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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Namaste? Like Hell.

Namaste?  Like hell.  I've been a yoga guy for a few years now.  And I've just recently twisted the arm of my partner to join me.  Believe me, world peace would have been easier to accomplish.  But he's a good sport.  Well, truth be told, I just wore him down over time and he gave in. 

If you've practiced yoga before, you'll know full well how difficult it can be at times to maintain focus.  To not look at the clock on the wall.  To find the stamina it indeed takes to finish out the hour class.  To put your body into yet one more pose that seemingly tries its best to put something out of joint and remind you of exactly how old you really are.  But that's all a part of the practice of yoga.  Breath control.  Centering.  Balancing.  Developing stamina that perhaps you don't have at this particular point in your life.  It is quite a workout. 

Yesterday I headed over to an atypical gym for me.  I needed to go at a different hour of the day and found a 4:30pm starting time.  With an instructor that I was not familiar with.  I was the first one in the room.  We ended up with maybe 20 folks or so when instructor Tiffany Lee came in, turned out the lights, and began her class.  She put on her audio headset microphone, started her zen-ish music and we crossed our legs on our mats, brought our hands to heart center, and closed our eyes.  Tiffany Lee placed flameless candles in front of each one of our mats.  "Wow, this might be sort of cool," I was thinking. 

And then she started talking.  Let's just say that English is not her first language.  Which is fine.  Except that I couldn't really understand her very well.  Sometimes at all.  I had to open my eyes and peek at her through the dark classroom.  I had to try and figure out what she had just said and mimic her pose.   There was no way I could keep my eyes closed and actually understand what she was asking us to do.  I was already distracted.  And the beads of sweat began to drip.  And drip.  (Did I mention the word drip?) 

And the poses.  Sweet baby jesus.  I know, I know....I've done yoga before.  Nothing should have caught me off guard.  But each instructor does it completely differently.  Tiffany Lee apparently enjoys the lengthy holding of poses.  And torture.  She enjoys torture.  My knees ached.  I had to sit down.   My lower back just couldn't keep up.  And I had to sit down.  Again and again I found myself sitting.  Waiting to restart at the next pose.  Then, Tiffany Lee cuddles right up next to me, doing her little pose perfectly.  Beautifully, actually.  I think she totally got off on putting her beautiful little yoga body next to my struggling middle-aged ass.  She brought me a block to use -- blocks enable certain poses to be done with a bit more ease.  No one has ever brought me a block before.  And then the questioning -- "How are you all doing?," she kept on asking.  I guarantee you she didn't want me to answer that truthfully.  At least not out loud in the middle of class, anyway. 

So, at 5:10pm -- 40 minutes after class began -- I did something that I've never done before.  I rolled up my mat, gathered my belongings, and left the room.  Irritated.  Dripping sweat in spite of the fact that I had spent half of my class sitting on my mat in complete embarrassment. 

And as I departed?  Tiffany Lee said to me "Thank you for coming, sir."  But you see, she was wearing that headset that projects her voice throughout the room.  The entire damned room heard her wish me a lovely evening.  And with that, I was gone. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Waning Days of Summer

As is the usual rhetoric about this time of year and others like it, I find myself thinking "I can't believe that it is the end of summer already."  Why is it that time appears to travel more quickly as adults than as children?  It has been a very busy summer.  Far more coordinating of schedules than I care for, no camping once again, no visits to Boise to see my family, and less time at the beach than I'd like.  But the good as well -- Bear Week in Provincetown with a house full of friends, just a small handful of our favorite summer concerts in the park, and a few mornings of coffee on the patio watching the sun rise. 

My work schedule has been crap.  The last three or so months I have ended up with only part of the trips that I actually ask for.  The remaining trips are assigned to me as a result of my general, default, sort of requests.  The trips at the Portland base are a changing!  We have tons of three and four-day trips typically involving Hawaii layovers and typically getting home later (me no likey).  We have very few turns left here, and just a handful of two-day trips.  All of my favorite trips are now taken by senior bidders to me.  The airline industry is, indeed, a freaky entity.  Changing.  Evolving.  Never the same.  I guess if I wanted the same old thing from day to day, I'd be sitting in an office answering telephones and responding to emails Monday through Friday from 8am-5pm.  Right? 

I've been hard at it at the gym lately.  That is one great thing I've done for myself this summer.  I've been doing yoga, the treadmill, and lifting a few sets of weights.  I've been working on my core and abs.  I've been stretching, twisting, bending.  It does feel so good to be in an environment with people who are actually doing something, something positive, for themselves.  And I've even twisted the arm of my partner to join me in yoga for his very first time ever.  And that has been years of arm twisting, believe me. 

I've only been to our clothing-optional beaches a few times this summer (deep sigh).  I created this map years ago to highlight them.  I was first taken to a nude beach in the summer of 1998.  I was absolutely horrified that anyone would possibly think that I could take off my clothes in front of anyone and wander around.   After all, as you'll recall, I'm simply not that kind of boy!  But, honestly, it happened in 1998.  And I haven't looked back.  Our beaches are both on the mighty Columbia River.  And one of them still, at the middle of August, has very high water that precludes beach goers from using the normal paths which are still under water.  Crazy.  We had one of the driest winters on record.  But we had one of the wettest springs on record.  But the scenery at the beaches and throughout the Pacific Northwest is amazing.  And so, I go.  Not as often as I'd like to, but I try. 

I've found myself being irritated far more often than I'd like.  Things set me off easily, I have zero tolerance for stupidity and silliness, and I'm finding it difficult to sit for very long without my mind wandering to politics, hateful people, my iPhone or iPad, the Internet, or my continuing struggles with toothpaste being left all over the lid.  I'm not sure if this is a product of growing older or if I have unresolved issues in my life that need tending to.  And I've even thought that my coffee in the morning doesn't do well by me -- I'm down to just a single cup many days and even that seems to add to the frustrations.  As much as I take advantage of the many technology pieces we have available to us today, I'm just as much upset with having it available.  I'm a trees and water and wind and dirt and sand and skies sort of person.  And I'm not getting enough of it.