Saturday, October 27, 2007

Not-so groundhog days

Been teaching, as usual. Energy has been getting better. Teachers/friends who haven't taken my class in a while took it again and said I've majorly improved. Well, hopefully I can just improve more. Dr. Schulze's Superfood is beneficial, plus that session with Yamini (the Indian lady who does SRT: Soul Response Therapy) was good, and put some things into perspective, as well as gives me stuff to work on. And it was on Mike and Joani, which was even better. They said it's their gift to me, how sweet. Do you know, if I teach here a year, I can teach a private class, which goes for $100???? Same time, 90 minutes, but instead of $40 a class, it becomes $100--just for a private class, though. But still! Which reminds me to look up writing opportunities: gotta build up a portfolio first before anything else.

It's been getting colder here. I had thought Texas would stay warm, as I read that it's consistently warm here, in the 70s. Wrong. It gets to the 50s here, and since the building is made of brick (I think), it can sometimes be colder inside than outside. I find that bizarre. I'm so glad I went to the Galleria on Thursday and bought at Victoria's Secret and Gap. I got more loungey, fun clothes at Victoria's Secret (2 fleece hoodies-1 red, 1 grey with stars; 3 fleece pants in 3 different styles-1 navy, 1 Pepto Bismol pink, and 1 dark grey; and 1 cuuute cherry-pajama set that I can use around the studio), and more going-out clothes at the Gap (1 black wool pullover-dress with button-up turtleneck option; 1 water-resistant parka w/removable hoodie; 2 longsleeved shirts on sale-1 navy, 1 black; and 1 dark grey poncho with pockets!) I hear it can go down to 40. With these clothes, I'll be ok. A nice plus to going to the Galleria is I learned to take the bus, which is easier than the route the bus company gave when I called. Should use the bus tomorrow as I can't always rely on other people to bring me around. Might do that for groceries, too: easier than trying to go to the Farmer's Market open only 'til noon. We'll see; I teach the last class tomorrow evening, so I dunno yet. One nice thing about this weather is it's fixing my skin again: the heat made it break out a little, which the cold is now drying up.

Had a massage with Inga, the resident RMT (registered massage therapist) yesterday, on my day off yesterday. Fantastic. There's something about registered masseuses working the body. She didn't seem to be kneading me to a pulp; it was great. She told me something about (dry) body brushing, which she says is good for balancing hormones out. Then she played this CD just of waves. I borrowed it and downloaded it to my iTunes. I love the sound of waves. Afterwards, we had the meeting, wherein afterwards we were given $10 (for the hour we spent in the meeting: very nice of Mike and Joani to do). Then Ben (Andrea's fiance) and I went to the Mac OS Leopard launch at the Galleria, which I noted is actually pretty close to Intercon (BUT the traffic is horrendous!). We didn't get the free t-shirts anymore, oh well. Still, it looks really nice. Being in an Apple store is like being in a candy shop. It's like I want to try everything! I looked at the new iPods, and they look really nice (I liked the red in particular), but I read reviews that say the previous iPods worked better. Ben was telling me to get the white MacBook instead of the black because he said white is the distinctive color of Apple, but Andrea said to get the black. If white had that extra memory that the black does, I would've as I also like the white more, but it doesn't, so no go. I am pretty excited to order the MacBook, maybe by the 1st week of December?

Then Andrea, Ben and I went to the almost-all-vegan restaurant called Field of Green's last night on West Alabama. Man oh man; I got my vegan-fake-meat fix right there. They have very good vegetarian food: I like these vegan fish tacos that taste like that fake crab meat in sushi, with seaweed. Then I also recently tried a fake-chicken mushroom with portabello: YUM. They have this vegan chocolate cake that is absolutely SUPERB (I tried the chocolate tofu pie; I like the cake more) The owner's this Chinese woman from Shenzhen. Very nice. I also ordered some vegan food online recently: Tings, these chips with nutritional yeast; vegan gummi bears, a new vegan Snickers-like candy bar; and Liz Lovely Cowgirl cookies, the best vegan chocolate chip cookies that taste like cookie dough: again, YUM. I also recently ordered these yoga toe separators that should help with my bunion. Will see how that goes; maybe it will give me straight feet in the future. I love being able to do that here through the internet, and it arriving safe and sound (touch wood) to me.

Just finished watching Thursday's episode of Grey's Anatomy online--for free! It's my weekly fix, aside from the anime Bleach ;) Tomorrow, I might hang out at that bookstore (Brazos) again across the street. I got a really nice book there, called Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. I've been doing too much to stop and read it, but it sounds pretty good so far: it's a story set in France on the Holy Grail; Steve Berry of "The Templar Legacy" wrote a review at the back. It's really nice here. I like that there are shelters where you can put dogs/cats in or even adopt them from there, where a big advocacy on neutering and spaying is in place (so as to avoid unnecessary strays, etc). The people here are pretty laid back, as compared to the East Coast, and even to California. The mail system is fantastic, there are restaurants I know to go to (one of which is Mission Burritos, a Tex-Mex, veg-friendly place serving delicious tortilla chips and an awesome sangria-margarita frozen swirl: YUM--only on my days off, though!). The only thing here is that people drive a bit crazy, as Andrea puts it. But it's still pretty nice, nonetheless. It's a good city to settle in, I think. It does help that the South Blvd. studio is in a relatively nicer (and safer, albeit pricier) part of town. But we'll see: it's only been a bit over a month.

So I basically, teach...and teach, and that's my life here. Well, ok, add some laundry to the mix, and a freaky student every now and then, but eclipsed by supportive directors, colleagues, even students. Even Rosa, the cleaning lady, and I converse in Spanish: she teaches me a phrase or two sometimes: I'm glad of having studied a while in Salamanca! So yeah, it's been nice. I woke up to brush my teeth, remove my contacts and do the laundry. Now I'm going back to bed. So g'night!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Coming Chill

So happy: we were just given a form for direct deposit for paychecks into any bank, which makes it so much easier for me: I don't have to walk to the bank anymore to deposit my check. I straightaway submitted my form to my director (Mike). Hopefully, should have more money saved by Christmas. Speaking of which, I'm thinking of buying a MacBook this Christmas; I'm also really excited about the new operating system, the (Mac OS) Leopard, coming out this Friday. So excited and curious about that.

Anyway, it's been getting cold here--the temperature's dropped to the 50s, and I did not bring warm enough clothes for this chill (Thin yoga shorts just won't cut it)! So I think I'll go look around Gap, maybe, if they have warm clothes. Or wherever nearby (and not so expensive!) on my day off. We'll see. This temperature change has also just been messing with my energy levels, ugh. To my chagrin, I wake up tired, I'm struggling again to teach, and even my yoga practice has been suffering: I feel like I die a million deaths in the hot room. Oh well. But Mike told me something sweet this evening: "I'm sure you've been told this so many times, but your backbend is just beautiful; it's amazing." Aw. :)

Mike's teaching the 6 am tomorrow, thank GOD; I teach the 8 am, then have to call Yamini for a "space clearing" appointment at 10:30 (am). Teaching the 10 am & 12 nn on Thursday, and then my day off on Friday, right in time for that (discounted!) massage. Counting the days...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rosy Day

Reason Why, Rachael Yamagata

My deep secret:
Until there is this ache in the pit of my belly
until my body quakes to its very core
I still reach out to you

and yet,

and yet.

are you already gone?
Are we too far gone?

I thought we were.

Are we really?
Should we, do we have to (be)?*

*Ignore me--I'm just getting sentimental.
Two days ago, something...odd? happened. I was set to teach at 10 am and 12 noon, so when I woke up at 7:15, I was pretty complacent. I puttered around, helping out at the front desk. The next class was at 8 am, and when by 7:45 the teacher who had switched with the original teacher set to teach hadn't arrived yet, I told the front desk person (Jack), and he called the teacher. Meanwhile, my director (Mike) wasn't pleased at what was happening, firstly because he wasn't informed of the switch, and which exactly led to the hullaballoo that was happening. It turned out that said teacher's alarm didn't go off, so Mike just said he'll teach class. Uh-oh. Then he turned to me, and said, "On second thought, can you teach it for me instead? You'd be doing me a huge favor, but if you can't, I can still teach it." What to do but say yes? And just like that, the humongous headache I had woken up with disappeared. With 15 minutes to go before class, no breakfast, no preparation whatsoever, ergo no time to get nervous(!), I went in there to teach. And I taught. And surprisingly, it went fine. WHOA?! My voice was a bit low and hoarse at times, but other than that, it went okay. I was set to teach the 10 am and 12 noon; that teacher took my 10 am class instead and I taught the 12 noon, and before that class, one of my students (Josie) came up to me and demanded "energy; I don't care what you say, but give me ENERGY!" And dammit, I think I did, which was pretty sweet.

Then yesterday was my day off. I went a little exploring...and checked out the nail salon across the street, which apparently also does waxing! Reasonable prices; I was only too happy to have stuff done there. I even got a hot stone massage on my legs after my pedicure, and a regular kneading massage on my shoulders and arms after my manicure! Nice. Afterwards, I checked out Brazos Bookstore a few doors down, which turned out not to be a Hispanic bookstore, but a regular, independent little bookstore! Very nice. It's a perfect place to just hang out and read in; they even had a little rocking chair, how sweet is that!

Back in the studio, my Dr. Schulze order arrived. Sweet! Then I remembered it was pay day, and I checked, and yes indeedy, I got my first paycheck. Very nice. It was such a good day, and banking on that, I gathered up the courage to call my bestest-but-no-longer-in-contact-with friend (Denee) up. We had a nice chat, to my surprise and delight. Hope we can chat sometime, or maybe even meet one of these days: she's in Austin, which isn't that far. Then I prepared for class, but class was canceled: the heat apparently wasn't working! The desk person (Annemarie) and I were at our wits' end, setting the heat up high, even calling Mike as well, but to no avail. So we canceled the last class, had to give out a free class to those who came to show up. Mike came up, and checked why this was occurring. It turned out that someone had flipped the toggle behind the stage, which was an emergency switch to turn the heat off. Dang. So Andrea (another desk person who had planned to take class) and I just had dinner at Mission Burritos instead (where I had a sangria-margarita swirl: yum!), and then hung out at her apartment afterwards, where we played with her kitties (Meadow and Wednesday) and fiddled around with facebook then watched Spanglish, haha.

Today, I started my Dr. Schulze products, which though great, taste horrible *shudder* Then I practiced my first back-to-back double. I was worried about how I'd fare in the second class, but to my surprise, I didn't have to sit out any posture, and most of my postures were more stable and I could go deeper into them! My backbend was better, though in my second set of the 3rd part of awkward I fell forward as I was coming out of it; my standing bow was deeper than I've ever done, and in the second set, I didn't fall out AT ALL; my floor bow was the deepest I ever had: I was rolling forward and my legs were WAY up; in camel, I saw my TOES; and in stretching pose, I'm just being able to go down more and more. Super super sweet. So yeah. Then talked to Mom and Dad not soon after. Very nice. Now to get ready to teach my 6:30 class (little to no stuttering and GREAT energy and be in COMMAND), and go with Mercy to watch Elizabeth: the Golden Age after. I'm hoping for the best.

Seriously, though, it's been just so great here. With great bosses and colleagues so far (touch wood!), and the ease of pretty-much-secure online shopping--having something you order come in without any worries (again, touch wood!), if I can really support myself here, maybe with a freelance writing job on the side or whatever, this city is looking more liveable by the second. Hopefully it can only get better and better.

To end--something that must be seen to believe (and enjoy!):

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Wonderful Weekend

Let me say that my one-month-mark weekend was just wonderful.

Saturday morning found me teaching two classes. Janna, Ana, and her current boyfriend took my first class. Then Stefan, Mercy, Cheryl, Andrea, and Annemarie took my second class. I was like, "ohmygod, it's raining teachers and staff! yikes!" But on hindsight, having them there gave me support, extra energy, plus they can only give me invaluable feedback for me to become a better teacher, which is great.

Then Saturday night had all of us staff gathered at Mike's and Joani's house in non-yoga wear for a staff party, and wow, everyone just looked gorgeous! Andrea and Ben were kind enough to allow me to tag along in their car. :) What was nice was that there were offers from Mauri, Lynn, and Mike as well. Too sweet! :) They were all very much appreciated. Joani ordered food from Niko Niko's, this American-Greek restaurant along Montrose (a bit farther than the museum), and she was thoughtful enough to order food for vegetarians, too. It was actually pretty good: off the top of my head, there was spinach lasagna, spinakopita, baklava, so yum. Also had one glass of red wine which quite satisfied my alcoholic urge to "get smashed," thank you very much. Tony beckoned me to show me something, only to show me a ROACH; eeeeek! :-s Finally got to meet Mike's mom, JoBeth, who is 94 and has been doing the standing series of Bikram yoga since she was 84(!); Jack's wife, Sharla, who is a veterinarian and rescues doggies, too; Marvin, whom I'd only met previously on facebook; Kate who works at Fountainview (Joani's studio); Kat, the girl who does the website; and lots more, though Lorena, my teacher training batchmate wasn't able to make it as she had her clan over from Mexico. But the highlight of my evening was meeting Mike's and Joani's doggies. OhmyGOD, losing my voice to play and grunt along with them was more than a fair exchange to monkey around with them, cuddle them, rub their bellies, have them lick my face and toes(!), all the while hearing those grunting noises "unh, unh, grunt, snort.." Sooooo cute. I was so happy I almost cried. George, Molly, and Tikka (French bulldogs), Alfie (a rescue dog!) Suki and Leelee (Pekingese, the former actually Mike's mom's dog): I love them all.

Then yesterday, Lynn took me around Houston, first to Hobbit Café on Portsmouth then to the Cochrell (aka Butterfly) Museum and then the Transco Tower, one of the tallest towers in Houston and the Water Wall Fountain, this amazing wall of water that can kinda got me dizzy from its sheer power. Gorgeous, gorgeous. We even went to Wholefoods afterwards for my groceries. Lynn's an absolute gem, having tremendous generosity and a huge, open heart.

Like I told Joyce that night at the party, the people here have been great, the support just breathtakingly and amazingly awesome. I've slowly been getting used to it, but I'm afraid to pinch myself, if this is just a dream. I sincerely hope not. I hope it'll last a long time.

As everyone knows, next project (besides dialog and voice projection!) is to ride a bike, courtesy of Cheryl. We'll see how that turns out...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

60-Day Challenge, Day 14

On day 14 of my 60-day challenge, my first double [for the challenge], as well. Man oh man, everything hurts, everything's stiff. I can't touch my forehead to the floor in Standing Separate Leg Stretching, my Backbend has gone back to halfway instead of an inch off the floor. Sucks. Lately, my left knee has started bothering me: I could barely bring it down in Fixed Firm; Mike told me to ease off that, reining in at any red-alarm hints of pain. Grr. Oh well.

Roy has challenged me to learn how to ride a bike, and enlisted Cheryl, Cheryl being the not-used-bike owner ;) Yes, I do not know how to ride a bike! Scary stuff: falling. Well, it would be a valuable skill to learn.

Party at Mike's and Joani's house on Saturday. Can't wait!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Heaven in a Spoon

So courtesy of Andrea who brought me to Wholefoods yesterday, among the groceries (my, how it DOES pile up!) I needed to buy, I found this brand of vegan ice cream that piqued my interest: NadaMoo. I had just had Turtle Mountain's Green Tea flavor which tastes EXACTLY like the dairy version, which was a pleasant surprise. However, I was wondering how a mint chocolate chip flavor would taste like. I had seen a carob peppermint flavor from Turtle Mountain that had less calories, but then my eyes strayed towards NadaMoo's funky (green!) packaging, mint-chocolate chip flavor. I scanned the ingredients, which seemed...interesting: coconut milk, amasake, agave nectar, spirulina, among others. From their website "ice cream that’s non-dairy, ice cream made with organic whole food ingredients, delicious ice cream, ice cream without high fructose corn syrup, creamy ice cream, ice cream without low-quality oils, satisfying ice cream, ice cream without isolated soy protein, refined sugars, artificial ingredients and colors." Sounds good to me. Still, coconut milk? In ice cream? My trepidations were all put to rest this lunch time (after teaching my classes for the day), when I tried it for the first time. So. f***in' good. Close-your-eyes-in-bliss-as-you're-transported-to-the-Himalayas good, go-back-to-the-freezer-and-scoop-out-another-serving good. Holy cow. Mm-mm-MM. DAMN good. Creamy without being fluffy (like dairy ice cream gets after a while), and just plain GOOD.

Next to try Turtle Mountain's slightly-less-healthy, less calorie-laden, Carob Peppermint. I am still reserving my verdict.

Just had Tofurky Jerky, too. Not bad. Satisfied the chewy, slightly-salty craving. Not advised for wheat allergy sufferers, though.

Next salty-craving hunt: Tings.

So yeah. Who said vegans are deprived????

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Week 4: Random Thoughts

This song just pulled at my heartstrings:

Be, Be Your Love - Rachael Yamagata

If I could take you away
Pretend I was queen
What would you say
Would you think I'm unreal
'Cause everybody's got their way I should feel

Everybody's talking how I can't can't be your love
But I want want want to be your love
Want to be your love, for real
Everybody's talking how I can't can't be your love
But I want want want to be your love
Want to be your love, for real
Want to be your everything, everything

Everything's falling, and I am included in that
Oh, how I try to be just okay
Yeah, but all I ever really wanted
was a little piece of you

and everybody's talking how I can't can't be your love
But I want want want to be your love
Want to be your love, for real
Everybody's talking how I can't can't be your love
But I want want want to be your love
Want to be your love, for real

Everything will be alright
if you just stay the night

Please, sir, don't you walk away don't you walk away don't you walk away
Please, sir, don't you walk away don't you walk away don't you walk away

Everybody's talking how I can't can't be your love
But I want want want to be your love
Want to be your love, for real

Wanna be your love love love love love
I wanna be your love your love love love

I love how she sings. And I've always loved to sing--though more in the privacy of my room, or anonymous among my fellow choirmates. But yes, music is in my blood, my lifesong, just as I love writing, or yoga. One day, maybe I can make something out of it.

In the teaching circuit, we've all been told to dress modestly, meaning a tank top showing little to no cleavage, and capris or at the very most shorts no higher than mid-thigh. That means no Shakti-esque shorts. Makes sense, though--we can't afford our students to focus on anything BUT the yoga! However, back in training, I remember Ren already telling us this: "no bikinis when you teach; be a model to everyone: wear a tank top and capris." What he said never left me as I began to teach; besides, I am not comfortable baring my stomach except when I practice, and even then it is to have a better practice!

Went to the Museum of Fine Arts on foot the day before yesterday from the studio. Fun--except when it started to rain. Luckily, I had grabbed a free magazine along Bissonnet: that was my umbrella (Note to self: bring your umbrella when you walk--at all times!) That plus I saw a dead squirrel along the path, oh no :( But at least the rain stopped, and wasn't super pouring, and by then, I had arrived at Montrose. I went to the Museum of Fine Arts. Oh, it was AWESOME. I definitely plan on going back one of these days. That plus they have Friday movie showings! Very nice. Weirdly, it took me about 20 minutes less to walk back, haha. Was all sweaty when I got back, but it was a nice walk. A bit long, but not so bad. I think on my next day off, I'll try riding the 18 bus to Wholefoods, or even all the way to Westheimer (I'm a bit nervous crossing the highway), or walking on Kirby to Rice Village. Fun. I accomplished something besides laundry ;) My feet hurt a bit afterwards, but Tiger Balm came to the rescue.

Have a class to teach in 2 hours. Gotta study the dialog, rev up my energy. It's been tough going back and hunkering down on the dialog, unlearning old habits I had no idea were there, where I had switched parts of the dialog around. Mike is right: unlearning them is so difficult, like an internal battle waging in your head! But when I do get it right, spot-on, it is the most beautiful feeling in the world. Gotta think of that, and forge on.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Yogini in Houston

Finally uploaded some pictures; check them out at:

One day, one day, I will ask someone to take a picture of me doing the yoga: postures have been improving ever since I started the 60-day challenge! But until's these pictures for now!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

On the Everyday

Let me just say that right now, I am seriously starting to dread washing my lone spoon and fork day in, day out. Oh, and my favorite mug, too. But well duh, who else will do it?

And laundry everyday, folding towels, fixing my bed, every single day. I wash my clothes at night and wait for the final cycle to end, to dry them on the rack in my room while I sleep. And at an ungodly half-past four in the morning, before the first class starts at 6, I hurriedly see whatever laundry needs to be washed, or dried, or folded. I like folding towels: the OCD part of me likes seeing all the towels neatly lined up in the cabinet. But still; day in, day out: laundry, laundry, dishes, laundry. Still, what Inga (the resident massage therapist) said IS true: "I just think of more laundry as more business." Sigh. True.

I've also been teaching 6 am classes more now, and I found myself supplementing my diet with Silk's Soy Mocha, which is basically pre-packaged liquid 3-in-1 coffee, sorta, only it's more a 4-in-1: coffee, chocolate, soymilk, and some sweetener. I also tried adding Kefir for digestion: its lactose molecules are supposedly smaller than yogurt's, and has even more probiotics. But I find that both the coffee and the kefir have been giving me headaches: coffee gets me jumpstarted, but I experience horrible and lurching, almost blinding, dizziness and headaches in the afternoon, after I crash to bed after teaching and eating lunch. So once I finish my stash, I'm going full vegan: not even dairy, and as with a detox rule, which I guess also applies to me, no more coffee: maybe my caffeine tolerance is lower: I'm sticking to my favorite chai and/or green tea. As for probiotics, a vegan alternative would be kombucha. That plus it does give me a nice, though more mellow, buzz.

That aside, I just got a comment from a student (I don't remember her name: as I tell my students, I'm still new at this name game, the objective being to remember their names!) who took my class two weeks ago and then took it again a few days ago. And she said that there is a marked difference in my teaching. "You're getting there," she said, smiling. I modestly demurred, thanking her, saying it's still a process. And it should be a neverending process. Tony said my dialog is fine; Mike said that too when he took my first class. However, he said last night that my dialog IS there but out of sequence. So he told me to tape my classes (however way is most comfortable, easy, flexible*!), then work my way through the dialog to get it perfect, starting today with Half-moon w/Hands to Feet, Awkward, and Eagle. Read the dialog as I listen to myself on tape, then highlight whatever I missed out on or skewed out of sequence. Listening to myself had helped tremendously in the past; I'm sure it will do so now. So I said ok, I'll do that. Then he did the cutest thing: He whipped up his hand for a high-five, and he said delightedly, "Is that a deal?" A tad surprised, it was all I could do to give him a high-five back. He's such a sweetheart. He's 63, and he can still act like a kid. Cute. Joani should be about 52? Something like that. They're both so supportive. Most everybody is, which is amazing and awesome.

Today's my day off, as is tomorrow; I'm thinking of going to the museum area today, though it WILL be a walk, and if I can, take a double today, just in case for a day I choose not to practice. Had a hard time getting up today (again, it must be that caffeine). So still thinking about it. Or go to the bookstore to get my order. Or get some groceries (discovery: LIMEADE! Sooo good. But hmm, maybe not: a bit heavy to carry). Or get a mani-pedi. Maybe. Or a wax. God knows I need a wax! Will check the prices first, though. Labor isn't cheap here. Plus something to do in the distant future is to learn how to ride a bike and to drive. Houston not having a very extensive bus system and not a lot of crosswalks, and being a bit reluctant to spend on exorbitant taxi fares might finally force me to learn to ride a bike and drive, especially if I want to explore more on my own! I've managed so far with my books, my little task-pad and the Internet, but one of these days, I really should go out, at least before Thanksgiving with Ninang Nilo!

But we'll see. The day is still young.

Monday, October 01, 2007

3rd Week Rollercoaster


I am on my 3rd week of teaching here in Houston. I'm also on my 2nd week of the 60-day challenge, which I will hopefully complete! The 60-day challenge imposes a strict discipline on yourself (regardless of if you ate a lot, etc), at the same time improving your practice step by individual step, inclusive of aching body, energy spike and then plunge, and clearer mind. So so far, so good. As for my teaching, for a while, I wasn't progressing: it was sort of stagnating and I'd feel desperate and weak after class, going back to stuttering the poses more. Then one day, Mike set me aside and made me hear an opening of one of my recent classes. And ohmygod I sounded weak and small and uncertain and afraid: NOT in control. And he said concernedly, "THAT is horrible." He told me to be smiley and bouncy and CONFIDENT from the get-go, take control from the very start. In short, kick their asses even from half-moon, and my energy will pick up, so much so that even if I stutter, it will hardly be noticeable. He said, "Think about how you were when I first got an iMac: you should be that happy in class." He even had it saved in voicemail, he said it was that cute! "Pure delight," he said it was. He told me I could practice in my room how to go into class, starting strong, half-moon, etc, and I did, and ever since then, my classes have been pretty good, less stuttering, more energy and command. I'm the teacher: I've got to take charge after all. Because as Mike pointed out, if I won't, who will? Definitely not the students! So I've got to take charge, be in control, at times even be a little pushy and less merciful, almost not giving a damn as they "suffer." So yeah.

Coincidentally, though, that day I decided to pick up the pace a bit, I got a newbie who turned out to be having a rough time in class. She first left during triangle pose, but after leaving during tree pose/toe stand, she didn't come back. But she didn't look ashen, so I figured the heat/humidity was too much for her. I didn't give it much thought 'til after class, when we saw her at the lobby seated on a bench, with her eyes clenched shut and breathing shallowly. Turns out she hadn't eaten anything before class, instead drinking a liter (or was it a gallon?) of water with a quarter teaspoon of sea salt. What the heck: this induces one to throw up. Not only that, but she takes Abuterol, a powerful anti-asthma medication which she takes not for asthma (she doesn't have asthma!) but for her running. What the ****. Then she started shaking, and didn't stop. We offered her a mint to get some sugar into her system, and she took that, then we offered her a banana, a slice of bread, but no dice. Then we gave her some Emergen-C, but she hardly drank it. I called Jack in a panic, but Annemarie did better and called Mike. So he came and was better at handling the situation than I was: I was a bundle of taut nerves, gnawing my lip, my nails, short of wringing my ice-cold hands. He called 911, but was super cool about the whole thing. When she was given oxygen, she looked better. After they left, I was so scared Mike would round on me and blame me for what happened. To my surprise, gratitude and relief, he didn't. He said that hardly happens, even teasing me, saying that that would usually happen to a teacher after two years, at most; to me it happened after two weeks! So he told me not to worry about it, saying that the thing to do in such situations is to be upbeat and positive, not to worry, as that would just add to the situation. Gotta keep that in mind. I e-mailed Joyce (the assistant director and Joani's sister at the other studio) about it, and she said to think about these mishaps as a little personal bank wherein after a while, nothing will faze me anymore. That afternoon, Joani laughingly teased me about it, but also affirmed what Joyce said, saying it'll prepare me for anything that can come my way, yet still continue to teach.

Besides that, it's been peachy. Last Saturday, though, I taught a larger-than-usual class that just got bigger out of nowhere: one minute I was in the WC, the next minute I find the class grew from 19 to 30+: holy cow. Then Cheryl, this amazing teacher comes in and also decides to take class. I started hyperventilating, trying to breathe normally to little success, and Mike took me by the hand to his office. In essence telling me to relax, he said, "What are you afraid of?" And I said Cheryl was taking my class, who teaches like a rockstar, and I...I' And he said having Cheryl there is a good thing, providing an avenue for me to improve, at the same time being a source of support. Besides, he said, Cheryl's a nice lady. And she is. So then he smiled at me encouragingly and said, "Now think about when you told me you had a great class and this great big natural smile came over your face. You'll do fine!" And the rational part of my brain told me he's right, and I was calming down. It must have showed; after that, he patted me on the shoulder, looked me straight in the eye, and said gently, encouragingly, supportively, "Now have a good class." And you know what, I did. It did get a bit gnarly in there--104 Fahrenheit but 65% humidity, even when the vents were turned on at full blast and the fan was on, not the heat. My students were dropping like flies. I had a newbie, too, and he was struggling with the humidity. Cheryl beckoned to me, asking if the fan and not the heat was on (it was). Still, I continued to teach calmly, albeit with a few speedbumps, like after I spoke with Cheryl where I lost my focus. But other than that, it was great, and I finished, and most of my students stayed in the room. Afterwards, they told me it was HOT! But it was a good class, so thank you. Even Cheryl said so! Ahahahaha. Well, I did tell them the vents were on, etc, and to breathe in and out by the nose, slow 6 counts of inhale and exhale, to regulate their heartbeat with their breath, etc, etc, which worked, I guess. So yeah, cool.

Taught a double this morning: the first one (which Tony took and afterwards told me was pretty good so yey) was a bit distracted: a student had told me to "slow down" after Eagle, which I guess kinda rattled me, because I was about to forget the entire balancing series until a student corrected me! Oh goodness! Plus afterward, a student came up to me and said I needed to make some of the standing postures longer. So I did in the second class, lengthening especially on standing head to knee, and triangle, among others, and my second class was much better. Even she said so. ;)

Outside the yoga studio and besides going to Wholefoods (which is nice too, but still), I've finally gone to a bookstore--Borders, because it's a lot nearer: I heard there are fewer Barnes and Noble shops here. Oh well. Got some new books, including a guidebook of Texas and some Houston maps: basically the books I've had on my Amazon Wishlist for a while now. Ordered for some CD's and books. Then I also opened up a bank account to put my pay and "allowance" in, very useful if I need to get stuff only based in the US. I'm also trying to ride back on the vegan wagon. Very cool. Met an elementary school batchmate and friend whom I hadn't seen in...maybe 10 years; wonder of wonders: through facebook, how neat is that. And that same night, I got to chat with Frank. Yey!

Tomorrow, I teach the 6 and the 8 am class, this time alone. After I took his class tonight (which was awesome: I was right beside him under the podium, first row, on the "hotter side" of the room, and I was DRIPPING SWEAT!) Mike asked me if I'd prefer he came over, but I said no. In any case, he said he's a phone call away, which was very sweet of him. But I should be fine.

This week, I hope to finally get a taxi: this past weekend when I called, they were booked solid for two days straight (?!), plus the bus schedules were weird. So yeah. This weekend, hopefully I'll explore more and go out more. But wait: my days off this months are more on Thursdays and Fridays. Oh dear. We'll see then. At any rate, I hope this week will be great, my teaching hopefully to only get better and better.

Thanksgiving is my next big vaca. For Christmas, I'm going home. Plus Dad said to go ahead and get a Macbook for Christmas??? Holy cow, WOW! Coooolness. Though yep, it IS more expensive in Manila by about $300 easy. Then I looked at the iPhone 'coz I know Dad is fascinated by it( and admittedly, so am I!), but it said that to sign up for the iPhone plan with AT&T (the exclusive carrier in the US), the minimum monthly fee would be $60. Not only that, but the iPhone only has 8GB of space. That lack of features for $399? I don't think so. But the MacBook sounds great, haha.

Now to study dialog...and maybe dump my sweaty yoga clothes when the current load's done. And then hopefully, SLEEP.

G'night, g'night. Sleep tight, g'night.