Thursday, June 30, 2016

What Do You Plan To Do?

Throwback to Flashback Friday... I'm still making my way through Mary Oliver's New and Selected Poems. I've been having a time getting into Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale so I set it aside and started reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves which has been on my bookshelf forever. Read about Litsy the other day. Not sure that it's the answer to keeping tracking of what I've read and what I want to read but I've downloaded the app but dread coming up with yet another password.

"Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean--the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down -- who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face. Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away. I don't know exactly what a prayer is. I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day. Tell me, what else should I have done? Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" #MaryOliver #Poetry #PoetryGram #FriendGram #BicyclingGram #FBF to that time on the #STL Riverfront Trail when a grasshopper flung itself from my shoulder to Elastigirl's @66pinkpoodle who wasn't screaming.
A photo posted by Andrea (@andrea_mw) on

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Not Cool

My morning ritual includes watching about 15 minutes of the news and one of the stories was about the racist Red Cross poster (Denver).

Poster Credit: Denver Red Cross

Most of the kids without etiquette are black. Honestly, my first reaction was to laugh. If the numbers are true about the low percentage of blacks with swimming competency, the "not cool" black kids are over-represented... It's like a warped version of an Oprah giveaway show. You're not cool and you're not cool and you're not cool...

The good thing is that people spoke up.

In other swimming news, I decided to go swimming outdoors since the temperature is expected to drop. The last two times that I've gone to the city pool, the deep-end has been closed which meant that I had to carve out a place to swim. This one young man got almost directly in my path but I'm stubborn so I kept swimming. I soon found out that he didn't mean any harm. He actually wanted to talk to me. He's trying to learn how to swim and was, straight-up, shadowing me at one point.

I gave him tips and encouraged him to attend the free learn-to-swim session that they have once a week. I really wish that I were an even more competent swimmer because that young man is not the only one who's approached me. Maybe I should take an advanced swimming class...

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Funny And Not...

After Zumba on Saturday, Alison and I chatted about our plans for the rest of the day. We both had Shakespeare in the Park on our minds so we decided to just do it. I went home to do yard work then I ran to Trader Joe's because I didn't want to try to squeeze grocery shopping in today.

Alison and I had different ideas about what time to depart for the play. We negotiated for a while with Alison getting to the park earlier which was a smart move. Alison had also told me that she would bring a chair for me plus blankets. It was a cool chair too with an adjustable pillow -- something like this one. I am so glad that she had an extra one because the one that I own is ancient.

Even with the somewhat comfortable outdoor chair, as Alison pointed out, we should have been executing yoga moves. As we exited the park, this 65-year-old said that he would bring a chair next time. I'm too old for criss cross applesauce he said. A chair might have been more comfortable than the ground but lots of stretching is still needed.

The director made the play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, funny and I'm glad that I went but that was pretty much a five hour affair -- 2.5 for the play plus waiting and travel. I enjoyed myself so, in the end, that counts. Also, we went on the perfect night. It rained about two hours before the play and while some mugginess held on, it eventually dissipated. In addition, today is the last day for the play...

Way more people present than in the frame.
Who let the dog out?
Had a yoga date with Alison and Rosie today at a studio that we don't frequent.  Liked it when Roxanne said It's not so much what happens at the plate; the action of stepping up to the plate is what matters. She is a very funny teacher but there was nothing funny about the way she had sweat rolling into my ear.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I've Got The Look

Yesterday I had outdoor swimming and outdoor yoga on the table but I felt knackered after work and knew that I wouldn't enjoy the hot yoga. I also took outdoor swimming off the table as I did not feel like rushing to the pool after work so I regrouped and went to the indoor pool for open swim at 7:00 p.m.

Today, outdoor swimming was back on the table. As I hit the pool area, this woman looked at me as if I had the answer to her prayers. You have rubber bands, she said. I did not. I have these situations and I learned about them the hard way. See, I cannot be bothered to put my hair in braids right now. The quickest thing to do is to section my hair and to band those sections. It's my new swimming hairstyle which Alison thinks should also be my Zumba hairstyle, not.

At any rate, I took one of my hair bands off and gave it to the woman. I never feel like I look approachable but apparently I do look approachable.

Pool 'do
Thoroughly enjoyed my 30 minutes in the pool or, as I like to call it, post-work Rx. Went to Zumba at 7:30 -- trying to fit in all the exercise that I can right now...

The Pool

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Shift in Perspective

Agreed to go to a yoga event (weeks ago) with Alison then realized, almost simultaneously, that I'd agreed to an event on my aunt Girt's birthday so I let my aunt know that I was up for doing something up until about 5:15 p.m. yesterday.

We had a birthday breakfast in Illinois then went back to my aunt's so that she could open her gifts. She was very pleased with the TV that she got. One of aunt's TVs is out of commission and the one in the living room was hanging on by a thread. I know enough about my aunt to know that she would not buy a TV unless it had completely stopped working. 

Can I now get a Fire Stick? was one of the first questions out of my aunt's mouth...

Around 5-ish, left for Forest Park where the St. Louis Science Center's Planetarium resides. The Planetarium served as our yoga studio for the night.

There was a star show before yoga. The organizer, Elle, asked everyone to refrain from using their phones because light takes away from the star show and, of course, the narrator had to ask a couple of times for people to turn off their devices.

I wasn't expecting it but we did yoga in the dark with the Planetarium stars above. It's kind of freeing in one way because people can't really see what you're doing. I was totally acting goofy and had to resist the urge to reach out and tickle Alison...

Even less light while practicing.
More goofiness ensued after yoga. Alison and I don't usually break into poses after events but with the Planetarium all lit up, it called to us and we had a magical play session. Guess that's what happens when you have a yoga buzz.

My Version of Triangle Pose

During practice I liked a lot of what Elle had to say but I was really moved when she said Your life is not a problem to be solved. While I know that life can be brutal, Elle's statement made me think from a different angle.

In honor of International Day of Yoga, I'm posting a video of kids trying yoga. Enjoy.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Until It Feels Right

It's been 46 days since I last bicycled. I know because I have a "bike wheel" reminder on my iPod.  I'm continuing with Zumba on Saturdays until it feels right to ride bicycle again. A part of feeling right is also about the temperature. Summer Solstice is upon us.

Prior to yesterday, I mentioned to Alison that Claudette hadn't been around lately. Claudette is from St. Catherine, Jamaica and she is a Zumba friend. She showed up yesterday and said that work had been getting in the way. Before disappearing from the gym, Claudette said that she was five pounds away from where she wanted to be but she has now gained back what she had lost plus more Join the club, Claudette, join the club...

After Zumba headed straight to the circus. Taking my aunt Girt to Circus Flora is part of her birthday package. I never tire of the circus although I did think that the matinee would be less than two hours so I scrapped pool plans and attended to the rest of my Saturday agenda.

There's this woman that is a huge Zumba fan and she asked me if I was going to the Los Hombres Zumba event. Told her that I already had plans but I definitely admire her dedication to getting her dance on.

The ear candy that caught my attention during Saturday's Zumba class was Jennifer Lopez's Ain't Your Mama. It's kind of funny that the version of songs that I find sound different than the ones played in class.

Friday, June 17, 2016


Embedding this old Instagram post is kind like having a flashback of a flashback.

I instantly fell in love with Mary Oliver's Wild Geese. Reading this poem is like taking a breath since it puts me at ease and makes me feel connected.

The first two sentences also make me think of yoga which also puts me at ease. Seriously, I do not have to be good in yoga and I do not have to do a headstand or wheel pose and I don't have to execute a perfect Warrior I and I don't have to be thin etc. etc...

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -- over and over announcing your place in the family of things. #WildGeese #MaryOliver #Poetry #PoetryGram #FBF #Negril 🇯🇲 #Yoga #YogaGram #Balasana #ChildsPose #YogaJourney #YogisOfInstagram #MindfulLife #Namaste
A photo posted by Andrea (@andrea_mw) on

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Break

There's been no climbing for over a month now. Patti's been busy and says her work-life balance is out of whack. Of course, I could find someone else to climb with or climb by myself but I'm enjoying the break.

I wrote out a soft agenda for after work plus checked out the schedule of classes at my gym. I decided to hit the city pool which meant that I had to move swiftly because the pool closes at six. Went home and cornrowed half of my hair, put the other half in ponytail holders, changed into swimming gear, applied sunscreen then headed out the door.

I love water therapy...


Decided to go to an 8:00 p.m. Zumba class -- possibly the latest class that I've ever gone to. Almost changed my mind but the alternative was to sit around the house so I went and I'm so glad that I did. Experienced a male Zumba teacher for the first time and I loved his class. The routines were cute and easy to get used to. I spotted a few familiar faces but, in general, everyone was friendly so I felt right at home.

I've never heard of Meghan Trainor but I like the version of her No song that was played in class which is different from the YouTube version below.

Monday, June 13, 2016


As I prepared to leave the house yesterday, I instinctively put on one of my Life Is Good t-shirts but I took it off because I didn't feel right wearing it.

It also doesn't feel right that one person can distinguish the lights of 49 people...

I walked to work this morning even though the humidity was already impressive. Finished listening to an On Being episode, The Losses and Laughter We Grow Into, with Kevin Kling who was born with a withered left arm; just to make life even more challenging Kling is left with a paralyzed right arm after an accident.

Learned about Krista Tippett's new project, Becoming Wise, while listening to Kling. I downloaded the Matthew Sanford episode, Compassion for Our Bodies. Sanford became paralyzed (waist down) after an accident at the age of 14. I love what he said about the body's ability to heal.
Your body, for as long as it can, will be faithful to living.
I listened to a lot of wise words today including Sharon Salzberg's.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Agendas, Questions, Etc.

City Pool
I have started several blog posts over the last few days only to abort them. I'm in a good place. Find myself going with the flow more often and I'm starting to look at all of my agendas as malleable. However, I'm still struggling with chores/activities and the time that I have to do them in.

Two of my yoga buddies went to see Shakespeare in the Park last night and I wanted to go until I realized that it was also the night of Game 4 of the NBA Finals so I decided to hit the pool for a brief spell then watch the game. I felt a bit shallow but I really wanted to see the game and, also, it was a tad bit hot...

Woke up softly, futzed around then went to Zumba. My neighbor was outside working in his yard and wanted to know if I was going biking. Told him that I was not going because it was 1). It's hot and 2). The Komen Race for the Cure was happening.

My neighbor's question reminded me of a colleague who recently spotted me using the elevator. She questioned if it was actually me. After my ankle sprain, my knee on the "good" leg started acting wonky. Going upstairs is fine but going downstairs was not. The knee feels much better but I want to baby it for a while longer.

Another agency used my work place on Friday and ordered a boatload of Panera Bread food. When my colleague Katie was offered a cookie, she said that she was going  to eat the heck out of it but was stunned when she went to add the cookie to her food log and discovered that the calorie count on that candy cookie is 420 calories. I would have never guessed that amount. We wondered what in the world could be in that cookie...

Went to the city pool today. The energy is usually frenetic but I wanted to be outside and near water. When one of the lifeguards spotted me in five feet of water, he wanted me to do a deep-end test. Part of me wanted to protest since I wasn't actually in the deep-end but I remembered what happened last week and did what was asked of me.

Here's part of a conversation that I overheard while sitting on the edge of the pool:
Why are you going that way?
Because, bi..., I can't swim. 
Guess the non-swimmer had escaped the gaze of the lifeguard...

In the video below, Alisha reviews a few moves for our next dance number. She definitely makes Zumba fun.

Monday, June 6, 2016

You Tell The Body

From the pages of Yoga Journal
My morning reading included Yoga and Spa Magazine plus the March Yoga Journal. Wanted to make sure that I'd read all of the latter before I passed it on to someone else.  It was totally worth the re-read just for this line:
"When you take a deep breath, you tell the body to relax," explains Erin Byron, co-author of Yoga Therapy for Stress & Anxiety...
I was in a superb mood this morning, had Adele's Hello in my head. In fact, I had a soundtrack in my head for a half the day -- Diana Ross, Little Richard, Prince etc.

After six months of not doing so, thought it was time to step on the scale. It makes sense that I've been having a hard time hauling myself up while climbing. The number on the scale wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but it's definitely not good either. If I can knock off 10 to 15 pounds, that would be great.

Went to yoga tonight -- my third day in a row of practicing. Got home and had a message that my aunt Girt was on her way. She was trying to help someone else and couldn't figure out how to access then print documents. I was expecting to chill out after yoga but...

Another page...

Yesterday my aunt G had me chuckling because she wanted to know why I hadn't come up with an Airbnb-like idea so that she can live out her old age in comfort. I think about that all the time -- that I haven't found a true niche.

Saturday, June 4, 2016


Went to Trader Joe's last night so I wouldn't have to go today. As I checked out, looked out the window and saw a stunner of a sunset.

Went to Zumba this morning and tried to decide what could get done before 5:00 p.m. yoga and decided to do yard work. My neighbor is very nice. He's a self-described farm boy -- showed me what poison ivy looks like and also offered to help me get weeds off the fence. I told him thanks but I was okay since it was like working in a big old Zen Garden.

Cleaned up and headed to New Moon Flow in Gemini, a special yoga class. Felt like I was going to be in trouble during just the first few minutes in class because I was finding everything hard.

As we arrived for class, Joy gave out bandanas. Alison left her bandana by the door and she joked that she thought it was a party favor but at some point in class, we put the bandanas on and did yoga. Interesting experience. It reminded me of when I stopped wearing contacts while swimming and it made me focus more on what I was doing. Wearing the bandana also made me feel a little isolated because, obviously, I couldn't see anyone else but I definitely was more focused.

While blindfolded I was able to do half moon pose on my right leg but couldn't even get myself to attempt it on the left side -- same for Alison. We also did a meditation before the bandanas came off. Joy said that she couldn't remember the Thich Nhat Hanh meditation completely but I thought her rendition of it was great.
I am a flower; I feel fresh
I am a mountain; I feel solid...
I tried to find the meditation and came upon this exercise. Oh my God, I love singing bowls.

View from Inside of Trader Joe's

Thursday, June 2, 2016

All The World's A Yoga Stage

Patti sent me this meme.
Patti and hubby are in the process of downsizing and she told me that climbing was off the table yesterday because of preparation for a garage sale etc. so I decided to walk then go to yoga.

I've been wanting to catch a yoga session at Ballpark Village but every time that I'm able to go, it rains as it did yesterday. Fortunately, it stopped. I watched Ballpark Village's social media account up until 5:30 then I headed out and I'm so glad that went. It was an amazing practice.

I totally have mixed emotions about outdoor displays of yoga but, eventually, my mind gets into the practice and I forget about being "on stage."

As I practiced thought about how far I've come as far as the ankle is concerned and it feels good to not have to worry about it when I'm, say, planting it in Warrior I etc.