Thursday, October 25, 2012

Today Was a Very Good Day

I had a great day today.

After four days of getting less than 6 hours sleep each night, I had to wake up at 5am. I really like my sleep.

Getting into my car, I discovered my check engine light on. My heater was making a "thwap, thwap" noise, so I figured a leaf was stuck in the fan. I turned off the heater and drove onto the highway in the cold, deciding to deal with the wayward leaf later.

Once in the fast lane at roughly 80mph, my vision became impaired by massive plumes of smoke. The smoke was shooting out of the seams of my hood like a gravity-defying Niagara Falls. I pulled Mount Vesuvius over and lept from my car, fearing a fire and a Die-Hard II-style explosion. After examining my engine and (incorrectly) determining the source to be a fan belt  I limped the car 1.4 miles to the nearest exit where I established that I would be over an hour late for work.

I'm no mechanic, but I think this might be a problem.

Once at work, I plowed through the meager lunch I had brought within the first hour. The Office is located in the midst of the great wide expanses known as 'the surrounding suburbs of Chicago,' where a 20 minute walk will get you as far as the end of the parking lot. Walking to a Whole Foods is an attempt comprable to the original Google-maps directions to Europe, which included driving across the Atlantic. So by noon I was starving.

Later, I got news that it was not a belt that had given way (a mere $80 repair) but that the entire radiator had cracked, taking with it the thermostat (a $500 repair).

But like I said, I had a great day.

What also happened today was that my groggy-self was greeted at 6am yoga by one of my loving teachers, with a smile and a good word. I saw some folks I hadn't seen in a while because I only resort to morning classes under the most dire of circumstances.

When my car turned into a smoke bomb I was able to get to a parking lot only .3 miles away from a repair shop (found by my trusty smart phone). The repair shop's manager drove the final, yet impassable, .3 miles in order to spare me the tow fee. He then established that he would need to get the car back to the shop so he would come back later, once the engine had cooled completely, to pour enough water in the engine to limp it to the shop on his lunch hour.

My friend, who was also on her way to the office, cheerfully picked me up road-side and we had a delightful trip in, twittering away while another co-worker texted to make sure we were okay.

When I discovered I had no food left I gorged myself on the free Blue Bunny ice cream provided by the employer. When I was sick of that, the same girlfriend fed me macro-biotic bars from the stash she keeps in her desk (Life is about balance, right?).

When I got the final call with the estimate, the repair guy said he had noted that my oil was overdue. I confirmed, quoting the exact milage it was overdue by (so that he knew I wasn't ignorant, just lazy). He decided he was going to change the oil for me, so I didn't have to take the car back in, for free. 

When I got home, The Boy was waiting with some kind words, a big hug and (lord does he know me) the offer of dinner ordered in. The Boy then stopped working on a tight deadline for an hour to eat with me and watch Walking Dead.

So, I must re-iterate, this was a great day. People can make all the difference. Be kind and look for kindness in others. Sometimes kindness is there but you can't see it through the drudgery of your day.

Namaste, darlings.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

I do not want to give the impression that I have in any way superior knowledge about yoga compared to, say, your average aardvark. Anything I may think I know is bound to be different in a week as I discover more, or realize I was hallucinating. Possibly, the only thing I have learned definitively is that a double chocolate fudge brownie will not always effect your class adversely. Hardly a piece of information that I should tout because, as the piece of phrasing implies, more often than not the brownie will pose a problem. I've just learned not to skip class because every now and then, you can still get a really great backbend with the brownie still churning away in your gut. 

That being said, I think I found a winner here. Now, as I've said, this may change. I have been conducting experiments and believe I have discovered, drum roll please, the perfect hairstyle for long hair in the yoga room! Thank you, thank you. Hold your applause, please. 

I am sure many with longer locks have had the same issues I have. My Ashkanazi mane has been growing for three years. Three very long years.* Many hairstyles have been tried. Let me diagram what is problematic about each of them:

Example A: Down
This is obvious. Hair is everywhere, your mouth, stuck to your face and eventually knotted up like starter dread-locks. While dreads are lovely, if you are not seeking to achieve the look, finding it on your head is rather dismaying. 

Example B: Singular Braid
This style gets in the way of wind removing pose. When you tuck your chin in you have a lump of twisted hair just behind the nape of your neck preventing you from getting your neck-spine to the floor. While, if we are being honest with ourselves, most of us are less than full-bore in wind removing, knowing before you start that you have no hope of achieving the posture is decidedly silly. 

Example C: Top Knot
Good for Wind-removing pose, as it will allow you to put your neck all the way on the floor, it gets in the way of separate leg stretching. Try touching your head to the floor with a three-inch wad of hair in the way. No dice. Same issue for rabbit. Furthermore, if you have the basketball-sized mop I have, standing head to knee is about impossible. When you start lowering your head, the basketball flops, shifts your weight forward and you find your center-of-gravity suddenly three inches in-front of your toes. Down you go. 

Example D: Pig-tails
This is the style I have preferred for the last year+ as I have been growing the mane. This will allow every one of the poses, with no impediment. The only problem is that 90% of your class is spent wishing you did not have a wet, clinging, scarf of hair wrapped around your neck. The room is hot enough without hair-made accessories appropriate for snowboarding. 

Example E: Two French braids
I imagine this would be great. Imagine. While most girls were learning this skill I was hanging out in a tree competing with my best-friend to see who could eat yogurt the grossest. If a yoga pose included french-braid lessons, I might be able to pick it up. As it does not, I am excusing myself of learning this skill. 

And The Ideal: Pig-tails with a third hair-tie holding them loosely together
Note that all the other styles have nice concise names and this one does not. I would like to believe this is because it is brand new and I have discovered something that will catch on like wild fire. I should patent this! The truth is that this is ugly and no person outside of the yoga room would ever consider this presentable. But hey, I am willing to sweat so bad I soak multiple towels, wear underwear and breathe using my arms. Really, a stupid hair style is not going to matter one iota. 

And now that I have discovered the ideal hairstyle for long hair, it is time to chop the mop and donate it. Hooray! I feel like I should send it off with an apology note, "I am sorry it is so unruly; I swear I tried to train it. It gave me nothing but grief. I hope you have better luck with it than I did."

I bequeath the actual hair to cancer patients and the hair data (presented above) to yogis.

* I have been growing it out for donation. During this process I have re-discovered that long hair and I do not get along.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sock It to Me

For about a year I was plagued with the inability to purchase socks. For a time, my usual resource would be I have since decided that they are the devil because of their decision to disallow funds filtered to Julian Assange (It's not a matter of whether he was right or not, I don't like a massive corporation deciding what causes I can donate to.).

I then turned to Target. No go again. They were among the first to contribute large quantites to the GOP once corporations were deemed people (again, it's not a matter of who the money went to, it's that the donations themselves are morally reprehensible). Target also allows their pharmasists to deny birth control to patrons which is especially disturbing knowing that they have locations in rural communities where they may be the only source for contraceptives.

Again and again my attempts to buy socks were thwarted by moral dilemmas. Finally, after months of darning the thread-bare upper-foot covers (the bottoms had long since deteriorated) JC Penny featured ads with Ellen DeGeneres.

When controversy arose in the form of a botched FaceBook protest, (the "Million Moms" page who's group comprised a couple folks paid for by religious groups) they followed their stellar first act with a not-so-subtle answer of Father's Day ads with two dads! While the LGBT community was hailing JC Penny for not backing down, I was rushing to my computer to order armloads of socks.

When my mailbox finally contained the blessed pairs of foot-warmth I had so been yearning for, I was overjoyed! I ripped open the bag and slipped on a new pair, not even bothering to wash the socks.

The next few minutes were very happy. My feet were cushioned, clean and fully covered! Over the course of the next few hours, however, I discovered that all was not well. It seems that the holes in my socks, generally located at the heel and ball of my foot, gave me a lot of traction. I could easily run accross my slick wood floors when the teapot whistled or when the telephone I had left on the counter needed answering. Now, I slipped pathetically and had to shuffle my feet when attempting to run. This gave me the quick but tiny steps of a cartoon geisha. My feet were moving very quickly, but the steps were so tiny I might have well been walking.

And that, my dear readers, is why I sit here with three of my toes slowly being drained of blood because they have poked out of their holes again and are being strangled by the few threads still holding the sock in one piece while a drawer full of brand-new socks sits in the bedroom.

We two shall never be parted...or three. Whatever.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Awww, Camping!

The Boy and I went on a canoe camping trip last weekend. When I tell people this, without exception, they squeal, "Camping? How romantic!" I wonder what experiences these people must have had to make them so delusional.

Living in the city, I find it reasonable to assume that these people have only seen camping through the eyes of Hollywood, where people wake-up with perfectly separated, full lashes and hair perpetually under the influence of a light breeze. It's best to assume this is the case because the other possibilities are that A) They are insane B) I have been camping wrong.

 Canoeing Offers Numerous Bonding Opportunities with The Boy
In my experience, camping is less a romantic getaway and more preparation for apocalyptic survival. All luxuries that mask your loved one's body odor have been removed. Simultaneously, so has the shower that would ensure a quick-fix. Lovingly prepared meals ("Honey, I know you love your empty starches so I added a potato to your meal!") have been replaced with... um... whatever you can heat on a stick with an open flame. And may the gods help your relationship if you neglected to bring pre-cooked foods; nothing smashes 'the illusion' like the trips to the woods. 

Do you think you will be different, you can sneak off under the guise of 'looking for kindling'? No, you can't. Nature will call after your second beer in the canoe. You will have to ask to pull over to the shore. Then you will have to dig through your waterproofed gear to find the roll of toilet paper. That's a sexy moment for you. Try wiggling your butt as you walk up-shore to find a tree just out of your lover's sight to squat behind, you know, to accentuate the mood.

And for all of you saying, "But sleeping under the stars is sooooo picturesque!" Yes, it is beautiful. It is also cold and uncomfortable. Do any of you women have hips? You know how your mattress allows those hips to sink down so your spine stays in-line? The forest floor doesn't do that. If your figure is anything like mine your side-sleeping spine takes the shape of a hockey-stick. That "L" crook will hurt like the dickens in the morning, but you're so cold that you don't care. When the sun stopped kissing your skin, or gnawing on it if you forgot to re-apply sunscreen, it left in its wake cold that could harden the nips on a polar bear. 

Sunscreen poses another sexiness-dilemma. Applying it liberally, and often, will leave you sticky, smelly and give you zits. Not applying it leaves you red and swollen with bits of skin that peel off you in pale phillo-dough-like layers. 

If you are contemplating your first camping trip with your loved one, let me tell you something that is equally relevant to a potential threesome or a potential camping trip, "You have to be REALLY comfortable with your partner before trying it out." 

The best reason to go camping with your partner clearly isn't the romance. It is the comfort you get knowing that you can depend on each other. You both survived the trip without attacking the other person with an oar (hopefully). The day after camping you can both truly appreciate the little things, like order-in sushi, and let the things that don't matter go, like walking in on the other person peeing. At least this time he was peeing in a designated area.