Thursday, May 02, 2013

Trip North 2013 Part Two

Friday morning my mother and I were on our way. I was up for hours beforehand, having not slept well. My salvation that morning came in the form of my mother’s Keurig. Easy for me to make myself a cup of much-needed coffee. My mother carries a lot of guilt for owning this coffee maker but it is the only way she can make a decent cup of coffee so she lives with the environmentally-unfriendly use of this machine. Given her decades of recycling and organic eating, I think the planet will forgive.

The handyman doing the work in the kitchen actually arrived before my mother and/or Larry were up. I heard him come in and assumed my mother was moving about. They woke up shortly afterwards, in a frenzy because Larry had to drive to the city. So while my mother made his breakfast, I went back to the guest room and waited. I tend to withdraw in the morning because I know none of us are morning people and my being awake for hours means I’m more than a little awake and ready for the day while others are still tumbling around. Better for one and all if I just stay out of the way a bit longer.

Shortly after Larry left, my mother and I followed suit, heading to Kripalu. My mother had a cd she wanted to listen to on the drive and I was responsible for figuring out how to get the cd player to work in her BMW. Easier said than done, frankly. The thing has so many buttons and bells. As if that weren’t bad enough, it can hold several cds so you have to pick a slot.  I managed to get the cd into the player and we were good to go.
For those of you not familiar with Harry Nilsson, he had a 3.5 octave range and was admired by the Beatles. You may have never “heard of him” but you’ve heard him, believe me. His music is ubiquitous. So there we were, driving along, and on comes The Puppy Song. I fought not to sniffle or cry but it was not easy. My mother reached to fast-forward the cd past this one song but there was no point. The next song Without You is about the end of a relationship which was then followed by the song Me and My Arrow, a song about a boy and his dog, Arrow.  Really?  Could they have designed a more emotionally overwrought string of songs for me?  Possibly but I’m glad they didn’t have a fourth song to tug at my heartstrings.  I was really glad my mother had a box of tissues in her car.

We arrived at Kripalu before our rooms were ready but they have an arrangement where you can put your luggage in a common, albeit unlocked, room.  My mother and I left a couple of our bags in there but she kept her laptop bag in the car. We did not think through how to do this, however. We drove the car to the parking area and then lugged our bags back up to the building, a process that included carrying things up a flight of outdoor stairs. Some young women offered to help my mother but she politely refused the help.

Image found here.
Then she took a scary tumble. You know how you sometimes take one too many steps going up a flight of stairs and you sort of lose your balance?  Well, she had this suitcase on wheels (small enough to be carry-on for a flight) and the suitcase caused her to topple over, slamming hard into the ground.  Thankfully she didn’t hurt her knee or her hip but she landed on her hand and her left hand ring finger was purple and swollen for the rest of the trip.

Thankfully the young women who had offered to help were present, helped my mother to stand and insisted on helping her with her luggage, refusing to let her refuse.

We could have carried the bulkier ones in with us when we checked in.  Now we know better. While we waited for our rooms to be ready, we went to the gift shop, one of our usual first stops. We like to window shop a bit before we make any decisions. Then we went to the café for a cup of real coffee. Omega does the same thing, offering the real stuff at their café, which is a smart move. Don’t want your guests getting cranky and jittery from withdrawal. Black tea aside, if you're a coffee addict, nothing else will do.

I actually drank more coffee while at Kripalu than anywhere else.

Image found here.
Our rooms were eventually ready and they were nice, simple. Mine even had a small table and a nice sized bathroom. These were the most luxurious accommodations as many rooms do not have a separate bathroom.

We then went to dinner. The food was very gratifying and you can find some recipes on the Kripalu website. They try to allow for a variety of dietary needs. One long buffet offers meat and another the same length offers vegetarian. A smaller side-bar offers sandwiches, in case you don’t find the evening’s fair to your taste, that includes a Panini grill. As if that were enough, there’s even a “Buddha Bar” with vegan choices.  So really, there was enough variety. 

Image found here.
After a few days, I noticed a trend in the meals. The menu would be somewhat thematic so, aside from the vegan bar where the food was simple (brown rice, miso soup, dhal, curried vegetables, etc.), the main meals could be Mexican inspired or Italian or Mediterranean.  Breakfast, however, was less international.  Sure there was poached eggs rancheros but mostly it was pancakes and really delicious scones.  I can’t believe I only had one ginger scone. Lesson learned yet again—when they serve ginger scones, I’m not having any oatmeal.  I tried cream of quinoa. I was not impressed.

I was impressed, however, by the fact that breakfast is eaten in silence allowing for a mindful eating experience. One can actually do this at any time during the visit because a small room is made available across from the main eating area for those who are enjoying a silent retreat. I hate to say, however, that one morning for breakfast we were sitting not far from a table where some of the volunteers were sitting at their table, whispering and giggling. I don't think my mother noticed or heard although I noticed that thereafter we decided to eat in a different part of the large dining space.

After our first fully satisfying meal at Kripalu, we headed to the first session of the workshop but I’ll save that for the next, very likely longer, post.


  1. Thank goodness your mother's okay! Off to Google Kripalu!

    1. I know! I left out a funny little detail that I'll flesh out in another post about the trip. Irony is always fun.