Thursday, July 28, 2011

What Yoga Has Ruined For Me

I read a post by a blogger who writes about her yoga practice (Grounding Through The Sit Bones). She had an interesting premise. She recounted the things Yoga had ruined for her. What a turned around idea.   It made me think.
Here are some things that Yoga has ruined for me.
1. I can't buy shoes for looks anymore After feeling the earth under my feet and learning to interlace my fingers through my toes, I can not force them into shoes of torture.

2. I can't use the excuse that I am naturally clumsy. Yoga has increased my awareness of balance and helped me sense where I am in the space around me. Balance becomes more important the older I get. Balance originates in the core of the body and if the muscles surrounding our body are toned and working, balance is possible.
3. Yoga has ruined my excuse that my back hurts. I know how to alleviate back soreness and if  I experience some and I don't take care of it, my complaining is disingenuous.
     So, it is back on the floor again for me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Walk in the Woods

   I had charge of my five grandchildren yesterday while their mother was having a much needed break. It was cool and the rain drizzled on and off. I wanted to have an outdoor adventure but the weather was not cooperating. Without too much thought to how the weather might turn out, we piled into the van and I began driving.
 "Where are we going Grandma?" "I am not exactly sure, but we are going to take a family walk in the woods."

 I headed for a trail I had visited with my own children years ago. I wondered how the trail had changed in twenty years. This trail ran through the middle of a peninsula where homes skirted the perimeter. As we parked on the side of the road, I searched the van for jackets or sweatshirts because the rain was spitting again. Olea waited patiently as I rolled up the sleeves of her brother's shirt and hefted her out of the carseat. We started up a dead end road which looked like someone's driveway.
 "Are we going to visit Aunt Kathy?", Alvin asked.
 "No, Aunt Kathy lives in another state. We are going on a trail through the woods." I said.
 The driveway ended at the house and off to the right a path opened into the trees. The children squealed with excitement. They liked nothing better than to have unknown adventure. Olea sensing the enthusiasm walked with determination far beyond her years.
 "Grandma, will there be bears in the woods?"
 "Let's wait and see."
  I said very little as we walked on the narrow path. The sounds of our town became muted and natural stillness increased. Trees above became denser which held off the rain. The older children ran ahead leaving me with the toddler who marched like a little trooper. I warned her about picking up her feet to step over roots with bulged out of the ground. They must have seemed like speed bumps to her. When the path descended downhill she voluntarily took my finger to keep from falling.
  We heard the older children coming back to us and their voices increased in volume. They were finding berries along the trail. Thimbleberries peeked out from between branches just at a child's eye level.

 These berries were like tiny, dark purple thimbles, the kind my mother darned socks with. Shea brought some for the toddler to share. She pushed them into her mouth and held out her hand for more. My grandchildren know more about wild berries than I do. They rehearsed to me what berries were edible and I hoped inwardly that I could trust their information. Their mother had taught them and I hoped their eagerness would not overcome their knowledge base. Seven year old, Shea, presented some new berries in his hand. Their small red, round shape looked scrumptious but I was suspicious. When giving them to Olea, I cautioned him by asking what they were. He said they were Huckelberries and that they found them often at a friends house.

 Dancing around the baby he offered them to her one at a time. She ate them eagerly, grunting for more. He put some into her front pocket and scurried ahead down the trail. We walked a few steps and she stopped, digging deep into her pocket to bring out more berries. As she found one she would grin and begin trudging again with a satisfied expression. This continued for some time until the berries were gone. As she extended her hand, I showed her that I had none, so she surveyed the bushes around her. She would have to forage herself. The waxy, thick leaves were heavy with drops of rain. Brushing between leaves she found nothing. I started ahead hoping she would follow, leaving her exploration behind. The voices of her siblings pushed her forward and she laughed out loud as she picked up the pace to join them. I asked the older children if they had found the end of the trail and admonished them to stop and wait when they did because I remembered the trail opened up to a road.
    The woods opened a little magic to us that day. It seemed like magic because for almost an hour there was no squabbling, no murmuring of boredom, and I yielded to the power of nature to teach us how to be. Nature invites us to be present. It parades before our senses, beauty, which can hold us fast in the now. My own children responded readily to the lure of nature and I remember the peacefulness which surrounded us on the way home from the beach or the woods. I feel so renewed as I now accompany my grandchildren into similar places. For a few hours I am thirty again, shooing my chicks under my wings. How is it that they hold more knowledge of natural things than I do? Perhaps I have not walked enough trails since my own nest emptied.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Oh, What Do You Do in The Summertime?

    Do you march in parades? Amazing Grace did, just this last Saturday. Her Karate Dojo marched in the community summer festival parade. Yes, Amazing Grace has become a Karate Kid.
The Parade was colorful and the spectators were enthusiastic. Several bands marched and played with pizazz.
    Then over the hill we spotted the little group, all dressed in white. Amazing Grace was front and center walking with poise and confidence.

How cute was that?
They all posed together at the end of the parade.

So what are you doing this summertime?

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Beauties

    I don't have much of a yard to talk about, or a garden to admire, but this year I have a few beauties to share. These beauties are alive today because the deer have not found them. I do not have a deer family wandering through this summer. 
   The strawberry patch, planted by Vanessa years ago, made it without losing to the deer. We have picked many bowlfuls. 

This is S.'s shirt filled with the summer delights.

Another garden feature is my rose bush, just outside my back door. It usually gets pruned by friendly deer but not this year.
You should smell this rose! It has a citrus fragrance which is heavenly to the nose.

And a purchase from my grocery store has given me weeks of enjoyment,

I was asked to lend this to an outside event. I did not charge rent but I missed it while it was gone.
Lastly, I picked up this beauty to neighbor the hanging basket. 
Pretty good basket, eh?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


     I blogged about taking up swimming two weeks ago. Thanks to the Knitting Queen I am still swimming twice a week. This morning was overcast and cool but the pool was warm and more so after the continuous movement.
        I learned to swim with my Dad. As immigrants to this country, we did not spend money on learning skills from others. The only lessons I took as a child were piano lessons, because my father and mother did not play. But swimming they did, both of them. Dad would go to the public pool every day after work. I went along until I started having body image problems, then I wriggled out of that activity.
  As a child we are blissfully unconcerned about how we look, what is important is how we feel in the water.
     I have some strange strokes in the water. Since I was never properly taught, I improvise and use movements that I have observed. I swim with my head above water, which makes sense to me if you want to enjoy the sky and the air around you. There are serious swimmers going alongside me. They bury their body in the water and glide just below the surface. They are smooth and sleek and move much faster than I am.
   I am thinking I might drag out the goggles and go down below the surface sometime soon.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Family Reunion

I haven't attended an extended family reunion in years and years. This reunion was a stunner. It started with helping get all the food cooked and organized. I found wonderful women in the kitchen, who worked tirelessly with such pleasant conversation. 
Karin Cox

Julie Titze

Liz Titze
Most of these women have married my nephews and those men are lucky to have wives of this caliber. We expected 70-80 people and every one of those people came. That is a lot of bratwurst, sauerkraut, red cabbage and potato salad.
The matriarchs, my sisters, looked like they were laying in bed eating bons bons, but really they were exhausted and sent to their room by a loving but firm daughter.

Michael Titze and Kevin Cox
 When it came time for the food and games to be transported to the church, the nephews and brother kicked in to build some awnings and arrange the tables.  The family members attending could all be traced back to two sisters, Anna Lindner Bettermann and Pauline Lindner Rosemann. These two sisters joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and emigrated to America.
  I was blown away with seeing second cousins who I have not seen since I was in my twenties. 
Walter Rosemann, Kathy, Marla Kohutek

Sigrid, Joanne, Regina Kohutek, 

They came with children and grandchildren to celebrate our grandmother's legacy.
  We talked, and ate, and tried to learn the names of everyone's kids.

Spencer Cox,Bradley Cox, Joanne, Rebecca, Sage and Andrew Titze

The Adams Fanily

My cousin Ruth Bell and me
My brother and me

 At the last minute I drew a family tree on an empty plastic tablecloth so that as we gathered at the end we could see, visually how we were related.

Jordon, Sherie, Diane and Beatrice 

Rolfe and Brian
Maria singing with Genevieve, Gavin and Katherine
Jessica Cox with water balloons

Ardian Cuka with Beatrice
Stories were told about our departed family members, and there are many who have left this earth who we all miss. They would be amazed how many have come from just two people in 100 years.

  Our family has many personalities and many talents and I learned to appreciate and celebrate my place in this brood.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ingo's Birthday Concert

In Salt Lake City, Utah, I was invited to my brother's birthday concert and it was lovely. We were celebrating his 70th birthday.
His students, attending the summer Vocology Institute and his family celebrated together.
The students who performed for us were amazing. The two most memorable performances were Carmella and Tylee.
Carmella Jones, a Los Angeles singer, had such flamboyance and power. 

Tyley Ross had a modern voice and boy, he could belt out a tune. 

I was honored to sing in a quartet with my brother, his wife, and daughter. We did Nella Fantasia and I finally know the words in Italian now after performing it twice.
 It meant a great deal to me to have an opportunity to harmonize with these three.

 I also felt honored to be with great extended family.
More later about the family reunion.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Whatcha Readin' This Summer?

Hey Cousins, I was just wonderin' what you all have been reading?

You all know I love Curious George but just recently I found a new sizzler.

Here is a beautiful book about fairies, you'll love it.

So leave me some comments below and let me know what you have been reading.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jumping Up and Down to Learn More

Jumping on a trampoline is just plain fun. Learning and fun go together when we jump to learn. 

I have been reviewing notes while jumping this week. The motion has been proven to enhance learning. I start with setting a steady jumping beat, 1-2-3-4- then move a black note disk around the staff. My students say the note on the beat. 

Along with note reading practice, the steady bouncing strengthens my students sense of beat. So who has a trampoline around? 
Here is an update on our Ice-Cream Challenge.

Look how the scoops are stacking up. I have seen better practicing this summer than ever before.Keep up the great playing,