Friday, April 25, 2008

Hello, Aparigraha, Nice to Meet You

I tend to be someone who is hard on herself when it comes to succeeding at things I try. I am not someone who takes failure well - in fact, I may take something that is merely an average performance as being a full-on failure. However,I think I am getting better at not beating myself up. And it's not that the physical practice of yoga has created this change as much as the physical practice of yoga has made me seek out the non-physical (i.e. spiritual) practice of yoga. That of observing the Yamas and Niyamas. Which sort of begs the question of why do we need the physical practice after discovering that "yoga" can be practiced without "asana"?

For we Americans, we are not immediately drawn to spiritual things. At least, that's what I think. Sure, we have lots of Christianity and every other religion, and it is something typically taught from childhood. It is less common that people convert, or seek out a brand-new spiritual path than what was taught to them from birth. Which is where asana comes in. The run-up of the popularity of yoga in the US can be virtually entirely tied to people's desire to achieve the physical benefits of the practice. They see all these fit celebrities who practice yoga and want that same thing, for example: Madonna, a regular Ashtanga practitioner, approaching 50, looking fabulous.

Is it wrong that people's initial intention to begin practicing yoga is completely for physical gain? I don't think so. I don't know that I had any other intention myself, as I didn't know much about yoga when I started. It's a starting point that will, hopefully, result in the discovery that yoga is so much more. That is, if the practitioner is lucky enough to have instructors that present more than just asana in their classes. Teachers are key to expanding the possibilities of yoga out to their students.

Why this diarrhea-of-the-mouth, analytical yoga monologue? My week has turned out to be a lesson in non-attachment, Aparigraha.

It began with the workshop where I had a light-bulb-ish moment courtesy of David Swenson. I realized I had become subconsciously competitive with myself, that perhaps I had attached some value to my practice, influenced by if I could jump though or jump back or do Mari D on my own. The reality is that it doesn't matter (not that I hadn't read and remembered this from my studies of the Sutras. The fact is that it hadn't internalized and probably still has only partially sunk in). My practice is not less valuable based on the depth of a pose. Is it the act of practicing that makes me feel good. Granted, it's fun to achieve some pose, but after being dragged through second series resulting in surrendering my ego completely, I realized I don't care all that much when I get to second series. I am less concerned with how great my transitions are. I will keep working on them, but, so what if it never happens? And so what if certain poses will never come or never be perfect? So What! To use a link from Ms. Tyra Banks' afternoon talk show.

The second event was presented to me yesterday. I have been feeling this sense of impending doom surrounding two classes I teach at a studio. A helplessness that I couldn't seem to get traction with students and it couldn't conceivably continue. It's clear I have been attached to this idea that if I could have the masses come, it would somehow validate me as a teacher. But the reality is that it doesn't. How many people walk through the door is not only a function of the teacher. I can't control the entire environment and to attach my personal worth to how many students walk into my yoga space is unfair to me and not in-line with anything I've learned about yoga. I was given the option to keep one class, but I decided after much thought that I didn't want either. Perhaps one might say I am shielding myself from "failure" of that one class, or I am "quitting", but I don't want my teaching and mood to be influenced by how many people are sitting in front of me. I, honestly, am worn out from the experience of having the class format changed every 4 weeks, only to to have it finally be a style and level I am really comfortable and enjoy teaching, and then have it yanked away before I can start digging my heels in. Non-attachment to the outcome - it actually made me choose my healthiest option for me which was to remove myself from the environment. If the class had managed to succeed during the time I was teaching it, does that make me a better person? A better teacher? Not necessarily. And to put myself through another n months of possibly the same feelings would not make me a better teacher. In fact, it could hurt my teaching and the experience of the rest of the students.

The practice of yoga has allowed me to find peace in my decisions, much easier than it has in the past. It not to say that these situations don't sometimes bum me out, because I am not immune to having feelings (nor do I want to be). But making a decision with some clarity and then being fairly at peace with it is more than I could expect if I wasn't practicing yoga "off the mat".

Namaste.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Again, I Am Not Cool

Growing up, I was rarely the kid that had the new cool thing that every kid must have to be considered "cool." Things like those crazy MC Hammer pants or the Nike Air sneakers that if they did say "AIR" under the Nike, well, they just were cool. Thankfully, that period of assessing people's worth via materialistic retarded things ended with college. Sort of. It still exists via things like "how big is your house", "what care you drive", "is that a Louis Vuitton bag?" but it's less in your face since there are more important things to attend to like your family, your job, your health. etc.

This weekend, however, I noticed that it is alive and well in the yoga community. Sort of. A nicer version of it.The saving graces are that generally (a) yoga is about not judging, so you really should fight any urge to define yourself via material things, nor should you desire material possessions that are extraneous, (b) products yogis are addicted to are usually positive, like organic, vegetarian, or "green", At the end of the 2nd day of the workshop, they raffled off what is the latest "cool thing you must have" to help reduce the number of plastic water bottles living in our landfills for eternity.

A Sigg water bottle.

They picked the name, announced it like "Now so-and-so has her/his very own Sigg bottle!", like it was some kind of right of passage or something. As they showed the bottle, I looked around the rest of the class to see that 90%+ of the people that had water bottles had one of these nifty metal ones. Did you know they are like $25? There were maybe 3 or 4 out of the 80 people with plastic ones (like the Nagalene variety). I was one of those people. And do you know it was like a flashback to high school when I didn't have cool sneakers? I felt like some kind of newbie/impostor with my plastic, low-class water bottle.

The ridiculous thing was that I had a Sigg bottle 6 years ago from Sierra Trading Post - it was a biking one so drinking from it was not ideal - the flow was slower (good for bikers who shouldn't have to take a cap off and then have the water flow be too fast). I probably donated it because I haven't seen it in years (last time I remember seeing it was in the trunk of my long-gone 2000 Acura Integra). I guess I was cooler back then.

Monday, April 21, 2008

We Lost Our Dog in Our House

This by far was my stupid moment of the weekend - possibly the month. I get home last night from living, eating, and breathing Ashtanga all weekend, and was not greeted by Nikki in her normal fashion (running up to me, jumping on me, trying to give me kisses). The Hubby tells me that he hasn't seen Nikki for a while and goes outside to see if she is out there. I go upstairs; I look in the crates in the bedroom. No Nikki. I open the guest bedroom door (which is connected to the other bath and bedroom) she doesn't come out. Hubby does the same, checks all the bedrooms and calls her name. Nothing. I check the back gate and it is not completely closed - she could probably squeeze her butt through the space (she has been known to squeeze through spaces leaving her fur attached).

This is where the freak out begins. I conclude that she has left the yard and is off gallivanting, in harm's way. We get in the car, drive around, calling her name out the windows (I felt somewhat foolish, but I was more concerned about finding my girl), to no avail. We end up driving around twice only to decide we needed to go on foot to the park close by to see if she was sniffing around in there. Hubby insists (to my dismay) he needs warmer clothing to walk around - I myself would have gone out to look for her in my underwear, I was that worried. Tears were beginning to well up at this point. I go inside with him to put on different shoes and I hear a bark - sounds like her. Hubby thinks she is at the front door - I run out there, once again call her name and whistling. No Nikki. I go back inside and there she is! She had been in the guest bedroom the whole time.

Yeah. I was and still am feeling a little stupid.

All 10 Fingers are Intact

But barely. I am now a believer of no practice on moon days after yesterday (Sunday was a full moon).

Starting Friday at 6pm through to 7pm Sunday, I had about 16 hours worth of yoga - either practice or discussion. Let me tell you I am pooped and have gained some serious non-attachment to moving onto second series. Generally, I like to jump in head-first and am an over achiever, but this stuff just seemed like more that I ever wanted to do with my body. Towards the end of the Sunday morning practice I had come to the realization that primary series with extra backbends is all I need. Really. I don't need to get my leg behind my head. I don't need to do Karandavasana. If the more I practice, I end up getting given second series postures, fine. But I am in no hurry to move on. I am fine with perfecting Primary Series for many years.

As far as the fingers go, during jumping into bakasana from down dog (which I had some success with, actually. I landed it twice) one attempt I rolled to the side after an almost land and bent back my left pinky finger. It hurt but it wasn't horrible. Fast forward about 20 minutes and we get to "floating" into tittibhasana (firefly) and on the first attempt, I land hard and bend back the right pinky finger. This time, it took about 5 minutes before I was sure I hadn't broken anything. It was sort of numb so while I could move it, I knew there was the potential that I did some serious damage. Today they are both fine, though bending the finger backwards results in some discomfort. I thank my pinkies or their resiliency. It was after last crash landing that I pretty much checked out of the rest of second series practice.

Considering all this, I had a great weekend of practice and learning with David Swenson. He is a very humorous fellow - lots of great stories and impersonations. But more importantly, he reaffirmed alot of thoughts I had about yoga and Ashtanga, as well as answered question I had, not so much about the physical practice, but about life, in general, and putting things into perspective. As far as my practice goes, I think this workshop is going to allow me to let go of this lingering thoughts that make me feel less self-worth or less achievement. He drove him the idea of conserving energy in this practice - that it's not about showy transitions and flying around, using more energy than necessary. I had thought the same thing for a while. That not being able to do a touchless jumpback is not an indicator of my level of practice. God and/or the Universe is not going to love me more because I can get my leg behind my head. And that we do yoga because it makes us feel good - if it doesn't, then we should change the way we practice or we shouldn't be doing it at all.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Meeting David Swenson in Less Than 3 Hours!

I'm happy to report that the friggin' laptop is off my hands. Finally. No more dealing with non-committal spammers. Now it's just a matter of getting through the eBay sale of my old Coach bag (though part of me wants to sell some items on eBay that I think won't be appreciated for their true value at the yard sale - like expensive pet car seat covers that I bought for my Mini Cooper that didn't fit because the driving the Mini Cooper is like driving around in a thimble - which I loved, btw. I miss that car.).

I did about 1/50th of the garage organizing that is needed this week, but just that little bit of effort turned out some interesting things. The bonus was the discovery of a mug full of change belonging to the previous owners in the shelving above the washer and dryer. Windfall! The previous owners are no longer in this hemisphere so I am not going to be returning it to them. Ha! Aside from this unexpected booty amounting to around 13 bucks, was an inordinate number of canisters of cleaning solutions. Three different types of Pledge with varying amounts left over (not like same brand, bulk from Costco that they didn't manage to finish off). Like, why do you need this much Pledge? I mean, if the house was wall-to-wall polished solid wood, I might see the need. But there isn't a single strip of hardwood (much to my dismay) in this house, and every other piece of wood is painted white not stained, and I don't recall the previous owners' furnishings consisting of lots of wooden items. I mean, we have more wooden items including the baby grand piano and have only one solitary canister of cheap store-brand wannabe Pledge. Then again, I have lazy slothen tendencies to let dust collect until the wood grain is unrecognizable. Maybe the wife was into polishing her furniture bi-daily (unlike my striving to be at most monthly polishing habit). Notwithstanding, I find it hard to believe one needs all this wood polish. I also found two different bottles of 409 which was more acceptable to me since it's an all-purpose cleaner. I can't use Pledge for my kitchen counters or bathroom, for crying out loud. I still have another milk crate to go through that contains what looks like solvents so who knows what the hell else I'll find. 14 bottles of toilet bowl cleaner, maybe.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why You Shouldn't Sell Your Stuff On Craigslist

I must write about this whole selling-my-laptop-on-craigslist again because it's driving me bonkers.

I posted it late Monday night, for a price that is $50 lower than the next cheapest functioning old-ass laptop. It's a deal. The next morning I check my email and 3 people replied within an hour of my posting the ad. I'm thinking "Cool! This thing is going to sell fast!"

I am now realizing that people out there responding to my ad are just out there "window shopping." I have had at least nine interested parties in the last 48 hours and no one has even looked at the damn thing yet.

The first guy: I emailed him back the next morning about setting up a time to meet. No response. He was all ready pick it up he said, just let him know. Guy #2 wants to give me $20 less. I tell him I'll meet him in the middle at $10 less, give him my phone number, tell him if he wants it, call me. He replies last night, asking if I still have it. I reply 20 minutes later with "Yes! Call me or email to set up a time or else it goes to whoever pays me first". Nothing from Guy #2. Yet another guy asks me a bazillion questions about it and then starts offering me various useless things in an attempt to trade or get a lower price. Says he may email/call to see it today (since he lives within farting distance of my office). Nothing yet from Guy #3 (though he has another 5 hours, I guess). Yet another dude emails this morning, I tell him I have it, and he says he will call/email this afternoon to pick it up. We'll see about that one. These are only 4 of the 9 emails I have replied to. Notice they are all men.

Is this normal? To email people that you want what they're selling and then disappear? Like, if I am interested in buying something I will (1) ask the seller questions about it, (2) if i like it, set up a time with the seller to look at it and/or buy it. This people are all like "I'll take it!" with no questions, and then I never hear from them again.

The hubby suggested we sell the coffee table on craigslist because it might draw a better price. Heeee-ell No! No, sir, I am not going through this shit again, especially with something as bulky as a table which would require an un-Godly amount of coordination with these people who are already working my last nerve.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Selling Stuff Online is a Hassle

I decided to sell my old, ancient laptop on craigslist and posted it last night. I've had five responses since 11pm last night, which is great. So, I replied to the first guy that I would give him first dibs and when would he like to see it? So far I have heard nothing. The next two in line are ready to pounce today and tomorrow. I am not sure what to do. It's first come first serve, I can't be waiting forever for the first dude to reply. He did not give me any contact info other than his email address.

Oy! The decisions. One guy is local and needs it for school, but wants to give me $20 less. The other guys is not local but apparently wants it today. I think I am under no obligation to wait for this dude who has not replied. I am going to call the one guy that gave me his number and see if he wants it today. There. done. I feel bad for #1 and #2 but #1is too slow and #2 wants to offer me $20 less. I have a #5 that wants to offer me $20 more but I'll have to convince to hubby to drive 15 minutes east from his office to deliver it.

Someone magically put the money in my hands and take this thing from me, already. I have no patience.

Monday, April 14, 2008

We Are All Connected

Perhaps it is an irrational thought, but I feel like our country has created a global mess of historic proportions. That sounds dramatic, I know, and perhaps a little exaggerated, but I think we Americans need to wake up and smell the proverbial coffee. Or maybe wake up and smell the large pie of cow shit in our living rooms.

I just read an article about how the world, especially developing nations, are hurting from inflation on food. Riots are ensuing because people can't feed their families. Our own people here in the United States are feeling the pinch as well, though we certainly are faring better than the third world countries.

I was reminded last week of the fuel prices we had six years ago - December 2001, Los Angeles saw a gallon of 87 unleaded for $1.00. We are now looking at $3.75. In fact, since we invaded Iraq in 2003, gas has more than doubled (in March of 2003, the national average was around $1.50/gallon. We are now at around $3.30/gallon). If you look at the 6 year chart, it's been an uphill climb the entire time. If we are paying this much more, you can bet your ass the rest of the world is paying this much more, in varying degrees. Sure, we can go on about other external pressures like higher demand in China, India, etc. They have a hand in this mess, that can't be denied. However, if we hadn't invaded Iraq, I don't believe we'd be paying 270% more after 6 years. That is 45% increase year over year. I know those countries are growing, but they are NOT growing at that rate. There is more afoot here than just China and inflation.

If we can agree the Iraq war has a hand in fuel prices, then we can assume our decision to go to war has affected the cost of fuel for the entire world. This in turn, has a hand in the steep increase in global food prices, causing pain, hunger, and rioting in poorer nations. I don't think I am being irrational with this argument. We are active participants in more than just the unrest in Iraq. Our choices have global effects - huge rippling effects. We have the largest economy in the world - stupid choices we make hurt the rest of the world.

And frankly, I am ashamed. I know I did not make these decisions. I know I was yelling at the radio and the TV during 2003 when we were lied to about WMDs. But I am still a citizen of this country. It is my country and we are causing pain to the world. I can only say "I Told You So" for so long before it stops making me feel better. When November rolls around I will again exercise my ability to choose - though that has proven to be useless in the last 2 elections. What else can we do as concerned Americans? Just because 51% of the country chose the bumbling idiot again, does that mean 49% of us are wrong and need to just follow the rest of the lemmings off a cliff? I need to know what I can do because if it happens that in November, I cast another futile vote that changes nothing, I will have lost all hope that I can change anything. I will have lost hope in this country.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I am Short and I Should Have Stock-piled Gasoline in 2001

My Asics are strangling my feet - just had to undo them before I lost complete feeling in my toes.

So this morning I was laying in Savasana unable to stop my mind from running around and the thought occurred to me that maybe I was supposed to be a dwarf. Like off by one protein in a chromosome. This whole Ashtanga practice has shown me that I have short arms, long torso, short legs (making some poses a struggle). Not that I hadn't known this before. But if you've watched any "Little People, Big World" you'll see that the little people all have long torsos and short limbs. Of course, more pronounced than yours truly, but it sure does feel like I got real close to being what I would consider a clinical dwarf. Like maybe I am 4 inches away - and if they came off my limbs, you can bet your ass I'd be a dwarf. Meh.

I forgot to mention that a couple weekends ago we attended the crazy exhibition game in LA between the Dodgers and the Red Sox where 115,000 people attended. I'm not sure if it broke the record or not, but they were attempting to have the largest audience to a sporting event ever. As far as I know, they succeeded in breaking the record. Overall, it was not that much fun. We got stuck in field seats - which meant you were on the field, far away from home plate, peering through chain-link fencing, at the same elevation as the players. When you're short, this pretty much means you ain't seein' shit. And to add insult to injury, the big screens they had up didn't even show the batter in action - like pitch coming in, swinging the bat, etc. WHY HAVE BIG SCREENS THEN? Besides the fact that I didn't really get to watch the Sox pummel the Dodgers, I was also wondering when I was going to get beaten down for wearing a Boston Red Sox hat. Seriously? Dodger fans are scary. Like, half the people looked like they were there for a gang reunion. At one point while walking to our "seats" security was chasing a dude down for something. Who knows what. They ended up tackling him. So, yeah. It was interesting, to say the least. Probably the only smallest of positives to come out of it is that I get to say I attended the sporting event with the largest audience in history. And lived. Glad my hat made it out with me.

And one more thing. I got turned onto Dooce by June GonnaEatThat, formerly known as June CutoffCash, and because I am a dork, I began reading the Dooce's blog from her first post (and loving it thus far). At one point, around early December 2001, she put photos up where she shows an Arco sign. With gas prices. Holy Shit Shinola. $1.01 for a gallon. Is anyone reading this? People, a single dollar and a single cent. For a gallon. In LA. We are now looking at $3.70/gallon. If we talk inflation - wjhich averages 3% per year, times 7 years, is 21%. We should be around $1.30-1.50/ gallon. The increase we have now is 270% since December 2001. WTF. No, really. WTF.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Come Buy My Useless Crap!

We've decided to have a yard sale. It'll be the first I've ever had on my own (we crashed our friends' sale when they were selling their house a while back). If you don't count when I was 6 or 7 and sold old pens and lemonade with my best bud out on the corner of our street. I have no idea what possessed us to sell my parents' used writing implements for pocket change. Anyway. Because of my mild, self-diagnosed OCD, I have spent way too much time since the decision mentally going through our house, picking things to sell. It's like, it would be fun to just sell everything. I've contemplated about half of our perfectly good furniture. It's become something in my head that I must round up as much crap as possible and sell it. Hubby suggested we sell the house (I imagine he was kidding). That would be the ultimate showcase piece, no? But I'm thinking we wouldn't have any takers at 450K. And I am firm on that one (seeing as that is what we owe. Nice.).

I am looking forward to making some moola on this venture. Moola that will be applied to my latest plan. My brain has latched on to the idea of getting rid of ALL DEBT that doesn't include the 1st and 2nd mortgage. I have been saving like a fiend the last 6 months, but I thought about it (and read some of Dave Ramsey's shpeil. I agree with him about half the time, but think he is a little wacko with some stuff, like never using credit cards. I need my Amex bonus points, dammit), and we're sitting around with two car loans and two student loans. Why keep this debt? It's costing more than we get in interest on the saved money. Thus far, I've saved about 6 months worth of salary and I think that's enough for an emergency fund. For now. The extra is going to be used to pay off the cars and our education debt. Roughly 28K. Turns out my Sallie Mae loan is the biggest blood-sucker of them all. I have already ranted about student loans before so I will spare you the boredom. Like you weren't bored already, reading this. Anyway. That is the evil plan. I am itching to lay down the first chunk on my car - I probably think about it daily. Several times a day (this and the yard sale). It's like a fix or something. I paid off my smallest student loan last month and now I am addicted. It's the OCD. I'm telling you. I have it.

Putting a small wrinkle in my aggressive debt eradication plan is Rusty. Without fail, each monthly vet visit is $150 minimum. And we are getting nowhere. Fast. The latest idea is a month long of antibiotics. I am game for this since he seems to do best while on them, but at $4 a day, that sure adds up. If it ends up working, okie dokie. Hunky dory. But if this doesn't, I'm not sure where to go next. Bleeding, swollen paws all the time doesn't seem like a good way to live. It may be he is just too old to fight off whatever this thing is. Going on month number 5 of this ailment, it really seems hard to believe that it's ever going to clear up. Poor Rusty. He is not thrilled either, though he has figured out how to get the cone off his head at least 50% of the time. He is like Houdini, that dog. Then he gets to lick to his heart's content - which is exactly what he is NOT supposed to do. Which he knows, but does anyway He has even taken to sneaking upstairs to his crate around 8pm without the cone to go lick (we give him a break from the cone while we can watch him). We are on to him though, and now close the bedroom door. It is feeling like a losing battle.

Practice the last few times has been pretty good. Yesterday and today I was able to balance in handstand for a few seconds. Like a breath or two. That is progress. I still need the wall, losing that part is eons away. I touched fingers again in Mari D yesterday. This morning, I was helped (they don't give you much time to try it on your own - it's like 10 seconds and then someone is grabbing your arm and pulling you into it). But with one pull of the first arm, I was able to reach around with the other and grab my hands - without help. Crazy shit, that Marichasana D. If it weren't for that effing Supta Kurmasana, I might have had this primary series in the bag in a couple months. The other area of small progress with the jump back. It doesn't exist, however, today I had several occasions where I was able to plant my hands and shuffle my feet through. With short arms and a long torso, I am definitely fighting an uphill battle with transitions. I think it'll be doable, but boy will I need to break my ass to get there. I also had a fleeting moment of lift-off in mayurasana - the variation with legs in lotus and fingers pointing forward. I let out a tiny, tiny squeal - not enough for anyone to notice but me. I couldn't help myself, it was exciting.

I hope you found this post exciting. Right. Happy Hump-Day.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Creative Things to Do with Your New Cell Phone

The hubby has a new sound effect for incoming text messages thanks to the new phone's ability to record sound. What do you think he chose? Why, one of his own farts! I mean, seriously. Why would you want to use something other than flatulence to mark the receipt of an SMS message? I'll just be sitting there watching TV or driving and I'll here the phone fart.

Luckily, I am not one of those gals who thinks that is gross. I actually think it's pretty funny. I wouldn't have put it on my phone, but it's certainly clever. I'll give him that.

On to yogurt...

I had forgotten the reason I buy non-fat and low-fat yogurt. I was reminded this week. When I was checking out at the grocery store, the cashier scanned my one little thingy of cream top (full fat, nothing reduced on this bad boy) plain yogurt (which I picked because it was the cheapest at this natural foods/farmers market store), and was all fired up about why people don't buy this particular yogurt. She asked me why I thought people didn't buy it. My answer was that maybe it's because it's plain (I needed it for my Hungarian saucy eggplant stew - normally, I stay clear of boring plain). Noooo - it's because of the fat! Why are people afraid of saturated fat? Blah blah, some muttering about mono unsaturated, yata yata, People should just use lard instead of that nasty plastic Crisco (this I agree with because Crisco is na-aaah-asty (!), except I'd use butter because of the whole animal-you-killed-to-get-the-lard). She was FIRED UP! I went with the flow, commenting that I don't care about the fat. But now I have an answer to this question next time someone presents it to me:

Full-fat yogurt makes me sounds like my husband's phone (see above).

It ain't pretty. No sir, for two days I had some of that yogurt on my stew and the rest of the day I was a coffee percolator complete with enlarged bloated stomach. After day 2 I figured out the problem. No thank you, I will take the non-fat yogurt.

More than you wanted to know, I am sure. Anywho.

I had to miss practice this morning because of a last-minute early morning meeting. Blah. No practice until Friday. But important to note was that on Tuesday morning, I actually was able to touch my fingers together *by myself* in marichasana D on the right side. How about them apples? It was the highlight of the practice for me. I think it's just a matter of a month of solid practice (3-4 times a week) and I will have it on my own. Woo hoo!