Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 144: Keyed Up

Concerned that I might doze off during my childbirth class tonight, I purchased myself a Venti Hazelnut Iced Coffee with Light Ice and Cream at Starbucks.

At 6:50 p.m.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

And, for the most part, it was.  I was pepped up through class, had a great time with my buddies at the cafe afterwards (including one of my favorite girlfriends who is finally home from studying abroad last semester), and I had plenty of energy to go back and help clean the dojang and squeeze in some extra practice after that.

Middle and I got the sparring and grappling practice we needed for the test Saturday, which was great for me with her as a partner and the guru (who coaches wrestling and dabbles in Brazilian jujitsu) coaching me. 

It was exhilarating.

On the downside, while doing some energetic, light-contact sparring before we left, my left index and middle finger got jammed and are now beginning to swell up.

Just as my right thumb was starting to feel better from a similar injury a few weeks ago. 

Did I mention the test is Saturday? Sigh...

At least the pain in my fingers will take my mind off the thumb, which suddenly seems like no big deal at all.

So now it's late, I'm home icing my fingers, knowing I should sleep, but still metabolizing the caffeine and adrenaline I've accumulated over the last few hours. 

I'm excited for my test.  Nervous, but excited.  The guru paired with me during the mock test today and said I did much better.  He worked with me tonight on making my side kicks look sharper.  He also demonstrated the next longstick forms I'll be learning for my red stripe and black belt tests.  It sounds like the longstick and I will become good friends over the next year or so.

An interesting side note - while we were sparring, my girlfriend must have noticed the recent improvement I've made - she asked me why I wasn't on the competition team!  I laughed and said it was just for the kids and teens, and she reminded me that she and some of the other college students were on it too.  Savageman has been encouraging me to compete for a while, but it was something else entirely to hear it from a highly-admired second-degree black belt.  (I'll still give him credit for the idea if I wind up trying it.)  Even the guru, who I consider something of a purist, agrees that competition can really help with sharpening skills.

Something to consider when I'm not so caffeinated....

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 143: Taking Stock

Three days and counting.

We didn't get to go in as early as usual today, but the time we spent before kickboxing was useful.  My guru went over three-step fighting techniques with me, which I hadn't done in a while, so that was good.  During class, one of the female sabumnims went through my other fighting techniques with me in both attack stance and defense stance, and I was able to tweak some of those as well.  After class, I practiced all my hapkido with an older teen black belt, who let me throw him around as much as I wanted, which was great.

All much-needed and much-appreciated stuff.

So I feel ready, at least material-wise.  There are some things I won't get to prepare for - like sparring two or more black belts at once - I'll just have to trust that my training and endurance will be enough to get me through that part. Ditto for any grappling that may be required.

It occurred to me that it's been a while since I've taken the time to focus on the blessings in my life for which I am so grateful. These include:

Savageman and my boys, who inspire and challenge me and keep life interesting
My parents, who are always there to jump in when we need them
My friends, who are loyal and fun and who love and support each other in so many ways
My teachers and the dojang community
A strong and healthy body
A part-time job I love which has helped keep us afloat
The feedom and flexibility homeschooling has given us
A home to live in, cars to transport us, healthy food and clean water
Entertaining and affectionate pets
Having the woods and the creek and such beautiful natural surroundings at our disposal
Having the time to enjoy these things
Summer fun, cookouts, camping and pool time ahead
The kids' ninja friends, especially my surrogate daughters
Good books to read, good movies to watch, good recipes to try
Time to breathe, relax and appreciate it all

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Day 142: I Didn't Go To Work Today

... and it was Weird.

I didn't have to get dressed up.  My morning coffee was enjoyed from a ceramic mug instead of a travel mug.  I didn't have to put makeup on or pack a bar or banana in my briefcase.

I guess I was getting used to it.

As it turned out, I got a lot of stuff done here at home that I had been neglecting.  Mainly homeschooling stuff.  Got Little's end-of-year conference done and Middle's evaluation scheduled.

Middle finished his black belt paper.  Little did a chunk of history.

Laundry, dishes, compost, and a million other little things - done.

At karate, we had the first of a string of mock tests at the end of class.  I hate them, but it's good that we do them.  This way, we get all the nervous mistakes out of the way before our real test.  True to form, I choked halfway through my best poomse.  Completely choked.  Stood there, bewildered, while my buddy accidentally kicked me in the head because I was in his way.  I fumbled through the rest of it, as well as the rest of the test, and slunk out to change for kickboxing.

I practiced it again tonight with the guru, this time while saying the numbers and actions.  Better to have it memorized in two places in my brain, not just one.

There will be four more of these mock tests for me between now and Saturday.  Hopefully my performance will get progressively better and not worse.  The countdown has begun.

Putting red polish on my toenails.  :-)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Day 140: Bakin' with Bacon

Middle had Teen Ninja Girl and the guru over today for some quality baking time.

The project: an apple pie topped with bacon. 

It sounds kind of awful, but it was really amazing. 

Secret ingredient (besides the bacon):  Crushed up cinnamon Pop Tarts mixed in with the apples.

It's less than a week until our test, so we headed in for a few hours of extra practice.  While I worked in one room on perfecting my 36 Taekwondo actions, the three of them worked in the other room on all of Middle's black belt material. 

A good, productive day all around...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 139: Road Trip

Took the whole family to Brooklyn today to see Savageman's family.

It was a long day, and a long time in the car, but it was good to see our relatives and for the kids to play with their younger cousins. 

Middle took some creative pictures while we were there:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 137: Lean and Mean

I got on the scale today.

It seems that, between all the extra karate practice, the wearing of ankle weights around the house, and my work schedule of the last two weeks, I'm back down to my skinny-two-summers-ago weight.

There's a hint of a six-pack emerging in my abdominal region.  :-)

It kind of makes sense.  I've been getting up for work, having coffee and allergy medicine, working until after lunch, scarfing down a Cliff Builder bar and / or a banana while I'm scoring or driving home, then spending several hours at karate and kickboxing, only to arrive home too late for anything more than a snack. 

Being lighter has its advantages, besides just looking nice.  Tonight I pumped out the burpees like they were nothing. 

I'm feeling strong. 

Looking forward to sparring tomorrow and the final week of prep for my red belt test.

Loving the way I feel right now.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day 135: He's Back...

The Teen returned to the dojang today.  He watched while Middle and I took the afternoon class, then took the cardio kickboxing class with us.

For someone who isn't used to this level of torture, he hung in there pretty well.  I encouraged him to pair up with a female ex-boxer who I knew would give him a strong workout and they both seemed to enjoy it.  He did as much of the pushups, crunches and burpees as he could, and by the end of class he was just as soaking wet as the rest of us.

I was really proud of him.  I'm sure it was hard for him to come back after being away for so long and after gaining so much weight, but everyone was happy to see him and made him feel welcome, which I'm sure really helped.

Tonight I will alter his gi for him and sew his patches on.  Hopefully his new belt will be waiting for him when he gets there Thursday.

Good to see him taking this positive step.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 134: New Routine

I've been working.

4 days last week, at least 3 days this week.  So far.

I'm starting to get used to it. 

I get up as Savageman and the Teen are leaving for the high school at about 7:30.  I get dressed and ready then get the neighbor kids on their bus at 8:30.  Check email, do Home Management stuff.  I leave for work at 9 and arrive by 9:15.  I get my tests ready to go, make copies of anything I'm running low on, sharpen pencils and wait for my patient's clinical interview to be over.

I do the testing and score the tests.

Then it's home, catching up on what's been going on there, getting things done, getting the place cleaned up.

Then we're off to the dojang for the rest of the night if it's Monday, Wednesday or Friday.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have other responsibilities as well, but we still reconvene at the cafe by 8:30 or 9 on those nights for some social time and Karate Nerd conversation.

Tonight was Teen Ninja Girl's birthday, so we stayed late and had cake and a Candied-Bacon-Topped Apple Pie that Middle prepared for her.  Much fun.

The only thing I miss?  Staying up late and watching a movie with Savageman.  I could, but I want to be sharp for work in the morning, so I don't.  We read instead.  For about 10 minutes.

It's different... but it's been working.  If I needed to do it full-time, I probably could.

But I'm hoping I won't have to.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 132: More Demo Fun

Another Demo today for the Team - this time at Armed Forces Day on City Island.

Six hours, five performances, all outdoors in the sun. 

They were hot.  They were tired.  Half of the teens (mine included) had done sleepovers last night where they had not slept. 

They still looked great.

Very proud of all of them - they work so hard at this, and it really shows.

From there, we headed for Greek Fest, where the dojang family relaxed in the shade and feasted on amazing Greek food to the sound of Greek festival music.

On the way home, the ninjas in my car started to doze.  At home, Middle passed out on the couch for a while next to me and Teen Ninja Girl.  He was snoring.

When we finally revived him, he went out to the back porch, dumped a bucket of ice water on his head, and we hit the grocery store for cookie ingredients. 

They're watching a movie with Little now.

Life is good.