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Friday, February 20, 2015

Chair Yoga, or The Modern Day Rack

by Jody Worsham
All right reserved for a massaging, vibrating, heated recliner
Our Senior Center offers free excersize classes.  Free classes and the indisputable fact that I am, indeed a senior citizen, led me to my first ever Chair Yoga Class.

Now before you start visualization folding chairs in the Crouching Dog position or wing backed chairs in the Cobra position, I shall explain.

At the Senior Center there are various levels of yoga.  There is Chair Yoga, Floor Yoga, and Flat-on-Your-Back-Can't-Get-Up Yoga.  I had experienced the Flat-on-Your-Back-Can't-Get-Up Yoga sometime in the past decade so I decided to begin with Chair Yoga.  At least I would be closer to the floor if I fell out of my Tree Pose.

The first time I went to class, I asked the receptionist at the door for the yoga class.  Perhaps it was my accent, or my weight, because she said "The yogurt machine is right down the hall."  When I explained I wanted the Chair Yoga class, she said "Good!" and pointed to the right.

I was hoping I would not be the oldest living person there.  I was not.

The instructor had us spread out a yoga mat on the floor and place our chair on one end of the mat, then sit.  Ok, this I can do.  I was sitting in my chair, swinging my feet back and forth waiting for her to begin the relaxation music when I realized everyone else's feet were touching the floor.  While I was taller than the other ladies from the knees up, I was definitely on the short side from the knees down.

The music started. The instructor was facing us.  She told us to reach our left hand straight above our head, then slowly bend to the right as far as we could and hold it while breathing. I reached my right hand above my head, (I was copying her, mirror image and all) then I bent to the left as far as I could (about 12 inches) which put me face to face with the octogenarian who continued leaning until she had the palm of her hand flat on the floor.  I may not be the oldest, but I'm definitely the stiffest.

This modern torture version of the medieval rack continued.  We did stretches, pardon me, “poses” for another 29 agonizing minutes. No pose was done more than twice, but every muscle in my body argued vehemently that this was a lie. My hamstrings pinged like a guitar string.  My deltoids screamed.  Muscles that heretofore had no names let their presence be known. New words raced through my brain that even sailors did not use.

After class as I sat in my chair, breathing hard, with flushed face, and giving thanks for the short distance to the floor which I was sure I would soon be seeing up close, my chair mate quipped "Not much of a work out today.  Maybe the Floor Yoga class next will be more of a challenge."

I remember thinking "If I grab the legs of my chair and give a little jump, maybe I can work my chair over to the door frame where I can pull myself into The Standing-in-Severe-Pain pose. Then, in an hour or two, maybe I could make my way out to the car."

As I was sitting there, a 90 year old man came in with his walker and sat down next to me.

"Want me to put that away for you?" I hopefully asked.


With the aid of several wrought iron trellises normally used for climbing ivy, I “walked” myself to the exit.

At the receptionist’s desk, I paused.  The Suggestion Box tempted me. If they are going to call it Chair Yoga, shouldn’t the chair for beginners have wheels? I was about to put the suggestion in the box when a coupon for BenGay caught my eye.

Pain relief trumps suggestions any day.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

"They call me Katherine that do talk of me"...or Some Name Like That

By Jody Worsham, aka Jo, aka Worsham, aka Mrs., aka Mable, aka MayBelle

All rights reserved and with apologies to Willie Shakespeare and Southern Moms everywhere

For over 65 years I have been known as Jody, the nickname I was given in the first grade, the name on my book “Kin We’re Not Related To”, the name on this blog, and the name I am known by to all of my friends and professional colleagues.

Name problems seem to have started when I married.  My husband had six brothers and sisters which, over the years,  netted four “Mrs. Worshams”.  During holidays when all the daughter-in-laws were home, you could not call their home and ask for “Mrs. Worsham”.  If you did, four different women might come to the phone or no one, each thinking the call was for the other one. Mostly “Mrs.” referred to the elder mother/mother-in-law.  It did not get much better with the Raymonds either.  There was Raymond the father-in-law, Raymond the son-in-law, Raymond the nephew, and Raymond my husband. Hence you always had to call a Raymond by both his first name and his middle name in order to get the correct Raymond’s attention, well except for Raymond the father-in-law.  I don’t think he had a middle name but since he was the first Raymond and the only one without a middle name, everyone knew the Raymond you were referring to if you just asked for Raymond.

Then for almost 40 years, I was Worsham to my students. They used Worsham in the same way athletes used "coach." It was faster for my students to get a response with “Worsham, fire” or “Worsham, light falling” or “Worsham, principal coming!” (I was a very creative and unconventional theatre arts teacher who made principals very nervous) then to call me “Mrs.” Worsham and wait for me to process that “Mrs.” was referring to me. But then my husband was also a teacher and his students referred to him as “Worsham” as well.  His brother, too, was a teacher and his students called him “Worsham”.  Over the years, any educational convention would find students and former students having to qualify which “Worsham” they were referencing.

Jody and Worsham served me for 50 years except for the choir teacher, who called me by my official name, Jo, and my mother, who insists on calling me by both my first name and the middle name she put on my birth certificate.  When I needed a passport, official birth name only was required.  Doctors began using computers and social security numbers for identification and part of my prescriptions are under Jody and part are under Jo.  I am afraid to buy Sudafed at the pharmacy for fear it will look like two people trying to buy the decongestant at the same time using the same social security number and a driver’s license that that did not have Jody on it

The name problems have followed me into decade number 7.  My nine-year-old and my thirteen-year-old go to a small rural school where all the students say “yes, mam” and “no, mam”.   Those that don't are probably transfers.  As a substitute teacher it is refreshing to hear "yes, mam" and "no, mam".   I did notice that when I would work in the concession stand for Little Dribblers, I was always referred to as “Mrs. Worsham” even though all the other mothers and dads with nine-year-olds had first names.  In Parent Teacher Organization meetings again everyone had a first name except me.  Finally I said to the other parents in the PTO (by way of Facebook of course):

 “Ok, why is it that everybody has a first name like Susan or Kathryn, or Holly, and mine is “Mrs.?”  I move that I be called Jody or Jo or Worsham.  Or I’ll even take a new first name like Betty or Tammy.  I’ll take a double name Mable Rae or Ethel Mae.  I may be twice your age…ok three times your age but with a nine-year-old, I forget how old I am.  You have my permission to forget it to.”

Of course one of the parents is a former student of mine.  She had trouble calling me Worsham even as a teenager but she promised to try “Jo .”  I could tell at the slight hesitation before “Jo” that she expected her Mama to pop her on the head any minute for being disrespectful to a teacher and the elderly.

I guess I will just have to answer to anything.  At my age people will just say “SORRY, MRS. WORSHAM.  I WAS HOLLERING FOR MINNIE LOU.”

Monday, February 2, 2015

Weather You Like It or Not

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for map and darts

We have watched the Weather Channel since the time it was only weather and music…on a loop, long before there were actual programs on the channel.  I think we were fascinated by the number of times their forecasts would be accurate and the number of times they missed completely.  Of course with Texas, you really can’t fault their forecasts.  It depends on the exact moment you tuned in to the station.  There is an old saying that if you don’t like Texas weather, wait five minutes and it will change.

I guess that is the reason they don’t name storms in our state, too many kinds.  Dust storms would take you through the alphabet in a week.  Thunderstorms, will that’s a daily occurrence in the spring.  Tornadoes, water sprouts, dust devils, “northers”…well I don’t think even the Cabbage Patch manufacturers could come up with enough names for all those.  Instead, we just seem to classify weather by names with our own lingo to describe the weather.

There’s the “blue tail norther.”  Now that is a cold wind blowing in from Canada cold enough to freeze your pipes and cover the tanks (stock ponds) with ice.   “Nothing between us and the North Pole except a barbed wire fence. “  Now that is different from just a “norther” blowing in.  A “norther” can drop the temperature twenty degrees in five minutes. 

  A “scorcher” is a summer day when the temperature is above 103 degrees.  “Big bank building up” is a row of dark clouds on the horizon building up to a thunderstorm or possible a “blue tail norther”.  A “downpour” is more than two inches of rain in an hour.  Of course you can have a downpour at our house and across the street they only get a sprinkle.  “Bottoms gonna fall out” means a heavy thunderstorm is going to produce a downpour soon.   We also have our share of hurricanes but we mostly just use the Weather Channels name since those are pretty widespread.

The one thing we don’t have a lot of, except in the Panhandle area, is snow. Let an inch of snow fall in any other area of Texas, and Jim Cantores could broadcast non-stop for a week.  First of all, at the first sign of a snow flake or sleet, all school administrators hop on a school bus at 4a.m. to check the bridges and roads.  They must decide if it is school as usual, late start, or If  they deem it is too slick for safety, they declare it a “Bad Weather Day” and alert the radio and TV stations, activate the automated parent calling program and school is cancelled. 

At that point all the children that have been waiting for the school cancelation news, gear up in their Carhart deer hunting clothes, ski clothes, or don seven layers of sweatshirts, thermal-underwear, and hats.  Without proper snow gear, Wal-Mart sacks are duck taped around tennis shoes and Zip-lock bags cover gloves.  Dish pans, cardboard boxes, and trash can lids are pressed into service as sleds.  Some kids are lucky enough to find left over inflatable rafts from the summer in the garage and those also become sleds.  Everyone races to the nearest drive-way, ditch, or anything with the slightest slope.  They have to hurry before the snow melts or is scraped away by careening cardboard sleds.  Mini snowballs are made and midget Snowmen are quickly made. Everyone sends their pictures into the TV stations. Whatever clean snow can be found is piled into a bowls for snow ice cream.

If there is more than an inch of snow lasting more than a day, the highway department will start sanding the bridges and iced roads but that only slows down the number of wrecks

Now I know my Northern friends think we are insane for cancelling school, shutting down the city , and declaring a State Holiday all because of a little snow; but it so seldom snows here, no one knows how to drive on it.

.  I took lots of pictures and made snow ice cream so the eight-year-old and twelve-year-old would have some kind of reference when the Weather Channel talks about Snow Storm Zelda or they study snow in science class.

In my little town, we usually get a heavy snow (for us) about every ten years. We had a good snow last year so it probably won’t snow again until 2024. By then I should have my guest room cleaned and set up for Jim and his crew.  

If it snow 3 inches, we’ll be in the news!