Life on the Bike Trail

I am sad to say I have not been for a bike ride on the Kingdom Trails yet this year.

Between work, the oh so wet weather in April and May (and some of June) and interests in other things like boating and golf and gardening, I have just been too busy.

However, last weekend was NEMBAFEST here in Burke, VT ~ which means it was one of the biggest bike weekends on the trails, which do pass right in front of our house. The White School trail passes through our property and so it is not uncommon for us to see bikers passing by.

This year, since we had company and were planning a family barbecue, I knew I would be around the house all day so I decided to count the number of bikers who passed through on Saturday. I used my little chalkboard to keep the tally throughout the day.

As we sat on the deck, visiting with our guests and counting bikers, my husband had the brilliant idea to ‘honor’ the 500th biker that passed. Everyone was in agreement and so we watched and waited. When the 500th biker came around the corner we all started to hoot and holler and yell for her to stop.

I think our yelling scared her a bit – she thought we were yelling because she was going the wrong way or had run over something. We assured her that we were simply entertaining ourselves and she graciously posed for pictures. Here she is with my landowner husband.

We hadn’t really planned this adventure so didn’t have a big prize for her, but we did sent her on her way with an ice cold Corona. I think she was appreciative – and very relieved that she hadn’t actually broken any biking rules.

By days end we had a total of 585 bikers pass by and we enjoyed every single one of them.

Just another day of fun and adventure on Sweetwater Lane.

Benefits of Yoga


It has been a stressful few weeks at the job. I love my work and can identify wonderful things that happen there every single day. However, sometimes it can be trying. Sometimes people seem to be at odds with one another; sometimes someone misinterprets your words or actions; sometimes I misinterpret the words or actions of another; sometimes students are angry, frustrated, embarrassed, or sad; sometimes co-workers are angry, frustrated, embarrassed,or sad; sometimes educational decisions make no sense for students. . .

Today at work a colleague was expressing her frustrations with recent challenges in the work place and in the middle of her diatribe she stopped and said, “You are so calm, despite everything that’s going on. It must be your yoga.”

Oh, yeah.

She is correct. Yoga has most definitely had a calming influence on me. Yoga and aging. The two together are a sure cure for angst and sleepless nights. At times it is difficult to define the benefits of yoga because there are so many. For me, yoga has gone from a practice to a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle that I practice regularly, which is probably what makes it a lifestyle.

Moving through a series of asanas (poses), using my breath as a guide, allows everything else to melt away. When I step on the mat and take a moment to set an intention and look inward, my body leads the way to exactly what it needs at that moment. By focusing inward I am able to get outside my head and let go of all the thoughts from the day that are the real stressors. For me, the practice of yoga, and mindfulness through yoga, has helped me to be aware of the thoughts that come into the mind, but not to dwell in them. I have learned, through practice, to notice and let go.

Once I can get to that place of noticing and letting go I am then able to select the ideas that actually need my attention. By noticing and letting go I can later determine which of the ideas that come into my head actually need more of my attention. I find that most do not need much further reflection on my part ~ the comment a co-worker made to me is not my issue, so I can let it go; the opinion expressed to me by another is simply that – an opinion and does not warrant more of my energy. Yet, the student who came to me recently with a concern may need more of my time and energy.

Honestly, it only takes a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness, and for me it works best when I do a few asanas at the same time, getting my body moving a bit while using my breathing in an intentional way. When I have a choice to spend 10 minutes obsessing in my head over something I can’t control, or taking the time to let a multitude of ideas pass through my mind, notice what comes, and then let it go, I can take control of what I need to focus on.

Namaste.

Happy Mother’s Day

I originally published this here five years ago, but feel it’s worth a second shot today. Love you Mom!

This is my mom when she was four. She gave me this picture last year on my 55th birthday.

There are so many things I love about the photograph. Mom wasn’t sure, but suspects it was taken by my Great Grandmother Powers. She was a photographer and was the one who colored the picture.

As I look at the photograph now I think of Sandra Cisnero’s story “Eleven”. It is about a young girl just turning eleven, but the day doesn’t go as she hoped. She reflects on how, sometimes, “What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six and five, and four and three, and two, and one.”

I realize that never before have I thought of my mother as any age except the one she was at any given time. Today I know that she, like all of us, has carried all her ages with her through her lifetime.

I wonder how many times in her 80 years she has felt four. How many times has she gone back to that day on the beach when she was alone with her thoughts, listening to the sound of waves and laughter behind her?

I suspect there have been many of those days. Perhaps in July of 1951 when she married my father she was feeling timid and naïve, like a girl younger than she was. Or in May of 1952 when her first child was born and she held him with the same love she’d once felt for her dolls, when she was four. In November of 1963, when her first love passed away suddenly; unexpectedly, she must have wanted to crawl onto her own mother’s lap for reassurance and comfort.

When I look at my four-year old mother on the beach I see the precision she is using to place shells on the sand. It is the same precision she used when she cooked for us or when she created quilts, or rugs, or stained glass. I can see her in her forties kneading bread dough on a Saturday morning with that same concentration, and I can see her in her fifties planning lessons for her students, and in her sixties reading to her grandchildren.

Having lived as my mother’s daughter for more than 55 years I recognize that look on her young face. It is the same as mine and underneath it I know she is thinking deep thoughts, even at four. Thoughts that she may never share with anyone because then they would not be hers alone.

She seemed content to be four years old. And today, she seems content being eighty. I understand now, that when you’re four, or forty, or eighty you are all the ages that came before. You don’t leave them behind, but carry them with you, and sometimes clutch them tightly like a child clutching seashells in her hand.

Thank you Mom, for being there for me, no matter what age I am or what age I’m feeling.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Gentle Sunday Morning Yoga


This Sunday morning practice is designed for those new to yoga. The practice will focus on proper alignment, gentle stretching to avoid stiffness and asanas (poses) to improve balance and flexibility.

Sunday, April 23, 2017
9:00 am to 10:15 am
East Burke Club House
$10.00 per person/per session

This week we will focus on lengthening and restorative poses, along with a full body scan to check in with how we are doing.

Date Nights

Date nights are important when you’ve been with someone for a long time. Either planned or not, occasional dates can keep the spark alive. In addition they can be so much fun.

Recently my workplace sponsored some fun activities for the community to participate in. One was a Paint and Sip so I signed us up! Date night! I had never seen my husband paint anything except walls in the house and bee hives, but I didn’t think about that when I purchased our tickets. I know he is usually up for a new adventure and he doesn’t hesitate to humor me when I come up with kooky ideas.

The date was last Thursday evening and we had a great time. I think Dave especially appreciated the ‘sip’ part of the Paint & Sip. As it turned out he was the only male at the event. One way to look at it is that he actually had 16 dates that night. Being the good sport he is he jumped right into the adventure and went for it.

Our theme was pansies in a flower garden so it was quite challenging. Fortunately, the instructor had already drawn the design on our paper and she did have photographs available as a reference.Our teacher only gave us primary colors to work with so we had to be creative in mixing our colors, which was interesting. What I loved most was the way every person’s painting came out a bit different from the others, but they were all appealing in their own right.

Here are the end results ~ I’ll let you try to figure out which is mine and which is Dave’s. Both frame-worthy, you can look for them on our walls next time you visit.