Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Button up your overcoat

24 hours ago it was 78°F; today, right now, it's 43°. Yesterday the kids were wearing Tevas, shorts and tank tops; tonight at Nathan's t-ball practice the boys stood frozen, hunched down against the wind, not even goofing off because that would have taken effort away from shivering.

Friday, March 26, 2004


Is it June yet? The new Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban trailer is up and it's a doozy. I can't wait.

Thursday, March 25, 2004


This site is a must-see. It's a Ukrainian woman's photo diary of motorcycling through Chernobyl's "dead zone". Haunting stuff, homes and lives abandoned overnight as people fled from the worst nuclear disaster in history, the reactor explosion which took place on April 26, 1986. In her commentary, Elena (whose English has a very poetic Russian flair) mentions that that it's estimated that between 300,000 and 400,000 people have died from radiation poisoning and that this area will remain unsafe for human habitation for 900 years. A millenium. That's just astounding.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Bad blogger, no doughnut

Um. Hi. I have excuses - lo these many excuses! - for the radio silence. In haiku form (with credit to the Cools):

Working on short piece
for Writergrrls webzine - YAY!
Kept me from blogging.

Signed lease on new space
Massage divas in Fremont!
Hope I get licensed...

Dean in Seattle
Smiled for a photo with me!
I adore that man.

Small skiing mishap
Ouch! Painful knee when I bend.
Ice, rest, go easy.

Got all the hairs cut
Shorter, layered, healthier
Next time - a mohawk?

Nathan plays t-ball
Sophie is our soccer girl
When do parents rest?

Warm days, flowers bloom
Pink petals fall like snowflakes
Spring in Seattle.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004


The Universe is such a funny place. After whinging last night about how nobody ever looks me up or sends me missives out of the blue, I wake up this morning to a message from my old friend and college roomie Jami... who, over the years, has consistently been the one to nudge me, ever-so-gently, when I fall out of touch. Jami (JC for Jamicakes) is energy personified, and she gave me my longest-standing nickname, KB (short for Kristina-Bina) and I love her. And coincidentally she also reminded me that another college friend Wally, has recently sent me unprovoked e-mail (as he does every so often). So I am, apparently, thought of and not reviled by all who have ever known me. Whew.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Random Access Memory

Riding the bus home today I started thinking about a guy I met my freshman year of college. The memory was quite unexpected and the weird part is that there's still some energy there that surprises me... his name was Steve, and for the life of me I can't remember his last name (damn it all, or I could google him). The way I met him was remarkable for the time... I was in an intro computer science class and I was trying to avoid working on a program that I was completely incapable of doing (programming was not and is still not my forte). While messing around on the computer, I discovered and started to play with this thing called "e-mail" on Michigan's mainframe system.

This was 1987 and there was no www, no .com, no way to find out someone's e-mail address (for those few that had them, mostly at other universities) short of calling them on the phone and saying "Hey, do you have e-mail?" At Michigan, you could bring up a terminal and log into "MTS" (Michigan Terminal System) choosing either UM (accounts associated with specific coursework) or UB (generic accounts that anyone affliated with the U could get), and I discovered that there was a directory of sorts that would help you find usernames. It was really primitive, and I stumbled on it by mistake as I was trying to get out of a message I had started. I typed "stop". And the system responded with "Do you mean "Stop Stop?" Um. Sure, why not! So now I had a message ready to go to a user named "Stop Stop."

I didn't send it, if memory serves - after all, I didn't really want to write to someone named "Stop Stop". But I thought that it was kind of cool that people had fun nicknames they used in the system, so I started experimenting with different words to see what other names I could find. "Cosmic" seemed like a good word. "Do you mean Cosmic Demon?" Cosmic Demon. Now that was a cool name! "Yes." Yes I do. I'm sure that the message I sent said something embarrasingly naif like "I was playing in the system and came across your very cool name, and just wanted to say hi!" Let's hope I kept it to just one exclamation point, and thank the goddess that emoticons didn't yet exist.

Well... Cosmic Demon wrote back.

It was my first online thrill, my first virtual connection to another person... and it made me giddy. He was a very cool guy, a junior, and we exchanged many messages over the course of the next few weeks. Before and after class I'd rush to the terminal in the basement of the Union to see if there were any new messages for me. Then one evening I walked out of the stairwell into the hallway of my dorm room and there stood, in front of my door, a very tall, very blonde, very good-looking man in a black leather jacket. Cosmic Demon (aka Steve) in the flesh.

Once I was convinced that he wasn't a nutcase or serial murderer, our budding electronic friendship transitioned nicely into a real-life one (funny - the template for many of my future friendships was established way back then). It was never more than a friendship (sigh) due to both of us being involved with others, but there was music (Depeche Mode!), dancing (Nectarine Ballroom) and plenty of talking and drinking and late-night runs to Taco Bell.

And then... then I don't remember. Isn't that odd? I just don't remember how the friendship went from being something that I hold in my heart as something special to simply not existing anymore. I guess I can chalk it up to being what happens, sometimes, to the friendships of our youth. They don't all become the subject matter of "The Big Chill." Just as often, the names and lots of the specifics just slip away (though his face and his smile are astoundingly clear in my mind's eye). H. I think his last name started with an H.

I wish I knew why this 16-year-old memory found its way into my head today, and I wish even more that I could find out what happened to Steve wozzhisface. It would be fun to find him online again and to see if he remembers me. Maybe he could fill in the pieces that I've forgotten. I do often wonder if people I've known ever think about me, think about looking me up to see how I'm doing. Okay, actually I do more than wonder... I fret. Obsess sometimes even, wondering if I was so unmemorable or unlikeable that I will NEVER get one of those "someone's looking for you" e-mails from classmates.com. And now that I think of it, maybe that's why I still feel a tug when I think of seeing that cute boy standing all those years ago, waiting outside my door. Cosmic Demon came looking for me.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Finding the balance

I went to my yoga class today. This is significant only because I haven't been to it in almost exactly one year. It's the same class that it was before I left, with all but a few of the same students, though in a slightly different location; my teacher has started her own studio with perhaps the best name ever - Om Town Yoga - and is renting the space directly next door to the dance studio that used to house her classes. It's a much better use of that space, as the previous tenant was a coffee shop that was apparently never open - or at least never open at any time that I might have been able to darken its door.

The new studio is stunningly gorgeous with lush purple walls and dark wooden floors. The main room is separated from the entrance by a glass brick wall and there is a bench with cubbies underneath for shoes and backpacks and cell phones. Standing as if a sentry guarding the entrance to the sanctuary is a full-scale model skeleton, reminding all who enter what it is that allows us to move into all of the positions we're about to be led through.

You'll notice I said "my" yoga class, not just yoga class or "a" yoga class. Even though I gave it up a year ago when I started at Brenneke (I couldn't justify being away from home yet one more night every week in addition to all the time I was spending in class), I've always known it was there waiting and that I'd go back as soon as I was able. And indeed, I passed my last practical yesterday, turned in my exit interview, and this morning checked the web site to find that the new session of classes started... this week. Today.

So back in I jumped. To an advanced class. After a year of no regular yoga. And amazingly... it was just fine. In fact, it was better than fine. My downward dog was the best ever - strong legs, easy wrists, heels flat on the floor. Ardha chandra-asana was appropriately half-moony, steady, and balanced. I even managed to stay awake during savasana, letting my mind wander, as it does at some point in every session, back to my first yoga class in Columbus and my first beloved teacher Craige, who I still dearly miss six years later. I'm very tired and I will be sore tomorrow, but I know it will be a good sore.

In addition to the memories my body had of the yoga poses, I also surprised myself by remembering the Anusara invocation that we sing in Sanskrit at the beginning of every session:

Om Namah Shivaya Gurave
Saccidananda Murtaye
Nisprapancaya Shantaya
Niralambaya Tejase

I offer myself to the Light, who is the True Teacher
within and without (the teacher of all teachers),
Who assumes the forms of
Reality, Consciousness and Bliss,
Who is never absent and is full of peace,
Independent in its existence,
It is the vital essence of illumination.


It's a rather strange feeling as I begin picking up the pieces I put down a year ago, seeing if and where they fit into this new life, whether and how they work for this new me. I know that some things will be a better fit; with my new body awareness born of a year of intense study of the muscular and skeletal systems, I'm able to make minor adjustments to yoga poses that let me go much more deeply into them, allow me to root and establish a balance that I just didn't have before. On the flip side, I'm also finding that some things absolutely don't work for me anymore, that they chafe and make me very uncomfortable. There's a dissonance, a vibration that was certainly always there, but that is now amplified to a point where maintaining the safe and easy status quo no longer feels safe or particularly easy.

In order to accomplish what I did in this last year, I had to push away what was comfortable, to ease up on responsibility, and to allow myself to turn inward and focus on... me. It wasn't easy, either for myself or for my family and friends to whom I often waved to in passing as I ran off to yet another weekend of coursework. But it did help me learn what was true... in yoga-speak, it strengthened my core. Now that I once again have uncommitted time, I find myself rushing headlong back into focusing outward... scheduling long-delayed activities for the kids, planning work on the house, committing myself to projects on other peoples' deadlines. And that's great, but I need to be careful so as not to rebound too far in that direction, losing the intention and internal focus that has been so hard-won.

Last night, as I settled my heels to the floor and pushed up from the ground into my sit bones, I recognized that the strength of knowledge, the new eyes I now see through, will be useful in keeping my transition back into the once-familiar routines from becoming simply a return and a forgetting. Nothing has changed... and everything has changed. And now I know that all it takes is a subtle shift to find my balance.