Friday, June 30, 2006

Dirty Little Secrets

Or, perhaps more accurately, guilty little pleasures. I have two for today.

One is so so secret, that I can't even tell it to you. I can't even allude to it other than to say that it is somewhat troubling to me that our the ashtanga world is perceived as judgemental of personal choices that really aren't anyone's business but their own. Is it that judgemental? Is the perception correct? I leave that to you to decide.

The other is somewhat reminiscent of a Sex and the City Episode (Games People Play), where Miranda notices a guy watching her from his window across the street...and lets him...and even finds herself enjoying it. The only difference is that Miranda wasn't on her rooftop patio practicing Ashtanga, the guy watching her was totally hot, and ultimately, Miranda realizes that said hottie has actually been voyeuring out on the guy who lives beneath her. Oh, and also, there were no construction workers involved in the Miranda scenario either. So, yeah, no, it wasn't exactly the same thing.

Nevertheless, I did end up practicing on my rooftop today because it was gorgeously sunny and deliciously breezy this morning here in New York City, and I wanted to take Lewis the Bagle for a long walk after the camp bus picked up the kids. By the time I came home, it was borderline too late for me to go down to Shala X, but it was still gorgeously sunny and deliciously breezy, and even moreso up on the roof, which overlooks the East River (thus, cooling breezes). And so, it came to pass that I ventured onto the roof to practice in the open air.

It was about halfway through the Standing poses that I realized that I was being watched by a dude across 79th Street. He was wearing a teal-blue t-shirt, and he looked kind of tall, but I can't say that he was hot like Miranda's voyeur because he kept his face hidden. Now I know that might sound a bit creepy. But remember, I live in New York City. I'm used to having intimate discussions in the back seats of cabs as the driver drives on in silence. I'm used to walking around in my skivvies past windows that may or may not be backlit. There's this sense of anonymity that you can hide behind here. And so, I just kept practicing, and it didn't bother me a bit that I had an audience. In fact...and here's that dirty little secret thing: I kinda liked it.

Look, anyone who knows me (and even those out there who don't can probably guess), I actually enjoy performing. I love the attention. It inspires me.

Was it yoga? Lord knows. Maybe, maybe not. And I don't feel like entertaining that debate here, although you are welcome to do so in the comments section. I know that I felt focused on my breath, my bandhas my driste, to the point where at some point in the middle of my seated postures, I realized that he was gone, although I didn't see him leave.

And I felt a bit deflated. It was at this point that my mind did wander off a bit to that scene in Truth or Darewhere Warren Beatty says to Madonna, who has rejected the notion of privacy while her doctor tends to her sore throat and instead invites the doctor, his tongue depressor and her throat into the camera's eye, something to the effect that: why even bother to live if no one is watching? OK, so that may be a bit of an exaggeration for me, but I must say that when I towards the end of my practice, I heard a male voice call out from above me, I perked up a bit.

It wasn't the dude in the teal-blue t-shirt though. It was a man working on the water tower above the building NEXT to that dude's building. He and his "colleagues" waved to me. I waved back and finished my practice. When I rolled up my mat and woke up Lewis (who had accompanied me for my practice, as I have always fantasized that any good dog would), I looked up toward the teal-blue t-shirt dude's window.

And there he was. He waved. I waved.

Guilty little pleasure.

Later I taught at Yoga Sutra and walked all the way home. All in all, quite the yummy day.

YC

Thursday, June 29, 2006

So, yeah, that whole Guruji-note-to-get-out-of-gym thing didn't quite pan out...

not that it wasn't brilliant of my shala mate to think of it. I decided, instead, to just do my thang today. And whaddaya know, the fingers not only hooked together, but Sir kept them there while he internally rotated my legs to make more space for the bind and then hooked my feet together. It wasn't my most graceful moment, and I shan't be expecting it to happen again any time soon. It was, however, the first moment I have had with my elusive, unreliable and generally naughty lover (Supta K, duh) where I really and truly believed, with absolute certainty, that progress is happening and that the marriage of hands and feet is possible in this lifetime.

On other fronts, I got myself a library card today, and you'd have thought that I had obtained the "Golden Ticket" or the key to the city, what with the flush of power I felt: I can take books - any books - and NOT pay. Imagine! Had a delicious breakfast at the delectable, Veselka, a Ukrainian staple in the East Village. If you've never had kasha (buckwheat groats, which are kind of like a cross between brown rice and cous cous, but nuttier) with your scrambled whatever, then you really must partake at some point. Wandered around a bit in the East Village, bought some martini glasses because I still have a life outside of yoga and goddamnit, there's nothing wrong with that. Wandered into a tattoo place and contemplated what I would put on my body and where I would put it if I should ever be so bold. I was thinking of something small and sweet that would commemorate four years of survival. But only the cliches seemed to call out to me - the butterflies, hearts, flowers, stars. I would think that I could do better than that. Funny, I saw a lot of crosses and Jesus imagery. But no Stars of David or khais. Funny how that works.

YC

Dear Sir

A shala mate who goes by the name Anonymous has given me an absolutely brilliant idea (see last comment on this post:

Dear "Sir",

There bad lady in class called Yoga Chickie? She lazy to do Supta Kurmasana? Arms too short, chest too tight, mind too small? You know who I talking about. I think you very good teacher for patient with Yoga Chickie.

Now let bad lady do next pose.

Love,

PJ


Forgery. It's what's for criminal.

Now, if I only had the guts.

YC

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The house (of cards) that Yoga Chickie built

This was the day that sucked for me.

This was the early morning sprinkle of rain
that started it off as the day that sucked for me.

This was the dog that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off as the day that sucked for me.

These were the shoes that my kids wouldn't wear
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was the camp bus that didn't wait for my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was the counselor who works for the camp
who sends out the bus that didn't wait for my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was the camp that told the counselor
to turn 'round the bus
to go pick up my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was the son who wouldn't get on the bus
that belonged to the camp
that told the counselor
to pick up my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was the camp shirt that said son forgot to wear,
which is required by the camp,
which camp told the counselor
to turn round the bus
to pick up my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was me telling the bus to just leave
because of the shirt
that my son didn't wear
which is required by the camp,
which camp sent the bus
to pick up my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was the car that drove us to camp
after the bus finally left
because of the shirt
that my son forgot to wear
which is required by the camp,
which camp sent the bus
to pick up my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was the highway that delayed the car
that drove us to camp
after the bus finally left,
because of the shirt
that my son didn't wear
which is required by the camp,
which camp sent the bus
to pick up my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was the bag Adam left in the car
that was delayed by the highway
as we drove up to camp
after the bus finally left
because of the shirt
that Brian didn't wear
whch is required by camp,
which camp sent the bus
to pick up my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was the clock ticking to half past nine
as I retreived the bag
that Adam left in the car
that was delayed by the highway
as we drove up to camp
after the bus finally left
because of the shirt
that Brian didn't wear
whch is required by camp,
which camp sent the bus
to pick up my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was the hour it took to get back
after half past nine
after retreiving the bag
Adam left in the car
that was delayed by the highway
as we drove to camp
after we told the bus to leave
because of the shirt
that Brian forgot to wear
whch is required by camp,
which camp sent the bus
to pick up my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was the practice that I didn't get to
due to the hour it took to get back
from half past nine
after retreiving the bag
Adam left in the car
that was delayed by the highway
as we drove up to camp
after the bus finally left
because of the shirt
that Brian forgot to wear
which is required by the camp,
which camp sent the bus
to pick up my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was the mat that I left at the shala
from the practice that wasn't
due to the hour it took me
from half past nine
after retreiving the bag
Adam left in the car
that was delayed by the highway
as we drove up to camp
after we told the bus to leave
because of the shirt
that Brian forgot to wear
ich is required by the camp,
which camp sent the bus
to pick up my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

This was my dedication
that I practiced sans mat
that I left at the shala
from the practice that wasn't
due to the hour it took me
from half past nine
after retreiving the bag
Adam left in the car
that was delayed by the highway
as we drove up to camp
after the bus finally left,
because of the shirt
Brian forgot to wear
which is required by camp,
which camp sent the bus
to pick up my kids
who wouldn't put on their shoes
to walk the dog
that couldn't deal with the rain
that started it off
as the day that sucked for me.

It sucked. But I practiced. Practice felt good, notwithstanding the lack of a mat. Kids are home. All is good.

YC

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Hello, Sir? Are you reading this? Can we please just forget about Supta K for the time being and move on to the next pose?

I felt my fingers graze in Supta K, although there was no possibility of hooking them together. Still, as Christopher H once told me, once you can touch your fingers, a bind can't be that far behind. I'll take that. I hate to say it, but I am beginning to feel a bit antsy with my whistle-stop at Supta K. I long to roll (and by roll, I mean literally, rolling around on my back in Garba Pindasana, rolling back and forth in Supta Konasana, Upavishta Konasana, Ubaya Padangusthasana, etc., rolling backward in chakrasana, etc.) through the remainder of Primary. I know that I am nowhere near Second Series - not even in the same time zone. Probably not even on the same planet. Perhaps not even in the same solar system. But to practice all of Primary....ahhhhhh....that is what I came to the practice for in the first place. For a long time, I had all but forgotten that, conveniently, or rather, as a matter of survival. But now the remainder of Primary is just a knuckles' length away. And I want it. I want to get all of the benefits of the Chikitsa (for non-yogi's: Yoga Chikitsa is another name for the Primary Series, and it means "Yoga Therapy").

OK, so I admitted it. Lots of confessions in the past 24 hours. Callous shaving, and a callous disregard for non-attachment to progress.

Moving along, on other fronts:

Today, I overheard Sir telling a student who has no trouble at all getting into Supta Kurmasana to straighten his legs and aim them over his shoulders in Kurmasana and to take his forehead off the floor and work towards getting his chest and chin to the floor. I found this fascinating because I, who cannot bind my hands in Supta Kurmasana, have no trouble at all getting my legs perfectly straight and aimed right over my shoulders in Kurmasana and pressing my chest flat on the floor, chin stretching forward. I have heard it said that Kurmasana is a gateway to Supta K. But how can that be? This isn't the first time I've noticed that a super-flat-out Kurmasana is not necessarily the key to a good bind in Supta K. Not long ago, I even asked Sir if perhaps my efforts in Kurmasana are actually counter-productive to making Supta K happen. He essentially scoffed at this notion. I trust him, so I will try to banish these thoughts from my mind and just practice, practice, practice. Or, alternatively, just practice, practice, practice.

And on the topic of practice, or rather, back to the topic of practice, I must say that NOT doing the little scootch-the-shoulders-behind-the-knees-dance/dawdle/embellishment before lifting up int Bujapidasana has greatly improved my Bujapidasana. I just jump my feet around the outside of my arms to land slightly between my hands in front of my feet and then lift. Boom. Bujapidasana. I'm starting to think that although Buja is a nice little gateway to Kurmasana and Supta K, essentially, it is more about lifting the bandhas than about getting the legs in front of the shoulders.

And said bandhas could use some work, at least as far as the between-Navasana lifts go. The trouble is that my butt is just too darn heavy, relative to my bandha strength. I wish there were a way that I could practice those Lolasanas using someone else's butt - someone with a teeny tiny butt (Linda? Can I borrow yours please?). I am not saying that my butt is huge, but it definitely is a fairly heavy weight for me to maneuver gracefully without having already built the bandha strength using a lighter weight, akin to trying to run a marathon before ever having run a 10k, or trying to bench press 200, before ever trying to bench press 150.

And so, the bathtub once again becomes my playground for R&D. I sit in the tub, half-full, displacing some of my weight, and lift to my heart's content. If only I could bring my tub to practice. You know, along with my Bounty?

Finally, I have big, big news!! Yoga is a workout! OK, maybe it's not really news. But I think it deserves repeating. Today I had the pleasure of teaching vinyasa yoga to a group of 15 or so personal trainers, all of whom have beautiful, sculpted, fabulously athletic bodies and all of whom have built up a high level of fitness, including both cardiovascular fitness and sheer strength. Most were even quite flexible. But I'm happy to report, their asses were grass after class.

It's not like I intentionally set out to beat them into submission. It's just that they told me they wanted a really hard workout. So, basically, I gave them a 60-minute version of the 45 minute all-levels class I had taught a half hour before that at Yoga Sutra - sun salutations followed by a couple of asana sequences, followed by some backbending and forward bends. What made it harder for the personal trainers than for the Yoga Sutra lunchtime vinyasa regulars? I believe that notwithstanding their high level of fitness and grace, they were lacking the bandha strength that makes it possible to hold postures with ease.

Let's see...what else?

I am getting that ammonia-smelling sweat thing going on again - like I did last summer. I wonder if this means I am burning fat? That would be cool.

Finally, I am seriously thinking about going on this Ashtanga Yoga Shala Summer Camp weekend at the end of July. This is the retreat I have been waiting for: Asthanga PLUS ayurvedic cooking lessons. But here's the thing: If I go, I will have to sleep in a tent. A tent! Me!! I don't own a tent, but I know I could buy one, even rent one, I suppose. I don't own a sleeping bag, but I know I can buy one of those too and then pass it onto Brian for his sleepaway camp weekend later this summer. Most people who know me would say that they cannot see me sleeping in a tent. Or using an outhouse (I am not sure if they are wrong about the latter point). But that shouldn't be the limiting factor, now should it? That is utterly preposterous. Isn't it? What's that they always say on my beloved Lost....Don't tell me what I can't do...?

Alright, that's it, I think I am finally out of steam.....

YC

Monday, June 26, 2006

A confession

I love my Tweezerman callous shaver. Too much, I think. I have little cuts all around the perimeter of my heels from overzealous callous-shaving. I am sporting about four bandaids on each foot.

And yet, I find myself unable to stop. It is indescribably satisfying to see literally years and years of dead skin peeling away, like snake skin. I feel as if I have lost a shoe size. The color of my feet is even different now (not counting the blood and scabs), having gone from a dull yellowish to a pretty pinkish color - the color of live skin! I had no idea I was carrying around all that dead skin.

But I really need to lay off until the little cuts heal. It's going to be difficult.

My pal in the Canary Islands believes that I may have a problem here. That's probably because as we were chatting today, I disappeared for a significant period of time to tend to my wounds. Even as I continued my callous-shaving. But it's not a problem. Because I can stop anytime I want.

I can! See? I'm not callous-shaving now! And see? Not callous-shaving now either!

Yoga makes for some pretty damn calloused feet. But I'm cool. I'm still typing. Not shaving my callouses....NOT. SHAVING. MY. CALLOUSES.

YC

Yo! Gateaux! The People!

I admit that I had trepidations about hauling my mat downtown to St. Marks Place and practicing in a space that was entirely foreign to me. I tried to talk myself out of going, but I saw right through myself, and I won out. No wimping out over some silly, albeit very human, attachment to a space that is altogether impermanent. Turns out, Yoga To the People is a BEAUTIFUL space.

I will say that given the newness of the space, the high ceilings and the open windows, it was somewhat shocking to inhale deeply and find that the scent of body odor was nearly overpowering. And it was somewhat surprising also, that the space was so incredibly hot. Notwithstanding these challenges, plus coming to the end of my roll of Bounty, I had a wonderful practice. XTina wasn't there, which meant I was given very few adjustments: one in Mari A, which is really rocking now (wrists firmly grabbed, or even beyond wrists, chest to thigh, chin to shin and eyes on the toes; my grounded foot no longer wishes to peel its heel off the ground either). One side of Mari C, and of course, K and Supta K. I was pleased to find that I was able to do what I needed to do, without much fuss or drama in each of Parvrittta Parsvakonasana, Prasarita Padotanasana C and Mari D. Yay! And I was surprised to find myself in Urdvha Dhanurasana without having done a bridge first. I just forgot. And up I went.

Maybe the new space energized me. Maybe it is that I didn't have a PowerBar before practice, like I had been doing recently. I added that in because I had stopped drinking Chai when the whether got warmer, and I felt depleted and un-energized without any pre-practice calories. But it seems that perhaps that was one of those temporary adjustments. All adjustments are temporary, actually. We adapt to our changes, and then we need to change again. It's always good to keep that in mind, whether we're talking about adjustments to poses or just adjustments and tweaks in our personal lives.

Last day of school today! A bit sad. But my kids love camp, which starts tomorrow. So, I am happy for them.

YC

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Mission Improbable

Apparently, Yoga Chickie has been chosen for a very important mission! Hey, I'm down wit dat. But yellow isn't really my color. Perhaps we can call in Patricia Field to work on the costume?

YC

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Year of Sucking Majorly

"My husband moved out today. He told me he's in love with his 22-year old personal trainer. I told him he had to choose, her or me. He chose her. So I kicked him out."

This is, in essence, what a friend of mine told me back in February. At first, she expected that he would wake up one day and realize what a mistake he had made, choosing a girl who was willing to choose a guy like him, one who was willing to leave his wife and two kids for someone he barely knew and had little in common with. But months later, it seems clear that he is quite happy shacking up with this girl who could have gone after any guy, but chose to pursue a relationship with a guy who was married with children (and by pursue, I don't mean that she was the aggressor; it doesn't matter who was).

I'm not blaming this girl But I do question my friend's soon-to-be-ex's taste in her. And I question her taste in him. Not that it's any of my business. And not that whether either one of them has good taste is relevant to, well, anything.

Just in case any of this smacks of cliche, I feel the need to clear something up right now: my friend is gorgeous. She looks like what I would imagine Jessica Simpson would look like (minus the bad hair hats she is currently sporting all over the red carpets and on the cover of Maxim) if she were Jewish. My friend is also a very decent human being, not to mention VERY fun and very cool. So, if any part of you is thinking, well, maybe she let herself go, or maybe she cheated on him, or maybe she neglected their marriage.....let me just say, no.

So, my friend has had a really rough year. The first half of the year, she kept it all on the very down low. She confided no one. She hoped the problem would go away. The second half of the year, when her husband moved out, and she went public with her reality, she became fodder for the gossip mill. Nothing malicious. But people talk. And even when they talk sympathetically, it's still talk. I can say that from my own experience: when I was being treated for breast cancer, I became a sort of local celebrity. Everyone knew about me, even people I didn't know. And I hated it. HATED it. Sometimes, I couldn't bear to go out in public because I knew people were talking, and even though they were saying nice things, it still bothered me to know that they were saying ANYthing.

It's the same thing for my friend. Everyone knows what happened. Everyone knows that her husband "chose" another woman over her. Everyone knows that she's sad. Everyone knows that she's suffering. And knowing that everyone knows has made my friend brittle, angry, edgy.

And I am ANYTHING but dispassionate about this. I find myself judging my friend's husband and his girlfriend and even my husband, for NOT judging my friend's husband and girlfriend. How does one NOT judge when someone's actions seem so...abhorrent? How do we regard abhorrent actions with equanimity?

YC

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Asthangasnooze, I mean, no, really! Real Ashtanga News!!!

This is actually kind of neeewsy and exciting, and I think I might be the first to post it!!!

Here goes: All next week, from Monday through Thursday (Sunday being a moon day), Guy Donahaye's Mysore style Ashtanga classes (6:45 a.m. start time and 8:45 a.m. start time) will be at held at Yoga To the People, people! Yoga to the People is located at 12 St. Mark's Place (2nd Floor), a mere half a block from the Astor Place stop on the Number 6 Line of the Subway!

I love when we get to shake things up a bit - substitute teachers, substitute shalas, moving the mat not just to another spot in the room but to an entirely different room altogether.

YC

A Yoga Chickie list

I wish I knew what it felt like to touch my feet to my head, or grab my ankles in Urdvha Dhanurasana.

I wish I could wake up every day as loose and limber as I feel when I finish my practice.

I wish that yoga was part of all school curricula. Why should all kids play dodgeball or to play the recorder but not learn some yoga?

I wish that lines from my nose to the corners of my mouth weren't deepening and that my eyelids weren't starting to droop a little.

I wish that I could jump so high I that I could spin around twice or even three times and land on my feet....on ice!

I wish that all children would be safe from violence. I wish all people would be safe from violence, of course, but children - they have no choices, no ability to take themselves out of situations.

I wish that Mariah Carey would stop wearing clothing she grew out of when she was, like eight.

I wish that James Blunt would just sing in a normal male voice. Falsetto is just .... blech.

I wish that all of the women I know up her on the Upper East Side would just STOP with the South Beach Diet already. One week they've lost five pounds. Two weeks, later, they've put it all back on and then some. No one eats any fruit, carrots or tomatoes. How can fruit, carrots and tomatoes be bad? How can it be good to drop five pounds in a week but be unable to sustain it?

I wish that puppy-stores would be required by law to hold open adoptions once a month for local rescues and animal control centers.

I wish that everyone had access to good health care.

I wish that the federal government allowed parents (mothers!) to deduct the cost of child care from their gross income so that they could pay for their child-care with pre-tax dollars.

I wish that the day had an extra two or three hours and that I needed two or three hours less sleep than I do.

I wish that I didn't like to bite my nails...but I realize, I do like to. I LIKE to bite my nails. There, I said it.

I wish that my dog would ever be housebroken. Really, reliably housebroken.

I wish that my kids would always be happy and never ever get hurt.

I wish that my family and friends have peace, prosperity, health and happiness.

I wish that my "enemies" would forgive me, and I them.

I wish that there were a way to solve the problems between Israelis and Palestinians without anyone having to think that they lost their honor.

I wish that there was a way to solve problems between different countries and different factions without resort to violence. How have we evolved into such a modern world in so many ways, and yet ultimately, we are reduced to the basest of methods when it comes to resolving problems?

I wish that I had studied ballet as a child, not modern dance. Real, pink leotard-wearing little-girl ballet. I wish that I could have known Anne Frank. I wish that my grandmother could have known me as an adult. I wish that I went to a larger school than Tufts. I wish that I had had more strength and confidence with regard to my convictions when I was first "set free" upon the adult world.

I wish that there was a cure for cancer and for AIDS.

I wish that the cancer-curse of the Cahn clan has not been inherited by my sons.

I wish I had a career that I liked enough and to which I was well-suited enough so that I would actually work and actually make some money and actually feel successful.

That's all for now, and by no means exhaustive.

Feel free to share your wishes too, from the lofty and sacred to the mundane and profane.

YC

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Busy, busy, bizzy, bzzzy, bzzzy, bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

So busy. SO busy these last few days of the school year. An endless run of playdates, park outings, publishing parties, class presentations, and I'm getting my teaching going on again to boot. Taught my lunch class on Tuesday at Yoga Sutra - always fun. Tonight is Yoga For Breast Cancer Survivors. Friday is my late lunch class at Yoga Sutra. Next week, adding a class geared to those already in the physical fitness business. And a private client. Oy!

Also, planning a trip to Estes Park, Colorado for late September. Meeting my cousin, Debpc, and hitting some of the Yoga Journal Conference workshops. Just for kicks. And the cousin-cousin bonding. Debby and I have run many a mile together, having trained for and run a NYC Marathon together. Now we both practice yoga, although at this point our yogic interests are a bit divergent, hers more toward an eclectic mix of Kundalini and creative flow (Baptiste, Shiva Rea) with some Ashtanga thrown in, and mine, well, you know mine. All Ashtanga, all the time. Except when I teach, of course.

Practice is good. VERY good. One complaint: Sir is absolutely STEADFAST in not giving ANY adjustments after the strike of 10:15. On the other hand, this gave me the opportunity to rebind in Mari D, without rushing (damn it, yes, I rushed through Mari D to get to Supta K before he left the room, but twas all in vain) and to spend extra extra time doing some extracurricular work on the topc of Supta K - working those eka padas, getting one ankle behind my head at a time and feeling the feeling of it all, wondering how I will ever manage to have ankles behind head without feeling like my head is going to pop off.

Bounty continues to be helpful, but even more helpful is practicing near that wonderful screen door.

Ya'all will probably miss the new comment on a long since past entry, but apparently one of my shalamates (an anonymous, I might add) has finally bound in Supta K after a long long period of finger-grazing. But congrats to my homey. Shizzizzle in that Supta Kizzizzle, yo!

Wow, it's getting late, and I must haul some ass to get to my class!

YC

Busy, busy, bizzy, bzzzy, bzzzy, bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

So busy. SO busy these last few days of the school year. An endless run of playdates, park outings, publishing parties, class presentations, and I'm getting my teaching going on again to boot. Taught my lunch class on Tuesday at Yoga Sutra - always fun. Tonight is Yoga For Breast Cancer Survivors. Friday is my late lunch class at Yoga Sutra. Next week, adding a class geared to those already in the physical fitness business. And a private client. Oy!

Also, planning a trip to Estes Park, Colorado for late September. Meeting my cousin, Debpc, and hitting some of the Yoga Journal Conference workshops. Just for kicks. And the cousin-cousin bonding. Debby and I have run many a mile together, having trained for and run a NYC Marathon together. Now we both practice yoga, although at this point our yogic interests are a bit divergent, hers more toward an eclectic mix of Kundalini and creative flow (Baptiste, Shiva Rea) with some Ashtanga thrown in, and mine, well, you know mine. All Ashtanga, all the time. Except when I teach, of course.

Practice is good. VERY good. One complaint: Sir is absolutely STEADFAST in not giving ANY adjustments after the strike of 10:15. On the other hand, this gave me the opportunity to rebind in Mari D, without rushing (damn it, yes, I rushed through Mari D to get to Supta K before he left the room, but twas all in vain) and to spend extra extra time doing some extracurricular work on the topc of Supta K - working those eka padas, getting one ankle behind my head at a time and feeling the feeling of it all, wondering how I will ever manage to have ankles behind head without feeling like my head is going to pop off.

Bounty continues to be helpful, but even more helpful is practicing near that wonderful screen door.

Ya'all will probably miss the new comment on a long since past entry, but apparently one of my shalamates (an anonymous, I might add) has finally bound in Supta K after a long long period of finger-grazing. But congrats to my homey. Shizzizzle in that Supta Kizzizzle, yo!

Wow, it's getting late, and I must haul some ass to get to my class!

YC

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Bountiful

Sorry in advance to all the tree-huggers out there who can't bear to know that trees get pulped to save my bind, but the Bounty is seriously having a soothing effect on my practice. Also, it helps to practice near a window. But I found today that I wiped my sweat far LESS when I could wipe it more effectively. And there were no falling portraits. And practice truly rocked.

As for Ahimsa - the practice of nonviolence - we do what we can. Or at least I do what I can. I am sure that there are aspects of my life that could use some overhaul, but for all of those who point fingers, well, as they say, when you point, there are usually three fingers still pointing back at you. My use of Bounty may be less than non-violent with respect to long-term effects on the environment, but then, I would say that my words and manner of speaking and identifying my comments on other peoples' blogs is more non-violent than my various "anonymous" commenters who hide under "anonymous" in order to post their judgements in coarse and unkind tones. When have something not-so-nice to say, I either say it with my own name to back it up and take my punishment accordingly, or if I can't bear to sign my name, then it is a sure sign that I am saying something of which I am not proud.

Off I go. Time to pick up the kiddies. More on this later, maybe.

YC

Monday, June 19, 2006

The quicker picker upper

So it would appear that the key to enlightenment (okay, not enlightenment, but at least a more peaceful practice for poor, poor pitta-ful me) is contained in a square or two of Bounty paper towels. And when , I say Bounty, I mean Bounty. Not the cheaper, Brand X's out there. My experience as a housewife, a mom, and now an ashtangi has taught me: Rosie was right. They really are the quicker picker upper.

I came to practice today at Shala X (a misnomer, really), armed with my usual hand towel, a new, more absorbant-seeming towel that I purchased yesterday at the "Everything Under One Dollar" store in West Long Branch, New Jersey, and a roll of .....ah......my sweet Bounty.

Sweat was pouring from me as early as, well, probably a few seconds before I even stepped onto my mat, and it continued non-stop throughout my practice. However, it became apparent almost immediately that a quick swipe with a Bounty was all I needed to keep myself from feeling that awful flop-sweat sensation that I get when I'm hanging over my legs in Uttanasana with a steady stream of sweat pouring straight down from the top of my head down past the tip of my nose, or when I come back to Samasthiti after Parsvotanasana and beads of perspiration literally whip off of my arms.

Any absorbant paper towel far surpasses a hand towel for the simple reason that when it gets wet, you can toss it and grab a new one. But a good absorbant paper towel far surpasses just any old paper towel because you can use it over your bent knee as you go to bind in Mari C and Mari D, eliminating ALL slippage without adding ANY bulk. A less-good paper towel will not absorb the sweat as effectively and may even have the tendency to tear, rendering the entire effort futile.

Bounty is also a good conversation piece. One of my shala mates leaned over as he was about to bind in Mari C and asked if he could have some too. And my Bounty led to a useful, quick, between-Mari D-sides discussion with Sir about the utility of profuse sweat. It began with Sir noting, " Time to cut back on the coffee." But he was kind of only kidding because the upshot of the conversation was this: profuse sweat makes you stronger, requiring a greater grip. Also, it will continue to help me to clear any residual toxins from my system, resulting from the chemo.

(Do you hear that Unum Provident? I. Still. Have. Residual. Toxins. Why is that so hard for you people to understand?)

Later on, Jose was showing me how to use the stack of Thai Yoga Massage mats for R&D to stretch the spine. This has nothing to do with Bounty, they the way...or does it....? As we were lying there, hanging off the stack of mats, there was suddenly a loud crash. Something hit my foot with a hard smack. I hauled myself back up - a huuuge reverse sit-up, I might add, to see what it was.

It was a framed photo of Gurufji, himself, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. And it seemed to have literally leapt off of the wall, landing on me.

"I guess that's a bad sign," I said ruefully.

Got a laugh from the remaining folks on the floor.

I probably won't be doing that spine-stretching R&D again any time soon. Unless it was the Bounty....?

YC

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bhan(da) in 60 Seconds

I must say that I have been somewhat intrigued by the notion that if you can hold Bakasana for 60 seconds, then you are ready for the bhanda-building gymnastics training described in this article, cited by OKRGR on the Ashtanga EZBoard, entitled "Building an Olympic Body Through Body Weight Conditioning, which notion I am not even entirely certain is stated in the article, as opposed to stated by someone on the EZBoard. Not having read the article, but having skimmed it and having read about the article on the EZ Board's "All Bend No Strength thread, I think it is safe to say that the article's conceit is that if you learn to engage in "full body contraction", you can increase your strength by leaps and bounds. I won't even go into the incredible feats of strength that one might learn to perform once one has passed the thresshold test of being able to hold Bakasana for 60 seconds, but trust me, they make the stuff we (or at least I) do in Ashtanga seem tame by comparison.

But I will say, I am kind of grooving on this idea of "full body contraction". It seems to speak to me in clearer terms than "bhandas", even if, in the end, they amount to the same thing: a full-tilt "inner lift" that originates deep within the abdomen, as far down as the pelvic floor. I think the reason why is fairly simple: once you call it "full body contraction", you have a roadmap of how to engage it: full body. I never thought of bhandas that way. And perhaps bhandas do NOT, strictly speaking, a contraction of the "full body". That said, in spending some time exploring what it feels like to engage the "full body" in muscular contraction, I have come to the conclusion (and by conclusion, I mean where my head is at today, and it could change as I learn and practice more, of course) that even a "full body" contraction does not necessarily actually involve the full body, although in theory, in intention, it does. Thus, it gets you to the same place as engaging the bhandas, at least physically.

My exploration actually began in a class I was teaching on Friday at Yoga Sutra. I had a group of about 12 students, and they all looked fairly fit. I asked them how they felt about arm balances, particularly Bakasana. They seemed, for the most part, to kind of perk up at the idea. So, I went a little further and told them that what I had in mind for class was to work up to spending 60 seconds holding Bakasana, or holding Bakasana, letting it go, and then holding it again, in any event, for a period of 60 seconds. They looked very happy, so I went with it. To warm my students up for Bakasana, I made sure to include squatting poses (versions of Malasana) and three versions of Prasarita Padotannasana (A, C and D). And of course, I always begin a vinyasa class with lots of Surya Namaskar A's and B's, which among other things, and of particular importance in this case, warms up the wrists, and in the case of Surya Namaskar B, with it's up to Warrior I on the inhale and down to Chatturanga on the exhale, helps to develop balance and equilibrium. I included a warm-up Bakasana in one of my sequences wthin the first 45 minutes of class. But the "big-finish" (the long-hold Bakasana) was saved for nearly last: the last thing we did before moving to backbends.

In any event, what I saw in my class was truly remarkable. I couldn't believe that I had never thought to hold (or have my students) hold Bakasana for extended time periods. In fact, quite the opposite - it always seemed taboo to ask my students to stay in Bakasana for anything longer than three to five breaths. But here, when they had a nice, juicy, long time to explore the posture, I saw incredible strength, balance, coordination. And when I suggested that they try engaging every muscle in their body, we had lift-off.

Today (after going to a Bikram class last night and feeling like my Pitta self simply cannot handle any more heat anymore, although I know I will keep trying), I practiced at my parents' condo by the beach in Monmouth County, New Jersey. New Jersey natives will know what I mean when I say, I was "down the shore". The temperature outside was probably around 80 degrees Farenheit, but the salt air breezes made it feel like a little bit of heaven. I laid down my mat on their patio and had one of the most stress-free, non-heat-stroked practices I can remember. Funny, didn't I have my worst practice EVER just a day or two ago? Afterwards, I decided to give the looooong Bakasana a try, to see how it sat with me.

And, well, wow.

Midway through, I told myself to engage my whole body (rather than just the usual, "Bhandas, Lauren! Bhandas!"), and I felt as if my knees could maybe, possibly, someday at least, float right off of my armpits. It was lovely!

Also, just an aside - got my ankle behind my head on both sides in my Supta K R&D. Granted, my back was as rounded as a turtle's shell, but it's a start. Paging Dr. Blau, I believe I will need an adjustment in short order....

YC

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Random Citta Vrittis

Went to the party last night - the anniversary party of my friends, D&D. Found out that D&D are adopting a baby girl from Russia - Siberia, to be exact. Of course, by the time they get her, she will no longer be a baby - more like an 18-month old toddler. I think it is very cool. They just really wanted a third child, and it wasn't happening the natural (or even the medically assisted) way. So, they are giving a home to a girl who needs it.

The party was fun, but I feel terrible today, having had one cocktail, some unquantifiable quantity of wine (the waiter just kept pouring), some red meat and some incredibly delicious chocolate-peanut-buttery-dessert thing. Not a banner night for the purity of the temple that is my body.

Today in the playground, a mom came up to me and asked me what I use on my hair to get the curls so springy! Go Devachan. It's not a salon, it's a practice: no more scrubbing the hair, no more rubbing with a towel, no more combing with anything but fingers and only when wet and thickly coated with alcohol-free conditioner, no more gels except those without alcohol, no more squeezing when I scrunch, as opposed to a gentle accordian-like press, no more blowing dry. I can't wait to see how much healthier my hair is in a couple of months...

I feel nauseous. I am jumping from topic to topic. I am very upset by this coda to the Cancerbaby Blog ...it just seems so cold. I would have liked to have seen an obituary, or some kind of heartfelt message from her husband or friends. It occurred to me for a brief moment, that I will never know for absolutely sure if Jessica was even a real person....

Happy Father's Day!

YC

Friday, June 16, 2006

Mari C Redux

Practice was much better today, although I am really struggling with what I feel to be excessive heat in the last portion of my practice, starting somewhere in the Marichyasanas. I feel so hot that I have been walking out of the room to cool off a bit. Today, even that didn't work. I was hot, my hands were sliding away from each other, my binds were sliding around. Ultimately, I had to just deal and get through it so that I could get my Supta K adjustment from Sir. And afterwards, instead of moving onto my backbends, I cooled off in child's pose for a few moments and then went back to Marichyasana C and did every pose again, from there through Supta K.

I felt like I might have been doing something criminal. But minus the intense heat and slippery humidity, my postures are quite good. They're fine, at the very least. But add 80 degrees and 80 percent humidity, and I become a sloppy sweaty mess who can't grab hold of herself in even the simplest of binds. Not practicing at the Shala is not an option. I need to BE at the shala if I want help in Supta K (and other postures, theoretically; when it is just Sir, and Xtina is not there, like today, I get almost completely ignored, other than in Supta K, and I am not very happy about that, I might add).

Since today is Friday, which means that I have to wait until Sunday to bind Mari C and Mari D again, to press up reasonably adeptly in Navasana and to jump back adequately in Bhujapidasana, I wanted a re-do. So, I went and gave myself one. And it made me feel so much better. What is wrong with a redo, really?

After my redo, I pulled out six backbends and all of finishing. But I got kicked out before Savasana. No biggie. I had to get home to take care of stuff (including a dog that POOPED in his own CRATE!!!! ARGH!!!) before running back downtown to teach my class at Yoga Sutra.

Teaching was fun today, as well as on Tuesday. I love these long-term sub gigs...they give me all of the pleasure of teaching without all the negative baggage (competition amongs teachers for good class times, for who has the most students, etc.).

I will get to posting about how ignored I feel in Adam's classroom. I am just too tired right now, and I have to go to a party tonight atBruno Jamais, a strange, almost secretive "grotto" on the Upper East Side where on most nights, the bar is filled to capacity with fifty-ish, well-dressed gentlemen drinking from bottles of designer vodka, and gorgeous, super-low-rise jean-and-halter-top-wearing twentysomething girls fill in the gaps, attaching themselves to whichever of the older gents permit it. I don't know if I am talking about "working girls", as they are so-coyly referred to these days. But it sure felt like it, the one time my friend S dragged me there...she was separated and anxious to find a sugar-daddy to make her feel whole again.

I'm not saying it's right. I'm just saying it happened.

I have never felt so invisible in a bar. I never ever wanted to go there again. But my friends D&D are having their 10th Anniversary party there. He's French. The restaurant is French. And they live on Madison. And the restaurant is on Madison. Them thar's the only connections I can make between my friends and Bruno Jamais. I anticipate finding this to be a very exhausting night.

YC

It will not suck and if it does, it still won't

I am going to practice now. I am. And then I am teaching a 90 minute class at Yoga Sutra - not my favorite length of time for a class (I truly believe that vinyasa classes ought to be no more than 75 minutes), but it will be fine, and at least I won't have to worry about "going over" my time alotted. I got plenty of rest last night after the seemingly endless "Family Celebration" in Adam's First Grade Class, in which three one-act plays were presented, and it became clear that this year was all about including the disincluded and just basically ignoring those who seem equipped to fend for themselves. Liberal guilt? Not this time. Liberal backlash. More about this later, with photos.

But back to the less complicated thoughts, I drank lots of homemade lemonnade, so I am hydrated but not bloated. My joints feel fine. I am ready to go go go go go go go go go go go o go go go go! And go I must.

Stay tuned,

YC

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Worst practice ever

Or close to it. Physically, I felt drained. Mentally, my mind was racing. At least it wasn't racing out of the room. But it was in full swing within the room, alternately hating on and pitying myself in a big big way. Stiff joints, painful joints, fear of stiff and painful joints, who could say what it was, which it was at any given moment or which came first?

I do know that I went in with a good attitude. But somewhere around my first chatturanga, where my wrists ached, or perhaps my first down dog, where there was no room in my shoulders for my usual stretching of my chest towards my thighs in order to open up my sorry armpits, I got an inkling of what was going to be a disappointing and alienating 90 minutes. Of course, just yesterday I had been high-fiving myself for generally being very focused during practice and NOT wanting to run screaming from the room no matter what happens on the mat. Of course.

I don't things really began to disintegrate (literally and figuratively) until Uttita Parsvakonasana. I usually find a welcome stretch in my side body and feel my twist beginning to blossom. But today, I just felt scrunched. I tried to calm myself down despite further troubles in Parivritta Parsvakonasana, trying to drown out the chant in my mind that went something like this: "As goes Parivritta Parsvakonasana, so goes Marichyasana" with kinder, less condemning words that went something like this: "It's alright, just let it go."

But when I couldn't touch my pinkies down in Prasarita Padotannasana C, my entire practice collapsed around me. Imploded. Poof. Any semblance of focus was gone. I lost count in PP D, I barely even bothered in Parsvotanasana, I practically collapsed onto Xtina as she held me up in Uttitha Hasta Padangusthasana and I was sure my standing right knee was going to give out as I folded over in, shit, I can't even remember the name of the next pose - you know, the one where you're standing and balancing and you bind one lotus leg and fold over? I am a mess!

By the time I got to the seated postures, I was so far behind where I usually am that I pretty much gave up on getting any sort of adjustments. But somehow, and I have no idea how because I certainly wasn't rushing, couldn't even have rushed if I wanted to, I ended up in Marichyasana A with 15 minutes left of teacher presence. I am sure I don't need to tell you that all four of the Marichyasanas were miserable, awful, painful, achey and left me feeling like I had been hobbled. And then there was my uneventful Supta K after which I folded over into child's pose and moped for about 10 minutes.

Somehow I managed to pull out six Urdvha Dhanurasanas and some nice lotus sitting at the end. But no inversions at all. In Savasana, I was not a peaceful corpse. I was an agitated, angry yogini ghost.

The source of my discomfort? I want to blame a lack of sleep, and I want to blame my lack of sleep on a combination of having too much end-of-the-school-year stuff on my plate (the Museum Mile was just one of the almost-daily physically exhausting activities on the calendar), coupled with the government's regulation of controlled substances, which means that I can't renew my presciption for my "mother's little helper" until a hard copy shows up in the mail. Yeah, for those who enhance their sense of well-being with herbal remedies such as St. John's Wort, Melatonin and the like, allow me to explain: there is such thing as "renewing" a prescription for the pharmaceutal version of valerian, whose name also starts with a V.

Yeah, okay, I know what you're thinking. Like Rush Limbaugh and Matthew Perry, my use of my drug of choice began with a specific medical purpose. In my case, it was prescribed for me as an anti-nausea drug while on chemo. And then it just became one of the pills in my daily repertoire. But my drug of choice does not produce the debilitating withdrawal effects of prescription analgesics like percoset, oxycodone and the like. On the other hand, while it's not like I have the shakes when I let my prescription run out before I have another one in hand, I do feel somewhat "off" when I have to go without.

Am I suffering a bit as I wait for today's mail? A bit. Did it ruin my practice today? Perhaps.
So, am I an addict? Nah.

I am sure that this will not sit well with some out there. But it's the truth, and I don't think it's fair of me to lead anyone out there to believe that my calm demeanor is attributable in its entirety to all the yoga I practice. So, there you have it. Shoot me.

YC

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

You call that art? I say, call PETA.

DEAD BIRDS!

Killed by art! Specifically, dead birds killed by having smashed to their death into a transparent piece of glass erected on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Chinese contemporary artist, Cai Guo-Qiang: the aptly titled, Transparent Monument. Add to that, a couple of ersatz crocodiles impaled by hundreds of jackknives, nail clippers, nose-hair trimmers and sewing scissors (all of them confiscated at airport security checkpoints)...and you have all of the makings of one outraged Yoga Chickie.

Actually, we were all of us outraged, all of us in our little party of museum-goers yesterday evening at New York's biggest block party, the Museum Mile...an evening where approximately one mile of Fifth Avenue in NYC is closed off to vehicular traffic so that people, children and dogs alike can mill about, see street performers juggling and swallowing fire, draw with colored chalk on the ashpalt and attend exhibits at any number of famous museums (the Guggenheim, the Met, among others), all of which are open all evening, with free admission to boot.

As we entered the rooftop, we looked with awe and admiration at this incredibly arresting piece of glass cutting an angle through the sky and soaring towards the clouds, revealing the city's jagged skyline through its transparency. Oh, lovely city! Oh, lovely museum! Oh, breathtaking dichotomy between the smooth, transparency of the glass and the rough, opacity of the buildings seen through the glass! My mind was ecstatically spinning poetic analysis of this modern-day monolith when I saw the dead birds laying at its feet. With a mixture of shame, fear and anger, my heart leapt into my throat. I felt duped. Here I was admiring the beauty of what turned out to be deadly art...art that sang a siren song of death to innocent birds. Or worse, birds carrying disease: "NO!!!!" I screamed to my children, "Step away from the art..dead birds!!!"

I must admit, it did strike me as a bit odd that amid the throngs on the Met rooftop, I was the only one seeming to be having this reaction. Didn't anyone other than me see the dead birds? Hello? Wasn't anyone else upset by the notion that bird-homicide was being tolerated as a by-product of so-called art? As I looked around the roof, I only became more agitated to see the violence being carried out upon crocodiles, albeit clay ones.

The kids were, of course, intrigued. So intrigued, in fact, that it was hard to keep them away. It was Adam who poked at one of the dead birds just enough to (a) attract the attention of one of the museum guards and (b) ascertain that the whole thing was a fake....the birds were merely paper maiche, wire and feathers.

But this, more than anything else I have ever seen in a museum, was art. It made us react. It made us feel. It made us think about the consequences OF art, even if those consequences were, as it turned out, purely fictional.

YC

Monday, June 12, 2006

Feeling Lost?


This one's for all of the Lost fans who are in need of a fix during the long summer months. I give to you: The Sawyer Song....!

YC

The latest permutation of email scam

I am not sure who would ever, ever, ever believe this sort of thing to be true, but still, round and round they go. In bold are the latest modules added into the general scam template:

Dear Friend,

I am sorry to interrupt your peace since you are not
expecting to
receive any mail from me. However, I'm obliged to do so
due to theim
portance and urgency of my motives. I am not sending this
email as
(internet spam) which in recent time has been drastically
abused by spammers(scammers).However, I have interest in your abilities
and
personality influence which can be utilized in a DEAL of such
magnitude.

I am a security agent assigned with Middle-East anti-
Terrorist unit in Oman. In the course of my work with 4 (four)other
members of my colleague, we intercepted a wire transfer of Twenty-
five
million united state dollars (USD$25M)suspected to be aTerrorist
transaction within this region which was supposed to be transfer to a
bank in Algeria (Africa) as funding for terrorism in that region.We
conducted Several trace to locate the benefactor and beneficiary
connected to this transfer and all efforts made in that regard was
unsuccessful because both accounts was wiped out from existence
immediately the fund was intercepted.

Normally the agency is entitled
to have such fund transfer
to state treasury department account, But
wedecided to keep this fund to
ourselves and have made a deal with two
UN Diplomats presently in Oman,
to monitor Oman's Oil-for-
foodprogramme to have a neutral person to stand as
the beneficiary.The
fund was fixed-deposited in Agricultural Bank of Oman with
their
immunity influence as diplomats and will send the necessary paper
work,
payment approvals to the Agricultural Bank to commence payment
to any
beneficiary approved by them.

I have the honor to confide this
information in you and to request for
your assistance to receive and
secure this money in your account,
this is My reason for contacting
you.I will send you a copy of
my InternationalPassport as a proof of
sincerity and transparency
in this DEAL. You are therefore expected
and advised to display high
degree of maturity,responsibility and
understanding in handling this
information. I ampresently in London on
a vacation and will remain
here until this DEAL is concluded.

I will
give you all the details in my next mail when you have indicated your
interest
and commitment to work with me. Always remember that this is
the highest
confidence and trust any person can response on the other,
especially when
it is considered that we did not know ourselves
before. Also note that this
DEAL is highly confidential and 100% risk-
free.

You can reach me with this phone number;+447040122096

Yours
sincerely,
Krishna Aryal.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Public'school

Yesterday, after baseball, Adam and I went out to lunch at Eli Zabar's "The Vinegar Factory" with a boy (and his parents and younger brother) who goes to Horace Mann. Today, I took Brian to a birthday party at the apartment of one of his classmates, which apartment is a part of the New York City Housing Authority's Public Housing System. Until today, I had never set foot in a public housing project. They tend to be kind of scary places, even for the people who live there. The Projects even have their own designated police force, which is an arm of the NYPD, although at one time it was a separate entity. But the primary reason I had never been inside a public housing project is that I have never known anyone who lives in one.

So ignorant was I of the NYC housing projects and the people who inhabit them that when Brian and I got out of our cab on First Avenue and 94th Street, the intersection identified on the party invitation, I immediately hurried us into only luxury hi-rise on the block, without even looking to see if it matched the address on the invitation. The doorman asked us who were there to see, and when we said the boy's name, he shook his head and told us that no one lived there with that name. That's when I looked at the invitation again.

"1830 First Avenue," I read. "This isn't 1830 First Avenue, is it," I asked the doorman somewhat rhetorically.

Back outside on First Avenue, Brian and I looked around for 1830 First Avenue. I couldn't understand where it could be. The only other apartment buildings at the intersection of First and 94th were in the Stanley Isaacs Housing Project across from the Shell Station at the entrance to the FDR Drive. But sure enough, there it was, 1830. A NYCHA cop sat on a parkbench near the entrance. I felt confused and stupid for having assumed his friend lived at The Chesapeake, that same kind of confused and stupid feeling you get when you ask a woman when she is "due" only to have her tell you that she gave birth three months ago.

As we hurried over to the front door of 1830, we saw another one of Brian's friends and his mom. "Solange!" I called out to her, "Is this really the right place?" "I'm afraid so," she said, pointing at the poster hanging beside the elevator, asking for any information regarding the murder of a 62-year old woman that had taken place in her apartment in the building. I sighed. I had thought this was going to be a drop-off party, but there was no way that I could leave Brian here alone.

Upstairs, we walked into an apartment the likes of which I had never seen before. The four rooms were all on top of each other without any hallways, and each room other than the kitchen had at least one bed in it. The living room furniture was covered in plastic. There were piles of clothing and shoes everywhere. The entire place smelled of curry, which I actually didn’t mind. The boy’s mother, whose name I never caught, was preparing food in the kitchen. The family is from Bangladesh. The mom speaks almost no English at all. Since they are Muslim, I couldn’t even connect with her on what little I know about Hindu culture. In truth, I felt alienated, scared and terribly, terribly sad.

As the boys played in another room, Solange and I sat on the sofa and talked about J, the birthday boy. She knew him better than I did, and in fact, had taken somewhat of an interest in him since the prior year, trying to be present for him whenever possible at school events, even advocate for him when necessary, since his mother never came to the school anymore, at least not since an unfortunate episode in which she was made to feel unwelcome.

J told us about this. He translated for his mom a bit for us on this topic, and Solange and I tried to explain that it must have been a terrible misunderstanding. J told us that sometimes kids make fun of him because his mom doesn’t speak English. J is a beautiful, beautiful boy, and his openness touched me. I had no idea that anyone was suffering like this in my own son’s class. I asked him if Brian ever made fun of him. “Of course not,” J said. He told me who did. The son of a friend of mine, in fact, and a bit of a bully. I told J to just walk right up to this boy next time he made fun of him, and stare him down, shoulder to shoulder, nose to nose. I know this works on this boy, because I have seen Brian do it.

Anyway, after a while, the mom sent her 13-year old daughter to take the party (8 boys) out to the playground (within the Project). This was shocking to me but also validated my reason for having stayed. There was no WAY my 9-year old was EVER going to ANY playground without an adult present. Solange and I followed the group to the elevator bank, where two little boys of about seven were hanging around in their pajamas (it was 2:30 p.m.). They pointed at Solange and me and laughed, "Adult supervision!!"

Solange turned to me and said, "there's a reason we came here today." I nodded.

Outside, beside the policeman seated on a bench, Solange and I sat down and watched as the kids played with a ball inside an empty hockey rink. J's sister plunked down a bag containing 9 juice boxes and a bag of potato chips. It was hot out. And it was long past lunchtime. The kids were having a great time though. They organized a game of dodgeball, which left them ecstatic and dripping with sweat. I ran across the street to the Shell Station and bought more chips and more drinks. When I came back, Solange ran down the street to retrieve a pizza. While she was gone, I organized a relay race, using a stick that I found on the ground and broke in half. And then it was time to go back upstairs.

When we got back to J's apartment, we found that his mom had set out a platter of hotdogs and samosas, as well as a big bowl of saffron-colored pasta that would have resembled angel hair if it wasn't so audaciously yellow. The kids ate hungrily and watched as J ripped open his presents. J's mom insisted that I take home the leftover samosas (which were incredibly delicious). As she brought out a beautiful white birthday cake, complete with trick candles that kept relighting themselves after J blew them out, and as we all chanted, "Are ya 1, are ya 2, are ya 3....", I caught myself laughing and clapping my hands. I was no longer feeling sad or alienated.

More than three hours after we first made our way, with a great deal of trepidation, into a strange and foreign apartment in a strange and foreign part of our own neigborhood, Brian and I said our goodbyes and left the Stanley M. Isaacs Housing Project with good food in our bellies and smiles on our faces. Brian had had a great time. That's for sure. What I am not sure about is whether I was smiling out of happiness or out of relief that it was over.

YC

Glass houses

At first I thought that the "all bend, no strength" discussion on EZboard was a joke. Here we have a video of the most flexible person whom I have ever seen, writhing and bending herself into shapes that would make Elastigirl envious, sometimes doing so while standing on one leg or balancing on her forearms, and instead of marveling, we have snarky criticism: "She absolutely suxxors at doing the worm. no upper body strength." And that's just the first post.

It sounds like jealousy to me. Envy. What is the Sanskrit word? Aparigraha? It's like looking at Cindy Crawford and saying, yeah she's pretty, but damn, she really needs to see a dermatologist about that mole. It's like saying that Carl Lewis may be fast, but that his long-distance skills need work. It's like pointing out that Einstein may have been good at math but that he really could have used some help with his writing.

Then there's the post on the "Woohoo" thread from someone who was psyched about holding a handstand in a vinyasa, and instead of congratulations, he gets the unsupportive "I hate to rain on your parade but...." reply, which I realize, in retrospect, was actually inevitable, given the general "vibe" of the EZBoard, which is snarky, judgemental and generally unsupportive and unwelcoming of newbies.

I have never been particularly popular on the EZBoard, and I am sure that this won't ingratiate me to anyone who posts there. But I felt it needed to be said.

YC

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Click this pic, go to the "Adam Does The Touchdown Dance" set and run the slide show on the fastest speed.....


Touchdown dance 8, originally uploaded by Yoga Chickie.

SO funny....

at least his mom thinks so...

YC

Mr. Grammar versus Like, Yoga Chickie

So, last night I stopped by CVS to pick up a prescription. Unfortunately, it was not waiting for me as I thought it would be.

"When was your doctor supposed to have called it in?" the cashier asked me.

"Hmmm," I thought for a moment, "It wasn't today, so, it had to have been like yesterday," I answered.

"Not 'LIKE' yesterday," said a male voice from behind me.

I smiled. Cute, I thought. Correcting my grammar. OK, fine, I figured, how about if I turn around and correct him, correcting me? I turned around and saw a middle-aged man in a well-tailored suit. His skin was tan in that "I've just been to the Carribean" sort of way. His eyes were shining amiably. Still smiling, I answered him: "Actually, I believe it was 'LIKE' yesterday, since by 'like' I meant, 'approximately', as in, I don't know if it was, in fact, yesterday, or if it might have been the day before."

But instead of the bantering response I was expecting, what I got was a snarl and a further correction: "No," he said, not even cracking a smile, "you mean "yesterday'. There's no such thing as 'LIKE' yesterday. It's either yesterday or it's not. Which is it, because it's not LIKE."

My eyebrows went up so high, I am still trying to pull them down from my hairline. However, I decided it was best not to get into any sort of confrontation, and so I quietly turned away and smiled at the cashier. "So, anyway," I continued, "Let's figure out what happened to my pills."

But apparently, Mr. Grammar wasn't finished with me. "Like," he muttered haughtily, "Like, yesterday! LIKE!" his voice growing louder. I turned around to see whom it was he was addressing. It was a woman, rolling her eyes away from him. I looked at him carefully, trying to understand what the hell was going on. It seemed inconceivable to me that someone I had never met could regard me with such hostility. Maybe he was only kidding but having a hard time getting that across...? I quickly assessed the situation and decided, no, he was definitely NOT kidding.

I turned around once again to continue dealing with the cashier only to hear Mr. Grammar snarking, "It's like, you know, yesterday!" I told myself to get a grip, to stay calm, to ignore him. But by now the cashier was rolling HER eyes, a show of solidarity which, sadly, rather than calming me, only served to agitate me and to question why I felt a duty to stand there quietly, allowing myself to be mocked by some suit-wearing stranger who seemed to think he was in a position to condemn my manner of speaking.

At the point where I was biting my tongue so hard, it was practically bleeding, I finally decided to do the anti-Yoga Chickie thing and stand up to the bully. "Like," I said, turning around to face him, "I like don't like appreciate like your like making fun of me, LIKE! So like SHUT UP you asshole. LIKE."

My heart was pounding. I felt clammy, whipped-up, out-of-control. I paid for a magazine and got the hell out of there. The entire walk home the scene played out in my head, over and over again, sometimes in real time, sometimes in slomo. I wanted to wash the experience off of me. I wanted to talk about it to someone who would high-five me and tell me that I had done the right thing.

But the truth is, I didn't. Mr. Grammar may have been crass and hostile and offensive. But I became his victim only when I allowed him to whip me up into a violent frenzy. Besides, as my mom pointed out when I relayed the story to her: who knows whether Mr. Grammar was simply waiting for an excuse to pull the gun out of his pocket and open fire?

YC

Friday, June 09, 2006

A little closer to God


My rooftop yoga studio, originally uploaded by Yoga Chickie.

And a little farther from the fumes eminating from my apartment due to the fact that we were having reglazing work done in one of the bathrooms. That stuff is powerfully toxic, and the process took from 9 a.m. until close to 1 p.m.....so not only did I miss going to the shala this morning, but also, I was effectively evicted from my home, at least temporarily. What to do, what to do....I ended up taking Lewis for a long walk, and then I wandered up to the roof of my building, figuring I would camp out there for a while, reading a magazine, putzing around with my Palm. But something about being up there with the huge open sky and the view of Roosevelt Island (!) off to the left, and I found myself longing to be practicing asana...

My mat was downstairs in the toxic apartment, and the floor of my rooftop is concrete. So, I felt constrained to practice only some standing poses, but soon I felt brave enough to try some Surya Namaskaras...and there it was, I was off and running....

It was very sunny out, but not overly hot. I had a wonderful practice. Halfway through, I ran downstairs to my apartment, held my nose and grabbed my mat and came back up and finished Primary. Things are really coming along. Supta K, still a bitch. But everything else feels good - a nice balance of effort and ease....even my vinyasas felt strong.

I can't believe that I have been on a six-day-a-week practice schedule for more than a month! Sunday will be the first moonday falling on a normal practice day for me in a long long while....will I rest? Or will I.....gasp....Bikram?

YC

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The state of Yoga Chickie's Backbend June 2006


Here it was in April:



I know that my knees are bent excessively forward over my ankles, but I see progress in my shoulders and the fact that my hands and feet are now approximately six inches closer together.

Oh, and here is my backbend one month earlier than the last one...March 2006:



From this photo, I can see that I have made progress in placing my feet closer together and bringing my arms into a more vertical orientation. My hands and feet are much further apart in this photo than they are in the April or the June photo. So, practice does seems to have some effect over time...

Most importantly, I feel good backbending now, even after Supta K.

Great practice today. Came VERY late, so I lost out on all the adjusts. BUT since I knew that was going to be the case, I deliberately took things very slow. And it felt great. My hands floated to the floor all on my own on Prasarita Pado C, I bound effortlessly in Mari A, B and C, and Mari D, well, at least it happened. I had time for a nice long stay in Kurmasana, and then I used a belt to get to my deepest in Supta K (my deepest without an assist, that is).

Blogger has been down quite a bit these past two days. And my laptop is still showing signs of something being seriously amiss, including the fact that my internal mouse is no longer working (I am using a wireless mouse), and well, something just doesn't feel right. I guess I am going to have to pay the Geek Squad a visit after all. But hopefully they won't have to totally undo my whole system and start it from scratch because I have a feeling that recopying all of my iTunes isNOT covered by my extended warranty.

And to answer some more questions: Why am I taking these idiotic tests? Because my insurance company has the right to require me to do so, and they did. In order to be incompliance with my policy, I had to go spend three half-days being mentally poked and prodded.

YC

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

It's aliiiiive.....

I don't know how, but somehow, my laptop came back from the dead just now. Oh happy day, not to have to stand on line for the Geek Squad at Best Buy!!

I think that it is possible that my laptop tapped into my own energy reserves though, for I am positively OUT of it today. I woke up at 7 a.m. to my adorable redheaded Brian telling me that it was time for my story...we had agreed the night before that he would read the first 15 pages of The Reptile Room (Book 2 of a Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket) to me so that I could "get into it". This is a time-honored tradition in my family...one which my own mom started when she read me the first 15 pages of Catcher in the Rye because I couldn't "get into it" on my own.

Anyway, I kept nodding off while Brian was reading to me, although he kept waking me back up. And as soon as he left my room, I passed out until 8:15 which is when my kids are supposed to leave for school...with ME. Thank goodness my babysitter was here to do some cleaning...she had seen that I was sleeping and gotten the kids ready and was just then leaving to take them herself. I passed out again, immediately. This time I woke up at half past 10. I groggily made my way out of bed, chatted with Sergio for a bit, caught up on my correspondence (emails), and decided at around noon that it was time to get myself moving. I hurled myself into the shower, blasted myself with cold water, got out and got dressed. Finally, just as I was about to walk out the door, I decided to give the laptop one more chance.

And voila.

She is up and running.

Not so much me though. I seriously think that the whole head-shrinking-biased-examination thing really took it out of me yesterday. SO stressful. SO exhaustingly boring. SO much sitting at a desk, which is exactly what I can no longer do.

And to answer some of the questions put out there, yes, I was a corporate lawyer until 2002. My most recent gig was at Hogan & Hartson, which used to be Squadron Ellenoff until the merger. I started my career at Rogers & Wells, which is now Clifford Chance, due to the merger. At various times, I was at Battle Fowler (now, some other big name, I can't remember what, due to the merger) and New York Life Insurance Company, which remains the same boring mutual life insurance company that it was when I trudged in there five days a week from 8:30 until 5:30 and was told to "work slower because it makes the restof us look bad", to "ask Dennis more questions, even if you don't have any", to "never speak to Mike M. unless spoken to first, even if you meet him in an elevator" and to switch to an area of which I had absolutely no knowledge or training "because it fits in well with when you are going out on maternity leave", and Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler, which remains Patterson Belknap, Webb & Tyler.

I stopped practicing law the day I went in for my double mastectomy on Sepember 17, 2002, although I had intended to go back. I never did go back because I couldn't figure out how I was going to practice law and stay healthy at the same time, and moreover, I couldn't figure out how I could practice law when I couldn't even remember where my car was parked. A year after I went out on leave, my boss at H&H called me to relieve me of my job once and for all. It had been too long. There was no work for me to do there anyway, since I had been a member of the Technology group, and, well, we all know what happened with all those dot coms.

I do not wish to be a lawyer anymore. I do not believe that I am qualified to be a lawyer anymore. I do not believe that I would be able to remain healthy and happy being a lawyer. Besides, I was one of four women who had breast cancer in the office during a two year period. That doesn't make me want to exactly rush back to the office. What the hell was IN that office anyway??

So, there you have it. I believe I answered "true" to "I would enjoy the work of a forest ranger". Put me in, coach.

YC

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sitting here in lotus

and enjoying the softness of just having practiced. Home practice today......oooookay....that's it for lotus now. Ahhhh, that's better.....Still can't manage more than 10 or so minutes like that.

Still here in Safe Mode, and I have to say, this works pretty well, although without "Safe Mode", my laptop won't even boot Windows. So I don't think it would be wise to keep this up for very long. It's really pushing my luck, akin to driving with the reserve light on. Wouldn't want to mess with my extended warranty. For once, it was worth it to get the extended warranty, I might add.

Something else I might add...if my words seem choppy, stilted, it is because my keyboard is all choppy and stilted. And apparently, I can't think if I can't type. Of course, there is always the possibility that it is really the other way around.

Spent my morning once again with the charming (oh, wait...) flunky who is being paid by an insurance company that shall remain nameless, to sing the praises of my cognitive skills, thus rendering me able to sit at a desk for 12 hour stretches, reading endless reams of contracts and figuring out ways to use them to help wealthy clients make even more money. By which I mean I spent my third morning (adding up to close to SEVEN hours altogethe) being subjected to cognitive testing by a shink who is being paid by my insurance company to determine my ability to go back to work as a corporate lawyer. Among other things, I was treated to the 567-question MMPI-2, aka the "Minnesota Multi-something Pesonality something beginning with an "I"".

The MMPI-II is a measure of, I guess, personality traits. It is in the format of a diabolically long true/false S.A.T.. Examples of the questions to which I was required to answer either "true" or "false" included:

  • I never lie.
  • I sometimes hear voices in my head.
  • I know that people are plotting against me.
  • I would enjoy being a forest ranger.
  • I would enjoy being a construction worker.
  • I enjoy drama.
  • If a group of people gets into trouble, the best thing is for them to get together and get their stories straight.
  • I have acted in ways that are dangerous because I enjoy the excitement.
The biggest problem I had with the test was that I had seen it before. See, my mom used to be a child psychologist, by which I mean a psychologist who works with childen, not a psychologist who is a child. Back when I was a girl, I was at times used as a guinea pig, by which I mean that I was used as a test subject, not as an actual small, furry animal. And so, I already know full well the leading nature of questions like, "True or false, 'I never lie.'"

I told this to the hired flunky/shrink/thug. Nevertheless, she would not let me weasel out of the test. And by weasel...oh never mind.

I answered as honestly as I could, which is to say that I had to answer false to "I never lie" and to "I would enjoy being a construction worker". Of course, I had to answer true to "I know that people are plotting against me".

After all, if they weren't, would I be taking the sodding test?

YC

My laptop crashed.....

I am going to have to have the whole thing reloaded....I have no idea what this means for my iTunes...as it is, I am working in "Safe Mode", so I figure I had better be brief....so, I guess what I have to say, in the interest of brevity, is: ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YC

Monday, June 05, 2006

What is Ashtanga?

Of all of the descriptions and definitions of "Ashtanga Yoga" that I have ever seen, this is, to me, the clearest and most illuminating:

"Ashtanga Yoga is the system of Yoga taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute in Mysore, India. This method of Yoga involves synchronizing the breath with progressive series of postures—a process producing intense internal heat and a profuse, purifying sweat that detoxifies muscles and organs. The result is improved circulation, a light and strong body, and a calm mind." - from Ashtanga.com

When you put it that way, what's not to love?

YC

Sunday, June 04, 2006

New Drug Holds Promise for Type of Breast Cancer

One more bit of breast cancer news today...this one is incredibly exciting, seriously....

The gist of it is this: For women with a certain type of breast cancer (namely, that which is referred to as "Her2Neu Triple Positive, or Her2Neu+++, and which was considered to be one of the deadliest forms of breast cancer until Herceptin became a part of the protocol...just one year ago**), an experimental drug promises to help women whose cancer continues to advance despite taking Herceptin, doctors here said on Saturday.

The New York Times states, "Some doctors said that the new drug, lapatinib, which the maker GlaxoSmithKline said it would sell under the name Tykerb, would initially be used only as a backup for Herceptin. But after further studies, they said, it may replace Herceptin for some patients, offering a treatment that could be taken as a once-a-day pill rather than as an infusion, which is required for Herceptin."

The NYT goes on to say that at least one doctor, granted one who has worked (as a consultant) for GlaxoSmithKline, has predicted (at a symposium) that death from Her2Neu+++ breast cancer would be eliminated within 10 years. (In an interview, he conceded that other drugs would have to be developed, but said he was confident they would be.)

This is awesome news, even if it is a bit optimistic.

Still, if you had told me 10 years ago about this great, hot stock that I should buy because the company is in the process of Phase III clinical trials of a new chemotherapy drug that actually "targets" a certain type of receptor in a certain type of breast cancer cell, effectively causing the cell to self destruct, I would have said, "HA! Let some other sucker make bets on these crazy ideas. I'd rather go to Vegas and try my luck at Blackjack." A little optimism may have been more appropriate, as it turns out.

** My breast cancer was Her2Neu +++, a fact which reduced me to hysterics when I first found out (I believe that was the first time that I totally lost my shit during the whole breast cancer debacle). But as it turned out, I was "lucky" enough to have an oncologist who kept me abreast of all of the latest developments and who helped me to map out a treatment plan that included a 15-month course of Herceptin, despite that Herceptin was, at the time (2002), offered only to patients with more advanced disease or, alternatively, to patients who were not only enrolled in the clinical study but who were ALSO fortunate enough to be randomized into the arm receiving the drug. And when I say "lucky", I really am only using the word as a stand-in for "so incredibly lucky that I need a new word for lucky because the current one doesn't really begin to describe it".

Kinehurah, puh puh puh.

YC

ASCO - Randomized controlled trial of yoga for symptom management during breast cancer treatment

ASCO - Randomized controlled trial of yoga for symptom management during breast cancer treatment

This is an abstract of the study on which the Reuters article is based. I suppose it doesn't come as much of a surprise to anyone who practices yoga, but I also suppose that it is important to dig up some hard scientific facts to go with....

YC

Yoga study shows some benefits for cancer patients

Yoga study shows some benefits for cancer patients

YC

Some days just aren't so great

But there's always something good about the practice. Today, somehow, I got deeper in Supta K than usual. I do need to do away with the grunting and moaning though. It is so unseemly. Also, I managed a rather decent Navasana and Bhujapidasana. But anything that had to do with twisting or balancing was just kind of off today. I could tell it was the twisting and not the shoulders. And what a surprise...since I went out for supper last night and helped myself to not one, not two, but three alcoholic beverages, each one a different type too, to add insult to injury. I began with a Muscati d'Asti, which is usually a dessert wine. But in the summer it is so deliciously refreshing...sweet, kind of fizzy...it reminds me of a wine cooler, and in fact, sometimes I will have a Muscati d'Asti with a splash of Fresca, just to add to the juicy, sweet, fizzy factor. Then I proceeded to have a Pear Martini, which tasted an awful lot like a pina colada, alas, there was far too much coconut rum in there, and not enough of the pear liqueur. Later, after we were joined by friends who had come from a movie, and after I had finished a "Frisee Lardons" (poached egg, pancetta crisps and a hint of gruyere over chicory and herbs) and some "Moule Frite", I helped myself to a glass of Pinot Noir. I did not finish that last one. But I certainly dented it. And then there was the chocolate banana crepe. Luckily, I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so it was easy to resist, although I was the one who ordered it for the table.

By the way, I should probably mention the name of this restaurant because it is really incredibly good and incredibly easy to get a reservation, PLUS they have live jazz on Saturday nights, and shockingly, and I do mean shockingly, it is on the Upper East Side, which has for many years been virtually a desert when it comes to fun and interesting places to eat. It's Brasserie Julien, on Third Avenue in the low 80's.

Anyway, somehow I woke up with absolutely no hangover. But my stomach was burbly and my intestines were busy still processing what probably amounted to more food and drink in a single meal what it is normally accustomed to processing in an entire day - or longer. It was more of a yoga hangover than anything else. And it's not the hair of the dog that gets you through one of those. It's time. And patience. And a willingness to fall over in Prasarita Padotannasana C (scary!), to dance a little in Uttitha Hasta Padangusthasana even with a teacher holding you up and to just accept that you're just not going to get those bhandas engaged enough to have any decent jumpthroughs or to Uddiyana Bhanda your way into Parv Parsvakona, Mari C or Mari D.

But that doesn't mean that your shoulders aren't willing. And it doesn't mean that your hips can't do their part to release your chest to the floor in Kurmasana. And somehow, it doesn't mean that your shoulders won't magically release a bit more than usual in your Urdvha Dhanurasana. And so it was a day for the sleeper poses of my practice. A practice for the underdog postures. The dark horses pulled ahead, and I feel pretty good despite that the favorites got trounced.

On other fronts, on the "I suck as a mom" front, I have tremendous guilt about something that happened yesterday, and although I know on some level it is misplaced, well, the heart feels what it feels, to paraphrase, I think, Woody Allen. Yesterday, Adam had a friend over. This friend had moved away last year when his mom remarried, and he now lives in New Jersey, but he visits NYC quite often because his dad still lives here. Well, Adam's friend came early in the day and the intention was for him to sleep over. To wit, Adam's Friend came with a "Sleepover To Do List" that looked something like this:

  • Make prank phone calls
  • Eat lots of sweets
  • Have pillow fight
  • Talk about Yuh-Gi-Oh
  • See movie
  • Tell ghost stories
  • Tell knock-knock jokes
  • Drink coffee so that we can stay up all night
I kid you not. I had to explain to Adam's Friend that no one makes prank phone calls anymore since everyone has caller I.D. I offered to take everyone to a movie instead. So, we saw Over the Hedge, which was cute. Later on, they fulfilled their pillow fight initiative, as well as knock-knock jokes and Yu-Gi-Oh discussions. But when it came to coffee, well, I suggested some iced tea instead. Seemed a bit more appropriate for seven year olds.

When The Husband and I left for dinner, it was 8:30, and the kids were in the middle of watching Cheaper By The Dozen II. An hour later, we got a phone call from Adam saying that Canyon was homesick and had called his dad to pick him up. My babysitter, my kids, me, the Husband...no one could convince him to stay.

And this is what I feel so terrible about. I don't know how or why I could blame myself for a seven-year old not being capable of having an overnight (it was his first, in fact). But somehow, I feel bad about it. As if, like maybe if I had gotten him his favorite food for dinner instead of the pizza that we had, which he said he didn't like....or if maybe I had made sure they went to bed (if he had been asleep, he wouldn't have been homesick, right?)...or if maybe I hadn't made the kids clean up the playroom before watching the movie (but I had wanted it to be calm and peaceful in there instead of chaotic...and I wanted to set up the sleeping bags, etc....)....

This is tapping into something. I just don't know what. In time, I guess it will become clear.

YC

Copyright 2005-2007 Lauren Cahn, all rights reserved. Photos appearing on this blog may be subject to third party copyright ownership. You are free to link to this blog and portions hereof, but the use of any direct content requires the prior written consent of the author.

About Me

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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.

Bygones

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