Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The big V

And I'm not talking virginity here. (Although, come to think about it, it most certainly falls into this category.)

I'm talking about Vulnerability. That big V.

Remember the post I wrote last summer about wanting to work on vulnerability, among other things? About basically courting it? Embracing it? Asking for it?! Well, I was a jackass. Young and foolish. Brene Brown with all her, "“Vulnerability-is-the-birthplace-of innovation,-creativity-and-change”-mombojumbo?

She can have it.

Because guess what? I got what I was asking for. And I didn't like it one bit.

It was uncomfortable, and embarrassing. It made me wonder who the hell I was. It still pains me to think about it, actually.

This is a post I've been meaning to write since March. But I keep putting it off, and putting it off. I keep putting it off because it takes me back to that feeling, that place of palpable discomfort and serious dis-ease.

But to show that I can wear big girl panties as well as the next girl, I am going to let you in on it, and I'm even going to share photos. Photos that I didn't even know I had until after my return home from Bali.

Here's the scenario, I'm at my first yoga teacher training, far, far from home and my girls and my everyday life. It's lovely and challenging and new and blissful and tiring. Overall it's terrific, but I'm a total rookie and feelings of overwhelm wash over me each and every day from time to time. Most other attendees are already yoga teachers, some own their own studios, many have known and been practicing with Janet (our teacher) for many years. I'm also one of the older attendees in years, but not in experience, which can be tricky.

We're given an assignment on Friday: to create a 15-minute sequence that we'll teach to our small groups, in turn, on Sunday. This sequence must convey one of the Hindu goddesses that we've been reading about in one of our required texts. I love the book, it's fascinating, I identify with almost all of the feminine archetypes presented in one way or another. We all do. Amazing stuff.

But a 15 minute sequence, well how do I do that? How many poses is that? And which goddess, and if I pick her, which poses? And then teach this to the group? Will they understand which goddess I'm working with? Well, okay, it's not going to be easy for me, but I'm down with it.

We take a day-long field trip the next day, we snorkel and visit a gorgeous temple and enjoy the wonder that is Bali. Although an amazing day, the stupid 15-minute sequence was in the back of my mind the entire time.

So, Sunday morning arrives, it's another sunny, gorgeous day at Gajah Mina on the Balinese coast. We do our morning meditation and yoga (asana) practice and hit breakfast as usual; at the conclusion of the mid-morning lecture, as my mind is doing it's best to relax and not freak out about the fact that our sequence teaching is coming up after the lunch break, Janet lays this on us......Because we are discussing pratyahara--withdrawal of the senses--we will be teaching our sequences blindfolded. And not only blindfolded, but blindfolded without demonstrating what we are asking the group to do. So standing still blindfolded teaching a 15-minute sequence that conveys a Hindu goddess.

WTF???? I could NOT have heard that correctly! You want me to teach my group a goddess sequence, blind folded and not do the poses with them?! You get the I have never taught anyone yoga before? With sight? And that I constantly confuse my left and my right?

She concluded by saying if there is a problem with this to talk to her or one of her assistants.

Yeah, um, I might need to have a chat with someone. I roll up my mat slowly, put my water bottle in my bag, my notebook too. Puja, one of the two assistants, is solo by then, so I grab her and start to tell her about my worries about the upcoming group work. As I start to voice my concerns, I lose it. All the overwhelm, all the uncertainty, all the newness, all the emotion and release that came up Friday during a body work session meant to do just that, it all spilled out. Ran down my face. Burning hot tears.

The worst! It took me right back to childhood, when I would so easily burst into tears if I couldn't do something "right." The need to do good. My need to please. My constant desire to be worthy and accepted and liked and to not get it wrong.

Seriously, aren't I OVER this? Didn't I leave that behind in middle school, maybe high school?

Puja was helpful. She talked me through it. She told me she'd talk to Janet if I wanted her to.

What? No. No that would be even worse. I'll do it. I'll try it. I'll do my best. Who cares, right? It's just a measly 15-minute sequence taught to people who are completely supportive. Jesus what the fuck is wrong with me? My husband left me for another women when I had two small kids and only a part-time job and I'm losing it over THIS?

It took me a while to recover. I skipped lunch. I worked on calming down. I rested on my bed. I reigned it in. Slowly. My roommate left me alone. (Luckily she had a crying jag a few days before, so I felt less like a freak that I perhaps could have.) I decided to just let the group know how much I had struggled with this and to do my best. I decided to let it gooooooooooooo.

Now comes the funny part. Are you ready?

We show up at the decided on spot, poolside, and the spontaneous group consensus (myself not included) is that we should do this in the pool. In the pool? Add another layer to this assignment? Oh, and some of us were late (again, not me, 'cause you know how I aim to please!), so there was no time to change into swim suits, so let's get in what we have on, or strip down to what you're willing to get wet.

I'd worn a T-shirt over one of my least attractive jog-bra type thingymabobs. In fact, I'd picked it up in the girl's section in Target for $9. Not something I'd even wear out in public. Except for now. Except when teaching a 15-minute goddess sequence blindfolded in water.

Yeah, as you can see, I gave up on trying to NOT demonstrate the poses.
Can you guess which Goddess?

Love this shot, Else (on the far left) decided she wanted to both do and teach all of the sequences blindfolded. The fact that she is still on her knees with her hands down gives you some idea of how precise my verbal queues were!

I don't always teach a goddess sequence blindfolded while in a pool, but when I do...
I wear my least attractive bra

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why Should She Stop Dancing?

It was a beautiful, perfect summer night . . .

. . . the decor was beautiful . . .

. . . the live band was rockin' . . .

. . . and the Magical Tree was, well, magical . . . 

. . . and the star of the show was adorable.

But most importantly of all . . .

. . . friends who have been friends for a really long time -- and their kids -- got to be friends together.

Kelly, who I see way too infrequently for someone I adore so thoroughly, asked me for one favor. "Can I be in your blog sometime?"

Yes, Kelly. Yes you can.

And then, because she's Kelly, during the photo shoot . . .

. . . she never stopped dancing.

She can't stop dancing.

Why should she stop dancing?

She's Kelly.

Monday, July 28, 2014

random monday moments

Hello darlings. As I write, my darling baby girl is mere hours from her return to the warm cockles of my motherly heart. I've missed that little booger snot! She's had the trip of a lifetime, made memories that will stay with her forever. I can't wait to hear her stories and see her face and squeeze the everliving poo right out of her. Sigh.

In the meantime, let me show you some random photos from my phone's camera, k? K. Here we go, in no particular order. Well, chronological order if you want to be fussy. Except there's a rogue entry at the end.

Summer music has begun! This was Jurassic 5 during our first seasonal outing to the Del Mar races. We arrived at what I though was race 5, so I picked my horsey and placed my bed, realizing only later that it was race 7. I won $20!

My boy and I are on a ramen kick. Yuuuuummmmmm.

We've also been on quite a few Home Depot trips.  I love/hate it there.

Look what I have created! Progress on the playloom. I love having time off to work on home projects.

Next victim!

Guess how much rock-ish stuff is coming to my house on Tuesday? Guess!

This short summer break hasn't been all work, though. Bill and I had a beach date!

Earlier that same day, the seagulls were completely cookoo-nuts. Oh dear, look what I've gone and done to the chronological order.

On another night, my boy and I were invited to partake in a korean bbq celebration

Seemed appropriate, since I'm practically korean myself.

We koreans know how to eat, I tell you what. I see that it looks mildly disgusting in this photo, but please believe me when I tell you that it is not.

I also had a lovely dinner date with my girl Beth, who sat there all innocent and pretty while I was eaten alive by alien predators. LITERALLY.

In conclusion. Guess where we're headed this week? Guess!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fiction Friday: Feather signs

When she arrived at work, sitting atop her desk in the very center in front of the well-worn keyboard was a delicate feather. A dark grey, it was a tiny wisp of a thing. Delicate and perfect. Actually, there were a few wisps missing at the bottom, but perfect nonetheless.

Where had it come from? What did it mean? Did it, in fact, mean anything?

She pondered this while making her morning tea, the Tazo Cocoa mint maté that she could only find, of all places, at Target.

She even Googled "feathers" and learned, of all things, that they are made up of keratin. She also learned that it wasn't "wisps" that were missing from the bottom of the feather, but instead "barbs" that had pulled away from the "rachi," the central core, the same as in palms.

Not really the information she was seeking; she wanted to know the symbolic meaning, what did finding a feather on her path mean for her? She tried again.

This search was more successful. Commonly feathers are thought to be symbols of higher thought and spiritual expression, also light hardheartedness, enlightenment, progress, truth, and heightened awareness. One site even said that finding a feather in your path could be a sign from a loved one or the Universe/Spirit, a reminder that you are supported and guided. It went on to say that whenever you observe a sign, such as a feather in your path, you should take note of what you were thinking just before it happened.

Shit, she couldn't remember. What was she thinking about? Her common irritation about the fact that the office mini-fridge froze almost everything placed in it? The hair appointment that was scheduled for 5 pm? She was pretty sure she had moved on from her disappointment that her jeans were tighter than they should be at this point in her cycle....

As she twirled the tiny feather in her fingers, so pleased with it's unexpected and seemingly auspicious arrival, it hit her; she had an awful idea, only it wasn't a wonderful, awful idea, like the in The Grinch, it was only awful, as in disappointing.

She realized with complete certainty that it didn't matter what she had been thinking about before spying the wee feather on her desk. It didn't matter one tiny bit. It didn't matter because this feather was nothing but a remnant from the feather duster that the cleaning people had hurriedly waved across her desk the night before. A careless leftover from the most mundane of jobs.

Although disappointing, she had to laugh. So she did so, loudly and with gusto.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


I adore this kid.

I mean, seriously.

She rocks the block.

Add to her visit an unexpected visit with friends from The Road -- friends we met in the Florida Keys back in The Day, who, they claim, we haven't seen in ten years . . .

. . . ten years!

. . . mix it up altogether with a boatyard in Mystic . . .

. . . and a cool Dad . . .

. . . (a wicked cool dad) . . .

. . . and a trendy -- a worthily trendy -- new place on the water across the Big Bad Bridge . . .

. . . complete with boat slips . . .

. . . and, you know, a boat . . .

. . . and well, we've got ourselves the beginning of a Time here in southeastern Connecticut . . .

. . . a Fabulous Time.

And that was only Day One.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

sweet ride

On Tuesday morning, my 15 year old man-child was up and ready to leave the house at 8:20am. This unprecedented arising sliced a good 3-4 hours from his normal summertime beauty sleep regimen, and although it wasn't easy to accomplish, I only had to re-awaken him once. We were off on an adventure! When I had mentioned the idea to him last week, his enthusiasm was immediate and infectious, so I booked it. It was not cheap, but I reminded myself that certain other offspring of mine were enjoying the fruits of ungodly expensive airfare and camps this summer while this boy was sleeping, yes, but also volunteering at a pet care business and doing odd jobs around the house and neighborhood.  So I booked it. We drove about an hour to find our designated meeting spot, then we geared up

and met our sweet rides

The brown one is Tanner, he was my ride. My boy rode the lovely Luna in the background
When our guide said that Tanner had arthritic knees and liked to stop for snacks, I knew we were a match made in heaven.Neither of us had any real experience atop a horse, but our rides were sweet and gentle and forgiving. We set off on the trail through the beautiful Santa Margarita Preserve. It was beautiful and hot and dry, and as we meandered along we got the hang of it, steering gently around obstacles and pausing wherever green things shot up for restorative snacks.

I don't have many photos from the ride, because I was afraid of: a) dropping the camera. b) falling off of the horse, and/or c) whacking my face on low lying branches if I didn't steer around them.

I did get one good action shot, though, in a place where the terrain wasn't quite so dry

Our guide Susie rode Cisco, a big tough looking horse who was equally terrified of stray hikers and microscopic lizards

The river was absolutely spectacular. It felt so good to splash through and cool off. The horses slurped up drinkie poos and munched on greens. Epic happy place.

After a while we stopped to give the horses a rest and have some luncheon in a shady spot by the river. But first

geek alert. (vodka arms)

I loved my view

Step away from the snacks, Tanner

The ride back was exciting, because some boneheaded delinquents set off firecrackers and sparked a wildfire right along the trail! We saw the plume of smoke then people hightailing it out of the area that our guide said was a swimming hole frequented by hikers (rookies). She was calm and focused, led her skittish horse by hand for a minute while we followed close behind until we were safely past the fire and the access road that was soon swarming with emergency responders. My heart was pounding right out of my chest, and my eyes stayed locked on my boy in front of me. Neither of us had a prayer if those horsies took flight, but Susie was right that we were a safe enough distance from danger and it would have been much worse to walk them 2 miles along the highway to get back to her trailer. Whew.

We were sad to get back to the trailhead almost 4 hours after our 90 minute guided ride began. We said our goodbyes and promised to return, and I really hope that we do. It was a sweet day. We had a sweet ride.

ps: screw you, July stupid 23rd.