Thursday, July 22, 2010

the MOST fun I've ever had in my life

I wrote this two days ago, but accessing the interwebs has been challenging so this is going up late.  My intention was to post regular, but hey, it's a yoga retreat, so I'm being flexible and rolling with da punches!

* * * * *
We’ve been in Bali four whole days now, having an amazing time.  It seems impossible sometimes, like I should ask someone to pinch me, like yesterday morning when we were all dressed up and loaded onto a bus heading to Tirta Empul for a water purification ceremony.  I said then, and I still think it’s true, that “this is the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life.” 

We had spent the morning so far having an early and  light breakfast (croissants, yogurt, muesli, Bali coffee) and being outfitted in Balinese dress suitable for our visit to Tirta.  Some people, the men in particular, required more assistance than others.  As he was creating an elaborate flounce on the front of Joe’s sarong, Iyan, one of our hosts, co-owner of OneWorld, explained that here in Bali, men are the roosters, hence the additional flair (and the several subsequent jokes about what a cock Joe is).  Watching people’s delight as their amateur attempt at wrapping the sarong was transformed by skillful hands made me laugh and jump around so much.

And of course that came after the 30 minutes worth of non-stop giggling in my own room, pretty much my first activity of the day, at our own efforts to suit up.

Off we went on our bus to Tirta Empul, according to the guidebook a natural spring discovered in 962, said to have healing properties, its temple one of Bali's most important.

Most people just come in, “lease” a cheap sarong and walk the grounds.  We made offerings, participated in a water purification ceremony, had prayers said over us by a priest, were blessed.  And then practiced yoga for 1 ½ hours in sight of the temple, a bit on display on our elevated stage, watched, photographed and filmed by busloads of tourists who arrived later, our own little island of peace and quiet.

Following one initial offering and some prayers, we stripped off our sarongs and white shirts, leaving only the white sheet we were wrapped in, over bathing suit or underwear.  My bathing suit was still wet from the day before, so I opted for underwear, something I immediately regretted upon entering the water and realizing the sheet would be basically up over my head at each ritual spout, not to mention I’d be showing my entire ass through the back of the transparent wet white sheet on the way back to the locker room. Oh well, another day, another opportunity for humility.

From the dunking, we put on yoga clothes and re-wrapped sarongs for prayers in the temple proper, after which we were splashed with holy water and had grains of rice (for abundance) pressed onto our foreheads.

Obviously, I couldn’t understand a word the priest said or sang, but enjoyed my time sitting on the ground, as the rain came down and soaked us, listening and smelling and observing.  It’s not everyday I find myself in a pink sarong, in a pouring rain, still. 

And then came yoga.  And then delicious snacks brought by the staff of Kumara Sakti, and then a ride to Gunung Kawi, another amazing place, and then back to Ubud. 

As I sit here thinking about it all, I realize that I don’t want this to just be some endless “and then” recitation.  I think I’ll leave the blow-by-blow for the annotated Flickr stream, for those who really want to see what it was like, step by step and day by day.  Here what I mostly want to say is that I really, truly am having the time of my life, so enjoying being here with Joe, with Laura, with Abe and Pamela and Gary and Barbara and Hasya and Erin and the rest, giving ourselves up fully to the bhakti (love) and bliss which are the themes of this retreat.

Every single day I’m laughing a lot, practicing and loving this place so hard.  Vacation rules, but yoga-vacation is even better.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tiga, Dua, Satu: Bali, here we come!

Bali flowers, photo credit: Abe Christensen

Opened my eyes this morning and thought, Finally, finally, finally, it's the day we're leaving to Bali - youpie!  We were up late last night, didn't start packing until after 8pm.  Trixie and Josh stopped by and made the process even more fun than usual, laughing at our faux-bickers about whether we were going to share suitcase space (no chance) and how to fit our enormous fins + yoga mats in our bags.   [I'm using the larger suitcase, into which I can fit both mats and both sets of dive-gear, then my belongings.  But this won't work on the way back, since I plan on heartily supporting the Balinese economy!]

I'm pretty delighted that I did in fact manage not to stress myself into the red zone yesterday, despite having been given many opportunities to do so.  Work was a complete and utter shit-show -- I am feeling grateful to have been reminded in such a sharp way of all of the reasons why I need a change. Just when I thought it couldn't get more ridiculous, it did!  But now it's over and done with for two weeks and 4 days.  Yay on that.

Everything about vacation is wonderful.  I am particularly delighted to be traveling with Joe, remembering how much fun we had when we drove to Tahoe together in March.  After all of the drama of 2009, I think we'd forgotten how sweet it is just to be together for long stretches of time, talking, planning, dreaming and mostly laughing.  A 14-hour flight (SFO-Hong Kong), followed by a 5-hour flight (HK-Denpasar, Bali), will be great, the two of us together in the plane, Joe with his compression socks on (oh yes) and me with my stacks of books, my notebook, my Learn Indonesian podcasts.

A note on the compression socks: the last two times Joe flew (Oaxaca, France), his ankles were comically enormous for the two days following.  We're hoping that the addition of the uber-attractive compression socks will make a difference.  I regret that he has decided to wear long pants, since the sight of those tall black socks with shorts would have been a delight.  But there is to be no mirth from this direction.

So up and at 'em!  I'm heading out to walk Jasper in the woods, make some last phone calls (credit card company, wireless company), find my dive card, show The Kid one last time what I need him to hand-water in the yard, and then boom, before I know it, we'll be in the car heading to the airport and the big adventure that awaits.

Sampai jumpa lagi!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Checking my drawers

If it weren't for traveling, I don't think I'd ever buy new underwear.

Seriously.  When I'm home, just living, not going anywhere, I make do, as my supply of  "good" underwear dwindles with the passage of time.  Since I have access to a washing machine in my house, no worries if I'm down to three, maybe five, days' worth of pairs I like.  I'll rotate in the pairs I don't like, those with a slightly weird fit or funky fabric, or go entirely without.  Scandalous, right?

So thank goodness for prolonged international travel, which forces me to take stock, count it up, and generally buy more.  Leaving home for two weeks really does make a person (well, at least me, anyway) get off her ass and invest in the necessaries.

Which leads to a funny situation where I can look at particular Felina bra and know that it dates to October 2006, purchased at Nordstrom the night before our departure for Macchu Picchu.  Or that particular set of matching underpants: just before Oaxaca 2008.  Clearly, I can make some things last.  But not forever.

If I learned anything from years of traveling on business, it's that you really can't pack too much underwear.  Like the time I was on the East Coast for 24 hours -- to secure a visa for Serbia, a chore involving a hired-car to Queens to the one guy who could translate my travel documents which I then had to take, by train, to the embassy in DC -- and heard a disturbing pop as I was about to clasp the bra behind my back while getting dressed in the morning after three hours sleep.  Total lingerie failure.  Thank goodness I had a spare, since there was no time for bra-replacement built in to my packed schedule (especially since my bra size is as impossible to find in regular stores as my shoe size, damn it).  Multiples: always a good idea.

So, since we leave tomorrow for Bali, I've done it again: added new pieces to my collection, such as it is.  Not a lot, just two Wacoal bras, two Hanky Panky thongs, which forever -- or at least the next couple of years, if past trends are any indication of future performance -- will represent July 2010.

With the next big trip after this one already looming on the horizon (India with Laura, November 2011), it won't be long before I'm shopping for unmentionables again.  Until then, I'm making do with what I've got, armchair traveling every time I open that drawer.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Trip Prep: Stage 2

The problem with me is that I can't pack unless the house is clean.  [That's obviously not the *only* problem with me, but the one of which I'm most aware at the moment, thank you.]

If Stage 1 is Gathering, Stage 2 of trip prep is definitely Order. These two stages are a little in conflict with each other, back and forth like windshield wipers.  Can't Gather unless there's Order, and resist Order because Gather is so much more fun.  But right now, Order is what's happening.

Small aside that indicates how hard it is to stay focused: Wow, we are three sleeps away now from seeing this with our own eyes: Pura Saraswati in Ubud.

If Stage 2 were only about mopping and vacuuming and dusting, that would be one thing. Order extends well beyond housekeeping, to ensuring that there's Order to the bills, both personal and financial.  There's a lot of work to do to catch the business up, to ensure that bills are paid in advance, that payroll is called in ahead for while we're gone, that there's work for the staff to do, that we know what Joe will be doing when he gets back.  We have to lay out that trail of crumbs now, because we're very likely (if all goes well) to completely forget what the hell we do for a living after two weeks of vacation in paradise.

I've been doing the same work at my job, and so the next three days will consist of finishing what I can and handing off everything else, with delight, not carrying it in my head and certainly NOT staying past 4pm on Wednesday. I'm made myself a vow that this time, this trip, I will not stay up all night the night before in a panicked frenzy of combo bill paying, list making, packing and worrying.  Nope, not this time.  Done.  [We'll see.]

Over the next three days, instead, we're slowly ticking down the long list, doing the yard work, letting the neighbors know to come harvest vegetables from the garden, picking and giving away whatever we can, ensuring that The Kid knows the minimal chores that need to happen while we're gone and he's in charge.

I like this slower process right now, seems better (duh) to be relaxed about entering a state of relaxation which is truly what vacation really is.  It's always a challenge to sustain the vacation feeling after we get back, so this time, I'm really trying to start the vacation feeling early, have it already even before the bags are checked and we're through security.

Hmm, maybe I'm really learning something from all this yoga after all!  :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Trip Prep: Stage 1

Stage 1 of trip prep for me means a lot of Gathering, preferably in silence, no conversation, me assembling clothing in categories and running down my list in my head.  Joe's not crazy about this part since it's the opposite of how he likes to proceed, which is interactive: him asking me to name things so he can make sure he's got them.

It's also about making sure I have enough to read on the flight, since it's unlikely I'll sleep - and I am so greedy for that long stretch of uninterrupted book-time that I resist sleep in the interest of reading more.  A 12-hour flight?  Bring it.  That just means more books cover-to-cover.  That's paradise for me, even before we set foot on the island of the gods.  And I'm super-stoked this year because Laura gave me her old rolling backpack so at least I don't have to carry all those books on my shoulder or back this time, but can roll them  and laptop, etc. through the airport like the super-geek I truly am.

One of things I've been thinking a lot about is my Ten Essentials for this trip, carrying over a snowcamping practice.  I won't be packing a compass or an emergency blanket or an insulating layer, but it amused me to think about the ten "survival" items I really will have with me to ensure smooth travels in Bali.

Like so:

1.  Eye mask (delicious one with lavender in it): jetlag is a bitch, and if I don't have dark conditions to sleep in, a migraine is sure to follow.  [Other essential not shown: back-up prescription narcotics.]

2 - 4: Hand sanitizing spray, sunscreen, insect repellent: all of these shown are non-toxic, but we will be packing Deet, too.  Nothing worse than a trip ruined by mosquitoes or other biters.  I still remember the welts all over Peggy and Jim when we visited the Manu Preserve in Peru -- to be avoided at all costs!

5.  Purse-size packs of tissues:  Really, life is just so much more pleasant when this need is covered. And always nice to be the person with extras to pass to the ladies in line.

6.  Head lamp: I never go anywhere without this thing.  Hands-free lighting is always a great idea, whether it's for reading in the middle of the night or making your way back to the hotel from town in poor lighting.

7.  Pocket knife: I could bring a Swiss Army knife, but instead will bring this knife given to me by my father along with all of the inevitable associated memories of Jean-Paul, always ready with an implement for cutting string from pastry boxes, slicing cheese and bread, opening packages, being of service.

8.  Safety pins: Aside from wardrobe malfunctions, a safety pin always comes in handy.  Lost screw on your sun-glasses?  No worries!

9.  Plug adaptor: In service of my need to document everything, I carry an absurd amount of technology with me - laptop, phone, camera - which will all need charging at some point.

10.  A black Pashmina (on which all the other stuff is resting): Always, always useful - on the plane, in the evenings, to cozy up while reading, to keep the sun off.

FIVE DAYS to go - can't wait.  This is going to be so amazing!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Crazy funny small sexy world

I'm absurdly happy today and thinking about the quality of that happiness and how it just seems to expand all the time.  It's not just because in exactly one week, we'll be en route to the airport to begin our Bali adventure.  No, it's because my life is awesome, filled with love and great friends and big laughs and just general delight.  Pretty freaking cool, seriously.

And crazy funny shit happens to me all the time - weird random connections that remind me of how small the world really is, and how it seems to be shrinking smaller all the time. I've been ruminating on how all the social media have allowed me to gather in friends from the past and integrate them into my present in a super-satisfying way, weaving people back in, catching up, being my junior high self, my high school self, my self through my decades and my self now ALL at the same time.  Super delightful.

A couple of weekends ago I was roaming through Gerstle Park, a charming neighborhood in San Rafael for those who don't know it, with family, checking out the tons of garage sales taking place all on one day (seriously, like Trick or Treat for grown-ups, awesome!), when I realized that the man sitting on the porch of a Victorian was strangely familiar.  In fact, he was someone I hadn't seen since San Francisco in the early 80s, someone I had had a complicated relationship with, someone I'd lost touch with entirely.  Woah, weird, small world, how did we both end up in the same town, I was left wondering, as we ambled across the street distracted by the stuff in someone else's driveway.  And then this morning, responding to an emailer through Freecycle who wanted my offered copy of "Girl With Dragon Tattoo," turns out I'm in touch with him again, although he's too late for the book, long-gone to a faster responder.

How does that work exactly: nothing for maybe 25 years, then random meetings twice in three weeks? WTF, universe?

It's somewhat tangential, but it got me to thinking about  "I [heart] Huckabees," a big favorite of mine for so many reasons. I'm carrying that blanket around, like Linus, loving this crazy funny small sexy world we live in just so much, so happy to be so distinctly part of the fabric with all of you.  And the Eiffel Tower!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All I need: 4 things making me happy this morning

"Well, I'm gonna to go then. And I don't need any of this. I don't need this stuff, and I don't need you. I don't need anything except this [ashtray].

"And that's it and that's the only thing I need, is this. I don't need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that's all I need. And this remote control. The ashtray, the paddle game, and the remote control, and that's all I need. And these matches. The ashtray, and these matches, and the remote control and the paddle ball. And this lamp. The ashtray, this paddle game and the remote control and the lamp and that's all I need. And that's all I need too. I don't need one other thing, not one - I need this. The paddle game, and the chair, and the remote control, and the matches, for sure. And this. And that's all I need. The ashtray, the remote control, the paddle game, this magazine and the chair."
- Steve Martin as Navin R. Johnson in the cinematic classic The Jerk (1979)

Some days I just need a couple of things, maybe four things, to keep me happy for hours.  Today's delightful sources of joy are as follows:

 1.  $17 pair of black flats from Target.  I searched and searched to replace my last pair of worn-to-shit black ballet flats.  I ordered four pairs from Zappo's (all returned), scoured physical and on-line stores.  Finally I decided either I found a cheap pair I could live with at Target or I'd spring for the Italian leather ones in the J.Crew catalog which are available in a Size 5.  Hurray for Target saving me $100! I can just wear them to death and not do my usual shoe-math (cost/number of wearings).

2.  The bouquet I brought from home this morning.  I love having a piece of our garden on my desk.  I even enjoyed them in the car this morning, marveling at how it seems like we didn't do *anything* to produce these, nothing at all.  But that's not true. It's just that we laid the groundwork so very long ago, that now it seems miraculous, like they just come out of nowhere, these gladiolas and roses and hydrangea and daisies. 

3.  The goofy dog sticker on my thermal mug.  I have a weird relationship to stickers: I love them and yet I never want to use them so that they're still available.  Ridiculous, right?  Somewhere in a trunk or at my parents' house, I'm sure I still have a Daisy Duck sticker, unstuck, from a trip to Disneyland in the early 70s.  Ditto a "Parc Ornithologique du Teich" sticker from a field trip when we lived in crummy Peyssac outside of Bordeaux in 1974. 

4.  Photo of Trixie and me at Laurent's graduation in May that sits right next to my computer at work.  I love having Trixie's smiling face in front of me all day.  So, so glad we found each other, twins separated by 10 years + 1 day and about 3,000 miles (and different parents, natch).  So many good things the yoga has brought into my life and I count Trixie #1 among them.  Love you, beautiful.

So that's it: all I need for Wednesday, July 7th, 2010.  Done.  Satisfied.  Happy.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Medical Marijuana: Who will step up first?

I've been feeling disheartened at the degree of vitriol directed at medical marijuana dispensaries across the county, and this latest news on the cover of today's Marin Independent Journal, Fate of four medical pot clubs uncertain, just deepens my melancholy over the subject.  [Of course, in the print edition, the clowns at the IJ thought it would be a great idea to title the article, "Cloud over dispensaries."  Really.  Clowns.]  I suppose it's to be expected that even though we passed a state law allowing medical marijuana, counties and towns can create their own obstacles to the operation of dispensaries within their boundaries.  Still I was surprised.

Maybe I was the only one who was glad when a dispensary moved in up the street in my neighborhood, moving into the space recently vacated between 7-11 and the laundromat.  How handy for sick people not to have to drive all the way to Corte Madera or Fairfax to buy their legal medicine.  It seemed to me like a great, green development - why shouldn't there be dispensaries accessible across the county.  I mean, really, look at the absurd density of pharmacies, CVS across the street from Rite-Aid across the street from Walgreen's.  There just can't be too many outlets for over-the-counter and prescription drugs, apparently. 

As soon as the sign went up for "Tree of Life," our Santa Venetia dispensary, immediately came the  neighborhood heat -- how close to a school, how close to the 7-11 where kids go for their super-healthy slurpies and after-school snacks.  You can't even get in the front door of the dispensary without a card, and yet children can go touch the beer selection at the 7-11, use their fake IDs or have grown-ups buy for them.

And by the way, buying weed at school is a shitload cheaper, people.  And a whole lot easier. 

What the dispensaries sell is medicine, for Pete's sake.  Come on. 

Yeah, sure, there're people who abuse any substance.  Just look at all those famous people with their oxycontin problems.  Or all those meth-makers who used to stock up on cold medicine.

And yes, I realize that it's still a federal offense and that cities aren't interested in that risk.  

But damn, how crucial was the medical marijuana when Joe was so sick from chemo that he couldn't eat anything.  When he felt so nauseous and the prescription drugs just made him feel worse.  When he was so down from pain, so hopeless from the side-effects of the legal drug regimen, that everything was bleak and his joie-de-vivre was 100% , totally, completely, heart-breakingly gone.  It just makes me so mad for people to have what seems like a knee-jerk NIMBY reaction to something that does really help people in chronic pain, people suffering with cancer or other life-threatening, joy-sucking conditions.

Again, what the dispensaries sell is medicine.  At a premium.

So which town in Marin, besides Fairfax (which now is allowing delivery of medical marijuana, thank you kind people), is going to step up in defense of the law we Californians passed in the name of people who are really suffering?  I don't want to be on a crusade about this, honestly, but it's bugging me so much that I may have no choice but to pick up the phone and start calling cities and asking.  Really.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My youngest sister: some news

I've been trying to get used to having only one sister, but it's not working.  It would probably be easiest if I could forget, but so far, no luck.

My youngest sister, Carla, 6 years my junior, was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor in December 08.  Not long afterward, she made it clear that she wanted nothing to do with my parents or me or my other sister, Martine.  Of course there's a lot more to it, but all that really matters is that we have had essentially no contact since November 09.

It's pretty awful.  I never know what to say really when people ask me about her, since honestly, I don't know.  It's not like we were that close in the years leading up to her diagnosis, but I did expect to be of assistance to her in some way.  Somehow as her big sister that seemed right.

But it is emphatically not what she wants.  

Not a day goes by that I don't think about her.  I confess to holding my breath a little when reading the obituaries (which I've always done), fully expecting that when that time comes, I'll read about it like every other stranger opening the paper to that page.

In all of this, I have been conscious of how deeply this hurts my parents.  I can easily put myself in their place, imagine the degree of pain I would feel were my own child to push me out of his life in this manner when facing a life-threatening illness.  I would be out of my mind with grief.  As they are, though putting a brave face on it as always, staying strong and bright and beautiful in the face of it, always an inspiration.

Now finally there's some news.  

I am sharing it here even though I have mixed feelings about doing so.  After all, it wasn't written to me and people are entitled to their privacy, right?  Yeah, no, I don't agree.  As it turns out, I do feel like I owe something to the family we grew up in, not just our parents, but the many loving neighbors and friends who, in addition to our parents, brought us up in this world.  I'm re-posting the news here so that all of you who've been asking and wondering can know as much as we do.  

Even though my sister has effectively disowned us, she is still alive and kicking.  That's just so great.  It made me so happy to read her words, to hear her voice after such a long silence.  Even though she was quite deliberately not talking to us.

So here she is, my baby sister, Carla Marcella:
Well, after three months of enjoying life sans chemotherapy, I just had another MRI on June 28th. After Dr. Clarke (my neuro-oncologist) presented my case to the tumor board at UCSF last night, the consensus was that I should go back on the Avastin chemotherapy. The most recent scan showed vascular leakage which indicates tumor growth and the medical team does not think that a "watch-and-see" kind of approach is prudent. So I will begin the same chemotherapy regime first thing next week - an hour-long infusion of the medication once every two weeks for four treatments (8 weeks in total) followed by another MRI to ascertain the status of the tumors.
Once again Sidino, Elizabeth and I will be living life in 8 week increments, always awaiting the results of the next MRI. I will admit that I was disappointed at the news, but then I quickly returned to thankfulness as the Lord has provided some form of treatment for me. I also continue to pray that whatever progress I make and whatever we learn from my treatment experience will help other people in their battle with this disease. I am also thankful that we will not need to add any additional chemo treatment on top of the Avastin which notoriously causes weakening of the white blood cell count & entire immune system.
On a lighter note, I am continuing with my pottery class and would love making something for my wonderful family and friends. It'll also help me to not riddle our cupboards with cups and bowls (which drives Sidino nuts!) Please let me know if there is something you'd like me to make for you and I'll begin working on it right away. I made a set of Winnie the Pooh bowls for Elizabeth, a butter dish for Sylvia, a flower vase for Cathe and a platter for Gabrielle. I can make pretty much anything (within reason of course!) and would love your ideas!
Thank you for all of your warm thoughts and prayers and may God Bless each and every one of you!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Days without Incident: -5

I'm going on Day 5 of this migraine.  As I started writing this morning and got to thinking about how blog posts are always more attractive when they have pictures, the image that came to mind as appropriate for this particular subject was lightning, as at left -- big, sharp, dramatic, multiple.  [For more insane photos of lightning, check out  So cool and crazy!]

This migraine has been with me since Monday night, just before I picked up re-fills.  I've been dosing and trying to stay ahead of the pain ever since.  I thought perhaps I had it kicked last night, but no, the jabbing behind my left eye was my first sensation this morning.  Boo.  So not my favorite.

Migraines always make me think about my choices, about the Why.  I don't blame myself for them, which I used to do, although of course I am aware that if I were perhaps a bit more hydrated and a bit better slept, I might escape them.  I might.

As I move through my day, tending to the regular tasks despite the migraine, it entertains me to consider the headache from the perspective of the mahābhūtas, the five elements (space, earth, water, fire and air), which were the theme of classes with Laura in May.   If I am a little microcosm, containing all of the elements within my tiny elegant form [Sing it with me: "I'm a little microcosm, short and stout...."], then really it does make sense for me to undergo these periodic climatic events.  Somehow that's comforting.

The migraines definitely represent a collision between my desires and my physical capacity, are my brain's way of communicating that its needs for stasis, for rest, for water are being unmet.  Sorry, cerebellum!

How sweet it would be to take the opportunity of this skull-crusher to stay home and stare at the hydrangea in the garden which, right now, as the 8am sun hits it, is the most dazzling shade of deep pink.  How nice it would be to be still, not talk, not work, just repose in the quiet of this summer morning.  It would be nice to give in to the demands of my cranium and sit my ass down.

It would.

But with 7 1/2 work-days to go before Bali, Brain is just going to have to deal.  Can't stop now.  Rest is coming but for now it's back to the grindstone, no matter what.  Even if it's stormy inside, the show must go on.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Devotion, by the numbers

On the application for Teacher Training which I completed yesterday morning between 6:30 and 6:40 am, I was asked to quantify my yoga time, list all workshops, trainings and classes participated in with certified Anusara teachers.

Now that I'm in the two-week countdown to Bali, every waking moment is scheduled with tasks.  And there're a lot of waking moments, since I'm up with the birds every morning around 5 and can't seem to get to bed before 10 or 11 (anathema).

Applying for Teacher Training wasn't even on my To Do list.

But I've been thinking about it a lot recently, ever since I was privileged to observe the mixed-level classes as a gift for my seva when John Friend was here in February.  I was seated on the floor next to Laura and admiring how the clean alignment of the mats (aaaaaaah) allowed us to look down a line of 30+ yogis -- any "variation" on the pose, anything out of true, was immediately clear.  And in a few classes lately, when partnered, I've enjoyed the way the words of reminder about the finger pads, about the kidneys, have come out of my own mouth, an echo of what I've been hearing for years from my own teachers.

So even though it wasn't on the list, it was time.

A post from Well-Read Life, the fabulous Levenger people's blog, entitled, "To learn a second language, it helps to do the math," already had me ruminating on the subject of how much time I had into my practice.  Basically it's the concept that Malcolm Gladwell wrote about in Outliers (but which is not, if you click through the Levenger post, necessarily just his idea):

Rising to competence in any skill takes 1,000 hours.  Mastery 5,000.  Virtuosity 10,000 hours + probably some innate gift.  In all of this, the number of hours may be dramatically reduced if you train with a master.

My (imperfect) total number of hours spent practicing yoga over the past three years: 1,092.5.

By the time the Teacher Training starts in October, I will have added, between Bali (37), Estes Park Grand Gathering and regular practice, at ;least another 100.

Now I get why, when I was originally signed up for Teacher Training in 2008, I didn't feel ready.  It took me until now to practice my way to competence.  And though it's not the word I would have chosen, I suppose I did feel incompetent in October 2008 when I pulled out of the TT just a week or so before its start.  I truly wasn't ready.

What a difference two years and 500 hours of devotion make!