Dansko, keyword for stats

I know there is always discussion among bloggers about what words make a site’s stats go up. Usually swear words work well, and apparently there are spikes during acrimonious blog wars. But what I find is that I get lots of search engine referrals around the term “Dansko.” And of course there are the associated terms: “ugly,” “shoes,” and “clogs.” And one of my favorite strings, “ugly freaking shoes.”

Okay, okay, I get it. People think Danskos are ugly. But they are also searching with phrases like “aching feet” and “foot pain.” Well, you have to make your choices and set your priorities, people. Here’s the official word: Danskos are my shoe of choice (ask The Cop, I think he may be a little horrified at my attachment to the Danskos). I have had pain from plantar fasciitis for YEARS. Tore my left arch during a period of lots of running. Recurring pain for… yes, it’s been almost 14 years.

Now that I wear Danskos daily (yes, daily), I have ZERO pain. None. Nada.

Do I miss pretty shoes? Yes.

Would I wear them again?

No.

So the keywords are: “ugly” and “Dansko” and “pain-free.”

They’re beautiful to me.

***

No practice this morning. I slept horribly due to coughing and post-nasal drip. (Euw.)

Taking the day off from work. In hopes of being reasonably fit for the upcoming Annie Pace weekend.

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Applying sports theory

Bad me. Back to applying ye olde sports medicine theories to Ashtanga.

Felt crummy yesterday. The Cop’s cold. Still, it was lovely to go up north to visit My Gift and see her new place (much nicer than the last place) and meet her new cat (cute, and likely at least half feral) and her new roommate’s puppy (clumsy and adorable). My Gift looks happy and seems cheerful. End of the semester is December 15. So coming up on finals. She plans to be stressed during that time.

Went by the tattoo place she likes, but the artist she prefers wasn’t there. Oh well. I will walk around with my tattoo drawings in my bag until the time is right.

Woke this morning with a sore throat and general uckiness. Followed the sports medicine rule: you can work out provided there is no fever and if all of the congestion is above the neck. Yup. I fell within the prescribed boundaries.

Just did primary. Felt fine, actually, if a little spacey. Strong enough, but aware that some of the poses were rather automatic (versus being focused and present). I have my personal theory that heating the system up a bit kills the virus. So I expect I am slightly more healed than when I started.

Now I’m at work, and just feel like a person with a cold.

Day off

Day off so we can go visit My Gift and see her new place. Got up late, practiced, made pancakes. Mmmm.

I want to go by Cost Plus and look for some Chinese bowls and ceramic spoons for My Gift, as a housewarming present. Speaking of housewarming, she told me they still haven’t turned the heat on in the house. Just to put that in perspective, she lives up north, where today’s high is going to be 50 and the low, 17 degrees F. Okay, they do have a woodburning stove, and she has a heater that she turns on in her room when her alarm goes off in the morning, but still! I am horrified! It’s 64 degrees here in Scottsdale right now, and that feels pretty chilly to me. Oh well, I guess they are being green. And cheap.

I’ll bring her another down blanket, too. Sheesh. Crazy kids.

I think I may be fighting The Cop’s cold. He’s getting better, but I feel kind of yucky. Definitely want to fend it off — Annie Pace is here this weekend, and I want to feel healthy!

Conceal/Reveal

Yes, I know. How many times is she going to mention Freeman’s talks? Well, I don’t know. But how can I not, after this:

I was out in the back yard, cleaning up all the stuff that blew around in the tremendous winds we had last night. As per usual, when doing household tasks, I was listening to a podcast. Loose Ends and Stinky Mats. How delightful is it, to hear RF talk about parkour? Quite. And then he mentions that he’s been thinking about how to practice in old age, and when one is very sick, or dying. I am really happy that he’s on this job, and I hope he keeps sharing what he comes up with.

Which makes me think about this idea that talking about practice is bad. Actually, on my zen calendar, this month’s quote reads, “Conceal your practice, work inside.” This is one of the last lines in Song of the Bright Mirror Samadhi, by Dongshan (Tung-shan Liang-chih), founder of the Soto school of zen.

I don’t know the answer for this one. Talk about practice, don’t talk about practice. Maybe an okay thing to talk about it, but not so great to expect or imagine people will understand. Or even that you will…

Long weekend: Day 2

Nice quiet day yesterday. A call from My Gift and her roommate as they were busy making casseroles.

“She has a bunch of huge cans of mushroom soup, which goes into all the casseroles,” My Gift told me. “I think it might be a midwestern thing. Do you know anything about this?”

My Gift has never had casseroles. We always ate a Mediterranean diet for the most part: pasta, veggies, bread, garlic, olive oil. Mmmm. Her roommate said that her family always had casseroles. “Maybe that’s why they’re so tall?” we speculated.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have stopped eating meat when I was 10,” said My Gift, somewhat ruefully. She isn’t pleased that she’s only 5’2″. Especially since her friends always seem to be in the 5’7″ to 5’10” range. Oh well. They were cooking for friends and planning a big partay. I’ll have to check in later and see how it went, if all the casseroles gotten eaten up.

Meanwhile, my sister and her girlfriend had dinner with my parents. I think all of the holiday drama probably happened over there. Boodiba mentioned people who have “Hallmark expectations.” These expectations make holidays pretty brutal, in my experience. Generally I try to keep a distance. I called over early in the day and everyone sounded okay. Hope it went off well.

The Cop and I had a terrific “cocoon” kind of day. He is being dogged by the start of a cold, so we just hung out, watched football, had dinner. He’d worked the night before, and had to work again last night, so it was short holiday, but nice, nonetheless. He has extremely simple tastes for Thanksgiving. I feel guilty, kind of, because it is so easy: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, biscuits, pie. The kicker is he likes all the stuff from cans or pre-prepared. When I first knew him, I asked if he wanted me to make really good stuff from scratch, but he nixed that idea. Alrighty. Basically it means I don’t have to stress at all, and he’s perfectly content with the outcome. No oyster and chestnut stuffing at this house. It’s interesting, because back when my brother was alive, I would always make a point of flying up to San Fran and making him and his boyfriend Thanksgiving dinner. They liked as elaborate and fancy a meal as could be pulled off. The good china, the best silver, the works. By contrast, yesterday The Cop and I were in our jammies playing Scrabble on the couch (well, I was playing online and he was complaining that I wouldn’t let him help — he’s been banned because he gets too angry about the words he thinks shouldn’t be accepted, like “em” and “xi”) and watching a football game. I guess in the end, the issue is whether the people are happy, more than about the food.

As I mentioned, The Cop worked on Wednesday night, so he was sleeping as I was preparing the turkey. I put on more of the Richard Freeman talks. This one was Loose Ends and Stinky Mats. The turkey’s blood (gah!) had leaked in the fridge, so I decided to just wash the whole inside of the refrigerator. Listening to RF made it a pleasant task. The Cop got up a little later.

“Was that Tim Miller?” he asked.

I think this is hysterical, because The Cop doesn’t really keep up with these sorts of things, so I guess he was just going for a name he recognized.

“No, it was Richard Freeman,” I said. “I don’t know if Tim Miller does much talking. I think he just does.”

The Cop nodded approvingly. I guess he figures Tim Miller is his kind of guy, though he’s happy if Richard Freeman makes me happy.

Practices have been lovely the past few mornings. Yesterday’s was strong and easy, today’s was kind of creaky and stiff. At first I felt frustrated with this morning’s practice, but I didn’t pursue the feeling and it went away.

Today: some reading for the new work project. Interestingly, the most intellectually stimulating projects I do for work usually require that I think about them on the weekends, when my mind isn’t all full of details and little tasks. It’s a pleasure, though, to actually think. Wish I could do a little more of that when I am actually at work. 😉

Further Adventures in Explanationland

Okay, so if you want to hear someone speak remarkably clearly about meditation, check out part 2 of Obstacles to Yoga: The Field of Ignorance.

One thing I’m loving is that RF has translated “kleshas” as “torments,” rather than “defilements” or “corruptions” or something like that. Kind of makes them more active and less deeply tainted, somehow. A little more rajasic and a little less tamasic. Nice. There’s a good bit in there about how thinning the kleshas through practice and meditation allows one to set them aside (though the seed may remain), and how ongoing practice of this setting aside can help us see through the (physical) being, or perhaps perceive it as a kind of “bias.” Aw, just listen to the audio: it’s better than I can explain.

There was a whiff of all of this in practice this morning. Which made hearing it played back to me (in words, no less!) during my drive to work particularly amusing. Just a clear moment when I could see that the mind?body? is a manifestation of what I call belief systems, and what other people probably call something much more accurate and poetic — like “a bias.” Nevertheless.

This kind of clarity makes the being like a knife blade. Very reminiscent of the zen sword — transparent, compassionate and absolute.

Then the key is to let go.

Current thought (oops, back to the vrittis!) is tattoo on the inside upper forearm.

Svadhyaya

This morning, driving to work, I listened to Richard Freeman’s audiocast: Obstacles to Yoga: The Field of Ignorance. Offered in his inimitable style. Have I mentioned I’m a fan?

I was particularly struck by what he has to say about svadhyaya. Specifically, the definition that transitions from vedic chanting to “self-study.” I think I was struck, because I was thinking about how my current home practice feels lately, and there is a significant aspect of self-study involved. A duh! kind of statement, yes, but there you have it.

Yoga has cooled me out (or thinned my kleshas, perhaps) so that I can withstand the internal monolog/drama a bit more dispassionately. God knows, it’s weird what can come up when you stop being distracted by the emotional and physical and psychological and shiny and desirable and compelling and entertaining things going at warp speed around you. It’s strange just to be there, alone with the (supposed) self.

It seems so far away, now, too. Here I am, half a day into work, and I can barely remember practicing this morning. No worries, I can see what it’s like again tomorrow morning. 😉

And in happy news: I got a promotion this morning. Always nice when something like that happens. I am still kinda tired from all the work I’ve done since May, though, so mostly I’m just happy I have Thursday and Friday off.

Why am I imagining a svadhyaya tattoo? Hmmmm. Where should it go, I wonder…