showtime.

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That’s Chrissy.

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If you need proof that I was there, check out the guy in the blue bandana.

And this is the pose — a variation of it, anyway — that caused me to freak out a bit while trying to decide whether to attend Chrissy’s workshop this weekend.

Here’s your spoiler alert: I am so happy I did.

My yoga workshop weekend, Day Two:

I knew going in that I didn’t have the core strength to hold a full version of shoulder stand on my own. But that’s not really what I wanted to accomplish anyway. In a class about a year ago, we did some inversion kind of stuff at the wall; I remember leaving that class feeling that inversions were something attainable. But in the time since, I lost that confidence and enthusiasm, and more importantly, I lost a sense of how inversions felt. In my regular classes we occasionally do a block-supported thing kind of similar to shoulder stand, but my legs feel like I’m treading water in a swimming pool. Without feeling the weight, I didn’t have a feel for how the pose should work. I wanted to recover that, and I wanted to remove the barriers I had constructed in my head.

As we packed up to head home after Saturday’s second session, I spoke with Chrissy a bit about being excited and nervous about the shoulder stand class. That was the right thing to do; she made a point of checking on me as she got us warmed up and explained out our options for the pose. They included doing shoulder stand from a chair — that’s the demonstration above — which I am (now, after the fact) dying to try.

I opted to approach from bridge pose — one I’m comfortable with — set up on the wall. That was a great way to do it; I could still feel how the full pose plays with gravity — the weight in my shoulders and upper arms, and the strength I’ll need in my core to hold my legs in place — while in the relative security of the modified pose.

And that was the successful end of our two-hour trip. Listening to someone talk in detail about how the pose works removed the mystery behind it; getting my legs in the air gave me back my sense of how the pose should feel. I still need to do the core work, and I will. I’m excited to keep trying, because of the workshop.

And that’s the point, right? For me, this wasn’t just about the pose (although I would be lying if I tried to tell you that eventually getting to shoulder stand isn’t a thing for me), it’s about understanding the pieces of shoulder stand and then getting back a sense of how the pose feel. Mysteries dispelled, fears dissipated.

And the best thing: taking a step outside of my comfort zone and — with the support of my teachers and friends — trusting that it would work.

It did. It was amazing. And I’m grateful that I had the chance.

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a learning experience.

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My yoga workshop weekend, Day One:

  • I got better in crow and learned some tweaks with my hands and arms that will help as I move toward other arm balances.
  • My core needs to be stronger.
  • Practicing with my teachers is inspiring — they are strong and fearless — and reassuring — they struggle with some of this stuff too.
  • I have a pretty good idea of where to not to go for a quick lunch on Carson Street. A slow lunch might be OK, though; I’ll let you know as soon as my food shows up.
  • I realized in this afternoon’s discussion of the yoga sutras — kind of the philosophy behind a complete yoga practice, rather than just the physical postures — exactly how much the mental side of the practice has helped me, especially in the last few weeks.
  • I’m still scared and excited and scared about tomorrow’s shoulderstand session.
  • I love my studio and my yoga family is awesome.
  • And so is Chrissy Carter.

See you back there tomorrow, yinz guys.

13. being who he is.

Bringing home a new roommate is going to mean there will be adjustments for everyone involved.

Charlie is working on that from his end. But he’s also found ways to assert himself; that’s presented Mrs. Crappy and me with the challenge of making adjustments of our own.

In the time between when we adopted Charlie and when we returned to the shelter to bring him home, we did the best we could to kitten-proof the house.

Note: The term “kitten-proof” is something of an oxymoron. Especially if the kitten is determined to do whatever he wants to do.

Example: If the kitten determines that the window sill that had been home to some meditation tools should be free of such items, that’s what is going to happen. And if one of those items is a small Buddha figurine whose head could break off when he is knocked to the living room floor, that’s probably what is going to happen as well.

We’ve since reached the framework of an understanding of a few of these challenges, and the aforementioned window sill has since been left undisturbed. As far as we know.

And don’t be too upset for Buddha. He would probably say that even in knocking his fragile likeness to the floor, Charlie was simply being who Charlie is … and that’s all we can really ask of him, right?

the four

Besides, with the help of some Gorilla Glue, Buddha has since been repaired and has a new home that’s less slightly fraught with danger: on my desk at work, with some great company. That’s Buddha with Budai (the one we usually know as the Laughing Buddha), the Pope and the dancing hula girl that has graced my desk since Mrs. Crappy and I returned from our honeymoon in Hawaii 16 years ago.

He looks happy there, doesn’t he?

9. elementary.

By the time you read this, I should be on my way home from the Honda dealer in my No Really It’s Actually Fixed This Time, 10-Year-Old, 245,000-Miles-On-It Element. At least, that’s what I was promised this afternoon.

I don’t really have lot to add at this point — unless the car isn’t actually fixed, in which case it would be likely that I’d have a few more things to say — but I will use this as an excuse to post one of my favorite photos of the car ever taken.

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photo credit: drunk dude

This was after the 2009 Ohio State-Toledo game in Cleveland Browns Stadium. And someone found a creative use for a leftover hot dog from one of the absolutely insane tailgate parties in The Pit.

And now I’m hungry. Hope my car gets me home in time for dinner.

6. not yet.

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I look a little bit demented in this picture, but the happiness on my face is genuine.

Unfortunately, it didn’t last.

I took that selfie outside of one of the two shops that worked for more than two weeks to restore my Element to its former glory. It had been pronounced fixed earlier on Friday; I left work a bit early, drove out to the ‘burbs to drop off the Charger and pick up my car.

And, man, I was happy to see it.

But there wasn’t much time to stand around and admire my 10-year-old, 245,000-miles-on-it Element; I was on the way to Columbus to help out with tomorrow’s Minnesota tailgate party. I needed to get some gas and get myself on the Parkway West.

Once on the highway, it still took a while before I noticed anything; as any good yinzer knows, rush-hour traffic in Robinson tends to not rush anywhere. But once I got on I-79, it was easy to tell: the Element wasn’t fixed. The moment I accelerated, the check engine light came on and the engine hesitated sharply. It struggled to get up hills. And by the time I got to the Washington County line, I knew I couldn’t stick it out all the way to Columbus; I had to turn around and head back home.

And. I. Was. Furious.

There were issues all week with something to do with emissions; the check engine light apparently was persistent all week long. But: It eventually passed its annual emissions inspection and the folks at the body shop said they fixed one final problem emissions problem this morning.

I wonder if anyone at either professional automobile service business bothered to take the car out on the highway. I’m guessing they didn’t.

Mrs. Crappy has work stuff to catch up with and I can’t leave her without a car for the weekend. So, instead of being in Columbus, helping my folks with the tailgate party and seeing the season’s penultimate home game, we’re stuck in Pittsburgh. And I am frustrated beyond words.