Meet My Tattoo Artist

What a day!

February 16, 2015 brought snow, froze my pipes rendering me waterless with 3 children during a major Virginia snow. It also brought a new era to my 46 year old body. I am now a member of the tattoo club.

Meet the artist. The one-of-a-kind Leigh Odom.

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A lady with “Baby Phat” embroidered on her silky gold vest took this pre-tatt pic. Thanks, Ms. Phat!

Here’s the geography of my future body art:

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Straddling backwards a soft, high-backed leather chair of worn crackled red, I sat listening the musical cadence of Leigh’s voice as he told of his life’s work – a story that sounded like song. And sing it, he did. The machine purred. The lines got laid. It stung like a mother. One hour later I had a new shoulder.

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Leigh has the soul of an artist. Skin is one of his many media. He is kind and gentle and talented with bright lights behind his eyes. Helps since he uses needles to draw.

We all have a story. I am wearing mine. Thanks, Leigh.

Do you have a tattoo?

Would you ever?

Endearing Endurance

It’s never just a race.

It’s a crap-ton of training. It’s navigating a family, a job, a life to get the miles in that make the start line the real finish. The race is icing on the Ironman cake. If you finish, you lick up the sweetness of enduring the miles on race day – and everything that got you there. If you don’t, you try again – two weeks later.

And on Race Day Take 2, when you see your race-mate who is your beloved sister and your one-of-a-kind coach at the finish line you think of a little girl, the child of your beloved sister who left us at her own half marathon finish line. You weep for the loss.

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You weep for the love. You weep for the hole that can never, ever be filled. Along with her mother, you think of her father and her siblings and you send all of your everything to them.  You think of your amazing, no-questions-asked, 100% supportive spouse, your children, and your teammates. You think of  your hopes and fears and mistakes and for one moment everything converges into total aliveness. Such a contrast to the indescribable loss.

And yet she is here.

She is all around us, whispering with God’s breath still warm in her ear.

Go. Do. Be.

Fight the Good fight.

Finish the race.

Keep the faith.

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And do it again. No excuses.

Something I am embarrassed about

I am a classically trained dancer with a ferocious love of good bass. I am a health and wellness writer and yoga teacher from the Iyengar lineage. I have practiced Ashtanga yoga in the Mysore tradition and am a self-professed seeker. A purist, a tattoo-contemplator, a hot-dog sneakin’-vegan and a little righteous about pulling yourself out of the abyss and here are some things I’ll admit:

In 2009, I survived my first marathon in 5+ hours. (3 more followed. much better time – I do have some pride.)

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I love a good back.

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I never go anywhere without this:

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I ALWAYS blame farts on other people.

I love these two:

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Here’s what I am embarrassed about:

My name is Clair and I LOVE BIKRAM YOGA.

My rock star yoga friends who worship at the table of the un-hot room may not ever speak to me again but I am who I am. When I travel I find a Bikram studio in most cities I visit. Like Starbuck’s, I know what to expect and it’s the same everywhere. Every. Single. Time. I need that. I like the focus the mental tenacity the endurance required to stay in a room heated to 107 degrees for 90 minutes. I like it when the instructor says ‘nice work Clair’ when I do this:

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To some, hot yoga is cheating, cheesy, impure, a fad and some of the gurus are sex maniacs. But that’s not my experience. Mine supports my affinity for endurance sports.

Jennifer Aniston swears by it.

I’ll still keep this little secret quiet when I visit or teach where Bikram is a bad word.

But I won’t lie. Ask me if I like Bikram and I’ll say:

“I love the yoga.”

“But, I did not fart.” (I have my limits.)

 

This one’s big

I am learning some big, big things right now.  The biggest one comes at the end. 

Kids, work, husband, carpools, bill-paying, training, all the usual and some not so usual life-stuff has put a lot of space between posts.  My last one was Easter Weekend – one of the hardest of my life.  Here’s why:

My niece had fresh wings.

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My spiritually and emotionally war-torn, heartbroken sister and her precious family was trying to breathe thousands of miles away from me.  (Lord, don’t let me lose them too – bring them back from the abyss!))

My siblings and friends were pitifully trying to wrap our minds around our profound, knife-in-the-gut-loss.

I honestly do not remember EVER feeling so viscerally frozen with with sadness, grief and depression.  And then I remembered her mantra: Fight the good fight.  Finish the Race.  Keep the Faith.  I remembered how to breathe. 

So here are a few things that went down:

I did my first Sprint Triathlon with my beloved sister, mother to 5 including our angel girl.

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My husband and I became vegan-leaning vegetarians (We lost 25 pounds collectively – another post).

My family and I raced for Cameron at a brewery. 

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Along with my hero sister and brother in law and some terrific friends, I signed up for this:

Lord, help me.  I am crazy!  Happily nuts.  Off the deep end and training like a fool. 

And so last week we did our first open water swim.

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I was scared sh*tless.  Here’s what saved me:

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L’Oreal Silverstone Lipstick.  I never go anywhere without it.  I got nailed for applying said lipstick before the goggles went on.  My beloved sister laughed.  (Did you see that??:  She laughed at me)  Why would anyone polish their lips when they’d be submerged in river water for a couple thousand yards?  “You are ridiculous.”  She said.  She laughed. So here’s the lesson:

Never, ever swim in open water without your lipstick!

I have a feeling Cameron is laughing too.

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Good to Great Friday – Pictures Included!

I am told by some that the photos didn’t transfer.  I know you have been heartbroken probably don’t care but my perfectionist self needed a take 2 on this post.  Here ’tis:

(will some one let me know that the pics came thru this time???)


 

It’s Good Friday.  Having grown up Catholic with 13 years of parochial school under my belt, I know how to have a good Good Friday.  Customs include:

  •  Fasting for the day
  • Adoration of the Cross
  • Worldwide silence at 3 PM (the noted time of death of Jesus)

As I have done for many of the past 40+ years, I will observe each.

This may be difficult as we are on Spring Break.  However, we are doing our best to keep the holy in Holy Week.

My son (right) is in Florida.  (Though some of have been called to be fishers of men, he is a fisher of fish.)

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Normally a Holy Thursday tradition, My girls got their feet washed toes painted before we left for the Outer Banks of North Carolina (a heavenly and spiritual place) on Tuesday:

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I held a beautiful baby boy – a joy Mary shares.

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My daughter worked with clay and remembered an angel:

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There she is in white:

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I cried and remembered much.

I have not yet mentioned yoga or running.  I have done each many, many times this Holy Week.  With it, everything, including Good Friday went from Good to Great.  Always does.

Happy Easter.

How’s your week been?

Good to Great Friday

It’s Good Friday.  Having grown up Catholic with 13 years of parochial school under my belt, I know how to have a good Good Friday.  Customs include:

  •  Fasting for the day
  • Adoration of the Cross
  • Worldwide silence at 3 PM (the noted time of death of Jesus)

As I have done for many of the past 40+ years, I will observe each.

This may be difficult as we are on Spring Break.  However, we are doing our best to keep the holy in Holy Week.

My son (right) is in Florida.  (Though some of have been called to be fishers of men, he is a fisher of fish.)

Normally a Holy Thursday tradition, My girls got their feet washed toes painted before we left for the Outer Banks of North Carolina (a heavenly and spiritual place) on Tuesday:

I held a beautiful baby boy – a joy Mary shares.

My daughter worked with clay and remembered an angel:

There she is in white:

I cried and remembered much.

I have not yet mentioned yoga or running.  I have done each many, many times this Holy Week.  With it, everything, including Good Friday went from Good to Great.  Always does. 

Happy Easter.

How’s your week been?