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A couple of days ago, I went looking for photos of some of the Bikram postures, and came across a nifty guide (illustrated with colorful stick figures) produced by a NY studio.

(When I manage standing bow, it feels pretty cool. Then there's me getting water up my nose when I tried to sneak in a sip during savasana...)

I am taking a break from it today, though, because my body and brain both need a timeout -- a couple of old injuries have flared up, and I need a day where I don't have to be anywhere by x o'clock. (It's not really a day off -- I'm planning to divide 8-10 hours between lettering and copyediting -- but not having to stop to get myself ready to go somewhere else will make a difference. I'm such a housecat.)

Yesterday afternoon, I went to Rita Frizzell's memorial service. It included humor and drama and tears and quite a bit of music, including Sarah Dan Jones's "Meditation on Breathing" ("When I breathe in, I'll breathe in peace. When I breathe out, I'll breathe out love"). The humor included Dawn Thornton referring to herself as "Buddish" (referring to her sort-of practice of meditation); the drama included a theatre director reading aloud passages from Hamlet and coming up with a new collective noun ("an incandescence of Ritas") to encompass the different facets of she-who-was-called-Rita. There was chanting from the Tibetan Book of the Dead; there was a colorful portrait of an eight-limbed goddess hanging behind the pulpit. There was a reference to "Tibetan Buddhism's glass ceiling for women" (one of the situations leading Rita to Unitarian Universalism) but also glowing descriptions of the Friday night sangha she led, which will be continued by another member of FUUN.

The closing song was a group rendition of "You Are My Sunshine," a song Rita's mother had sung many times to her. We sang through it three times, twice with the words ("Please don't take my sunshine away...") and once simply humming. Afterward, at least two people said to me, "The humming, that's what got me." Music is such a physical act.

After the reception, I hopped into a friend's car and she steered it downtown toward sushi. Sarge talked about her plans to make blackberry wine; B. and I chatted about our connections to Texas. There was a lot of laughing with and at each other, including me at S. when she declared "I'm too old to be butch" (when B. declined her offer to pump gas) and both S. and B. at me when I waxed enthusiastic about fantasy tennis and horse handicapping. ("Look, I'm a nerd. Therefore I have nerd hobbies." "We're glad you know that.")

Speaking of which: Thanks to an $7K bet on Oxbow and a $10K bet on Mylute, I am currently leading the Smarty Jones Stakes (a Triple Crown predictions contest) over at TalkAboutTennis.com. My penchant for humoring my hunches seldom pays out two races in a row, however; moreover, I've noticed that it's always a longshot I don't pick that ends up second. Still, for the moment, peppermints all around! ;-)

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/51367.html.
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At the start of the service, the choir sang Ysaye Barnwell's arrangement of Kahlil Gibran's "On Children":



Your children are not your children
They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself
They come through you but they are not from you
And though they are with you they belong not to you

You can give them your love but not your thoughts
For they have their own thoughts
You may house their bodies but not their souls
For the souls dwell in a place of tomorrow
Which you cannot visit
Not even in your dreams

You can strive to be like them
But you cannot make them just like you


Rev. Gail preached about family and community, and how individuals possess both the desire to belong and the desire for freedom -- the challenge being as a family member (by blood or by choice) to nurture the people we love in such a way that they also feel free to be themselves.

Midway through the sermon, she stated that the largest category of households in the United States consists of people who live alone, which was true of our congregation -- and that the majority of that group at FUUN live alone by choice. She quoted a member of the congregation who had said to her, "I'm looking for someone to date -- but there's NO WAY I'm looking for someone to marry!" This was greeted with a wave of laughter -- and a heartfelt "Amen!" bellowed from the middle of the sanctuary, which triggered a second wave of laughter.




Maybe ten years ago, a group at church performed another Sweet Honey in the Rock piece, "No Mirrors in My Nana's House." This animated version of it (Chris Raschka illustrations) is a joy:



This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/50548.html.
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Today's subject line is from Jane Hirshfield's Hope and Love. It is one of the pieces I am currently rehearsing for this Sunday's services. The other one is a lively setting of Emily Dickinson's "Hope Is the Thing with Feathers":



I've also been looking at various hymns set to "Charleston" (albeit wayyy slower than the midi at Hymnary). We sang the version that begins "There's a wideness in your mercy" (words by Frederick William Faber) at church not too long ago:


There's a wideness in your mercy like the wideness of the sea;
there's a kindness in your justice which is more than liberty.

But we make your love too narrow by false limits of our own,
and we magnify your strictness with a zeal you will not own.

For the love of God is broader than the measures of our minds
and the heart of the Eternal is most wonderfully kind.


This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/45865.html.
pondhop: white jointed mannequin in glass door (Default)
Listening to: the USA Today stream of clips from Anais Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer's "Child Ballads" album (link via my friend Katy). Between that and the severe weather making the sky so very grey, I'm inclined to spend the afternoon working on fairy-tale riffs (but tax prep is calling, calling).

Reading: the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. Pages 374-75 provide pleasingly detailed advice on buying fresh shrimp:


When buying shrimp with heads, note that they spoil quicker and that the heads constitute about 35 percent of the shrimp's weight. So if a recipe calls for 2 pounds of headless shrimp, shells on, buy almost 2 3/4 pounds whole shrimp with shells to compensate.



Keep in mind that a shrimp's shell and legs make up about 12 percent of its weight, so if you're using peeled shrimp in a recipe that calls for 2 pounds headless shrimp, shells on, you'll require only 88 percent of that weight, or about 1 3/4 pounds.


Today's lunchtime reading was a couple of sections of yesterday's New York Times. I was struck by two mentions of historians brought to tears, both within Dan Barry's article about the Jackie Clarke collection in Ireland. In the first, Barry speculates on prize artifacts that would have changed Sinead McCoole's initially low expectations of the collection:


Was it the fabric flower, called a cockade, that Wolfe Tone -- Wolfe Tone! -- wore affixed to his hat when he was captured while leading a failed rebellion against the English in 1798? When Ms. McCoole showed the cockade to a scholar friend steeped in that era, the scholar began to weep.


The other immediately reminded me of how difficult it can be to define and observe the scope of academic projects (...and, really, projects in any sphere, but as you might guess, scope comes up a lot in academic publishing):


Often, as Ms. McCoole set out to begin another wearying day of academic mining, one of the fish shop's employees, Smokey Gorman, would give her a cryptic greeting: "And you haven’t even gotten to the roof yet." For a while she thought this meant that Mr. Gorman might have spent too much time in the smokehouse, but Mrs. Clarke eventually told her that Mr. Gorman was referring to some "modern stuff" that he once helped Jackie Clarke carry to a storeroom built onto the roof.

One day, with the end of her papered tunnel in sight, Ms. McCoole went to that room on the roof, where loads of bundles were wrapped in relatively recent copies of the local newspaper. Inconsequential modern stuff, she thought. But when she opened a bundle or two, she found rare political pamphlets and newspapers dating to the 17th and 18th centuries.

"Instead of being euphoric, I cried for two days," Ms. McCoole said. “I cried and I cried and I cried. It was just more things to do. I knew the job hadn't ended."

But when she recovered Ms. McCoole realized that she was immersed in something very rare and wonderful, a feeling now validated by other scholars.


This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/45576.html.
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The subject line's from Nikki Giovanni's "I am Jazz," which is in Bicycles: Love Poems, which I am reading tonight because my e-book loan expires in a couple of days.

I am cooking: "Company Carrots" (recipe from Charleston Receipts Repeats), a riff on parmesan black pepper coleslaw (because both parmesan and cabbage were on sale at the supermarket), and pork chops.

I am listening to TFS's "Blackest Crow," via Nathalie. Sxip Shirley: "The girls started singing 'The Blackest Crow' and it was like a mute volume hit the party. The party went SILENT and people listened to the women sing and it felt like that...LISTENING TO THE WOMEN SING."

Back to the stove, back to the knife, back to the pen and the paring life... ;-)

This entry was originally posted at http://zirconium.dreamwidth.org/44188.html.

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