Así soy

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Part 2: Then things got freaky

2)  But we had arrived late.  I had barely enough time to race to the next gate and catch my flight to Raleigh.  And no time to find food:  I was going to have to settle for airplane snacks.

As I boarded I discovered to my horror that I was in the very last seat next to the window at the back of the plane.  And the first two seats were taken up by two very nice, but very large individuals.  I was crammed up against the glass (and I am not making this up) with my right foot on the seat so that I was staring at my right knee.  I tried to imagine five hours flying with one leg down and one up at all times.  Was this legal?

The kid in front of me was steamily ill, snuffling and sweating.  He had an empty seat next to him on the aisle, kept clear by the attendants.

The plane was packed.  I had stuffed my bags in the overhead compartments in the front as I worked my way to the back so there was nothing under my seat-let (or else I would have had both legs ups.)  The flight attendants began making other passengers take their carry-ons back out to be checked since the bins were full.  When everyone was finally boarded, we headed out to the runway.

Where we sat. And sat.  And sat.  

The pilot came on to tell us that there was an emergency light on the panel that would not resolve and that it needed some mechanics look at it.  After 30 more minutes of waiting, the plane began rocking like mad and got smellier with exhaust fumes as the pilot gunned the engines.

We all looked around, like, hey, does this sound good to you?

After several more minutes of this, the pilot came back on to tell us that the plane needed to go back to the gate for repair and assessment.  This process took 30 minutes as we had to wait for another plane to back out of the gate first.

Then the really long wait started: so long that the stewardesses began serving drinks.  I felt sweaty with claustrophobia.  We waited for over an hour and a half until the pilot finally came back on to let us know that the problem was with the reverse thrusters which weren't really that important except for landing; but since RDU had nice runways it really wouldn't be that much of a problem.  So what the heck, we were going anyway!

As the plane taxied out to the runway, I had had enough of being origami Naiya.  I had tried to think about what Kelly would tell me to do (put a lacrosse ball under the one butt cheek actually in contact with the seat?) and what Paul might say to do (Go to my Happy Place?) but then I decided to do what I figured ass-smacking Harry would tell me to do:  I unbuckled my seat belt, struggled to my feet, and told the couple in my row to get up to let me out.  I lurched up to the next row and plopped down into the single empty aisle seat next to the snuffling sick kid.  I didn't care if the attendants tried to arrest me, I was not going back into that corner. They glared at me indecisively but I think my starved, half-crazed "I know Harry" look kept them buckled into their seats.
The Road to Enlightenment has many paths...

                                       (to be continued....)

Finding the Otter Zone

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Part 1: The Best Laid Plans or how it started

So this is what I had planned:

1) I would drive to SFO after an easy 6-hour day of giving tests where I would get a sandwich before flying to LAX to catch

2) the red-eye on which I would sleep until I landed in NC

3) where I would rent a car and drive to VA to relax before the conferences.

This is what occurred in Naiya Realityland:

1) After the series of exams which I packed up to take with me, I arrived at SFO dragging my heavy suitcase loaded with my own pillows, snacks, and that plastic jar of fish oil capsules.  I then dragged my computer bag bulging with my emergency 50-foot ethernet cable (I am not making that up) & carry-on through Security where I actually had to take off my hair clip.

Upon arriving at my gate, I discovered to my stomach's horror that I was in the only terminal that had NO food other than a newsstand with snack packs. I bought a $5.50 bottle of water, figuring to buy food in LAX's loaded food courts.

And then I waited.

And waited.

Our flight was late and I got hungrier and bored.  At first I graded exams for a while, but it occurred to me that I'd be sitting all night so I may as well walk around.  I circled the gate but I couldn't go too far in case there was an announcement regarding our flight.

So I decided, what the heck, I'll do some of Kelly's Mobility Stuff at the airport.  It's not like I was trying to date anyone there.  So I started with the quad/hip flexor stretch.  As I crouched on the seat stretching away using my phone to time myself, I noticed people beginning to surreptitiously watch me.  Finally, one gentleman politely asked what I was doing and so, of course, I had to explain.  Then several other people people came over to chat, and I learned they were from Geek Haven Oracle World.  We all continued swapping stories even when I went to the gate ticket counter to do the Behind-the-back arm stretch.

Finally, our flight was called and I enjoyed a nice quick puddle-jump to LAX, comparing software applications with a cool techie from Ohio.  As I exited the plane, I was desperately looking forward to getting some food - the first food I would eat since 12 noon when I had eaten a banana....

                                               (to be continued.....)


Cupcake Girls: Carb rampage

PKWNA: Probably Kelly Would Not Approve
BPSW: But Paul Secretly Would

Monkey Hang: Crystal Springs

On the Road: Going Primal

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Do or Do Not. There is no Try.

"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you?"
Ok, I so am not Yoda, but now my butt can lift twice my weight.  Hey! Now I can use my hips to shove a hefty person  out of a burning building....


Saturday, September 25, 2010

On the Road

So I'm totally traveling and taking note of what must be shared as soon as I can get some serious computer and PhotoShop time.

But Kelly can be proud:
  • Shameless Airport stretches that won friends and influenced people. 
  • Still swinging like a monkey at least once a day.
Coming soon...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Monkey Business

So after a nice hour and a half commute to the Presidio, I arrived a little early to get my Kelly Fix.  Since the heavy fog was lifting, and there was a pretty window of sunlight on the Golden Gate Bridge, I wandered around Chrissy Field in my flipflops greeting all of the friendly dogs.
I then sought refuge in my warm car where I enjoyed a velvety venti lattee.  I listened to my new veil song, humming, sipping my coffee, and sketching out new choreography.

At ten 'til the hour, I headed over to Kelly's Office.  I stopped in at the Deluxe Port O'Pot (venti coffee, remember?) and thus began the morning trauma.  First, by now you would think I would know better than to actually look down into the Pot before using it.  There are things you should never have to see with your naked eyeballs, and certainly not in the morning when you haven't finished your coffee.  Anyway, while I was washing my hands, I heard a loud truck sound and the structure began to vibrate.  Crikey, that truck must be really, really close!  I opened the door and nearly banged the back of the service truck which had come to drain the Pot.  Panicked, I inched out the door and squeezed past the truck.  Seriously, I think they should knock when they see the door is closed.

Anyway, clutching my latte, my pupils a little more dilated than normal, I entered the Cage Zone and said hi to Angel.   I probably should talk about Angel since he is pretty much always the first person I see there.  Angel has a permanent coffee in his hand; he reminds me of all of my website icons because they all have a coffee in hand even if I have to photoshop it in.  He is usually telling athletes to do stuff, just like ass-smacking Harry, except that Angel is super quiet, contained and always smiling in that yeah, hey, uh huh sort of way.
I have visions of someone lurching up to him and saying, "Hey Angel, blood is fountain-ing out of my nostrils, and I think this stuff dripping on my sweatshirt might be grey matter, and do you think this might actually be bone sticking out here?"; and Angel would keep that steady smile, sip his coffee and say quietly, "yeah, great, we'll take a look at it after you finish the pull-ups, deadlifts, and squat-things. Uh huh."
I might be completely wrong about this but just in case, I make sure to smile and say, "hey!"

Anyway, Kelly came out of his office:  he looked totally surprised to see me.  This was unnerving, more so for coming on the heels of nearly having been sucked into a septic tank. Turns out that he thought I had broken up with him; whereas I thought I'd been dumped: Scheduling mishap.
Um, awkward!

But he juggled me into his schedule and (as usual) there were lots of highlights to the visit (e.g. the Bacon grease moment, the discussion of the gory details of Keanu and my relationship, and Kelly's clawing at the door and shouting for Angel when the door latch broke, momentarily trapping us in the box.)  But at the very end, after observing (and feeling rabidly envious of) some athletes hanging by their arms and pulling their legs to the bar, I blurted out that I wished I could do that. Kelly asked, "Why not?"

I don't think he knew the riveting power of those two words. I kept my face calm (PF) but I could feel my inner otter ricocheting around with excitement.  I scrambled up onto a tall nugget and grabbed the overhead bars.
I slowly lowered myself and then dropped to my knees and then even sat deeper until I was pretty much mostly hanging by my arms.  Success!  My ribcage pulled open, and I could TOTALLY breathe.  I wanted to hang there for an hour.  Kelly had me change my hand position but I had lost focus trying to contain the ecstatic otter who wanted to step off the box and swing away. 

The new morning goal: hang like a monkey from any bar I can find.

The Horror

Steaming mug at my side.

The post is ready.

I push the button.

My creation does not come to life.

Instead, everything goes dark.

I re-power the machine and find my creation in pieces.

So I'll be a little busy resurrecting the post and piecing it back together.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Body Language: Morning Reveille (& Revelry) in SF

Stomach:  Hey, what is that gooey stuff that Kelly is putting on the Shoulder?

Brain: I don't know.  It's kind of an ivory-yellow color.

Stomach: Is that bacon grease? I think it's bacon grease!

Brain: WHAT?  WHAT did you say?

Stomach: I think that he is using bacon grease.

Brain:  Are you completely mad?   And even if it is, what are you thinking?  That the Face will chew it off the Shoulder later?

Shoulder:  What? What are you talking about?  I'm a little tied up right now.

Nose: It doesn't smell like bacon grease.

Stomach: I'm just saying...   Well, then, how about more coffee?

Face: I'd like some more coffee, too.

Lungs: Oh, yeah, sure, ok!  Let's pour coffee into the Throat while lying flat on the Back on a table.  It's not like that will result in, I don't know, maybe my inhaling fluid and all of us choking to death?!

Brain:  La-la-la, I cannot hear you, la-la-la.

Shoulder: I'm sorry, were the last four sleepless nights packing ice at 2am not enough of a message for you?  Do I need to perhaps repeat myself?

Rest of Body:
Rest of Body:
Rest of Body:

Shoulder: I didn't think so.

Stomach: I still think it's bacon grease.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Life in the Beta Lane

Although it may seem that I spend all of my time working with Paul, and making field trips to see Kelly, I actually have an all day real job teaching an overload of classes, and a night job teaching dance classes, and another day job doing web work, and a periodic job of educational technology presentations & training, and a periodic job of dance performances.

Sometimes I eat food, and I occasionally sleep.

Although, when I'm eating, I'm probably grading, writing tests, creating activities while at the same time catching up on culturally fascinating (DVRed) TV shows with a fork in one hand and the remote and a pen in the other.

And when I sleep, I'm still sort of working: I've gotten pretty good at lucid dreaming and when stuck in sleep paralysis, I'll kill time by choreographing or just thinking up stuff.

I've realized since moving to CA that there are so many resources here and that people move at such hysterical speeds, that I've become a P&J sandwich with way too much bread and not enough peanut butter.

So when I got invited to speak at two conferences on the East Coast, I thought, "I need to get back to my 'hey y'all' roots.  I will go a couple of days in advance, relax a little, and give myself time to organize my ideas and equipment."  This would be new and a nice break for me since I generally overbook myself to the point that I am performing on the fly.  Plus, the hotel has a pool:  I would love to go swimming!  I have that totally uber-cute swimsuit....

But my brain started storming ideas to fill what it saw as "available time."

Brain: Hey, Naiya, you know your friend Patty? Her university is only three hours away.  You could add a little side trip to see her.

Me: Wow!  That is a good idea.  I'll do that.

Brain: You know your friend the author and program coordinator at the conference university will be at your workshop.  You should schedule some time to catch up with her.

Me: Wow!  That is a good idea.  I'll do that.

Brain: You should see if your mentor has some time available too - she will be in the area.

Me: Wow!  That is a good idea.  I'll do that.

Brain:  If you take all the exams with you, you can grade them on the plane instead of waiting until you get home.

Me: Wow!  That is a good idea.  I'll do that.  I had planned to sleep on the red-eye since I have to drive three hours to visit Patty's school after I land, but I guess I could just drink two venti lattees...

Brain:  If you put a copy of the web materials on your laptop, you could continue updating the site from your hotel room.

Me: Wow!  That is a good idea.  I'll do that.

Brain: You should check out the belly dance scene there!

Me: Wow!  That is a good idea.  I'll do that!

Stomach: Hey, and don't forget to find a real East Coast barbecue place!

Me: Wow!  That is a good idea.  I'll do that.

I heard a heavy sad sigh from across the room.  It was my swimsuit, tucked in my suitcase.  My swimsuit that I have taken to conferences and many out-of-state show performances over the past couple of years, looking forward to time in the hotel swimming pool.

My cute swimsuit with the price tags still on it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Episode IV: A New Hope

I totally over-worked myself! My body has fallen under attack from Darth Shoulder.  His Death Star fires at us incessantly, forcing us to retreat to the bleak, remote ice planet Hoth, and keeping the Alliance completely sleep-deprived. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kellyobi. You're my only hope.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Grapes of Wrath

So I'm taking a shower and, upon looking myself over, I see that I am covered with more colorful markings than a cheetah if cheetahs were black and blue.

Bruises are pretty much inevitable when you are being systematically rolled out like cookie dough, and, as it happened yesterday,  repeatedly stomped on like a bunch of grapes at harvest time. 

So Paul put me through the T-Rex stretch, the new "Buffalo Wing" stretch which felt as though he were attempting to crack my pelvis in half; and finally he stood and stamped out both legs from the knee to, well, higher above the knee.
But he wasn't done pulverizing:  he flipped me over and slung one of my legs over a foam roller.  He began to re-crush the leg but now from both sides.

"How's that working for ya?  Ha ha!"  He looked suspiciously as though he might be enjoying this too much.  Was this payback for the burning building scenario?

Since I was face down on the floor with a large man grinding my inner thigh into primordial pulp on top of an asphalt-hard roller. I did grit out between clenched teeth that he ought to consider investing in upholstery to pillow the roller.  Since I was directly in front of 30 or so high school athletes, I was limited in my exclamations.

By the time Paul was through turning both my legs into steak tartar, I was feeling not only much looser, and light-headed, but also as if I had moved one entire zip-code away from my butt.  No doubt I was experiencing the spiritual high of having my leg muscles try to ascend into my chest cavity.

Paul assured me that crushing me with his feet in this way will make me more flexible.

Certainly, it's going to make me more interesting to my doctor at my upcoming annual physical.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lethal Weapon 3

"Check this out," Kelly points to his face where he is finely controlling and manipulating a particularly excellent facial tic.

"Can you wiggle your ears?" I ask, wiggling my ears.

He wiggles his ears and then his nose, "Yes, and my nose."

"I can touch my tongue to my nose," I counter, touching my tongue to my nose.

"I can roll my tongue," he arches an eyebrow. "And arch my right eyebrow."

"Me too, except it is my left eyebrow," I say, arching my left eyebrow.  "And I can do upper and lower stomach flutters," I point at my torso, demonstrating this.

He says, "Ok, check this out!"  He makes several fast arm movements that result in a loud snapping sound reminiscent of the crack of a whip.

I pause, puzzled.  Is he snapping his fingers? "How did you do that?"

He demonstrates it again several times and then shows me the red marks on his arm where he is making contact with his side.  Somehow he is making that sound with his arm!

And as I stand there wondering what I else I can show him that I can do and is there any way to make it somehow involve noise,
I have this Beta moment in which it occurs to me that we are re-enacting a body-trick version of the movie scene in which Mel Gibson and Rene Russo compare their multiple bullet/knife/taser scars.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mexican Stand-off

I stared at Paul.  Paul stared at me.
Neither of us would budge.

It started when Paul placed a funky frame (think: donkey equipment) on the ground and began attaching wheels to it.  The fact that it was 1) on the ground  and 2) loaded with wheels, could only mean he actually intended for me to lift it up.

My inner otter froze, shook his head and squeaked out "no!"  From Paul's expression I realized I had channeled both the movement and sound aloud.

He said (basically, I'm summarizing here), "Look, I'll raise it off the ground with these wooden nuggets and even some more wheels to make it easier."

I said, (and I'm summarizing,) "No."

I then pointed out that while I could see myself needing to be able to drag something heavy or push something heavy (like the totally lame computer carts at my school,) I could pretty much promise him I had no plans to deadlift anything heavier than my purse.

So then Paul, narrowing his eyes, sat on a bench and came up with one of those rhetorical scenarios that make you feel awful because they usually involve a loved one in a burning building.

"What if someone you loved is unconscious in a burning building, and you need to lift him out?"

I coolly pointed out that I was now (thanks to him) perfectly capable of pushing a relatively heavy person out of a building.  He countered that this would be too slow as the flames were roaring away.  I then replied that I would roll the person onto a blanket or rug and drag him out of the building since I had demonstrated pretty dogged ability at the slave drag.

Plus, I had already learned that in panic moments I am capable of "hulkette" flashes and so would surely find some creative and effective method of rescuing said unconscious person (Question to self: And why is this person unconscious and I am not?  How can I lift anything if I can't breathe with all that smoke?  And is the door close by or could this involve stairs?)

As Paul and I stared each other down, it then occurred to me that he was imagining himself surrounded by flames, disoriented and unable to walk and his life was in the weeny hands of a scrawny belly dancer who would not dead-lift him out of the building. 

As Paul looked more and more traumatized about being left charring in the ashes of the building, my inner otter crumbled and shuffled miserably over to the weight set. 

My hands were shiny with fear-sweat ("Fear is the Mind Killer") (Ok, but Paul Muad'Dib didn't wake up thinking, hey, I totally want to put my hand in that box) (Read the book.)

So as I tried to get into good squat form, my lower back went all limp like a kid lying on the floor sobbing.  I mentally kicked all the body parts' asses and tried to stabilize by sucking everything in as tight as possible; but I still weebled and wobbled in a sadly uncoordinated effort.

But I finished by totally holding my breath, and by keeping a fixed image in my mind: I was roasting a marshmallow on a stick over a campfire. Or maybe it was something larger.
At any rate, my totem otter is as pliant and wiggly as my lower back:
In our The Good, the Bad and the Ugly standoff,
I blinked first.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Putting Theory into Practice : the Hookah Mobility-wod

When it occurred to me that I could blog this
But then my friends came over from the bar to see what the heck I was doing...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Zen and the Art of Prowler Pushing

So as I bent over and grabbed the prowler legs thinking that secretly I was glad to have a ferociously hard task to channel all my frustration and determination.  It is the only task Paul gives me where my whole body is so freaked out that all the parts come together as a team without the brain interfering (my Brain seems to think it can run things better.)  My Brain is like Big Federal Government over-controlling all the State-run local businesses with complete disregard for their wildly different needs, and with no idea how to delegate.  But I digress.

Back to the Prowler.  So I shoved.  Nothing happened.  I realized instantaneously that Paul had slid an extra wheel or something onto the Prowler.  Determined to pretend I had not noticed this stealthy maneuver, I bent over further, dug my toes into the crease in the sidewalk and shoved harder: the prowler screeched and scraped across the parking lot.  My body tightened up in terror and ran on instinct.

What?  Someone already had this idea for a movie?
 My brain, now completely free to kick back and Beta-away, began to examine the experience of the prowler.  It's a mixed experience : part of the difficulty of pushing is the joy of effort.  This joy is counter-balanced by the vampire blood-sucking sensation when I stop pushing.  But then the horror of the draining-death sensation makes the joy of the effort that got me there even sharper.

Does this make sense?  My Brain, sipping champagne and nibbling a water cracker, thought so.

So to distract myself from the creepy sense that my energy was seeping through every cell wall into some giant dimensional leech, I tried to think what that sensation actually was.  While I am sure that Kelly and Paul have loads of technical terms, I was thinking metaphysically.

But I'll bet no one has thought of *this* movie idea!
This is what I came up with:
       The prowler sucks all the bad stuff out of you.  It sucks out the pain & misery that you ever experienced.  It sucks out all that negative goo that clumps around your spirit giving you nightmares about exploding veins, swamps, driving off unfinished bridges, thus reducing you to a mere battery in the Matrix.

Anyway, it sucks out the bad stuff; and now you have space to put in new good stuff.

So then my brain, chewing thoughtfully on a chocolate wafer, wondered why sucking out bad stuff would have to feel so gross!  But then I thought, well, it's hecka less painful having the Metal Leech drain out the misery and unhappiness than it was to go through the uber-painful suffering of bad experiences in the first place.

Anyway, all of this is probably just prowler-delirium, since my brain was not integrated with my body as it staggered spewing sweat and foam through all ten runs without collapsing which is actually quite amazing considering Paul felt it necessary to cheerfully recount a series of vomiting stories to me between runs.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Portrait of a Renaissance Man

Leonardo would have subscribed to Kelly's MWOD Blog.
I'm getting the hang of driving to San Francisco at 6am. Granted, I'm half awake, but I'm totally pleasant and polite on the road. When I'm not cutting off the jerks.

I love the smell of the Bay, and so if I am lucky enough to arrive early, I hang out looking at the water, waiting to enter Kelly's Pain Box: "Fear is the Mind Killer," he reminds me.

Anyway, working with Kelly is a little different than working with other PTs that I've seen in the past. While that may seem sort of like, duh, in terms of his knowledge and skill, it's that he has a seriously developed persona.  BTW, I still have deep affection for the physical therapist I went to years ago because both of us crazy love high heels.  I have not asked Kelly his opinion on heels.

seriously, Katmandu!
Anyway, this persona, Kelly, has a habit of dropping nuclear tidbits, like today when he started out with, "When I was 21 and tired of teaching kayaking in Katmandu..."   Since he had my arm in an interesting grip that had my apparently casual but in reality full penetrating focused attention, I mumbled, um, wow or something similarly coherent, totally showcasing my charm and wit.

So while I was pretending to be on a separate planet from my shoulder, I also spent some beta time trying to imagine if I could actually say anything even remotely as interesting as that about any point in my life.
On a scale of 1 (bare existence) to 10 (seriously living):
Kelly:   Katmandu   "10"
Me:      I got kicked out of Spain after they canceled my Visa while I was an exchange teacher at the University of Sevilla. I had 48 hours to leave, went to England and got mono.   "4" [story better told while drinking]
Kelly:    Thailand   "10"
Me:      I got to see the Pope really close in Rome when the guards mistook me for a member of a visiting choir.   "5" (I'd make that a 8 if I'd actually had to sing.)
Kelly:    Ft. Bragg Special Forces "10"
Me:       I got to ride in a submarine around Charleston Bay once.   "7" -actually that was pretty awesome.
Kelly:   I'm one degree of separation from Mandy Moore. "10"
Me:      I met Dina in Canada and she was totally nice to me. Plus I dated Keanu Reeves. "11"

The mad, crazy passion of our tumultuous affair could not withstand the insurmountable odds of our never having met.

I actually did not get to say any of that because he was making little twisty motions with my arm that made it feel as though he were grinding the head of my humerus (upper arm bone) (I looked it up) against a stainless steel cheese grater.

He then revealed serious geek qualities as well by quoting BladeRunner : Director's cut (really!) (but can he quote Star Trek..?) and talking philology.

I'm sure I've just scratched the surface of his renaissance-ish-ness.
So, in one of his blog commentaries, when he says : "Nicht nicht!", I can't be sure if he is alluding to Paul Watzlawick ("One Cannot Not Communicate (Man kann nicht nicht kommunizieren): Every behaviour is a kind of communication. Because behaviour does not have a counterpart (there is no anti-behaviour), it is not possible not to communicate")

or if he is quoting Sasha Cohen's Bruno...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Fallout continues... or how working with Paul is possibly adding TMI to my professional life

"Super bien!" I told my students.  "Ok, Vamos a la página 14 para ver más expresiones útiles!"
I reached up to write on the board.

Now my college students are used to watching me laboriously erase the board with my left arm in my Wax on, Wax off effort to loosen up that shoulder joint.  That kind of sharing is ok. 

So, today, as I began to write on the board, I realized my chocolate-mint scented black marker had dried up and wasn't writing very well.  So I bent down to get the cherry-scented red marker.  I had to semi-squat to reach into my computer-bag and as I did, I felt the sudden pull of ticked off glute muscle.
 "OMG! My butt hurts!"

I think that might be one of the top 100 things students do not expect their instructors to suddenly blurt out in class.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mental note: Curtains

I totally function 24/7 in high-Beta which means while I can be hyper-sensitive of external nuance, I can get crazy focused on internal idea.  Anyway, there I was staring into space while my brain busily fomented discord among the squabbling body parts about how I was driving Paul crazy with my scandalously bad squat form.  I suddenly put down my fork, abandoning my breakfast and marched into my dance studio, utterly determined to get it right.

I took a deep breath, turned sideways to the mirror and did a squat.  I looked into the mirror to examine my form.  Aha! I was too far forward over my knees.  I shoved back farther with the booty.  I craned my head to assess my new stance.  Better.  Then I tried it again with even more back booty action.  Definitely better form.  But my knees still tended to drift a little in front of the ankles.

I stood, shook out my legs and tried another squat, this time basically handing the car keys to my booty and encouraging it to drive.  But it was having some trouble getting completely out of the driveway. 

Before: hamstrings activated.
  After: hamstrings completely relaxed.

I rocked back more on my heels, lifting the front of my feet completely off the floor.  I felt the tug behind my knees : it was the tight hamstrings!

Now I can't really be annoyed with the hamstrings: I have to consider that they pretty much keep my entire torso from collapsing like those push-bottom toys (see pic at left.)

But currently there is a certain point where the hamstrings won't give, and the knees surge ahead of the ankle.

I stayed in the squat position, frowning at my booty, pushing, wiggling, and willing it back further.

And then I caught a glimpse of movement out of the corner of my eye.  Movement outside of my large window.  Human movement.  Crikey! Public view!

I became aware of the entire open-window dance studio scenario in less than a heartbeat:

I'm bent over, head twisted back staring at my bouncing booty...

in my underwear.

(You really thought I'd post a pic of that?
Sorry, you had to be there.
Like my neighbors.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

When there is no context

Me:   I'm having trouble with my balls when I do the work on my back.  I can't keep them together so they get uneven as they go down.

Kelly:  That's an easy fix!  Here, let me tape them together for you.

Me:     Wow!  Thanks so much!
          Now I can really dig into those tight spots more evenly!
          I won't have to keep wiggling around, and grabbing at them to move them
          into the right place.


Channeling my inner twizzler

So a friend of mine had a couple of Flexeril and thought that I ought to try one in order to sleep a little better (which BTW actually works provided you don't mind your limbs turning into Gummy Worms.)

I discovered that the advantage of taking Flexeril the night before an appointment with Kelly, is that my arm had the resistance power of the French when Hitler marched through Paris.  There was some furtive spitting on the sidewalk, but no serious insurgency.

On the down side, my body was as organized as a wet noodle.

Ok, maybe my offering wasn't presented exactly like this. But it's the coffee joy that counts
I had brought Cuban coffee as an offering .  And though I sort of trusted him to share the coffee, I made sure by fixing his coffee first and reserving a wee bit for me.

As this was the first coffee I had swallowed in three years, it was a momentous event.   Kelly claims that since it was so long since I had drunk coffee, that I was technically losing my coffee virginity again.  I do remember the first time:  I walked from Penn State's East Halls all the way down to Willard Hall in the winter.  I was so frozen that I bought a vending-machine coffee with 6 quarters.  I did not care ni un comino what it tasted like - I only cared that it was hot.  Not a great first experience.

It was Grad school that got me seriously hooked on coffee: I started with steamers so I could hang out with the other wired grad students.  Being naturally hyper helped me "pass" for a while. But then I moved up to decaf for the flavor, then half-caf, then single shot, then double....well, you can imagine how that went.

Anyway, the caffeine jolt in that small cup of gasolina simply heightened my awareness of my wet-noodle status.  I kept thinking it was a good thing he didn't ask me to lift anything other than my arm.  It was funny enough when I had to turn over.

It got even funnier when he finished up with what I think of as "giggle-wheels."  He twists his hands in a spiral movement on my back, adding lots of pressure at the same time.  Theoretically, it should be hard to breathe while a strong man is bearing down on your back like that, but for some reason it pretty much squeezes giggles out of me-perhaps my back has a unique sense of humor I have yet to explore.

At any rate, wiggly, caffeinated and a little more mobile in the shoulder: not a bad way to start to a full day of teaching.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dragging my wheels

So it was only 2 billion degrees outside and Paul says, here, drag these wheels out to the white trailer and come back.  I squinted through my sun glasses which were becoming sort of molten on my face, and said: um, ok. 

I turned to ask him whether I was dragging in full Egyptian slave-mode, or pulling backwards with my shoulder blades.  But Paul had ducked back into the A/C to do something that involved his returning into the A/C.

The effect of the heat on me was already obvious since my question was pretty inane.  There was no way I was going to successfully drag those wheels across the parking lot using any method other than that of grimly bent-over slave.

My sun-induced delirium produces imaginary co-workers
As I trudged under the flaming ball of gas and flame that we often refer to as "the sun", sweat trickling down my neck, I suddenly remembered the slave in The Ten Commandments whose clothing gets stuck under one of the blocks being dragged to the pyramid.  He gets dragged along and is eventually crushed by the stone.  So I'm wondering how he got sucked under the stone - like did his leg go first and then the rest of him followed?  Or did the stone just slowly scrape away and shred him to death?

I finally reached the white trailer and didn't bother to reach out a hand to touch it:  I just bent forward and banged the top of my head on it (my melting brain sloshed inside.)  I did a big turn and started back, hugging the wee bit o'shade behind the parked cars.

Plodding like a plow-horse toward the air-conditioned gym, I returned to my morbid thoughts of the crushed Egyptian slave.  I thought, how thirsty the stone-haulers must have been in the desert, and how thirsty I am, and, will I be able to reach my water before I dehydrate, and, if I dehydrate and crumple like a raisin on the ground, will my hands be locked in a pit-bull death grip on the straps and

"Hey!" Paul's smiling voice sounded in my ear, "How's it going? Ha ha."  Little puffs of chilled air still floated around him.

If my eyes hadn't been seared nearly closed, they would have jumped out of my head.  Clearly, the flaming air rising from the pavement had affected my ability to hear even Paul approaching.

I'm going to get my iced tea. And a cookie. Pull faster while I'm gone.
And I'm sure it was the heat-induced delirium that generated the interesting but unsavory images that flitted through my mind at that moment.  I was bloody well focused on getting those screeching wheels back to the door, but I took a breath to point out that he really ought to remember that the slaves eventually rebelled and did in all the overseers who had been carried around in litters fanning themselves.

Paul: Ha ha!  Ok, when you finish, we'll do some lifting.




Paul is lucky that he wasn't wearing any long rags that could have gotten tangled in my wheels.

Totem Envy

So I had this whole post written about totem animals, and then as my finger hovered over the publish button, I froze.  Wait!  What was I thinking!?  I was about to totally out Kelly's totem animal.  Surely that violates some sort of T.A. protocol?  Crikey, did I nearly commit an uber-crass blog faux pas?

So I scrapped the post and spent a half hour writing about coffee instead (Coming soon!)

But I did spend some time thinking about what my totem animal would be.
Somehow, I suspect my totem animal may not be particularly dramatic.
Are you making coffee?
Naiya, are you making coffee? Coffee! Coffee! Coffee! Wanna make snow angels? Let's play with photoshop! What happens if we press that?  Ouch!  Whoa!  Don't do that again!  Wow, that smells amazing, doesn't it?  Hey! let's dance outside, you know, where the stars are!  Ok, we'll just lie here and watch the rain fall.  Are you going to finish your bacon?  I mean, I'm just asking...