Killing Me Softly (a.k.a. Yoga)

Yesterday was a Red Letter Day.

I think.  I have always thought of a Red Letter Day as a day chock full of pleasant surprises, but just to make sure what I write is as accurate as my wisdom-wrapped-up-in-nonsense can be, I looked up the meaning of the phrase.

I love Wikipedia for this sort of serious academic research, but this time I chose instead some obscure UK site.  Because I thought the British description would be more interesting. Because of their penchant for misspelling common English words over there.

Red-letter day*


In earlier times a church festival or saint’s day; more recently, any special day.


This comes from the practise (see, told you) of marking the dates of church festivals on calendars in red.

The first explicit reference to the term in print that we have comes from America. This is a simple use of the term “Red letter day” in the diary of Sarah Knight – The journals of Madam Knight, and Rev. Mr. Buckingham … written in 1704 & 1710, which was published in American Speech in 1940.

(aside:  wondering what Madam Knight had to say in her journal about her red-letter day with the Rev. Mr. Buckingham in 1704 and/or 1710.  historical novel fodder.  Oh Wait.  Dim memory of an English lit class.  The Scarlet Letter.  Dang, Hawthorne beat me to it.)

The practise is much earlier than that though. William Caxton, referred to it in The boke of Eneydos, translated and printed in 1490:

 “We wryte yet in oure kalenders the hyghe festes wyth rede lettres of purpre.”  This makes no sense to me whatsover, assuming purpre = purple.  I am now too lazy to look it up.  But it doesn’t have to make sense to me —  I am studying Spanish, not Olde English.

Back to My Hyghe Fest Day

First, I got to work at home instead having to go in to the office.   This is good because I didn’t have to drive my always-a-potential-adventure-in-panic  commmmuuuuuuttttttteeeeeee, all the way from my little ranch in the boonies to midtown Sacramento.  Plus I get to play music as loud as I want while I’m working.  Plus I get a lot of work done while The Black Thing (my beast of a bloodhound) snores contentedly on my feet.

Then I went to visit my horse “Big”, who, having had some joint injections the day before, needed some bandages removed.  This was good because Big stood still while I used scissors around his hooves, which is always a potential adventure, especially when the horse is, well, big.

Then I went to Walmart.  Always a potential adventure, but I was on a mission — to get a Walmart manicure inside of 40 minutes (40 being the maximum manageable number, even though I was already reliably Rx-ed, in anticipation of the onset of panic to be caused by the enjoyable relaxation of a manicure countered by the crowd of Women of Walmart already packed like large, interestingly dressed mani-pedi-ing sardines in the little salon) by my favorite manicurist Kevin.  Who is Vietnamese.  No surprise there.  Except for his name.  He has a different given name I’m certain.  I asked him what his real name is, and he just smiled,  shook his head side to side, said “No No No” as if he was already suffering my butchering of his name in an attempt to pronounce it.  What Kevin doesn’t know is [1]  I work hard at pronouncing correctly the proper names of all cultures, and [2] if I can say Merry Christmas in correctly pronounced Korean**, then I can surely not butcher his name.

40 minutes later, manicured in hot flamingo coral to honor today’s 4th of July fireworks that are an Extreme Fire Danger and therefore against the law in my county, I headed to my first ever yoga class.  At a training stable.  During a warm evening after a 90-plus degree day.  In a barn.  Upstairs in a loft that was behaving suspiciously like a sauna.

Even though it killed me temporarily, I loved LOVED loved the yoga stuff.  I could not actually do any of it.  Well, hardly.  I could do the sitting cross-legged while breathing position and the laying down while breathing position.    But I loved the quiet confidence, reassurance and encouragement of my friend and fella horse rider Jackie who was instructing the class — I’m wondering if I call her Sensei or something like that — I’ll text her and ask — and I loved the trying to do it.  Even though most of it was pretty much torture, I liked it and I kept trying.  And I really liked that I kept trying.    And I was introduced to some of the position names which I now forget.  Get Down Dancing Dog, Wonder Woman, Warrior One (maybe that’s Wonder Woman), Surfer (maybe that’s Warrier Two, or Three), and Child something, among others.  Each of the positions were very hard for me to do,  but I can see how with practice I could get this (I don’t know if I have that many years left on the planet but surely it is good for me and should extend my planet time, dontcha think?) and be just as graceful as Jackie.

But never as tall as Jackie.  She is very tall and very lean and very limber and exceedingly graceful, both in yoga and on horseback.  I hate her.  But I adore her.  I am guessing Jackie has the perfect physical conformation for yoga.  My present physical conformation is only perfect for writing while seated super comfortably in my big super comfortable leather chair.  And, maybe, for riding my big Big.

Now, I’m typing my hot flamingo coral fingernails over to an on-line Yoga Mart to order a good yoga mat and some cute, short-round-person yoga clothes.  And some East Indian jewelry.   And some incense.


**당신에게 크리스마스 축하!  (Tang-shin-eh-geh ku-ri-su-ma-su chuk-ha!)

Fun ways to get exercise with animals in a storm

We had a pretty big storm last night.   A California-style storm, which is strong winds and heavy rain.   I had seen the weather reports that said the storm would last until early morning, so naturally I had to go out in the middle of it to get Chinese food.    Mostly because of the soup.   I always need a healthy dose of wor-won-ton soup to weather an all-nighter of bad weather.

Later, after the restaurant, loaded with the next day’s breakfast of leftover won tons and chow fun, I slogged it back home from the restaurant, down dark, curvy country roads, slammed by the wind, windshield wipers on crack, through small floods and around downed tree limbs and over a few downed skunks.

As soon as I get home, I begin the evening workout:

1.  Round up the horses and get them into the barn.

2.  First, put on muck boots and oiler.  But before that, put on 3 pairs of socks and sweatpants over leggings.   All of this clothes-putting-on is enough to get me into a good sweat.

3.  Don’t let the dogs out before you get the horses into the barn.  Or, if you forget and let the dogs out first, make some popcorn before you head out to round up the horses.  You will enjoy the popcorn while you are watching the rodeo.

4.  After the rodeoing has ceased, catch the horses one by one and lead them through the storm into the barn.  For horses that want to be caught, this is easy.  Just fill a bucket with some grain, or rocks that sound like grain when you shake the bucket, shake the bucket and a couple of the lazier horses will walk right up to you.    Throw a rope around their neck before they figure out you tricked them with rocks.    For the other horses, who think letting the Human catch them means certain death, or worse, having to go to work, you will need more ingenuity and courage:   Just take a leisurely stroll around the farm, meandering just close enough to the horses so they can see you, and then start walking away in the opposite direction.  Every few moments stoop over and pretend to pick up something off the ground.  The horses will think you have found something good to eat, and they will start following you.  Just keep doing this until you make your way into the barn, then close them inside.

5.  Make sure you put hay inside the barn before you close the horses in.  Or you will have several pissed off horses confined in a small space in the middle of a storm.   This is where the courage part comes in.   You don’t want this.

6.  If you didn’t let the dogs out before, let them out now.  Then spend another 20 minutes slogging around the farm in the storm trying to entice Lulu the bloodhound away from her overpowering olfactory focus on dead rodents, manure and whatever other yummy smells she is chasing at top speed.   Lily the Golden Retriever is much easier.  She will just glue herself to your thigh no matter what direction or speed it needs to travel to catch up with Lulu.  She knows that there will be a cookie in the vicinity of that thigh eventually.

7.  Dogs inside, now herd the cats indoors.  This requires that you create the desire for them to come inside in spite of the dogs being there.  To create this desire, I open a few cans of tuna and place them strategically throughout the kitchen, and then open my kitchen door.  Voila.  Cats.

8.  Finally, to cool down, a few elbow lifts with a five-pound weight in one hand and a one-liter bottle of Bailey’s in the other.    Then relax and enjoy the endolphins.