adventures of a belly dancing acupuncturist

This started as a travelogue to Turkey in the fall '05 so that I wouldn't have to send multiple emails and postcards. I'm still adding anecdotes as I remember them, but it's morphing into a "rant to the ether" spot. Stay, or go. This is my bit of space to do with what I wish.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

state of the union

is grim, as we know. I know myself and my love for my favorite tv show, Gilmore Girls. I will tape GG, but unless I watch Bush's lies with a group of like minded folks ready to throw pillows at the tv, I will likely flip back to GG. As I've emailed to some folks, the desire to watch something intelligently written will win out.

So, who is up for it - I've got the pet free home and lots of pillows, but a client til 6:30 so we won't be able watch much of the pregame festivities. I copied down the drinking game posted at dailykos and found strong affinity with the idea posted in the comments of having a jar to toss money into for those not interested or unable to drink (we can vote on who we donate to at the end).

Friday, January 27, 2006

impaired typing

slight knife cut, about double the width of a papercut, on the pad of my right index finger. fun.

managed to not bring enough change for parking for Drinking Liberally. dashed out in a somewhat blowsy fashion - but I didn't get a ticket. with the January slump I really don't need one. I need to get out like that more often. It's nice to find like minded people not in my usual haunts - actually I need to change my scenery and find some new haunts. next time I'll double check the change purse. as far as the man of the hour goes, Bill Winter is getting more articulate every time I hear him speak. I really hope that he does whip Tancredo's ass next fall.

right now my eyes are tired and bloodshot. I've assigned myself a project for 2006 - to study the ouvre of the late Claude Larre and Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee. Their lecture series on various organs, drawing from the Chinese classics, as well as treatises on a few of the classics and on some other more esoteric (in terms of the modern practice of Chinese medicine) are some of the most elegant books available in this subject matter. They translate with a thorough analysis of the ideograms, which can lead to a different perspective on the text itself, or explain how a concept or understanding came to be. And the amount of discourse on just a few ideograms puts me back into Talmud class, something I last studied in 11th grade (1984-85 school year). At least this time I don't have to pretend to be functional in 2 other languages (Hebrew and Aramaic), I have the English translation right there. Not that is makes the work much easier. I've logged about 10 hours for 90 pages, and still have the conclusion and appendicies to go for the Kidney book. Then the reward - brush, ink, paper and attempting the ideograms. And after that, Slim Cessna and the Auto Club. Unless lameitis strikes yet again.

Friday, January 20, 2006


Reading the Orhan Pamuk memoir of his life in Istanbul (my starting point for immersion into his writing). He's currently on trial in Turkey for speaking out about the mass murders (in the millions) of the Armenians and Kurds back at the close of the Ottoman empire. The NY Times has the occasional editorial with the latest (delays, the EU politico from, I believe, The Netherlands getting into trouble after making statements about the massacres, etc), but news here about Turkey for the most part seems limitted to the advance of the Avian Flu.

The pictures he draws are fascinating to me, showing me the old city that I caught in glimpses, especially on the last day I spent there running around the outdoor exhibits of the biennial with Alex. We saw buildings in varying states of decay and ruin, rubble yet to be sorted thru after the earthquake a few years ago. I had the views 2 1/2 weeks earlier from above looking down from the Galata Tower, now I was wandering the alleys near the waterfront - the old buildings built poorly at the end of an empire to house an increasing population shift to the city. Not unlike the houses he describes on the Bosphorus that were once the retreat of the rich from the inhabitants of the areas I was roaming, houses that were burnt down in the 50s and 60s or the subject of inheritance dispute.

The Turkish language is a puzzle to me even after 3 1/2 weeks spent there. There is a tense that "allows us to distinguish hearsay from what we've seen with our own eyes; when we are relating dreams, fairy tales, or past events we could not have witnessed . . . It is a useful distinction to make as we "remember" our earliest life experiences." Pamuk later explains the word Huzun, melancholy. He sums up the 2 points of view of the word as; 1) a state of grace or poetic concept, a Sufi idea of spiritual anguish from not being able to do enough for Allah, to be close enough to him, or 2) an illness, loss, death, anger, fear. I won't even try to articulate what he spends an entire chapter illuminating. I will just alert you to its existance and recommend it.

The word Huzun seems to fit very well right now, but which definition thereof I'm not sure.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Single minded obsession

Who cares about what is going on in the world, or even in our state. The Broncos are in the AFC championship game and that is all that matters.

The local news stations didn't even cover the fact that some of the state senators are pushing a referendum to go on the fall ballot to allow for same sex domestic partnerships that, while not the full rights of marriage, give many of the rights of married couples. I only knew to look for articles in the papers because Jay Marvin spent most of the 8 am hour on the subject. They did manage to spend nearly a minute on this year's version of the smoking ban (yes my fingers are crossed for this one, I want to see bands without smelling like an ashtray at the end of the night) but they spent nearly the first 5 minutes on the upcoming game, not counting the features on the guy with the same last name as a major Steeler later in the 1/2 hour. This brings back fond memories of Ralph Nader's analysis of local news that I got to hear the week before the 2000 elections when he was at the Paramount . . . .

Sounded out my heck of a welcome party for Brownie yesterday at the Marade. At one point I asked a reporter from the CBS affiliate if she had heard any more details as to the location and projected opening of Brownie's office and she said "now remind me of who he is again?"


Can we please give reporters a current events quiz before allowing them on the air?

I had a roommate my sophmore year at NYU who was in the journalism program. Not a good writer nor a particularly bright girl. Did the John Casablancas modeling school in her Illinois home town and believed that, at 5'2", she had a realistic shot. I saw her on CNN as one of the local reporters in some hurricane or other in summer '04. Brains must not be a prerequisite for looking windswept.

Unrelated to anything else, I spent nearly $400 today on herb formulas and flower essences stock bottles to make individual concoctions for my clients. Ouch.

Monday, January 16, 2006

A Modest Proposal

It's 9:30 am and I am going to be lazy. I'll join up with the Marade as it comes down East Colfax rather than run the 12 or so blocks up to East High and join the preliminaries standing in 30 degree cold.

"Brownie" will be opening up a Boulder area (I've heard it may be Longmont or Lafayette, but no one I know seems to be sure) office to assist people with disaster relief. I say that the progressive community of Metro Denver/Boulder, in conjunction with the Katrina evacuees relocated to this area, join together to throw him one heck of a welcome party. I'm talking hundreds of us clogging up the office and the street outside, the evacuees requesting some free consultations, political theater all around . . . . So here's the idea. Who has the office address, date of opening and the interest in helping me organize? Could be a great kick off to the caucuses in March . . .

I will be emailing the Colorado blogging community, Jay Marvin, KGNU and Argus Fest as I want this to be big, our prep rally for the 2006 election cycle.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Conceit and a night at Kervansarai

So I think that I want to ingratiate myself amongst the far more informed than me liberal blogroll of Colorodoans. I still am not up enough on the state scene, but I do have opinions and am not hesitant to say them.

I never wrote up adventures in cheesey Istanbul belly dance nightclubs, the filled out version.

A night at Kervansarai, or, Bill Murray lives in an Istanbulu who speaks English with a Russian inflection:

Obviously a popular nightclub, as they have 2 cabarets running at once with the performers going from one to the other. We were downstairs in a dark, very 1970s feeling room - long tables on each side of the dance floor (which we discovered is raised for performances) with a few smaller ones in little raised areas on the edges, like ours). There was a band playing the best in elevator music as the groups filed in, furthering the time warp quality of the evening. Happily, the preset dinner includes free booze - cheap Turkish red wine (which I really grew to enjoy) helps make ANYTHING more entertaining. This evening of dance included 4 belly dancers and a few rounds of folk dance.

The first dancer (who is not the street walker we saw while grabbing taksis afterwards fellow tour group people - the one on the street had much shorter hair and an Adam's apple, but is far more realistic than most trannies and transvestites in the states) had good moves when she did dance. She had a penchant for posing at the heads of the long tables set up flush against the stage. Not much else that really stuck in my memory 4 months on except long bleach white hair and an average plum colored costume.

I forgot the order of who was second and who was third, but I do remember the dancers pretty well. Ercil was in the most exquisite white Bella costume, which we were able to place by the pallettes and a long morning spent examining them on other costumes the day before. Ercil however, seemed very pained to be there. This is the dancer about whom Lori surmised must have been called in last minute, totally depressed about breaking up with her boyfriend and really wanting to be at home, or at a girl's night out, anywhere but dancing for us. I remember thinking that she would be really good, if she had interest in what she was doing. Bad night, or her style? Stylish disinterest does seem to be the approach of many of the younger dancers over there. I quite liked Yildiz Ai, and red suits her quite well. Her arm work was really sharp, tight moves on the music - I liked them even tho they seemed a bit awkward, but I was in the minority. She didn't do the American placid smile or aloof/smug face, but had far more expresison (and variety of) than the dancers who preceeded her. I can't give details, but I did really enjoy her performance and she seemed to enjoy what she was doing.

In between these performances we had a selection of coed and same sex folk dancing which didn't really measure up to the folk show we had seen the night before. Only some of the dancers bothered to show up, so to speak. The best were the men's dances - we've all become big fans of the Black Sea fish dance - and the sword performers (not so much belly dance style balancing on the head but throwing them). I did manage to get myself pulled up to dance with some of the folk dancers during one round - the casualty of sitting in a seat next to the steps up to our table I guess. The fun part was the shock on the part of the dancers that I knew the steps they were doing.

Then it was time for Asena. I don't remember her whole story, but it involves intrigue with her former band leader, a gunshot wound to the leg and a triumphant return to the dance scene. And she is good. Far more subtle than the rest of the dancers, she communicates much more in the cut of her eyes than the average dancer does in a whole song's worth of moves and gestures. She has a far more sophisticated range of facial expressions, coy to interested disinterest to a variety of smiles, none of which were too obvious. This many months later I don't remember any specific moves of hers (tho I have her VCD to jog my memory). The overall impression was a less is more - her makeup, hair and costume were all toned down (but not simple) so that we were drawn to the quality of her dancing over her appearance. I will ask Eva how much footage she has of that night and perhaps we can post it somewhere so that it can speak for itself (plus we can show off our performances with Babazula that way).

After all of this, out comes the Bill Murray lounge singer cliche. Like a good host he circled the room, singing songs from each country for which he saw a flag. Finland stumped him - luckily he had 2 long tables of raucous folks to sing back at him, including Santa Claus on a last holiday break before his busy season gets underway (hope his beard grew out a bit more). He did cheat a bit for Costa Rica and Belize - used a generic Spanish song to get his bases covered. He did the variety of cliched covers - lounge singer style and only a few years dated with his most recent references before leaving those of us left to dance to a variety of songs on tape that could be best described as a wedding band's greatest hits - the ultimate collection.

And with a dash across nearly 10 lanes of traffic, in the rain, and a few glances exchanged with the daintiest she boy prostitutes I've seen since I was last in Bangkok (as I said earlier - some in the group were fooled, but we were several feet away) we bundled in to taksis (I so prefer Turkish spelling) for the roller coaster drive back to the Hali.

Next up, a night at the Orient House featuring Birgul Beray and the mad taksi dach across town to dance with Babazula at the Yaga Club.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

How to be a client . . .

or what you can expect from me as your acupuncturist, and what is going WAY TOO FAR:

You have the right to 15 minutes of my time on the phone for a consultation to determine if this is an appropriate form of therapy for you, in addition to the time needed to schedule an appointment, find out my fees and get directions to my place of work. This is very generous time wise (as are my fees) for someone in practice for nearly 9 years.

I will give you the time you need to fill out any paperwork without counting it as treatment time. After that, time is money. Sorry to be crass, but this is my job and you are paying me to listen to you, to feel your pulses (and diagnos you) and to treat you. When you walk out the door you are either going to come back for further treatment, or you won't. It's your decision. It's your money and it's your health.

But . . .

You will not become my friend because I have listened to you for the time spent in the intake and on the phone while determining your interest in pursuing acupuncture. You are pursuing acupuncture, not me nor my friendship (nor anything more for that matter). I have had friends become clients for periods of time, but I've not had a client become a friend. There are some that I would enjoy as friends. It is not appropriate. You will not ask me out for coffee after only 1 treatment because you like talking to me. I listened to you as it related to treating you. I have no interest in becoming your friend and I have no interest in sitting and listening to you say the same things over and over. If I recommend therapy to you (before the request to talk my ear off is made) it is because I feel you do need someone to listen to you, but it will not be me. I have the right to terminate treatment with you if you do not respect my boundaries. And I will not hesitate to do so.

Coming soon . . . . stupid client stories with all identifying features and gender removed.

Read about the client who kept cell phone within reach to be able to receive calls while on the treatment table (and scheduled self to recieve calls at this time) and then couldn't understand why I was unable to be of any help. I know the practitioner this former client goes to, good luck to you!