Goodbye to New Mexico

jen and katie

Jen and I have been friends for 25 years. Considering this sampling of pictures from our past, we’ve decided we look better with age :)

We’ve seen each other through a lot of change in the past decades. These kiddos are some of favorite additions

 

Ruby

Ruby and Kaitlyn

I love this little fashionista with her long legs and her pink fascinator

kate marie

kate marie

And this tiny terror with her pigtails and sunglasses.

I’m so glad I got to hang out for a week and be a part of the Silver City White family. Much love to Jen, Shawn, Ruby and Kate Marie. Thanks for the gardening, potato salad, visits to the chemistry lab, political debates and yoga sessions. I can’t wait to come back!

State road 78

Now I’m back on the road, headed to AZ for a brief stop with my brother

The old west highway

Arizona tomorrow

 

Awards, observations and more rain

Woke up this morning to the smell of coffee and cinnamon rolls. I had breakfast with my aunt and uncle while my uncle mapped out the next few days of my trip for me and printed out directions (thanks uncle John!) and then my cousin Kimberly and her two little girls came over.

Is there anything cuter than a one year old ? Probably not.

And Alithea, the 4 year old, kept interfering with my Uncle John’s mapping by drawing lines from the streets back to their house to make sure that I knew how to get back to them. She didn’t want me to leave.

A.d.o.r.a.b.l.e.

I left (reluctantly) in the pouring rain (again) to drive to Savannah because I had a hotel reservation and yoga plans. Had it not been raining, I would have attempted to find this UFO Welcome Center I’ve heard about but I didn’t know if it would be “open” in the rain (to non-aliens at least) so I bypassed it in favor of driving straight to Savannah.

Travel observation #1: Point A to Point B driving is boring.

I arrived in Savannah in time to check in and go to class. Bikram Yoga Savannah is a beautiful facility but lacks the warmth of the studios I attended in North Carolina. Emotional warmth, that is. The class was plenty warm. I missed the neighborly community feel of the NC classes – due in large part to Bruce and Trudy’s welcoming natures, no doubt – but the Savannah class had nice elements. Jamie was the first teacher to learn my name and verbally correct my form in class.

Getting called out in Bikram classes is common and I like it. It means the teacher is paying attention and is invested in my practice. Jaime corrected a few of my poses in really helpful ways.

My Bikram lesson of the day: Focus.

All I could think about was fried chicken. And shrimp and grits. And collard greens.

I had trouble focusing on yoga and as a result had LOTS of trouble with the balance poses. I have terrible balance and standing on one foot takes concentration in the best of times. If I’m not concentrating, forget about it. It’s very easy for me to get distracted – in my head and by people around me – and today I kept falling out the poses and having to try again and again to hold still.

The rain didn’t help either. During class a thunderstorm hovered right over the top of the building and dumped buckets of water. Ever been in a building with a tin roof during a serious thunderstorm? It sounds like a jet engine landing on top of you. Jaime had to yell over the sound and the windows were completely greyed out with water. These storms aren’t kidding around.

When the rain cleared up somewhat I went out to find dinner. I have two places that I want to eat here and both were closed tonight. Of course! I’ll have to eat at both tomorrow, which is a lot of fried chicken… So I ended up on the beautiful river walk eating mediocre red beans and rice at a place I won’t name and went home in the rain.

It best be cleared up tomorrow! You hear me Savannah??

As a complete aside, I’d like to give an “Inconceivable” award to the man who penned the sign “Antique Tables Made Daily” that I drove past today. And also send a long distance slap to the man with the license plate “Pusshook” and the bumper sticker “My other car is a pirate ship” and tell him to snap out of it. Sir, I don’t know you but I can tell you definitively that you aren’t and it isn’t.

That’s all I got. Tell Paula Deen to expect me tomorrow because I’m coming in hungry!

Professor Cline and his World of Wonders

Every day of this trip should be like today.

I got up early to have breakfast with my cousin Tracy and her two sweet rascally sons and was on the road by 8AM. Since I had plenty of time, I took a long route up through the Shenandoah National Park and drove tiny windy roads through small towns in the mountains. The fruit trees are beginning to blossom and greenery is peeking out of all the dead forest overgrowth.

There’s nothing like listening to really loud music and driving on an empty road with the whole day ahead of you.

In my continuing pursuit of the weird and wonderful, I stopped in Natural Falls, VA at the Enchanted Studios where I was lucky enough to catch Professor Cline.

Mark Cline runs Enchanted Studios, making props for any production that needs them. He also acts in local theatre productions and puts together an astonishing haunted house every Halloween. He likes putting together events around the holidays and here you get a peek preview of his April 1 “Jack the Giant Killer hands” that he plans to put up on a hill overlooking town.

He told me all about how he got into the business at age 17 because he needed a job and a resin artist needed an assistant. Once he figured out how to cast resin, he just looked for bigger and bigger projects until one day he had an idea.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

Yes, that’s a scale model of Stonehenge, made out of 420lb blocks of Styrofoam and resin.

And it’s amazing. But just when you think your road trip and your day can’t improve, you drive up the road another couple of miles and come to Escape from Dinosaur Kingdom.

Here’s the story: in 1863 a friendly family of paleontologists stumble across a valley of live dinosaurs. The evil Yankee army hears of these riches and hatches an evil plan to use the dinosaurs as a weapon of mass destruction against the south. Many soldiers get eaten, some lose their clothes and chaos reigns.

I have SO many pictures from this park. It was officially closed but Mark told me to go in anyway so I was the only person there, hiking around, taking pictures and laughing my face off. GLORIOUS. Who thinks up these things? Mark Cline. That’s who. I’ll post the rest of the pictures on facebook at the end of the week.

It’s a bit hard to top something like that. So I drove the rest of the way to Greensboro, NC in one stretch and did Bikram here with Bruce.

Bikram lesson of today: Let the heat in.

It was a much less hot class than yesterday but instead of fighting against the heat, I tried breathing it in. I could do all the poses today – though none of them all that well… yet – and it was a much more enjoyable experience. He said that Friday night classes are his favorites and I agree that the class energy was awesome.

I’ll leave you with Bruce’s words of wisdom: Learn to control your breath. When you control your breath, you control your life.

Tomorrow I think I might see a lot of buttons. Let’s see what happens…