forty days. forty stories.
“ooo, birdie” – Joolee Aurand upon seeing a penguin colony in Antarctica.
I first met Joolee on August 20, 2006 at the Qantas gate at LAX and according to Joolee, I didn’t seem that impressed. Nevertheless, that first meeting was the start of something I like to call a friendship. Like any good friendship, we have shared our ups and downs, dreams and disappointments, and three fantasy football championships. But things like that happen when you share a noisy, hot, asbestos lined, windowless office for four (nonconsecutive) austral summer seasons at McMurdo Station, Antarctica.
What amazes me most about Joolee is her ability to accomplish everything she sets her mind on, and doing it with great passion and determination…she never half-asses anything. This characteristic is best illustrated when I introduced her to yoga. She went form barley being able to touch her toes, to becoming a yoga instructor and inventor of yoga poses.
Now, I have always followed a strict safety policy forbidding yoga and potlucks in the workplace. But another one of Joolee’s talents is getting her way by employing the “constant drip” technique for change. One day there is a yoga mat in the corner of the office (drip), a few days later yoga music in the background (drip), and before too long the office has been transformed into Joolee’s mini yoga studio (crack). But I thought “hey, if it lifts her spirits and make her more productive, why not!” It wasn’t long after my concession that Joolee’s yoga practice took an evolutionary leap.
I came into the office one morning at my usual 6:30 am to find Joolee in a yoga pose that was foreign to me. Now I am no Master Yogi, although I have been known to do a full-frontal lotus while wearing jeans, but what Joolee was doing that morning went well beyond recreational yoga. If I hadn’t been impressed with Joolee’s dedication to yoga before this moment, I certainly was after I witnessed her hold this new pose for the entire day and well into the evening. Not wanting to disturb her meditation and focus, I quietly completed her daily tasking. While I worked endlessly that day, I thought about the amazing strength and focus it takes to hold a pose for that long. Could I ever learn to be so disciplined in anything? Is Joolee some kind of super human? Finally, at 9 pm, Joolee came out of her meditative state and shared with me the name of her new yoga pose…Hangover-asana.
Happy Birthday Joolee! Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate! And the day after, may you be granted floor space in a darkened corner of a room to throw down a Hangover-asana!