Engaging My Inner Smile

I have a love-hate relationship with yoga. I love how my body feels when it’s over, but I hate all the work I have to go through first in order to feel that way. If I’m going to put in all that effort, I want the experience to be everything it’s supposed to be. And that means I don’t want to be disturbed during class.

Yoga is a meditative affair as well as a physical one. It engages the entire self, mind and body. The episode is incomplete if one of those two things is not engaged. During our session, our yoga teacher constantly brings us back to our inner self to “check in” with how we are feeling. She stresses that we need to be in the here and now and drive all other thoughts away.

Our class starts at 10:45 a.m. sharp. By 10:55 we are deeply in the zone. We have cleared our minds of distracting thoughts and are absorbed in our practice–and then this woman disturbs us by coming in late. Every time.

We have a large class, and I always get there early to claim my spot in the last row, nearest the door. That spot is like my pew in church. It has my name on it. Last week this woman came in late as usual and couldn’t find an empty spot. She had the gall to squeeze next to me where there clearly was no room. I felt suffocated. Claustrophobic.

The next time she came, she tried to do the same thing.

“You can’t put your mat there,” I said. “It’s blocking the door.”

She looked at me with disdain, as if I could possibly tell her what to do.

“Fire code,” I added.

“Oh!” she said sheepishly and moved.

Today at 11:00, after we had done a strenuous warm-up, our teacher told us to close our eyes and engage our inner smiles. As my insides were smiling, I heard the door handle rattle. Uh, oh. The door was locked. Someone must have accidentally pushed the button on the doorknob when they closed the door at the start of class. I assure you it wasn’t me.

A few seconds went by and the door rattled again. No, I was not mistaken. Someone was definitely trying to get in. The perpetually latecomer was seeking entrance. I peeked at my compadres, and they were deeply engaged in their inner smiles. A few more seconds went by, and the person rattled the doorknob again. Since I was closest to the door, I should have let that person in. My inner smile was turning into a frown.

I was about to get up and unlock the door–I really was!–but the rattling finally stopped. Problem solved.

My inner smile was matched by my outer one.

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Color My World

My husband and I were on our way home from visiting my brother and sister-in-law this weekend when I asked my husband if he had remembered the items my brother left for us on the dresser.

“Yes, I put them in the blue bag.”

“Blue bag?” I asked. “What blue bag?”

“You know. The bag we put our clothes in.”

“Do you mean the lavender bag?” I shook my head.

“Is that what you call that color?”

No, my husband is not colorblind. Not in the traditional sense of the word. But he is limited by his maleness to knowing only the simplest names of colors.

I know this narrow color vocabulary is not true of all men. However, I’m willing to bet it describes the majority. Things are either blue, green, red, yellow, brown, black, or white. How many times have you heard a man use the words mauve or teal? My husband  says he also knows gray.

Last weekend we finished painting our living room. If you ask me what color it is, I will tell you it is an extremely light shade of celadon or cucumber. My husband will tell you it’s green.

When we were at my brother’s, I had the pleasure of playing with my two-year-old grandnephew.  I asked him what color his pajamas were.

“Gween,” he said.

“What color is Grandpa’s shirt?”


“What color is Uncle George’s shirt?”


If I don’t intervene soon, this little guy will be as colorblind as his great uncle. But if I get to spend enough time with him, I expect this to be his response to my questions in a year:

“What color are your jammies?”

“They are Kelly green, Aunt Toosie (his name for me), with a touch of cyan. And Grandpa’s shirt is a lovely shade of citrine with cadmium overtones on the collar.”

I have a lot of work to do.

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Decisions, Decisions

Our Hammacher Schlemmer catalog came in the mail this week, and I’m having trouble deciding what to buy. I don’t have unlimited resources, so I need to be selective. I’ve narrowed it down to three items. Maybe you can help me choose.

First up is the Fish Catching RC Boat. It is a 17-inch remote-controlled boat that can catch up to a 2-pound fish. It has prerigged tackle that secures to the boat’s faux engine. You stand on shore and direct the boat back and forth over the area you want to explore. When a fish is caught, you bring the boat back to shore with the remote controller and snag it and the fish with the provided grappling hook. Couldn’t be simpler–except maybe if you sat on the shore with a fishing pole. But where’s the fun in that?

The next item I’m considering is the high-definition camera drone. It captures pictures and video from up to 300 feet away. The images are saved on a 2GB microSD card. Is that cool or what? Think of the possibilities. I could keep an eye on what’s going on in my neighborhood. Make sure everyone’s on the up and up.  If they’re not, I’d have video to expose their nefarious activities. Of course, that SD card can get erased–for a price. It’s not too early to start my Christmas fund. I wonder if this technology is something the government would be interested in?

What about the smartphone controlled electric skateboard? A person’s leg must get awfully tired propelling that skateboard forward. Brilliant idea to make an electric skateboard.  I’m sure it’s perfectly safe maneuvering around pedestrians and through busy intersections while looking at your smartphone. It’s not like you’re driving a car.

The item my husband wants to get for me is the bug vacuum. It can vacuum 24 crickets in 15 seconds. Then what?

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These Shoes Were Made for Walkin’

My favorite picture of me and my mother and me.  Click to enlarge.

My favorite picture of  my mother and me. Click to enlarge.

Last week my mom and I were having a conversation about shoes.  My mom has always been a lover of shoes.  Not quite with Imelda Marcos exhuberance, but had Dad been a richer man, maybe a close rival. Because my mother has such a narrow foot, she has always had to wear very expensive shoes. Only expensive shoes come in AA with a AAAA heel. In fact, when she was growing up in a small town in Kentucky, her father had to drive all the way to Lexington to find shoes that would fit her.

My mother can wear high heels and wear them well, something I have never been able to do. I am a flats girl all the way. Her shoes are always in fashion, yet classic, and she has a zillion different colors that go with every outfit. I have a black pair, some sandals and flip flops, a pair of sneakers, and am desperately in need of something brown.

Anyway, in our conversation, my mother said she wished that with all the shoes she owned, she had some that were truly comfortable. I told her about my SAS shoes and had her try them on. Though I tightened the straps as tight as I could, they fell off her tiny feet, but she marveled at how comfortable the footbed was. I told her that I would make sure I found her a comfortable pair, a pair that would become her favorite. I was looking forward to going shopping with her, just the two of us girls together.

Then the alarm clock rang and I woke up. My mother has been dead for twenty-one years, so this, of course, was a dream. But it felt so real, and it stood out because I rarely dream about my mother. I woke up with a smile because being with her had seemed so real and felt so good. Then it made me miss her even more.

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Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!

imageI’m sitting outside on my patio and enjoying my second cup of coffee. Without a sweatshirt. Not a cloud in the sky. Azaleas starting to bloom and hostas getting huge. Irises about to burst. Ahhhh. Is this long enough for a blog post? I hope so because I’ve said all I need to say.

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A Moment of Reflection

We had just finished painting the living room, and my husband was removing the painter’s tape from the walls.

“I’ll have to get the paint out and touch up this area,” he said.

I took a look at the area he was referring to and saw that a sizable section of paint had come off with the tape.

“Was that my fault?” I asked. ” Did I mess up when I put the tape on it?”

“No, it’s not your fault,” my husband replied. “It’s your guilt.”

“My guilt? What do you mean?”

“You always think everything is your fault.” My husband chuckled. “You’ve always been like that.”

“Guess that’s because of my father,” I said. “Nothing was ever his fault, so I figured it must be my fault.”

“That was the engineer in him,” my husband said. “He’d be laughing right now if he were still alive.”

“And he never apologized,” I added. “My mother sure knew that side of him.”

We both were quiet for a moment, remembering my parents, whom we loved dearly.

My husband broke the silence. “Your mother sure got a lot of nice clothes out of it, though.”

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Fifty Shades of Gray

Though I have not read the book everyone is talking about, I know enough about people to see how deeply in bondage many of them are. To be so torn between doing what is natural and what is unnatural but satisfying must be torture. I have yet to experience that kind of bondage, but it is only a matter of time. Really, is going gray so terrible?

IMG_0896My daughter is a beauty. She shares her father’s dark coloring, and, like him, she started getting a few gray hairs when she was just out of high school. I don’t know when she started coloring her hair, but I have never seen it gray. I think she would be beautiful if it were purple. Lately, she has been toying with the idea of finally letting her true colors show. Not the true colors she was born with, which she now has by artificial means, but the true colors that would be showing if she were being true to herself. This is all so confusing to me. Maybe I need to read the book.

CIMG2409Now that I think of it, I have no idea what color hair my girlfriends and sisters-in-law really have. Only their hairdressers know for sure. My husband had jet black hair when I met him, and now it is completely gray. And he looks gorgeous.  Why is it so much easier for men to go gray than it is for women?
g69-HSdaysAs for me, I was once a redhead. Since that is one color that never looks natural coming from a bottle, I never even tried to duplicate it when it started fading. I haven’t the energy, patience, or money to keep it colored, so I prefer to go au naturel.

I hope my daughter has the courage to get out from under the stigma of gray hair.

Women, toss that book in the trash. Embrace your grayness.  Escape that bondage.

I hope I haven’t spoiled the book for you.

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Compatibility Test

DSC_0219I finally got my wish: snow days for my husband.  Actually, I was hoping for just one snow day, but we were rewarded with two full snow days and a late opening today. My husband didn’t have to leave  until 10 A.M.

Monday night and into Tuesday morning we received four to five inches of snow here in Virginia Beach. Freezing rain followed, packing the snow down and leaving us with solid sheets of ice all over the city. You people up north may laugh at us for shutting everything down, but we have no snow removal equipment. Earth movers cleared the main roads, but none of the residential roads have been touched.

The result has been that I have enjoyed two wonderful bonus days and an extra lazy morning with my sweet hubby. I had a taste of what it will be like when he retires someday. My assessment? We are definitely compatible. The only problem is that I didn’t get any of my work done. I didn’t touch my computer, do a lick of writing, nor did I read and comment on any blogs.

My husband just left for work, and I should be getting back to my own work. I should…but I’m still savoring the feeling of having my husband all to myself for two uninterrupted days in the middle of the week. Yes, I think his retirement will work for us.

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Changing Lightbulbs

IMG_0509My nephew Thomas is finishing law school at Regent University here in Virginia Beach. He comes over every week or so for a home-cooked meal and conversation.  A kind and thoughtful young man, he likes to help people when he sees they have a need.

This week he told us about an elderly neighbor whose garbage disposal had stopped working. Since she seldom used it, she decided to have it removed.  The price the plumber quoted was very high, and she lamented the cost. Thomas jumped into action and pulled out the old disposal and replaced it with new piping. All he wanted was the cost of the supplies, but the woman gave him a little extra.

This woman also had a lightbulb that had burned out. I don’t remember what room the bulb was in, but it had been out for some time, and she had been walking around in the dark. That made me think about how I would cope with that situation if my husband weren’t here to rescue me.

I would never be able to change the lightbulb at the top of the stairs. It would require hauling a ladder from the garage and up the stairs. I couldn’t manage that. Nor would I be able to climb that ladder and figure out how to get the cover off the light. I made George promise me he’d never leave me because I need him to change lightbulbs.

Seriously, though, how do elderly people cope with burned out lightbulbs high up in ceilings? We need more kind and thoughtful people like Thomas. Maybe you could be a Thomas for your elderly neighbor.

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Snow, Snow, and More Snow

I couldn’t resist posting another picture of the snow in front of my son’s place in a Boston suburb. They are expecting another storm on Thursday and even more next weekend.


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