The Sun Salutations I’m Not Counting

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Department of Just Wondering, Winter Edition

Dateline: Boxing Day (December 26), 2 pm, downtown Portland’s Keller Auditorium with MH and Belle, to see the last 2019 performance of “The Nutcracker.”

Watching the impressively limber members of The Oregon Ballet Theater as they do their pirouettes, I can’t help but wonder:  when ballets are performed at locales south of the equator, do the dancers spin counterclockwise?



Added cultural bonus: Belle pointed out that one of the OBT’s principal male dancers looked like Seth Meyers.

Wished-for cultural highlight: to see The Nutcracker, or any ballet, performed by Les Ballets Trockaderos de Monte Carlo.



*   *   *

Department Of If My Hamstring Muscles Are Still Sore After 36 Hours
Have I Reached Enlightenment?

Yoga Class:
“Why 108 Sun Salutations?”

Yoga Teacher:
“It’s an auspicious number in yoga; I know 108 sounds like a lot…”

“That’s because it is.”

Last Sunday (12/22), to celebrate the winter solstice, my yoga studio held an “Om-a-thon,” which is what Someone In Charge Of Marketing ®  called an hour and a half class consisting of 108 Sun Salutations.  A sun salutation, for you non-yogis, is a yoga exercise incorporating a sequence of nine or more linked asanas, or yoga poses/postures. The asanas are linked by the breath – inhaling and exhaling with each movement, and Sun Salutations involve moving from a standing position into Downward and Upward Dog poses and then back to the standing position, with many variations.

Why 108? It’s apparently an auspicious number (in the parts of the world where yoga originated), for many reasons.  Non-“woo” reasons include the fact that the distance between the Sun and Earth is roughly 108 times the Sun’s diameter and ditto for the ratio of the moon’s diameter and the distance between the moon and earth – scientific realities not likely surmised when the originators of yoga decided 108 was a magic special number.

There are plenty of “woo” reasons for venerating the number 108, and the teacher leading the class mentioned a few of them: there are 108 Upanishads (a series of Hindu treatises ca. 800–200 BCE); there are 108 beads in a mala (a meditation tool, an idea early Christian/Catholic missionaries stole “adapted”  from the Hinduism & Buddhism, and morphed into the Catholic rosary beads    [1]  ); there are nine planets and twelve astrological signs…9 x 12 = 108  [2]….

Oh, and most significantly of all, a Uno deck contains 108 cards. That’s gotta be a sign.



People who’d participated in previous year’s OM-a-thons told me it was a lot of fun, so I decided to try it this year.  Indeed, it was fun. And I only spent about five seconds of the class resting in Child’s pose.

*   *   *

Department Of Serves Me Right

Dateline: December 24, 10:30 am; in a Kaiser Hospital pharmacy waiting to pick up a prescription for a friend, for whom I am acting as “surgery buddy” for her outpatient hand surgery.  The pharmacy is surprisingly (to moiself) hopping for a Sunday morning, and I have plenty of time for people watching while waiting for the Rx to be filled.

Moiself is noticing how casually most people, especially the men, are dressed. Read: the average Joe is a Sloppy McSlob Face.  [3]   This is not an original observation;  it most likely came to my mind due to a recent rant well-thought out opinion piece I read, written by a European writer who bemoaned the tendencies of Americans to dress “down ” (e.g. as if they are sprawled in front of their TV at home) in public spaces.  As I look around at my fellow Specimens of Humanity ®, I must admit that complaining dude has a point.

Then, a very dapper older gentleman takes a seat about 12 feet in front of me.



He is wearing a grey tweed suit, vest and tie, nice (but not overly fussy) black herringbone shoes, and a gray short brimmed fedora. Dapper Gent’s posture is dignified as he leans over to pick up a magazine from the end table next to his chair. This same magazine had been recently perused by one of the previously mentioned Specimens of Humanity who’d schlumped passed by the table  – a Specimen whose plumber-inspired butt crack was on generous display atop his pathetic, pajama-bottoms-substituting-for-pants when he leaned over to glance at said magazine.

I admire Dapper Gent’s contribution to Public Space beautification, and allow myself a moment of smugness as I recall Complaining European Writer’s observations.  I look up at the line of pharmacy clerks kiosks and wonder when my number will be called.  I return my gaze to Dapper Gent, just in time to see him ever-so-slowly guide his index finger into his left nostril and dig deep, deep, and deeper, as if he is mining for precious ores.

*   *   *

Department Of Petty Pleasures
Number 387 In The Series.

Daetline: Christmas Day, Powell’s Bookstore, ~ 2 pm, for our traditional Shopping-at-Powell’s-after-Christmas-Day-lunch-at-Jake’s outing. I love it, I absolutely love it, when I espy a long of patrons waiting outside the men’s, but not the women’s, restroom.


*   *   *

Family friend LAH is an artist, and it shows in every aspect of her life. Come the Yule season she is known for exquisitely wrapping the presents she bestows, which are so beautifully adorned with artfully tied and arranged ribbons and bows and other accessories that Belle and K, even as young children, would stare at their respective gifts from LAH and declare, “It’s too pretty to open.”

No such declaration has ever been thought, much less uttered aloud, about any gift wrapped by moiself. The presents I give, which are chosen in all love, care, enthusiasm, and sincerity, end up looking as if they’d been wrapped by an orangutan with ADHD.  It’s not that I don’t try to do better…let’s just say that my family has long joked about how you don’t need a gift tag to know if the present is from Robyn.

This Christmas morning, when MH, son K, daughter Belle, and moiself were reaching the end of our opening-presents session, I picked one of the two remaining gifts from my pile – one whose tag read “to Robyn from Santa.”   [4]   I turned the gift upside down, flashing a smug “See, I’m not the only person who does this” smile to my (now young adult) offspring, to show them how the wrapping paper didn’t fully cover the back of the gift package.  Belle’s indignant/kneejerk reaction:

 “Mom, did you wrap a present for yourself!?


*   *   *

Department Of Stop Asking Me That

“Oh, yeah, so you all liked that Elf on a Shelf thing?”
(Misinformed persons who feel compelled to ask about all the elves
in our house during this time of year)

Much of moiself’s holiday décor, in all its tacky seasonal glory, is in homage to my mother, who died three years ago on Christmas eve. Marion Parnell loved Christmas and especially her Christmas decorations, which included the “tradition” (which her family started and mine continues) of placing certain kind of elves – the kind with small plastic, doll-like faces and bendable, felt costume clothes bodies,   [5]  all around the house.


Like this one, a (rare) yellow/green costumed variant.


The idea was that from any vantage point, whether you are sitting in the living room or getting a drink from the kitchen sink, an elf is casting a friendly eye upon you.  Some of our elves indeed are on a shelf, but most perch atop curtains, peek out from bookcases, lurk behind candlesticks, nestle behind dishes and clocks and art and….

But, this “Elf on a Shelf” thing? Never heard of it, until recently. It is, apparently, a picture book about…honestly, I don’t know or care what it’s about. I looked it up:  the book has a 2005 publication date.  Neither I nor MH knew about it, nor had our two children (DOBs 1993 and 1996) grown up with EOAS as part of their kiddie lit repertoire.  My extended family on my mother’s side has been putting up elves since the early 1920s, so none of this EOAS shit fruitcake feces references applies to elves on MY shelves, okay?

Y’all must excuse moiself  if (read: when) I respond with a most yuletide inappropriate profanity should you mention that book to me. Actually, moiself  finds it funny how much it irritates moiself  when someone, after seeing or hearing about our houses elves, makes a reference to the book: such as the antique store owner last week who, when I asked if her store had any elves and began to describe what I was looking for, said, “Oh, you mean, like that book?”   My customary cheerful/holiday visage darkened, and I answered her with utmost solemnity.

Like. That. Book.

Which might not be entirely accurate, seeing as how I’ve never read nor even seen the book…which may indeed be about something akin to *our* family tradition.  I just want…oh, I don’t know…attribution, I suppose.  WE THOUGHT OF IT FIRST, OKAY?  So, stick that Elf-on-a-shelf in your Santa Hat and – I mean of course, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


*   *   *

Department of Epicurean Excursion   [6]

Featuring this week’s cookbook, author and recipe:

The Silver Palate Cookbook , by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins

Recipe:  Lentil and Walnut Salad
My rating: 

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

Recipe Rating Refresher   [7]  

*   *   *

Department Of The Partridge Of The Week

It’s that time of the year again. As has become a tradition much maligned anticipated in our neighborhood, moiself will be hosting a different Partridge, every week, in my front yard.   [8] Can you guess this week’s guest Partridge?

*   *   *

Department Of Simple Pleasures

Having both Belle and  K home for Christmas reminds me of an old adage.  Passed down by amateur philosophers over the ages, the saying endures because it is true:


( e.g., knitting;
sitting over the bathtub drain when the water runs out;
listening to the lamentation of your neighbor’s children when they discover that
someone (ahem) has stolen their front yard’s inflatable Santa decoration and replaced it
with a snowman made from 10,000 laminated oral care pamphlets
from the Pediatrics Dental Association )


And so it is with all sincerity that I wish y’all the simple pleasures of Happy New Year.

*   *   *

May your present-wrapping skills bring you wide acclaim;
May we appreciate our fellow Specimens of Humanity in all our sartorial glory;
May your simple pleasures by simply maaaahvelous;
…and may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi! 

Jusqu’à l’année prochaine!

*   *   *


[1] Although the Catholics halved the number to 59 beads, in perhaps an effort to claim originality or refute charges of plagiarism.

[2] Except of course/again the originators of such superstitions did not know there were nine planets…and now we all know (though some of us refuse to accept the fact) that there are not nine planets, but eight.

[3] Although, with my idea that I’m dressed up when my tie dye shirt doesn’t have any mustard stains on it, who am I to talk? 

[4] Yes, that would be MH.

[5] Many of the oldest ones have a tiny Made in Japan sticker on them and date from the 1950s, or so I was told by one antique shop dealer.

[6] A recurring feature of this blog, since week 2 of April 2019, wherein moiself decided that moiself would go through my cookbooks alphabetically and, one day a week, cook (at least) one recipe from one book.


* Two Thumbs up:  Liked it
* Two Hamster Thumbs Up :  Loved it
* Thumbs Down – Not even Kevin, a character from The Office who would eat anything, would like this. 
* Twiddling Thumbs: I was, in due course, bored by this recipe.
* Thumbscrew: It was torture to make this recipe.
* All Thumbs: Good recipe, but I somehow mucked it up.
* Thumby McThumb Face: This recipe was fun to make.
* Thumbing my nose: Yeah, I made this recipe, but I did not respect it.

[8] In our pear tree.

The Theme I’m Not Suggesting

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Several times a week I check online writers’ resources, which post calls for submissions from publishers and editors.  Many of the submission guidelines are so genre/topic and/or region specific as to be of no use or interest to me (“we seek speculative fiction reflecting the transgendered, pink-collar experience of immigrants to the Appalachian/Ohio Valley/Northeast/Midwest region”). And then, there are those venues whose particulars are downright entertaining, in that head-scratching, there’s an app for that? way.

Mermaids in the Basement: An Anthology of Mermaid Poetry
 (______________) is seeking original poems of mermaid poetry…..
Poems need not mention mermaids directly but must suggest a mermaid theme.


I love the request for “original” mermaid poetry.  It’s not as if there are anthologies full of classic (or even contemporary) mermaid odes to plagiarize.

“Here I sit so broken-hearted…”

And, not knowing what would constitute a mermaid “theme,” I can’t even hint at one, much less suggest it. Although I dare to venture that such a specialized genre calls for haiku.

Neptune’s stench ascends; 
More mermaids in the basement?
Call the plumber, dear.

*   *   *

There are friends, and there are friends.  What kind are you?

My perennially upbeat, kind-hearted, mild-mannered friend TK expressed her concerns about her upcoming oral surgery.  Due to what transpired after her colonoscopy several years ago, TK is worried about what she might say or do while under the influence of modern happy blabbermouth brain filter reducing pills medicine.

 TK had asked her son to be her designated post-colo transportation, and he drove her home from the hospital.  As Son pulled the car into their driveway, TK asked him a question, the answer to which she should have already known.

“Is Grandma still at our house?”

“Yes Mom, Grandma is still at our house,” Son replied. (TK’s mother had been staying with them for several weeks).

“Oh!” TK sputtered. “Then you get in there and tell her to go the fuck home!”

TK’s son was – surprise! – greatly amused by his mother’s outburst, which he would have missed had he not been her driver.  He asked her why she’d chosen him for the honor, and not her friend, Wendy?  TK told Son she’d been warned about certain after-effects experienced by those who’ve undergone a colonoscopy.  Although Wendy was indeed her friend, when it came to comfort levels, TK wasn’t sure if Wendy was the kind of friend…well, she didn’t know if Wendy was a “farting friend.”

You may be a BFF, but are you a BFFF?

*  *  *

So much for which to Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Truly, MH and I have been Touched By His Noodly Appendage ® , when I consider the fact that our daughter Belle is neither the kind of person who

(a) like one of her classmates, shares (during class time) the news that she got a letter from her incarcerated boyfriend, [1] , nor
(b)  like several other girls in the class, responds to such news with icky-sincere squeals of, “Aw, isn’t that sweeeeet?!”

Belle assures me she has (so far) managed to refrain from barfing in her book bag when the hormonally-challenged, love-struck loser besotted youngster tells tales of her jailbird Romeo.  Such self-control is amazing for mere mortals, but perhaps not surprising when coming from – proud parent announcement alert – one of the LHS Class of 2014 Valedictorians. [2]

*   *   *

A show I’m looking forward to seeing:
“Jesus Loves you (But Hates Me)”

*   *   *

Stop the Presses ! Alert the media!

It’s time for a new acronym for an official, or at least widely recognized, office of the federal government.  We have SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) and POTUS (President of the United States).  Surely there is room in This Great Country of Ours ® for DOTUS (Do-Nothings/Dickheads [3] of the United States).

 This thought came to me the other day while listening to an interview with yet another do-nothing Republican congressman.  True to the acronym, this elected official was doing nothing…save for the usual GOP chunk-blowing.  Really, and truly, I wish I knew what the current crop of Republicans are for. [4]  From my perspective, they do nothing, they say nothing, they are for nothing —  except for being rabid bat-bit, foaming at the mouth crazy, anti-Affordable Care Act (excuse me, “Obamacare”).

Although I am not currently a member of any political party, [5]I am a devoted and consistent voter.  I have many complaints about the Democrats, but it’s the Republicans who have me flummoxed with their crazy ass legislative and rhetorical inertia.

“I’m not coming up until Obama care is gone…Bwaaah!

There are a myriad of problems, challenges and downright ***f***s facing this nation.  Reflecting on only a few of these will get my head spinning:

– our ham-fisted immigration system;
– the higher and higher cost of higher education crippling, and the resultant saddling of graduates with crippling student loan debt;
– the widening economic gap between rich & poor;
– global warming and the need for non-toxic, renewable energy sources;
– our aging transportation system/crumbling infrastructure;
–  the need to assess our role as the world’s police, including our continuing military presence overseas;
– the rise of religious fundamentalism abroad and at home, and the security and educational ramifications of dealing with
those who embrace pre-scientific, pre-Enlightenment worldviews;
-our growing scientific and technological illiteracy, and how our science education compares to that of other developed nations

And Republicans are really pissed about…something they already helped pass into law.

 *   *   *

The Ones That Got Away

One of our family’s most treasured [6]seasonal traditions involves voluntary elf infestation.  As part of our Solstice/Christmas décor, a motley crew of Santa’s elves are placed in various nooks and crannies in the downstairs rooms of our house.  One crouches atop the kitchen clock, another peers out from behind the leaves of the potted ivy by the sink, one hangs from the chandelier, others hide between the shelves of books and DVDs or atop curtains or precariously hang on picture frames or objects d’art…. The idea being that, whether standing at the kitchen sink, walking through the hallway, sitting in front of the TV or on the loo, you are being watched.

We plant dozens of these elves in various shapes and sizes each Solstice season, and try to come up with novel hiding places for them.  Come early January when the seasonal décor is taken down put away until next year, there is always one sprite that escapes detection.  This lucky elf is rewarded by having a free downstairs pass until the following season.

This year, for the first time, two freedom-loving elves managed to remain hidden until after the others had been returned to the attic.  Both were cases of hiding in plain sight; much to my surprise, neither one was that which had been oh-so-cleverly hidden by MH. [7]

*   *   *

May no DOTUS darken your day, may the elves watch over you and yours, and may all of your friends be farting friends.

And, of course, may the hijinks ensue.

Thanks for stopping by.  Au Vendredi!

[1] This is far from the first time said student has mentioned her incarcerated lover.

[2] She found this out yesterday, from her school guidance counselor.  Much happy feet dancing ensued.

[3] Lady dickheads are included in this acronym, lest Michelle Bachman have yet another reason to feel left out.

[4] Other than lower taxes for baziillionaires and full funding for NSA security devices placed in every vagina lest women even consider managing their own reproductive systems.

[5] I have been registered with nearly every political party at some point in my electoral life, to either vote for (or against) someone in a primary, or so see, as I did in college, who sends the most whackadoodle flyers to their registrants:  the John Birchers, the Libertarians, the Peace and Freedomers….

[6] And unnerving, according to some visitors.

[7] In the eye socket of MH’s 50th birthday present to moiself.