06 December, 2008

"Luck, be a Lady(bug) tonight..."

Last month, our local New Age paper, The Lotus Guide was having an Open House and since I was unable to attend, Don went in my stead. While there, he entered a few raffles and submitted my name. As it turned out, I won a free psychic reading at the Karma Boutique here in Chico.

At first, I was kinda reluctant to go. Although, I wanted to visit the Karma Boutique ( I miss the Bodhi Tree in Los Angeles) I wasn't sure that as the new Pastor in town, I should be seen there seeing a psychic, if you get my drift. However, I love being a winner and the people I talked to on the phone seemed so nice that I just hadda go.

The Karma Boutique is a wonderful store inside a beautiful house on The Esplanade in Chico. Books, candles, CD's, essential oils, and lots of metahphysical things to delight the senses. While I was waiting, Kristy offered me some tea while I browsed. I sat down to look at a magazine and as I lifted it to read, I noticed there was a sweet little ladybug along for the ride. I was captivated and I showed Kristy and she said, "Oh, that's good luck!" An auspicious omen to have before a psychic reading, don't you think? I don't think this ladybug was a spiritual shill, so I took her at face value. And my belief is that LUCK is laboring under correct knowledge and so I opened myself to what was to take place.

My reading was with the owner and she used her Tarot deck which she had me shuffle while contemplating my questions or concerns. Once I felt I had done that sufficiently, I handed her the cards and she placed the cards on the table. This way of forecasting reminds me of what can happen when I have been seeking an answer to something, I pick up a book of wisdom and randomly open to a page or passage that helps me determine the answer I seek. (I have even heard of stories of people going into a bookstore or library and a particular book falling off the shelf as they walk by). I am not familiar enough with the Tarot to know the cards interpretations myself. For those of you who are, I will share that my central card was that of The Magician and that a majority of my other cards were of the number VI (not a number to which I usually gravitate). Suffice to say, I found the reading gratifying and educational.

On the way home, I passed two Christmas tree lots and I found myself sighing.

You see, as a child raised in the bigger metropolitan cities, I never really saw a lot of real trees and never saw anything close to a forest. So going to the Christmas tree lots every year was always a special treat visually and aromatherapeutically. As an adult, there were many years when I bought more than one 'live' Christmas tree not only because I loved the way they smelled but because I hated the thought of so many trees being left on the lots without a warm home to embellish. Often, I would go to the tree lots on Christmas day and bring home one or two (when I had enough room) so that they would not have died in vain.

But then I got ecologically conscious.

It began with the program Ikea initiated which was if you bought one of their 'live' trees and then brought it back after the holidays, they would mulch it for you to use in your yard. That seemed so cool even though I didn't really have a year in which to mulch anything. Then the more "green" I got the less the Ikea plan appealed. Which left little but to have an artifical tree.

This year, I knew I wanted a full-size tree for our wonderful front window and of course, my mind wandered to the idea of having a pine or fir that would fill the house with green glory. My eco-green husband would have none of it and wiser heads prevailed. Don't laugh -- we got a 7' Martha Stewart artificial tree! OK, now you can laugh. It is huge and quite lovely for a non-tree, tree and we are eager to adorn it this week.

It's true, that if we as consumers stop buying cut trees, people will stop cutting them down for commercial use. However, I was told that there is a nearby forest up here that allows you to come in and for $10 you can cut down your own tree AND these are trees that need to be cut for thining out the forest (or grove). Maybe next year?

It ain't easy bein' green....

03 December, 2008

Gymmy crack corn...

Inspired by last week's Black Friday special, and the imminent inclement weather interfering with my walks, I took the plunge and joined a local gym here in Chico.

Originally, I had resisted this particular gym because it reminded me of a Las Vegas casino from the outside. However, the classes and what this gym had to offer was really the best deal in town. And I got up at 6:05 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving in order to try and catch the 50% off membership rates. Although I arrived at 6:50 a.m., the first 10 early-birders had beat me out and I got only 40% but it was a great deal nonetheless. I calculated that if I took yoga classes separately or even joined Curves, it would still be less per month at this gym and had it had more to offer. And if the truth be told, what I really wanted to do was go back to dancing. In order to do that, I rationalized that if I joined a gym, I would build back my stamina and don my Capezios again.

On Saturday I planned to take a gentle yoga class. Wellllll, I misread the schedule and missed the class. But I knew that I had to take a class as soon as possible in order to honor my intention and get the habit in motion (pun intended for the Chico locals) or the busyness of next week would distract me from starting. So I decided to take the only class available that morning . . . Zumba!

Yes, Zumba. Even the name alone gets your mariachis moving, doesn't it? This is the hot new workout/dance class based on Latin music, dancing and aerobics all in one. I grabbed my jazz shoes to put on and I heard a crack. It had been so long since I wore my shoes that the soles had dried up and literally cracked in half when I put them on. I began to laugh as little chunks of black vinyl fell off as I stood up and walked around. I quickly realized what a perfect metaphor this was about the desires and dreams we stash in the closet waiting for . . . the right time. My dancing shoes were waiting for me but I just never quite got back to wearing them and my dreams had literally dried up. Undaunted, I threw on a pair of sneakers and zoomed (or shall I say, Zummed?) to class.

The class was packed with women of all shapes, sizes and ages, so at first I felt comforted. Until the music started and the perky young instructor began to gyrate. What was I thinking trying this class as my return to working out? I felt all thumbs... or feet or whatever would be the inept equivalent of someone who had been out of the game for too long. At least, infinite wisdom had led me to dress in black, grey and pink which turned out to be the Zumba colors. Many of the women were in the same colors and the instructor matched right down to the black pants with the ZUMBA name wrapping around her hip-huggers.

It has been a long time since I took any class where I kept staring at the clock mentally willing it to go faster. At one point, I got so excited that the class was about to end until I realized that I was seeing the clock in reverse in the mirror, when in reality only 1o minutes had passed.

Fortunately, having actually taught aerobics (Richard Simmons' Anatomy Asylum) I knew how to monitor myself and not make the typical weekend jockette mistakes. I knew to take it more slowly; to be sure I could still talk (or breathe) while doing the dance steps; take my heart rate, etc. The only problem? I didn't want to have to be doing all that. In my head, I was still the dynamo at the front of the room calling out the steps and motivating the movements. I didn't want to be the one needing to be moderate. I looked around at all the more mature faces and bodies and realized I was closer to their age now than I was to the woman in front leading the group. Eeeek. Gulp. Humble pie for Thanksgiving dessert, anyone?

All this and the fact that during the class, a woman who had been behind me decided to leave and walked over and took my SmartWater bottle! Of course, she wasn't trying to steal my water and must have mistaken it for her water, but the music was too loud for me to correct her error and now I was at risk of dehydration, too. I managed to make it through the class to the end and get home to take some Arnica and open a new bottle of SmartWater.

In my sermon on Sunday, something possessed me to share my dancing shoes metaphor with my congregation, while not really conscious of the fact that I was making something rather personal very public. (Which is why I figured I could go ahead and write about it here). Until one of the church members came up and told me they thought I was brave for talking about it and making it public so now everyone knows I am working out. Damn. I was only trying to make a point, not point myself out.

On Monday, I decided to try one of the slower classes. Slow and steady wins the race, right? As I head into the gym I encounter one church member I know. I assess the class and feel that I am better off resuming an active workout routine that is not as demanding so that I don't overdo it and defeat my intention. At midpoint, a woman comes over to me and smiles a knowing smile, "You're here" and then introduces herself as someone from church that I had not met as yet who heard me on Sunday. Busted.

On Friday, I get to workout again and have my free fitness evaluation and orientation. I am trying not to put that it really feels like I have to start all over. All the things I knew, all the progress I made, and yet my sore muscles are acting like it is the first time we have ever worked out. At least I didn't wait till January 2nd to begin.

Do you think I can get some leg warmers on e-Bay??

City Slackers

No, I did not misspell the title of this post. Yes, I was playing off of the comedy film title, "City Slickers" about a bunch of...