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The Queen of Sheba's Juicy Feast

Twice the Malarkey, Half the Price

Yoga Teacher Training Weird-Ass Moment
massage, alienation
As a massage therapist, I have spent plenty of time around people who do energy work. They do Reiki, they balance Chakras and such; they say things like, "I can feel how your Chi is bunching up over here." And I have just never been that girl, you know? I have in the past really not felt any energy. Since I've been doing Thai massage, I've started to feel it some. But pretty much, I'm not the girl who says things like, "wow, did you feel how dark her energy was? Like, she needs to unblock her upper Chakras."

But today in YTT, I felt it, and it was crazy. We did an exercise which went like this: Person A spends 3 minutes talking about something that they often say "no" to or some part of themselves which is not fully expressed. I talked about how I suck at doing housework, and how I can not figure out how to improve that situation. Then person B puts her hands gently onto person A, like, onto her knees, and spends 1 or 2 minutes there, while inwardly repeating the mantra "I receive the already-present Divinity in this person." LOL SO CHEESY I KNOW.

But okay, so I am sitting there, and my partner, my yoga teacher Ashley, is resting her hands on my knees. And first I was overwhelmed with the need to weep and a few tears squeezed out. Then that subsided. Then I became aware that Ashley's hands had come to the same temperature as my knees, so it started to feel as if her hands were melting into me. So I was just observing this sensation of the boundary between us disappearing. And then she moved her hands slightly. And I straightened my spine and turned my face up. And then I felt as if my third eye opened up and a ball of white light emerged and was shining down between Ashley and me. You know how you can see light through your closed eyelids? Like that. So I just sat there, feeling this weird feeling, and a few moments later the leader called out to wind it down so we could switch roles. And the light sucked back into my third eye and went back to normal. Yeah. . . I know. . . WTF. Too strange.

And then we switched roles. So now I'm resting my hands on Ashley's knees and I feel myself sort of bowing down in front of her. Then I felt myself straighten slightly, sort of extending toward her, and then I felt her energy open up like the door of a furnace. It was just roaring around me like a hot summer wind, like I could almost feel my hair blow back from it. I have never felt anything like it in my darn life. Now I'm writing this out, I note that straightening the spine accompanied both moments. Interesting.

So that was my afternoon today. Almost too weird to believe. I mean I am the most pragmatically non-New-Age person ever to do yoga. I don't even know how to process this experience!

Ominous Sign
massage, alienation
The last few days I have had a very slight sniffle. This is not, in itself, that big of a deal. But here's the thing: the weekend of the 16th, next weekend, I have to attend my yoga teacher training's Retreat Weekend up in Mt. Airy. So I really do not need to have a cold! So I really hope it goes away. Or, failing that, I hope I get sick right now so I'll be better by the 15th or so.

Other than that, here's a gratuitous picture of me in new shorts from LOFT, all ready for it to be summer already:


Also pictured: salon blow-out hair. Just got a little trim. The mysterious poster in the background is an art project from yoga teacher training. It depicts the 5 Koshas, 7 Chakras, 3 of our many Nadis, plus the 3 Doshas and the 3 Gunas, oh best beloved.

WTF WORLD?? Crazy Shit Part II
massage, alienation
I had to fire my son's therapist. Here's how it went down. We're there, doing some therapy, talking about this and that. My son got mad and we had a little bit of a fight there. Not unusual. My son was sort of upset, and he said to the therapist, "why am I here on Earth? Why did I have to be born? I didn't want to be here. Did God make me be born like this?"

And the therapist answered firmly, "No. It was Satan. He is down below and he reaches up and draws down anybody who he thinks belongs with him. If he thinks you're one of his, he'll keep that foolishness up."

Now, nobody in my family believes in Satan or Hell. We are nominally Jewish, and those things aren't a part of Jewish philosophy. (There are several differing theories about the afterlife; however, none of them feature a scary guy with a pitchfork or a lake of fire or any of that jive.) But let's imagine for a moment that we did believe in Satan. That therapist had basically just told an impressionable 14-year-old that Satan considered him to be "one of his." That he belonged to Satan. Yeah, just let that soak in.

So I mildly explained that, since we're Jewish, we don't believe in Satan or Hell. I said that I believe that we're each on our own karmic journey.

My son wandered out of the room, as he often does. The therapist turned to me and said, "you guys are Jewish, so you see things a little differently." "Yes," I replied. He then suggested that I could watch "Left Behind" to learn more about Satan, Hell, and the Rapture. I told him that, since those concepts mean nothing to me, it wouldn't do much for me to watch a movie about a bunch of stuff that is pretty much totally imaginary.

He said, "well, maybe that's part of the problem." I said, "how do you mean?"

He said, "you know, I believe that with God, with faith, all things are possible."

I looked at him for a moment and then I asked him directly: "Are you suggesting that I should try to pray my son's troubles away?"

And he answered, "yes. You should pray."

And that's when I stood up, collected my bag, shook his hand and said, "it's been a pleasure doing business with you. We're going to leave now and we won't be coming back. Good-bye, sir." And I took my son and left there.


And yes. I am indeed reporting his crazy ass to everyone I can think of, including my state's board of physicians and my insurance company. AGH!!

Ancore il Muove
massage, alienation
I have just returned from attending the family celebration of Passover down in Florida. It was lovely and I had an excellent time. But one thing happened that was simultaneously very entertaining and completely appalling.

We were lolling about through our meal and enjoying a traditional form of Orthodox Jewish entertainment, a nice argument about a very finicky point of Jewish law. So it was getting a bit heated as we debated this issue, which was about counting the days leading up to Shavuot, known as counting the Omer, and what happens to your Omer count if you fly from Australia to LA -- do you simply count the same count as everybody in LA when you land, or do you continue counting as if you were still in Australia, allowing for crossing the date line. So we were trying to pin down whether you are counting based on the passing of sunset or based on the passing of hours of time. And it was becoming more and more clear that our nephews didn't really seem to grasp what Norm was trying to convey about the international date line. And then, jokingly, I said, "you DO realize the Earth rotates round the Sun, right?" And I was just joking, just making a snarky crack.

My nephew replied, firmly, "no, the Sun goes around the Earth."

So I said, "whoa, hold up there, what?" Norman and I turn our faces toward the young man -- he's 19 or so at this point, having already graduated from his intensely conservative Chassidic yeshiva school. (12 hours a day, 6 days a week, folks.) We stared at him and he calmly explained to us that Ramban, Nachmanides as he is sometimes known, says this in his commentary. We mentioned to him that Ramban wrote this sometime late in the 11th century and that science today says something a bit different and he simply replied that science is wrong.

I am not making this up.

My nephew, a simple young man who probably suffers from undiagnosed, untreated Asperger's, believed what his Rabbis at school taught him, and honestly believes that the Sun revolves around the Earth.

As if that isn't awe-inspiringly insane enough, I later heard him explaining very seriously to his mother that it was clearly all true, had to be true, because Ramban checked his own writings with Moshe Rabbenu. You know, Moshe? The dude in the Bible, the staff, the Exodus, the 40 years in the desert? That Moshe? So, his mother said to him that this made little sense, since Moshe was dead by the time Ramban wrote his works. And the young man replied that it didn't matter when Moshe died; he knew it was true because his Rabbi had told him this story. I so very very very badly wanted to butt in there and ask him a whole mess of questions. But my mother-in-law glared at me and made me stay out of it. Which nearly killed me, as you may well imagine.

My sister-in-law provided further insanity. She turned to us and explained that this is exactly why she doesn't teach the Solar System in her classes -- she works at the same school her sons attend -- she said there's no way she can make it make sense, so she just doesn't teach it. Which, of course, means that she has known all along that the school her sons attend has actually been teaching them 11th-century cosmological theory as if it were fact. She is completely complicit in this bizarre mockery of an education that those poor young fellows are receiving. Nor did she seem properly ashamed of herself. And of course her husband seemed quite placidly calm about it. Clearly he was completely at peace with having children who have missed the last 10 centuries of scientific advances. (I suppose I should be grateful that the Alter Rebbe never took a stand against modern medicine.) Understand, these two people both graduated actual American colleges. Yet there it is. They've chosen a path for their children that leads straight into intellectual Nowhere. Actually, the husband is pretty much in intellectual Nowhere himself; he entertained us considerably when he explained to us that of COURSE we would have been enslaved by the Egyptians forever had God not rescued us, since the Egyptians practiced BLACK MAGIC. Yes, he really said that. With a totally straight face.

When we first got out of the house and drove off, my husband was furious and I was still laughing uncontrollably over it. But now a few days have passed and I'm coming around to his way of thinking. It's a bit of a tragedy, really. We make choices for our children all the time and we can't always know the effects these choices will have, after all. We have to choose what we think will be right. But in this case, what could they possibly be thinking? It would be completely hilarious except that I actually know the people involved and so it is pretty saddening in the final analysis.

It's particularly bizarre because this backward thinking is in NO WAY representative of religious Jewish education in general. There are extremely rigorous yeshivas all over the East coast, the entire country I guess, which teach plain old regular science like any other school. My husband and father-in-law both attended such schools. This wacky old-school cosmological crap is something that seems to be the thing only in certain circles, and my brother-in-law is deliberately steering his family deeper into those waters. And no one really understands why.

But I must say, it's amazing to come face-to-face with someone who truly, honestly believes in something that is just completely wrong that way. I mean, it's not something nebulous like the existence of a Deity or Magick or Xenu or something imaginary or un-provable. He really believes the Sun goes around the Earth! Even though we've sent men to the Moon and all that stuff is really not a theory anymore but actual proven fact! It was like seeing a Unicorn or something. Gobsmacked does not even begin to cover my feelings.

Movie Review: John Carter of Mars
massage, alienation
I read A Princess of Mars waaaaay back in the Stone Age, lying in my bunk bed in Baton Rouge. So I'm not super-clear on the plot of that book anymore. But I can say that this movie was really true to the overall flavor of the book and the series in general. It was a lot of fun and interesting stuff was continually happening. I particularly liked the big Tharks with their tusks and arms. The animation was very good. It was a bit funny how much Mars apparently looks like Utah.

What I liked most about this movie was actually the background part. Many scenes had soldiers or sailors doing macho military-type stuff, or guards standing about guarding stuff, and they were always at least half women, or often they were just women, not even any guys about. I thought that was a fun choice they made and it was neat to see it. A nice counterpoint to the ridiculously old-fashioned, we-must-save-our-nation-by-marrying-off-our-princess type storyline.

The thing that struck me most about John Carter, however, was how much Taylor Kitsch (badass name, there, dude) looked like a young, very buff Wil Wheaton. I mean, not totally. But just around the eyes and eyebrows. Somebody who is a lot more tech than I am needs to make a separated-at-birth pic which illustrates this likeness.

Overall, I give this movie about a B grade. It's super fun but not so amazing that you need to interrupt your day over it.

Have I Ranted About This Before?
massage, alienation
First off, I have some nice news. I've started Yoga Teacher Training(YTT as it is known hereabouts) and I am enjoying the pants off of that. It is great. I mean, it's wack having a ton of homework on my plate which clearly I am not doing at this moment. But I am really enjoying it all the same.

So, more yoga. And that means more yoga clothes. And that brings me to my rant of the week. For no reason that I can figure out, pretty much all yoga clothing manufacturers are under the impression that women want to wear racerback tanks to do yoga, usually with some sort of built-in bra. I DO NOT WANT THAT. I don't even own a racerback bra. And I am for SURE not going to go out in public with nothing restraining my love puppies but a flimsy layer of lycra. That is NOT a good look on me. And I am way too old to be one of these girls that just wears a bra that bears no relation to the straps of her top, so that she just has 2 or more sets of straps all over her torso. Hell naw. I want my bra to be fully covered by my top and I want it to stay that way.

I can't even point my angry little finger at any one manufacturer here, either. They all have committed this error of omission. It's so damn annoying. Stop with the racerback overload!! I mean, come on! Give me some variety just because variety is a good thing! Think of the motherfucking children! Argh.

Movie Review: Ong Bak 3
massage, alienation

I Tivo'd this film from Showtime and was amazed and thrilled to discover that they actually aired it in the original Thai, with subtitles. It stars the ever-delicious Tony Jaa in a dual role as both the hero and the creepy, black-mouthed super-villain.

This movie was so Thai. It was so Buddhist, although with the funny action-movie twist that being a hard-core Buddhist will make you a more effective ass-kicker. The message of this movie is: a) that meditation is the best way to rehab from a horrible trauma and b) that dancing and practicing non-attachment will help you defeat demonic evil-doers. In the climactic final fight scene, the hero defeats the villain by NOT attacking him. He defeats him with majestically beautiful defensive katas. See him there, in the pic, working his gorgeous Thai dance arms and hands? Mmm-mmm, I loves me some Tony Jaa.

EDIT: apparently it is NOT Tony Jaa as the villain. It's some other insanely awesome dude.

Tablet Lust
massage, alienation
I finally figured out that I want a tablet. I want to have internet all the time, in my purse. So I can check my tumblr and LJ constantly, and update MyFitnessPal and Fitocracy and troll on Facebook 24/7. I want it! And I found that Sprint is offering an HTC tablet which is very good. Now all I have to do is pay for my Yoga Teacher Training, and my daughter's camp, and my family's trips for Thanksgiving and Passover, and maybe even a trip in honor of my 20th wedding anniversary. . . and then I can think about buying a tablet. So. . . maybe in the Fall? Or for Chanukah? SIGH.

On My TiVo: Alcatraz
massage, alienation
I enjoyed this new show a whole lot. The plot was twisty and pretty interesting, featuring a sinister government agent, a shadowy, mysterious event that is sending a whole bunch of evil motherfuckers zooming through time and more good stuff of that variety. Also, a whole lot of really awful guys of various flavors. Those of you who love villains, this show is for you!

But what I really liked were the two main characters: the lady cop, Madsen, and the history buff/comic dude/huge brain, Soto. Madsen is a great character because she's just so normal. She's not a creepy television femme-bot. She has short, swingy, normal-looking blonde hair rather than long, supermodel locks. She has boobs, which my husband helpfully remarked were "very bouncy," but their very bounciness only showed that they were real, non-plastic boobs, which spent the whole episode completely confined inside her clothing. That's right! Somehow, they made it through a whole episode - two, actually - without ever needing to show the female lead character half-dressed! How about that? And - my favorite part - she even wore sensible shoes, appropriate for running after criminals! So you can see that I pretty much have to like this show, because they dared to have a female protagonist who is just a regular woman who lives in reality like I do. For that alone, I'd sign up.

But the Soto character is also a real winner. He's a guy who has 2 Phds, authored a definitive book on Alcatraz, owns a comic shop and is also a comic book artist. He's a massive nerd, clearly. And he's a very fat guy. But despite this set-up of multiple stereotypes, they don't go there. Soto is always portrayed as a complex and dignified human being. They never make a joke at his expense, or show him as a physically weak guy, or make him look funny. They never even really show him eating. He could have been a funny fat guy -- but they never go there, not even a little bit. He's a leading character who just happens to be large. And so I have to love this show even more. Because, wow, this kind of treatment of a fat character is really, really rare. Extra bonus points for making him Hispanic, and then not making an issue out of that either.

So please watch this show! I want it to be on the air for a long time.

Movie Review: Beauty & the Beast 3D
massage, alienation
Just got back from watching this re-release in the theater with my family. My daughter and I basically gave this film the MST3K treatment, because OMG when you watch it in 3D, only one thing springs to the eye, and that thing is: boobs. Remember the 3 blonde chicks in the village who are in love with Gaston? They all have huge hooters and the animators took extra care to make each set of boobs sort of jump and wiggle around in every scene. Holy God but it was freaky! My daughter and I were snorting with laughter. Of course, Belle had almost no boobs at all. SIGH. Where is the Disney princess who will represent ME?

Also, wow, I had forgotten what a massive, creepy rapist Gaston is. It was really great to watch him plummet to his death at the end of the movie there.

And when the Beast transforms back into a human? Yeah, his nose was even bigger than I remembered. Huge. I mean, damn. Just - damn.

Oh, and the freakiest thing was a bit of a throwaway. So, the enchantress curses the young prince to be a beast, right? And she says that his only chance is to get somebody to fall in love with him by his 21st birthday, right? Now, fast-forward to the dinner scene, where Lumiere is putting on a show for Belle, and what does he say? "10 years we've been rusting/Needing so much more than dusting. . . " 10 years? So that means the enchantress cursed an . . . 11 year old boy? For being a spoiled brat? THAT IS SO HARSH. What a massive bitch she must have been. SO WRONG!

And my daughter turns to me at the end of the movie and she says, "There's no way that kid Chip (the little teacup) is 10 years old, Mom." I agree with her. It's doubly mysterious since there's no Mr. Potts in the movie. My daughter says darkly, "This is Lumiere's work." LOL!
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