Tuesday, November 30, 2004

ThanksTaking included:

A stop at the Middle Eastern Bakery for some delicacies -- a sort of "thank-you-for-letting-us-bomb-your-cities-and-take-your-oil" gesture

A sloooooooooow drive to my friend’s place in the Middle of Nowhere, during which we came up with some new names for cars: (Dodge Retard, Ford Citronella, etc.)

The watching of 30 % of Cleopatra while consuming far too many salty blue corn chips (the better to look like Elizabeth Taylor)

The stirring of and sweating into the veggie gravy

Watching the friend’s saucy sister arrive with not one but two male companions – one a gregarious eye surgeon, the other a laconic, medicated Cure fan with the requisite silver rings and dyed-black hair

Observing the friend’s husband’s friend plopping himself at the head of the table and proceeding to take a cell phone call during the meal -- and shouting as though he were talking into a cup on a string

Visiting the brother, where our body fat percentage was calculated (bro won, I lost) shots of Buttery Nipple were consumed (they did six; I had but one) and the pregnant girl smoked some 40 cigarettes.

Learning I had unknowingly transported someone elses doobage all over the tri-county area. And yet somehow avoided getting pulled over by The Man.

Please o please let this mean my luck is turning. Please....


For those of you who've been clamoring to know more about the EcoYoga mat -- Is there a problem with the web site??? IT'S ALL THERE. Suffice to say the jute is embedded in the mat and you'll never find a better one. It comes in black, purple, natural (tan), and flourescent pink and costs just $39 (three weak dollars cheaper than at for-profit Jivamukti) at Cali-based Green Yoga Association, www.greenyoga.org). Now there's even a 2mm travel one as well but like most good records it's only available as an import (www.ecoyoga.co.uk).

Sunday, November 28, 2004

two steps for-or-ward, six steps back. six steps back.

Mercury went into retrograde on Friday and that was the day I lost my watch at the Fancy Health Club (nope I didn't buy anything that day). That was after class. Before class I wacked myself -- hard -- in the chin, and saw red. On Saturday my computer crashed, and all the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't help Norton put it back together again.

I'm writing this from Add's house since the iMac is still out of commission. It's at the Computer Man's house. On the phone he said he'd have it up and running first thing Mon morn -- just what I wanted to hear. Later he changed his tune (duh, he's a guy) and said there's a 50-50 chance he can recover what's on the hard drive. And Bad Lady doesn't back up, does she....

Now the yoga....On Thursday I practiced through Navasana (with full closing, in order to heal the sore nerve in my tooth and hopefully avoid a you-know-what -- you should have seen the look on the dentist's face when I asked if standing on my head would help heal the thing). In the middle of it the doorbell rang and as usual I thought, "What the hell," but answered it anyway. It was the mail carrier (on Thanksgiving!) and she had a package containing the EcoMat from Scotland, which I've been dying to try. It's desgined by some Edinburgh yoga teachers and is all natural, PVC-free and made of rubber and jute. I put it down and used it and it was non-slip (because of the jute) and was as dense and firm as The Black Mat and weighed the same as a regular sticky mat (ie it's superlight). It didn't slide around the floor, either. I've used it every day since and am ready to commit. Now, if only I could extend that attitude to other areas of my life.....

To learn more about the best yoga mat ever, go to www.ecoyoga.co.uk. You can order it stateside via www.greenyoga.org.

Friday, November 26, 2004


So far I've done it -- despite the myriad news stories heralding this Black Friday as the biggest since 9/11 and gushing over the spike in online sales and touting the many mall-area traffic jams, I've not purchased a single thing today. So far. More from the AdBusters web site (www.adbusters.org/metas/eco/bnd/):

"For 24 hours, millions of people around the world do not participate -- in the doomsday economy, the marketing mind-games, and the frantic consumer-binge that's become our culture. We pause. We make a small choice not to shop. We shrink our footprint and gain some calm. Together we say to Exxon, Nike, Coke and the rest: enough is enough. And we help build this movement to rethink our unsustainable course."

I buy nothing at least once a week and it's a very good feeling indeed -- like giving your finger to The Man without getting caught. If you haven't tried it yet you should....

Some ideas for alternative activies from Buy Nothing UK (www.buynothingday.co/uk:


1. Celebrate Buy Nothing Day!
2. Take up culture jamming.
3. Decorate your window box or front garden instead
of a Christmas Tree.
4. Make some noise or be quiet.
5. Hold a FREE concert.
6. Volunteer - contact your volunteer bureau for details.
7. Turn your mobile off and chill out.
8. Go to the top of a tall building and look at the view.
9. Play football (with the girls).
10. Walk to work - take a map and find a new route every day.
11. Collect signatures for a campaign.
12. Sing in the shower.
13. Paint your fridge or washing machine in a bright colour.
14. Collect wild food: windfalls, blackberries, mushrooms.
15. Gossip.
16. Have a bath in candlelight.
17. Look at the Encyclopedia Britannica website.
18. Learn to count to 10 in every language.
19. Grow your own beansprouts.
20. Play the guitar / piano / harmonica.
21. Make dressing up clothes out of your old clothes.
22. Henna your hair.
23. Collect scrap: toilet rolls, fabric offcuts, paper, plastic,
and take it to an adventure playground.
24. Arrange flowers.
25. Find out the names of all the plants in your local park.
26. Go out in the evening and look for bats.
27. Write a letter to your MP.
28. Take up jogging.
29. Finally take the toaster apart and try to mend it.
30. Have a picnic.
31. Take the things you bought last weekend back to the shops.
32. Plant some daffodil bulbs in waste ground and then watch them come up in the spring.
33. Brew your own wine or beer.
34. Become a Samaritan.
35. Make your own postcards and put them in the
racks at your nearest museum or art gallery.
36. Write a letter to a friend in rhyming verse.
37. Think about sex and sexuality.
38. Join a cycling club.
39. Take up culture jamming.
40. Sit on the top deck of a bus and make up stories
about the people you see.
41. Collect jokes and tell them.
42. Cut a friend's hair, or plait it.
43. Think of a script outline for a film, then borrow
a camcorder and make it yourself.
44. Decorate a birthday cake.
45. Make your own furniture out of milkcrates, shopping trolleys.
46. Meditate/pray.
47. Create a dance routine with friends and then do it at the bus stop.
48. Sit in the sun/walk in the rain.
49. Borrow a dog and take it for a walk.
50. Learn a poem.
51. Write a song.
52. Visit a friend.
53. Tell a joke.
54. Clean the kitchen.
55. Learn French.
56. Smile.
57. Tell someone you love them.
58. Practise tai chi in public (e.g. in front of
Starbucks in order to spread the 'non-capitalistic' vibe...)
59. Exhibit all your unwanted goods and invite people
to come and swap their useless things with yours.
60. Help an old lady with the general household
repair or tidy up her garden for her.
61. Water your plants.
62. Go to the park and find someone who you don't
really like at first sight.
63. Talk to the person and try to find something nice about her/him.
64. Take a picture of yourself with that person.
65. Wash all your unwanted clothes, iron them,
and take them to your local charity shop.
66. Go and get a library ticket if you haven't already got one.
67. Borrow a book from the library - take an overdue one back.
68. Read the/a book.
69. Feed the birds - tie a bag of peanuts under a tree.
70. Tell a story to the loved ones (e.g. friends, family etc).
71. Listen to the radio.
72. Clean your windows (but be careful).
73. Say 'thank you' to your local binman/street sweeper.
74. Make a nice tape for a friend from your existing
CD collection.
75. Prepare special buy nothing day hamburgers
out of nothing. Hand them out to the public for free
and tell them that the burger is completely free of BSE.
76. Bring your empty glass bottles to the recycle bin.
77. Make, not buy, a birthday card and a
present for your partner or friend.
78. Write to your nan.
79. Polish every single shoe you can find in the house.
80. Make someone tickle you.
81. Rearrange your space.
82. Breathe more than your fair share of the air.
83. Pleasure yourself.
84. Ask your friends to perform a piece of
theatre for your amusement.
85. Assume you are wrong.
86. Make yourself happy.
87. Stop smoking.
88. Learn a magic trick.
89. Stay in bed.
90. Stay in bed with a friend.
91. Knit yerself a big woolly hat and matching scarf
to keep out those nasty winter chills, brrrrr.
92. Write poetry on used/reusable paper.
93. Make things like picture frames, jewelry boxes
out of ice lolly sticks etc.
94. Paint BND info onto shopping bags and carry
lots of them around empty.
95. Grow something.
96. Barter something.
97. Build (and fly!) a kite made of bin bags and
other odds and sods.
98. Tidy up your beedroom!
99. Evaluate the last 10 things that you bought
and evaluate their effectiveness (cost, enjoyment, etc).
100. Discuss your last 10 purchases with a family
member or friend - did they really bring you any happiness?
101. Celebrate Buy Nothing Day!

Here's what's happening in other cities:

Victoria’s Dirty Secret
In New York activists will be dressed up as Angels with Chain Saws to protest the deforestation of the Boreal Forest for the production of glossy catalogues. It's a spoof of Victoria's Secret's recent ad campaign: ‘Angels Across America’.

Jammer Radios
Imagine rush hour commuters bombarded with BND anti-ads. In L.A. Culture Jammers are reclaiming radio with low-power FM transmitters.

BND Japan
Become a Zenta: put on a Santa costume and meditate in front of HANKYU department store, Kyoto, 2pm - 6pm.
Trade coffee fairly: one cup costs 100g of rice, 5 sheets of seaweed or 200g of flour.Enjoy a free meal and some conversation at one of Japan's "biggest and most colorful homeless communities" in Kamagasaki.

Throw a temper tantrum in a shopping mall.
Visit a fast food chain in a chicken or cow costume with a banner proclaiming things like "You're not having my chicken wings."
Stage a classic conga to finish off the festivities.

AND. . .
* Reverend Billy in New York with Greene Dragon Look out for the 9 Theses Against Corporate Rule posted on CEO Headquarters in Times Square, and listen up for radio interviews preaching the good word of anti-consumerism.
* Radio Spots on community stations in Whitehorse Yukon, Chicago, San Diego and Redway California.
* Also in New York, Freegans are doing a dumpster diving tour.
* Seattle is cycling with Critical Mass.
* "Nothing" billboards in Auckland New Zealand.
* Fake barcodes in Manchester England, with "Economic Zone" mocking NAFTA Free Trade Zones.
* Take a break from shopping in Oxford England. and relax in the "Fun is FREE Zone " with music, entertainment, juggling, face-painting and arts and crafts.
* Street theatre performances: "Dresses of Mass Seduction" in Melbourne Australia. Oil barrel sculpture in Raleigh North Carolina. "Death By Latte" in Montreal.
* Improv. actors in Madrid Spain are poking fun at the 'Culture of Consumerism' and holding a concert and storytelling sessions.
* Shopping vultures in Flagstaff Arizona. Creative minds in Austin are coming up with jams like. . . a shopping cart grand prix.
* Dallas does Boycott Bush.
* Philadelphia: Black Spot, Black Friday.
* Food court potluck in Victoria, BC.
* Memes in Sacramento shopping bags. . . BND slogans slipped into pockets of new clothing and bags.
* Massive street party in Halifax, NS. Radical cheerleaders in Denver. Money drop in Salt Lake City.
* Public Forums on the "Culture of Consumerism, and Reclaiming Public Space" are being held in Anchorage Alaska. Across campuses Internationally University Students are having a clothing swap, free-market stores, fair trade coffee, book swaps and spreading the word about the Barefoot Economics Manifesto and World Peace Week events.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


The Man is again trading in his favorite commodity -- fear -- saying terorrists plan to attack 'Merican targets in India -- particularly Mumbai and Delhi. Not Mysore of course, since to them South India (thankfully) doesn't exist. The US has closed down its Mumbai consulate, asking US citizens to maintain a "high level of vigilance" and take appropriate steps to increase their security. According to the Indian news agency 123Bharath.com, "residential areas, business offices, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels and public areas could be targeted." Yet the Indian stock market didn't react at all. Perhaps they noted the qualifiers: Terrorists "may" be planning attacks that "could" target US interests some time "in the near future." Sounds like the Kasmiris again....And the US gov covering its arse again (only not in the word "juicy").

Note the difference between UK and Chinese coverage:

From Bloomberg UK: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000102&sid=aCmDHQAbXOh0&refer=uk

U.S. Says Terrorists May Be Planning Attacks in India (Update2)

Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. said terrorists may be planning attacks in the ``near future'' in the Indian cities of Mumbai and New Delhi and asked its citizens to increase security. Indian government bonds fell on the news.

Some U.S. diplomatic offices in Mumbai, India's commercial capital, are closed today as a precaution, it said. The statement made no reference to any shutdown in the capital New Delhi.

``Terrorists may be planning attacks on U.S. interests in India in the near future,'' according to a statement posted on the Web site of the Mumbai consulate of the U.S. embassy. ``Although not specific, the information suggests that an attack could be aimed at U.S. interests.''

The U.S., which has been waging a war against terrorism since the attacks of September 2001, is the target of terror networks such as al-Qaeda, whose leader Osama bin Laden has threatened a ``bleed-until-bankruptcy plan.''

The 7.38 percent bond maturing in 2015 fell 0.35, or 35 paise per 100-rupee face amount, to 101.85 at 10:57 a.m. in Mumbai, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The yield rose five basis points, or 0.05 percentage point, to 7.13 percent, the highest since Nov. 17.

``This is an initial reaction -- purely sentiment-driven,'' said M.S. Gopikrishnan, chief bond trader at IDBI Capital Markets Ltd. in Mumbai.

Indian stocks didn't react to the alert. The 30-share benchmark Sensex Index of the Mumbai stock exchange rose 0.6 percent to 6000.22 at 11:03 a.m. local time. Mumbai is home to the top two stock exchanges, the central bank and headquarters of some of the country's biggest companies, including Reliance Industries Ltd.

Likely Targets

Places such as residential areas, schools, hotels, clubs and restaurants where U.S. citizens congregate may be targeted, the consulate said.

The alert may have arisen from intelligence reports gathered from U.S. operations in Iraq, said Ashok K. Mehta, director of research group Security and Political Risk Analysis in New Delhi.

``The intelligence agencies would have gathered information that the terrorist organization linked with al-Qaeda and other manifestations would target U.S. interest or U.S. properties outside U.S.,'' Mehta said in a phone interview. ``This is nothing new. I don't see this being related with the Pakistani prime minister's visit.''

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is visiting India for the first time today as part of efforts by the two countries to improve ties. His talks with Indian officials may include the dispute over Kashmir, a Himalayan territory divided between the two and claimed by both.

India has been seeking to quell separatist movements in states such as Jammu & Kashmir. Control of Kashmir is central to the dispute between India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars with each other, two over the territory.

No Disruption

Indian units of companies such as U.S.-based Eli Lilly & Co. said there hasn't been any disruption of visits from overseas.

``We have had visitors till last week,'' said Rajiv Gulati, managing director of the Indian unit, in a phone interview. ``I can't say what will be the impact in the future, but there has been no impact in the past. We are expecting visitors again in a couple of weeks' time.''

Client visits are set to take place as scheduled as of now.

``At least 20 customers are visiting us in the next two weeks, many of them are Americans -- we haven't received intimations of any cancellations,'' said Shivanand Kanavi, a spokesman for Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., India's biggest software company, in a phone interview in Mumbai.

Navtej Sarna, India's foreign office spokesman, didn't return a call seeking comment.

From Xinhuanet:

NEW DELHI, Nov. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- Closing down the Consulate in Mumbai in west India, US Embassy here sent out Tuesday a warning that terrorists may be planning attacks on American interests in India, particularly in Mumbai and New Delhi.

    "In the light of these security concerns, the Consular section and the Information Resource Center at the American Center in Mumbai will remain closed Tuesday, the Press Trust of India quotedUS Embassy here as saying in an advisory to American citizens.

    The Consular sections at US Embassy here and the Consulates General in Chennai in south India and Calcutta in east India, however, remained open, it said.

    "Based on information received by the US government, terroristsmay be planning attacks on US interests in India in the near future," it said.

    The information suggests that an attack could be aimed at US interests in the cities of New Delhi and Mumbai, it said.

    It warned that facilities associated with the United States or locations where US citizens and other foreigners congregate or visit, including residential areas, business offices, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels and public areas could be targeted.

    The Embassy asked US citizens to maintain a "high level of vigilance" and take appropriate steps to increase their security.

    All the staff members who reported for duty at US Consulate andAmerican Center in Mumbai were asked to go home, the Consulate said. Enditem

Monday, November 22, 2004


The stitches came out today (appropriately, they came out on Halsted, ground zero of Boystown), but the chin is still swollen and presidential. I actually had a dream last night about Abe LIncoln, who was my boyfriend, and was taken aback to see him in color (he looks better in color). Also a very bad dream about the vex, who's endowed with a similar chinny-chin-chin.... I told the front desk people about eight times that my appointment was a followup to an ER visit, in the hopes that they'd put the magic code on the form they send to the insurance co. But now there's another hole in my tooth (the pain kept me up Saturday night), so it's back to the dentist this afternoon. Please Durga let the price be included in the $800 total..... Must try to get them to use the ER code, too. But first to the chiro for help with the sore sternum. Kirby's appointment is tomorrow. People before pets, I say. He's been scratching his neck like crazy, so I am convinced he picked up fleas during his hospital stay. They want a urine sample, to see if the crystals have been cleared out of his pecker. A urine sample from a cat. How is that possible?

I rode the mountain bike on my errands -- first time on a bike since the accident -- and it wasn't all that frightening. While waiting for test results (neg) I checked out the headgear at Sportmart. Only the kids' BMX hemets have chin guards. And they look *really* stupid, what with the blue flames and all.

I finally did some yoga this morning -- 5A, 5B, the standing poses, Urdvha Danurasana x 3 and sitting. Which improved my mood for exactly five minutes.

Someone else's blog mentions Surya Namaskar C. Huh? Or do I recall Tim Miller introducing such a thing here in the 90's at Moksha-before-there-was-a-Moksha. I can't remember if it includes splits or handstands or what.

Has anyone seen the sun of late? Or is this just some curs-ed Chicago thing?

Sunday, November 21, 2004


Four classes today. Seventy-five students....one of whom sported the word "JUICY" in white letters across her arse, obligatory black string thong hovering above. Her de rigeur Sensi flipflops were scattered a few feet away.....

(I don't know who told them to do it, but they *all* wear these sandals -- and soon we will be, too: www.sensi.com)

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Two days ago I learned that ashtanga teacher Gwendoline Hunt died. This is sad news indeed, as she was one of those rare people who inspire but are also approachable. I remember having coconuts with her and my girls and the Crazy Kiwi Man on Kovalam beach last year. Of course she and the latter had friends in common (Gwendoline was from New Zealand). She was tiny and in her 70's and her adjustments were ingenious, particularly Triangmukhekapadapascimattanasana, in which she would lay her whole body over yours and stretch her arms to their full length in order to get your sitting bones down and grab your front foot. I touched my feet in Kapotasana with her last year; on the inhale she had you move your head in, on the exhale the hands would follow. She was a model for a lot of us -- a septuagenarian practicing ashtanga and traveling the world teaching it to others -- all without some adoring husband / driver in tow, or some (grand)kids back at home. Just by being, she showed us you could do it on your own -- and do it well and with that pure inner joy that eludes most of us. She will be sadly missed.

A memorial page for Gwendoline is here:

Thursday, November 18, 2004


I visited my Rescuers yesterday. Instead of my suitcase and cat, I came armed with flowers and a family-size box of pastries from Angel Food (1636 W. Montrose). 'Twas strange indeed to see the interior of their house for what seemed like the first time, as it was so nightmarish before. The kids are cute, the mom is lovely and the house is still immaculate. I also picked up my bike, which has no spoke damage. The dad's theory is that my front brake was loose and somehow brought me to a dead stop (he actually *fixed* my brakes... are these people real??). It all happened so fast -- one minute I was turning a corner, the next there was an explosion of pain and I was spitting out a tooth -- that I really have no idea. But he and his wife saw the whole thing and said it was so quick ("like a bird had dropped out of the sky") that they looked at each other and said, "Did you see that?" Nonetheless there *is* a kind of cool spoke mark on the frame of the painting that I'd been carrying, and which I thought had lodged in the spokes and caused the accident. I prefer their theory (ie; it's not my fault for being reckless). But I do like that painting. And that family. Turns out they go to church with my friend Laura Ingalls Wilder, and asked her about me on Sunday. Ravenswood is a small world indeed. And will be immortalized forever in "Valerie Loves Me," which we (well I was stretched out on the couch) edited some more yesterday. The irony -- among other things Blaine was working on the scene featuring me (with my formerly perfect chin) riding my blue Schwinn around Ravenswood, sans helmet.

Funny how the aches and pains from the crash show up much, much later: there's something nasty going on in my left knee and hamstring, which feels nearly pulled, as well as that weird chest thing, which doesn't seem to be improving. It *really* didn't like teaching three hours straight this morning. It wasn't the only one. I got to the club only to realize my thermos o' chai -- or do you say raison d'ĂȘtre -- was missing from my bag. Throughout class all I could think about was my $30 thermos and its precious contents rolling across the parking lot, only to be footballed by some youthful ne'ers-do-well.

During the first class's savasana I pulled on my socks and planned a mad dash to the lot. But opening the door revealed the smiling face of the bubbly group fitness coordinator, who asked if I had a few minutes. I said of course (so much for getting in touch with my Inner Bitch). She wanted to know if I was going to India this winter, since I had mentioned as much on the 2005 schedule request form. I pointed to my ugly-ass Abe Lincoln chin and told her about my crash and Kirby's weenie problem and said, "I don't think so." ARGH! So now I'm committed to five months -- five months! twenty-odd Thursdays! -- of waking up at 4:50AM and teaching those two back-to-back classes. It's not the teaching I mind, it's the getting up. And being locked in. And needing the money. And committing to putting off India. And being tired (which makes me morose and short-tempered) all day Thursday and Friday. I had to take two naps and talk for over two hours on the phone today to recover. At least I found the thermos in my car. I also located my insurance card; apparently the ER deductable is $150. Vishnu only knows what kind of trouble they'll give me, or what my primary care physician will charge me for removing the stitches on Monday.....maybe I can talk her into throwing in a certain blood test I feel obliged to take. Anything to avoid the fresh hell of the free clinic....

I did finally pitch that idea to the NYT food section. And a music CC to the Reader. The latter bit. If I hear from the former I'll fall off my (non-aeron) chair.

Still haven't gotten on a bike or practiced yoga since the accident. Maybe Saturday.

Maybe not.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


At the moment I seem to be capable of exactly one thing -- sleeping. Well, eating too. But I just awakened from a two-hour nap and will probably go back down again soon. Either this is the toll that a trauma takes on the body, or I am fighting off that supernasty two-week cold everyone is passing around. Whatever the case I have zero energy and managed to reactivate my sore breastbone while giving someone a baddhakonasana adjustment this morning. Is it possible that the crash dislodged a rib? Who knows.....

Yesterday I was so fatigued I did not visit my rescuers to pick up my bike and begged off editing Valerie Loves Me with Blaine and Addington (in which Blaine edits while Add and I look on / come up with new schtick). I also bailed on some dinner plans (interestingly, my ride there was glad for the reprieve, as he was laid up in bed, too!). At some point the doorbell buzzed and I thought, Go away. And then I thought, Hmmm, the election season is over and the Jehovah's Witnesses were here on Monday. So I answered. It was FLOWERS. A HUGE BUNCH -- for me. From The Hex. I had forgotten that people made such gestures. Again I was floored.

So I put them in water and set myself up on the couch to watch the 1983 Amitabh Bachchan Bollywood vehicle, "Sharaabi," and dozed off but once (Bindi's Hum Kisise Kum Haneen DVD would not play).

And now I'm debating going out for bike retreival /editing, and trying to figure out whether or not I should try to teach tonight's ashtanga one class.... Since I teach two in a row tomorrow morning at 6 and 7:30. Time will tell. On the one hand, I'm glad I don't have any pressing deadlines. On the other, I'm worried about finances.

Which reminds me. Some weeks ago I was telling everyone, "Yeah, I don't know if I'm going to India this winter or not. I'm looking for a sign." Don't ever say this. Or you will get a series of signs, and they will all point in the same direction (ie stay home and work your ass off):

Vet bill $1,000
CK dental bill $800
CK ER bill unknown
Tik to India $1470 to $1675
2 mos w/SKPJ $1,000+

......Unless there's some other interpretation that's eluding me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


As the tooth became less painful, the rest of the body picked up the action and now it aches like crazy. A couple of spots -- both shoulders, some ribs, and the breastbone -- really hurt like hell. The chin is sore of course, especially when I smile (which seems to be often). Also I accidentally whacked it with the pillow last night and saw red. But that did not stop me from teaching two classes today (I also took two naps). I lacked the throne but like Bikram Himself I talked people through their practices (well I did a bit of adjusting this evening). But no demonstrating. Anytime my head goes below my heart it throbs like a bad Viennese discotheque. Maybe there will be an asana practice later this week. And I am EXHAUSTED, like, ALL THE TIME. A good excuse to watch one of the Bollywood fillums Bindi loaned me before leaving for Mumbai, but I have yet to pop one in. I must do it. And soon.

I cleared up the insurance thing this morning. If they're telling the truth, there's a 31-day grace period and I'm covered. We'll see about that. One thing that's certain is that they will not cover the broken molar.

I feel dirty, since I haven't been able to brush my teeth or wash my face properly (I don't want to accidentally hit the molar, and the washcloth thing just doesn't do it for me). I haven't shampooed my hair for fear of getting the wound wet. So I tried to clean up before a trip to the dentist but no matter what they always look at me like I'm a pariah anyway. They revealed that for about $800 I could get something called an onlay (sounds like a Beck EP) that would fill in the missing chunk of tooth *and* the filling that's there. I've been so desensitized to cost because of the cat-thing that I didn't even flinch when they showed me the figure. Instead I thought, What a bargain -- it's under $1,000! And they've worked on me before and did a stellar job so of course I said yes. They drilled and and then put on a "temporary" while I listened to Steve Dahl (to whom I hope to teach yoga one day). Again it was nice to sit back and do nothing. Later when the novacaine wore off the mouth/tooth throbbed like crazy. Must remember to take something before bed.

Oh yeah, Certain Cats are again having trouble urinating, despite my protestations that it's my turn to be the invalid. To be invalid. Invalidated. I've not dated in three weeks....

I wonder whose vet bill will be higher.

Sunday, November 14, 2004


This is way out of character, as I *always* pay my bills early.

Late last night I dug out the insurance papers to see if the ER was covered and opened the most recent envelope, which arrived Thursday or Friday....
and learned that payment was due October 27. I checked the checkbook -- the premium had not been sent. Apparently the statement for Nov/Dec never came -- because if it had I would have paid it, and early too -- and my coverage has lapsed.

Big panic.

Of course they're not there on the weekend.

Maybe there's a grace period.

Does anyone know the average cost of an emergency room visit?

Will try to fix it first thing Monday.


Never title a post "Please Kill Me" because two days later you will fly over your handlebars and hit the pavement so hard with your chin and jaw and right side of your body that you dare not move for some time and must go to the emergency room. At the same time you are certain that a painting you are carrying home got caught in the front spokes, causing the accident. And all you can think of is, I hope the painting is OK.

You will hear someone say, "Are you OK?" And "Can you move?" And they will cover you with a thick towel because you are in shock. You notice something in your mouth and spit it out. It's a chunk of tooth. You look at it against the black of your glove. It's big. You notice blood on the glove, and feel the wetness on your chin. You spit out another piece of tooth, smaller. The nice lady says she will hold onto the big one for you and puts it in her own hand. They will try to help you get up a couple of times but the aperture starts to close and the nausea comes and your legs buckle and you must go into child's pose. And they will say, take some deep breaths. And can we call someone for you. It is then that you realize there is no one to call. And, do you want to go to the emergency room. And where do you live and we will take you home if you want. And we put your bike and bags in our car. And two men, one on each elbow will help you stand up. You don't see their faces. You think you are going to faint and / or vomit but do not. You show them the wound on your chin and they say it doesn't look like you need stitches. They give you a towel to dab it, and help you to the car and warn that it's a big step up. Your neck hurts and your head is at a weird angle and your vision isn't quite right and you can't think quite right either. They tell you you can take your helmet off. You start to faint again and put your head down. They want to know whom to call. If there's a friend, a neighbor, anyone. They take you to your house. Upon arrival you lift up your head and look at your building and the whole scene starts to get lighter and lighter until it's almost white and then the aperture starts to close again and you must put your head down. You cannot even think about the three flights of stairs, let alone whom to call.

I think I'm about to lose consciousness, you say. Maybe I should get looked at. Don't worry, they say, we will take you to the emergency room, and discuss whether to go to Weiss or Ravenswood or Swedish Covenant. And you think about your shitty insurance, and say you're not sure which one will accept you. And they say it will work at any emergency room, and head west. And the nice lady in back places a call to Addington, who's not home. What's your name? She asks, and you tell her. You give her some more numbers to dial and she asks who she's calling and you say Blaine. "Blaine X?" she asks. Yes, you say. Do you know Blaine X? Yes, I just called him myself. He's not at home, either.... And it turns out they are neighbors.

Around this point you start to feel a little less like you're about to lose it. And notice there are seven other people in the car, including three totally silent kids in back. Someone introduces all of them; the the husband, the wife, the husband's parents, the three boys. You start to feel better and it's agreed that they will bring you to their house. On the way there is still the question of whom to call. Your mind scrolls and scrolls but your parents are dead and the vexx is history and eveyrone has kids/ families/is busy or lives too far away. Holly? No. Deb? No. Marty? No. Dreyfus? No. They put your bike in their garage and carry your bags in for you (such a relief) and put your tooth fragment into a Ziplock with milk. And set you up on the couch and bring a glass of water and something to clean the wound. You wipe off some of the blood and show the gash to them and they say, in unison, "You need stitches." At some point, you're not sure when, you get your cell and call Add's moble and he picks up. He is in the middle of something but will call Enelle, who is in the neighborhood. The nice people do some research via 911 and decide to take you to Illinois Masonic and give you some ice wrapped in a red dish towel and fill up your water bottle. Enelle calls to say she can meet you at the ER. Singleton to the rescue. As you're leaving you learn that the nice lady's sister is someone you know, through yoga.

The nice man drives and talks to you on the way. He carries your bags into the hospital. A metal detector. They let you in despite your shitty insurance. He waits with you but there is not a huge wait. They want to know what happened and where, and if your teeth meet correctly. They are much nicer than the emergency vet and the place smells better, too. Eventually Enelle comes and the nice man leaves, saying you can get the bike when you want. You get his name and number as you are still *out of it* and can't remember any of their names.

In no time your name is called and you're placed on a bed and told to put on a gown. An intern does everything, very young. Not quite young enough to be your daughter, BUT. She looks at the blood on your hand and the bruises on your elbow and chest, makes inquires. She and the "real" doctor, who's about two years older than her, are all very interested in whether your jaw is closing correctly. No one can see the chipped molar in back so you don't know whether the root is involved or not. Enelle holds your hand as the intern jabs in more and more and more and more and more pricks of novacaine or whatever. You feel a lot of dripping from the shots. At the same time it is nice to lie on your back, having your hand held while you stare at the dirty spot on the light fixture. It is a relief to do nothing. And the pain is dwindling with more shots. She tells you each time she's finished a stitch. After the stitches go in you feel much better. Especially after the doctor laughs at your joke about no hair growing on that part of your chin when you get older. Then it's time to go. They don't give you a bill, which is scary. Enelle drives you home and puts up the blinds that were soaking in the tub. While drinking tea with Enelle the nice lady who rescued you calls and asks if you're OK. You are floored. People are good.

But now you want to pack a suitcase and move in with them.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Yesterday I spoke to the nice vet, who said Certain Cats were doing better and could come home that very afternoon, after a bath... But that they were monitoring his urine output and I'd have to, too. When I queried him about whether Kirby was urinating "like normal" the answer was vague; they weren't sure if he was completely unblocked. Later, when I picked him up (treatment plus antibiotics and special catfood somehow cost *less* than the estimate), the attendant said and he had held his pee all day and was urinating when she opened the cage. He stopped midstream, so she pressed on his bladder and helped him finish.. but she didn't know whether that meant he was normal or not. She said that he jumped into the cat carrier (that's a new one). When I got him home I let him out at the base of the stairs and he flew up to the top. When I got to the top I saw him on his hind legs, stretched to his full height and working the doorknob to my apartment with his front paws. The genius still smelled like pee though.

After getting inside he disappeared for awhile, then sniffed around to see that everything was where he'd left it. That was followed by a lot of grooming and lap-purring.

There are little wet spots in the litterbox and today he threw up a hairball (which I have yet to clean up), so I know things are back to normal.

OK, you can kill me now.. I'm 40 and writing posts ABOUT MY CAT.... Unless I fall on my sword first.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


A call to the "good" vet yesterday revealed that scurvy Kirby's catheter had gotten kinked again, which meant he was blocked. The doctor removed the thing -- and the awful Elizabethan collar -- and tried to flush him out. Twice. Apparently it's not working very well. The vet and I are hoping he will somehow start urinating on his own (in a litterbox). I asked her, What If -- as in, worst case scenario. And she said three of the scariest words ever; Surgical Penis Removal. This made me feel sick, and not just because of the cost.

Later I visited Mr. Q. (Scurvy's full name is Kirby Q-Tie). He growled at the candy striper who brought him in, but not at me. Fortunately he was wrapped in a towel (he still smells of urine) and we sat down and had a nice half-hour visit. He even purred at one point and showed interest in his toy mouse and did his cute involuntary mouth-clicks when I flashed a mirror and said, "CD's!? CD's!?" If I visit him again I'll dose him with catnip right before I leave, so he'll enjoy at least a few minutes of oblivion. But I'm hoping to spring him today (this is starting to remind me of Bindi's stint at Mysore's Apollo Hospital earlier this year; see http://mysore.blogspot.com/2004_02_01_mysore_archive.html).

Monday, November 08, 2004


I just awakened from a two-hour nap and feel somewhat better as it has been one stressful weekend. Week. Month. Season. Year. The nap was good but among the dreams about graduating from college again and the dorm room door falling off and wearing a salwaar kameez and holding hands and dancing in Mysore with new Indian friends and standing with some Denis Leary-looking guy at the top of an unspeakably beautiful zen valley, I had a dream in which the Vexx and I got back together. I asked him why we broke up and he started to write something down and stopped. Then he pulled out two antique guns and started waving them at me. Apparently he thought we would have ended up killing each other (not that far from the truth if you ask me). Then he disappeared into the sunset.

It is weird waking up without that feral beast at the foot of the bed. I guess I am hooked on scurvy Kirby after all. Yesterday at the mean 24 hour vet hospital he pulled out his catheter (that's my boy) and growled at them so much they had to put a warning sign on the cage. All that while wearing a humiliating Elizabethan collar! Apparently he did indeed have crystals in his urethra and it probably would have gotten completely blocked and he could have died. Or so they told me (they're like going to an auto mechanic you don't know; you know they're ripping you off but don't know enough to prove it). So they had to re-sedate him and re-catheterize him (additional $100), and when I visited last night he growled at me, too. He had food and gunk stuck to his whiskers and was housed next to a dog! And they were feeding him a fish-based wet food -- which is one of the possible causes of the problem!! It reminded me of this time last year when I lost Bindi's kitty (ie when he broke out of my house) and visited every shelter in the city several times. Very depressing. Two other cats there had the same problem.... DO NOT EVER FEED LICORICE TO YOUR CAT! Funny how the total cost when I picked him up this AM was at the high high end of the estimate. Funny how when the "good" (ie regular) vet examined him today he did not growl at all. Poor thing, in the collar with the catheter and smelling of pee. Funny how the mean vet said he'd probably come home today. The "nice" vet said he has to stay, with cathether and collar, until Wednesday. All for the low, low price of around $500.

Total vet bill: somewhere around $1100 (or so they say).
Plane ticket to India: $1250
Laptop computer on which to write one's first book: $1500
Aeon chair: $700
Mammogram: $450.
Income lost from losing R gig to sub: $8,800
Having an irritable feline companion who bites and wakes one up at all hours: Priceless....

Ironically we already had an appt. today to see the vet at 4. So I told her to throw in the shots and feces exam while she was at it. He won't notice. And with all the other charges I probably won't, either.

Sunday, November 07, 2004


After much debate I took Scurvy to the mean 24 hour vet and learned that his urinary tract is partially blocked (probably from the magnesium-laden Panda liquorice he likes) and they will have to insert a catheter (ouch!) and keep him overnight, to the tune of $450 to $600 -- the price of the mammogram I need but cannot afford. The price of the urine-proof Herman Miller Aeron desk chair I have wanted forever but cannot have. The price of a month with Pattabhi Jois.

Doing the right thing sucks.

So last night after the Ramaswamy workshop (his unusual vinyasa sequences, learned straight from Krisnamacharya -- with whom he spent more time than Pattabhi Jois and BKS Iyengar combined -- straightened out my very sore back) I came home and noticed that Kirby (cat) was listless and leaving little puddles wherever he went. I sniffed them and they didn't smell like much of anything (little did I know). I figured they were drool, because he has rodent ulcers (sores around his mouth) due to allergies; when he has these his name becomes "Scurvy." We have a scurvy appt. for the vet on Monday. But the puddles kept appearing and he was licking his pink flower so finally I picked him up and turned him upside down and inspected back there and liquid started squirting out!. Apparently it was urine, only not as gross and ammonia-laced as usual. But it kept dribbling out. So I called Bo the non-vet (www.animallog.blospot.com) for advice. She immediately diagnosed a bladder infection. We hung up as she searched for cat-antibiotics and I did online research. Apparently this is common in male cats of a certain age and can be triggered by stress and / or eating fish-based cat food, both of which are all the rage here. The dribble means he's not blocked and probably won't die over the weekend. The only antibiotics Bo could find were for respiratory and dental problems. A call to the mean 24-hour vet revealed nothing other than "you should bring him now" and that the base price was $75. Having never gone there without waiting hours to drop $300 or more, I decided to call his North Shore counterpart. They were more forthcoming but also thought I should bring him in. Base price $85, plus bloodwork and urinalysis, etc. The web sites say these things sometimes clear on their own. Bo found a solution in her homeopathic cat remedy book; 500 mg of vitamin C three times a day is supposed to fix the PH. So I went out to Osco at 11:55 PM for vitamin C tabs and a baby eyedropper, came home and crushed the stuff, added water and dosed the poor thing. If you ever need to make a cat froth at the mouth for a video shoot or something, force-feed it vitamin C. So I kept watching him and mopping up the puddles and sniffing them and gave him some wet food (which he ate) and some water (which he "drank," dousing his paw and putting it to his mouth). I figured he wasn't going to get dehydrated and die and went to bed, planning to awaken at 7 and take him to the mean 24 hour vet before my long day which is:

Noon: teach ashtanga 1
2PM: Ramaswamy workshop
4PM: Teach ashtanga 1 downtown
6:30: Sunday night at Blair's

Scurvy made it through the night and this morning seemed more chipper, even attempting to play door-Pong with me. There weren't as many leaks so of course I thought he was blocked. But then I sat at the desk and noticed that god-awful cat-pee smell coming from somewhere. Much sniffing (it's allergy season so the sniffer is a little off) revealed he'd been sitting in my chair and leaking (god knows which web sites he was visiting). And I thought, PU. And then, Finally, an excuse to get a new chair! Only then did my thoughts turned to the cat's well-being. I gave him some more wet food, which he ate, and some more vitamin C, which made him froth some more (very menacing look when combined with the rodent ulcers). After acting miffed for some time he rubbed against my legs and started acting like his old self again. So is he blocked or is he better? I can't tell if the bladder is distended or if he's just fat from eating and drinking (much putting of the paw into the humidifier reservoir and bringing it up to the ulcer-covered mouth to drink today). I am hoping to hold out til tomorrow for our own vet, who is just as expensive but not as mean. Oh, now he is sitting on the leopard-print pillow. Must get him off before he pollutes that too. Not many odors are worse than the old cat-pee smell.

....At Osco the man in front of he had that same smell. And wheezed so loudly I could not hear myself think about which type of gum I wanted to buy. And he had one of those microphone things on a string that you put up to your throat to talk. "Haaaaaave a GOOOOOOD-nite," he sang to the clerk before limping off to his cab. Did not see what he bought. The young blonde man (tall and good-looking in that obvious way) behind me had 80-proof breath and bought two tall boys and 24 AA batteries ($3.99). Osco is a real horrorshow just before closing on a Saturday night.

...And all night I had bad dreams (the previous night I was trying and failing to save both humans and fowl from the pheasant hunters). This time I was trying to save Scurvy from my stepmother, who somehow caught me instead and cut off my ponytail.

OK, will turn the cat upside down and check the geyser again.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Last night I had a dream in which my friend Devdutt and I arrived early at the airport for a Bangalore-Mumbai-Frankfurt flight. In Frankfurt I was to meet my aunt and uncle (in reality she lives in Florida and he's expired). We were too early to get a boarding pass or check luggage so we sat around and waited. And then decided to get a Coffee Day or something on the other side of the airport. And left our luggage behind. After cafffeinating we returned to find that our luggage was gone, gone, gone. On the one hand I was relieved; why was I toting around a two giant black suitcases filled with dhotis and colorful plastic bags and a seven-year-old laptop anyway? And I could always find another favorite pair of jeans. But I had only Rs 500 to my name and all my contact info was in the lost bags, so many dream-hours were wasted at Devdutt's girlfriend's house in Berlin (?), where they glared while I tried repeatedly to call my sister-in-law (to cancel my credit cards and get my aunt's contact info) but only ended up getting my nephew's band's voicemail -- which he never, ever checks (and which in reality does not exist). I kept wanting her to offer to loan me some clothes but she would not. Oh, and they had a perfect relationship (Dev is an ex) which made things even worse.

Somehow this has something to do with the election.

At least Jon Stewart starts an hour early tonight.