Friday, October 30, 2009

Celtic New Year Wonderfulness

In order to acknowledge (celebrate is too strong of a word for me) the end of the lightest days of the year and the start of the darkest days, I have a full schedule planned:

Halloween Eve - a visit to The Great Godfrey Maze (if you arrive after sunset, it morphs into a "haunted" maze booooooooooooooooooo!) and then off to my aunt's costume party (I'm attending for the booze...and the drunken hoosier antics...and, possibly, the fist fights);

Halloween Day - perhaps, the dog parade in The Central West End (assuming I can get my booty up in time) and then Fright Fest in the evening (I don't care what you guys might think, amusement parks are significantly more fun than some lamo costume party, I mean, that is unless my relatives are present);

Nov. 1 - To kick off the start of the darkest period of the year, The Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion's A Death in the Family: Death & Mourning Practices in the Nineteenth Century where a person can "learn about everything morbidly Victorian"




A blessed Samhain to you :) OM shanti.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"this man offends us — stop him."

Italian Women Assail Berlusconi For Sexist Remarks
by Sylvia Poggioli

An excerpt from the above story:
Here is a sampling of Berlusconi quips: Women are "God's most beautiful gift to men." In order to prevent rape, "we would need as many soldiers as there are beautiful Italian women."


Yeah, he is that disgusting.  I'm glad to learn that Italian citizens are finally paying attention and protesting his behavior publicly.

St. Louis Halloween Events

Thank you RFT for this (mostly) comprehensive listing--

St. Louis Halloween Events

In addition, South Grand is having a poetry, spoken word, music, and dance celebration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in front of Mokabe's (at 3606 Arsenal). All of that will culminate, around 5:00 p.m., in a Day of The Dead style parade which will travel along South Grand. Also, a number of the businesses on South Grand will have celebrations Halloween evening :)

Victory!

It is amazing what you can accomplish when you actually ovary up and confront a situation directly!

*happy sigh of relief*

To think, all of that worrying for nothing!

Om shanti.

The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate

The Collider, the Particle and a Theory About Fate
By DENNIS OVERBYE


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weather today: Cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle (again)

7:35 a.m. - I awake to the buzzing of my alarm clock, note a complete lack of sunlight streaming through my bedroom window, then dismissively hit snooze;
7:45 a.m. - I tenuously awake, squint open a hopeful eye, see nothing but continued dreariness outside my window, and hit snooze again;
8:00 a.m. - Awake, no light. Grey. Grey. Grey. The sound of rain drifting forever against my bedroom window;
8:05 a.m. - With superhuman effort, weighty reservations, and half-baked excuses for not going into work drifting through my mind, I drag my rain-weary bones out from under my toasty warm, blankety cocoon and into the chilly, grey day awaiting me. Smirking at me.

This ongoing lack of sunlight is really sucking the life out of my ovaries, people. I miss the light, certainly, but I also ache for physical exercise, fresh air, and some valuable outdoor time. I haven’t enjoyed any cardio since I last went bike riding with my little sister nine days ago. It seems that, for the past month, six out of every seven days are inhospitable for human outdoor activity.

The situation has gotten so abysmal that I am skipping my beloved yoga class tomorrow in favor of utilizing for outdoor pleasures that indecently short window of time b/t getting off work and the sun setting on yet another day. I’ve heard rumors from those notoriously unreliable weather forecasters that the sun might show itself tomorrow afternoon. It had better. Otherwise, I’m starting a fucking fist fight with that flaming ball of gas, I swear to the Goddesses, I will!

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Can I hold you?" the child asked most dearly

I spent this evening with some old friends of mine (a small family whose members will be referred to hereinafter as "Momma" "Daddy" and "Baby," which is how they refer to each other respectively). Momma had made us all supper--her signature dish of rotini pasta, broccoli, tofu, onions, garlic and fresh Parmesan cheese to top. I thoroughly enjoyed three delectable and generous servings. Baby (who recently celebrated her second birthday and is a spot on Shirley Temple lookalike, complete with the huge blue eyes, bouncy blond ringlets, and an easy smile) could not possibly get enough cheese to grace the top of her pasta dish, a trait which readily endeared her to me.

After dinner, the family carved a pumpkin together (and by "the family," I mean the ever industrious Daddy). While Daddy was doing most of the work, Baby was cheerfully buzzing around the dinner table tickling everyone's back and doing "eye exams." At one point, she asked Momma to become the Tickle Monster (TM). Brave child that she is, she even clambered up on the TM's lap for a more effective scare. I admired Momma's technique which consisted of a lightly snoring TM, awakened by Baby's cries of delight. It was such an adorable scene that I could not help but giggle uncontrollably myself, which led to the TM unsuccessfully trying to repress a grin while preparing her TM slumber, in anticipation of an upcoming repeat tickle attack.

Once the superbly carved pumpkin had been lit and placed in its new home on the front door step, we moved into the living room for some playdough time. We made a family of pink, green, and blue teddy bears, a bowl of green p'sgetti soup and a purple turtle, among other flights of fancy. On occasion, Baby would repeat her mantra of "Can I hold you?,” followed by a quick hug around the waist. Sometimes she would sincerely offer up a playdough creation relaying that said animal also wanted to "hold you." What a dear, dear child she is!

Although I am not invested in the idea of having children of my own or a traditional family such as theirs, I could not help but thoroughly take pleasure in my time with them. They are plainly the most devoted of families: ever with laughter on their lips and a joke in the ready. I'm so very happy for Momma and Daddy. They deserve their exquisite nuclear family and I always find gratifying the opportunity to bask in the affectionate atmosphere that envelops them. There is really nothing like it on earth, the tenderness of a young family.

Om shanti <3

Update on Mi Mommason

To those of you who have been privately inquiring as to the status of my mother’s recent health issues, please note that she has successfully had her hand operated upon and is currently enjoying (as much as she may downplay it) her super strong pain medications.

With relation to the surgery particulars, mom was lucky enough to get the first appointment of the day (which is reputed to be propitious, as the surgeons are supposed to be the most fresh and focused at the beginning of their days) and, also, Mom was fortunate to have Washington University Physicians heading her surgical team (personally, I think they are some of the best in St. Louis).

It seems that the fractures were much more challenging to repair than what was first anticipated. She had something like six bone fragments that had to be mended together with various hardware in just one of her two injured fingers. Dad reported that the surgery took over four hours (Mom was fully anesticized during this time) and that at least four physicians and four physician’s assistants/nurses were involved. Thus far, the follow-ups have been good, but we won’t know for sure if her hand is going to be fully functional until Mom's two month follow-up (if I am remembering correctly). So, fingers crossed (when will the hand puns get old?? I just don’t know ;)

With relation to the pain medications prescribed, I’ve never seen my mom more relaxed and easy-going. When I was over last week, she was in full sweats, hair a mess, and eating chocolate pudding with obvious relish (which is no small feat, considering that her cast leaves her right hand and fingers pretty much immobile). If the kids tried to give her any trouble, mom would just laugh it off and good naturedly tease them in return. I also noted that she had taken control of the television (something she usually abhors) and was repeatedly watching her favorite scenes from You’ve Got Mail (which we also kidded her about to no end).

It was kinda nice to see my mom all drugged up. This may sound strange to some, but you have to understand the depths of my mother’s propensity toward being a frenzied control freak. Also, she never drinks or does any sort of drugs, so it is thoroughly comical and uniquely unusual to see her so contentedly playful and unperturbed. I’m likin’ my new smashed momma! ;)

Om shanti.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Good Birding

As planned, Christina, Andy, and I traveled out to southwest St. Louis County this morning for the Audubon Society's storage facility sale.  On the drive down, Christina spotted a red-tailed hawk landing on the side of the highway (possibly attempting to catch some prey?), which was quite a thrill for me, since I do not get the opportunity to see raptors very often.

After spending some time looking through the beautiful old bird books and photographs on sale, I wandered out of the storage facility for a smoke.  As I was admiring the colorful fall foliage on the neighboring hillsides, I noticed another red-tailed hawk soaring through the air above me.  After he passed over to the other side of the hilltop, two additional red-tails appeared in the sky.  I watched all three of them glide about for quite some time, joyfully entranced.  Although I didn't end up purchasing any books, the trip was well worth it for the Red-tails alone.


 Red-tailed Hawk

Next on the itinerary was a trip to the Treehouse Wildlife Center in Alton, Illinois where a good deal of interesting birds of prey were being rehabilitated including a screeching Barn Owl, a silent Screech Owl (such a cute little guy!), a couple of Peregrine Falcons, some Bald Eagles, two Barred Owls, and a few Turkey Vultures, among many others.  They even had a bobcat, a coyote, and a couple of foxes on display.


 Barn Owl

Afterward, we stopped by a yummy Mexican place in Lafeyette Square for something to eat before birding in Tower Grove Park.  At the park, there were not too many birds around, since it was nearly twilight, but we were lucky enough to run into a couple of Red-headed Woodpeckers near their home tree.



Red-headed Woodpecker

As the sun set, we were considering giving up the hunt and heading back home, when Christina noticed some song birds diving at a nearby tree.  She thought that they might have been behaving this way b/c the Great Horned Owls were around.  So we decided to attempt to locate them.

Once it became quite dark, we were close to abandoning our search, but first we wanted to try one last spot across the park.  As we were crossing an open area, Christina miraculously spotted something in a tree.  She began to run toward it, and sure enough, there was the female Great Horned Owl perched in a tree.  She watched us, as we watched her, and then she took off into the air.  What a brilliant and smooth flier she was!  We chased her over to a bare tree where she dropped a pellet of undigestible bones, then flew away again.   It was an incredible stroke of luck that Christina was able to spot her, after she had begun hunting, since they don't make any noise at this time. 


Great Horned Owl

Being able to witness this great bird in flight was truly the ideal finale to an enchanting day.

Om shanti and good birding to you all!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Who ARE you? For that matter, who am I to ask this?

I am one of the people who randomly stumbled upon your blog. By way of your friend Karie's page. I am also a person who very, very rarely comes onto MySpace, who has formally sworn off social networking, who was supposed to be doing other things tonight. But this isn't really about me.

To continue, I was looking at Karie's comment section (my favorite part of most people's MySpace pages; unless they are writers, then my favorite part might very well be their blogs) and thinking that the quality of the comments there was not like the quality of other comment sections I had read before. I read the most recent comment (from you, possibly, I haven't gone back to check) and then the next most recent and so on. By the time I had gotten to the fourth or fifth comment I realized what I was actually reading. I was reading letters to a friend, a friend who is now gone (as you put it in one of your blogs).

Originally, I thought I might go out later tonight--maybe to join a Halloween hayride event with my mother's side of the family and the kiddiepoos or maybe to a friend's 29th birthday celebration at a comedy club, but upon realizing that your friend had died, I ceased to consider other options for the night. That part of me that considers God and death and existence and nonexistence and nothingness had something more to consider. I wasn't looking for much, wasn't expecting much, didn't deserve anything at all. I mean, who am I? A stranger happening upon the page of a woman who happened to be one heck of a compelling writer, who seemed to feel the same extreme passion for life that I felt, who was witty and risky and unknowable - now more than ever. Really, a woman who is missed. Undoubtedly missed.

Something brought me back to her comment section, back to you as the commenter and your troubles. You had lost her and wrote about this so eloquently. From there, I read your blogs and I cried. Me, a stranger. Me, sober. Me, not you. It was an extraordinary experience. One of those urban legend type stories. The beloved friend, gone but her MySpace page survives. Gone, but her friend survives. I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I hope you are doing more than just surviving. A year is not a very long time to heal from a loss such as yours, but I hope you can still conjure up her face and I hope that you've found some solace in these past 12 months.

Om shanti,
Jennifer

An Inspiration

My friend Erin (if I can call her that, considering that we've never really met in person) is one hell of a blogger. I purposefully made her acquaintance one day after randomly stumbling upon one of her stellar entries. Mark my words, this girl is going to be a famous writer soon enough. She is the consummate entertainer and writes with a hard sparkle all her own. See for yourself--

Palpability
From an album once described as "a blow torch to the ears," NIN's The Becoming, at top volume, can sometimes constitute the ultimate in relaxation for me. In this way, not much has changed since I was thirteen.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Grasshopper

My sister, Julia Rose, is in the thick of her first year of high school. She is enrolled in an online program and predominately is schooled out of the home. I have been recruited to mentor her in her algebra studies, which is working out rather well b/c I had to refresh my algebra skills while studying for my GRE (Graduate Record Exam) last fall.

What has astounded me about this process is how much of the material that Julia is currently learning as a high school freshman is the exact same material that college graduates have to master in anticipation of the exam that is utilized by graduate programs to narrow down potential applicants. It is, in effect, as if college math isn’t even necessary (at least not in my field of choice). Schools just want to rest assured that applicants are able to logically attack a math problem in the most efficacious manner possible, which is sort of comforting.

Can I take this opportunity to brag on my little sister? I am thoroughly impressed by her complete self-motivation and personal responsibility toward her studies. My mother was relating to me how upset Julia had been over getting a score of 75% on one of her recent science quizzes. My mom jokingly commented that Julia is a little task master just like her big sister. When we were studying her lesson tonight, Rose actually surpassed me in her command of the material! Ah, grasshopper. I’ve never been so pleased to be shown up by my little sister. I hope she continues in this vein for the entirety of her high school career :)

Om shanti.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Before I die, I want to...

...travel with my best friend deep into the gullies and valleys of northern California to see the ancient Coastal redwood forests.




Luckily, I have plans to do this very thing with her next year :)

Before I Die I Want To...

What do you want to do before you die?

Weeeeeeeee! Weekend Plans

With great anticipation, I am looking forward to all of the splendid events of this coming weekend, as follows:

1) Early Saturday morning--St. Louis Audubon Society's storage facility sale w/ over 60 boxes of books, wooden book shelves, and lots of other stuff I'd enjoy owning, but probably can not afford;

2) Later Saturday morning/early afternoon--TreeHouse Wildlife Center's open house (in Alton, IL). This is the experience I am most looking forward to b/c I am obsessed with the raptors (THWC cares for a wide variety of owls, hawks, eagles, falcons, etc). Plus, the fall foliage along the Great River Road is most certainly aflame and, typically, many birds of prey can be seen along this route. So thrilling!;

3) Saturday afternoon--birding with Christina, Andy, and her folks!! I feel honored to be able to bird with such pros. Also, Christina is going to let me use her binoculars (as I am too poor to afford my own, at the moment), which I am very, very grateful for!  This is such a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about how to spot and identify the birdies. Weeeee!; and

4) Sunday evening (5:30 p.m., to be exact)--Greer's belly dancing performance at Queen of Sheeba a few blocks north of the U-City Loop. Ya'll should come join us! (Especially you, Crystal!) Mmm...I'm looking forward to sampling their home-made, honey wine, as well :)

Hope you all have grand weekend plans ahead :)

Om shanti!

Why doesn't Missouri have medical cannabis dispensaries?


"How do people go to sleep? I'm afraid I've lost the knack. I might try busting myself smartly over the temple with the night-light. I might repeat to myself, slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds profound; if I can remember any of the damn things." ~ Dorothy Parker


"I've always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed." ~ David Benioff (City of Thieves)

"Insomnia is a gross feeder. It will nourish itself on any kind of thinking, including thinking about not thinking." ~ Clifton Fadiman

If I just had some weed, I would be asleep right now.  Also, I think I am developing some kind of lock jaw type syndrome.  TMJ, maybe?  ...

On a brighter note, not suffering from the munchies on a regular basis is doing incredible things for my ass.  She is so perky right now!  Rawr ;)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

'For Five Days, I Did Not Sleep'

Guinea Shaken By Wave Of Rapes During Crackdown
by Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

"I have never seen such violence in my life. I swear that this is the first time in Guinea that we have witnessed women's bodies being treated as if they were battlefields. It goes against our culture and traditions. I'm horrified. We're all horrified."
- A doctor who treated women raped during a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Guinea


What I can not wrap my mind around about the reporting of this story is how commenters keep emphasizing that this "crackdown" occurred in broad daylight.  As if rape is the sort of crime that can only properly occur at night.  It is a truly twisted culture that (perhaps unconsciously, perhaps not) implies that rapists should rightfully keep their heinous acts hidden.

Please sign Azaaz.org's petition requesting an application of targeted sanctions on the ruling elite of Guinea by the African and European Unions at the following link--
Stop the crackdown petition


Om shanti and hope.

Strange Dreams

I’m not certain if it was the loving conversation I had with Christina regarding surrealism or the surreal conversation I had with Steve regarding love, but something yesterday evening triggered in my subconscious a string of bizarre dreams over the course of my slumbers. I can’t recall much of my dreamscape, but I do remember the last dream from the series.

This dream involved me waking up to a severely flooded kitchen. The oven hood was dripping with water, as was one of the light fixtures. (I remember assuming that the leak must have originated with an upstairs neighbor’s plumbing issue, however, some dream friends later reminded me that I lived on the topmost floor, so it couldn’t have been what I theorized.) Not pools, but lakes of water had formed on my floors. The entirety of my kitchen and adjoining living room were ruined. Everything was heavy with water. I expected angry cries from my downstairs neighbors at any moment (although, none ever came).

Even more peculiar was that I could not seem to remember that I had a flood on my hands. I kept wandering out of my kitchen with the intent to get dressed and would instantly forget the watery disaster once it was out of my line of sight. In addition, I couldn’t seem to contact my landlord for aid. I repeatedly attempted to dial his number, but my cell phone would doggedly skip past him in my electronic phone book and the key pad would steadily malfunction. When I did finally get through, after what seemed like infinite failed attempts, I could hardly discern a word he was saying and he sounded completely alien to me.

Just before I awoke from the dream, I was still without pants, hair unkempt, face unwashed and standing in a pool of water. I felt vaguely embarrassed and ashamed at my ineptness, but also completely unengaged. It was as if I had been cut adrift from myself. I’d imagine that is what insanity feels like.

Om shanti.


~ADDENDUM~
Dream symbols, as per Greer:
house/building - represents your mind
water - represents emotion
kitchen - represents nurturing
missing clothing - represents feelings of vulnerability

Given the whole Kenny situation, this is a dream easily interpreted.

Even my subconscious is not especially subtle, huh?

Monday, October 19, 2009

My apologies and highest gratitude

I had planned to post something respectable tonight.  An update blog, of sorts, but I just don't have the energy to write in any depth at this time.  Hopefully, tomorrow will be a better day.  In the interim, I apologize for the clunky, fragmented entries I have been posting recently.  You might not be aware of this, but three of my last five posts are saved in private draft form.  They were published briefly, but then I decided to take each of them down for various reasons.  One I was afraid might get me into trouble at my office.  The others were not very kind.  I'm considering creating an anonymous blog for the aforementioned posts and ones like them.  I need a place where I can write openly and honestly without the fear that I am betraying someone's trust, invading someone's privacy, or airing office place grievances publicly.   It is a shame that I can not post them here, because they were well done, but the consequences would probably be too severe for me to actually do so.  Also, I would rather not be hurtful, if I can avoid it.

On an unrelated note, I met Christina and her husband this evening.  Christina is a new friend that I made via the MOBIRDS listserv.  She is also the artist who created the below collages, which she was generous enough to gift to me.  I am pleased to report that they are even more magnificent in the flesh, so to speak.  Christina also gave me a number of other marvelous collages and a lovely field guide.  Although this was our first meeting, I felt comfortable enough to speak with them in absolute frankness and sincerity.  It gives me solace to know that such kindred spirits exist in this world.  I'm looking forward to getting to know them both better in the coming days.

Om shanti <3

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Give KWMU Your $ (please!)

Today is the start of my local NPR station's FALL FUNDRAISING DRIVE [insert super-perky and annoyingly excited voice inflection here], and in anticipation of this, one of KWMU's volunteers called me on my cell yesterday to try to solicit a donation.  It didn't go well. 

Listen, KWMU, your volunteers are assholes.  Seriously.  Whenever they contact me they are always incredibly rude and I am always working, which I tell them politely.  Thus, KWMU, I think it would behoove your station to direct your volunteers to note what time of day the people on their call lists are available or, alternatively, direct your volunteers to not call adults in the middle of a business day and automatically expect them to be free.

In the volunteers' defense, I can never afford to donate when they call, randomly, out of the blue, expecting me to promptly open my threadbare wallet to them. Still, they could at least TRY to be a little nicer and maybe then I would feel more inclined to find a way to donate.  In addition, when your volunteers answer the phone, to take a pledge, that would also probably be a good time for them to practice some kindness--just a suggestion, KWMU.  I mean, for pity's sake, do you want the supporters of your organization to have a pleasant experience and donate again, or do you want them to have a negative experience and dread the moment that they will ever be confronted with the occasion to talk to the jerks that contact them on your behalf?  (Thank the goddesses for online donations!)

Anyway, I got paid today (finally--a day late--thank you lame ass payroll company) and donated a small gift online.  I figured, true, KWMU's volunteers are really bothersome people, but the station itself is wonderful and I do listen to it pretty much incessantly, so I might as well give them something.

If you feel the same way, here is a link to KWMU's membership donation page (and whatever you do, remember, DO NOT give them your phone number!!):

KWMU Membership Donation site

OM shanti.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lunch

Of late, a friend of mine has inspired me with her healthy eating and home-cooked meals that she brings into our office for lunch every day.  As a result of her good example, this past Sunday I decided to depart from my normal frozen food lunch selections and do a little experiment.  At the store, I purchased a number of salad ingredients, in order to see how long they'd last me at work and in order to determine what the ultimate cost would be for fresh lunches.  The fixin's purchased included a luscious head of green leaf lettuce, a few roma tomatoes, a package of baby portabellas, and a bottle of balsamic vinaigrette (all picked up at the local Shop-N-Save for under $10, by the way).

On Monday morning, I brought in all of the salad items in one big grocery bag and stuck it in our office fridge.  At the start of my lunch hour, I made myself a yummy salad.  I've been eating salad like this for the past several days and it is working out much better than I first assumed it might.  I'm going to have more than enough food left over for a fourth salad tomorrow.  That is four healthy and relatively large lunch salads for less than $2.50 each!  How happy am I?  I feel as though I have been freed from the frozen food lunch rut that I have been stuck in for months now. 

YAY!

Fuck Pepsi

This is an almost unimaginably ignorant move on Pepsi's part and the more I learn about it the more it pisses me off.  Yeah, I used to consume your products, but now I'm an irate feminist and I'm gunning for you fuckers:

http://jezebel.com/5379070/pepsi-releases-iphone-app-to-help-men-score-with-women-and-brag-about-it-on-twitter

Maybe I'll revise this post later, after I've calmed down a bit.  You'd think I would have become conditioned to accept this type of bullshit from corporations, as this obviously isn't the first time this sort of thing has happened, but it still really, REALLY makes me see red.

Fuck Pepsi.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Sword's Edge

Gender Queer: Celebrating Re 'lion' ships

The following are some amazing collages created by my new friend and local artist extraordinaire, Chrissy McClarren (captions are Chrissy's too), from her award winning Subterranean Books exhibit:




The Largest Collage: As the lioness wields the sword, the lion ponders this switch in roles; she licks him reassuringly as she takes a turn at taking charge.




The Medium Size Collage: Winking at him as she steals the show, the lioness lets him bask in her marvels; she’s confident he will support her liberated passions rather than be threatened by them.




The Smallest Collage: the lioness is relaxed as laughter bellows from the belly of the cosmos…at the antics of gender.




All three collages in the window - just a tad bit of reflection, eh?




Incidentally, the last photograph from this collection reflects the very first apartment in which I ever paid to live so I somehow feel even more emotionally involved with these pieces :)

If you'd like to see more of Chrissy's work, I've included links to further collections of hers below...


Many thanks to the artist for allowing me to share her work here :)

Om shanti <3

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Storyteller

This is just a quick recommendation for those lovers of fables, myths, fairy tales, and Jim Henson.  Over the weekend I found that Netflix offers two really wonderful Jim Henson collections (via online streaming and by mail).  The first is called Jim Henson's the Storyteller (1987) and, although I have not made it though all nine 23 minute episodes, I have yet to be disappointed by a single story.  The other is called Jim Henson's the Storyteller: Greek Myths (1991).

To fans of the Muppet Show, this is not the light and airy fare you might expect from Henson. It is more in the vein of his The Dark Crystal film, which isn't to say that the humor is completely absent--it just isn't the focal point of the series.

Apparently, the first series won and was nominated for several awards--including an Emmy win:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Storyteller

Om shanti.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Displaced, Fractured, and in Need of an Operation

My mother, younger sister, Julia, and I went roller blading on Grant's Trail this afternoon, as we do nearly every Sunday afternoon.  On our way out of my parent's house, my mom mentioned to my sister that she will want to wear a jacket b/c it gets cold on the shaded parts of the trail (I had made the mistake of not wearing one the day before and Mom had remembered how chilly I had gotten, as a result).  Julia, being the fourteen-year-old, obstinate child that she is, insisted that no, she did not need a jacket and proceeded into the car wearing only short sleeves and shorts (the high today was in the mid-50's).

As you can probably guess, by the time we were on the last segment of our trip, Julia had gotten so cold that she had stuffed her arms into her t-shirt and was clearly not at all comfortable.  At this point, we were all skating single file--Julia in front, Mom in the middle and I brought up the rear.  I watched my mother, a bit up the trail from me, start to struggle to remove her jacket, as she was still skating at a pretty good clip.  Once she had it off, I watched her offer it to Julia and thought to myself, "Aw, look what a good mom she is!"  Julia, declined to take the jacket, saying she didn't want Mom to be cold, either.  In what seemed like exponentially slowed time, I thought to myself, "That jacket in Mom's arms is hanging far too low--I need to tell her to pull it up higher or she will trip over the thing."  Before I had a chance to say a word, Mom went down.  Hard.  On her face.  I yelled, "Mom are you okay???"  No answer.  I skated up to her, crumpled on the path and unmoving.  I asked again, "Mom, are you alright?"  Mom slowly pulled herself up, her lip bleeding and cradling her hand.

"Jen, I think I cut my lip."

"Yes, Mom."  Holding her face, I could see that her lip was indeed cut and the inside of her mouth was filling with blood. I felt my eyes start to tear up.

"Honey, don't cry.  I'm okay.  Don't freak out, alright?"

As she said this, I could see that her ring finger was turning purple and it was obviously disfigured.  It appeared to be hyper extended at the knuckle. 

"Mom, what is happening with your hand?  I think your finger is broken."

"I think so, too"

"Mom, we need to go to the hospital."

"No, honey, I just need some ice.  Can we stop at a gas station on the way home?"

"Yes, but I don't have any money on me.  I don't have my cell either.  Maybe we should just do straight to the hospital, okay?"

"No, Jen, I don't have my insurance card with me.  Let's just skate back and we'll drive home to get it."
   
The longest skate ever commences.  In what seems like half-an-hour (but was probably only ten minutes), we make it back to my car.  My little sister and I hurriedly pull our own and then my mother's skates off and help her into the car.  I fumble with the locks and am clearly a little panicky.

"Jen, just slow down.  You need to drive home safely, okay?  No speeding."

I answer in the affirmative and we make it back to my parents' with no further incident.  As we are pulling up in front of the house, we notice that both my father's van and my brother's truck are gone.  My mother mutters to herself, "I hope Tim is still home b/c I don't have keys to get inside."

I quickly park, run up the front steps, and start ringing the door bell over and over, yelling into the mail slot, "Tim!  Tim! Come to the door!  TIM!"

No answer.

I run around back, swing open the back door, and off goes the house alarm.  *RERERREEEREERRR*  I rush through the house to the front door and as I'm unlocking it, Julia is running up the front steps to enter the code into the alarm system.  We both promptly forget my mother in the car and begin searching for ice, her insurance card, her cell phone, etc.  It is a madhouse.  Mom walks inside shortly thereafter looking seriously pained. [I still don't know how she had gotten out of my car, as I had inadvertently blocked her car door by parking in front of some landscaping.  She must have climbed over the stick shift and exited out of my driver's side door--a feat that certainly did not go unpunished, so far as her injured hand was concerned.] 

We struggle with trying to get everything ready.  Julia, at my mother's behest, writes a note for the rest of the family explaining what happened and where we are going.  Just as we are about to leave for the hospital, my niece and youngest sister appear with the smaller of the family's two dogs.  Cayleen promptly starts crying, upon seeing Mom's injuries and our harried looks.  We tell her not to worry and ask where Dad is.  She replies that he is on his way home with the other dog and should be back at any moment.  My dad then enters the house, sees what happened, and whisks Mom away to Barnes Emergency Room, promising to keep us apprised.

After they have gone, my niece, sweet child that she is, asks, "Where is the jacket that Grandma fell on?"  Cayleen looks at her, perplexed, and asks, "Why do you want to know?"  Emily responds simply, "Because I want it."  I walk them out to my car, pull Mom's hot pink jacket from the trunk and hand it to Emily.  She then looks up at me and asks, "Where is all of the blood?"  I tell her that there wasn't any on the jacket.  She nods solemnly and pulls the jacket to her chest.  She needed a piece of her grandma to hold on to.

That all happened about three hours ago.  Julia Rose recently called to advise that Mom had fractured her hand, displaced a knuckle and will probably need surgery.  My mom and dad are still in the ER awaiting the hand specialist.  Julia and I are in our respective homes trying to deal with the guilt.  Had Julia worn a jacket, maybe this wouldn't have happened.  Had I not wanted to go skating, maybe this wouldn't have happened.  Had Mom not been quite so loving and considerate, maybe this wouldn't have happened.  The maybes are eating us all up. 

Meanwhile, I have never been so grateful for the fact that Mom has excellent health insurance, short term disability, and 140 vacation hours available to her.  Not many are that fortunate.  Thank the Goddesses.

Om shanti, Mom.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oh, The Water

Have you ever noticed the way a person in your life can become intimately associated with a particular musician, style of music, album, song, etc? For me, I've always associated certain musicians with certain significant others. The boy I lost my hetero virginity to was a huge Dead Kennedys fan. To this day, elevens years later, when I hear Night Of The Living Rednecks, I fondly remember him.  My first lover I associate with Ani DiFranco.  My first long-term boyfriend I associate with Talking Heads.  And so on.

Today, I can not listen to Van Morrison at all because it so painfully reminds me of the good times with Kenny.  The first time that we made love (which is different from simply fucking, if you ask me), he played Van.  A couple of minutes ago It Stoned Me began softly playing on the radio.  Prior to the break-up, I would have turned up the music and contentedly hummed along.  As it stands, I had to tune it out.  Listening to the lyrics would have been vexatious.  Even the faint lines of the melody were almost too much to endure.

Another musician that I find agonizing at the moment is Bob Dylan.  Kenny taught me so much about him; I don't think I really understood the depth of this music prior to our relationship.  I've rarely seen Kenny as emotional as he was while listening to certain Dylan songs.  I remember coming home to him sitting in the living room, all of the lights off and candles flickering on the coffee table.  He was a dark figure, but fully present with himself and his thoughts.  I dropped my keys on the table while wordlessly sitting down on the couch next to him, he put an arm around me, and I laid my head on his shoulder.  We sat like that through most of a double-album.

I have to say, the absolute worst is Lay Lady Lay--   
Stay, lady, stay, stay with your man awhile
Why wait any longer for the world to begin
You can have your cake and eat it too
Why wait any longer for the one you love
When he's standing in front of you


The song isn't even playing (except in my head) and I am teary-eyed.  Ken was such a lonely person.  Such a lost soul.  I still feel like I failed him.  Like I was supposed to save him.  What a trite farce.

But, I think what I really need to be doing right now is NOT avoiding this music.  I should probably have a nice long sit down with these albums and feel what I feel.  Hypocrite that I am, I've said to at least four people in the last week, "Your feelings are your feelings.  Stop trying to dismiss them or change them.  Just let them be.  Your only job is to feel them."  It's about time I took my own advice.

Oh, the water
Oh, the water
Oh, the water
Let it run all over me

An Agreeable Day

I made it to Saturday morning yoga today!! I'm so proud of myself for getting my booty up and out of bed. None of the usual suspects were in class this morning. No Colette, no Curtis (I still haven't given up on his returning--I miss your harmonization skills and your rock solid energy, man!), no Constance, no Sydney, and no Greer. I long for the bygone days when I was the newbie surrounded by the masters. There is something very, very disconcerting about Sherry looking at me in class and saying, "Hey, Jen, what is the classic yogic breath ratio? 1-2-3, right?" As if I know what the heck is going on. What happened to our old school yogis and yoginis? ... Seriously, where have they gone?

Don't get me wrong, the other two students in class where fine people and dedicated practitioners. Sarah (I believe was her name) got into one hell of a Virabhadrasana (Warrior) III, too. Girlfriend had perfectly level hips. When we were working on it in pairs and I watched Sarah come into her pose, I couldn't help but exclaim to Sherry and the other student (whose name escapes me--I am terrible with names) "LOOK! Look how pretty she is in this pose, you guys!!"


Virabhadrasana III

I realized in class what I currently need to be focusing on in my home practice (other than my core and arm strength--that much is a given), which is keeping my chest high and breathing into my back ribs. I've finally gotten to a place where I know exactly what these things mean, what they feel like, and what they look like. For years Sherry has been reminding me, "Jen, lift your heart, lift your chest, remember to breathe into your back ribs"--but it was like French to me. Now, I get it. I can't achieve it with any consistency, but at least I know where to aim now. I've got you in my sights, back ribs!

After yoga, I came home and slept for a few hours and had some exceedingly strange dreams. Probably as a result of my leaving NPR going in the background. My brain was probably integrating KWMU's afternoon schedule into my dreams, which made for an intriguing dreamscape. I wish I could remember them. Greer has reminded me over and over to write them down upon waking, but I haven't kept a dream journal since I was a teenager. Laziness is definitely a factor, that and my inability to get up any earlier than when I absolutely have to (that is probably laziness, too, huh?).

Following my refreshing nap, I went roller blading w/ my mom, youngest sister, Cayleen, and niece, Emily. It was a really lovely experience b/c Emily and I were able to enjoy an extended period of time together (something we rarely are able to do since Chris only has his kids every other weekend). Emily is the sort of child who will "save" grasshoppers that she finds on the trail, by stopping and moving them off the path in order to prevent them from being smooshed by a bike rider. Over the course of that trip we saved a tiny garter snake, a wooly black caterpillar, and other such diminutive creatures. I have to admit that I was glad to have someone with us who also felt compelled to spare these critters from a very likely crushing death. My immediate family is inclined to just skate on by. Emily wouldn't consider it. In fact, I half suspect that her whole aim in going on this skating trip with us was to rescue the small beings that she encountered along the way. I simply can not express how endearing that is to me.

After roller blading we ate dinner together. Timmy and Dad made one hell of a meal: home-made, baked mac & cheese, sauteed asparagus, a decadent garden salad, and baked chicken (which I didn't eat, of course, but which everyone else reported was delectable). Dad read a little bit of my blog and remarked on what a good writer he thought I was (very sweet and misguided of him!), while Em and I did some yoga poses together (I taught her balancing bear).

All in all, an agreeable day, I think :)

Om shanti <3

Advanced Cat Yodeling

Friday, October 9, 2009

She put a spell on me...

In follow-up to my entry just prior to this one, tragically, when I arrived at page thirty-six of the free online version of Crow Planet, either the reader started acting up, or Hachette is incredibly brilliant about precisely where to leave off on a free book, b/c the entire rest of the second chapter was missing.  Now, I'm going to have to go to the bookstore/library in order to find out exactly what those crows were up to with that moss, damn it.  And what's worse, is that it is past closing time, so I won't be able to enjoy any more of the book tonight :( 

Looking on the bright side, I've found that the author of Crow Planet, Lyanda Lynn Haupt, writes a blog, too, and the blog is almost as compelling as the book.  I. can't. stop. reading. her. words.  Anything she has to say, I'm interested.  I'm riveted.  Write more, Lyanda.  Do it now.

And a link to the aforementioned blog--
http://thetanglednest.com/

And to a post from same--
A New Kind of Birdsong

Suprise Night Off

I was late getting out of the office this evening b/c I had promised myself this morning that I absolutely would get my last set of pending discovery responses finalized by the end of the work day today, which ended up extending my work day (unpaid--I know, I'm an idiot) by an extra 45 minutes.  By the time I had finished dinner and had driven over to Wild Bird Rehab, I was 45 minutes late for my shift there, too.

When I walked in, mentally kicking myself for my tardiness, Vickie hollered at me from the Pox Room (where we keep the birds w/ communicable illnesses) that I wasn't on shift for tonight, which would have been valuable information, had she told me this an hour prior when I informed her that I would be late.  So, after futzing around and chit-chatting for a minute or two, I decided to just go home.

All week long, for some reason, I've had a mild (awake until 2 or 3 am) case of insomnia.  For this reason, I jumped at the chance to get out of WBR early (please don't hate me Andea!) and get some much needed rest.  Plus, my yoga instructor, Sherry, promised me that, if I actually showed up for class tomorrow morning (which I haven't been doing recently b/c I've been so exhausted from my work weeks), we would do Kapalabhati breathwork in class--my favorite pranayama practice at this time of year.  [If you aren't familiar w/ this technique, a link follows this post.] Kapalabhati is particularly pleasing in the fall and winter b/c it generates so much body heat. I'm really looking forward to it :)

So, what will I do with my time off tonight?  I'm thinking I will catch up on all of the activity that has been happening on the MOBIRDS listserv and maybe finish up a book that I've been trying to get through for the longest time.  I'm not sure what is up with me recently, but I seem to be starting books and never finishing them.  Speaking of books and the listserv, a couple of people from MOBIRDS have mentioned a new book called Crow Planet:  Essential Wisdom from the Urban Wilderness and I am really looking forward to reading it.  Maybe I'll also mosey on over to the STL Public Library's webpage to see if it is available there, yet. 

I hope you all enjoy your night and try to stay out of trouble, okay?

Om shanti <3


http://www.sivananda.org/teachings/pranayama/kapalabhati.htm

ADDENDUM:  Regarding Crow Planet: one, the company where my best friend works as an editor published the book (how cool is that!?) and, two, you can read some of it online!  I'm reading it right now :)  You can join me:


Whoo-hoo!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Revelations

One of the things I truly value about yoga is the way my practice continues to astonish me in its self-propagating inertia. Two years ago, when I first returned to my practice, after a five-year hiatus, I was motivated by the promise of a more peaceful mind, but also by the prospect of a gentle strengthening and limbering of my body. I enjoyed learning about my physical strengths (flexibility) and weaknesses (lack of endurance and muscle mass). I also enjoyed the challenge of moving past those weaknesses to places that I never imagined myself inhabiting. Twenty-four months ago, I could never have conceived of myself pursuing inversions, such as handstands, in my home practice. Today, I can balance for nine breaths in a handstand. Granted, I still don’t have the core strength and stability to practice handstand away from a wall, but just being able to support my full body weight on my hands was a huge triumph for me.

Another new development is the way I suffer my twists. Yogis and yoginis believe that a deep twisting of the spinal column releases pent-up and unforeseen emotion. For most of my life, twisting freed a sense of sadness, sometimes even deep sorrow, which seemed to erupt out of nowhere with no environmental cause. When I returned to yoga two years ago, I noticed that rather than sadness, frequently anger was released when I moved into a deep twist. This anger, more often than not, was directed toward myself for my failures and missed opportunities. Recently, in my practice I have found that twisting has liberated a sense of longing and isolation. I remember my life with Kenny (my former partner of four years) and how this time we had has passed and it leaves me missing him and the intimacy we once shared.

I’ve also discovered a maturity in my connection to my feelings that come up in twists. I’ve learned to acknowledge and accept these emotions without seeking to immediately push them away or deny their existence. I wonder if this has something to do with my newly found acceptance of the eternal, unchanging aspects of being and of my connection with the universe at large. It is theorized that matter is neither created nor destroyed. There is something comforting about considering my relationship to the eternal nature of the cosmos at large. That I come from it and that I will return to it—really, that I can never be separated from it.

This feeling of union is most strongly manifested when I chant (both prior to and following my asana practice). When I first returned to yoga, what brought me to my mat was curiosity about what my body might achieve in any particular asana (pose). I wanted to push myself to the limits of my abilities and discover what my body was capable of. Now, what motivates me to practice is the sense of oneness I feel when I chant aum, when I intone the Gayatri, Purnamadah, or Mrityunjaya mantras (among many others), when I feel the vibration of the universe in my chest as I hold these phrases in my throat

Om Namah Shivaya – Om Namah Shivaya

I had the honor of attending a Kirtan event lead by Krishna Das earlier this year and what struck me most about the experience was how holy it felt. You must understand that I am not one for religion or dogma. I’ve eschewed all such beliefs in favor of an existential perspective on life. Namely, what we know is what we might observe in this lifetime. As to whether other lives follow, I couldn’t say and was largely unconcerned. I thought it was valiant to accept my aloneness and not try to link myself to an omnipotent being. Nevertheless, I could not shake my attraction to the concept of sublime Grace and of blessedness. Although, I still can not accept a personified/anthropomorphic God/Goddess, I feel a presence when I chant. Perhaps it is the life force (the prana) of those around me. After all, yoga is really about moving energy. The asanas (poses) are simply a tool to achieve that movement. Perhaps I feel my own energy, the energy of my fellow yogis and yoginis, and also the energy of the universe.

The nature of this experience has yet to be revealed to me, but I can acknowledge the power of prayer. Yes, prayer. As I’ve been led to chant, I’ve realized that no matter how much I deny it intellectually, what I am really doing is praying. Yoga exposes to me the presence of the sublime in my own being and I can not deny this happening. I can only accept it, as I’ve learned to accept my own sadness, my own anger, my own isolation, and my own limitations. What is new is that I’ve come to understand that all of these things can co-exist with a deeper knowledge of the sublime, of the connection b/t all things be they alive, dead or have yet to live. It is an incredible thing, this yoga.

Om Namah Shivaya.


Om shanti.

Thank you, Sherry

It is a kind and compassionate yoga instructor who eschews her favorite standing poses in favor of seated poses simply to aid a single eager student with an injured toe. 

Om shanti.

Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. - Albert Schweitzer

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ongoing Comment Related Issues

A number of my readers have reported problems w/ comment error messages/lack of confirmation of comments  on my blog.  It seems that only the most diligent of commenters have been able to get through (after multiple attempts).  I've been doing some research and it looks like Blogger's embedded comment form is buggy, so I am switching over to a full page comment form.  Hopefully, that won't be too much of a pain and it will resolve these problems.  Please keep me apprised, if you are having trouble commenting for whatever reason. 

Many thanks!

Om shanti.

The Artificial Virginity Hymen kit

No joke--

http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/humannature/archive/2009/10/06/the-beauty-of-artificial-virginity.aspx

Insert obvious feminist/humanist commentary re: sexism, hypocrisy, power grabs, etc.; throw in a rant about Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and we are done.

OM shanti.

New Great Ring Around Saturn Revealed

Utilizing the infrared Spitzer telescope, US scientists discovered a ring around Saturn that is downright mammoth. According to an NPR interviewee (didn't catch his name), if you held your pinkie finger up to the sky, this ring around Saturn would appear to be the width of your little finger, that is, if you could see the ring with the naked eye (it is only visible using infrared red light). For more info--

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8291905.stm

Discoveries like this intrigue me b/c they highlight just how little we know about our own solar system and just how much is left to be uncovered.  It is exciting, no?

OM [the sound of the universe] shanti.

Insomnia

blows. I wish I didn't currently know what time it is b/c now I won't be able to delude myself w/ coffee in the morning. I am absolutely certain of just how little sleep I will be getting tonight/this morning.

Om shanti, sweet dreams, c'est la vie.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Welcome Former MySpace Friends!

Hello, everyone :) Thanks for dropping by the new blog :) I missed you all!!

Om shanti,
Jen

Top 10 Newly Discovered (By Me) Documentary Films

I'd like to share with you some documentary films that have recently left an impression on me (in no particular order), as follows:

1) Crips and Bloods: Made in America
"part of the mechanics of oppressing people, is to pervert them to the extent that they become the instruments of their own oppression" -- a history of the above gangs, but also a history of oppression in America. If you see only one film on this list, let it be this one!;

2) The US vs. John Lennon
a love story, really--sweetness;

3) Ballerina (2009)
a gorgeous film about Russian ballerinas in progressive stages of artistic development, including one heck of a prima ballerina;

4) The Bridge
regarding the relationship b/t the Golden Gate Bridge and its suicides (not what you might think);

5) This Film is Not Yet Rated
an enlightening look at the pervasive censorship inherent in the US rating system--sexy, too;

6) Jesus Camp
a deeply, deeply disturbing, fascinating, and (approaching) objective story of a fundamentalist, Christian, summer camp and the children therein--I've spoken w/ former fundamentalist/charismatic Christians who have verified that this film is not depicting an extreme example, rather these happenings are very common for children brought up in this faith;

7) Lake of Fire
an attempt at a balanced examination of the abortion issue in The States--FAIR WARNING--abortion procedures are graphically depicted in this film;

8) Deliver Us From Evil
a comprehensive contemporary and historical look at systemic child molestation in the Catholic church--be prepared for uncontrollable outrage at the Catholic hierarchy for consistently protecting these predators;

9) Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion
an important film about a unique culture--also, some incredibly provocative information about the CIA's involvement in the Tibet/China conflict; and

10) The Life of Birds
a David Attenborough documentary in ten parts. If you love birds and/or Attenborough, this film will not fail to delight!

Om shanti, film lovers <3

Monday, October 5, 2009

Can't FUCK with the Kingbirds...you just can't

We cared for a juvenile kingbird at Wild Bird Rehab (WBR) over the summer. I thought he was an incredible sweetheart. Even after he was able to self-feed, he would sometimes beg me to hand-feed him mealworms, one of his favorite snacks. When he was still a nestling, I remember listening to my co-worker coax him into gapeing by playfully calling him "Your Majesty."

"Doesn't Your Majesty want another bite before bed? I think Your Majesty should certainly have some water, too. Wouldn't want Your Majesty to become dehydrated, now would we?"

He would look at her regally and deign to accept her gifts of food and water. That kingbird, he was quite the character and definitely a house favorite. We were all a little sad to see him go from our nursery at the end of the summer.

Imagine my reaction this afternoon when I found that a listserv member at MOBIRDS had posted a link to the following article (excerpted here) regarding kingbirds:


Highly territorial, the kingbirds felt the hawks were intruding on their space, said Gaines, a Westminster scientist who helps develop vaccines and tests used in veterinary medicine.

Gaines had focused his camera on one red-tailed hawk because the bird had been screaming. As he followed the hawk across the sky, a kingbird dive-bombed the hawk.

The hawk, which is not a predator of the kingbird, flew as fast as it could from the kingbird. For a moment it appeared the kingbird had stopped attacking. But then it began the pursuit again and — to Gaines amazement — landed on the hapless red-tail's back.

"He rode the hawk for 25 yards. The hawk was not trying to fight back — it was just trying to get out of there," said Gaines.

As the kingbird rode bareback on the hawk, it pecked away at the hawk's head.

"They (the kingbirds) are not afraid of anything," said Gaines. "Until this happened, I had never seen one perch on a hawk's back."






I told you, you just can't fuck with Your Majesty!!

Om shanti ;)

FROM: http://www.denverpost.com/recommended/ci_13452818#

The Infamous Noseaums Return

My family and I enjoy roller blading on Grant’s Trail, a nicely paved trail in south St. Louis County (an extension from Grant’s Farm). This trail passes over several small creeks and near at least one small body of water. Large portions of the trail are also completely covered by a canopy of mature tree branches with lots of decaying, soft, wet soil underneath. This area is prime real estate for clouds of those nasty little buggers that are commonly called "no-see-ems" (so named, b/c you do not see them until it is too late). Their scientific name is Ceratopogonidea--



and the females are blood suckers (which is why you sometimes feel a little prick when they alight on your bare skin).

When my mother and I arrived at the trail late yesterday evening, we thought we would be safe from these bugs due to the cooler weather we've been enjoying lately. Boy were we sadly mistaken. When we arrived at the trail head, these pests were flying in the sky as thick as a plankton bloom in the sea. Not one single square inch of air was free of bugs in the thick of their earthly nebula. Before a couple of bikers returned to the trail, they gamely warned my mother and I to keep our mouths closed while skating, unless we wanted a voluminous, high protein snack. When we started off on the trail, we saw that the bikers were not exaggerating--things had gotten hairy (or should I say buggy) on the trail with approx. 40% of our path blocked by bugs—this was a situation that required drastic measures.

Large sunglasses were our first line of defense. These protected our eyes from the creatures as we cruised at a high velocity through the mess of tiny insects. From there, I preferred to employ, what I've termed, the "attacking bull" defense, where I lowered my head, gathered speed, and rushed through the throng of bugs as quickly as possible. Some of the clouds were so awful that I had to bend at a 90 degree angle from my waist, with my entire body warped into an L-shape. I hurriedly perfected a speed-skater stance, both to protect my face from the pests (trust me, little biting bugs up your nose ain’t pleasant!) and to move as quickly as possible through the multitude. After breaking out on the other side, I would look down in horror to see my clothes literally COATED with these pests. By the time we finished the trail, I had to actually take down my hair and flip it into the wind to try to remove the 50-some bugs that had become lodged into my hair following the attacking bull tactics. As we were passing a biker at the end of the trail, I noticed that he too was trying to remove the insects from his body except he had them stuck in his beard—the poor bastard.

After such an experience, my mother and I have decided that it would behove us to start a small business about 300 or so feet into the trail. We will set up a little stand and sell burqas and sunglasses to the hapless trail goers. When you hit a cloud-o-pests, on goes the burqa, out come the sunglasses. I bet we could get a great price for these items, too. Shoot, I would ecstatically patronize such a vendor. Relief would become a religious experience for me. I might even convert to Islam in gratitude....

Om shanti.

Uh-Oh, Song Birds...

As I was pulling a file out of one of my cabinets today, I happened to glance outside and noticed a bird of prey floating outside my 10th floor window! I ran into my co-worker's office and pointed out the bird to her. At this point, he was almost too high to see and she was nearly as surprised as I was to witness a good-sized raptor soaring about downtown Clayton (of all places!).

I feel sorry for all of the song birds in the area. Ya'll is in serious trouble! For real, tho. *cue the Jaws theme song*

Om shanti (hopefully!)

ADDENDUM: I've been wondering if there is some sort of symbolic explanation for my seeing so many birds of prey recently. If anyone (Greer) can elucidate, please let me know! :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Raptor Spotting

I spotted a hunting raptor while driving through Tower Grove Park early this afternoon. I think it was one of the Cooper's Hawks, but my eyes aren't that great. It could very well have been a Broad-winged or a Sharp-shinned. His underside seemed really splotchy--so I wonder if he was a juvenile? I regret that I didn't have any freaking binoculars with me at the time so that I could have made a more definitive ID.

Regardless, it was a completely breath-taking sight to see. I was chatting with my little brother on the phone when I first noticed him swooping over the canopy. I began deliriously shouting into my cell, "Look! Look at the raptor!! Look at him!! He is hunting just over the treetops." Tim, of course, calmly reminded me that he couldn't see anything, birds or otherwise, through the phone. I quickly pulled my car over and got out to watch him circle the area. The hawk began to spiral ever upward (apparently having missed his prey) until I could hardly see him anymore, until he was but a spec high in the sky.

There is something special about seeing a raptor in flight. I felt as if I had been chosen to see him, if that makes any sense. Like he had bestowed a favor upon me by even appearing in my line of vision.

This bird made my afternoon :) :) :)



Om shanti.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

"How do you LINE YOUR VAGINA with Skittles?!"

Let's see, relationship and sex advice from a couple of stoned (and sometimes tipsy) roommates who have absolutely no qualifications to warrant their dispensing said advice? Me thinks, YES! A capital idea.

Seriously though, this video series makes me both despair for our society and laugh, and laugh, and laugh and laugh.... I can't defend it, but I can admit to having watched multiple episodes in a row. How could I not? Rich looks exactly like a young John Malkovich, which is reason enough right there! (Don't judge me.)

Take a looksie! Promise it won't hurt--after a couple of moments, you'll just snuggle down into their cozy nook of banality.


"Do People Really Use Condoms For Blow Jobs?" from Pot Psychology on Vimeo.
Om shanti, kids ;0

PS Uh, does anyone know what Rich is referring to when he speaks of the "rosebud, flower blossom" aspect of anal fisting? I am so lost...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gandhi Jayanti

Today is the 140th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s date of birth. Also, today is the UN’s International Day of Non-Violence.

If you’d like to learn more about this celebration of Gandhi’s life work, please see the PDF referenced below —
http://www.un.int/india/2007/ind1334.pdf

“[Non-violence] has no room for cowardice or even weakness” – Gandhi

Om shanti.*




*This means something like "universal peace" in Sanskrit

Putting the Damage On

When I arrived at my office this morning, an e-mail from our accountant was awaiting me. Her message advised that, due to Columbus Day (WTF? Columbus Day!?--can't wait to celebrate that imperialist pillager of people and lands), our payroll checks would be delayed by a day. Okay, fine. I don't like it--I have bills to pay--but that's cool (no really, it isn't).

Shortly thereafter, one of the partners approaches me with an unsettling and somber look on his face. He gravely states that he and the other partners have been working on it for weeks, but it looks like they won't be able to circumvent higher health insurance premiums for the firm. Although, in the thirty-five years that they have been partners, they have never passed on any additional health care costs to their staff, it will have to happen this time. He indicated that, for me, they formally paid $299/mo in premiums. Now, our insurance carrier has raised the cost of our benefits by 25%, an increase which will be passed onto the beneficiaries. I will now be losing approx. $35 out of each paycheck for this cost.

Now, I know some of you out there are thinking, "Gee, I've always had to share in the cost of my health insurance premiums--what's she complaining about?" or maybe worse, "Shit, I don't even have health insurance, you lucky fool." I readily admit that those people have a point. I am certainly grateful for all eight years that the partners suffered the entire cost of my premium. Despite this realization, it still hurts in my purse.

Agh, my pocketbook is aching. Needless to say, this isn't exactly a good time for me to take on any additional expenditures. I’ve already assumed a new car payment this year, am living alone, and owe so much money in student loans that I can barely breathe comfortably when I stop to consider that debt, but I will tighten my belt another notch and button down the hatches. Luckily, I can live on nearly nothing. Growing up poor taught me that much. Apparently, it is time to utilize my piss broke livin' skills.

Help me, Obama Kenobi. You're my only hope...

Om shanti.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Can I Just Say...

that I love this woman!



OM shanti :)

Regarding This Here Blog

As my oldest friends will tell you, I was an avid diarist from a fairly young age. In fact, I un-fondly recall my third-grade self haplessly coming upon my younger brother, Chris, while he was in our parents' garage gleefully reading one of my frilly, gilded, pink diary entries to his rapt best friend. Unfortunately, said best friend happened to be the subject of said entry, an entry that could only be characterized as a naive, perfectly unspoiled, "girlish" frenzy of emotion. I no longer possess that diary, having summarily destroyed it and shortly thereafter having attempted to summarily destroy my brother, as well (Hi, Chris!--love you). However, I have kept nearly all of my other journals (I switched off diaries shortly after that incident—needing to write in something not quite so obviously private and, well, girlish) and these journals currently take up the space of a bookshelf in my bedroom.

I journaled religiously all through my teenage years. When I was a homeless vagrant, one of the few items that was invariably carted around in my shabby book bag was an even shabbier journal. I stopped writing in college b/c I hardly had the time for anything other than academic writing. After I graduated in Dec. '07, I thought I would pick up journaling again, but I haven't. I just can't seem to get accustomed to writing at any length on paper. I'm addicted to cut and paste, spell check, and immediate Internet fact checking. In a way, I want this blog, this web log, to be the journal that I no longer keep. I figure you all can keep me honest and keep me writing. (Although, I can't promise that there won't be at least some frenzied, possibly unspoiled emotion herein--at least, I hope there will be!)

So in light of this, I've come up with some points of significance regarding commenting:

1) All feedback is good feedback. I'm very glad to receive your private e-mail messages, texts, calls and such regarding my blog entries. However, ideally, I'd like you all to actually comment on the blog itself. For a couple of reasons, including: a) it will prevent my duplicating my efforts by privately responding to several people who all have similar comments; b) I enjoy the atmosphere of the give and take in a comment section--it is appealing to see people interacting; and c) my ego likes it (I'm not gonna lie)--receiving comments encourages me to continue writing.

2) Please let me know, if you are having any technical issues commenting, and I will try to assist. For example, if the comment form requires a link, you can just put any old random link in the form and it will let you post your comment--you don't have to be linking to your own blog/web page (in response to my first blog, Jess put in her comment form "www.fake.com," which was pretty clever of her);
ADDENDUM: I understand that often Blogger/Blogspot will not allow you to post a comment on your first attempt (it will give you an error message), but if you just resubmit your comment immediately after it denies you, the comment should go straight through.

3) For my part, I will be sure to play the part of the conscientious moderator. If anyone leaves an asinine comment (which I doubt my friends/family would do), I will be sure to delete it and ask that person privately to cease and desist w/ the assholery. In turn, I hope that you, Gentle Reader [a Salinger conceit—forgive me], will approach commenting in a similarly respectful and discreet manner.

With no further ado, I will return to my blogging.
Om shanti.

Mastering The Jump Back

I am exhilarated to report that in class last night I was finally, finally able to perform the jump back into plank pose from a standing position. This is a vital maneuver to learn, if you want to achieve nicely flowing sun salutations (SS).

Sun Salutation B:


Those familiar with SS know that the goal is to move into a pose and achieve said pose on an inhalation/exhalation only, then you move into the next pose on a new inhalation (if the pose prior was on an exhalation or vice versa). In SS you have very little time/breath to get into a pose--hence, the importance of the jump back (as walking your legs back from standing takes a heck of a lot more time than simply jumping back).

If you want to see what this move looks like, check out the following video of a rather gorgeous yoga practitioner achieving the jump back most sublimely (although, I must point out that his is more of a float back than a jump back).



Om shanti.