September was my month for weird places to do yoga. I signed up for both goat yoga and cave yoga after a fairly daunting hot yoga class that left me feeling a bit out of it. (I later realized that I had neglected to take my pills the night before. Hello, crazy town.) Much as I bitch and complain about Facebook, it does clue me in to local events; and without its stupid algorithms, I would not have found either class so easily.
This definitely falls into the little local adventures category as I had not previously visited Olentangy Indian Caverns despite driving by billboards for it for years. It appeared to be a kid focused tourist trap. From where I parked, I could see a maze, jungle gym, outdoor games, mini golf, and a petting zoo that disappeared ominously into the woods. As one of the women there for the class said, “Oh, I can give my son $3 and he’s off for hours.” Babysitting courtesy of tourist trap.
It was surprisingly hard to round up an adventure buddy for this particular event. They all voiced the same concerns that I had used over the years about goat yoga, but after a brief but positive conversation regarding the cave yoga, there had been silence. I wasn’t sure if I was flying solo and was relieved to pull in to the lot by a friendly face.
Adventure Buddy and I entered the little brick building covering the cave entrance and prepared to descend 75 feet down 55 narrow, wet steps. Above ground, the day was sunny and temperate, a perfect fall morning, but the temperature dropped immediately inside the cavern entrance. For whatever reason, my right knee decided to age 90 years in two minutes as I tried to grip my mat and the railing, navigating the slick steps. Each step sent hiss worthy pains shooting through my leg and knee. I let Adventure Buddy know that I would probably use her to cushion my fall.
With great relief, we made it to the cave without anyone squishing anyone else and followed a trail of tea lights into the main cavern.
The Olentangy caverns were inhabited caves. Our yoga instructor who used the stone table as her area to direct the class, assured us that it was a work area and meeting point for the tribe members. While she was centered on the table, other yogis had to find spots in the pathways that branched off from the table area.
We had been told to bring an old beach towel because the “cavern floor can be damp and somewhat muddy.” What should have been said was the cave floor is wet as hell and you need a garbage bag.
I wasn’t concerned for my mat. It had migrated to the status of “outdoor mat” long ago and still had some chicken poo on it from goat yoga. What I didn’t realize was that as the practice progressed, water would seep through the mat particularly in the spots where I consistently placed my feet. Unfortunately, I was very conscious of the dampness. In a normal studio, placing my hand or foot off the mat would be no big deal. Here it meant cold, wet mud which I confirmed by firmly planting one ass cheek in a puddle. ****Side note: Cave mud does NOT just wash out of yoga pants. Soaking required. A garbage bag under the mat might have been better than a towel.
Also while I was sweating under all my layers, my body never really loosened up. It was, as predicted, about 55 degrees in the cave. Talk about being conscious of your breaths, I could see mine.
If you squint with one eye, you can kind of see a cloud of steamy breath during this pose.
While there were tea lights and candles placed in various nooks and crannies, at no point did the the glaring overhead spotlights dim or go out. I was really hoping that at least during Shavasana, we could just relax by candlelight. I’m assuming it was a safety issue and there was no turning them out, but, damn, that would have been cool.
Of all my adventures so far, this is one that I would probably not repeat unless another adventure buddy really wanted to try it. I don’t mind getting dirty and I’m certainly glad I tried it, but it was not the most comfortable yoga experience I’ve ever had.
Although their positioning for this one was pretty hilarious.
Birdie was as obsessed with sniffing the pumpkin cat’s butthole as she is with sniffing everybody else’s.
I tried keeping my models a little hungry, but added in some catnip and strategically placed treats. That backfired.
Olivia sort of participated, but her eyes ask, “What the cat shit are we doing? And when’s dinner?”
I knew I had waited too long to buy pumpkins when I found that someone appeared to practically be living in them. The cashier told me that they had live-trapped a raccoon in the garden center that week. My concern, of course, was the two cats that roam the store. Everybody’s okay though including the raccoon.
Halloween snuck up on me. I realized the weekend before that I hadn’t even thought about carving pumpkins which is something I really enjoy doing. Life skills: gourd art. Typically, I steer clear of anything that seems to originate in the evil realm of Pinterest, but I did see this idea online and …well…it’s my life.
Successful pumpkin carving requires good Halloween based shows or movies although there was a point when I really wondered if I should be holding a knife and watching something with so many “jump scares.” I made it through the extended “Murder House” episode of American Horror Story’s latest season. Not bad in terms of jumpiness, but I am definitely being bullied by “mean girls” in my class that are annoyed that I am always an episode or two behind them. They want to talk about it now! They are not going to be happy to hear that my DVR shit itself last Wednesday and didn’t even record the next episode.
Since Halloween seems to be the only horror movie that any channel will air, I headed to Netflix. I’ve seen all the variations of House on Haunted Hill and read the related Shirley Jackson book, so I was drawn to a new series The Haunting of Hill House. Holy. Fucking. Shit.
Don’t watch this with a pumpkin carving knife in your hand. Do watch it alone on your couch in the dark. I only lasted two episodes that night because it was late, and because episode 2 had me sobbing to a point my stomach hurt. Warning: box of haunted dead kittens.
***Side note: This isn’t just a cat thing. I HATE it when the horror genre brings in animals, whether it’s the family’s pet or just a random stray who wanders on screen or that fucking horse in season 5 of The Walking Dead. It is always gruesome, upsetting, and completely unnecessary to the plot line. Stephen King, I’m lookin’ at you too.
Most of my usual work supervisors went to bed although I was able to pique Birdie and Olivia’s interest with some strategically placed treats. I may have to try again for our usual cats vs. pumpkins photo shoot.
My favorite photo is the tongue action in this shot. Happy Halloween!
I can’t stop crying. She just keeps quoting Samuel L. Jackson something about striking me down with furious anger.
Do you mean FUR-ious anger, Bird?
The internet is telling me that today is National Black Cat Day even though I feel like we JUST got through the festivities of National Black Cat Appreciation Day. Before you know it, Hug Your Cat Day will be upon us! If I didn’t know my own felines better, I might suspect that there was an organized group of cats making shit up.
This face says, “I deserve ALL the days.” I completely agree with my handsome man.
However this smirky smile is his normal nonsense go-to look.
Pretending to be a 14 pound, 10-year-old kitten is even more normal. It’s always his day.