Who is Ted Corners?

Ted Corners
Ted Corners

Who is Ted Corners?

Well…Ted Corners is, of course, a writer.

He has no fear of being disliked or criticized or embarrassed.

He got his name one cold winter night  in the mid ’80’s, while Sam Post sat in his office on the 4th floor of the Wallace Building in downtown Salisbury (now known as the Plaza).

Sam had just been to the convenience store for a cup of coffee and the National Examiner caught his eye. He bought a copy and read a few articles and realized that this stuff was not true.

So Sam wrote a story about a woman who got so mad at her husband that she killed his dog and fed it to him in spaghetti sauce for dinner.

Before sending it to the publisher, Sam needed a name for the author of this trash. So he looked around the room and noticed something. The walls of the room met at the ceiling, and that was a “corner.”  The name “Ted” was, well, short and quick to type.

Years later, Sam got the idea to pull some (not all) of those old, rejected novels out of the dusty disk drive and publish them on Kindle. Sell them cheap and if anybody bought them make a few bucks. He knew that in the world of literature, these novels were pure crap. He wanted them to enjoy life anyway and make a few bucks. He did not want the name Sam Post on them.

Ted had died in the late 80’s. He came back to life in the fall of 2011.

And that’s who Ted Corners is.

love of headstand

I love the headstand. It’s my favorite pose – and always has been.

I need the plough, and the plough needs me – but I don’t love it. When I go into the plough, my feet don’t touch the floor anymore.

I used to think this was because my stomach had gotten to be the size of a basketball and was simply blocking the body from folding. But that’s not it. I’ve lost some weight, and my feet still aren’t touching the floor.

If I practiced yoga near a wall, I could adjust myself so that feet touched the wall, and then walk down a little each day, towards the floor – until I got there, eventually. This is how I first got my feet to the floor, when I first took yoga in a studio, 34 years ago. But I’m not practicing near a wall and just allowing my feet not to reach the floor. I’m not sure how close they are. I don’t think they’re very close.

A few months ago, I was practicing in the bedroom and my wife was on the bed watching TV, and I asked her.

“Are my feet close to the floor?”

I thought they were a few inches away.

“No,” she said.

“How close are they?”

“A foot or two,” she said.

I don’t worry about it too much.

A couple of years ago, I told a yogi that I couldn’t do the plough anymore. My feet didn’t touch the floor.

“What makes you think your feet have to touch the floor?” he asked. “It’s still the plough.”

I’m pretty sure my headstand is about the same as it ever was. In fact, lately, I’ve been very focused and using it was a resting pose.

I go up, find a spec to notice for focus, and rest there for a long time.

It’s only recently that I focus on a spec or dust or lint or material – anything I can find. For years, I did this. Sometimes I actually placed something there, creating the focal point before I went into the headstand.

But in the past year or so I stopped using this. My mind wasn’t focused. I looked around, changing focus from one place to the next, sometimes shutting my eyes and breathing.

But the past couple of weeks I’ve been going up into the headstand trusting that the perfect focal point will appear, and it always does. And I don’t shut my eyes. I focus. And I experience a profound and resting peace.

A focal point creates peace. Without it, there’s an experience of searching, questioning what is right, wondering how I’m doing – always being outside myself.

With the focal point – unplanned, out there, but distinct — there’s being outside myself that creates a stillness that allows me to just be myself, neither out there or in here, but just with the experience.

That’s peace.

Today, Sunday, I slept late, had breakfast, and visited my mother. Her eyes were open, but she wasn’t able to direct her eyes towards me. She looked to the side, at my hand, as I held hers. She spoke, barely audible. The sounds were indistinct. Only she knows what she said, if she knows.
Then I spent the entire rest of the day cleaning the kitchen. I cleaned every cabinet, taking everything out and wiping everything and putting it all back and loading my car with items for Goodwill and loading the recycling bins and garbage bags.

The low shelves in the low cabinets were very low, and my back was sore.

The plough, and not touching the floor, and the headstand, as a resting pose, made me – including my back — feel great.

yoga every day

10 things I became in 2010:

  • More relaxed
  • More positive
  • More aware in the present
  • More energy
  • Better health
  • Better sleep
  • Better breathing
  • Better focus
  • 25 pounds less body weight
  • aware of how noisy the world can be and that silence is the sweetest sound of all

These were not my goals.

My goal for the year was to do yoga every day.

The first few weeks in January 2010 were a little creaky.  Then it got much easier, much more fluid.  After a year, it still gets easier, and better, every day.

There were a few days that were so busy I only took ten minutes for the practice.  Most days, I spent about 30 or 40 minutes.  Some days, when I was a bit tired, or if I had a little time on my hands, I’d spend lots of time in savasana and my practice would last 90 minutes.

I admit, there were days I watched The Daily Show and The Colbert Report while doing yoga.  Sometimes I played Terry Oldfield’s Yoga Harmony.  Mosty, I used silence as my soundtrack.

I’ve taken many classes here in Salisbury from Anne Edwards, and a few others, and read books, and watched many videos, but I basically use the same routine I learned from Charlotte Troxel, in 1974, at her yoga studio at Reynolda Village, when I was a freshman at Wake Forest.

This was not a college course, and this was before yoga became fashionable.  I was reading the bulletin boards on campus one day and saw a small notice about a “gentle, non-exertive exercise.”

I was a tennis player and jogger, and never stretched.  At age 18, I could not get close to touching my toes.  I remember Charlotte telling me that my legs were tight, and that “tightness in the body represents tightness of the mind.”  I’ve been practicing yoga ever since.

Yoga is popular now and there’s plenty published about the benefits.

Not so, back then.  I remember doing yoga stretches between tennis matches and hearing people warn me that I could hurt my back.  I once asked an orthopedic surgeon (at the tennis courts) if he thought yoga was good for you.  “Be very, very careful with that,” he said.

My practice became sporadic when I reached the age of 25 and became a father.  With children in the house, quite time was hard to come by.

Now, 29 years later, I’m back to the daily routine — and it’s great.

In 2009, my goal was to walk 10k steps each day.  In 2010, it was yoga every day.  I’ve got one for 2011 — but I hesitate to say what it is.  Let’s see if I do it, first.

A few notes from the navel-gazing-sphere

I haven’t blogged much lately.  Haven’t updated my Facebook status or Tweeted much either.

So I thought I’d just run through a few things that have been going on in my life.  If anybody’s interested, fine.  If nobody’s interested, that’s fine too.  A little public navel gazing helps me sort things out for myself.

Alicia and I celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary on Friday.  We didn’t go out that night because she had to get up very early Saturday morning and take Emma to Greensboro.  It’s been our tradition to go to a movie at the Manor in Charlotte on our anniversary, so we went Saturday night.  We saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a really good Swedish film.

I’ve been working on a full-length play, writing a page or two each morning.  Hopefully I’ll be done with a draft mid-summer.

I took my mom’s recycling and garbage to the street tonight, possibly for the last time.  I’ve been doing that on Sunday nights for many years — ever since street-side garbage collection began in Salisbury.  Her house was in use by relatives last weekend.  They made a lot of trash and didn’t take it out.

Business was slow in May, but we had one great week that really helped.  June has been okay so far.  Last week, I trained somebody to do some of our deliveries.  I’ve been doing about 350 of our 470 Coffee News locations each week.  He’ll do about 100 a week, which leaves me with 250.  That basically gives me an extra day each week.  It’s going to cost — but I think I’d rather have the time than the money.

I like summer.  I always have.  When it gets above 95 and stays above 85 at night, I complain as much as anybody else.  But I generally like hot weather.  Days like today don’t bother me at all.  We have AC.  Until about mid-way through my childhood, we didn’t.  In fact, we lived in the house we’re in now for two years before we got AC, in 1988.

My 2009 New Year’s resolution was to walk 10k steps a day each day of the year, and I’ve kept it up now almost a year and a half.

My 2010 resolution was to do yoga every day, and I’ve done that.  There have been a few days when I made it brief — ten or fifteen minutes.  Usually I spend thirty to forty minutes.  If I have the time, I’ll take an hour or even 90 minutes.  I pretty much stick to the same routine, but vary how long I stay in the poses.  It’s almost the exact same routine I’ve used since 1974.  I’ve always done yoga, but haven’t made it a daily routine since Sarah, our first child, was born.  Yoga requires a quiet house, and kids aren’t all that quiet — so my yoga was sporadic for 27 years.  Now that my daughter Emma is 17, has her driver’s license and a job, the house is quiet again.  This was a great resolution.  Daily yoga is ten times better than yoga two, three, or even four days a week.  I feel great and have lost 23 pounds.

I was a little sorry missed the Six Pack of Plays that Lee Street Theatre just produced.  I knew some of the playwrights and would have liked to support the effort.  I never got done with work in time.  Saturday was an option, but we wanted to celebrate our anniversary.  It would not have been kosher to attend those plays as an anniversary celebration.  I had some highly egocentric emotion over the whole affair because they didn’t pick my plays (the scripts didn’t conform to the guidelines).

I did put those rejected plays online — on this website — and received  an email yesterday from an international student in China.  He said he was just writing to thank me for the play.  He was an actor in Nice Name for a Sky.  That’s all he said.  It’s nice to know somebody is making use of the script.  I’d love to see a picture.

Alicia took our dog, Jackie, to the vet.  She got some pill for fleas and the dog feels a lot better.

I’m really enjoying my new car — an 85 Honda Civic station wagon that I bought two months ago.  It rides well, is easier to load and unload, and is easier to get in and out of than the ’94 Civic I got rid of.  Every once in awhile, a spark plug wire gets loose, but everything is cool when I pull over and push it back in place (as long as I don’t burn my hand).  Thursday, the speedometer/odometer stopped working.  I’ve got to get that fixed.  I like to know how fast I’m going.

I’ve been visiting my mom each day in the Alzheimer’s unit.  She spends her days shuffling up and down the halls.  I’ve enjoyed being there and have gained a lot of respect for the staff.  They are special people.  I’ve also enjoyed getting to know some the residents.  They’re each at their own stage, dealing with the disease in their own way — and some of them are a real trip.

So that’s about it — and now it’s after one o’clock in the a.m. and I’ve got some work to do!  And my own garbage and recycling (mostly recycling) to take out.

Why I love yoga

I know that volumes have been written, courses taught, and degrees and certifications awarded — but here are a few simple reasons why I love yoga.

1. I love breathing.
2. I love stretching.
3. I love doing stuff when it’s quiet, with my eyes closed.
3. I like standing on my head (and love the energy I get from standing on my head).
4. I like the feeling of being lubricated, so I can reach for stuff and turn my head, when i need to, while driving.
6. I like being able to go up and down stairs easily.
7. I love peace.
8. I like being prepared to meditate.
9. Love the vibes.
10. I love something else about it that can’t be put into words.

ode to yoga

sometimes when I linger, out
feet are cold
can’t feel my snout

historic weather, so I’m told
neck is creaky
bones feel old

a pain in the foot, a little freaky
toe going rogue
nose is leaky

then I think of summer, hot springs in Saratoga!
get on my mat
and do some yoga

remarkable how one can wage
combat against one’s age

2009 goals. 2010 goals.

Today is the last day of the year.

My resolution for 2009 was to walk 10,000 steps per day, each day of the year.

I’m happy to report that I did this.

There were a few days that fell short, usually by just a few steps.  But I always made up the difference the next day.

Once, I was tired and accidentally fell asleep and came up 4,000 steps short.  The next day, I walked 14,000 steps.

A couple of times, my odometer pressed too hard against the other stuff in my pocket and reset itself.  This happened late in the day when I had over half the steps complete. Because the goal of 10k steps per day has become such an obsession, I went ahead and walked the extra steps until the device hit 10k.

There was also the day my odometer battery died and I was too far along to start over.  I did some estimating that day and feel confident I was over the required number.

It’s interesting how I developed a real sense for how many steps I had walked.  When I check my pedometer, I’m never surprised.  I can almost always get within a few hundred steps of how far I’ve walked that day.

I developed a sore toe about two or three weeks into the year (last January).  Almost one year later, it’s still a little sore, but improving.  I rarely notice it.

I did have to get a new pair of shoes in July, for my birthday.  Probably will do so again in the next couple of months.

Next year, I plan to keep the same goal.

Problem is, I didn’t take time to stretch and, with all that walking, had a few creaky days wherein I did not feel so young.

I’ve always loved yoga.  Started when I was 19 years old, as a sophomore in college, where I took a class in a wonderful studio in Reynolda Village in Winston-Salem.  But with all the walking this year, I neglected taking the time for yoga.

So this year I’m adding daily yoga in 2010 to the New Years Resolution.  This goal comes with some qualification.  In order to make it count as a daily practice,  I won’t ask myself to do a full routine — 30 to 90 minutes — if things are too busy.   I’ll do ten minutes and call it yoga.  I started this a week ago and it works out well.  Ten minutes is not ideal, but it still makes a huge difference.  When time allows, I’ll practice longer.

As for today, the last day of the year — time for a walk.

Christmas notes '09 (navel gazing, as usual)

A few notes about Christmas here at the Post house.

First of all, I’m Jewish — so Christmas is a cultural event that includes some awesome parties, visits with old friends, a few too many perhaps (a few nights too many), and a stint volunteering at the homeless shelter.

We send cards but I’m not much of a gift exchanger and certainly don’t have a religious connection to the holiday.

We also keep Hanukah in perspective.  I guess I’m sort of a secular humanist/Taoist/Jew.

My wife’s parents always send gifts, though.  And my friend Robert Jones always makes merry with gifts.  When the kids were young we had some fun playing Santa.

This year is very quiet.  Our children are far away.  Sarah is in Alaska, where she lives.  Aaron is with his girlfriend’s family, in Atlanta.  Emma is with her aunt and uncle, on a cruise in Mexico.

Normally, I don’t eat meat, but had some turkey on Thanksgiving and rather enjoyed it.  Thus, my wife, Alicia, is baking a small turkey today, with stuffing — and I’ll eat some of it.

I’ll also take some of this feast to my Mom.  She’s not doing well.  The Alzheimer’s has progressed and she’s also having some physical problems.  She’s fallen down a couple of times in the past two weeks.  I’ll visit her in a few minutes — as soon as I post this blog — and then spend some more time with her tonight, for dinner.

Sometime today, I’ll schedule in some yoga, meditation, and some walking.

Because it’s raining — hard — I may be walking here in the house, around the coffee table.  Normally, in weather like this, I would go to the mall, or even Walmart.  But it’s Christmas and they’re closed.

I’ve also got a couple of movies I want to see over the next couple of days, while things are quiet and peace reigns.

Like most Americans, I’m a big movie watcher, and even a sort of filmmaker.  But it’s been such a full year and months since I’ve seen any movie at all.  I’m going to watch Sean Penn’s ‘Milk,’ and Wayne Dyer’s ‘The Shift,” (a birthday present from daughter Sarah).

The usual traditions:  Last night, a few drinks at Robert’s house.  Tonight, a party and Darryl and Tammie’s house.  Tomorrow night, working at the homeless shelter, followed by a party at Lee’s house.  Sunday night, party at Robert’s house.  For me, these parties special.  I’ve had a busy year and I love the chance to relax and party and visit with friends.

Yesterday, I had a hankering for bar-b-cue.  I got some sauce (they call it “dip”) at Richard’s Bar-B-Cue.  Got some red slaw at McComb’s in Faith, NC.  Substituted white albacore tuna for the pork — and made a modified Salisbury style bar-b-cue sandwich, with sourdough bread.  It was excellent.

I’m working on some exciting New Year’s resolutions.  Last year, I made a resolutions to walk 10k steps per day in 2009.  I’ll probably keep this one and add to it.  My resolutions will be health related.  I’ll make a yoga goal because I was so inconsistent this year.  And I might make a diet goal.  Not to lose weight.  I never keep those.  But to eat a three servings of vegetables a day, take some vitamins, eat more and better salads — something like that.  Just trying to stay alive and healthy another year.

So there’s a bit of navel gazing for this Christmas.

My yoga teacher

A dog makes a wonderful yoga teacher and all-around guru.

She teaches how to stretch, relax, breathe, meditate. All by example.

Notice her tail is on the corner of the yoga mat.

my yoga teacher and guru
my yoga teacher and guru