Friday, October 24, 2014

Notions

Caught My Eye
Always have this notion that I will exercise more when I'm on vacation. Gosh (I've been waiting to write that), I'm not sure how the Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss contestants exercise for four and five hours a day.

When I went for the Notable Burials tour, I also did yoga and went climbing (only four routes). I was knackered (thanks Charley Boorman, The Long Way Down) at the end of the day but I guess it's okay to be knackered on vacation when you still have time to recover. I did realize that I never found time to drink coffee and I'm pretty sure that was a contributing factor to my knackeredness.

I've been catching up on reading. I have about five items that can no longer be renewed at the library. One of those items is the April 2014 issue of O: The Oprah Magazine. Loved the 20 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Herself segment.

Question 10:  Am I Helpful? by Gloria Steinem
Big problems often have small solutions...The art of being helpful is behaving as if everything we do matters -- because we never know which things might.
Question 11: What Am I Afraid Of? by Michelle Wildgen
 ...and what calms me now in the face of my most profound fears is not reassurance that nothing bad will happen, but that some of it has, and here we still are. You do not self-destruct when your fears come to pass.
Question 14: Am I Strong Enough? by Brenda Shaughnessy
 But it doesn't take strength to love your child. It's the other way around: Love gives you resilience.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Walking Tour

Kept seeing billboards for Bellefontaine Cemetery that said The Other Forest Park. Really?

I got curious enough to look on their website and saw that they had Notable Burials and Civil War tours.

Thought Gloria might be interested and invited her along. Interesting tour with a good guide. Three notables stuck with me: Mother Baltimore, Eliza Haycraft and Sara Teasdale.

Today is the first time that I've heard the expression soiled dove (Haycraft) and I'd never heard of Mother Baltimore who bought her freedom for $1,000 dollars. Found it touching that people leave items on Sara Teasdale's grave.

The tour was two hours long and about three miles -- maybe.

Cemetery and Arboretum
Retro Walking Tour Guide*


Perpetual Mourner Statue
This perpetual mourner statute was chosen for a wife who died during childbirth. The child also died and the husband chose the statue to show the depth of his sorrow. It's captivating for sure.

The guide joked that apparently you can take "it" all with you. There were some serious mausoleums and monuments. One section of mausoleums looked like a subdivision.


*The retro walking guide made me think about an episode of Undercover Boss. The undercover university president had a really hard time walking backwards but our guide was a pro.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Super Peaceful


Where I Practiced Today
I'm on vacation. At home.

Thought about what I normally do when I'm on vacation and I actually do a lot of the things that I do when I'm at home.

It was a stunning fall day but I do miss the Pacific Ocean and The Gulf of Mexico. You never miss your water until...

Knew that I wanted to mark the start of vacation by getting on my mat. It didn't matter that I was on my mat for two hours yesterday.

My regular gym only had evening classes and the studio that I have a class card with didn't have a class that appealed to me so I went to a studio offering donation-based community class.

Made it in the door about three minutes before the class was supposed to start and realized that no one else would probably show up.

Do I cheer at the prospect of a private yoga class or groan because I have one-on-one time with someone that I've never met before?

I also wonder if the teacher would have gone home if I had not shown up and, therefore, is she "groaning" too?

The instructor asked me what kind of yoga class I like. I told her a slow flow and she said that she also likes a slow, meditative practice and that's what we did for the most part. My neck was also feeling jammed up so we worked on neck and shoulders.

It ended up being a super peaceful hour of practice...

When I walked out of restorative yoga yesterday, I left hoping that others will get the chance to take a restorative class.

As soon as it was time for practice to start, Max said that we were going to reflect, renew and rejuvenate. And we did. I really enjoy savasana but savasana with a bolster under my legs, a blanket under my head and a miniature pillow over my eye is divine.




Saturday, October 18, 2014

If You Want To Bicycle

Alison emailed me and wanted to know if it was biking weather.

It is if you want to bicycle, I replied back.

It's been two Saturdays since I've been on my bike and I was happy to head to the Riverfront Trail. Didn't expect the wind though. Alison wondered if that first hill that we struggled to get up was going to be the litmus test for the rest of the ride. We felt like we were going all of two miles per hour and, usually, the wind is worse on the way back but, luckily, not today.

As I got ready to hoist my bike on the rack, this woman was stretching like she hadn't stretched in years. I told her that she was making me feel guilty. I went for a much longer ride than I had anticipated and then I got lost, she said. I knew that the stretcher had gone over into Illinois because my colleague also wandered over one day and the area beyond the Chain of Rocks Bridge is not well marked.

All of a sudden, the stretcher started doing push-ups. Don't think that I've ever done push-ups as a part of a stretching routine but to each her own...

Limestone Taken from Mississippi River (Near Pump House)


Pack of Turkeys
Gorgeous Clouds

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Water Never Gets Any Warmer

Got to the pool and spotted Chatty Kathleen's husband which meant Chatty Kathleen was nearby.

Paid the entrance fee and greeted one of the coaches of the youth swim team. I'm so proud of you, she said.

The coach is one of those folks who has a warm, cheerful disposition. I wondered why she was proud of me. Because I show up? Maybe she's used to saying that to the kids. Either way, I'll take it.

As I put my paraphernalia on the bench, this guy told me that I could have the lane. I'm only going to swim for 45 minutes and I haven't been swimming in a while, he said.

Kathleen had already claimed her lane. Seriously, it might as well have her name on it. Knew that I was in trouble when Kathleen said the water was a bit cold. She loves cold water. Eased my way into the water then stood there for about 15 minutes. Don't know why I take this approach because the water never gets any warmer.

Despite the water temp, felt fresh and energetic once I got going.

One of the lifeguards got into the water and I asked if he was doing sprints. His response? I'm just trying to stay warm.

Despite a workout interrupted by chattiness, I felt better about the world after my swim.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Blankets, Bolsters and Blocks

A fundamental yoga class that I once went to was classified as Level 0 and Alison, the teacher at the time, said that she was going to talk to the office folks because it shouldn't be zero -- it had to be something.

Thought about that today because I felt like I had zero energy.

In Gloria's class, I kept thinking about what a lazy yogi I am but that's not totally true either because I've done Lazy Man's Yoga a.k.a. Thai Massage and probably haven't done it again because it did make me feel royally lazy.

As I hit play on Kenpo X, didn't think that I would get through five minutes let alone the entire workout but maybe it's the energy of a rainy day.

During my walk yesterday, listened to Krista Tippett's interview with Imani Perry who made a lot of great points:
I think Americans are unhealthily obsessed with the idea of innocence. That's part of the impediment of talking about race.
Perry went on to talk about how that unhealthiness translates into some people always being the suspect. Towards the end of the podcast, Tippett asks Perry to talk about an image of a seedling with a splint holding it up that she used for, I believe, her book.

Perry talks about how we all need someone to hold us up. She also talks about the intense competition in our culture and how that causes anxiety. According to Perry:
The other side of anxiety is that it isolates us from our sense of responsibility to each other.
In addition to Gloria's class, I went to a restorative yoga class. As I looked around the room, it reminded me of a slumber party with all of the blankets, bolsters and blocks.

Although there's very little movement that goes on in a restorative class, I don't feel lazy and it's, mainly, because of something that another instructor, Madonna, said: Resting is not idleness.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Carpe Diem Deferred

Had my eye on an overseas fall yoga retreat but decided not to go. Felt like I received many signs including one from an acquaintance who said his 98-year-old friend was traveling to Ireland. In light of the cost, an overseas retreat would have definitely been a carpe diem move but maybe this particular retreat wasn't meant to be.

As Neal Pollack tweeted each time the Dodgers lost to the Cardinals, I haz a sad.

One of my aunts, who has a severe case of peripheral artery disease, is not doing well and, in the end, I wouldn't have felt right cavorting in Europe. Although my cousin Chiquita is in charge and capable, I know that she needs support...

In general, my timing has just been really off this year. Found out that The Moth had been in town a few days after the fact. Don't know if I would have dropped $50 dollars for the ticket though.

My interest in books of late has definitely been podcast-inspired. Just finished Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots and The Guinea Pig DiariesMy Life as an Experiment.

Deborah Feldman's Unorthodox was worth the read but very serious so it was nice to follow up her book with A.J. Jacobs' fun book. My fave chapters were My Outsourced Life and I Think You're Fat which is about radical honesty.

Once again, I feel the thrill of inappropriate candor. And I feel something else, too. The paradoxical joy of being free from choice. I had no choice but to tell the truth. I didn't have to rack my brain figuring out how to hedge it, spin it, massage it. (48)

Jacobs realizes that his relationships are able to handle more honesty than he thought they could.

In the chapter What Would George Washington Do?, I like what Jacobs says about passive-aggressiveness:

But the Rules encourage passive aggression. And I have to say, passive aggression gets a bad rap nowadays. It may not be appropriate in all occasions, but it's a lot better than aggression aggression. (135)