Author Archives: glasshill

About glasshill

madly off in all directions

Yoga this week

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Yoga with me this week (3)

Hot Yoga Naperville – 400 South Main Street, 2nd Floor, Naperville
360Fit Naperville – 1807 S. Washington · Naperville
NVN = Naperville North, 790 Royal Saint George Drive, Naperville, IL
NVS = Naperville South, 2531 W 75th St, Naperville, IL 60540
GE = Glen Ellyn  525 Roosevelt Road , Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

Making Space for yoga

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Got Space?

Teaching Yoga in Jail: What I’ve Learned

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Share Your Practice

I started teaching yoga to women at Cook County Jail (CCJ) about a year ago, as a volunteer for Yoga for Recovery, a Chicago-based non-profit that has been doing this work for years (support them by attending their 10/1 donation class at Yogaview). The CCJ website lists its average daily population at 9000 detainees – it is one of the largest single site pre-detention facilities in the US. “Pre-detention” means a large number of detainees are not people who have been convicted but rather are awaiting trial. Sometimes the wait is months long or longer.

Yoga for Recovery offers its volunteers a manual on teaching, assistance with paperwork, and a network of teachers who sign up to teach yoga to women detainees about once a month. A different group of detainees comes each week. One of three weekly Yoga For Recovery classes is for detainees who are…

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how not to think about something

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  • write ‘how not to think about something’
  • make another bullet point
  • stare at screen
  • remember the thing
  • remember you’re not thinking about the thing

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    • think about the thing
    • look at title – remind yourself why you’re writing this
    • think about the thing
    • decide to meditatemeditation-meme
    • get a text, read text, text back with emojis
    • notice Snapchat notification, look at Snaps, try every filter on yourself and then on the bird and then on the you and the bird together
    • congratulate yourself on very clever bird Snapimages-5

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    • remember you were going to mediate
    • check YouTube….
    • check Twitter….
    • get angry at Twitter
    • tweet brilliantly, sit smugly aware that your tweets will change the world
    • remember you were going to meditate
    • get email notification, read emailresponsibility13(alternate)
    • get Facebook notification….
    • think about the thing
    • right, time to meditate
    • congratulate self about meditating
    • think about the thing while meditating

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  • give up mediation for cheesecake
  • experience self-loathing about eating cheesecake, but then smugness because not thinking about the thing
  • think about thingimages-6
  • decide to write a blog about how not thinking about the thing
  • come up with a clever blog title
  • finish cheesecake, because then it won’t be able to tempt you anymore #logical
  • wonder why you’re using hashtags in WordPress #odd
  • forget clever blog title
  • think about the thing
  • look up memes for blogcreativity3
  • berate self over not being organized
  • decide morning is a much better time to get organized
  • go to bed
  • pick up intellectually challenging but impressive novel, read one sentence three times
  • think about the thing
  • go to sleep.

Stages of My Post Surgical Life – Part One

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My Pre-Op Attitude

Stage 1: The Prelude
AKA Before Operation – Characterized by:

 

  • Insane optimism – I WILL return to full-time work in 1 month, tops! EVERYONE will be in AWE of my stunning recovery – there will be tears of joy, applause, balloons, puppies, because who doesn’t love puppies in a triumphant return day dream? All recoreded in slow motion video. Also, my hair will magically stop impersonating the Lion King and my skin will clear up.

  • Impressive consumption of bone strengthening supplement power, protein power (that only tastes mostly of chalk thats been scraped off a sidewalk), stupidly expensive (but totally worth it!) miracle powders in green containers from Whole Foods, and actual green things all combined in blender. My muscles and bones will the best muscle and bones the surgical team has EVER seen. They will so impressed they will take pictures and post them to their surgeon friends. I will be famous in the medical community for having the absolute BEST bones anyone has ever seen. There will be autograph requests and TLC will do a special on my amazingly strong bones. I will be remarkably humble and slightly embarrassed about the attention and fame.

  • Enthusiastic daily strengthening exercises! Squats, planks, leg lifts 24/7.
  • Rekindling of old flame, not because of lame reasons like I’m worried about pretty major surgery, because I totally GOT this surgery thing, but because this time it’s gonna be so different from all those other rekindles that crashed and burned, well actually flopped, fizzled and limped off whimpering. But THIS time he’ll really SEE how wonderful I am. He will sleep in a chair at my bedside, make me protein shakes and miraculously lose all those somewhat irritating character flaws just for me. We will bond. He too will be awed about my amazing recovery and some point we will ride horses. Into the sunset. On a Motherfucking beach. That’s EXACTLY how this is going to go.

 

Stage 2: The Deed
AKA Operation Day – How Things Actually Happened. According to Me. On Morphine.

 

Right. So surgery is just a tiny wee itsy bitsy bit more involved than we had planned. Something about complications… bones dissolving, lots of bleeding, extra hard hammering of metal parts that break my femur, but just in about 6 or 7 places, so no biggie. Not a problem, see impressive preparation above. I will still be triumphant. PT, OT, medical and nursing staff will be stunned by my Can-Do attitude and miraculous healing powers. Some will suspect mutant genes or that I am secretly an X-Man. Professor Charles Francis Xavier – the Patrick Steward version – will come visit and ask me to join him. I will tearfully accept. Music will play, hospital staff will applaud (in slow motion, because see above).

I am now short a couple of pints of blood and didn’t quite have the super impressive bones I had imagined. Sadly there will be no
autograph tours with orthopedic surgeons. But I am stuffed with awesome NEW bone grafts from cadaver bones, which is totally awesome because Walking Dead jokes for The. Rest. Of. My. Life. I’m certain my donor will turn out to be a famous salsa dancer so along with my upcoming remarkable recovery I will also develop a sense of rhythm and the ability to move my hips independently of my spine. My students will be in awe of my new salsa based sculpt classes and they will have to move my classes to larger venues to accommodate the huge influx of students.

I am part Borg now. Which is totally badass. Screws, clamps, ties, implants, kinda creepy claw thingy – Got ’em! Resistance is futile.

 

 

 

 

 

coming soon….

Stage 3: WTF Leg?
I’d Like to Move It, Move It

learning to walk again v1

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I wrote this before my wonderful*, amazing*, spectacular* surgery. Today I’m writing about the wonderful*, amazing*, spectacular* post surgical recovery, but I thought I’d start with some history first.

Let me ‘splain, no it is too much, let me sum up*  (*Princess Bride quote for those less nerdy/hip than the author – hip…? see what I did there? brilliant, right?)images-25
  • I got my left hip replaced 7 years ago because I have hip dysplasia – yes, just like in dogs, but with less fur (thank god for leg waxing).
  • Shortly after someone wrote ‘I am Titanium’ about me* (*theory, but probably true).
  • PT was challenging* (*”Helga” my personal torturer aka my PT, was a daily star in my twitter/facebook feed).
  • Then life was awesome* (*my left leg had an awesome time, the rest of me intermittently so) I took up martial arts and got seriously into yoga.
  • I got extra attention in airport security – “Are you really that hip, because you just set off my security wand”*  (*actual conversation. with myself. in my imagination)

Fast forward.

b2a23f4fe6357f59bdd72681648cb0c7Uber cool hip starts hurting. I ignore it, hum lyrics to my song (I am Titanium). Hip hurts more, Seanna (my new Helga, I mean PT) gives me furrowed brow stare with one raised eyebrow.  I go to hip doctor, who really is nowhere as hip as I am, but I don’t point that out because I am a yoga teacher and above such petty observations, mostly. Doc smiles and furrows brow (a tricky look, but he pulls it off) and orders blood work. Still humming song, I get bloodwork. Doc calls, leaves message with ‘very serious doctor voice tone’ that I have high metal levels in my blood. I wonder about the Metalica music, he says no, has nothing to do with that.

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Well then. Dammit.

X-Rays, Scans, long conversations and several unhelpful Google searches later I learn that my hip replacement is not so hip after all, you could call it Tragically Hip (but you’d have to be Canadian to get that, or Google it, go ahead, I’ll wait). Metal debris around the hip has done the not so hip things like seriously damaging the muscle, connective tissue and bones all around it – like wow Scoob* (*Scooby Doo reference, don’t roll your eyes, I’m just trying to be helpful). So my pelvic bone is doing a disappearing act, but since it’s such a small and unimportant bone this is not worrisome* (*eye roll to indicate sarcasm). Also my blood is full of great things like Cobalt, which is a nice colour of blue if you like to paint, but not so great to have running through your entire bloodstream and all around all your cells and organs, like your brain, and all that. Also chromium, which I thought was a good thing, but there are different types of it, and wanna guess what type runs through my veins? (that was rhetorical, but go ahead and answer it if you want, I’ll nod wisely when you do) .

So there’s all that. But hey, not a big deal you can fix it with…. wait for it … surgery!

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Surgery that will replace the replacement with a different replacement that is much cooler, and less Titanium than the original replacement (aka ALL of my current replacement) It’ll be just like my new car brakes,  ceramic and plastic. Well except the plastic, because plastic on car brakes would just be stupid. Okay, forget that analogy… moving on. Look forward to the next hit song I am Ceramic with Plastic bits too. Surgery that may or may not involve bone grafts. Bone grafts from the Cadaver* Bank (*means dead, but really, really, super duper clean dead) – cue me making Walking Dead jokes for the Rest Of My Life. Surgery that may involve rebuilding my pelvis – so I will be even more hip, hard to imagine, but try (I’ll be waiting over here looking terribly cool while you imagine). Also, it may involve ‘cracking open my femur and opening it like a coffin*’ (*my surgeon’s word choice, I suggested a different metaphor/analogy/fucking word choice … like present! walnut! a goddamn door, but not a coffin, honestly dude, what are you thinking?).  But basically these are the are options, that they can only decide on after I am unconscious, so I just consent to them ALL beforehand. Also the surgeon is getting a new orthopedic ‘toy’ from a ‘friend’ that he’s really excited about using.  Cue awkward silence while doc looks excited and I have what I imagine is a neutral expression* (*neutral meaning eye roll continuing into blank stare that I imagine conveying understanding and empathy about ‘new toy’ that will ‘whack off’ part of my hip).

My next blog will be about better word choices for surgeons to use with conscious patients. Instead of ‘coffin’ try ‘fucking any other word in the English language’. Instead of ‘whack off’ use….  wait, whack off is kinda funny, but judge your audience and be prepared for a ‘that’s what she said’ response.

20140602_124948_dhhahff_smIn preparation for surgery I have been consuming Russian Weight Lifter amounts of protein and amino acids, an entire tub of collagen (which has just made my furry eyebrows furrier – so awesome), bone building supplements, supplements to help the bone, muscle, and connective tissue building supplements build more muscle, bone and connective tissue,  and an all natural chelation* agent (*pulls the metal out of my blood and puts it into my poop – insert your own toilet joke here). Basically this equates to a couple of chalky tasting grey coloured shakes and five fistfuls of supplements every day with occasional really awful Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation. Also they have me washing myself down daily with surgical soap, because apparently I am a very dirty girl and need to clean myself up before they slice into my skin, muscle, bone… (TMI? sorry, ignore that bit).

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Also, I have had my hair roots touched up, my eyebrows tweezed, my eyelashes done and have a pedicure booked, because I’m not looking at grey roots, unruly eyebrows, wimpy lashes and chipped toenails for 6 weeks, let me tell you. Priorities people. They’re important. Considering having a hair blown out so I will not have to deal with the inevitable dreadlocks on day 3 post op, but then I thought if I don’t survive the surgery, my hair will be all wrong and no one will recognize me, so maybe not.

Surgery was Tuesday, January 17th.  It sucked. It was ‘the worst case scenario’, that my doctor told me about with his ‘serious, but hey it’s still okay’ face. Aftermath to follow in next blog.
 
Below, just in case you didn’t catch the reference in the title

let me sum up, in tweets

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Sometimes you can sum up a relationship better in Tweets and Hashtags. #FakeLoveFacts #BreakUpHashtagsAreTheBest #ImFINEdammit

The one that is the story of my life

The one I heard over and over

I actually believed this one

A story I told myself

Not kidding

I need to redefine ’emergency’

not really true, he never said I was sexy

and he forget his phone, bummer, right?

actually the only way he expressed anything

again, not really true, he never said he wanted to be with me

I’m probably just over-reacting, again

and again….

And the one that is the most true

Thanks Twitter for the #FakeLoveFacts Hashtag trend. I’d say I feel much better, but that’s not true. But it did distract me for a little bit, so that’s good.

I do talk about other things on  Twitter, (cough! #Resist #TheWalkingDead) really, you can click, you know, like, if you really, really wanted to. I’m going to go finish of that quart of chocolate ice cream while you do.

 

what I really think of Valentines day

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My Homemade Valentines

Yes, I remain as curmudgeonly as ever this time of year.

Dear Cupid (1) 

I wanted to personally(2) thank you for all
the joy(3) you have brought into my life(4) 
thus far. My high school years were
especially full(5) of your special touch with 
an arrow(6). As I grew and matured(7) I came to
realize the unique role(8) that you would play
in my life(9). Every step I took you were
there(10). I have certainly been blessed(11) by
your love(12). It is at this wonderful(13) time
of the year that I really feel closest to you(14).
So for all(15) you have done(16) I want to express
my gratitude(17) properly(18). With a kiss(19).

Yours with Love(20) 
R

(1) You cruel naked jerk
(2) and I mean up close and personal
(3) and by joy I mean years and years of personal anguish
(4) if you could call it that
(5) full of scatological moments
(6) were you aiming for my forehead?!
(7) tried desperately to out run you – you grotty little louse
(8) of my personal tormentor 
(9) of pain and turmoil
(10) shooting arrows in my back
(11) I didn’t know beelzebub did blessings
(12) love of inflicting acute mental and physical pain 
(13) commercially forced sentimental pink drivel 
(14) hard to miss you with this sharp arrow in my throat – you foul bastard!
(15) Every last agonizing…
(16) each and every arrow through my head, my back…
(17) I got my own cross-bow 
(18) so I would watch your spiteful nude butt
(19) would you like to know where?
(20) I would Love to snap your little “bow” in half

 

I’m with Zefrank here, relationship apocalypse. Yes or No?

This year it’s a No, my awesomeness can be a lot to handle.

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WOMANIFESTO

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Yes.
Every. Single. MotherFucking. Word.

Libba Bray

Congratulations.

You have woken the witch that lives deep inside me.

You have removed the slumber chains from the giant of old.

You have handed me a box of matches and no chaperone

And a world made of lies and polyester.

Congratulations.

You have barked up the wrong bitch.

Proclaim it:

I have shucked off the good, southern lady’s cloak,

Of the homecoming court, the cheerleader,

The preacher’s daughter, hands gentled in her lap.

They tied it at my neck with a bow, a Gordian girl-knot,

When I was young and bossy and sure-footed

“For protection,” they said.

Whose protection? I wondered.

Enough.

I have sent that shit out to the dry cleaners

I will not pick it up

They can sell it for a profit from a rack on the street.

From now on,

I’m exposing the raw pink edges of my true skin to the sun.

Some things…

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uncensored Canadian thoughts on living in America today

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It was a very long night, and this morning is not looking much better.

I’m oscillating between Debra and Maya Angelou; between Fuck absolutely everything and Oriah Mountain Dreamer; between running home to Canada, and staying here to fight for what I believe at my core is the right thing to do.

Hey, I never said I was perfect. Zen Bitch, remember?


Still I Rise
Maya Angelou, 1928 – 2014

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

The Invitation

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

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Oh Canada, I love you and I miss you, but there is more work to do where I am.

And I wouldn’t be a yoga teacher if I didn’t tell you to breathe. Slowly and Deeply. Repeat.