Friday, December 31, 2004


I've been reading a book by a woman who's had a chronic daily headache for 15 years and now almost each and every day I wake up with one of my own -- particularly on the two days when I interviewed her. Apparently this is akin to some type of Medical School Syndrome*, in which students display the symptoms of each and every malady they study. I cannot wait to read the book by the woman who's never experienced fear, rejection, depression or bad hair.

The hipster Iraqui war vet (apparently this is not an oxymoron... and he's most definitely not a moron, having used the verb "squire" correctly in a sentence; one suspects he may also know the difference between vertical and horizontal) and I enjoyed a lazy WB lunch earlier this week (two desserts!), during which he inquired about the glyphs written in ink on my hand -- they're reminders, not unlike Uncle Billy's strings only more specific -- one of which was a bicycle to prompt me to pick up the Cinelli from the shop. The final (I hope) tragedy of the bike crash is that I bent out of shape forever my rare, collectible, odd-size Campangolo front fork from the 1970's. Since I've no time/money for eBay they replaced it with a servicable silver generic thing. I also had a rack put on the back (an obscenity on a road bike, I know), so I am no longer tempted to ride around with paintings that get stuck in the front wheel. In any case the vet *offered to take me to get it* thus winning many points..... After a slow initial trip I've been riding the thing nonstop... such a treat....until it started to rain last night. Not a bad way to end the year. Knock wood NOW.


*Medical school syndrome: A form of acute hypochondriasis that affects most people in training to be a physician. For example, when studying Hodgkin disease, a medical student feels behind their ears or neck, feels little lymph nodes (that are entirely normal), and thinks they have Hodgkin disease. (from

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


From Linda Johnsen (via e-mail):

"As many of you have probably heard by now, the tsunami hit Ammachi's ashram in southern Kerala. The waves were only five feet high by then, but hit with such force they annihilated the villages along the coast, even knocking down concrete buildings. Incredibly, an hour before the wave hit, Amma sent out a message over the ashram PA system ordering the thousands of devotees gathered there for the holiday to evacuate at once to high-rise buildings further in-land, and had her brahmacharins run along the beach to chase villagers away from the water.

"While the devastation on the Kerala coast was incalculable, not one person in Amritapuri (there were over 10,000 people there at the time) was lost or even injured. It's unbelievable.

"Amma is now spearheading relief efforts in India. The government has managed to deliver rice to coastal communities in southwestern India, but the villagers have no pots to cook with, so the ashram is feeding the entire population in the area, even though their own grounds were badly damaged. The brahmacharins are also extremely busy performing funeral rites--offering some small comfort to bereaved families along the sea. Groups of Amma's followers throughout the Western world are banding together to help finance the rebuilding of villages.

"Several weeks ago my friend Janine, who'd been alarmed by rumors that Amma had been predicting a major disaster, asked the brahmacharini who stays with Amma in her room at night, if there was any truth in the gossip. The brahmacharini told her, 'Amma says that when she goes to sleep at night she sees a dark wave over the sun.' At the time Janine thought the brahmacharini must have mistranslated and really meant to say 'dark cloud over the sun,' but now she understands what Amma meant by a 'dark wave.' What a world, so full of both sorrow and grace!

"Wishing you all a tranquil holiday and a better New Year." -Linda Johnsen



Some scenes from Xmas ‘04...

From the 8-mos pregnant girl on Xmas Eve, when asked if she was going to breast feed:

“I don’t think so.”


”I don’t feel like it.”

Then she set down her O’Doul’s, put on her jacket, and went outside for a smoke.


That same night, after I told my brother and the rest of ‘em that I’d gone to Millennium Park on a blind date with an Iraqi war vet.

Dreyfus: “What?? An Iraqi war veteran? He’s probably crazy!”

Satya C: “Well duh -- what do you think makes him so attractive?”


From Tommy’s kids, shortly after we started watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Xmas night:

Mattie: “EEEEEEW! It’s black-and-white!”

Griffin (who earlier, with great authority, and as if revealing a closely-guarded secret, gravely explained what high-tops are): “Can we play video games when this Twilight Zone is over?”


Did anyone else hear the radio bit with Steve AND GARRY on Xmas Eve? That *was* Garry I heard egging Steve on... or was it one of those aural hallucinations I’ve been waiting so long to try? Whatever it was, ‘twas akin to running across an 8mm film of your long-divorced (and, for that matter, dead) parents, in happier times....

Monday, December 27, 2004


Apparently Kanyukumari (southernmost tip of India) and Kerala (on the left coast, where Lino Miele's workshop is being held) were hit as was Chennai on the right coast, which appears to have been hit harder.. But the Andaman Islands (a former British penal colony for Indian revolutionaries-cum-fancy resort in the middle of the Indian Ocean) took the brunt of it for India. Justin from the Kovalam crew reports they're all OK. My friend Devdutt, who's in Mumbai, says he's lost relatives. The Red Cross is taking donations (

News stories:

Sunday, December 26, 2004


From Today's NYT Mag, by Suketu Mehta, author of Maximum City: Bombay [NOT Mumbai] Lost and Found..... a book I will purchase with a gift cert. received Xmas eve:

Koose Muniswamy Veerappan, c. 1949: Outback Outlaw

December 26, 2004

Koose Muniswamy Veerappan was a bandit in the forests of
South India with the world's most dangerous facial hair.
His popularity as a poacher and sandalwood smuggler rested
on the myth that he stole from the forest and gave to the
forest dwellers. Their support helped him evade an
extensive police manhunt for the better part of two
decades, and 20,000 people showed up for his funeral.

The local papers referred to him, in inimitable Indian
journalese, as the ''forest brigand'' Veerappan. His age,
when he was shot dead, was anywhere between 50 and 60. He
wore green army fatigues and his eyes were as bloodshot as
his life. He could reproduce a range of sounds of the
beasts and birds of the jungle -- 2,300 square miles of
wilderness between the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and
Kerala; a hilly wonderland of evergreen and deciduous
trees, medicinal plants and clear rivers, filled with
elephants, tigers and the occasional leopard. But during
his four-decade criminal career, he killed at least 120
forest officials, policemen and villagers who informed on
him; 200 elephants; and hundreds of thousands of sandalwood

Veerappan's whiskers, a sign of virility in India, struck
fear into the hearts of the hairless. His mustache lavishly
covered his mouth and jaws; it looked like a small furry
animal had died there. In 2000, he kidnapped a 71-year-old
film actor, Rajkumar, a demigod in South India. The hostage
and the kidnapper held lengthy discussions on religious
scripture. It had a therapeutic effect on the thespian.
''My time was all my own,'' Rajkumar later said. ''I prayed
to God, conversed with my inner self and marveled at
natural phenomena like day and night.'' The brigand would
twirl and flourish his whiskers and ask his captive his
opinion. ''He used to smear all sorts of oils and herbs on
it,'' the actor recalled. ''He used to comb it every day
and keep it very clean. He also used to take great pains to
dye it black.''

After 108 days -- a mythic number in Hinduism,
corresponding to the names of God -- Veerappan let the
actor go, supposedly after payment of a large ransom.
Rajkumar, unable to shave during his captivity, grew a
mustache and beard; during the same period, his three sons,
along with much of the Kannada film industry, vowed not to
shave until his release. Veerappan's whiskers spread on
vast numbers of cheeks. When photographs of his dead body
were published, many newspapers were initially suspicious
that it was the real brigand, because his face was adorned
with only a small mustache, barely a quarter of a foot

Veerappan was born into a poor Tamil family in the forest.
He began his career as an ivory poacher, shooting his first
elephant at 14. Then he turned to sandalwood, of whose
harvest the government had awarded itself a monopoly.
Veerappan outraged environmentalists but initially garnered
sympathy from tribes and villagers in the forests. At one
point, he led a group of landless laborers to take over
several hundred acres of government-reserved forest, clear
them of trees and use the land for cultivating crops.

He was adept at manipulating political struggles to his
advantage. The South Indian states Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
were engaged in a bitter dispute over sharing the Cauvery
River, and when he was wanted in one state, he would hide
out in the other. He demanded that the Cauvery water
dispute be referred to the International Court of Justice.
Among the demands he made for Rajkumar's release was the
paying of a fair minimum wage to tea-estate workers. ''I am
fighting for the 60 million people of Tamil Nadu,'' he
claimed, and he formed links with Tamil secessionist

But for all his ideological bombast, his crimes could be
downright macabre: he would order his victims' limbs to be
severed and chop their bodies into small bits. He once
called a forest official to his hideout for a one-on-one
meeting, offering to surrender, and later returned him --
without his head. He disposed of two other forest officials
by boiling them alive in a vessel used to brew moonshine.

The Rajkumar kidnapping only increased the feeling that the
brigand was becoming a source of national embarrassment.
The hotel industry in the beautiful Nilgiri Hills had been
affected; people stopped visiting after he kidnapped a
group of tourists from a wildlife sanctuary there. As the
South Indian states strove to be seen as forward-thinking
hotbeds of technology and development -- Bangalore, India's
equivalent of Silicon Valley, is the capital of Karnataka
-- it seemed ridiculous that they couldn't catch a bandit
in their own backyard. He regularly offered to surrender,
but his terms went beyond an amnesty. One was that his life
should be made into a major motion picture.

Tamil Nadu and Karnataka formed special police task forces
to hunt him down, and the outcome, though delayed, was
preordained. His homicidal paranoia had progressively
alienated the villagers who sheltered him. An informer
betrayed him to the police, who shot him, along with three
of his gang members, on Oct. 18. He met his end while being
transported in what he thought was an ambulance for a
cataract operation. The exact circumstances of his death
were unclear; human rights groups claimed the police shot
him dead in an extrajudicial execution.

During the latter years of the brigand's reign, the animals
and trees in Veerappan's terrain were, perversely, safer
than ever before. With 1,500 armed policemen as well as
Veerappan's gang roaming through the jungle, all other
poachers and tree fellers stayed out. A policeman in charge
of one of the task forces estimated that the percentage of
wildlife in the area had gone up 10 to 15 percent in the
previous decade. In the week after Veerappan's death,
scores of other poachers re-entered the jungles, and the
forest department hired men with drums to go around the
villages announcing a ban on outsiders coming into the

In death, Veerappan was successful in at least one of his
goals. Immediately after his demise, two filmmakers in
Bollywood rushed to finish films on the forest brigand. The
name of one was changed from ''Let's Get Veerappan'' to
''Let's Kill Veerappan.''

Suketu Mehta is the author of ''Maximum City: Bombay Lost
and Found.''

Friday, December 24, 2004


that caused this dreadful cold?

Methinks so.

Or perhaps it was the $25 parking.

Or the mad dash for Frangos at Fields.

But at least I saw the Bean. Finally.

And Jack really did serve in Iraq.

Apparently you have to shake your boots out because of scorpions and spiders.

Their camels have two humps. The one-hump ones are in Asia, where it's colder.

Many colorful, noisy birds.

But no giant cockroaches. Or elephants.

Oops. Forgot to ask about the gropers.....

And the snipers.

Next time.


Monday, December 20, 2004

"THE EGO WITH ITS GROSS BODAY AND GREAT, SWOLLEN, PUMPKIN HEAD.... like a man who will stand right in front of you at a horse race: you can only catch a glimpse of the race by peeping under his arms or between his legs."

--Christopher Isherwood, quoted in Sunday's NYT book section in a review of the exhaustive new biography Isherwood: A Life Revealed. For those scratching their heads, the Broadway show Cabaret (which the hex and I saw at the old Studio 54 on NYE 2002/3 featuring Molly Ringworm and Tom Bosley) is based on his Berlin Stories. More important, the vendantist and contemporary of EM (Passage to India) Forster and W. Somerset Maugham cowrote, with Swami Prabhavananda, 1953's How to Know God: The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali -- which was conveniently left out of the review. Haven't heard of it? Suffice to say that the clear, concise book is de rigeur if you have any interest whatsoever in understanding the philisophical underpinnings of asana (physical) practice.


-It seems wrong for a Chicago institution whose namesake is dead dead dead to start branching out. But since Margie's Candies is opening its #2 not far from my house, at 1800 W. Montrose -- which will allow us to avoid the Devil's Milwaukee/Armitage/Western Triangle to get our old-school ice cream fix -- I suppose we'll just have to embrace it.

-It turns out the physician does indeed have a beard. And an ex-wife (friendly terms) whom I know and like very much. Nonetheless he listened intently while I launched into the long, not-so-amusing story of various doctors' and quacks' attempts to cure my 11-month bout of prepatellar bursitis (swollen knee), and patiently sat through my interrogation about bill collection policies at Cook County Hospital (almost nonexistent). Mission accomplished, Madam.

Saturday, December 18, 2004


I actually squaked and then almost dropped the paper when I saw that this was the Backwards R's subhead for my story. Does the new male publisher want more male readers? (the old publisher, under whom I worked for eight productive years, was a woman). An informal poll taken at The Empty Shala (now there's a name for a yoga studio -- and an apt one, too) showed that zero percent of the women present used or liked that word. It's not even fit for animals, really. Appetizers in India*, yes. Humans, no. If only I'd clued the editors in on the giblets thing. "Nothing Livens Up a Poetry Reading Like a Shriveled Set of Giblets." Now *that's* a good read. Page 14. Go out and get it.....

.....What am I thinking? On Thurs I was on the phone with the divorced Jewish physician-who-may-have-a-beard (not to mention two daughters...hmmm.....) when the well-read guy-who-may-have-been-in-Iraq called. So today it's pastries with the former (just look for the beard), although I can't remember the appointed time, and Tues it's The Bean (ie "Cloudgate" at Millennium Park) with the latter . The giant silver sculpture closes Jan 4 for five months of seam-smoothing -- and I've not yet seen it due to my recent String of Crises. Poor Jack-from-Iraq**. He was, like, What do you want to do. I'm, like, Well, there's something I've been dying to do for a really long time (pause). It's probably inappropriate (pause). (At this point he is probably thinking "an@l!" or something along those lines). Nonetheless when I sprung my innocent idea on him he went along with it. (They always do at the beginning).

I actually have a crush on a real-life person but don't have a clue as to what to do about it. I suppose the famine will come *after* the holiday, when they stop putting out cookies and having parties, and take down all the lights and everything turns back to grey....One wishes this holiday cheer would last at least until they turn the clocks forward.

Yesterday I fit an intermediate practice (came up from Kapotasana twice! Touched my feet not once!) between two teaching gigs, followed by a lazy lunch with Munkin at a very noisy and infant-infested WB, during which one of the handsome lads at the adjacent table came over and said, "You forgot to bring your babies."

And I said, "No we didn't. They're in the car."


*"Tit bits"

**Maybe, since we haven't shot the Tom from Nam scene yet, Jack from Iraq could sit in. Nah. But just imagine if I could find a guy who was in KOREA... and his name rhymed with it. Now that'd be coup.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


The neck and back hurt so much yesterday (after Monday's intense chiro adjustment) that I felt physically ill (what else is new). Of course I attribute it to calling someone a Babbling Nincompoop in print. It's not me, it's me.

These things helped the pain radiate and then finally dissipate (at around 9PM):

Getting up at 6 to rewrite the Naked Poetry story for the Backwards R.

Standing poses

Subbing a Mysore class (one person sans wedding ring!)

Doing Judith Lasater's "Instant Maui" (a reclining restorative posture that utilizes many, many props) for 20 minutes when class ended early.

Meditteranean omelette (yeggs bad, yes, but apparently vegetarians who run around like a headless chicken need protein and it ain't bad when combined with fresh spinach, feta, tomatoes, oregano and verboten onions) and flapjacks at the Orignal Pancake House.

Traumeel (arnica cream) on the neck and shoulders.

Gallons of water.



More editing.

Checking the Backwards R's rewrite

Finally taking the generic equivalent of Aleve

Subbing an Ashtanga Basics Class at the Habitrail Club (that's exactly how it smells), and doing a lot of demonstrating

Swimming 1/4 mile

Steaming for 10 minutes.

Long hot shower, with tons of psi's of water pressure aimed at sore areas

Pockets for dinner (piping hot wheat bread and vegetables)

Watching the Amazing Race with friends, while wearing bandannas (the show's take on Senegal is a bit different than the rural, tribal one depicted in Moolaade -- which everyone must run out and see before it goes away. But it was highly entertaining to see that woman dismiss Dakar as being "ghetto" and watch the Richard Simmons guy almost slug his put-upon wife VICTORIA! -- nailing her backpack instead -- and observe the Dad break down at the slave trading place and later try to drink all the beer in East Berlin while his daughter begged and pleaded for him to drop the stein and go on with the race).

Watching last week's episode of Lost (more offspring freaking out over dad's drinking problem)

Triple chocolate cake (usually a migraine trigger, but not today).

Liking the Backwards R's Final ReRewrite (look for the story in Friday's paper -- very funny if I do say so myself). Please let them tout it on the cover.....oh wait. Forget I said that. Ego is bad. At least as bad as yeggs, if not worse.....


Monday, December 13, 2004


I went out on the bike four times today. I don't even know the exact windchill (5 above? 5 below?). Suffice to say I saw just one other cyclist the entire day.

The first time out was to do a private le$$on.

The second was to visit my friend LK and her daughter Sunny, who is exactly that, for chatting and saying hi! hi! hi! over and over again (somehow it never got boring) and sharing a fabulous lentil curry.

The third was to visit the chiro, who had a lot to do to put my back back together again (it hasn't been right since The Bike Crash and *really* started to throb after we picked up my furniture yesterday. Detoxing I guess). At the chiro I saw the man formerly known as The Vegetarian MBA with the Good Head of Hair. From now on he is to be called The Babbling Nincompoop. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But we need to bring back the word "nincompoop." I've been trying for years but have had no luck. And man, he can talk.... On the way home I picked up some lobster claw or Vulcan bicycling gloves, which are like mittens split down the middle -- and which supposedly keep the fingers warmer. Fifteen bucks off! I put them right on -- even took the tags off (not my style) -- and snotted them immediately. So I guess I won't be taking them back anytime soon.

The fourth trip was to teach at The University with the Happiest Students in the America. It's true -- they have no preconceived notions about what they are and are not capable of, and just try things -- and end up doing them. Very little mind-stuff. Today a woman who's been coming for a year surprised the hell out of me by standing up from backbend on her own (three weeks ago I negated some advice from another teacher -- one who has yet to stand up on her own -- who told her not to use her hands. HELLO? The way I learned -- from Sharath primarily, and many others -- is that you use both the hands and the feet and the breath and the bandhas. Or am I missing something here?). Then another one went into headstand for the first time, by herself -- like it was nothing. It's really nice to see.

And now it's bath-time. So I won't be frigid no more.

Ian Hunter: You're Never Alone with a Schizophrenic
Alex Chilton: "Free Again"

Sunday, December 12, 2004


Saw Closer last night with The Serb; all that breaking up and getting back together... I wanted to knock their heads together and say, Move on already, Get over it. Each and every character was manipulative and odious, so in a way they all deserved each other. As in real life, water seeks its own level; sleaze goes with sleaze . But did we have to watch it? Also it was obvious from the stilted dialog that it was based on a play. T.S. was not impressed, either...but the chocolate and dinner afterwards were good. Turns out T.S. was 9 when Tito died; after that Yogaslavia had eight rotating presidents, one from each state (imagine if the US had 50!). Unlike the rest of the Eastern Bloc they were allowed to travel; people would drive six hours to Italy to shop. Who knew? T.S. started a rap radio show in Belgrade when he was in his early 20's (he's but 35) and moved to the US a couple of years later (his green card is for work, thankyouverymuch). His partner ended up on TV and is a huge celebrity.... T.S. didn't meet Chuck D. until a couple of years ago -- and was disappointed. He too loathes the suburbs and has never heard of Emo Philips (he works in Downer's Grove). Or Glen Campbell. Or Patsy Cline.

My girls helped me get my furniture back today -- it was left out in the vestible for us -- and on the drive home we glimpsed the vex pulled over on a side street, talking on the phone. I feel very tired indeed. And melancholy. And yet more like myself than I have in nearly a year.

And that's on a moon day -- with no yoga.

I hope I can stay awhile.

Saturday, December 11, 2004


Naked poetry non-slam in a raw loft space on a frigid December night.

Sounds ghastly, doesn't it?

It was actually kind of fun.

Of course it started an hour late.

People walked in clothed. The first to disrobe was a bald man who slid into the elevator shaftlike room (yes I said "shaft") behind (!) me, telling his friends to "wait til you see my outfit." I expected skirt, heels and feather boa. But no. He came out white as milk with nothing on but leg and arm warmers and a black felt mohawk held in place with a blue scarf. Others followed, mostly men. It seemed to take the women longer to drop their duds -- or, like girlie bathroom culture, they would disappear in groups and reappear some time later, naked and giggling. One man with grey hair and a beard stayed in his seat and one-by-one took off his shoes, socks, pants, boxers and shirt. He kept on the glasses and tweed blazer. Maybe he too noticed how damn cold the hard (!) metal chairs were (I was wearing four layers of clothes througout, including a turtleneck, jacket, wool socks and winter boots, and sat with arms crossed over my chest). Everyone had to look around to see who else was naked.

By the time it started at 9, about one out of five was naked or partially so, and nearly everyone was white (except for like five people -- a black guy who kept on his shirt (buttoned to the neck) and proved old stereotypes, a really sweet Amerasian woman who came up to me and said, "You look like a reporter" (could it have been the big yellow notepad? Or was it the way I was trying to shrink -- ha, there was a lot of shrinkage going on...or else I've been a *really* lucky girl -- into the wall?), a Latino guy in a leather jacket or two and a tough Latina sex worker-poet (that seems to be the cool profession these days. So SoHo. So HBO). People really seemed to need accessorize their nudity, either with body paint, boas, neckties, socks, cool boots, hats or tutus. A lot of the men appeard to think that "topless with a sarong" was the dress code. Someone should have told them how to tie it. I tried to look at faces but when it came to the men I could not stop myself from checking out their giblets. Then I'd look down and notice things like nicely-shaped feet or a weird Jeebus tattoo on the calf.

The poetry was pretty good. One woman nursed her kid onstage while reciting a really funny piece about all the places she'd suckled the thing (the other kid hid behind her, clutching her pants -- which were on). There was very little pretension and a lot of laughing; everyone was advised to give each poet a "10" score and they complied, making jazz hands each and every time. Not very Marc Smith (thank Sita).

I saw people from my tenure at Chicago Diner 15 years ago and that I know through yoga and through bicycling and from the punk rock scene of the early 1980's (most of whom were clothed). I also saw a guy whom I last spoke to in Mysore, in January (clothed, but not in Muslimwear this time around). In that respect it reminded me of the "this is your life" aspect of the 40 in 04 party last summer -- only the people were more peripheral and it was sans Deceptos and frantic dancers.

At one point the hostess, who is lovely and wore a white tutu and long striped socks and red hearts painted on her breasts (and about whom I'm writing a profile) told everyone to do the church thing and shake hands with the person next to them. Everyone had very good handshakes! (bad handshake almost always=bad man). And I got to talk to the cute guy sitting near me (long clean NICE hair, glasses, tall, handsomely dressed). Scary, he knew my last name, had read my stuff in YC and noticed that my byline's virtually disappeared from the Backwards R. I immediately forgot his name and of course botched the followup question: So, you do yoga? One day I will get the balls to finish a conversation and ask for a number. Come to think of it I guess I could have gotten some there (ba-DUM-dum).....

At about 11 I took off. But not before noticing that more and more people were going to the makeshift bar in back and getting naked. Clothes were everywhere -- on racks, in piles on the floor. People were chatting it up big-time. The energy was good. Then I noticed that a couple of the guys were walking around nonchalantly, their cox sticking straight out, half or fully hard. They were holding coversations and sipping their white wine and applauding the poets like it was no big deal. Now *that* was weird. I mean, it was *really* cold in there. And what were they planning to do with those things, anyway...?

* "gusˇcˇija iznutrica" in Serbo-Croation

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Could it be? I may be mistaken, but it seems that the spell has been broken. I've relapsed before *but.*

I did my first full yoga practice since the bike crash today (primary plus intermediate thru Karandavasana ). That was after three straight hours of teaching and a brief vex chaser (to set up #4.).

The scar is looking less scary but the throbbing tooth awakened me this morning. This is not supposed to happen with the onlay in place. I wonder what they charge for root canals in India. Imagine trying to explain that one....

I pick up my furniture on Sunday. Then -- closure.

Or so I think.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


I taught yoga for the first time in the suburbs today, and noticed that each and every student's poo hand was weighted down with big diamond wedding / engagement ring combos. Later it was explained to me by one of the women that, "We don't live in the suburbs because we like it. We live here because we have kids." And all this time I thought it was to get away from "urban culture."

We also discussed certified vs. authorized vs. well-intentioned vs. poseur ashtanga yoga teachers, and who exactly is qualified to give out intermediate series poses.* (Later in the day I got an e-mail from a shala that just opened downtown. It's boasting a "certified" ashtanga teacher, but I didn't notice their name on the web site** -- only Pattabhi Jois and the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute can certify and authorize teachers -- and one suspects they haven't been going to Mysore regularly and flying through Advanced B, either. Perhaps in some circles "certified" means "took a week-long teacher training with X." Which is not to say that those people aren't "qualified"). Indeed, some of the most maladjusted, non-yogic people I've met are very far advanced in their physical practice (you can't help but wonder what they were like BEFORE yoga). And some very good teachers haven't ever been to Mysore. It seems to me that one way to become a good teacher is to study with a host of senior teachers and then choose one or two with whom you click... and cultivate a regular, steady practice while actually making the effort to incorporate the yamas and niyamas into daily life. And try to go to the source, and study with Pattabhi Jois. Or so I'd like to think. Students may do best by looking for someone who's been teaching for more than a couple of years and whose style / philosophy is earnest and rings true and seems right for them... and be wary of hubris and teachers who veer far from tradition and / or hand out poses like so much parade candy and end up injuring people. It also doesn't hurt to check out their practice; if they're breathing like a locomotive going uphill or futzing around the whole time, what does that say about their teaching (not to mention their own "moving meditation")? On the other hand, if they have a too-perfect practice that looks like a performance, it very well could be. If their student-teacher boundaries are blurred, that's another consideration. And it never hurts to ask why someone started teaching in the first place. A lot of it has to do with intention. And lineage. Editorial finished, Madam.

After teaching I went to Devon Ave. (Little India) which is usually dead on Tuesdays. I sat down for a thali meal at Mysore Woodlands, and when it arrived I took a whiff of and was immediately transported back to India itself, and I started to cry. Again. I guess last week's sobbing jag ain't over yet.

*Apparently I am, according to Manju Jois (with whom I have studied, and did a teacher training this year). Not that I have. Yet.

**One person in Chicago is authorized by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois -- Amy Beth Treciokas. Her studio is YogaNow,

Monday, December 06, 2004


I've been giving some thought to my 2005 resolutions, and this is what I've come up with so far:

-Expect nothing
-No more high school dropouts
-No more guys missing an organ (testicle, kidney, etc.)
-No more guys named D--
-No more guys who refer to themselves as "Me"
-No more guys who give me TV sets
-No more producers -- of anything
-No more show biz guys, period (I've said *that* before)
-No more manipulators
-More rock, less talk (ie; listen to actions, not words)
-Take it in the stomach (ie; pay attention to the gut)
-Expect nothing
-No more temper tantrums
-No more criticism (ask questions instead)
-No more obsessing obsessing obsessing obsessing obsessing obsessi
-No more trying to find that which is not there
-No more tears, for fears or otherwise

-No more flogging dead horses
-No more self-flagellation
-No more Flagyl for parasites
-No more flatulance in front of the class
-Expect nothing

Sunday, December 05, 2004


In the past year I:

-Lost Bindi's cat
-Was named one of Chicago's top singles (ha)
-Gained a boyfriend who wanted to get hitched
-Went to India, where I:
*Drove a scooter
*Stood up from backbend
*Lost my lunch (and dinner)
-Gained a new kitchen
-Lost my Reader calendar gig (2/3 of my income)
-Turned 40
-Lost the boyfriend
-Watched the bf hook up immediately with a mutual acquaintance
-Saw not one but two therapists
-Co-wrote a sit-com
-Acted as the lead in said sit-com
-Nearly lost the cat to a pecker problem
-Crashed my bike (five stitches, one broken tooth)
-Crashed the computer (data saved) and started backing up
-Lost a stepmother (who remarried)
-Saw not one but two finanical planners
-Learned that I have kind, honest, loyal, giving, amazing, loyal, irreplacable friends who "get me" .... and that strangers ain't that bad, either.

That said, I've been getting rid of stuff ever since I returned from India -- which seems like an eternity ago but was really just at the end of March -- and that includes old New Yorkers, most of which are wrinkled from being read in the bath (I read from back to front, in case you're wondering). I managed to toss out a riveting profile of the writer Alice Munro that I started reading at the chiro but never finished... but did get to Zadie (White Teeth) Smith's short story "Hanwell in Hell," in which the narrator says,

"For my part, I had lost my livelihood and my house; I spent the spring of that year bewildered and outraged, almost unable to comprehend that I now lived in a gruesome basement flat in which lichen seemd to grow upon every damp surface."

That term "bewildered and outraged" really resonates. Well it did prior to today's epiphany about the friends, anyway. Apparently it takes a series of setbacks + unpleasant news (the vex spent thanksgiving at velma's parents' house.... after driving around the yoga studio the previous night, looking for me) + a migraine + numerous acts of giving (receiving, actually) before one realizes how lucky one really is. I have really been blessed when it comes to friends.

(Also today the headache was so bad that I left my messenger bag strapped to my bike when I went up to teach yoga. It was a rewarding class all around -- lots of people, good energy, plenty of tapas -- until I went to ring my Tibetan bell to awaken them from savasana and couldn't find my bag. I dashed downstairs to the parking meter as soon as I could... and the bag was just as I left it, bungeed to the bike. I nearly fell over with relief. Later at the Yoga Chicago holiday party I was seated across from 89 year old yoga teacher Becky Love, who's been teaching for 45 years, and kirtan wallah Debi Buzil, who has equally wonderful energy. Things are looking up, I think).

Saturday, December 04, 2004


Despite a very awkward phone conversation (not unlike yelling into an antique wall phone after Mabel connects the call) I met The Serb at Bittersweet, sobbing during the entire drive from the Fancy Healthy Club (it's been one of *those* days. Again). He looked better than his photo, which wasn't bad, and dressed like the hot hipster that he is and ate like a European (his knife and fork skills were like those of a surgeon) as we consumed herb tea and exquisite apple tarts topped with caramel drizzle shit. He listened intently to everything I said, was charming and funny and well-read and *really* bright and politically astute and laughed at my jokes and impersonations of the Finnish and showed great interest in my new scar and has a graduate degree and only one marriage behind him (no kids) and it seems there's no one in the world at the moment who actively hates him (including his mother, his ex-wife....and the Croats). I mentioned that my brother and I are "different" - that he likes guns and is a Republican. Serb: "So they are arming themselves now?" Yes, I'd like to see this one again.

Friday, December 03, 2004


Is this too direct? I think the last part is very Catty in the Hatty....


It helps if you have a creative side and indulge it. I tend to do best with men who don’t fit into a particular mold or stereotype (i.e. you have a good job *and* you make art, or you are a *reliable* musician, or you work for social causes *and* own your home, or you’re a lawyer whose most radical moment goes beyond hitting Sunbird every winter or being the first try the latest Melman restaurant). Knowledge of pop culture a plus (not a must).


Squares looking for the "Something Wild" experience
Men whose children hate them
Men whose ex-wives hate them
Men who hate their ex-wives
Men who hate their parents
Men who hate

Thursday, December 02, 2004

What I did not do today, but thought about doing Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Why does it irk so much that the stepmotha got remarried?*

I have to say, I could get used to using a PC. For one thing it's compatible with this web site, which means I can do cool stuff that the puritannical Mac of mine just won't allow. I suspect it's even photo ready--....

The Mac will apparently be resurrected on Friday. Good Friday.

*Maybe because it renders meaningless the fact that several lives were ruined or interrupted or derailed or corrupted forever (much like over 6,000 of my iMac files) because of her union with my father. Yeah, that could have something to do with it... And now it's a given that my brother and I will never see the weak single dollars my father left each of us in the will he made three days before he died.