Saturday, September 26, 2009

I Freaked Out

It was a great class yesterday morning. We worked on olympic sparring technique only and it was great. It's hard, it's confusing and it required all of my mental and physical focus but it was so great. Then, we sparred for the last 5 minutes. I caught 2 decent kicks to the solar plexus, lost a little breath and then panicked. My throat started closing up and I realized that while I was fine physically, mentally I was freaked and just that realization caused the panic to worsen. I couldn't breathe. The more I thought about the fact that I couldn't breathe, the worse the constriction in my throat became. My breath became a whistle as I paced the studio, trying to regain control.
'Ki-hap loud!' the master commanded. And I did. A ki-hap that started from the tips of my toes and blasted out the top of my head. I instantly felt better but the panic was back within an instant. I did another ki-hap. And another. And another. Each one loud and raw. I heard someone say wow. One more and finally, finally I was able to get control of my breathing. I let the Master know that I was ok. He called me over to face my partner, ordered us to fighting stance, and I waited for him to say 'begin' but he didn't. He let us stand there, facing each other, ready to fight, and then he said stop. We came to attention, bowed and shook hands. He just wanted to make sure I'd come back to fight.
In that moment, I wasn't really sure what triggered it. It was like the panic that I experienced the first time I sparred, times 100. I mean, I know it's fear but I don't know what specific fear it is. I've been playing it over and over in my head. I think it was because I was frustrated that I wasn't sparring well, that I hadn't internalized the new technique that I just learned, that I seemed to have forgotten all the technique I had learned to date.
Master strongly urged me to go to sparring class last night. Push through the panic. He doesn't want me to quit and after the morning's episode, I'm sure he thought it was a possibility. I have no intention of quitting, though. There is just too much that I love about it to let one bad day of sparring get to me.
I went to the sparring class and didn't have any panic episodes. On the other hand, I did have moments of thinking I was going to throw up and/or pass out but that was just from sheer exertion, not panic. I got kicked in the head and punched a lot but I never panicked and I never got knocked down. I also realized that I'm still relying far too heavily on my round house kick and not doing nearly enough combinations. I really need to give myself a break though. It's only been 10 months and I've already progressed very quickly. I need to relax, I know. And breathe.

Today though, I tested for my blue belt, which was awesome, and I drove home feeling proud and confident and exhausted. And one belt closer to black.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Have you Wordled?

Values


Wordle: Values


Image courtesy of http://wordle.net/

Words by me.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

IMG00060-20090920-1609.jpg

Meet Wolfie - the newest member of our family.

Cats make the best fighters

I crawled back into bed and slowly stretched my legs to the end, pushing gently against the weight of a small, warm animal which had burrowed itself under the covers during my absence. It must be Peaches, I thought, my sleepy subconscious ignoring the fact that she died 2 years ago. It began moving then and crawled towards the pillows, poking it's head from between the sheet and blanket, it sat on my chest and looked at me. It was a black cat with white paws and white on it's chest. I said to it, "you're not Peaches". And it replied, "No, Peaches doesn't live here anymore. Now I do." I said, "No, you don't" and made a move to push the cat off the bed, not thinking it at all strange that it spoke to me. Before I could move it though, it said, "You know, cats make the best fighters" and it tried to pin me with it's front paws. I countered and managed to grab his front legs. I said, "Cats may be good fighters but you're still just a cat. I can take you." I sat up and picked him up by the scruff of his neck and carried him to the back door. When I opened the door, Peaches stuck her head out of a hole in the deck and looked at me with relief.

Then I woke up.

Yeah, I had a really good time last night.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I Got Skillz

Check out my mad photoshop skillz:
Before:


After:
Photoshop: it's eye opening.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dean's Bike Ride

I think I forgot to mention that Dean learned how to ride a bike without training wheels.
Witness: video

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Chinese Lanterns


Look up at the sky
Feel the sun warm your skin
Breathe deeply
Everything's going to be alright

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day Part II

Well, look at me back in my favorite chair with my feet up on my ottoman.

It was a great day. We took Layne and Paula down to Chinatown to introduce Layne to Dim Sum. I had forgotten how they don't even wait for you to sit before they offer a tin of this and a plate of that. To the uninitiated it can be quite intimidating. But Layne rolls with the punches and soon our table was full of interesting things, mostly filled with shrimp as it would turn out. There was fried shrimp with sugar cane, rice balls filled with shrimp, spring rolls with shrimp, honeyed shrimp and walnuts, fried wontons filled with shrimp and a platter of fried prawns whose black eyes stared right through me. We also had pork bao and chicken bao and some other chicken dish which I can't begin to explain except to say that it tasted good and I wouldn't want to know which parts of the chicken were used. We used chopsticks, even the boys, and nothing went flying across the room (miraculously) though one of the chopsticks was broken in half. After we filled our bellies, we browsed the shop, marveled at the delicate plates, bowls and cups, turned our noses up at unfamiliar fare (like mung beans - what is that?), and sampled the teas until we finally felt like we'd tested fate enough with having two six year olds in a china shop, and left. On our way back to the car we bought some snap pops for Jack (little explosives that you throw onto the sidewalk) and a fan for Dean. We took the long way home and showed Paula and Layne around downtown Los Angeles. Through the industrial area, a quick (very quick) foray into East LA, circled back through the garment district, the fashion district, past the Convention Center and the Staples Center, through the jewelry district and the historic district and closed the loop back at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Then onto the freeway where we headed for Burbank to drive by my office and have some ice cream in Downtown Burbank.

They left shortly after we returned home and the rest of the evening was spent with the boys and I at the table putting together the legos (a gift from Paula and Layne). Tomorrow is the last day of summer vacation for the boys and then it's back to school. I am ready for fall, craving crisp air and crunchy leaves, sweaters and boots (though I don't know how I'd get my swollen feet into them), frost on the grass and roof tops. There's something about the transition to 'back to school' that makes me long for the fall.

Then again, I was at the beach just yesterday and already mourning the loss of summer so, there ya go.

Labor Day

I am sitting in my favorite chair with my feet up on my favorite ottoman, an ice pack wrapped around my right foot in an effort to stave off more swelling, more bruising on an already swollen and bruised foot. My body is humming still from this morning's effort, my face relaxed and rosy and happy. Tom came to the studio with us this morning to watch the boys on their last day of training with Master Dylan. They go back to school on Wednesday and will no longer be able to be in class with me. It is good and bad. I am happy to get back to our regular adult dynamic in the morning with adult-level focus. But I have enjoyed watching the boys challenge themselves and learn something new. They demonstrated excellent focus and discipline this morning which made me especially proud.

Five more minutes of ice and then I must get up to start some laundry and clean up the house. My uncle is driving up today with his fiancee and I'm looking forward to a nice relaxing visit.

Happy Labor Day.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Boys' Treasures

Boys, I am discovering, love to collect things. Girls probably do too though I imagine that they collect things which are shinier and, as a general rule, smell better. But I'm not raising girls.

I am doing laundry this morning and that is when I find most of the collections. Sometimes, if I've mistakenly assumed that they've emptied their pockets, I find them at the bottom of the washer. Almost every weekend I narrowly escape clothing disaster just by pure luck of the laundry gods. There is no reason why a jagged piece of glass just managed to stay at the bottom of the washer without first slashing through my favorite Gap peasant blouse. I used to separate my clothes from the boys' clothes but then I got lazy and California decided to have a water shortage so now I combine them and go through the pockets as diligently as possible. Still, in the first load of the day I found 2 dimes and a key. I'm thrilled about the 2 dimes because kids are expensive and I can use every cent I find. The key is a mystery. It is not a standard key and I have no idea to what lock it opens. I checked the pockets but somehow missed these little treasures. I did find 2 bakugan balls, some sand encrusted legos, some sort of miniature circuit thingy and the clip of a pen. Then I went for the backpacks. Dean's contained nothing of note: a couple of books, his Dodger monkey and a few rocks. Jack's on the other hand, contained a packet of marigold seeds, a rusty screw and a roll of industrial tape. Hmmmm, what is he plotting?