Thursday, December 23, 2010

Outsider Yogini - Busted by the Bottle

On a recent delicious day off, I had the whole day ahead of me and could do whatever I wanted.

I practice yoga mainly for the inner benefits. But going to an advanced class can make me feel outwardly insecure.

For one, my prototypical yoga ensemb doesn't include cute Lululemon togs.

And I'm not BUILT like an advanced yoga class yogini.
Typical yoga gun versus my hamhock gun
I rushed to the studio. But once I arrived, I saw lots of yoga instructors in class. I felt a bit self-conscious in my yoga outfit (let's be honest: pajamas).

As promised, the class was tough. As the room began to heat up, the familiar smells began to blossom throughout the room. But I was hanging with the advanced crew.

When we had to pair up for handstands, the woman next to me didn't want to partner. I felt like the last one picked for dodgeball. Or not picked.
"I'm not in the right state of mind to support someone else"
So, the teacher and I paired up for handstands.

When she first saw me in class she narrowed her eyes and repeated it was an advanced class. I earned slight street cred working with her; even though I was wearing pajamas and had non-lithe yoga but more hamhock guns, I still could do a strong handstand.

And I made it through 10 of the 13 backbends. I was feeling pretty good. 

When I returned from a bathroom break, the scent of the room hit me again.  I did a smell check around my mat to ensure that my failure to shower wasn't apparent.

Yoga is an opportunity to learn more about yourself. 

I learned that my late night grilled cheese the night before wasn't really a secret anymore.

But I made a good showing at the two-hour advanced class and maintained my low profile status with some dignity. I said goodbye to the teacher before I left. 

Then I remembered, the water bottle I'd just bought.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Living with the Risk of Earthquakes

Living in California, the fear of earthquakes are never too far. Specifically, the Next Big One.

Here's where I think about it:

The Transbay Tube
Every time you BART between San Francisco and the East Bay, you travel through 3.6 miles of underwater tunnel on the bottom of the bay. 

I find that three-point-six miles is enough time to halt any commute distractions I've got going for some worst case scenarios. In fact, I don't recommend Googling 'transbay tunnel' and 'earthquake' as I just did.

The Waldo Tunnel
Right after the the Golden Gate bridge, you travel through this tunnel in Marin County. It's beautiful scenery. The eucalyptus smells glorious. I sometimes hear angels, as I feel so grateful to live here. 
Either the happiest tunnel in the world or the gayest. Unclear. 
This cheerful tunnel amidst gorgeous countryside also triggers terrifying earthquake scenarios.

So as to not live in denial, I have water and canned goods set aside. 

I also have a dog. 
After I got him, it occurred to me he could be my early detection system, since animals have extrasensory perception about natural disasters.

Then I talked to someone who experienced the '89 earthquake, with his dog. 

After seeing a picture of earthquake damage in my 3rd grade social studies book, earthquakes joined UFOs as one of the main terrors I imagined before falling asleep at night.

As a little girl, I couldn't understand people so cavalier to live in California, where they were risking their lives (and their glorious swimming pools), living near a fault. 

As an adult, I've come to realize you weigh the benefits and the risks. 

There's so much about Northern California, the Bay Area, San Francisco and Oakland that reward me everyday. For me, it's not worth it to play it safe. 

(And just so I'm not tempting fate, a little shouty for St. Emydius, who I just learned protects against earthquakes). 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I took Project Runway a little hard this year

I think I got too invested in Project Runway this year.

When the winner was announced, I couldn't let it go.

I found myself reading about the final episode after I'd already watched it. Not just one article.  

(If you don't have a TV or didn't watch Project Runway, the finale came down to two contestants - Mondo and Gretchen, and Gretchen won. )

Mondo's clothes were always bright and full of patterns -- self-assured and happy. 

Gretchen's clothes were current, but they were also a little dreary and a lot brown. They looked like they were too cool to engage.

I had a synthetic brown dress with a similar print in high school. If she is trotting out what I bought at Nordstrom in the 80s, not impressed.
Okay, so the judges made a subjective decision. That's fine. It's a TV show. Moving on. 
Or not...

Realizing I was still upset about the fact that Mondo lost, I had to uncover why this had such a lasting effect.

* * *
Mondo proved his badassness in a few ways over the season...

He befriended the guy everyone else picked on.

He was so unabashed in his self-expression. Everyone else could sort of suck it.

This outfit was an homage to The Cotton Club. It freaked me out at first, then I respected the badassness to pull this off. 

He revealed the secret he'd kept for 10 years, that he was HIV +...

He designed this pattern to represent his history, and his HIV + status

* * *
It occurred to me that the qualities that Mondo exhibited are ways that I aspire to be more badass -- not falling prey to the crowd mentality, and expressing oneself authentically, even if it's risky.

Those qualities seem prizeworthy. But he didn't win.

I take solace in the fact that my extensive research found lots of other vehement Mondo fans. So maybe his prize is fierce fan loyalty and knowing that he's inspiring others.

But let's get back to the numbers (and a bit of cattiness):
Monda Guerra Facebook fans: 5,700
Gretchen Jones Facebook fans: 12

Monday, October 25, 2010

Grilled Cheese Shame Spiral

It's fall and time for comfort foods that follow the rhythm of the season.
Apple crisp, sweet potatoes, hearty soups.

Or not.
My hankering is for grilled cheese. Not whole wheat bread with Tillamook.
I want to embrace fall with highly processed food. American cheese.

My grocery store's cheese selection was clearly too high-minded and healthy for this craving.*
*Please know I am not exaggerating about the cheese selection. I haven't had to investigate alternative cheeses for several years. 
Production has obviously been stepped up.

Time to get down and dirty. I know who can sell me what I need.
The liquor store. 

I have to ask for it with other refrigerated food behind the counter.

shame spiral rating is at 5, because I'm grocery shopping at liquor store

He tells me the cheese has an expiration date of two weeks ago.

shame spiral rating is at 6, because this is why I shouldn't be grocery shopping at liquor store
He'll give me the cheese, if I want it. I didn't even feign indecision for the people in line behind me.I feel giddy that I will get this American cheese for free.  Don't hate.**

shame spiral rating = 8. I am not only going to eat this expired cheese but I feel like I just won the American cheese lottery
**I am not super squeamish. But this isn't even real food. I'm pretty sure that the expiration date is just for show. 

How was it? Effing delicious.

I ate three grilled cheese sandwiches that day and finished the pack soon thereafter. (Did you realize you don't even have to dirty a knife? It's all sliced for you).

And I don't think there were any ill effects.

Except that it took me two weeks to think of my next drawing post (and it's about grilled cheese).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Changing the Filter

When I walked to the park the other day, here's what caught my attention in this scene, in order of appearance:

After sitting there for awhile, it occurred to me that I didn't even look at or acknowledge her baby. 
Without thinking, I applied filters to the scene, like this:

* * * 

I love family, I love the idea of marriage and children. 
I'm single, in my 40s and I don't have children. 
Not having those in my life, I can see now that I've learned to apply filters. Too painful otherwise.
These filters are like lenses. 
I think back 10 years ago, when I was more interested in detachment and self-protection.

One thing I love about getting older is caring less about being cool. But as I consciously become more open and less cool, I notice some losses from trying to be cool.  An easy one? When I was younger I wouldn't do the electric slide at weddings -- too lame. Now I'm taking a hip-hop dance class that I adore. But I'm the only one who still doesn't know how to do the cool-down. 
It's the electric slide. 

* * *

The same day I noticed the baby blocker filters at the park, I made an effort to not avoid baby and family scenes. I watched a dad teasing his baby adoringly. My heart tugged.

But I was okay. Next I waited in line behind a father holding his child, being ever so tender.

While he was sweetly attentive to his baby, I made sure I didn't apply the jaded detached filter of cool. But my eyes watered. When I got to my car, I sat and cried. 

But I was still okay.
Even though I felt sad, it was a genuine, direct sadness based on the heart of the matter (possibly still wanting to mother). I was being a better listener to myself. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Filling Up

Lately, the old distractions aren't working.
Last week, I tried to watch TV.
But its sedative effects weren't hooking me.

I tucked myself in early.

Out of habit, I connect to the stream of updates - Facebook, NYT, etc.
But the updates leave me empty.

Finger is so used to clicking

What do I do now? Answer: Just lie here, without thinking or entertainment.

Phantom clicking in my finger

After a bit, I sink into it.
Forgot how I love the feeling of 'listening' to breath in my belly.
So comforting. Everything is softer.

It felt like this supersonic power source.
As much as I could breathe in. Like a huge tube into my belly.
Has it always been there and I just click over it?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why I'm Not a Farmer's Market Person

I went to the farmer's market yesterday. I left stressed and annoyed.
Here's why.

1. Overhyped Coffee

The line for Blue Bottle coffee (they make one cup at a time) was ridiculously long.

I waited for farmer's market coffee once and nearly had a stroke, micromanaging the barista's time with my evil eye, waiting for 2+ minutes for my single cup. AND I couldn't taste a difference. 

2.  It's really expensive.

I ended up buying potatoes but I was sort of mad at myself. Like I'd become a sellout.

My grocery store has a beautiful selection of locally sourced organic produce. So why was I not shopping there instead?

3. Not designed for shopping.
No baskets, no counter space, no personal space. People were getting slightly aggro at the checkout.

4. Final reason