In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff

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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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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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Little Free Library #4581

IMG_7167Awhile back my meditation teacher had her husband build her a Little Free Library.  I immediately wanted one because the street we live on is somewhat busy not only with car traffic, but bicycle and walking traffic as well.

These are super cool and my husband could’ve made us one but.  I knew that he would probably never do it, so I bought one and got in trouble.  Her library was the second one in our city. Our library is the third and as of the other day, her husband sold another one, so now our town has FOUR Little Free Libraries.  Pretty cool.

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about let me explain.  You place this box on a post in your yard.  You register it with Little Free Library DOT org.  They then send you a steward sign with a post number and you can load your box up with books.  We’ve found lots of interesting books in ours.  Someone dropped off a whole years’ worth of women’s magazines the other day as well.  Our library can hold about 35 or so books.  We seem to get a lot of traffic at night so I mounted one of those little battery operated touch lamps inside of ours.

Stop by 1331 S. Jefferson and grab a book or donate one.  We’re having a lot of fun with this so far!

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Honoring Impermanence

I know.  I haven’t posted in awhile.  I’ve been busy with a total life changing schedule.  I’m not complaining.  It’s a good thing.  But it has been a shift for our family and mostly for myself.

I started a full-time job back in November.  I worked here and there to see if I liked the place before I just up and quit a bunch of yoga.  Well.  I liked the job and I gave up a bunch of yoga.  In December I was finally able to work an entire 8 hour per day work week.  And so far, I’m not really missing leading all the yoga classes that much.  Sure.  I have days where I think about what I might make in an hour teaching yoga compared to my massive hourly wage (smell the sarcasm) now.  But.  Not too many people can really teach yoga 8 hours a day all week long here in this big town.  I know I couldn’t.

I’m working in a rather unique and quirky environment and it’s pretty cool.  So far each day has some of the same and a whole lot of the different.  Which is good.  It’s an extremely busy atmosphere most of the time and I rarely find myself checking the clock.  In fact when 5:30 rolls around I usually only know because I’m tired.  I also like the people I am surrounded by, which is a good thing.  But at the same time, I can get along with most anyone.  That’s never been a problem for me.

I am still working my cleaning jobs as well.  I find I can’t sleep in on Monday after getting up at 4 on Saturday and Sunday.  I contemplated quitting cleaning the theatre but it’s a great workout and I get paid to run my butt off – literally.  I also clean a couple of other buildings and I take my daughter (who will be 15 very soon) so she can learn what you have to do to make a few dollars.  I took my son over the holiday break as he was home from college and needed some cash.  It was great to have the help with the trash as he’s pretty strong.

I still have my yoga class on Sundays at 4:00 at the church for $4 and I am so glad I do!  I am also teaching at Essential Yoga on Thursday evenings.  I offered the owner of that studio a couple of my classes when I started my job, so she in turn offered me a time slot at her place.  I still have my classes at MSU a couple of days a week as well.  It’s a good thing.

Awhile back, the building that houses my home studio was sold to Great Southern.  The clothing store on the first floor immediately moved out.  They assured us they wanted us to stay, so I signed a lease with another instructor so we could keep our space.  Little did I know I would land a job and not have time to teach there soon after the signing!  Anyways, it’s been a real mess for the couple of instructors that pretty much teach for a living.  Progress means loud noises, messes and other disruptions so it’s been tough for those that are still there on a regular basis.  I think I got the job at the right time.  Anyways we are dissolving our lease and our studio the end of February as my lease signing partner has found a studio space of his own.  I am happy for him.

The end of the yoga studio that I feel, had a huge impact on my life is about to be no more.  I worked through a lot of stuff in that space with a lot of great people.  That space connected me to people that I will know forever and some that I may never see again but still mean a lot to me. 

I also learned that it’s not where you practice your yoga but why.


Punching The Time Clock

Tonight I taught my last Tuesday night class at the hospital in Mt. Vernon, MO.  I’ve been driving there for a tad over a year now on Tuesday and Thursday nights to teach.  This Thursday will be my last evening to teach there.  Last week was my last week at the YMCA downtown and my last week to teach at Immaculate Conception school.  It feels weird.  I’ve been teaching yoga for at least 10 years now, maybe a bit more.  I love it.  I really do and I’m also pretty good at it.  But in the town I reside in I really have to drive from one location to another to teach as much as I want to.  That said, I was starting to feel burned out but didn’t realize that’s what it was.  Yet. 

I actually started looking for jobs last year at this time.  I ran across seasonal employment and a couple of things that would’ve required me to totally give up yoga.  I was like no way.  What I did do was participate in a medical study (which was way cool and I’d like to do another one someday) and I did take a job cleaning.  Several of you know I’ve been cleaning a movie theatre for almost a year now.  It started out to be a weekend job which turned into Fridays as well.  I actually ditched teaching a Friday morning yoga class to clean.  I know what you’re thinking.  Kirsten has lost her mind.

Maybe I have, or already did.  I don’t know.  I also started cleaning a cool office building a couple of nights per week.  Why?  Because I passed it on my way home from teaching yoga in Mt. Vernon.  But now I’m not going to clean it anymore as it’s out of my way.  I also picked up a small office and one more large building that I clean every Saturday.  I take my kid and teach her what you have to do in order to buy lunch at the mall.  So far, so good. 

Cleaning can be really meditative.  When the theatre isn’t totally trashed, it’s very quiet and peaceful and I have lots of time to think.  Cleaning isn’t always mindless though.  Sometimes you have to play maintenance person and sometimes you have to shift gears and play security.  One time I was supposed to be playing security and didn’t shift gears fast enough.  Just imagine if you were the boss and received a text that said, “I just gave my alarm code to the Russian translator.”  I won’t even elaborate on this, but you proably get the general idea.  It was all cool in the end.

Cleaning it turns out is a lot like yoga in the driving department.  For the past several months I have been teaching 10 yoga classes per week (at 5 different locations) and cleaning (at 4 different locations) as well.  And to make matters even worse, three more places recently called me to teach yoga but I couldn’t do it.  Why you say?  Because everyone wants their yoga classes at the same time.  If I could clone myself I could have a sweet yoga career, financially speaking.

Since I am old and getting even older as I type this, I knew I needed to make a shift.  I’ve applied for so many jobs it’s not even funny.  I have every job search engine you can imagine saved on my computer.  I’ve applied through Craig’s List and elsewhere, you name it.  I’ve gone on several job interviews.  One interview (this was hilarious) was at a hotel.  There were 1,000 people  there to apply for 85 jobs or something like that.  I didn’t get that job, or any of the other ones either.  I usually got an email back that said “Thanks but no thanks.”  Most of the time I didn’t get any response at all.  A lot of the jobs I applied for weren’t even real, but you couldn’t tell that until after you spent 30 minutes of your life filling out crap online, only to be redirected to some employment web site.

At least when I went in for the interview for my cleaning job (which I did get and still have) she actually asked me what in the heck was I doing in her office and why I wanted to clean.

On my birthday, I applied for a job on Craig’s List, on a whim mind you.  I found out the day after my birthday that I closed my email out so fast that it didn’t go through.  So I resent it.  I had my birthday lunch with my yoga teacher and told her my ideal work situation would be this.  Read on – I could work full-time and have full paid benefits.  I could wear jeans (very important)!  It would be close to my house.  I would be able to leave and go teach my noon yoga classes at the new recreation center at MSU.  I wouldn’t have to work late at night if at all.  The job I wanted to take wouldn’t be in a cubicle at a massive corporation, nor would it be big time retail.  My teacher asked me where I wanted to work and I told her I had no idea.  We both laughed.

Later on that very same lunch day, I got a call for a job interview.  It was at a place that I’d frequented but never thought about working at.  The interview went well.  It seemed too good to be true, so I didn’t get too excited.  The job offered (get this) everything that I mentioned above aobut my dream job situation.  I went back and talked to them again.  Then I started to get a little excited.  They offered to let me come in and work a little between yoga classes to see if I liked it before I gave anything up.  After the first day there I was making arrangements for other people to take over my classes.  Just like that.  In a heartbeat.  My life has shifted.

Starting next week I will be working this job full-time.  They close at 6 and I will only work Monday through Friday so I can clean on the weekends if I want to.  I will be teaching 3 to 4 yoga classes per week.  I think it’s important to voice out loud on occasion to others what we want and what we might be looking for, even if what we’re looking for seems out of reach.  Hopefully I’ve found that balance between passion, personal growth and finances.  Perhaps this is what I’ve been searching for but didn’t realize it. 

I don’t seem to be grieving over the loss of teaching so many yoga classes.  I actually feel relieved.  I am taking that as a good sign in the right direction.  




Whirlwind Weekend In St. Cloud Minnesota

My parents divorced when I was in elementary school.  My dad liked to drink a little too much and I’m sure my mom was tired of it.  I know I was.  All bad marriage/divorce things aside, I’ve stayed in touch with my father over the years.  Sometimes a little and sometimes a lot.  Of course we did live in the same city for a few years.  Then he moved away to Tulsa, then he moved back to Springfield and then he moved to Kansas City where he lives today.  No big deal.  Phones do work and they do work both ways and I’m old enough to realize that now.

My dad called a few weeks ago and asked me if I wanted to attend a reunion in Minnesota with his side of the family.  At first I was excited.  But at the same time I figured he didn’t have a vehicle that would make it so I would play taxi.  I set that latter thought aside and made some quick switching around at work and by the next day, we were making plans to go.  I told my daughter that she was going with us and she was less than overly excited.

My dad is in his early seventies.  I know that our parents do not live forever and I figured this would be a great time for us to spend together traveling in the car.  I don’t remember much about his side of the family.  I do remember his mom quite a bit though.  She lived in a big house that I thought looked haunted and she lived there all alone.  She liked to watch TV and smoke in her kitchen and I always felt like she didn’t like kids.  I didn’t really like going there that much and I did voice my opinion on that deal.  My mom’s side of the family was a different story.  They were fun, kid-friendly people and I always felt welcome there.  For that, I was thankful.

My dad said we would be staying with his cousin Mary Ann.  She and dad are about the same age.  I don’t remember ever meeting her of course.  She had lived in New Orleans, had been through Katrina, had lost her husband to cancer and since moved back to St. Cloud.  We arrived safe and sound at her place around dinnertime and she came out to greet us wearing an orangish-red summery dress with a white sweater over it.  She was also barefoot and when I noticed that, I knew she was most likely going to be cool.  And she was.

Her patio home had been remodeled so it was pretty nice.  Her wood floors were walnut I think and I felt like I was walking on one of those smooth walnut bowls that you see in Branson.  Her yard also backed up to a school so the open space was really nice.  And of course, everything was green.  I took several walks barefoot in the soft, bluegrass and the cool, fresh air was such a shift from the way our summer here in Missouri has been.  I think the people there thought we’d never seen anything green before.  My favorite part of her home was her sun porch paneled with light pine.  We had sandwiches and coffee out there.  Of course if I’d been there another day or two I would’ve dug my yoga mat out and stretched out a bit. 

We arrived Saturday evening and on Sunday we headed to a park for the reunion.  Of course, I only remembered two people there and it was awesome to see them.  I only wish we would’ve had more time.  There were so many people to meet, old photos to look at and of course so much food to consume that time flew by.  It was really a nice reunion and I wish my sister could’ve been there and my brother too.

Mary Ann had a wonderful photo album with some great old information as well as old photos.  Oddly, there is a photo in that album of my great grandmother when she was younger and she looks almost exactly like me.  She is going to have that photo copied and sent to me.  I will post it on here when it arrives.  Here’s a good photo of dad and Mary Ann, this was around 7 in the morning on Monday just before we headed back home.

Before we could get on the highway, dad took us around to some old houses that he remembered spending time at.  The most impressive was this one.  I guess his grandma lived there when he was 10.  This house was pretty much ginormous and the backyard was pretty much the Mississippi River.  That was pretty cool.

We arrived home on Monday evening around 9:30.  Lauren pretty much acted like she didn’t have a good time, but I know she did.  There were no kids her age there at all so I know she was bored.  Luckily (I never thought I’d say this) she had her iPhone for entertainment and I didn’t scold her for using it.

Though this was a short trip, it was definitely one that I will not forget.  I think we all reach an age where time gets more important and so do the people that we share that time with.  I am thankful that my father asked me to go on this journey and definitely extend my gratitude to Mary Ann for her hospitality.  St. Cloud Minnesota was truly a beautiful place to be the first weekend of August 2012.

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Nevermind the Haitians

I am still down here in Florida and although we are supposed to depart on Wednesday the 27th, it’s not looking too good as of today.  Serious storm Debby is hovering around wreaking havoc on our area with high winds, tornadic activity and lots of intermittent monsoon downpours.  I think the television said tornado warning 423 yesterday and the kids just about had heart attacks. I am on Pine Island where there are no storm signals so we are on a strict watch and listen type of deal here.  It’s all good.  We are not flooded out, we have everything we need and we know it won’t last forever.  But when this lasts for days, it feels like forever.

My sister is busy packing up her e-bay boxes and preparing for a pick up because we are not going out in this crap today.  She’s been unemployed for quite some time now.  I can totally write about her work this time while I’m here.  I learned a tough lesson last time I was here and I mentioned her previous employer in a blog post.  I didn’t say anything bad.  But she almost lost her job over that deal, so you never really know who might be reading your blog.

Since she’s pretty much self-employed I am not too worried this time.  She sells massive amounts of name brand merchandise online.  She’s doing what a lot of people are doing here.  She’s going to garage sales, estate sales and thrift markets and doing some serious online reselling.  She’s in a perfect area for it as this state has been hit hard with people who had money and then all of a sudden don’t have it anymore.  Lots of folks just close up their house, put their crap out front and drive off.  It’s unreal.

The Goodwills here are amazing.  We’ve shopped them for personal merchandise for years.  I’ve found several good things everytime I visit here.  My sister started looking for name brand stuff, shoes and handbags in particular.  Another great thing to find are wooden hangers with writing.  Those go for some serious bucks, especially if they say Flamingo Hotel from Las Vegas.

Goodwill has a store called Bargain Barn here.  I think Bargain Barn gets their stuff from Goodwilll after it’s sat on the shelf for awhile.  They sell the clothes by the pound, everything is tossed into bins and frankly, it’s a real pain in the ass to shop there.  The stuff can be dirty but you never know what you might find.  I went with my sister to Sarasota to the Bargain Barn there the other day.  We dropped mom and the kids off at Mote Marine.  My sister told me to get ready to fight the Haitians and I responded with a classic “whatever.”  We entered the store and headed towards the long bins of shoes, about 30 feet in length.  Half of the spaces were empty because they took the bins away and were preparing to bring out new shoes.  In a long rectangle surrounding the spots where the bins were to be replaced stood about 30 Haitians, my sister and one other white chick.  I was like whoa, what’s going down now?

The new bins were then wheeled into position and a whistle was blown and all hell pretty much broke lose!  Everyone started pushing and shoving (well the Haitians did) and loading up shopping carts with shoes.  The Haitians grab whatever they can and toss it into a cart and take it away.  They sort through it and then toss back whatever they don’t want.  This is sort of good because the Haitians tossed back a pair of Merrell’s and a pair of Ferragamo’s.  Score!  Some of the Haitians wear bags around their necks and just load up, walk off, sort and toss back.  One lady had a zip up mattress cover and pretty much just loaded that thing up until the zipper was about to bust open.  And then, she started her sorting.   Some of the ladies were really pretty and wore colorful turbans on their heads.  One lady sang a song, really loud, in Haitian (I guess) as she sorted her wares.  Soon enough they announced new clothing bins were being released so my sister and I decided it was time to shop for more shoes – in peace.

So the question to myself was this.  Are there no shoes in Haiti?  Are these Haitians citizens, illegals or just visting?  Why the push and shove for a pair of tennis shoes?  My dad recently returned from Peru where he spent some time in a very poverished area.  He said one would have to work for about 2 months to purchase one pair of shoes and that would only be if you didn’t buy anything else.  I realize folks are poor and need help, but how about playing fair?  But then I told myself perhaps they don’t know any better, maybe this is how they’ve always had to live.  To fight for anything, I just don’t know.  Maybe they should donate all the leftover shoes to Haiti.  I think that would be a great idea.  Perhaps after I finish this I shall do some research on Haiti and the people there.

So far my sister has sold shoes by Ferragamo, Pliner, Chanel, J. Crew, Teva, Shoeman Lau (handmade crocodile shoes) Cydwoq, Stewart Weitzman and then some.  We found a gorgeous pair of Chanel heels the other day.  They are patent leather with a gold, Chanel penny in the tongue, like a penny loafer.  Oh, did I mention that shoes of any kind at the Bargain Barn cost $2?  Well, they do!  The Chanel shoes fit me perfectly and were actually quite comfortable and I’m not into heels.  After she cleaned them up, I wore them around the house with my shorts until the heel cap broke off and I am now no longer allowed to model any of the shoes again.  I think her exact words were, “Kirsten, don’t touch anything!”

One pair of pretty heels we found are made of suede with a pattern.  They fit me too, but I didn’t walk around in them.  They were made by Tokio Kumagai, a Japanese designer who is now deceased but several pairs of his shoes are actually on display in a museum.  She has also sold a vintage baby alligator purse and a small purse, called a camera bag by Chanel.  Totally cool.

I have looked for merchandise of this caliber where I live, but found pretty much nothing of this nature.  I too, have sold several items on e-bay.  It’s really fun to do.  The search though can be exhausting and if you’ve ever done it, you know what I mean.  It’s pretty time consuming.  Once you’ve made your purchase and you’re not sure of what it is, that inital research can kill some serious time as well.  And of course if you bought something that needs cleaning that’s time consuming too.  I am really thankful that folks here ditch so much great stuff because if they didn’t, my sister and her family would be in some serious financial trouble.  My sister also sells things for lots of other people.  One of her friends actually worked at Chanel in NYC.  She has several clothing items with price tags still intact.  I just checked them out in her closet.  Pretty fun to look at.  And no.  I didn’t try anything on.

Guess I’ll go down some more coffee and watch the wind.  Speaking of coffee.  My sister scored a Nespresso C190 for $5.  Only because she worked at that fancy kitchen store that I blogged about year before last year did she know what this was.  All of the pieces were strewn about in separate bins and she took the time to find every last piece.  It works perfectly.  We’ve already steamed and frothed but we don’t have any Nespresso coffee capsules.  That fancy kitchen store won’t sell you any as you have to be in the Nespresso club and order them.

A pine tree just bent pretty low and the wind about sucked open the french door that opens to the outdoors.  The kids are still asleep.  We were supposed to head back to mom’s today, but I think we might have to wait until tomorrow.  I suppose there are worse places that I could be stuck.  We had several great days on the boat and on the beach and in the pool.

If you want to check out my sister’s wares on ebay, her store name is Material Green Design.