Friday, February 24, 2012

It's Getting Hot in Here

As promised in my last post, today I want to talk about those grand New Year’s resolutions we made just eight weeks ago.  So here’s my question -- How are they working out for you?
Can you believe we are almost through the second month of the year?  Do you even remember what your New Year’s resolutions were?
It’s funny, isn’t it, that the rolling over from one year to another brings us this renewed hope that we will suddenly become more disciplined than we were the day ( & year) before.  We think we can lose 20 pounds; organize every part of our life; give up sugar; coffee; carbs and all bad habits, all at once.

Here is how my New Year’s resolution thinking goes…..follow the bouncing ball on this logic:
I think, “Ok, I’ll make a resolution. And if it doesn’t hold, then my birthday is half way through the month of January, and I’ll start over….and if I need to, then comes Chinese New Year and by then I’ll really be able to get it right…and then….well….if that didn’t work, Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent will be upon me and I’ll try again.”  Clearly I know I need to give myself a lot of chances and that my level of discipline in these matters is pretty low.

New habits are hard to make and old habits are hard to break.  This isn’t news or even very insightful, I know.  I try less to think of it as a resolution and what I try to do is start something new; to make a list of 5-10 things I’d like to try but haven’t.

The first one on my list this year was Bikram Yoga.  A few friends have encouraged me to try it  since I enjoy yoga in general.  I now question these relationships.  Anyway, I chose a place in San Francisco, but I'll keep the exact location to myself since my experience was not their fault.  By that you can guess where this is headed!  Bikram yoga, I've decided, is akin to being baked alive in a 105 degree room. Steamed, really. Steamed alive while trying to stand on your head.  I spent most of the time panting heavily, laying on my mat and planning my funeral procession music, as I was sure I would not make it through the class (how upset will my mother be if I choose a Prince song, and will I have time to text it to her before I die?).
I was overwhelmed by how much I was sweating.  I mean, I’m a runner and in decent shape, but I was in a pool of water after barely 10 minutes.  Sorry for sharing that, but even the Guinness folks would have been amazed.  And while I thought I was in the “beginner” class, the instructor sure treated it like some sort of boot camp.  There was a whole lot of yelling and ordering, 
Lift! Lift! Extend! Breathe! ” 

It was the longest hour and half of my life. Maybe that's why people like it. It makes time….stand…..still. Perhaps then making you feel like you are extending your life? I don’t know, but this is the only reason I can think that people would do this to themselves on a regular basis. I did not feel relaxed or meditative or refreshed or in touch with anything other than the fact I never want to live anywhere where it actually gets this hot.  I also wondered if I would be the first person to die while in a back bend, and would they put that in my obituary?  At this point I thought it best to lay on my mat and hope for the possibility of passing out.  At the end of class, I whimpered out a ‘thank you’ to the instructor, even though in my head I was saying,” thank you for the humiliation, near-death experience, and why do you yell?”

In my non-enlightened state, I went to Starbucks on my way to the car.  In my world, a non-fat, no foam latte can repair anything. And it did.  Now is when I should tell you that I just gave those up for Lent.  Should anyone care, I am in day 3 of withdrawal, and I. Am. Cranky! Only 37 more days to go!

Because I don’t seem to learn, the next item on my list:  a class at the House Of Air, a trampoline gym in the Presidio in San Francisco.  At least it's not hot in there.
Check out the trampoline dodgeball video here:

Hey, hey, hey it’s Oscar Weekend!!  Have fun!
Where to watch on Sunday if you don't want to stay home!
On Sunday Postrio will screen the show as well as have cocktails and other beverages for sale throughout the entirety of the show.

Cityhouse at Parc 55 Hotel
Starting at 3pm, Cityhouse at Parc 55 will air the pre-show and show.  They will also serve half priced
bubbly, popcorn, and other movie-going faire.

Balboa Theatre
Beginning at 3:30, they're asking guests to dress "up or down as your favorite nominated movie (literal translation and bad puns allowed), or as a movie star."  Best costume winners can score movie passes, DVDs, posters, t-shirts and more.

Lark Theatre
Awards night party starts at 4pm.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Hippest Trip in America

The last I talked to you, I didn't know what to wear for New Year's Eve. You'll be relieved to know I figured it out and a good time was had by all.
I had a different blog post written for today, all about how wonderfully all of our resolutions are probably going (right?)...but I'm going to save that for next time.
Today I have to talk about Soul Train.

On the morning of February 1st, while getting my much needed daily Matt Lauer fix, they made the announcement that Don Cornelius had died. I remember gasping and saying," No, no, no..." aloud. I'd like to add here that I was alone and there was no one (except Avalon the bunny) to hear my uttering cry of disbelief.

I grew up in a small town in Minnesota. In reality it's not that small, population 25,000, but growing up I was certain it was population 500. That's how small and contained ( and boring ) it felt to me growing up there.
So Saturdays were all about waiting for it to be 11am, to first watch American Bandstand with my sister and then she would be tired of having to "watch me “ while Mom was at work, and she would retreat to her bedroom and listen to Casey Kasem and American Top 40 on the radio.

Then....then started the absolute highlight of my week (and life sometimes).  I would change the channel to WGN Chicago and watch Soul Train. Soul Train from Chicago, where nothing, I was sure, was ever boring or small, and where people danced and enjoyed themselves all the time. No one was ever sad or mad or lonely because there was always music and dancing.  The show was like magic to me.  Some secret world of my own that I shared with the people on the TV.  Who were these people having the time of their life and why didn't I know them?

This ritual began at the age of 4. It began my love affair with Chicago and music and dancing. For whatever reason I can't explain, I was the only one in my family who loved Soul Train.  I always remember watching it alone. My mother (if she wasn't at work) was just glad I was entertaining myself for awhile and she didn’t have to wonder what to do with me. (I have a very low tolerance for sittin’ around.)
My sister and brother didn’t want a whole lot to do with me. I don’t mean that in a horrible way, just in your basic brother/sister annoyance way. I was not who they wanted to hang out with. Being so much younger than both, 7 years younger than my sister, 10 years younger than my brother, it was a bit like growing up as an only child at times.  So there I would be, 2 inches away from the TV, studying everything and pretending I was one of them.  And listening to Don Cornelius with that voice.  I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just call him up and have him come to our house and read to me. “Chicago is not that far away,” I would think. “I’m sure he could sleep on the couch, Mom wouldn’t mind.”

I would dance (which I still love but am not good at) along with the soul train dancers and would work myself into quite a frenzy of happiness.  And then......Ohhh, and then it was time for the Soul Train line and I would hardly be able to contain my joy and thrill that this happened every week. Sometimes I would worry that they would forget to do it.  I would line up my stuffed animals and some of my parents’ album covers that had faces on them (think Carpenters, Johnny Cash, Lynn Anderson. Cool, right?) to make my very own Soul Train line and I would dance my little self in between them. Then Don would wish me personally, I was sure, love, peace and sooooouuuul. And I wondered how I was going to make it a whole week to see Soul Train, Don and my dancing friends again.

Strangely enough, while I was back in MN for the holidays, there was a wonderful documentary on VH-1 called “ Soul Train: The Hippest Trip in America,” about how the show got started, about Don, about the dancers. I watched it with my mom and sister and they both said,” I don’t remember any of this.” “I remember every second,” I said.

A nice Soul Train compilation video, including Don in the Soul Train line, and Stevie Wonder....complete with Love, Peace and Soul at the end!

The Soul Train line to Rufus and Chaka Kahn, Dance With Me:

On Saturday February 4, on Centric TV (channel 474 if you have Comcast cable) there is a Soul Train marathon all day.

Some things going on this weekend::

Giants Fan Fest, Saturday February 4 at AT&T Park

San Francisco Antiquarian Book Print and paper Fair

Alameda Pointe Antique Faire