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This is how we do it. sometimes.

In 2020, the New York Times suggests that to channel our best selves, we be more like Jonathan Van Ness. He likes to end unwanted conversations with a thoughtful Namaste.

I was hard-pressed on Jan. 1 to channel my best self… interestingly enough at a yoga studio. I like the instructor’s style and have taken several classes with her. But in general, I am not a fan of the practice by some yoga teachers to crank up the music during power vinyasa and other classes. This class I attended was a standard vinyasa flow class and about halfway through, the instructor cranked up the music.

I have tinnitus or ringing in the ears from going to too many loud concerts when I was younger, which is another reason why I find loud music at yoga classes particularly frustrating. When the music is cranked up in class, I find it hard to hear the instructor and it bothers my ears.

When this took place in class, I turned to the instructor, who was right behind me and asked her to please turn down the music a bit (this was about the second or third time she had progressively turned the music up). She nodded and then walked in front of me, turned and gave me side eye and practically sneered: This is how we do it, sometimes. She then turned down the music for a few seconds and then cranked it back up.

It was all that I could do to not walk out of class. I decided to tough it out… this was yet another challenge presented in class… not unlike hearing loud noises outside and still needing to stay present and mindful in class.

“This is how we do it, sometimes,” as if I was not part of the class and was an outsider that day. I bet if she asked the class, I would not be the only one bothered by the loud music, but I was the only one willing to speak up.

My 2020 is off to a good start, despite that odd interaction in the Jan. 1 yoga class. I’m doing Dry January again this year, and I feel really good about it and starting the year off healthy. In December, I had some blood work done, overdue from last summer. Amazingly, my numbers came back very good. I also had my first mammogram in four years, with nothing abnormal.

I will likely not take another class with that instructor, given that I have the power to choose. And when I do see her, I’ll be sure to relay an extra special Namaste a la JVN.

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Nip/Tuck, discovered with Glee

Nip/Tuck, the TV series

Slightly more than one decade after its debut, I am finally watching “Nip/Tuck,” the FX show about two plastic surgeons in Miami. I’m not really sure why it took me so long or why I wasn’t interested in 2003, but it was worth the wait. Oh, Ryan Murphy – you’re a devil-ish little genius. And I love love the cameos and bigger roles for actors and actresses that end up in “Glee,” too.

Principal Figgins was in the episodes I watched last night, and Coach Beiste had a small cameo. Jessalyn Gilsig, who played Will Schuester’s first wife, Terri, on “Glee” has a meaty role and appeared in five seasons. Her character is a tough one to like, not unlike her role on “Glee” but a lot nastier, in a constant way.

 

I also have newfound respect for Bradley Cooper, who plays an egomaniacal young actor on the fictitious “Hearts and Scalpels.” He seems like he had so much fun with this silly role, and I’d love to see him do something similar. His scenes on the show have been among the funniest I’ve watched in the series.

The guest stars on the series are a never-ending surprise, too: Alec Baldwin, Famke Janssen, Vanessa Redgrave, Jill Clayburgh, Sharon Gless, Rosie O’Donnell, Oliver Platt and the actress who played an NYU reporter in the “Seinfeld” episode that led to Jerry and George being outed (though they were never “in”).  One disclaimer, if you’re not familiar with Murphy’s work, the show is not for the faint of heart. I look away often during the surgery scenes; the show won several awards for outstanding makeup (both prosthetic and non).

 

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Days 5 & 6 of 40: Walk on, grin and barre it

Andie Hecker on JuicyCouture.com

First, it was skin care. And now, my social life is cramping my exercise routine. But, wait, perhaps instead… my social life is helping me reframe my exercise routine. I also now realize that on many days, I can easily meet the 30 minutes goal.

Yesterday, I had plans to meet friends after work to watch the IU-Purdue game. Eric, a friend I’ve known since high school, was in town for training with his job (Microsoft).  Celeste, a friend I hadn’t seen for awhile and who is also from Indiana, was meeting us along with Eric’s friends from work.  I had brought clothes to work to change into and climb up some hills as a break during the day, but that didn’t happen.

Luckily, the walk from the bus to the bar (Buckley’s in Belltown) was a good 15 or 20 minutes, at a brisk pace (X two, since I caught the bus home at the end of the night, too).

Today, I had a non-rehearsal rehearsal dinner to attend shortly after work. I took yoga clothes to work but the class in my building is no longer happening. Drat. But I also had a dentist’s appointment downtown in the morning. Walk there and back: Approximately 30 minutes. And instead of yoga at home before dinner, I tried a 15-minute DIY barre workout from Daily Candy and Andie Hecker, celebrity trainer to Miranda Kerr, Ginnifer Goodwin and Natalie Portman. Hecker’s Ballet Bodies site is inspiring photog-wise and perfect for me, the one who is craving dancer’s legs.

So there you have it. I’m still on target for the 40 days. I’m a little worried about tomorrow, since I am leaving work early for a wedding and am not sure I’ll have time for a workout during the day. Plus, I have to haul the party dress to work. Do I want to also bring workout clothes, or can the workout be the dance party after dinner? We are also walking to the courthouse for the wedding – could that perhaps be a 30-minute walk, total? See – social life dilemmas hit me once again. I have a feeling I’ll be ready for the weekend, and some actual gym time. Short-term goal: Finally hit the pool.

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celebrities politics writing

I know, he’s got cancer … and I used to be a fan

“Christopher is on ‘Meet the Press,'” was a phrase I traded back and forth excitedly with my friend, Karen, when we lived in Washington, D.C.  Christopher, as in Hitchens.

Christopher Hitchens
by Christian Oth

We were both huge fans. He was a columnist for The Nation, and was frequently on the Sunday morning political news shows. I thought he was the smartest. political. writer. ever. He was not only insightful but he also had great little quips and slightly mean descriptions of famous politicians and the generally famous. See … the mean girl in me was emerging even then.

Christopher was once on a panel at one of the smaller Smithsonian buildings off the mall. He was talking about the Queen/ monarchy in the U.K., and he’s British. He was not a fan of the monarchy. Karen and I bought tickets and I was shocked to see a relatively small crowd.  We were both enthralled and introduced ourselves to C.H. after the talk. We approached him, said hello and probably started fawning over his work. He asked us to come outside with him, since he wanted to have a smoke.

After we parted ways, I began kicking myself … why hadn’t I told him that I was a writer, and asked him for some advice?  Gosh, darn it.

Thinking like a reporter, I thought I would try to track him down. I knew he lived in the Kalorama neighborhood, near the Hinckley Hilton and back in the day when we actually used to use phone books, he was listed. Success!  I crafted my message, called and left something along these lines on his answering machine (again, back in the day):  Hi, my name is Mary Guiden. I hope this isn’t too random or strange, but I met you after your talk the other night at the Smithsonian and I forgot to share that I am also a writer. I wanted to see if you might be available to meet and talk about my writing, and perhaps give me some advice.

He called back within a day or two, and actually apologized for any delay in returning my call.  Seriously?  🙂  He said he wasn’t sure when I called, and he chuckled after saying that I should be quite assured that my call wasn’t too random. He meeting up the next day, or quite soon, because of his schedule and upcoming travel. I still have the cassette/recording of that message because it amused me and also amazed me. A voicemail message from my then-idol, seriously?

I met him the next day after work. We’d planned to meet at a local pub he frequented on Connecticut Ave., but then ended up meeting at his condo. (I know, it sounds potentially creepy, but it was totally innocent.)  I brought a gift, a bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin, since I had read somewhere about his drink of choice. I brought a few articles I’d written (incl. one that ran in The Nation) and he read them. His place was somewhat stark, with loads of books all over the place.

When I shared a story about the fact that I’d worked at Planned Parenthood, he chuckled that my mom had suggested I not share that information with my grandmother (a staunch Catholic woman who late in life went to church twice a day). I remember he called her “my gran.”

C.H. offered to put me in touch w/ some writer pals at publications like the Washington Monthly. The advice he offered about my writing, quite honestly, underscored that I was doing all of the right things. But it felt incredibly nice to get that validation from him and to meet a writing idol.  That doesn’t always happen in life. C.H. never did follow up with me about the writer friends, but that’s OK.  Meeting him was more important than additional introductions in the D.C. literary world.

During the Clinton White House years, Hitch went from a liberal contrarian to a raving GOP backer. I was quite sad. There may be some hidden back story that is eventually shared. I was shocked when he testified before Congress about the whole Monica Lewinsky scandal and seemingly turned on his former friend, Sidney Blumenthal.

We all change our views and opinions as we get older but the Hitch switch never did make any sense to me at all.  It was more than a flip-flop and after recently seeing the movie Ghost Writer, it makes me wonder what really happened in D.C. during the Clinton years.  I do love a good conspiracy theory, after all.