Thursday, March 28, 2013

Planting Seeds

It's gardening season!

This time of year is hard for me, the days are warming up, the flowers are starting to bloom, and all I can think about is how summer is on its way and how the heat is the worst trigger I have.

Gardening makes spring so much more fun, and gives me something to look forward to in summer, when I'm inevitably depressed from the lack of freedom and the non-stop sweating. I had a couple peach pits in the fridge, and some green chile seeds that we've been wanting to try and grow, so I pulled out my gardening box and got organized. I found a bunch of seed packets that I've been hoarding for a few years now, so I pulled a handful of those, too.

We don't get a whole lot of sun up here, with all the trees, but we do have some good growing lights and my boyfriend is thinking of getting some kind of pop-up greenhouse, and that would be interesting.

So, I've got pots and pots of bare earth in my kitchen. They may or may not yield tomatoes, chiles, mint, and mesclun. I scattered a packet each of chamomile, feverfew, forget-me-nots and strawberries on the little hill by our front door. If any of it blooms, it should be pretty. I've also got carrot and onion seeds, a couple of potatoes with so many eyes I feel watched, and a sprouted onion that all need homes. I don't like digging so much, so we're working on methods of planting that will reduce our hard labor later.

I've also got more than a few avocado pits on the window sill, one of which is almost ready to go in the dirt.

Growing food and flowers is nourishing to my soul, especially when I don't wear myself out in the process. Now, when I think about those horrible, hot days to come, I'm also thinking of the spicy homemade salsa I'll be eating with gusto, or the baby-greens salads I'll harvest from my kitchen window. Heaven.


Monday, March 25, 2013

Leaving A Mark

I've got another poem analysis for you. There are a few curse words, but I think we'll all be okay.

Another favorite of mine from The Quarter of Poetry was Dorianne Laux's Graffiti. I grew up in a poor, downtown neighborhood, not unlike the scene described in this poem, and maybe that's why it struck a nerve with me. Or maybe it's the burning need to leave a mark upon the world that the speaker describes. I know that feeling well.

Dorianne Laux

Near the Dayton Avenue signal tower,
below the tracks of the Southern P,
skittish brown birds build nests
in what's left of the trees, repeating
their one stunned note, repeating
their small dun selves.
Near the white lime piles
where factories bury their trash,
boys lug grocery sacks of spray cans
to the wall already crazy with pictures
and painted words: COCK, CUNT, KILL,
so carefully and beautifully made,
and the large, elaborate names: Skeet.
Damon. JoJo. Cray. From here
they can feel the train grind by,
pulling its row of open boxcars, the blank sky
punched through each empty door. Here,
in blue jeans and bandannas, among
the discarded car seats, the shriveled
condoms and broken glass, they will scrawl
themselves into infinity. One boy
picks up a can of red paint, sprays over
JoJo's name. It glides on effortlessly.
Three smooth strokes and he's gone.

Dorianne Laux's Graffiti is about people's universal struggle towards something permanent.

The boys are symbolic of humanity as a whole, how we seek recognition in an impossible sea of others just like us, and strive for immortality when our lives are brutally short. The wall is our history as human beings, the graffiti is our mark, what we do with our lives. The tone of the poem is one of hope amidst desperation and struggle, and the speaker relies upon the poetic devices of alliteration and assonance, irony, and rhythm to make her point.

The first sentence of the poem sets the scene.

"Near the Dayton Avenue signal tower,
below the tracks of the Southern P,
skittish brown birds build nests
in what's left of the trees, repeating
their one stunned note, repeating
their small dun selves."

We're in an inner-city, somewhere stark and barren. There are trees, but they aren't cared for, and there are birds, but they lead dull, repetitive lives. Alliteration and assonance are used quite a bit in this poem, and they add to the weight of nearly every line. The S and B sounds in line 3, "skittish brown birds build nests", alongside the repetition of the word "repeating" in lines 4 and 5 gives a particular sense of a flock of small, identical birds, all fidgeting and twittering in the same way. The birds are symbolic of the people who live in areas like these, the janitors and the dishwashers and the laborers who do the tedious tasks the rest of humanity abhors. They work hard and sleep in cheap beds and have children who live the same "dun" lives they watched their parents lead.

There is an irony in the language of the poem that starts in the first sentence and pervades throughout. The scene is cold, unforgiving, but nearly every single word in Graffiti is beautiful, or treated as if it is. The speaker shows us the magnificence in what would normally be a depressing moment and it connects the reader. We're all searching for beauty and meaning, no matter where we come from.

"Near the white lime piles
where factories bury their trash,
boys lug grocery sacks of spray cans
to the wall already crazy with pictures
and painted words: COCK, CUNT, KILL,
so carefully and beautifully made,
and the large, elaborate names: Skeet.
Damon. JoJo. Cray."

In the second sentence (I'm counting the isolated names within the single sentence, for simplicity's sake), the scene is set further with the image of "the white lime piles" over industrial garbage to drive home the point that we are in an urban wasteland. The repetition of the long I in white, lime and piles also lends to the imagery of a series of stark dunes in the mind's eye. Then, out of these desiccating dunes comes life, in the form of boys willing to brave the toxic environment to paint on a canvas, desperate to leave their particular mark on this world. Line 9 also has a noticeable sound to it with the repetition of the S in “grocery sacks of spray cans”, which reminds us of the sound of a spray can hissing as it's used.

The wall is representative of human history, and the words "COCK, CUNT, KILL" can not be mistaken, they are a message from our most primitive of drives to reproduce and survive, to repeat our dun selves. The line is already emphatic for the capitalization and pauses at the end of each word that force the reader to stop and savor every expletive, but the repeated hard K sound is also harsh, cacophonous. The words are socially taboo and their very sound is sexual and violent. The description of this graffiti, however, in line 12, is in stark contrast in both tone and sound. "Carefully and beautifully" is a lovely, yet ironic, turn of phrase, the rhyme and meter are melodic, but the words themselves would never be a normal descriptor of such spray-painted vulgarities. The contrast startles the reader into seeing something we normally take as an ugly nuisance, or a petty crime, as artistic expression.

The spray paint is our mark that we want to leave on the world, and the graffiti -the pictures, vulgarities, and "large, elaborate names"- is the history that we've left thus far. The names are given caesuras because they are the whole point of lugging the spray paint all this way. The first thing we learn to write is our name, and to scrawl it hastily or draw it beautifully is making our own individual mark. Our names are integral to our identities, and there's no better way to fight the insignificance of anonymity than to shout one's name from the rooftops, or paint it elaborately in twenty-foot high letters.

"From here
they can feel the train grind by,
pulling its row of open boxcars, the blank sky
punched through each empty door."

The train in the third sentence is a symbol of opportunities these boys don't have. It grinds past them (a verb that invokes struggle) but it's empty. The doors are open and there's nothing but the vastness of the sky to be seen in them. If there was ever something there, it's long gone now.

In the fourth sentence is when the phoenix starts its rise from the ashes, and the tone of the poem turns hopeful:

in blue jeans and bandannas, among
the discarded car seats, the shriveled
condoms and broken glass, they will scrawl
themselves into infinity."

The boys are of the streets, and the streets are chaotic, dirty and dangerous. Despite this, the boys want more, they want to be known, they want to mark something for themselves that lasts longer than their "dun" lives. The words used in this sentence are interesting. Line 18's "blue jeans and bandannas" has repetitive B, A, and N sounds that echo the feel of "skittish brown birds", drawing a parallel between the two. The repetition of the CAR sound in "discarded car seats" makes it musical, and the words shriveled and broken are somewhat abstract examples of onomatopoeia.

The speaker doesn't say the boys are drawing or writing on the wall, they're scrawling, a word that sounds like scramble and scrape and crawling, more verbs of struggle. Scrawling is also one of the most basic actions a human can take with a hand tool, we've been scrawling since our prehistoric infancy.

For all the meaning in this sentence, it climaxes with the resolution. From a place where discarded, shriveled, and broken are the descriptors, the concept of infinity springs forth, forever, being bigger than our small dun selves.

"One boy
picks up a can of red paint, sprays over
JoJo's name. It glides on effortlessly.
Three smooth strokes and he's gone."

The final sentences are short and poignant. One person writes over another, destroying their infinity for his own.

The boy uses red paint, which contrasts with the drab colors used in the poem otherwise (dun, brown birds, white piles), reinforcing his need to be distinguished from the crowd. In making his own immortality, the boy has taken JoJo's without pause ("effortlessly", "smooth strokes") or thought that his will also be taken someday. The irony is a painful reminder that we never really get what we want, we'll all die and fade away, no matter how hard we try to be remembered.

Addendum: I chose this poem, reveled in this poem, and now that I've realized I need to pursue writing as a career, my total obsession with this poem at the time makes a whole lot more sense. I don't hold any illusions of permanence, I'm an atheist existentialist so I think we're all just ants on a rock hurtling through space with a billion other rocks that may also have existentialist-atheist ants on them, but I do want to make an impact on my fellow ants, I want to help people be better, and happier. I want to make my mark on this world, and in taking the next steps in my education I feel like I'm finally picking up the spray can. I'm nowhere near the trigger yet, but the can feels good in my hand. I'll get there.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Day In The Life

I woke up this morning with goals in mind, and like I am wont to do, I made a list to help myself along.

Things to do today: Make breakfast. Shower. Get the bread machine going. Take a walk all the way up the hill. Put away the clean laundry. Polish up my final paper. Watch Star Trek in my downtime. Write.

My end-of-the-day list revisit wasn't as successful as I'd hoped it would be, I managed the first four items and put in some time cleaning the kitchen, but it was a spotty migraine day, so the laundry is still looking at me and my paper looms.

So, I spent some quality time with Star Trek today, and I've finally hit the last season. I've made a few notes of what's stood out to me so far:

Season 1: Spock's ears and eyebrows change size and shape from episode to episode, especially the first half of the season. Kirk half walks/half dances through every scene like a cheesy lounge singer and he punctuates his movements the same as he does his lines, with unnecessary pauses for dramatic affect and a smirky half-smile on his face at all times. I keep missing Captain Pike, he was the greatest.

Season 2: Spock's ears and eyebrows seem to have found their happy medium. Kirk's pauses in speech have gotten worse, and have infiltrated the opening credits, along with an out-of-sync cowbell that makes my brain melt if I don't mute it in time. They introduced Chekhov, who is so hilariously a Russian Davy Jones, I cackle when his face fills my screen for the first time. How did so many planets turn into exact replicas of earth history?

Season 3: They let Scotty wear his hair back instead of the doofy forward comb he was rocking for the first two seasons. The cowbell is gone from the theme music, but Shat's "Starship... ... Enterprise," seems to be here to stay. Spock's ears and eyebrows are going wonky again. McCoy's always been cantankerous, but now he's just yelling at people for no reason.

Overall, Spock is the best and Kirk is the worst. I'm glad I didn't form my concept of gender roles from watching this show or I'd be constantly half-naked, smiling blankly, and disregarding whatever professional career I might have as soon as Captain Kirk or some alien-god comes along and smash-kisses me into submission. The show did good things for people of color and women on television, but it also perpetuated quite a few terrible stereotypes. I'm glad I watched it, I've loved the Star Trek franchise since I was a kid, and I'm happy to build my sci-fi education, but I won't purposefully watch it again.

I plan to see the movies next, then move onto the other Star Trek series, in order if I can. It's a lot of content, but I have a lot of migraine days and it's fun to feel like I'm accomplishing some kind of self-entertainment goal when I have to sit/lay down for a few hours and zone out.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Dark Thing Inside My Head

In my recent English class, we analyzed a lot of poetry. One of my favorites was Linda Gregg's A Dark Thing Inside The Day. It's about embracing joy when we have it, despite the fear we may hold in our hearts. The poem speaks of a gloriously beautiful day, over which a brief shadow passes.

This is almost exactly my original essay, please forgive me if it goes a little school-ish with the lingo. I didn't edit much because I couldn't stand if someone stumbled onto this page looking to find out about the onomatopoeia in this poem and I'd talked about everything but. That would be terrible. Onward.

A Dark Thing Inside The Day, by Linda Gregg

So many want to be lifted by song and dancing,
and this morning it is easy to understand.
I write in the sound of chirping birds hidden
in the almond trees, the almonds still green
and thriving in the foliage. Up the street,
a man is hammering to make a new house as doves
continue their cooing forever. Bees humming
and high above that a brilliant clear sky.
The roses are blooming and I smell the sweetness.
Everything desirable is here already in abundance.
And the sea. The dark thing is hardly visible
in the leaves, under the sheen. We sleep easily.
So I bring no sad stories to warn the heart.
All the flowers are adult this year. The good
world gives and the white doves praise all of it.

The first sentence sets the tone of the poem,

“So many want to be lifted by song and dancing,
and this morning it is easy to understand.“

People need beauty and enjoyment, and the speaker knows why. This sentence changed for me upon rereading, and I find I can interpret it two ways, much like the entire poem. I initially read these lines as a version of “People seek happiness because the world around us is so beautiful, it's inspirational,” but the more I read the poem, the more this sentence becomes ominous. Now, I'm seeing it more as, “People seek happiness because fear is ever-present despite the everyday beauty around us.” The rest of the poem is an elaboration on this first line, in either interpretation.

“I write in the sound of chirping birds hidden
in the almond trees, the almonds still green
and thriving in the foliage.”

On the surface, this sentence is an observation of the nature surrounding the speaker. “Chirping”, “green”, and “thriving” give the impression of vibrant life, but that the almonds are “still green and thriving” makes me wonder if they will be for long. This is foreshadowing the darkness that comes later in the poem, and also perhaps the inevitability of winter. Those almonds will wither and fall, and before that, the birds might eat them all. Even while we enjoy our prosperity, we never forget our demise is inescapable.

“Up the street,
a man is hammering to make a new house as doves
continue their cooing forever.”

On the surface, sounds of distant hammering and the cooing of doves are comforting sounds of everyday life. The man is creating a home, being productive, but nothing is said of what happened to his old house. His need for a new home implies that there may have been a disaster, or maybe he's just trying to make something new for himself. Either way, the man is symbolic of rebuilding, moving forward. Doves are symbolic of peace historically, but also, doves and pigeons are all over the planet, much like people. As the doves coo forever, humanity will endure, whatever comes.

“Bees humming
and high above that a brilliant clear sky.
The roses are blooming and I smell the sweetness.
Everything desirable is here already in abundance.”

The humming of the bees and the smell of the roses add a layer of imagery to the poem; engaging all of our senses, we are there with the speaker on that gorgeous day. The line “Everything desirable is here already in abundance.” is a bit stilted, however, after the flowery descriptions of the birds, bees, flowers, and trees. Perhaps it's the word “already” that throws the eye and ear, but it's almost a clinical assessment of the blessings of the day, or an automatic reminder to the self to be grateful for what is in front of us. “Already” changes the meaning of the sentence just slightly, it assures us that nothing is missing from the scene, and that we need not look further for happiness, it's all here. It feels like the speaker is reassuring the reader, or herself.

“And the sea. The dark thing is hardly visible
in the leaves, under the sheen. We sleep easily.”

The tone of the poem shifts briefly with these two lines, it changes from largely appreciative and happy, at least on the surface, to suddenly overtly menacing. The sea represents something frightening to the speaker, perhaps it's literal -there was a tsunami, or someone drowned- but it's more likely the sea is symbolic of something bigger: death, illness, pain, or fear. It's interesting that it's “hardly visible in the leaves”, since the leaves held chirping birds and just ripening almonds a few sentences ago. The speaker is seeing darkness where there was life and potential; her perspective has changed, a shadow has fallen across her mind. Thus, “we sleep easily,” shouldn't necessarily be taken as a simple statement of how well the speaker is slumbering. When we look at it with that darker cast, it becomes death, how fragile our lives are.

“So I bring no sad stories to warn the heart.
All the flowers are adult this year. The good
world gives and the white doves praise all of it."

Instead of wallowing in the dark moment, the speaker has no complaints, no sad stories. The flowers have grown to fruition, nothing bad has happened as of late. So, we must be appreciative of the gifts we have in this world and be like the dove, just keep living and cooing.

I found the sounds of this poem to be subtle but their usage adds to the beauty of the scene. Alliteration is used as in the S's of “smell the sweetness” and “sad stories”, the A's and M's of “a man is hammering to make”, and the G's of “the good world gives”. Assonance is even more common, as in the I's of “chirping birds hidden”, A's of “already in abundance” and “all are adult”, and the repeated E sound of “in the leaves, under the sheen. We sleep easily”.

There are rare uses of onomatopoeia in this poem. In “bees humming” the Z and M sounds recreate buzzing and the repeated IR sound of “chirping birds” is reminiscent of bird calls.

The tone of the poem is hopeful, but with an underlying threat. Nothing is ever as perfect as it seems, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't embrace what we have while we have it.

Addendum: Going over this essay again, it strikes me how much the dark thing inside my days is almost always migraine. And just like she says, even on a perfect day, it's always there, just hidden in the leaves, under the sheen. I also believe firmly in bringing no sad stories to warn the heart, because while complaining about my disability and my pain definitely has its place in my coping process, it's a very, very small place. At least, I try to keep it light.

I like to imagine the woman in this poem. I see her struggling with pain, it could be illness, or fear, or depression. She's trying to immerse herself in moments of beauty but she can't ever fully escape whatever "dark thing" is haunting her.

Thanks Linda Gregg, I love this poem.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fresh Bread and Clean Carpets

I've adopted some new appliances into my home. They are mostly great and I'd like to tell you about them now.

We were gifted a Kenmore 2 lb Bread Maker for my birthday, and it is working as we speak. I mean, it was making bread while I was typing the first draft of this post, it was making dough that would be pizza crust when I came back to edit, and it was making dough that would be deep dish pizza when I finally got around to posting, so I've been really putting this little workhorse through its paces and we're getting along just fine.

Kneading dough for fresh baked goods is very hard on my head, so it's really nice to just add the ingredients, push a few buttons, walk away, and have fresh bread (or dough for other things) a short time later. I can even set a timer, so I wake up to fresh bread in the morning. We haven't made it all the way through the recipe book yet, for lack of ingredients, but our most repeated recipe so far has been one I found on the interwebs, a french bread. It doesn't have the same texture as french bread from a bakery, it's more cakey, but it makes superlative toast and is nice for sandwiches and dipping. I'm hoping to get into darker grains soon, maybe rye.


We've inherited a Roomba 560. It's adorable. I started anthropomorphizing it right away, so that's been fun. It's like having another pet, but one that cleans. I point this out to our little dog every other time roomba does a tour, but she remains unimpressed. We've used the roomba off and on for two months now and this little robot vacuum gets two thumbs up from me. It gives the floor a decent (not perfect) once over, makes alert noises and stops if cords or larger debris are tangled in its bits, it's easy to clean out, and it has a timer, so as long as we've picked up enough for it to run, it goes all on its own every day.

The roomba's been great so far, but I'll let you all know if it breaks. By which I mean I'll probably post pics of the funeral I'll hold for my dearly departed roombie, an elaborate affair that will be followed by a period of mourning that I might call shiva to make myself sound more interesting, but it will really just be days and days of marshmallows, tea, and Downton Abbey to soothe my broken soul.


Add a vacuum I can actually maneuver to the mix and we've got a clean carpet, people! We've also inherited a Eureka Optima Lightweight Mini-Upright Vacuum, and everyone is thrilled for me to be able to participate in the vacuuming again! It's much lighter than our old, borrowed vacuum at only about 12 lbs, and with it I can cover roughly half of our room at a time without serious migraine repercussions! I've honestly been wishing for a stick vac, the pushing and the noise of the standard vacuums are pretty awful for my head and reducing the weight I'm lugging around makes a huge difference. This Eureka isn't as light as a stick vacuum, but getting half the room done is much better than none of the room, so I'm enjoying the ease with which this machine was designed. The buttons and parts are all easy to decipher and maneuver, it's not too difficult to clean out the canister without getting yourself filthy, and best of all, the thing sucks super good. [Update: In May of the year 2013, this vacuum died, probably due to user error. Learn from my mistake: if this vacuum still works, but sounds funny, stop using it. RIP.]


I was originally delighted to have a Capresso H2O Plus Glass Water Kettle come into my possession. It boils water in under five minutes and I love the auto shut-off feature because we forget boiling water on the stove FAR too often. The kettle came to us nearly new, in perfect-looking condition, but we used it less than ten times before it stopped working suddenly. My boyfriend thinks he can possibly fix it, but his honey-do list is already a mile long. The kettle's funeral will be held next Saturday in my front yard. I'll be laying it to rest in the garbage, after some words of thanks and irritation. You were great while you lasted, capresso, but I doubt I'll ever buy one of these.

So, some good and bad in these reviews. I'm really excited about my newly increased powers of vacuuming, am loving the fresh, cheap bread coming out of my kitchen like clockwork, and I'll miss that electric kettle but I've begun setting a timer when I put a pot on, and that keeps me from boiling the house down, so I suspect I'll be able to find happiness without an auto shut-off feature.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Searching for Schools

My current class is going swimmingly, A++++ and all that, but we've gotten to the point in the course when we start evaluating our future educational plans, and it's been a struggle.

I am certain that if I had savvier educational counselors working with me that I wouldn't be having a meltdown, but I really don't feel that I do. I don't want to complain about them, because they have helped me out a lot, and I wouldn't be enrolled and as far into my education as I am if it weren't for the often clumsy help of these generous people. Though they sometimes frustrate me, I still make a point of appreciating them because being is school is the best, and I need all the help I can get. Unfortunately it seems that none of these people have much experience with migraine-disabled, online-only students, although I have to admit, I am a minority within a minority in this case.

So, I'm going through the resources I do have for this educational plan-making, and I've built a spreadsheet of schools laying out their merits and potential paths of study. It's so tedious, and has been rather fruitless so far, I'm having visions of violence. I'm not even sure if I'm factoring in everything that I need to. Should I be interviewing disabilities departments? Do I just apply to ALL THE SCHOOLS and see what they say? And I'm guessing that if none of these schools has the perfect program for me that I can cobble together my own education from different institutions, but I have no idea how that works.

Right now, it's between finishing my AA in general studies at a familiar-ish school and figuring out the BA later, getting the AA in English at one of several choices of mysterious online schools (that I've never heard of but they have have the shiniest websites), and getting a technical writing certificate at a UC extension. Here's where the spreadsheet comes in, and I don't know if I'm helping or hurting myself with all this information anymore, but I've got success rates, class offerings, estimated transferable units, and several columns of formulas that break down how long it will take me to earn each degree, according to my estimates and what I could find on the schools' websites. Despite, or possibly because of, my hyper-vigilant researching, I'm overwhelmed and confused. Should I go for the Gen Ed AA since all the online English degree schools have comparatively crappy success rates? Or is it more important for me to get that English and writing education and experience in my pocket, since that's what I want to be doing for a living.

Did I remember to mention it here? That I chose technical writing as a career goal? I can't remember and I can't be bothered to go back and check entries because if I do, I'll get distracted and not post this for another few days. My brain is uber occupied by this career and education stuff and though I keep meaning to blog more frequently I'm surprised every week to find that so much time has gone by.

As it stands, I've emailed all the counselors some more; I've got one at my current school, another teaching the class I'm taking, and I'm working on picking up another at the aforementioned familiar-ish school, because if I'm going to cobble a degree together, that one is my best option, maybe. Hopefully one of these three people can help me figure out how to navigate these strange waters.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Migraine-Friendly Yoga

I've been practicing some version of yoga for years; even before the migraines I discovered how good it made my body feel and I try to get at least few minutes of stretching in every day.

I don't always succeed, though. Some days I'm too stiff to push myself, some days I don't get out of my comfy chair/bed more than is required for my bladder, and some days I simply forget, but on the days when I can devote my body and mind to some time of nothing but gentle, stretching poses, I usually feel better for it.

Of course, everyone is different, and everyone's migraines are different. My challenges may not be the same as your challenges, and I just want to remind everyone that if you are going to start a new exercise regimen, even one as gentle as my kind of yoga, to be mindful of your body and not to push yourself harder than you should.

I often start out on the floor, in child's pose. I usually put my arms straight forward, but if I need the support because my back, neck, and/or head hurt too much to fully extend, I'll place them under my forehead, or along my sides, or curled around my head. The point is to stretch as well as I can. No more.

From there, I'll move into the cat series, which I can usually do with no modifications. This arching and flexing stretch feels so good, especially for the pelvic tilting. It's simultaneously gentle on my lower back, and effective. If I feel well enough, I'll do some modified push-ups while I'm down there, too.

If my head is up to it, I'll move into the dog poses, but I often have to skip this series. Anything inverted can be dangerous for my migrainy head, leading to -or exacerbating already existing- throbbing, aching, stabbing, nausea, dizziness and confusion, and I'd rather play it safe than sorry.

The exception to my inversion aversion is salutation to the sun. I'm more likely to give this one a chance even if my head is twinging, because for this series, properly-timed breathing can be amazing for preventing head-repercussions. It's a standing stretch up, a gentle reach back, and then a super-fun dive into a forward bend. I go pretty slow and hold each pose long enough to take a few breaths. I repeat the sequence several times, and always, always, always have something nearby to lean on, for sudden and unpredictable strikes of the dizzies.

Somewhere in the middle of sun salutation, I often switch it up with some side bends, which look nothing like that link when I do them, I think that woman's spine is made of rubber tubing. It's really important to distribute your weight evenly between your feet while side bending, it really helps reduce the chance of back strain.

My very favorite pose is the warrior, which almost always leads me to triangle, which I also adore. These are great for stretching my hips, getting my pelvis back where it belongs and increasing bloodflow and flexibility to my sciatica. However, triangle pose is another one that I always make sure I have a chair or something nearby to grab onto if I start losing my balance.

When I first started with yoga, way back when I was migraine-free, I was totally in love with Rodney Yee. I love his manner and the way he accomplishes the poses, and though I can't keep up with him anymore, he's still an inspiration for me. When I'm looking for yoga tips or ideas nowadays, I usually look for pregnancy or elderly yoga, since those are really closer to my speed.

So, is anyone else a yoga fan? What are your favorite poses?