Stuff's getting better.
After a week of back exercises and forcing myself to consistently stand up straight, then five (I kid you not) five hours Sunday of nothing but taekwondo actions and two of my most basic forms, I felt something beginning to click. I'm looking better.
Part of it was finding the balance between relaxation and tension. In recent weeks, with my enthusiasm to do everything with more power, I have been tense all over, the whole way through a form. The Master encouraged me to think about snapping a chain - muscles more relaxed up until the block or strike itself. This idea, combined with some observations and suggestions the guru has made while home on break, led me to drill the taekwondo actions with more dynamics - relaxed, firm, relaxed, firm - until it started to feel natural to do them this way. The basic forms are built of these individual actions - and doing them like this, along with maintaining strong, straight posture - made everything look and feel much better. I was happy with the progress, and with the feedback I got yesterday.
More importantly, the problems and frustrations I've been having are starting to feel less overwhelming. I've resigned myself to the fact that it will take years - decades, even - to begin to master the vast amount of material we've covered. But at least for now, I have a handle on what is required at this particular point, to get off this particular plateau. I have specific goals to work on that will make me better. Problems have been identified and I know what I need to do toward solving them. Putting in the hours to do it is sometimes the easy part.
My work / financial situation is also better. As much as I hated middle school as a student, I love it as a teacher. I taught 7th grade English last week, 6th grade English / Social Studies today, and tomorrow I have 7th grade Science. Definitely looking forward to that. Savageman thinks I'm very brave, but honestly, most of the time I'm grinning to myself, thrilled that I have the good fortune to actually be paid to do this. Today, I spent two periods watching a movie, and two more (plus lunch) in planning / free periods reading by myself. It was the most peace and quiet I can remember having in a long time. In the 4 other periods, the kids were generally good and did what was asked of them. It's a good age - they are old enough to be somewhat self-sufficient, but young enough to still (usually) respect authority. I hope we're doing something cool tomorrow in science.
Savageman seems to better enjoy his role as house-husband. Today, I came home to a clean house, laundry done, dishes done, doctor appointments made and/or rescheduled, and kids driven to physical therapy and religion class. Maybe tomorrow I can get him to cook and pay bills. That would be awesome.
Finally, the kids are doing better. Tonight, the Teen had two basketball games and Middle had an orchestra concert at school, and we managed to juggle all that with the help of the grandparents. I was tickled to hear Middle perform - he's new at the violin and still can't play very well, so he was given a tambourine and a wood block. He rocked on extra percussion and likely faked the pieces in which he had his violin. He hadn't been too sure about participating in this concert, but we were all very proud of him.
The Teen has a new girlfriend (they made it "facebook official" today) who is smart and sweet and fun and nothing like the other girls he's brought home. We had a nice family evening with her last night. He's determined to lose weight and he's actually studying (a little) for his midterms. It's progress, it's a glimmer of maturity, and I'll take it.
I'd like to say something about Little as well, but he's just his usual sweet self. Which is enough for me.
And I'm beat. The phone starts to ring with sub calls at 5:30 a.m. if I haven't taken an assignment before bed. 5:30 is okay if I go to bed at 10. But that never happens - 1 a.m. is more often the case. Savageman has LOTR on and is waiting to rub my feet, so I'm going to join him before I turn into a pumpkin. At least I already have a job tomorrow and won't be getting those early calls.
It's been a good couple of days.