Definition for Kayak :-)

Kayak [] n. 1. an oblong banana shaped boat with a hole in the bottom from which the occupant dangles. Can be propelled the wrong way up by experts. (definition courtesy of Pete Knowles)
(And I've got this one from Chris' Kayak Lexicon)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Put your hands together, if you're feelin' it - On Dancing, Kayaking and, of Course - Life...

I was definitely feelin' it at the Dakota Jazz Club with Nachito Herrera as the main act heating up this cool, gray and rainy Minnesota Saturday with latin jazz! Calling him hotter than the burning tip of a good Cuban cigar is only just about describing him! He brought 10 musicians, some of them seasoned and superb, some of them the next generation of great musicians and fresh, but all of them as energetic as kids in their single digits!
There was no way I was going to sit still with that music vibrating through my body! And I wasn't shakin' it alone :-)

It was one of those perfect evenings that only really happen on a whim. The music was pure energy entering not only through the ears but through every part of your body, the food and atmosphere was nurishment for the senses and the company of good friends was water for the thirsty soul. Why are we filling our lives so full that those things hardly ever happen anymore?

Crackling with energy at the end of the evening, plans were made to go out for some fun swing dancin' as soon as we can swing it :-)

The whole day had felt different than a lot of days in the last few months. Despite the grizzly day and having to trudge around my favorite neighborhoods hunting for a new place to live, there wasn't a cloud on my spirit, all blue sky! Ok, I wasn't singing in the rain, but I wasn't far off either :-) That is quite unlike the last few months, not sure when it started, because for the longest time I felt that 2007 was an exceptionally good year, just as I had predicted for myself at the end of the last one.

Actually the whole week had felt different. Starting my Salsa class on Monday to refresh my moves after a five year break from dancing quite intensively with one of the best and may I add sexiest Salsa teacher's in the UK! I wouldn't say we were friends, but passing by my hairdresser's as I am getting a cute new style, he would drop in for a chat. Nice huh! But I digress, although the class didn't quite live up to dancing in Carlos' classes I did two things. I looked up basic swing moves on YouTube that very night, immediately tried them and took to them like a duck to water, even if I say so myself. (What is the difference between a triple step and a basic jive step? 'Cos I can't see one!). And I went back to some e-mails from earlier this year, where I had asked Erik for advice on dancing shoes, he in turn (:-) got his friend Kian involved to comment on specific girl dance shoe issues. I was headed for their favorite outfitter the very next day.

I entered the store and it was love at first sight! Black velvet Oxfords that replicated a swing dance shoe from the 1930's and incidentally look like close sisters to a much loved pair of street shoes that I had bought some 15 years ago and moved first to the UK and then halfway across the world to the US. I tried many other shoes, but none could match the fit of the pair my eyes first fell on. Since I am not a perfect 10 :-( but only a 9 1/2 :-) they had to be ordered and and I should be holding them in my arms in about a week or so. My feeling is, that I could have gotten them much sooner, if I had ordered them on the Web, but where would I go to try on the shoes and get great advice, if I don't support the local little store! And sweet anticipation is definitely half the fun :-)

Again the next day I hear of a group of folks going to a swing party with a lesson to get you started. The universe seems to conspire to assist me with getting back into dancing! I signed up, although I can't believe I am making plans as far out as October, when going to the Dakota on a whim had felt so good!

Now why did I ask for dance shoes so many months ago? And what was it again I got distracted with? Ah, kayaking! :-) I had decided months ago, that this would be the year to start with Tango, which is when I decided that I needed the right shoe for that. Of course! Because what is more fun than shopping for gear or shopping for shoes? Huh? Shopping for shoes that ARE gear! But then the kayaking season was soon to be upon me and I was even more resolved that this would be the year, where I would put my best effort into this sport that had me hooked into a sado-masochistic relationship of desire and agony. No, kayaking had not been good to me last year, but my addiction demanded me to get as much "councelling" as I could, to try and reconcile. So I delayed the dancing to the months without moving water.

It's as if some kind of toxic fog had been lifted. - The week before I had felt so burned out that I said to myself, "This can't be life! And if it is, then I don't want it!". I wasn't being morbid - something had to change! And it had to change quickly. I didn't even care about my own company anymore, let alone that I really wanted to subject this distorted and mutilated version of myself to any of my friends. I felt dead lonely, which is a really rare thing for me even when I'm alone. I knew that it wasn't the absence of connection to others, but the connection to myself that was down. And I remembered that dancing and singing had always been my friends, had made me happy and had nurtured my sanity in stretches of strain. Burned out as I was I needed to reach out to an old friend like Salsa. Salsa and I were the kind of friends, where things are just easy and comfortable, the kind of friend who just get's you, effortlessly, like a good hipsnap in eskimo-rolling. Turns out that my bond with Salsa is like many of my friendships which, even if we don't see each other in years, we warm up quickly and pick up just where we had left off. Those are my favorite bonds...

But where does the swing come into all of this and where does this leave the Tango? I love Jazz, so it is only natural that I would like to be able to swing. It's as easy as that. And the Tango, well the Tango is going to be something I want to build up to with Salsa and Swing as well as further working on my body. Tango is the most sensual dance. I want to feel ready to play this sultry game of advance and retreat with every fibre of my body.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Recycling worn out gear

So you’ve got this completely worn out piece of gear, that you’ve worn on all these life changing experiences and you’d really rather hang on to it because you remember when… but then you need the space for those other pieces of gear that you bought because they’re going to be great for…and also when you… with N. and N. and A. and J. and maybe even T., C. and R. … Wouldn’t it be easier to let go, knowing that it will reincarnate into a new life on a higher level as an even gnarer piece of gear, forever remembered on all of those pictures posted on your and your friend’s blogs?

Did you know that Patagonia accepts a lot of their own products as well as Polartec fleece from other companies to recycle it and make new gear out of it? They say that they’ve also been using plastic bottles etc. to make new fleece. Which makes me hope, that a lot of our trusty fleece layers make use of those old bottles!

I just came across it and so you don’t have to search around for the info and have more time for the fun stuff, here the skinny on this cool way to reincarnate your experienced gear with links to where I found the info and hopefully without making this some kind of advertizement.

What you can recycle:

- ALL Polartec fleece from ANY manufactuer
- P. fleece (including Synchilla® and Regulator® insulation)
- Capilene baselayers
- P. cotton T-shirts

They say that they are constantly trying to expand the categories until they can take back and recycle anything they sell, so it may be worthwhile to keep an eye on them adding more items in the future.

Where you can send it or drop it off

Ideally and to maximize the invironmental benefit you'll drop it off at one of their retailers, while you are running an errand in the area or going there by bike or on foot or send it to their service center.

What that does for saving the planet according to their website

"By diverting worn-out garments from landfills, we reduce solid waste. Diverting them from incinerators results in an energy savings of 76% and a CO2 emissions [greenhouse gas] reduction of 71%. Garments made with recycled fibers use 50-100% less virgin polyester, which reduces our use of oil."

They also state that transport energy needs are minimized by using ships that otherwise routinely return empty and by encouraging customers not to make extra trips for drop off.

Anybody else doing this?

This is just one company. Hey, if you guys know of similar ops to recycle, please post your comments!