July 22, 2009

Falcon Ridge Folk Fest

So I'm off today for my annual vacations, retreat, homecoming, Brigadoon - the Falcon Ridge Folk Fest in Hillsdale, NY.

The fest is turning 21 this year, I go back to 1992 with the fest (maybe 1991, I forget) and I've only missed one in the ensuing years. That first year, I pulled my car into the volunteer camping area next to a woman from Long Island named Ellen - we've camped together every year since, and work the same crew. Along the way we've added members to our little enclave (which has a decidely feminist flavor of recent years) and lost some - and we have our hangers on. People come and people go, but it's always Falcon Ridge.....so many familiar ane beloved faces.

I'm borrowing Zippy's truck, the better to schlep up a tent, dining tarp, cooler, guitar, clothes, citronella candles, snacks, yoga mats and toys, computer, printers, etc. I'm there for 4 or 5 nights - it's a long campout. I'm planning to teach yoga there every morning (did so last year, big success) and I'm a crew chief in charge of performer merchandise (tracking 70+ artists, 100's of titles and 1000's of CD's) so it's not exactly an R&R week for me - yet nourishing and revitalizing.

Just learned from Facebook that my friend Mary is bringing a camper this year. We're all turning the corner around 50 these days and we've been joking that one of these days one of us will give up tenting. Guess it was her. I'm jealous - I've been secretly shopping campers on Craigs List all year! I'll bungee cord my tent to her camper in case of a maelstrom.

So I will be off the grid. I'l take lot's of photos, maybe tweet a few times or post FB status updates. See you next week.....

July 19, 2009

Bull's Eye Rash

So after my hike yesterday - I hit the shower this morning pre-yoga. And drying off, I notice a little light circle on my knee. A-ha, I'm thinking. Bull's Eye Rash. Lyme Disease. Not completely surprising - I'm hiking in Colchester, I'm the only person I know in the balloon world not to get it. I'm due.

So I google lyme bull's eye rash to get some pictures, and well this looks nothing like them. Hm.....

Then I notice that it's right under (and the same size) as the little round footpad on the bottom of my laptop. Ooops....

Still gonna keep an eye on it - if it's a laptop indention it will fade quickly (and differently) than a tick bite / lyme infection. No sense being too careful with Lyme.

July 17, 2009

Lazy Blogger - Summer Edition

I'm in a bit of malaise or something, just too much going on in my life and not a lot of time / energy to blog.

* Teaching a lot of yoga, between my 4 classes a week and subbing. Also, my girl NP is out of town so my Tues / Thurs guerilla yoga has been on hiatus, so my schedule is off.

* I'm backed up a bit at work - been stuck on a particularly irksome report for a few days, have a few in the queue, and a couple of longer term projects in need of attention.

* Falcon Ridge Folk Fest is coming - I head up for the day on Tuesday (to stake out some turf, get the lay of the land in terms of merchndise, and bring up supplies). Heading back Tuesday evening, teach my Wed morning class, then back up on Wed for good.....through Sunday or maybe Monday. I have a bunch of things to do between now and then (pick up supplies, print out and assemble merchandise tracking books, etc.)

* I'm house hunting, been looking at small capes in the New Britain area. (to all my rich WH friends who keep suggesting it, no I can not afford to live in your neighborhood, sorry). Nothing fabulous yet but I've got time.

Free Intro to Yoga: Saturday 7/18, 1 - 2 pm

In case you are bored this Saturday, please feel free to come down to West Hartford Yoga (WHY) for the Free Intro to Yoga class, 1:00 - 2:00 pm, and led by yours truly.

WHY also has a summer special going for new students - a special class card good for 10 classes, for $10. That's right, $1 a class if you get them all in (the class card is good for two weeks, but even if you are only able to hit 3-4 classes it's a good deal). New students only, and this offer good through Labor Day.

Come on down for some yoga!

July 12, 2009

The Universe Has a Strange (and Wise) Send of Humor

So I wrote this overly long and cranky post about the Shiva Rae / Kriplau workshop, which I deleted because, well, it was just me being cranky and stupid and attached to my stupid crankiness. And off I went to the studio to an all levels class to unwind the tight hammy's and tweaky lower back that two days of pretty intense workshop practice, sitting, etc. without a really long deep unwinding practice had wrought.

And feeling pretty mixed about the weekend / workshop, what do I find at the studio but an almost entirely Shiva inspired practice (thank's Linda) which was exactly what I imagined would be the worst thing ever.

However, in the course of the practice I (a) completely reconnected with all the things I find wonderful about that sort of practice, (b) got a chance to root a lot of what I learned in my body and (c) found surprisingly healing to my lower back and back of my legs. Much different to wrap all that stuff into a full practice (with lots of vinyasa, a warm up and cool down) as opposed to workshopping, where we focused on particular and often challenging asanas. I sealed the deal with a lower back healing savasana - legs up the wall, a blanket under my sacrum, and a beanbag balanced on my feet - reminding myself that I am a pretty good teacher and can take care of this body as well as those of my students. I lay there in savasana grinning like a fool (and also crying a little) in thankfulness and joy.

So if you heard cackling in the class, it was just me being conscious of the universe's ability to give me what I need (as opposed to what I want or what I think I need) - I walked away with a much less constricted body, a better appreciation for the weekend, and an appreciation for myself. Can't beat that in 75 minutes on the mat. Thanks Linda. Thanks, Shiva. Thanks, me.

Sunday Afternoon at the Opera

Been listening to Sunday Afternoon at the Opera on WWUH 91.3 all afternoon. Keith Brown really mixes is up, not yoru corporate NPR selection of mainstream opera. But rather a good solid set of show tunes this afternoon (turns out it's the new recording of Pajama Game) and now "Beautiful Dreamer:The Great American Songbook" featuring Marilyn Horne (I love those mezzos).

Officially "Selections from the Operatic repertory ranging from Baroque to Twentieth Century." Not really opera in the Mozart / Wagner / Verdi mode - and I'm totally enjoying it as I wind down from yoga weekend!

July 06, 2009

Air Line Rail Trail from East Hampton

Zippy, JDC, and I went biking yesterday - last minute kind of thing. JDC suggested a wonderful spot - the Air Line Rail Trail that runs from East Hampton over towards Colchester, Willimantic, etc.

A fairly typical rails-to-trails project, with a nice gravel path perfect for biking, this is a bit different from the Farmington Canal paths I normally because of the scenery. The old Air Line route was known for several tall viaducts (bridges) - specifically the Lyman Viaduct (1000 feet long / 137 feet high) and the Rapallo Viaduct (800 feet long / 60 feet high). Now filled with stone and cinder and encroached by vegetataion, these spots nonetheless are spectacular to bike across - elevated with a considerable drop and view on either side. Some pictures of the old structures here. And props to Martin M. Bartel for a very useful and interesting website about the trail.

In addition to the viaducts, there are plenty of cuts through the granite and brownstone, making for cool and interesting biking, and a few neat bridges - a stone arch over a small road, as well as an iron bridge over the Blackledge River.

We did about 6 miles each way - from the trail head at East Hampton to River Road in Colchester (the trail is nicely marked with mile markers). Then off to East Hampton for a bit of ice cream and window shopping - and bonus, we ran into Zippy's friends Bruce and Loucindy, who live nearby!

My crappy photos from the day here

July 03, 2009

On the Yogafront

Hit the mat last night with Ms. Barbara, who dug deep into her history to teach the Ashtanga primary series. Before class (a smattering of the 2008 and 2009 teacher trainees jumped at the opportunity) my friend Jane joked "at least there won't be any abs" and I thought that Barb wuld sneak some in there. I was right - she found time for one set of abs before we moved into a pretty standard issue Ashtanga class.

A tad bit slower than a class filled with Ashtanga diehards might be, I suspect. We moved through vinyasa between postures (not between sides) and Barb stopped to demo a few things as we moved deeper into the twists and binds part of practice, but in general it was a deep and rolling practice. I can see how Ashtanga fans love it - it really gets in deep; the body gets nice and warm and loose. So it was not surprising, really (although I was, in the moment, shocked) to find myself sitting in full lotus pose (twice, for a few seconds) near the end of practice. First time ever. And like all of my "edge" postures - handstand, wheel, forearm balance - it was both exhilerating and terrifying.

I can see how a regular Ashtanga practice might blow out the body - shoulders, wrists, back - which is why it's not a regular studio offering. But it was so delicious to work through a practice that was deep and strong and challenging. Barb might make one practice a month a regular Ashtanga practice (a treat, there are plenty of folks in the studio who would love it, and we always get calls from folks looking for this variety of yoga). "It's a hard practice to teach and assist" she said afterwards - and I encouraged her to make use of her teacher trainees - there are two classes of us - 70 yogi's - who would jump at the chance to step into the studio and assist her, take a little bit of the load off.

Afterwards, my teacher and friend Nykki who took the class (and in fact, was the instigator of this little experiment) was beaming. I practice with Nykki a few times a week, and I practice with her regularly, and it was sweet to see her really enjoy a practice at the studio. One thing I have seen is that teaching really impacts one's ability to get one's own practice in (less so for me, I do not teach all that much and my own practice has plenty of space for growth) but some of the senior teachers do not really get the chance to get deep into their bodies with the regular class schedule, they get kind of pot bound in a way and need to go outside of the studio for their yoga fix. So it's nice to see a friend and beloved teacher with that post-practice glow and buzz.....

Was pretty happy with my body last night - the usual kvetching about belly and flesh getting in the way of the deep twists and binds, of course. And the crankiness in my shoulder during vinyasa in the middle / end of the series. But my strained left calf muscle was pretty quiet - reverse triangle was really the only place I struggled and needed to modify - the warrior, triangle, pyramid, and forward fold postures (where I might expect some difficulty) were all fine. A little sensation and awareness, but no pain or strain. And it all feels good this morning....beyond the deeper, yummy ache of a strong practice.

I'm teaching a lot in the coming week:

* Friday 7/3 - WHY Power I @ 10:45 AM, $5 Gentle @ 12:15 PM
* Sunday 7/5 - Gentle @ 9:00 AM (sub for Sharon)
* Monday 7/6 - $5 Gentle @ 12:15 PM (sub for Sharon) and Core-Ab at 7:45 PM
* Tuesday 7/7 - Gentle @ 9:15 AM (sub for Sharon) and Hot @ 4:30 PM (sub for Carissa, maybe)
* Wednesday 7/8 - All Levels @ 9:00 AM, 7:00 PM class in Meriden (sub for Dennis)
* Friday 7/10 - WHY Power I @ 10:45 AM

Then off to Kripalu for a weekend workshop with Shiva Rae! Yeah!

July 02, 2009

20 Classes

Just summarizing June (cleaning up my work calendar, teaching calendar, and setting up July and August) and I note that I taught 20 yoga classes last month. That's not counting assisting (a few times) and of course all the classes I took. And looking ahead, I have 24 or so already scheduled for July and 20+ in August.

Pretty sweet - when I think that last year at this time I was just getting started...I am truly fortunate to be able to do what I love.

July 01, 2009

First of the Month Tasks

No particular reason, just kind of nice to write it all down once in a while. Always a busy day or two.....

* Download monthly ticket orders for EST, sort by type, and send report to client
* Pull Google, Yahoo, and Facebook advertisisng stats and expenses down for invoicing EST
* Put together EST online marketing spreadsheet and forward to contacts
* Pull WHY outgoing emails, craiglist ads, constant contact mailings and record in-studio hours from calendar(s)
* Capture outgoing emails from laptop for retainer clients (EST, SMS, TE)
* Capture outgoing emails from desktop for retainer clients (EST, SMS, TE)
* Export Site reports completed for SMS

* WHY invoice (email)
* EST Invoice (PDF and paper)
* SMS Invoice (PDF and Online Invoicing Site)
* TE Invoice (PDF and paper)
* TAMS Invoice (PDF and paper)

* Record monthly yoga classes - regular classes and subbing
* Erase Dry Erase calendar for present month
* Set up Dry Erase calendar for month after present one

* Export personal and business checking into spreadsheet for tax purposes, document checks recieved for subbing
* Clean up SMS sites (delete expanded files), periodically archive sites to CD ROM (copy to client) and delete aged sites from Hard Drive

Shiva Rae - The Mandala of Asanas

I'm headed up to Kripalu in a few weeks for a workshop with Shiva Rae - The Mandala of Asanas: Essential Tools for Teaching Flow

Looking forward to it on multiple fronts. I have never been to Kripalu for a workshop (just enlightement intensives and concerts). I've never worked with Shiva Rae, although two of favorite teachers have worked with her and I love what I perceive to be Shiva Rae textures in their teaching. And I frankly need a little time away from teaching - to eat good food, get away from the computer and the office, get some decent rest (she writes at 1:46 am), get some time for meditation, contemplation, and self.

Let you know how it is. Any local yogis who might be going, let me know. Maybe we can carpool.....

My Left Knee

I've been among the walking wounded the last week or so. I think I pulled or strained a muscle (gastrocnemius or soleus) in my left lower leg (inside calf muscle). A lot of walking / biking / hiking proceeding the strain. So I've been taking it easy. But I think working around the strain has also pulled my left knee out of alignment - I've had some torn cartiledge in the knee since my mid 20's that has never been acute enough to treat (surgery....no thanks) and it's all pretty benign as long as I do not stress the knee (no running), and the rest of the leg remains healthy so as to keep the knee in alignment. But I think this calf strain has upset the balance in the knee, so the knee has been cranky as well.

I noticed this big time doing a Supine abductor stretch with strap, although I'm also kind of cranky with forward folds and abs with straight legs. So I've been nursing my left leg through my practice and teaching - taking it easy.

It's actually been a really interesting anatomy / asana lesson working with this. Each posture becomes a mental checklist "not tight in my calf" or "tight in my calf" or "tight in my inner calf (ouch!)" or "tight in my outer calf (cool)" - I'm noticing that tightness (and the need to modify) in some unexpected postures. I commented to Brab tonight "if there were a way to simulate this sort of restriction in various muscles, one could really learn about postures". Now that I think about it, I think maybe Tias Little did something like that in his teacher training (maybe using a strap to restrict movement).....will have to review the material and my notes.

Practicing tonight - I cranked into a deep (for me) Hanumanasana (full splits) and Nykki kind of watched with that scared "should you really be doing that with your leg?" face - but it was fine (right leg forward) - on the other side I did a little Janu Sirsasana stretch instead.

Things are healing up, a little stronger and less pain each day, and I continue to practice consciously. A little roadbump, and an educational one at that.

House Hunting

I'm looking for a place to live.

I've been living with Zippy since 2001 or thereabouts - before that I owned a home in Waterbury for 12+ years. That homeowner experience was painful - bought the house for $111,500 (right near the late 80's peak) and sold it for $84,500 (right near the bottom; it sat on the market unoccupied, for a year). You do the math. To add insult to injury I had an ARM and was paying close to $1000/month through much of the life of the loan. And I never could refinance, so I just kind of hung on until I was finally able to get out. And in hindsight, if I had remained in Waterbury a few more years, I might have gotten out with some pretty nice $$$. But hindsight is 20/20; I was ready to leave Waterbury, moving to Hartford has been positively live changing.

So, Zippy and I have not been coupled for a few years now, and to be honest, we're kind of wearing on each other. There are two sides to it; but Zippy needs his space, needs less clutter and more calm, etc. My energy and focus is scattered - my teaching, my engineering, etc. engage me such that I do not spend much time or energy on the home front. I ned to make some pretty significant shifts in my life and that work is not getting done in my present living situation. So I'm thinking it's time to mosey along.

I'm a bit fearful of this move - I've been in a reasonably stable place financially for a while - my rent + 1/2 utilities to Zippy is peanuts, and as a result I've been able to maintain a small office (required, the house is too small for me to work out of), fund my IRA, pay my quarterly taxes, fund my HSA, have some expendable income, etc. If I add residence rent + office rent up, I have enough for a decent monthly rent or mortgage. So moving is certainly doable. Zippy and I have been discussing it for a while, and the inertia to stay put has come along two fronts - his ability to pay the bills and support himself without my assistance, and my concern about moving my personal life and my professional life in one fell swoop, and the decluttering and purging that will be required.

But it's getting to be that time. And after looking at apartment prices and options for the 2+ bedroom places I would need (to be able to work out of the house), and the required 2-3 months rent / security needed to get in, I'm seriously looking at buying something. I have a bunch of accessible money in my IRA that I can use fo ra doanpayment, and the time is certainly right (market conditions, mortgage rates, incentives) to buy something.

I'm a little fearful of a condo - between the mortgage, taxes and condo fees, I'm afraid of overextending myself and not sure how I would do with condo living (I've beein in single family homes for 20 years or so). Most single family homes on the conventional market are out of range. Been looking at foreclosures - and there are some deals out there. But I need to be cognizant of the fact that I am no longer a 30 year old with unlimited energy - I barely have enough time for life as it is so a fixer-upper is going to take some doing.

So my brain is churning (hence the 1:00 am blog posting here). I found, and went to look at a foreclosure in New Britain this afternoon - and while it looked reasonable outside (for a place that has been vacant 6 months) the inside was pretty funky (not stripped out or anything, but needing much work). Nevertheless, I am proceeding with a mortgage pre-approval and going to keep looking.....the lure of a place of my own. A room for quiet, meditation, yoga. A backyard where I can have a dog. An office in the house....all very tempting.

So, I'll throw it out to the universe. If you know of an available place (in the general axis of Plainville - New Britain - Hartford) keep me in mind. Entertaining rentals or buying something, and anything from an apartment complex, place in a multi-family, townhouse, or single family. 2 BR minimum, and I'd like to be safe with ~$800/month.