Happiness First!

Radical? - possibly. Impossible? I don't think so.
Consciously committing to happiness before and above all has been an interesting experiment for me. Let's call this unconditional happiness. This is not the "I will be happy when..." version of happiness. OR the "If only...then..." kind.
This is the kind that I commit to, right now, without a back-door, without rules or reasons. It is also the kind that comes with letting go of judgments in even the smallest circumstances, the tiniest encounters. Just accept whatever comes as it is, with no "story" attached, no proof that this is either really "good" or really "bad" for me.
It is the kind where I have a constant barometer built into my psyche that points to where I am at any given moment in the possibility department. Do I feel that things are possible, and my life therefore limitless, or has the needle dipped below the red line and my mind screams "Just give up already and start whining!"? In which case I immediately start thanking the subway, indoor plumbing, Skype and my cat.
It's an interesting experiment. And - well, actually fun! And for some strange reason I feel quite happy about it. :)

Heidi's Jazz Club


Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be invited to perform at Heidi's Jazz Club in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Just stepping off that plane in Orlando, feeling the warmth on my skin, made me feel lighter and brighter. My compact rental car turned out to be RED (my favorite color), and I had such a good time driving automatic (I come from the stick shift tradition) and cruising along the highway it made me want to go out and buy a car!
The sun, the beach, and - well, the SHADE! Since I am essentially translucent at the moment, I cannot really hang out in the sun without burning to a crisp within minutes, but boy, did I like the shade.
Heidi, the one whose name the jazz club bears, turned out to be a lovely, strong willed Austrian lady who has been running her business down in Cocoa Beach for 25 years. Her joint is a very classy spot with great Austrian cuisine, a grand piano, good sound and a very lovely and helpful staff. So, if you're ever down in Cocoa Beach, stop by Heidi's. It's definitely worth it!
Heidi's Jazz Club

Japan

I am sad and heart broken about recent events in Japan. As usual when such huge events happen, I feel helpless. There's precious little I can do to actually help, except check in with my Japanese friends, watch the news and donate to the Red Cross. So I'm keeping this one short today and am just posting a couple of links here.
1) Donat to the red cross here
2) Get Japanese news translated into English Here.

My prayers go out to the people affected by the earthquake and tsunami last week, and I keep my fingers and toes crossed that a melt-down in the power plants can be avoided.

View from the Stair Master


My gym - I never thought I would have a gym - is located across the street from where I work. I am proud of the fact that it took me fourteen years to actually join one. But now that I am a member MY gym has become part of my life style. Sometimes the onslaught of unwanted information via flat screen TVs (sound ON thank you) AND music blaring from the speakers is a teensy bit much. But now that I have finally made it to the last row of the cardio floor and discovered the hidden Stair Masters that look a bit forlorn and unloved, tucked away in the furthest corner, I can preside over the flock of screens and not be bothered. At 11pm things actually calm down considerably, the models have usually already gone home, the heavy lifters deserted their 75 lb dumbbells and it's just a handful of late workers who have finally FINALLY untangled themselves from their office chairs and are ready to get down, get sweaty and get it over with. Just like me.

A New Era for Reading

Today marked the second time in my life that I came to sit next to a person reading the same book as me on the subway. The last time was over a decade ago, when I was reading Tony Morrison's "Paradise", a weighty tome of a book, especially in hard cover. The lady next to me held an identical copy in her hand. We smiled at each other and read on.

Times have changed since then. As I found my seat on the crowded 6 (which is definitely my least favorite line apart from the G which is only running in Brooklyn and hence does not really concern me), I pulled out my kindle, booted it and started to read, not before checking out the guy sitting to my right cradling his very own gadget - the sexy iPad, deadly enemy to kindles and nooks all over the world. Nowadays I have to squint to see what the other person is reading, since the title is only displayed in a tiny line on top of the "page". Can't tell by the book cover anymore. And squint I did - and noticed with shocked pleasure that in peaceable silence on the noisy train iPad and kindle displayed the same book. The iPadist, however, never noticed. I guess he doesn't squint.