 3:15 including an intermission)

I love to see the various theater cliques - the upperclass stars (much beloved with cheers and screams coming from the audience during curtain calls). The younger students a little out of their league but trying hard. The techies, dressed in black, with amusing tee shirts (Techies do it in the dark!) and a little whiff of outsider. The band members. I do so wish I were living in my body and not so darned self conscious during high school. I was in the pit band (for Godspell) and even trod the boards a bit (variety / talent show) but I missed a lot of opportunity.

And then, to see Sara, who has passed any adolescent awkwardness and is becoming a beautiful young woman, in the chorus, singing, moving, dancing. My heart filled up with hope and with love for her energy, her passion, her connection to her friends and to the art. Seeing my sister (a theater geek herself) passing the torch to her child. Seeing all that young energy, bursting off the stage, getting ready for life.

Great show, kids. You all rock!

Geeks on the Mat

Heading into class yesterday, a young woman was wearing a WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) sweatshirt, with the school mascot goat's head. I stopped to chat, WPI is my alma mater. Industrial Engineer, class of 2007, working at Pratt & Whitney. Her yoga buddy was also an engineer at P&W, from Northeastern (I think).

Interesting to meet two women engineers, at yoga of all places. I suddenly felt old with my 1983 degree, realizing that this young woman had not been born as I stepped up to receive my diploma. And it kind of struck me like a bolt from the blue when she asked "Are you still in engineering?" Because I guess it's uncommon for engineers to keep plugging away in a technical field for their entire careers. Skills get old, familiarity with tools and technology slip away, engineers move into management, into other careers, into backwaters.

I remember reading about a corporate culture where senior engineers graduated into a sort of emiritus status, idea men and women, given the freedom to wander around poking their nose into things, napping on their desks, etc. Might have been Peters and Waterman's book "In Search of Excellence", but maybe not. That's rare though, mostly senior engineers get pastured out to doing product support for aging technologies, shuffled into paper pushing jobs, or driven upward into management (where their technical and people skills are often not great fits)

So, yeah, kind of interesting that, 26 years later, I am still doing engineering work. Part of that is an active choice - at my last corporate gig, the annual review would be an exercise in my manager trying to drag me into the management ranks and me resisting with all my might. I left in part because I had for the most part resolved the technical problems that my position was created to address, and I did not seek to become a corporate manager. So if I am still engineering all these years later, I do so out of choice.

So hello, sister engineering yogis. May your careers be long and interesting, filled with projects, travel, adventure, satisfaction. And may you, 25 years hence, look back on your career choices and path happily and with a heart and spirit still curious, supple, and learning.

March 21, 2009

Not a Bad Problem to Have

A mess of work, that is. Especially in These Economic Times(tm).

My largest client has entered into a period of unusual volume; I've had perhaps 6 months of record breaking work with them, and if things stopped dead right this second March would already be considered a very good month. But we've got about 7 workdays left and a small backlog flowing into next week, so I suspect March will be a record breaker.

Another client that has been pretty quiet for the past year has recently reconnected - but from a completely different place (engineering vs. service). Seems like some work in the offing. Nice.

I have a quote out to do some rare onsite work locally, at a gas station / convenience store. Interesting. No idea if it will come through but its a nice change of pace.

My oldest client has a long (and patiently) awaited update for a spreadsheet based data reader in the queue, waiting mostly for me to get a block of time to focus on it (VBscript / Excel macros just take a lot of time and grinding away).

My biggest website client is getting a late start on the 2009 season. Tickets go on sale April 1st, and yesterday they dropped a complete website redesign on me. I'm hoping to get something put together over the weekend (I'm self employed, so weekends are fair game) but there hours of work in the next week or so. Also, we're implementing a new ticketing program (so that they can control sell outs) which involves your faithful correspondant honing her PHP and MySQL chops.

Finally, another website client (albeit a pro bono one) has been nudging me to get some long delayed updates done. Hopefully I'll sneak into the office this weekend.

Oh yeah. My office is a mess. And my taxes are coming due. And the yoga studio has been keeping me busy with press releases, marketing, some filling in for the studio manager, and helping out with teacher training and national workshops. And teaching a few classes every week.

On a positive note, this is a down week for teaching - my Monday night intro class is over, my Wed night Adult Ed class has a break, and my Mon / Fri power classes do not start until next week.

March 20, 2009

Welcome Spring!


The daffodils are pushing up in front of my office building. Bird calls fill the air. Life, in all its diversity, dogged determination and glory, is making a comeback against the forces of entropy, darkness, and cold. My money is on the living......

10:40 am - BONUS! Sun is out!

March 19, 2009

Yoga sightings . . .and sitings for that matter

Three new islands of yogishness on the local scene.

#1) Jeff Zweig is teaching some classes over at Billings Forge Community Works (565 Broad Street, Hartford). Free classes the week of 3/23. Nice to have another yoga option downtown.



I've always enjoyed Jeff's classes, and his gentle, funny energy - I wish him well.

#2) Carissa Field is opening a studio - Body Bliss LLC - in Manchester, behind the Center for Progressive Therapies. Carissa is one of my favorite teachers at WHY (aw, heck, they are all my favorite teachers, bit Carissa was one of my first teachers) and I'm crossing my fingers and toes that she does well with her new space. She is continuing to teach at West Hartford Yoga, but this gives east of the river folks another yoga option.

#3) John Dorsey is presently beta-testing (his words) a small studio space (~12 students or so) in Newington. Contact John for info and perhaps an invite to one of his classes - jhd.yoga@yahoo.com

Craigslist - Missed Connections

One of my guilty pleasures is reading the Craigslist Missed Connections pages. Submitted for your amusement, this week's cream of the crop:

Theme #1 - The Family That Shoots Together....

In Line for Gun Permit (Middletown, CT)

You were the beautiful woman in line waiting to get your new gun permit, I was behind you waiting to renew mine. The line was really long, 12 people deep and I had to get to Manchester for an appointment. I thought there might be a connection there
I know there was on my part:) If you see this then perhaps it is fate...

Gun Permit - f4m - 32 (Middletown)

I was there a couple months ago. The man (mid 20s maybe?) with the dark hair and amazing blue eyes is still stuck in my head. Im pretty sure he noticed me too......I asked the finger print girl about him.....I'll be back when my temp comes in.

Your Lab Results Are Back

Hospital fitness center - m4m (Hartford)

Really enjoyed playing in private T-room. Would like to make it a regular thing (couple times a week). AM is usually good for me. Will bring the condoms next time.

Jude Comments: Now I know why my physical therapist was so late

Probably a Cheap Date

Saw you at Marshall's Sunday - m4m - 42 (Avon)

Saw you at Marshall's in Avon on Sunday. You were with the fam, I was alone. You - silver hair, glasses. Thought we had a few glances that might be more. Hit me back if you see this and are interested.

Jude Comments: The whole "you were with the fam" thing is a little awkward. Can we say "on the down low" maybe?

Mrs. Robinson, Are You Trying to Seduce Me?

same condo - m4w - 27 (Vernon)

Hello...you and I live in the same condo complex, and always smile at each other and say hi everytime we see each other. You are an older woman but I find you very sexy and attractive. Me and my buddy came over one time and had some drinks with you and a couple of your friends before. If you happen to see this and are somewhat interested send me a message back.

Make that a Grande

Starbucks Drive-Thru - m4m - 36 (Glastonbury)

You were in a blue pickup at the Starbucks on Hebron around 1:15 this afternoon. We made eye contact through your side mirror. I'd love to buy you a latte ;)

Blonde at glastonbury starbucks - m4m

enjoy talking with you, love your smile and wonderful energy.

Jude Comments: Glastonbury Starbucks a cruising zone. Who knew?

Meeting at Marshall's Suddenly Seems Like a Step Up

Southington Dollar Store - m4m (Southington)

Ironically, your name is kind of opposite where you work! I think you might be new there as I have not seen you there before. You are a cutie... would love to chat you up and find out more about you. If you have a clue who this might be you will know what I bought. To let me know it is you, let me know name and where you wear your name badge.

Jude Comments: Now we all want to know where he wears his name badge


Hey, That's My Vet

VETS OFFICE TODAY - m4m - 34 (WETHERSFIELD)

We were both at the vets office, you were picking up something you left behind for your dog, i was there with cat in blue plastic carry box. We chatted about our "kids" and how long weve each had ours. Would love to chat more.

Jude Comments: It'll never work out dude, he's a cat person.

Odd Couple

Hartford Wal Mart, March 16 - m4w - 40 (Flatbush Avenue)

Hot looking thin black girl in jeans and white high heel boots. You were with an older white guy with glasses, one dark lens and one clear lens around 1:00 PM. Would love to meet you. Please contact me. Thanks.

Jude Comments: The "one dark lens and one clear lens" thing is freaking me out.

March 18, 2009

Jill Miller at WHY

Awesome workshop this afternoon at West Hartford Yoga - Yoga Tune Up®: Hip Helpers for Classic Poses led by Jill Miller - from the Los Angeles area.

A sneaky workshop. Three hours, so we spent a lot of time doing little postures and exercises aimed at the muscle groups around the hips. Some extensive work with the ball - we do that a lot for shoulders, back, and glutes, but not so much on the side or front of hips. Then lots of different things to get into the hips - flexion and extension, abducting and adducting, rotation inward and outward.

Some really interesting lessons - working the feet and toes as a prep for the hips, seeing how movement and alignment in the feet and ankles affect the hips. A really cool hip pening exercise against the wall. And not so much classic yoga postures until we got to the climax posture - reverse triangle.

During and after the workshop, I felt all loose and wiggly - not unusual. But the real indications of just how opened up my hips were came later, as I was teaching my adult ed class in Bristol. I was demoing wide leg forward fold, and much to my surprise, set my head gentle down on the mat. That's never happened before - I've come close, but tonight I was right down there. Awesome.

Jill was a real delight - funny, wise, kept thing moving. I'll work with her again in a minute, would love to do a bit more extensive work - a multi day workshop or teacher training.

March 15, 2009

Neighborhood Walk

Zippy and I took the dogs for a long walk around the neighborhood this afternoon, taking advantage of the warm weather and longer sunrise. Some observations:

* People need to clean up! Lots of cans, bottles, wrappers on front lawns and curbside. Hopefully as the weather warms up people will be outside a bit more.

* Not so many homes for sale, no visible foreclosures. And checking Yahoo real estate and Zillow this evening, not so many properties for sale and the ones listed do not seem to be listed all that low.

* The foreclosed upon home behind us, that I was sort of interested in over the winter, is now occupied. The new neighbors seem nice (at least as far as a "hello" across the fence can determine) - they did more pruning, raking and cleaning today than the previous residents did in two years. And they put up a clothesline - points for environmentalism!

* The sidewalk along Newington Avenue, replaced over the winter as that road was dog up, widened, and repaved, is lovely for walking.

* Lots of kidlets out and about, playing hoops mostly.

I know the really warm weather is still a ways off but it was nice to be out and about. First time I put sneaks on in months!

Krishna Das at Kripalu

Trekked up to Kripalu last night with two friends / fellow yogis to see Krishna Das. Quite a lovely evening of Bhakti Yoga, a yoga of devotion to the divine through music, movement, and chanting.

We got a little bit of a late start, but my driving was sufficiently fast (what is it with yogis and driving, KD himself said something about a speeding ticket) to get us there in time for a quick Kripalu dinner (healthy and yummy) and then to the concert. We started out in the back on chairs but soon migrated to the follor near the front.

Really wonderful to see KD after all these years of listening to him at yoga and playing at kirtan. In some ways similar to how teaching yoga has taken away from my practice, playing at kirtan is different than participating in kirtan, so it was nice to just be there, chanting, letting the music carry me. He and his ensemble were quite wonderful, especially the violinist. As Shankara noted to me "we have to manifest a violin for our kirtan ensemble" and well, I think we manifested a flautist. Actually, I think she manifested us. Either way....a very wonderful addition.

Bit of a long drive, and my body is cranky from the driving as well as the sitting on the floor, bouncing around, and jyfully chanting. But worth it - a night of devotion and song, some time spent with two wonderful people, and a chance to see a performer whose music has become an important part of my life.

March 11, 2009

One of Those Days

Worked late last night on a website, so got moving a little slowly Wed morning. Worked for a bit, then headed over to the studio for a 9:30 practice. As I walked in at 9:15 I could sense the panic in the work study person's eyes - the 9:00 am All Levels teacher had not shown up and could not be reached via phone. So of course, I got to teach a clas instead of practicing.....

Grab some lunch, then back to work for a bit, and then back to the studio for a noon gentle class. Very relaxing and killer savasana, anything to be in my body for a bit. Then back to work all afternoon before heading out to Bristol for my Adult Ed class. Grab some dinner en route home, stop in to check email and visit with Zippy, and then back to the studio for meditation. Lot of runnign around and a lot of yogaish stuff.

Tomorrow, guerilla yoga with NP. And then a day of work. I'm getting dug out slowly, but the more I finish up and send out, the more work comes in the door. In these economic times, I am not complaining.

off the bed. Too tired for my own good!

Voices of the Faithful

The recent (and completely out of left field) bubbling up of the State of Connecticut vs. the Roman Catholic Church has caught my eye and ear.

As a former Catholic, I am interested. And perhaps surprising to some, I am on the side of the church hierarchy here - the state ought to keep out of the business of religion.

Of course, I hold this opinion for all the wrong (and nefarious) reasons. This proposal comes from internal church reformers (not from some legislative agenda to embarass the church), fearing the mismanagement and "old boys club" of the existing priest based financial management of parish assets and resources. Watching chuches close, watching diocesan and parish resources sucked dry by legal judgements or simple pilfering related to priest malfeasance. Who can blame them for wanting to try to save their church, their parish that they and their parents have invested in all these years?

But if one is happy to see the church buckle and fall under the weight of its own corruption, its timbers eaten away by corruption, scandal, and secrecy - well - keep on doing what you are doing, I say.

Voice of the Faithful - break away. Join the Episcopals, the Congregationalists, the Unitarian Universalists. Each person who walks away, who refuses to play by the existing rules, hastens the fall of the existing structure and perhaps the day of true reform.

I am perhaps a little harsh here. VOTF seems to have their hearts and minds in the right place. I am simply a bit more cynical, and have little hope that a popular uprising withing the church will make much of a dent in how things are run. Abosulte power corrupts, absolutely....at all levels of the church hierarchy.

March 10, 2009

Birthday Wishes

Kind of a quiet birthday.

I have been surrounded and overwhelmed with birthday wishes from friends. Thank Facebook for that one....funny because a week or so ago I considered removing my birthday from Facebook....go under the radar so to speak. That's been more typical of my style. But apparently I am visible this year. I wonder who I can blame for that? So I am basking in scores of birthday wishes: text messages, facebook messages, emails, calls, and in person.

Guerilla yoga this morning with my pal Nykki - notable because she and Amy got me a rather unique gift (a bag of Cheez Doodles, it's a long story). Also, one of the studio trees fell over, out of nowhere.

Some work before and after. Then lunch with my sister and mom who drove down from Massachusetts. We visited the studio, hit Elements for lunch (yum), and then drove over to Blue Back and WH Center for a little shopping and sightseeing. I picked up some things on the clearance rack at Lucy - sis and mom wanted to get me a little birthday something.

March 09, 2009

Eight Weeks Later

Tonight was the final class of my first Intro Series. Ten students in the room; most of the class stuck it out until the end. And after seven weeks of working on individual parts - legs, hips, core, twists, shoulders, inversions, vinyasa - I took them through a more or less regular practice tonight. It was wonderful to see them moving through postures, catching the flow, letting go. So happy for them, and proud. As they moved into a well deserved savasana, it was rewarding and inspiring to watch them.

Probably not my last intro series. But there is something special about the first time one does anything, and this is no exception. I'm off to bed, happy and warm, feeling as if I've touched some lives, perhaps lit a fire or two.

This yoga thing has infected me, and I am more than happy to pass it along!

March 08, 2009

Raising the Bar

I'm subbing at the yoga studio this morning. Shankara's 10:15 All Levels class. Subbing a weekend class is the big time, a full room of folks expecting a good class, and I'm preparing a little more than usual. Most times, I get into the studio a little early, get into my body, and mentally assemble a class. I identify a theme for the class (hips maybe, shoulders, or vinyasa, or something) and then block out the time (seated meditation, some seated postures, work on particular body parts, slotting in abs, back stretches, vinyasa, standing poses, back to the floor). I'll mentally bookmark a couple of postures I want to get in, and also some prep postures. But mostly, I wing it. Student's seem to like my sequences, my postures, my energy, and my language - so I guess I am doing soemthing right.

Not today though, I'm subbing for Shankara. People expect a good class, the room will be full, so I am formally prepping!

Subbing for Shankara is a glass half full / glass half empty kind of thing. I'm honored and flattered to be asked. And I do recognize that people have favorably compared my style in front of the room and my classes to his, so it makes sense. But I'm also vaguely suspicious that nobody else wants to fill in for Shankara, he is most beloved and respected, and his regular students are often visibly disappointed when he is not there. It takes a certain personality to watch students turn tail and walk out when he is not teaching, and not take it personally. Maybe my self-effacing "I am not worthy" attitude provides some space for that sort of rejection. Maybe because I know that it's about him (positively) and not about me (negatively).

Anyway, 10:15 this morning, All Levels at West Hartford Yoga. Be there....I've got a nice class planned!

It's the Economy Stupid....or Maybe Not

There is a catchphrase out there - "...in this economy". Not a day goes by when I do not hear it or say it. How's work? someone will ask me. Busy, I reply. That's something in this economy, they will say. And yes it is.

I am a bit dubious of the economic downturn, if the local restaurants are any judge. Last Tuesday, I went out to dinner with my studio owner (I figured I was about get fired or something, bu she just wanted to touch base). Since she is a fairly restricted food person (clean food, whole food, vegetarian leaning), and I am a gastronomic goat (I will eat pretty much anything), I let her pick a venue. Max's Oyster Bar. A Tuesday night around 6:30 - how bad could it be?

An hour wait; that's how bad. We crossed the street for Arugala, not quite so crowded but still relatively busy on a Tuesday night.

Last night, my friend Audrey was in town for a movie and wanted to go out to dinner. I let her choose - and she chose Plan B over on New Park. I was dubious (Saturday night and all) but it was early, 5:30, so I drove over there. We never got out of the car - the queue to get in was spilling out onto the sidewalk. Not unexpected (Plan B is a smallish place and popular) so I suggested Element's Bistro over on New Britain in Elmwood. Things looked good - the parking lot was pretty empty (I've seen it full), no visible line - but when we got in there, a 50 minute wait.

We ended up over at Bombay Olive. Which was also doing a nice business, with a number of tables marked Reserved, although there was room for us.

I dunno, it seems to me that if times are really all that dire, these reasonably upscale restaurants would be struggling a little bit. I know that lots of people are losing jobs, companies are downsizing, times are fraught with fear and paralysis. But so much of this economic panic seems to be based on emotion, on expecting the worst, on waiting for the bottom and the hoped for uptick. When I look around and see these restaurants still full, still a hot ticket, well, it's hard to not be just a little hopeful.

As a coda, you know I teach and practice yoga. Friday at noon, I had 25 people in my class. Granted, it was a low cost, $5 class, but it's nice to teach to a room full of people. And yesterday, I took a class with Nykki that was filled up with 60 bodies. People are still spending time and money. So I'll choose hope over fear, and maybe my economic optimism will float another boat or two.

March 06, 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different

Trekked over to Samadhi Yoga in Manchester yesterday for a 6:00 pm class with Matt. I was supposed to meet up with my buddy Alison and take a class together, but we miscommunicated (or rather, I did, I thought I had posted a note to her via Facebook but I did not, stupid since I do have her email and cell phone information!). I've heard wonderful things about Matt's class (met him briefly back when I was thinking about teacher training over there, but have never practiced with him). So it was a good chance to practice with someone new.

In any case, an interesting, All Levels class. Very pranayama focused - there is a little tendency (on my part) to see pranayama as a waste of good asana time. So a little bit of patience and letting the pranayama do its thing. I picked up a few interesting postures or ways of working, which add to my repetoire. However, I walked away with a tweaky lower back - Matt does a lot of "side to side" stuff that does not sit well with my body:

* Seated side bend and seated twist, back and forth with the breath and not sitting and breathing into one side

* A standing twist sequence that was similarly "jerky" - inhale up, exhale twist, inhale, exhale forward fold, inhale up, repeat other side. Not a lot of room or time to sink in to the twist or let it stew, and not a ton of prep work for what becomes a pretty deep posture.

* A sun salutation sequence - Surya Namaskar A but adding a twisted triangle on each side coming up. Again, just a quick "in and out" of the twist and a fairly rapid left right sequencing. My body just likes to get in there a little slower and soak into a particular side. The "left/right and back/forth" thing was not so good for me, I think my body needs to work into a particular side before getting into the deep twists, and to warm up with posture more (pranayama is fine for getting the body warm but not particular muscles groups)

Some forward fold pranayama at the end (kapalabati, uddiyana) - and more lower back stuff. Marcia's classes do the same thing to me, a lot of forward folding and right at the start of class, so I really have to warm up my lower back before class, and be conscious of it during.

Overall, I got very deep in the practice (a nice seated meditation just prior to savasana was a particularly nice touch), I really liked Matt's languaging and style, and I picked up a couple of interesting postures. But the sequencing and postures were just not all that good for this particular body. So, a good practice from a "know thyself" perspective, and I really do like to broaden my horizons with different styles and teachers, to keep from getting stale.

Hopefully, I'll get my rear end over there again some time - the rush hour drive through Hartford kind of bites, and it's hard to actually pay for yoga (I practice free down at WHY). But I do want to get together with Alison at some point....

Busy Friday

In case you are wondering why I have been off the grid the last week or so, life has just gotten busy. Today:

* Work this morning, I have quite queue of pending reports (some marked URGENT or ASAP) to crank out. Hope to put a big dent in that list today.

* Yoga at 12:15 - teaching my normal gentle class

* Set up for kirtan - between my armada of guitars, my wireless mic, and the group sound system, it's quite the production

* Wake for Maria and Mike Bollea - 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm at Sheehan-Hilborn-Breen Funeral
Home on New Britain Avenue (a blessing that it is right down the street)

* Dinner possibly with balloon friends, hopefully nearby

* Kirtan at 8:15 pm

Needless to say, Saturday will be a day of rest, recovery, and catch-up!

March 04, 2009

Amazon.com On Demand Rental now available for Roku....

Dear Judith,

You don't have to fetch your car keys or grab your wallet to watch Hollywood's hottest new releases.

Your Roku digital video player now offers more than 40,000 movies and TV episodes available to rent or buy instantly from Amazon Video On Demand—many on the very same day they’re available on DVD. Prices start at 99 cents and no subscription fee is required.

Choose from newly released movies such as The Dark Knight, Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express, or catch up on the latest episodes of your favorite TV shows such as House and Battlestar Galactica.

The new software update to access Amazon Video On Demand will be automatically delivered to you, free of charge, within the next five days. From there, just link your Roku player to your Amazon account to buy or rent right from your TV. No PC required.

New releases are just a fraction of the more than 40,000 choices available instantly from Amazon Video On Demand. See for yourself! Select the "Amazon Video On Demand" button from your Roku player's Home screen and start exploring. Amazon Video On Demand is an addition to your Roku player. Your Netflix service remains unchanged. Check out the Amazon Video On Demand Special Deals section, where you'll find popular titles like Speed Racer and Journey to the Center of the Earth for as low as 99 cents! And for a limited time, the 2009 SI Swimsuit Show will be also be offered for free.

This is just the first of many exciting new additions coming to your Roku digital video player in 2009.

Keep watching and enjoy.

Tim Twerdahl
Vice President, Roku

More information here

March 01, 2009

Just Like That

A very sad story in today's news. Two Dead of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. I was channel surfing the evening, keeping an eye on the weather, and I happened to catch this story on the local news.

Turns out I know the victims - Mike Bollea, a local balloonist, and his mother, Maria. The media is finally releasing the names, Hartford Courant story here.

I just saw Mike last night - he was at our balloon club safety seminar. He procures and funds a custom sheet cake with balloon decor (and often a frosting photo) made for these events - 2 or 3 times a year. As I chomped on the cake (yummy, with way too much sweet frosting), I chatted with him, teasing a little - what it would take to get a cake for our annual Gemini party? My buddy Robert chimed in "be careful what you wish for". M was likely to bring a few albums full of photos of his last flights, and would happily supply great detail you about each photo. He was quite the talker, and quite the character! Later yesterday, as he detailed how he had photoshopped his balloon and one other into the cover photo for our annual calendar, I teased him again. "Be honest, were there actually any balloons in that photo to start with?"

Yesterday he was detailing his annual expenditures - thousands of dollars in printer ink, photo paper, albums, sheet protectors. He was the de facto photographer of record of the CT Lighter than Air Society - if you wanted a photo of the balloon you were flying back in 1994, he could go back in the archives and pull it out. Last year, for the banquet, I put together a slide show for cocktail hour, and M sent several hundred pictures. This year, mostly aimed at him lest he overwhelm my In Box, I limited it to 30 photos per person. He sent his photos - and made sure I know he had plenty more if I needed them....

Mike never married - he lived with his mother, retired a while back from Wiremold in West Hartford. He was a kindly soul, would never hurt a flea and was always willing to step up for someone else. He was one of those balloonists who was often on the field without his balloon - helping out a friend by driving the chase van, flying for fun, or happy to take some pictures of a new balloon - he just loved the sport and the people. It's heartbreaking to know that he was just here - and is gone so quickly and unexpectedly. But as my friend Robert noted, it was also odd in a way. He and his mom were inseperable, and if she had passed away he would surely have been a lost soul, as would she if he had gone first. So doubly sad that they died together, but also a very small blessing at the heart of this great loss.

I'm quite sure he had a good day yesterday, surrounded by friends, talking about balloons, doing what he always did - take photos of the event, show off pictures of his most recent flight, talk about ballooning and plan the upcoming balloon season. I got an email from him a few days back - he flew on Wed 2/25. As usual there were 30-40 photos - documenting the entire flight - inflation, scenery, people, breakfast afterwards. I'll share a couple of photos from that email:


Right: Mike (left, with knit cap) in his balloon


Right: Mike's beloved balloon Checked-mate


Rest in Peace, Mike. Balloonists throughout the region will miss your friendly face, your passion for photography and ballooning, and I am sure as 2009 comes through, not a balloon weekend or event will roll by without something going undone, and we realize "Ah....Mike used to take care of that....". There will be an empty space on the field, and an empty chair at every post-flight breakfast, from here on.

Time for a little cry....