It was one of those days when I just floated through practice, and it was just lovely! Something just was "right" today. I am wondering if it is a combination of my mindful eating and...get this...for the past two nights...I've been sleeping with...a blankie...
That's right: a blankie.
I take a soft blanket and gather it up in my arms and fall asleep hugging it to my chest, the way a child hugs a bear (or in Adam's case, a "Moomie"). I am not sure what precipitated this blankie thing. But I am pretty sure that there is an anatomical effect of holding onto something solid but soft while sleeping...my shoulders can't collapse inward onto my chest. Thus, all night, my chest remains "open", and I wake up refreshed, and that much closer to having the openness that I need for a nice, smooth practice!
Sunday, April 30, 2006
It was one of those days when I just floated through practice, and it was just lovely! Something just was "right" today. I am wondering if it is a combination of my mindful eating and...get this...for the past two nights...I've been sleeping with...a blankie...
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Today was Little League for both of my boys. First, at 8 a.m., both Brian and Adam had games. Then Brian had a second game at ten. So, imagine my dismay when I arrived at Brian's second game and saw a bright yellow sign posted prominently on the batter's cage that said "CAUTION - Pesticide Application - KEEP OFF". A photo of the sign is shown at left. Please take note of the children and dog pictured with a slash through them.
The sign was as clear as day that the field was OFF LIMITS until noon today.
My first instinct was to be angry at the city for violating the little league's permit to use the field. But my anger quickly turned to confusion and concern: my child had just played NINE INNINGS on a dry dirt field that had been SPRAYED WITH POISON!!!??? Could this POSSIBLY BE TRUE???
In my moment of denial and confusion, I walked up to the Team Manager and was like, "Excuse me, but did you happen to see this sign?"
He was like, "Oh, yeah, that's right. I noticed that. I was wondering about that. Hmmmm..." His voice trailed off. Amiable enough guy. But JEEZ.
Next, I found Brian and The Husband practicing throws in the poison dirt, and said, "Did Brian play on this field?"
I already knew that the answer was yes.
"Do you slide into base?" I asked Brian.
I already knew that the answer was yes.
"Did they wash their hands before eating their snacks?" I demanded of The Husband.
Why did I bother to even ask?
This is disturbing on so many levels:
- New York City's UTTER DISREGARD of our little league's playing permit.
- The Team Manager's poor judgement in allowing the children to play on POISONED DIRT! (And consider this: each team has, not one, but TWO Team Managers! So, with two teams playing at 8 a.m., that makes four team managers that ignored the unambiguous warning sign!).
- The parents' poor judgment in allowing the game(s) to go forward.
May I scream now? ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!
P.S. I lodged a complaint with the City's "Citizen Service Center", with the Little League and with Asa Aarons. Now I am so tired, I just want to go to sleep. Anger is exhausting.
Update: I have since calmed down. Showered my kids, took a long hot bath and then I felt moved to put myself into all four of the Marichyasanas. Happily, my binds were strong in every one of them. This helps me immensely because it tells me that I still have these postures - that they are not lost. They may be hiding during practice. But hiding is much better than gone.
Posted at 11:58 AM
Friday, April 28, 2006
said SKPJ in Yoga Mala (I may not have gotten the quote exactly right; hence, no quotation marks).
Thus, I have nothing much to say about practice today other than that it went from awesomely good to horrendously bad somewhere between Marichyasana C and the moment that I began to obsess about another student's practice (whatever it is that you are thinking, it's probably the other thing). I became so distracted that I literally sat on my mat and watched her, all the while, churning up thought-sludge from the bottommost depths of my mind. These thoughts were not loving, not accepting, not kind. And I did nothing to corral them. I let them run rampant as if I had no choice but to let them do so. It was as if I was driving my car through a driving storm and forgot to put on my windshield wipers. At some point, I realized that I had brought my vehicle to a full-stop. And that was when I went back to Marichyasana D, approximating that that was where the storm began to brew, figuring that perhaps I could go back to where I had lost my way and go from there. But that didn't work; time had run short, and I resigned myself to the fact that I just had to let it go. I sat in lotus and told myself, "This was today's practice, nothing more and nothing less than what it was. Next time, let it be different."
It's funny because physically, my practice was perfectly fine. And yet nothing felt fine about it once I let my mind swirl.
Posted at 11:48 PM
Thursday, April 27, 2006
(to be taken with the grain of salt deserved by the fact that the writer of these immutable truths has spent approximately four hours of her life as a "Professional Streetwalker").
1. Apparently, dogwalkers are the very low on the domestic service-provider food chain. If you arrive at an attended building to walk a dog, you are treated by the doorman/super/porter like a convicted felon who has arrived to rob the residents at gunpoint.
2. Corallary to Immutable Dogwalker Truth Number 1: While doormen will tolerate dogs that live in the building, and may even tolerate dogs who are guests of residents of the building, dogs that arrive with dogwalkers are canis non-grata. I am guessing that this is due to their mere association with the ersona non-grata that is the dogwalker.
3. Aside from the hostility of doormen and superintendents, dog walking is sweet and peaceful and rewarding.
Off to meet Boodiba and perhaps some shala-mates for some righteous vittles.
Posted at 6:52 PM
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
So good, so so good, that to talk about it would be, per chance, to jinx it. So, I'll leave it at this: something is very right about a diet high in fruits and green stuff.
On other fronts, I was outed today by an Ashtanga mate, for better or for worse...thus, perhaps you are reading Yoga Chickie for the first time. If so, it won't always be like this - usually, I can spend 1 thousand words or so obsessing over every posture, every bind. Usually I whine a lot about one of the Mari's, usually not B, often A or D. And I am counting my adjusted Supta Kurmasanas: I think it is at 8 or 9 today. But that's all I'm gonna say. Okay, maybe that's not all I'm gonna say. I do want to say that Xtina rocks, I mean really really, and hello Jose! You rock too. And I miss Sir. Yes Sir, I miss Sir. Please come back soon. Friday? Probably not. But Sunday then. Okay?
And now, onto some other random stuff, just to fill the ether with something, anything (!) since I am not filling it with obsessive compulsive yoga talk:
- Sean Preston on Britney's Second Pregnancy: "Finally! Someone else my mom can drop on his head"...I saw in Susan's blog that Brit is pregnant again. Then I confirmed it via Google. Scary. You need a license to get married (and if you're gay, you can't even get that license), to drive (and if you make too many mistakes, you get your license revoked), to serve liquor in a restaurant, to dance in a bar, to give a manicure, to cut someone's hair, for pete's sake. But there's precious nothing to keep Britney Spears from popping out as many Federspawn as the wishes.
- Let's see...we've got lithe, long-haired women, scantily clad, posing in their undies, working with balls, rings and other props...Is it a "Yoga Journal" Photo Shoot? OR could it be ... a Hanes Commercial?...Has anyone seen the Hanes commercial with the dancers from the Momix troupe doing yoga in their underwear? It is awesomely cool. If you haven't seen it, click here and look for the"Women's ComfortSoft video"
- Distorted Body Image Defined. Keira Knightley is not fat. She is not double the size of anyone, except maybe the "anorexic" Olson twin (as if anyone could tell the difference between the anorexic one and the "merely ridiculously skinny" one) or this Top Model. Yet she claims to be "twice the size" of every other girl she sees at auditions. This is Keira; the photo was part of the "Thinspiration" section of an anorexic teenager's "pro-ana" website.
- NOT minimally invasive breast cancer treatment, thank you very much: After 9 months of cancer treatment, none of which was defended as "minimally invasive" (as in Cheryl "I had a little breast cancer but they cut it all out and it was no big deal" Crow), Kylie Minogue (thanks Vanessa for pointing out the typo!) steps out with her rocking chemo-sprouts hair. Here is a photo of Kylie Before (before breast cancer). And here is a photo of Kylie After (after breast cancer). I think she looks WAY better now. Sometimes you can look back at photos of someone long before they are diagnosed with breast cancer and compare them to photos of the same person after they are all done with their treatment, with their hair and eyelashes growing back, and you realize that something was not quite right before, even though it only became clear in hindsight. For me, the photos of me at my sister's wedding in July of 2002 horrify The Husband. He can't stand looking at them, made me banish them. I look at them now and realize he is right. I just looked, somehow, off. And I was. The camera doesn't lie. Although sometimes it can be coaxed into tel.ling a fib.
Bye Petri...have a wonderful world tour...thanks and Namaste...
Posted at 11:53 AM
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Practice was slightly better today, although something is seriously amiss in my twisting. I can't blame it all on my shoulders. My spine just is not making that extra little movement that I need it to make. And my backbends are also pretty sad. I think I squeezed out seven or so today anyway, hoping that ONE just ONE would feel okay. It was not to be.
Nevertheless, I will say that it was an improvement over yesterday. Supta K number...? I forget...8? 9? No progress. Jose tells me the progress is too gradual to note. And he assures me that Petri is pressing my chest down even though I don't feel it. I feel as if all I need is someone to take my ankles and crank them up behind my neck. THEN I could bind. Until my ankles are back there, there is just no way that there is going to be room for me to bind my arms around my (sudden realization:) ginormous thighs. Or so it seems.
Xtina is so so so so so awesome. She knows exactly what I need - partly because I told her, but she listened, and she remembered. I told her that I really want my knee behind my armpit in Mari A and B because that feels like it mimics the energy in Supta K. She has been helping me with that, and today she helped me to get that going in Mari C as well. Still, the twist is not quite deep enough for some reason this week, so it is really hard to really close the gap between armpit and knee in Mari C and Mari D.
Shouldn't I find the positive in my practice, amid the whining? Shouldn't I recognize that my Uttitha Hasta Padangusthasana is really quite smooth and light and lovely? No dancing at all. Shouldn't I recognize that Purvotanasana is no longer painful and out of whack? Shouldn't I be happy that I can jump straight into Tirianga Mukha Pada and Janu Sirsa B? I should be happy that I can JUST about lotus my left leg without my hands (after getting my right leg lotused up - I can't seem to slide it high enough into my hip crease without using my hands)? There is so much to feel good about my practice.
I feel sometimes as if I am letting myself get sucked onto some sort of Ashtanga Dark Side when I piss and moan about these postures, which by anyone's standards (except perhaps an Ashtangi) are quite complicated and advanced. It is a miracle that I can complete roughly 50 chatturangas in a practice and not be collapsing on the floor. It is a miracle that I can even DO Mari C and D, however badly. I need to pull back from the Dark Side (I believe it is called Egoville) before it really sucks me in and spits me back into a vinyasa class, or worse....Bikram.
Oh yeah, the cleanse, almost forgot. Five cups of Green Power so far, and I am feeling full and full of energy. Not only did I practice but I did 2 1/2 hours of dog walking (I am Toni Collette in In Her Shoes!) and walked my own dog for 45 minutes. And I feel great. I think I might have some butternut squash at dinnertime, maybe, possibly. Or maybe I will just keep drinking this stuff. But my instincts tell me to go with the squash and possibly some protein powder in the Green Power.
I would like to try a homemade cleanse -with juices that I press myself. But for now, as I experiment with my first cleanse, it feels less daunting to use the premade stuff.
Posted at 4:46 PM
Monday, April 24, 2006
I'm thinking about a juice fast. But I don't know much about it. I brought home some Naked - Green Machine this evening, and it's all fruit plus a bunch of green stuff - spirulina, clorella, green tea extract, weat grass, blue green algae, etc..). I think I could probably manage a day on this stuff - I've certainly gone longer on less (like when I had to prepare for a colonoscopy....).
Susan, if you're reading me...can I do this? I need a pep talk. I want to feel better than I feel now. I want to stop hearing my joints talking to me all the time. I want to feel like there's nothing sitting there festering in my intestines...
Can I do this?
Posted at 10:27 PM
Four year checkup today. Could I have been a bit anxious? It is hard to say, since yoga has given me a method of "corralling" my feelings of anxiety, like a group of wild horses. The thing is, you put those horses in the corral, but they're still making lots rumblings. You can feel it under your feet as you walk if you allow yourself. Or maybe even if you don't allow yourself, you still feel it under your feet as a sensation of being thrown off balance or a sensation of the earth shifting under your feet. Or maybe there's a vague smell of fear in the air, and even if you can't detect it consciously, it's still there, altering your experience.
All I know is I fell over in almost every standing pose today. And I couldn't twist worth a dime. And Supta K, well...whatever. No surprises there. It was borderline humiliating, since I had returned to Shala X this very morning, expecting the fruits of my self practice last week to present themselves. But no. Christina had to talk me through my frustration in Mari D. My hands kept slipping away from each other in the sweat, and probably fueled by my self-doubt and, of course, those damn horses.
See, that's the thing about yoga (as in Patanjali's Restatement of Yoga (lawyer joke there, ha ha): yoga is the stilling - or control - or corraling - of the swirling mind's thoughts so that there can be stillness so that the self - the seer - the one you talk to when you "talk to yourself" can emerge)...corralling the thoughts does not eliminate them. They are still there, after all. The mind can't be eliminated altogether, or else the Self has nothing with which to see and cannot function (or even exist). The Self needs the mind. So the mind is there, always. Sometimes quieter, sometimes louder. But it's always there.
I would have to guess that more experienced yogis can corral their horses more effectively, perhaps not just locking them in, but cooling them down, calming their restless spirit.
But hey, I'm really grasping at straws here. I don't know why my practice was so miserable today. I want to blame it on the obvious: the anxiety bubbling beneath my attempt at composure. But it could be any number of other things. It could be lack of sleep, not eating right, too much caffeine, too much coffee, specifically, too much walking, too much thinking...
I guess all I can do is say, "tomorrow is another day." Clearly there's a lesson here in equanimity. And perspective. It's my freakin' yoga practice. I went to my breast surgeon today, and she pronounced me healthy. THAT should be what matters!
Posted at 8:13 PM
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Today the whole Yoga Chickie family went to the Sports Club/LA for their Sunday Family thingy. The Husband took the kids to the rock climbing wall and to play basketball, and I took the led Primary class with Evan P. It was fine, if a bit dumbed down for the mass consumption.
- It is difficult not to look in a mirror that is right in front of your face.
- In every single posture, there is further for me to go, more for me to learn, more for me to open. I could work on Primary my whole life, I think, and never really be done with it.
- Supta K....ah, why repeat myself?
- Today I got my wrists through my lotus legs in Garbha Pindasana without hiking up my pants and adding water. YAY! Hopefully, the lotus will continue to "blossom" so that this the elbows will slip right through by the time Sir gives me this posture. Meanwhile, today was the first day I ever tried rolling around in a circle, and voila, thanks to Evan's instruction to roll back on the left side and up on the right side (I think that's what he said...how soon I forget...), it was totally do-able. I was amazed. I didn't know how I was ever going to be able to do that.
- I am actually really getting somewhere on my jump backs. This is shocking to me since when Julie K did her workshop at Shala X, she claimed that it took her seven (7!!) years to be able to jump back. So I figured that was a good estimate of how long it would take me. Maybe I was wrong?
- And here's the biggie....WATER IS GOOD. After class, I went down to the pool, expecting to spend 10 minutes or so in the hot tub. Well, somehow, the actual pool looked incredibly inviting, even with a few kids splashing around (not mine). And so I took the plunge. Let me be the first one to admit: I am a terrible swimmer. But it felt so good to approximate swimming. Breast stroke, back stroke, a little Australian crawl (that's what it used to be called...I don't know if it still is). I felt light, loose, soft, flexible. Usually within a half hour or so of finishing my Ashtanga practice, I am already contracting and getting tighter. But the pool...oh! I can't sing its praises enough. After some laps, I started doing aquatic tic-tocs. It is probably the closest I will ever get to actual tic-tocs in this lifetime. But it was so nice.
And a final, really scary realization: the reason I have always been a really lousy swimmer is that I have ALWAYS been tight across the chest...scaaaaary. I can no longer blame it on breast cancer, double mastectomy, radiation, whatever else I have been blaming it on. The piss-poor, stiff, cockeyed arm-motion I call a "crawl" is the same piss-poor stiff cockeyed arm-motion I always had, even as a kid. It's a wonder I ever was able to do gymnastics or make the cheerleading squad. I guess the tightness got worse over time. But I realized today: it was always there.
Now, to unlock it.
Posted at 3:03 PM
Saturday, April 22, 2006
In contrast to the joyously beautiful spring weather we were having here in New York City, today was cold and dreary and ultimately very, very rainy. I spent some time perusing the Ashtanga EZ Board and emailing with friends. The kids played on their X-Box, and Lewis entertained us with his hound version of "fetch" (human throws the ball, hound runs after it, catches it on the first or second bounce and then chews on it until the human pulls it out of said hound's mouth; repeat). Did some online house-hunting as well. Westport is such a nice town. I'm really starting to yearn for wide-open spaces, the smell of the ocean (okay, maybe not the ocean, but at least the Long Island Sound), the ability to let my dog run out into the back yard to do his business....
Anyway, late in the day, Adam and I walked over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to check out the Hatshepsut Exhibit. Hatshepsut was a female ruler of Egypt about 4,000 years ago. But instead of being queen, she became king - or Pharoah - a title you have heard about a lot if you've been reading this blog in the past few weeks. I am not sure how Adam and I came to decide that we wanted to see this exhibit, but I can tell you this: it was definitely Adam's idea, and it was definitely Adam who pushed for it to happen. Oh! I am kvelling!!
In brief, the story is as follows:
Hatshepsut was the daughter of the Pharaoh, Tuthmose I. When Tuthmose I died without sons, Hatshepsut ascended to the throne as a sort of Queen Mother to her nephew, Tuthmose III, who was technically next in line for the throne, but too young to ascend. She ruled for 15 years, pretty much acting as the boss of Tuthmose III, using propaganda and keen political skills, to overcome the hurdle of being a girl in a man's world. To quell the fears of her people, she became a "king" in all statuary and relief during her reign. She even dressed in men's clothing and wore a "false beard", at least in the statues she had commissioned of herself, which are the subject of the Met's exhibit.
I am sure I have mentioned this before, but Adam is really, really interested in ancient history. This has expressed itself in an interest in bible stories and the more character-driven stories behind certain Jewish Holidays, such as Hanukah, Purim and Passover. I share Adam's interest in history - not just ancient history, but all history really. Most of the books that I don't end up abandoning halfway through are more or less "historical" fiction (for example, The Red Tent, which I finished this past week, and Memoirs of a Geisha, which I finished a few months ago). So, not only was I doing my parental duty in taking my child to a museum, but I was quite excited to see this particular exhibit, particularly since I had just finished The Red Tent, which takes place, at least in part, in ancient Egypt.
As we walked along 79th Street toward Fifth Avenue, I realized that it has been several years since I had walked into the Met, and it was probably the first time I had ever been to the Met with Adam. Back when Brian was a newborn, I used to take him there all the time. That was early 1997, and an article in Newsweek had recently come out about the "Zero to Three" years, and how important they were in a child's mental and emotional development. At the time, I was a full-time working mom, and this Newsweek article, which EVERYONE was talking about at the time, shook me to my core and put the fear of God in me that I had better spend every waking moment stimulating Brian's brain. So, starting before he was even able to focus beyond six inches in front of his face, I used to bundle Brian up in the Baby Bjorn and walk around the Met. We went so often that it made good financial sense to purchase a family membership, which we kept renewing until about a year ago, when I finally faced the fact that we were no longer visiting the Met with any regularity. Or even at all. Except maybe to buy a hot dog or a pretzel on the way into Central Park.
(P.S. Turns out, Brian is a GENIUS....was it the trips to the museum? the Gymboree classes? the long walks down Second Avenue, with its lights and noise and smells and bustling activity? my constant talking? or is it...just Brian?)
Anyway, so, Adam and I went to the Met. And first thing, he complained that there was no King Tut exhibit. That cracked me up because I think, although I am not quite sure, that my parents DRAGGED me to see the Tut exhibit when I was about Adam's age, and I hated every single minute of it. Then we went to see the mummies in the Ancient Egypt room. Adam was surprised to see that the mummies were wrapped in silk, with their limbs pressed against their bodies, and that they wore masks. I think he was expecting them to be wrapped in white gauze with their arms and legs free. He did tell me, in case I was wondering, that he was not scared.
Adam also told me that he was very offended by all of the idols he saw. "I HATE idols," he told me. "Why?" I asked. "Because I'm Jewish, and we don't worship idols." I explained to him that he doesn't have to hate idols to not worship them. He can simply not worship them. Later on, he got confused and thought that a Rodin sculpture was an idol. But I digress.
Our last stop at the museum was our real reason for being there, of course: the Hatshepsut Exhibit. Upon arriving in the gallery, Adam told me that he wanted one of those personal audio things so that he could listen and learn about the exhibit. I was like, sure, of course, as long as you tell me what you learn. We negotiated a bit, and it was agreed that he would tell me ONE thing that he learned about each piece that the audiotape talked about. The first piece, and by far, to me, the most compelling was this one:
What Adam told me was that this statue of Hatshepsut is significant because of her stance. Women of Hatshepsut's day would pose with their arms by their sides (he demonstrated this for me). But here Hatshepsut stands in the traditional stance taken by male rulers: left leg steps forward; palms face down. She is also wearing a "false beard" (not to be confused with a "fake beard", according to Adam, although I really don't see the difference, myself). Adam pointed out for me Hatshepsut's cartouche, explaining to me what various symbols meant. He also pointed out for me a "false door" to the palace which is significant because it shows where ultimately Hatshepsut's cartouche was scratched out and replaced by that of her father, the prior Pharoah. The same is true of a number of other pieces in the exhibit - it seems that someone tried to erase Hatshepsut from history. It is believed that it may have been her co-King, Tuthmose III. However, evidence points to a conclusion that if Tuthmose III was responsible for ordering the obliteration of Hatshepsut from history, it may have been the result of political pressure, as opposed to jealousy or bitterness. Anyway, that's what Adam tells me.
The yogi in me must mention at this juncture that before we moved onto the next part of the exhibit, I asked Adam to join me in standing in the same pose as the statue. I thought about whether it would make a good yoga pose. Not a particularly difficult one. But an interesting one nevertheless.
Obviously, I found the Hatshepsut exhibit to be inspiring, at the very least. In fact, I found it to be quite a fascinating exhibit, and I thanked Adam profusely for getting me back to the Met. I am so proud of him. Did I say that already?
And I am so lucky to have this world-famous museum practically in my backyard.
Back to yoga tomorrow....
Posted at 11:26 PM
Friday, April 21, 2006
I have a tweak in my trap, which sent a hiccup to my hip, which sent a plea to my knee to overbend in lotus, which, in turn, shackled my ankle, causing the crack on my toe...to grow when pressing down in the third Janu Sirsas-oh.
It seems I need a day.
Or so says my chiropracter, Dr. Jaime Blau, who is so awesome that I let her adjust Adam today. He had a small subloxation in the hip, probably a product of a growth spurt. Already, I feel much better after my adjustment. But she asked that I not do anything that will pull on my shoulders. That leaves out a good bit of the Primary Series, nearly everything after Janu Sirsasana. I am not even sure that I can chatturanga without potentially undoing her delicate work.
Right now, my kids are screeching at each other, and Adam has said "shut up" more times than I care to count. So, I guess I had better attend to the mounting civil war.
I am really really really starting to crave a life in the country, or something like the country, like, say Westport, where we rented houses during two summers, and I know that the neighborhoods are expansive and connected such that long bike rides and walks are possible, and there's public beachfront free for all town residents with a skate park, basketball court, a big playground, swimming pool, kayaking, sailboats (and sailing lessons) and a country club that is also free to all town residents. We got to partake in all of that while we were renting, and it is a really sweet existence. Last night, before I met Mr. Crazy, I was walking along the East River and thinking how beautiful it is and how wonderful it is to be able to safely walk down the river and see the lights and smell the salty air. But how much more wonderful to walk down the sidewalk that runs along the beachfront knowing that you can go home to a house that has MORE than just enough space for everyone. "Just enough" space is a precarious place to be. It is always threatening to destabilize. New photos present decisions. Schoolwork and art projects that come home from school present choices.
Last night I even went so far as to peruse some online listing for Westport homes. Seems do-able. Shockingly do-able, making me wonder if the suburban home market in the tri-state-metropolitan area has started to falter behind the home market in the city. That would be a very good thing!
But I can't get too attached to this craving for now - there is a whole process of house hunting and neigborhood investigating, not to mention school-fact-checking before hunkering down and honing down the possibilities to a couple of neighborhoods. And then there is the timing issue - getting the kids into a new school at the start of a school year. It's almost definitely too late for this year. So the earliest possible move date would be the summer of 2007. Crazy!
And no, I have not even begun to think about where I would practice Ashtanga. I know that would work itself out. I have no doubt at all.
Posted at 11:55 AM
Thursday, April 20, 2006
This evening, I was with Lewis the Bagle at the corner of 79th Street and East End when a man walked up to us dressed in full Yankee regalia - an actual Yankee uniform - from head to toe. When he bent down to say hello to Lewis the Bagle, I asked him, "Are you a Yankee?" But when he looked up at me and smiled, I could see he was far too old to be a Yankee. "Don't I wish," he laughed, "I'm just a devoted fan." That's when I saw the name, "Jeter" on his back, and I felt silly for even having asked the question.
The traffic light turned green, and I was ready to keep walking, but the man in the Yankee uniform continued to talk. He told me that he had an "away uniform" as well. When the Yankees were playing at home, he wore the home uniform; when the Yankees were traveling, he wore the away uniform. In each case, the whole uniform, head to toe, every game, without fail.
I smiled politely, my eyes beginning to search for a polite way out of the conversation, but the light had turned red again. I steeled myself for another two minutes of hearing of his devotion to the Yankees.
And then it happened: the "crazy tell" - that moment when a crazy person feels compelled to no longer keep his craziness to himself. It's always inevitable in these situations, but the thing is, you only ever realize it in hindsight. Smiling so wide, I could see every one of his teeth gleaming under the street lights, the Yankee fan swung a pinstriped arm high up in the evening air and proceeded to punch himself, hard, in the groin. I grimaced as I heard the crack of knuckles against plastic: his cup. The Yankee fan was showing me that he was wearing a cup.
"See?" he said, "I wasn't kidding when I said I wear the whole uniform."
I felt my face twist into a cringe, but I tried to be polite. No big reactions. No sudden moves. Stepping slowly away, I laughed nervously, "Oh, okay, I see, yeah, well, thanks for the info....." My voice trailed off as I saw that the light had turned green again, and I hurried into the crosswalk.
As Lewis and I made our way across the street, I turned to finish the thought.
"Have a great season, Derek."
I didn't look back the rest of the way home.
Posted at 11:21 PM
Why is a good bind so hard to find? WHY? WHY I ask you? Why must Mari D torment me so?
Today, I found that I had to really leeeeeeean into my lotus thigh to allow, what I think is gravity, to draw my back arm behind me far enough to be grabbed by my binding/wrapping arm. The twist does not appear to be the problem. It seems like my shoulders simply still are not reliable loose, permitting my arms to flop around behind me. Will that ever happen? I feel dismayed. Even Mari A and B aren't so easy. Funny though, how Mari C is kind of easy for me now, but I think it is only because my standards are pretty low. In Mari A and Mari B, I get bummed if I can't grab my wrist. In Mari C, I really don't care if I grab my wrist, as long as I feel solidly wrapped up in my own arms. My standards for Mari D are also pretty low. But I just can't stand how difficult it is for me to bring my back arm around now. Not to mention a certain stiffness in my wrapping wrist - what the hell is that about? After repeated tries, I finally found a method that seems to work to get my hands really solidly together - as opposed to hooking fingers, which humiliates me even when I am all by myself in my home as I was today. So, here is the method, for future reference:
1. Take a wide lotus so that my heel isn't really in my abdomen - only the ball of my foot.
2. Deeply twist, using the wrapping arm pressing against the elbow, stabilizing self by pressing into the back hand....all of this BEFORE binding.
3. Lean deeply FORWARD into the front foot to take the bind and use hands if necessary to bring both sides of the ribcage to at LEAST level with the bent leg, preferably in FRONT of the bent leg. Solidify the wrap by grabbing a thigh while working on the next step.
4. THEN, and this seems to be the secret ingredient in the recipe, really really lean into the lotus leg before starting to bring the back arm around. This brings the back arm closer to the front arm which is already there waiting.
This method seemed to work. There are two major weight shifts here, the first is forward to wrap the front arm, and the second is into the lotus leg to wrap the back arm. Hopefully this will translate to my practice tomorrow. Hopefully I will HAVE a practice tomorrow with the way my right Trapezius feels as a result of some weird snapping, releasing, opening thing that happened during, of all things, Bhujapidasana.
The good news - there always has to be some good news - My Parivritta Parsvakonasana is ALMOST flat palms to the mat. That would explain why Mari C feels good finally.
Nothing new in Supta K today. Same as yesterday. That's good though. Better than regression.
Worry of the day: I am so stiff that I feel uncomfortable starting my practice without having really stretched myself out first - with Prasarita Pado C and a bound Ardha Matsyandrasana at a minimum. That is not good. That is not the way the system is supposed to work. And it feels kind of obsessive and attached.
Complaint about the system of the day: Not enough lengthening of the hip flexors. My hip flexors CRAVE being stretched out. They are so so constricted in the Marichyasanas. They want to stretch, they want to leap, the want to stretch across the ocean like Hanuman. They want to do Hanumanasana. Today I let them. I pretended I was in Southern California and that this was okay.
Gratuitous additional complaint about the system of the day: Not enough muscular endurance required, specifically in lunging postures like Warrior II. In the classes I teach, my students have to get stronger simply by virtue of being required to hold Warrior I and II for what probably feels to them like a torturous amount of time. I am starting to envy those students. In the Standing Sequence, I am in War I and War II for five breaths, period, end of story. And I really feel like it's not enough.
I need my teacher back. I am falling from the fold. I am a sheep wandering from the flock! I am a planet that has lost its orbit! I am melodramatic!
Posted at 3:58 PM
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Overheard in an Upper Eastside Apartment:
"Hey, good news! A dog-walker I know asked me to take over five of her clients for part of next week while she goes out of town. I am so psyched! I'm going to see what it's like to be a dog walker! Maybe that's my next self-reinvention! Dog walker!"
"You know, the doormen in our building are probably going on strike tomorrow night. You could probably get work as a doorman too. Or rather, doorwoman."
P.S. Is it so crazy to think of becoming a dogwalker?? I can only imagine I would make more money per hour than as a yoga teacher, while doing something healthy: walking. Or have I fallen so far from the expectations of those around me that I don't even notice anymore as I slip further and further beneath the bottom rung of whatever ladder I was supposed to be ascending?
Posted at 11:37 PM
It's not wrong to dream...
But I know where my reality currently lies....(the photo is not me, but it is probably the closest to where I am currently at in Supta K, of all of the photos I have seen on Google Images (although her arms are lower down on her hips than I believe mine are, and her forehead does not appear to be grounded yet.....but it's as close as I could find, and it is pretty damn respectable, I might add)....
I find that if I can allow myself time to relax and to ease into it, I can get closer to binding in Supta K. Actually, that is true for just about any posture, particularly Mari D. But it is so so so true for Supta K. Today after Erika's half led primary, I stopped at Navasana and went to the back of the room and finished my own practice.
An observation I made about Bhujapidasana: any dawdling and I'm toast. I need to hold those bhandas and hold the focus and then I can vinyasa in and out without collapsing instead of chatturanga-ing.
An observation I made about Kurmasana: I really have made progress! I always thought that I had a pretty good Kurmasana, even before it was "taken away" from me so that I could work on the Marichyasanas. But now if I let myself breathe in the posture for a nice, long time, I find my chest hitting the floor, my chin extending out, my legs beginning to feel lighter over my arms instead of feeling like they're crushing my arms. Something else I noticed: I am a lot better off if instead of sitting down immediately after jumping my legs around my arms, I balance for a breath in Tittibasana and THEN lower my butt to the floor. By doing so, I don't overstretch my lower back, exhausting myself before I even begin.
And Supta Kurmasana: I felt the best in it today that I have ever felt, and I had no one adjusting me. So how is that? Well, after a nice long Kurmasana, I worked VERY slowly, step by step, feeling each movement fully before moving onto the next.
1. I bent my knees UPWARD, rather than OUTWARD, making room for my arms to wiggle back.
2. Then I rolled my shoulders inwardly toward my chest, the way I would if I were attempting to bind to prepare for Bird of Paradise, turning my palms to face up, and grabbed the belt I had waiting behind me.
3. Then I wiggled my arms up over my hips, the belt between my hands, pulling it tighter as I went higher.
4. Only when I could wiggle my arms up no further did I start to rock back and forth to draw my shoulders further under each knee.
5. Only when there was nothing left to do with regard to the binding of the hands did I cross my ankles over my head. Not over my neck yet.
Holding the pose, having gotten into it in this manner, I felt as if I could stay there forever. As I sank deeper, I felt my forehead pressing into something. At first I thought it was touching some part of one of my ankles - it's hard to know which body part is which when you're all tangled up like that. It took me a moment or two before I realized that my forehead was pressing into the floor. It was delightful! If my forehead is on the floor, then my chest MUST be opening!
I am looking forward to trying it again tomorrow.
But a part of me longs for the time when Mari D was my final pose, when I got adjusted deeply in it every day. A part of me fears I will never make more progress in Mari D now that I am working on poses that come later in the sequence. But I know intellectually that this shouldn't be true - some teachers have their students go through Primary right from the start.
Posted at 9:00 PM
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
which may seem obvious to everyone but me....the people in the tale, they are not Jews. I know that this may seem kind of like, duh, but I always thought of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Esau, Leah, Rachel, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Joseph, Benjamin, Asher, Gad, etc. - those biblical characters of those generations and those times - I always thought of them as Jews. But although Abraham may have worshipped one god, and although the boys may have been circumcised eight days after their birth, it seems that until Moses received the laws from God, there was no organized religion at all, but rather the seeds of a religion and the tribes of people who had come to accept these seeds as their customs. I know - reading what I have written, I can only laugh and say, well, duh. But I honestly envisioned all of those characters as Jews. Probably because of my sleepaway camp and because so many Jewish people I know are named "Jacob" and "Rachel" and "Benjamin". Of course, many non-Jews also have these names. Again, duh.
But here's the thing: where I talked about the "Jewish people" in my story of Passover, it really doesn't seem accurate now that I think about it unless by "Jewish people", I mean the large tribes of people who lived amongst one another in ancient Egypt and worshipped the "God of Abraham" and who circumcised their boy babies eight days after birth and adhered to many of the same customs and were (possibly, more or less) related to one another through their having descended from Abraham. Perhaps it would have been more accurate to call them the "People of Israel" or the perhaps the "People who would become Jews".
If I am wrong, I would be happy to be corrected here. I am just now trying to piece all of this together.
Another thing - and this may or may not be true - it SEEMS as if it is possible that Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob, gave birth to an Egyptian prince who MAY have been an ancestor of the Pharoahs who tormented the Jews in the story of Moses. I am not sure about this.
Posted at 10:26 PM
Too much teaching today, not enough practicing.
In fact, no practicing. I just needed the day.
Tomorrow, I get my practice back on.
The good news, I did Supta K last night in a dream. It was amazing and wonderful and I held it forever. I know this posture is in me, or else how would I dream of it?
Posted at 10:00 PM
Monday, April 17, 2006
I am reading this novel right now - and I am VERY disturbed by the turn it takes 3/4 of the way through. It is as if someone other than the author took over her keyboard. It is not just the violence that happens and who commits it. It is the way that the events develop that lead up to the violence. They seem dreamed up. And of course, it is a novel, so it IS dreamed up. But my suspension of disbelief drops to the floor and crashes into a million bits at the point that Dinah basically throws away all of the social mores of her day, every tradition, everything she has been brought up to understand about the way things are between men and women, and goes off and f-cks some guys she has known for like 30 minutes. It is SO disturbing. I can't believe this novel is so well-received. It SUCKS. Nevertheless, I need to finish it in order to find out what happens at the end. Or I could just read the Bible, I suppose, since it's based on a story from the bible, or actually, a fragment of a story.
I am not pleased with this Red Tent.
Update: I have since read the Bible passage on which the Red Tent is based: Genesis, Chapter 35. And it only drives further home the idea that the author (Anita Diamant) really got lazy once she got to the part of her story that is actually covered in the Bible. She basically spits out what the Bible says. Whereas she devotes 3/4 of the book to stuff that she imagined in wonderful ways, she speeds through what amounts to a slightly expanded version of Chapter 35, adding not much more than one crucial detail: that Dinah love-love-loved the man with whom she slept (thus changing what seems possibly to be a rape into consensual sex). And it just doesn't add up. It just doesn't. It's a nice thought. I wish I could believe it. But the way it's written, it just doesn't add up. Maybe if Dinah had spent more time with the guy. But she hardly knew him at all. And she just willingly gave up her honor? I just don't see it.
At the Jewish sleepaway camp I went to as a kid, all of the age-groups were named after characters from the bible. One of the age-groups was called "Dinah" when I first started attending the camp. Of course, it was pronounced wrong by the campers and counselors alike - as in "Someone's in the kitchen with Die-nah" (it is actually pronounced "DEE-nah"). By the time I was old enough to be in the Dinah group, the name had been changed to Hadassah. The rumor was that parents complained about "Dinah" since Dinah was a fallen woman or possibly a rape victim. I was always sorry about that. I didn't care what her reputation was. I liked the name. My own Mom's middle name is Adena.
I feel like I'm rambling a bit incoherently about this. I guess what I am trying to say is that I appreciated the story-telling throughout most of the Red Tent. But once Diamant tried to do away with Dinah's "bad reputation", she went wrong. She should could have made it all more believable if she had expanded the love story between Dinah and her lover. Or she could have taken a totally different approach and explained what led Dinah to do something so totally out of character as sleeping with a man she didn't even know. Or she could have gone with the "rape" version of the story, which seems somewhat similar to the Luke and Laura storyline from General Hospital (boy meets girl, boy rapes girl, boy decides to make an honest man of himself by falling in love with and marrying girl).
Anyway, The Red Tent is an interesting but frustrating and ultimately disappointing read.
Posted at 8:14 PM
Sunday, April 16, 2006
It was good. Glad I did it. I feel less "down" now.
No new Supta K's to add to the tally, as I have not been adjusted in it since Thursday.
On the advice of many helpful Ashtangis, I am doing some extracurricular "R&D", namely Compass Pose, aka Surya Yantrasana, with and without holding the extended leg with the opposite hand. After that, I start to inwardly rotate my thigh in my hip socket to try to get my ankle behind my head. Notice how I don't say, "after that, Eka Pada Sirsasana"...because it's not like what I am doing is, in reality, anything like EPS yet...maybe in time I will be able to hold the ankle behind the head? Probably about the same time that I refer to it as, "my ankle behind my head". The 1980's literature major/deconstructionist in me takes due note of the fact that she (I!) am referring to these (currently) dissociated body parts in a (for the foreseeable future) dissociated manner.
One interesting development that most Ashtangis will not find surprising at all. Now that I have set aside my backbending agenda, backbending has become quite effortless. So much so that as I prepare my body to go up into Urdvha Dhanurasana, I mentally prepare myself for a lot of stiffness in the armpits and shoulders, only to find that as I actually press myself up into the posture, there is no stiffness at all. Hmmmmm.
Told me so.
Will I ever learn?
I highly doubt it.
But you never know.
Posted at 8:03 PM
Something I have been mulling for a long while, basically every since I started my daily Ashtanga practice, is what of this notion of women taking off from practice during the first three days of their periods, and where does my situation fit in with this? First, I was never a big believer in letting my period stand in the way of my doing anything. Second, once I discovered yoga, I never understood why anyone else would do so either. I listened to the "reasons" behind it, but I have never really been able to get past the idea that this keeping of women out of the shala while they are bleeding is misogynistic. At worst, it seems like a punishment for women being women. At best, it seems overprotective of a woman's body based on a fundamental lack of understanding that blood does not equal trauma or a weakened state. So, even if the reasons are good, the message is so bad that I could never much even hear the reasons.
Nowadays, it isn't exactly relevant to me as a student. Ever since going through chemo, I haven't bled. And just to seal the deal such that I would never again experience the hormonal highs that fed my cancer in the first place, and at the same time, in order to dispense with a pair of organs that weren't doing anything anymore anyway other than putting me at risk for an even scarier cancer, I had bilateral oophorectomy. So, despite that I am a relatively young woman (if 40 is the new 30, I mean), I don't have "three days off" from the shala like the other young women out there.
Going on the notion that the three days off is either pointless or directly tied to the "apana-istic" flow of blood downward and outward (which goes against the prana-ic flow that the Ashtanga practice fosters), then it would seem that the three days off is something that neither I nor anyone in my shala needs me to do. Yet I wonder...
Today is definitely a "down day" for me. I woke up feeling "off". My belly feels bloated. My head feels heavy. My eyes are tired. I have a cramp in one shoulder. I want to want to practice, but I don't want to practice. Remembering that it was not long ago that I felt this way, I grew curious as to when it was that I had my last down day. And what do you know? It was March 22. 25 days ago. Nearly one moon cycle ago.
So I am wondering, is my body somehow, without the aid of hormones, without the blood and other physical changes brought about my a menstrual cycle, cycling of its own volition? Or perhaps is my body reacting to the cycles of those around me? Or is it just that I tweaked my shoulder and ate poorly in the past few days? Or perhaps it is that I am simply tired and spent from working with a new pose in the past 10 or so days? Or pehaps it is that I am ready for some sort of break-through in my practice, which I am told often feels like a set-back in the practice?
I'm just thinking aloud. None of this really matters. I suppose at some point today, I will stand on my mat and at least salute the sun, at least sit in padmasana. I know that Sir says that we need to practice even when injured. So I am sure that I will.
Which reminds me...how psyched am I that I have a teacher? SO very. In the yoga world, you always hear teachers talking about THEIR teachers. If you have never had a "teacher" of your own, it can sound borderline pompous to hear someone quoting "my teacher". At my Om teacher training, some of us would whisperingly scoff at these references to "my teacher". How did one come to have a "teacher", I wondered, particularly in light of the fact that no one at Om particularly appealed to me, and no one's teachings there particularly resonated with me?
I remember when a colleague of mine at a studio neither of us work for any longer came to the studio one day, flushed with excitement because she had "found her teacher". This seemed odd to me. How does someone one day "find their teacher" any more tha someone one day meets their "future husband"? How can someone know something like that in one day? Revelations never come to me in flashes like that. Instead, they marinate over time.
And over time, I have come into an awareness that I finally do have a teacher. Even if I practice by myself, even if I take a led class with someone else, I still have my teacher's voice in my head. I feel anchored.
Even if I feel crappy today.
Posted at 12:14 PM
Friday, April 14, 2006
1. Had my worst practice ever. And that was okay.
2. Despite worst practice ever, I actually really actually really found myself in padma mayurasana after uth-pluti and I actually really actually really found myself floating my legs back. Someone had taken over my body. Someone far stronger and flexy than me. How can that happen on a day when I can barely bind in the Marichyasanas? Will it ever happen again?
3. My cousin, D, came with me to practice. She is building a Mysore practice, despite not having a teacher. She is also training for her 13th marathon. All in all, quite amazing.
4. No Supta K for me today. I just didn't want to. And by the time I got to it, Tanya was already out of the room.
5. I am teaching Level II/III (Intermediate/Advanced) Vinyasa class at Yoga Sutra tomorrow (Saturday) at 4:30 p.m. It is 105 minutes, includes chanting, pranayama and meditation. The focus will more than likely be arm balances unless someone requests something else.
6. Off to see Ice Age.
Posted at 1:44 PM
Thursday, April 13, 2006
So,there the Jews were, running from Egypt because, I suppose, they knew in their hearts that the Pharoah would quickly change his mind about allowing the Jews to go free. And sure enough, the Pharoah did change his mind, sending his armies after the Jews, giving chase. There had been a plan to go one way, but when it became apparent that the Egyptian army was nipping at the heels of the Jews, God sent the Jews on a detour that led them right to the banks of the Red Sea. And it was there that God pulled out yet another miracle in keeping with his promise to free the Jews. That miracle was the parting of the Red Sea. Perhaps it was just a low tide at the right time. Or perhaps the sea truly parted. Either way, the Jewish people made it safely across the sea. The Egyptians not so much: as they followed on the heels of the Jews, the waters rose up once again. Every one of them drowned.
Safely on the other side of an ocean, the Jews rejoiced. They were free. Not free from affliction forever. But for now, they were no longer slaves in Egypt.
And it is this story that Jews remember on Passover when they gather for their Seder.
Posted at 12:41 AM
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
And you shall tell your children, "When I left the bonds of slavery, God performed miracles...for me...."
Previously, on "Yoga Chickie's Passover Story": Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel, became acquainted with the Pharoah through a prank by his jealous siblings. Ultimately, Joseph's good relationship with the Pharoah was a boon for the Jewish people who lived in Egypt. That is, until generations passed and there came into a power a Pharoah who had no knowledge of this Joseph person. Things went downhill fast for the Jews in Egypt, as the Pharoah compelled them into hard labor such as construction work, and without proper pay. The Jews became slaves. And yet still, their numbers multiplied, and the Pharoah went from hatred to fear and round and round again, ultimately commanding that each Jewish boy that was born must be killed. Well, a certain mom wasn't having what the Pharoah was serving. Her name was Yocheved, and she was the mother of Miriam and Aaron. Following Pharoah's death-to-Jewish-newborn-boys decree, Yocheved gave birth to a second baby boy. For as long as she could, Yocheved hid her baby, but really, how successful can anyone be at hiding a baby? When she could hide him no longer, she put her baby in a basket and floated him down the river, where he was found by the Pharoah's daughter. Goaded on by Miriam, Pharoah's daughter took the baby in as her own (despite realizing that he is a Jewish baby) and hired none other than Yocheved to be his baby nurse. The baby became known as Moses (in Hebrew, Moshe, which means, "drawn from the water"), and he grew up in Pharaoh's palace.
Moses was lucky to have his real mom as his nurse for those formative years - the years from zero to three. He became a compassionate man, one who could not bear to see the Jews suffering. One day as an adult, he sees a Jewish man being savagely beaten by his Egyptian taskmaster and in defending the Jewish man, ends up killing the Egyptian. Moses panics and tries to hide the body. But it become quickly apparent that someone told someone, who told someone, what Moses did. Realizing that he is going to be in terrible trouble for killing an Egyptian, Moses runs away.
For many years, Moses stays away. He makes a home in Midyan, marries a beautiful woman wo is the daughter of the Midyan spiritual leader, Yitro. Moses's wife is named Tziporah (as in Tzippy & Ric, whose sweater I am wearing as I write this). Moses becomes a shepherd and has two children. While Moses is gone from Egypt, things only get worse for the Jews in Egypt.
One day, in the midst of all of this, Moses is minding his own business, shepherding some sheep, when he sees a burning bush. The thing about this burning bush though: it burned, but it was not consumed. It was then that God spoke to Moses and told him that he would be God's messenger to bring the Children of Israel (the Jews) out of bondage and into the Promised Land.
"But I'm not worthy," Moses replies.
God doesn't take no for an answer, of course, and instructs Moses to go to Egypt to tell the Jews to make demands upon the Pharoah, demands that the Pharoah will inevitably refuse.
"But who is going to listen to me?" Moses protests.
"Why, everyone, when you show them these three miracles you're going to have up your sleeve. First, you're going to throw your staff to the ground, and it is going to turn into a snake. When you grab the snake by its tail, it will go back to being a staff. Second, you're going to put your hand on your chest, and suddenly, your hand is going to look all gross and diseased. Then you're going to wave your hand and make it look normal again. Then, finally, if still no one believes you, you will fill a pail with water from the river, and when you pour the water out, it will turn to blood."
"But, I have a pretty serious speech impediment. Have you considered that?"
(It has been said that Moses's speech impediment came from an incident in his childhood, when he was "tested" to see if he could live in the Pharoah's palace, by having to choose between a piece of gold and a piece of coal (choosing the gold would mean he posed a threat, in which case, he would be killed); although he started to go for the gold, an angel is said to have moved his hand to the coal, which he popped into his mouth, causing a serious burn and a lifelong speech issue. This story is a folktale, and not from any biblical source.)
"Yes, I've got that worked out. Your brother, Aaron, will go with you, and he will speak for you."
And so it comes to pass that Moses and Aaron go to Egypt and do what God said that they must do. When the demands upon the Pharoah are made, the Pharoah responds as God knew that he would, by saying, "Absolutely NOT" and imposing even harsher measures upon the Jews. The Jews become annoyed with Moses. You had to know it wasn't going to go smoothly. The Jews accuse Moses and Aaron of just making everything worse. Moses tries to tell them to be patient, that everything will work out.
"Yeah? Tell that to the blisters on my hands. Tell that to the sunburn on my neck."
Moses is bummed out. If his own people won't trust him, that God is on their side, that their freedom is God's will, then how will he convince Pharoah to make it all happen?
Well, of course, God had a plan. And it seemed at first to make no sense. Why would anyone want to provoke Pharaoh's anger when he would only turn around and make life even harder for the Jews? But there's the rub: not only were the Jews going to go free, but in the process the Pharoah was going to end up bringing upon himself and his own people the wrath of God. The wrath of God would come in the form of the Plagues.
The more Pharoah said "NO!" I will NOT let your people go", the worse the plagues became. First there was blood - the Nile became a river of blood that made the fish die, and stank to high hell. This had the effect of forcing the Egyptians to purchase water from the Jews. Heh!
Then came the frogs. As the children's song goes, "One day King Pharaoh woke up in his bed, there were frogs on his head, frogs on his bed, frogs on his nose, frogs on his toes, frogs here, frogs there, frogs were jumping everywhere." But still the Pharaoh said, "NO! I will NOT let your people go." (Well, first he said, OK! UNCLE!! But then as soon as the frogs were gone, he went back on his promise to let the Jews go.)
(And this was kind of understandable since a plague of frogs isn't even all that impressive, since it has been documented that in really really big storms, frogs can be swept up in the wind, eventually falling to the earth when the wind dies down, thus giving the appearance of the sky "raining frogs")
Next came lice. Still, the answer coming from Pharaoh: NO.
Then came wild beasts, roaming the streets, mauling the Egyptians. No movement on the part of Pharoah. Then came cattle blight. Pharoah weakens and agrees to Moses's terms. But as soon as the cattle get healthy, Pharoah goes back on his deal. e fifth plague, all of the Egyptian cattle dies. But Pharoh still doesn't budge.
The sixth and seventh plagues were boils which covered his people from head to toe and hail so large it crushed people under it. Notwithstanding the suffering of his own people, Pharoah still will not budge The eighth and ninth plagues were locusts and darkness. Only the Jews had light during the six days of darkness that followed. Pharoah starts to negotiate, suggesting that the Jews can leave Egypt but they have to leave behind their valuables. No deal.
And that was the Pharoah's last chance. The next plague was to be "Death of the Firstborn Son". But this was only to apply to the firstborn sons of Egyptians. Jewish sons would be spared because the angel of death would "Pass Over" all Jewish homes. But how would the angel of death know which was a Jewish home? The instruction was for each Jewish family to take a lamb, sacrifice it, and smear the blood on the doorpost of their house. The lamb would be roasted and eaten and the family could go to bed in safety.
At exactly midnight, it comes to pass that every firstborn son of Egypt dies. One of the dead was Pharoah's son. Finally, he begs the Jews to just LEAVE. Before Pharoah can change his mind, the Jews get the hell out of town. They are in such a hurry, that there is no time for their bread dough to rise. Thus, they take with them unleavened bread: Matzah. That morning, about 3 MILLION Jews booked out of Egypt, following Moses. It is said that the newly freed nation is protected by a "cloud of glory" by day and a "pillar of fire" by night. But before they reach the Promised Land, God has one more punishment for Pharoah.
To be continued....
(and edited for grammar)
Posted at 12:38 PM
Supta K #8. I TOTALLY NAILED IT! Hands just moved toward one another like magnets.
Er, and then I woke up.
Practice today was one of those practices where you realize that it takes commitment to keep practicing. It just isn't feeling very brilliant lately, or at least not today. But still I press on. I think that it's amazing that I get so many adjustments in the Marichyasanas and Supta K. But on the other hand, it tires me out like nobody's business. Today I made a conscious decision to hold back just a little bit, to really stick to five breaths in each posture (except Parv Parsva Kona), to not even try to jump through with straight legs. I really wanted to have the energy for Supta K. And clearly, I need to build my stamina up. But that will come. Supta K was fine. Nothing new to report other than I was able to press up with my ankles crossed. But I'm all closed in on myself, and my ankles are in front of my face instead of behind my neck. Ah well. In time. In time. In time. Seven down, 8,000 or so to go, more or less.
REW gives a great explanation of the essential themes of Passover in her blog today. Hopefully later on, I will be able to sit down and continue the story I started two days ago.
Posted at 11:41 AM
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Nothing new to report.
Couldn't even hook the fingers, although I felt that there was perhaps some progress in bringing the legs behind the shoulders, which I believe is going to be really important for me, since I need SOMETHING to compensate for the tight shoulders.
Christina gave me a crazy, insane, awesome, deep Mari A adjustment (it's becoming our "thing", it seems), and it paved the way to one of my best Mari B's ever. I felt my spine crack a bit, in a good way, of courses, and I think my head is going to touch the floor soon. Petri gave me a crazy, insane, awesome, deep Mari C adjustment and it must have been 15 breaths long. That was good news and bad news for my Mari D. The good news is my twist was all set to go. The bad news is I was just too damn tired to get myself into a respectable posture. I bound, but it felt kind of anemic.
Interesting backbending moment (interesting is all relative, right, and it certainly is in the eye of the beholder). First off, after the endless Mari C and the usual Supta K, I couldn't even FATHOM Urdhva Dhanurasana. So, I bridged twice. Then an almost-urdhva (crown of the head only). Then, finally, I felt strong enough to go up to the full wheel. And it was fine. My legs felt strong, I puffed my chest out toward an imaginary wall behind me (didn't have the energy to actually move my mat to a wall today), and I felt some cracking going on. LOVE the cracking. After three, I looked up, and there was Petri. I looked up at him, like, "what?", and he just nodded with approval. PSYCH!
Yes, I am attached to getting approval. Acknowledge it, and let it go....................
Teaching at the Arch. Must go now. More on the Yoga Chickie version of 10C later...first I need to speak to Brian, who is in Hebrew Schoo as we speakl. Hopefully, he will provide me with the raw materials so that I can extrapolate.
Posted at 5:21 PM
Monday, April 10, 2006
I knew that Abraham was the father of Judaism, that he formed the first covenant with God and affirmed his faith in God by offering up his pre-teen son, Isaac, as directed by God, as a burnt offering to God (thus REALLY becoming the first Jewish father by royally fucking up his son for life with childhood guilts, trust issues and other traumas), which, luckily, God put a stop to before it could be carried out. That much I knew. I also knew that Isaac survived, at least in body, and became a father himself, of Esau (the hairy man, the hunter) and Jacob (the girly, spiritual one, the gatherer), who put the fun in dysfunctional sibling relationships, long after Caine offed his brother Abel.
Where a I going with this?
What I did not know, until my six-year-old was kind enough to inform me, was that Abraham had another son, in addition to Isaac (whose name means "laughter", go figure), whose name was Ismael. Ismael was the son of Abraham and a slave girl named Hagar, who was Egyptian. Abraham cast them out when he became the father of Isaac with his wife, Sarah (not so nice, but these were not the days of political correctness). And it is widely believed that Ismael and his progeny became the first Muslims. Thus, the Muslims and the Jews turn out to have common bloodlines. My little Adam also informed me that in Iraq, they have blood tests that can tell one whether his Muslim blood is mingling within his veins with the blood of Jews as well.
Aside from that, when you really get to thinking about all of this, you start to realize that this is actually the "prequel" to the blockbuster Passover Story, which is also referred to by Hollywood types as "The Ten Commandments". And hey, who can blame them for making and now remaking 10-C? It is amitvah to tell and retell the Passover Story again and again and again, year after year for generations and generations and generations, ad infinitum (as pointed out by a generous commentator, a "mitvah" really isn't something that is "auspicious"; I would like to say that a mitvah is something that is a good deed because that is what it has come to mean in common parlance, but in truth, mitvot (plural of mitvah) are commandments, required, not optional). Also (as Anon points out), as Jews, we have a duty to tell the Passover Story over and over and over again, for generations and generations and generations to come, ad infinitum. We should never forget the story of how we went from slavery to freedom, of how we overcame oppression, of how we received God's miracles and blessings and, of course, the Torah.
The Passover story always ends the same way: Next year in Jerusalem. Makes sense: a story of how our anscestors reached their promised land ought to end with the hope that someday we will find it as well. Personally, I like to go a bit abstract here and envision "Next year in Jerusalem" not as literally "let's do this in Israel" or "let's go live in Israel", but rather, "Next year, in freedom from what keeps us bound." To me, a Passover Celebration would not be complete without a roundtable discussion of what freedom means to each person present and how we might set ourselves free in the coming year.
The Passover Story itself begins, at least in the Yoga Chickie family, with the cliff-hanging, somewhat foreboding statement: "One day there came a Pharaoh who knew not Joseph...." In order to understand the significance of that statement, you have to understand who Joseph was, why Joseph was so special, and why his relationship with the Pharoah was crucial to the well-being of Joseph's family and larger community.
Ever hear of the musical, "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat"? If so, and if you saw it, or otherwise know the story, then you probably already know a bit of the "Passover Prequel". Long story short, Joseph was one of the many sons of Jacob, but one of the few children of his favorite wife, Rachel. Joseph was special. He was good with people. He was eloquent. He knew his way around a difficult situation. And, as you can well imagine, given the whole Jewish sibling rivalry theme that runs so consistently throughout these stories, his brothers and sisters resented him like you can only imagine.
One day, Joseph's siblings got together and decided it would be really funny to sell Joseph into slavery with the Pharaoh. Ha ha! Thing was, it wasn't long before Joseph found his way into the Pharoah's inner circle. He interpretted dreams, and his interpretations proved prescient. He dreamed of seven years of feast, and seven years of famine. All of that which he dreamed came to pass, of course. And Joseph became a made man, as least as so far as the Pharoah was concerned. To this particular Pharoah, Joseph was DA man.
Then one day, there came a Pharaoh who knew not Joseph.
It's kind of like when you're working as a cog in the corporate wheel, and you've got your boss who likes you, and your boss's boss who likes your boss, and you have the whole pecking order right on up to some Exectuive Vice President pretty well covered, maybe even right up to the CEO. And then boom....someone leaves, gets canned, gets replaced. And then who the hell are you? Where do you fit in? Suddenly, your relationships are strained. Suddenly, you're not who you thought you were. Suddenly, you find that you have no influence over the people you report to. And suddenly you find that those people you report to have decided that you should just shut the hell up and act like the piece of crap slave that you are. Y tu mama tambien.
OK, maybe that is an exaggeration (I recently watched Office Space for the third time, so I am feeling particularly corporate-hostile)...at least in the corporate setting. But not so in the biblical setting. However bad you think it might have been, it was far worse, I am sure. Not only were the Jews in Egypt sent into slavery, but between the time Moses's brother, Aaron was born and the time Moses, himself, was born, a law was passed by the then-Pharoah that all babies born to Jews should be killed.
Which is how it came to pass that Moses was placed in what is now called a "moses basket" and sent down the river, where he was found by the then-Pharoah's daughter. This is exactly what was supposed to happen. This is how Miriam planned it, Miriam being Moses's sister. Miriam was a handmaiden for the Pharoah's daughter, and she and her mom hatched this plan so that the life of Moses might be spared. Where does the religion come into the story? Well, God allowed this to happen. Perhaps God even whispered the idea into Moses's mother's ear. And God saw to it that Moses arrived safely exactly where he was supposed arrive: at the river bank, where the Pharoah's daughter was taking her bath.
Pharoah's daughter :"Oh! Look! A cute little baby boy, floating down the river....I think I will keep this cute little baby for myself!! But hmmm...how am I going to care for a baby by myself? I really need to find a nanny. And a wetnurse, while I'm at it..."
And that was then Miriam, who had been hiding in the tall grasses beside the river the entire time, spoke up: "Well, might I suggest that I know this Jewish slave lady, who had a baby whom she killed as was required by law, so she still is wet with milk...might I take the liberty to arrange to have this Jewish slave lady be your wet nurse, whaddaya say?"
"Sounds good to me."
Of course, the Jewish slave lady was Moses's mommy. And such an incredibly mommy she was. Moses's mom knew that Moses was special. She also knew that her time with her child was limited. So she made the absolute best of her time with her child, staying with him constantly until he was weaned (probably around the time he was close to three years old).
Story to be continued....
Posted at 11:22 PM
Supta K #6.
This time, I got adjusted by Sarah W, whose primary teacher is Richard Freeman (although she has studied in Mysore with Guruji). (Sarah and I were both self-practicing in the Ashtanga room after the lunchtime classes.) Quite a nice adjustment, I have to say, and I got my fingers hooked, although they did spring apart, of course, and we substituted a strap instead. I stayed there a loooooooooooong time, so long that when I went to press up and jump back, I toppled over, frozen as I was in a legs up position. Kind of like a dead bug, I was.
I skipped morning Mysore because Lewis had a huge accident on the living room rug, and I spent about a half hour cleaning it up. When I came home, there was another present for me on the living room rug, but in a different place. I don't know what to do about this mutt. I love him. He smells delicious. He's soft and sweet and hysterically funny. But the peeing. The peeing. It's got to stop. It simply must stop. As we speak, he is kenneled up, which is where he should be whenever I can't watch him like a hawk. At this point, it seems almost like a game for him: I let him out of his crate, and he finds a way to pee on my rug when I am not looking. Why oh why?
Christopher H's dog snarled at me today, which was kind of embarassing, and more than embarassing, it was simply a downer. I imagine myself to be someone who dogs like. But no. My own dog is acting out. Did I mention he peed on my leg yesterday while I was walking with him along the East River? My crime? I am not sure. But it might have had something to do with my talking to a man (can you say "pissing contest"?) who was walking two furry dogs of his own (can you say "pissing contest to the third power"?). Today, on our morning walk, we ran into the same guy with the same two dogs, and Lewis got right between me and them and whooped it up with his houndy howl. It was clear that he was not going to let these three get near me.
So perhaps he is protecting me? But that doesn't explain the peeing all over my living room rug. And it doesn't explain why a little Westie would snarl and bark at me for no apparent reason. So, I can only surmise that I am on some sort of underground doggie shit-list or something.
Dog issues aside, teaching was fun today. Packed class at 12:15, lots of great energy, quite a few guys, which is nice, since such a large percentage of vinyasa students are women. As usual, the 1:15 was intimate (five students), but it's also fun because it tends to be a group with a fairly advanced vinyasa practice. Twice today I had students in my class who had been students of mine at New York Yoga. That also contributed to the nice, warm vibe.
Have I mentioned that I got myself a new Palm Z22? This little gadget is fabulous! My hope is that it is going to get me organized and help me stay organized. Seriously, I misplaced my car last week, or rather, simply forgot that I owned it (left it in a midtown garage overnight before I remembered that I had driven it to Yoga Sutra the day before). I lose my keys and my cell phone at least once a week, no exaggeration. I can't remember appointments, and when I do, I usually will have forgetten to get a babysitter so that I can make the appointment.
So. I am expecting that this little gadget is going to serve as my "external brain'. Kind of like a zip drive for the head. It remains to be seen whether the hard drive that is my noggin interfaces effectively with the hardware that is my Palm. But I am hopeful.
Posted at 6:15 PM
Sunday, April 09, 2006
Supta Kurmasana #5 - fingers touched, did not clasp though. Sigh. Everyone tells me to just let go of effort, including Sir, who told me "Two years of Supta K - that's your prescription." He was kidding. I think. Or maybe not. Who knows?
He did indicate that it's not my hips, and it's not my weight. It's shoulder mobility. I thought I had some - can touch the ground in Prasarita Pado C, can bind in everything leading up to Supta K. But I guess none of that is particularly easy or comfortable. Even Mari A kinda sucks. In fact, it may be my least favorite of all the Mari's. And, of course, Mari A bears the closest resemblance to Supta K in terms of mechanics.
Or, as Adam says, "blah blah blah blah blah, whatever."
Brunch after class at Caravan of Dreams. I love these lazy Sundays when I don't have to drop the kids off at Hebrew School (Bri had a sleepover and Eric slept in and skipped his led Ashtanga class at the gym so was able to take Addy)...it's nice to finish practice and take a long stretchy rest and then spend some social time with friends who are as obsessed with yoga as I am. Sir and Madam joined us today, and even brought their little "Jewel". Also joining us was the Vipassana Meditation Family. All in all, it was a delightful morning.
Still, I don't feel like anything is happening in Supta K at all. I mean it. Nothing is going on at all. WAY more was going on in Mari C all along for me than is going on in Supta K now. This is going to be a loooooooooong road, I think.
Posted at 10:43 PM
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Since I skipped practice yesterday due to too many things going on that left me feeling too exhausted to add one more (elective) thing, I decided to go to the led class at Shala X. Imagine my surprise and glee when I saw that Petri was teaching! Such a treat! Starting tomrorrow, he will be at Shala X for the next two weeks or so. He had a whole little fan club there, it seemed - several people who had recently been in Mysore at the same time as him were there just to take his class. So, it ended up being five people, which I believe is pretty good for a midday Saturday led class at a predominantly-Mysore-style shala.
Imagine my surprise and glee also when I saw that one of the five students, other than myself, was none other than the lovely and talented Boodiba, herself. What made it even more surprising and gleeful was that Miss B and I had planned on meeting this weekend for a coffee or a chai . Mind you, we had never met in person, but as soon as she came back from Mysore, we both had the same idea - why not meet in real life? Of course, real life has a way of getting in the way, and we had never gotten around to firming up our plans. So, what strange sort of karmic coincidence brought both of us to Shala X on a Saturday, when she doesn't even practice there, and I never practice on Saturdays?
On a side note, I have decided to try to keep track of the number of times I get put into Supta K before being able to do it myself. I just think it could be an interesting data point someday, and if not interesting, then at least fun. So, will it be 300? 3,000? 108? Probably not 108. I estimate that I was put into Mari D probably, rough estimate, mind you, 180 times before I finally was able to do it myself pretty reliably. The thing is, right from the very beginning, I was able to get "put" into Mari D consistently, even if I couldn't hold it myself without snapping out of it and potentially causing some serious bodily harm to whomever was lucky enough to be adjusting me (luckily, my esteemed teachers had a knack for knowing that this was a possibility and never let me go until I was ready to hold it myself without turning into a human slingshot). But not so much Supta K. I cannot always get a good grip. Out of the four times I have been adjusted in Supta K, I have solidly grabbed my hands only twice. A 50% success rate. Based on that, I would have to guess that I am at least 300 Supta K's away from any semblance of mastery over the pose.
For anyone who is interested, I am organizing a pool. Whomever guesses closest to the correct number, gets the pot.
Today's number is 4.
Posted at 6:08 PM
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Over on the Ashtanga EZ Board, there's a link to the most excellent animated loop, one which I can't get out of my head. For the uninitated, it is: Badger Badger Badger, and I warn you, if you watch it, you too may become obsessed with those crazy little jumping badgers, the mushroom and the snake ("ARGH! Snake! It's a snake!"). Badgerx3 (as it is sometimes called) is so intoxicating that there's even a piece on it in Answers.com, which dissects the little loop through more than eight (!) hours of viewing.
What I find most addictive about Badgerx3 is that it truly seems to be a metaphor for the practice of Ashtanga (at least the physical practice).
I wish I had a clue about how to make animated loops because if I did, I would make one called Yoga Badger, and in it, the badgers would be accompanied by the lyric: "Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice Practice" (11 or 12 times). The "Mushroom" part would be accompanied by the lyric, "Ho hum". Finally, the "Snake" portion would be "New Pose" ("Argh, New Pose! New Pose! Argh, it's a new pose!").
To me, that is the trajectory.
But you really have to watch the Badgers to understand.
Posted at 4:58 PM
"Man, that turtle stinks."
So, that's where I am at right now in Supta Kurmasana.. I took all of the advice I have received with regard to Supta K, namely:
- Working deeper in Prasarita Pado, and not just C either.
- AHA!!! Finally, a reason for caring about the once-torturous Parsvotanasana (Parsvotanasana, for those who aren't in the know, is forward bend with the hands in prayer, behind the back. The name translates into "Side" (parsvo) "Stretch" (uttana, drop the "u"). Uh, "SIDE STRETCH"!? My ass! I don't understand why they don't call it "Dukhabhujasana", which would translate as Bad Shoulders Pose)
- Really working the reach OUT beyond the bent knee in Mari A and B.
- Really working the shoulders in Mari C and D, and not JUST focusing on the twist (which is good now - now I need to stretch the arms further to take hold of my wrists and stay there).
- Preparing for Kurmasana by getting the shoulders wedged as far back behind (ha) the knees as possible (ha ha, at least at this point) before even sitting down. Then trying to keep the legs as parallel as possible as I stretch them out. Straightening the legs and lifting the heels, and lowering the chest AND the chin to the floor as I pull my fingertips as far out to the right and left as possible and then just hanging out until Sir comes over.
- Transforming myself into a puddle of boneless gelatin as Sir adjusts me, first by bringing my hands together and the my ankles.
No seriously. Good times.
I finally got up the guts to ask my TEACHER for some help in backbends today. I mean, if I can ask all over the internet, and all over EZ Board, and email back and forth with one of Tim Miller's teacher's on the subject, why not just ask my own teacher. Duh. So, I did. Or so I did the next best thing. I asked Christina if she could help me deepen my backbend, and she said that she can't unless Sir tells her to. So....I asked Sir. And he came over and stretched my spine about, oh, I don't know, two extra inches longer, maybe? It was fabulous. FABULOUS, I tell you. Then he suggested that I urdhva dhanurasana at the wall with my wrists pressing into the wall and then use the straightening action of my legs to press my chest toward the wall. Voila.
After class some of us were talking, and I mentioned to Sir that my cousin (hi D!) burst into tears while practicing with Darby's DVD. I thought it might have been at Badha Konasana, but I wasn't sure. He said probably, because that causes quite a lot of people to cry - something about it tends to release something in a lot of people. I said, "That's funny, because it doesn't have any effect on me at all. On the other hand, I was pretty sure that I was going to die a few days ago in my first Supta Kurmasana." Sir said, wait until the next pose. I said, "Garbha? I was doing it at Guruji's last week, and it does nothing at all to me - other than....this.....I said, as I rolled up my sleeve to show him a huge blooming bruise.
Sir said that he thinks that when I get to Garbha I will actually be quite good at it. Cool, I thought...that must mean that he doesn't anticipate that I will be in Supta K for the rest of my entire life. Although, I could be extrapolating. Maybe he means that when I get to Garbha...in my NEXT LIFE....
Anyway, I am totally fine where I am at. LOTS of opporunities to build stamina and work on my vinyasas, especially my jumpbacks, which are increasingly one-step affairs (press up, lift the knees up and scootch them back and THEN jump back, all without moving the hands). It started out that I could do that once per practice - right after Paschimottanasana. Now, I am able to do it right up until Mari A. Then I bag it and just muddle through the easy way. I anticipate that over time, my "scootch backs" will evolve into "jump backs" which will evolve into doing jump backs throughout the entire Primary Series, not just the first third.
I feel as if the time I am spending in Supta, along with the time I spent in Mari C and D, is almost a boondoggle. It gives me that extra time to work on all that stuff I just mentioned without the added pressure of more postures - albeit postures that are easy for me - at the end.
I do look forward to having more Chakrasanas to do. I have gotten quite good at Chakrasana. I never thought I would see the day that I would actually be able to press my hands down and lift my legs up without rolling. But I can do it! All things do come with practice. They really do. It's quite amazing.
Faith in the system.
Posted at 1:04 PM
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Anyone want one of these?
I had a bunch of these made up...I wanted one for myself, but I had to buy in quantity in order to buy them at all. So, now I have extras. I could keep them all, I figure, and make them my uniform - like a superhero. Or.....
$15.00 and one can be yours, shipping gratis! Or you can bid for it on eBay...at this writing, currently bidding at $1.30 or something ridiculous like that!
Right now, I only have size small, but if these actually start to sell, I will have them made in different colors and sizes, sell them on Ebay and donate 10% of sales to the Young Survival Coalition through eBay's not-for-profit automatic donation system. If they don't sell, then, well, at least I get to own a few of my own tank tops!
Here is the eBay link...Do Yoga on eBay
Posted at 5:45 PM
A 56 year old Department of Homeland Security staff member (deputy press secretary) was arrested yesterday for trying to talk dirty to what he thought was a 14-year old girl, who turned out to be an investigator for the Polk County, Florida Sheriff's department. Oops, his bad.
Today in NYC, the sun shone brightly and there was no traffic at all on the FDR Drive. I made it down to Shala X in time for the invocation but still ended up being the last person in the room (due to pranayama and chest-openers following savasana). As I was leaving Shala X, the sky clouded over, and it began to rain. As I was driving uptown, amid bumper to bumper traffic, the rain turned into snow. And not just snow, but big, giant, snow, falling like frogs from the sky, bringing to mind the scene from Magnolia, where the sky opened up, and it literally rained frogs, and in the background, "It's not going to stop til you wise up..."...
Posted at 2:21 PM
VISIT ME AT MY NEW ADDRESS, YA'ALL!
- Yoga Chickie
- Northern Westchester, New York, United States
- I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.
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- Could it be the blankie?
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