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Tuesday, September 20, 2005 

New Home

I've moved!!!

Come see me at:

http://driste.typepad.com


 

sprouting ambitions

photo from http://www.yougrowgirl.com

I am inspired by this site to dip my green toe into the soils of gardening once more. I love digging my hands in dirt and potting soil, and watching my plants flourish, but lately I've been watching them droop as my dedication and enthusiasm for them as wilted. So I will start planning my vegetable container garden over the next few months. Why containers, you ask? I still throw my money away every month (I rent). If I have to up and move (which I haven't had to do for 4 years.... knock on wood), I want to take my beloved plants with me. Besides, this time next year I should have my own brand-spankin-new house (Knock on wood!!!!!) and will want to bring my leafy green friends with me to scorching hot Paso Robles.

I'll be recruiting my hubby to help me build several portable beds for the backyard. He doesn't know this yet. And in the meantime, I'm saving up for a compost bin, selecting my seeds, and reading up on gardening.

On my garden wish list:

This, or this (isn't it cute?), or this for lazy composting*
This, for germinating seeds in the garage. That is, if Tay will sacrifice a little corner of his workbench.
This, for sporting while I toil in the soil.

All that, some wood for the beds, some sand, mulch, potting soil, newspaper, and I should be good to go.

So this is now my gardening blog as well. I may have to move to Typepad or Movable Type so I could categorize all my entries for archiving and ease of use. Just think.... my categories would be as follows:

My Stomach Hurts
My Knee Hurts
I Think I Might Be Preg-o
I Heart Ashtanga
I Heart Wine
I Heart Sushi
I Heart Liberals

Can you think of any others?

*If I choose to save a few bucks, I will be using this article to make my own little compost bin. Come to think of it, maybe I'll get moving on that this weekend....


Monday, September 19, 2005 

sleep fighting

Terrible Horrible No Good Really Bad dreams last night. Perhaps due to the abnormally large burrito I nibbled on last night at the Taco Temple. And I say nibble because, although I did my best to eat like the true champ that I am, my best was not good enough for this monster. Upon receiving the plate from my lovely tattoed waitress, I mumbled "holy shit, it's bigger than my head," while I pushed the basket of chips far far away (too late, I'm afraid). She said, "we aim to please."

About 30 minutes later, I put down my fork, unable to fathom taking another bite.
Tay: You barely made a dent!
Me: But I ate so much! It was just so big!
Tay: It was bigger than your head!
Me: That's what I said!
Tay: You did? When?

Yes, that's right. We both compare food items to body parts. This was one of those moments when I realize we're truly MFOE.*

Then our waitress had the gall to offer the dessert menu. To which we loudly replied in unison, "NO."

After dinner we enjoyed a lovely sunset on the beach, a truly rare sight to see in Morro Bay in September as our coast is normally blanketed by fog in summer.

And then. Much later. The dreams.

Running for my life from war, from guns, from bombs. Fighting back with grenades, with guns, with every fiber in my being. Trying to protect my loved ones, trying to keep everyone together, but losing people one by one. Waking up trembling, I tried to shake it off, tried to think about meadows or Kula or flowers or jogging in the redwoods..... all the visions that usually bring me peace and joy. Fell back to sleep and back into the dreams right where I left off. When I woke up a second time, I got up and took a little walk around the house, massaged some lavendar essential oil into my temples and below my nose, hoping the scent would change my subconscious paths. No such luck. By the time my alarm went off at 5, I felt physically heavy and exhausted from fighting all night.

The fear from the dream crept into my practice, causing self doubt and self deprication throughout each pose. Mentally, it truly was my worst self practice to date.

And then, after showering.....

Tay: I thought you were getting up for yoga this morning.
Me: I did.
Tay: No way! You just let kula out and got right back into bed!
Me: Nooooo.... I came back to bed after an hour and a half of yoga.
Tay: I don't believe you.

So did I dream it all? No, of course not. Tay's just delusional at 5 a.m. Can't say that I blame him. And he made me smile. For the first time that morning.




*For those of you who haven't seen Sleepless in Seattle thousands of times (yes, I have. And yes, I know I'm a loser), this means Meant For Each Other.


Sunday, September 18, 2005 

NERVES

I'm pulling out my hair this morning, reciting sanskrit, reciting the opening prayer and the mangala mantra for closing, quizzing myself on series placement:

"UPAVISHTA KONASANA! After Baddha Konasana, before Supta Konasana!"

"SETU BANDHASANA! After Urdhvha Muka Paschimottanasana, before Urdva Dhanurasana!"

And so on. On my own, I know the series down pat. But in front of 15 people, leading the series, I'm scared I'll falter. Skip poses. Forget asana names. Get caught bumbling verbal cues.

Today's my first day.


In our previous studio, before it closed, the class basically consisted of the same group of people, week after week. New faces would come trickling in one by one, but for the most part, everyone was comfortable with the series and nothing was too new. Last week, our first week in the new location with rotating "instructors", there were 5 or 6 new faces who had never tried ashtanga. We hadn't even realized that the studio owner had listed the class on the schedule.


I hope there's no newbies today.


Friday, September 16, 2005 

Vin, Vino, Wine


Pinot Noir in bin, fermenting



Pinot Noir off the press



Lalo at the press



Chardonnay Grapes from Oliver's Vineyard



Chardonnay grapes being poured into press





Chardonnay being pressed off



Barrels



Barrel Room in the Cellar


 

vacation

If everyone in America gave up just one day to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina (not the same day because that would just be chaotic)..... well, just think about what could be achieved in a small amount of time.

I've been thinking a lot about what I can do. Monetarily, I don't have much to give, but I gave what I could to a friend whose company was matching employee donations then doubling the match. For every $100 an employee would give, the company would give $200. I don't have any more vacation time for the year and can't afford to take much time off, but maybe come January 1st I could volunteer to help build some houses for Habitat for Humanity. I'm pretty handy with a hammer and nail. I can hear Tay sniggering at the thought somewhere out there.

And PEOPLE! The Red Cross has received over 80% of all donations. Never before has one disaster relief charity received such a large percentage of donations. Wonderful, but The Red Cross can only do so much. Diversify your donations! Give to Noah's Wish to help the thousands of abandoned pets, Habitat for Humanity for rebuilding efforts, Direct Relief for medical aid. There are other worthy charities to investigate as well.


Thursday, September 15, 2005 

Delay Of Game

Some bad news on the New-Home front. Our design approvals and building permits have taken longer than originally expected. We're looking at a ground-breaking date of late September-early October. Since there's a lot of foundation work due to the steep slope of the property, this means we'll be cutting into the rainy season before framing and roofing is completed which could get very expensive. Especially if we have another heavy season like last year's. So ground breaking has been delayed until spring. Very sad news for two people tired of wasting money on rent and sick of sharing a house with a stranger who likes watching Poker on ESPN and Baywatch reruns on the living room television.

A roommate can be good for somethings when hubby is not at home during critical moments such as: "Which dress do I wear to pour wine at black tie benefit? Which shoes?"

And when he says, "That one, those ones" I still wear the other one, the other ones. Just like I do with hubby. It's tradition.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005 

Yin

This a.m. was not an ashtanga a.m. Not one bit. I got through my sun salutations, then went into supta virasana for a good long meditative stretch. Then bound supta baddha konasana for another 5 minutes. Gentle paschimottanasana, sarvangasana, gentle matsyasana, sirsasana, and savasana.

I love my ashtanga practice. I love the strength of it, the vinyasa, the all encompassing breath, the bandhas, and every one of the poses (except parsvottanasana. I don't know why, but I just don't like that one). I consider myself an "ashtangini" more so than a "yogini". When I don't practice, I wish I had. But sometimes I feel it's too much fire for a pitta person. This morning I felt burnt out by all that fire. Yet I feel a twinge of rebellion followed by guilt when practicing anything else.....

I left the house this morning after my practice with this peace and tranquility radiating throughout. I had a small smile on my face and in my heart most of the morning. Very similar to all other mornings after practice, but didn't feel that weight in my shoulders or that nagging in my wrists or that opening in my hamstrings from a physically taxing practice. But now it's later in the afternoon, and I'm wishing I had my ashtanga practice as my foundation this morning. And why is that?

Is it because I've been binding fingers in Supta Kurmasana the past few mornings? And I wonder if this time I could have gotten my feet crossed over my head without pulling out all my hair? Is it because I've finally got perfectly straight legs in all navasanas and my torso is lifted and my boat isn't sinking? Is it because Dropbacks are such an adrenaline rush and now I'm ready for a nap with a capital N? Do I need that extra fire after all? Is it Sunday's class that I'm scheduled to lead? Am I afraid I'll forget a pose or two or a sanskrit name or a verbal cue? Or is it just morning ritual and habit now?


Monday, September 12, 2005 

Wedding Pictures!

I spent some time uploading some of my pictures to Flickr this weekend. And one year later, I finally got my wedding pictures up so friends and family can take a gander.

Here's my slideshow:


Friday, September 09, 2005 

I HATE HARVEST.....

Okay, so hate is a strong word, and I don't like using it. But as I mentioned in my last post, I volunteered to help with punch downs yesterday. As a result, I was at work until 7:30 last night punching down by myself. Our lab tech was doing pump-overs (some fruit goes into our big tanks. For these, we take a hose and a pump and pump the juice from the bottom of the tank on to the top), and the rest of the cellar workers were bringing new barrels into the barrel room and prepping them for the press. Usually when I help out with punch downs I'm one of three or four people, so end up punching down maybe 6 or 7 bins. And even then I break out a sweat. After punching down 30 bins last night, I'm in pain today. I've got massive blistering on my hands, my abs are spasming, my back is spasming, and my triceps are.... well.... they hurt. And that means I'm a wimp because the cellar workers do this three times a day, every day, for several weeks.

I tip my hat.... no..... I bow to the feet of those cellar workers and winemakers all over the state working 12 to 15 hour days 7 days a week during harvest (which can span mid August until late October or even early November), making these wines. Also, to the vineyard crews and managers who are in the vineyards harvesting from 5 a.m. until well into the afternoon. They are at the will of the weather, kicking it in to 5th gear at any sign of rain (rain during harvest equals bad fruit. Think osmosis) or heatwaves (heat spikes the sugar levels). I have friends who bitch about the price of good wine. But once you see the backbreaking work, sweat, and tears that go into every bottle of wine (well, not every bottle.... Charles Shaw and other bulk-wine makers are in a different arena, as far as I'm concerned), you understand why.

That being said, I still hate buying wine without my industry discount.

I'm so cheap.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I haven't mentioned Katrina in this blog..... others are so eloquent in their words, I've chosen to read their words and meditate on them. C.K. has some food for thought, and Badgerbag has up and flown to Austin to help out in the Astrodome. She called upon her blogging community for donations to help with her flight, and her blogging community responded with overwhelming support. This nurse writes about her experiences working in a flooded hospital in New Orleans. Absolutely horrifying and heartbreaking. But uplifting as well that so many people kept their head and gave so much of themselves in the midst of chaos to help those around them survive.

It's impossible to wrap my mind around the span of this tragedy. Our country has failed the people of New Orleans miserably. And no one at fault is apologizing. We wonder how it's possible that something like this can happen and our government can't snap into action to fix it. Perhaps the FEMA appointments made by our president and the lack of experience (but plethora of campaign support) of those appointed might have played a role.

Oh dear, I'm getting angry again.


 

Outrage

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. From anger to outrage.

From CNN, Sept. 1st:

FEMA chief: Victims bear some responsibility
Brown pleased with effort: 'Things are going relatively well'

(CNN) -- The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency said Thursday those New Orleans residents who chose not to heed warnings to evacuate before Hurricane Katrina bear some responsibility for their fates.

Michael Brown also agreed with other public officials that the death toll in the city could reach into the thousands.

"Unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings," Brown told CNN.

"I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans," he said.

"And to find people still there is just heart-wrenching to me because, you know, the mayor did everything he could to get them out of there.

"So, we've got to figure out some way to convince people that whenever warnings go out it's for their own good," Brown said. "Now, I don't want to second guess why they did that. My job now is to get relief to them."

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin have both predicted the death toll could be in the thousands.

Nagin issued a "desperate SOS" Thursday as violence disrupted efforts to rescue people still trapped in the flooded city and evacuate thousands of displaced residents living amid corpses and human waste. (Full story)

Residents expressed growing frustration with the disorder evident on the streets, raising questions about the coordination and timeliness of relief efforts.

Sniper fire prevented Charity Hospital from evacuating its patients Thursday. The hospital has no electricity or water, food consists of a few cans of vegetables, and the patients had to be moved to upper floors because of looters.

Brown was upbeat in his assessment of the relief effort so far, ticking off a list of accomplishments: more than 30,000 National Guard troops will be in the city within three days, the hospitals are being evacuated and search and rescue missions are continuing.

"Considering the dire circumstances that we have in New Orleans -- virtually a city that has been destroyed -- that things are going relatively well," Brown said.

Nevertheless, he said he could "empathize with those in miserable conditions."

Asked later on CNN how he could blame the victims, many of whom could not flee the storm because they had no transportation or were too frail to evacuate on their own, Brown said he was not blaming anyone.

"Now is not the time to be blaming," Brown said. "Now is the time to recognize that whether they chose to evacuate or chose not to evacuate, we have to help them."

Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, whose father was a longtime New Orleans mayor, said there was "plenty of blame to go around," citing underinvestement by federal authorities over many years "despite pleas and warnings by officials."

Earlier on CNN, Brown was asked why authorities had not prepared for just such a catastrophe -- given that the levees were designed to withstand only a Category 3 hurricane and Katrina was stronger than that.

"Government officials and engineers will debate that and figure that out," he replied. "Right now, I'm trying to focus on saving lives. I think we should have that debate, but at an appropriate time."

Brown said Katrina was unlike other hurricanes in which the magnitude of the disaster typically subsides after the initial blow. That was not the case Monday, when the Category 4 storm blew ashore.

"What we had in New Orleans is a growing disaster: The hurricane hit, that was one disaster; then the levees broke, that was another disaster; then the floods came; that became a third disaster."

Brown said he had to be careful about getting rescue teams to the site earlier.

"Otherwise, we would have faced an even higher death toll," he said.




Thursday, September 08, 2005 

Harvest is HERE!

My favorite time of the year, harvest is in full swing here at the winery. Bins of Pinot Noir are coming in from the vineyard, sorted on a vibrating table, partially destemmed (some are fermented whole-cluster or partially whole-cluster), then placed back in a 1-ton bin and trucked into the winery right under my office. Once the grapes begin to ferment, punch-downs begin! Every day, three times daily, we grab one of these (only ours have handles at the top), climb up a little scaffolding, and punch down each bin. The main objective is to break up the "cap", which is the berries, stems, and skins that float to the top, and push it back down into the wine. This way, we keep the cap moist, we introduce more oxygen to the bin (which in turn helps speed up fermentation), we dissipate the heat that naturally occurs in fermentation, we keep mold and harmful bacteria from forming, and we enrich the wine with color, flavor, tannin, and other phenolic compounds. After a few days of sitting and fermenting with the skins, the wine is pressed off and transferred to barrel.

Chardonnay goes through a more simplified process. The grapes come in, they're sorted, destemmed, then pressed. The juice is then transferred to barrel where it will ferment sans skins.

My yoga practice has gone out the window since I've volunteered for punch-downs this week. Manual labor really takes it out of you. My pecs feel like they're ripping open at the side seams. I am reminded every time I move my upper body that my obliques are suffering as well. My triceps are like jell-o. If I tried one controlled chaturanga, I think I'd fall on my face. Seriously.

Instead of physical asana, I've been spending more time meditating, which is a challenge for me as I am a mover. My nose itches. My butt itches. Sitting still is very difficult for this one. But I'm seeing improvement.

Next week I'll try to weasel out of some of the punch-downs so I can resume my ashtanga practice.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005 

spoke to soon

Regarding my thoughts on teaching ashtanga...... Strike that. Apparently I have been volunteered to be one of four rotating instructors taking over the Sunday a.m. led primary since Jen left. Our studio closed, so another studio has offered us a similar time slot as long as we can provide instructors. No one was willing to step up as a weekly instructor, since it's the only ashtanga class in San Luis Obispo and we all want to practice. So an agreement has been made. Oh. Okay. Beautiful. So I will be teaching Ashtanga after all. Or, at least, I'll be leading primary.

But I am thrilled to have a Sunday led class to return to.


 

Knackered


No ashtanga this a.m.

Call me crazy, but I'm headed to an all-levels class at my friend's yoga studio. I feel drained and beaten down from the weekend, my shoulders ache, my feet hurt, I'm tired. So hatha this morning, ashtanga this evening once I've had a chance to recover a bit.

The weekend was fabulous! Poor Yellow was stretched quite a bit since they still had some planning to do when they arrived in Mill Valley. But all the events were so fun, and the wedding was so beautiful. We had Friday afternoon mani's and pedi's for the bridesmaids and bride, then rehearsal, then rehearsal/out of towners dinner (mayhem and fun), then out for drinks.....

(Beer cozy shown is one of our favors)

Saturday, kayaking through the Saucelito bay, then a bar-b-q at Paradise Beach Park.

Sunday, 8 a.m. yoga with yours truly, hair, make-up, stress, champagne, and THE WEDDING!

Monday, brunch, check-out, drive to Santa Cruz, drop off Mom, drive to San Luis Obispo, collapse.

I just dropped Tay off at the airport (at 4:15 a.m. OUCH) where he's whisking away to Montana with his dad for a 3 day fishing trip to celebrate Pop's 60th. Poor Tay will be shell-shocked from travel by the end of the week, and he leaves again on Saturday for some other far-flung destination.

------------------------------------------------

My Sunday a.m. yoga class went pretty well. I was pressed for time, as everyone showed up at 8 a.m., gabbed, talked, kids running, handstands, cartwheels.... I couldn't get them into Samasthiti until 8:15 or 8:20, and people needed to leave by 9 for church. So I did what I could. A sprinkling of sun salutations, some standing poses, paschimottanasana, purvottanasana, baddha konasana, 3 navasanas, 3 ustrasanas, and a long savasana with a neck and shoulder massage. It was fun, and I got a lot of positive feedback afterwards (but would anyone really tell me I sucked?).

More thoughts of teaching have surfaced. Not teaching ashtanga, as I wouldn't want to teach without practicing under Guruji and Sharath, but teaching vinyasa classes here and there. Or at least getting on some sub lists and taking it slow to start with. When I start my technical writing, I'll need a few things on the side. I'd like to teach yoga. I'd also like to take some massage therapy or reflexology classes. Above all else, I just never want to stop learning. Also, as a massage therapist or reflexologist, I could travel to Mysore (years from now, but it's still a palpable goal) and work if I need to. Pick up small editing jobs now and then through on-line correspondence, practice, live the life I devour daily through Vanessa and KJS's blogs. Someday this truly could be my reality.


Wednesday, August 31, 2005 

L is for.....

LADIES' HOLIDAY!!!! Which is finally here!!! It's like that person who walks up behind you when you're gossipping about them. It just needed to be mentioned. It needed to make an entrance. So, I apologize for worrying anyone, and don't worry mom, I'm a-okay!

And I'm glad it's ladies' holiday today because since The Republican couched it with us last night, I would have had to go to the gym to practice. Also, we were out until almost midnight last night and I didn't eat dinner until 10 p.m. Neither of which are conducive to a 5 a.m. ashtanga practice.

So now I can relax and take a few mornings off to rest, rejuvenate, and SLEEP IN!

Thursday is the Gridlock Challenge with Kathy, and I need all the rest I can get so I can be at my best. And lay the Smack Down on her. However, I just tried to find the page, and it looks like it's not working. So maybe we'll have to arm wrestle and call it even or something.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005 

System Failure

Just realized......

Day 3 of what should be Ladies' Holiday (at least according to my Pill).

And still no Ladies' Holiday.

Now entering month two of amenorrhea.

I'm too young for menopause.

Perhaps I should take a fourth preg-O test. Or make yet another doctor's appointment. Maybe they'll give me another ultrasound. It is kind of fun staring at that screen and trying to figure out what the heck one's looking at.

Me: "That's my kidney? Really? How can you tell?"

I am experiencing mild discomfort in my abdominal area. Could be cramps, or perhaps it is only that butter croissant I had at breakfast. Butter equals "no bueno" when one is lactarded, but I continue to ignore that. Call me ignorant. Call me stupid. Call me late for my ladies' holiday. Just don't call me late for breakfast.


 

SHOES


Okay, so here's the truth. The reason I decided to wear my wedding shoes in Yellow's wedding instead of buying gold strappy shoes is because I found THESE shoes. And I'm obsessed with them. And I'm wearing them right now.

My feet are in shock as they have not seen the inside of a shoe (besides hiking shoes and flip-flops) in I don't know how long and neither do they. But every so often, even the lowest maintenance non-shoe wearers such as myself have to splurge on a pair of show-stopping, outstanding heels.

When I woke up this morning, I had been dreaming that I was sick. I was lying on the couch, and my mom was bringing me chicken soup, Nana's soup, Jell-o, 7Up, and soda crackers: all the foods she would feed me when I was sick as a little girl. My alarm went off, and I felt sick. I made it to my mat (somehow), got through standing, then went right into Savasana where I promptly fell asleep. I felt a little guilty not pushing myself through primary, but I can't afford to get sick right now. Have to be at optimal health in order to help Yellow orchestrate this weekend's events. I O.D.'d on Vitamin C before I left, drank a litre of water, and now I'm feeling much better. Must remember to pick up Airborn on the way home this evening.

We have an event here at the winery after work: a mixer of sorts for all tasting room and industry staff in the area, and it should be great fun. All wineries are bringing wine from their cellars, and we're pouring our single vineyard Pinots, which will be released Sept 1st and which are FABULOUS. My only reservation for this evening is that Sara (our winery caterer) will be making her famous bacon-wrapped almond-stuffed dates. Those are going to be difficult to ignore, but I'll just think of little piggies and slaughterhouses and RESIST TEMPTATION! Ahimsa. The Republican is coming up from Santa Barbara to surprise everyone (he used to work here before moving down south), so we'll do dinner after.

In other work-related news, we're making a dry saignee rose' of Syrah! I'm so excited because I love dry rose's, and PINK WINE IS THE SH*T as long as it isn't white zinfandel. I'm heading up the label design, as our black Bishop's Peak label just won't cut it for lovely, playful, pink rose'.


Sunday, August 28, 2005 

bees' knees again.

I'm beginning to wonder if my knees will ever be the same. Will they ever heal? Will they continue to be a grievance and a nuisance and a hindrance throughout my lifetime of yoga practice? Will i ever sit in padmasana again without the fear and/or certainty of reinjury????

Patience, grasshopper.

But you have to admit.... it's been a while.

I'm confident that my left knee will get there soon. I feel no aches on that side throughout my practice or any time after. But I told myself in June that I would give both knees until at least December before I attempt padmasana or half padmasana for any pose. I've learned my lesson. Just when you think you've healed, that's when you reinjure. And that's the most frustrating feeling in the world.

That's life. We take a few steps to test the water, we gain confidence, we gain our footing, we skip joyously, we revel in our abilities, and then..... with a POP.... they're stripped from us. Just like that.

I opted for a change of scenery this morning and practiced at the gym instead of in my living room. Sometimes that's all I need to jumpstart my motivation. Looking back now, hours later, I realize I skipped Utkatasana. Oof. I built some nice heat this morning, had to roll out the mysore rug even before the Prasaritas. C was a bit painful, my shoulders protested and I could just barely touch the floor with my palms facing outward on the 5th breath. I'd been making contact on the 2nd or 3rd breath with palms facing eachoter before my vacations, so I can definitely feel the regression that week away brought to my practice. Also, my strength in vinyasas and arm balances faltered quite a bit this morning. The vinyasa out of Bhujapidasana was lack-luster, with a fairly strong tittibasana followed by a terrible attempt at Bakasana, and a step back to chaturanga instead of the usual jump/float. My legs weren't quite up on my shoulders in Kurmasana, but still managed to touch sternum to the floor and lift my feet off the ground for a few breaths. Supta Kurmasana did not feel very deep at all. I'm sure I looked more like a squashed turtle than a reclined turtle. Backbends were more of a chore than a release this morning, and dropbacks left me extremely winded.

None of this mattered to me. Starting a fresh week felt like returning home after a long journey away. Of course, now that I can devote myself to my daily practice, ladies' holiday is scheduled to start today or tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe, I'll skip it like I did last month.

While a small part of me is thrilled that I skipped last month's cycle and hopes this will be a regular occurence (regular irregularity?), a much larger part is alarmed, concerned, and unhappy. Bulimic and anorexic gymnasts have amenorrhea. Marathon runners and Triathletes who have 5% body fat have amenorrhea. I should not, since I eat plenty, take lots of supplements to make up for the meat I'm not eating, don't over-exercise, and do not have extremely low body fat. So, if I skip again this month, you can bet I'll be making yet another doctor's appointment.

I've been an insurance company's worst nightmare these past few months. What would I do if I was like millions of other americans and was going through all of this without health insurance? American healthcare. Totally F-ed up. Even with insurance, I've met my co-payment deductible ($250) in just 2 short months, and have paid just over $300 in lab and diagnostic fees. And that's just the 20% I'm obligated to pay. My health insurance pays for the remaining 80%.

I've given up on gold shoes. I've decided to wear my wedding shoes, which are ivory like the other bridesmaids' shoes.

They are lovely shoes, just a tiny bit scuffed up from my big day. And this way I can save a few bucks and maybe buy a pair of jeans or a new outfit for the rehearsal dinner or something.

And I wish more than anything else in the world that I could hop on a plane and fly to Portland to give Yellow a big big hug and help her destress and help her get ready for her drive down to California to get MARRIED!

Here are Yellow and her sweetie right after he proposed at the Grand Canyon.



Hilarious side-story here. Yellow's sweetie was down on one knee proposing, Yellow said yes, kiss kiss, so excited..... then a man popped out of the bushes with a camera, said he'd been taking pictures of the views, and upon realizing what her sweetie was up to, he took some shots of them but didn't want to disturb them. Took down their address, sent them copies of the photos he took!


Friday, August 26, 2005 

Wanted: Shoes

Not just any shoes. I'm looking for show-stopping, gold, fabulous shoes. For Yellow's wedding. As I mentioned, her gown is gold and eggplant. We're wearing ivory, with eggplant pashminas. But shoes! I don't want ivory shoes, because the ceremony is in a little redwood grove and ivory shoes would just get ruined. So I'm trying to find some fun, funky gold shoes. Strappy, not strappy, whatever.

San Luis Obispo SUCKS for shoe shopping. Any shopping, really. Which is usually just fine with me, as I'm not much of a clothes-horse/shopper. Not really my bag. Speaking of which, I need a bag, too! Or clutch, or purse, or whatever you call it....

We have one department store. ONE. Gottschalks. Besides that, we have a few great boutiques, but the shoe selection is RIDICULOUS. So I'm haunting all these websites, trying to find great shoes.... now I'm out of websites. Ladies (and fashion-minded gents), I NEED YOUR HELP! I need some great websites. Here's the ones I've tried: Anthropologie, Nordstroms, Urban Outfitters, Macys, Amazon (I got lost in the selection and gave up). Here's what my dress looks like:


Now, help a sista out!


 

I see London, I see France....

Actually, I've never seen London or France. I have seen mountains. The Pioneer Mountains. And now you can too!



Don't I look smug? I soon wiped that shitty grin off my face within 5 minutes of climbing. Or the altitude wiped it off.


I use maps. Why can't he? *sigh* Men.


Okay, so it was beautiful. But painful. Oh so painful.


You can't hear me, but I'm cussing right here.


Can you tell? I can feel the burn. Please Note: Big Belly.


The Bench.


Us and The Bench.


Pioneer Cabin. Finally. Isn't it beautiful? Built in the 30's as an outpost for the blossoming cross country and downhill skiing trends in the area.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005 

Bejeweled

I am pierced! I love my little stud (and I'm not talking about my husband, here). It's not as tiny as I would like to eventually have, but the piercer said they've had troubles with the tiny ones falling through the hole in the first few weeks. Not good. But it's still tiny enough that not many people at work have noticed it yet. I like to think that means it just looks natural, like it should be there or has been there already.

I was telling REW in an email that I'm a bit of a nose-smasher. When I have an itch, I smack the palm of my hand against my nose and smush it about. I have a small, squishy nose so a simple little scratch just doesn't suffice. So I'll have to stop the nose smashing for a bit and give the thing a chance to heal.

I DID wake up this morning on time, hopped out of bed, struggled to find undies, yoga pants and yoga top in the dark, and stood on my mat in Tadasana, toes wiggling in excitement. I'm back, baby! However, my practice is not. My knees are still bothering me, I felt a slight strain even in Janu Sirsasana A. I skipped B, C was okay, but not comfortable by any means. My hips have tightened up a bit. My wrists hurt through vinyasas and in Bhujapidasana. Stand ups were a joke. I dropped like a ton of bricks in dropbacks, not light or controlled. Need more Pilates.

Despite all of my body's complaints, I was happy as a clam, knowing better days are ahead. I spent a long time in Padmasana (modified for knee injuries), just soaking it in and breathing.

And I love looking down my nose and seeing a little sparkle.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005 

a.m. or p.m.

Can't seem to get those two straight. Set my alarm for 5 last night, turns out I set it for 5 P.M.. So I woke up at 7 A.M., not even time for a sun salutation. First word out of the mouth was an expletive, which Tay says is not a good way to start the day. So maybe I can get in a practice this evening, but I doubt it. I just feel so wound up and frustrated that my routine has been completely annihilated. And I'm really not one of those routine freaks, really I'm not. Not like, "Thursdays I have a breakfast burrito at Buzz Cafe and thanks for asking, but I don't hike on Tuesdays...." Although I do know a few people like that. I think my practice is the only routine I have in my day. It's my anchor. It grounds me. The rest of my life just flies around me like a hurricane, papers everywhere, clothes everywhere, and a clock or two just ticking away the hours much too quickly. I really need a 26 hour day.

In other news, REW pierced her nose. And I have wanted to pierce mine for years. And so, today, I'm gonna do it. And when my mom gets mad and asked me why I did it, I'm simply going to say "Because REW did it, and she's so cool." So there.

And I downloaded my Idaho pics on to my computer, and I was going to post them this morning. And then I took a closer look. I had some bloating going on. Y'all know I've been having stomach issues, well apparently I don't travel well. I look like a malnourished person with the distended stomach. Only well nourished, because I've never looked frail or anorexic a day in my life. So maybe I'll have to do some cropping in iPhoto and post pics from the chest up only. Or maybe I'll just say screw it and bare my belly with pride now that I've typed in this disclaimer.


Monday, August 22, 2005 

Elbow Room

Home from Yellow's send-off weekend. It was a great time, and after all my feet-dragging and bitching last week, I have to say I'm so glad I went. Really my only complaints from the get-go were about the drive, and it actually wasn't all that bad! The Good gave me a whole bunch of This American Life episodes which she had downloaded and burned to CD. For those of you not familiar with NPR or this show, y'all are missing out. Absolute Brilliance, IMHO. I laughed and cried myself all the way to Tahoe and all the way back. And I didn't fall asleep at the wheel once. Amazing.

We were packed into a tiny studio-with-loft condo like sardines. Ten very headstrong, open, verbally unsuppressed women, four walls, one bathroom with a dysfunctional toilet.... all very comical. Now that I'm home, I'm thrilled to have some elbow room.

Friday night I rolled in at about 11 p.m. Yellow and the rest of her college friends hadn't yet arrived (they thought they'd be there at 6 p.m.) and they had the ONE KEY to the condo. Two of my high school comrades were waiting in the parking lot (they had been there since 6 p.m.) and seemed a little miffed, bored out of their minds, and not all that impressed with the night life in Truckee. Have no fear ladies..... I have screw-top wine.* We passed a couple of bottles back and forth between the three of us (with comments such as "come on man, you're f-in' up the rotation! puff puff give!") and reflected upon that moment's similarities to high school. Sitting in the car outside school dances or Disco Night at the Coconut Grove, swigging something, talking, laughing, shushing each other so as not to gain the attention of the security guard.... good times. By the time Yellow and the other girls showed up at 12, we were just a little sloppy.

The rest of the weekend was great, and it was so nice to get to know some of these girls a little better and catch up with those who I once knew so well. I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed and possibly still a wee bit drunk on Saturday morning at 6, so tiptoed out the door, downstairs to the lobby for primary underneath the surveillance camera. Balancing poses were a challenge. Sunday morning, I led a one hour yoga session. I followed most of the standing series, dandasana, paschimottanasana A, purvottanasana, janu sirsasana A, marichyasana A and C, bakasana, bhujapidasana (just some fun arm balances to lighten the mood a bit), 3 navasanas, shoulder stand, halasana, matsyasana, and savasana. Some stuff I will take out, some stuff I'll need to add..... I do have to say..... tough to keep from panting out your directions at high altitude through sun salutations. I'll change a few things before the wedding yoga in 2 weeks, but it was good to get some feedback from the girls and get a little taste of what it's like. I had a few goof ups: "Put your right foot on your right shin" in trikonasana, that sort of thing. But we all just got a good laugh out of it.

So now I'm struggling to rediscover my routine. I miss my practice. The 5 a.m. alarm was completely ignored this morning, so hopefully I can get in a short practice before my pilates class this evening. Tomorrow I WILL get up.

It's 11 a.m. and I'm completely obsessing over what I'll make for dinner tonight. Think I'm hungry?


Friday, August 19, 2005 

There and Back Again

And for my next trick....

I will disappear once again, whisked away by my trusty Honda off to Tahoe for a weekend of ESTROGEN!!!

Ahhh, bachelorette parties. But as bachelorette parties go, this one is a-okay in my book. A weekend at the cabin on donner lake, hiking, yoga (led by yours truly), wine, and food. No bars, no strippers, no shots, no dildos (well, no promises on that one).... good times will be had by all.

As I previously mentioned, Idaho was grand. I used to vacation there as a young'un, and it's even more fun now than it was then. What made it even better is that we were automatically linked in to this local community of Tay's childhood friends. (He grew up there, then moved away when he was 13. Most of his friends moved away and then moved back.) So while he was off mountainbiking with one guy, I was off mountainbiking with some other guy's girlfriend.

We celebrated our one year anniversary by going on a hike through the Pioneer mountains that consisted of two trails which met at Pioneer Cabin, a little shack built in 1938 for cross country skiers at 9600 ft. elevation. The views from the cabin were said to rival any views from the Alps. This was not just any hike. We had unknowingly began a death-march. We thought we were good hikers. We thought we were bad-asses. Frankly, this trail put us in our place. We climbed 4000 feet in elevation along a ridge on a trail so faint we wondered if we were going the right way. No switch-backs because apparently switch-backs are for pussies. When we started descending into a valley, I trembled in excitement. Or was it exhaustion? The cabin must be just up ahead, I thought. No such luck. Taylor pointed to the trail hundreds of feet above us. "I think we have to climb over that mountain first." Well, that one, and another one, and then finally.... THE CABIN!!!

We realized our error when we descended the Corral Creek trail, which was wide, pristine, and loaded with switch-backs. No one does the loop. People climb Corral Creek Trail and then turn around and walk back down the way they came. If they do hike the loop, they hike up Corral Creek trail and down what we came up.

When we reached our hotel, we were exhausted. We stayed here for the night, courtesy of Mom and Dad (thanks, guys!). We got to our room, and there were roses from Tay, a bottle of French Champagne from my boss, and a huge gift basket from the folks (thanks again, guys!). We had a great dinner at Felix's in Ketchum, then back to the hotel to collapse in an exhausted heap.

I'm glad I left Ketchum when I did. Hiking, biking, kayaking..... all at high altitude..... if I had stayed, I would have died of exhaustion. Or my feet may have fallen off. One or the other.


Thursday, August 18, 2005 

Just in time

I just looked at that calendar and my heart cracked just a bit. Moon day tomorrow. *sob*

I was really looking forward to tomorrow's practice since I just got in primary up to Mari C this morning before heading into finishing.

Yesterday's was the first practice in 6 days due to sharing a condo with the in-laws in Idaho. No personal space = no personal practice. This did not stop me from having a great time, of course. Ketchum is an outdoorswoman's dream. As long as you can ignore the mansions and the porsche SUV's that have been popping up in the past few years, that is.


Thursday, August 11, 2005 

but then again....

Must..... Have...... Coffee......

Waiting for the drip machine to drip. I'm tired.

I tried twice to drag myself out of bed this morning for practice with completely unsuccessful results. My head was pounding. My body ached. All my favorite yoga pants were in the laundry. And it was cold. All the typical excuses that now seem so pathetic, invalid, and miniscule. But they were convincing at the time. So I surrendered to sleeping in and a short practice later this afternoon between work and a friend's 30th birthday dinner will have to do. It will be short. It will be challenging. But I'll do it, damnit.

I'm looking ahead to the weeks to come.... and cringeing. Leaving tomorrow for Sun Valley Idaho for Tay's childhood best bud's wedding, celebrating our one year anniversary up there on Sunday, back home Wednesday night, leave from work Friday evening to drive to Tahoe for Yellow's bachelorette party (7 hours), come back Sunday night, work overtime throughout the next week and weekend to make up two of the days from the Idaho vacation (only have 2 days paid vacation left), two friends coming into town the 26th-28th to wine taste and reminisce about the old days in SLO-town, work overtime throughout the next week to make up time which will be missed on September 2 for Yellow's rehearsal up in Mill Valley, then a 3-day long wedding celebration. After that.... I.... Can..... Relax.....

I mentioned to KJS that I was envious she had enjoyed two massages in a week. I said I've never had a massage, and she said I've got some catching up to do, as massage is a necessary luxury in the life of an ashtangi. I could see that. No, I can feel that. Maybe at the end of all this, I'll treat myself to my first ever massage.

I cut my hair yesterday. Actually, my friend cut my hair. And I love it. And it's much too stylish for my frumpy wardrobe. Which may inspire some shopping.... which is why I'm having to work all this overtime rather than just taking no-pay days.


Monday, August 08, 2005 

Dipstick, TAKE 2

And once again, Negativo.

Must agree with REW and her observances of first and second days back to practice after any extended hiatus away from one's mat. Please allow me to chime in with my own experience....*

Sunday, got to the shala at about 6:45. D had originally told me that they would open the shala at 7, but adjustments would start at 8. When I voiced how happy I was that they'd be open at 7 and that I'd be waiting at the door, he mentioned that he'd be there at 6 for his own practice, and feel free to come any time I needed. I was struck instantly by the heat and humidity in the room. Quite a welcome change from my living room.

After the stress of the week, I cried a few silent tears of sheer relief in my second Surya Namaskara A. I needed my practice more than ever. It was a return to a little slice of normalcy. Well, normalcy in a strange town in a new room with a man I've never met....

Eventually, others joined me. I was a bit surprised at the good turnout, considering Saturday night was the biggest night in this weekend's Fiesta. What dedicated ashtangis! Maybe they "Fiesta'd" Friday night instead. I basked in the energy of the room. I noticed my concentration and attention to my tristhana was much more intense than usual. My breath was a bit shaky, probably due to 5 days off. Bound and folded forward in Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, and now I'm feeling the after-effects in my poor little right LCL. Hmmmm.... Poor little nothing. I take that back. This k-nee is a k-nag. A regular old curmudgeon. And I'm sick of it. Wait.... I digress. I practiced up to Supta Kurmasana (which was pathetic), then went into Urdva Dhanurasana, then finishing. I considered standing up for dropbacks, but don't know shala policy and practices, so skipped them. A little help here, if you would?

I finished just after 8, so no adjustments. D followed me into the front room, awkward introductions, A came out, more introductions, cash was given ($16 for a room to practice in... next time I'll come later to get my money's worth with the adjustments), and I explained to them that I'd like to come down at least once a month. Great, they said.

And that was that.

Day two back at the mat: This morning was cold. And painful. No head to knee in forward bends. Ouch. But much better attempt at Supta Kurmasana.

*But first, I must admit to my own sillyness. So nervous for first-ever-mysore-class on Sunday that I couldn't sleep Saturday night. Just like in SF for Guruji. Like a kid on Christmas Eve. I "hit the sack" at 9 p.m. Last peek at the clock: half past 2. I even breathed myself through all of primary in my head. Didn't skip any poses. And here's the best part about mental ashtanga: I didn't have to modify anything. I was graceful. I floated through vinyasas. I didn't muscle myself into anything. My knees didn't hurt. It was beautiful. But didn't help me fall asleep AT ALL.


Saturday, August 06, 2005 

And The Winner Is....

Wow, I never knew how many of my friends actually read my blog until that last post.... I got a lot of very supportive emails, phone calls, and comments. At a time when I felt helpless and vulnerable, support flooded in. Thanks, everyone.

I left work yesterday on a mission. First, farmer's/fishermen market for a few pounds of salmon. Hurry, hurry, gotta go... gotta pee... then Rite Aid for the dipstick. Grabbed a toothbrush so as to be less conspicuous (yeah, no one will notice the EPT if I've got a Reach two pack), rushed in and out of aisles, couldn't find it, gotta go, gotta pee, WHERE IS IT!!??, starting to panic, don't want to cause a "clean-up on aisle 4.... bring a mop!" And just before I degraded myself by asking some pock-faced teen where the preg-o tests were.... I saw them. Grabbed a three-pack (one for now, two for next time), off to the register (where the cute young man wished me "the best of luck"), home, bathroom, dipstick.

Then the long two minutes. That's all it takes now! It's like pregnancy tests are also at microwave speed these days. Once upon a time, one had real suspense. Ten minutes or longer. Now that's a long time. Two minutes or ten, this was a long wait. I comforted Kula, told her I'd still love her if we had a little one. I had a flash.... a baby girl. I always thought I wanted boys..... guess not.

Then.... time for the results. And: negativo.

I felt.... nothing, really. A little disappointed, but mostly just numb. Eh, okay. Good. No Baby. Wine with dinner. Salmon without worrying about the mercury content. Sushi any time. Caffeine. And, some day soon, a barium swallow/x ray.

And still, no period. And once again, we're not talking punctuation.

------------------------------------------------------------------

So, in other news....

Day one of my French Appellations class in Solvang today with PB. I'll do a full blow-by-blow and give my personal reccomendations some other time. After class we drove into Los Olivos to meet The Republican for dinner. We had some time to kill, so we stopped in Los Olivos Cafe for a split of Laurent-Perrier at the bar. First, however, we were completely ignored for a good 15 minutes. No hello, no wine list, no menu, no eye contact. NADA. We discussed walking out on a number of occasions, but stuck it out in the end. I debated between leaving my card or leaving a crappy tip.... In the end, I left my card and a 20% tip. Not a deserved tip, but they sell a lot of our wines, and it's better to be a professional in the end....

We hit up Patrick's Side Street Cafe for dinner. The Republican brought a bottle of Rusack Anacapa, 85% Cab Franc, a stellar wine. The food was excellent, and Patrick is quite a character.

I said goodbye to PB and headed to Santa Barbara to stay at The Republican's.
And now the butterflies are starting.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to my first ever Mysore class with my first ever Authorized Instructors, David and Andrea Miliotis. And I'm terrified.

Now, I know I can "hang", and it's not an ego thing.... Well, maybe it is, a little. I haven't practiced since last Sunday. What with my Ladies' Holiday which never came, stress from that, stress from my doctor stuff, and a moon day, it's been a hell of a week. If any week was to cry out for asana and meditation, this was the one. But I didn't make it happen, and I'm disappointed in myself for that. However, I haven't the energy to beat myself up, so I accept and move on. I just hope I'm not too stiff tomorrow. I can tell you one thing: My supta kurmasana won't be too convincing. I have to go pretty early. Instruction starts at 8, I've gotta get in there at about 6:45 so I can catch a 9 a.m. ride into Solvang with The Republican for Day Two of French Appellations (Burgundy! I can't wait!!). David has been extremely accomodating in our email conversations, keeping me updated with each little schedule change due to Fiesta this weekend.

It'd be great if I hate every second of it. Then I could go back to my home practice and not think about what I'm missing by living in San Luis Obispo. Instead, I'm fairly positive that it will be a great experience, and I'll want to drive down to Santa Barbara every weekend for just one mysore practice. This is a 3 hr. drive, round trip. I'm hoping I can make it at least once a month. I think a few adjustments now and then and a stronger community connection will make a huge difference in my daily motivation and practice. Here's hoping. Wish me luck. And flexibility. Lord knows I'll be tight tomorrow.


Thursday, August 04, 2005 

The Missing Period

I'm exhausted. Emotionally exhausted. And I'm Really feeling that new moon.

Last night I fasted. This morning I put on my sweats. I grabbed enough reading material to last me 4 hours (two books and a Newsweek). I went to the diagnostic center for my barium swallow and x-ray of my upper GI and small intestines. And then I hit a bump.

I mentioned ladies' holiday a few days ago. Well, I've been waiting, and it hasn't come. It should be here by now. It should have been here by Sunday. It's not here. And when one is on The Pill, one is not normally 4 days late.

So when the nurse said, "And you're sure you're not pregnant. Right?" I stopped. My heart stopped. I said it out loud: "I'm 4 days late."

She reacted by trying to make me feel like an infant and a slut at the same time.

Nurse: (giving me that up-and-down look, probably mistakingly thinking I'm 19 or 20, which happens often) Have you had unprotected sex in the past month?

Me: Um, I'm married. And on The Pill.

Nurse: Did you miss any?

Me: No.

Nurse: Would you want to keep the baby if you are pregnant? Because this WILL kill a baby, if you're carrying.

Me: (Long Pause) I need a moment. Can I make a phone call? I need to call my husband.

Nurse: You're too young to make this decision. (yes, she really said this) Why don't you call us when you've gotten your period and we'll reschedule the appointment.

She then escorted me to the lobby with a look of motherly concern and informed the receptionist in a non-library voice that I was late, and I would call and reschedule when my period came (the whole lobby was looking at me) because I might be pregnant.

I left that place a complete and total mess. I've been a mess all day. All of my coworkers knew about my appointment, they asked me how it was. They asked me why it was postponed. I bit my lip and tried not to cry again. Why am I so upset? I guess because I got thrown a total curve ball today. I'm so tired of the tests, I just want to get them over with and find out what's going on with me. I was even considering continuing with this morning's test at the possible cost of a baby. Well, an embryo, really. And today's the first day that I've really taken the time to consider the indication of the missing period. And I'm not talking punctuation here, folks. My thoughts at that moment with the Long Pause with the nurse: well, I want to feel healthy again. And we're just getting into building our house.... and we've only been married a year. I'm not ready for a baby. But I am ready to get a diagnosis with this whole stomach thing.

I talked to The Good about it. She, of course, had some Good remarks. "It's never going to be a good time to have a baby. There's always going to be some event coming up, some financial hurdle, travelling you haven't done, someone's wedding you want to have drinks at, some wine thing.... but then it happens, and it turns out it is a good time. You're settled, you're married, you have a man who loves you very much, you've talked about having kids.... It's a good time."

Am buying a dipstick from the teenager at Rite-Aid this afternoon. And I'm actually more intrigued to see what my reaction is to the results than to see the results themselves. I've been here before, and it's always been negative. And I've always been pleased. How pleased will I be if it's negative this time?

Not many posts related to my practice as of late. So many other things going on in my head right now.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005 

Spinning in a downward spiral

Ah, yes. Spin class this afternoon.

And as I was spinning away, thinking it couldn't get any worse.... I heard it. I used to hear it every so often when I was practicing at my gym, trying to drown out the 5 a.m. torture class .... er.... spin class..... with my tiny stereo. But never have I experienced it first hand. Much much worse first hand.

My inner monologue is italicized.

Doo doo doo DOOOOOOOOOOO
Oh please no

Doo doo doo DOOOOOOOOOOO
God no.

Doo doo doo DOOOOOOOOOO
OMFG, Kill me now.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Feelin dizzy

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Shit, I'm going to die unhappy on a spin class. Listening to bad music.

I NEED A HERO......Holding out for a hero til the end of the night.....
No, I need a hero. You need new music.

And it went on from there. This was the worst spin class yet. The spin instructor yelling, screaming, totally intense. comical. At one point, I swear I heard him say, "You're not working hard enough unless you can taste your own bile." And I think I could. Or it could have been the Punjab Chola I had for lunch.

Halfway through, I looked around and the room was spinning. The f-ing room was spinning, not just my legs.

All I could think about was my mat. I WANT TO BE ON MY MAT. But instead I'm on this "I want a 6-pack and I don't fit in my jeans the way I did when I was 18 and my husband subscribed to MAXIM (WTF???) so now I have to look at boobs and legs and airbrushed CRAP every time I use the john", narcissistic and self conscious kick. Did I mention Tay subscribed to MAXIM? What is that? He says it helps him to connect to his "audience." I said it makes me sick to my stomach. Kinda like the way I feel in spin class. I also told him he got a new issue so he has something to come home to on Thursday. Not just his frumpy old wife. And I said I'm embarrassed to pick it up from the post office box. EMBARRASSED. Next time I'm leaving it IN the box, and he can pick it up HIMSELF.

In other news, I seem to be trying new things. Not all of them are working out.

For example:

Spin class. See above.

Pilates classes. Haven't tried them in about a year. And I can feel that 6-pack lurking beneath the thin layer of womanly curves. It's coming..... I'm thinking positively.

Running. Another thing I haven't done in about a year. I don't think I'll try it again for quite some time.

Hemp Seed Protein Powder. Highly UNrecommended. Grossest thing I've ever tried. I bought that as opposed to soy or whey because it's supposed to be easier on my stomach. Maybe it would be if you didn't have to choke it down, ignoring the gag reflex.

And: Leaving the dinner dishes for the next morning. Also unrecommended, but only slightly so. Tempting and a little rebellious the night of. Next morning, sticky and smelly. And one can be late to work while finishing last night's dishes. I learned my lesson. Tonight I will do my dinner dishes before hitting the sack.

And speaking of hitting the sack..... I've got an extremely dark and melancholy book waiting for me in bed. Just gotta do those dishes first.


 

vairaagya=non-attachment

Practicing some non-attachment for ladies holiday and moonday this week. And I'm not doing a very good job of it. I feel a bit scattered and lost without my asana practice. Perhaps tomorrow I'll spend some time in seated meditation to see if this will help cure my absentmindedness. I got to work very early this morning and couldn't figure out how that had happened.... I opened the door to step out, and my dog jumped out of the car wagging her whole body (not just her tail) and instantly scanning the vineyards for birds and rabbits. WTF????...... Oh, right. I was supposed to drop her off at "doggy day care" with my in-laws. Completely forgot. I need an espresso.

Friday's sonogram went well. As I watched my liver and my kidneys appear on the screen, I had a fleeting wish that it was a baby I was looking at, instead of boring organs. Fleeting. Emphasis on the FLEETING. No time or money for babies. Not yet, anyways. The nurse gave me some helpful "insider" tips for this Thursday's barium swallow, as she had had one the month before. Here they are, just in case any of you out there ever have to go through one of these:

-Bring an altoid and slip it in your mouth after your "cocktail" when the nurse isn't looking to take the bad taste out of your mouth. She asked the doctor, who said this wouldn't affect the outcome.

-Wear metal free clothes: sweatpants, sports bra, loose fitting top. Then you won't have to sit around in a backless gown for four hours in the hall way. And wear warm clothes. Diagnostic Centers are cold.

-Bring books to read, crossword puzzles to do, anything that will keep you busy for anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours. (I'm excited at the prospect of sitting for 4 hours and being forced to read a book! This is exactly the activity that I crave, yet rarely find time for in my daily life. I have stacks and stacks of books just ready for the reading.)

-Drink it fast. Chug-a-lug. Bottoms UP. Don't sip it, or you'll gag. Think "Fear Factor" on this one.

Hoo boy. She made it sound like a trip to Disneyland. Gee golly, I can't wait. Ummm.... doctor? I'm suddenly feeling much better.... It's a MIRACLE! Please don't make me swallow barium....

Sunday's class was my last class with Jenn, as I have a french wines class to attend this weekend (hooray for burgundy!), so will miss her real farewell class. It was sad of course, but I know I will see her again. Big step with the knee injuries: brought my leg into half lotus on both sides in Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana for the first time in months. MONTHS, people. Bound, but did not bend forward. Small steps. This was the only asana I would risk half lotus. I'm petrified of reinjury. Seems like every time I think I'm golden, ow.... I did it again. Ahimsa ahimsa ahimsa.

Still struggling with Supta Kurmasana: Jenn helped me to touch my fingers but I couldn't grasp them. I could almost touch the palm of my opposite hand but I couldn't get the wrist turn.... I'll get there..... someday. Backbends felt great, for the first time since Taylor left(waaaaay back on July 19th). Also for the first time since then, I felt it was possible to stand up and drop back. Jenn assisted me on my first stand-up, then I dropped back on my exhale, inhaled, stood up, exhaled, dropped back, all on my own. Wow, using the breath is exhilirating!

I went to a pilates class yesterday, just for kicks. And that's some tough stuff. I can't decide whether a weekly pilates class would help or hinder my practice. Good for the bandhas, good for Navasana, but perhaps tightens the hips a bit.... Thoughts, anyone?

I'm starting to feel quite lonely without Tay around.... it is amazing how connected and grounded we become with that certain someone. I could hang out with a room full of people and still feel lonely at this point. I don't like coming home to an empty house after a long day at work. I don't like cooking for just me. I don't like locking up the house at night. I don't like sleeping alone. Of course, I was fine doing all of these things when I was single.... minus the locking up the house part. I'm a little afraid of the boogey man. Or the burglar/rapist. What can I say? I watch too much Law & Order SVU.


Thursday, July 28, 2005 

Thirsty.

It's all mental. I'm in bed, ready for an early morning alarm: 4:40 for practice, 7:45 at the doctor's. I'm parched. Or am I? Is it really all mental? "No food or water after 10 p.m." Dr.'s orders.

I've been beating myself up a bit lately about a little gut that's going on. Not that it's huge or anything.... but I was 135 when they weighed me in at the Doc's. Now, I don't pay much attention to pounds. I've always been heavy for my size.... heavy bones maybe, and more muscle mass then most girls, I guess. But I do pay attention to waist bands. And mine have been a wee bit tight. I can't afford new clothes, so only one thing left to do: lose that gut. While yoga does the job, I don't really want to "amp it up" just for the sake of losing weight. So I'm adding in some cardio here and there. Today was supposed to be Spin Class. When I got home, it was such a beautiful afternoon. And my poor dog had just spent another day alone in the backyard. So off we went for a hike instead of a cramped room, annoying techno, and a tiny, chafing bicycle seat. I changed my mind when I got to the mountain. Hike? No..... not a hike. How bout a run?

RUN???? Sacrilege. I haven't ran in almost a year. I used to run quite a bit, I really enjoyed it, and probably strided about 15-20 miles a week. But I gave it up for yoga.

The run was good, I stretched for about 35 minutes afterwards. I love running or hiking with my pup. It's great to see her with her natural birding instincts taking over: pointing, stalking, flushing out quail from bushes.... But she really pissed off a mama turkey who chased her off, gobbling and squawking. That was a sight to see. Kula was in heaven until she got home. The poor girl picked up every bur on the mountain. First she had to suffer the dreaded brush. And if that wasn't bad enough, then she had a bath. She's still giving me dirty looks. And my knees are a little angry at me as well. I cheated a bit on the run, only ran uphill and walked the downhills. Less strain on my knees. Any ashtangis out there who run? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it....

Now to bed. I'm feeling a little frightened tonight after watching a Tivo'd scary episode of LOST. I'm so hooked on that show. Plus, I've always had an eensy bit of a crush on Matthew Fox. He's a cutie. Hopefully I can fall asleep and no bad dreams.

Just dreams about Matthew....

er..... I mean.... dreams about Taylor.


Oh look, he's rolling his eyes at me all the way from Oklahoma! God I miss that guy.


 

DARN YOU, KJS!!!!!

My workplace productivity has plummeted due to some "friendly" competition with this game. I'm currently at a stand-still on level 25. If anyone has any tips for this level.... I could use them. KJS isn't talking. I have to get to level 40, and then we start over, keep score, and may the best gridlocker win. I have to admit, I'm a little intimidated by her. So she has the edge.

Made herbed carrot soup last night from the Moosewood Cookbook. Just in time, too, since I had pounds of carrots from my CSA. Did I mention I got beets last week? Hell yeah.

I stopped by my natural foods grocery store to pick up some supplements: Daily Foods Blood Builder (Iron among other things), Balanced B Complex, and Living Harvest Hemp Protein. $80!!!!!! But they're all food derived and raw, so will not upset my stomach as much. The priciest was the protein powder, but it's easier on my system than the less expensive whey, rice, and soy versions. Hemp Seeds..... Wow, I feel like such a hippy. I had to promise my coworkers that Yes, I still shave my body hair, and Yes, I still wear deodorant, and No, I don't wear patchouli and never will. Brings back bad memories of downtown Santa Cruz.

Tay's driving through Kansas right now, hopefully he'll be back next Thursday. Here we go, on to week two with an empty house and lots of fruits and vegetables. I'm thinking of hosting a feast on Saturday. Indian and Thai food.

On the asana front.... I need Tay to come home so my back can feel better. Urdva Dhanurasana is killing me lately, and drop backs and stand ups are just distant memories at this point. I wasn't feeling very strong this morning. And not very flexible either. So I just cruised through practice with thoughts of better mornings nagging in the back of my monkey mind. I gouged my right ankle with my left toenail in Bhujapindasana. Ouch, it smarts. Knees are still sore, still modifying all lotus poses. But in spite of physical limitations and shortcomings, each day this week I've just been pleased to be on my mat, pleased with my personal dedication to the practice, and have just been feeling groovy all around. Special thanks to Vanessa, her post on personal ownership of one's happiness really hit home, and I've been walking with a lighter step and a happier heart since reading it.

Favorite Asana of the day: Marichyasana C. Felt oh so good to release my spine a bit.
Dreaded Asana of the day: Urdva Dhanurasana. Ouch.

I've got two appointments scheduled at the Diagnostic Center. Tomorrow is the sonogram of my upper GI and small intestines. Next Thursday will be the barium swallow. Nurse says, "The appointment will be anywhere from 45 minutes to 4 hours," which I thought was a bit comedic. Reminiscent of the repair man who will be at your house sometime between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.. Told work I would be in sometime between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m..

And the crew from the Goleta trip:

Clockwise from top left, that's The Pelt, The Feisty One, me, The Hungry One, and a terrible picture of my friend who will be known as The Smilemaker (she makes teeth for crowns, caps, and bridgework).


On the iPod: The Shivers, "Boat"
Carissa's Wierd, "The Piano Song"
Blue States, "Across the Wire"


Monday, July 25, 2005 

Results

I had my appointment this afternoon to find out the results to my lab tests. No results. Almost everything came back normal. Which I suppose is good, when one is being tested for colon cancer, intestinal cancer, anemia, gall stones, celiac disease, and gastrointestinal disease. This was my line of thinking when I said, "well, that's good, right?" Not exactly, says the doc, because we still don't know what's wrong with you. So, the tests will continue with a sonogram and a barium cocktail followed by an x-ray. Radioactive chemicals? Bring it on.

Get this: there were elevated levels of some higgledypoo (don't remember the fancy name)in my blood. What could this indicate? It could indicate some problems in the liver. However, all of my other tests indicated a normally functioning liver. It could also indicate skeletal or muscular bruising or tears. Read: YOGA.

If the next round of tests come up blank as well, then I will be diagnosed with IBS: Irritable Bowell Syndrome. No test for this doozey. This is what they use to label you when they've run out of blood work-ups and other bodily samples to extract and test so that you don't feel like everything you've just gone through is in vain. No, just kidding. It just feels like that. But it's really very common. For now, I've been prescribed Nexxium (the purple pill!) and two heaping spoonfuls of Metamucil twice daily. Blechh.

There's a new bully on the block pushing Kula around. I suppose it serves her right. She chases birds all day long, hunts them, stalks them, tries (fruitlessly) to eat them..... One bird has had enough. This bird is fighting back, tooth and nail. Or beak and claw. My poor little girl is afraid to venture out of our safe haven into the big scary world: the backyard. Each time she does, this bird is lurking, waiting, to swoop down and chase her all around the yard until she is jumping, scratching and whining, tail between the legs, at the back door. And this is my guard dog. Good thing we're moving out of this terrible Riff-Raff-tough-bird neighborhood soon. Hopefully up in Paso Robles, birds understand that dogs chase them, it's not the other way around.


Friday, July 22, 2005 

Secret Rebellion.....




...... against the non-yoga establishment.

Shhh..... I wore one of my prana yoga tanks to work today.



Just one more reason to do handstands and other assorted arm balances in my office. No one can stop me now. Except maybe my boss, of course.


 

Ups and Downs

Yesterday I told everyone that it was a special day.... that it was Guruji's 90th birthday!!!!!

It meant nothing to any of them. Here's a sample of one conversation with my coworker...

THEM: "Who's Guruji?"

ME: "He's that guy that I have a picture of on my desk."

THEM: "I thought that was your husband...."

ME: "No, the other picture.... the one I went to see in San Francisco.... My guru."

THEM: "Don't you think it's weird that you have a guru?"

ME: "You have Robert Parker, I have Pattabhi Jois."

THEM: "Who's Pattabhi Jois?"

-------------------------------------------------------------------

This morning I got up at 4:45, laid back down, got up, brushed my teeth, laid back down, then got back up again in a huff, angry at myself for trying to go back to bed. I almost didn't make it to my mat. What got me up? Another self-practicing ashtangi who seems to be much more disciplined than yours truly. A newbie in our blogger community. If he can do it, so can I. If I had a shala to practice at, I'm convinced I would have no problem eking out a 6-day practice week. Of course, I have no way of testing this hypothesis..... but if I have people who expect to see me somewhere, I'm there. No one expects to see me in my living room at 5 a.m. except myself. And apparently I'm a softie for the worst of excuses.

But enough feeling sorry for myself, I made it to my mat. And I'll practice Saturday to make up for Monday's nausea, so that will make 5 practices and a moonday/birthday.

This morning was a slow practice. My friend Yellow asked me to teach a yoga class before her wedding, she's having one of those 3 day wedding celebrations where there's kayaking and a beach bonfire and horseback riding and yoga.... When she told me there'd be yoga I got all excited.... then she asked me to teach it. Anything for Yellow, but then I started analyzing what kind of verbal cues I would give while I was in each pose.... how I would modify it for beginners.... what it felt like to try the asana with said modifications...... Hence I ran out of time when I reached Baddha Konasana. But it felt really nice working with the asanas on a different, less rushed level. I held my chatwari's for an extra second or two a la Guruji, and that burned but I could use the extra strength. It's funny, at night sometimes before bed I'll do tricep push ups and regular push ups. Tay's amazed at my tricep strength. :) And he chides me. "Why are you doing more push ups? You don't need push ups. Why don't you strengthen another area?" He's right, of course. I should be doing Navasanas and sit ups. I need more bandha strength.

Bhujapidasana was the highlight of my practice this morning. It's starting to make sense and really starting to come together for me. Lowlight was backbends, which I usually love and can't wait to get to. I may have mentioned this before: I must sleep funny when Tay's out of town, because my back HURTS in the mornings. It's almost like I sleep with my back arched all night. Nothing sings to me like paschimottanasana on these mornings. So three painful Urdva Dhanurasanas and nothing was loosening up there. So no standing up or dropping back. I don't think I could have stood up without help. Dropping back would have been fine, but I always feel like I'm cheating if I don't stand up for a drop back.

On the food front, I've finally started my hemoccult. I'll be done with it on Saturday, and hopefully will turn it into the lab that morning. I'm also beginning to have my first meat cravings. Today at lunch, here's what I wanted: roasted chicken with lemon and rosemary. Here's what I ate instead: A salad with goat cheese and dry roasted edamame, baba ganoush on ok mak crackers and cucumber slices, and a vegan santa fe bean and veggie patty with a red pepper coulis. And voila.... no more craving.

Tomorrow I'm going home. I think it's strange that I still call my parent's house in Santa Cruz "home." I've lived in San Luis Obispo for 8 years, I now have a husband and a full time job here, and we're building a house here. But Santa Cruz is still considered "home."

In any case, I'm going home just for one night. As I mentioned earlier, my childhood best friend and neighbor was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease, which is genetic. She decided to get tested for it when her sister had a very scary near-death experience with the disease last month, and her sister didn't even know she had it. Her doctor kept treating her for anemia. It wasn't getting any better. One day, she just collapsed. Rushed to the hospital. In and out of consciousness. Doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. Very scary time for her and her family. Now that she's been diagnosed, she can make a full recovery just by avoiding gluten. So our Santa Cruz neighbors are celebrating with a big back-yard bash. Catered gluten free, of course. I can't wait to see their family. Their father got licensed for the day and was our officiant at our wedding. They were like my second family up until 6th grade or so.

Then back to SLO on Sunday early enough for 11 a.m. led primary.... 2nd to last class! :( We're taking Jenn out for lunch afterwards as a send-off. There might be some tears, although I'm not much of a sap in that way so they won't be rolling down my cheeks.... I don't think.


 

Tears for Zimbabwe's Homeless

From BBC News, 7/22/05

UN condemns Zimbabwe slum blitz
A major UN report has called for an immediate end to Zimbabwe's slum clearance programme, declaring it to be in violation of international law.

"The scale of suffering is immense," it said. About 700,000 people have lost their homes or livelihoods and another 2.4 million people have been affected.



This is devastating. How could a government force 700,000 people, women, children, families, already poverty stricken, into homelessness with no aid and no shelter?


Thursday, July 21, 2005 

The OTHER Blog

Okay yogablog, now you know you're first in my heart. But sometimes a girl just needs to let loose and have a little fun with her friends, you know? Nothing serious, just a good time. What? You're jealous of the Churro Box? Uh, no.... no..... Churros mean nothing to me. Really. Nothing.

Okay, I can't hide it anymore. I love Churros. They're warm and sweet and comforting. No, I love you too. It's just.... different, you know?


Wednesday, July 20, 2005 

Advice and confusion

Last night, at the end of another gluten free day, I physically felt great. But emotionally, I felt burdened. Lunch was agony. PB and I went to a deli, and I ate the two things from the menu that were gluten free. Unfortunately, one of them was not lactose free (Caprese salad), but I just popped a few lactase pills and enjoyed the bocconcini mozzarella like the good Italian I am. After a gut-wrenching sushi session this evening, (no tataki, no tempura, no eel sauce, B.Y.O.-Wheat free tamari) I got a message from my mom. My mother spoke to a good friend of ours whose daughters were both just recently diagnosed as Celiacs. She mentioned that I just had some tests done, was waiting for the results, and had began to cut out gluten in the mean time. Our friend said I should continue eating a normal diet until I get the tests back in case further testing needs to take place. If I cut out gluten, and I am suffering from Celiac disease, it could go undetected in further blood tests or biopsy. I don't necessarily agree with this rationale, since I've been ingesting gluten all my life. It's not just going to drop off the radar overnight. But, in the name of science, I suppose I'll continue eating normally until all of my tests are concluded.

I came home from work yesterday chanting. What was I chanting? "Full Primary." I was attempting to motivate myself. Afternoon and evening practices are always challenging for me. At 5 a.m., there aren't many distractions. There's nothing I'd rather be doing, besides sleeping. No friends asking if I want to meet them for drinks, no dinner to be made, no dog begging to be walked, no glass of wine calling my name. That's a lot to compete with. And my afternoon practices usually get cut short on account of all this. Last night, however, I was gung-ho. And practice was pretty good. My right knee just does NOT want to heal, so I'm still modifying, but my hips are opening up nicely so I'll have less chance of reinjury once I'm completely healed. Before I started, I had brought over two blocks to possibly play with in jumpbacks. But after one jumpback, I ditched them. Too bulky, too foreign, jumpbacks should not be my focus in this practice. It seems like we spend so much of our time and energy working towards that floaty straight-legged jump through or perfect "look-Ma-no-feet" jumpback, and this is just a smoother transition for vinyasa. These are just embellishments. And while the strength gained through jumpbacks and jumpthroughs could help the rest of our practice, shouldn't it happen the other way around? Shouldn't our practice help our jumpbacks and jumpthroughs? Or maybe all of these thoughts stem from my own inability to jump through with straight legs (I do have a floaty jump through, but I land cross-legged) and to lift off and float back (I lift off and cheat a little as my feet drag the ground to jump back). Hmmmm.... Oh, the vanities of Ashtanga.

Purvottanasana felt strange last night, til I realized why. My hands were too close to my hips when I pushed back. Well, I thought, this has not happened before. I came back down, corrected myself, inhaled back up, oh yes, much better. Navasanas were hard. I'm definitely noticing improvement, though. Kurmasana was great. My shoulders and collarbones were on the ground, my feet were off the ground, and I wasn't panicking. I don't always panic in this pose, just once in a while when I'm working my feet off the ground. Supta Kurmasana...... some of you may want to look away...... since this truly is my "help me, please somebody just pull my hands together" asana, I've enlisted some help. But since noone's around and my dog has no thumbs, and the neighbors already think I'm wierd and they haven't even seen my supta kurmasana, I used a strap yesterday. . It did help, and I was able to get a one finger bind without slipping. Note that it took me a good 15 breaths before I got this. By 5 I had my feet crossed. Then I was working with my breath, pushing my shoulders out from beneath my knees. By 10 my hands could feel eachother along the strap. Finally..... success with my index fingers. If I was in Guruji's led primary, I wouldn't even come close to approximating this pose. Thank goodness for home practice.

Last night at sushi, my friend The Bald One came with us. He's one of those guys who's gung ho on anything he gets into. He teaches spin class, he teaches 6 classes a week. He goes to yoga classes, he goes to 7 classes a week, often twice in one day. He gets a tattoo, suddenly he's got 6 tattoo's. Etc. He started coming to Sunday's led primary class about 6 months ago. And he's really improved in his asana. But I'm not sure if he's adopted, or even knows about, the other 7 limbs of Yoga. Last night he told me about his new business venture. Yogaslut.com.

WHAT????!!!!! Try as I might, I couldn't hide my complete disgust. YOGASLUT? It's basically a website which sells yoga clothes emblazoned with the word, mats, props, etc. But.... ..... yogaslut? This, to me, is evidence of what's wrong with the perception of Yoga in the west. It seems to me that this is the antithesis to yoga. So last night when I got home, I tried to work through where my offense stemmed from, since everyone else at the table seemed to think it hilarious. I find the word "slut" incredibly insulting and degrading. But why should I? Is it culture? Dictionary.com defines slut as a woman considered sexually promiscuous, or a female prostitute, or a dirty, untidy woman. Interesting how all of these definitions exclude men. What's a male slut called? He used to be called a stud, although I think that may be changing. Maybe these days, he'd be called emotionally unavailable. Of course, The Bald One is not using the word in relation to sex. He's using it as labeling someone who loves yoga. I think on occasion I've labeled myself as a "Sushi whore." But sushi is not the same as yoga to me. Sushi is a bit glutenous and rowdy (sometimes) and it's a treat. Sushi is something to take lightly. Yoga is what I strive to be every day. I'm positive "yogaslut" goes against at least one of the 8 limbs. Hmmm.... I think I'll ponder this further in the shower. Must start my day.