In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff


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Serious Snow Day

School was called off yesterday.  The threat of snow was all around us, so by 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, school was canceled.  Mind you, nothing was happening outside.  Not yet anyways.  By around 4 a.m. I heard the tick, tick, ticking of the sleet on the windows.  Oh boy.  Not another ice storm, please no!  We got some sleet and by about 8 a.m. on Wednesday we were experiencing a full-blown snow storm.  I’d picked up necessities at the grocery store on Sunday and I’m really glad that I did that.  I’m sure the stores were in a frenzy on Tuesday with the threat of the snow coming.

The weather media was having a grand old time with this.  At times, I think the job of the media is to drive every one into consumption through fear.  Ridiculous.  Like if you don’t drink milk for one whole day, you just might die.  Right?  So run to the neareat grocery store and buy all the milk and the bread just in case!  My husband was actually scheduled to be out of town this entire week, in KC none the less, so I’d stocked up on some stuff we could heat up on our gas stove just in case of a power outtage.  We have a kerosene heater and I knew that the kids and I would definitely not starve nor freeze to death while he was away.

He drove out of town for about 30 miles until they called him back.  I guess they needed him here, in case of the winter storm.  Needless to say I need more bread and milk now because he’s like home…..all week long.  He spent the day yesterday driving his John Deere tractor around the hood with the blade.  The city plow trucks were even kind enough to raise their blades when they passed our drive way as they noticed how clear our drive way was.  Sweet.  We will not be getting stuck at the end of our drive way, like my husband’s employees did this morning.  And let us know they were stuck at 3:30 a.m. today, they sure did.

We had a quiet day yesterday, and I got a lot done that I needed to accomplish.  Things like drink hot tea and read a book about Sedona, AZ which is where I’ll be heading with my daughter and a couple of yoga friends for Spring Break.  I also stripped naked (sorry for the visual) and headed into the shower and scrubbed the crap out of that ordeal.  Long overdue.  I can say it’s done now and shine it did in the brightness of the sunlit snow today!

Today was not so quiet and I knew it wouldn’t be.  There should actually be a snow day for the grown ups, without their kids.  By noon I had two extra girls over here, running in and out, wet snow, wet clothes the whole ordeal.  They ran the netfix on the Wii all day when they were in the house.  I stayed in my pajamas all day today, and baked some cookies, did some laundry and waited for the day to be over with.  After all, I’d been awake since like 3:30 a.m. as we didn’t receive just one phone call, we got like 5.  Sheesh.

There’s no school AGAIN tomorrow and I’m totally bummed.  MSU is out as well, so I bet I won’t have to teach any yoga over there.  I was really looking forward to that.  But, if not, I’ll be heading to the pool at the YMCA to burn off some serious cabin fever energy!  Seriously ready for the melting to get under way.  Did I mention that it was 67 degrees on Saturday?  Nuts.


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New Year’s Day Hike

I love to walk. 

As a matter of fact, if I’m out in nature I could probably kill an entire day. 

But I didn’t have an entire day on the first day of 2011, so I killed a couple of hours.  The Nature Center is a great place to go.  The place was actually closed, but everyone pretty much parks beyond the gate and scales in anyways.  Me and about 3 other people that is, because that’s how many I came into contact with.  What a quiet day.  The deer were tame, the birds were plenty and the landscape was serene.  It was a pretty cold day but that didn’t bother me.  Not until I realized I’d left my fingerless gloves in the car.  The ones that my mom got me on her trip to New Zealand.  My hands got a tad cold toting my camera.  But I was able to shoot several photos none the less.  For those who haven’t seen them on Facebook, enjoy.


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A Day Of Silence

Little Portion in Republic, Missouri is where I spent my Sunday.  It’s where I spent the entire day, on a silent meditation retreat.  I’d never been on anything like this before.  I’ve spent weekends at yoga workshops practicing meditation and pranayama but never a whole day of meditating and being silent.  If you’ve known me for very long you know that I have the tendency to be, well…a chatter box.  This has shifted quite a bit over the last several years though.  I’m hoping I’m a much better listener than I used to be.

We started our day in that white barn that you see.  It has been converted into a bed and breakfast if you will.  Complete with a kitchen, public use room and bedrooms that were private and what not.  This piece of property has three buildings.  The barn, the yellow house that you see that used to be a milk house and a neat stone house where some nuns still reside.  This property also has several acres, a few beautiful gardens, a huge rock, and a stream that runs through the entire place.  Beautiful location.  And just a short drive from my house.  Who knew?  I want to go back here again.

We started out as a group meditating upstairs in a public use area.  I led us through some gentle yoga stretching to prepare for our sit.  We sat for awhile as a group together.  I don’t know how long.  I quit wearing a watch when I quit punching a time clock and purchased my video store.  After our group sit, we were free to continue sitting indoors, or go outside.  We all went outside.  The morning started out cloudy and a bit on the dewy side, but it cleared off nicely for the afternoon.  A few  of us chose walking meditation like we do at the studio.  Some of chose to sit on the benches by the water, or rest in the hammocks on the property.  I chose walking meditation with my camera and it was awesome.

Walking and meditating.  One person did this barefoot, awesome!

The creek.  Sun reflecting on the water.

Frodo.  Take me away.

A view of one of the beautiful gardens.

Someone asked me the other day why I meditated.  What did I get out of it?  And was it worth it?  My only answer at the time was that I liked it.  That question reeled out of control for the rest of my day as I continued to think about it.  I like the way I feel afterwards.  I like the way I feel while I’m meditating.  I like uncluttering and clearing  the junk in my mind.  I like the mental clarity that goes with that after I’m finished.   I’ve received answers to questions that I haven’t asked yet and that can be kind of scary.  I’ve also received explanations to things that have happened in my life.   And perhaps why they happened in the order that they have.  It’s cool, it really is.  And I do see now why some people come to class a few times and never return.  There’s a truth that happens during meditation not at all unlike the truth that you experience on the yoga mat.  It can seriously creep you out.

 

I left the retreat about two and a half hours early.  I had to teach a yoga class at MSU that evening and I didn’t want to stress out about it, or be in a hurry.  When I arrived home our son was at work and my husband and daughter were fishing together.  I was thankful.  I had a few hours to spend in silence and adjust to the tasks that had to be done in due time. 

So.  Do I quit meditating and forget all this stuff that keeps coming up over and over again?  Or do I stick with it?  Do I follow my heart and deal with the pain and other feelings as they present themselves?  I’ve answered my own question already.  I’m not qutitting.  I’m sitting with it.  Where I’m going with this I have no idea and I actually kind of like it that way.  I’ve lived my life without a plan for a long time now and it seems to suit me quite well.  I know that if I have enough money for today, I will be OK.  I know that if I have my health at this moment, everything is damn near perfect.  I know that if I get a “thank you” after I teach a yoga class that that’s all I really need for the rest of the week.  It’s all good.

I’m staying on the path.  It’s a good thing and I’m happy about it. 

 At the moment anyways and that’s all that counts really.


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Saturday At Stockton

Yesterday was a pretty hot day.  Almost too hot to go to the lake, but we went anyway.  Just Frank and I.  The kids were off doing their other weekend things.  We took the boat, some chairs, an umbrella, my floaty, some snacks (sushi) and some fishing poles and the camera.  We didn’t catch much but had a great day.

We saw a total of 4 boats all day.  That’s what I like about Stockton, it’s never that crowded.  Now a Saturday at Table Rock would’ve been a completely different and totally unrelaxing story.  We parked our boat here and played most of the day.

It was so quiet you could hear the flapping wings of this Turkey Vulture.  There were several out yesterday.  I saw two beautiful hawks as well.

While Frank was off fishing I was busy floating.  At one time I had 12 dragon flies on  my legs.  Eight on one leg and four on the other. 

 

This moth was pretty bland and gray on the outside.  Once she opened her wings she was quite the show.

We trolled the bank all the way back to the boat dock.  It was around six o’clock and the sunlight on the water was beautiful.

As we came around a bend I spotted this Blue Heron.  Frank didn’t stop trolling fast enough before we got into too much sun.  Then we were too close and it flew off.  Crazy boat drivers……just kidding.

We pass this old school house (and cemetery) on the way to launch the boat.  It has a high fence completely around it with with no tresspassing signs as well.  It’s a neat old building.  It’s near Aldrich or something.  I really have no idea of the exact location or town.

You can see inside of it and through the windows that were once there.

Woke up this morning to the hummers fighting over the feeder.  It’s a beautiful day I slept in and missed yoga.  I guess I’ll forgive myself.  Get outside while it’s still cool, I’m going to.


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The Best Chai Tea Ever

I made it through the week.  An entire week of teaching classes and getting back to some sort of normalcy here around the house.  This was after being away for 24 days.  I even made it to the pool to do laps twice and I didn’t feel like I’d taken any time off.  Bonus.  I did wake up one night around 1:30 a.m.  Frank was awake watching TV in the other room.  I remember walking down the hall and saying out loud that I felt like I was walking down my own hallway.  Duh.  I was.  I am glad that a nice, long vacation can mess with ones brain in this way.  Instead of complaining, I shall be thankful.  For sure.

I flew home last Friday only to leave again the following Friday, but only for the weekend.  Thank goodness.  I was just getting adjusted.  We headed to Bolivar, Missouri – Frank, Jordan and I to spend the weekend at a hotel for a family reunion.  I missed this shin dig last year because I was in Florida retrieving my kid.  This reunion of course is for Frank’s family.  We stay at a hotel for two nights.  The only hotel with a pool if I might add.  In Bolivar.  We spend our Saturday at the 4-H building eating and talking and eating some more.

This year the hotel has changed hands.  The previous owners knew all of us.  They had a lobby full of snacks and drinks for next to nothing.  You could microwave a bag of popcorn at midnight and drink a beer by the pool.  Not anymore.  The new owners are Indians.  As in India.  A lot of folks were frustrated because when they checked in, they couldn’t communicate.  Which in turn created an us against them attitude.  I’m sure this poor couple, in their mid 60’s,  felt like they were being squashed every time one of us blew in for a cup of coffee.  That was still free and so were the tiny little donuts.

Saturday morning I practiced yoga on a sidewalk that was sort of out of the way.  I had a nice little view of a garden, full of Indian herbs, beans and other things.  I wondered, did these people practice yoga?  But I would probably never ask.  Enter Frank.  If you know Frank, well, you know that he knows no strangers.  At times I find his friendliness to be a bit annoying actually.  Not this time.  This time I thanked him.

Fast forward to Saturday evening.  It rained a monsoon on that night.  The Indian owners had their vehicle stowed under the guest check in awning and again, some of the folks in our party were a bit peeved.  Me?  I told them I liked the sticker of Ganesha on the hood of their van.  They smiled at me.  Frank started a conversation with the Indian man as we were all enjoying some adult beverages in the lobby.  In the next few minutes Frank had the OK to take their barbeque grill out of the trash out back.  They were throwing it away.  They were regetarians.   This is when Frank asks him to taste this great sweet tea lemonade with vodka in it (Frank wasn’t drinking it, he rarely drinks anything ever) and the Indian guy says no.  He is a vegetarian, he consumes no coffee and no alcohol.  This is when Frank asks him if he practices yoga and he says yes, every morning at 5:30 a.m.  Uh oh.

I get invited to drink tea and practice yoga with the Indian guy and his wife the next morning at 5:30 a.m.  “I unlock the door early for you, OK?”  Don’t worry, it’s only 11:30 p.m. and I’m on my third glass of red wine.  No problem.   I can hardly sleep because I am excited and I’m a bit buzzed at the same time.  What if I don’t wake up in time?  Me?  Unheard of.  But this would be that one time that I would over sleep, I just knew it!   I got up at 4:45 a.m. and showered and seriously scrubbed my dirty feet.  I arrived on time in my pajama pants and the only t-shirt that I brought.  Ironically the only t-shirt that I packed, had an OM symbol on it.  The other tops I had with me were tanks and I wanted to cover my shoulders. 

He greets me as I remove my shoes.  He wore glasses and white, which is the only color I’ve seen him wear since I arrived.  His wife had long, pretty hair loosely tied back and she wore gray.  She also wore a red gem on her forehead.  The space we were in was small.  A tiny room behind the front desk area it was.  In the corner sat a full sized bed, neatly made with lots of blankets folded on it.  On the floor a big blanket was folded in a long rectangle about one foot wide.  This is where we sat.  We sat and were quiet for a few moments and were also interrupted a few times by the ring of the desk bell.  They turned on their television and told me that this is an Indian broadcast station.  Cool.  But the yoga class is not on on Sundays.  Not cool.  Instead a program on Auyervedics is on.  I’m all for that.  We watch some of these programs together which are in Indian and subtitled in English.  Some of them are actually in Indian and then spoken again in English.  We take part in some of the ideas or exercises that they are talking about.  His wife leaves to go put on the tea as he sees to a customer.  It is now 6:30 a.m. 

When she returns she hands me the best cup of Chai Tea I’ve ever had in my lifetime.  I am in heaven.  I ask them about their children, their life here and their life in India.  We talk about yoga, about holistic medicine and about God.  She says more than one time to me, “God is great.  He is called many different things, but there is only one God.”  I like this lady and I want to hug her.  We have some trouble communicating but as we get comfortable the trouble lessens.  We are laughing, we are smiling, we are crossing cultures.  We watch a Satsang and it’s beautiful.  They showed me a couple of traditional and modern Indian music videos as well. 

They offered to fix me breakfast but our group was meeting for food at eight.  Believe me, I’d rather have eaten with these people.  Not to knock our crowd, not at all.  It’s just that after that great cup of chai, I was wanting more.  I left shortly after seven thinking to myself –  I’m in Bolivar.  Missouri.  I just sat on the floor with some authentic Indian people.  I just watched Indian programming with them and drank chai.  In Bolivar. Missouri.  When I turned in our room keys, they smiled so big.  It was nice to see them this way.  They invited me back again and I left there thinking.  It would totally be worth the drive and the loot to head back down on a weekday to practice yoga with them.  Maybe I’ll just do that.

I guess if you really want to go to India and cannot go at the moment.  Perhaps India will come to you. 


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Yoga At Camp Finbrooke

IMG_1382Saturday was another beautiful day weather-wise.  Even though I was exhausted from my road trip to Oklahoma (mentally and physically) I had to head out to Camp Finbrooke to lead a couple of yoga classes for the Girl Scouts.  I’d never been to Camp Finbrooke before.  I wasn’t a Girl Scout.  I was a Bluebird and I remember one year, I was third highest or something for the selling of the candy.  I got to go downtown (or somewhere) and pick out a huge stuffed animal.  And if I remember right, I think I chose a gigantic turtle.

Anyways, I found the camp and it was great to drive the Volvo out there and enjoy the narrow, hilly and curvy roads.  It handles like a dream.  Once I arrived I found my contact person and she told me the yoga would be happening down at the barn.  Super.  Except they handed me this gigantic boom box to carry.  I already had a very heavy yoga mat (for outdoor use) and a backpack.  I was also wearing sandals.  Bad choice of shoes as the barn was a trek.

I taught from 3:00-4:00 p.m. and 4:30 -5:30 p.m.  The girls threw their little rugs out on the lawn.  I had at least 20 girls in each group and a few mom’s as well.  The kids were from all over and there were several from Columbia in both of my groups.  The girls appeared to be middle school and high school ages.  They were a little rowdy when they first arrived, but I had their attention quickly.  After the first class was over, we had a break for snacks.  A few of the girls passed on food and stuck around talking.  They asked me about the Asian inspired pants I had on.  They asked me if I lived in a big house and if it was decorated Chinese style.  Too funny.  They asked about the music I played and where I got it.  The two that stuck around the longest, told me how good they felt and how relaxed they were.  Then one of them asked me if I liked chocolate.  And when I said yes, she gave me a Hershey candy bar. 

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The second group got to enjoy the movement of the sun as we had our class.  They were really hyper in the beginning, but their energy shifted pretty fast.  I think the sunset helped.

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This group had an entirely different set of questions afterwards.  They asked stuff like, “How does yoga work?’, “Will I always feel like this after every yoga class?”, “My energy has shifted and the outside looks prettier, why?”  Whoa.  I so love it when they get it.  Amazing.  Afterwards, two of the girls wanted me to hike with them (in the dark by flashlight) to the cabins.  Though I would’ve loved to have gone, I had to say no.  I was beat, I had on sandals and my throat was really scratchy from talking into the warm wind.  I got a little lost leaving there as it was pitch dark and I think I exited a different way than I entered the camp.  Nice. 

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They sent me home with a check (Volvo fund) and 17 boxes of Girl Scout cookies!  Thanks guys, I had a wonderful day and your camp is really beautiful.  I’d so love to do this again!

 

 


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Amazing Nature

Nature.  It never ceases to amaze me. 

I found this praying mantis on our deck last week. 

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She accidentally stepped into the edge of this web, owned by this spider.  It was also accompanied by two huge egg sacks.  I watched her struggle for a little while.  Meanwhile, the big spider didn’t even know she was there.  Her web was very big and the praying mantis was stuck in the part that was attached onto the deck railing.  IMG_1267

She was able to free herself and if not, of course, I would’ve helped.   Afterwards, I watched her cruise away.  At one time she turned her head to look at me.  Probably because I practically had my lens touching her head.  I’ve got a nice blurro shot of her alien-like face against a clear background.  Still working on the use of the macro on the new camera.  I’ll figure it out soon.

On Sunday, October 25th before heading to the yoga retreat I noticed these jet streams that had crossed one another.  They made a huge X pretty much dead center in our picture window.  My camera was at the studio, so I told Frank to grab his.  Isn’t this cool?  This was taken around seven or so in the morning, facing east.

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The day before yesterday, I was up early as I have been lately because my body goes by the the sun.  I don’t adjust well to daylight savings time and neither do our animals.  So at 4:30 a.m. I’ve been up feeding them because they know it’s 5:30 a.m.  The moon was huge out back and the yard was flooded with light.  So what the heck.  I grabbed a cup of coffee and my camera.  I took this around 6:00 a.m. and I love it. 

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The trees look so spooky and the moon is so bright.  I took several, but this one where the zoom is tight is the best.  I love this time of year.