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The offending ball

I bought a yoga ball the other day, to replace my chair with. I had heard they are good for posture, core strength, and kind of fun. So I got it, and I noticed on the box it was labeled “Burst Resistant” and I simultaneously thought “Awesome” and “Fooey”. Because I have the ability to think many things at the same time, which does get a little confusing.???

So when I got home and inflated it with the handy dandy little air pump that came in the box, I was overcome with the smell of the thing. I mean, it didn’t smell bad or anything, but just weird mix of rubber, mothballs, and something else. I suspect the makers package it with the gym smell pre-imbedded, so people who buy them for installation in a workout area aren’t wierded out by something that doesn’t smell terrible. In short, it’s a blast to sit on when doing anything, and I recommend it to anyone who sits at a desk for an extended period of time. I never knew that sitting down could be so exhausting. You can bounce on it, roll around, topple off it hilariously and giggle in a heap afterward. I’m not saying I did that, but I can vouch that it’s possible.

Then, while rummaging around my closet the other day, I spied the box the ball came in. The “Burst Resistant” labeling stood out at me again, and as I stared at the box, for about 10 minutes (I can neither confirm nor deny mind altering substances were in use) I took it as a challenge. “Alright, Bally Total Fitness 75 centimeter exercise ball,” I muttered, “we’ll see about this.” I threw a book at it, which bounced back onto my foot, which hurt. It was a big book.

One of my tools to destroy the ball

And from there I began to whale on the damn thing. When before I would absently bounce up and down when watching TV or writing or surfing the Internets, now I began to bounce as high as I could. I began to use it as a large soccer ball. Incidentally, it’s amazing how far the ball bounces, and how much destruction it can cause. In a short time I had broken a light, a small terra cotta warrior, three glasses, and nearly knocked my TV off the box it sits on like eight times. I’ve thrown it out the window a couple times, but all that happened there was I hit a bird on the bounce, which was kind of impressive. I’ve contemplated poking it with stuff, but that feels like cheating, right? I feel like only concussive force can be used in this “science” quest.  But the damn thing continues to not break. I am impressed with these Bally’s people. I must call their scientists, because this strangely scented polymer they’ve made the ball out of is seemingly invincible. Maybe a fat guy could help me.

I’ve tried rolling over sharp stuff, because that’s just incidental action when it comes to rolling around, but the thing is amazing in its resiliency. I even used it as a weapon against my little brother, but again its bounciness struck back at me, hitting me in the belly. Perhaps if I knew karate, I could chop it in half. But alas, I don’t have the time to spend years in the Orient learning from the Shaolin masters. I have a yoga ball to pop. I hit it with a hammer a couple times, but nothing. Really, I am at the end of my rope. I’ve been throwing playing cards at it the last couple hours in hopes paper cuts will wear away at it, but so far nothing. Maybe if we lived somewhere near trains, I could put it on a train track. But I have a sneaking suspicion it would just make the train derail, and I’d be back to square one. Maybe even square zero, because I’d have to deal with a derailed train.

If you have suggestions for me, email them to merritt@letspopthisfuckingyogaball.com. Together we can find success, and kick this stupid, core solidifying, good time creating, son of a bitch back to where it came from, or at least assert our dominance as human beings over it. I’ll not be stopped by this inanimate object. I’m better than that. Maybe I’ll try running it over with my car.

A short film documentary on the correlation between your desk space and your artistic frame of mind.  In this age of mobile communications and “nomadic working,” we can still see the power of our desks as our “aspirational space.”

If a messy desk is a sign of a messy mind, then what is an empty desk a sign of?

What is the future of The Desk?

“The reality of life today means that you can’t always be there (your desk), and in fact you have to take that idea of that working space with you.  Probably whats going to happen in the future is the desk becomes more of a state of mind than an actual physical place.”

What is your desk style?

Desk – Music and Sound Design from Aaron Trinder Film:Motion:Music on Vimeo.

Contributed by: http://www.karajacinta.com

Reviewing the golfing experience at The Golf Club at Oxford Greens in Oxford, Connecticut by a course member and golf enthusiast.

Gary Napoli, Frank Ciancio, Angelo Carlucci, Sal Melchiore at Oxford Greens Member/Member Tournament.  Photo: oxfordgreens.com

Member/Member Tournament Results

About the Course

Delicately carved from the woods west of Naugatuck State Forest, the Golf Club at Oxford Greens is one of Connecticut’s most impressive golf courses and has been named the “3rd Best Public Course in Connecticut” by Golfweek. Taking full advantage of more than 680 acres of natural beauty, breathtaking vistas, and ever-changing terrain, The Golf Club combines New England’s greatest resources with a neoclassical design. Read Full Article →

A collection of breathtaking photos and moments captured from all corners of the Earth by VibeThat contributors, friends and fans of the site.

Alaska by Ashley Clarkin

Appalachian Trail South by Dan Steinfeld

Milford, Connecticut by Iolanda Fusco Marucci

Aruba by Megan Milburn

Crossing the James River by Dan Steinfeld

Dave Schroeder

Nick Kawon

Carla Cinquegrana Rancourt

Alaska by Ashley Clarkin

Steve Lauder

Steve Lauder

At Dragon's Tooth by Dan Steinfeld

That Moment by Dave Schroeder

Natural Mystic by Nick Kawon

Israel by Dan Steinfeld

Nick Kawon

Appalachian Trail North by Dan Steinfeld

Dave Schroeder

Israel by Dan Steinfeld

Perhaps I am like some people, enticed by exotic foreign lands, their landscapes, language, culture and food.  Those that know me know I advocate travel, learning other languages, and exploring cultures other than one’s own.  I’ve been blessed with the opportunities to live in Madrid and Paris while in college and with a husband who enjoys learning and exploring the world as much as I.  In our two years of marriage we have been able to immerse ourselves eight countries.  I say immerse because we don’t normally approach travel as typical tourists- we try our best to experience a place at the local level.  As a Spanish teacher, most of my year is dedicated to language instruction and sharing my experiences with students, in order to spark their curiosity of life and what’s outside their small Connecticut town.  To some extent, I’ve been successful.  Yet this aching frustration has been building over the years regarding the motivation behind my primary objective of travel, which is to go to a place where life is better enjoyed by its people.   My frustration lies in the fact that for the most part, it seems like not many people, including myself, were enjoying life.  Occasionally, we had a good weekend, got to escape to the glitz and glam of NYC or Boston, perhaps relax on the beaches of Rhode Island, or catch up with friends.  Yet on a daily basis, I felt a sense of angst, discontent and unhappiness.  My Nonni always said that she loved America, that there was no place better to live, yet I found myself gazing at the pictures in the textbooks I was teaching from, wishing I was there instead.  I felt terrible that I could not see the beauty in this country that she saw.  Perhaps it’s easy to imagine given the dismal economy, less than admirable morals, constant news about war, debt, weather, growing health problems- you name it and I felt old beyond my years.  I have thought several times of moving to another country, to live in a place that values life, human connectedness and the land from which we live, yet I always kept her words close by- America is the best.

About six months ago my husband and I had a talk which discussed all these things, for he too was feeling some of the frustrations with life.  Already in an environmental career, he decided that cleaning up messes of our corporations abusive practices, was too little too late and wanted to change his career to something more proactive.  After much debate and evenings that mimicked “pin the tail on the donkey”, we finally decided that Denver, Colorado had an established solar industry that would allow him to begin his career transition, while incorporating many elements of life that worked for the two of us.  He came out here in May to start his internship, while I was begrudged to complete the school year back in Connecticut.

I’ve been here for a month now and I cannot describe shift that has occurred in me.  It seems like the “high stakes” lifestyle back East, surrounded by the epicenters of financial meltdown, dismal home sales, exorbitant prices and constant traffic, made me lose sight of what this country has to offer.  Places I’ve seen here rival those in Europe or Central America and they are right here in the United States.  So that got me wondering- why is Denver, or Colorado for that matter, so different from home?  Was it just the change from the normal routine?  Was it the sun?  The lack of humidity? Surely I couldn’t be this peaceful just based on weather.  So is it the fact that it’s so vast here and that you can physically see the beauty of this country outside your window, even if that window is from a completely modern industrial loft at the pulse of downtown?  I think it is.

With the mountains normally within eye-shot, one constantly feels small compared to the massive ridges of those majestic Rocky Mountains.  Take a short drive outside the city and have a 360 degree view that spans one hundred miles around.  The landscapes here make it evident just how small we are.  And it’s not a small of weakness, of fear, or lack of importance- it’s a small of insurmountable beauty and peace.  There is utter serenity and quiet.

I find it amazing that so much of modern life has gotten away from existence at its core.  We have placed so much emphasis on money and the accumulation of things, useless stuff, that we have destroyed much of the natural beauty of this country and ourselves as a result.  We have forgotten what it’s like to be human, to show compassion and not just for each other but for our planet, for the awesome beauty Mother Nature has created and how much diversity this country truly has.

While I can theorize, research and argue how and why our country has gotten into the terrible mess that it is in today and the numerous ways that are possible for us to refocus our future, I will not delve into that.  But what I would encourage someone to do who doubts the sincerity of my words is to truly disconnect and escape, whether that’s your backyard, a weekend trip or something of a larger scale and truly pay attention to the beauty that surrounds you.  In certain areas, feelings of “this would be prettier if…” statements, due to the contamination, pollution and lack of respect modern man has for nature, are bound to happen.  In those cases- do something about it!  We still have the opportunity to reinvent ourselves, to restore our country, both financially and environmentally, if people start making the right decisions.  Wouldn’t life be so much better if we liked where we lived and found it beautiful?  If we respected our surroundings and each other?  If we thought about all the true costs involved before making decisions?  Before wasting? Before we ate badly? Before we came up with excuses not to exercise? Before we ignored people? Before we thought we were bigger or more important than we really are?  We’re always striving for happiness and many never seem to find it.  I think that speaks volumes about the way our society is living and the values it holds.  Fundamentally, perhaps biologically, it’s because we know our actions, in trying to get ahead, are destroying our inner peace and the world we need to live.  Once you see the beauty, the peace, the awe this country has to offer, I would hope that you would make better decisions in trying to restore and preserve it in your daily lives.  I am grateful that I finally agree with the words my Nonni spoke, that America is in fact, beautiful.  If we keep that beauty at the forefront of our minds, I am confident that we can not only “bounce back” from these dark times, but we can prosper- environmentally, financially and spiritually.