This semester, I am teaching a section of Introduction to Sociology at a local community college. The students assignment is to show a video, or TV show, or commercial that is targeted at a group that they belong to, gender, age, race, whatever and tell what it is "says," what group it leaves out, and how they feel about it. In our current lecture, we are learning about socialization, the process by which we each learn how to fit into our society, and the students who presented today were supposed to bring ads on that topic.
One of the students brought in this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaHNWCFa72E , he said to illustrate how *not* to socialize a child and the ad was about how to prevent such socialization from happening. When I got done laughing, I had to point out that there *are* other socialization techniques!
Bikram says that, at the end of a 60-day challenge, you will have a new body. I am already seeing that at the mid-point of the challenge.
I started Bikram Yoga to improve my stamina and focus. This year, I will be teaching at the local community college, taking classes at Wayne State University toward my PhD, and working full-time. I would agree with anyone who thinks that is just too much to do! And yet, that's the plan. I felt that I needed to do something to prepare for the work ahead. And, my doctor has been nagging me to get into an exercise program, but everything I have done has brought on migraines of epic proportions. That does not help with stamina, focus, or anything else.
My friend, Ann from work, suggested that we take Bikram's 10-day trial membership to see what it was all about.She had done a bunch of research and told me what to bring, how to prepare, and what to expect. We went one Saturday morning in May with a "We can do this!" attitude. She was successful and I was not. In truth, I had not prepared as she advised. So, a few days later, I went back on my own, fully prepared. I went everyday that was left in the 10-day trial and felt better than I had in years. I couldn't do half of the poses and staying in the room was a major accomplishment, but I stuck it out. A few weeks later, I learned about the 60-day challenge and decided that the time was right to give that a try.
The benefits of doing yoga are far more than I expected. As of this morning, I have lost 16 pounds. I have an appointment next month to see the pain specialist about getting cortisone shots in my back to ease arthritis pain, but it's mostly gone. I still sleep with the CPAP mask, but now I actually sleep. I am not waking every 45 minutes all night long. When I get up, I feel refreshed and ready for the day. And I have lost my sweet tooth! When I first started Bikram, I craved protein, but now I find that I want something green, some protein, and lots of water. Heavy, rich meals don't appeal to me. And I'll pass on the dessert (unless it's fruit!).
At the mid-point, I can do two set of many of the poses, and one set of the ones that are hard for me. I can do about half of the (modified) situps. Staying in the room is not an issue. Staying focused is getting easier. Still struggling with controlling the breath. I set a goal for every practice and, while it is not always achieved, a lesson is always learned. I can see that reaching the goal of having the stamina and focus to succeed in school will be met. That's a pretty good mid-point assessment, I think.
Summer time in Marshall we spent almost all day, every day, in or around the pool. When we first moved into that house, we thought that we had the dinkiest pool ever! But the Germantown house had the pool landscaped into the yard with steps into the shallow end and a diving board into the deep end. There was a deck by the pool for table and chairs and a screened in porch off the family room where we kept the picnic table. We didn't use either space too much as it was too hot! I don't think that we grilled out even once while we were there.
Johnny was not interested in the pool at all. He would only go in with me, if I held him. He didn't even like playing on the steps. But the girls were all about it. Beth and Becky could not swim yet, but they were happy to splash around with life jackets. Beth used to swim with one foot sticking up behind her like a rudder.
This is me and Johnny in the pool at the Germantown house.
The pool at the Marshall house.
But I digress . . . One day in Marshall, not long after we moved in, a boy appeared on our porch in swim trunks with towel in hand. "Is the pool open?" he asked. I was not sure what he meant. I repeated, "Open??" "Yeah" he said "when the Smith's lived here, they put up the green flag to let everyone know that the pool was open. Are you going to put out the flag?" I admired his tenacity and straightforwardness, and smiled at him, but said that the Smith's did not leave us the flag. He sighed heavily and walked away.
This photo was taken when I was about 9 at the end of my street, Woodland Ave., in Cheltenham, PA. It was on the first Sunday in May and we were either just going to or coming from the annual May Procession at our church, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Only the children who received their Holy Communion that year were able to wear their veils and white dresses. The rest of us could wear our white dresses, if they fit, but we had to wear the flowers wreath. If they didn't fit, we wore our Easter dresses. It was very colorful! I have no idea what the boys wore, probably suits. The procession started by the door to the school and went around the block to the front entrance to the church. Then there was a Mass.
Aunt Mary was my absolute favorite! She was about 65 when this picture was taken, although she always told me that she was "about" 45. One memory I have of her involves jumping rope. It had to be about the time of this picture. The older girls up the street were trying to teach me to jump rope, double dutch, but I was having a hard time getting the hang of it. One day, when she was visiting, I got Aunt Mary to help me learn how to jump rope, double dutch. She didn't know how, but was willing to turn the rope. Mom turned the rope too, but she couldn't jump either. As the only jumper who was willing to jump, but could not do double dutch, I got frustrated quickly.
I have been to the west many times. Years ago, I drove over the Rockies into California from Nevada at dawn and was amazed by the mist and sunlight. Still have a hard time describing it. It was glittery and bright, then shady and moist in no particular order. The mist held close to the ground, but when it rose, it left moisture on the window that defied the windshield wipers.
This trip to the west, I expected to find the mist and coolness in Seattle. But was surprised by a lot of sun and light breezes. It did rain the last day that we were there, but we had three beautiful, memorable days. We saw Mt. Rainier from the coast of the bay. Watched the ferries cross to the islands and return. And watch some really big ships come and go in the bay.
In Utah, I was especially drawn to the mountains this time. I stopped in the parking lot at the airport just to take a good look at them. They seem to surround the area, higher in the east and north and lower in the west. I wondered if we lived there would we become imuned to their beauty? Would we use them only as a point of reference when traveling? Or would we still sit on the porch and watch the clouds gather around them and the sun rise and set on them?
The picture above is heading east out of Orem toward Sundance, just past Bridal Vail Falls. The falls were just a trickle as everything above was still frozen. We drove up Sundance almost all the way. The lifts were there, but there were no skiers. It was a beautiful day, sunny and not terribly cold. And there was plenty of snow. There was a creek that ran by the road that had a lot of ice on its shores, but was running pretty fast. Lauren pointed out where she and Beck went skiing. But the road was narrow and windy so we left.
Next time, I hope that we can go in later in the spring or summer and get a good look at the mountains. Maybe even go for a hike.