Relationship Lessons From the Mango

In an effort to incorporate green smoothies in my diet, I’ve come to realize I don’t like mangos. (Mangoes is also correct plural spelling in case you were wondering). Why has it taken me 61 years to figure that out? I figured my food tastes were all pretty set by now. While at this point in time I realize mangos and I must go our separate ways, I admit I don’t remember when I first realized my relationship with mangos turned from good to bad.

That made me think of how many times in the last 15 years since I divorced, I tried to figure out when, during my 20 year marriage, things went south. I don’t ever remember being attracted to mangos. I just remember noticing they were showing up in salads and the odd dish, like maybe a curry sometime over the past couple of decades. I googled “when did mangos become trendy” and much to my surprise they’ve been consumed in India for millennia and some suggested they are the worlds most popular fruit. In fairness to my marriage, I do remember a brief period of conscious attraction and in fairness to mangos- well never mind.

I just remember always being ambivalent to mangos- they always seemed rather tasteless in whatever dish they were in. I guess I didn’t want to give up mangos to spare the other fruits- but now that I’ve made the split, the apples and bananas knew all along.

Disclaimer- I never cheated on mangos, abused mangos, smoked snorted or injected mangos. I did see a mango with a papaya once but who doesn’t like a little “tropical fruit on tropical fruit” display now and then.

Should I have dropped mangos when I realized I was no more than ambivalent to them? Was it worth all those years trying to make mango things work? I do realize that we make subtle and not so subtle changes in our lives over time which both cause and are caused by good and bad choices. Otherwise, I’m now as confused about fruits as I am relationships. Well, truth be told- it’s not the mangos fault. It’s the journey of self-awareness that’s the issue-and my ability to confound myself after all these years.

A Gathering of Male Friends is called a ….

Four friends and I go out to dinner once a month. It started “innocently” with a friend and I having a regular dinner out and grew organically into this Five Man group. Our dinners consist mostly of therapeutic laughter, inspired by sometimes witty, (more often not witty), clever jokes, bad jokes, puns, and inappropriate comments which are politically incorrect. In other words, it’s a nonjudgmental safe space where, once a month, we can take a deep breath.

I have grown increasingly astonished by the questions from female hostesses and waitresses along the lines the lines of “What are you guys doing out?” “Is it a special occasion? Birthday?”; combined with tone, facial expression and body language that ranges from sheer confusion to mild disgust.

I’ve compiled some responses, which might be helpful. (Which have not gotten past my filter).

1. We have a visa from immigration which allows us to gather outside a golf course, sports bar, fishing hole, marina, bowling alley or sporting event

2. We wrote Jeff Bezos about a “Prime Porn” service and he’s asked us to further develop the concept. (Think about it- unlimited server capacity, no buffering, better selection, available in the kindle store). He already sells a 55 gallon drum of lube. See my post on “55-gallon-lube-on-amazon-com”

3. We’re working on a Ted talk, “Keep and Maintain your teenage Male Sense of Humor”.

4. A gathering of more than two male friends is not, absent proof of emails to Russians, aliens or a non-Christian religious group, a conspiracy. Ok, not an ILLEGAL conspiracy

5. Yes, our wives, almost wives, girlfriends and sex buddies know we’re doing this and employ the full range of emotions from amusement to annoyance, sometimes simultaneously.

6. Yes, we go to a different restaurant monthly to reduce the consequences of getting kicked out for bad behavior, and wait at least a year before returning to a previously visited location. (We’ve never been kicked out but have had some nearby tables ask to move and repulsed a waitress or two). (We leave huge tips as open and blatant bribery)

7. We are not LGBTQIA (see two above) BUT- it would be PERFECTLY OK if we were. (No animals are harmed or abused during our meetings but may be inappropriately mentioned in jokes or in reference to illegal behavior)

8. If you find several same-sex friends over the age of 24, dining out together as odd or weird, you need more or better friends or better priorities.

9. We call ourselves the “Dirty Old Mans Club” because the title is kind of stupid, juvenile, accurate, and self-deprecating. Thanks for noticing. If we can think of something dumber, we’ll change.

10. Sometimes, our comments “cross the line “. (Is there a line? Where is the line? Who sets the line?). Nope- nothing is sacred. Thank God.

Everybody needs a tribe. If you don’t have one, get one. If you have a tribe, thank them. And go disturb a restaurant hostess today. Your mental health will thank you.

First Colonoscopy Suggestions

I was going to say “Tips”, but it seemed unfair to “insert” this in the title. In preparing for my fourth colonoscopy which is in the morning, I thought my experiences might be helpful to those getting ready for their first.

1. Do not lift weights on prep day. Also, walking or running long distances and yoga class. Especially yoga class.

2. Your instructions say to avoid raw foods and nuts three days prior. I would also suggest steering clear of baked beans, Brussels spouts, bananas, prunes, yogurt (this is not the day for probiotics) and anchovies. Don’t ask about the anchovies- trust me.

3. If your locale is either experience or soon to experience a natural disaster, like a hurricane or wildfire, There may be unending news broadcasts involving “evacuate” or “evacuation”. Avoid these at all costs or learn the power of suggestion at your peril.

4. Stay home that day. In a chair. Outside of your bathroom.

5. Your instructions will not tell you to check the toilet paper supply. This is not the day to run out.

6. Do not go to the grocery store just for Gatorade. Every cashier over 50 knows exactly what you’re getting ready for and wants to chat about it. A lot. In front of the entire line.

7. Do not read the nutritional label on the Gatorade. Unless you’ve missed all the bad press about Monsanto’s roundup. Then it’s ok.

8. Do not believe for a minute popsicles ease hunger pangs. They will make you angry however.

9. There is a reason there is an entire google page of “soundproofing a bathroom” sites. You’ll thank me later. Soundproof your bathroom

10. And finally, your bonus tip. Make sure whoever takes you is prepared to hear you say whatever comes into your head without a filter. There’s a good reason Michael Jackson was so fond of propofol. You will be too.

“I’m Sorry, Your Salad Has Been Cancelled. May I Re-book You On Our Earliest Available Salad?

I stopped at my favorite salad place to get my salad to go for lunch this afternoon. They were surprised I hadn’t ordered online, as I usually do, so I explained that I had been in DC for Father’s Day and my Monday 5 pm flight had been cancelled. The earliest re book I could get was at 5 pm, the NEXT day, but not a 90 minute direct flight but a 5 hour flight through Chicago. (why I have to fly to Chicago, from DC, to get to South Carolina never made sense to me, but I digress….) I had to be at work today, so I rented a car, drove 9 hours and was too late to pick up my salads for the week.

“Damn airlines!”, the counter girl said. I said, “What if I came in here and you said, ‘I’m sorry, but your salad has been cancelled. I can get you another salad on Wednesday?’ You wouldn’t stay in business long if you sold salads like airline flights.”

As I leave her laughing at the counter, the imaginary AirlineSalad conversation continues in my head. “But I’m hungry right now, I would say.” “I’m so sorry, says the United AirlineSalad Agent. (The name of the salad company here is not meant to reference any real or existing airline company and any similarity is truly unintended, mostly because this horrible behavior is practiced by ALL the Airline Salad companies, regardless of their name) We apologize for your inconvenience, but it’s exactly the same salad, on Wednesday, going to exactly the same place. (your stomach)

“But, I’m STARVING”. What am I supposed to do for food for the next two days?” “I understand sir, but we’re not responsible for your lack of something to eat when our inability to make your salad is due to weather, employee absences, government intervention, promising to sell more salads then we actually have to sell, war, pestilence, broken salad makers, bowls, labor unrest, computer crashes, computer hacks, or lack of deliveries. However, here at United Airlines Salad makers, we stand by and take pride in our percentage on-time and actually delivery of salads we have sold, which approaches 100%,” said the Agent.

“Well, can you help me get something else to eat?” “I’m sorry sir, we are not able to offer coupons for other food from other vendors”. I could however, direct you to a grocery story where you can buy your own salad fixings, a bowl, dressing, knives, forks and you could fix your salad yourself.” (Sigh), “If I wanted to fix my salad myself, I would have gone to the grocery store in the first place and not purchased a salad from you.” Can I at least get a refund or credit for this salad I paid for, but you cancelled today/” “I’m sorry sir, I cannot do that on the phone or in person, you need to access UnitedAirlineSalads dot com / refunds in order to request a refund. Just have your confirmation number, your 16 digit ticket number, a picture of any food receipt you receive from obtaining other salads, a 2000 word description of what we already know about why and how we cancelled your salad, why you want a refund, what category of refund and your blood type. Either you’ll get a credit in 14-28 business days on your credit card, or maybe an e mail, or certainly a reference number if you need to call us back.

So I opened my WendysDelta app, ordered a single and went there, since I’m still… hungry. “Hi, I ordered a single on my Wendy’s app, the name is Lawrence”. “‘m sorry sir, your single has been delayed due to our selling more singles on line than we have food to make them with”. If you’ll please wait in your car, we’ll have you scheduled for the singles coming our in 6 hours”.

There was a grocery story in the parking lot…..

F#%’ You, Alexa

A beloved employee of 26 years, probably the most creative gift giver I’ve ever known, gave me an Amazon Echo Dot for Christmas.  The echo dot is the new version of the echo, and it utilizes Amazons “Alexa” voice recognition service.  For those who are unfamiliar with this product, I’ve included a link at the end of this paragraph, but think a blue tooth enabled hockey puck size speaker, connected to the internet, that when spoken to, can give you the weather, sports scores,   New or anythingyou could look up on google.  

The 26 year length of service of my beloved employee give some hint of my age; I don’t consider myself an “early adopter of tech”, but I keep up and do love it, so I admit to being pretty smitten with this gift three days ago.  In fact, that evening I took it out of the box.  Set up was pretty easy   Plug it in; download the Alexa app on your phone; follow the instructions on set up.  It connects to your wi fi, and you can set some parameters as to what news you would like when you ask for news.  You don’t have unlimited choices in this area, but they cover the range of “so liberal that socialists in Sweden would be shocked” to so conservative even Putin’s compassion causes a little tear in the corner of his eye.  Set up took maybe 10 minutes – I’m pretty pleased.

“Alexa”, (she ‘wakes’ up when you say her name) I said.  “What’s the weather?”   In a “I’m your hot high school teacher who still is professional” kind of voice, Alexa says, “In Mayberry today, the current temperature is 52 degrees.  Later in the day the high will be 71 degrees, with a low of 49.”    My “thank you” gets no reply so I gather manners weren’t something programmed in by the millennial aged coders.   Shocker.  Like a “you’re welcome” would be a lot to ask.  Anyway, I noted that Alexa will pair with any Bluetooth enabled audio speaker so I paired Alexa with my Bose Mini Sound link.  It appeared in the app that Alexa could “wake up” or turn the speaker on, but a “Alexa, wake up (speaker)(Bose)(audio)(music)” instructins All failed so I immediately assumed I either read it wrong or it didn’t work, which all had the same result to me.  So, I walked the 26 inches to the speaker and ….turned in on.  “Alexa, play ‘you don’t own me’ by Leslie Gore (mostly because I love that commercial?   Have you seen it?  This is not the nest part of the commercial but you get the idea.  https://youtu.be/aqAFGPmECBwhttps://youtu.be/aqAFGPmECBw). 

So, over the next couple of days, I’m starting to dig Alexa.  Ok, so she can only read connect to a limited number of apps, and she can only access a google calendar and there some glitch where you can sync your google calendar with your other calendars but it doesn’t sync with the google site just the app so Alaexa seems to think I’m retired with nothing to do.  Ok, Alexa is definitely not the AI computer on star track where Scotty would say, “computer, get me some haggis, a Guinness, the computations to fly cross the galaxy in the shortest distance possible and a date with the hot polish chick in communications, but, I’m seeing promise. 

So, two days later I have company for Christmas Eve and I wanna show off my new toy so, I know my friend likes the funk musician, Bootsy Collins, so I say “Alex, play Bootsy Collins”.  Much to my surprise, there is a country singer by the name of Bootsy Collins.  “Alexa, play the OTHER Bootsy Collins”. A different artist comes on but still not the right Bootsy.  I know the acting world does a better job of making sure there’s only one Brad Pitt, but apparently musicians are substantially more laid back about it. So, knowing Alexa can only play Amazon Prime music, I find the Bootsy Collins channel on Amazon Prime but it will only play on my phone, not through the Bose Speaker.  DAMMIT.  I ask Alexa to play the Bootsy Collins streaming channel, but NOW she says “I dont understand the question”.  “NOW, you’re gonna get pissy?” I ask her.  Like simon says, if you don’t say “Alexa” first, you get the same reaction as lecturing a teenager.   silence. Except she couldn’t go to her room.

Not to be defeated, I go back to my music app on my iPhone, find the Bootsy collins streaming channel and hit play.  Nothing from the Bose.  I realize the pairing of the Alexa with the speaker must have knocked off the pairing of my phone. I try to change it in utilities, but Alexa keeps snagging it back.  I’m seriously “ex wife” pissed and frustrated by now.  “F#%! YOU! ALEXA”.   Silence.  So I unplug her.  Still, no music.  I realize I have to turn her back on, disconnect the speaker from her Bluetooth and I do.  Still no music.  F#%! YOU, Alexa.   Silence. I’m really not understanding why these programmers don’t code her to respond to her name and a curse with with, “It’s not my fault, you idiot” or better yet,  “NO, F#%! YOU!!!! At least I’d feel like I had some closure.   “Let’s try vinyl, my friend said”,obviously wanting to de escalate the rising tension between me and Alexa.  I’m not even going to try to tell you what happened when we tried to stream a movie

This morning, I tried my phone and the Bose- music first try.   WOW.  “Alexa, what’s the temperature”, so I could dress for my walk. Alexa says  “The Phok Koo Chinese restaurant is open from 9-3 on Christmas Day”.    Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh

Katie “Barre” The Door

“I’m not here to torture you”, said the instructor at the minute class started. Knowing people usually say the opposite of what they’re thinking, I thought “oh shit, here we go”.  

I’ve wanted to try Barre for a long time, but I needed to find a female friend to take me, because I can tell you from experience, when a guy shows up to take a class with a room full of women, they look at you like… Well:

1.   A group of pediatric nurses watching a newborn boy get circumcised 

2.  Like they want to search you for roofies

3.  Like “creepy” just walked out of the dictionary and came to class.  

Trust me, you would never go to another country without a passport, do not go to a women’s exercise class without a female to escort you.   

For the uninitiated, barre, according to the barre evolution website may be defined as “Barre (bar) n.: Exercise modality that uses a ballet barre for balance, your own bodyweight for resistance, and a series of small, low impact movements to rapidly yield a tight, toned and transformed physique.”   These “small, low impact, isometric movements create what is called “barre burn”. While “burn” is a good term, it’s a little misleading and here’s why.  Anyone who’s ever built a fire, or seen a fire built will identify.  In building a good fire, you need tinder (something to start the fire that burns easily, like paper) and then kindling (small sticks of wood or little branches that will,catch first easily from the tinder, and then pieces of wood which gradually increase in size.   Think of this muscle “burn” as the smoke that rises after the match is first put to paper, followed by the glint of flame as the paper flares I fire and starts to heat the kindling, followed by the hotter flame as the kindling is consumed, followed by the raging fire as the larger pieces of wood are consumed in flames.  Or if you e ever seen a building burn, you know that first there is a little smoke and then in a moment, the entire building is consumed in flames.  This is your muscles in Barre 

This might be just one of the thoughts that enter your mind as you stand, feet wide apart squat, your toes turned out to opposite walls, standing on your toes, doing infinitesimally small bends.  Or, you might think of that one time when you thought, “why can’t I climb a barbed wire fence, I’ll be careful” , or as a guy, “how hard can a split really be?”  Ever woke up in the middle of the night, with a charlie horse so bad, you literally levitate straight up out of the bed, to land on the floor, on your feet, massaging your cramped muscle?  This is barre. 

Ever gotten a foot cramp so bad when driving, you literally had to pull over to get out of the car to stand on the cramped foot to get the cramp out?   This is barre

But in fairness it’s a cross between the excruciating burn of isolating a muscle to exhaustion with the shaking and quivering which comes from actually having exhausted the muscle.  

They have accoutrements of torture including straps (yay bondage), hand weights, little green balls (I never did find out what the balls were for) , mats and some wooden thing on the wall about four feet wide and going up about 8 feet with little round rungs. My escort said it was for you to hang by, but she forgot its name.  The rack I said, it’s “the rack”. 

If there was a warm up I missed it. The class progresses from push ups and planks, to arm and shoulder exercises (if you want an idea what this feels like hold your arms straight up with your palms outstretched.  Now watch Gone with the the Wind.  Drop your arms). Then gluteus and thighs. Then abdominal.   Thankfully the difficulty of coping with the searing pain in so many parts of your body is slightly distracting.  

There was a clearly announced “cool down” period which involved a series of more exercises in which the instructor was not clamoring for more pain.   The lack of clamoring did not reduce the pain.  

If, like me, you’re happily wandering through the sadomasochism of various modalities of exercise, barre is clearly a torture session you don’t want to miss. I can’t wait to go back. 

Left Brain-Right Brain: The “Filter” vs “Smart Assery”

You may be familiar with various theories of the effects that the two hemispheres of our brain have on a variety of things from behavior, to psychology to biology, including the most popular that our left brain is where rational, logical processes reside and the right, creativity.  This is all, of course probably not true. If you’re remotely interested in any of this, here is a Wikipedia article with 80 citations to current professional journal articles in neurology, physchology, and other medical, scientific and Behavorial science publications.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lateralization_of_brain_function
 Let me save you some time, however, and suggest that our knowledge of the brain is not much more advanced than our medieval theories that the Black Plague was caused by an imbalance in the four humours (not comedy humours but blood, phlegm, black and yellow bile)

This allows me to pretty freely postulate that the left brain is where our “filter” resides, as a constant balance to the “smart Assery” right side of our brain.  By “filter”, I mean that part of our brains that stops us from offering the police office, who just stopped us, the box of donuts from the passenger seat, or when our significant other asks, “do these jeans make my ass look fat”; scrolling through the responses of “everything makes your ass look fat” or “your ass IS FAT”, or “do you mean ‘semi trailer fat’, or ‘Beyoncé booty fat’, or ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue fat” and instead opt for “of course not- your ass is perfection defined”. 

I find it difficult to predict when my filter will or won’t work, or when the switch is on or off.  I first noticed this as a 17 year old in AP calculus class.  The teacher said, “and what should I do with this Parabola”, and before I knew it I said “you don’t REALLY want us to tell you what to do with that Parabola, do you”, whereupon with equal speed an eraser was whizzing by my left ear.  I immediately began to put as much value on my filter as her bad aim. As the things which then began to get thrown at my head increased in both frequency and weight, I began to think maybe my filter could be exercised to be made more effective. I’m not sure at my age if it’s better or worse.  Here’s just a few examples.

At a function this week hosted by a female friend, I met her husband for the first time. Part of the conversation went like this.  “…-and he does Argentine tango, she said”.   “Wow,” he said, what a beautiful dance.  We so enjoyed watching tango on our trip to Buenos Aires.  But you don’t seem to have the body type of a tango dancer?”.   Possible replies submitted to my filter:  “Yes, well I got a 6 week scholarship to the Sumo Wrestlers School of Argentine Tango in Kyoto in 2009”. “Yes, but I applied for and was granted a weight waiver from the International Tango Police in Buenos Aires”.  “Yes, but I’m also short and I get to dance with REALLY tall women”.

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 Yes, but I’m not allowed to dance with women over (or under) a certain weight”. “Yes, I have to weigh in monthly and if I go over 240, I’m suspended”. “Yes, but we have weight classes in Tango, like boxing” to what actually passed my filter which was “hahahahahaha, Yes!”  (Yay filter!!!)

My filter seems particularly challenged by stupidity.  At a tango class years ago, a conversation with a medical school professor somehow turned to my struggles to lose weight despite a ridiculous amount of exercise, clean eating and food deprivation.    “It’s easy he said, don’t eat anything white”.   Uh oh, here we go with a furious assault on my filter.   “This is going to be shocking news to my black and Asian friends”.  “OMG- in 48 years of dieting, I’ve never seen or read this theory or been told this by any of the 36 physicians I’ve seen in all these years”.  While my filter is processing some other options which are not printable, he adds “you know like white rice, white bread, or white flour”.  Immediately after my filter rejects “so the outside of Oreo’s is ok, but not the middle” and “You’re a fucking idiot”, and it allows, “yes, I should work harder on this, thank you”.  

I was encouraging a fellow zumberanian this morning by remarking she looks like she lost a significant amount of weight lately and is more tone.  Anytime I see someone I know, who looks like they’ve lost weight lately, I tell them. Who doesn’t want to hear they’ve lost weight lately, even if they haven’t (Nigerian marathon runners and eating disorder patients excluded). We had the usual banter of “yes, I really want to get rid of this belly” (whereupon I put my arm around her and showed her it’s still smaller than mine), how long it takes to make progress, etc. etc. whereupon the other person in this conversation said, “your genes have a lot to do with it”.   Apparently my filter was recovering from my Friday night because I blurted out, “so, I should stop wearing wranglers and get designer jeans instead?”, all the while thinking I should warn my former beauty pageant friend to immediately burn those baby phat jeans I bought her years ago.  After all, she might ask me, “Baby, do these baby phat’s make my ass look fat?”.

“Squeeze Your Anus” Ashtanga Workshop Weekend

You’re about to learn more about your “pelvic floor” than you thought was possible or maybe even what a “pelvic floor” is and how squeezing your anus can change your life. Or at least, your pelvic floor. Irresistible title, I know.  

Not long ago, In October of 2015, I wrote “Ashtanga Yoga – A primer” passing on my introductory knowledge of Ashtanga derived from two classes which consisted of the advice of “skip class and have a friend hit you in the stomach with a shovel.”  Ashtanga a primer  Imbued with this new found knowledge my logical thought was, “I should go to a class every week after the holly days.”  (Not very smart, I know)

A slightly more elucidating description of Ashtanga is “This form of yoga is intensely physical and athletic. Ashtanga yogis practice a prescribed set of asanas, channel energy through the body using bandhas (locks), and concentrate on singular points using drishti (gaze) in asanas.”  (An asana is a pose or movement running from the easiest of, “bend over and touch your toes” (or the floor or put your palms on the floor and bend your elbows out) to a more complicated form of twister where you fashion yourself into a pretzel and look at parts of your body you’ve never seen before.    Like this. 

 You don’t even want to know how to get into this. In one class, a girl said someone should clone a life alert bracelet into a yoga alert bracelet – “help, I fell  into this pose and I can’t get out    Just for the record, I can not do this now, nor ever imagine it happening. 

After happily surviving NOT passing out the first two classes in January I follow my plan of regular weekly attendance when I see that internationally know Ashtanga Yoga teacher, is coming to the studio to do 10 1/ hours of instruction on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday in April, and I look at the individual classes with a la Carte pricing, and one fixed fee for the whole shebang, including waterboarding and I think, “YEAH, that’s me”!!! (Again, not smart.  If you’re a regular reader you know good judgement is not my hallmark.  Although, Senator Bob Packwood did say, “Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment ) 

Today is Sunday and I have survived,  however, I am using my last functional appendage, one hand, to type this message.  By Friday morning, two days ago, I am anticipating the start of the first class Friday night with a mixture of fear and excitement.  Or terror.  Or dread.  However, Friday was pretty much a 2 1/2 hour lecture practice on paranyama (breathing) and bandhas, (locks)  (Hold on, we’re almost to the squeeze your anus part) 

First breathing. Ashtanga uses a from of breathing called Ujayi (pronounced “ooo jay) in which “…Ujjayi (translated as “victorious”) breathing should be both energizing and relaxing. In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali suggests that the breath should be both dirga (long) and suksma (smooth). The sound of Ujjayi is created by gently constricting the opening of the throat to create some resistance to the passage of air. Gently pulling the breath in on inhalation and gently pushing the breath out on exhalation against this resistance creates a well-modulated and soothing sound—something like the sound of ocean waves rolling in and out.”  Ujjayi Breath.  More simply, open your mouth an exhale as if you were fogging a mirror.  Now,  close your mouth and exhale, keeping the same restriction in your throat. MOST simply, I call this Darth Vader breath.  Breathing through your nose with Mouth closed, do your best impression of Darth Vader breathing,  this is Ujjayi breath.  (Now, try to breath this way for an hour- Bahahahahahaha)

Ah, finally bandhas.  Mula Bandha.   “Squeeze your anus”, he says.  “Huh?”  This is probably not an exact transcription of what  what he said but here goes at the very bottom of the bowl of your pelvis, you have a network of muscles attaching front to back and side to side like a warm apple pie’s top lattice Crust, nicely browned and perfectly weaved.  (Ok, he didn’t say the pie part, but I was hungry ). The muscle part was true though (kinda)  

 and by contacting these muscles, you help to lift your internal organs from crushing each other and eventually, bring peace to the Middle East. Or maybe kill your craving for Cocoa Puffs.  To do this, squeeze your anus.  Then while doing that, contract the muscles you need to stop. Urinating mid stream.  Now, you may be laughing, and you may be trying to squeeze your anus right now but if you’re trying to do both, when I tell you to hold this for the next hour, you’ll stop laughing.  However, when he said this eventually reverses something of the natural incontinent type symptoms which advancing age brings, I though, “hell yeah, I’m in!!!). However, he did point out that your supposed to keep these muscles permanently locked (meaning squeeze your anus 24 hours a day) unless, you’re using the bathroom, giving birth, menstruating, or drinking tequila with a stripped named Mercedes in Guadalajara.  I’m pretty sure  I squeezed my anus once for 24 hours in college and it made me want to vote republican.  

Clearly, I’ve summarized the 2 hours and thirty minutes but suffice it to say that by the end, I was thinking the last time I put so much focus on Darth Vader breathing and squeezing my anus was when my freshman dorm mate Pat and I double dated the two sorority girls to USC homecoming in 1975.  Lesson learned, “remember where you park your car anytime your”re parking with 40,000 other cars- it’s a loong wait till the parking lot is empty  and you can see it.  Which equally applies to squeezing your anus for an hour)

My greatest fear the last seven years of yoga was being in a completely packed yoga room, mats only inches apart, 7-8 yogis in a row and I lose my balance falling over into the hot chick next to me creating a human yogis dominoes effect.  I escaped that fear for 7 years. Until today.  While the entire row didn’t fall over, I took her out like a linebacker sacking the quarterback in the playoffs.  

 
On the positive side, she we very gracious about it, the class got some much needed comic relief (who doesn’t like being laughed at by 50 people?) and I lived.  Reminder lesson, even when our greatest fear comes true, it’s not as bad as we have catastrophized.  

My best moment?  Yesterday morning, we’re over an hour in where we’re trying to do several of the harder poses in the middle of the sequence and I’m not even close to doing it right and looking around the room, literally dripping sweat all over my mat, and thinking, just as a matter of observation, that I have clearly the absolute WORST form of anyone in the class, and he comes over, taps my foot and says “good job).  I only made it 6 1/2 hours of the 10.5 for the weekend, but hooray for me.  

As I was leaving today,  the studio owner goddess guru sweetheart asked if I was coming back for the last two hours, called “Do WHAT with my leg”, in which hip openers are offered to allow you to put your feet behind your head while sitting up.  “No,” I said, “I have Chik Fil A hips, they’re closed on Sunday’s.”  

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Ashtanga Yoga- A Primer

We had a sub teacher in yoga class today. She practices Ashtanga yoga. As I frequently talk to people who either ask me or want a recommendation for what “style” of yoga to take as a beginner, this is not it. But some explication might be helpful.

This was my second Ashtanga class. I don’t have much memory from the first, but like with many traumatic events, I have PTSD, but cloudy memories.  Since this was my second class and I maintained consciousness (mostly) I think I’m better able to guide you.

Ashtanga is a Sanskrit word combining our words of “pain” and “agony”.  There are 5 series of Ashtanga, maybe 6, but I was starting to lose consciousness when this was mentioned. You do the same poses in the same order for each series. i The first five are pain and agony, more pain and agony, most pain and agony, excruciating pain and agony and unbearable pain and agony.

You do a vinyasa between every pose.  Vinyasa means movement to and while focusing on your breath while ignoring that your heart just exploded in the center of your chest for exceeding your maximum heart rate.

The first half is designed to build heat in your body.  This means, simply, that even in an 80 degree room, you will sweat like Miley Cyrus on the front pew of a southern baptist church.  The second half is meant to wring whatever remaining sweat that did not except your pores from the first half.

This was my first yoga class in a week, as I had business out of town last week and a couple of social engagements. When I miss a week of yoga, it often feels like starting over and I marvel at how much fitness I can lose in a week.  This intensified that feeling, much like going on a run straight from a recovery room after surgery.  Un anesthetized.

If you’ve never tried yoga before, don’t do this. Or, just have a friend hit you in the stomach with a shovel.

A Random Numbered List Why Numbered List Articles are So Annoying

“5 Things You Should Do To Be A Great Wife”. “10 things to do to be a great husband”. “7 foods to avoid to lose all the weight you want”. Here’s the one today that I didn’t even read that sent me right to the keyboard “12 things you should drop from your life right now”. Maybe it’s just me, but…..

In an overtly sarcastic nod to just how annoying this trend is, I’m going to number all my reasons for just why this trend is well, so annoying.

1. Why 5, or 10, or 12? I found myself asking this question on a post of a Facebook “friend” (we’ve never met, but she posts a dozen of these a day- I think she has some AI BOT trolling the Internet for “articles beginning with a number less than 20”;). Is it because we now have the attention span of a gnat and can’t focus past a dozen items? Is it because anything,, whether it be love, marriage, child rearing, good skin, a clean colon, curing cancer, or not pissing off our significant other, which requires more than 5, 7, or 10 steps, is, well, just too much damn trouble? Or maybe, forget about even actually DOING something about those things. Even READING about those things with more than 5,12or 15 steps is too much damn trouble. Hell, that would be like…buying a book.

2. I’d like to see some of the other numbers get some love- like 3, 7, 8, and maybe 13. That might get my attention. Especially someone with the balls to make a list with 13 suggestions.

3. It’s really Dave Letterman’s fault. Yup. Nobody thought this way before his top 10 lists. And in some way, props to him that it has became so ingrained in our culture. Except- it’s a joke. Or was a joke And PowerPoint. Yes, Dave Letterman and PowerPoint intersected with Facebook to inseminate and give birth to this annoyance of western civilization.

4. Reading them is like slowing down in traffic to look at a traffic accident. In the two lanes going in the OPPOSITE direction from you. There is really NO logical reason to slow down. There is never anything to see. You have backed up traffic for miles for no good reason. You are always either disappointed with yourself or the person in front of you for doing so. How many of those lists have you read and thought, “Brilliant, that was just f%#*ing brilliant!! This is getting printed and going up on the fridge, RIGHT NOW!!!” Said no one (rarely).

5. These lists trivialize what’s most important to us, by suggesting you can really have a great marriage, lose 100 pounds, cure cancer, make $100,000 a year by doing 5 things. Here’s a thought: if your bipolar, schizophrenic spouse is running at you with a kitchen knife screaming “Rosemary’s baby is in your gut and I’m gonna get it out”, try this “1. Really listen- hear them. 2. Love them unconditionally. 3. Agree to do YOUR part of the chores 4. Set a date night once a week. 5. Agree on a time to talk about your problems.” There all fixed. Ahhhhhhhhhh. No need to call the mobile crisis unit after all.

6. Wait, where’s that “top 10 ways to fix DSM V diagnosable psychiatric problems in you and your spouse” list?