Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Home Sick the Day Before Thanksgiving

That just says why i'm updating my blog in the middle of a workday. No, i don't have today off -- i took it off because i should have stayed home yesterday. However, i opted to go into work even though i was sick because of this reason: there was far too much to do before the end of a short week for me to enjoy a sick day. I would have been stressed out, so i decided to go in yesterday, take care of the things i knew NEEDED to be done, and then if the rest didn't happen, that's ok. I told my boss that in the morning, and he was cool with it. Thank goodness. I'm feeling a bit better now, since sleeping two hours later than usual and getting to bum around in pj's and drink tea and hot water intravenously is a lot more conducive to getting better than having to get dressed, commute the hour in, and try to engage your brain all day in an office that smells like mildew (which i'm allergic to, by the way). I think this was a good decision. daN still has to work this afternoon at his afterschool program, which i'm grateful for, honestly. I needed some time to rest in the quiet for a while before hopping in a car and driving up to Maine tonight.

Good things have happened lately -- on Monday, i finally talked with my boss about my ideas for yoga. I was nervous about it, thinking that he wouldn't take it very well, but he has. In fact, he was all smiles about it and was terribly thrilled that i'm going to be able to get paid for something i just obviously love doing. He was honestly happy for me, and told me he'll work with HR to make sure i can get the time off i need to take the teacher training. I decided i don't want to do the monthlong intensive -- that would really be too much for me. So i'm going to do a week (well, 9 days) in Feb, one in March, and one in April -- that's the plan. As far as what happens after that... well, that's still up in the air. I told my boss that i want to cut down to part time in order to facilate teaching classes, and he said he'll look into whether it's possible. (It might not be because everyone in my department is full time, and even if you're only part time, it still counts as a full person, and you're essentially down by half a person with no way to make up for it). All in all, it was a great conversation. He was very happy to have all this advance notice, and he said with a big smile on his face, "Well, certainly everyone in GATE has enjoyed having you here and love working with you, and I'll do whatever I can to keep you here and make you happy." Considering that compliments are not generally on his radar, that was extremely nice to hear. And i just love that from every direction, i'm getting support to help me on the way to a future in yoga :)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

So Much To Do, SO Little Time

Somehow around this time of year, things really pick up, and i always end up hitting a burning out point and then having a breakdown. That's not to say i haven't been having a great time. It just means that i didn't get to take any breaks between the good times. Let's go back in time, starting from after the weekend, which we all know was event-packed:
MON: first chiropractor appointment ever! It's amazing! I think it will change my life. Then to yoga at the gym downstairs from work. Then to Beer Tasting at the Boston Beer Works with Ana. It was SUCH a cool event, and i definitely want to go back sometime. I even liked their flavored beer, which is saying something -- i'm really picky.
TUES: daN and i went out to dinner with the history teacher for whom he did a long term subbing gig for the month of October. She's just back from Japan on a Fullbright and wanted to go out to dinner. Fun lady!
WED: worked until 7pm after having gotten there at 8am. Lots going on at work -- client feedback interviews (formal non-surveys, if you will) going on simultaneously as extensive training for a new database, for which, by the way, i am going to be one of the three system administrators company-wide. Got home and Razz and Q came over to hang out. I tried my hand at blowing out her hair. Let's just say i'm no pro at this, but apparently, it still worked out alright :)
THURS: YOGA! thank god! i really needed it! i even got there a bit early, and so did my instructor. We got to take a walk together before class started. We'd both been inside all day, and it was really nice just to get to talk with her outside of yoga. There was also and Alexander technique instructor there to help our muscles relaxes into the poses, and let me just tell you, she has the touch of an experienced massage therapist. It was SO relaxing.
FRI: came home, chilled out for a bit after work. Made granola and did yoga, which really cracked Q up when she called to confirm our plans for later. I'm so crunchy :) THEN, i met Q and a couple of her coworkers at TT the Bear's in Central Square so see a live Spanish rock band play Spanish 80's favorites (and some original, i gather), and then do some Spanish dancing.

The biggest difference between dancing at a regular club in the states and dancing at this kind of event is this: the respect the men have for women's boundaries. This was the first time i'd ever actually danced with guys at a club -- i only ever dance with women because they don't go past your boundaries, whereas the men at American clubs are usually there for something else, because American men tend not to dance. Well, Spanish men dance for dancing's sake, so i danced with them. It was a blast! I spun around, people dipped me, and guess what! Everyone assumed i was Italien! HA! They couldn't BELIEVE i was American. Among the other compliments i got that night were, "you drive men CRAZY. Your nose is so prominent." So yes, it was a fun night.

The rest of this weekend has been much more relaxed, albeit busy. daN and i only got 5 hours of sleep on Friday night (we got to bed at 3) and had to get up at 8 to bring our Scion xB in for one of its three free oil changes. While we were in the old Allston neighorhood, we strolled through Brookline to the bank so daN could deposit a few weeks' worth of checks and we stopped by the Super 88 so i could grab some more China Fujian Oolong tea as well as wicked cheap yet excellent dark sesame oil. After falling asleep on the futon together after lunch, we hopped into the newly serviced Flying Shoebox to Stoughton, MA through the inexplicable traffic to journey to the new IKEA. Whew! What an experience THAT was. I think we'll wait for the hype to die down a bit before we go again, since simply parking took nearly as long as we were actually in the store. But i'm glad we went -- we got lingonberries (!!!), some Swedish milk chocolate hazelnut bars, some sparkling pear beverage, and some spice jars. Now that we're home, i can think of several things it would have been useful to grab, but that's for a later time. It's definitely an overwhelming place to go on the first visit, but it was fun.

THEN we got home, and i crashed. I mean, really crashed. I was tired, i was overwhelmed from how busy i've been, and i just started crying in the car when daN and i were trying to figure out what to do for dinner. We opted to come home, eat cereal, and watch Fever Pitch, but not after i took a walk to clear my head. All in all, it's all been great... i think i just need to slow down for a bit. I've lived the high life recently, and it's been a blast. Time to settle a bit again before the holidays hit :) I can't wait till Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Good Sense of Direction

I wrote this to a friend a few minutes ago: "last night i took a meditation workshop where i addressed the same thing. i started meditating when i was at syracuse, and i stopped because i couldn't live with trying to pretend that i always felt like a seemless point of light in the universe separate from my feelings. i was too achievement-oriented." it was keeping me from actually being able to see clearly." last night i learned that it's ok to be ok with things. that that is the only thing." i can't tell you how liberating it was to be ok with being tired. to be ok with having an achy hip from driving all day. to be ok with my mind drifting. to not judge myself. to see the way i think. to see the way i think. when i started the workshop with my yoga mentor's mentor (who happens to be from Paris, by the way) (i happen to be half french, speak french, love france, and feel very connected to my french roots, by the way), she asked us why we were there. I said, "integrity to myself. i have said for too long that i was going to find a way to get back into meditation, and i haven't. coming to this workshop was making that commitment. i am going to study to become a yoga instructor this coming summer, but i had to face my commitment to meditation first." needless to say, it was an incredible workshop, and i highly recommend anything you can ever take or read by Danielle Levi-Alvarez.

Things fall into place. Recently, (since August) i have seen several of my favorite bands: Ben Folds, Cake (2nd time) The Presidents of the United States of America, Foo Fighters, Weezer, and on Friday night in NH, Guster. Let me tell you, the venue sucked, the sound equipment was terrible, but it didn't matter, and no one noticed. The croud was filled with people i didn't necessarily imagine myself wanting to be around, but everyone there knew all the words to all the songs, sang along, and were happy, and you could tell the band was happy, too. They were having a great time up there playing and singing, beating the shit out of the drums, putting on a great show to people who loved it. The energy exchange was amazing. Guster is truly for lovers.

We crashed in Portland with daN's brother Pat, slept well, woke up confused, and continued up the coast to the Union/Camden area where we attended and contributed to the baby shower for daN's eldest brother and sister-in-law, who are very excited about their forthcoming firstborn. It was a good time. It looked nicer outside, and it was awkward, but we still made a good time out of it playing word games and talking to people when we weren't "supposed to." We had dinner at his Mum's house -- deliciously rounded with the best eggplant parm i've ever tasted and a HUGE salad with shiitake sesame dressing, and went to play Karaoke Revolution and sing the night away with his mum and her beau at daN's other elder brother and sister-in-law's place. We then took a walk to enjoy the crisp stars of the night, slept, ate oatmeal, and parted for my Mum's for a morning visit before leaving for Mass, not before visiting his crazy aunt and uncle on the way out and seeing the filming progress at a friend's filmsite on aunt and uncle's property.

WHAT a stellar weekend. I love Maine. And all punctuated by an eye-opening workshop with a wonderful meditation teacher.


...was a good day. Work was nuts -- i couldn't believe it when i looked at the clock and realized i had to leave in 40 minutes with still so much to do. However, i got the completely necessary stuff done, and left on time for my first chiropractic appointment ever! What a great time! Something about this place felt right when i picked it out and scheduled the appointment, and my feelings were confirmed when i walked through the door. Of course, it helped that there was a lovable old dalmation wandering around. The chiropractor himself (Dr. Melman, aka Jonathan) is fantastic. He could tell exactly what's been bothering me and why. Go figure that the side of the body with all the pain is the side that is all cramped up. Go figure that my right knee had been bothering me all day and didn't when i left -- it turns out my body was so cramped on my righthand side that my right leg was actually shorter than my left. Dang! When i left, they were the same length! Coincidence? I think not. I look forward to working with this guy. I think it's the beginning of a healthy thing for me.

Then! YOGA!

then! Beertasting at Boston Beerworks with the brewmaster. I would like to say i learned a lot, but i didn't retain much of it. I had a great time, and confirmed my suspicion that i don't like hoppy beers. Most importantly though, i had a great time talking with a friend, and that was worth everything.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Weekend Update!

Not of the Saturday Night Live variety, but i was happy that last weekend involved me and daN curled up on the couch watching SNL Commercials :) YAY! This weekend, however, daN and i are heading North -- tomorrow night we see GUSTER LIVE at the Hampton Beach Casino in NH. WOOO! i've been wanting to see these guys for so long -- i've been fortunate in seeing bands lately that i've been wanting to see for a long time recently, haven't i? Anyhow, i'm REALLY looking forward to it.

Then, we keep going north. Yes, north -- not south to Boston. We'll be crashing at one of daN's brothers in Portland, and heading north again on Sat morning so we can go to his sister-in-law's baby shower! WOOOoo..., what do people DO at baby showers anyway? I'll let you know. This and more next time on the Spokeschicken H.Q. I'm really looking forward to the weekend.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Please enjoy my favorite New York Times articles of the day. Yes, they were worth the time it took to do all this cutting and pasting.

When Cleaner Air is a Biblical Obligation
By MICHAEL JANOFSKY With increasing vigor, evangelical groups are campaigning for laws that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate Changes
A new study proves that mandatory controls on global warming gases will not bring economic ruin and that a nationwide program is long overdue.

Just Googling It Is Striking Fear Into Companies
Published: November 6, 2005
Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, often intimidates its competitors and suppliers. Makers of goods from diapers to DVD's must cater to its whims. But there is one company that even Wal-Mart eyes warily these days: Google, a seven-year-old business in a seemingly distant industry.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Autumn is my favorite season

I feel so fortunate to finally live in an area of Boston in which one can appropriately appreciate the joys of autumn. The park is lovely, of course, but most people here don't see it in their daily lives. I, however, am lucky enough to walk down a tree-lined bike path every morning on my way to work. I know i have remarked on the luxury before, detailing the happy dogs and dog owners playing with one another, the parents walking their babies. It is a beautiful place to enjoy the lush green leaves of the summer, and now the bright but soft yellow of autumn. The rich combination of browns, reds, yellows, and greens greets me with a wide mouth to a narrowing path that envelopes me with a canopy of shelter from the rain and bright sun. I love trees.

It always makes me nostalgic for the woods of Maine in autumn. But at least i live near something that can make me nostalgic.

Fortunately, we also live within a 13 minute drive of the Middlesex Fellsway, a 2000+ acre nature preserve/park where doggies and their owners go to play. There is a big gorgeous green clearing where most of them hang out. But off the beaten path are mountain bike trails that would make you swear you were in the middle of nowhere, were it not for the occasional sound of 93. For the most part, you simply hear the breeze rustle through the trees, the Canadian geese flying or resting overhead, the chipmunks and squirrels dashing from limb to limb, and a distant duck washing in the reservoir. As daN and i walked with our hands in our pockets (would have been hand it hand were it not for the welcome briskness in the air, even on a warm day like yesterday), the sun filtered through the leaves, flickering in patterns familiar but undiscernable and echanting dances, ancient and precious.

As the paths junctured and diverged, we even got a little lost, wandering amidst hills, rocky streams, the most amazing smell of combination forest -- the clearing, full smell of conifers with the organic smell of passing decidicous trees. I hiked up and down, across, through winding paths along which we encountered wonders all the way.

We were gone about two hours, just before the sun threatened to dip below the horizon and lick the dew of evening. My legs were a little sore, but my feet were not, since they got the rare chance to walk on actual earth, where different parts of the sole were challenged at every step. My feet needed it, and my soul did too.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I don't usually go for animals in clothing, but this one is a particularly well-crafted Halloween costume, i thought. It's even got orange! Posted by Picasa

I'm not the biggest Halloween person, but this was a good one. It's hard, of course, to top several years of Hampshire Halloween, a huge party that people at many colleges have heard of that involves live bands, a bouncy castle, and breakfast (including tater tots!) served at 2 in the morning by the dean of student affairs. However, this year was honestly cute and wholesome, a Halloween experience i haven't had for.... well, ahem, a while.

Since this is our first first-floor apartment, daN and i really got to give candy to trick-o-treaters this year! I was afraid i would miss them, but i think we were here for the bulk of them! We saw a lot of withes and angels, and there were a pair of ninja turtles as well, which was up until that point, my favorite part. Me mum called me, and i was walking around in the living room, when, to my surprise, there were two 2 1/2 foot vampires gazing into the window at me expectantly from our front porch where had hitherto been just a banister to view. AHHH! They honestly scared me! They didn't ring the doorbell because they were too short, so they were just staring in the window at me with these child-like, polite but expectant looks on their faces! I told them too! They were scarey. Their parents did a sincerely good job, make-up and all. And that's what it's all about, folks -- when people slightly less than half my height get the scare the dickens out of me and don't even really know they're doing it. It made my night.

Of course, friends coming over was good too, for which Halloween was a good excuse. But my favorite part was being surprised by two small vampires where i usually see a reliable banister.