Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Off The Mat

Had a dream on Sunday night that I was talking with a professional organizer about, well, organizing. There's no need to look on Dream Moods for that one...

As I reviewed my weekend, thought about how amazing it was.

Yoga... Friday

Lunch with Rosie... Saturday

Voices of Congo Square ...Saturday

Yoga... Sunday

Yoga and Yoga... Monday

Another weekend fantasy camp.

I did almost kill the lawnmower on Monday. Forgot that the oil was low until I heard this tictictic noise then silence. Added more oil and let it set for 15 minutes and it turned over.

After the two yoga classes yesterday, made my way to the gym so that I could watch part of Game 7 of the Warriors/Thunder game. Since I got in my 10,000 steps early in the day, I set the treadmill at a very low speed while I watched.

The gym officially closed at 4:00 p.m. but since it's a 24 hour club, it's accessible with a key card. It was kind of creepy. The windows have tinting on them so you can't really see out unless someone comes very close to the glass.

Two guys tried to get in but couldn't and one eventually approached the glass by my treadmill asking to be let in. One waved a gym card but I lifted my hands and said sorry. I would like to believe that they were upstanding citizens but it's not hard for the magnetic card to register; you swipe it and you're in. I did not want to end up on a page in the STL Post- Dispatch so I did not get off the treadmill...

Went swimming tonight and talked with the female youth coach. She said that she's been coaching for 20 years and the drowning rate hasn't changed since then.

There was a young girl, about seven or eight, in the lane next to me taking a lesson. She as not seeing eye-to-eye with her instructor. I kept thinking that the instructor needed to change her approach instead of telling her not to pout and commanding her to execute moves...

During yoga classes, Joy likes to say Take the time that it takes and I'm trying to take that approach off the mat. I cleaned out the fish tank after work and also managed to wash one load of clothes. I also got some expired stuff out of the refrigerator after coming home from the swimming pool.  Malo po malo which is Bosnian for little by little...

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Gentle Dance

I immediately said No thank you to the all staff email that went out about an event. My plan was already in place: get stuff done and relax -- so it was amusing when one of the coworkers who won tickets asked me if I wanted to go.

I am not trying to mimic Shonda Rhimes' Year of Yes but I am looking to shake things up (gently) and I like dance productions so I said Yes. Not going to lie. I really wanted to watch game six of the Oklahoma vs. Golden State NBA game.

Rolled out of bed on Saturday and met Alison for Zumba then met Rosie at Frida's Deli where I had the avocado toast. If social media is to be trusted, avocado toast is all the rage. I know, you can make avocado toast at home but this toast had grilled tomato, an Illinois farm egg and tarragon-orange avocado. I took a sip of Rosie's ginger drink and immediately ordered one. That ginger drink was intense but good.

Had a little downtime then headed out with my coworker to Voices of the Congo Square. The show clocked in at over three hours. The narration between the dance numbers was too long but, overall, I enjoyed the show and I'm interested in learning more about the Mardi Gras Indians and Jazz Funerals which I like the idea of since it sounds like a good ritual for mourning and celebrating...

Met Alison and Rosie for yoga this morning. After class Jennifer (new yoga buddy) and I started spontaneously and gently dancing. We'll chalk that up to the yoga high although, during class, I thought the slow in Slow Flow was equivalent to being killed softly. Joy was in a bit of a somber mood and I've heard that people teach what they need to learn sooooooooo.

On a completely different note, Alison emailed me on Saturday night to tell me that this woman who we've talked to in Zumba class posted on Facebook that she'd lost her five-month-old son. He died in his sleep. Alison also told me that her sister had set up a Go Fund Me account for funeral expenses.

Since it was late in the night, I decided to try to find the GFM page using keywords and was surprised by how many St. Louis Go Fund Me pages there are -- some frivolous but there was a lot of crowd funding pages for people who've fallen on hard times.

I told Alison how it still baffles me that some people get five months and others get 100 years.

*Mardi Gras Indians from "Voices of the Congo Square"

Friday, May 27, 2016

Have The Courage

"If I come in tomorrow and say that I haven't gone to Zumba, punch me in the face because there's no reason that I shouldn't go."

That's what my  new coworker told me, LOL. She went to Zumba but I didn't go yesterday. I walked then went to yoga instead. Noticed that the name of the class had been changed from Open and Unwind to Open Level. Open Level generally means that it's going to be an intense class but I wondered how intense the teacher would make it at 8:00 p.m. Well, I got all of my questions answered. I kept thinking that I don't have to have any conflict about whether or not to keep going to Zumba or yoga on Thursdays and I also thought This class is not for me.

I go into yoga classes knowing that I can modify as needed but there's also an amount of pressure that I put on myself to keep up. Annie must have read my mind because she said If xyz is not working for you, have the courage to opt out. Sweet opting out.

As we put away props, Annie told me that her class is different every week. Guess she must have sensed my struggle...

Before I left for work today, the same coworker told me that if she comes back on Monday and says that she had donuts for dinner that I should punch her in the face. It's sounds harsh but it also sounds funny when she says it. Donuts are her weakness. With the exception of the original Krispy Kreme donut, they don't make my knees buckle and the same goes for soda but put me in front of a cupcake case and it's all over.

Made my way to restorative yoga after work. Annie was the sub and, after class, someone said that they didn't know that she was capable of slowing down.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Went swimming last night. There was the threat of thunderstorms so not many people showed up except for the kiddos who had lessons. It was peaceful.

I walked out the pool house door and was greeted with a great view. I think that I might have actually gasped. I know, it's a sunset but still. I love the way the sunset may the pool house look bronze.

Last night's sky made me think of Henry Dumas' poem Ikef 18: Breathe With Me:

"When I cry," said the mountain,
"two streams meet me yonder."

"Yes, I know," said the sky.

"And when I laugh," said the mountain,
"it is the same joy."

"Two streams?"


"Which have become my great mirror,"
said the sky. "Come,

Breathe with me."

Trying to stave off the mid-week sourness creep. Maybe I should go and read more poetry.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Good Things

Fantasy camp -- that's what the weekend feels like when I allow myself to think about all the good things that I manage to do without fretting about the unchecked items on my to-do list.

The notion of fantasy camp usually leads me to episode 55, The Visa, of Seinfeld when Kramer goes to a baseball fantasy camp and George has the following response:
Kramer goes to a fantasy camp? His whole life is a fantasy camp! People should plunk down $2,000 to live like him for a week. Do nothing, fall ass backwards in the money, mooch food off your neighbors and have sex without dating; now that's a fantasy camp.
I could get used to three-day weekends and back-to-back days of yoga.

Joy asked us if there was anything that we wanted to work on tonight and this woman answered core work -- her usual answer.  Another woman said that she was going to say core work as well but didn't want to "upset" anyone. It was kind of funny when the very people who asked for core worked started verbally protesting.

For the record, I will never ask for core work in a yoga class. I can do core work at home. I'm all about the gentle things while practicing yoga but I do recognize that not everyone has the same yoga goals...

One goal that I have is how to make fantasy camp extend deeper into the week. I've been watching Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown again. Like what this restaurant owner in Thailand said -- "That's why I've done it for 17 years and don't feel dispirited."

Friday, May 20, 2016

Mondays and Fridays

I'm still thinking about the great, warm, salt bath of May 18th.* I stayed in the tub for about 80 minutes and, mostly, read O: The Oprah Magazine and, of course, I just got reinforcement as far as doing more yoga.

In Martha Beck's column she writes:

Mindfulness and meditation -- simply focusing on the present moment, observing one's feelings without judging or reacting to them in any way -- have been shown to increase neural density in parts of the brain related to well-being and raise the happiness set point that determines how we typically feel. (O, page 24)
Took a vacation day and, first things first, went to yoga at 9:30 with Alison and I was, again, surprised that the class was packed. I wanna go to yoga on Friday mornings at that time. Night shift workers? Vacationers? Students? Guess that I could go to work, leave and stay later. Honestly, that's doubtful on Friday seems long enough as it is.

Yoga class was playful but a little bit more intense that I usually like but I totally put myself in child's pose when it was necessary...

After yoga I went to pick up contacts that I'm sampling. Asked the clerk how she was doing and she told me You know, Mondays and Fridays. She went on to tell me that she is the only one out of her group of friends who has to work. She's also amazed that her kids are growing up so fast...

Next up was lawn mowing then errands. I also decided to go swimming and it was pretty funny when the lifeguard told me that this Friday is the last one for open swimming because the summer schedule will start soon.

The lap lanes were occupied so I swam in front of the lifeguards and I had a moment when I felt totally self-conscious and imagined that they were critiquing my technique but I talked myself out of it. My final statement to myself was that the lifeguards are there to watch over me and to intervene if I get into trouble...

I was just thinking how well my Swimsuit for All is holding up but noticed wear and tear today. Kind of like this shortini and I'm in the mood to try new things so maybe I'll purchase one.

*Also slept like a baby that night.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Before Yoga

The studio's Buddha.
There was one person running late for last night's yoga session and Joy took a moment and talked about new protocol. She will close the door as we're centering but will still let latecomers in.

Felt like she was preaching to the choir and also thought that the person was running five or ten minutes late -- not fifteen. I've been in a position before where I arrived a minute before class and turned around because I didn't want to be disruptive. Fifteen minutes late. Seriously? If you really need yoga and the starting time of class doesn't work, do yoga at home for one day or not at all. 

I do feel like I should be able to rise above a disturbance but it's amazing how people entering into a room of quiet energy can be distracting. I don't agree with Joy's solution but it's not my studio and I understand that she has to appeal to a variety of customers...

On another note, Dawn (new yoga buddy) and I were discussing our exercise schedules and how challenging it can be to double up on classes or make a class etc. In the end, I realize how I get stuck on a schedule and I decided to not go swimming tonight since I can go later on this week.

I've been craving more yoga and my attempts at a home practice are not satisfying and maybe that's something to work on.

Before yoga I did about 15 minutes of Kenpo X before I came to my senses. My hamstrings are so tight and kicking doesn't feel very nice at all. Despite the bike crash, I'm feeling more like myself and I'm ready to introduce more cardio into my regimen.

After savasana tonight, this woman asked me Are you still with us? I was...barely. While I enjoyed yoga, it still felt weird not to swim.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

What Yoga Is For

The 'Fugee is out of the country and I usually spend Friday nights with her. Had plans to cut the grass, clean out the fish tank or go to Trader Joe's which would have eliminated the need for a Saturday trip. Instead, I crashed. Woke up around the time that Hawaii Five-0 came on and was surprised by the volume of  violence but immediately understood why my aunt Al likes the show...

The human body is amazing, duh. My hand abrasion is still rough but has closed. My leg bruise, which I'd start referring to as a planet, is fading.

Went on a Yoga Buzz field trip this morning to Eckert's. Although a bit chilly, the weather was great and practice was beautiful.

This woman next to me told a kid that Yoga is just to help you relax. Elle talked about our practice being a celebration of bounty. She had me cracking up before practice when she tried to get people to move closer -- There's like three acres up here she said. Elle was also pretty funny during practice.

We got a cone of custard after yoga then went on wagons to pick strawberries. I have a whole new appreciation for people who pick food and my container was small so I didn't pick a lot.

Alison's Son Fascinated by the Camels
The Pickers

Leg Bruise/Planet

Obligatory Pic from Field Trip

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

One Day

Went to visit my aunt Girt on Sunday and she asked me what I had been doing so I gave her the laundry list: yoga, grocery store, cooking, walking, mopping, laundering and I could feel her body language shift then she said You can't do everything in one day...

I was also in a bit of a blue funk on Sunday which Alison noticed after yoga. My funks tend to make Alison nervous but I usually tell her that there's a season for everything.

Went to yoga last night and it was a sweet class even though I felt banged up physically. It was also a good class because I was surrounded by familiars -- two to the right and two to the left. I like what Joy said about going to your edge and being with the pose...

Earlier in the day, Alison sent me a link to a blog post, The Yoga of Being Sad, that Elle of Yoga Buzz wrote. I swear, there's lots of synchronicity in the air...

Went swimming tonight and I usually greet the coaches of the youth swim team and, this time, the husband said that it had been two years since they'd met me and he asked me again about being a coach which just blows me away. Haven't they seen me swim?

I totally feel water competent but I don't feel like I'm a skilled enough swimmer to coach children. I also don't feel like I have the time. He was cracking me up, though, saying that he wanted someone mature because the young adults that he works with won't show up if, say, they've had an argument with their significant other.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Continuing The Ride

Faint Concrete Rash
Took Friday off because I needed a day off. Went to yoga with Alison then we went to have coffee. After coffee headed to the eye doctor and after the eye doctor, mowed the lawn.

Went bicycling this morning. Took my wheel off to get the bike in the car and even though I'd watched videos for quick release bicycle wheels, still didn't feel like I had it on right.

Got another lesson in paying attention to the present moment. As I attempted to change gears and look at the brake pads, I fell off my bike. Think it was because the chained suddenly slipped off while I was still trying to pedal. It's so disconcerting going from being upright to being on the ground and, of course, I had a flashback to when I sprained my ankle.

Several bicyclists stopped to see if I needed help and Alison offered to go back to the car to get bandages; she also offered to abort the ride. I told her that we could continue to ride and that I could get bandages from the visitor's center at mile three.

Didn't realize that the  Mary Meachum Festival was going on.  Two of the guys had already razzed me about my lack of a helmet. I pulled one away from the activities and asked him if he could give me bandages.

We continued to bicycle even though it was windy as hell. We stopped at various points and my bike must have hit the ground four times. During the crash, lost my bell and reflector light but, obviously, I could have lost way more than that.

Finally dislodge that little black piece of road...

I make a point of putting a flat repair kit in my satchel but I seldom carry any first aid items so I need to adjust my packing list.

Saw this woman who I hadn't seen in ages at the Meachum Festival. She's still taking pictures and I thought I recognized her as she turned her camera my way. I try not to worry about being photographed while chunky in public spaces but...

I asked the photographer what she'd been up to and she said Getting old; lucky me...

Also, I can barely keep my head above water. Can't even imagine what I'd do in 1866.

From Mary Meachum Festival

My grandmother had one...

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Went climbing last night and actually had a decent outing. At some point, Patti started talking about Star Wars Day. Let's just say that I once made the faux pas of talking about Star Trek while the topic was about the other Star...

Talking about Star Wars took me back to Jason Schmidt's memoir, "A List of Things...," when he verbally explodes on classmates plus a teacher and he has to go to mandated counseling. During the course of the first session, the counselor questions why Jason wants to be Han Solo instead of Luke Skywalker and Jason responds:

"...Luke wants to be a hero because he's got some stupid idea about being the good guy just to be the good guy. Han and Leia do it because they know why it's important. They understand what's at stake. Luke never even seems to think about that part of it...He just wants to be the guy with the blaster who everyone says 'thank you' to..."

"Luke doesn't want to be good. He wants everyone else to think he's good. It's different. That's why he's vulnerable to the dark side. He's full of pride..." (133-134)

On a completely different note, a new coworker is fascinated by all things Japanese which made me think of Ashima Shiraishi, a young Japanese climber. I read another article about Shiraishi and I like how her father told her to focus on her "small universe" a.k.a. her core.

Back to my new coworker... I love it that she has a tattoo of a Moomin. Too funny...

Not funny? There's no kombucha in this house.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Bit Like

Yoga Cam on Sunday
Patti told me that she felt a bit like Eeyore today and I told her that I was torn between trying to cheer her up and telling her that "there will be days like this."

I've been feeling a bit Eeyore-ish myself despite having fun on Saturday with the kombucha class, outdoor yoga on Sunday and a very nice Monday night yoga class.

Went swimming tonight and this swim parent told me that I was in for a fun night. About 30 boys were at the pool qualifying or being tested for something. They didn't really bother me but I can't say the same for one of the lifeguards.

I've been noticing that when I climb out of the pool that my ankle feels stronger and I definitely feel good about that.

Finished reading A List of Things That Didn't Kill Me and just started reading Diana Gabaldon's Outlander which was due today but I couldn't renew it because someone else had requested it but I lucked out because My Name Is Lucy Barton, a book that I'd requested about a month ago, arrived at my branch today.

Jason Schmidt, the author of A List..., has classmates, at one point, from Cambodia. One of the students tells him about the chain of events that led to her family being trampled by elephants. The passage below is the one I remember most from the memoir:
...I realized that this girl's family had been trampled by elephants in my lifetime. And odds were good I had been sitting somewhere watching TV when it happened. It occurred to me, right there, to wonder who else was getting trampled by elephants while I was watching TV. How many little kids were being orphaned or killed, right this minute, while I was sitting there watching TV? (175)