New SoKno Barre Classes!

This past Spring I was able to lead a barre class with Get Fit Seymour, and when the program ended a bunch of people asked me if I’d be continuing to teach anywhere.  I wanted to, but the timing just wasn’t right until now.  Beginning August 22, 2016, I’ll lead a 45-minute barre class at Riversong Dance Studio in South Knoxville.  Classes will be offered at the following times:

  • Monday: 6:45-7:30pm
  • Wednesday: 7:30-8:15pm
  • Saturday: 10:30-11:15am

Cost is $5/class.  (This is what I call non-social-club-you-shouldn’t-have-to-be-rich-to-exercise pricing.)  Bring your own yoga mat if you’d like, or borrow one of the studio’s.  Some water to sip (or guzzle–#August) is a good idea.

If you’ve never tried a barre class:

There’s nothing magic about the barre; in the case of a barre class, it’s just something to hold onto so you don’t fall over.  You don’t need a dance background to do a barre class.  We don’t dance.  We just hold onto the barre sometimes.  We don’t really “do” yoga–the yoga mat is for lying upon when we do floor work.  Floor work consists of things such as crunches (variations upon), planks, or stretching.  There’s a lot of up-and-down in a barre class.  It’s not necessarily fast-paced…just a few floor exercises, then back up to the bar, then back to the floor, etc.  Oh, and you don’t have to be in perfect shape to take this class.  This class may tone you up like a boss but, like I said, this is non-social-club stuff right here, so just bring your real self.

And you’ll like Valerie’s studio.  (It’s officially Knoxville’s favorite studio.)  And you’ll like Valerie.

So, I’ll see you there, right?  A few weeks from now! Yay!

stay off the boulders

I got a catalog the other day with an ad in it for the company’s athletic clothing line.  Here it is.

Exactly nobody I have ever known–marathoners, half marathoners, casual runners–runs like this.

The jagged boulders.

Those pants.

The fog.

That steady outward gaze, as if she doesn’t need to look down because she does this like every morning, and she knows those boulders like the back of her little hand, and, besides, she has good insurance and she’s in-network.






It’s not about the shoes, or the clothes, or the cars, or the house….

It’s just sweaty, stinky, sometimes hot, sometimes humid, sometimes rainy, sometimes cold…work.

No glamor, no status, no comparison.  Just you, your own resolve, your own life, your own rewards.

Stay off the boulders.


World’s worst title there.

So here’s something positive about getting older: you get to know your body better.  Because when you’ve seen something happen enough times, you will finally make a connection.  Like Ohhhhhhh, when I eat garlic I feel all itchy.  Or Ohhhhhhh, when I don’t drink enough water my allergy symptoms seem worse.  Continue reading

me at the range

My son and I went with my brother and his wife to a shooting range this past weekend.  My brother is a Marine, my sister-in-law is, apparently, Sarah Palin, and my son is a precision shooter.  I’m, uh, nawt.  Do you remember the Police Academy movies?  Pick a character.  That’s me.  The glasses hurt my head and the ear things hurt my ears and the recoil hurt my arms and the report hurt my head and it was cold in there and it smelled like combustion.  I felt out-of-place not having any camo on my person, or not having any military background…or not having any enthusiasm.  One very nice fellow began shouting at me (because you have to shout over the shooting sounds, and also you can’t hear because you have these ginormous ear mufflers on) about shooting.  He said, “You like shooting?”  He was a happy fellow.  I shouted, “No!”  But I smiled.  I tried to be cheerful.  He looked confused.  “No?”  I repeated, “No!”  There were several awkward seconds, and I felt sorry for him because I think maybe he didn’t have a response for that answer, so I tried to clarify by shouting, “But I like to sew!!”  He nodded many, many times.  Many times.  And then he gave me some advice that didn’t really work, which was: “Well, just pretend that when you’re shooting…you’re sewing!”

I’m here to tell you that shooting and sewing are nothing alike, and it is impossible to pretend you’re sewing when you’re shooting.

My brother kept asking me what in the heck I was aiming at.  Aim was something I couldn’t even think about.  My goals were to A) keep my eyes open when I pulled the trigger.  (I couldn’t.  I cannot.) B) Not jump every time I heard a gun shot.  (I’d say I jumped a mere 90% of the time.) C) Not cry.  (I cried.)

I’m not even kidding, I think Krav Maga is a much better self-defense option for me at this point.  I think anything, like even a whistle, would be a better self-defense option for me.

OK, but, I have been informed that going to the shooting range is a really, really great stress reliever for so, so many normal women.  That it’s a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  That it keeps you active and engaged and your reflexes sharp.  That’s it’s easier than you may think.  That all you have to do is show your driver’s license and pay a minimal lane fee and target fee.  That some ranges rent guns (so you can try out different ones–see what you like), and even have date nights.

That it’s a lot better than sitting at home on the couch watching TV.

But not necessarily better than sewing.

Consider the Hemp Seed

Do you know anything about hemp hearts/seed?  I really didn’t until recently.  I hear about “super foods” and my eyes glaze over.  I’m so not running to Whole Foods to load up on the latest food trend–kombucha, rooibos, quinoa, jicama…  What is it this week?  Ghee?  Clarified butter?  Butter from grass-fed Irish cows?

OK, but hemp seed made me look.  If you have a moment, read this.  And then just get some.  (I found it on an actual shelf at an actual store–Kroger in Maryville.)  And then start by making these delicious things.  Then mix some flaxseed and hemp seed into some peanut butter and eat it with an apple.  Cannot.  Go.  Wrong.

just a bit about BPM

I do this thing where I load a bunch of new songs onto my device–songs I think are really fast, that will really match my tempo (Heh. Not that I’m really fast.)–and then after the first run with my new playlist I’ve deleted nearly half the songs because they aren’t nearly fast as I thought they were, and they slow me down.  On the flip-side, if I am working out and my music is faster than I’m moving, I feel like I’m falling behind and I sort of want to quit.  The key is finding music with the appropriate beats per minute–or BPM– for my activity.  An idea of appropriate BPM for different workouts:

160 BPM range: crazy fast spin class, intense running

150 range: kickboxing, bootcamp, faster jogging

140 range: cardio, cardio dance, some indoor cycling, slowish jogging

130 range: step class, sculpt, some cardio dance, faster aquatics classes, TRX, barre, core conditioning

120 range:  step, sculpt, barre, aquatics

110-120 range:  sculpt, low-tempo work

100-110 range:  yoga, pilates, sculpt, cool-down

80-100 range:  yoga/pilates cooldown

And there are websites such as this one in which you can search songs according to BPM.  Or just Google “songs by BPM” or some such query.  And this is interesting regarding BPM and running.   One thing I love about barre workouts is that they get my heart rate up, but not to that point where I’m breathless and red-faced.  And I’m not so hungry for the next 24 hours as I am after a run.  I tend to think of the barre/core conditioning as for my muscles and bones, but the cardio as mainly for my heart and lungs and brain/mood.  But that’s just me.  It’s all good stuff. 🙂



8 ideas

So I could go into this whole long diatribe against modern American busyness…

About how we run our kids around to do all the activities, because we’re afraid if we don’t they’ll be deprived, or wounded at their core, or emotionally stunted.  Or they won’t get into a good college because they haven’t done enough activities, relative to their peers.  And then they won’t get good jobs.  And then they’ll be poor and sad.  And they won’t be able to drive their own kids to all the activities.

And that wouldn’t be fair, and life is all about fairness, so… Continue reading

something that may be worth your time


{via here}

Quite often I forget to talk.  I love listening to people and watching them.  And writing about them.  I’ll be right there next to people, all sad when they’re sad, and elated when they’re happy, and feeling like I’m there in that story they’re telling, and I feel so alive and wonderful and social, and then someone will inevitably lean over and whisper to me, “You’re so quiet tonight, Shannon.  Everything OK?”

And every single time that happens I feel surprised, because I feel like I’ve just been animated and loud and jovial.  I’m so completely OK.  I just wasn’t the one talking.

What happens is, I really enjoy observing all manner of people, but I don’t necessarily want to interact with them, and so I don’t have a lot of friends.  And I think I’m OK with that.  Except when people think there’s something wrong with me.  Because then I start thinking…maybe there is something wrong with me.

Nobody was like me in high school.  I did what I had to do to escape that a year early.  I thought there’d be people like me at college.  There weren’t.  Sophomore year, I had an early appointment  with my advisor–the head of the chemistry department.  He wasn’t in his office, so I sat outside his door and tried to stay awake.  I heard two voices down the hall in the lab.  I could tell one was my advisor, and then realized the other was the professor who headed the biology department.  They were laughing and talking.  They were laughing and talking about someone.  A girl someone, because it was and one time she did this, and she’s just really odd, and kinda nutty

They were talking about me.  I slipped out of the building.  That was my last semester at that particular institution.  I took my weirdness elsewhere.  But after that I still had this feeling that, yes, I must just be kinda nutty.

Until…about, I don’t know, five years ago when I took a Myers-Briggs personality test.  I know, it’s just one personality theory, and I shouldn’t base my perceptions on what it says, but it did help me understand myself a bit better, and why I am the way I am.  Turns out, I am what is called an “INFJ“, which is the least common of 16 personality types (like less than 1% of the population), and INFJ’s are very private, observant, sensitive loners who often feel, well, weird.  When I felt that there just weren’t other people like me, that’s because there literally aren’t people like me.  And if I do meet people like me, we aren’t likely to speak, because we’re too busy listening and being our strange, reclusive selves!  There’s a certain peace in knowing you’re not alone.

I’m just writing all this to say that I think everyone could benefit from taking one of these tests.  It may help you understand why you make decisions the way you do, why you interact with other people the way that you do, why you do or do not enjoy certain activities, etc, etc, etc.  It can most certainly help with career choices, if you just aren’t happy in your profession, or in relationships–figuring out that person you’re with, and helping that person you’re with understand you.

I made my kids take the test because I can use all the help I can get funneling their interests and honing in on their strengths as they make their way toward college.  In my daughter’s case, the test didn’t really tell us much we didn’t already know about her, but it led us to discover the profession of recreational therapy.  I didn’t even know that was a thing, but it would suit her to a T.  And in my son’s case, it gave him some insight into his ideal work environment (preferably quiet, not micromanaged, no managerial responsibilities, a good amount of research autonomy—things he’ll have to work hard to attain to, but that will bring him to a place of great joy.  He wants to be a metallurgist, by the way.)

Anyway, maybe try it yourself?  If you haven’t already?  Here’s a good test.

New year, new knowledge?

And Merry Christmas!

Thanksgiving Ramblings

Do you eat wheat?

Almost a year ago, on a whim,  I decided to quit eating wheat.  I was tired of feeling tired, and I thought Why not? Maybe it will help.  It did.  I’ve gone from taking iron supplements every day to never taking iron supplements (with the exception of a few days this past summer–that old familiar heartbeat-in-my-ears-low-bp-fast-pulse-ugh).  I don’t know why this is.  And I don’t feel like dissecting it.  Does white flour impede iron absorption?  Was I not eating enough of other things because I was filling my belly with flour?  Do I have an intolerance to wheat?  I don’t know.  All I know is that, for me, no wheat = so, so, so much better feeling.  And I don’t really miss it, not much at least.  I miss pumpernickel bread.  I miss The Donut Friar.  It’s OK, though; I have a brilliant strategy for that one.  I’m just never going to go to Gatlinburg ever again.  See?

Holiday get-togethers can be awkward, though.  Mac & cheese, stuffing, gravy, rolls, pie, cake, breaded anything…can’t, won’t, not worth it.  And I’ve decided that instead of developing a permanent pastime of watching people eat whilst I fidget with my hands, I’m going to attempt a new strategy of preparing stuff I can eat and trying to peddle it.  It might be an epic fail.

But the fam is getting homemade sweet potato chips, turkey biryani, horseradish deviled eggs, and cardamom pear crisp.

And the mac & cheese with the bacon for the freckly blue-eyed guy.  Sigh.  I think I have a quarter cup of flour in the house.  Somewhere.

And that will be Thanksgiving.

I’m looking forward to Christmas at my parents, though!!  My mom makes breakfast!  She makes me as many sunny-side-up eggs as I want, and I sit and eat my delicious plate of runny yellow goo and I’m so deliriously happy.  Those eggs are like the best part of Christmas for me.  I like the dark, joyful, desolate ride home after Christmas Eve worship, and then that plate of goo the next morning.

And then I’ll start thinking of Passover…quail, herbs, honey, oh my goodness…now that will be a wonderful meal, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Happy Thanksgiving.  E-mail me if you’re going to be alone and sad, and I’ll see what I can do about that.

My husband’s going to be not happy that I just wrote that.