mirror photo haircut

on the way back to the city, we stopped to visit a colleague who spent years planning and building his house. i took a lot of pictures, so i will post them. on the wall there was a mirror, so i thought of Skippetty and the myriad mirrors in her apartment as i took this photo. then i went to my haircut appointment and took the advice of Liz to photograph the next great haircut to have as reference to show difficult hairstylists what i would like. i'm giving yoga a lot of thought! the room i'm in for the next week is warm and yoga friendly.


3:45am OK

i woke up at 3:45 am with the intent of going to yoga. it's not easy getting there from this location. short of a helicopter ride, i would have to have walked one or two miles to a bus pickup location, traveled an hour by bus, arrive at the city and change to another bus. it turns out that Snow White, who lives nearby, left me a message that i could ride in her car to class. but the phone only rings if the computer is turned on, since it's a phone plugged into an USB port. i was asleep with the computer turned off, so i didn't get the message. OK, maybe tomorrow.

(Edit: it's still too difficult to envision going to yoga until Wednesday. to get to yoga means getting up at 3:30am, walking 45 minutes to a bus into the city, travel an hour, then take another bus that treks across the city with the yoga mat, backpack with food for the day, clothes, etc. on Wednesday i'll be close to the shala and it will be easy getting there.)


storing suburbs sky

i've started organizing my storage unit in SF. i plan to give a lot of things to a friend who can sell them. i plan to keep art, one set of good furniture and books. to continue to pay for storing other things is to pay more than their value over time, so it's better to give them away. i plan to sell a souped up graphics desktop computer that i cannot use in Asia and will become obsolete with time. going to yoga will be challenging tomorrow because i have to commute about 2 hours, since i'm staying in the suburbs. after Tuesday, i can take a short bus ride because i will be in the city. i'm doing the miracle cleanse so on the days of the actual cleanse i don't think i can practice. today the weather was resplendent in SF- not a cloud in the sky.


apartment cozy French

the apartment i 'm sharing in SH. i understand why the word "cozy" is used often to describe apartments. the flatmates are French, so i speak French inside; outside i speak Mandarin and English.


without delays

i arrived in SF without delays. i didn't know my flight went through the Beijing airport, which is stunningly beautiful. it was a treat to see it. the flight back was packed. i thought that since it was the middle of the week maybe the plane would not be crowded. the food and service was excellent. as soon as i arrived, i checked into a hotel so as to have a place to put my stuff while running errands. for example, i needed to place an order for new eyeglasses. i might go to a Bikram's class this evening to sweat out a lot and that way not have jet lag.

these skylights

form these patterns on the floor


arranging heavy clothing

it's difficult to practice when i am still arranging stuff in the apartment prior to going on a trip to California. i meditated. the apartment is big; my room smallish. i'm experienced at organizing myself in small spaces. Ikea comes to the rescue with different things to hang on from rods, in which to put stuff. but i didn't realize that the cabinets, made of wood, can't hold on the weight of shoes, scarfs, gloves, and heavy winter coats in their rods. i heard a loud crash this morning. the metal holding the rod broke. i should know my structures. so Ikea came to the rescue again. i found a metal clothes rack that i'll put somewhere in the apartment for those heavy clothing items. i plan to finish settling in today. tomorrow i have a series of get togethers.


shala knight philosophy

the shala is only 2 bus stops from the apartment. it was a full group this morning. my practice has been so eclectic at home that often i jumped poses and had to go back. i forgot to do Purvottanasana so i went back. after navasana, i did Bakasana instead of Bujapidasna. by the time i was in Upavhista Konasana, i realized i missed Kourmasana and Supta Kourmasana, so i went back and did them. Bamboo Knight helped me get a strong bind in Marichyasana D. After class he asked me how things were going and encouraged me in my studies of Mandarin. Simply learning the language helps to understand Chinese philosophy as well. Neat. My body feels springy right now.

buses noodles aromatherapy

i've started using buses to go about town. my colleague T. showed me how to use a program where you write your start and your destination and it tells you the route to follow, including a line drawn on a map for the route. i used to plan trips on buses in the same manner in SF. the difference here is that i need to do it in Mandarin.

so i reached the meditation teacher's place in 20 minutes by bus as opposed to an hour and a half by metro as before from the previous place. after meditation we went to eat in a small vegetarian restaurant on Nandan Lu which has only five things in the menu, and all of the dishes are versions of soupy noodles. i had tofu and mushrooms with noodles, while the others had vegetables with noodles.

then we went to purchase sandalwood twigs, with the idea to grind them with a pencil sharpener, to place the dust in an electric incense burner for aromatherapy. we found the incense burner at the giant tea market. i'm not sure it will work, but the doctor thinks that by placing the sandalwood dust in an electric insense heater, it will give off aromas. he's given up on alcohol based burners because they generate too much heat, and on candle based ones because with the oil they are too messy. i'll wait to see if the dry version of aroma therapy works. at the tea market we picked up mountain rock oolong, red and green teas.

what prompted me to write is that in organizing my stuff after the move, i found some bracelets i thought had been stolen during a trip to a southern provice. i placed them in a pocket of a toiletry back five months ago. one of them is made of an aromatic wood and i obtained it in a temple in Xi'an. the other is made of stones and i bought it with my niece in mind. well, now i have it for next Xmas. it's a good thing i didn't arm up a stink about losing them. i looked and looked for them for weeks and was bummed out thinking they had been stolen, which i could not understand because they are not expensive things.

tomorrow i may go to the yoga shala. my colleague also helped me figure out the bus to take to get to the shala. i can anticipate that Bamboo Knight is going to ask me, during one of my stops to breathe, "are you OK? do you need rest?" my practice has been so eratic that it will be odd to see how it goes at a shala.


short shortcut arriving

i did a short practice today, the first practice in the last few days since moving. the floor is shiny wood so when i do handstand i see the reflection of me on the floor and i look like Superman flying. it's interesting but i don't think it could be captured in a photo. my body feels stiff and needs a massage too. now i'm preparing for a two week trip to San Francisco, returning here afterwards.

there is a shortcut from where i live to the metro. it is through a residential area carved from old paths with a mix of old European style houses and new apartment blocks. you can see the high rises in the distance, and also see the intimate scale of small alleys. the view of my street is busier but that is another story for another day.

arriving near the metro


home pants transit

home is where you hang your hat.

does anyone know what those slats in the sliding part of the armoire are for? maybe it's for ladies' scarfs. i tried hanging pants from it, but they did not fit correctly. oh, geez. sorry to ask. is it for female undergarments? haha. i'm laughing. (edit: my mandarin tutor says it's for hanging trousers, but you have to fold them several times. OK, i may give that a try.)

the cybershalamates where patient while in transit.


pack books stuff

i can't label myself a pack rat, but after a year, two rolling duffel bags and a garment bag that i brought last February grew to the addition of two rolling suitcases, a third rolling duffel bag, a small suitcase, a medium and a small rolling bag, two big boxes of household items holding such as blankets and yoga mats, eight boxes of books, three boxes of assorted things such as zero calorie pudding mixes and energy shakes; office supplies, a bag of groceries, a bag of dry staples and two bags to shove in whatever was not put away by the time the mover arrived. at the last minute i looked like one of those rapid eaters who down hotdogs at county fairs, shoving knicknacks into bags. granted, i brought some of this stuff during one trip last April and shipped some books, lucking out that i was charged a domestic rate for doing so by mistake and not the international rate that is four times as much. whew! after all that it was necessary to go get a coffee and croissant.

what struck me first was that there where people everywhere! and cafes, and shops and a bank, and tire repair places, all around. and despite the hustle and bustle of the city all around, it does not feel noisy in the apartment, not like my old apartment in San Francisco on Market Street where i heard the ratatat of the trolleys and the clanging of the tethers of bus of line 21, which tended to lose their connection daily while making a right turn. but certainly there is the similar life there was in San Fran right outside the building.


meditation phone exchange

went to meditation yesterday, after which we ate at our favorite restaurant nearby that serves super tasty northern Chinese food. afterwards my friends thought of accompanying me to Ikea to buy bedding material for the new apartment. the line just to park was too long that i would have missed my appointment with the landlord. so i decided to return on my own later. during the car ride to a Buddhist bookstore, i received several calls from an architect in Beijing i had been in contact with. the problem is that my cheap Nokit phone is good for screaming, but not talking. as soon as i am able to, i will buy an iPhone. i used one belonging to a colleague and was amazed that i could converse and hear the other person without strain. i met with the landlord. she was so considerate, giving me a month-to-month lease instead of the minimum 3 or 6 month lease. it could be i need to relocate for work to Beijing. i wanted to hug her for her kindness. later she drove me to the metro so i could return to Ikea, while showing me the location of a grocery store on the way. at Ikea, navigating the masses of people to obtain the bedding material went OK. i found a French lady that helped me select quickly everything i needed. paying was a different story. since there were probably 500 people at the checkout counters in about 20 lines, normal for a Saturday afternoon, that took 45 minutes. taxis were non-existent in the taxi line. i would imagine that the word should get out that if a taxi wants business on a Saturday afternoon in Shanghai all they have to do it line up at the Ikea store. luckily, though, on the street there are entrepreneurial people who offer to take you to your destination. in exchange, you give them money. (cough). no really. (cough). last tuesday there was snow when i was galavanting about town and despite my warm attire, i caught a bit of a congestion.


distracted space floor

i had another hour and a half of distracted yoga practice. this weekend i will be moving into the apartment in the city. the roomate is French, which will allow me to practice that language. there is a square space outside the bedroom big enough for 4 yoga mats. i may ask the roomie if he minds if i practice there on ocassion, on the beautiful wood floor. pictures will follow.

metro avenue office

so today after a short meditation i got ready and went into the city. i'm usually prepared with the address of where i am going to go, but i became distracted with writing responses to emails and forgot to write down the exact address of where i was going. during the metro ride, while standing, i opened my laptop to see if had saved the address of the meeting. someone kindly gave me his seat seeing that it was difficult to use it while standing. i had saved a map of the location. but as can happen here sometimes, one wrong word can put you on the wrong side of a long street. i was supposed to be at a number on the west side of a major avenue. but my wrong entry in the map sent me to the same number on the east side of that avenue. i made a few phone calls and sent text messages to colleagues to help me obtain the address in the internet. my language teacher got out of bed, got on the internet and obtained it. bless her. I reached the place by taxi on time. the next hurdle was that at this sophisticated building, to get to your floor, you select the number on a panel which tells you which elevator of six elevators to take. when the guard saw me fumbling with notes and a phone, he asked me, "you have to press the floor of the company. XYZ?" mentioning the name of the firm. now, how did he know that i was going there? do i look like an architect? i can't figure that out. this is a gigantic building with an incredibly big number of offices, so how, on his first guess, did he know where i was going? maybe the staff at the office let him know that there would be a visitor around that time. that must be it. sorry i'm rambling; it's just another unusual expat experience.


forty five floors

today i practiced an hour and forty five minutes, doing half of primary. the length of the practice had to do with the mental chatter going on. taking that long to do half of primary might change when if start visiting the shala ocassionally soon. i found an apartment that is relatively close to the shala. it has nice wood floors, so practice in the room when not going to the shala will also be pleasant.


Culebra for Laksmi

during a trip to PR, it would be worth staying a couple of days in the islands of Vieques or Culebra, which have pristine beaches. here's a foto my sister in law took three weeks ago on a visit there. you can take a ferry from Fajardo, or you can fly a small plane from San Juan. there are websites for each island that give you information on Inns and homes that you can rent for short stays. Beryl Bender Birch has taught workshops in Culebra several years.

during a trip to PR it would also be great to explore the rain forest in Luquillo. you can walk all the way to the top and return to your car in a total of a gentle four hour hike. you can go for a night kayak ride into a bioluminescent bay in Fajardo, in Las Croabas. you can take a catamaran ride to one of the small islands across from that site, and spend a leisure day snorkeling. i'm from that part of the island so i'm mentioning more activities from that area, but there are famous beaches to explore on other areas, such as Boqueron on the west coast.

there is a free publication called QuePasa that lists all of the things that tourists can do in the Island. they are very organized with respect to tourism there. i think you can download a PDF version of this publication from the net. more in an email...


snowing walk cozy

it's snowing in Shanghai. i'm writing for a cafe. the barista was kind to give me her number for accessing the internet. one can access the internet through the telephone. but there needs to be a signal at the establishment. bla bla. my practices are trying this week, because of meetings at different times, usually in the morning. so a vigorous walk in the light snow was my practice today. i will be seeing an apartment with a room to share. the word cozy is a favorite descriptor used in ads. it must be synonymous with comfortable.

movies wearing attention

i didn't watch any of the movies nominated for awards this past year. what am i doing this moment? watching the fugly reviews of the best and worst dressed at the academy awards. why? the comments bring honest belly laughs. "shower curtain!" one dress was called, for example. one of the best dresses was an explosion of crepe ruffles. but it received a comment that, "with a dress like that, my back would hurt as well. i'm suprised she's able to walk without toppling over." sorry. this is funny stuff.

today it was meditation practice instead of asana practice because i needed to belt out some letters requiring a lot of attention. at one moment i received an email to go into the city in a hurry. i explained my location and said i would arrive in an hour and a half. an hour later, i had to call because the rain was making taxis disappear like hot pancakes at a Sunday brunch. so we rescheduled for tomorrow.

someone asked me if i thought an ashtanga inmersion being offered in the city was worthwhile. i recommended it. in my response i wrote the names of other teachers to follow in Asia. then i amazed myself that i knew about all of these teachers and could link to their websites.


yin salts cleansed

today i did a one hour yin yoga practice. i kept my socks on because the room felt colder than earlier in the week. in yoga, practicing with socks on is newsworthy. yesterday a colleague brought me a packet of epsom salts he obtained at Wah! greens stateside. i could not find it here and it's one of the items one uses to do Laruga's cleanse. i don't know when i will do this; maybe within a couple of weeks. at least now i have the ingredients. it's not that complicated a process- you drink a lot of apple juice daily for about a week, then over the weekend you drink a lot of water with some of the epsom salts dissolved in it, get a lot of rest and, overnight, ca-ching! you're cleansed.


certified hahaha zen

a friend wrote to me today saying, "I just finished a course today where I became a 'Certified Laughter Yoga Leader' at http://www.laughteryoga.org/". he's always made me laugh, so he didn't need a certificate in it. but let me join in. buhaahahahaha. cheers. (i wonder how my zen teachers feel about that. they can be joyful individuals, but their practice is serious.)


interrupted warm digestion

today's practice takes the cake for most interrupted this year. it was cold in the room, so i had layer upon layer of clothes. it seems that my desire for a warm room overwhelmed the a/c unit to the point there was a block of ice on the machine in the balcony. it tripped the electrical fuse box too. i'm just latin, that's all, so i prefer a room to be warm. as i practiced with two area heaters and peeled layers as the prana increased, someone was at the door with an a/c repairman. the unit was fixed and i was instructed to be content with a lower temperature setting. after a snack, i went back to practice. i rationalized that inversions such as a handstand are supposed to help digestion. so it should help digest the cookie in the stomach, i reasoned. savasana was super long, so long i had to eat a meal to wake up.

ok so i haven't posted images in a while. graphics surround my life, though. so here is one. it's part of a proposal for a resort site that is a contender for the 2018 Olympics. it's a concept for a stage for performances by a river. it was inspired by the Arneson River Theatre in San Antonio.

i haven't mentioned that my dear aunt, my dad's sister, passed away last weekend. she was 89, a lively lady with a great joie de vivre. my uncle at 90 survives her. my photographs of the family are in storage, otherwise i would post a picture of her. my cousins have traveled to be with the family. (edit - i found a photo of her, my niece and I from last Christmas, in front of her colorful holiday tree.)


longish moment practicing

my practice today of primary was longish, an hour and a half. the body seems to develop a knowledge of what it has to do to allow the binding and twisting to happen. my diet hasn't changed. the metro is closer to where i live at the moment, so i am walking more. consequently my weight is a kilo or two less than before. amazingly, or perhaps not amazingly, being lighter makes practicing yoga easier.
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