Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Food Carts & Bicycle Rides

Another gorgeous, warm day & evening in P-Town and full of reminders as to why I love my city.

This afternoon I met some folks up by PSU to check out a new Korean fusion taco truck, Koi Fusion. I'd hoped to catch a bus on 5th Avenue, but didn't end up being able to and walked all the way up from my office. It is a good walk and with the sunny weather I was pretty warm by the time I found the truck.

There was already a decent line waiting and food being served up. It was fun meeting new people and chatting while waiting. In addition to some more tech community folks I met the owner of the Whiffies food cart, Greg, and his adorable French bulldog puppies, Maddy & Moira (oh so cute, so sweet). It was very pleasant hanging out, making the wait go quickly, and oh was the wait worth it.

In a little tray was tofu cubes seared in a nice sauce topped with cabbage, bean sprouts and served in a fresh, made-in-the-truck tortillas. I got a little homemade, vegan kimchi on the side. It was all awesome. Very fresh, very good ingredients, and incredibly tasty.

Koi Fusion tofu

I was all fired up to go to yoga in the afternoon but by the time I made it home and opened the door to the adorable site of CK napping on the sofa with Phoebe I just wanted to rest. I do feel a bit guilty about not going to yoga this evening but instead CK worked on the website for my yoga teaching practice while I wrote. I made some progress on the article I started that reflects upon the time I've kept the list of names for the Transfer of Merit for the Portland ZCO community. Finally getting going on some projects at work has helped me get writing again in general.

CK & I decided to meet up with some folks, some we know from the tech community, at the food cart pod on SE Hawthorne & 12th. There are some carts that have been raved about and it has been very popular to head there for dinner after the Beer & Blog. Neither CK or I had been to any of them and it was such a beautiful night we decided to ride over.

It was a gorgeous ride over. Warm, sunny and that beautiful evening light. I smiled thinking about myself just a couple of months before my 30th birthday. I was at my heaviest, most distracted, and most unhappy. If you had told me then that 10 years later I'd be 150 less, vegan, and riding my bicycle to SE PDX with my girlfriend I would have shook my head and laughed. Funny thing is, several times people have guessed me to be around 25. When I was just about to turn 30 I looked far older than I do now.

When we got there we were met by friends and there was some chuckling about the contrast between CK's sleek road bike and my cruiser. We got input from Dawn, a fellow vegan, and wandered around a bit to check out the offerings. CK commented a couple of times that the whole vibe in the cart pod reminded her of Burning Man.

We decided upon starting with a vegan pot pie from Whiffies. One bite each and we agreed that we were happy to NOT be within walking distance of this cart. Wow, so good. Lovely, light gravy, veggies and homemade seitan in a flaky, fried pastry. Best Vegan Pot Pie Ever.

For our second course we split some fettuccine & veggies tossed in a pomegranate & balsamic reduction. Yep, from a cart. The Yarp?! cart specializes in really tasty pasta and other dishes. The dish was recommended to us and we put in an order. When it was ready were told by Jeremy, the owner, to just eat and we'd sort out the money stuff later. Bemused we sat down and dug into a huge serving of perfectly cooked pasta, summer squash, olives, red peppers, roasted garlic, onions, and assorted mushrooms in a reduction of pomegranate and balsamic vinegar. Incredibly tasty and Jeremy was way cool to chat with. I even found myself enjoying the chantrelles!

One totally unexpected gift from the universe was getting to chat with Liz. We chatted about yoga for a bit and pies. The conversation ended with the offer of her small house in Nepal for us to visit if we'd like. Wow! I am so very touched by this lovely, entirely unexpected offer.

Then we had to ride home. Hard, especially going up the hill at first. My legs complained a lot about being asked to do this. I felt a little grateful for not doing a yoga class too since my first real ride of the year. CK gave me an encouraging pep talk while I worked my way up the hill to Alberta. We laughed all the way to the house.


Unexpectedly Free Afternoon

It has been generally quiet today. Wasn't sure how the day would go after I woke up at 5AM disoriented and aching. I got back to sleep, Phoebe tried to help by curling up next to me again and woke up later than I'd expected when my Mom phoned at 9AM.

She sounded terrible, had been coughing a lot, and there were 3 inches of snow with more coming down! She said that she thought it would be better if I didn't come out. I told her we'd figure out another time, although it would be very difficult for the next few weeks. I hung up and observed the ache in my sinuses, felt the relief of this cancellation.

Two students showed up to class today and we spent a long time in less poses. Going deeply, taking time for me to work with them on alignment. It felt really good to offer that kind of attention to detail with just two people. I was aware of how enjoyable it was to have the freedom to really focus like that.

With my afternoon suddenly free I took some ibuprofen my still aching head and decided to take a long hot bath, dozing off while I soaked. After I felt that kind of groggy, heaviness I get after a nap. Unfortunately my head didn't feel much better. I washed the dishes and decided to go ahead and make stew even though I'm alone. I've been making a stew or soup most Sundays but didn't think I would today with the plans to see Mom.

AM rang up while I was getting started. We chatted for a little bit about his experience at the Beginner's Mind retreat over the weekend. It was a good experience, made him see that trying to go into residency at Great Vow may not be the best choice for him right now.

After getting off the phone I decided to just be with the silence this afternoon, resisting the urge to put on music or NPR. I'm going to see M. Ward at the Aladdin later this evening and it seemed like a good idea to spend the afternoon being mindful in the quiet. I have come to really appreciate preparing food in silence, just being fully present for the act of cooking.

The apartment smells wonderful. I'm writing early on account of the concert and will wrap up in order to eat some of the stew. I miss CK a lot and am very grateful she will be back tomorrow afternoon. I sent her a message about the stew, something about having made it so she'll be able to enjoy it tomorrow feels comforting.

Stew Meditation

Under my hand skin
Comes off in
Long brown strips
Revealing jewel
Orange flesh.
The knife moves,
planes, strips, cubes.
The hands set aside,
Move to the next
To be made into
Small pieces.
Then into a
Humble pot.
The order a
Kind of ritual.
First lilies to
Soften, grow fragrant.
Then roots,
Stalks, fruits.
Water rushing
In to give depth.
Then sitting while
All ingredients join
Together in silence
And heat.

I am nourished
By the act
And result.


Learning to Let Go

No post yesterday. I didn't really feel like interrupting a quiet evening to write, felt the guilt around it, and decided that really it is OK if I miss a day once in a while. Trying to let go of what my therapist tells me is a "Puritan work ethic" run amok. I just feel like I should have more projects DONE if I have such an out of balance sense of work! I just reminded myself that this is about practice, the practice of writing and not a practice of perfection (again).

My yoga class yesterday was a lot of fun. Hip opening, sun salutations, and supta padangusthasana (1-3). There was great energy from everyone; the container of the class felt like it vibrated with positive, shining prana.

After wards CK and I ate leftover rice & mock-chicken casserole and finished off the purple cauliflower & Romanesco broccoli from the market. After hanging out chatting for a while we decided that we wanted to see a movie and settled upon Hamlet 2, feeling in the mood for something light.

We quickly got ourselves downtown to the Regal on Broadway, purchased tickets, decided to get popcorn, and only missed mere moments of the previews. They've changed the seats and we liked the tables that now appear between pairs of seats. We felt a little worried when a pack of young teens sat down directly in front of us, but they settled down pretty quickly.

The movie was very funny. I was cringing at Steve Coogan's portrayal of a lousy drama teacher in Tuscon, Arizona. Talking about it today with my massage therapist, BM, who has also seen it. She enjoyed it a lot too, the silliness of it and we both agreed it is very well done.

CK and I made soup once we got back to her flat. We had been talking about making an African peanut stew she has a recipe for, however, we didn't really much feel like leaving the flat so I decided we'd just make soup out of what we found in the kitchen. It was fun to do and we enjoyed getting it put together.

We shared some wine and one of the Pink Pearl apples I'd picked up from the Farmers Market. While the soup cooked I practiced doing asana adjustments with CK playing my student with improper posture. We watched another episode of Six Feet Under, which I've come to enjoy a lot.

After such a relaxing Sunday I woke up in a panic at 7:20 this morning. I'd tried going to bed while anxious feelings, old shame forced on me, swirled around incessantly. I tossed and turned, waking up with starts, and then unable to get comfortable. All night I did this until I opened my eyes, saw the time and sat up with a start. I felt disoriented and ill.

I got into my email for work, sat in on the daily status call, and had the toast & almond butter CK made me for breakfast. I ultimately decided I was not up to the bicycle back to my house and gave AM a call for a ride now that we have the right stuff to transport the bike on the Outback. He gave me a worried look when I got in the car, a second confirmation besides the mirror that I didn't look well.

The day was full of meetings, planning, and trying to work with people on determining the best process to use. I went through it in something of a haze, my mind feeling a bit blurry. CK got some frustrating news in the afternoon and I was glad to be working from home so I was available to message with. AM phoned me at about 2:30, as I was finally eating some lunch, to ask if I needed a ride over to my massage therapist's. I suddenly realized I had an appointment coming up in 30 minutes!

I finished just the toasted, whole wheat, English muffin topped with avocado. I didn't want to feel full while having body work done so I didn't have any of the leftover soup more than two bites. The little bit of bread, rich with the avocado was enough for the time being. I wrapped up a couple of things and rode on over to BM's house.

She and I chatted about how I was doing physically and energy-wise. After talking about the pain in the hips and back I told BM that I felt like I was just spinning my wheels in this old pain even though my therapist says I'm making progress. While she worked on me several times I felt energy moving through my limbs, pooling in my fingers until I felt myself shaking them as if to encourage the excess to leave.

After I got home AM and I put together tacos for dinner, finishing off the avocados in the house which were perfectly ripe. It was tasty and quick since he'd made nachos Sunday night; there was leftover taco filling and re-fried beans in the refrigerator.

After dinner AM headed over to BG's house to go through all the donations sitting there for the Burmese families our Sangha has been helping. I was going to go with him, but he asked if I really wanted to since I still apparently looked poorly. I ended up sitting downstairs writing and listening to music while he was gone.

It was nice to have that quiet. Mostly I wrote about food since DG had commented to me that the reviews of what I make sound tasty, but he wanted directions. It is very good practice for me to do this, really start breaking down what I cook. Since I've thought of writing a cookbook at some time this is exactly what I need to do.

Writing about food, really thinking it though, has been very grounding to me. After feeling such anxiety, uneasiness, and shame I should never been made to feel, the connection back to making healthful food feels healing. I remembered CB telling me about how she would bake when things were tough or she felt stuck, that merely turning on the oven to pre-heat would help.

JW made a comment during the hip opening workshop that there was a difference between "letting go" and "getting rid" of something. I have been thinking about this a lot, trying to check in with myself and the ways in which I would just like to get rid of all this nasty stuff. Moving from hiding it, denying it, pretending it wasn't there, to trying to just excise it from my life. I still need to move towards letting it go, embracing those terrible things and finally being able to rest.