March 27, 2010

How Judy Got Her Groove Back

It has been, so far, a pretty great weekend.

Friday saw me doing a bit of work, and then teaching my 12:15 gentle class. A bit more work, then back to the studio for some training. Back home to feed and water Elo. And then off to Hartford to pick up Zippy and trek over to Univ of Hartford for Meg Hutchinson & Cheryl Wheeler, in town for the Music for a Change series.

Cheryl was Cheryl. Which is to say her opening number (Quarter Moon) had me sniffling and then sobbing, with its poignant and brave face towards aging and mortality. And she was at the same time hilarious and irreverent, confessing at one point that she had the ashes of three cats and one dog "on the shelf" and that when she came to the "...buried their own dog in their backyard..." part she pretty much always starts thinking how she ought to bury the pets one of these days.

Zippy and I both agree we'd love to hear a bit more of her serious ballads but when you have the chance to laugh your ass off listening to a wonderful artist, no real complaints.

Meg Hutchinson opened - heard her on Bob Edwards Weekend last weekend and she was wonderful (and oh so young, sigh) there as well as last night. Bought her newest CD and listened a bit last evening though I really want to give it a good listen before it goes into the regular rotation.

Afterwards, I stopped by the yoga studio to facilitate the switchover of front desk computers - today was the official launch of the studio going 100% to a new online software system, and the old desktop (kept running on life support because the old software would only run on the old O/S) needed to be retired. Turned into a two hour project - the receipt printer needed to be reinstalled and I ended up downloading (2) 475M divers before it took, and there were a lot of peripherals that needed to be tested (credit card swipe, bar code reader, cash drawer, several printers) as well as the typical new computer automatic upgrades (windows / java / flash / virus protection) - so I was there until past midnight. But....mission accomplished.

After my yoga hiatus, I made it to one of NP's patented Saturday morning celebrations of the spirit - in a room nearly packed I found space for my mat in my favorite corner. And though there were many things coming up today, and an awareness of one serious shoulder issue that drove me to bring my knees down for chaturanga and avoid up dog, I had a quite delicious and bright practice.

After practice, I hung out to help set up for the Open Studio event. Which involved Starbucks run, setting up the snacks, and assisting with two classes. I was not on tap to assist, but scheduling assistants slipped off the back burner as the studio prepared for the changeover to the new software (and class card system) so I stepped in. Completely wonderful to work with two of my fave teachers, and challenging to move through a very full room (60-70) of diverse students (from studio veterans, to new to the studio yogis, to newcomers). Very nurturing to my spirit in a lot of ways.

Snuck home around 4:30, and after a shower and a dog feeding, piled Elo in the car to head back to the studio (I left a fleece, with $$$ in the pocket) and then we wandered in search of a place for a walk (between the rain and my schedule, he's been somewhat neglected of late). Found the Deming Young Farm in Newington (very close to my place) which I have been meaning to check out - turns out to be a lovely loop around the fields - a little muddy today but I suspect it will become a regular stop. Some "leash your dog" warnings regarding the nest of the endangered Bobolink, but these seem to not nest until mid-May at the earliest, so a good spot to let Elo run during non-prime hours.

Happily, Elo was well behaved, and a good chance for a little bit of training - with a dozen or so rewarded rounds of fetch (he brought the tennis ball right back and dropped it at my feet once he figured out the treat angle), some come and sit practice, and even a sit / stay (with a bit of control) as another dog walked by. My furry little friend is totally sacked out right now, so let's call this one a win. And the field was filled with foraging robins - a wonderful springtime sight.

Tomorrow, up to MA to see my niece in the chorus of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Nashoba Regional High School.

While I am not foolish enough to write off the malaise and concerns of the past few weeks following one good weekend, nevertheless it seems that winds have shifted, and life is much brighter. Several of my yoga friends commented on my absense the past few weeks, so I guess I was missed. It's nice to be back....

March 26, 2010

Font Critique Bureau



Really, NBC Connecticut, this is the best you could do? Ick.

Sidebar, what happened to WVIT 30? Your call letters and UHF channel are nowhere to be found on your website. Curious. Both WFSB Channel 3 and WTNH Channel 8 remain rooted to their broadcast roots.

Kind of makes sense in an era when most folks get their television off a cable, where NBC is sitting right there on Channel 4. But still, kind of curious. I'll have to check out the news to see if you've unbranded your broadcasts the same way you've unbranded your website....

Professional Organizer - Second Hand

Talked to my buddy Cheryl yesterday - she had a professional organizer come to her place (very successfully) and was sharing some of the changes this woman had suggested. Specifically, she removed the cover from her second sink and put her dish drainer down inside; her drying dishes had been piling up, falling off the sink, etc.

Now, I too have a double sink. I've been kind of luxuriating in having both sinks open - using the second sink to wash veggies, to stack dirty dishes, to rinse when I wash. Having the second sink has probably given me permission to let the dishes go a bit longer than I ought....

But I've also had my dish drainer (and one of those plastic things to catch the water) on my counter to the right of my sink, eating up 4 sq feet of counter space, which is at a premium in this place. My one free length of counter space has been crowded - coffee maker, coffee canister, knife block, toaster, canister full of spoons and utensils, cutting board.

So as I spoke to Cheryl on the phone, I moved my drainer into the second sink (perfect fit, a good omen). Voila - an entire new expanse of counter. Not sure how this will work out long term - but right now, it seems like the right decision. So I loved my coffee maker and coffee canister over to the new space, and everything seems a little less cluttered and a little more useful.

March 23, 2010

Hiatus

I have been experiencing an uncharacteristic step back from my yoga practice.

Started a month or so ago - I stepped onto the mat with one of my favorite, and invariably healing, teachers, and lost my shit. One knows that yoga brings up emotions locked in the body's deep tissues and faschia, so I am not unfamiliar with an occasional wash of tears as I move into a deeper place in my body, but this was different. From the moment I stepped onto my mat that day, I was a goner - tears streaming down my face through the entire practice, replacing the sweat that often drips onto my mat, and a pile of tissues from wiping my eyes and blowing my nose accumulating beside my space.

In the ensuing weeks, I've really been struggling. At the surface, there is crankiness (ranging from fatique to aches to pain) in my upper body, specifically shoulders and elbows. Knee down chaturanga has become almost de rigeur for me, and a vinyasa practice with a lot of sun salutations is torture. But deeper, there is a level of tiredness. Standing postures seem to be unaffected - but in general I'm just a lot more tentative moving onto my mat.

As a result, I've been for the most part, off the mat. I do a quiet, stretching practice most days on my own, and I move through much of the practice when I teach, but the 5x a week, hot / power classes that have been my bread and butter for the past 4-5 years have been out of the question. It's been a very frustrating, humbling, and interesting experience. Yoga has become such an important part of my life - physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. So not being on the mat with my friends, my teachers, and my community has been really hard.

Not sure what this is about. My theories are all over the map. Getting older (my birthday fell in the past month, and I'm on the cusp of the big 50) - and I am certainly butting up against the limits and mortality of this particular physical form. The change of seasons. Some cold or flu that has sunk down into my body (I am historically pretty rugged and most seasonal things do not lay me low, so it's completely possible that I have been sick but not really debilitated). Perhaps just a wearing out of my upper body from years of strong yoga, especially considering my extra weight. I've even considered something more esoteric like Lyme Disease - I have plenty of friends and a dog who have gotten that. And finally, I've been processing some very deep grief of late (related to living alone, to mortality, to my lack of a significant other), and perhaps the toxins and chemical release of that grief has been moving through my body and affecting my practice.

Still figuring it all out. I have a good arsenal of resources to call upon - massage, therapy, journaling, food knowledge, friends, and of course, yoga. But right now I am deep in my stuff. So if you've noticed a bit less Jude in your life of late, I'm in my cave, working on my stuff....

March 17, 2010

Madison So Long

I've found myself a comfy chair with a side table and two wall outlets - charging my laptop and iPhone en route home from Madison.

All in all a very successful trip. My client out here has been fairly dormant (in terms of work) since 2008 or so - and it looks like we have a bit of work laid out in the coming months. A nice little project - hopefully not too overwhelming. I got to meet lots of new faces and a primary technical contact. All went well, we transferred a lot of knowledge, got the project laid out, and set up a lot of the infrastructure to make things work going forward.

I also snuck in (a) a killer hot yoga class and (b) a side trip to Appleton to nosh with some old friends. And, browsing through the airport gift shop, I got some U of W apparel - Zippy is an alum so I got him a sweatshirt in payment for babysitting Elo, and I got myself a few shirts (I kind of have a crush on Bucky Badger)

I'll be back in Madison soon enough - May perhaps - so having a strong and resonant yoga studio nearby is a big plus.

Heading back today - afternoon / evening flights through Chicago that will not get me in until late. But I'm on my way home!

March 15, 2010

Amazing Yoga

I try to find yoga when I travel; sometimes I strike out - the practice is just not that resonant. Sometimes I get lucky, and the practice rocks. This trip I got lucky.

The studio is Inner Fire Yoga in Madison. A rocking, vital studio - I jumped into a 6:30 Power Flow with Jackie Meacham. Just an hour, but boy did we move.

In some ways, it was a "greatest hits" class - we just rolled through a lot of strong postures that my body loves. Vira I and II. Trikonasana. Forward folds. Reverse triangle. A couple of rounds of King Dancer. Dekasana. Crow. Eagle. Camel. Bow. Flip your dog. Pigeon. Bridge / Wheel. Headstand. What else you got?

Totally hot and sweaty - if I feared not getting my yoga on in 60 minutes, no fears there. I missed having a slip-proof mat (traveling with an inexpensive Wai Lana) but I survived. Jackie did a nice job of getting us moving quickly but at the same time easing us in - so my lower back was fine, sometimes these stronger vinyasa classes where we dive right in leaves me a little cranky in the back.

Felt a little cheated at the end (short savasana, and not a lot of time to take advantage of the heat with some seated or supine twists, binds, or forward folds, I could have soaked in it for another 30 minutes) but not unexpected with a 60 minute class.

Looks like I will be back to Madison over the next few months - so great to have a yoga studio that resonates, just 3 miles from the client site!

Inner Fire Yoga looks like an amazingly active studio - with two large rooms, and from what I can see, full classes and regular students. Their hot yoga seems suspiciously Bikramesque (26 postures and 2 breathing exercises performed in precise order) but the Power Flow class is right up my alley, with the options of an Inner Fire class and Yin class.

And they have a special $9 rate for yoga teachers. Sweet.

I will most definitely be back!

March 09, 2010

Making Lists

I spent some time this morning putting together a list of things to take care of in preparation for a family visit. It was pretty mundane - ranging from the routine (making the bed, doing the dishes, doing a load of laundry) through the occasional (cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming) and a handful of exceptional (a pile of cables that morphed in the office, clearing a path to the heretofor unused basement door). And one by one I banged 'em out - the place got cleaned up and organized. A highly effective morning.

Clearly, I like to work from lists. A good lesson that I can perhaps implement as I try to clean out the odds and ends of projects that have been hanging around for a while.

Spring Fever & New Toy

Took a hike with friends yesterday - the Salmon River lollipop trail. 6.2 miles starting at the Comstock Covered Bridge and ending up at Day Pond State Park, then loop back.

Went with friends and their 9 month old baby, plus two dogs (one of theirs, one my buddy Shambu, borrowed for the day). I would feel all punk about my early spring outdoorsiness except one of my companions carried her 9 month old in a belly sling the whole trip. And nursed him while hiking. Puts it all in perspective.

I tried out my new toy - an iPhone App that tracks hikes (and runs and walks and bikes) via the GPS and dumps the data out to a website. The map is from the site, everytrails.org

Nice to be outdoors this early in the season. Not a lot of spring out there yet (cept for some cultivated daffodils beginning to show here and there) but the trail was relatively dry, just one little ice patch, and the day was sunny and beautiful!

Welcome spring!

March 06, 2010

Elo in the House

Elo the dog has come home. When I moved into my new place, Zippy and I mutually decided to keep our shared dogs together. Made sense - the dogs were bonded, Zippy's place has a fenced in yard, and my new place (condo, no yard to run, etc.) was not particularly dog friendly.

But this past week, Zippy called up to vent - Elo is a handful under the best of circumstances, and I suspect I was the pack Alpha back in the day. So Zippy has not had a lot of luck working with him, Elo's strength and pulling do not work well with Zippy's physical limitations (some arm and wrist stuff). The straw that broke the camel's back was a trip to the vet - both dogs were too much for Zippy to handle.

So....tonight on the way back from the airport, I picked up a new roomie.

The ride to the house, he was pretty stressed (whining, panting) and he spent a while running around the condo similarly nervous. But he seems to have settled in...finally. I'm sure it will take some time. I took hom out for a couple of walks already - just to get him used to going out on the leash (as opposed to letting him out back to run) and I am sure I will need as much training as he does as we work out the new rhythms and restrictions.

I stopped by Ocean State and picked up a couple of low cost dog beds (one for the basement, one for the living room) as well as some treats and chews....I figure in a new place and without his buddy Callie, he'll be a bit bored and mischievous without some additional distrations.

Little concerned that he will bother the next door neighbor. We'll see how things play out. With any luck, her daughter will become Elo's buddy....

But it's nice to have my little buddy back in my life, and I think I'll feel a little safer with him here (both when I am here and when I leave the place alone).

March 05, 2010

Tulsa

A quick trip, in and out, to Tulsa. Spent this evening making measurements, successful on two counts (a) we were able to capture the data and save waveforms, fairly quickly and (b) the changes my client has made to their grounding and bonding have resulted in significantly reduced electrical noise.

Fly back home tomorrow - will be home before 9:00 pm - earlier if I can sneak on a morning flight.

March 02, 2010

Melt Down

It came out of nowhere. I hit the mat this morning with Nykki....after subbing last night's Core Ab class. Did not really feel out of sorts - had a little headache (highly unusual) last night which I put down to dinner (baked cod) and I have been craving the mattress and covers each morning; I've probably been staying up too late. But all in all...I did not feel particularly good or bad walking into the studio.

But as soon as we started our asana practice, this overwhelming feeling of sadness came over me. I struggled with it for a few minutes before giving in - stepping off my mat to find a box of tissues. For the next 60 minutes, I practiced yoga with tears welling up in my eyes, rolling down my cheeks, and dropping onto my mat. By the time practice was over - a pile of tissues from dabbing my eyes and blowing my nose. In short - I lost it on the mat.

Not 100% sure what it is all about. Certainly, there are places in my life touched by sadness - loneliness, both in general and lacking a relationship. Getting older, feeling the mortality of this body. Perhaps even related to the change of seasons. I suspect my walk round the reservoir had something to do with it - spotlighting each of these (I walked alone, my body felt a little sore and stiff this morning, and it did put me in touch with the seasons).

And yet, there is also the possibility that I am dragging up some deep pain - between my losing weight and practicing, plenty of opportunity to draw out some pain from within my body, releasing the combination of chemistry and hormones that spell S-A-D.

After class, I wandered off alone. It was a beautiful pre-spring morning, bright sun, warming air. My sadness slowly cleared as the day went on, although still some little bits resonate.

Yoga. Freaking yoga. So damn beautiful, so deep and powerful. Just breath and postures, so simple - hard to imagine it turning the key to deep emotional, psychological, and spiritual work. And yet it does.....

Reunited

Zippy called this evening, off the hook. He took our two dogs, Elo and Callie, to the vet. (A huge tactical mistake on his part, and completely not needed, he could have left Elo home) but had a horrible experience trying to control them both. His message "I'm giving Elo away...."

Uhm, no, you are not. I called him up and talked him off the proverbial ledge - and the upshot is, I'm going to bring Elo to live with me over at the condo, starting Sunday.

Not 100% sure this will work out - the condo is not a huge place, and there is no fenced in backyard to let the dog out and run. I can possibly put a leash out back, but mostly, I'll be walking him. And I'm a little concerned about barking and the neighbors and stuff; he's not really much of a barker. We'll see....

But it will be nice to have the little f*cker around, give me an excuse to get out and get more exercise. We'll see if I can get him in a little better place, training wise, with me being around more (working out of the house) and him being the only dog.

So, once more, I'm gonna be a dog owner.