Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Grrrr...

I feel so angry today. I hate just about everything - especially my new hairdo.  I just wanna shave it all off.  I knew this would happen but I forgot what it felt like to be so ashamed of my hair that I want to crawl under a rock and not return till it all grows back.  My hair is tweaky-curly.  That means it curls in the strangest places and sticks out in the oddest ways.  I feel more ugly than ever.  But who cares right?  Looks don't matter and all that crap!

I'm so damn busy today that I don't have time to prepare for my gig.  I rushed through a shower and packed up my guitar and makeup.  I have to work at the yoga studio all afternoon.  So, no going home before the gig.

It's okay though.  I'm only playing two songs.  But I have to get there early to meet drummer-boy and "discuss" the two songs in the parking lot.  If I'd prepared better ahead of time, I might've thought to buy fishnet stockings - in honor of the production company.  But I didn't.  I'm wearing a tank and jeans. Tough.

The thing I'm most anxious about is getting there.  I know how to get there but I don't know the place well enough to know where to park and what time to leave.  I'm more relaxed when I know where I'm going.

I feel abandoned by some of my friends... like somehow this is insignificant - or that I'm insignificant.  Blah.  I know that's not true. But I have to type it to get it out of my system.  I'm just feeling pouty.  I don't even have time to stop and cry!  And yoga? Forget it!

I'm just plain irritated.  Everything is bothersome -  the air, city noises, my phone-ring, my "slow" cable modem, AOL - everything!  I want to scream and cry right here - right now!

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

New 'do

Here's how the new 'do looks tonight.  Most likely it will look 14 different ways in the next 14 days. It takes about two full weeks before my hair relaxes into a new cut. Lots of layers and check out these long bangs!  When was the last time I had bangs?  We'll see how I feel about them in two weeks. Just when my hair starts getting used to the cut, I start to freak out about it.

At least now I won't have to wear braids for tomorrow's gig.  Still not sure which songs to play.  There's a good chance the post-office-percussionist will be playing with me.  We've never practiced together.  But he's excited to jam on the two songs.  He's agreed to play percussion on my new album too.  So all around, this is exciting.

I got a couple of referrals for dogwalking and pet sitting today.  Say prayers, light candles, chant, sing, whatever will help keep that energy open.  I'd much rather take new dog clients than have to get a part-time job.

But I do have an interview on Thursday from one of the ads I replied to last night.  The woman actually called me, excited to meet with me. [no resume request]  She's an Animal Lawyer looking for a part-time nanny for her 20 month old daughter, four afternoons a week - in her office.  She said I could bring Hunny [depending on circumstances].  I'll meet with her but I have to be up front with her about my intentions.  When my dog business picks up, I don't plan on keeping a part-time job. But that could be soon to never.

I watched American Idol tonight. Yeah, I'm hooked. I don't mind. They're down to the final ten. And in my opinion, it doesn't matter who wins. They're all superstars. They've received more exposure than many pop stars in the last month. And frankly, I would hope to come in second. The winner will get more exposure but s/he will be at the mercy of Simon [Coward] Cowell, and his production company.  And I'm pretty sure Kelly Clarkson is still waiting for the big financial payoff.  My fave: Diana DeGarmo.  My pick for first place: Fantasia Barrino

Letting Go

Remember the clients I lost recently? [let it go] The ones with the mansion?  [let it go] The ones who left their dogs in a cage in the kitchen with no water? [let it go]  The ones who consistently paid me inconsistently? [let it go] The ones who still owe me money?  [let it go]  I miss their dogs a lot. [let it go]  So I called them [Ohh no!]

Oh yes.  I requested to see the dogs one last time so I could say goodbye.  The child-woman first insulted me by referring to me as "just a dogwalker" and then insisted it was "weird" that I wanted to see the dogs.  She squirmed and chickened out of answering my request.  She wanted to check in with her grandpa-boyfriend before calling me back.  We hung up - and I knew I'd never see those dogs again.

I cried. [letting them go]

Speaking of letting go...

I'm getting my hair cut today for the first time in over a year.  It's a big deal.  I'm really excited.  I don't usually get this excited about cutting my hair because I'm all for letting it grow to the ground.  But I must be maturing.

A couple of years ago, I had long, thick, gnarly dreadlocks.  I loved them for the first year and a half.  At some point, they took on a form of their own and eventually they were just too much.  I made an appointment with the only person I trust to do anything to my hair. We spent four hours cutting and unknotting the locks in August 2002.

I was short-n-sassy for a while.  And for the first time in my life, I loved it.  Still, I couldn't wait for it to grow in.  I just love the feeling of flowing hair.

Well, here we are, a year and a half later.  I'm so ready for layers and style again!  I'm blessed with healthy, thick, dark, wavy hair.  It's in the genes I guess.

It's taken me years to love the hair I have.  It's been bleached and streaked, dyed red, purple and plum. It's been permed and straightened. It's had tiny braids, twisties and dreadlocks.  And today I love it just the way it is.  Although, I am considering highlights. Ha!  We'll see what my dear-friend-hairdresser says.  It's all up to her!

Question

I'm applying for part-time work to supplement my income so I don't have to give up the dog-clients I have right now.  If something doesn't shift soon, I may have to take a full time position somewhere to get caught up.  But that would mean losing the clients I have now and starting all over again when I'm caught up [which is why I'm in this position now].

I'm responding to ads placed on this free online community bulletin board.  I love this board.  It's a great source of information.  I've gotten a few past clients from here.  It's reputable with a high-volume of traffic.  But anyone can post anything at anytime.

The majority of job posts are one paragraph long with a brief description of the position and hourly wage.  Many of them don't give a company name, the employer's name or their email address [there's often an anonymous "reply to" address through the bulletin board].  Most of these posts are freelancers looking for help, therefore their rate of pay is a fraction of what the position is worth.

I've been replying with basic information about myself, asking to hear more about the position, company and their needs.  Because I don't know who I'm replying to, I don't feel comfortable forwarding a resume with all my personal and professional experience on it.

This morning I got this reply from one:

Can you put your resume in the body of the email?  I can't open it.

He can't open it because I didn't send it.  [Note: Resume is not even mentioned in his original post]

In the past, I've blindly sent resumes everywhere and anywhere. I'm discovering, I'm over-qualified for most of these "part-time" positions.  But 9 out of 10 don't even respond.  That leaves my information sitting somewhere in cyberspace.

Sure, I need the work but wherever I work, I have to want to be there.  I'm stuck.

My question: What would you do?

Note: They now have my website information. For all I know, they're reading this entry. Frankly, my website and journal speak louder than any resume I could send them. I mean, you'd hire me, right?

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Carly-Creation

I'm not much of an art-reviewer.  But I know how I feel when I come home to an envelope the size of a standard pillow!

A few weeks ago Carly posted her MadLib Challenge.  I opted not to participate in the first go-round [admittedly, for fear of losing].  This time I sucked up my fears and played along.  Honestly, it felt great just to participate and laugh at some of my own answers.  Surprisingly, I won the MadLib Challenge.  That felt even better than just participating.  I didn't think that could be topped... until I discovered what a treasure I'd really won.

I ached over whether to post this horribly distorted webcam picture of Carly's creation.  I was about to leave it out - knowing it doesn't even come close to capturing the magic of the piece.  But I suppose it's better to have a sample to 'follow along' with.

I'm in awe of Carly's creation.  It's a framed handmade work of art with pink tissue paper and cut-out images of people dancing beneath a painted field of flowers.  Attached to the frame is a beautiful oversized dragonfly on the top left corner.

My interpretation:  The dragonfly is overlooking the community of people dancing in the fields of fairy-dusted-flowers.  The pink paper is transparent - and the cut-out dancing images are in the foreground and in the background.  There are many dimensions.  The dragonfly [one of my favorite spiritual creatures] is beaded and glittery.  [Carly, did you handmake the dragonfly too???]

I see something new every time I look at it.  I received the accompanying card a few days later.  That's where I found out I'm the first to receive an original Carly-Creation.  And I'm the first to receive an original Carly-Creation made specifically with someone [me] in mind.  Whoa. That's deep.

Carly, I'm forever grateful. Thank you. Your heart shines in this friendship.

Scattered Ramblings

It's been an anxiety-filled weekend.  I don't even know where to begin.  I don't really have a reason for my anxiety but I guess that's the way anxiety works.  My mind just won't stop.  I don't notice it until I'm neck-deep in a gasping breath. 

Last night I went to bed after 1AM [like usual] and woke up at 6AM [unusual].  I tossed and turned for about an hour and decided to get up and write.  After a couple of hours, I was able to rest again.  I fell into a deep coma-like sleep - full of wild dreams.  I woke up in a sweat and began frantically writing my dreams down.  I just know there's a well of truth in that notebook.  I keep writing dreams, closing the book and moving on with my days.  Someday I'll venture back and see what's really going on.

It's a bazillion degrees out today.  There's barely a breeze.  I nearly passed out walking Hunny on an empty stomach [I'm eating an orange now]. Weather like this reminds me of why I don't eat in the summer.  All I want are fruits, juices, smoothies and cold nutrients.  Ooh, and popsicles!  The mere thought of solid food weighs me down.  But I have to remember to put those real nutrients in my body - especially as a dogwalker.

Last Summer I went on a hike with another dogwalker-friend and her pack.  Aside from the rattle snake encounter and the stalking bee, the worst part of that hike was the blazing heat!  Half way up the trail I got dizzy and everything started going black. It was at that point when I realized I hadn't had a drop of water or an ounce of food since the night before.

I've got a lot going on in the week to come: Recording, haircut [yay], gig, thorough house cleaning, dogwalking, yoga, and the finale - My friend's 50th Birthday Bash!  Ahh yes, now THAT's the way to end a week!

Well, anxiety's kicking in again.  Just got off the phone - conversation left me with worlds to process.  I think I'll take a nice cool shower and find a way to get some food into this body.  I have another entry in the wings - hopefully I'll get to that too.

~ Peace All ~

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Be Your Own Hero

Before I close up shop, I always check on the black widow.  Sometimes she's out and proud - and beautiful.  Sometimes she's tucked away. But I can usually see her legs.  The other night she wasn't visible, so I put my face to the floor to check in her corner. At that angle I was nose-close to the edge of her web.  For a moment I wondered what I'd do if she jolted out and bit my face.  I still couldn't see her. For all I knew, she was in my hair.

I got to thinking, what is our first instinct when punched?  Punch back, harder.  What if we are called an ugly name? Call out an uglier name.  What if we're threatened with a big bomb? Build a bigger bomb and declare war on everyone.

I was faced with a choice - would I feel so threatened that I'd want to kill her?  She's been a totem for me all these weeks.  Or would I be understanding?  Afterall, I was infringing on her territory by putting my nose in her space. Wouldn't it be her instinct to protect her web? Maybe not. I've accidentally bumped her web before. Her response was to retreat. She's my hero.

On Monday, a fellow dogwalker [actual fellow this time] used his hands to try to break up a potentially dangerous fight between a pitbull and one of his charges.  The pitbull's jaws tore a chunk of flesh from his left hand. Unstitchable. The pitbull's owners don't have insurance. The dog wasn't current on vaccinations. The dogwalker signed a "do not euthanize" report.  He says it wasn't a malicious attack.  He's my hero.

I read an article the other day about Bethany Hamilton, the 14-year-old who survived a shark-attack while surfing last Halloween.  While still in the hospital, she begged divers not to hunt and kill the shark that bit her.  She never panicked during or after the attack.  She sees the attack as a blessing.  And she lost an arm!  She is my hero.

I've been a victim in my life.  But if it weren't for every single moment that I've lived, I wouldn't be who I am today.  I'd like to believe that everything that happens is a blessing - everythingI'd like to be my own hero.

Where was I?

 AOL Music: First Break  [AOL-only link]

Has anyone heard of this contest?

Where Were You - The title of my Teaser CD - seems appropriate at the moment ::slapping forehead::  There have been three First Break winners so far.  That means, there have been three contests that slipped past my glance.  How is that possible?  How did I miss this contest?  I fit the criteria.  I have appropriate material.  I was online round-the-clock when the most recent contest was in full force.  I guess I was too busy blogging.

I won't miss it next time. I've signed up for alerts.  But really, I'm kicking myself.  Ah well.  I'm ready for whatever's next.

Check out winners here :  AOL Music: First Break's Winner! [AOL-only link]

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Following Suit

Photo Friday Challenge : Morning

Because I'm feeling so inspired by fellow* bloggers lately, I thought I'd post my very first Photo Friday Challenge. I figure, if Mary can do it on Saturday and SloMo can do it on Tuesday, then I can do it whenever-the-heck-I-please.  After seeing their posts, I have this sudden desire for a brisk walk through Central Park with a hot cup of vanilla coffee.

I don't know the rules for the PhotoFriday challenge - and if I did, I'd probably break them anyway.  This photo is not recent.  It's not a digicam image.  It's 35-mm, scanned and cropped.  But it IS authentic.

Behold Queen-Hunny : just a few weeks after I adopted her from the West L.A. Animal Shelter - Fall 1995.  And uh... that was MY bed.  Clearly, this was before the necessary crate-training.  She spent a lot of her youth behind bars.  Eventually those pillows were shredded by the little Queen herself.  She's a Hunny alright, but don't let the name fool ya! [so many stories for another time]

*There's that word again - referring to women. Still unsure of a suitable alternative.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Huh?

Once again Pauly D. has got me thinking. He claims Nobody is Paying Attention.  His example is:

"You say: Hey, how are you doing?

They say: Not much... You?

OR

You say: Hey, what's going on?

They say: Pretty good, you?"


We all know this goes on - but he's the first to call it to the table for discussion.  And now I can't go anywhere without noticing how true it really is.

Last night I bumped into a neighbor - literally. He was exiting the elevator.  I was entering with Hunny - who wanted to taste his shoes (but that's a story for another time).  He's a very nice guy and always willing to make conversation - mostly smalltalk - but it's obvious he's not listening.  Here's our exchange:

Him : How are you?

Me :  Fine thanks

Him : Good, n'you?

Me :  [hesitation] Right on

Him : OK

Me :  Bagel

[the elevator door closed]

Now, either he wasn't listening and he completely missed it. 

OR he thought I wasn't listening and he's blogging the same thing about me right now. 

OR we both noticed and we're too self-absorbed to stop and laugh with each other about that absurd exchange.

Gig Announcement

I understand this is a very difficult flyer to read but my name is on it.  And since I'm all about my name these days, I decided to promote a gig in my journal.

I've been asked to perform a few songs at this benefit show to raise money for Tomboys in Fishnets - an all-women's sketch comedy troupe.  The producer, Edie Magoun, has never heard my music.  A fellow* dogwalker who has heard my music, recommended me and gave her my number.  How's that for networking!

If you are in the Los Angeles area, come join us for a night of music and comedy.

Here are the [legible] details :

Where : 
The M Bar
1253 Vine St.
Los Angeles, CA
(in a strip mall - corner of Fountain and Vine)

When :
Wednesday, March 31st
8pm - 10pm
(dinner available at 7)

Cover :
$10 Donation - includes one Raffle Ticket

 

*the term 'fellow' is used lightly in this entry. If there is another suitable term for the feminine version, somebody please tell me!

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Long Overdue

I love the immediate connection with email. But when someone offers to send a handmade, hand-signed, tangible piece of mail, I practically trip over myself running to the mailbox every day.

The card on the left : by GEMINIWILDER [Cindy]
On the front of this Hand Stamped Limited Edition is the cutest hippie-chick with a peace symbol on her shirt. The quote below her reads, "Remember when 'hippie' meant a group of people..."  Inside it continues, "and not the lower half of your body?!?"  Ha! This card is filled with great detail - right down to the hippie's sandals. It's even her handwriting. Amazing!  A visual beauty and enough perfume to satisfy my olfactory senses for many years to come.

The card on the right : by AUNT NUB
Aunt Nub combined rubber-stamping, scrapbooking, hand-markering and lace for this single creation. The stamped quote at the bottom reads, "your life is your work of art" - absolutely beautiful.  A lot of love went into this - and talk about scent. Perhaps it's taken me so long to post this entry because her card had a permanent place on my bedside table since it arrived.  Sweet and soft.

These women have a distinct way of expressing their art. They cannot be compared. Both are genuine, heartfelt and beautiful in their own unique ways.

Thank you, beautiful women, for sharing your creations with me.  I'm blessed to have received them as gifts. They (like you) are treasures.

In other AOL-J News:
I was up late last night downloading required software to get streaming audio from a Seattle radio station. I set my alarm for 7AM to listen to IRUN broadcast live over the airwaves. That means I willingly cut out a good 2 or 3 hours of beauty rest! [proof in picture from previous entry]  Unfortunately, I missed my chance to hear him by three whole days. Apparently I mixed up days, times and events. Strangely, I don't think I was the only one.  Luckily the station plays great classic rock with very little commercial breaks.  But damn, I am tired!

Out and Proud[ish]

A big Love-Shout to my AOL-J Pals who went to the singer/songwriter website and ranked/voted for my site.  I've gotten an overwhelming positive response and for that, I am grateful.  You guys and gals really come through for a pal.

I've also received a few emails of regret.  Apparently, after placing a comment, the vote/rating was logged as '3' - which is the default rating.  Pretty ironic, since all I asked for was a vote and you were kind enough to leave a public comment.  I apologize for the confusion.

So, if you haven't voted and ranked my website yet, please do so here.  Remember to manually choose a number/ranking and then click vote.  If you leave a comment, please scroll to the bottom of the comment screen and place your vote there.  This is where the confusion/chaos begins (and ends).

But as I say, it's all good.  Special thanks to Robbie for some clarification regarding numbers and statistics. Dang, that woman is smart! I'm almost afraid to admit I didn't completely understand what she was talking about. For all I know, she could be talking smack about me and I'd be like, "Oh yeah, good point!"

Another thing I realized last night - something SloMo pointed out [oh-so-gently].  I've been so concerned about my anonymity here in AOL-J - even though many of you have visited my personal website and know my full name.  I send my music out. I post lyrics and share video clips. But it isn't Freeepeace that does all this.  It's not freeepeace.com.  It's not a Teaser CD by Freeepeace. And it's not Freeepeace performing live in Hollywood.  So, I'm here today, standing [sitting] tall [short] and proud [ish] as Trish Monaco.  That's right - Freeepeace IS Trish Monaco. No big shocker, I'm sure. But, there. I said it. Now I can get over myself.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Trip Out

I was blog-hopping. Ha! Like I have time for that. I should be cleaning or practicing yoga.  Anyway, I asked a fellow blogger to share links to a few of his favorite blogs the other day.  I added them to my bloglines without really paying attention.  Today I scrolled right past all my favorites, seeing an overwhelming amount of new entries I have yet to read. When I got to the bottom, I came across the few blogs my friend sent me. I figured I should check them out - otherwise delete them.

The image is courtesy of Lori Bradley and her blog, a.d.d. (another dissertation distraction). She can't remember where it came from so I thought it only best to at least credit her blog.  She swears nothing is actually moving on the screen - but I can't make it stop!

Get quiet, breathe consciously, and spend 30 seconds focused one spot in the image. This, my friends, is a journey!

POP QUIZ :
1.  How many times did the word blog appear in this entry?

2.  What's another word for journey - as it is used in the last statement of this entry?

3.  How many readers have I lost by mentioning yoga yet again?

4.  Which of my favorite bloggers stopped reading as they read, Today I scrolled right past all my favorites?

BONUS QUESTION :
Where does the image originally come from?

Isn't THIS real life?

My new buddy and fellow blogger, Pauly D. writes about how his TiVo-dependency is screwing up his life.  While it's great for obvious reasons [i.e. he never misses his favorite shows], the TiVo behavior has become habitual.

I find myself wanting to rewind live radio while I'm in the car, when I've missed what someone said. When my cell phone rings and I'm talking to someone (a live person), for a split-second I make a movement as if I was going to grab the remote and pause my live friend's babbling. I sometimes find myself saying "baloop-baloop" (which happens to be the sound of a TiVo remote quickly forwarding or rewinding through programming) when I want to hear part of a song or conversation again.

I don't have TiVo but I can relate to this behavior.  With TV, stereo, cell phones and the computer, I'm all sorts of confused. Too often, all four are in use at the same time! Constant stimulation.

I often forget where I left my cordless phone in the apartment. Because of this, I've found myself searching for my phone while talking on the phone!  One time I actually pressed the page-button on the cradle to locate my cordless phone.  When the handset beeped in my ear, it also beeped in my friend's ear.  Oops!

I've walked out of my house and driven away while talking on my home phone, shocked to lose connection so quickly.  Oops!

During an Instant Message chat session, I've switched screen names to check email in other screen names. [thus, losing the session]  Oops!

The boundaries are blurred between real life and online blogging:

During live conversations, I've actually said "EL-oh-EL" at least three times in my life. [that's three times too many].

I get frustrated when I come to the end of an article in a magazine, and I can't post a comment.

In public, I consider introducing myself as my screen name and follow-up with my URL.

I ask everybody, "Do you have a Blog?" God help those who say no! I might start my own religion. I believe!

I think I'm ready for TiVo now.

Dog Walking

To reduce the risk of boring everyone to death, I'll spare the details of yoga today.  Besides, this isn't the Yoga Journal [fair warning: man in freakish pose on home page this month].  But I will say that I did take another class tonight - followed by the traditional liter of water, Caesar's Salad and half a mini-chocolate-bundt cake!  OmmmmMyGod do I feel gooooood!

Moving On...

Even though I've been featured on the AOL Community's Small Business Talk [AOL members - keyword: BizTalk] for over two weeks, my journal has gotten double the hits in the last two days. I've been receiving an abundance of emails, comments and Instant Messages today, in regards to dogwalking. While I appreciate the inquiries, I can't possibly respond to them all individually. But I can post a double entry!

Many want to know how to get into the business of Dogwalking. Some are looking for a career change.  Some are looking for part time work.  Some are "between jobs" and want an easy way to make a living.  Hey, don't we all?

I must say, dogwalking isn't for everyone. It's not an interim job. It's not a temporary position. It's a huge responsibility - something to be taken seriously. The hours may not always be long, but it's hard work. There's a lot to take into consideration.

That said, I've outlined a few points of interest in the next entry.

[continues here]

Dog Walking Tips

[continued from here]

If you're serious about venturing into the world of dogwalking and petsitting, consider the following:

You must:
Love animals and be willing to learn their language.
Be responsible, reliable, ethical and willing to work hard.
Be able to deal with people [clients and other dog-parents].
Have dependable form of transportation.

Drawbacks:
Erratic and sometimes unreliable schedule
No guaranteed income
No holidays, vacations or sick days
No "snow days" - Dogs need walking, rain or shine; sleet or snow
And say goodbye to clean - clothes, shoes, body and car!

Payoffs:
Create your own schedule
Get exercise while working
No more business suits
Part time work for full time pay [in some cases]
Endless supply of unconditional love
Great blogging material

Recommendations:
Get bonded, insured and licensed
Get certified in Pet First Aid
Join Pet Sitters International 

There's a market for dogwalking in many major cities. Search the internet for local dog walkers and network with them. Also network with local Vets, Groomers, Pet Stores, Pet Adoption Agencies and Trainers. Post fliers and business cards everywhere there's a community bulletin board - Dogparks, coffee shops, bookstores, fitness centers, etc.

If you have a dog, get walking!  If your friends have dogs, walk their dogs too. Show that you can handle more than one dog.  The more, the merrier.  The best times to network with neighbors and locals are early mornings around 7 or 8 [before people leave for work] and evenings around 6 or 7 [when everyone comes home].  And of course, spend your entire weekend at the dogpark with your dog, your friend's dog and your friend's friend's dog! 

Most of all - Don't be pushy, needy or aggressive! There are plenty of dogs to go around. A competitive dogwalker can be smelled a mile away.  Believe in what you do. Love what you do. Of all creatures on this earth, dogs know if you're in it for love or not.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Getting Back On Track

Click on the image to visit Goda Yoga.

Ooooh yeah baby!  Three guesses who took a yoga class today - and the first two don't count.  Ha!  This chicky feels gooooood.  Om Shanti!

I took a beginner's class again - you know, to ease my way back in.  Still the instructor gave me modifications to make it more challenging.  I can hardly wait till my next class.

I had a liter of water and a delicious Caesar's Salad after class - then washed it all down with a mini-chocolate-bundt cake from Trader Joe's.  Oh My!  I bought them on a whim today.  That's right, them - a four-pack.  That means there are three left in the fridge.  It's the only food item I bought that I refuse to read the nutrition facts.  Anyone who posts them in comments gets booted!  Haha...so much for my Zen-like attitude.

Thanks for all the cheers and support!  Keep it up!  Gregg, any chance we can get a pic of you and your pom-poms?

Namaste

Monday, March 15, 2004

Yoga Body

I thought Rainbeau's yoga video was challenging last week. That was before I took Cheryl's class yesterday. I've been doing yoga off and on for five years. More off than on. When I'm on, I'm really on. And when I'm off, I'm way off. I guess that's me - an extremist.

Last year, I had a daily yoga practice from January through May. It started to dwindle in June and July. Then came the 90+ degree weather of August and my practice was down to a few times a month. By October I had stopped completely.

Other than walking the few dog-clients I have, and joining Cheryl at Gold's Gym as her guest that one time, I have basically been inactive. Contently inactive.

With all my anxiety and stress lately, I knew I had to get myself up and out. I might've gone crazy otherwise. Yesterday's class was a great reminder of why I used to have a daily practice. Ninety minutes of stretching, wringing, strengthening, clearing and discipline. The moment I sat on the mat, I was able to drop right in. Breath came back to me. I was surprised by how strong I felt and how flexible I was.

I feel solid, strong and centered in my body today. I'm walking taller, breathing deeper and more focused on tasks at hand. I can also feel my butt rising and my hips shrinking! But wow, am I in pain! Let's just say I had to use my arms to lift my legs into my pants this morning!  I took the dogs for a waddle today. My stomach and hips feel bruised. The back of my heart is waking up, screaming! Muscles I forgot I had are aching. But it feels oh-so-good!

I considered taking another class today but decided to do my own stretching instead.  Don't want to overdo it.  It's my intention to take a class tomorrow and/or Wednesday.  Cheer me on, okay?  I work at a yoga studio. I have access to the best yoga in town. I should really take advantage of it!

Namaste

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Fear

This has been a week of fear. I didn't see it coming. It just kind of smacked me in the face and said, "Don't forget, I still exist." Powerful little bugger.

For no reason, other than fear, I suddenly found myself second-guessing every breath I've taken in the past. I questioned my own motives. I wondered if my reactions were too big and if my concerns were valid. I heightened personal security. I changed all my passwords. I saved files I would otherwise delete and deleted some that had sentimental value. I asked friends to speak for me because I couldn't find my voice. I shuddered in terror, tossing and turning during my sleepless nights. I wrote, rewrote, edited and ultimately deleted feelings, thoughts, hopes and dreams.

Why? What am I afraid of? What is this inhibiting fear that keeps me silent and small? I recognize this extreme level of anxiety as a place I lived from on a regular basis much of my life. On edge. Watching everyone's move. Wondering what I should or should not do. It kept my metabolism so high I would not only starve myself of nutrients but my body was actively trying to break down the emptiness inside.

The place of regression is the most difficult to reconcile. It's impossible to think and act like an adult while internally responding as a 6, 9 or 12 year-old child. When I'm smack dab in the epicenter, there's no telling what will happen. It's all-consuming. It's cellular. Information stored in the body. Learned behavior. Cognitively, I understand what's happening. Emotionally, I'm swaying in out of different stages of growth.

The difference between today and years past is, I'm forcing myself to move through this fear. I am reaching out. I went to yoga. I took a long walk. I'm doing laundry. I'm writing. I'm keeping active. I'm talking it out. Crying. Punching pillows. I'm admitting I'm scared while I'm in it. I'm allowing the fear to show its ugly face but I am no longer willing to let it to consume me and dictate my existence [in the same ways of the past].

As I've said before, I'm as safe as I feel.  And my present actions show me I'm not feeling very safe.  Nothing has changed in my physical world.  The only thing that has changed is my perception of my physical world.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Response to Comments

Before I respond to everyone individually, I feel the need to let you know my privacy has not been infringed upon.  There was a small incident that brought these thoughts to the forefront - so I expressed them.  Please know, if I feel uncomfortable with something, I will let you know personally.  I have in the past.  And I will continue to do so.  I believe communication is key to a healthy, happy community.

That said, I'd like to make a couple of other things more clear.

Some of you have my full name posted in your journals, linking my website.  I am not offended nor do I feel violated.  I am honored to be displayed with such prominence.  It's a privilege!  And I thank you.

I also don't mind that some of you refer to me as my true name in AOL-J.  I was merely making an observation.  When I visit other journals - journals that are new to me - I refer to the journaler as their appointed name.  Some of you post your name in your About Me section.  Some leave comments and sign your name.  I return that respect by referring to you as you are introduced to me.

My point [though not very clear - sorry, foggy brain] is to say, please check with me before posting personal information. And I will do the same.  For example, a conversation, an email, a picture, names of friends.

I'd also like to say, if I have violated this, my own personal code of ethics, please bring it to my attention.  We all make mistakes, sometimes with the greatest intentions.  There's room for error.  It helps us grow.  That's what makes us strong individually and as a community.

I cherish the relationships that have been cultivated through AOL-J.  I feel supported and challenged to grow.  I value each and every one of you.

A Few Notes On Privacy

When I first started my AOL Journal I was very cautious about how much personal information I released.  I was careful about what was visible in pictures.  For instance, surroundings, clothing, time of day. Might sound strange but this is the Internet, right here in my bedroom. I know where my own integrity stands and what my own intentions are while I'm online. But I learned recently, there are over 3 million anonymous people in chatrooms at any given moment. Just chatrooms.

The first picture I posted in my About Me section was blurred, scratched and faded to the best of my ability. Still it made me uneasy. It took a while before I started posting more pics and then music and videos. Now, even after the launch of my music website, you'll notice, I've never personally given my full/true name in my own journal or anywhere in AOL-J.  I've only refereed to myself as Freeepeace [or variations of my screenname].  And still some insist on calling me by my true name - even people I've never been introduced to.

When my website was being launched, it was a big deal and a huge risk for me to link it to this journal.  I wonder every single day if I should change that. It sometimes keeps me awake at night.  But then I remember, I'm as safe as I feel.

Some of us have relationships outside of AOL-J. We share email, Instant Messages, snail mail, phone calls. And some have met in person. For me, information shared in private is sacred.

I know I can't control what others choose to post in their journals but I can only ask that my privacy and personal information be kept in confidence. Please check with me before posting something I've written, said or information I've given to you personally. There are copyright laws that protect us all in that regard.  But I would like to believe I don't need to refer to them - especially here in AOL-J.

This isn't a rant. It's a reminder.  I am who I am. What you see is what you get. But it's up to me to introduce and expose parts of myself when I'm ready - on my own time. Please remember there are others reading our journals, outside of our community. We may be very comfortable with each other. But this is the Internet. Anyone in the world could be reading.

~ peace please ~

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Writer's Block & Sluggish Brain

I am struggling. My writing is suffering. I keep starting and stopping. It's as if the passion has died. I believe in the cycle of things. I've written about it before. But this feels slightly different. In the past, I've felt anxious because I've wanted to write and I've had ideas, but they just weren't flowing with ease.

Lately I've been apathetic about writing. I've been lax in AOL-J. I've just not been interested. Perhaps because I haven't had the energy or motivation. But how would that come to be practically overnight? I'd call this a different form of writer's block.

Whether you're a writer by trade or for fun. What's your take on it? What's your experience of writer's block?

In my daily life, I'm finding my brain to be sluggish. I'm forgetting the simplest things. It's like I can see the lifetimes of information - but I can't reach it in time to have an intelligent conversation. As though it's locked behind a clear glass door.  Names, dates, words are getting mixed up and completely lost. 

I've always had a quick-wit. I've been able to tie things together with words and humor in split seconds. But lately, my mind draws a blank. I know what I want to say but when I open my mouth, nothing comes out. I watch people scrunch their faces, trying to help me grasp the information. But because they have no idea where I'm going in my train of thought, they can't help. It's not constant, but when it happens, it's consistent.

I imagine this is how an Alzheimer's patient feels all the time, with every little thing. If you've ever suffered any kind of memory loss, I now can relate. And it's very frustrating, because in these moments, I know the information is there. I just can't attain it.

When it comes to writing, if I can't remember a word or a name, I look it up, pop it in the text and move on. Maybe my brain has gotten lazy because I'm relying on technology too much. But maybe, just maybe I'm slowly losing my mind.

Can anyone relate to this?  If so, how does it affect you? If not, how do you remember things throughout your life?

Sunday, March 7, 2004

Weekend At Home

I opted not to be social this weekend. I'm sorry I missed the chance to be with a bunch of my friends but I just couldn't show up physically.  I was in bed by 8:00 last night but my body aches kept me awake till way after midnight.  Even then, I tossed and turned all night long.

I was restless today.  I thought about going to a bookstore. I thought about going to the beach. I thought about meeting Robbie for tea. But my body decided I would stay home - exhausted and achy. I mustered up enough energy to sweep off the rooftop balcony and bask in the hot sun.  This is about the only time of year I can do that. Summer is brutally hot up there. It was the first time I realized how much I miss being able to walk onto the beach from my front yard. This is supposed to be a temporary home.

With all this pilates and workout talk spreading like wildfire here in AOL-J, I decided to do a home yoga practice tonight. I've been in such a funk, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to move my body.

Rainbeau Mars, my friend who hosted the gathering last night has a series of yoga videos/DVDs. So, in honor of her - and in honor of my own spirit - I attempted her Pure Sweat - Vinyasa Flow.  Pretty ambitious if you ask me. Not only am I running on half a tank but it's been a long time since I've had a daily yoga practice.

I figured it was only 30 minutes, how tough could it get? I wasn't taking into consideration the slow burn of Warrior II, Crescent and Chatarunga!  But the message, the practice and the serene surroundings were all there.  Hey guess what Andrea, she wears a belly chain in the series!

Tonight, as I stumble across the apartment in search of an apple, I'm suddenly hyper-aware that my body resembles a rubber chicken!  And I'm grateful that I didn't have to drive myself home after tonight's practice. My triceps are already sore. We all know that's not a good sign. The ache shouldn't be noticeable till two days after the workout - like whiplash! Now I'm wondering why I didn't go for Pure Tranquility.

Duh!  Ommmm...

Friday, March 5, 2004

Quick check-in

I wish I could say I've been busy playing with my new computer toys.  But honestly, I've been exhausted and a little discombobulated.  I'm not feeling very well today - very low-energy, a little irritated and struggling with the prefix of muscle pain and body aches.

I don't usually eat breakfast but I had to coat my stomach with something so I could prepare for the possibility of mega-milligrams of motrin!  And food slows me down even more as my body uses the remaining energy to help digest the dang oatmeal.

I have a lot on my schedule today.  Two separate dog runs and a whole day of cleaning. I'm also supposed to go to a gathering tonight.  Already I want to cry in sheer exhaustion.  I'm so overwhelmed.  I want to be in bed.  All day.  Sitting up is taking too much energy.

But I will get through it.  It will be midnight before I know it and this day will have passed.  I will either be surprised by how smooth the day went or I will be grateful, wondering how I ever survived.

For now, I'll take one moment at a time.  I can't look too far into the day.  It only shows me how much I have yet to do.

At this moment, I will breathe.  What happens next is to be determined by the next breath.

Have a wonderful Friday everyone. I know I have a lot to catch up on in AOL-J.  I guess there's consistency in that.  I will do what I can. 

::breathing::

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Life Update

Well, so much for being caught up!  It is just impossible to stay current in AOL-J.  You'd think since I have one less client that my days would be lighter somehow.  But no.  I've been busier this week than many weeks past. Not all of it is work - although my neighbor just called to hire me for a few days!  [thank you Universe]
 
So what have I been busy with? 
 
Monday night I had an incredible recording session.  It had been a few weeks since I last recorded. I'd been putting off doing the 'more difficult' songs. There were two in particular that I really ached over. I got one 'in the can' a few weeks ago. And I nailed the other one this week. Two takes - my choice! Usually I'm the one whining about having to do another take but I knew I had a better one in me. I was right.  Honestly, this recording reminded me why I'm doing this. While listening to the playback, MusicMan held out his arm, "See this? Goosebumps. This is a good song." 
  
Because I spent so much time getting caught up in AOL-J last weekend, I had to catch up on personal stuff.  Hunny and I both were out of food and supplies. I swear, I must've used half a tank of gas in errands alone yesterday. When I got home I rushed through six loads of laundry.
 
Then I spent hours playing in Netscape Composer. This program came with my 3 1/2 year old computer and I'd never ventured to explore it. The only reason I'm not playing with it now is because I'm not at home!
 
I also found out I've had a photo editing program in my files all this time - came with my scanner. Last year when I thought my computer was dying, I had to delete all my files. Because my scanner died, I never thought to reinstall the photo editing program.  Well, you can bet it's on there now!  I can hardly wait to get home. I have a lot of creative catching up to do. I'm not the quickest-study on the planet but I hope to have fun while I learn a bit.
 
But first things first - I have to edit text of my dogwalking website.  I keep avoiding it like bloglines and that pile of laundry. But I must work before I can play! I'm not very good with self-discipline. I figure if I mention it here, I'm more likely to hold myself accountable.

Monday, March 1, 2004

AOL BizTalk

Freeepeace and Journey to Peace - Alligator Wrestling - are featured today at AOL's People Connection:  AOL for Small Business: Business Talk  - Keyword: BizTalk [AOL-only link]

Today, of all days!  A day when I'm anxious, on edge, worried about my career decisions.  Not to mention my personal and spiritual life.  Everything seems so up-in-the-air right now. Like I'm falling without a net.

It's okay.  I go through this all the time.  Something's gotta give.  I'll  bounce back, or I'll crash.  Either way, I'm always caught in the arms of the universe.  That's what my spirit knows.

It's what my brain tells me that messes me up.  Thoughts get in the way of fully living sometimes.  I've heard "the mind is a wonderful thing to lose."  This makes complete sense.  What keeps me locked in fear?  Past experiences.  Where do I store negative images of the past?  My mind. 

I lost a client last week.   I loved their dogs.  I wasn't even charging them full price for my services.  And still I had to beg to get paid - the full amount - on time.  These people were constantly disrespecting me and their dogs.  I provided a safe, fun haven for their dogs twice a week.  Other than that, they were locked in a cage in the kitchen most of the time.  They fired me when I left a message for the fifth week in a row, saying I expect to be paid for my services.  I won't miss the clients but my heart aches over how much I already miss their dogs.

On the flip side, I have one client/family who are greater than I could ever have imagined.  They pay on time [usually early].  They love their dog as if she were their first born.  And they love and respect me.  I will go out of my way to provide the best service for them because they do the same for me.  It's an even exchange of energy.  That's what creating abundance is about.
 
Perhaps the loss of one client opens a door for a greater experience.  Trust in the universe.  Easier said than done.  But great to aspire to.