In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff

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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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What Would You Do For $1,600?

Back in January of this year, New Year’s Eve to be exact I stayed up too late watching TV which is quite odd for me.  A commercial came on about a medical study.  I was fascinated as I had heard of people doing this, but knew absolutely nothing about it.  I checked out their website immediately and I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  Oddly enough this facility is located not far from my home.  Why did I not know this?

A few weeks later I found myself standing in a huge line around the medical study building for a physical.  It was cold out.  And the line?  It just kept getting longer.  I got there 40 minutes early too.  They opened the doors at exactly 3 p.m. and the fiasco began.  I showed my drivers’ license and was given some paperwork.  More lines.  We had our blood drawn, our heart listened to, and ECG, a urine test and other vital signs taken.  Then they said “Thanks, call us back on this day at this time.”  Groovy.

This study was for two weekend stays and it paid $900.  How easy is that?  Pretty easy I thought.  Instead of me calling them they actually called me and let me know I’d passed the physical (half the people there did not pass they needed 56) and they had to change the weekends.  I told them no problem I would be there.  So the Thursday before check-in they called to say that it had been changed again.  No problem, I would be there.  Finally the week this was supposed to go down they called me again.  This time they called to tell me that the study had been canceled.  Ok.  Great.  This was a waste of my time.

But.  I was still hell bent on getting into one of these.  Why?  I guess because it was something I’d never done before.

They list new studies all the time and I just kept checking to see if I would qualify for one.  Finally one opened up.  It was a 9-day study (March 8-17) where we would be given a sleeping medication and an anti-depressant.  I’ve never taken either one and I figured there were worse things I could do to my liver so what the heck.  I tried once again.  I had to stand in the line.  I had to pass the physical which this time included a breathalyzer.  My first one of those ever and I am 45 years old.  I passed.  I got in.  I rearranged my life with the help of wonderful yoga teacher friends and sent my kid to live with her friend for 9-days.  There would be 24 people in this study.  7 chicks and 17 dudes got in.  What a ratio. 

We checked in on March 8 and ate dinner after an all day fast.  I was starving.  We had to eat all the food they gave us.  No problem for me that night.  We were on a high carb diet and everything we were given was pretty much, well……yellow.  Friday they got us up at like 4:30 a.m. as we were on daylight savings time in this building already.  We had blood drawn and were given a sleeping pill.  While we were on this drug we had to sit at a table for 4 hours.  Oh, but during this 4 hour sit we had our blood drawn every 15 minutes for 2 hours.  I assumed they would put a port in our arm because of the 16 blood draws for the day.  Nope.  They just stick you every single time.  Nice.  This went on until 7 in the evening.  After about the fourth time you don’t even feel it anymore.  I am serious.  I hate needles but by the end of day I was joyfully watching her suck my life away.  I even said thank you when she was done.  Was it the drugs?  I don’t know.

The other days, Saturday through Thursday, we got up and took an anti-depressant at 7 in the morning.  We had to sit upright for 4 hours but not at the table.  We could kick back in the recliners, watch one of two movies that were playing, watch TV, or read.  After our 4 hours we could sleep, listen to music, visit or whatever else we had brought to do.  Sweet.  I have never slept so much in my life!  I had minimal effects from this medication.  The same kind of feeling one might have when taking antibiotics.  I met several nice people and found a couple of people I had connections with.  Two were former video store customers.  One guy knew my neighbor.  Another knew a few other yoga teachers.  Everything is done on a very strict timeline.  When you eat you hold your tray until they record the time and tell you to go.  Blood draws and medications are done the same way.  I was pretty much fascinated by this whole process and thought that I might just like to work at this place. 

The things that were hard for me were eating all of the food.  One morning we were given a bagel with cream cheese at 8 a.m. which was great.   At 11 a.m. which was lunch we had to down 3 pieces of hand tossed pepperoni pizza and 3 breadsticks without sauce.  It was a food fest and without much movement which was hard to stomach at times.  We were not allowed coffee, caffiene, fruit or chocolate.  But we did have Sprite sometimes and other sodas.  I did do a little yoga in the mornings but no strenuous exercise is allowed.  I felt like a total sloth as I have never been so inactive in my entire life!  Another thing that was hard for me at first was sharing a room with 4 other girls that I didn’t know.  This got easier and before I knew it I was sleeping great.  I was up by at least 5 each morning and pretty much one of the first out of bed.

On Friday, our last day, we marched to the lab for a blood draw.  A bunch of people appeared to watch us dose (drug reps I would assume) and we were given both medications at the same time.  We had to once again sit at the table and have our blood drawn on the clock, every 15 minutes.  This was a drug interaction study so I was a bit concerned about getting sick, but low and behold, no one did.  Most of us agreed that on Friday we felt the best that we’d felt all week long.  Perhaps we should’ve scored that drug combo for later use.

I met several people that make a career out of this.  I was shocked but they do.  One girl had made over $20,000 in one year doing just this.  You are not supposed to participate in a study at this place again without 30 days in between studies.  A lot of these people travel to other areas and this is all they do.  I can’t imagine it, but to each his own.  I never imagined myself doing something like this but I am so glad that I did.  It was a great study for my first experience and I do hope that in some way I have helped those who may need these medications.

This morning, Saturday, we had a massive blood draw and an exit physical.  Then we were free to bolt.  The air outside smelled so good (we were not allowed outdoors during the study) and when I got in my car, well, it smelled like a Volvo.  I drove straight to the grocery store and bought strawberries and vanilla yogurt, walnuts, oranges and chocolate covered orange sticks.  When I got home I sat outside in the sun and enjoyed my purchases and thought about the people I’d just met, where I’d just been and what I’d just done.  I also thought about the money that I just made and what I might do with it.  Would you do this for $1,600?  If so and you have questions, feel free to ask.  I feel it was more than totally worth it.   I would definitely do it again.

I think I mentioned in an earlier blog post that 2012 would have changes in store for me.  So far, I am right on the money.  No pun intended.

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We Made It Home

Delayed.  Again.  There’s that word you hate to hear at the airport.  On our way out of town, we suffered with this issue.  On the way back into town, we suffered yet again.  This time they put us on the plane, right on time.  Then we taxied and taxied and taxied on the runway in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Forever.  I told Mady, who was flying home with me, that something was wrong.  I was right.

We turned around and headed back to the terminal.  We were informed that the back door of the plane wasn’t secure.  Duh oh.  Nothing like sucking a few folks out the back eh?  Anyways, it turned out it was secure, but there was a sensor that said otherwise.  When this stuff happens it takes time.  The pilot came on the speaker and said that aerodynamics don’t make planes fly, but FAA paperwork does.  Then he said that this paperwork was going to take a little while.  One hour and fifteen minutes to be exact.  We sat on the hot airplane and listened to people complain and waste their energy fanning themselves with the emergency flyers.  Mady whipped out her notebook and pencils and started drawing.  I entertained myself by watching her talented hands glide.

We arrived in Springfield, late of course, and our descent was a bit scary.  Apparently there was some serious weather on the ground in town and we had to cruise through the clouds.  It was an extremely bumpy ride coming in, but we made it.  The sky looked real creepy at the airport and everything was very calm.  We got our luggage in the car just as it started to sprinkle.  Frank had called me and said a mini tornado had ripped through our hood and there had been flash flooding.  We still have lots of tree limbs to pick up, maybe we’ll do that today.

When we pulled into our driveway, I had a new front porch.  We also had no electricity from 6 at night until 11:30.  We sat on the new front porch awhile, then went in and lit some candles.


Frank started on this deck on Sunday evening.  He worked until one or two in the morning every night to have it finished this far by Friday when I returned.  He still has to build the little steps and curve the ends of the arbor boards.  I was so surprised.  I’ve wanted this for like 5 years.  I’d also wanted it to go across that concrete step, but he said he spent a long time with a jackhammer and that the step is solid concrete.  I’m thinking about having him build a small bench, or some square planters to help it blend in a little better.

It’s good to be home, but I am missing walking the beach already.  I am slowly getting back on schedule and I think that today, after I teach a class and swim this evening, I’ll be totally back on track.  I’m hoping anyways.

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Our Son Rocks

Our son, Jordan, is amazing.  He’s taught himself quite the technique on working the discus for track and field.  He even bowed out of most running events to concentrate on his passion, throwing discus.  He placed first in the Sectional meet yesterday in Lebanon.  I couldn’t be there, I had to teach a yoga class, but his father was there and so were a ton of other relatives to cheer him on.  The Springfield News-Leader interviewed him and took his photo after the event.  He didn’t land his photo in the newspaper, but he gave a decent interview and got his name in the headline.  We are super proud of how hard he’s worked and how dedicated he remains.  Good job Jordan!

Our daughter, Lauren, is becoming quite the seamstress.  She’s on her 7th sewing lesson, she has one more next weekend, then I think she wants to break for the summer.  So far she’s made a pillowcase, a pair of bermuda shorts and yesterday she made the cutest little skirt.  She’s taking a class with her good friend Madeline as they both received sewing machines for Christmas.  Talented girls they are.  I cannot use a machine to save my life, but I can sew by hand.

My car.  Another story.  It will be repaired but who knows when.  They have to get parts from a few different states, since the car is ten years old.  So far the repairs are up to $3,052 and that’s OK.  The insurance company already issued me a check with a letter that says they will pay for anything over that amount.  Then why not just wait until the car is finished and cut the body shop one check?  Who knows?  What I do know is this.  I deposited that check and I’ll put the repairs on my Discover card, pay it off immediately and enjoy my 5% cash back bonus.  Thank you insurance company.  The accident got into my front wheel drive, so though the Volvo doesn’t need much in the way of body work, it needs under carriage crap.  Hopefully it will drive just as good, if not better when I get it back.  And oh, am I missing it!  They gave me a 2010 Pontiac G6 to drive.  It’s a brand new car, I guess I should love it, but I don’t.  It’s nothing like my Volvo.  Nothing at all.  I like my 10 year old car and I will have myself a serious little party when I get it back!

Off to work some more in the garden.  We finally have a day without rain (so far) but it’s pretty hot and humid out there!  I weeded half of the garden already and have decided to blow the other half off.  I didn’t plant much this year, so we’ll be moving the fence to make the garden smaller here in a little while.  That is, if I can get Frank to help me.  Enjoy the day.


Just Dive In

I’ve decided that I weigh too much, or maybe I’m just too short.  Yeah.  That’s it, I’m too short.  I love the warmer weather when I can ride my bike to work and get exercise in that way.  I do see lots of people riding bikes in this kind of weather, but I just can’t get into it.  Maybe that’s because I’ve never tried it, who knows.  I saw someone ride by when it was close to zero.  They were so bundled, I don’t know how they could ride.  His head was totally wrapped with a scarf, then covered by a ski mask.  Then he had a motorcycle helmet (complete with shield) over that.  I’m thinking that person didn’t have a choice.  I also love to walk in nature when the weather is good, or not so good.  I’ve been known to head to the nature center when it’s going to storm.  So far I haven’t been struck by lightning with my car keys in hand.

I work at the YMCA so I can go there for free.  But do I?  Nope.  Why?  I have no idea.  I think sometimes when you work someplace, you just want to leave there when you’re finished.  I love the water.  I love to swim and years ago, before I had children and I owned my own business, I would drive all they way across town to swim at the Y at six in the morning.  It was kind of intimidating.  Why you ask?  Because it was a bunch of athletic business guys and me.  I’d been reflecting on that time way back when during that one winter where I swam away and I really enjoyed it.  

The quest was on.   I had to get a one piece bathing suit because my flaw hiding, designer suits just weren’t going to cut it for lap swimming.  I don’t think anyone I know likes to go swimsuit shopping, especially in the wintertime.  Since we live where we do bathing suits aren’t readily available this time of year.  So I did what any computer geek would do.  I ordered three, online.  I scored as one fit.  I scored again because when I peeled it off (and was thinking that the pattern was too busy for me) I found out it reversed to black on the other side.  Awesome.  Black is good, especially when you only sport six inches from your navel to your pelvis.  Next up I had to find a pair of swim goggles.  MC Sports usually has this sort of thing.  Not this time of year.  They had plenty of flippers and masks but no Speedo goggles.  I was bummed, thinking this was yet another item I would have to order online.  Then I remembered Bass Pro!  Heck it’s right up the road from where we live.  They had a ton of Speedo goggles. And they had the junior size for people with smaller heads like myself.  I was ready to swim.

Our Y offers lap swimming early in the morning, during the lunch hour and right after work from five to six.  I didn’t feel like doing early morning again.  I wanted to do the lunch hour, it’s less crowded, but I will be teaching every single day at lunch with the exception of Friday.  No complaints there.  So the five to six time it would be.  I headed out on Monday night and got there ten minutes early.  People (men) were already swimming, so I chose a lane that was not roped off and hugged the wall.  I didn’t feel like getting trampled.  It had been a long time since I’d swam like this.  Would I last longer than five minutes?  Yes, yes I would.  I swam laps for thirty-five minutes with a few short breaks.  I did what most people do when they start out.  I swam too fast.   I was excited.  The water felt good and I was really happy to be there.  Even if it was just me, and a bunch of other guys, I got over it.  I’ll be going back and who knows, maybe I’ll continue through the nice weather.

Feeling stuck in your exercise routine?  Try something new or return to something you once loved.  I think that’s the key.


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!!


Where’s My Kitchen? Part 3

Our kitchen has been and still is, an ongoing project.  It’s OK though.  When we finish something it looks like we just got a NEW kitchen….again……this year. 

The latest was our track lighting.  It has elbows and we wrapped it around our pot rack. 


We’ve got nice lighting pointing at our counter now too, as well as dark corners.  Dr. Woo Hoo really shines now.









I love it.  I can totally blind myself with this lighting, which is probably not a good idea.  We’ve had our under the cabinet halogen lighting since we put our cabinets in and I do love them, but they get hot.  Really hot.  Especially if you’re using them ALL the time because there’s no other lighting unless you’re using the sink or the stove.  For instance, they can get so hot that the covers will just fall off.  I actually gave someone a batch of green beans in a clear plastic container not too long ago.  My friend called me later that night to ask me if a clear glass disc that says UV something meant anything to me.  I was all, heck ya, I’ll be right over.

Next up was that nasty, wooden window sill that I’d painted white about a million times because that’s the only way to keep it looking good, and that’s an understatement.  You can decide for yourself.  It always looks dirty, was not meant to get wet and definitely was not wide enough to hold anything except a cherry tomato.  Totally useless.  I took this photo after I sanded it down, cut the ends of it off and trimmed the edging in brown.  Huge improvement already.








But then, the coolness arrived.  Ozarks Cultured Marble.  You guys rock.  I’d forgotten about that place until fellow blogger Ann, was doing a bathroom remodel and it came back to me then.  Thanks for shaking my brain up.  We attached the new sill to the original sill with some carpet glue, because this totally looks like carpet.  Just kidding.  We couldn’t find our tile mastic.  Misplacing stuff is classic around here.  The cost?  A whopping $48, this piece measures 35 inches long in case you’re interested.    IMG_1223







Anyways, it’s totally gorgeous and functional.  The pattern is so neat.  And it’s not stone, it’s a paper transfer.  Can you believe that?  A paper transfer.  I can put my dish soap up there.  I can put a full size tomato up there.  Or hey maybe a gallon of milk, a full pot of coffee, or even a 2 liter!  It’s 4 1/2 inches wide, that’s a saucer people.


I played hookie from teaching yoga tonight.  The weather was awesome and the yard was flooded with walnuts, again.  I even hit the houses on both sides of us and I’m not done yet.  Thanks for the tips a few of you have sent me on free walnuts.  If I ever get this area finished, perhaps I’ll branch out.