missroserose: (Joy of Reading)
Hello, fellow book friends! CorePower is doing a 20-classes-in-30-days challenge, and looking at the charts I realized that I haven't been to class since the month started. I've been teaching a lot, but between work and social obligations and a bit of personal-life trouble I've been slacking off. I hit Sculpt this morning and I could really feel it - I had plenty of endurance (thank you, bicycling) but I was much stiffer than usual. I think it's going to be restorative yoga this afternoon - there's a class at Uptown that ends half an hour before I need to be there to teach. Convenient! Now to see if I can get back to a regular practice.

What I've just finished reading

Paper Girls vol. 3, by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang. The breakneck pace of this story hasn't let up, and while initially that worked in its favor, it's starting to become a handicap. We're still getting bits and pieces of history and character development, but a few of the girls are still frustratingly interchangeable; additionally, there's a new character introduced whose perspective is radically different from our main characters' and who is potentially fascinating, but who gets far too little screen time to really explore any of that potential. To top it off, the girls and the audience are still incredibly fuzzy on what the rules are for this adventure; while this certainly helps to evoke the confusion and fear on their part in this unfamiliar time-traveling situation, it feels more than a little like narrative Calvinball. I hope the author slows down for a breath or two in the next volume; it doesn't have to be six issues of "so, Bob, this is how the rules work in this particular time-travel adventure", but a little more development of the ensemble and their situation would be helpful, as would giving them a chance to be proactive instead of just flailing desperately.

Appointment With Death, by Agatha Christie. I was all set to get started on one of my yoga texts, and then I realized I hadn't finished my Poirot omnibus I borrowed from my friend in Boston...priorities! Unfortunately, I can't say this was one of Christie's stronger efforts, even discounting the by-now-expected casual racism/sexism. I liked the depiction of the future victim as an emotionally dominating tyrant who kept her entire dysfunctional family in misery around her - I think we've all met people like that - but the actual solution felt like it came out of left field, and that's leaving out some very questionable depiction of mental illness. Still, like much of Christie, it was pretty compulsively readable, and at least now I can send the book back to my friend.

Special DNF Award: Joyful Desires: A Compendium of Twentieth Century Erotica, by a collection of pretty obvious pseudonyms. I found this in a Little Free Library up in Sauganash (one of the more suburb-y neighborhoods of Chicago), which tickled me. Unfortunately, it's turned out to be pretty mediocre stuff, better-edited but generally about on par quality-wise with the old Usenet-sourced shorts I used to read online as a teenager in the nineties. (The book was published in 1998, so that might account for the stylistic similarities as well.) I read about half of one story, half of another, and skimmed a few other bits; it's all very focused on the physical, with little to no character depth or emotional interplay...you know, the stuff that makes sex interesting. :P There are some pretty entertainingly bad bits, though, almost enough to make it worth reading further just for the comic value. My favorite from my quick skim: "Turning to one side, I let my head rest there, high on the creamy smoothness of her curved back while I slid my hands up under her torso to cup her dangling breasts through the slick gown. I hefted those litle pendants, sliding my palms up and over the silky fabric, curling my fingers around that wonderfully soft titty-flesh, clutching her hanging boobs and pumping them through the thin crinkling dress." Yeah, I just don't even know where to start with that, other than "laughing uncontrollably", which is what I did. I guess I'll drop this one off in one of my local Little Free Libraries and let it continue to circulate.

What I'm currently reading

The Hummingbird's Daughter, by Luis Alberto Urrea. The pace of this story might be best described as "leisurely", but I find myself caught up in it nonetheless - it's an engagingly-drawn portrait of the personalities and people in a particular group, their suspicions and fears and values and beliefs. Definitely recommended to anyone looking for insight into rural Mexican culture of the time, although perhaps not if one prefers a rip-roaring thriller. This is very much a tale from the Land of MaƱana, where nothing gets done in a hurry but still, somehow, things get done, and lessons are learned.

What I plan to read next

Still eyeing the yoga books...but I think right now my priority might be something easier - I feel like I need a mental break as much as a physical one. We'll see.
missroserose: (After the Storm)
I was working during the eclipse yesterday and it was pretty cloudy here in Chicago, so I didn't do much of anything special. I did leave for work early, expecting the traffic to be nutty - you can bet I had all my brightly colored reflective gear plus blinky lights on my bike. But if anything, it was the opposite; the on-road portions of my commute were calm, and the parks nearly deserted. I did pass a few people in various neighborhoods standing outside looking up with their eclipse glasses; combined with the quieter-than-average streets, it felt more than a bit like I'd stumbled into a sci-fi movie about a culture that takes in its energy from the noonday sun.

I was a little surprised to have three students (a not-unusual number for a daytime beginner class); I'd half-expected everyone to be busy eclipse-watching. I'd built a vaguely eclipse-themed playlist, too, but Apple Music was giving me trouble, so I wasn't able to use it. Luckily nobody there had been to my C1 class before, so I was able to reuse a previous playlist and not feel like I was slacking, heh.

I've been in a somewhat subdued place, this week. I've been ruminating on loss, and how it affects us; even something like a job or a relationship (or the hope of a relationship) ending, where there's no physical change, still causes a sense of bereavement. It occurs to me that I am experiencing a loss of sorts; even though I didn't have a lot of plans per se (it's hard to when the other party leads solely by implication), I had a lot of hopes, and ideas for the future. It's tough to realize that those are gone permanently, at least in that form. Something I'd worked carefully toward for so long has just...evanesced, and I feel a little adrift.

Relatedly, I finally finished Come As You Are, and the last section is all about emotional meta-analysis - or how you feel about your feelings. One of the things Nagoski points out that I particularly love is that emotional reactions (contrary to the claims of numerous inspirational quotes) are not something you can choose or control; what you can control is your reaction to those emotions, by either refusing to feel them - staying in the tunnel - or allowing yourself space to feel them, knowing that while they may not feel good in the moment, they will pass; eventually you'll make it through the darkness and out into the light. It's proven to be a good yoga-class theme for the week of an eclipse, as well as for my life right now.

Also, a yoga-teacher milestone reached: yesterday one of my students told me how she'd come into my CoreRestore class on Sunday night extremely nervous about an important job interview on Monday, so my theme about choosing to feel your feelings and let them go really spoke to her. Apparently she slept great on Sunday night, aced the interview, got the job, and came into my C1 class Monday afternoon to celebrate. I was so happy for her. <3
missroserose: (Warrior III)
aaaaaaaaaaaa

^^The feels I'm having when I've literally just finished my internship and my studio manager emails me saying "hey, we've got a C2 opening up in September Mondays at 7:30 PM, do you want it? It's plenty of time to get you ready to teach C2s, and I'd love to have you in another prime time slot."

I mean, yeah, without a deadline I'll probably never push myself to get there, so I'm not going to say no. Breanne's not going to leave me hanging on training, and she wouldn't have offered it if she didn't think I'd be up for the challenge. And this is a huge compliment - Monday nights are super-prime-time for attendance. But whoa, that's...a little high-stakes, relatively speaking.

Good thing it's just yoga. :)

(aaaaaaaaaaaaa)

(feels)
missroserose: (Warrior III)
I'm just over halfway through my internship, and picked up enough substitute classes to shave off more than a month (it's been less than two months, as opposed to the three-and-a-half it would have taken if I'd only taught my single regular weekly class). I've successfully dealt with a couple of unexpected issues mid-class - including, one memorable week, a confused-seeming woman bursting in through the emergency exit door (!) in the middle of a class, saying something about wanting her free week. (We have signs in the window advertising a free first week; she had found the front door locked and gone around to the side, where apparently I hadn't pulled the door all the way shut after airing out the studio. I gently-but-firmly explained to her that she'd need to come back before a class, through the front. Fortunately she left without incident; it was disconcerting, but happened at a convenient stopping point and I just skipped ahead to the next section of class.)

As with any performative skill, I have a hard time measuring objectively how I'm doing - whenever anyone asks how my internship is going, I say something like "Well, I haven't killed anyone yet, so I guess it's going well!" That said, I do feel like I'm settling into a rhythm of sorts. I'm more confident, at least within the confines of the format. I'm getting better at the more conversational parts, too, although I usually do some journaling and occasionally practicing in the shower to make sure I can convey my point in the limited time window. Somewhat entertainingly, Dominika (my two-levels-up supervisor/former anatomy teacher/friend/person I greatly admire, who also has taught at CorePower for years and knows basically everyone in the community) came to one of my classes...and of course it was the morning that I'd forgotten I was subbing an earlier class and was mildly hungover. Oops. I got out there and taught as well as I could; I knew I wasn't running at 100%, but past that, I couldn't really tell how I'd come off. So I braced myself for some honest feedback...and then Dominika came out and unhesitatingly told me I was already a better teacher than people she knew who'd been teaching for ten years. o.O Well, I wasn't going to look that gift horse in the mouth, even if I felt a little undeserving, heh. Still, that combined with the fact that I regularly have students inquire what classes I teach on the schedule tells me I'm doing something right.

Making playlists remains one of my favorite parts of the job; this week's, however, was giving me trouble. I'd challenged myself to make something more instrumental-focused, since I'd noticed that it was easier to teach when I wasn't having to compete vocally with singers. And I discovered that figuring out instrumental tracks is a lot more time-consuming - it's harder for me to bring a song's hook to mind without a chorus to hum. I ended up working on that one right down to the wire, convinced that it wasn't one of my stronger efforts...and discovered in situ that it actually was one of my best in terms of mood and timing. (Gift horse number 2!) I also had multiple people comment how much they liked it after the three classes I taught yesterday and today; that marks the first time anyone's commented on the music specifically. Combined with the positive feedback I've seen other teachers get on mostly-instrumental playlists, that seems like a strong indicator...I guess I'm going to have to get better at remembering song hooks and start listening to more instrumental music.

So that's the first half done! I suspect the second may take a bit longer, as I have a vacation coming up and also some visitors, but we'll see. The weather has been mostly excellent, so between teaching at Lincoln Square and Uptown and Sauganash, I've been biking all over the far north side of Chicago; I've been packing my little rechargeable Bluetooth carabiner speaker and having a complete blast listening to the Awesome Mix as I pedal against the wind. My thighs are going to be massive by the end of summer.

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