Friday, August 31, 2012

Is Yoga Necessary? --- Day 237

Walk: Various shopping centers: Sausalito, Corte Madera, Sacramento Street
Distance: 1 mile and take yoga class

Start teaching again tomorrow after 9 days off yoga.  Wonder how it will go.  In just 9 days away I felt changes from not doing yoga: mentally scattered, stiffer/less pliant.  When I did exercise: run, hike, the parts of me that weren't exercised felt 'left out.'  Yoga works the whole body, mind, emotions.  It centers, calms and also energizes, opens, makes fluid conferring a sort of youthfulness.  I was surprised as I hadn't expected to notice much by taking time away.  More after returning to teaching......Now, to Alex Trebek and respite from the conventions.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jeopardy Awaits --- Day 236

Walk: A few errands
Distance: not much; private yoga practice (back to yoga; interesting to have taken 9 days off.   More later on that)

I don't have cable so only get the networks.  And they All took Alex Trebek and other shows away so I entered through the back door to watching the Republican convention.  I could have not watched anything but decided it was the higher ground to spend my time/mind on this part of the national debate leading to the presidential election.  I think it has been a worthwhile and good decision.  Tonight Mitt Romney gives his acceptance speech, so I will watch that.  Jeopardy awaits.

PS - Closed out on this post, went to my inbox and found the Republicans/Yahoo News (which I do not subscribe to) had somehow found a way into my inbox AND when I pushed the button offering me the opportunity to stop any coverage, it took me to Another Republican site.  This I Don't Like. At All!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Africa, Huh? --- Day 235

Walk: Cantor Arts Center (Stanford University), Sacramento Street
Distance:  3 miles

Went down to Stanford today with a group of docent friends to see an exhibition of African art.  Most of what we saw was truly artistic - less utilitarian in terms of eating and storage vessels - than other cultures I've studied.  Many of the carvings and copper works were almost astonishingly fine.  But  no matter how good the signage and written explanations are at these exhibitions of
'primitive' art there is the frustration (for me) of leaving with more questions than answers.  How do these objects relate to the culture I'm viewing?; if ceremonial, when/what were the ceremonies?; were the artists a separate group supported by the tribes to produce art?; etc.  I believe my viewing experience would be comparable to a Nigerian coming to Rome and viewing Christian art in a museum.  They probably wouldn't understand the iconography or how it related to the society in which it was produced - and even if they came up with the right questions, they wouldn't be able to grasp the whole of Christianity and its place in the world and the hearts, minds and rituals of the people impacted by it.

Not saying I shouldn't go.  There is a stimulation in encountering things one cannot (easily) grasp, but my frustration at trying to do so anyway (my impatience too) can lead (literally) to headaches. Probably all the more reason to go.

Most likely I'll return and take a docent tour before the exhibit closes.

event image
Central Nigeria Unmasked: Arts of the Benue River Valley
Ongoing every day from May 16, 2012 through October 14, 2012. Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University
A comprehensive view of the arts from along the river that flows across the center of Nigeria, joining the great Niger River on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.  Reveals arts and cultures of 25 diverse tribes/peoples who are far less known and studied than those of the majority populations in Nigeria's northern and southern regions.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Village It Takes --- Day 234

Walk: Fillmore/Trader Joes's
Distance: 4+ miles

This was one of those days when San Francisco becomes a village.  In my part of the village I ran into one, two, three, four yoga students then into a member of my reading group on the way home from T. Joe's.  Many other familiar faces. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

I, Yi, Yi Robot --- Day 233

Walk:  Crissy Field, Kabuki Theater
Distance: 1.5 mi fun, 2 miles walk

Still feeling a bit not here due to trip cancellation, no yoga, no yoga teaching.  Staycations can be confusing!  Not aided by seeing Robot and Frank this afternoon. To me it was slow moving with bad rhythm between Frank and the robot - everybody really.  You had the feeling every actor was filmed and recorded separately and then everything was spliced (tech term?) together as if they had actually been interacting.  Badly spliced; the pauses were odd and things like eye contact between characters didn't seem to line up.  And then the topic: losing your mental faculties as you age.  Yup; probably not the flick to hit.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

One Sunday, San Francisco --- Day 232

Walk: Embarcadero Theater (Searching for Sugar Man), Chinatown, Nob Hill
Distance:  4 Miles

After seeing Searching for Sugar Man (GO!), I missed the bus back to Pacific Heights.  Luckily!  Because I got to walk home through a few of the myriad worlds that are San Francisco. 

Across the street from the theater I heard beautiful, ethereal (but strong) music, looked around and saw members of an Indian wedding coming out of the building where it had taken place.  Gorgeous, richly colored dresses on the women, and the men all in white.  Because of privacy I didn't want to come closer so you'll have to imagine.

Then a few blocks up Sacramento a musician was playing her accordian for a large group of pedestrians that had gathered to listen.  You can barely see her behind the woman in the white tee as she takes her bow and the crowd disperses.

A respite at Grace Cathedral on top of Nob Hill then out to Jackson Street.  This San Francisco is just one incredible place!  I've been here over 40 years, and, like a kid at a candy store,  it never, never ceases to be a wonder to me.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Non Yoga Stretch --- Day 231

Walk: Laurel Village/T.Joe's
Distance:  3 miles

In preparation for the trip that got 'burned out' I have people subbing my yoga classes, and I've decided to let the subs stand and take a staycation.  Already feels a bit more free after just a few days away from yoga teaching.  Thinking more and more seriously about giving up at least the Saturday class.  So, maybe this will become known as my Non-Yoga Blog.   Nah, still like CIWT.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Racy Oil Rigs --- Day 230

Walk: Crissy Field/America's Cup
Distance: 5 miles

What is that black thing in the center?

Heron can't be bothered with the America's Cup commotion....

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oil Rig or Yacht? --- Day 229

Walk: No
Distance: Basically 0; kind of adjusting to trip not taken

So when did the America's Cup boats start looking like this?

The big race and the contending boats/teams are here in San Francisco for the next few days.  It is exciting/energetic if you go down by the water.  And for $26,000, the cost of a VIP ticket, there must be even more excitement. 

I expected yachts like these:

Big, white, swoopy, elegant things that would make my heart go pitter-patter.

But the yachts that are here actually elicit a bit of fear at first glance. Something about their upright stiffness and the liquidity of the water is jarring.  Also their scale and angularity seems odd for our graceful Bay. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Etc. --- Day 228

Walk:  Packing
Distance: Mental

Just checked weather report: 'Smoke' Alert still posted.  And according to the person we were going to stay with: We have been playing golf and doing gentle hikes but there is no question that you are breathing in the stuff. The forecast is for more of the same. The Trinity Ridge fire is one of the two big ones and it is pretty much due west of here. There is little or no containment yet and they don't anticipate any in the near future. With a prevailing west to east wind, I suspect the smoke will continue.

Too bad for all concerned.  No trip for me, but Boy am I Organized after another closet/packing caper.  Trying to see if there is another quick road trip I can arrange, but doubtful in last two weekends of summer (?!); the few places I've checked which are usually maybe $125 a night are $350 and up, and even they don't have any rooms.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Road Trip on my Mind --- Day 227

Walk:  Mindful Body
Distance: 1.5 mile and teach yoga

Monday, August 20, 2012

One Trick Cindy and Yay!!! --- Day 226

Walk: SFMOMA, Yoga Tree Hayes
Distance: 3 miles and take class

Feeling a bit pressed for time, so want to briefly remind those of you who live in San Francisco of the Cindy Sherman show. (Minneapolis people; it will come to the Walker next). Went twice again today - once on own with a docent friend and then again on an excellent docent tour.  You can glean Cindy Sherman's message on your own, but a good tour leader can impart biographical or artistic details you might not have known/noticed.  The thing that impressed me most today was the fact that Cindy Sherman's artistic vision never wavered from early high school projects and has built upon it, deepened it, brought new techniques to it to the present.  This is quite astounding and highly unusual.  Most artists 'try out' various styles, subjects, techniques until they encounter what truly interests them and suits their talents.

The 'real' Cindy Sherman...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Playing Dress UP --- Day 225

Walk:  Legion of Honor (Olympics art tour and Lee Miller/Man Ray)
Distance: 1 mile

Clothes all over the floor again.  Packing for Sun Valley.  When I lived there we all just wore blue jeans all the time for everything.  But I understand now they dress up up there.  So, guess I'll wear this outfit to go hiking:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dudleya --- Day 224

Walk: Mindful Body, Pets Unlimited
Distance:  2 Miles and teach yoga

This is Dudleya, a rosette-forming succulent native to California and abutting states and Mexico.  They are tough, hardy, grow well in pots and can survive upwards to 100 years (hmmm..).  The genus is named after William Russell Dudley, the first head of the botany department at Stanford University. Judging from the flower one of the plants on my deck is producing, this is likely Dudleya Anthonyi.  I forget that succulents bloom once a year, so it is always a happy surprise to look out and see a stalk of flowers.  Specially nice now because the days are getting shorter and you can really sense the light beginning to dim and the year beginning to wane.  Also, yoga students are starting to return to class from summer homes, trips, weekend jaunts.  Subtle signs....

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pillow Silence --- Day 223

Walk: Mindful Body, Deck gardening
Distance: 1 mile and yoga class

Sad day around here: my friendly, soft, thin, old pillow finally lost its down stuffing and had to be thrown away.  This is like losing that threadbare teddy bear you've carried around since infancy. Irreplaceable; they literally don't make pillows like mine any more.

Locating the right pillow is such a demanding process there is at least one web site that is devoted exclusively to helping shoppers sort out the criteria.  As they explain (and we all know from experience):  Bed pillows are an important part of our sleep process. If we choose the wrong one, we can find our slumber less than satisfying and wake up with possible neck pain and soreness that can adversely affect our entire day. Since we spend about one third of our lives sleeping, it is important to choose the right bed pillow

Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Greenest City, Really? --- Day 222

Walk: Corte Madera, Mindful Body
Distance: 2 miles and 1 hour private practice

Several times recently I've heard Portland, Oregon call itself "America's Greenest City."  Since the 'rules' for our garbage collection have been enough to stump many highly educated and successful people for at least six years, and many of my students and younger acquaintances work in established but also innovative companies, I have to question Portland's self-proclamation.  I also want to put in a word about the realities of life and people in the Bay Area. There are any number of San Francisco jokes about fruits, nuts, sliding off into the ocean, etc., and in some ways these serve us because maybe they keep incompatible people from moving here.  But Portland's proclamation reminds me that there are many, many people who take these jokes as truth, write off the Bay Area/just dismiss it out of hand, and have absolutely no idea the high quality of life out here. 

By high quality I mean High Standards - across the board, in every field including all the green fields.  And by high quality I mean having things instituted - trash recycling, handicap accessibility standards, earthquake retrofit, solar power/energy, and way too many other things to enumerate - decades ahead of most areas of the world.  Including Portland.

We're not perfect in the Bay Area, but there are reasons that the young, educated, innovative, idealistic, athletic, visionary, artistic come to the Bay Area in droves and then work/innovate like mad to be able to stay.  One reason is greenness.  I'm sure Portland gets an A for Effort in things like  DIY sustainable food sources, microbreweries, container gardening, cheese making, beekeeping and chicken keeping. But guess what, all these things and more are alive and well in San Francisco.

Just googled the Greenest Cities and find the Huffington Post Travel blog lists the top 5 as 1. Copenhagen, 2. Melbourne, 3. Reykjavik, 4. San Francisco, 5. Vancouver.  There are many of these lists, and  -- tah dah! -- San Francisco is on all of them.  Guess I'll conclude my rant with that. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mint --- Day 221

Walk:  A-Dock Sausalito, Mill Valley
Distance:  2 Miles (?)

This little store in Mill Valley is the freshest, most unpredictable and delightful I've encountered in a long time.  Most items are crafted by local artisans.  What is soft is Sooo soft, and what is charming is sooo charming, and what get the picture. 
I'm beginning to wonder if this 1,000 things clear out (I'm at 750) might lead to something.  A move? Felt nice to walk with a friend in the sun and redwoods today.  Another friend had called earlier in the day re: a house available on the lake where I grew up, and then there is a small road trip to my old home town in Idaho on the horizon.  At the very least it felt good today to be away deciding whether what I'm looking at around here is a remnant of my past or part of the present. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

--- Day 220

Walk: JCC, Mindful Body
Distance:  3 miles, take yoga class, teach yoga class

What to write about today?  Took a yoga class, taught/demoed one then had tea with students after, and honestly am feeling kind of emptied out.  Not a bad feeling actually; sort of where yoga is meant to go; some call it zen mind; worth staying with...

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hanging in while tossing out --- Day 219

Walk: Yoga Tree Hayes
Distance:  3 miles and take yoga class

Getting rid of 1,000 things around the house necessitates opening every drawer, every cabinet under every sink, looking under beds, couches, chairs and thus encountering virtually every bit of your past.  As this happens and the movie I go to (Beasts of the Southern Wild) is metaphorically about the end of the planet, and the person I hear interviewed on Fresh Air (Peter Heller) is talking about his new novel (The Dog Stars) on the same subject I admit to small waves of terror.  In my small way, 1,000 parts of life as I know it is disappearing. 

Instead of dreading my next Dr.'s appointment - whenever that is - I try to think instead of friends of mine who 3 or so years ago did an even more serious weed out.  Like me, they had no idea where they were headed with it, just that somehow the time had come to Pare Down.  Then, toward the end of that process, a beautiful houseboat came on the market at an incredible price.  So, they ended up moving from their large house with many rooms and closets to a gorgeous, serene home on the water with virtually no closet space.  So, these things do go on for positive reasons.  I tell myself....

Ooooh, just realized, if I let every empty hanger count for one item and can find a dry cleaner to take them......!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Impossible Ingredients/Great Movie --- Day 218

Walk: Bridge Theater
Distance: 3 Miles

Hearing there is a prescient child in a movie usually sets my teeth a bit on edge.  And same when a film is an admixture of 'magic realism' and the story telling has huge gaps that are 'filled' by mystical 'coherence.'  Then there is the business of spending a whole movie looking at poverty, unbridled drinking, random abusiveness and child abandonment/endangerment, and animal death.  Plus more.

As it turns out, old dogs can learn new tricks. This movie is riveting, deeply touching, and non-sentimental (mostly). Given the voodoo and myth saturated Bayou culture, the magical realism  seemed to me a wholly fitting element of the story telling.

But, all this is secondary to the acting of a now 7 year old girl.  She was 5 when she was selected from a throng of 3,500 candidates.  I can imagine she was absolutely stunning from the moment she delivered her audition lines.  As Roger Ebert writes: She is so uniquely and particularly herself that I wonder if the movie would have been possible without her.

So what's the movie, and who is she?  The Beasts of the Southern Wild, and Quvenzhan√© Wallis.

I say see it, and then read what critics say on Rotten Tomatoes if you like.  (That's my usual routine - see the movie, check out how 'other' critics felt).  The review I like because I've gained respect for him over the years and because it is linked with a whole slew of video interviews is Roger Ebert's.

beasts of the southern wild

PS - I'm at about 500 toward my goal of getting rid of 1,000 things.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

1,000 Points of Lighter --- Day 217

Walk: Mindful Body, around the house
Distance: 1 mile and teach yoga

While listening to Outside Lands* on Tune In and even hearing a dim bit of it wafting in on the ocean breeze (wind I should say) I've been working on my goal of getting rid of 1,000 things.  Have finally had enough of the sounds of either Explosions in the Sky or Gene Hunt - although the name of the first band pretty much describes the experience.  Also probably enough clearing for now.  You try not to have it happen, but even when you're tossing things as mundane as bandaids or toothpicks, your life has a way of passing in front of you - so these weed outs are at least as emotionally draining as they are physical. With a good night's rest, back at it tomorrow.

*So, what is Outside Lands?  A three-day outdoor music festival featuring many current performers and bands I've never heard of as well as a few I have this year: Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Norah Jones, Two Gallants (I know their parents!).  Tickets start at $165 for the day, and are sold out for all 3 days.  (Not to be confused with another 3-day festival: Not Strictly Bluegrass which is free, a gift to San Francisco from the late Warren Hellman).     See below for why you might be glad there are no more tickets - The howling wind isn't visible but you can see the fog coming in in the background.  Yay for being 20-something!!

Outside Lands attendees listen to Beck at Polo Field stage at Golden Gate Park on Friday, Aug 10, 2012 in San Francisco, Calif. Photo: Yue Wu, The Chronicle / SF

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ed Brown --- Day 216

Walk: Mindful Body, Rose's Gift Gallery, Hayes Street Timbuktu, Sports Basement
Distance: 3+ miles and teach class

Today's entry is dedicated to my old boss and friend, Ed Brown.  A special man with a prescient eye.  He had an art gallery - mini-museum really - on Hayes Street where his eye was so exacting he was able to discern quilts so excellent that the famous Esprit Collection is comprised almost solely of quilts from Ed's Gallery.  Same goes for African, Indonesian and South American artifacts and textiles.  Traders from all over the world made their first stop Miller/Brown Gallery and most considered Ed a friend.  And so he was, helping many contemporary artists by supporting them and placing their works in as many corporate and private collections as he could.  That was the third prong of Ed's 'museum' - this prong earning its first class distinction by the contribution of Michael Miller who had taught at Cranbrook and had vast connections in the craft world attracting the finest weavers, basket makers, ceramicists, sculptors, and other fiber and metal artists.  I was incredibly lucky to have worked for Ed and Michael and have the opportunity to know them as well as get to know in depth many aspects of arts and crafts - as well as many of the actual artists and traders.  More perhaps in another entry.

Today I went down to Hayes Street, one of the most actively developing and thriving neighborhoods in the city.  Young, Hip, Cool, and coming to have more and more depth.  Ed's gallery was 30 years ahead of its time.  He saw what was going to happen - when others thought it impossible at best.  There was only one 'safe' block then; the rest abutted the projects where meth, crack and gangs abounded.  It was dark, noisy with the freeway overhead.

Ed kept saying "The freeway will be torn down.  This will be a really popular neighborhood." He said it over and over for years.  Then he died of AIDS.  Young, beautiful, sensitive, cultured, kind, generous, a Renaissance Man.

And 10 years later, the freeway came down and the boutiques began to arrive.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Teeny things that go bump in the night -- Day 215

Walk: Mindful Body, Corte Madera Shopping
Distance: 1+ miles 

Just subbed a class after coming back from Marin and Trader Joe's.  But before all that I got back into the great purse caper.  This time it entails emptying everything out of every purse, handbag, tote.  All those little receipts, Kleenexes, pills, bandaids, little organized bags of lipstick, mints, nail clippers that you never opened or used and same with those organized little sacks of combs, brushes and hair stuff you also never used.  Keys, notebooks, pens, business cards (yours and others'), scraps of notes, gum, power bars.  And now they are all over my bedroom floor, and I know they will crawl all over me as I sleep if I don't organize or throw them.  It's the same as those piles of papers that go deeper and deeper as you work through them.  Only, not being a purse person, I don't clean them our/ do this very often - like years.

So, no more time to say hello/goodbye until the leetle things are corralled. 


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bear of Littl(er) Brain -- Day 214

Walk: Fillmore and Sacramento Streets
Distance:  1 mile

A day of indulgence (like every day, face it).  But this time in the hands of friends who treated me to lunch and conversation.  Really it has reached the point where I totally forget my birthday unless kind friends remind me.  (So, those of you who forgot or are as unconscious as I am about birthdays, No Guilt).  As much as you poo poo it, it is nice to feel special for a day.    PS - My actual birthday was yesterday, but who can function on the actual day?

Did I mention one of my nicknames growing up was Pooh?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Moon's a Balloon --- Day 213

Walk: Laurel Village, Mindful Body, Laurel Village
Distance: 3 miles and teach yoga class

A few weeks ago The Chronicle ran an article on two men (?) who were attempting a 100 mile plus lawn-chair 'flight' from Oregon to somewhere in Montana. Surprisingly it didn't last more than a few hours (actually I am  surprised it lasted that long) before the balloons and lawn chairs came crashing down, ejected the two astronauts, and rose back up to sail away on their own.

The readers' Comments thread that ran after the article was the funniest I've seen. Here are a few excerpts; I'm with the guys who say "Best thread ever!" and there are more threads. Maybe read the article and all the comments if you have the time/inclination.

BEND, Ore. (AP) — Hours into their lawn-chair balloon flight, two men made a hard landing after they were hit by hail and snow as thunderstorms swept into central Oregon. But their back-yard aircraft floated away.
Kent Couch and Fareed Lafta were about seven hours into their flight Saturday when they descended, coming down near the community of Post, about 30 miles east of their starting point. But after they scrambled out of the contraption, it floated away, flight organizer Mark Knowles said.
"They came down hard," Knowles said by cellphone. "The craft went back up. It's sitting up in the sky right above us."
A flight website tracker showed it continuing east across Oregon.......

Read more:

Readers' Comments (Excerpts)  ---------


11:26 AM on July 14, 2012
Debate amongst yourselves:
Who has more free time? These two or the guy who taught his goats how to surf?

12:40 PM on July 14, 2012
At least the balloon guys and the goat guy are getting outdoors.
We're all sitting inside eating Bon-bons, dispensing our wisdom to like minded shut-ins.


12:45 PM on July 14, 2012

 I'm not eating bon bons, I'm eating a grilled cheese sandwich. 


12:52 PM on July 14, 2012
Grilled cheese. God, I'd love one, but no cheese in the house and I can't leave the keyboard to go buy some. Else I might miss a opportunity to post some wisdom.


1:03 PM on July 14, 2012
Can you buy cheese on Amazon?


1:50 PM on July 14, 2012
Hey there ain't no taxes on Cheese in California.
But on Amazon you have so many choices. From Velveeta to Parmigiano Reggiano, Bonati Riserva Cheese (Whole Wheel) Approximately 80 Lbs


2:04 PM on July 14, 2012
If you're looking for Lou, as in Lou Zerr, you've come to the right place. Where can a body get bon bons around here?


4:54 PM on July 14, 2012
Hey, now, I'd be outside if I wasn't loafing it at work.
5:56 PM on July 14, 2012
Everyone knows the answer to that question is: Vitale
6:14 PM on July 14, 2012
@towngrier, brotherbuzz wrote, "there ain't no taxes on Cheese in California."


9:25 PM on July 14, 2012
Surfing cheese...balloon dude?
This thread is pretty awesome.

Read more: