Life In Progress

I will not confuse my career with my life.

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Treasure Tossed

The Little Falls impoundment of the Presumpscot River is down again. Sappi had an initial draw down in July to assess work on the dam and this week they’ve got it down even lower than before for repairs.

We went down to check it out Tuesday evening, accompanied by a very vocal Mr. Wonderful. Meowing his concern, he followed us onto the silty bank, inspected the middens where the raccoons feast on freshwater clams under the tree roots, then made himself comfortable on the rocks while we rooted around in the mud.

The first things to catch my eye were some clams languishing on the silt. I gently placed them into the water so they’d at least have a chance to survive the hungry raccoons. I feel a little guilty about the ones I probably missed. Mucking around for the clams, I uncovered two pieces of a broken depression glass sugar bowl and a number of other large, thick pieces of broken glass bottles around an area of exposed ledge which usually has several feet of water over it. I wanted to get a shovel and dig. Maybe I’ll do just that, tomorrow, before Hurricane Irene arrives.

Many years ago, people repeatedly came down to this beautiful river and unceremoniously hucked their household trash into it. Tuesday evening, we went to that river, recovered some of that trash and arranged it carefully on the bench on our back deck. As though it was treasure.

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…and Breathe

Every so often, I try to branch out. Put myself into situations to learn and grow. My personal practice has hit a plateau this summer while the professional aspect has begun to gain a foothold — I have been substitute teaching yoga for well over a year and have finally found a place where I will teach on a regular basis. (Yay, but that’s not my story here…) The time was right for a bit of exploration.

I’ve always enjoyed doing yoga in hot weather, but had never taken a “hot yoga” class. So, I signed up for a class at a local studio and attended this morning. It is a gorgeous studio, great location, affiliated with a popular “brand” of yoga and the employees and interns were friendly and helpful.

Obviously, I expected it to be hot, but this room was HOT. A stuffy, closed-up attic kind of hot, but with added humidity. I centered myself, sipped judiciously from my water bottle and prepared for class to begin. The cheerful instructor entered the room and introduced herself (and never stopped talking again until Savasana.) After a few of the modified Sun Salutations, I was mopping my face to keep the sweat from my eyes, but I was actually enjoying the brisk pace and the challenge. There were only a few asana that I found quite challenging (plank, chaturanga and up dog all with one leg tucked high in tree pose position!) but I felt good with the pace and my body felt as though it was responding well to the heat.

The class flew by, my towel and mat were sopping and before I knew it I was back in my car, gratefully blasting the air-conditioning and slugging back water. When I got home, I peeled off my clothes, threw them and my towels into the washer and stood under the water in the shower for a long time. I felt pleasantly tired, but intact and unharmed.

After my shower, I wiped steam from the mirror and looked at my face and realized that the skin around my eyes was dotted with tiny pinpoints of broken blood vessels. I freaked out. A frantic Google session provided good information about this (there are actually yoga forum threads about this situation) and that calmed me down some what. Apparently, I might have been holding my breath during some of the more challenging asana, causing the vessels to burst. I think I heard about this phenomenon on CSI once when a victim had been strangled. Yikes.

I had hoped to breathe new life into my yoga practice and got just what I was looking for. A strong signal to practice renewed compassion for myself, first and foremost.

And breathe.


Tooth Fairy

Just the thought of having a dental procedure conjures vivid images of sweaty fingers plucking at damp, shredded Kleenex and jaws wrenched open in a hideous rictus of terror. The sight of shiny, sterilized (I feverishly hope!) metal instruments, lined up with a watchmaker’s precision on a tray instantly evokes a sheen of perspiration on my forehead.

The tools that inspire dread? The Carbide Ball Burr. The Diamond Bud Burr. The Cylinder Reamer. The fact that modern dental care is virtually painless does not lessen my panic when I ponder the fine dust of tooth enamel — floating on the air rising from my open mouth — created by one of those gleaming tools rotating at the speed of light. [Insert prolonged, full-body shudder here.] Even the seemingly innocent routine dental cleaning entails a fascinatingly slender, curved stainless steel probe called The Explorer.

My dread of all things dental began with my first filling: I was around 7 or 8 years old and my left eye-tooth had a cavity. I protested, to put it mildly, when the dentist drilled into my tooth without benefit of Novocaine. He said to me, “Don’t be such a baby!” The dentist I saw during my teen years pulled my mother aside at one point and suggested to her that I was obsessed with my teeth. (Duh.) This, after having performed an “occlusal adjustment,” again, without the benefit of Novocaine, on my sensitive teeth. (Google “occlusal adjustment” and see if you don’t cringe!)

Fast forward through a menu of various dental nachtmares to this morning — the first fillings with my new dentist. The fact that she bears a remarkable resemblance to the actress Holly Hunter was an effective distraction. That, and a massive overdose of Bach’s Rescue Remedy lulled me into a compliant state. I clutched a handful of Kleenex, squeezed shut my eyes and she began. She was finished injecting Novocaine before I even knew she was doing it! The Tooth Fairy favored me throughout the procedure and I practically sailed through the drilling and filling.

I won’t say my appointment was entirely without discomfort. But I have been through much worse with far less-attractive dentists.