In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


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Blessed By A Bat

The new place has a pet door. The old place didn’t. I have two dogs and I had three cats. One of the cats decided to leave here after one week. I am still sad about that but there’s nothing I can do about it. At the old place we had no fence around our yard, so the dogs had to go out on a leash. Sadie the cocker spaniel is a very leashable-walkable kind of dog. Eleanor the some kind of bird dog/chihuahua is not. She’s very zig zagable and jumpable though!
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You can totally imagine the time they had when they first arrived here. They almost didn’t know what to do. But once they figured out they could go in and out at their leisure we had it made. After a few days here one of the animals brought me a dead rabbit. A dead rabbit into the kitchen. It didn’t have a head. Nice. I’ve been graced with 2 drowned mice during the rains we had and a whole bunch of baby birds. One night about 4 a.m., my cats had a full grown robin in the laundry room. No more. I was done. The animals were to be locked out here in the back office/porch with their dog door and their kill. That lasted about 4 whole hours. The dogs whined and barked the entire time!   It’s been over a week now and they have not brought any animals in the house. I’m guessing because there’s nothing else out there to kill.
Early yesterday morning, my parents took off with their camper back to FL. They left around 6 a.m. I went into the laundry room and noticed a BAT high above my cabinets close to the ceiling. Great. What do I do now? I had to go to work. I got the litter box and all the animal food out of there and shut the door. I figured the bat would still be there when I got home. And it was.
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I have two huge windows in my laundry space, so I took the screen off of one window, raised the blinds and opened it from the top. I got a great seat on the deck with a glass of wine at dusk and waited for the exit. It was cool to watch her spread her wings. I guess she was getting warmed up for the flight. She made a few practice flights, but never hit the opening. Great. What do I do now? It was too dark for me to view her anymore, so I gave it up and went inside. I considered sleeping with that window open but you know, I’m on the north side. It would’ve totally been fine and I think I would’ve done it if I had to! But around 12:30 a.m. (bat hour) I peeked in the utility area. I cracked the door, I flicked on the light. No bat, that I could see anyways. Still afraid she might be there, I shut the window and locked it. Then I shut the utility room door as well.
I slept and checked the space again in the morning. No bat. But I have lots of clutter in there due to the move and the garage sale that I just had. I shut the space up just to keep the animals out of the bat space in case she was still around. After work today I felt positive that the bat was gone. I am doing laundry as I write this and lots of it. That little critter but a damper on my clothes cleaning party last night for sure.
How she got in I’ll never know. I’m having someone check the attic for bats just to be sure there’s not an entire colony up there.
I feel blessed by the bat. They’re cool animals and often arrive in times of transition. I feel that’s just why this one came to visit. Have a safe flight my friend.


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The Fox & The Ground Hog

We do not live in the country.  Heck we don’t even live on the outskirts of town.  We are located on a busy street and yes, we have a creek out back and lots of trees but the wild life over here is crazy sometimes.  We share our yard with families of ground hogs every year.  This is the first year they’ve burrowed under our shed.  That totally drives our dog crazy.   

I’ve seen foxes now and then, but this year we have an entire family.  I’ve seen one big one and two smaller ones.  They do make a terrible sound and if you’ve ever heard one then you know what I mean.  Foxes actually sound like a wounded woman yelling for help.  It’s bone chilling.  But I don’t think they’re going anyplace and I think they’ve made friends with the ground hogs.  Check it.

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Birthday In The Bamboo

Lauren turned 14 on Saturday, January 28th.  I told her no parties this year, but I changed my mind.  I was scheduled to enter into a medical study for some cash for two weekends in a row, so I’d planned on putting her birthday on hold.  But.  The study was moved and canceled for about the 12th time in a row.  I decided to host a party.

My good friend and baker, Kelli, was a great sport with short notice.  Lauren has shifted from Littlest Pet Shops to alternative music, skinny jeans, Hot Topic t-shirts and hair colored in an unnatural way.  Yep.  She’s 14.  One of her favorite bands is Falling In Reverse so I had Kelli put the lead singer on the cake.

This guy is totally covered in tattoos up to his chin and Kelli said it might be a bit much on the cake.  I told her forget the body art.  I guess Lauren is into bad boys, just like I used to be.  God help me, and her.  Several kids showed up.  A couple of them had actually attended WOLF with her and the others are classmates from Jarrett.  I ran to Little Caeser’s and picked up like 6 large pizzas for $40.  I got pop at Deal’s.  Sounds like we’re broke doesn’t it?

The weather has been really crazy warm and I do like it, but my mind is in January mode.  After we all chowed down I suggested that we head outdoors to the bamboo forrest around the corner from our house.  It’s a fun place for a photo shoot, so we all took loads of pictures.  I noticed that the city was down there yesterday sawing and clearing out brush.  I have a feeling that our beautiful bamboo forrest will be gone before too long as the city makes way for the green space on Bennett.  I hope not though, we love the bamboo, but I also realize it is incredibly invasive.

We walked by the creek and then the kids all headed to Phelps Grove Park to enjoy the rest of the day.  At dark they all arrived back at the house and piled in Lauren’s room for a movie.  I am so glad I took the time to redo her space.  Though it’s not large, it has a roomier feel and 7 kids were able to hang out on the floor, the bean bags and the bed playing the Wii and having a great time.

Later that night, we unsafely piled into my small car and I drove all over town dropping each kid off at their home base.  All in all.  Better than any medical study and the compensation I would’ve received.  Great day.  Great weather.  Great party!


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WOLF School Is WOW

When my daughter was in 5th grade back in 2009, she attended WOLF (Wonders of the Ozarks Learning Facility) and it was a great experience for our entire family.

2009 was the first year that this conservation based school was in business.  The classrooms were located in the old K-Mart building just West of Bass Pro.  They didn’t have a playground.  They had a parking lot.  They didn’t have a lunch room.  The lunches were catered by Parkview High School and they ate their lunch on the floor.  The kids didn’t care they loved the school, the field trips and the teachers.  One of which is still teaching there and the other?  Unfortunately moved on.

Fast forward to now and if you live here, I’m sure you’ved noticed serious construction at the corner of Sunshine and Campbell.  We live extremely close to this intersection so getting Lauren to this school was no problem for us.  WOLF School is now located in a brand new building and it is totally amazing!

We attended the Grand Opening last Thursday evening.  Lauren still volunteers when she can and it’s getting harder with school activities.  She does travel most of the summer with my parents as well.  But we do our best to get some hours in.  After school is out most of the time.  My yoga teaching requires me to be at work when she could be attending animal handling classes.  Lauren had already been inside the new shcool once.  She attended a lock-in prior to the public opening. 

This is the Grand Hall or the entry way.  The classrooms are on the left and are completely secure.  The green wall at the end of the hallway will be removed eventually.  This will allow a connection to the Bass Pro retail store and the WOW museum.  Basically the school will be open to the public so hence for the secure location of the classrooms.  Each area has a neat diorama by the door that features the theme.  So there’s a River Room and so on. 

The classrooms are really cool too.  They have neat stuff on the ceilings just like the Bass Pro store.  One room has the experience of water and a cave system.  One room has grass and flowers like the plains.  Of course there’s no lack of taxidermy and other outdoor gear on the walls as well. 

The ceilings in the main hallway and in the convention rooms are beyond high.  Just massive and beautiful.  The  convention room has a beautifully painted wall mural of the outdoors that was still in progress.  I believe the speaker said it will also feature a real waterfall too.  The gigantic chandeliers in that space are covered with what looks like animal skins.  Real ones?  Probably.  The concrete floors are embedded with animal tracks and the bathrooms?  No mirrors and the stalls appear to be metal with scenes of the outdoors overlayed into them.  And they also have gorgeous stained glass windows and a big round stainless system for handwashing like 6 kids at one time.

While wondering about Harry Potter came to my mind with the dark, thick wood and stone in the architecture.  My favorite space was a big room with big round tables.  The West wall houses the biggest stone fireplace that I’ve ever seen.  We attended the Awards Banquet this week and enjoyed a really nice dinner in this cozy space complete with the fireplace roaring.  The walls are adorned with vintage photos (big ones of course) of the Morris family on outdoor activities. 

Once the place is landscaped the kids will have a playground.  A place for archery.  A fully stocked fish pond where they can fish, clean and cook fish.  The yard will also feature a nature trail with native plants and a cave.  Heck.  They might not need to go on field trips as everything will be in-house.  Was my daughter jealous to see all of this?  Not really.  She mentioned how her class was the first class and they were the pioneers.  I do feel like chances of getting into this great program will be harder now because the building is so incredibly cool.  But if you have a child entering 5th grade, I highly encourage you to apply.  We feel honored to have had this experience and very lucky to be part of such a beautiful new space.


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Happy Harvest

I made it to Arkansas for the Harvest Music Festival, but not without stalling of course.  On Tuesday I pretty much had everything ready to go.  It started storming Tuesday night and well into Wednesday morning.  I was getting bummed.  Finally the weather cleared up a bit and I headed out alone.  My sister was supposed to fly up and go with me, but that didn’t happen.  Off I went.

I’d never been to Mulberry Mountain in Arkansas before.  The drive is stunning.  I took this route – 65 South, 412/62 West, 23 South.  That’s it.  Easy drive.  23 South of course is the most beautiful roadway as that is the road that heads up the mountain.  Of course since I was driving on a curvy, two-lane road, I didn’t get to turn my head as much as I wanted to.  My car handles great on curves, so it was fun to drive.  I arrived and found my contact person.  I followed him (he was in a golf cart) to my campsite.  I pitched my tent in no time and then he gave me a tour ride in his golf cart of the grounds.  Beautiful location for sure.  But I think I already said that.

The first night was a bit creepy.  The wind started blowing and I mean fiercely around midnight.  I grabbed my phone and logged onto Facebook.  Why?  Who knows.  Someone I knew said to look for someone named Nina.  They said she would be selling her tie dyed tees there.  Cool.  I only knew one person so far so that would be nice if I found her.  Around 1 a.m. I heard someone pitching a tent next to mine.  The wind was crazy so I got up and offered to help.  I introduced myself and she said her name was Nina.  No shit. 

She’d already set up her canopy for her dyes and it was whipping in the wind.  Her tent was getting tattered.  By 3 a.m. we took all of her stuff down, stowed the merchandise in her car, threw her tent in the trash and off she went to stay with friends.  My shelter was still standing but I pretty much got no sleep.  I told her something good would come from the destruction and it did.  On Friday she set up a nice tie dye workshop.  She was so busy she couldn’t keep up with it.  She made more than enough dough to purchase a new canopy for the next fair.

I awoke to wind again on Thurday morning so I opted for not using the campstove.  I paid $2 for some shitty coffee and had peanut butter and crackers, an apple and an orange.  I was exhausted.  I am not an all night person and I never have been.  Those of you who know me, already know this.  I was scheduled to teach yoga everyday at 10 a.m.  and I was pretty excited about that as well as meeting other yogis.  I grabbed my mat and headed over the fence which was close to my campsite.  Another girl showed up and asked where she could plug in her music.  What?  There’s like music all around us was my thought.  Then she said she was there to teach the yoga class.  Really?  Anyways, she firmly believed she was supposed to be there.  So did I, but not as firmly as she did.  She said how about if she taught the first two mornings and I taught the last two.  OK.  Problem solved.  I participated in her class, it was hot out.  The sun felt great.  Our teepee that we were supposed to practice under had been destroyed by the wind the night before.  Yoga outdoors was great even though I was totally exhausted.

After the class my thought was wow, what shall I do with the rest of my day?  I didn’t have to do anything or be anyplace.  I took several walks around the property.  Music started around noon so I enjoyed the small stages that were around us.  My camp as I would find out later, was parked too close to an entertainment tent.  I decided if I was going to make it through the next 3-nights, I would need to sleep in shifts.  So Thursday evening around 8, I crashed.  I woke up to beautiful music around midnight.  I got up, sat in my chair, poured a glass of wine (from a box) and listened.  It was Railroad Earth and they were playing “Lovin’ You” – what a great song.  The air was crisp and cool and the sky was totally clear and the blackest black.  No wind.  The stars were unbelievable and so was the moon.  Every now and then I would see these orange paper lanterns go floating by.  They looked like small hot air balloons.  I dug it and decided that I was very happy to be there experiencing all of this right now.

Friday morning some yoga friends from Springfield appeared and man was I happy to see them.  There was about 5,000 to 7,000 folks at this thing and I really didn’t see anyone that I knew.  We took the yoga class together and then I walked with them to their camp.  What was once a beautiful field was now a sea of tent tops, cars and flags.  I realized people flew flags so they could actually find their campsite.  I did feel a bit claustrophobic at times.  The wide open space was completely gone by Saturday morning.  I downed several glasses of their ice water, engaged in conversation and probably talked too much.  After all, I’d been completely alone for like 72 hours so it was nice to chat.

There were several stages.  One was in a tent right outside my tent.  It was smaller and hosted more local acts, a burlesque show and some Q & A sessions.  One small stage, was down a cool tree lined road full of vendors.  Another stage was under a huge, white tent not too far from me.  The main stage is totally gorgeous.  It is big and the trees are the backdrop.  Every night a band called Yonder Mountain String Band played.  When they went on, most other stages went dark.  The nightly entertainment was awesome.  Girls were dancing with hula hoops that lit up.  Some of them were actually on FIRE.  I like fire and a group of Piyo people (dancing with balls of fire on chains) were showing their skills as well.  There were also these huge puppet people that would walk around the grass and just stalk you.  They were pretty neat to look at.  On the down side, there were a lot of drunk people and the things that go with that.  No need to elaborate.  I never felt unsafe even though I was alone.  Everyone was so very nice and friendly. 

After the yoga class on Friday, the teacher asked me if she could just please teach one more day because she was supposed to do it all.  I said you know what, you can just teach Sunday as well.  I didn’t teach a class the entire time I was there and I got over it pretty quickly, because that’s how I roll.  I got my campstove out Friday night and made pasta and toasted garlic bread in a skillet.  More people arrived and 3 tents were all of a sudden being pitched on top of mine.  This was a band and their people and they played great music in the tent outside of my campsite on Friday night.  I spent that night wandering about watching lanterns, listening to music, watching people and drinking wine.  As I said before, the entertainment in the evening was very cool.

Friday evening I did not get a nap in so by ten I was dead.  I crashed out pretty hard until the people in the next to mine decided to party in more ways than one.  They’d invited me over but I wasn’t interested.  Probably a good call on my part.  At 1:00 a.m. Speakeasy started playing in the tent outside of my campsite.  Whoa.  They are rambunctious, loud and have a massive light show.  No sleeping through that for sure.  There was also a lot of smoke from campfires and lots of other things and I knew I would die from carbon monoxide if I didn’t emerge from my tent soon.  I caught a glimpse of a tasteful burlesque show, watched more people, listened to music and felt totally delirious.  I had no idea what time it was.  My phone was dead and so was the battery in my car from charging it so many times.  I think it was almost daylight on Saturday when I fell asleep.  I woke up to the sun earlier than most people.  I started my campstove, chatted with the security dudes and made hot tea.  I sat in my chair and let the sun hit my face and started to peel off the layers of clothes that I’d slept in.  The nights were cool and the days were hot.  It was like being in Colorado.  I opted out for yoga on Saturday morning. I wanted to get my car started.  Finally it turned over and I let it run for a little bit.  I’m sure I asphyxiated all the people who were still asleep.  Paybacks are hell I know.

I decided since I wasn’t going to be teaching on Sunday, that maybe I would just head on home.  I grabbed my hot tea and headed to the encampment of my friends.  They were making whole wheat pancakes with yogurt and had cantaloupe.  I ate a great breakfast with them and told them I’d catch them later.  I headed back and packed up my campsite in all of 15 minutes.  I took another walk and noticed the line at the shower trailer was 50 people long.  I was glad I got mine in on Friday.  They had one shower trailer with 6 stalls for women and 6 for men.  It cost $5 and I would’ve paid $10.  Money well spent if you ask me.  I did a little shopping before I left too.  Had to have a Harvest T-shirt and I found Lauren a beautiful woven bracelet.  She wears about 20 on one arm.

I headed back to my car and decided that yes, it was probably time to go.  A day early at that.  I was tired and I would have time to totally recuperate and be rested for Monday if I left now.  The drive is about three and half hours. 

Would I do this again?  Maybe.  I’m not sure I’d pay to go though.  Hopefully the yoga thing will work out if I attend again.  I know what to do and what not to do next for next time.  I would definitely camp further away from all the action.  If you do not like outdoor toilets, don’t go.  There are plenty of them, but with people who party they can get nasty pretty fast.  They did do a good job keeping the toilet paper up and getting them hosed out.  There were also handwashing stations and that was a good thing.  You can bring your own liquor but no glass.  You can also buy it there, but it’s costly.  There’s also a lot of smoke, campfires and otherwise.  So let’s just say it’s definitely a harvest of many different kinds.  If you don’t want to pay to shower, then you’ll have to do without.  There are reserved campsites in the wooded areas, they are costly and fill up fast.  They have showers and toilets for those folks only.  The fields where the majority camp have no shade so bring a canopy of some sort.  Even though it wasn’t super hot, some shade is nice now and then.

This was an event filled with all kinds of people.  People of all ages.  There were to my surprise a lot of children there.  I don’t think I’d take my own daughter though. I did find that when I got home the biggest adjustment was simply going indoors.  I thoroughly enjoyed being outside, almost all the time, totally for 4 days. 

Happy Harvest for it’s that time of year.


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Obsessed with the Moon

Lately I’ve been obsessed with the moon.  I love watching it.  I love the way it changes from day to day and night to night.  I got a new camera last year and I’ve been playing with some moon shots here lately.  I took this (and several others) late afternoon on February 13th, without a tripod.  Fun stuff.  The moon was shining in the east, so I propped my elbows on my car and snapped away.

Back in January I was up around 7 in the a.m.  I looked out back and though the sun was up, the moon was out as well.  This was taken in the lightness of day in the morning.  The moon was in the west this time.  I held my breath and stood on the deck, snapped a few shots and watched the transition.  Amazing.

We also had a few warm days here of late.  That was nice, but at the same time all it did was tease every body into wearing shorts and flip flops for two whole days.  I couldn’t do that, as my summer gear is packed away.  Probably best.  I’d hate to see what my white legs look like in shorts right about now.  Anyways.  We’ve got a family of groundhogs that reside on our property and the property next door.  I tried to get a shot of these two together.  But (no pun intended) as you can see, I didn’t have much luck.  Maybe next time.

These groundhogs are the same size as our small dog if not a tad larger.  Crazy.  I hope they have more babies this year.  I think the year before last, they had three small ones.  They are pretty darn cute.


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Cupcakes from Amy

The night before last, or something like that, I was sitting in my favorite chair getting ready to check out the news on TV.  Out the big window, I could see across the street.  On the corner stood a cute, young girl toting a brown box.  She was handling it carefully and she was heading up our drive way.

I met her at the door and invited her inside.  She handed me the box and told me that inside, were 6 cupcakes from her bakery.  Wow.  She owns Amycakes downtown!  Score for us!  Frank had secretly plowed her drive way and this was her thank you.  Very nice.  And very good those cupcakes were.  Three of them were decadent chocolate, two were raspberry filled and one was lemon.  Dreamy on a snowy day.

 

Today brought on some sunshine and some serious melting.  I’m wondering if perhaps we’ll starve to death after the snow melts.  Maybe Frank can start secret mowing once the weather turns nice.  I’m digging all of these goodies!  Hope you got your vitamin D today, it was in the 60’s.