Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day at The Pilates Studio

For me Veteran’s day has always been about honoring my dad.  He was an air force pilot.   My childhood was filled with stories that led to life lessons. They were real life parables if you will.  From these stories I learned to be honest when you make a mistake., that it’s always better to stand up for yourself, and as long as you are working hard and honestly things will be okay.  In high school I commandeered the hat from his flight uniform because I thought it was fashionable.  I grew up knowing that my dad was a pilot and I thought that was awesome!

When I was 17 my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Which brings me to the reason that I’m writing about my dad on the Pilates Studio’s blog…Throughout my entire adult life I have watched a horrible disease rob my dad of his strength and agility.  I have also witnessed the strength in his spirit, which persists in spite of his failing nervous system.  I have watched him work in physical therapy to maintain as much activity as he can.  This past month my parents came to stay with me for a few weeks.   I live on the second floor of a two family house, and it is an understatement to say that my   My couch is an old futon that can make the simple act of standing and sitting much less simple.   At one point during the visit, I was trying to help my dad turn around so that he could sit on the couch.  I had gone into professional cueing mode…”shift your weight to the right foot, let that foot root into the ground so that we can move the left, now shift your weight to the left foot…” My dad simply paused and said sweetly, “Shall we dance…” 
house was a challenge for my dad.

On another day I was trying to help my dad stand up.  This requires two hands and a good understanding of counterbalance.  I plant my feet and send my weight to the back of my body so that I can help dad stand…neither one of us thought to consider that I have wooden floors and that my dad was wearing socks.  The result was my dad and I finding the perfect point of counterbalance.  We were both holding hands with our toes touching, each of us in a squat with 90 degrees at the knees.  The only problem was that we were so perfectly counter balanced that we were no longer moving up or down.  We were still like statues.  I believe we both realized the problem at the same time because we caught each other’s eye and burst out laughing.  And then had to call my mom for help because well we couldn’t move. 

It just so happened during their visit a past roommate of mine visited, and we were able to reminisce about a previous visit of my parents which included installing a dryer tube.  The process which included my dad using his own skills in counterbalance to hang Nancy out the window by her ankle.  By the time I got home from work, it was all a funny story to which I could only say, “Nancy, he’s not too steady…”   

With all of these stories, I want to show the spirit of my dad…His life is hard, harder than a lot of people but he still finds time to laugh and be jolly.  He also understands to importance of movement.  Below you’ll find a video of my neighbor and I (it takes a village) moving with my dad.  Recently he has been doing Lee Silverman Voice Treatment, and we had a blast doing “The Bigs”

The lesson here: No matter what life throws at you keep moving!

Katrina Hawley C.M.A – PMA ® CPT
Director of instruction at The Pilates Studio

Floyd Hawley (My dad) wrote the following:

The Shaky Monkey

I have this nemesis I’ve acquired.
He’s every where I go
He tries to help me with my life
But he is very slow

He tries to help with morning chores
It’s sometimes quite un-nerving
Ten years he’s always done his best
It isn’t too disturbing

He travels with me everywhere
To points throughout the nation.
And many people never see
His disturbing vibrations

Sometimes I wish he’d go away
But that is just a whim
He’d never make it on his own
He’d probably take me with him

“It could be worse” I tell myself
I am well medicated
I can still accomplish things
If I stay dedicated

My monkey doesn’t drink or smoke
He’s not a party hack
Some would conclude he’s not much trouble
But he’s always on my back.


  1. I now understand where you got your incredibly positive outlook and your cheerful demeanor, Katrina. Your dad is an inspiration, and so are you! Thank-you for sharing.... Joan Pack, your humble student

  2. Katrina,

    I burst out crying-- while managing a rubbery smile-- after reading your blog and during the video of you and your dad shouting: "Out big! Up big! Down big!" I surprised myself. Why would this sweet video make me cry? And then, of course, I knew. The whole story, from beginning to end, is about Big Love. And watching the video and hearing you all shout and reach together underlined that theme for all of us who read your words and watch you in your Life's Work. Up Big! Down Big! Out Big! Love Big. Thank you...

  3. SWEET!! What a beautiful story. My favorite part is "Shall we dance?" Thank you.

  4. Me and my friend were arguing about an issue similar to this! Now I know that I was right. lol! Thanks for the information you post.

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