Monthly Archives: April 2008

Happy Birthday!

It’s Dudley’s birthday today! He doesn’t have a blog of his own, but I know he hangs out here quite a bit, so leave him a comment to wish him happy.

Dudley is my husband’s best friend. They met in college and have remained close, despite a pretty significant geographical divide, ever since.

The stories about sharing duties as the Syracuse mascot never get old. Neither do the road trip stories or the skiing adventures (or the Hunt for Red October quotes).

They have each other on speed-dial, and the phone is often ringing in the middle of sporting events that one KNOWS the other is watching (sometimes, Mr. Chili has ME answer the phone because we’re watching the game on TiVo, and he doesn’t want Dudley to spoil something my husband hasn’t gotten to yet).

They were attendants at each other’s weddings, and my husband barely made it through his best-man toast at Dudley’s wedding a year and a half ago.

When one’s got a problem, the other’s got an ear. The phone rang the other night, as a matter of fact, with Dudley on the other end with a car question. I love that they do that.

For as much as I love and admire Dudley’s friendship with my husband, I also love that he’s my friend, too. A lot has happened since we first met, and much of it has served to strengthen our friendship in its own right. I know that I can call Dudley when I need advice about something (or when I need help understanding my husband a little better) and he’ll be there. He’s smart, he’s funny, and he’s a genuinely good man.

I’m going to leave you with the story of Dudley’s and my first encounter. I was newly dating Mr. Chili, and he invited me to come with him to spend a long weekend with Dudley and his family in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. We arrived at the house to find a note telling us that everyone was at the beach. I was introduced to Dudley who immediately asked me three questions – “how old are you, how did you meet him, and do you ski?” Five minutes later (and, I’m told, completely unplanned) his wife asked me the same three questions. Despite my never having strapped skis to my feet (I still haven’t), I was instantly and unconditionally accepted, and I’ve felt like an old friend ever since.

Happy Birthday, Dudley. We love you very, VERY much.


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Ten Things Tuesday

My adopted mom is currently undergoing treatment for throat cancer. I’ve not written much about it yet, but there’ll be quite a few posts coming about how this woman walks her walk; she understands her faith well enough to let it sustain her as she faces this really uncomfortable and potentially scary thing.

She and I were driving home from one of her radiation treatments last week, and she was marveling that people find her so incredible. They’re amazed that she’s always pretty upbeat, that she’s smiling, that her attitude is so very positive. What they don’t understand is that the only difference between her and everyone else is that she understands that she has a choice in how she deals with this. She can be frightened and defensive and defeated, or not. She can choose to be angry and resentful, or not. She can choose to accept pain and suffering, or not. She can be grouchy and demanding, or not. She chooses the not because she knows she has that choice, and she knows, without any hesitation, that regardless of how this turns out, it’s going to be okay. She’ll survive this or she won’t, but in the end, it’s all going to be okay.

She is my hero, and I aspire to know my own faith in the Universe as well as she knows hers.

Today’s ten things list comes from something my mom has had on her fridge since before I came into her life some 25 years ago. It starts to explain, just a little bit, where she’s coming from in her thinking on her place in the Universe, and every time I read it, a little piece of me says “yes, that’s true.” See if some of it doesn’t resonate for you.

Ten Rules for Being Human by Cherie Carter-Scott

Rule One:
You will receive a body. You may love it or hate it, but it will be yours for the duration of your life on Earth.

Rule Two:
You will be presented with lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called ‘life.’ Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or hate them, but you have designed them as part of your curriculum.

Rule Three:
There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of experimentation, a series of trials, errors, and occasional victories. The failed experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that work.

Rule Four:
A lesson is repeated until learned. Lessons will be repeated to you in various forms until you have learned them. When you have learned them, you can then go on to the next lesson.

Rule Five:
Learning does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned.

Rule Six:
‘There’ is no better than ‘here’. When your ‘there’ has become a ‘here,’ you will simply obtain a ‘there’ that will look better to you than your present ‘here’.

Rule Seven:
Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.

Rule Eight:
What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you.

Rule Nine:
Your answers lie inside of you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

Rule Ten:
You will forget all of this at birth. You can remember it if you want by unravelling the double helix of inner knowing.

–Cherie Carter-Scott, From “If Life is a Game, These are the Rules”


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Just Another Random Monday

Here, in no particular order, is a sampling of the randomness that is my life at the present moment:

* I received my first rejection letter of this job search cycle this morning via email.  Whatever.

* Beanie goes in for her re-evaluation at the endocrinologists’ office this evening.  We’ll find out tonight whether she’s making progress in her growth that her doctor deems adequate or if we’ll have to go upstate for a more comprehensive test.  I will, of course, keep you posted.

* I’m a little sick of using Imus for my unit on the First Amendment and free speech in my public speaking classes, so I’ve decided, instead, to investigate the Tiger Woods-Kelly Tilghman-Golf Week lynching/noose fiasco.  I’ll start the lesson today by tossing the First Amendment up on the board to see who knows what it is, and we’ll go from there.  I’m going to have the students write an essay on free speech as it relates to ethical speech by having them research the Phelps’ campaigns against gays and, lately, the military.

* It’s back to being chilly again, and it’s going to rain for most of the week.  The girls were all excited about doing the winter-summer clothes switch this week, but I think I may go with my original idea and wait until the middle of May, at least.  56 degrees doesn’t mesh well with shorts and tank tops.

* I just finished reading Enchantment by Orson Scott Card for the Dark and Stormy Book Club.  I HIGHLY recommend it – it was a fun, well-written, satisfying read.  Tune in to the podcast on May 10th to hear more of what I thought of the book, and what my smart, funny, and articulate club-mates thought, too.

* I’m down to two more Yoga National Guard sessions, and then I’m done.  I’m looking forward to completing the program, though I will admit that I’ll miss some of the people in the group and I hope to be able to stay in touch with at least a few of them.  If I learned nothing else in this experience, it’s that there are literally as many ways to practice yoga as there are people who practice it, and that it’s up to the individual practitioner to find out what works best for them.  I’ve got a post in the works about the idea of finding a guru vs. BEING your own guru – watch for that later in the week.

* I’m trying very hard to eat well.  My work schedule has cut significantly into my fitness routine, and I’m finding that to have a negative impact on the amount of gravity I’m currently being subject to.  I’m still admiring Kizz for starting – and sticking with – Weight Watchers, but I’m not sure that I’m quite to the point where I’ve got the intention to be that deliberate.

That’s all I’ve got for you today, My Friends.  I hope you’re all well, and that Monday is being kind to you so far.


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You Learn Something New Every Day

On a really good day, you get to learn more than one thing!

Yesterday, I learned that I can do this!

It’s called Marichyasana I, or bound seated half staff. Until yesterday, I’d never attempted it, so I had no idea whether or not I could actually reach around me knee to clasp my hands behind my back. Generally, bound poses are tough for me, both because my shoulders are notoriously tight and because, while I don’t have T-Rex arms, I’m not particularly long-limbed, either. I was a little surprised that I could do this pose – and that I could do it well. Now I’ve got something new to bring to my classes (ready, Weeble?).

I also spent my lunch hour with a lovely soul from the class who guided me to a realization about something I’ve been struggling with within myself. I was relating my story to her; telling her about my frustrations and fears, about how tense and sad I’ve been lately, and she reminded me that none of this work exists outside of myself – that I have to go inward. I need to stop allowing myself to stress out about the other people, she said, because there’s nothing that I can do about the choices they make or the things they do or do not say or feel. What’s needed, she reminded me, is that I go inside to figure out what buttons, what old wounds, what triggers these situations are setting off in me, and how I can get underneath them and suck out the power they have over me. What I realized, sitting there over a really yummy steak salad, was that I was living in my past in a few of the things I’ve been dealing with in my present.


I grew up being told that I was something I wasn’t – nearly all the messages I received from the people I thought should know me well were negative at best and abusive at worst. I spent a good part of my early life trying desperately to prove to these people that I wasn’t the terrible person they made me out to be, but no amount of effort on my part could change what they saw. A lot of the negative energy that I’ve been feeling lately, my friend helped me realize, is very likely the result of my being afraid of being accused of being something I’m not; that I would be told that I am a disappointment or that I am inadequate or that I’m being a bad friend. I’m recognizing that it’s entirely my responsibility to be what I am, and to remind myself that no one else gets to tell me who that person is. I get to create my own self, and I shouldn’t give that power away to anyone else. That’s my work, and I’m grateful to my friend and colleague for reminding me of that.

image credit,


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I Haz a Bug

Humorous Pictures

I think (or, more to the point, I hope) that it’s not a bug at all, but allergies that have me snorting and gasping and feeling generally unwell.  I’m a walking snot factory at the moment (lovely, huh?) and am finding that all the time I spend hanging upside down in yoga practices (this being a Yoga National Guard weekend) doesn’t help matters in the least.

I’m certainly functional and haven’t yet approached miserable; I’m more annoyed than anything else.  I’m trying to tough it out during the day time – I neti in the morning and am trying to stay well-hydrated all day, and I’m doing my best to ignore the goopy nose and wildly itchy ears (MAN!  If I didn’t know how dangerous it is to stick things in one’s ears, I’d be rooting around in there with anything that would fit!  The itchy is insane!).  I’ll take something for the symptoms at night, both because lying down exacerbates the effects and because most allergy medicines make me stupid and unfit for anything but sleep.

The funny bit is that we’re not even in full-blown allergy season yet.  Yes, things are starting to bloom (and, it would seem, that I’m sensitive to whatever is blooming now) but the REAL pollen attack is still several weeks off.  Just you wait; I’ll take a picture of my black car all done up in a yellowish-green dust so you can see for yourself.  It amazes me every year.  I don’t think I’m allergic to whatever that pollen is, though, so my hope is that I’ll dry up whenever whatever it is that’s sprouting now finishes its run.

Happy Saturday, Everyone!


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Day of Silence

Today is the 12th annual Day of Silence.


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DONE! Yoga National Guard Essay #3

In which Mrs. Chili finally figures out the description of movement.

… or not…

I’m very good at describing things. I don’t think it’s boasting to say that I have a talent with words, or that my command of my language puts me in a position to be expressive and eloquent. My background in literature and writing has pretty much ensured that I can get some rather complex ideas out of my head and into others’.

What’s not always a given, though, is that information moves as smoothly and easily in the reverse direction. Sometimes, it takes me a while to clearly see what I’m reading or hearing, and I think this is what happened when I tripped up on several of the test questions that dealt with the mechanics of body movement.

A series of questions asked me to decide whether a certain muscle shortened or lengthened as a result of a particular movement, and I found myself guessing on a lot of them. Frankly, I was more than a little surprised that I got as many of those questions right as I did; toward the end of the series, I lost all confidence that I understood what was being asked and figured I had a 50/50 shot at getting the correct answer. Not admirable or particularly teacherly of me, I know, but there you have it.

In an effort to finally understand what is meant by some of these descriptive terms, I’m going to do my best to illustrate each of them with something that I – and you – can picture. I’m pretty sure that if I could have seen the movement in my mind’s eye, I’d have scored higher on the test (and this essay would have been unnecessary, but that’s neither here nor there).

Flexion is simply the reduction of the angle of a joint. Flexion of the knee, for example, is bringing the heel closer to the bottom; flexion of the elbow brings the hand toward the shoulder. In contrast, extension is the increase of the angle of a joint; bringing the foot back to the floor in our first example would be extension of the knee.

Demonstrating an anterior tilt to the pelvis would involve the pelvis being forward and downward, resulting in a hyperextended low back:

Conversely, a posterior pelvic tilt brings the hips upward and backward, causing a flattened back:

credit for above two images

I find I have the most trouble when the movement involves the hip. My hips don’t move a whole lot – I suspect most folks’ don’t – but I’ve come to understand that it’s not necessarily the hip joint that we’re talking about when we’re talking about describing movement. For example, medial rotation of the hip involves turning the thigh inward:

image credit

Extension of the hip involves bringing the leg back:

image credit

Hip adduction is bringing a leg back toward midline (I remember the difference between adduction and abduction from my primary fitness certification days; the trainer who led my PFC course told us that AD-duction is “a DREAMY date” – we’d want to pull the object of our affection toward us. AB-duction is “a BAD date” and we’d want to push the boor away):

image credit

So, abduction of the hip is the opposite of adduction. Imagine the arrow in the image above pointing the other way.

Finally, lateral rotation of the hip involves rotating the thigh outward away from the midline of the body, and would look something like the movement indicated by the top arrow in this image:

image credit

The upshot of all of this is that I’m still not sure I completely understand movement when it’s described in this way. I have been told that, as a yoga instructor, I have a way of making movement cues seem logical and easy to follow. I’ve had several people come to me after a class to tell me that they didn’t understand how to express a pose until they came to my session; that I was able to get them to think about their bodies and where they were in space that helped them to figure out how they could best get into a pose that had eluded them.

I’ve never managed to get anyone into a pose by telling them to laterally rotate their hips, that’s for sure!


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