Thursday, June 26, 2008

You Can't Fake Yoga...

I joined a gym over the weekend (yes, there's a story there . . .), and for strength training and grace, I thought I'd take a yoga class - ya know, just show up, try to fit in, and kinda "fake it" until I got the hang of it. After all, this *picture there* is what I imagined myself doing; sitting around, with a flat tummy, in odd poses, while gently stretching to the velvet sounds of someone who probably used to DJ for the classical radio station. Maybe getting a "focus" word like "Ommmmmm," and listening to bamboo music ... or whatever they call it; with all the waterfall stuff and bells and gongs dinging. I had heard it was "refreshing." Right on!

So, I went through my non-existent workout wardrobe, got dressed for my class in some swishy pants, that used to look a lot less like sausage casings *sigh*, one of Matthew's Duke Law t-shirts (for some street cred,) and my regular nursing bra. Strapped on my Nike's and put up the hair in a ponytail to go do some yoga, yah, go do some yoga and come home stretched out with a flat tummy. REALITY CHECK COMING!! Yah, THIS *picture of woman's knees in arm pits balancing ENTIRE body on hands* is what they had me doing!!! I digress, this is what they WANTED me to be doing; it is what the OTHERS in the class were doing while I was sitting there thinking to myself, "NO FREAKING WAY AM I DOING THAT! The butt-to-head weight ratio alone will never allow me to balance myself in the air like that!" I found it amusing when the instructor said, "You may be thinking to yourself that this is insane, but just keep coming back, and you'll get the hang of it - eventually." "Eventually,"???! as in, "Eventually - when hell freezes over?"

If you have ever taken yoga, you know immediately that all of my preparations were completely idiotic. You don't wear swishy pants to yoga, and you don't wear shoes. You are supposed to have capri-length cottony "silent" pants and naked feet so you can grip the mat for all these impossible moves. A ponytail gets in the way when you are lying on your back, as do "the girls."

Those, I discovered, are not supposed to be distinguishable as two entities, but rather firmly squished into a "uni-girl," with a bit o' cleavage peeping through the top. After all, so many of these women paid for their "girls," and they'd like to have the benefit of showing them off in class. Kinda like show and tell. My girls are like hermits, and don't like the light of day. Other girls like to get together, dress up, and be seen. My workout friends have told me what clues to look for when distinguishing the real "girls" from the unnatural-anti-gravity wonders.

Girls aside, you are ALSO supposed to quietly show up with your own mat and a water bottle! If you waltz in with your swishy pants, it interrupts the bamboo/gong music and makes everyone glance up from their pretzel twists enough to give you that look that says, "newbie." They have their hair in that stretchy band thing because they already know that hair in a ponytail really hurts when you do some horrendously ridiculous pose - presumably named after an animal and a verb: "camel toots,"morning warrior salute," and "monkey eating banana in a zero gravity machine." Okay, okay, maybe those weren't the exact names of poses, but I'm not that far off either.

So, as happens with disappointment, it is just a bunch of missed expectations. Whereas I expected to be doing mostly easy stretching, apparently, what the class aims for is more like this old dude that only had to keep coming back to class until he was 67 to get it right; tie yourself in a double knot so tight that "you can really feel the stretch," and then unwind yourself - provided that you can still feel any of your muscles and move them back to where they once were. That's really "taking it to the next level."

I have to wonder if it isn't just easier, and faster, to get run over by a MAC truck while driving a Mini car - two days later, you will probably feel the same, and you can get that compact look right off the bat. We'll see how it goes, but if there is a cult out there that has a good front, it's the yoga freaks. They look good, but man, just watch out for the classes they invite you to! You'll definitely come out different than you went in - it's just a question of whether you'll be able to FEEL everything you did when you went in. Ow, ow, ow!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Take Two!

Here are some shots of the kids from Kiddie Kandids. We tried to smush in a whole bunch of different things, all of the visiting cousins, Sam at 1 month, Sam in his blessing outfit, and the brothers. We got a free 8x10 for letting our photographer use Benjamin and Sam as models so that they could "qualify" as a photographer. Always happy to oblige!

17 Minutes of Creativity!!

This is for all you TIVO-ers - what does "Ace of Cakes," "LA Ink," "Simply Quilts," and "American Chopper" all have in common? Creative outlets for the perpetually homebound. While running through laundry and feeding Baby Sam, these pre-recorded programs let me in to the underbelly of so many artistic genres - and I love it!

This useful knowledge helps me to connect with my fellow man. Just last week I was in 'Jersey with my mom - our sandwich chef had a huge tattoo of the green Martian from the Flintstones???? (yes, it was kinda ugly), and I asked him about it; coloring, cost, and how far he went to see his tattoo artist. Mom was shocked that I would know so much about the forbidden art of tattoos. Well, I learn a lot on tv: Kat Von D, formerly of Miami Ink, is one of my preferred artists and I love her fetish with Beethoven. I'm not getting one, mind you, but it's so interesting to see the reasons and objects that entice most people into getting a tattoo. Lots are missing a loved one, and others are just plain scary. Very emotional show.

Ace of Cakes is my latest and most favoritest. It's like Cakes on Crack. Duff Goldman gets out of cooking school, and decides to combine his love of fondant with his welding know-how. The kid is two years younger than me, and making a splash on the food network. From rats to radiant wedding cakes, chinese takeout and flooded houses, he pushes the boundaries of "let them eat cake." His harlequin-type cakes are my favorite, and the construction process is fascinating.My sister and I would watch multiple tivo'd episodes, and always end up wanting some cake. YUMMY! It is a great excuse to go out and get a Cold Stone cake. "We were just watching Ace of Cakes and wanted some good cake . . ."

Simply Quilts and American Chopper are now my old standbys. I've watched about all the episodes, and have gleaned all I can from their once-edgy creativity. I can tell with a fair amount of accuracy which episodes show Alex post facelift, and also when the Teutuls' business takes off and they start to make it big - they start driving Humvees and smashing into walls with trucks. The major American Chopper turn on: the FDNY firebike - creativity to the 't. Lots of interesting detail, and thoughtful elements.

The major turn off: the Teutuls go to England. Gave every single American a bad name and reinforced the idea that we are all rubes with lots of money and no sense or decorum whatsoever. Paul Sr. needs to get in touch with his cuddly side, and Paulie just needs to get married and find a work ethic. Mikey just needs a jesters hat.
Point being, I think you can get inspiration from just about anywhere, and I love watching someone go out on a ledge to explore the frontiers of their craft. It makes me wonder what I would do if dropped into one of those shows. How would I change it up, make it better and hopefully even fantastic!!

Ultimately none of these are my specific genre - I will never get a tattoo, I don't like fondant, and an expensive motorcycle just isn't in the cards these days. But it does encourage me to keep dreaming and appreciating the arts. Maybe I can't get to the Guggenheim, but I can sit down for 17 minutes of commercial-free artistic expression and pick up a tip or two on dimensional quilting, fire hydrant oil tanks, and the need for a dowel in a tippy cake. Hmmmmmm cake. Anyone want to go to Cold Stone with me!

Monday, June 2, 2008