Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mother's a Little Helper

My sister, her hubby and their delicious three year old, JBen, came for a visit over the weekend, as did my two sisters-in-law and their brood (consisting of one 47 year old perpetual bachelor, and my children's super cool cousins). Then today my parents came for a visit. It's a lot of work, entertaining. But I enjoy it. Nevertheless, by this afternoon, I was talking a mile a minute and very loudly. Perhaps too much entertaining for one week? Perhaps too many backbends at practice? Either way, Mom slipped me an Ativan, and all was well.

Ever notice that people who take tranquilizers have a tendency to make many offers to share the wealth?

Anyway, I have to say, the stuff is effective and blessedly subtle. I never feel it kicking in, but at some point I become aware that it already has.

I'm tired, but I am watching Mad Men (on Demand), my latest tv obsession. It's a period piece - you might even call it a costume drama in that it takes place in 1960, and the sets, costumes and even the mannerisms depicted are as important to the gestalt as the acting and the plot. It's really a form of porn - for the historically inclined. And I am a closeted history fan.

Now, can someone please tell me where an eight-year old boy would learn to stick his butt out and say, "Spank it!"?

Yc

Monday, August 27, 2007

Oy

It's going to be a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong week.















So










much











togetherness.


























The





husband













is

















on



















vacation





















and we are home, all of us.









Oy.


YC

Friday, August 24, 2007

The grass really IS greener over the septic tank

Yesterday, I went to The Yoga Shala in Georgetown, Connecticut. It's not more than 30 minutes away, and the route is all country roads, which means less stress than driving on commuter roads. And the best part? It's an actual ashtanga yoga shala, with an actual ashtanga teacher who has an actual Mysore program in place, which doesn't start at the crack of dawn, thus permitting householders such as myself to get there and practice after dropping the kids off at school.

It was awesome. I got some very unique and useful adjustments, and the room was warm and humid and full of energy. Teacher, Valerie, is off on retreat with Eddie now, so I will go back next week when she returns and when the husband is on vacation from work - he has promised me that I will be able to do as much yoga as I want. Yay!

But back to being a householder, or rather, the sucky side of it....I was perusing an adult education brochure yesterday and saw a class called "Home Maintenance for First Timers and Beginners". I mentioned it to the husband, and he scoffed.

Fast forward to sometime after midnight on the same day, when a scary alarm went off in my basement. Was it a burgler? No. It was, in fact, a bit scarier than a dark and evil human being whom in my fantasies I like to believe I could dispatch with one swift kick to the groin.

Rather, it was....the SUMP PUMP. Also known as the thing that keeps the shit moving from toilet to septic tank. Or rather, it was the alarm telling me that said pump was broken, or that something else was amiss with my septic tank.

New territory for a recently erstwhile city mouse.

Luckily, the former homeowners had penned a list of their service providers (at my clever husband's request), and so, I had the name and number for a septic service man. I woke him up and tried to find the words to explain what was going on, which was tough, since as little as I know about it now, I knew still less then.

Long story short, today some guys dug up a portion of my lawn to discern the problem, and later today some more guys will arrive who will fix said problem. In the meantime, iand wholly unrelated, I am keeping a handyman and plumber very busy with an assortment of other fixes around the house, most notorious of which is the faucet on the kitchen sink...which FELL OFF the day before Septic Hell began.

So, in the midst of the digging up of my lawn (they did put it all back, at least), I had to get to the nearby plumbing supply store to pick up a new kitchen sink faucet. Happily, they had the exact one I was looking for. Of course, one day earlier, I did not know I was even looking.

Good when you own a house to be willing to roll with the punches, as it seems there are many punches with which to roll. Perhaps that is why Guruji has different rules for householders than he does for others.

I had to bring it back to yoga.

I don't talk that much about yoga at the moment because nothing much is happening. I can do every pose in Primary myself on most days, although I am now VERY grateful to get any adjustment, especially in Supta K. I can sort of stand up from a drop back, although I still resemble a rather large and pale macaque when doing so.

My flat palmed vinyasas are enervating, but I suppose (or, hope) that will pass.

And so now, I am doing exactly what I said I would never do again after getting all of Primary:

I await the next pose.

YC

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

blah blah blah Supta K blah blah blah Dropbacks blah blah blah Pasasana

I drove all the way into the city today to practice with Greg, and he had the audacity to have had a death in the family. So, I self-practiced with the four other people who somehow weren't up on the news as it broke.

Something similar happened to me yesterday, now that I think about it. I decided to pop in at Eddie's shala to practice with whomever was going to be teaching at 11:15 a.m. Unfortunately, after I parked Big Foot Print (my new name for my gas-guzzling Acura MDX) at the rate of $15 for the first hour, I discovered once I reached the second floor studio that Eddie's shala is closed for renovations until, well, until it really doesn't matter because my desire was to practice there YESTERDAY, not like, two weeks from now. There were a bunch of guys up there, some of whom I recognized from the days when I use to practice at Eddie's, painting and doing other construction work. What they are doing is taking still more practice space from their already narrow confines and making it into a temple to Shiva. Hey, as long as Shiva and Ganesh are happy.

Hooboy, with that last comment, I might as well have put on a pair of deer antlers and walked out into Dick Cheney's backyard on opening day of hunting season.

I ended up practicing at Yoga Sutra, starting with the 1/2 Primary led class and then finishing on my own.

Perhaps the universe is telling me that I can do this myself. Since I did. All of it. And when I do it myself, I now throw in Yoga Nidrasana either before or after or both before AND after Supta Kurmasana. Because I CAN. Na-na-nana-na. And sometimes I channel SoCallies out there and throw in a Hanumanasana and a Samokonasana after the Prasaritas. Oh, and I always hold Prasarita Pado C for like 15 breaths: five with my palms touching each other and the ground with the crown of my head on the floor, five with my palms touching each other and the ground with the back of my head on the floor, and five with my hands in the more advanced, reverse-palm position.

My big thing lately, aside from the whole binding myself in Supta K thing, is completely transforming my vinyasa form. Mark, Christopher and Guta have all looked (and spoken) askance at the heels of my hands curling up off the mat as I jump forward, jump through, jump back and lift up between Navasanas. Neither Sir nor Petri has ever said a word to me about it. Nor has Greg, although I bet that he would if he noticed it. He seems to be quite the stickler for good vinyasa form, catching me as soon as I jump directly into Tirianga Muka Ekapada Paschi, rather than jumping into Dandasana first. So, now that I am drifting around in some sort of teacher-free abyss, I suppose that I could just pick and choose whose theories to follow, and wouldn't it be convenient if I chose to not really pay much mind to my vinyasas? But I can't seem to to do it. I find myself, as is customary with me, to want to always do things the hard way.

As between jumping through with straight legs and curling palms versus jumping through with crossed ankles and flat hands, the latter is the far greater challenge. Not just to my arms strength and my bandha strength, but to my ego. SUCH a painful exercise to that ego of mine, to jump UP instead of through, to let go of letting my legs fly through my arms in a (pitiful) imitation of Guta's gorgeous fly-throughs, to slide my dragging feet over my mat before each seated pose. I want to fly!!! But as they say, you gotta crawl before you can walk. And so, I crawl.

The payoff is that my lift-ups between Navasanas are solid now. At least most of the time. And I have to believe that soon I will be jumping into Bujapidasana. Or at least I can say this: if I were to continue to jump through in the cheating way, with my palms lifting up, I would never be able to jump into Buja or...someday, perish the though, Bakasana B. Flat palms are an absolute prerequisite for both of those if you don't want to face plant, or in Buja, break both of your elbows in one fell-swoop.

Whatever my needs are, I do WANT to have a teacher again. What will come of this? Something always does. Perhaps Sir will reinstate his mid-morning class? Please?

YC

Monday, August 20, 2007

Me, Green

I may suck for the environment in myriad ways, like, my big-assed SUV, my OTHER big-assed SUV, my propensity to drive one or the other of said SUV's when I could just as easily take the train, or bus, or walk. But instead of talking about that, which has been done (see, e.g., Cody on not being green) or picking on those who drive hybrids (the NEW kind of hybid, the one that hybridizes gas and electric, rather than the OLD kind of hybrid, the one that hybridizes car and SUV) just because I happen to not, which has also been done (see, e.g., Laksmi on rage, and South Park on some recent season, sorry but I don't remember which, but you can
JFGI if you're so inclined)......so, instead of all that, I have decided to give myself props for being so totally green that Leo DiCaprio and Al Gore are throwing me a party. Well, not really. But if they knew about me, they would. OK, not really.

But I make efforts. I do.

To wit:

1. I wear natural fibers almost exclusively and sleep on 100 percent cotton sheets. NO synthetics for YC. Except for my ski jacket.

2. Whenever possible, I purchase antiques. Antique purchasing reduces waste, particularly when purchased locally. New furniture requires the use of new resources. Furniture that is shipped from, say, North Carolina, where a lot of furniture is manufactured, requires the use of fuel for transportation.

3. When I order from an online retailer, I always tell them to ship all of my items in the same box. Not only does this save on shipping, but it reduces cardboard waste and the use of fuel for transport.

4. If I see an animal in the road, I swerve to avoid it, rather than braking. Starting and stopping in a car uses excessive fuel.

5. If I have something to mail, I put it in my mailbox for pickup rather than driving to the post office. That saves on fuel. And it keeps my postman busy, turning that little flag down when he leaves. It's really fun. It's like we're secretly communicating about being green!

6. I have decided to install a sprinkler system, rather than relying on above-ground sprinklers to water my lawn. This will create less of a burden on my well water usage. I think. Wait... OK, not so sure about this one. But maybe.

7. I put bins full of my Diet Peach Snapple bottles out at the curb for pickup by the local recycling people (whomever they are), rather than driving the three miles to the supermarket to return them for the five cent deposit. I think that is major. And you would too if you knew how much Diet Peach Snapple I drank.

8. I only buy music on iTunes now because seriously, I can't stand those damn plastic jewel cases that CD's come in. And I hear that they are wasteful of resources as well. So, it's a win-win.

9. After I installed new wood floors in my house, I vowed to clean them only with distilled white vinegar. NO Endust or Pledge for me, with all their hydrocarbons and gross chemials. Yech.

10. I turn off the landscape-spotlights every night before I go to sleep and turn up the thermostat to 78 degrees (F).

11. I eschew fur. Except when the husband happened to GIVE me a shearling. Shearling isn't quite as bad, is it? And it's not like I asked for it. And what was I going to do with it at that point, I mean, damage done, animal dead, can't bring it back, right? I think it was LESS wasteful of me to WEAR it than to NOT.

That's all. I mean, there's more, but I think I've used too much electricity already in writing this.

YC

Friday, August 17, 2007

Dude, John Bonham's Grandson is only 10 Years Old


When my 10-year old told me that there was this awesome drum player in his bunk at camp, whose grandfather was also, supposedly an awesome drummer, I thought nothing of it until I learned that his last name was Bonham. Being an adult for whom "classic rock" does not mean Pearl Jam or even The Cure, but rather, such actual long-toothed goldens as The Rolling Stones and Led Zepelin, the wheels in my brain started spinning. Bonham's first name happens to be....Jagger. More wheels.

"Did your friend ever mention the name 'Led Zepelin'?"

"Yeah, I think that was the name of his grandpa's band."

So, I did a little googling, just to see what might come up on this late generation drum prodigy, and, well not much. But I did find
this, on one of those "I'm a Professional Food Server, and You Suck" blogs, in which the waitron in question tells an underage kid that he's not going to be served a cocktail unless he produces a valid I.D., or unless he happens to be "John Bonham's Grandson."

Good thing it wasn't really JB's grandson. Ten-year olds really shouldn't drink.

YC

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

My 10-Year Old Put Me Into Pasasana

Not Posh-asana. But really, full-on Pasasana. At first he nearly knocked me over, but I got back on my feet, wrapped my arms around myself, touched fingertips and had him take the hands just a little further...voila.

So, husband-assisted Supta K's, pre-teen son-assisted Pasasanas,....do I really need to schlep into the city - let alone MYSORE! - to do this practice?

YC

I Confess

I practiced all the way up to Kapotasana yesterday, not that I can touch my toes with my fingers yet on that one, but whatever, that's not the point. Here is the point: I can touch fingers in Pasasana, without assistance. I think the key is going to be figuring out how to place my wrapping arm appropriately. I remember that this was key to figuring out how to do Mari C - how to drape the wrapping arm so that the hand is in the proper place to grab or be grabbed. I found yesterday that if I wrapped my arm around one leg, a la Mari C, it gave me a clue as to how to properly wrap my arm around both the legs. The squat is not problem. Nor is the twist. It's a mechanics thing, I think, that stands between me and a proper bind. Oh yeah, and the thing about actually being "given" the pose.

I also tried the Tittibhasana version where you bend over and wrap your arms around your legs, binding in a fashion similar to Supta Kurmasana. I got fingers to touch, but I couldn't get them to hook. Still it was further than I had ever been in that pose, which I have been trying on and off for as long as I have been practicing Bikram yoga, in which the pose is referred to as "Guillotine" for obvious reasons.

Finally, I confess that I hung out in Yoga Nidrasana, fingers hooked, for a nice long while yesterday. All of this legs-behind-head stuff occured after Supta Kurmasana but before I headed into the backbending portion of my practice.

And thanks to Laksmi, I have a new way of practicing putting weight in my hands for my jump throughs. I do handstands against the wall with my fingers touching the wall. There is absolutely NO way to shift weight onto the fingers that way. I think Laksmi practices handstands this way for the sake of practicing handstands away from the wall. But I find it useful for my own (criminal?) purposes.

As for my non-criminal pursuit of backbending prowess, progress is happening, albeit slowly. Standing up is happening, but a la Jumpy Monkey. Not graceful yet. In time....

One glitch: I am so sore today, I can barely walk up and down the stairs in my house. Damn quariceps. Damn enire front body, for that matter.

Must be because I practiced on a mooon day. Or practiced stuff that I haven't been taught by a blessed teacher.

Apparently there are at least two prisons here in Northern Westchester. Lock me up. I'm a yoga criminal.

YC

Yoga! Now, with Sexual Harassment!

This arrived in my email inbox today, forwarded from a friend....

"Hello everyone,

I'm writing a story for the NYTimes about yoga and need sources.
The story is about student-to-student come-ons in yoga classes or studios.

Sometimes people aren't as focused on their practice as they should be
(looking around at the hot bodies in class, scoping dates, chatting
people up, putting their hands where they shouldn't in partner work
etc). Ever see this? What happened?

If you practice yoga, I would love to talk to you. Please back-channel
to joell at waxpoetic dot org.

Thanks for your help!

Joelle"


Go on. Tell Joelle....

YC

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ayudarme

I need help with my Spanish-speaking (solamente en Espanol), in order to communicate effectively with my gardener.

I need him to dig up the clay, dirt and mulch under the nearly-dead trees along the edges of the propety and mix it all up in order to improve the quality of the soil so that the trees can stop dying on me. As it is, they have their roots in solid clay and get zero percent water, even during torrential downpours. Clay does not conduct water very well. Water simply runs off of it. It does not run though it. If we add sandy diret and chunky mulch to it and mix it all up, it ought to become a bit more hospitable to the trees struggling within it.

I have already had some degree of succss in this with my hideous climbing roses and my once-anemic hydrangea tree. Both seem to be doing a lot better now. I am even more than a week into my mums-planting, with nary a dead flower in sight. I am thinking that soil preparation is the KEY to gardening.

Well, duh.

Anyway, let's just forget about the notion that my gardener "should" know this, and I shouldn't "have" to tell him this. Because there are about three gardeners around here who know what they should know, and they all have PhD's in Botany an Arbor studies, and I can't afford to pay them to cut my grass. Maybe one day, no in the too distant future, I will be able to hire Joe Gadener to cut my grass and Dr. Arborist to muddle his way through my gardening challenges. But for now, I need to TILL THAT SOIL, far more soil than I have time or energy to do myself.

So, Spanish speakers...a little help here?

Mooches grassy ass.

YC

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ow

I'm sore from yesterday. It must be the yoga, because the other stuff I did - running around with the kids, playing tag in the pool with Adam, light gardening - none of that has had the power to hobble me the way practice after no practice does.

I took a hot bath. No improvement. I took an advil - a single advil. No improvement. I am going to just keep moving today and hope that by the end of the day, I can face my mat again. No high expectations. Just get on the mat for the sake of getting on the mat.

YC

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I BOUND SUPTA K MYSELF!! HANDS AND ANKLES!! MYSELF! NO HELP!!!

This is a major relief for me, seeing as I have moved to the land of "Ashtanga? What's That?" So, assuming I can stay at my present weight, or at least long enough for my actual flexibility and coordination to catch up to my reduced girth-enhancd tricks, I will no longer have to feel that it's run-into-the-city or languish.

YAY!

YAY!

YAY!

Why is it that after any kind of time-off period from Astanga, I always come back with enhanced abilities? Is it that I forget fears? Is it that my body forgets bad habits? Is it that the time off is actually irrelevant and that I would have been able to do whatever it is I am doing whether or not I took the time off?

I also did a monkey-stand-up from my first drop-back today. Hey, a monkey-stand-up is better than a stand up onto my knees ala Ustrasana. Or none at all.

Both Mark and Stan Woodman (Ashtanga teacher in Greenwich, CT, with whom I spoke on the phone recently) told me that Supta K usually can't be bound without assistance until one has been Dwi Pada-ing on a regular basis for a while. Guess I proved the exception to the rule that proves the rule.

Did I say YAY???

YC

P.S. Yeah, I got footage to prove it. Now, to figure out how to upload it.

The Teddy Bear Has Been Compromised

Anyone see the trailer for The Nanny Diaries? I am so looking forward to seeing this flick. I once had a nanny cam. It wasn't compromised. But the nanny was history. As soon as I left the house, she went to the window and looked down at the street to see that I was safely gone, then proceeded to mutter choice insults about me to herself and then heartily heer when I almost got mowed down by an oncoming vehicle: "Right on red, bitch."

I am no Mrs. X, however. My nannies only did nanny work for me. I did not treat them as personal assistants, and I did not invade their personal space. All of my nannies except for that first one and one that came later, who left when she became pregnant out of wedlock, stayed with me for the two years that they promised upfront and the have stayed in touch with me ever since, from as far away as Prague and as close as the apartment of the acquaintence across the street who hired Sarah when I no longer had full-time work for her.

Anyway, why am I talking about nannies when MY KIDS ARE HOME!!! YAY!! And they don't hate me!!! And they are happy to be home!!

And now, bragging rights time....two things I did not know about while camp was going on were that Brian was elected Color War Captain for his age group, and the counselors and administration appointed him to the highly coveted "Honor Scroll" for his age group, meaning that he, out of everyone in his age group, BEST exemplified the Camp ethos. His nickname was "Mr. Clutch". He is truly an outstanding person, and I am amazed that I have any part in raising him.

Adam was honored with the title of Mr. Waterfront, being the child who made his way to the lakefront whenever it wasn't literally raining cats and dogs. He was integral in bringing the Camp Regatta Team to Fourth Place out of 15 in the Berkshires Regatta at Camp Wah-Tee-Toh. His nickname was Lost Boy, not because he couldn't make his way, but because he is missing his two front teeth and looks like a vampire. OK, so, he's nicknamed after a Corey. Fine. I'm still kvelling.

Today I am cleared for a gradual re-entry into the yoga world.

YC

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Insecure

My kids are coming home tomorrow, and I am as anxious and insecure as I was the first time I brought them home from Beth Israel Hospital to my apartment on the Upper East Side. Will they still like me? Will we still have anything in common? Have they grown apart from me? Will they be disappointed in the house? In their rooms? In the fact that we still haven't gotten a flat screen television or even a sofa for the family room? Or finished the basement so that they can have a lounge of their own? Or worked out the kinks in our Optimum service such that we actually have a television that works for more than a day or two? Or set up X-Box in the Upstairs Den? Or stocked the house with refreshments that I figured out they wanted by virtue of ESP? Or lined up playdates for them with their friends? Or met ANYONE up here at all, let along anyone who has kids the same age as them? Will we have anything to talk about? Will they resent being home when camp was so much fun? Will they just want to lie around, watching sports in Brian's case, and playing his Nintendo DS in Adam's case? Will the still get along well with Lewis the Bagle?

When I first brought Brian home from the hospital, I was 31 years old, physically traumatized (I had a very hard time delivering him, and insane, now-outmoded methods were used, such as vacuum extractio) and completely unprepared. I had read "The Book" on What to Expect When You're Expecting. But I hadn't even bought the the next "The Book", which was "What to Expect The First Year". For me, there was only the pregnancy. Suddenly, now, there was this human being whom I did not know at all, beyond some shady details of his sleeping, stretching and hiccuping habits over the period of less than six months when those habits were discernable. My husband and I set down his little car seat carrier on the entry hall of our apartment and looked at each other, bewildered.

"We don't even know him yet," my husband said.

"Do you think it would be okay if we got some sushi?" I asked, glancing at this tiny ginger-haired lightbulb wrapped in a yellow knit travel suit and strapped into a u-shaped chair.

Truthfully, it's not that I thought that Brian would mind if we ordered sushi; it's just that I had no idea what I was supposed to do if he started wailing while I wasin the middle of eating it. Dinner that night was fast and tasteless.

Later on, we got to know him. And then we got to know his brother, who, to our surprise, was far more accessible to us and far easier to get to know. Differences in personalities? Or just more experienced parenting? I'll never know, but my hunch is that the difference was in the children, not the parents.

It wasn't easy though, any of those baby stages. Getting to know a brand new human being who can't talk, can't walk, can't feed himslf but who clearly has preferences about everything...well, it's a trying time. And then one day, I looked behind myself and realized that it was all very far away, very much in the past. My two boys were hardly mysterious anymore, and they loved me for reasons they could explain, and reasons that made no sense to them (upon asking Adam, not long ago, why he loves me, he said, "because all kids have to love their moms").

Now, they've been away for seven weeks, having the time of their life. I look at the photos that are still popping up on their camp website, and it amazes me that there is this thing called "camp", where children live in barracks with young adult strangers taking care of them, where the lake is always within view, where baseball, soccer, football and hockey fields constantly beckon, where sailing, windsurfing, kayaking are actually possibilities for landlocked east coasters, where chores are more or less optional, where feeding the camp dog earns you pizza points...I could go on and on and on. But suffice it to say, the real world can't possibly hold a candle. And coming home cannot be an easy transition for children as well-adjusted and secure as mine (brag, brag)

The insecure one is me. I was never particularly worried about how they would adjust to camp. My concern is how they will adjust to home. Hopefully, I'm just being silly, with too much time on my hands for spinning thoughts.

Just in case, though, I am making a Boston Creme Pie tonight and have plans to take the kids to Burger King for lunch...Can't do those things at camp....

YC

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

First the Jacksie, then Laksmi for some Veselka

I hope that sounds really lewd.

Unfortunately, I don't think it does. And in fact, it really isn't.

Today, after my annual peek under the hood (okay, now THAT is some serious lewdness, and I didn't even intend it to be), I sped off to meet Mrs. Laksmi and the Mrs. Laksmi Family at one of my favorite East Village haunts, Veselka. Veselka is like a Greek diner, except it's not Greek. So, instead of a menu that boasts souvlaki and gyros along with its eggs and pancakes and uniquitous sandwiches, the menu offers varieties of borscht, stroganoff and mmmmm, my favorite: kasha.

I wore a pink eyelet strapless shift with a little rhinestone bow at the top edge. Turns out that Laksmi had had a dream that I would be wearing a pink dress and a tiara. Weird, no?

I got to meet Mr. Laksmi, jazz saxophonist whom I shall refer to hereinafter as Sanborn (my second and third choices were Bird and Coltrane, but for a variety of reasons ruled them out) because he just doesn't seem like a HaySeuss to me (although he does kind of sort of resemble Jesus), and Little Crow, who has been called Hockey Boy and Half HaySeuss at times, but I shall call him Little Crow, because he's a little boy who can do a mean Bakasana. I also got to dine with a former shala mate, who, it turns out is a college friend of Laksmi. How is it that everyone is so connected in this world? Seriously. And there was another very nice woman there, whose name I am spacing on, and who probably has friends in common with me and you and everyone we know, but we just don't know it yet.

Great fun! Great conversation! Great scrambled eggs with kasha and apricot jam. Great photo ops. Nevertheless, Laksmi's identity remains firmly under seal to the general public. It is not that she is camera shy. It's just that she works for the CIA. But don't tell anyone. Shhhh.

Then I drove home and put on Mah Chores Clothes and went outside to roll my Compost Bin around a few times and to stomp on my gigantic pile of dead branches and grass and garden clippings to help it along its journey toward compost. The difference between the Bin and the Pile is that the Bin also includes kitchen scraps, whereas the Pile does not. The Bin is closed, protecting it against hungry scavengers. The Pile is open, although at the moment, covered with a tarp in order to increase its internal heat (also helpful for stimulating decomposition). I never thought I would be so turned on by decomposing matter. But it turns out, it's really cool, in a science-experiment kind of way. You throw in a bunch of ingredients, you let it get hot, you stir it occasionally, and then you get a great batch of...well, not cookies. But the garden and the grass will think it is. And here's the coolest part: it does NOT smell like garbage. It smells like the forest.

Next, I did a little clearing out of the garage to make room for the pitter patter of gigantic boy feet which shall be making their way to their new home in a mere three days. I felt like it was really important for the boys to be able to have their bikes, scootes and balls within easy reach. And so I made it so.

Now, I am just 'roided up (from the anti-inflammatories I'm taking for my nose) and wired and wondering when I might feel like getting into bed and willing my eyes to close. It's not like I'm not tired. It's just that sleep has been very remote since I've been taking this Medrol stuff (some kind of prednisone). One more day, and then I'm off the sauce. Yay.

That's all.

YC

Monday, August 06, 2007

At the risk of starting up a whole thaaaang,

I have to confess that I weighed 103 today. I know, I was freaked out too. It's not that it is so insanely low for a person of my height (5'1"), but that it was soooo much lower than I have seen in about five or six years. I stepped on the scale today, mostly out of discipline; I didn't want to look at the number as I haven't practiced yoga in a week, and somehow I believe that yoga is the be all and end all to staying slim, at least for me. So, there I was, muttering to the little but incredibly powerful sliver of steel and digits, "Please, don't be higher than 108," and I looked down and saw 103. I stepped on the scale several more times to see if I had done something wrong, or if I had seen the number wrong. Then I called the husband and asked him if he'd stepped on the scale today, and whether it was weighing unusually low. Yes, to the first, no to the second.

Anyway, it's not the biggest thing in the world. But I have to admit that I am happy to be back to what I weighed before I had kids (and after, until the year I got sick). And I have to say that even as I assumed that the number was in the vicinity of 107-110, I have been feeling very comfortable in my skin lately, much more so than usual. For example, last week, I found myself with a bit of time on my hands on day, and so I put on a bikini and sat outside for a while. This is something I could never do, even all by myself in a very private backyard, if I was not almost 100 percent comfortable with my body. And I have been wearing jeans lately - which is a sure sign of comfort with my body. If I am not nearly 100 percent comfy in my skin, I'm walking around in yoga pants. That's how you'll know.

What I am trying to say is that all that time, I was thinking the number on the scale was a little higher, and yet I was still very comfortable. Now that I know the number has been getting lower, it sort of explains it to me. It wasn't that I was comfortable with my body at 107-110. It's that I am now AT my comfortable weight.

Wow, still churning out the boring posts. I feel as if this post started out with the power to incite strong feelings. Things about weight and size always do. Then I just prattled on and on and on to the point where you're so bored, you have no energy be bothered by it at all.

Anyway, I am not sure why my weight dipped below 105 at this point. But I suspect it has to do with the fact that I am eating really healthy foods, preparing them myself so I know what's in them, not really eating all that much really (remember: I am menopausal, and my metabolism is WAY lower than most women of my age and size) and not really worrying about it beyond being mindful of getting what I consider to be enough of this, that and the other into my system. I am not counting lettuce leaves like the CR people. I am not shunning foods as "bad" like I used to (for example, I had Eggplant in Garlic Sauce at an Asian place the other night, which I would never have touched back even a few months ago when I was following all these good food/bad food rules about eating). I try to include fresh, organic avocado and fresh, young coconut into my diet, every day. I try to eat a few eggs per week and a few slices of cheese. I need my Dubble Bubble, and a few chocolate bars per week (Toblerone this past week, since because of the nose thing, I'm all about texture rather than taste, but normally Cadbury Dairy Milk or Green & Black's White).

I wonder if not doing any yoga has contributed - perhaps I have lost some muscle? Or perhaps all the House and Garden stuff I've been doing is really heavy duty, much more than I ever realized.

Anyway, I feel good at this weight, and I would like to stay here. But I don't want to obsess about it. I just want to keep doing what I have been doing.

If only I knew what that was; trouble is, I wasn't paying all that much attention.

YC

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Baby Becks, and the Reason I Can't Change My Haircolor




























Hey now,

that wasn't exactly the kind of recovery day I thought I should be having. But here at this house, I feel like there is never an end to the things that need to be done. And the thing is, I really enjoy doing the things. If I didn't, I probably wouldn't.

So, I woke up with the sun this morning and went outside to greet the garden, see if anything new came up. After aerating the soil recently, the roses have been blooming a bit more, but the leaves are still a bit yellowed (a sign of too much nitrogen in the soil, the result of the previous owner shoveling sawdust all over the surface). The lavender has still been iffy as well. Better, but not what it should be.

I know this is terribly boring, but it's a mini obsession for me at the moment.

So anyway, I decided that today was the day that I was going to aggressively turn the soil over - digging at least six inches into the soil, which is essentially 10-12 inches from the surface due to the ridiculous, suffocating layers of mulch that had been added over, I'm guessing, the last two to three summers. But since it was already about 80 degrees, and it wasn't even 8 a.m., I knew that it would have to wait until late day. In the meantime, there was a trip to Whole Foods for .... Fresh Young Coconut....among other things (yay!!! They have FYC up here!!), a trip to Target for a multitude of miscellaneous items, including new bedding for the boys (black for Adam, because he asked me for a black room with skulls and crossbones, and there's just no way I can do that, although I can certainly give him black sheets; maroon for Brian, because he asked me to paint his walls the color of Boston College's basketball uniforms, and although I am considering it, it's something that I can't get to before the boys get home from camp) and a trip to a kitchen cabinetry store to have a look at some decorative elements for some of my cabinetry.

Wow, still boring. If you're still reading, mea culpa. I'll try harder next time. But for now....

By the time I came home, I was out of energy. I made myself a salad. The Husband went out for supper with friends of ours from Connecticut - our skiing friends. I sent my regards. There was no way I was sitting through a meal slathered in cover-up makeup and wearing Nicole Richie's sunglasses. I went out to the back porch, took a trashy magazine with me, and enjoyed my salad - tuna, avocado, assorted greens, plum tomatoes, onions...not the sort of dinner that would be supportive of a yoga practice (onions are tamasic, and tuna is, well, flesh, and that is never a good thing for the yoga).

Five minutes after finishing my salad, lo and behold, my energy was back. The late afternoon sun was no longer blistering hot, and the garden beckoned. I took my pitchfork and my rake, and I set about searching for soil. It took me so long, it got dark before I finished. Ah, but when I was finished, it felt so right. I dug some holes to plant my mums and to tranplant my pumpkins and cukes, and the soil felt like....soil! Digging into it with my hands felt incredible (I was wearing gardening gloves) - soft, aromatic, deeply earthy. I had been wondering what the soil composition would be like - how much clay, how much sand. Turns out is very very high in clay. That sort of explains why the previous owners must have felt the urge to mulch the crap out o it. Mulch, when mixed into clay, will give help to "carbonate" it, literally. But the thing is, these people never mixed it in. They just dumped it on top, letting it fester for a year, and then dumped some more on, rinse, repeat. Honestly, it was fucking gross. And you know I don't curse much. So imagine how bad it was.

Still boring, I know. I don't think it's going to get better either, since I have no contact with anyone I know (the black-eyes have put me into hiding) and no yoga. Although...gardening is a VERY good substitute for yoga. It kind of IS yoga in the sense that while you're immersed in it, you become one with the thing you're doing, and your annoying, chattery mind goes into a twilight sleep.

Oh, wait, I forgot. I will be seeing one person I know. Hopefully. Seems that Mrs. Laksmi is on the East Coast, and will be making a pilgrimage to the fair city of New York. I believe that we will be meeting up on Tuesday. That will be SO totally cool. I was a bit disappointed to hear that she did not bring Kundalinquist Barbie with her so that we could do some voodoo together. Ah well. I will have to settle for yoga voodoo from afar.

On Monday, I see my doctor, and not a moment too soon. I am practically sitting on my hands trying to keep myself from calling him to ask him stupid questions that I already know the answer to, like can I rip this stupid splint off yet? And does he know that a lot of physical activity is actually GOOD for draining the blood that pools under the eyes? Seriously. After all that digging and raking and tilling and farmering, I came inside and was shocked to see that a lot of the bruising had disappeared. In fact, all of the bruising over my left eye was gone. The right eyelid is still purple. That's the side that had the blockage. Oh, and I want to tell him that everything I smell is tinged with the smell of my sutures and their matching Steri-Strips. It's like what i would imagine it would be like to have a Band-Aid stuck on the tip of your nose all the time....everything would smell like rubber and gauze. Not so good for eating. On the other hand, it has put me in touch with the texture aspect of food. Because things either have no taste at all, or taste like I've got a wad of gauze and rubber mixed in, I find myself noticing the texture and mouth-feel of foods. So, today, when I was craving chocolate, I chose Toblerone, because it has those little chewy bits of nougat in it. Even though the chocolate isn't so great, the nougat makes it interesting for my mouth.

Blah blah blah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's the thing I really signed on to say:

I LOVE IT HERE. At night, when all the lights are off, it is pitch black dark. The only lights being those from the moon and the stars. And it is SILENT. Sometimes I can hear the air conditioner, but other than that, totally silent. And I love it. I LOVE it. Living in the city was something that I started to want to do sometime during my first or second year of law school, when I was already living there for school (NYU Law). But up until that time, and I only began recalling this recently, I fantasized about being a country girl. Hair in braids, farmhouse decor, a little gingham when I want to be really cliched. So, this move I've made isn't really such a departure. It is really a return.

I may not feel as in love with it when school starts, and the reality of suburban life sets in (even though my house is in the country, we are zoned for a very fine school district in a neighboring hamlet that, while also technically the country - large properties, very few stores within a 15-minute radius - has, supposedly, a very typical suburban feel to it....we shall see....especially since I don't even know exactly what that means to be "typically suburban" or whatever). Lucky for me, I tend to fit into whatever context you throw me into. My kids too. So, it should be all good. It just might not be nearly as quiet and peaceful.

The husband still is very very homesick for the lovely concrete jungle we called home for so long. I miss nothing about it. Hopefully, he will allow himself to fall in love with this place. I really think it's about being set in his ways, more than anything else.

Shifting gears again, back to the gardening thing (just warning you!), I have a meeting scheduled next week with a "Responsible Gardener". I found him through the Town Hall, which encourages green and organic home and garden practices (as they should). He doesn't believe in pesticides (except in extreme circumstances, like a wasp nest under the eaves, as we recently had), he understands about the nitrogen to carbon ratio that soil must maintain, he knows how to prevent soil erosion, he is mystified by the obsession with lawns, and most importantly, he focuses on growing what grows best locally and given the soil conditions. I think he can even help me with my composting practices. It's not so easy the first time around. I think it gets easier when you see how the stuff you put in actually turns into compost. But for now, I'm sort of looking at the whole mess and feeling kind of punk'd.

I cannot believe it is past two a.m. And I'm going to be up with the sun again. I can't help it. My body just WANTS to be. So unlike the way it was in the city when my body just WANTED to be asleep.

Kids come home Friday. I'm worried they're going to hate not being at camp, which is like Kid Fantasyland.

That's all.

YC

Friday, August 03, 2007

Ass-Elbow Disease

When one cannot tell one's ass from one's elbow.

I have no idea why I have been thinking about this malady, but it has kept on popping up in my head over the course of the day. And now I pass it along to you, in the hopes that it now will leave me alone.

Today when I woke up, I went into the bathroom and looked in the mirror: Bleh, a little dirt on my face, right in the smile lines. Now how did that get there? Wait a sec, why isn't it coming off when I rub it? Hey, why is it still there after I splash my face with water.? Holy crap.
It's bruising. Right there in my "Marionette Lines"! NO!!!

It's bad enough to have the dreaded Marionette Lines (it's a dead giveaway of someone's age, unless they've had a facelift or some injectable thingy like Restalyne; whenever someone tells me how I look really young, I'm thinking: well, don't look at my smile lines then). It's insult to injury to have them indelibly inked with black and blue marks. It's as if my face were left out in the sun for too long, and now it's melting. Eventually, the black and blue drip should reach my toes, and then I guess I'll be alright.

But I wasn't leaving it to chance. Besides, I totally cannot breathe out of my nose. And from Friday's standpoint, it's a long way to Monday when I can see my doctor again. So back to the city I went, where I probably scared most of Madison Avenue, despite wearing sunglasses so large, Nicole Richie would be proud of them. Honestly, even my doctor looked a little taken aback. I am in the very small percentage of very very very bad bruisers. It's like, do I have to win every Suffering Sweepstake I enter? Jeez.

I got a prescription for some 'roids. I told the Husband to lock me out of the house if I start acting all ragey. Actually, I did not do that. I had to take steroids before, when I was on chemo - Decadron, to be exact - and the only effect it had on me was to make me feel so energized, I ended up circling Central Park three times (6.1 miles each time) on my Rollerblades. After that one time, it never had the effect on me again. But I don't feel like thinking back to those bald, fat, eyelashless days.

I also have the good doctor's phone number at his country house, which I will try really really hard not to use, even if I have to hide it from myself.

What I think I will do is wait for the heat and humidity to die down a bit and then transfer some Daffodils out and some Zinnias and Marigolds in. Daffodils are either done for the season or just don't thrive in the intense sunlight that is my back porch. I still have some Pumpkin and Cucumber plants to transfer from their birthplaces. I grew them from seeds in little planters. Now that they're all growed up, I have to move them to someplace they can stay for a while. Then I have some Chrysanthemums I want to plant. But I can't do it all in one day, unless I want to look like Violet Beauregard after the gum-chewing incident.

Man, it is hot over here.

YC

The Simple Life

Today, Lewis jumped the Invisible Fence, and I had to go down the street to fetch him back. As I was walking back up my driveway, I see a black BMW SUV slow down and then stop a few feet away. For some reason, this did not freak me out, whereas not long ago, I would have felt frightened by this, as if I were being stalked. Anyway, next thing you know, I hear my name. Turns out it's a friend who lives in the next town. He was driving home from Greenwich, where he had played in a charity golf tournament. So, I invited him in, and we had some Mike's Hard Lemonade and shot the breeze. Topics like lawn care, property taxes, length of commutation time to the city.


It was so very small-town that it was like the Yoga Chickie version of a Norman Rockwell painting.


I'm still awake now because my mouth tastes like pennies from bloody post nasal drip, and I'm growing weary of not being able to blow my nose, let alone breathe out of it. And South Park is on. I can't wait until Monday, when my super-awesome doctor (hello R - I expect to hear that you made it to practice in the morning!) removes my bandages or whatever the hell is keeping me from being able to utilize my sinuses as something other than a repository for blood and pain.


I was talking to a guy today who had qthe same surger (septoplasty) two years ago, and he told me that when his doctor removed the bandages, it was like this intense, never-experienced-before moment of being able to breathe unencumbered. Like having been blind and now seeing. Or having had a lot of wax in your ears and then getting it suctioned out. Gross, I know, but the sound of fingers on a keyboard suddenly feels ear-deafeningly loud. It's kind of surreal. And I can't wait to feel that sensation - of breathing clearly.


OK, back to South Park, and then maybe my eyes will close of their own will.


YC

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A sleeping turtle, brought to you by a reluctant spouse

I think I promised (threatened?) this photo a week or two ago. Well, here it is. I got myself into Kurmasana, then convinced a reluctant husband to not only put my hands together but also to get a camera. I then hooked my ankles, an voila, Homemade Supta K!

Today, there is no Supta K, however. Today, I look like the character on Grey's Anatomy who was so disfigured in a ferry accident that she was entirely unrecognizable (and amnesia didn't help), and eventually she got a whole new face and a love interest in cool, badboy, Dr. Alex Karev. My face is unrecognizable. My eyes are slits. And underneath the slits are huge slashes of black bruising, as if I were a football player who applied the black stuff under the eyes in the dark without a mirror.

I don't mind though. It will be worth the trouble. I can't wait to be able to breathe again so that I can try out Ujaii without an obstruction causing me to sound like I am "sniffing cocaine", rather than "inhaling the scent of flowers", as Mark said. Nice visual. Very effective, in my opinion, not that I know anything firsthand about sniffing cocaine. But I did see Scarface, so I can imagine.

It's gorgeous outside, and I fell asleep on the outdoor sofa for about two hours, waking up to the Maytag Repairman announcing his arrival. Yes, sometimes Maytag Repairmen get to go on service calls. Remember those television commercials with the lonely Maytag Repair Guy?

One of the nice things about this place in which I live is that everyone is sooooo nice. My theory is that in the city, people don't have to be nice because they know they may never have to deal with you again. But here, people are accountable because they're going to be dealing with the same people over and over again. I like a little accountability.

And speaking of accountability, please remind me to never ever ever hire an interior designer ever ever ever again. The one I have been working wih is NOT nice, proving the rule by being the exception. She is, in fact, the devil. The devil, I tell you. The devil draws floor plans. More on that another time when I am not so aggravated by it.

It could appear that I am a control freak, I realize, unsatisfied with anyone I hire to do anything around this house. And maybe it's a teensy weensy bit true. But more than that, I just can't stomach paying someone to do something that I can do myself and that I enjoy doing. Gardening, decorating, shopping. Why would I hire someone to do any of those things for me? Now, mowing the lawn, that's another story. I can promise that you won't see me mowing the lawn. Or fixing a washing machine.

Okay, the vicodin is starting to kick in. Have I mentioned that sinus surgery gives you a wicked bad headache?

YC

Air

I've been struggling with trying to keep my lavendar plants from perishing in the July heat. I've also been struggling with trying to figure out what it really means to ujaii breathe and how to inhale on the way up to standing from a backbend.when I can't seem to do so without opening up my mouth and literally gasping for air.

Then I was reading this highly pretentioud article in some highly pretentious home design mag, in which some....you guessed it....highly pretentious interior designer was talking about how he loves to host formal garden parties because the ladies wear their Manolos and walk around (unintentionally) poking holes in the lawn.

Tilling the soil via designer stilettos. Working the land, while working the room.

Finally, yesterday, in the garden, I was attempting to locate the soil beneathe what turned out to be layer upon layer of woodchips and sawdust that, through the application of rain and dew and sprinkler irrigation, had turned into, I don't know exactly how to describe it other than to call it the first step toward the creation of particle-board.

And that is when I knew what was killing my lavendar plants: suffocation. I looked around my property and suddenly saw signs of it everywhere....spruce with dead branches from the ground until six feet up, junipers whose lower branches were brittle and needle-less.

I got to work immediately, first poking holes with my brand new handy dandy pitch fork, then raking the mulch away, revealing the sawdustlayer, which I then had to break up with a shovel. As I worked, literally AS I worked, the lavendar rescusitated, as if it had been given mouth to mouth. I poked, shoveled and raked until the garden was alive again, and covered in soil, rather than smothered in dead stuff.

How could my gardener have not known this? How could I not have realized it for an entire month of living here?

Well, at least I now understand what it means to *work* in the garden. And what tilling the soil means. And that I will never let mu gardener near my garden with a bag of mulch again. Soon, I will be planting seeds for perennials that need to be sown in late summer. And when I do, there ought not to be any surprises when I take spade to earth.

Which, believe it or not, brings me to my....drumroll please....nose. Deviated septum revealed on a CT scan taken in response to some complainrs that I had, both appearance-related and breath. And like Jen Aniston and Cammy D before me, I went and got it fixed. Today. In the office of an esteemed doctor who happens to be an Ashtangi. Or perhaps it is the other way around - esteemed Ashtangi who happens to be a dcotor. All I know is that I have never talked so much about yoga with someone about to take a scalpel to my sinuses. And I have never felt so positively about a surgery before, and trust me when I tell you that this chickie knows of what she speaks. If I had.a Native American name, it would be Many Surgeries.

All of which means no yoga this week. Or next week, and quite possibly for two weeks after that. Saying goodbye to Mark was difficult for me. He seemed disappointed, saying that we had just gotten started and that now was when things would have gotten intense. But he did note that next time he saw me, the ujaii ought to be turbo powered or something.

In the meantime, I have my bag of vitamin v, and a nose that is dripping blood like, well, no
metaphors here. Suffice it to say, I am a bloody, bruised mess.

But if you don"t see me at the shala, it's not because I am slacking, I'm just getting some air...

Y

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.

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