Ten Percent

If, as the scientists tell us, we use 10 percent of our brains, and, as Owen Wilson tells us, we use 10 percent of our hearts, and, as I tell my yoga students, we use 10 percent of our lungs, then I’m pretty sure we also use 10 percent of our dishwasher capacity.

A few months back, I watched bemused as my friend Sarah loaded her new dishwasher with soiled plates. She’d scraped them, but not rinsed them, and when she caught me staring, she explained that (for once, she said) she’d read the appliance manual. It pointed out that the purpose of the machine was to save water and wash plates, and that by “prerinsing,” you were really doubling the water and the work. Since then, I’ve been conducting an ongoing experiment on the limits of my dishwasher’s capacity. It does fine with tomato sauce with no rinse. Even cheese is OK. Eggs do need not only a prerinse, but a good scrub.

Tonight as I loaded the dishes, I noticed the flip-down racks on the shelves. This dishwasher is much more sophisticated than I could imagine. There must be one hundred different configurations I haven’t considered. Ten percent.

Happily, I rarely load (and even more rarely unload) the dishwasher. Thanks, Wessie.

Fear the Beaver

This editorial from the local paper recounts an attack by a rabid beaver!!! There must be some way to connect that with the mystique of Team Beaver Cycling. OK, not that it has much mystique.

My Name Is Sage

What a difference the fix of a run has made in my outlook (that, and progress on the book; I’ve taken down my complaints!). The knees are just tendonitis, maybe some bursitis on the right side. Just as with the stress fracture I had last year, I think it’s the yoga that really brought it on: in shins already stressed from marathon-training mileage, repeated landings out of handstand in a workshop were too much; in a knee already irritated from the tight clips on the Spinning bikes at the gym, kneeling over and over on my thin teaching mat exacerbated the problem.

The orthopedics PA, whom I adore, said, “You can run on it–it might hurt, but it won’t make it worse.” So off I went, and the pain didn’t increase, but my sense of well-being skyrocketed.

Another change: instead of ice, which the PA says works primarily to numb the pain, I’m using heat (“to increase circulation to the avascular tendons”). Psychologically and metaphorically, that’s a big difference.

The running eases my brain in a way yoga practice doesn’t quite. It’s invigorating and exhausting. While yoga, in Patanjali’s words, is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind, solitary running gives me awareness of my mind’s fluctuations, and often leads me to that place of empty brain or of focus (dharana and the opposite of pratyahara, a hyperawareness of the senses) that we seek through yoga.

And sometimes, when it’s good, it’s dhyana, a mediation. Today, the snippet of a children’s song that was the basso continuo for the run (“Vowels are important letters, there’s a vowel in every word”), the vigilance about my knees, and the fleeting thoughts and images that crossed my mind all cleared for a few climactic seconds, yielding “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Thanks, God.

"NO! I not gonna do it!"

It just struck me: Saddam Hussein is acting like a two-year-old.

How do you keep a child in bed who doesn’t want to be there? Persuasion isn’t effective; threats carry little weight (what does Saddam have to lose? He’s said he’s not afraid of execution); your last resort is force (the imprisonment of the crib railing, the shut door).

Rebellion in a two-year-old is a frightening preview of the impending teenager’s realization that no, we can’t truly stop you, or make you, or keep you in your bed if you don’t want to be there.

We asked for it.

Christmas Traditions


“Hey! Dat Panter up dere!”

And when the creche was set up and explained, “Yeah, dat Baby Judas.”

Not quite.

Obsessed by Capitalism, Redux

I’ve been wanting to see inside this house, three blocks away and in the school district (versus the other big one I discussed Sunday). My friends say it was even more modern but the sellers toned it down. The stainless-steel countertops are great. Check out the pictures.

Now, what could Dad mean by “obsessed by capitalism”? It sounds like something that would affect a poli sci student. I think he had the wrong offspring on that one.

Cocoa Fix


Vivi’s coming down with a cold and had a crummy day. Hot chocolate to the rescue!

The Art of the Barter

Somehow I’ve found myself in possession of goods and services that can help my friends, who from time to time need maternity clothes, copy editing, or yoga therapy. I guess that’s part of being a grownup. While we’ve gotten a lot of very generous gifts in exchange for the no-obligation lending of the amazing maternity wardrobe I accumulated (maternity running clothes, maternity windbreaker, maternity lap suit, maternity leopard-print pajamas, maternity yoga clothes), I’ve worked up some great exchanges for other favors.

This week alone I’ve enjoyed a free lunch and really helpful free physical therapy. Last year I reduced my coach’s fee in return for private yoga lessons. I’m trying to work up the chutzpah to pitch yoga classes in exchange for a weekend at triathlon training camp in the NC mountains.

Wanna trade?

Quilting Bee


I spent the morning at a quilting bee, of all things! Over our fall season, each woman in See Jane Run brought a quilt square to present to the group. Our coach, Joan, set them into a quilt, and today we started quilting them.

The bee was a lot like our workouts: we alternated between chatting and focusing. Threading the needles and getting the knots through the back but not the top were as hard as any task we completed in our season. The finished product is tangible, though, and will make its rounds in the group, comforting as needed.