Up Hill Both Ways!

Some of you know that I have my eye on a trip to the Havasu Falls area in about a year. It is a big 10 mile hike to the bottom of a canyon carrying all of my camping gear on my back.  I will flit around in azure waterfalls, set up my hammock and then hike back UP the next day or so.  This is the most physically challenging thing I could think of for my Red Shoe Life physical adventure, and as I recommend to my clients, I made a timeline and a list of what it will take to get ready for this trip.

The biggest obstacle for me to overcome is that I am not in good enough shape to do 10   death defying miles even if I were on the escalator at the Mall, let alone on the edge of a crumbly cliff.  Why did I pick this challenge?  It is far beyond my abilities at the moment, and will take a lot for me to get to that level of fitness.  Blame it on my friend Lisa Knight, and she better get ready, cause we’re going together!

So to start my training, I went to the gym and walked many mind numbing  minutes on the treadmill.  I only do 30 minutes because after that I would be sound asleep and just fling off the rubber gerbil wheel like George Jetson!  It is horribly boring, but I can do a little more than a mile in 25 minutes.  Walking.

For my next feat, I needed to up my distance to 3.5 miles and I promised a few of my  friends who run, that I would do a 5K in June.  As the months progress closer and closer to the trip, the length of my walks will increase until I could do 10 miles at one time.   I thought this was a great plan, but with all the other fun stuff going on this month, I couldn’t find a 5K that would fit in with my schedule.  I finally decided to just go somewhere for a brisk 3.5 mile walk.

Next thing I know, I am at Shelby Forest attempting a 3 mile loop hike.  This sounds a little like cheating, after all I did promise I would do 3.5, but in my mind I would do a few laps around the port-a-potty to make up for the lack of .5 and I would be forgiven.

Deb on beginning of trail

I was ready.  I had my bug spray, sun screen, water bottle and my new Zumba sneakers.  I thought I looked cute in my “I Believe I Can” T-shirt too!  Hell, I even put on make up.  I knew that it had been a long time since I walked that far, but it was great weather today and I thought I could see it through.

Holy CRAP!!!!

Still smarting from last weekend’s river dragging, my shins started burning within 5 minutes of dipping under the canopy of trees.  The air was humid, I was pouring sweat and my sports bra started to melt.  No one told me that I had to jump over fallen trees and pick my way through roots, rocks and riverbeds!  The damn ravines were so steep I felt like a flying Wallendas.   I teetered over wire bridges, balanced across moss covered river stones and pulled my way up the endless steps built into the side of the ravines like the stairway to heaven.  There were many upended trees that had fallen across the trail during the storm that I had to ungracefully hike my butt up and over to continue my trek.  Each roll over a tree left me more and more covered with mud and tree yuck.  I thought it would never end.

Deb on trail with tree.jpg

A couple times another person would pass by coming in the opposite direction.  They would be perkily bopping along with headphones or even jogging!  This baffled me.  Weren’t they on the same trail as me?  How could they be so damn peppy!  They must have been thinking I looked like I needed an ambulance. “Poor old lady must be lost in the woods…”

Deb on trail

This 3 mile hike seemed endless.  I stopped so many times you would think that I was trying to break a record.  I was not having a great time and I was starting to doubt if I could make it all the way to the end.

Deb on trail again

I spent a good deal of this hike being mad.  I was sooo angry that two weekends in a row I ended up gleefully following other people into situations that were beyond my physical ability (for now).  Why didn’t I know that this simple hike would be so vertical?  Worse, I was starting to think that Havasu Falls might be beyond me too. All I wanted to do was click my ruby slippers together and wish my way home!

I kept moving (in between stopping) and literally did think of it as “one step at a time”.  I thought about the gallons of sweat pouring off my hair and the weight I would lose from mosquitoes taking chunks out of my hide.  I thought about how stupid I felt LAST weekend when I didn’t finish my canoe trip and I thought about how humiliated I would be if I went back to work with yet another whiny story of my weekend warrior woes.  I just HAD to finish… really, short of someone carrying me on their back… I really did HAVE to finish.  I should have started on an easier hike, but it was a little late for that!   This was truly one of the hardest physical things I have ever done!

I know you are thinking I’m going to say that I had a sudden burst of energy and pranced across the finish line blowing kisses to other nearby hikers…. but no.  I just kept walking… and sweating.. and swatting bugs… up and up and up..  and down… and up…wth??? and I finally DID make it to the end.

Suddenly I emerged into the sunshine and walked, for the first time in 2 hours, on flat terrain.    I stood at the forest’s edge, wheezing and red faced,  triumphant over my accomplishment.  Every muscle in my body was screaming to just get in the car and sit down!  I am sad to say that I did NOT do laps around the port-a-potty, or even a victory strut.  The loop, though torturous, was still only 3 miles, so unfortunately, Adrienne and Laura, you’ll just have to spot me the .5!

I sit here tonight with my Aleve and Magnesium.  My thighs feel like lead and I know that tomorrow will remind me painfully of my adventures of today, but what a great feeling to have done something  that was a true physical challenge…. and win!

Go me!

 

Up Hill Both Ways!

Some of you know that I have my eye on a trip to the Havasu Falls area in about a year. It is a big 10 mile hike to the bottom of a canyon carrying all of my camping gear on my back.  I will flit around in azure waterfalls, set up my hammock and then hike back UP the next day or so.  This is the most physically challenging thing I could think of for my Red Shoe Life physical adventure, and as I recommend to my clients, I made a timeline and a list of what it will take to get ready for this trip.

The biggest obstacle for me to overcome is that I am not in good enough shape to do 10   death defying miles even if I were on the escalator at the Mall, let alone on the edge of a crumbly cliff.  Why did I pick this challenge?  It is far beyond my abilities at the moment, and will take a lot for me to get to that level of fitness.  Blame it on my friend Lisa Knight, and she better get ready, cause we’re going together!

So to start my training, I went to the gym and walked many mind numbing  minutes on the treadmill.  I only do 30 minutes because after that I would be sound asleep and just fling off the rubber gerbil wheel like George Jetson!  It is horribly boring, but I can do a little more than a mile in 25 minutes.  Walking.

For my next feat, I needed to up my distance to 3.5 miles and I promised a few of my  friends who run, that I would do a 5K in June.  As the months progress closer and closer to the trip, the length of my walks will increase until I could do 10 miles at one time.   I thought this was a great plan, but with all the other fun stuff going on this month, I couldn’t find a 5K that would fit in with my schedule.  I finally decided to just go somewhere for a brisk 3.5 mile walk.

Next thing I know, I am at Shelby Forest attempting a 3 mile loop hike.  This sounds a little like cheating, after all I did promise I would do 3.5, but in my mind I would do a few laps around the port-a-potty to make up for the lack of .5 and I would be forgiven.

Deb on beginning of trail

I was ready.  I had my bug spray, sun screen, water bottle and my new Zumba sneakers.  I thought I looked cute in my “I Believe I Can” T-shirt too!  Hell, I even put on make up.  I knew that it had been a long time since I walked that far, but it was great weather today and I thought I could see it through.

Holy CRAP!!!!

Still smarting from last weekend’s river dragging, my shins started burning within 5 minutes of dipping under the canopy of trees.  The air was humid, I was pouring sweat and my sports bra started to melt.  No one told me that I had to jump over fallen trees and pick my way through roots, rocks and riverbeds!  The damn ravines were so steep I felt like a flying Wallendas.   I teetered over wire bridges, balanced across moss covered river stones and pulled my way up the endless steps built into the side of the ravines like the stairway to heaven.  There were many upended trees that had fallen across the trail during the storm that I had to ungracefully hike my butt up and over to continue my trek.  Each roll over a tree left me more and more covered with mud and tree yuck.  I thought it would never end.

Deb on trail with tree.jpg

A couple times another person would pass by coming in the opposite direction.  They would be perkily bopping along with headphones or even jogging!  This baffled me.  Weren’t they on the same trail as me?  How could they be so damn peppy!  They must have been thinking I looked like I needed an ambulance. “Poor old lady must be lost in the woods…”

Deb on trail

This 3 mile hike seemed endless.  I stopped so many times you would think that I was trying to break a record.  I was not having a great time and I was starting to doubt if I could make it all the way to the end.

Deb on trail again

I spent a good deal of this hike being mad.  I was sooo angry that two weekends in a row I ended up gleefully following other people into situations that were beyond my physical ability (for now).  Why didn’t I know that this simple hike would be so vertical?  Worse, I was starting to think that Havasu Falls might be beyond me too. All I wanted to do was click my ruby slippers together and wish my way home!

I kept moving (in between stopping) and literally did think of it as “one step at a time”.  I thought about the gallons of sweat pouring off my hair and the weight I would lose from mosquitoes taking chunks out of my hide.  I thought about how stupid I felt LAST weekend when I didn’t finish my canoe trip and I thought about how humiliated I would be if I went back to work with yet another whiny story of my weekend warrior woes.  I just HAD to finish… really, short of someone carrying me on their back… I really did HAVE to finish.  I should have started on an easier hike, but it was a little late for that!   This was truly one of the hardest physical things I have ever done!

I know you are thinking I’m going to say that I had a sudden burst of energy and pranced across the finish line blowing kisses to other nearby hikers…. but no.  I just kept walking… and sweating.. and swatting bugs… up and up and up..  and down… and up…wth??? and I finally DID make it to the end.

Suddenly I emerged into the sunshine and walked, for the first time in 2 hours, on flat terrain.    I stood at the forest’s edge, wheezing and red faced,  triumphant over my accomplishment.  Every muscle in my body was screaming to just get in the car and sit down!  I am sad to say that I did NOT do laps around the port-a-potty, or even a victory strut.  The loop, though torturous, was still only 3 miles, so unfortunately, Adrienne and Laura, you’ll just have to spot me the .5!

I sit here tonight with my Aleve and Magnesium.  My thighs feel like lead and I know that tomorrow will remind me painfully of my adventures of today, but what a great feeling to have done something  that was a true physical challenge…. and win!

Go me!

 

 

 

 

 

One Leg at a Time!

Last night we were sitting at home watching a movie.  I looked around and suddenly noticed that half the people in the room were rubbing their eyes and the other half had a blanket or pillow over their nose.  The source of the Napalm was my 125 pound sheepdog who was stinking up the universe.

Now this wasn’t just any kind of stink.  I live on a farm and believe me the dogs are usually in one state or another of odorous funk-ti-tude, but this had truly reached it’s ripeness!

So today, I gathered up all of the needed materials and called them to the shower.  I was just kidding the kids about using Oxy-clean, but I was really thinking hard about it.

Now Maisie Moonbeam, my little Shetland Sheepdog, is more of a moving target and although she gets clean, it is a total aerobic workout trying to keep her in the shower.  She bites at the spray hose and runs in circles until she skids on the tile and ends up against the wall like a kid on a Slip-n-Slide.  She then springs out of the room, shaking water as she goes and tries to dry off by rubbing up against all of the furniture before I let her outside

.maisie

Maggie on the other hand, can barely fit into the shower and approaches it in an Eeyore type manner.  I have to shove her fat ass in and she usually manages to wedge her legs against the door like a barricade.  Once in the stall, she completely gives up hope and miserably sits there with the water spraying down on her head.  Although she doesn’t run around, she doesn’t MOVE either, which makes me have to bathe her, one 500 pound leg at a time.   First I choose a place to wash, hold the spray hose and put the bottle of shampoo in my elbow trying to squeeze out a handful of bubbles for each “section” of dog.  At one point she shifted her tonnage and pointed the hose straight out of the shower and into my face.  I am NOT a fan of bathing the dogs.

This decontamination process went on and on until I finally just got into the shower with her with no hope of staying dry.  I soaped and rubbed until the water stopped being the color of turds and I thought that most parts of her were clean. Maggie is like a giant Q-tip and holds enough water in her crazy long hair to cross the Sahara.

Doggone!  I wiped down the shower, took a load of towels to the laundry, changed my clothes and then sat outside on this beautiful day with a glass of iced green tea and my clean dogs.   My accomplishments made me feel great and I just hoped they didn’t roll in anything before we went back inside.

Bathing Maggie is a huge challenge for me, and not one that I enjoy, but when I put my mind to it, it doesn’t end up half as bad as I think it is.  I find this to be true with most things I dread doing and after defeating my challenge, I am always happier for completing it.  I do not have a great pearl of wisdom to give you about how to accomplish big tasks except to go ahead and get started!  Doing the thing you dread most first, is the best policy.  Be systematic about it.  Get all needed supplies in advance so you are not exhausted from the hunt, wear waterproof shoes, and when it’s a really stinky job…tackle it one leg at a time!

Jenn and Mags

My friend Jennifer and Maggie!

Be the Captain!

“Be the Captain of your destiny, not a prisoner of your wishful thinking!”  What a great quote!  I wish I had thought of it! HA!  Truly, I love this quote.  How much time have I wasted wishing for things.  Oh,  I wished I was… taller, blonder, richer, thinner…. had more sheep, etc.  When my kids were babies, I honestly wished I had some little job where I could be around people and wear cool earrings.  Now that I have that job, I wish that I could spend more time with my kids!  Ridiculous!

Wishing for things is a lot like whining.  It is an expenditure of energy that could be used for something else.  If you are not happy with what you are doing…  change it.  Don’t waste another minute wishing something would happen.  Set your mind to it and make it happen.

For example, perhaps I was wishing that I lived at the beach and had a little craft shop… I’m just sayin’…  just because my OTHER sister lives at the beach and has a little craft shop and a lovely yellow boat, and a tan… it’s not that I’m jealous or anything!

But let’s just say that I spend all my time thinking about living at the beach, searching for driftwood and drinking fruity beverages.  Using all of my energy wishing for something instead of DOING something about it is unproductive.   It is not a healthy thing to expend energy wanting to change your situation unless you use that energy making plans to fix it.  Now, let’s face it, the part of my dream where I am dressed like Bo Derek and I am running on the beach during my lunch break, is NEVER going to happen, but there are other options that might be acceptable.  For instance, instead of running on the beach,  perhaps, I could substitute WALKING on the beach, and instead of a tiny red swimsuit,  I could be dressed like Gilligan.   I think I could be happy with that.  Reality Reality Reality!

I tell my clients that it is all well and good to say that they want to “live at the beach”, but to make it happen, they have to figure it out.  Create a timeline and write it down. Just wishing for something doesn’t make it happen.  You have to get more specific.   For example, on WHICH beach do you see yourself ? WHEN would you like to be there? Does this involve cabana boys?  HOW will you pay for this lifestyle?  Making your plan more specific creates a path from A to B.  The energy and time spent planning your goal is a positive energy rather than a negative one.

Having goals is part of a Red Shoe Life, as well as setting up your plan to make them a reality.   If “living at the beach” is your long term goal,  you must assign yourself all the steps in between and work towards that goal each day until it is real.  Progress is an addicting thing,  and once you are on a roll, it is like a steam engine!  Setting up your plan is the first step.  As soon as you start making progress you can begin to feel the sand between your toes!

Of course, “living at the beach” is a mete-fore for whatever it is that you are wishing for. When you decide that the beach is what you really want, you must make your beach life your  #1 priority. You will be amazed of all the things you can accomplish if you are not wasting time wishing.  Be the Captain of your destiny and get that sunscreen ready!  Stand back fellas, I’m dusting off my coconuts and headed for the boardwalk.   My craft shop is waiting and remember, sometimes your Red Shoe Life may include a palm tree and a pair of  red flip flops!

Image result for red flip flops wallpaper

 

 

It’s the Thrill of the Doing!

Kudzu and creativity have a lot in common.  They both can grow too fast, and if you are not mindful, can choke the life right out of you!

I am a lover of all things creative.  I am awed by other people’s ideas, and I love trying new things just to see how they will turn out.  Pinterest is the Devil and has at times possessed me do things I wouldn’t normally do in the name of art.  Dumpster diving for instance is disgusting, dangerous, and downright ridiculous, unless, of course, there is a needed treasure at the bottom….. and then I’m the first one in!

I suppose my intense love of creative things has led me to my career as a Programs Director for seniors, where I get to have fun, dress up and invent things for people to do each and every day.  There is something amazing scheduled every hour on the hour, day in and day out.  My co-workers say I look like a mad scientist when I am designing the monthly calendar and only come up for air when it is done.  I go to extreme lengths to provide the coolest crap, and I am proud that my activities may help someone who is having a rough day.  I can still remember the moment when I realized that there was such a career, AND THEY PAY YOU! There isn’t another job on this planet that suits me better.  It’s awesome.

The drawback of this type of personality, is creativity can get out of hand.  The projects start adding up, and suddenly there isn’t enough hours in the day to even make a dent.  I wake up on my days off and start making a “to do” list.  The list is long and I begin twirling around trying to “enjoy” all of it, but by lunch, I’m starting to panic because I’m not making any progress.  I don’t really have anything completed as I move from project to project and it is hard to explain WHY I don’t have anything to show for all of this clutter!  There are days that I look around the house and become overwhelmed by all the projects waiting for me.  It is also a problem to others.  My family doesn’t always enjoy my love of creativity and really just want their garage back!   Yes, I need it all, and YES… I want it ALL!  Dang guys, it’s not like I’m smokin’ crack!  It’s just fabric!

It wasn’t until I was talking to one of the ladies at work, who is also a maniac crafter, that I was set straight on the subject of projects.  She told me that she had countless things that she flitted to when the mood was right, and that she finished what she felt like, and didn’t when she didn’t.  “The thrill of being creative, is not in the manufacturing of products.” she said. “It is in the thrill of the DOING!”

I had to really think about what she said.  Of course! It was so simple.  It is the fun and excitement of doing something new, of working with my hands, of using my brain, and the touch of the materials.  It was the choosing of the colors, the experimentation of notes on an instrument, or the simple pleasure of working on something until I was satisfied.  It’s not the sweater, the framed art or the lovely little lap quilt that I am looking for in my search for a Red Shoe Life.  It is my wet knees WHILE I garden.  It is the sun on my back WHILE I paint in the yard and it is the ACT of searching for the perfect little blue bead in my tubbie full of baubles.  I finally could explain it!   Living a Red Shoe Life is absolutely in the DOING!

Living a Red Shoe Life means being mindful of the “now” and enjoying what you are doing while you are doing it.  There is no race.  There is no winner and there is no comparing your Red Shoe Life to anyone else’s.  Enjoy what you love.  DO what you love, for as long as you love it.  Be creative…  but be sure to keep the Kudzu out of the garage!

 

Rolling on the River

My love of canoeing didn’t really begin until I was an adult Girl Scout leader in the early 90’s.    I was very determined to take the girls out on the lake and gritted my way through the embarrassing training performed mostly in the local Jewish Community Center pool.  I learned water safety, rowing, steering and basic emergency techniques, all of which were a lot of fun and came in handy from time to time.   However, there were a few things that I found more difficult such as the art of  unloading a canoe off the top of your mini-van without breaking your neck and the procedure for getting back into the boat after you have fallen out.  There is nothing more humbling than to try to haul your ass back into the canoe after a “tump”.  I believe they even call it “whaling yourself up”.  Basically you hold onto the side of the canoe across from where the rest of you is dangling in the water, and sling your Lycra-ed behind up and over landing face first onto the slimy bottom of the boat.  This is no easy task, and though it never really was necessary to perform this gymnastic feat, I was certain I could handle it if needed.  I was wrong.

Fast forward through many wonderful canoeing adventures, to this past weekend and this is where my happy memories fade very very far away.

This weekend’s trek started and ended in a place called Hardy, Arkansas.  For those readers not familiar with this area, Hardy is small mountain town whose main source of income is river tourism.  The picturesque Spring River provides many water activities and there are lots of companies vying for your money to rent their boats, BBQ and bait.

Mistake number one:  Don’t rent a canoe online.  Even though I fretted that we needed to reserve a vessel, it really would have been better to SEE the business owners before handing over my credit card number.

Mistake number two and most importantly: Ask if there is anything on the 7 hour canoe trip that might include the word “carnage”.  If so, turn back while the getting is good.

So, upon first impression this outfit was small change.  It was a husband and wife, both of which were nine month’s pregnant.  Apparently, these two were living on the wild side as they were both smoking like chimneys and driving without either a speedometer or safety belts in the drop-off van.   The husband told me that he had just had his tonsils out and his throat was a little sore, but he assured me that he was not in too much pain due to pain pills he had been “popping like candy”.  (This was while he was driving us to the river).

Needless to say, we arrived at the ramp in one piece and unloaded our gear.   This was when he started rattling off  the directions as to  how to navigate the river.  I would like to mention here that on all previous canoeing trips, the river only went one way and directions were not necessary.

“Stay right, stay left, don’t go here, but be sure to go there…”  All other options led to unknown perils and certain death.  We were even warned about the exit ramp, which was located just before you get sucked under some bridge…  so don’t miss it.

It was then that he mentioned “Dead Man’s Curve”.  I was already seated in the front of the canoe and ready for the send off…. What was that???

“Dead Man’s Curve” where, apparently,  he almost drown and therefore, doesn’t go on this part of the river anymore.  What?  Hey, wait…  did you say a 50 percent change of tumping?

And off we went.

Five seconds after blast off, we hit the first 2 foot drop.  Even though we obediently stayed to the left, the front of the canoe filled with water and soaked my pants.  The canoe was narrow and we only wobbled a little.  I breathed a sigh of relief that we maneuvered that one without dying, but no sooner said, and we rounded a bend with rocks, trees and a giant sign that said “Beware!  Stay to the right!”  The river was gushing and it seemed like this was the epicenter of several tributaries where we were about to hit a perfect storm.

Paddle paddle…. must paddle faster!!!!  I held the front with both hands and tried to steady the awkward rocking.

Too late.  The canoe started listing to the side and we hit the 4 ft drop with the speed of a projectile missile.  The front of the canoe went down, the back went up and the cooler full of healthy Stevia laced beverages sailed over my head.  The next clear thought was that I was under the boat and the rushing water was dragging me along with it.  I banged around for what seemed like an eternity and popped out the other side.  The canoe took off right side up and as I tried to keep a grip, I knew there was no way to hold on.  I struggled with my water shoes that were knocked half off.  Why was I doing that? I have no clear answer.  I guess I figured I might need the shoes.  Who knows, because the nightmare of this ice bath was only beginning.

There is a part in the movie “Emperor’s New Groove” where they pause just before being swept over a waterfall where the guide  asks,  “Sharp rocks at the bottom?” The llama replies “Oh yeah!” and they share a dreadful look that says something like “Holy crap!”

I do believe there was a pause…  and then for the next 200 yards, my ass, knees, elbows and back were dragged over what seemed like razor blades and lava rock.  All I could hear was the rush of the water and the screams from my fellow paddlers as they too were flipped over and over.

When the shredding ended and I finally got on my feet, I was done.  I dragged myself to the bank and vowed never to set foot in a river craft again!  The oars were gone and the canoe was gone, and our waterproof backpack with the cellphone so carefully strapped down was gone with it.

Thankfully,  a nearby homeowner, took off down river like a cowgirl on a cattle run and returned with our canoe strapped to her little rubber raft.  Most of stuff was lost, but she said we were lucky it hadn’t been worse.  She said that there had been the biggest flood since the 80’s recently and the water was too rough for canoeing over that area. She told us the severity of the flood and about the floating boat trailers and BBQ grills that were still turning up, and who knew WHAT else was in that water.  Later at the hotel, the desk clerk referred us to a You Tube video, after hearing our tale of terror, about how locals call that part of the river, Dead Man’s Curve of Carnage.  There are no words.

There are so many emotions that happened after the incident.   I was so angry at the canoe rental people for putting me at risk for the sake of $40.00.  No matter how much they needed the money, I thought it was wrong.  I blamed their stupidity, their greed and their total lack of safety…  I was raging!!!

I blamed MY stupidity for not asking more questions like “Is there any part of this trip that might smash my face and cause permanent brain damage?”

Anger was a biggie, but there was more to it.  It is very hard to explain all the OTHER emotions that were going on in my head.  I was embarrassed for not being more athletic.  I had taken on more than I could handle and nearly killed myself.   I realized I’m not as tough I thought I was, and the real biggie was the fact that I had named canoeing as one of my major goals in life.  I was counting on my Golden Pond phase during retirement.  and now, that dream was slipping away.

Although every part of me was banged up, the thing that was hurting me the most, was my ego.  I have so many readers that I advise to try new things, and here I was knocking my brains out trying to live my Red Shoe Life of adventure and not doing a very good job.  It was very upsetting.

There is a happy ending to this story though, thanks to my sister.  Once I posted on Facebook a few pics of my new river trophies (war wounds), my sister called to find out what the hell had happened.  I spouted on and on about the horrors of it all and how I now was terrified to go out on the river again… blah blah blah.  Of course if you have been reading my BLOG posts, you know that my sister is always the voice of reason and if she could have slapped me over the phone, she would have.  “Deb, don’t be ridiculous!  Do you think that people who canoe never fall out?  Stop being a baby and plan your next trip.”  You get the idea.

Of course, she is right.  She always is.  I thought about it quite a lot as I finished another tube of anti-bacterial cream.  I have always known I would eventually fall out of the boat.  I didn’t exactly picture it with somersaults and a tsunami, but I suppose I might try it again.

By the next day, I was still shaken, but I was slowly  trying to figure out how I could do it differently next time.  I guess I could ASK the canoe renters if the river was gentle.  I could go with a group in case of emergencies and I could duct tape hockey gear to my ass in case of unforeseen dragging.

Point of the story tonight is to keep living your Red Shoe Life, even if you run into a few bumps (lava rocks) along the way.   A goal is something that you must work toward and you will have set backs.   If it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth it.  Your canoe trip to your goal may not always be a straight shot.  You may need better directions and detour now and again.   Remember, while living a Red Shoe Life things may get tough and you  may find yourself at the top of a waterfall, but  be smart, be prepared, and watch out for the sharp rocks at the bottom!

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If you do not change direction…

In my never ending search for the perfect Tai Chi class, I have found  that time and time again I am disappointed with what I find.  I am not a stranger to martial arts and have been involved in all types of classes, from the classic sensei-in-a-box, to workouts in a grassy yard.  I have been a guest in dojos with torturous teachers and I have taken zen-ful Aqua Ai Chi classes in warm salty water.  For years I took classes with my kids (and 30 other kids) and I have sadly been with classes full of pissed off women who just want to punch stuff.  My search has gone on for years, but I feel I will know it is right when I find it, Grasshopper, but I am not sure Memphis is a mecca for this sort of thing.

The Tai Chi class of my dreams would have to have classic Chinese decor complete with rice paper walls, bamboo floors with swords and fans  on display.   There would be a trickling water feature, soft music playing somewhere, jade plants and of course the obligatory Buddha statue in the corner.  As long as we are talking about a DREAM Tai Chi class, it would have to have an outstanding teacher.   I imagine a Sifu who is somewhere between Mr. Miyagi and Suzanne Somers.  I can dream, can’t I?

So off to my new class I went last night, hoping for the best.

I already knew that it was being held in a Memphis area YMCA, so that blew the rice paper concept right from the get-go. Instead of katanas and bo staffs, the walls held racks of primary colored rubber mats, pool noodles and some large mirrors.   This wasn’t my dream decor, but since I have my eyes closed most of the time that I’m doing Tai Chi,  I decided to just decorate in my mind.

As the class assembled, I was very pleased to see that there was quite a large group with varying degrees of ability.  This is a good thing in case I do something spastic; then,  I could try to “blend”.   Don’t want to show-off or anything on my first night.

The Sifu arrived and I was euphoric when she stated that we would begin with Qi-Gong.  You’ll have to Google that one, or wait until I write an entire post of it, but just know it is type of exercise that is good for whatever ails you.  Before we started twisting our gizzards, she introduced herself and the newbie to the group.  When I threw around a few names of people I had studied with, I was equally as happy to know that she knew them as well.  So far so good.

The class went on in the typical  “wax on wax off”  sort of way, and I let the soft music and the giggles from the back row, lure me into the Yin Yang state of relaxation and muscle rebellion.  I ‘chased the dragon’ and ‘repulsed the monkey’ until the evening ended.  Sifu was awesome and the ladies of the class extended an invitation to return next week.

As I reflect on my new class and new friends, I think I may grow to think of them as my new DREAM Tai Chi class.  Even though it was not exactly what I was looking for, I believe it will work.  I wanted tonight’s post to be about being aware of chasing dreams that are not realistic.  If I continued to search for the Tai Chi class of my dreams, I would miss out on the opportunity to study with these talented students.  I would delay my goals and possibly end up never finding a class that was exactly right.

When you stay on a road that is not be taking you where you want to go, you may have to make a few changes,  try something else and adjust your ideas of what you really are looking for. ”  Take a good look to see if your search is not just an excuse to not move forward.  I love this quote; “If you do not change your direction… you may end up where you are going…”   Which in translation means, you may have to change rickshaws, so you do not end up in Shanghai without rice paper!

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