In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


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Retreat Reminiscing

IMG_1290This past weekend I brought one of my favorite yoga teachers to town.  This marks the third year Thomas Fortel has visited our area and it’s been a real treat every single time. 

We’d originally planned to meet at OTC so we wouldn’t disrupt our meditation group that meets on Saturday mornings.  But I had a last minute change of heart.  Our group was smaller this year and the space at OTC was gigantic.  And we didn’t just have one space reserved over there, we had two.  The other space was reserved for our catered lunch. 

We moved to the studio with no regrets.  The feeling at the studio was amazing and everyone agreed.  We settled in on Friday evening with pranayama, soft spinal twisting and restorative postures.  That evening pretty much set the tone for the rest of the weekend, which was slow, steady and quiet.

On Saturday we enjoyed over a full hour of meditation and breathing.  This is the total treat of the whole weekend.  The quiet and the focus that happens when meditating in a group field is amazing.  When the lights come up, everyone is so relaxed.  Eyes are wet and black with mascara that’s left the lashes and bed hair is abundant.  And the best part is that no one cares that they look this way.  After that we eased into an active asana practice for a couple of hours.  We took in some partner work, inversions and vinyasas. 

 After our active practice we enjoyed a catered and extremely healthy lunch.  Candi Davis, caterer extraordinairre, served us some wonderful yogi wraps, quinoa salad, white beans with butternut squash and fruit with an assortment of hot teas.  We took in gluten free brownies and raspberry oatmeal bars with our tea as our after lunch sweet.  She brought all glass dishes, cloth napkins and real silverware and carted it away afterwards.  It felt very good knowing we had no trash or extra clean up on our part.  I have her number if you want it.  She really puts her heart in the meal and you can taste it. 

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On Sunday we all arrived at the studio happy and a bit sad to know this was our last day together.  We engaged in that quiet group field again for over an hour.  After that Thomas stepped it up a notch with a very active practice including inversions followed by a much shorter relaxation.  As always, there were a couple of people that showed up that I’d never met and that’s always really cool.  It’s work getting all of this together and happening.  It takes more than just me and I am so thankful for the help that I receive in order to make this event and others happen.  View more photos here.

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There’s something about really diving in for more than an hour or two that soothes the soul.  I’m still receiving positive feedback and I would really like to thank those that chose to spend their weekend in this way.  Thanks Thomas, for giving us a wonderful retreat and we know we’ll see you next year if not before.

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Kirsten and Thomas on Sunday at the end of the retreat.

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Walnuts And Wind In My Hair

walnutvilleSo far this fall the weather has been really crappy for picking up walnuts.  But at the same time too much rain followed by a cold snap and a couple of warm days, allowed for me to gather a decent crop.  The bad news is that by the time I got our walnuts picked up and sold on Wednesday the price had dropped to a whopping $6.  That’s the lowest I’ve ever seen it.  They usually start off the month of October with a price of $13 or $11 for 100 lbs., then it usually moves to $8 later in the month.

The weather was amazing.  Nice and warm and dry with an awesome breeze.  I was able to soak up some much needed vitamin D since we hadn’t seen the sun for like 10 days!  After these walnuts were hulled, they weighed in at 954 lbs. and I received a check for a whopping $57.24.  Not so great.  Someone asked me the other day how many walnuts they’d have to pick up to make $20.  I told them an awful lot.  I picked all of these up (pictured) from our yard and from one tree next door on Sunday and again on Tuesday.  The bad news is our largest tree still hasn’t let go of her walnuts and the last day to sell is the 31st.

If you don’t really like to do manual labor outside and if you don’t like to get dirty, I highly recommend that you don’t pick up walnuts.  It can be a pretty nasty job.  But I don’t mind.  In our case it’s not just the selling them, it’s a matter of safety.  We have several trees and cannot mow or walk the dog unless they’re cleaned up.  I actually find the whole process to be very meditative. 

On another outdoor note, we did dig our sweet potatoes and the shallots before the big rain.  For having too much rain, a garden without enough sun and planting them a bit late, we didn’t fair too bad.  They’re really good too.   Mama Jean’s, eat your heart out.

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Our green beans also went totally crazy and so did our peppers of all varieties.  I’ve never had so many peppers in my life.  I’ve given away quart bags full and there are still a ton of green ones out there.  I have a nice bunch hanging to dry.  Chili peppers anyone?

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Our broccoli didn’t do anything at all.  It got tall, it got flowers and nice thick stalks but never produced anything worth clipping off.  Not enough sun, too many walnut trees.  Our asparagus produced one stalk and by next year, we should have a bunch.  The squirrels and raccoons pretty much destroyed most of our tomatoes, but all of my herbs faired very well.  Hopefully the mint will come back next year.  My sage is also loving this cooler, wet weather as it’s grown really tall the last few weeks.  I’ve clipped a bunch of herbs and given them away as well.  I had no idea that two Basil plants in the garden would get so big.  I usually grow the herbs on our deck.  I brought in some oregano and rosemary and potted them in a big pot.  Then I placed it in our bathroom.  It smells really nice when you get out of the shower now.  How did your garden grow?


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New Job(s)

I know what you’re thinking.   Kirsten got a new job?  She’s not teaching yoga anymore?  I’ve  thought that over.  Time and time again.  I’m approaching 43 and I’m ONLY a yoga teacher?  These are questions I’ve asked myself.  And my answer is always the same.  I love what I do.  I feel good about it, and I’m not starving to death.  Of course I have no 401K or workplace retirement so I must be totally and utterly insane.  I also know that if I did have that, it might all be gone right now with this wretched economy.

I’ve got a new yoga gig on Monday nights over at the Jordan Valley Health Center.  What a cool building.  It was raining hard the day I checked it out.  And you know what?  They had volunteers walking out to the parking lot to greet patients with these huge umbrellas.   How cool is that?  Totally South side cool.  Something you don’t expect to see just South of Chestnut Expressway.  I’m excited about this new class and the possiblities to share yoga as always.

Yoga just keeps presenting itself to me so I feel I cannot leave it.  Nope not yet.  I’m also excited to start a rotation with another teacher at The Move Studio in November as well.  This will be a Saturday morning gig and I’m looking forward to it.  I’ve subbed over there a few times and I really enjoyed the crowd.  I also live super close so that’s a plus.  I think it’s really cool that I’m not locked into teaching at any one location.  I love being mobile and the challenge I get from figuring out how I can squeeze something else in when I get a call. 

The other day a yoga student asked me how lucrative the yoga business really was.  Lucrative as in rewarding mentally?  Completely.  Lucrative as in making big dollars?  Not so much.  I mentioned it was sort of like tumbling dice and I’m totally not into gambling when it comes to lottery tickets and casinos.  I left class that day and found this song (embedded below from youtube) on the radio.  Weird.  Perhaps I wouldn’t have noticed the coincidence had I not been in the “yogic frame of mind.” 

Thank you yoga practice for allowing me to notice these small simple things. 

 


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Earlier This Week

I cut a bunch of herbs from the garden and picked the chili peppers.  It was going to rain you know.  And if you live here, well, then you know.  It rained.  A lot.  Like a bunch.  So much, it flooded the lounge area of the yoga studio, again.  I spent this morning using a shop vac, sucking water out of an Indian inspired rug.  Not a big deal.  Easy job for sure.

I spent yesterday afternoon (which was gorgeous by the way) visiting my friend Mary.  I met Mary way back when, not sure exactly. I blogged about her earlier as she had published a great book called A Hammer and Some Nails.  She attends my class at the Y and most usually never misses.  I met her daughter first over at Missouri State at my yoga class over there. 

Every year they take a trip together and ride the Katy Trail.  This time Mary crashed.  And burned.  She ended up in the hospital in Columbia, Missouri with a fractured L1 vertabrae.  I stopped by her house yesterday to find her watching a video and resting on her day bed that was flooded with sunlight from the South windows.  She had a huge, red umbrella opened up against the muslin curtains to block the sun.  Geisha girl was my immediate thought, though I didn’t say it.  I brought her some Chili Peppers, some Sage, some Mint and some Italian and Thai Basil from our garden. 

She has to wear a back brace for 6 weeks.  I would go nuts and I think she might as well, being the active senior that she is.  She attends my yoga class on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Ward YMCA and it’s weird not having her in class right now.  She doesn’t live that far from me so I plan on taking her some quirky movies soon, because you know, I’ve got a few that I know she would appreciate.

I hope when I’m 80, I’m still heading to yoga class and living in a cool little house, driving an old volvo and living my life to the fullest.  Here’s a photo of Mary on her front porch seven days after her bike accident.  You rock girlfriend.  Heal up soon, we miss the hell out of you!

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Headin’ North

Sometimes, you just have to get out town.  School was out last Friday, October 2nd so I grabbed my kid and headed to Centerview, Missouri (KC) to visit my dad and Rhonda.  I think she’s not that much older than I am.  But guess what?  My mom is married to someone who’s only 11 years older than me.  Age.  Makes no difference.  Everyone’s happy and that’s all that matters.  They live in the sticks on 8 acres and it’s pretty relaxing to just go up and hang.  Of course, if you have to go someplace, it’s a trek. 

I’ve wanted a Volvo S70 since 1998 when they came out.  Of course in 1998 they were a fairly expensive car.  And guess what?  I could’ve afforded one back then easily.  But I didn’t break down and buy one, though I should have!  I found a great one in Nixa.  But as soon as you find one, someone else nabs it.  Same story in KC.  I called about one and it was being sold as I asked questions about it.  We looked at one in Lee’s Summit.  Huge dent in the door, and another in Independence, only to find super high miles, mismatched wheels and bad interior.  I’m over trading my van.  I’ll keep it.  That is, until the right Volvo S70 presents itself to me.  And in time, the universe will reveal it.   End of car story.

We drove in to Raytown on Friday night.  Hit a place called Funhouse Pizza.  I will say the pizza there was incredible.  If you can stand a bar atmosphere, go.  If you can’t take those things, then definitely get take out!  I’m talking people smoking while they eat pizza, pitchers of beer being balanced and live karaoke all the way.  Some good and some really bad.   Before we left, this one girl (black chick) got up and belted her heart out.  I almost cried. It was awesome!  Here’s a photo of my dad, Lauren and their dog Jack on their back porch swing.  Don’t tell me I look like him, I already know that!

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Thanks for a super great and very relaxing weekend guys!  Love you both!