Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Day, Another Coconut

As I sit here typing this, the neighbors are fighting and have been for the past few hours.  They took a little break about an hour ago after the fight turned violent.  I can’t understand a thing they are saying, but from what I can gather the wife is the one angry with the husband.  She is screaming at him while he answers her back in a loud, collected voice.  At some point she spat on him and started hitting him and their daughter started screaming trying to stop the fight.  I’m not sure if he hit her back, but he ended up leaving shortly after.  Now he is back and the fight is back on.  The speakers on my computer aren't loud enough to drown out their voices.  Today is a day that I appreciate being single again.  Living in dysfunction for over 5 years I got use to the drama and chaos.  These days my life is drama free and I no longer worry if it’s Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde I’m coming home to.
This afternoon I intended in joining Christian’s class to experience this new teacher he has been raving about.  As luck would have it, I’m going through another bout of stomach issues and everything else that comes along with it.  I finally ate chicken and now I am paying the price for it.  It’s the first source of animal protein I have eaten since leaving for my trip.  Guess I’ll be sticking to the vegetarian diet from now on.
Practice was good this morning.  I’m going to stop writing I woke up tired because that is the case every day.  Saraswathi added a new asana to my practice and it’s only with her assistance that I am able to hold the pose.  I’ll be working on this one for a while.  My Sanskrit and chanting class is now in the mornings and today was a good class also.  For some reason I am a little more focused today and able to pay attention.  With that said it made me think about this mornings’ practice.  I hit a dead brain cell and couldn’t remember the next asana.  Eventually as my brain cells rotated I figured it out. 
Lately there is this new rave about the health benefits of coconuts/coconut juice.  Across the shop from DANC’s shop is a company that makes and distributes coconut juice.  Every time I pick him up I always ask him to bring me a juice.  Well every morning there is a guy that sells fresh coconuts in front of the shala.  There is also a coconut stand down the street.  The company that sells the coconut juice charges about $24.00 for a pack of 12, 11 ounces each.  The coconut guy in front of the shala charges $0.20 for the whole coconut and that includes the coconut meat.  The local coffee shop that serves Italian coffee charges less than a dollar for a large cafe mocha and it tastes better than what the anti-christ of coffee companies sells.  For lunch Christian ordered large cafĂ© mocha with an extra shot of espresso, a vegetarian wrap and a chocolate chip muffin and spent $4.20.  The American dollar goes a long way here.  It’s insane to think the amount of money I spend on unnecessary and pointless things living in the United States.  With one pair of jeans and a shirt1, I can pay a month’s worth of rent, one-month tuition to a mediocre yoga school and have some left over for food.  This doesn’t mean I’m not going to waste my money when I get back home, but on concert tickets alone I spend more than the average person.  Sometimes it takes being away and living in different conditions to realize that I have a pretty good life.  I know it’s good, but I still sometimes forget how good it really is.

So where does this leave you the reader and me with the mindless blabbing?  Nowhere, really.  Like I said, I have too much time on my hands and can only read so much on yoga philosophy.  I'm considering taking cooking lessons or someone even suggested sitar.  Cooking Indian food may not be a great idea considering it is currently making me sick.  The sitar on the other hand could be very promising.  If I don't find a job when I get back I will at least have a future on the 3rd Street Promenade.   
1.  I really didn’t buy those jeans.  My sponsor MCat did 

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sunday…

Another LED class this morning. Today I had a hard time getting up and thought twice about practicing. It’s hard for me to go to bed early and I end up not getting enough sleep.

Today, Christian and I went on a little adventure. I got to pick any place that was within reason of the scooter ride and he would in turn drive us. I’m not sure how I convinced him to go with me. Just the other day he told me that he wasn’t interested in the culture and that he doesn’t care about sightseeing. Whatever it was that changed his mind, I’m grateful he wants to go.
The plan was after breakfast we would head to Brindavan Gardens and then check out Mysore Palace and Chamundi Hill late afternoon. Brindavan Gardens was a bit farther than the road signs indicated and the trek took us a little longer than we expected. The ride up there was beautiful and very green and we also found the bird sanctuary, which will be another one of our excursions.


I don’t really have much to say about the garden, which in all honesty I am just too lazy to write about it. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Email me if you want a link to the pics or look on FB.

In the afternoon we headed in to town to find this bookstore that supposedly had a huge selection of yoga books. The traffic and the air quality in this part of town is horrendous. There isn’t much breathing room between riders, cars and buses and I worry about someone snatching my bag. We found the bookstore and it was closed. Our next stop was the palace and that plan didn’t work out either. The streets were so crowded and there were so many people that we ditched the idea and headed up to Chamundi Hill.

Chamundi Hill is about a thousand feet above from the city. The further away we got from town the cleaner the air and fewer people. Throughout the ride there are signs posted that plastic bag weren’t allowed up on the hill. I thought this was cool and strange at the same time. It’s India.. We can’t get people in the United States to stop using plastic bags and here is this country that is considered third world concerned about the environment.


The top of Chamundi Hill was not what I imagined. The streets are lined with various vendors selling chotskies and the best part of all are the monkeys! There are lots of monkeys hanging around and playing amongst themselves. There are also cows or bulls or whatever they are defecating everywhere. I know they are sacred and all, but do they really have to defecate every where? Where is the poop police when you need them?

We walked around the temple and saw that there was an entrance leading inside. Shoes weren’t allowed inside so we had to leave them with shoe valets. The shoe valet is about a 100 feet from the temple entrance and that was far enough for me to be walking barefoot to think twice about going in. As I was standing there debating this guy walking barefoot steps in the biggest pile of poop. He looked down for second to see what he stepped on and kept on walking. If that were me, I would have been crying and screaming for the CDC. I eventually got over it and made it inside.  Christian was making fun of me as I walked carefully on the side of my foot not wanting to completely step down. I don’t even remember what we saw inside. Cameras weren’t allowed and the only thing I remember are these guys holding some tray with a flame around it asking for donations. I don’t think that was worth taking my shoes off for and risking stepping on poop, but the outside of the temple is beautiful.


Lessons learned:
1. Taking B Complex #1 to prevent mosquito bites doesn't work
2. Before getting a massage, research the type of massage
3. When traveling overseas, bring lots of snacks
4. If the water is murky do not drink it. Regardless if it’s in a water jug
5. When disgusted in public it is best to not make a funny face

Saturday, August 29, 2009

My First Ayurvedic Massage

**If Rainbow were here she would of been laughing at me… Yep, definitely cracking up…**
My first Ayurvedic massage experience is a bit of a shock. I was ganged massaged and feel slightly violated and good at the same time. Unlike many massages I’ve had before I had to completely strip in front of these two women that gave me the treatment. A piece of twine was then tied around my waist with a paper cloth inbetween my legs. It gets better..
The first part of the treatment I had to sit on this stool as one of the ladies poured oil and rubbed my head. That wouldn’t have been so bad except for the fact that I was naked and while the lady worked the other one was just watching. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m a bit of a freak and I don’t deny it. Even my 7-year-old nephew says so. The next part of the massage I was able to move to the table lying face up. Got more oil rubbed on me and kept counting the minutes when I would be able to turn over. Not sure how an Ayurvedic massage is conducted in the United States, but for some reason I don’t think it is the same here. My chest and stomach were included in the massage and living with someone that was a masseuse I know that is somewhat forbidden territory. Well at least the chest part. When I say chest, I mean everything. Not just my pectoral muscles. I mean the WHOLE chest area, center included. The massage was a relaxation massage and with all the touching going on I don’t know how that was possible. Several times the masseuse kept reminding me to relax and in my head I kept trying to go into my happy place. My eyes were closed, but I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. I didn’t sign up for this “special” treatment. I just wanted to have my shoulders and neck worked on. The moment finally came when I was able to turn over and that wasn’t any better as far as my comfort level went. My butt got a lot of love and attention and slapped a few times here and there. While one lady was working my neck, the other one was digging into my calf. After the massage I went into a steam box and in there I was able to really relax.  When I got out of the steam box both of the ladies were waiting to wipe me down.  As I was standing there getting my wipe down one of them began to ask me about Michael Jackson.  I was polite and tried to answer here questions as best as I could, but at that point I just wanted to put my clothes back on.  
Overall the massage was great. My neck doesn’t hurt as bad and my shoulders have loosened up a bit. The doctor suggested that I sign up for a 7-21 day treatment that includes herbs, detox, etc. I’m highly considering the treatment and with time maybe I can get over some of the insecurities I have. It is India and everyone kept telling me that it would be a life changing experience. Ha!

If Blah Only Meant Something

Not much going on today. The shala is closed and there is no practice. I woke up at 4 as if I had practice and eventually fell back asleep. I thought I was dreaming when I heard someone knocking on my door and it was Christian waking me up for breakfast. By then it was 9:45 and I felt like I wasted half of my day sleeping. Since the shala is closed today, so is Santosha, the local breakfast place that I have been eating at all week. On Saturday Joseph makes breakfast for the guests and he made the best fruit salad I've ever had with flax seed dressing. I ate a little too much though and got a stomach ache. That isn't really saying much considering since I've been here my stomach hurts after every meal.

Christian who has become my adventure mate is feeling under the weather today so we are staying in. At first I wasn't so keen on staying in today, but as it turns out, I'm not feeling all that well either. My neck is all screwed up and I'm in a lot of pain. Top that with a pounding headache and a stomach ache and I’ve become a fine mess. The weather isn’t helping matters either. The skies are gray and there is no sight of the sun. I made an appointment to get an ayurvedic massage this afternoon that might help my situation out. Until then I’m going to do nothing but lie here and watch the day go by.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Scooter Getaway

Day 4 of practice. Yet another day waking up tired. LED class this morning and I literally got my butt kicked. My shoulders hurt, my legs and hips were sore and my body wouldn't warm up fast enough. Tomorrow will be a much needed rest day. The shala is closed every Saturday and I'm looking forward to staying up past 9 pm tonight and sleeping in past 4:00 am. These days it's really the little things that make my day.

Earlier this afternoon, Christian and I rode into the city to find a bookstore. After purchasing our books we ventured over to the marketplace to look at the vegetable and fruit stands. As I was walking into the entrance I feel this tug on my pant leg and as I continue to walk the tugging is continuing. I look down and there is this little girl following me around asking for money. I had such an averse reaction that I think it kind of scared her a little bit. Last night Christian and I were watching an episode of "South Park" titled "Night of the Living Homeless". It's about homeless people invading South Park asking for change in a zombie-like manner. The homeless live on change, almost like food. Regardless how much change you give them they ask for more change. Let me make it clear that I'm not comparing the poverty in India to a "South Park" episode. I'm merely stating that it was ironic to see that particular episode and experience something similar the following day.

I shook my head and the little girl eventually went away. Took two steps and there was a hand in my face asking for the same thing. Took another few steps toward the banana stand and now there is mother with her two children following me around. At this point the adventure to the marketplace wasn't fun anymore. I couldn't stand being there and wanted to leave. As we were getting on a scooter another mother with her two children approached us and she had her kid stand right at the back of the scooter making it impossible for me to get on. Christian moved forward and I could not have jumped on the back of that scooter any faster. I've read and heard about people begging in India, but I wasn't quite prepared for what I saw today. The poverty here is worse than the Philippines and I thought that was bad. Too see the elderly and such young children beg breaks my heart. My reason for darting out of the marketplace is not that I'm disgusted with these people. I can't stand to see people living that way and even if I gave them all the money in my pocket the problem would still be there. Giving money to one person also causes the domino effect. If I give one person change, they would multiply like gremlins.

Riding back to Gokulam made me realize that this area is somewhat surrounded by a bubble. The houses here are huge, it doesn't smell as bad and for the most part I can walk around and be safe.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just In Case You Didn't Think You Were Dumb Enough

Woke up tired this morning. Not that is any different from the past few mornings. You know you are waking up too early when the dog that usually barks at you all day as your passing is too tired to even acknowledge your presence. Haven't died from jet lag yet, but my stomach isn't happy. I'm still waking up in the middle of the night, but now I'm able to go back to sleep. I still worry about not getting up on time to be at the shala by 4:45. With time, I hope my body acclimates to the schedule.

So far things are going okay. A little too slow for me. Usually after practice, I get breakfast, head back to the house, go on the internet and read about yoga. I'm starting to experience cabin fever and that is not a good place for me. I'll start getting home sick and will start questioning my decision to be here. Yesterday I was so bored that I was taking pictures of my banana. It wasn't just a regular banana though. It was a red banana and they are short and thick. I even named it which I won't share cause it's inappropriate and the best part is that my flatmate busted me taking pictures. Boredom and I don't work well together. I start thinking too much and do stupid things.



Joseph is getting me a scooter today, so I'm hoping things will change for me being more mobile. I'm a little hesitant with the scooter, but excited at the same time. The drivers here don't follow any set of rules and the majority of the riders do not wear helmets. The Indian law is that the driver of the motorcycle or scooter has to wear a helmet, but not the passenger and in most cases passengers. I've seen up to 3 people on a motorcycle and somehow it doesn't seem very safe.

Day 2 of practice and had a so-so day of practice. I was able to get into a few more poses that I usually can't hold, but my breathing was not right. I feel like I'm not inhaling correctly and keep holding my breath when I transition. It makes it harder for me to concentrate and my focus shifts. I'm still excited to see how my practice will evolve being here.

The shala also offers Sanskrit and chanting classes that are held every Wednesday, Friday and maybe Monday. Last night was the first class and I'm sad to say that I was the only student. I thought there would be more people, but I was it. The private lesson and special attention is great, but the teacher is solely focused on me. I'm forced to pay attention and it doesn't allow my mind to wander like the frequent flier that it is. Being in the class I feel like I'm in ESL or some sort of remedial class. Let's just say I need Sanskrit for dumber than dummies and won't even bother with the chanting part.

song of the day: "Mr. Gaunt Pt 1000" Soap&Skin

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One Cookie Spoils the Bunch

After lunch yesterday Christian and I went to a shop and got some cookies. The cookies looked really tasty and I was excited to have a nice little treat. Well this morning after practice I was starving and the first thing I saw were the cookies. I don't normally have cookies for breakfast, but what the heck. I'm in India and know one will know. I took a little bite and tasted something funny, but kept eating thinking my taste buds were off. After eating the whole cookie I still couldn't figure out the special ingredient and the funny taste in my mouth just got worse. From there I decided that the cookie just sucked ass!


just cause it looks good, doesn't mean it tastes good

First Day of Practice

Yesterday I registered with the shala and was given a 5 am start time. When I got back to the house, I was filling Joseph (host) in on the details and he said that the shala clock is 15 minutes early so that would mean my start time would then be 4:45. There have been numerous occasions that I have gotten up that early and it was to drive down south to San Onofre to surf or surf PV cove. If I can get up that early to surf, then I have no reason not to get up at 4:45 to practice. It's just six days out of the week though.

This morning was my first day of practice and I was really nervous. I've heard so many different opinions about the shala and was expecting the worse. I arrived on time which I lost sleep worrying about being late and was fine. I remembered all the asanas I was suppose to and even got to do one more pose that I don't usually include in my regular practice. I received help when I asked for it and would say it was great way to start my day.



this is what my daily walk to the shala or to town looks like (taken in front of house)

song of the day: "Daniel" Bat for Lashes

Poughkeepsie

Had a memory lapse in the shower and accidentally drank water. Usually this wouldn't concern me and I'm sure it's no big deal, but now all I can think about is the scene in "Sex and the City" where Charlotte does a Poughkeepsie in her pants....

Monday, August 24, 2009

Is It Possible To Die From Jet Lag?

My whole sleep schedule is all screwed up. My first night in Mysore and I fell asleep around 6 pm. Woke up at 1 am and couldn't go back to sleep till 3:30 am. Slept for a few hours and woke up at 6 am. The funny thing is that I would wake up hungry and eat trail mix in my sleep. I would roll over and a peanut would be stuck to my cheek. I never eat in my room or in my bed and with this trip I'm breaking all of my rules.

There are only three people staying in the house that I'm renting a room from and one of them is the host. It's a little lonely and Christian, my flatmate from Austria talks just as much as I do so needless to say, it's quiet in this part of the house. Christian was kind enough to show me where to get breakfast and other useful places that will be useful for the duration of my trip. Breakfast is the only real food I have eaten since Singapore, hence eating trail mix in my sleep.

Yesterday when I arrived, Joseph (host) took me around town on his motorcycle to show me some stuff and that was pretty useless. Everything was a blurr and I didn't retain anything, but getting to and from the shala. It seemed like we were going around in circles and everything looked the same. Riding on the back of the motorcycle was pretty fun though. I've come to the conclusion that this is something I really enjoy. During the summer I would ask sMelza to run her errands on her scooter so I can be in the back. At times I would create errands for her to run just to stay out longer. Sometimes it wouldn't work, but it was always worth trying.

I haven't started my practice yet. As a matter of fact, it has been a week since I've practice Ashtanga. My last week home was just so crazy and my focus was elsewhere. I was going to try to practice this morning, but that wasn't going to happen with the delirium I'm suffering from. This afternoon I'll register with the shala and go from there.


on the way to Mysore

song of the day: "By Picadilly Station I Sat Down and Wept"

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Singapore Day 1 & 2

**Before you start reading this post, I have to warn you that I'm severely jet lagged. Some of my sentences are incomplete and don't make sense. I think bullet points would of been much easier. Anyway, forewarned is fair warned.

Day 1 - Traveling to Singapore

Departing LAX layover in Narita Japan (11.5 hours). From Narita to Singapore (8 hours).
The flights were hellish and long. I barely made my flight departing LAX. Then the guy sitting next to me on the flight smelled kind of funny and kept picking his face. I had a window seat and was trapped. The only thing I could do from not freaking out was to sleep. The plane was delayed and as it was taking off, the plane came to a halt. Apparently one of the doors wasn’t closed. I’m not sure how this minor detail slipped by and why they barely noticed it then. When my car door is ajar I usually hear an annoying beeping sound. This must not be the case with a piece of machinery that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build. Yet a car that cost under $30,000 has this nice little feature.

Luckily my flight to Singapore was also delayed. My hip joints ached and I was not looking forward to sitting another 8 hours. The flight from Narita to Singapore wasn’t any better. Shorter, but I sat next to a guy that smelled like a smurf pooped in his mouth or something. Laugh all you want, but it was torture.

My friend Cola warned me about this. I admit that I’m a little OCD with cleanliness/hygiene issues and a smell-a-phobe. She said that my OCD issues would go out the window and I would learn to deal with them because India doesn’t seem like a clean country. Me being me, I shrugged it off and didn’t believe it. One thing I have to say about Cola is that she is a wise person and speaks the truth. Plus if anyone messes with me, she is a cop and will kick someone's ass for me.


Day 2
Singapore

Woke up to the sound of pouring rain…. I mean literally. But can anyone finish that lyric or am I the only one that still remembers that song. Better yet, I’m the only that has no shame and admits to knowing that song?

Rain… It was nice to wake up to rain. It hasn’t rained in Los Angeles in a very long time and the change of weather was nice. I enjoy the occasional rainy day and spending the day indoors watching movies. Definitely not enough of those days and too many gives me cabin fever.

My cousin and her girlfriend were nice enough to take me around the city. The weather was humid and my kneecaps were sweating. I saw some parts of the city and Chinatown. Over thinking Chinatown for a minute... Isn’t Singapore part of China or occupied mostly by Chinese? Then wouldn’t every town be Chinatown? Anyway, one of the highlights was that we got to visit a temple in Chinatown. Don’t recall the name of the temple, but it was beautiful.



Before we had lunch, my cousin was starving so we stopped to get a hot dog. They got me one too and I didn’t want to seem high maintenance so I didn’t tell them that I don’t eat pork. The last time I ate pork or red meat was when I was 13. That is over 17 years ago and after taking a few bites, I could tell that I am not missing out on much. The first few bites were fine, but once I started to think about what I was eating, I grossed myself out and felt sick all day. I swear lightening was going to strike me. This is going to sound weird, but I felt really guilty as if I was letting someone down. I think I’m just disappointed in myself for being so passive. I could spin this and justify it a million ways that I was trying something new or breaking out of my shell kind of a thing, but it’s done. The hotdog is somewhere in my system and I can’t wait for it to get out.

song of the day: "Running to Stand Still"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

FAQ

1. What happened with work?
New projects weren’t coming in and my position was terminated

2. Have you tried looking for new work?
Yes, but I wasn’t having any luck and decided to take the summer off

3. Why India and what are you going to do there?
I chose India because I want to go study Ashtanga yoga

4. Aren’t there Ashtanga yoga centers here
Yes, but it is not the same experience

5. Are you coming back to teach?
No. I am going purely for the experience and to learn

6. Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving?
I wasn’t intentionally leaving people out. Not very many people knew I was going. I didn’t tell very many people as I wasn’t sure things would work out. There were so many things I had to do in order for me to go. Plus, India was such a far fetched idea that I didn’t want to tell a whole bunch of people and end up eating my words. As the trip got closer and closer, I felt like it was too late. Kind of how a lie gets bigger and bigger. I didn’t tell my family I was leaving till 6 days before my trip.

7. How long will you be gone?
Minimum 1 month, maximum 2 months

8. How are you able to afford to be gone for so long?
This is no one else’s business but mine. One tip is to live like you are in the depression and hide money underneath your mattress

9, Have you lost your mind or feel the need to find yourself?
No, I haven’t lost my mind and no, I didn’t lose myself either. It’s the perfect time in my life to go. I’m no longer in a relationship, I don’t have kids, I’m not working and really have nothing to hold me back. Once I start working what company in their right mind will give me that much time off.

10. What are you going to do when you get back?
Find a job. If that doesn’t work, I’m young enough to still join the military

11. What kind of camera are you using?
Canon Rebel T1i

12. Are you going alone?
Yes, I will be traveling alone.

13. Are you scared?
Who wouldn't be?? I'm traveling half way across the world not knowing anyone and it does cause a bit of anxiety. However, listening to Jack Johnson makes everything better

14. Do you even like Indian food?
To a point. If I'm not afraid of coming home smelling like curry, then you shouldn't either. I'll need to eat so I have no choice. Unless, I become all spiritual like and fast.

15. Did you read "Eat, Pray, Love" and did the book inspire you to go on the trip?
yes, I read the book, but don't remember what it was about.  She goes to Bali or something, eats a lot of food and finds a husband???  No, the book was not my inspiration.

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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Barely made it on the plane today. I got to the airport less than an hour and half before my flight departs. For international flights it is recommended to be at the airport at least 2.5 hours and if I was on a domestic flight I would have been right on time. I was waiting in line to check in and got moved to another line. There is a 45-minute cutoff before the plane departs and all luggage must be checked in. I had 10 minutes left and was at the back of the line. I finally found someone and pleaded with them and this lady was kind of enough to check me in and escort me to security so I can walk right through. I had been standing in the incorrect line the whole time. As I arrived to my gate my flight was already boarding.

All week friends have been asking me if I was ready to go or was nervous. There was so much going on that I didn’t once stop and think about this journey I was about to embark on. The anxiety and fear of leaving didn’t hit me till Rainbow and Cola were driving me to the airport. Sitting in the car my chest started tightening and my throat began to ache. It was all hitting me at once and there was no turning back. The longest I have been away from home is about 3 weeks tops. I’m not scheduled to return till October 31. That is 70 days or 2 whole months and then some.

The ordeal at the airport sugarcoated my anxiety for a bit and once I settled in my seat, it all came back up again. I was texting Rainbow and asking her if this was the right thing for me to do and at the same time talking to Palindrome and she was trying to calm me down on the other end of the line. As I was staring at the window, reality hit me that I depend so much on my friends and a person like me doesn't deserve to have friends as great as mine. They mean the world to me and I’m a very fortunate person. India would not be possible without the help of all these individuals who are all rallying together to take care of my personal matters. I'm sad to be leaving for such a long time, as I will miss each and everyone of them.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Leaving On A Jet Plane

Haven’t had time to update this week. The past few days have been so hectic. Moving my stuff out of my room and packing for two months turned out to be more work than I thought. I’m suffering from stress and lack of sleep.

My flight for Singapore leaves at 1:00 this afternoon. More updates when I arrive and settle in.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This Is Not A Mixed Tape!!

As my summer is coming to an end it makes me think about the time I spent with friends and all the fun I experienced. Along with those memories are songs and the music that I listened to. Music is an important element in my life and at times when I can't describe how I'm feeling, there is always a song that captures the emotion. Growing up in a psychotic household music allowed me the escape from my surroundings. I couldn't necessarily tell an adult my true feelings about them, but in my head I could dedicate a song to their well-being.

My playlist this summer contains a mishmash of artists all depending on my mood at a particular moment. The music may or may not describe what I was feeling at the time and sometimes it was lyrics or a beat that resonated with me. In the past I have been known to burn my playlists and give them to people that I think might enjoy the music. Recently it has been brought to my attention that some people may get the wrong idea when I do this because it is considered a "mix tape". When I was told this I rolled my eyes and all I could say is "what the what - seriously!". I don't have enough brain capacity to think about this stuff and am pretty oblivious. Now I'm super paranoid and have a nice little complex. So thanks Palmala and to everyone else that has been teasing me (you all know who you are).

Here are some songs that have some sort of memory or meaning attached to my summer of 2009.

2009 Summer Playlist

Place to Be - Nick Drake (sitting in the car with Susan & sMelza at Sunset watching the sets roll in)
The Trapeze Swinger - Iron and Wine
Goodbye Horses - Q Lazzarus (R.I.P. William Garvey )
Tell You Something (Nana's Reprise) - Alicia Keys
Lonelily - Damien Rice

Always On My Mind - Pet Shop Boys (woke up one morning with it stuck in my head)
Skinny Love - Bon Iver
Y Control - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Home - Depeche Mode
(my best concert this summer)
Speed of Sound - Chris Bell
Where Do I Begin - Beth Orton
(driving down to Dana Point early in the morning to practice at PAI)
Raise the Roof - Tracey Thorn
Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder) - Maxwell
(DANC and I at Saint Rocke on Wednesday nights. This girl covered the song and it was so good)
Time to Pretend - MGMT
Young Crazed Peeling - The Distillers
Things Behind the Sun - Nick Drake
A Chance - Maria Taylor
Cape Canaveral - Connor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band
Velvet - The Big Pink
(I can't tell if the naked person on the cover of this album is a guy or girl. I don't think they are gay, so I'll assume girl)
I Would Die 4 U - Prince ("Purple Rain" was one of the few movies I actually sat through this summer. Such a great movie!)
Birds & Ships - Natalie Merchant
Thinking About Tomorrow (Ben Watt Mix) - Beth Orton
(sMelza created a playlist for me and this is one of the songs. Plus the lyrics about habits are so easy to make but hard to break kind of struck a chord with me)
Better Together - Jack Johnson (I always think about surfing when I listen to Jack Johnson. If I had the choice to marry someone, it would be Jack Johnson)
Wild At Heart - Gloriana (concert with Trin and my sis)
Best Days of Your Life - Kellie Pickler (this song and country music is my secret shame)
Suburbia - Pet Shop Boys (tribute to my mom who owned this record)
Middle Cyclone - Neko Case
No One Sleeps While I'm Awake - The Sounds
Please Don't Leave Me - Pink
(cruising on the boat with Cola and Rainbow)
Sometime Around Midnight & Wising Well - TATE (my yoga class that i felt the urge to interrupt to find out who these guys were)
Off the Wall - Michael Jackson (need I say more R.I.P)
Pass In Time - Beth Orton (mom's 20 year death anniversary, August 16, 1989)
Out of Control - U2
Joey - Concrete Blonde
(Dan the Man)
My Lady's House - Iron and Wine
Hey Ya - Obadiah Parker
(a sub for a yoga class i sometimes attend had this on her playlist. we did something really different and cool in class that i had never done before)
The Letter - The Veils
Hyperballad - Bjork
(who doesn't think about hurling cutlery and themselves over a cliff?)
Just Like Heaven - The Cure (sometimes I get stuck in a time warp)
Innocence - TATE (driving to Del Mar with mArvin to see these guys)
Answer - Sarah Mclachlan (i sometimes listen to this song to sleep)
I'm a Lady - Santogold (one of my favorite artist that came to town this summer)
Close to Me (Closet Mix) - The Cure
I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight - U2
Day to Day - Eulogies
I Will Follow You Into The Dark - Death Cab For Cutie
(saw them with LA Philharmonic with the mini Roth's. best picnic dinner ever)
New - No Doubt (saw them at Verizon after not seeing them for years with my sis and bro-law)
Electrical Storm - U2 (why not???)
Last Goodbye - Jeff Buckley (seeing my old friend Celestial)
Against All Odds (cover) - The Postal Service (a summer later i'm still stuck on this song. i blame Starlee Kine)
Blue Mind - Alexi Murdoch (i got stood up for this show, but it all worked out in the end)
P.Y.T - Michael Jackson (i swear that the hamster dance sampled this song)
Naked As We Came - Iron & Wine
Man in the Mirror - Michael Jackson
(Rainbow and I were driving back from Santa Barbara and she played this song. Half jokingly I said that this song changed the world. We both had a good laugh, but I think it really did)
Both Hands - Ani Difranco (saw her play at the Orpheum this summer with Cola & Rainbow. saw the biggest mohawk ever)
My Love For You Is Real - Ryan Adams

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

DM

Sarah got us tickets to see Depeche Mode at the Hollywood Bowl tonight. It is by far the best concert I have been to this spring/summer season. Dave Gahan and Martin Gore's vocals were amazing and the band sounded great. Two hours of raw energy and Dave Gahan dancing his butt off. It was one of those shows that I wished they could of played all night.

We ended up with terrace box seats and I'm always afraid that the closer we are to the stage, the more chances of us getting arrested. Sarah is madly in love with Dave Gahan and wants to have his babies. I think given the opportunity she would jump him.

Peter Bjorn and John opened up for them and I am so confused. There were 3 people on stage and I think Peter Bjorn is actually two people and Bjorn is not Peter's last name. Am I the only one that is perplexed about this?? If they had a comma between Peter and Bjorn's name it wouldn't be so confusing. Do they not use commas in Sweden? I always wondered why John didn't have a last name, but now it makes more sense.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

20 years today...

My mom passed away 20 years ago today. It's been such a long time, but I remember the day like it was yesterday. I won't get into the details of that day, but from that day forward I knew I was never going to be the same again. For months we watched her suffer and at the time I wanted more than anything for her to pull through and live. I honestly believed that she would make it and just couldn't believe that I could lose someone that I loved so much. It seemed impossible and I remember feeling it was all a bad joke and I was being punished. Knowing what I know now, it was the best thing for her. No one deserves to suffer and watching someone slowly die is the most painful thing I have been through. As I watched my mom die, something in me slowly started dying too.

As the years went on and I got older, that part of me that had died slowly started healing. Sort of like a prescribed fire in the forest. You have to kill and destroy something in order for it to grow and survive. I no longer think my mom was playing joke on us nor do I think I'm being punished. When I was younger I use to believe that one day I would be traveling somewhere and run into her. The denial was just a way for me to cope. I use to also think that my dad wasn't my real dad and one day my real father would show up and life would be good. Again denial because I am the carbon copy of the man. We are too much alike that I didn't like him.

Things in our lives happen for a reason and sometimes shit just happens. Whatever it is we as individuals decide how we want to act and treat others. Someone can have the most fucked up childhood, but as an adult, that person can make a decision to either allow their past to rule them and live with a chip on their shoulder or do something about it to move on. Personally, since I have done both, doing something to move on is the longer but more rewarding direction.

Song of the day: "Tell You Something (Nana's Reprise)" Alicia Keys

Friday, August 14, 2009

10 Reasons Why YOU Don't Know

This is going to be my last week before the journey to India begins and it's going to be busy. I'm trying to see as many friends and family as possible, but I don't think that is going to happen. Not very many people know I am even leaving so if your reading this, now you know. My sister and brother are the only family members that I've told and tomorrow we are having a birthday dinner for my niece and nephew which the majority of my dad's family will be in attendance. Guess I will tell them then. I really don't see what the big deal is about me leaving and why I need to tell people. Here are some valid reasons why I chose not to share the news of my trip:

1) who really cares
2) I might be convinced that going is the dumbest idea I've had thus far
3) chickening out is still an option
4) some people would be upset that I couldn't commit to going to Indonesia, but decided to go to India on a whim
5) when I get back I will be expected to have better balance and not tip over in Virabhadrasana III (Warrior 3)
6) I will be expected to actually learn something and retain information
7) I would come back disappointed not having met Ravi Shankar
8) people would ask me questions about "Slumdog Millionaire"
9) someone will convince me to not drink or bathe in the Ganges
10) I secretly want to dance in a Bollywood video and be anonymous

Monday, August 10, 2009

About Nothing Of Any Importance

12 days till I leave. My trip is approaching faster than I thought it would and there is still so much to do. I made the decision to sublet my room while I was gone and the process of finding someone decent is a lot harder than I anticipated. Some people are flaky and others are just down right weird. I'm sure that they feel the same way about me, but whomever I choose will be using my bed and touching my stuff. To put it nicely, I am a very particular person. Which in truth, very anal. My apartment is my sanctuary and it's my safe place. So the thought of having someone stay in my room creeps me out a bit. I guess it is all part of growing. This past year I had to compromise and learn that my standard of "clean" is not the same for everyone. This wouldn't be a problem if I lived by myself, but that is not the situation.

Each day I practice the Primary Series the sequence of poses is getting easier to memorize. I still have a lot of work to do, but there is some progress. I had this idea that I should tattoo the poses on my arm and use it as a cheat-cheat. Then I thought about this person I use to know that had little people tattooed on their arm doing acrobatics or something like that and I didn't care so much for it. The tattoo is fine, but wasn't for me.

Speaking of tattoos, I recently got in touch with the artist that designed my koi fish/lotus flower extravaganza. I'm a little sad that he is currently living in Japan, but also relieved that he is there and will stay for a while. The tramp stamp on my low back has been bothering me for a while now and I want to do something with it. I wouldn't mind getting a rectangle over it and just filling it in or even an "X" over it. The tramp stamp tattoo was the first tattoo that I got and I was going through some identity crisis. I think I was about 20 and living in with this guy. We worked together and he cheated on me with another girl at work. DRAMA.... At the time I lived in Orange County and didn't know a lot of people there. My life revolved around this guy and his friends were my friends kind of a thing. When we broke up I had no clue who I was and felt like I had to do something to reclaim myself. Cutting my hair off and getting a tattoo was the perfect solution. My hair eventually grew back, but I still have the big ass tattoo. The tattoo is my equivalent to a barb wire tattoo around my arm.

Sorry about the segue. If I conversed more with people I might not have so many things going on in my head and I might actually be able to sleep. So if I talk to you, I must like you. Well sometimes... Anyway, these past couple of days have really sucked. I haven't been sleeping and all of my friends that I usually hang out with are all out of town. Like some sort of a conspiracy theory that they all decided to go on holiday on the same days. Ironically enough, they all get back on the same day.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Death to Squeaky!

Driving on PCH today I saw the funniest thing. This girl was crossing the street on her bike and this car pulls up to the intersection a bit too fast. This girl must of thought that the car was going to hit her, so she wobbles on her bike trying to stop and catch herself. The best part is that once she stabilizes herself, she squeezes the horn on her handle bars to show her disdain for this guy. Her horn sounded like one of those squeaky stuffed animals. I saw this and was in hysterics. Not so funny that she was afraid for her life, but the fact that she threatened the driver of the car with her squeaky.



Squeak, squeak!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

I Got $6 On It



These days six dollars doesn't get you very far. Last night I spent the best six dollars I will ever spend and no it wasn't on a burger.

The Back Story: I was in yoga last Friday and heard two songs that caught my attention. It caught my attention enough that I almost grabbed my phone to Shazam the song or the other option was to raise my hand and interrupt the class to find out who they were. I did neither of those things, but for days kept thinking about the songs. I finally go back to class and find out who the band was. There are two things that happened after this that made me want to kick myself in the butt, which I'm getting rather good at. First thing I do is check my iTunes and of course the song is there. I have a bad habit of downloading a crap load of music and listen to about 25% of it. The second thing was when I was talking to Palindrome she brought it to my attention that she told me about this song a while ago and apparently I wasn't listening. I hear things when I hear things and if you are someone like me who lives in their head a lot there isn't much room for others to invade.

Aside from living in my head, I have a part-time residency on the internet. Don't ask me what it is I look at because I have no idea. I'm either on my MacBook or playing with my iPhone. When I hear a band I like, the first thing I do is to check when they are playing a show in town. As luck would have it the band was playing a show somewhat in the vicinity of Southern California but the setting was a little weird. The concert was going to be at the Del Mar Racetrack after the last race of the day. I'm not too fond of watching animals, people and/or cars go around in circles unless it's the roller derby. Weighing out the pros and cons my love of music won out and the adventure was on. What possessed mArvin to embark on this little adventure with me is beyond me. There was really no convincing involved. I asked, he said yes and that was that.

Researching the event I found that the concert was free with paid admission to the racetrack. When I read that the admission was $6 I kept looking online to find the "real" price of admission. There had to be some catch and not being familiar with what gambling entailed, I couldn't figure out how the racetrack made a profit charging $6 a person. It didn't take me long after we arrived exactly how the racetrack survives. People make a day of watching the horses race, placing bets, drinking alcohol and eating food etc...

We had a few hours before the show so we went to check out the action on the track. I had my prejudgments and wasn't too excited about this. Watching race after race every time the horses would round the final bend the excitement would build in the stadium and I found myself excited with them. I still don't agree with the premise of using animals for entertainment, but it was fun.

After the final race we went back down to the stage area and waited for the band to come on. The show was one of the best shows I have been to this summer. The band sounded great and energy of the crowd was amazing. After the show the band members came out to greet the fans and that made me like them even more. Given the opportunity I would have gladly paid more money to see the show. The fact that it was practically free made me appreciate it even more. The day could not have been any better than the way it turned out. I was with good company, experienced something new and got to listen and watch a great band.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Will Climb for Junk Food



Yesterday Rainbow and I drove up to Santa Barbara to climb at Lizard's Mouth. It took us over 2 hours to get there and about 4 hours to get back home. We were sitting in the car longer than we climbed. There was a horrible accident on the 405 south and the traffic was backed up from the valley. I'm very fortunate to have a friend like Rainbow who I can sit in the car with in standstill traffic for hours and still like her at the end of a long, exhausting day. No matter what the situation is, we always find something to laugh about. We kept ourselves busy talking about the most random things, listening to music and eating everything we had in the car. I don't know where all the food came from but we had popcorn, Airheads, corn nuts (they were at least organic and from the homeopathic store) and a bag of skittles. If you ever get stuck in the middle of nowhere Rainbow is the person to be with.

Bouldering was a little tough. Problems I have tried before I couldn't finish. This is a result of not training and climbing. I have only been out once this summer and before that maybe 3-4 times this year. There was a time in my life when I was climbing outside every weekend and traveling to climb new crags. It was exciting for a while, but at some point I burnt out and lost any sense of enjoyment. I would always be injured, my fingers were constantly in pain and some part of my body always hurt. Not that it's any different now, but at least there are other things that make my body hurt and not just one sole activity. Climbing for me became about the difficulty rating than it was about having fun. My whole world revolved around climbing and felt so much pressure to climb hard. These days I don't climb as hard and don't feel as much pressure and actually enjoy it. The only downside is being a coach of a competitive climbing team and not being in the frame of mind to train and push the kids makes it difficult. I'm often reminded of this theory called 'balance' and just as often as I am reminded of it, I miss the mark.

** photo was our view from Lizard's Mouth

Monday, August 3, 2009

Paddleboard Escort FAIL!

Rainbow and I competed in the Velzy-Stevens Pier to Pier paddleboard race yesterday and had a lot of fun. Paddling pier to pier is a piece of cake compared to the race we competed in last month. The race started in front of the Manhattan Beach pier and ended on the south side of Hermosa Pier on the beach. My finish was much more graceful this time around. I was able to ride my board to shore and run to the finish line. Heading out to start the race is a different story. I had issues going out and wave after wave kept getting pummeled. I ended up losing my water bottle and my beloved chin pad. That chin pad was such a pain to get and now its gone. To make it worse I got my headphones wet and had no music to listen to.

After the paddleboard race the swimmers had their race and Rainbow and I had friends to paddle for. The purpose of the paddlers is to escort the swimmers so they don't zigzag or end up in the middle of the ocean which some of them have a tendency to do. Seeing the swimmers start the race was something I've never seen before. Once the gun went off all I could hear was the splashing of hundreds of people running into the water and splash of their strokes. The swimmers swam the same distance as the paddlers but against the current. It was insane.. I can't imagine swimming that distance and it gave me a new respect for people who swim in the ocean. I whine and groan when it's choppy out and I'm laying on a board with the option to stop and rest. Stopping to rest wasn't even an option for them and plus they have a greater chance of being bit by a shark.

Rainbow and I positioned ourselves outside of the main pack to find our swimmers. Finding our swimmers was going to be an arduous task. There were so many people in the water and all the swimmers were required to wear a standard yellow competition cap. It was virtually impossible to recognize anyone and it literally became a game of "Where's Waldo". Somehow Rainbow and her swimmer found each other (like they do every year) and I absolutely had no luck. I felt horrible and spent a long time looking for Annie (my swimmer) and finally gave up when I started creeping people out. Much to my chagrin I turned into this stalker on a paddleboard. I kept mistaking Annie for other swimmers and would start following them around. Part of my problem was that I wasn't saying anything and just kept staring at them. Even this lady that was way off course didn't want my help. I tried to tell her that she was heading towards the Channel Islands but she just ignored me. At that point I was done and left her for the sharks.


Rainbow: #133 time: 22:54.8
Me: #1 time:
24:19.8


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Dr. Phil To The Rescue

This is my absolute favorite This American Life show. I love Starlee Kine!!

http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/player/CPRadio_player.php?podcast=http://www.thisamericanlife.org/xmlfeeds/339.xml&proxyloc=http://audio.thisamericanlife.org/player/customproxy.php

or

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=339

Saturday, August 1, 2009

21 Days of Summer

First day of August and my trip is fast approaching. There are so many things I need to do to prepare for the trip and one of them is memorizing the Primary Series. The whole purpose of the trip is to learn but I also don't want to go Mysore not knowing anything. Diana at PAI has been a lifesaver and a great teacher. She is doing everything she can to prepare me for the trip and now it’s my responsibility to actually do my part. Driving to Dana Point can be such a haul but it’s worth it. I've never met such a nice, welcoming group of people. The next ten days I will be pretty much in solitude at the mini Roth's house dog sitting so I can focus and practice then. Well I exaggerate. I wont completely be in solitude unless I choose to be and if I hide from the chatty neighbor. As far as my plane tickets and accommodations, everything is booked and confirmed so that is one less thing I don't need to worry about. Now if I can only remain sick and injury free, life would be so much better. Thursday I went out for a paddle and when I was coming in a wave hit me. I didn't want to let the board go so I held onto it with the fin in front of me. The wave knocked the board out of my hands and the fin hit me in the thigh. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain considering all the other injuries I've collected through out the years, but this was pretty painful. I couldn't walk and now have a shiny black and purple bruise the size of a burrito to show for it.
This weekend is yet again packed and filled with adventure. Tonight is the No Doubt concert which I'm excited about. It has been years since I last saw one of their shows. Tomorrow is the International Surf Festival and Trinity's birthday. I will be doing the paddleboard race at the festival and paddling for Rainbow's neighbor Annie while she does the swim. My injury might make things a little tricky, but the course for this race is pier to pier and will be a lot shorter than the race last month. Rainbow and I even convinced Cola to do the race so it should be a lot of fun.
Trinity is turning 8 (going on 25) tomorrow. She is an exceptional, beautiful little girl who has my heart. I still remember the day she was born and the first few years of her life. My sister and I would do so many silly things with her like putting her on top of their pool table trying to prop her up on a pumpkin to take pictures for her first Halloween. Trin was such a happy baby and too smart for her own good. When she started talking she was never afraid to tell you what she thought or what to do. She has been bossing me around since she was 2 (like mother, like daughter) and hasn’t stopped since. She has a whole life ahead of her and I’m truly blessed to be a part of her life. Happy Birthday to my favorite niece!!