Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stretched!

Ah, for the second day in a row I attended yoga classes and I am well pleased. I thought I would attend so I could learn how to appropriately deal with my arthritic hip (only a mild case, but I do not want it to worsen.) The stretches are simple and mild, but they have a great effect upon the whole body.

I saw an article the other day about Fred Roger's of Mr. Roger's neighborhood. He was always very meticulous about hanging up his clothing and making certain that everyone was in its proper order. As a child, he seemed too deliberate and good, but his message stuck. If we take care of the small details in life right away, the rest falls into place. Orderliness and deliberate actions show self love.

I feel like yoga is a little like Mr. Roger's habits because he moved gracefully throughout the room. Yoga is very graceful - nothing at all is rushed, but it is well planned. Sweeping arm movements, bringing hands to heart, gentle movements to respect and honor the body help us be more aware of our movements and limitations.

Nothing is forced and freedom is ascertained, yet we stretch just a little further than we allow ourselves in regular life. Correct posture, deep breathing, tending to our sore spots makes one feel better for the rest of the day. One can walk taller and straighter as we regulate our breathing.

In fact, all the techniques of yoga are what are used in warmups for singing. I realize that my body holds tension that is worked out in yoga. Very nice.

Best of all, learning to trust the instructor is a gift. Ed, our instructor, has a smooth voice and he is very instructional. He looks out for each person and simply encourages us to focus forward. I feel very relaxed; it feels indulgent to care for oneself after caring for others on a regular basis.

Prayer: Yoga helps prayer. I felt as though Christ was with me as we reached for the heavens and tucked our chins away. Grace and beauty. Christ was in each breath and every expulsion of air.

And my hip has greater mobility.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Reintegration

The reintegration process is coming slowly. Today I felt I had great energy when I awoke and headed out to my routine doctor's appointment, but it did not take long to lose steam. As I drove back to Boston, I was stuck in a commuter logjam for too long.

Yet, when I returned I had  a long list of emails to send and I was productive in getting most of this organization completed. Then I set out to find my bank in my new neighborhood. I searched up and down the neighboring streets for this national bank, but there was none to find in the area. I settled upon returning home to update my weekly blog.

I knew I needed a GPS so I set out to buy one at Best Buy. I had an uneasy feeling about getting a product from them so I checked online and found cheaper, better quality solutions that are easily obtainable. I felt like I was being duped into buying something I really did not want.

Tonight, I went to my first watercolor art class and I was very happy with it. The instructor showed us some nice techniques that will come in handy. I match what he taught us against what I discovered for myself and I'm pleased with how much I have taught myself. He also taught himself watercolors, even though he worked with other media in the past.

Speaking of the arts, I'm so pleased that the Arabic singing group Dozan wa Awtar participated in Latvia and took home two gold diplomas. I'm so proud of them. It was good exposure for them and I think they had a chance to learn about other choral groups. I'm so proud of them and I wish I sang with them.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Inching my way back

Here I am in Boston and I am so pleased with the pleasant driving habits of the citizens of this town. Drivers are kind and respectful and they obey the laws, which are designed for safety. I even was standing in a cross-walk and a car slowed down so I could cross the road unimpeded. I was so touched and I waved the car on so they did not have to stop for me. There was no traffic behind him.

It made me think of the ways I was an aggressive driver in the past. I always followed the law, but I was also too hasty in wanting to get to my destination, but for now, I'm delighting in following the laws as best I can. The laws are made because they care and honor the person. Safety is a key virtue. I'm liking this.

I continue to run into the nicest people. So many people are smiling naturally with a deep connection. It is what I remember when I go to bed each night. A smile can mean something tremendous to another person and it is having such a positive effect upon me. I like happy people anyways.

Last night as I was meeting friends for dinner at the S&S (Essen & Essen: Eat and Eat) restaurant in Cambridge, I met the nicest people outside. A tanned man with a roundish face sat in a chair smiling. Though he was 90, he did not even have a wrinkle and I doubt he used Botox. His bride, in her 80's, looked just as serene, and their 64 year old daughter looked just like her dad.

We chatted for half an hour. They were waiting for their daughter who was an art dealer of Israeli products in Hong Kong. She was cooking a meal for them to be served at the restaurant. We talked on a broad range of subjects and I showed them by artwork, and then my friends finally came. These people were the owners of the restaurant, which is only in its third generation of ownership. We laughed for most of the half hour.

Our meal was very tasty. I had broiled haddock, which was such a treat. The night before I had swordfish. I know I'm back in New England. I even had brussel sprouts - very tasty.

I did visit my family yesterday before heading to Cambridge and I was back in Cambridge this morning to meet good friends from St. Paul Parish: Marybeth, Mary Alice, and Sr. Virginia. Bruch was terrific.

My life is filled with good people.

St. Paul Church Reunion Brunch

To see photos of St. Paul Church Reunion Brunch, click on the link below:


Friday, July 11, 2014

Shipment Arrived

Kawar Shipping of Amman, Jordan (Shmeisani) shipped five boxes of my personal effects last week and it took only nine days to arrive. I'm excited that I have some additional clothing to wear plus my art supplies and toiletries.

I am very pleased with the demeanor of every person I dealt with today. Horizon shipping was courteous and professional. They went out of their way to help me load my car. The customs agent down at Black Falcon terminal was incredible kind and cheerful. We hit it off very well. Even the cook in the community went out of her way to make the transport of goods into my room very easy. People are just good and cheerful. The professional courtesies are like whipped cream on an ice cream sundae. It made the day fun.

Now I can begin unpacking to feel more at home.

Michael Buble

As I gently ease back into life in the U.S., a friend bought tickets to the Michael Buble concert at Mohegan Sun, a casino in southeast Connecticut run by Native Americans. It was quite good. Buble is a Canadian singer in the likes of Frank Sinatra/Bing Crosby, but with an upbeat, contemporary edge to his style.

Mohegan Sun is a fascinating place. Its environment represents the many symbols of Native American life. It is spacious and monumental in design and it accommodates a huge number of people. From the outside, the place looks relatively small, but it is as if there are magical tents that open once you are inside to new and exciting places.

There is an arena for shows and the WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association) games, with dozens of restaurants, retail stores, kiosks, and then the betting parlors. There are smoke-free sections, but since it is not U.S. property, it does not have to follow U.S. smoking regulations. I think it does have to follow USDA guidelines for serving food.

The lights and sounds dazzle in an upbeat cathedral of gambling. I'm thankful I have no inclinations to gamble. I would have to be force to gamble simply because I'm not interested in the enterprise, but I would happily spend a weekend in the casino because it is a world of fantasy that is so different from regular life.

The concert though was terrific. The warm up band was an a capella group called 'Naturally Seven,' that replicated the sound of musical instruments. They eventually joined Michael Buble for a few songs near the end of the concert.

He sang so well and seemed interested in performing for us. It is easy to tell that he is a professional who cares about his craft. He seemed engaged with the audience - a real good connection.

The backdrops were often very busy. There was also some part of a light show on the screens and stage behind it. It was quite good, but it sometimes distracted from watching him perform. The show was nicely syncopated and choreographed and he had a fantastic band. Also, an female ensemble of strings performed with him as well.

The show was spirited and he did not seem to tire at all. I'm very glad I went.