Looks like it’s another 4-day week

I’m not that motivated lately. In the past, when in this mood, I’d buy some new workout clothes and/or a new piece of equipment. I might take a yoga class in a non Astanga studio, or sign up for circus training. But now? Eh… I could repeat a Summer Shred, just to get the blood moving, but today I don’t really want to bother.

I did my morning meditation anyway. Given the fact that a bunch of non related people decided to direct their anger at me yesterday, for no good reason, a morning sit and LBRP seemed like a good idea.  I also got in a yoga practice this week. I’ll leave it at that.


Looks like I will not, in fact, get in 2 Astangas this week

The plan was to practice again today. Judging by the fatigue level yesterday it’d have been sans jump rope warm-up, and also, probably super tedious. I decided to spend more time outside with the cats instead. It’s an unusually warm and dry October for Portland, and I think the greater sin here would be not taking advantage of that. I’d decided to have a light WO week, but I did get some intense exercise in, just less than usual. I got in four sessions instead of the usual five.

Friday morning musings

On aging and injuries

I was planning to do the last WO in Julia’s contest series yesterday, but when I got out of bed (a Casper mattress still on the floor, because Podunk), both knees were sore. And I’d done a nice, easy one the day before! Not only that, but my left elbow was especially pissy, even aching when not exercising, and hitting the problem area. I know what that one thing was from. There was a move in Wednesday’s WO of holding arms OH w/ a band above wrists & pulling down. I liked the novelty of the move, and the pulling action, so I ignored the complaints.

I took a rest day, thinking I’d get to my last, “contest entry” routine today. But…, while the knees feel slightly (right) to much (left) better, the elbow is still annoyed. And this WO is upper body heavy. She starts off w/ a circuit that is snatches, shoulder presses and triceps. I’d want to use my 26lb kettlebell (with forearm guards!) for the first move, even though I can’t snatch it up OH directly. I have to clean & press-up. It’s something to work on. So I think I’ll reschedule again. I’m pretty sure they allow a week from posting to completion date for the contest. That means I could do it Sat or Sun. And let’s face it, a person my age w/out a lot of social media followers isn’t likely to win. It’s more for the point of personal follow-through.

Everything happens for a reason

She mainly just sits in the driveway, gathering leaves. I’ve been meaning to at least go put gas in her since Tuesday, lol. Busy with other things. Just had to ask Charlie what kind of gas she gets, again. Despite the timing, I can’t say I’m that sorry I bought her. She’s an inexpensive and unassuming car, and at 51½, actually owning an automobile tickles me. Saturday I’ll go get some gas! (Writes in agenda.) I need to incrementally woman-up to the idea of the bridge. That again. It’s a better route though. I always had a feeling I wouldn’t be required to go from the NW to the NE Industrial. My color judgments were just as good as the airquotes senior and ass kissing hater. I did pre-press color adjustments, back in the day, for the super high-end carpets I designed. We used better quality paper than in any coffee table, art book I’ve ever encountered. It was easy for me, with my oil painting, color mixing experience. I communicated in those terms. The Two made everything excruciatingly slow, self-doubting and meandering, but to be fair that was general company policy. #driving

Things I don’t want to do tend not to happen anyway. If I hadn’t launched on the India cycle, late 2005, I’d be a senior designer making 130/140K. That’s who I was hired to be! It would’ve come with overseas production trips, two to three times a year though. They were pretty brutal, and at the time, missing even two extra days of Astanga practice would’ve been earth-shakingly tragic. (The biannual trend shopping trips that evolved into being maybe five or six years down the line would’ve been easier to cope with, over brutally over scheduled, marathon factory visits.) When I started, my division was a newly acquired, formerly private, but smaller company. They’d finally moved into their new home base, about eight months after acquisition, two days before I started. I brought my own laptop for a few days, and those 17″ weren’t all that portable.

Unlike my last gig, Moret Group wasn’t cheap about maintaining decent work stations. IT had to order a brand new Mac for me, and were behind getting everyone else set up in their new stations. All the designers had their own USB scanners, which is as it should be. We had small group access to ink jet printers, for color, and also a color laser, for volume. We got to order lumbar cushions and wrist braces / exercisers if we needed. Also tablets! (I never used them in NYC, but the design style for most of what I was doing there, quite lucratively, was a much different animal from what I’m doing now. The Wacom bumps your digital design into fine art territory. They merge.)

Vs: The Office, Portlandia Edition That’s quite a different thing from being handed an 8½ year old, groaning old Mac and having to bring your own Wacom tablet, because your mouse isn’t fully functional. It skipped. Airquotes senior tried using it once and picked it up, to look at the underside, puzzled. “You should be able to find a mouse around here, somewhere…” she said later on, trailing off. Um, ya, thanks.

Anyway I quit that gig, the first time, in January 2006 for my “First Trip to Mysore”, also my first blog. I still have the print out of my posts, somewhere. Not the comments I don’t think. (In those days I was widely read, and popular posts sometimes turned into lengthy chats in the comment section). If I’d stayed in New York, I probably would’ve never left The Hovel, my rent stabilized studio on East 4th Street and First Ave. Not even if the 10-year Astanga yoga fixation hadn’t happened, and I’d stayed on the management track. Nor would I have ever driven a car again!

I’m really happy to be out of that toxic swamp

They are all welcome to it! Too bad Cascade didn’t get printed though. That’d have been a hit, I am sure of it. That place was a thorough lesson in inept management. As I like to say, the old, 1-star Glassdoor reviews were still spot-on.

The universe was like, “Here! Have a friend instead.” Finally made a new one, and of course she’s an east coaster. I never had any problems whatsoever connecting with new people of wildly diverse backgrounds doing my 2-month India stints. Podunk is different. It’s small, provincial and hostile to outsiders. It’s professionally “mean”, in the petty sense of the word, and inclined for an outrageously smug mediocrity. We’re meeting up tonight, going to a thing downtown! Sketching will happen.

XX The Aeon
“Judgment” in other decks

Occupies the path between Hod and Malkuth. Hod is the seat of Human Intelligence as well as harnessed willpower whilst Malkuth represents the physical world. The Aeon Card connecting them implies the blending of energies between the two sephira so we have: The evolution of human consciousness and understanding (Hod) about the nature of our physical reality (Malkuth). Our consciousness becomes more universal as we see the Oneness behind creation. Older perspectives are burned away by spiritual fire.

1. A decision which has a major impact on your life. Examples would include lifestyle, career or relationship changes. In the upright position these changes would be positive.

2. Also life changing experiences which may be spiritual or a near death experience. These have a major impact on our life which forces a change in perspective and the birth of a new self.

3. Time to move on from a situation after seeing the bigger picture of things so we have endings and new beginnings.

4. Taking time out to review your life timeline and seeing what changes have happened over time and how you have grown. Reviewing the bigger picture.

5. A natural period of growth where you are experiencing a deepening in your understanding of yourself and the world around you. A time of deep change, reflection and evolution of your spiritual awareness. You may also be letting go of friends, and structures which are no longer serving you.

Ya that sounds about right!!! I’m coming to a new understanding about things which do not happen being unworthy of my time and attention in the first place. And now, it’s time to get back to my current “seamless repeat” design.

Unintended rest day

I got into this sneezy / sinus-y thing last night and then stayed up until midnight watching Netflix. Woke up feeling kind of crap, both fat and with sore throat, plus low energy. I feel a bit better now but the day sort of got away from me, and so I let it. Back at it tomorrow.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately that finally, at 51.5, I can definitely see I’m slowing down. Finally, I don’t always want to do the most advanced and intense form of physical exercise I can find. Julia’s workouts are now way beyond me. Even if I had access to powerblocks and barbells, I would be willing or able to go as heavy as her, never mind the fact that I could never quite match her pace, in lots of moves.

(Still fitter than either of those two haters in their 30s I’ve just parted ways with!)

I’d really like to keep my Zgym membership but I can’t really justify it, so I’ll most likely cancel on the 13th, right before the next renewal. Or I dunno, maybe one more month. I do like her style, and the way she incorporates jump rope and a pull-up bar. But not necessities must go.

Sunday funday

Oops, I did it again

Worked out so intensely in the days leading up to Sunday that I felt I needed a rest day. I’d done a half Zgym and half easy yoga session on Saturday and my quads were literally aching that evening, just sitting around. I didn’t want to walk around much either! I could’ve done an express one, but in that case it doesn’t really make a significant difference.

This shorter WO style is surprisingly effective, even for someone who really likes her IPAs! I’ve noted I haven’t been feeling like I “have” to go hard for a minimum of 90 minutes, preferably 2 hours on weekends lately. While I’m certainly not as ripped as my late 30s to mid 40s, during the height of my Astanga practice / fixation, I’m definitely doing ok for 51, especially considering I’m doing ok compared to most people still in their 30s, fitness wise.

Anyway, yesterday was a lot nicer of a day, because it was cooler and the air quality hadn’t started slipping back to Forest Fire yet, but it was still good to relax. We got haircuts and went out for breakfast. I drove! Didn’t get around to the highway loop lessons, but I will eventually.

LAM Aphorism of the Day: Spiritual health is basically the same thing as psychological health

I’ve been thinking on & off of starting a separate, meditation journal, as a way of reaching out to others who practice or want to, but then I thought, No. Mind body. As above, so below. It belongs here, with the rest of my fitness program. 

I’m going to talk more about meditation, I’ve decided, though I probably won’t post about it daily, or after each and every session, like I do with physical exercise.

So… I’ve been trying to get in a 40-day run of a chant to Laksmi

which I do after my traditional, seated in padmasana, 22min meditation. Even for someone with a too flexible schedule, it’s one of the hardest disciplines there is, in my opinion. I still use an old, Holosync track! Whatever makes it happen, is my thinking.

First try

I’ve dropped the ball twice so far. I started the first attempt on March 10th, the day after my birthday, using my beautiful, new mala that I designed & put together with specific hermetic, astrological intentions in mind. I made six consecutive days & then missed four.


Second try

Started on March 20th and made it twelve days. That’s better at least! The last day I was up in Abbortsford for the first day of my last cat show, and I only did the chanting part, which takes about 4-5 minutes. Charlie arrived that evening. We had another show day and then a six hour drive back. I’ll do it when I get home, never happens, even if you get home way earlier than expected. We’d stopped for dinner in Vancouver and we still made it home around 9pm.

Third try

Then I didn’t practice again for an entire week, and it’s been an incredible stressful time, not because of the lack of meditation, but… It’s time to batten down the hatches.

batten down the hatches.jpeg

OK that’s enough. It’s time to get back to work on the test project. Scanned my pencil & pen drawing this morning, in two pieces. Put them together in the Illustrator file. Next I’ll start the vector drawing. I’m going to draw it in Illustrator & then transfer to Photoshop for some filter effects. I DO keep a separate art blog on WordPress, so I’ll post design & process visuals there later.

I’ll heat up what remains of my coffee and get going.


OK so only 3 days this week

Then vs now – fitness in middle to old age

I was thinking about how in the old days, before a 2-days in coach (meaning no sleep) journey home from India, I’d go up to Bangalore a day ahead (if coming back from Mysore), grab a few hours of sleep and then get up again early enough before the flight to get another practice in.

My first and last Ashtanga teacher, Greg, aka Fucknut, used to talk about how Manju (his one & only) said you could back off your practice at 50. That means the hard stuff, the joint shredding advanced series. Thing is, 3rd is the only really good workout with the first three series, once you’ve adapted to them. The first two are good workouts when you’re learning because of the struggle, but after that not so much.

What he should’ve said was that yogis should mix in other, more democratic forms of exercise as middle age progresses, to keep the body fit and healthy. That’s what it’s supposed to be all about right? Fitness first so that you have a good vessel for the cerebral. Manju wasn’t a great example though. He accumulated a lot of weight around his middle and had a heart attack that was kept on the down low. This was during the tail end of my involvement with studios, somewhere around 2011, 2012. He’s been much trimmer since then, which is good for him and his health, but my point is – look at who you ask for life advice.

Between Goa 2 and Miami 2012, I had all the fuel I needed to divest myself of any self-identification of “Ashtangi”

I was pondering what to do with my practice when I made that last visit to Rolf & Marci in Goa, my last trip to India, not knowing they’d been reading and obsessing over my blog since the first visit. She was anyway. She’d seemingly memorised it! There were three years between that first and second visit, and she referenced blogged events that occurred in the middle. They should’ve told me not to come. I was too transparent! Too direct! Too honest.

Anyway, I was fairly certain Rolf was still practicing advanced series, at a ragged looking late 50s, whereas both of my NYC teachers (both close to my own age) weren’t doing things by the book anymore. I’d wanted to talk to him about practicing and ageing, find out how he’d handled it, get some advice. Then I found out how he and she really felt about me! He compared me to a junkie, because of my need to write. I was stunned, upset… Cried for hours that day. The expats down at the conspiracy theory cafe said I should take the offer of the refund, and continue blogging, at the same space as the scurfy outdoor “shala” and cafe that housed that yoga group at the time.

I really should’ve taken my money back! In the end, I skipped a lot of those practices and just partied. I knew I wasn’t going to learn anything at all in terms of asana, and quite frankly my own room was a much better and warmer practice space. Also, since they were so openly and harshly critical of me, I turned the same microscope on them. OMG I don’t want any life advice from THAT guy!!! 

So now, when I do an Astanga practice, it’s a much different thing

These days I prioritise my seated meditation and chanting practice over exercise in general. Exercise is still important… I stress a little bit when I drop below 5-days in a week. But not that much. And if I’m not up to some sort of balls-out workout, I do something moderate.

You can tell what’s got top priority by where it occurs in my day. The meditation comes first. Then the art. I skipped my workout to figure out how to bring along my sketching supplies.

I have a very tiny, low budget carry-on. Figuring out how to travel with all the cat show supplies I’ll need (I have to check two bags) and all the sketching supplies I’d want really wasn’t easy. I wanted to carry just a small bag, but instead it’s going to be the giant Bagolini. I’ll check my carry-on and the Sturdi exhibition case. I’ll carry on my cat carrier, with small feline, and my Bagolini.

This is one of the many nice things I inherited via the passing of my good friend. Useful things. Stylish things. It just so happened we had the same size feet…

Never imagined that my first flight after March 15, 2015 would be to go to a cat show! I actually have to fly to Vancouver, Canada and then get an Uber to Abbortsford an hour away.


Strength and cardio HIIT #3: back focus & yoga / yesterday’s rest day

Had a nice rest day, yesterday

I did my navel gazing downtown, “off hill.” It’s been steadily way too damp and cold to consider working outside. Took the last morning bus downtown to accomplish my two minor errands, picking up stuff at Vitamin Shoppe & Target, and sat at two different-but-close-by chain cafes the entire rest of the time I had to kill before lunch at Jake’s. The one on SW Tenth Ave is one of my few, “regular” spots in PDX.


I think you can see why once again I didn’t bother getting out my sketchbook.

I always do penance by carrying art supplies with me though! What if something is actually beautiful and / or interesting? Lunch was good. I’ve stopped photographing my food. One of my two friends in town happens to be a militant vegan, in a deeply evangelical phase. The last time I posed a non veg food picture, t a bit of a Facebook scuffle ensued on that thread. Though I wasn’t a part of it, it’s just not worth it! Virtuous food pictures are the only kind worth posting and I’m no longer a participant.

That could apply to FB itself. I’m not going to delete it this time. I’m pretty good with cutting off and letting go, but there are a few people who I just recently reconnected with after many years, Norman being my favourite. There are also some new cat connections who might be important / useful in the future as well as random connections I don’t interact with elsewhere. The thing to do is limit my posting.

The highlight of the day was lunch with my friend

Tom, at a place extremely nostalgic for us both, Jake’s. We were so naive! I said, talking of the first time we three, now two, had met up there, when they were staying their two weeks just a few months after I’d moved here, looking for a place of their own.

It used to be so normal, to meet up with friends for lunch, or an early happy hour after work. I’m sure I appeared stupidly giddy to the waiter, not that he’d have noticed all that much. Middle-aged ladies become increasingly invisible, as if practicing for our spectral phase. Not that that matters to me now. I am very focused in Scorpio these days. My solar return ascendant is Scorpio, as is natal & solar return Mars. Two years and counting in my cave on The Hill, after all. I was in a better mood after that. I’ve got some huge, for me, expenses coming up next weekend and I’d gotten a Trimet day pass, so I didn’t Uber home. I minded the long, uphill walk down the windy, no sidewalk Dosch less than usual too, just because that was my only real exercise for the day. Charlie and I went out for a light, early dinner after and that was that.


Warmup: (10/30×6=4min) jump rope Since the 1st set was reps – which I planned on doing at a nice, relaxed pace – I did my own warm-up.

Strength and cardio HIIT #3: back focus

5×5 √, √, √, √, √
1. Bent rows 2+ 2 oblique plank hops 20s
2. Halo slams 5/side 20
3. Clean and press 20s, weights perpendicular to body
4. Dive bomber to DL 20s, weights parallel to body

Weighted Hiit 50:10 2x 6 mins Joined video here.
1. cross/cross + hook/hook plank hop 5s
2. cross-cross/ uppercut-uppercut, hook-hook 2 squat jumps 5s
3. Squat jump fwd and back 4 crosses, plank hop angry donkey up 5s

Tabata pyramid: 6 mins
1. Kickthrough Burpee
2. Lateral touchdowns 4 + 2 star jumps

My legs were still so fatigued from last x lower body WO that the 2nd move of the tabata pyramid just KILLED me. The burpees were like vacation. I paused the video here (43 before notes) & did some asana. Single 10/60 intervals of paschimo & hanumanasana

Hiit 50:10 2x 10 mins I used two 10lb weights for all the bosu moves.
1. Fast feet Burpee
2. LL OH Bosu curtsy plank hops
3. Bosu Jack push-up bunny hop
4. RL OH Bosu curtsy plank hops
5. Yoga tricep push up Burpee

Tabata Pair: 4 mins
1. Iron leg Burpee
2. Divebomber to jumping jack

Time = 1:06

Skipped the video’s yoga cool down & did my longer, solo version:


About 28min

  • Virasana, supta v, malasana, uttanasana, krounchasana, ustrasana, anjenayasana, upavistha kona, parighasana, baddha kona A
  • Some finishing

Random Friday musings

Took a rest day yesterday, because I ended up cooking a spontaneous, quite gourmet meal for Charlie and I. I’d been obsessed with getting a balsamic reduction right, based on having had a really good one, homemade by a friend, many years ago. To achieve this I followed the advice on one website and got a 10-year aged, Italian brand. They advised at least 5-7 years. Delicious!

I have an appointment downtown this afternoon, and I might take a second rest day. Not because I need it! Thursday’s Astanga totally fixed up the tweakiness in my right side. I’m SO grateful I have these body tuning skills in my toolbox. Anyway I  might get back too late to want to exercise. I’ve long been a morning person in that way…

It’s pretty cold out again, and I’ve checked the weather. Initially I was thinking I might scout out a late afternoon oil painting location. This is the painting date I’ve already postponed once. Unfortunately I’ll be out of town at what looks like the next good day for it, and landscape situations can change pretty quickly.

But maybe I’ll take bus 15 from my appointment to New Renaissance books & have a mosey around. I always enjoy the vibe of that place…