In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


In The Tradition Of Gratitude

Every Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. I lead a free yoga class at the studio.  I started the free class because the YMCA folks wanted another morning class, but the YMCA didn’t have funds to open one up at the time. I’m glad they didn’t.  So many new people have walked through the studio doors to practice yoga in a beautiful atmosphere with lots of props, low lighting and more.  I started the class in the beginning of the springtime and come summer I was so thankful to find so many students attend.  Not just college students, but several high school aged kids as well.  Very rewarding.  For many this free class has been their first yoga experience.  Sometimes that free class is my largest class of the week!  It’s exciting as I never know who’s going to show up.

Several attendees began asking if they could leave a donation.  I said certainly, but that it wasn’t necessary.  I figured if anything the donations received could go for the studio cleaning supplies that I purchase as well as any upkeep.  I’ve done lots of work down there in they way of purchasing paint and using it.  There’s always small things to keep up with as well.  Things as small as incense, card stock, trash bags, tape and staples to name a few.

Yesterday I received an amazing surprise.  It turns out that one of our yogis and MSU professor is also an awesome bread maker.  Before class, he handed me this beautiful ring of braided bread with some cheese in it.  Check this out.

Whoa, it’s really, really good too!  We popped it in the oven last night to warm it.  The crust was  just perfect, not too hard.  Panera Bread eat your heart out.  Our 11 year old daughter even said, “Mom, this bread would go really good with wine.”  What?  I’m totally not raising my kid on bread and wine in case you were wondering, but she did have a good point.  Besides receiving some cash for the free classes, I’ve been taken to the Mudhouse for a cup of chai tea, been given a large piece of artwork, I’ve been given a box of chocolate covered macademia nuts from Hawaii and some homemade organic, pumpkin muffins.  Those, were amazingly good by the way as well.  Unfortunately I ate those before I took their picture!  I never expected to receive anything from this class so I do suppose that in the tradition of giving is when we receive.

In gratitude to all – Happy Thanksgiving.

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Lunar Energy

Last night was clear with minimal clouds.  The moon was framed in the branches of our gigantic walnut tree and there were a few bright stars out as well.  You can see one to the left in the photo.  By the time I decided to play with the camera, a ring showed up around the moon and the air started to feel damp.  I like noticing these things.  I like feeling connected to my surroundings.  The weather got quite warm and the sun was out yesterday in the late afternoon.  I hopped in our hammock swing, kicked my shoes off and let my bare feet touch the cool earth.

I had a quiet day, doesn’t happen very often.  Both of the kids were gone and Frank was out in the woods.  There were several things I needed to catch up on around here.  But instead, I found myself distracted.  Luckily, that passed quickly and I was able to get back on task.

This evening, someone I know is offering yet another Restorative Yoga class.  I’m going.  I need it as prep for the holiday.

Risk-taking, trust and serendipity are key ingredients of joy.  Without risk, nothing new ever happens.  Without trust, fear creeps in.  Without serendipity, there are no surprises. -Rita Golden-Gelman, Tales of a Female Nomad




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Total Relaxation

This has been one crazy week for me for reasons I won’t bore you with.  But last night totally made up for all of the extra stuff I had to take on.

My good friend and fellow yogini, Abbe, was holding a Restorative Yoga class last night.  I decided I was going even though Thursday nights are deemed family night around here.  That’s about the only evening that someone doesn’t have something going on someplace. 

Awhile back I blogged about a yoga student that wrecked her bike while riding the Katy Trail.  She’s a very active senior of 80 and she’s done a lot of cool things.  Things like joining the Peace Corps later in life, building a house with her daughter all alone, and penning a book about that whole process that she just published.  

She lives close to me and since she was in a back brace for about 6 weeks I delivered some quirky movies to her cute little house.  One of the movies I loaned her was called Gigantic.  She loved it and so did I.  Her back brace has since been removed but she still has a couple more weeks until she can return to a regular yoga class. 


I stopped by her place yesterday to see if she’d like to attend Abbe’s Restorative Yoga class with me.  She wanted to go and I was glad.  I picked her up in my new to me Volvo.  She has an ’87 wagon.  Too funny.  We headed to the north side of town to the beautiful old Firehouse where the class was being held.  We settled in quickly with all of our props.  I provided a bunch of yoga blankets and threw a couple of bolsters in my trunk as well.  Nothing like running out of props in a class of this nature.  I wasn’t going to take any chances.  We spent the next hour and a half in several supported poses of rest and relaxation.  All the while Abbe stopped by with some magnificent oils on her hands for aromatherapy.  Good stuff like lavender and balsa, it was total and pure bliss.  No other words needed.

After the class another yogini friend of mine who lives in the district opened up her cool loft for a potluck dinner.   She lives in the upstairs and the downstairs houses her art studio.  She makes beautiful mosaics and metal sculptures.  She’d prepared some wonderful Thai food (my guest was excited having lived in Thailand once upon a time) and so was I.  Who doesn’t like coconut curry?  Probably someone, but definitely not anyone that was there last night.  The wine flowed, the cheese and crackers were nibbled upon and then it was time for dessert.  I whipped up a calamundin pie in a square pan for easy bite size morsels.  I still have lots of frozen juice from when my mom was here last.  That went over very well and it’s neat to bring something that’s tasty and very different.

Calamundins on the vine

We left the party close to 10:00 p.m. as I didn’t want to have my friend out too late.  It’s easy to forget someone’s physical age when they are so full of life.  I know in another post I mentioned I’d like to be a lot like her when I’m 80.  Right down to the practicing yoga, owning a Volvo and a cute little house.  Scratch off the Volvo.  I’m loving my new (old) car.

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The Week In A Nutshell


*I love the birdfeeder that my biological father made.  It’s in the front yard, and I have a perfect view of it through the picture window from one of my flea market chairs.  I cannot wait until the wintertime to see what other sorts of birds stop by.

*I taught a yoga class yesterday for someone that has the swine flu.  It’s at a studio down the street from my home.  Convenient indeed.  Felt good to help out and start a week earlier than I planned.  I’ll be teaching a Saturday rotation there.

*I love my new car.   It feels really good to have waited for something for like 10 years and to now finally have it.  During those 10 years, I drove two different mini vans.  One was gold, the other one blue.  My new car is silver and I was over being picky about the color.

*I’ve already paid $500 towards the Volvo loan and my first payment is not until December 2.  We pretty much live debt free with the exception of our house payment.  I don’t feel guilty about borrowing this small amount for the car at all.  We only use credit cards for plane tickets or wholesale yoga supplies for the boutique.  I think we’re unAmerican.

*I went to yoga this morning, not to teach, but for myself.  I meditate here at home almost every single morning.  I like the early darkness and the quiet of the house before anyone else gets up.

*Lauren and I made a run to Target today for a birthday gift.  It was 11:30 a.m. and the place was jam packed.  What’s up with that?  I thought the world was broke.  We checked out these awesome chairs my sister is buying.  They’re green and blue and made out of one piece of wood.  Very sleek, modern and comfortable.

*Our son has been invited to a track meet that will take place in Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii.  I want him to go.  Of course I want to go with him!  Hopefully, we can figure out how to send him.  We will get all the details this coming Sunday, Nov. 22.  The G.I. Joe’s are going on e-bay soon.

*We attended a choir concert last night.  Our daughter sang in that same Children’s Choir for 4 years and lost interest.  Our niece is still in it.  She sang a solo from Phantom of the Opera.  She looked beautiful and was simply amazing.  She also played her  flute a couple of times while the other choirs sang.  She’s 15, very smart and very talented.

*My sister totally hates her new job and says it just might be the most jacked up company in the world.  On the other hand, her husband is working on a massive resort in the Bahamas that’s being built by Tiger Woods and his bud.  Water features galore.  He’ll be busy for awhile.

*Frank has not had a day off since September 22, that is, until yesterday and today!  Finally, someone wants to work.  What did he do on his day off?  He went deer hunting.

*I’ve been working on serious organization around here.  Our office is full of crap, mine and Frank’s.  I finally purchased a nice book shelf for the hallway and now all of my yoga stuff is in one location.  I am so totally happy.  Yes, simple pleasures rock out.

*In my organization spree, I found several books that I need to read.  Winter weather and tea, oh yes.

*Today was the first day to drive the new car in the rain.  The head lamps have windshield wipers.  Cool.  I wonder if they really make a difference?

*Ghiradelli brownies are totally dangerous, and one should never, ever make them.

*My husband is addicted to watching Star Trek on the computer and I wish he’d put the head phones on.  I love sharing this small office space and bumping chairs often.

*My daughter informed me that the new Volvo commercial features the Twilight cast.  Funny.  She’s totally into the new car now, at first she was sad to see the van go.

*We’re not doing anything for Thanksgiving.  The last few years, we’ve held the dinner at our place.  We’re not having any company.  We’re just going to walk next door.

*I’ve fallen out of love with my hair dresser.  I’m not liking the hair style enough to maintain it, so I’m going to bolt.  Now, what kind of cut do I get?  My hair gets really heavy on the top and it’s driving my crazy.  Of course, my family says, “Let it grow long!”  Riiiight.  I teach yoga.  I need easy, short and low maintenance.  That includes NO flat ironing.  I need blow dry or toss wet and go. 

*My sister got a great haircut one time when she visited here.  I think I’ll go there.   She said it was the best haircut she’s ever had.

*I’ve had my hair professionally colored once and that was before we got married in August of 2004.  Some of my gray hair is not silky and straight.  It’s kinky.  I figure I’ll be the 50 year old yoga teacher with a white fro.  Check me out in seven years.

*Tomorrow is my last class at Jordan Valley Community Health Center.  They’re wanting a winter intersession and I hope the Y will pay me to do it.  I so love that new group, it’s close to home and the space is nice!

*This week is also my last week at MSU.  I’ve done an intersession for them for years.  Otherwise, they’d be without yoga until the end of January.  That would really suck.

 *I have not taken a bike ride or a walk in a few weeks.  Now that it’s raining, I want to!

*I’ve been blogging for a year and half now.  The post I did about the Christmas trees around the world and Hot Yoga have been the most popular.  Who knew?

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Yoga At Camp Finbrooke

IMG_1382Saturday was another beautiful day weather-wise.  Even though I was exhausted from my road trip to Oklahoma (mentally and physically) I had to head out to Camp Finbrooke to lead a couple of yoga classes for the Girl Scouts.  I’d never been to Camp Finbrooke before.  I wasn’t a Girl Scout.  I was a Bluebird and I remember one year, I was third highest or something for the selling of the candy.  I got to go downtown (or somewhere) and pick out a huge stuffed animal.  And if I remember right, I think I chose a gigantic turtle.

Anyways, I found the camp and it was great to drive the Volvo out there and enjoy the narrow, hilly and curvy roads.  It handles like a dream.  Once I arrived I found my contact person and she told me the yoga would be happening down at the barn.  Super.  Except they handed me this gigantic boom box to carry.  I already had a very heavy yoga mat (for outdoor use) and a backpack.  I was also wearing sandals.  Bad choice of shoes as the barn was a trek.

I taught from 3:00-4:00 p.m. and 4:30 -5:30 p.m.  The girls threw their little rugs out on the lawn.  I had at least 20 girls in each group and a few mom’s as well.  The kids were from all over and there were several from Columbia in both of my groups.  The girls appeared to be middle school and high school ages.  They were a little rowdy when they first arrived, but I had their attention quickly.  After the first class was over, we had a break for snacks.  A few of the girls passed on food and stuck around talking.  They asked me about the Asian inspired pants I had on.  They asked me if I lived in a big house and if it was decorated Chinese style.  Too funny.  They asked about the music I played and where I got it.  The two that stuck around the longest, told me how good they felt and how relaxed they were.  Then one of them asked me if I liked chocolate.  And when I said yes, she gave me a Hershey candy bar. 



The second group got to enjoy the movement of the sun as we had our class.  They were really hyper in the beginning, but their energy shifted pretty fast.  I think the sunset helped.



This group had an entirely different set of questions afterwards.  They asked stuff like, “How does yoga work?’, “Will I always feel like this after every yoga class?”, “My energy has shifted and the outside looks prettier, why?”  Whoa.  I so love it when they get it.  Amazing.  Afterwards, two of the girls wanted me to hike with them (in the dark by flashlight) to the cabins.  Though I would’ve loved to have gone, I had to say no.  I was beat, I had on sandals and my throat was really scratchy from talking into the warm wind.  I got a little lost leaving there as it was pitch dark and I think I exited a different way than I entered the camp.  Nice. 


They sent me home with a check (Volvo fund) and 17 boxes of Girl Scout cookies!  Thanks guys, I had a wonderful day and your camp is really beautiful.  I’d so love to do this again!




Stimulating The Economy Volvo Style

Since 1998 or so, I’ve wanted a Volvo S70.  Volvo only put out this body style for a few years.  Some people think it’s totally ugly.  Eleven years later, I still think it’s totally cool.  Back in 1998 or so, this car retailed for around $27,000.  Back then, I could’ve purchased it but I thought that was silly when $27,000 could buy part of a small dwelling here in Springburg.

I go through these phases of endless internet searches for Volvo S70s that leave me strung out, red eyed and ignoring my family.  I bring myself back to reality with my yoga practice on being happy with what I have and that would be a 2003 Ford Windstar mini van.  I’ve owned it since March 2004 and it’s mine free and clear.  On Wednesday I found a Volvo S70 that looked awesome on the internet, so I made a call and the dude on the line sounded decent.  Since the kids were out of school today, I decided to get someone to teach my morning yoga class and drive to CLAREMORE, OK to check this car out.    


Since Frank is living at the mall these days, I went alone.  The weather was great for a road trip.  I figured all I would be out would be some gas money and the $70 for that check I borrowed from the bank in case I didn’t need it.  Whatever.  Small change compared to what settling for what I’ve already seen and regretting it later might bring.  I arrived at 10:45 a.m.  and tried not to pee my pants as I looked at the car staying completely emotionless.  But inside I was like OH MY GOD this is the nicest Volvo S70 I’ve ever seen and it’s a 2000, not a 1999, not a 1998, and OH MY GOD it really does have 48,700 miles on it.  And the seats are NOT cracked.  At all.  I drove it and it was perfect.  Shit.  This is really going to suck because I know he’s not going to give me crap for my hail damaged van, plus do I have enough money in my yoga checking account to buy this car when I need more than what I got from the bank?

McDonald’s.  That’s where I went after he told me to go and eat some lunch because I’d already been there for almost two hours.  I sucked on my sweet tea and gazed out the window at this car knowing I could have it.  I was happy but also sad knowing he probably wasn’t going to budge because if I didn’t take it today, someone would take it tomorrow on a sunny Saturday in Claremore.  I returned from my rush of fat and sugar to ask him if he would take XX amount of $$ and my van.  Nope.  Sorry.  Ok then.  How about XXX amount of $$ and my van?  Nope.  Sorry.  Hard headed he was, because duh, it’s the nicest S70 in the freaking midwest.  I tried the, “But it needs a new keyless remote and I will need to have a wing on the back because it’s so grandma-like and the door panels have a tiny problem (like they all do) and it has no sun roof and it’s priced like a GLT and it’s an SE.” 

None of this crap worked, none of it.  Amazing.  That totally sucked for me.  I wouldn’t even take the water he offered me because I thought I might throw it up.


I’ve never wanted an Audi, a BMW, a Lexus or even a Mercedes, only a Volvo.  At 2:45 p.m. I caved.  I whipped out my yoga check book (thank you everyone) and gave him the extra that was needed to seal the deal.  He went down an entire $50 after I asked him to at least take off what it would cost for the divorce I was in for when I got home.  After it was over I told him it was the nicest S70 I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot) and that something had to be terribly wrong with the car because it was too good to be true.  Nope, it’s just a good, clean, well cared for S70.  I also asked him if he had an extra room at his house that I could stay in until my husband decided to take me back.  I drove it home.  I finally took that bottle of water.  Done deal.

It’s mine.  I love it.  I don’t think I’ve felt this way about a vehicle since like 1986 when I had my Mustang GT.  When Frank checked it out tonight, he was like “WOW” very nice car.  I still have a home and a husband.

Now all need is a Namaste sticker for the bumper.

What can I say?  They’re boxy, but they’re good!!

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Amazing Nature

Nature.  It never ceases to amaze me. 

I found this praying mantis on our deck last week. 


She accidentally stepped into the edge of this web, owned by this spider.  It was also accompanied by two huge egg sacks.  I watched her struggle for a little while.  Meanwhile, the big spider didn’t even know she was there.  Her web was very big and the praying mantis was stuck in the part that was attached onto the deck railing.  IMG_1267

She was able to free herself and if not, of course, I would’ve helped.   Afterwards, I watched her cruise away.  At one time she turned her head to look at me.  Probably because I practically had my lens touching her head.  I’ve got a nice blurro shot of her alien-like face against a clear background.  Still working on the use of the macro on the new camera.  I’ll figure it out soon.

On Sunday, October 25th before heading to the yoga retreat I noticed these jet streams that had crossed one another.  They made a huge X pretty much dead center in our picture window.  My camera was at the studio, so I told Frank to grab his.  Isn’t this cool?  This was taken around seven or so in the morning, facing east.


The day before yesterday, I was up early as I have been lately because my body goes by the the sun.  I don’t adjust well to daylight savings time and neither do our animals.  So at 4:30 a.m. I’ve been up feeding them because they know it’s 5:30 a.m.  The moon was huge out back and the yard was flooded with light.  So what the heck.  I grabbed a cup of coffee and my camera.  I took this around 6:00 a.m. and I love it. 


The trees look so spooky and the moon is so bright.  I took several, but this one where the zoom is tight is the best.  I love this time of year.


Trick or Treat

IMG_1359Halloween.  Once you have kids, it becomes a pretty busy day.  I spent yesterday with my daughter Lauren, carving a pumpkin and decorating a spooky, chocolate cookie, haunted house from a kit.  You’ll have to excuse the jungle in the background.  I brought all of my plants in quick like last week and they barely made it past the back door.

I did manage to squeeze in one movie for myself today.  I watched the Proposal and it was much better than I thought it would be.  Since Lauren was home, I opted for something PG-13 friendly.  Frank has been stuck at the mall for all eternity.  He hasn’t had a day off since like September 22 or something.  It’s bad.  But that should cease soon.  You’d really think that people need jobs right now, but you know when there’s drug testing involved that narrows it down quite a bit.  Every Halloween a gazillion people take their kids to trick or treat at the mall.  So that means every Halloween my husband has to work there until they close or later.  So that pretty much leaves Lauren and I on our own for Halloween since our son is almost 17 and has all of a sudden created a life of his own. 

We usually go all out for Halloween.  I’ve collected myself and been given Halloween decor forever, since the 31st is my birthday.  Not this year.  This year my winter clothes are still in the attic with the Halloween decor.  It’s the first year ever, that this has happened.  Our attic is hard for me to access as it requires dragging an 8 foot ladder into the house and down the hall.  Then of course, a second individual is needed to toss things to.  I didn’t have it in me to tackle it.  Frank felt bad, but it’s OK.  When he’s been home he’s been too exhausted to do much of anything.  I also felt a bit relieved yesterday when I noticed all of our pumpkins were still in the attic and I wouldn’t have to spend the next couple of days packing them away.

Once it was almost dark we headed over to Carrie’s house.  It’s been a tradition for several years to eat, drink and trick or treat the neighborhood with them.  Lauren was a Kandy Korn witch (minus the hat, it was itchy) and Mady was a ghoul of some sort.  We all agreed she looked a lot like Ozzy Osbourne with the little round glasses.  


My little niece Ava who will be 5 this week said, “Uncle Frank probably made that broom from stuff in the backyard!”  I had to laugh and I probably broke her heart when I reassured her it was a real broom.  Frank’s pretty good at making and fixing stuff but we all had to crack up over that one!


Carrie’s friend Chris stopped by and hit the candy trail with us.  He happened to be dressed in all black.  Pants, belt, shoes, socks and shirt complete with black hoodie and long black coat.  He sports a moustache and a chin beard and he also wore black sun glasses.  We couldn’t decide if he was a terrorist or the grim reaper.  He said he wasn’t even dressed up he was just on his way downtown to the pub crawl.  We had to laugh.  Anyways, he scared the crap out of a lot of folks on the trail and not necessarily on purpose.  In fact, he’s very theatrical and he broke out singing several show tunes while we treated as well.  One guy came to Carrie’s dressed like the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz.  Chris serenaded him with the entire Scarecrow song from the film and it was awesome fun.  That’s Chris by the car port on the left being creepy spooky.


Back at Carrie’s, the kids dumped out their loot on the table while we enjoyed another glass of wine and goodies of our own.  Lauren ended up spending the night over there.  Jordan was doing his own thing late into the night with his girlfriend’s family so he wasn’t home either.  When Frank got home we got to talk and hang out, something we hadn’t been able to do in a great while.  All in all another great Halloween birthday bites the dust.  Hope yours was spooky fun as well.

The sun is shining again today and I’m thinking it’s time to clean up more walnuts.  Too late to sell them though, but danger lurks.  Frank and Jordan will work all day.  And then, after the mall closes, they will stay and help put up the massive Christmas decorations.  Anyone up for decorating for Christmas today?  Perhaps I’ll swing into the attic like a monkey and get down the winter holiday decor.  Just kidding.