June 25, 2013

June 20, 2013

Kayaking with CCK

California Canoe and Kayak has begun a Meetup group CCK offering Sunday and Wednesday social paddles in the Oakland Estuary. Last night I attended with 12 other happy yakkers. The evening was warm, sunny and only a bit windy. I've been working on my stroke and found a new rhythm on the water last night.

Cousins Reunion at StyleWOW! Fashion Show

Last week was my school's student fashion show StyleWOW! To my surprise, one of the photographers covering the show is my cousin Stephen. We haven't seen in each other in about 10 years so it was an amazing reunion-moment.

The evening was wonderful - I was impressed with the production, the collections, the students and the overall energy of the show. Plus, I found this dress at a second hand shop in Marin for $28. Now that's StyleWOW!

June 14, 2013

June 13, 2013

Photo Assignment: Seeing the Ordinary in an Unusual Way

I am working with my friend Anna to rekindle my photography spark. The first assignment had two parts: 1) to photograph things I see in my every day life in the way I see them every day, and then 2) to photograph them in a way that I don't ordinarily see them.

Here are the most successful images - using a iPhoto to edit so the contrast, color balance and saturation are not ideal. I loved this assignment because it started to get me out of my comfort zone and to move around a bit. In fact, for several shots I was under the bed or laying on my kitchen counter.

My every day life as I see it every day:



Out of the ordinary views:

June 9, 2013

Learning to Navigate the Ebb and Flow

When Simone and Skype between London and Oakland the conversations are always deep. Often we talk about finding balance in our lives. But in our most recent discussion Simone said, "I don't believe in balance, life is about being able to navigate the ebbs and flows." This struck me as profound, especially because lately I've felt that unexpected twists and turns so easily throw me off balance, despite the centering strength I derive from yoga.

Reflecting on yesterday's see kayaking class, I very much felt frustrated and off balance. Usually I use a kayak with a rudder, which allows me to a tremendous amount of control - to go straight and fast. With the rudder I can concentrate on the basic stroke regardless of the wind and tide. Yesterday, I deliberately went without a rudder - by choice and by requirement of the course. From the moment I got into my kayak and to my final exit five hours later, I was in a constant, frustrating struggle with the boat. No rudder meant I had to learn to control the boat with strokes and edging - leaning to the left or right. It was like being a novice again and I did not like that at all.

After the water portion of the course, Benton sat with us to discuss if we were happy and had fun. I replied that it was not a matter of having fun, but an opportunity to be pushed out of my comfort zone. "I'm always going to use a rudder" I proclaimed. His response was that you can certainly use a rudder but your navigation of the boat, through strokes that respond to the conditions, may never improve. I was taken aback. He was correct, I was using a helpful crutch but was not developing my skills.

During the course I watched how Benton delicately held his paddle. He never gripped it. He did not struggle and forcefully push against the water. Rather, he read the water, played with it, moved with it, and used simple, intuitive strokes to go in his intended direction. Practicing yoga today I tried to use the same approach - flowing, moving into the pose, relaxing, not struggling, pushing and forcing to find strength and balance.

As an Instructor, this teaching quarter I have let go of trying to direct my classes using brute force and strength. Instead, I stepped back, quite far, and let the tide of the students move the course forward. I offered a bit of guidance and assistance, but mostly gave them the opportunity to find their own stroke. It was a very different teaching experience. Next quarter I will step closer to the middle and give them clearer directives and feedback while still allowing room for each student, and team, to learn to navigate the ebb and flow of the coursework. I see their frustration and lack of focus - so easily distracted by the scenery of cell phones and Facebook, but they have to learn without me as their rudder.

June 8, 2013

Sea Kayaking Is Fun and Exhausting

Took the course See Kayaking II today with Benton at California Canoe and Kayak and it kicked me. I was the first to capsize - about 30 minutes into the course. Thankfully, the water in Oakland's Estuary was warm today. At the end of the course we all practiced falling out of and getting back into our boats, in choppy waters. I felt like a waterlogged walrus with my wetsuit.

I'm ready for whatever the sea brings me. But for now I'm at Julei's Cafe in Alameda having my favorite comfort beverage - roobios chai latte.

June 2, 2013

Go Coco Crisp!

Awesome seats at today's A's game with Christine. Stayed after to see the players leave and to watch kids run the bases. Fantastic day at the O.co.