In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff

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Happy 18th Lauren

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Lauren.  Wow!  How in the world did you ever get to be 18?  I have no idea.  You are beautiful.  Witty.  Smart.  And you’ve never so much as had a warning, a traffic ticket or an accident or fender bender.  Amazing.

We ate at Red Lobster with her dad and her boyfriend CJ on her exact birthday.  I usually teach yoga for a couple of hours on Thursday evenings, but I’ve been off yoga for the whole month of January.  A choice I made after I found out I had an inguinal hernia and then I decided t get it fixed pronto, so I’ve been recovering.  I feel as though a replay from 18 years ago is happening in the way of groin pain.  I had a C-section with Lauren and this feels like I’ve had half of one. Not so much fun.  Much easier when you have a baby to focus on instead of just PAIN.

Our dinner was nice, we all had a great conversation.  After that her beau took her to the mall to buy a pair of Converse.  Her dad gave her cash.  She had mentioned getting a tattoo for her birthday, so I was thinking that’s what she’d do. But no, she came home late Thursday night with a Hookah instead.  What’s worse?  A Hookah or a tattoo?  Not sure I can really answer that one. Neither I guess. I know her friends vape and I know she does sometimes as well.  I know when you turn a certain age, it’s cool to do something that you can only do when you’re that age. Like going to a bar when you’re 21, even if you don’t really drink.  I think her boyfriend hit it on the nose when he said to me, “I think she’ll be done with it in like 2 weeks.”  He knows my kid well.  And I’m glad.

So far she’s on the honor roll in school this year, so that’s exciting after a few years of not really giving a crap about school.  She also wants to go to college now which is good and bad. She lost her two free years at OTC due to the not “giving a crap” issue.  She’s into childcare and does go to a daycare for school a few times per week.  She’s also in a Forensics class and loves it. She mentioned going to school to be a Child Forensic Psychologist.  I was like… that a real job?  Of course it is.  What do I know.  She scored well enough to get into MSU on her ACT (surprise) but I think we’ll feel out OTC first. Cheaper and just in case she feels like quitting, it will be less of an investment.  The forensics program is also at MSU.  But if she chooses to do that she can get her basics out of the way at OTC then transfer over.

Lauren has not had a job YET.  This needs to change.  She did help me clean a bunch of buildings back when I was doing that, but so far nothing on her own. I am hoping now that she’s 18 she will find something that she likes to do.  It’s harder when you’re 16. But still.  I give her $40 a week for stuff around here and she has to buy her gas out of that.  None of her friends work either.  Weird.  We all worked, from like the day we were old enough to.  Things are different that’s for sure.  I’m sounding old aren’t I?

Lauren.  Follow your heart.  Stand up for yourself.  Be kind.  Stay smart.  Show compassion.  Fall in love.  Get a job.  Keep doing well in school.  Stay the beautiful, responsible soul that you’ve turned into.  I honestly hope that I had a little to do with that. Love You!


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The Summer

Every summer, my daughter goes to Florida.  This past summer was no exception.  My parents drove in, stayed at an Air BnB on the other side of town and helped me have a much needed garage sale.  I’ve never had much wrong with my body in the way of pain, but around that garage sale time, I started having a burning in my back.  It was so bad that in fact, I had to opt out of the garage sale and spend some time in bed.  Not like me.  At all.

The sale went on, my dad gave me a muscle relaxer (which I’ve never taken) and I was able to function the rest of the day.  In the meantime, I made another appointment with my doctor.  This pain had started in my hip/thigh/groin and was bothersome at yoga.  Mostly when sitting cross legged and bending forward while on the floor in class.

My folks left and took my kid back with them like they always do. Greg and I would head to Florida a few weeks later.  We would meet Lauren at the airport, hand her her car keys and say hello and good-bye.  I returned to my doctor to have him tell me it was sciatica and I could try physical therapy.  I was like really? I know yoga, I can fix my own body, but Ok.

Off I went one time per week to physical therapy at $40 a pop.  Cheaper than a massage and it was awesome and real close to my house.  Apparently by the time I got there, the side that had been hurting had quit and the pain was super bad on the other side.  The garage sale day side.  Weird.  I guess some muscles in my back weren’t firing correctly and I had lost some core strength. Nice.  I do lift some stuff at my job, but my work with the boxes and running that insane hand truck were over when they shifted my job. Good thing I think!  I still pull some leather and it can be rather heavy.  I continued with my therapy and still have some issues on and off.  I guess I’m 49.  Oh well.  Life goes on.

I have turned into one of those people that walks into my class and says, “Help me.”  Never thought I’d see the day.  I don’t practice like I used to.  I do get exercise at work but I know that’s not enough.  I’m usually so tired that I don’t want to do anything physical after work.  Shifting that right now though.  It’s all good.

In the meantime I have muscle relaxers that I never take and Naproxen that I do take and wine that I do drink.  Things could be much worse, this I know for sure.

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The Tattoo

I’ve always like tattoos.  Since way back when I was a teen.  I wasn’t ever really sure if I’d really get one, but I did.

When my daughter started kindergarten, after my second divorce, I got my first tattoo.  It took 20 minutes and cost $65.  I chose the Kanji calligraphy symbol for Patience as that is something I felt I had learned in a huge way over the last few years.  It was down my spine, about 7″ and it covered easily with a racer back sports bra so I didn’t have to show it at yoga if I didn’t want to.

Fast forward to April 1st of this year.  I had had some artwork in my head for a long, long time.  Oddly enough, it even resembled a water color painting on bamboo that was sent to me when I was 16 from my pen pal in Hong Kong.  Her name was Jo Jo Wong.  It hangs at the end of my tiny and somewhat dark hallway.

I didn’t tell anyone that I was going to get a large tattoo across my upper back, not even my husband.  I checked out a few places and felt the most comfortable at a place close to home that was ran by all women.  I paid my $40 deposit and set my appointment and went on my way.  A few weeks later, April 1st came.  Being old like I am, I had not had a cycle for a long, long time.  That morning, I started a period…from hell.  I ran home from work, ate a small amount and grabbed a can of Coke.  Off I went.

I sat there for 45 minutes while she drew up what I wanted.  I had given her several pictures when I paid my deposit.  I guess they wait to see if you’re really going to come back before they make any effort.  Most of this was just ideas and the design was pretty much free-handed on my back with an orange Sharpie.  The branch was a wing job and it’s beautiful.

I put on my jacket backwards and sat down.  She cleaned my back with this green soap that had a burn to it right from the get go.  I had chosen a cherry blossom branch with flowers across my upper back.  On one shoulder blade would be two birds with the date 11/7/80 which was the date I met my husband, now and then.  On the other shoulder I had my daughters’ birthdate and the phrase –

It’s impossible – said pride

It’s risky – said experience

It’s pointless – said reason

Give it a try – whispered the heart

It was a toss up.  I had a few others, but this one truly spoke to me in a big way.  Especially with the events leading to where I am right now.  So.  The tattooist dug in with her gun, on the lettering first.  It burned.  It burned bad.  Then she asked if I was on any medication (which she had already asked me) because she said she’d never seen anyone bleed so much on a liner.  Great.  I was going to bleed to death and we had two letters done.

It ceased up after a bit, perhaps it was the adrenaline.  Who knows.  I was in that chair for like 3 hours.  My lettering was done, my birds were mostly done, the branch was done and the flowers were outlined.  I left.  Another appointment was to be had in 2 weeks.  They cleaned the wound and sealed it with something called Saniderm.  That stuff was the best ever.  I am alone most of the time so cleaning would’ve been a challenge.  This stuff is like a saran wrap that sticks to your skin, not the wound.  It’s used for burn victims.  She said I could go swimming if I wanted.  No.  Way.  I showered every day and left that shit on for one week.  It was annoying towards the end and it did leave strong red marks where the adhesive was, but that’s all gone now.

I felt very sick about a week after getting the tattoo.  I went to my doctor and he said everything was fine.  I am a paranoid person at times and I do believe that my mind made me ill.  I didn’t have anyone to talk to about what or how I should’ve felt afterwards so where did I go for information?  Why the internet of course.  By the end of one night I had diagnosed myself with Staph, Hepatitis of all letters, HIV, Sepsis, MRSA and Strep.  I’m sure there was a host of other illnesses that I’ve forgotten by now in there as well.

I cried.  It hurt.  I couldn’t lean back in a chair.  It was hard to sleep at times.  It hurt to stretch.  My stomach was upset.  And all I could think of was I wanted this, I paid for this, I deserve this and I’m an idiot.  It was my favorite time of year and it hurt to be outside!

I could not go back in two weeks.  I was still sore and the burning sensation had not really ceased.  You don’t realize how much you use your upper back until you get it pretty much totally tattooed!  Mind you I didn’t miss a day of work except the couple of hours I spent at the doctor that one day.  I was diagnosed with a sinus infection.  I was given antibiotics that would make me sicker than I was before.  I quit taking them!

I changed my appointment.  It would be April 28th until I would be able to return and believe me, I almost didn’t.  It looked good like it was.  I would live with the outline on the flowers.  After all, it was for me and no one else!   I made the appointment a tad bit later than the last time.  I ran home from work and showered quickly.  I put on yoga pants and ate half a rotisserie chicken from Wal-Mart.  No Coke this time, just water at my side.

She started shading in all the flowers and I swear I could’ve fallen asleep.  What in the hell is up with that?  It was death the first time, the second time made me want to get my entire body covered (which I will not be doing, in case you’re wondering).   I’d mentioned the feeling I had the last time and she cleaned my back with different soap.  It was so much better.  No more green soap for me.

After another almost 3 hour session, I was done.  I would’ve liked to have had a tad more detail, but one can only take so much.  It’s lovely.  It’s soft looking like an Asian painting.  I see so many tattoos today that are so saturated with ink.  That’s a brightness I wasn’t after.

I’d post a picture, but I think I’ll just leave it to the imagination.  My birds are purple, orange, turquoise and black.  My phrase is black.  My branch is gray and the flowers are pink with some skin showing through.

It’s beautiful.  It’s finished.  I lived.  No regrets.

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Where Have I Been?

SAMSUNG PHONE PHOTOS 632I know.  It’s been more than a little while since my last post.  I think it’s been something like eight months to be exact!  Crazy.  Why haven’t I blogged?  I don’t know.  Too busy?  Maybe.  Doing other things?  Maybe.  Didn’t feel like it?  Maybe.  Who knows.

But since it’s been so long, I now have an abundance of life information that I feel like sharing.  And since it’s been so long, like eight months or something, I can’t possibly do it all at once.  I won’t even start writing about it this evening.  But what I will do, is touch on some of the highlights and come back with details in the way of a blog post later.  I know.  You can hardly stand it.

The last time I blogged was in March.

In April I decided to get a rather large tattoo.  On April 1st to be exact.  It was my secret, no one knew I got it.  It would take two appointments over 3 weeks apart and the better part of 6 1/2 hours.  I’ll talk about it more later.  No regrets.

In June my folks came to town.  They took my daughter back to Florida like they always do.  She flew home the day that Greg and I flew out.  She watched the house.  The a/c quit the night we left.

I got engaged on the beach in Florida in July.  I’ll talk about more of that later.

In August my daughter started her senior year of high school.  She was not interested in college.  At all.  Well, now she is.  This has been interesting none the less.  We will figure it out.

In August someone let my dogs out of the yard in the middle of the night and stole a lot of shit from surrounding neighbors.  Other freaky things have happened in the hood as of late.  Not dwelling on it, I was warned not to move to the “north side.”  More on all of the freakiness later.

In September, I got married.  Again.  I know what you’re thinking.  How many times are you going to do this Kirsten?  This is the last time.  No more name changes, no more relationships that are operating on the way of how I think stuff is supposed to be.  This one just is and it’s awesome.  Always was, has been and still is.  More on that later.

In September, 10 days after we got married, I had a colonoscopy.  I chose to do it without sedation.  Not for fun, but to save on some serious cash.  It was really cool to be awake, seriously!  They found nothing wrong with my colon.  More later.

In October, Halloween to be exact, I turned 49.  Big deal.  I have gray hairs which I am ridding of as I write this.  I hope anyways!  I like being 49.  I don’t like the way my body doesn’t feel like 30 anymore, but that’s OK.  I’m healthy and that’s all that matters.

In November I decided to cut my hours down at my job.  After the first of the year I’ll be working 4 days per week.  That’s exciting stuff.  I am trying to create a life that I don’t need a vacation from.  A three day weekend once per week should do it.

I still teach yoga.  I still have my house.  I still have three dogs and two cats, including the one dog that was/is such a pain in the ass.  He’s my buddy and he’s very protective.  I have awesome neighbors and a great network of folks on Facebook in the Doling area.  It’s cool. I have a husband.  Life is good.

More on all of the goodness later.

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SAMSUNG PHONE PHOTOS 176I have always guarded and very much enjoyed my time alone.  But not here lately.  Perhaps I’m getting old.  Perhaps I need a hobby.  Wait.  I have plenty of those, but none of which seem that engaging at this very moment.  I don’t even want to read.  Or maybe.  Just maybe that one person that I’d really love to be with right now isn’t here.  That’s it.

I took a vacation day from work today.  It rained.  It didn’t just rain.  It rained a nasty ass drizzle the ENTIRE day.  And it was only around 50 degrees.  I didn’t really take a vacation day because I had something to do.  I took it because I simply feel as though I need one whole weekday off – per month – from my job.  I know.  Do I want some cheese to go with that whine?  You bet.  Excuse me while I get a glass – of wine.

I only had one plan for today.  It didn’t happen.  I got the little weekday only kind of things taken care.  The car serviced and all that jazz.  Of course the place I take my car to is open on Sunday.  But do I want to spend my Sunday over there?  No.  No I do not.

The rest of the day was spent fighting with this rain, running about tending to things that came up unexpectedly with my daughter.  Things that I wished I wouldn’t have had to deal with.  I am though, thankful that I had the day to take care of these things but at the same time I am choosing to complain.  Why is that?  I guess I wanted to do something else today but I don’t really know what that would have been.

Funny isn’t it.  We have everything we want yet we complain.  I’ve started a gratitude journal once again.  I need to hit my yoga mat as well.  I know why I practice and I know why I choose not to.  And guess what?  It’s none of your business.  Today anyway.

So tonight I am thankful that I am here and that I am healthy.  That my kid is healthy.  That my family is healthy.  My pets are all awesome and healthy.  Apollo, the new dog is going to daycare once a week. He’s making improvements.  Oh and we got him a shock collar with a zone and he hasn’t touched the furniture since.  Who knew?  I am thankful for the job that got me this house and in turn, I wish I never had to leave it on a daily basis.  I am thankful that my washer and dryer are cranking away at this very moment.  I could after all, be in a Laundromat.  No thanks.  I am grateful that I actually have two more days off.  And that they’re supposed to be warm, bright and sunny and maybe, just maybe filled with yoga.

Think I’ll go and grab that gouda now.  My work here is done.

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The Dog

When I moved into this awesome little dream house I came with three cats and two dogs.  One cat split a few weeks after we brought him here.  The two dogs are smaller, like 15 to 20 pounds.  So.  We HAD two cats and two dogs.  Until this one day in the middle of November.  My daughter is a lover of big dogs.  Actually she’s a dog lover.  I’m the cat person but I will say I have grown to really love the dogs that we have now.

Sadie the Cocker Spaniel was given to us by a homeless man that was hanging out at the Branson Landing.  She’s a pure bred dog.  She has one blue eye and one brown eye.  She’s also very small for a cocker.  She wasn’t potty trained and we didn’t have a fence or a dog door at my old house.  Yuck.  I ended up tossing my most favorite rug in the world.  A prayer rug, a big one, made by the Kurds in Afghanistan.  I cried.  Need I say more?

A year after we got Sadie one of Lauren’s friends had a long haired Chihuahua that they didn’t know was pregnant when they got it.  Oh boy.  Could be please get a puppy?  Sadie was about 3 when we got her so of course I said yes.  Enter Eleanor the awkward puppy that is SO not a Chihuahua!  Her dad must’ve been a bird dog.  The vet said she looks like a miniature Pointer and she does.  She also has epilepsy and has to take meds twice a day.  Who’s the one that distributes that pill on a more than regular basis?  Yours truly.  I do so wish that we could’ve got Lauren a puppy when she was younger.  She’s so busy now.

Back to November.  I pulled in the driveway and saw three kids out back.  Three kids and a big dog.  Immediately Lauren said, “Mom.  Don’t be mad.”  Mistake number one.  Not getting mad.  Mistake number two.  Allowing this dog to stay here until we could find the rightful owner.  The kids had gone to Target one night.  One night when it was like 3 degrees.  Low and behold this dog was running around the lot and they captured it.  Lovely.  We now have a 45 lb. dog that we knew nothing about.


I immediately shot pictures and posted ads on Craig’s List, Leah’s Lost and Found and anything else I could find.  Time passed and no one claimed him.  We had to work and be at school.  Would this dog hurt the little dogs?  Being dog stupid and totally unprepared we locked him in the laundry room.

Lauren came home sick from school that same day to find this.  Luckily she was home at 11:30.  I even had to replace the window blinds.  I had a glass jar of laundry detergent that I’d just made.  Broken glass, torn up jackets and towels, you can pretty much see the carnage.  I immediately spent $100 on a crate on the way home.  A few evenings later I left him out of the crate while I was gone for 2 hours.  In that time he ate the book I was reading, a box of Kleenexes, a fall floral arrangement, a cool slipper from Japan and whatever else you see pictured below.  He started chewing on the plastic crate so I sold it on Craig’s List for $50 before it got too trashed.  Then I purchased a wire Kong crate for $145.  Good thing my boyfriend has a good job! The next time he was home alone he tore up the back pillow on the sofa.  Ok.  So the couch is super old and the back pillows do suck.  Another time he completely shredded the other one so as of the moment, we have a couch with a cowhide rug on it and no back pillows.


We continued to crate all day and leave him unsupervised for a few hours at a time and all was well.  Well until he shredded the side of my chair.  This was rather disheartening.  I was just in from teaching yoga when this one happened.  And I’m certain if would’ve happened after I returned from doing anything else, this dog would probably be dead.  My sister custom made those slipcovers for two chairs that I got at a flea market.  Yeah.  They’re really old chairs but they’re comfy and they WERE in perfection condition.  Not only did he destroy the fabric, he also chowed down on the wood on both chairs.  Nice.

I called a dog trainer.  She came over and gave me some great tips but the main thing was do not free feed and change their food.  That has made a world of difference.  She said to use a bitter spray on things you don’t want him to chew on.  Wish I would’ve known that in the beginning, it works wonders!   Next up we are going to puppy classes.  I make Lauren take him.  He has a name, it’s Apollo.  She takes the dog and her buddies to class on the night that I teach yoga.  He’s had three lessons so far and only one was a good one.

The vet said he’s not more than 2 and he’s a Shiba Inu/Lab mix.  He is a gentle dog and Eleanor LOVES him for they are probably the same age.  Sadie can really take him or leave him and I’m thinking leave him most of the time.  One night he was being rough with the girls so I locked him outside for 15 minutes.  He totally destroyed the flap and the bar on the dog door.  Of course this had to happen when it was SNOWING and my beau was working out of town.  I glued it and it lasted one week.  Luckily my awesome boyfriend who can do anything repaired it this weekend.  It should hold up for a long while.  In the meantime I have new parts on the way.  For $36.  So far without replacing any furniture this FREE dog has cost us about $700.

But you know what?

I’m determined.  I’m in love…..with my dog and with my boyfriend.



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Happy 17th Lauren

My daughter is now 17 years old.  How did that ever happen?  I know folks say time travels fast but I truly believe it travels much faster when you have a child.  Even if you just have one.  The birthday celebration lasted all week long.  We got cupcakes from The Cup on one night.  The actual birthday evening me and two of her friends went to Red Lobster.  It’s something we do every year.  Small tradition that we’ve been able to keep.  The rest of the week was spent shopping and hanging out with her friends.

I have to enjoy the photos of my kid that I have around the house because I hardly ever see her face.  She’s busy.  Not with school.  Not with a job.  But with friends.  I’m glad I was able to get her the car to drive to school since I chose to move out of the school district.  We had to transfer over to keep her at the same high school.  She’s smart, but she’s lazy.  She loves to procrastinate and demonstrates NO sense of urgency most of the time.  She has a sarcastic and incredibly witty sense of humor.  She’s absolutely gorgeous.  She’s had a couple of boyfriends but not with anyone that she can’t seem to live without.  She’s messy and I mean like totally unorganized.  In her room and in her car.

Basically, she’s the opposite of what I am.  And it’s OK.  Believe me I wasn’t always OK with that.  I wanted her to be organized, tidy, retentive about her school work, and to show a stronger sense of caring and appreciation towards others.  But.  She’s not me.  She’s her own beautiful kind of mess.  And to that I have to say I am a pretty proud parent.

Be your own true self Lauren.  Shine On.