Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bless me Ed Begley Jr for I have sinned

     I wonder if there’s a 12 step program that can help me? I reduce, reuse and recycle. My offspring have been taking their waste mega penis, umm…I left my laptop unattended when I went into the kitchen to take my blueberry cake out of the oven and my 14 year old son added “mega penis”…so, where was I? Oh yes, my offspring have been taking their waste free lunches including cloth lunchbox sized napkins in awesome fabrics (made by me, let me know if you want a set *end shameless self promotion*) for years now, I bake, grow a fair amount of my own produce, shop locally, use only organic body products, etc. etc. etc. green goddess blah blah get to the point you crazy woman: I TAKE REALLY LONG SHOWERS!!

     There, I said it. Despite all of my efforts to be an environmentally responsible global citizen, I loooove taking long showers! I know it’s wrong, I do, and this summer, when it was warm and toasty in the house, I actually did the start/stop shower method where I turned off the water when I’m, well, not standing in it rinsing. But now that it’s a wee bit chilly, all that does is make shaving the goose bumps off my legs that much more painful. All of those green living books recommend keeping your showers around 5 minutes, no more than 10. Right. How am I supposed to exfoliate wash condition shave whathaveyou all my various and assorted bits and pieces in 5 minutes? Plus, I have some of my best ideas in the shower! Cutting down my time might thwart my creative flow and we can’t have that, can we? What to do? Anyone? Ideas?

   I have mentioned to my family on more than one occasion that I could benefit from a pool boy. It was then pointed out to me that I don’t have a pool *sad face*, so there went that dream of an extra set of hands to expedite my showering, or something like that. Now that I see that in print I suspect that a pool boy would have added more time to my shower ritual. Ok, back to the drawing board…

   Oh! I have a great idea! I should take a shower and see if I can think of a solution to my long shower addiction ☺

    What’s something you do that you know you shouldn’t?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

[un]common threads

     Today I finished embroidering the name on a stocking I sold over at my etsy shop. I taught myself to embroider through trial and error and that trademark fearlessness (insanity?) that has gotten me through most of my 41 years of life. Once I was finished stitching those 5 very important letters onto the pretty stocking, I held it out at arm's length to study my work. I don't have some fancy expensive embroidery machine, so the letters aren't exactly the same size and the spacing might be a wee bit left of perfect, but I do put something into each stitch that a big fancy computer programmed embroidery machine can't, I put my heart, love and soul into it. Sure, maybe that sounds schmucky, but if you've ever made something with your own hands, you probably  understand what I mean. At first I worried that maybe the hand work looked dorky and amateurish, but after letting the stocking hang where I could see it for a few hours, I think it's truly magical. Magic that I made and someone else saw and wanted to buy. That's a great feeling.
     In an age of devices, convenience, mass marketing, outsourcing, and an insane need to have everything done immediately if not sooner, taking the time to do work by hand despite the fact that there are several machines available for purchase that will do the work for me might seem like a ridiculous waste of time. For me, it's kind of like writing letters to friends, it's a lost art in need of revival and I am proud to be one of those deeply entrenched in a community of crafters & artists devoted to keeping this art alive.
    Admittedly, without devices of electronic convenience, I wouldn't be typing this on my laptop for your nearly immediate reading pleasure. I'm not bashing all modern conveniences and implying that I want to live an Amish existence. I have grown rather fond of my little smart phone and shiny new laptop with all the letters still on the keys. I do like wandering around a shopping center once in a while looking for things I'm convinced I could make better. And...I even enjoy the occasional meal of take out food! (Shocked? Get used to it, won't be the first time!) As much as I'd love to live on and feed my family from my own sustainable, Eco-friendly, organic farm, I live in a Stepford like master planned community (but I do manage to grow a fair amount of my own fruits, herbs, veggies &  5 varieties of very very hot peppers in my suburban back yard!) Most days, I'm designing and creating with the din of explosions and chaos coming from an X-box being played at a brain addling volume on the obscenely large television my spouse just had to purchase, but despite all that, my hands are happiest when they are making something nifty.
     What's your favorite way to shun technology?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Go Ninja Go Ninja Go!

     What a crazy exciting wonderful weekend it has been! Yesterday I was up at the world headquarters for my form of Karate testing for my 2nd kyu, in plain English, that is the 2nd level of brown belt putting me one test away from my blackbelt test. When I woke up yesterday morning, it was the first time since my very first test for rank that I was nervous. I wasn't just nervous, I was chills and nausea kind of nervous, which is a very very rare thing for me. I don't know why this test was different from the others, maybe because as you inch ever closer to blackbelt you know the expectations are so much higher? Maybe because I'm 41 and competitive martial arts are really more of a young person's sport and I did get a little bit of a late start in my karate career? Who knows? In any case, I sacked up and went for it.
     As fate would have it, I was again the only woman testing in my group and I was called up first, and alone! There I stood, all 5'3" of me feeling like I was 15 feet tall standing proudly in front of the head of my form, a grandmaster blackbelt and karate legend, and a panel of esteemed blackbelts who's sole purpose is to watch every single move I make(hoping I have them all convinced that I'm a bad ass!). Demura sensei tells me to call my kata, and in keeping with my streak of insanity, I aimed high and called the most advanced kata I know. 47 moves later I finished and I didn't make any mistakes! *whew!* After that, the nerves faded and the nausea went away and the rest of my test was much less stressful. I won't have results for, well, it could be the end of the month or it could be the end of the year...but even if I didn't pass this time, I know I gave it my all.
     A few hours after I got home and showered, the head to toe muscle aches began setting in. You don't realize how hard you're working when the adrenaline is coursing through every cell in your body, but after kata, basics, one point and free sparring, my body was tired! Ugh, don't you hate those moments where you're reminded that you aren't 20 anymore? The most ambitious thing I felt like doing was curling up with my blanket and a stack of magazines, so there I was, doing nothing in abundance when my cell chirped. Hmmm, an e-mail, let's investigate. What a great surprise to see that the universe rewarded my hard work with my first etsy sale! Whee! A good day just got even better! I think, in that moment, my grin could be seen from space. Usually it's my hair that can be seen from space.
    This is a long post, but I'm excited, so feel free to go get a snack and stretch before I finish, I'll wait...
    OK, we're back. To recap, testing, etsy sale, today...Everyone still with me? Today my son & I were competing in a karate tournament, both of us entered in kata and free sparring events. My son was pleased that for this tournament he was at the top of his age division, that's a good thing for a teenage boy. This is his 17th tournament, so he's seen all kinds of fighting styles and all that good stuff. I'll just get right to the facts: He took home the gold medal for kata and a bronze medal in free sparring, victories made more impressive by the fact that he beat out red belts, which are Jr black belts in our style (our style doesn't give black belts to students under 18, kids don't understand the honor & responsibility that goes with being a blackbelt), to earn that gold medal. For free sparring he got moved up an age division because of a 7'' growth spurt over the last year that made him taller that all the kids his age, so he went up against a 16 year old red belt for the semis and finished 3rd. I am so proud I could burst!
    I earned silver medals for both of my events, losing my sparring match in a most amusing way. My son's kata event was doing their medal ceremony when I was fighting and when I heard his name called for the gold medal, I turned my head to look. In that split second, my opponent smiled at me just before she kicked me in the head. I didn't care, I'll take the kick to see my boy leaning in to receive his first gold medal. It's tough to switch back & forth between fighter and mom, but I will always be mom first. Once again, my grin can be seen from outer space.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My hook kick brings all the boys to the yard

     Karatepalooza has kept me away from both my sewing machine and my laptop this week. I can tell when I'm long overdue for making something nifty when I start to get snippy with all the other members of my household, OK, with all the other members of society. Lucky for you, right? Thing is, it's tough to get my craft on when I'm ear deep in training, teaching, charting, testing and preparing for a karate tournament. To add to the insanity of things, my 14 year old son is a karate bad ass too, so he's got high school, homework and the aforementioned karatepalooza too. I don't believe in over scheduling our offspring, I think kids just need time to be, you know, that rare and elusive "me time" most adults pine after? So, karate is his "thing" aside from school and generally being a really great kid. I can't wrap my mind around how many times some mother clucker has smiled insincerely and asked me, "What do YOUR kids do?". After I finish my elaborate fantasy about stepping past her and delivering a swift and painful hook kick to the back of her empty head and hearing Michael Buffer announce "Winner by KTFO, Giggling Ninja!" I usually answer with something along the lines of "Well, my son is currently working on his doctorate at USC and my daughter is touring the country with the Boston Pops Orchestra". Dumb asses. They smile vacantly and nod their empty heads, the sounds of  gravel rattling around in their skulls distracting them  long enough for me to make my hasty escape.
     I'm rambling, and I'm OK with that. I don't have the time today to overthrow the dining room so I can design, cut out and sew something, but I need a diversion so I'm not obsessively going over katas in my head. Sewing centers my head and calms me. What do you do to prepare for big events and/or find a little patch of peace in a hectic time?