Student Spotlight: Terrie Larsen

Hello friends.  My name is Terrie Larsen, and I live in Windsor Heights with my husband of 41 years.  We have three adult children and four grandchildren. I have a degree from Iowa State in Interior design and attended a one-year drafting program at DMACC.  I started my career drafting commercial buildings in an architectural firm, but I realized that commercial construction was not my cup of tea.  When we moved to Wisconsin, I began working for an architect that drew house plans and learned a lot.  We moved back to Iowa in 1984, and I began designing kitchen and bathroom remodels. This led to finishing basements and additions.  

In my 40-year career, I have drawn about 10 new house plans, but I have always preferred remodeling.  There was nothing more rewarding for me than having a client exclaim, “I never would have thought of that.”

My fitness journey has been sporadic.  I started jogging after my first child was born.  That continued for many years but only during the months with weather above 25 degrees.  When the temperature dipped below that I became a couch potato.  Around 1995 I purchased a treadmill and began jogging year-round.   However, that ended when I got a serious case of plantar fasciitis. 

I also suffered from bad upper back pain for years and went through many visits to a chiropractor, a physical therapist, and an acupuncturist.   My chiropractor recommended yoga.  I had taken a class in the late 80s and enjoyed it enough to purchase a video I practiced with for a few years.  That had lapsed, but I was attending Plymouth Church and saw there was a class on Monday nights. I signed up and have been with practicing with Mary ever since.  The great part was that for the first time in years my upper back quit hurting.  I ran into my chiropractor a couple of years after I started with Mary, and he asked where I had been.  I told him I started yoga, and his reply was, “I told you…”

My back demands I continue with yoga, so I can continue with activities I enjoy. One of the activities I really enjoy is cycling. My husband has been an avid bicyclist forever. I had always wanted to give it a try but could not ride the bikes that make you lean over the handlebars. They made my back hurt worse, especially after spending hours leaning over a drafting table. I decided to try cycling after moving to Des Moines in 2006. I purchased a “comfort” bike that kept my posture more upright, and I started riding with my husband on occasion. He rides faster than I can maintain, so I got an E-Bike. It allows me to keep up with him, and even pass him on the hills!

I also enjoy gardening. Growing up on a farm, my mother always had a huge vegetable garden.  I don’t have her green thumb, but I do my best.  When we moved to Des Moines, I was able to spend a lot more time in our yard.  Our first yard was shady and full of hostas.  We now have a very sunny yard in Windsor Heights, and I have had to learn about sun-loving plants.  I have gone from leaning over a drafting table to leaning over to pull weeds. 

In 2020, I had to give up yoga for several weeks when I took a spill on my bike and broke my thumb.  I was so happy when I could return.  Luckily, it was when Mary was able to start her online classes.  Online worked well for me because no one could see me struggle with poses while my thumb completely healed.  One of my favorite classes is Strength and Balance – it has helped me a great deal with balance.  

My husband and I love to travel and have been lucky enough to visit England, Ireland, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Germany, The Czech Republic, Austria, Belize, and Costa Rica.  Our travels in 2021 included a one-week bike trip along the Danube River.  Our most recent adventure was in August of this year. We took our oldest grandchild to Iceland for 10 Days.  It was cool and rainy for most of the time, but since we left 95 degrees in Iowa, it felt pretty good.  It was very nice to connect with our grandson on a one-to-one basis.  Turns out he’s a pretty neat kid!

I am so grateful for all the wonderful people I have met in the past sixteen years in Des Moines.  We first met a community of dancers when we took ballroom dance classes.  We loved the swing dances: East Coast Swing, Collegiate Shag, Charleston, Lindy Hop, and our favorite, Balboa.  Unfortunately, we had to quit attending dances during Covid.  Yoga allowed me to meet a new wonderful community of people. I really enjoy seeing everyone before class.   It was great we didn’t have to stop meeting during covid with Mary’s online classes. 

I feel like I have had a blessed life.  I am still married to the same wonderful man, have three wonderful children, and four wonderful grandchildren.  I had a career that I loved and now in retirement, I seem to stay as busy as I was when I worked.  Life is good.

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