Friday, June 29, 2012

June Bells

The most important thing to do at a wedding is to take pictures that could be deemed inappropriate.  No?  Oh. Okay, this is why I am not very good at weddings, I suppose.

We all cleaned up real good:

In addition to a beautiful ceremony and a gorgeous reception filled with smiles and dancing, some of us did make friends with a statue who seemed so blue that we had to cheer him up.

Happy Wedding ~ Happy Marriage ~ Happy Life, T & N.

And for the rest of us, for shame.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Om Shanti NYC

The summer solstice is the day of the year that has the most sunlight.  It is also the day when the Times Square Alliance hosts Yoga Mind Over Madness in the middle of Times Square NYC.  I signed up not only to take a class this year, but also to spot a class, putting my yoga certification to good use and gaining a free outfit from Athleta which is one of the best stores for yoga and workout gear which means I don't shop there because a top costs the same amount as my groceries for the week and I'd rather eat than have a fancy top.  But a fancy top for free?  Gimme.  Pants, too?  Gimme, too.

Since the "gates" opened at 2:30 for the 3:30 class, I figured I'd get there at that time, which is what I did last year.  That plan didn't work.  The line was around the block already.  Yikes.  Also, it was over 95 degrees out.  Yes, it was already the hottest day of the year and there I was, striding through the city in my brand new expensive yoga pants.  That's right.  Pants. 

At home, I'd ooeh and ahed over the pants.  They were the best pants ever.  They were the most comfortable pants I'd ever worn.  They were the cutest pants.  I wanted to wear them every day. 

Then I got off the train and started walking down 7th Ave and I hated the pants.  I wanted to tear off the pants.  I did not want to wear pants.

This was nothing against the pants, really.  It was against the weather.  I do not like to wear long pants, even long pants that don't go down to my ankles, on very hot days.  I would have rather worn shorts.  Or nothing.  For the record, I've never worn nothing out on the streets of NYC, not even when the temperature spiked to near 100, which was what happened on this day.  Though sometimes, I'd like to try.

So I waited on the line for a semi-long time and finally got corraled into a yoga pen that was not the main stage where the main instructor was, but was the only pen that had us facing North instead of South for some unknown reason. This area was not crowded, which was a plus.  The minuses: it was in direct sunlight and the barrier between me and the cars was a potted plant and a small metal gate. 
Not dangerous at all!
Douglass Stewart was the instructor.  I want Douglass Stewart to be my friend.  I want Douglass Stewart to come to my house every day, do yoga with me for hours, and then talk to me for a while about whatever he desires.  He has a way about him that makes everything okay.

I needed that in an instructor because everything else about yoga at 3:30 in the middle of the city on asphalt in 95+ temperatures was not okay.  I was slipping and sliding all over.  The wind came in sometimes, which was a blessing.  However, at one point, I was face down on my mat, unsure of what the hell I was doing because instead of listening to the instructor and following the girl who was modeling the poses, I was figuring out how to stop myself from sliding on my mat.  That was the point when one of the spotters came over next to me, most likely thinking, This girl needs a lot of help and has no idea what she's doing.  Seriously, I wasn't exactly in a yoga pose. I was in more of a what am I doing stance.  So to end the debacle, I opted to scoot up on my knees and drink some water and then towel off with the small towel I'd brought.  The spotter walked away and I went back to doing yoga.

The class was over before I knew it.  We hadn't done a whole lot of standing or strenuous postures.  That's probably because he didn't want anyone to die.  There were quite a lot of people who opted to sit on their mats and do nothing during class, so I can only imagine how many more would have been sitting out had it been more demanding.

After class, I headed to the yoga village where I found lots of free stuff.  I had brought snacks with me along with a large water bottle but found I needed none of that.  First off, we got free mats and a gift bag; inside the gift bag was a bottle of SmartWater, a mini Luna bar, and a SoyJoy bar that was banana flavored and I was in heaven.  When I got to the village, I loaded up on lentil chips with hummus and honey yogurt with some Vitamin Water to wash it all down.  This was the most I'd eaten since noon and it was now almost 5 so it was a delicious linner.  Plus, in that heat, I wasn't very hungry. I grabbed another bag of lentil chips and some pretzel chips and I was on my way to the Times Square Visitor's Center where I was to wait for my assignment to spot.

We were all told to wear our Athleta clothes because there was no place to change.  Um, the visitor center has a bathroom.  Could have changed there.  I changed my top--I'd done yoga in an extra shirt because of the sweat factor.  Could have changed my whole outfit.  I was better off not having too much more anyway.  What with the free gift bag that also held magazines and some other trinkets and my own bag plus my own yoga mat and the extra mat, I was weighed down as it was.  We were told that we could stash our bags under the stage at the area where we were spotting.  Okay then, it was a plan.

We all met by 5:30 for the 7:30 class. Lots of people were talking about where they teach and what kind of yoga.  I was interjecting my thoughts here and there, but I was also tired and sweaty--and I'm pretty sure I smelled a bit--so I kept my conversation to a minimum and relaxed.  A lot of talking went on.  A lot of sitting.  At 6:15 ish, we got instructions that we were supposed to look out for heat exhaustion, people pushing themselves too hard, and people about to hurt themselves or others.  Then we were told to go to the main stage where Dana would give us explicit instructions.

Dana never gave us instructions.  We never met Dana. The staff from Laughing Lotus was there and they were going to spot the class.   They were told to do gentle adjustments.  So that was a bit different from watching out for poeple hurting themselves.  So now were we supposed to adjust or spot?  It's quite different.  The woman giving the staff instructions was named Emily, not Dana, and she didn't know who we were or why we were there.  Ah, communication.  When we finally worked out who everyone was, we namaste-d to each other quite a bit and then no one really knew what to do or where to go because even though we'd been assigned a block to spot in, there were too many spotters.  They expected 5000 people and said that 5000 people simply would not fit but they were fitting as many as possible, but really, still, too many spotters because that many people can't possible do yoga effectively in a small space anyway. 

When we all got settled, I stuck myself on the main block so I could watch the instructor.  I went to the back of the area and found that people had set up their mats across wires and over those ramp things that cover wires.  It was so tight and not conducive to doing yoga, so I decided my job would be to make sure no one got electracuted. 

It was around 6:45 by this time.  Class didn't start until 7:30.  Why were we there that early?  That's when the day started to wear on me since I wasn't doing anything.  I grabbed a Vitamin Water and it was delicious.  I danced by myself along to the music they were playing quite loudly.  I chatted with some of the other spotters, mainly about: hey are we supposed to adjust or just spot?

Finally, the class started and it was interesting.  I helped a few people by telling them they were turned the wrong way.  I demonstrated some of the poses in the back.  I offered some suggestions on getting into postures.  I didn't touch anyone because (A) they were too sweaty and gross and (B) I was sweatier and grosser than they were.  The staff from the studio came around and did adjustments.  They walked through the whole area while I thought spotters were supposed to be in one spot.  I guess I like specific instructions while others are fine with doing whatever they think they can do.  Whatever. 

The class seemed to end very early.  Everyone was sitting and taking in something in their hearts.  And then, the class restarted.  I was like, did she mess up her timing or is that a typical break in the middle of the class?  It was odd.  I liked the class, though, because there was some grooving involved and it was really inspirational. 

Since I was in the back, I had a bunch of onlookers behind me the whole time.  One guy came by and yelled out Excuse me! I think I love you!  I'm pretty sure he was directing that to the tan, blonde, skinny, model-esque girl who was practicing in front of me and not to me, the scraggly-haired ball of sweat.  I'm okay with that.  She was a very pretty girl.

When class ended, I took a last trip through the yoga village, grabbing a final bag of chips.  I was going to grab some yogurt and hummus, but at that point, they were giving away boxes at a time, not wanting to lug the stuff back.  Had I been headed straight home and if home were closer, I'd have taken some.  However, I didn't want to carry around perishable items for longer than 30 minutes.  It was about 9 PM when it was all over and the temperature was still above 90. 

I grabbed my stuff from under the main stage and hauled it to meet up with S on her break.  She saw me and asked if I'd lost 20 pounds by sweating all day and then she asked if I was going to survive.  I could only imagine what I looked like but I refused to find any reflective surface because I knew it could not have been attractive.  It was probably on the verge of scary. 

After meeting up, I pounded the pavement towards Penn.  I was behind every slow-walker in town.  I made it to Penn with one minute left to my train.  I was literally dripping with sweat as I ran down the steps to the platform.  The clock had turned to the departure time, but the train was still there and the doors were still open.  Om Shanti Shanti Om for the little things!  I fell into a seat next to a woman who was probably not happy that I was sitting next to her because I was full on sweating, full on smelling, and I had two bags and a yoga mat cramping her style.  Which means she had to move her shopping bag off the seat and onto her lap.  I barely made it off the train and into Eddie's car. How I made it up the stairs, I don't know.  How I didn't drown in the shower, I'm not sure.  But it was all worth it because it was all FREE!  And so very zen.

Oh, and this guy was there, too.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Some Readings Are Just Really Good

For the first time in over a year, I featured at a poetry reading.  It was at Wyld Chyld, a tattoo parlor and cafe, so the poetry has a constant soundtrack of buzzing.  It's really neat. 

Sometimes readings are long and uneventful.  Sometimes readings are more eventful than expected, and not in a good way.  Sometimes readings become theatre of the absurd. 

This time, the reading was a strong reading--supportive audience, entertaining host, infused with momentum and rhythm and happiness. 

The other feature was good, really good.  The open mic was good, really good.  Eddie invited his friend and it was the perfect night for his friend and his friend's girlfriend to come into the poetry scene.  It didn't frighten them away. 

Also, the reading was a good time for Eddie to test out the camera on his phone and all its fun settings.  After my read, he couldn't wait for me to sit down to show me:

And this is why I love my husband.  He also assured me that everyone was paying attention and loved my stuff.  When I asked which poem he liked the best, he said all of them.  Again, why I love my husband.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Other Side Of The Shecky's Table

I'm very proud of my friend S.  After years of going to Shecky's to drink and shop and get free stuff, she participated in a different way.  Southpaw Sweets had a table to sell yummy cookies.  I hadn't been to Shecky's in quite some time, and I rarely have gone if at all in June since we usually go to the Hamptons one in the summer.  However, I had to see the unfolding of something exciting and good.  So I found myself weaving through crowds of women, around tables of jewelry and clothes and lotions, finding a bar at every corner until I found her table. 

I kept up that pattern of weaving until I was woven out.  Really, all the tables were selling the same stuff they usually sell.  The big difference was the booze.  A bunch of new sponsors were there. I tried the first one in the room where Southpaw Sweets was set up.  While the cocktail I asked for didn't contain whiskey, it somehow tasted like whiskey.  I didn't have much of that.  I found a different bar serving a ginger drink and I like that one much better.

The goodie bags were on a truck outside, so I went out there halfway through to get mine.  The goodie bag?  Was not much.  First off, the bag itself is horrible.  Usually, they give out Shecky's-emblazoned bags that are resuable.  This time they were reddish heavy-duty plastic bags complete with a piece of cardboard on the bottom for it to hold its shape.  You know, high-end.  Secondly, it was sprinkled with trial-sized goodies at the bottom.  The bag is the size of a small gift bag and they couldn't even fill the bottom.  There were two things that were not small in it: a can of water and a big tube of tablets that dissolve in water but don't say exactly what they are for.  This is somehow worth over $100.  Really, Shecky's? 

I heard one girl say to another, The bags are totally whack, right?   Yes, yes they were totally whack, something that I sound ridiculous saying, but also the perfect description.

I brought the bag back inside for S and C to see.  They were not impressed either, but the bag wasn't the reason they were there.  They were there to sell cookies, which they were doing. Some women were very excited about the prospect of buying a cookie shaped like a shoe.  Some women were excited about buying a cookie shaped like a pair of lips.  Some women were very eager to comment on the portrait cookies, even though one thought a portrait of S's neice was a portrait of Michael Jackson--a sketch on a cookie can sometimes be up for guessing, I suppose.

I got a Southpaw Sweets temporary tattoo as part of the deal.  I finished off my cocktail.  I chatted with them a bit.  I took some pictures of their table and them.  And then I headed out to catch a train home.  Before going outside, I switched my shoes from heels to flippies.  Instead of putting my heals in my shoulder bag, I put them in the Shecky's bag so that I felt better about it.  It now was useful for something, which made it worth more than being simply whack.  But really, seeing friends move forward in a business they love is worth more than a goodie bag no matter what.

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Night Of Kite Dodging

Memorial Day for Eddie and me has become Adventure Day.  Hiking or ships are included.  This year, because of odd schedules, we took a mini-adventure back to where it all began, and there we found a new source of excitement.  Kites!  The excitement came more specifically from the new game we were forced to play: How To Avoid Being Hit By A Kite Flown By A Very Happy Asian Man Who Seems To Have It All Under Control But Kind Of Doesn't.  It was a fun time.

We also found new settings on Eddie's camera phone!

Black and White!

I forgot the setting but it's weird in a good way!


Not a setting--just height difference issues. He still looks good with the top of his head cut off.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Scampering Around NYC

NYC is a fantastic playground.  Scavenger hunts are fantastic fun.  Scavenger hunts in NYC? That equals double fantastic, my friends, especially when you don't have to join a group of annoying strangers and all the clues are accessible through a smart phone.  Since I have a dumb phone, S and I relied on her phone and her better ability to figure things out as we headed deep into the heart of Battery Park.

The hunt, offered through an online group that has a bunch of scavenger hunts throughout the city, is based on city landmarks and a little bit of history.  It told us to do things that we were not going to do like, "Ask a New Yorker the lyrics to....."  We are New Yorkers, so we asked ourselves, and when we couldn't figure it out, we asked Google.  It also told us to take a picture of ourselves doing certain things and then send them into the site. We took pics but we didn't send them in.  We still got points for figuring out things.

We actually did very well at the beginning.  The clue would appear.  We would figure out where to go and what to do.  We would type in an answer.  We would be showered with praise and given the next clue.  It was quite ego-boosting. 

Unfortunately, things started to head downhill right in the middle.  We answered a question correctly and then received our next clue.  We figured out where to go but when we got there, we realized we didn't know what to do.  The clue had no question.  It gave us a hint as to where to go, then some blank space, and then ANSWER:________. 

Kind of like: Go three blocks south.    ANSWER:_________.

When we'd started, S read that we could call a number if we needed help.  So I called the company.  I explained that we were in the middle of a scavenger hunt and we had a clue but no question.  The woman responded, I don't know what you mean. So then I went through the whole thing again and I read the screen to her.  She said, Ohhh, you have no question.  She told me to use our hint and we would be able to answer.  I thanked her.  S was like, that means we lose points and it probably won't work.  I shrugged and stressed that the first phone call didn't go so well (I don't know what you mean) so a second one didn't seem too hopeful. 

We used our hint.  Instead of helping with the question, it simply told us the destination.  We were already at the destination.  So then we looked around and asked ourselves, What would we ask at this destination?  Seeing several statues, we typed in the name of one of the statues.


We?  Are geniuses.

From there it was all sunshine and smiles again.

Until we hit another bump in the road.  We made it to a destination.  We actually had the question.  We simply couldn't figure out how we were supposed to answer it.  It told us to go to some garden and then asked how many miles it was from the garden to actual place it was named after overseas.  We read everything there was to read.  We looked in every crack and looked at every bench.  How the heck were we supposed to know this?  We asked for another hint since our perfect score was already ruined by the nonquestion, and it told us to go stand in the middle of the garden.  I did that.  I looked at the stone it said to stand on, thinking it had the miles on it.  Nope.  Nothing.  Was I supposed to be like, Let me whip out my mileometer to figure it out? Were we really supposed to look it up?  Explain yourself, scavenger hunt people!  We opted to take random guesses instead of calling again.  Our random guesses were incorrect.  Points lost.
However, things were looking up again.  The biggest redeeming quality was the discovery of a rooftop garden overlooking the water. Oh, what a view!

We completed the hunt successfully and happily, finding the last answer at the last location easily and quickly.  It was slightly anti-climactic because no one is there cheering for you.  We cheered for ourselves.  Then we went in search of some pizza.  No matter how it ended or how many snafus snagged us, we were always much more content than this guy:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dancing: How It Feels Is Not How It Looks

PS3 has an option called Move.  It comes with a mini camera that attaches to the television and a controller that looks like a microphone only the top lights up like a dull bulb.  The game watches you as you watch it.  Kinda freaky, but kinda cool.  S shoved the controller into my hand and told me to choose a song and dance.  I chose a song and danced.  It was fun and easy and I was dripping with sweat by the time I was through.  All I had to do was follow the dancer on the screen.  I hit my moves and earned my stars and I was feeling great.

Then S showed me the demo of another dance game that she wants to get soon.  It's the same idea--dance by following the people on the screen.  Only this version records your every move.  It takes a snapshot of your face first.  Then as you dance, it throws quick snapshots of you up on the screen.

And then?  At the end?  It plays back your dance.

I've always prided myself on having rhythm, on being a pretty good dancer, of having moves like Jagger.  This pride is not stemming from some inflated ego.  People have actually told me that I can dance.  I mean, S and I are at the top of the class in line dancing.  PS3 Move is not your typical line dancing. I'm awkward and sometimes hard to watch.  I'm Elaine from Seinfeld.  I'm a sideshow.  I still have rhythm, but I don't have the moves.

Of course, I want to keep going back to S's now to improve upon my very awkward dancing.  Maybe there's a learning curve.  Either that, or I stick to line dancing.