In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff

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Family Affair

I fly to Florida at least once per year.  My mom and dad and my sister all live down here.  This year, my brother flew in as well.  We all decided that the last time we were all in the same place at the same time together, was back in 2004.  Whoa.  That’s way too long!

My brother was supposed to bring his girlfriend and we were excited about meeting her.  But unfortunately, she broke her leg the week prior to the flight.  He left Florida early to go and be with her and return to work.  I figured she broke her leg while they were biking on a mountaintop in Colorado.  But no.  They were on a concrete bike path and she was riding a cruiser bike.  It was a bad break in three places, so she is laid up for a few months, or more.

Our flight departing Springfield was an hour late.  Nothing new this time of year with storms here and lightning at our destination.  When we landed, my brother and sister and my 7 year old niece were in route to pick us up.  We were totally excited.  We stopped for a 12-pack of Bud Light Lime, got the kids some junk food (I know, we’re awful) and headed to mom’s.  Once there the kids jumped in the pool and it didn’t matter if it was midnight.  We stayed up late and had a great time.

The following day we loaded the boat and headed to Stump Pass.  All of us.  All 7 of us fit in the boat comfortably.  The boat launch is just 5 minutes (or less) from mom’s house so really no time at all.  It actually took longer to get the boat ready than it did to drive to the launch and launch and load it.  Stump Pass is a short boat ride from the launch.  It’s a nice sand bar with a coastal waterway on one side.  A short walk across it takes you to the Gulf side, so the best of both worlds.  My dad caught 3 catfish while we swam, ate sandwiches and drank a few sodas.  I got totally sunburned on my shoulders so no sun for me for a few days!

We enjoyed the boat and the water for a few hours and had a great time.  We headed back to the house and my brother asked me to go for a bike ride.  Of course he had rented a pretty nice road bike and brought his own pedals since he has the snazzy shoes and all.  I hopped on my mom’s cruiser and off we went.  We rode about 8 miles down Manasota Key to Middle Beach almost to Englewood.  There’s a great picnic table there and we watched the sun start to set.  I was totally tired of pedaling by our return, as my bike had like no gears.  I felt like Mrs. Gulch in the Wizard of Oz.  My cruiser was black with a basket on the front.  Hilarious.  Pretty comfortable ride though.

When my brother was 10 years old, I came home from work one summer day to find him sitting on the couch all alone.  I was 16 at this time.  I asked him where all of his buddies were and he said they were out riding bikes.  I asked why he wasn’t with them and he said it was because he didn’t know how to ride.  I was like what in the hell?  How did this happen?  I said ok, let’s go right now.  So we did.  He learned to ride on my bitchin’ green Schwinn with the ape hangers and the banana seat.  He learned in no time flat.

Bikes have been a huge part of my brother’s life.  Once he graduated from MU and moved to Boulder, he worked and managed University Bikes in Boulder and Performance Bikes in Denver.  Today he works for Yakima, which is a serious bike rack (amongst other things)company.  He had to fly home two days after my arrival.  It was super great to see him and have our entire family at the same place at the same time.

Today I am lounging on Pine Island with my sister who is still seriously unemployed.  She’s making ends meet with e-bay.  They have great thrift stores here and the best ones require lots of patience and digging as I experienced yesterday.  She found 10 pairs of shoes for $20 and a few purses for $1 each.  In the shoe lot were one pair of Birkenstocks, one pair of Donald Pliner sandals, one pair of J Crew fancy sandals, 3 pairs of Ferragamo’s (not kidding).  I was blown away.  The purse lot included a red leather vintage Fossil purse in perfect condition, a baby alligator purse (needed some TLC) from Mexico made in the 1940’s, two purses from the same era that are crewel (needle work) and beautiful with change purses inside still intact.  She also scored a pair of Teva sandals for herself for $2.  When we got home I raided her e-bay shoe stash and found lots of stuff I loved, but only purchased a pair of Teva sandals.  They were totally like brand new.

Tomorrow we head back to the thrift shops and then back to my mom’s to celebrate my dad’s birthday and Father’s Day.  I’d better go.  My sister just handed me a frozen margarita and I know better than to drink and blog.

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Custodian Kirsten

My job search began several months ago.

I love teaching yoga but I was really feeling the need to fill my time with something of a different nature when I wasn’t in the yoga room.  I made one of the nicest resumes that I’ve ever seen with the help of great friends.  I started to think about what I would like to do and what I could do.  I did not finish college.  I do have some classes under my belt, but they don’t really count for anything.  I have a heavy background in clerical, data processing, payroll and things of the office nature.  But did I want to go there again?  Maybe. 

I also have my video store background which is retail.  Not only the standing behind the counter part but the ownership part as well.  When I owned that store I had to hire, fire and train employees.  I did my own payroll.  I paid my own bills and ordered my own supplies and merchandise.  It was an every day of the week kind of job and we were open every bit of 12 hours of every single day of the year.  Massive responsibilty for sure.

I started sending out applications to office type of work places first.  I was thinking that perhaps I could give up some morning or evening classes (if I had to) and snag something this way.  My yoga schedule is so weird being that I teach in the morning and the lunch hour and in the evening too.  Every single job that I applied for that was office related I did not get.  I would receive a “Thank you but no thanks.”  The very first place I applied to called me back immediately.  That was probably just because they needed a 45 year old female in the crowd.  I really thought this was going to be easy!  But no.  I went in with a bunch of other people and sat at a computer.  We had like 12 minutes to do this math and other problem solving types of things.  I freaked out.  I received a big fat “Thanks but no thanks” from that place.  Just as well.  It was full time which would’ve meant ditching most of my yoga classes and purchasing an entirely new wardrobe. 

Onward.  I changed my plan and thought I needed to fall back on retail instead.  I applied at several places retail related.  Nothing.  Nada.   I received many “Thanks but no thanks” once again.  I even applied for some assembly line kinds of jobs.  I started to think that there must be something wrong with me.  Maybe I am too old.  Maybe I am too fat.  Maybe I am too stupid.  What’s the deal?  The deal is, it appears that there are millions of people looking for jobs.  One of my friends who works at a hospital (where I applied) said that over 1,000 applied for just one job there.  Wow.  Amazing.

I decided to post an ad on Craig’s List asking for someone to please hire me for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays since those are the days I do not teach yoga.  I listed all of my massive skills and tried to sell myself well.  The only thing I got from that a were several scam types of jobs.  Bummer.  But.  As I scanned Craig’s List looking for part-time work, I ran across a job cleaning.  Yes.  Cleaning.  I’d thought of it before but I really didn’t want to work from midnight to whenever.  And actually, I wouldn’t have cleaned my own house for what some of these cleaning jobs paid.  This was a cleaning job on Saturdays and Sundays that started at six (or earlier) in the morning.  I sent my resume over right away and got a call back.  Apparently I am qualified to clean. 

Custodian Kirsten.  I took the job and I totally love it.  But I will say the first weekend I thought I’d pretty much died and gone to hell.  We are cleaning the Springfield 11, which includes the IMAX Theater.  I like it because I roll out of bed and I don’t have to care what I look like.  It’s quiet when we get there and we don’t have to deal with the general public.  It’s a great workout and I feel energized and still have the rest of my day when I get home around 10:30 in the morning.  I was never one to leave my trash in a theater but lots of people do.  How dare they?  I have gone from owning part of the entertainment industry to, um, cleaning it.  Oh the irony.  This job has been so far a great eye opener for me on what goes down when the rest of the city is still asleep. 

Sometimes what you need to do, is what you gave the least amount of consideration to doing.  Be sure to read the next blog entry for more insight on that.

And remember, please take your trash to the receptacles next time you see a movie.

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One Down, One To Go

Our son Jordan graduated from high school this year.  He actually attended the same high school that his dad and I did, way back when.

He was in the A+ program which means he was granted two years of free school at OTC (Ozarks Technical College) here in town.  He is also a big track and field star and OTC doesn’t offer that.  To our surprise, MSU (Missouri State University) no longer has a men’s track team either.  I was told they used to have 21 sports at that school and now they only have 16.

The quest was on to find a college where he could major in Biology and be on a track team.  He did all the research himself, made endless phone calls and filled out massive amounts of paperwork.  He was interested in Drury because they do have a track team and they even have a Decathlon which is what he has participated in for the last two summers at Nationals (Junior Olympics).  But CMU (Central Methodist University) made him the best offer.

At CMU he was able to stack his athletic scholarship and academic dough together and he even applied for a scholarship through the church that he was raised in (Methodist Church).  He scored some money there as well.  It’s a good thing all of this happened because lord knows we don’t have the money to send him there.  As it is he will owe a little less than what it costs to attend one year at CMU in  loans when he’s done.  And that’s if everything stays like it is now.  I have a feeling it will be even better next year in the way of athletic offerings.

We moved Jordan to Fayette, MO last Saturday.  The school is quaint, kind of like Drury but maybe even smaller.  The buildings have that old, cool architecture and the dorms are decent.  The food was pretty good as well.  We all had lunch at the cafeteria that day.








He will major in Marine Biology and he already got a job in the office there on campus.  That’s a good thing!  The town is very small and honestly I think I would go crazy living there but he doesn’t seem to mind.  I made a joke that he will get into trouble because of lack of stuff to do, or he’ll get into trouble because he’ll be driving to Columbia every single weekend.  Frank didn’t think that was very funny. 

He will toss the discus on their track team and the coach had maybe mentioned hammer throw as well.  We’ll see.  He’s had some trouble with one of his ankles and he’s pulled a hamstring a couple of times as well, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that the inuries lay low. 

Good luck Jordan.  You are fine young man and I’d like to think that your family had a little bit to do with that!

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Snow, Rum and Cookies

As I write this, it’s snowing a blizzard.  Again.  Enough already.  Really.  The kids have been out of school for four days now.  At this rate they won’t be going on Monday either and I’m not liking that at all.  I finally got out yesterday, no problem whatsoever.  My car handles well in this stuff and believe me, the side roads are terrible.  So are some intersections on some pretty heavily traveled roads.

My husband will love this.  He will get to drive around on his tractor with his blade and push snow for people.  Heck, on Tuesday he plowed the entire street across from us.  That’s him on his tractor.  That’s our daughter on the deck.  He usually clears the sidewalks as well, but not this time.  Snow plows kept that from happening.  But they were cool enough to lift their blades as they passed our drive and the mouth of the street he’d just plowed.   And plow he did.  He resorted to doing a few driveways instead since the sidewalks were out of commission.   He loves doing this and does it for nothing, until last night.

We heard a knock on our front door.  It was a guy that wanted to talk to my husband.  We had to find my husband first as he pretty much lives outside no matter what the weather’s doing.  Well, this guy at the door happened to be a neighbor.  A neighbor I hadn’t met before.  My husband had plowed his drive way and he brought us a gift for doing so.  Wow.  How cool is that?  Pretty cool if you ask me.  Good thing we enjoy a drink now and then because it was a bottle of Zaya Rum.  I’d never had this before but believe me, when we finish this off I have a feeling it will be a staple in our liquor cabinet.  We opened it up and it smelled awesome.  I tried it straight (unheard of, I’m a baby) and it was really smooth.  Hints of caramel and vanilla.  Creme Brule comes to mind so picture drinking that.  I was in the process of making cookies.  I’ve done that every single day since the snow’s been on.  We’d had Thai food for dinner so I guess our neighbor knew that this rum with a subtle hint of coconut would finish off our evening nicely.


Good thing I volunteered to take my mother-in-law to the doctor and to her hair appointment early this morning.  If not, I could’ve easily overindulged myself with the Zaya.  Later this afternoon I took a walking camera meditation and got some great photos of Fassnight Creek.  This was before the blizzard started.  The blizzard has now grown to ginormous flakes.  Dang.  I’m not liking this one bit.  Three days in my pajamas has been quite enough.  I want my life back as scheduled.  Anyways.  Today, the mailman dropped off a package at our place.  It was from my folks and when I opened it, I found this.

Grapefruits from their yard.  Honey from their bee hives.  Their first attempt to make these rockin’ pickles that I order from this chick in Oklahoma.  I know.  They are that good.  Can’t wait to see how close their duplication is.  There’s also two small bottles of Cello, the Italian Liquer kind.  One bottle is Lemon the other is Calamondin.  Yikes.  Looks like the blizzard’s brought us liquor and cookies!  Would love to dive into this cello but I shall refrain.  I’m helping with a yoga class tomorrow from 11-5.  But wait that’s not very early in the morning now is it?  Hmmmmmm.


Morning At Stump Pass

Today is the last full day of my vacation.   Not just my vacation, Mady’s as well.   Tomorrow is a serious travel day of driving to the airport, returning the rental car and flying home.    

The weather didn’t look too hot this morning but we decided to take the kids out on the boat none the less.  That’s Lauren on the left and Mady on the right.  We took off in the intracoastal and headed south to Stump Pass State Park.  There’s a nice sand bar with a small waterway on one side and the Gulf water on the other.    

We beached the boat on the channel side.  Here’s mom and dad hanging out onboard.








When we hopped off the boat, we found the beach was littered with sea urchins.  They’d washed up and bit the dust.  Some of them were still alive so we tossed them back in the water. 


The girls loved handling the urchins and observing how they camoflauged themselves with leaves and shells. 








Just beyond this little sand grade, was the Gulf water.  We had to dodge this turtle nest though.  This whole area is really loaded with them this year, that’s for sure.








I was excited to get a few shots of this Osprey.  What a beautiful bird, he hung out high on this branch for quite awhile.  This was on the channel side.








I also got a photo of this guy on the Gulf side.  It was a nice beach, the girls found a lot of shells, but not too good for finding sharks teeth.

We enjoyed some sun and some clouds.  We ate our lunch of tuna sandwiches, chips and watermelon on the boat front.  We also fed some bread to a bunch of little fish.  They were super hungry and kept nibbling on my feet and toes after the frenzy.  It was really starting to freak me out, so I got out of the water for awhile.








Mady, me and Lauren at Stump Pass, Gulf side.   If I ever get any elective surgery, it will be to straighten out my legs.  Maybe I can call Kathy Bates up, she did a pretty good job in that film Misery. 

I am grateful to have the opportunity to take such a long trip and I’m grateful to have a family that decided to move to such a nice place to visit.  Tomorrow, it’s back to my house, my family, my yoga classes and basic reality tomorrow.  It’s going to be quite the adjustment.  I’m glad I don’t have to work until Monday.  I’ll need the weekend to get used to driving my car and many other things.  Thanks for taking this journey with us, see you soon!

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Yoga On Venice Beach

My folks took the girls camping up north yesterday to be exact.  They’re up at Rainbow River Campground.  It’s a state park with crystal clear rivers and springs.  I think they might retrieve water for bottling from Zephryhills Springs or something like that nearby.  Today they floated the river for two hours in brightly colored inner tubes.  The water was a cool 72 degrees.  I would imagine that they all looked like fruit loops cruising down the river.  I can’t wait to see some photos from their journey.

I on the other hand am holding down the fort and the cats and the beach and the pool here.  I walked the beach yesterday morning and then floated in the pool with a great book.  I’m reading Freedom by Malika Oufkir.  I got it before I left town for $3 at the Dollar Store.  It’s a hard back book and I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of this woman.  I think she was on Oprah once and maybe I’d just forgotten about her.  Anyways her first book is called Stolen Lives and I tried to find it here, but can’t.  I’ll order it from Amazon when I return.  She’ s a good writer with a story worth reading that’s for certain.

Awhile back I gave up on paying $35 for a hair cut.  I’m keeping my hair short and frankly, I can’t really tell the difference between an expensive cut and a cheap one.  I got a great trim at Great Clips back home a few months ago.  My hair is pretty fried on the ends with all the swimming I’ve been doing.  Not just here, but from the massive doses of chlorine in the pool at the YMCA.  My hair actually looks OK with these bleached highlights.  Oddly enough, I’ve had several people ask me where I got my hair colored.  I just say it’s Loreal Ash Brown with YMCA chlorine, because it’s true.  Anyhow, with the beach wind, the salt from the sea and the chlorine here at the pool, my ends were almost completely white.  I found a Great Clips up the road.  When I got there I saw this funky grandma and I was hoping she would cut my hair.  And she did.  She used a razor for texture (thank god) and used words like chunky and piecey.  Thank you Great Clips for a $13 cut.  But the best part was this.  She informed me that every day on Venice Beach they offer free yoga.  Say Whaat?  Yep.  I went today and it was great.   There were around 25 people there.  An equal number of chicks and dudes and most were my age or older.

That’s our teacher in the sand.








Man.  I wish I would’ve got a haircut the first day I arrived so I could’ve found out about this class much sooner.








Venice is a quaint little town.  On the way out, I took a few beach shots.








After I left the beach, I stopped under the bridge. 








There’s an old train station there that now serves as a fully, functional bus stop. 









The bridge goes over the intracoastal waterway.  This is also the same location where we stopped to take shelter from the rain in the boat the day we got stranded. 








I think these condos are so pretty.








I arrived back home and went hunting for sharks teeth at the beach.  I kicked my shoes off at the beach entrance just like you would in a yoga room.  I guess you could say the beach is God’s yoga room.  We have done our shoes this way for 20 years.  Not just us, but others do it as well.  Anyways, two hours later I returned to get my shoes and they were gone.  No way.  Are you serious?  Totally.  I wouldn’t have been that bummed except I just purchased them last week.  Jeanine took me to DSW Shoe Store in Ft. Myers to check out their Tevas.  I bought two pair and of course, I was wearing the prettiest pair yesterday.  No place has my size in the entire state of Florida.  After a massive search, I found the last pair of Teva Mush size 7’s in Oriental Electric Lime in the entire world. 

I hope the person that borrowed my shoes really needed them.  Or perhaps, someone thought they were abandoned.  I suppose they looked pretty lonely sitting there with no other shoes to party with.  Tonight when I go to the beach, I’m going barefoot.  I hate to carry my shoes and walk the beach, don’t you?

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Nothing But Love

This past weekend was an amazing one.  Every October, I bring one of my favorite yoga teachers to town.  This year, he was able to stop by and offer a one day practice on Sunday.  He always stays with Joan, as they sport a pretty cool pad.  A few of us gathered at her place for a small dinner and conversation on Saturday evening.  We had a great turn out for the class and drew several people in who’d never taken yoga with him before.  Here’s some highlights.

Thomas adjusting Alex in down dog

Robyn, Matthew, Judi, Terra and Barbara in the back forty

Michelle, Joan, Marilyn, Kim and Chris havin’ some hot tea on the break

Kirsten and Sunshine.  The last time we had a photo together, she was 4 and I was 18.  It’s a long story that I won’t go into.  That was in 1984 so now you know how old I am!

After the class we had some snacks at hot tea.  The weather was amazing that day and I know every one was anxious to get outdoors.  I know that I was.  So I did.  I returned home and spent a few hours in the dry dust weeding my garden.  My asparagus looks great, I think we’ll be able to harvest more than a couple of stalks this year.  Some of my herbs are coming back and so are some of the onions I missed picking last year.  The strawberries look good too!

Enjoy the day, but avoid the pollen if you can help it.  It’s bad out there!