Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm Positive

I can be a pretty negative person. I often soften it with "I know I have a lot to be grateful for, but...", which is really just a creatively passive-aggressive way to bitch. So I've decided to go on a month-long positivity campaign. My cohort in this endeavor is my friend Libby. We each have a "bitch-book" in which we can write down our complaints if we must, but we can't say them out loud. And if we say them out loud, we have to immediately write them down in the book and then, I don't know, say something positive about the situation. (We didn't really come up with a good punishment for negativity--any ideas? And no, I am not putting a dollar in a jar every time I bitch. Well, maybe.)

There were two catalysts for this campaign. One of them happened on Tuesday - I had a date that night, and I was dreading it (yes, an internet date. Sigh.). All day on Tuesday, I was extremely negative about it - it's not going to go well, why am I doing this, I hate these things, it's like a job interview with drinks, blah blah blah. I basically ensured through my thoughts that there was no way on earth this could possibly go well.

About an hour before the date, I decided to chant about it (for those of you new to this blog, I practice Nichiren Buddhism, which involves chanting the phrase "nam myoho renge kyo" which means "I devote myself to the mystic law of cause and effect through the sound I am creating"). I chanted for a half hour (I was just gonna do fifteen minutes but that clearly wasn't enough) with the intent to change my negative attitude and allow this date to not be awful.

And it wasn't. In fact, it was great. And I really honestly think if I had gone into it with the negative feelings I was carrying around all day, no matter how nice and charming and funny the guy turned out to be (which he did), it would have been awful. So that was catalyst #1.

Catalyst #2 was at my Buddhism meeting last night, when my friend Marc casually threw out the term "bitchkrieg," (a bastardization of the word "blitzkrieg," basically meaning "bitchstorm," or more literally "bitchwar"...anyway I think it is hilarious and I'm totally stealing it) and I realized how often I'll go on a bitchkrieg about things. Things I bitch about fall into two categories - things I can control and things I can't control. And there is no reason to bitch about either. If I can control it, I can change it. And if I can't control it, I need to face it, deal with it and move on. There's no room for bitchkriegs in either scenario. It's not enough to say I'm grateful for everything that is good in my life. It's time to live it.

So for the next month, I am all puppies and rainbows. And if you hear anything negative come out of my mouth, feel free to call me out on it. I promise not to bitch you out.

(*btw, I got the image above from a blog called "F*cked in Park Slope," which I think is pretty hilarious. It is, however, in a post about dating.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hot Link "Wino" Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, people! A few alcohol-related finds around the internet and in LA.

Here is a handy-dandy BYOB database that lists restaurants where you can bring your own wine, and the corkage fees (and sometimes, no corkage! Score.). The website defaults to the New York area, but you can change it on the right side under "region."

Article about fill-your-own wine containers in France. I hope this comes to the States, I love this idea.

New bar alert! Well relatively new. Spring Street Bar opened in April, but I just recently discovered it with my friend Marc. Tons of delicious microbrews and craft beers, knowledgeable bartenders, friendly clientele, and best of all, dog-friendly patio! Bear is a fan. Yelp reviews (including my own) here.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Accidental Hip-Hop Teacher

It's been awhile. I think the reason I've been resistant to update this blog is because I feel like I have to report on my after-school program, and I don't love the update. But in the spirit of "growing" and "letting go" as the tagline of this very blog reads, here it is.

I have five students (which is two more than I had last week).

And I'm teaching hip-hop, which I'd say is the form of dance I am least comfortable with. But these kids are not into modern dance. They're into hip-hop. And hip-hop (or "hippity-hop" as my mom calls it) they shall have.

So the BEAR program (Building Enrichment Arts Resource) is not a wild success. But, as I have to remind myself, it is also not a failure. No, I'm not teaching 30 kids. But you know what? I probably couldn't handle 30 kids. Ninth graders are loud, man. And they're like magpies, getting distracted by shiny things. I have five students - but they are awesome. There's one kid who is so comfortable in his fabulously gay skin that it makes me want to cry tears of joy. With all the recent stories of homophobic bullying, it's so refreshing to see a kid that is allowed, nay, encouraged by his peers to be whoever he wants to be.

I was tempted to give up. And I've been getting butterflies in my stomach every Monday and Thursday morning knowing that I have to teach, entertain, impress and corral my five students. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not that great at hip-hop and also not that great at telling ninth graders to quiet down and pay attention. But I'm there. And I'm learning. And so are they.