One text to rule them all. Or so I thought.

Standard
One text to rule them all. Or so I thought.

To Sensei:

I’m just going to tell you this now so you’re prepared. I don’t want you to start crying and cause a scene, making L. ease away slowly while forcing an apologetic smile for those witnessing this unfortunate display.

It looks like we’ll have to cancel class tomorrow night.

Now, now, Sensei! Compose yourself! It’s going to be okay.

Sensei! Breeeeeeaaaathe. Innnnnn….. Ouuuuuuuuuttttt…. Very good. That’s right. Now thank whomever just brought you a chair. Oh, and that person who handed you a tissue and tossed a sympathetic smile to your wife.  Now, again, it’s going to be O-Kay!

You see a friend of mine from college—that’s a place smart people go after high school, maybe you’ve heard of it—will be in San Diego on business tomorrow night. Breeeeeeathe. That’s right, very good, Sensei. You’re doing great.

So Hubby and I will drive down to meet him for dinner. Yes, that’s right, dinner. Good, good. Shhh… shhhh… Remember, everything is going to be O-kay. I promise. We’ll still have Thursday night. It’s just a few days later. Then you’ll get to see us again. Alright? That’s not too bad, right? Just a few more days.

That’s a good boy. Just wipe your nose one more time. Nope. You missed it. Try again. Much better. Okay. Very good. We’ll see you Thursday, Sensei.

Ah, now, come on, Sensei! I told you! It’s going to be okay!

Could someone please get him another tissue?!

I was fully prepared to accept my crown as the queen of this insult war Sensei and I play. Then he responded.

Read the rest of this entry

It all started with Bill Peet

Standard

Note: This post has been updated!

Little did young Betsy and young Mike Allegra know that, thanks to a shared fondness of Bill Peet, especially his book, Capyboppy, they would decades later bond over capybaras.

Nor, probably, did little Mike know that he would one day write a book of his own about capybaras! Or that Betsy would revel in this exciting news and write a blog post promoting Mike’s book! (If you had told them, they’d probably both say: “What’s a blog post?”)

Behold:

Read the rest of this entry

When worlds collide

Standard

I’d been keeping my dalliance with Jiu-Jitsu a secret from my Taekwondo sensei for fear he might feel cheated on.

But, of course, he had to ask how I hurt my foot. So, of course, I had to come clean. And, of course, he didn’t believe me.

Which was insulting. Did he not think I could kick butt in multiple disciplines? But he covered with something about me being sarcastic and therefore hard to believe.

Sarcastic? Me?

“So, is this a new thing you’ve started?” he asked, once I’d finally convinced him.

“Uuuuumm… Well. Since the end of last year, actually.”

“Huh,” he said.

Then I employed the line Chatter Master suggested to me months ago: “Thank you for helping me discover a love for martial arts that made me want to learn even more.”

He nodded. [Well done, CM!] “Jiu-Jitsu is good self defense,” he admitted. “Any fight that lasts more than six or eight seconds is bound to end up on the ground. This is good for you to learn.”

“So you’re not upset with me?”

He shook his head. Then he said, “I had no idea you had a secret double life.”

I like the sound of that.

Next I said the thing my Jiu-Jitsu instructor suggested months ago: “Do you want to maybe come check out a class with me?”

Lo and behold:

SENSEI! In my Jiu-Jitsu dojo. Sensei was here!

I wish I had gotten a picture of my two instructors shaking hands. If anyone felt the earthquake, that’s what caused it.

Sensei just wanted to observe, so we sat on the side together. I can’t participate because of my injury, but it was good to be there to try to keep up with the training/not forget everything.

It was cool doing this with Sensei when I’m already advanced in Jiu-Jitsu so I could answer his questions and demonstrate, from my seated position, the rationale behind different types of grabs. It was interesting to hear his comments, too, notably: “He’s a good teacher,” which I shared with Instructor later.

On the whole, Sensei enjoyed himself, thinks he may take a trial class down the road, and said it seems like a good group of people I “paid in advance to talk to me so it looked like I had friends.”

Read the rest of this entry

The part I didn’t tell you.

Standard
The part I didn’t tell you.

This post could also be called: Seriously? Again with the foot?!

I’m afraid so, friends.

Somewhere around my fourth or fifth Jiu-Jitsu drill attempt, I crunched my left foot beneath me. (Yep, that one again.) I drove my knee to the ground, as planned, but somehow didn’t leave enough space for my foot to flip over so the shoelace side would be down. Instead, with my knee to the ground, my foot started to flatten bottom-side down.

Go ahead and see what that must be like. I’ll wait.

You see? No bueno.

I kept going anyway, but then put my hand down when I wasn’t supposed to, so, knowing we’d have to redo it for that mistake anyway, I called a halt.

I just chilled, breathed through the pain, and a couple minutes later, was back on my feet, pain-free.

Isn’t the human body amazing? I’m guessing adrenaline kicked in and carried the day. I didn’t feel any more pain until sometime later, back at home, when I was walking around a bunch, out of necessity, and was like, “Huh. My foot hurts.”

I finished helping make pretzels for the Taekwondo belt ceremony and continued with my life. (Yep, same day. It was a productive one!)

Thank goodness this Taekwondo class was only a belt ceremony and not a normal lesson in all its running, jumping, kicking glory. There was, however, a bit of running: up to receive the belt, certificate, and Grey Poupon mustard packet. (That makes zero sense if you haven’t first read this.) Then running backwards to my spot on the floor. Afterward was just a bunch of standing around, talking, eating, and joking about decades-old commercials.

Pardon me…

Though I again felt zero pain at the ceremony, once home, I was limping.

Read the rest of this entry

Dealing with adversity

Standard
Dealing with adversity

So here’s a fun little thing I recently discovered about myself: When things get tough, my default is to quit.

Case in point: Playing pool with Hubby. There have been times where he is simply “on” and I am “off.” In other words, he’s smoking me. I get so discouraged that I only play worse, until I hang up my cue and walk away without finishing the game.

I know it isn’t pretty, but there we are.

This has been Jiu-Jitsu for me lately. I WAS at the top of my class, or so I thought. But it seems being the only one with four stripes on my belt doesn’t make me the best. There are a few three-stripers who are out stripping me.

Instructor posted this on Instagram. I think that means it’s fair game since it’s public. Can you spot me?

Take Gym Rat, his own characterization for himself. His shirt sleeves barely hold up against his muscly arms. He, ironically, calls me Killer, which I find funny. He also likes to offer me advice.

I know what you’re thinking, but I find it more kind than annoying. (But still a little annoying.)

Then there’s Tall Guy, who recently reported taking a private lesson because his work schedule prevents him from coming to most regular classes. At the lesson, Instructor said, “Let’s just take the test.”

And he passed. Just like that, without even intending to test yet. And did I mention he only has three stripes?

Read the rest of this entry

Crazy with a blue belt

Standard
The rack Hubby made me has a new belt.

I knew everything I needed to know for the Taekwondo blue belt test. It was my 6th time testing. You’d think I wouldn’t be nervous. Yet I was. As all get out. But I survived.

I wouldn’t be me, however, if I didn’t mess something up.

During the “back form,” green belt, I started morphing suddenly into the purple belt form. Fortunately, I caught it and fixed it, grateful that I was able to carry on without getting flustered or losing track of where I was. That felt semi-miraculous.

Beyond that, which Sensei may not have even witnessed, as I think his eyes were on my partner at the moment, I did a couple of minor dumb things. One was starting the second set of defense moves before being instructed to. My daughter whispered, “Not yet!” to stop me.

The other was the same mistake I made last time. When we finished, Sensei said, “Go back to your X,” the starting position. I started walking back to sit down because I was done.

As I approached, another daughter sitting there, eyes wide, said, “Your X!”

I swung around, smiling sheepishly at Sensei, as I returned to my X. He smiled back, like last time. Phew!

Eventually I’ll learn.

The next class was the belt ceremony, where we bring food to share after receiving our new belts and certificates. Similar to last time when we made churros, I thought it would be fun to make pretzels from scratch.

Eventually I’ll learn.

Read the rest of this entry

My Birthday Part 2: What Actually Happened

Standard

One great thing from last year’s birthday that I WAS able to preserve this year was having brunch with two of my besties, including Neighbor. I checked off a minor bucket list item of finally trying an açaí bowl. It did not disappoint.

Tasty little super food, with some other yummy foods to boot, on a beautiful wooden table.

And, Neighbor got me two of my favorite guilty pleasures:

Chex Mix, OF COURSE, and also Rockstars, which I occasionally partake of when I have a martial arts class and about zero energy to make it through. (Don’t judge.) At any rate, I love how she gets me.

That evening, since my Grand Band Plan didn’t work out, I invited friends to hang out at a restaurant. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly (not in that order):

I opened the restaurant door on my foot, thus cutting my toe. I’ll spare you yet another foot injury pic. It didn’t bleed or hurt much, so whatever, but it wasn’t a terrific start to the night.

To the 20-something waitress who showed us to our table, I said, “I like your nose ring. I thought about getting one too, [note to readers: not seriously. Just making conversation.] but I do Jiu-Jitsu, so I’d have to take it in and out before and after each class.”

“Oh, yeah, and they close up so quickly,” she said. “That’s awesome you do Jiu-Jitsu. So did my mom.”

And just like that, I go from relating to a 20-something to being compared to her mom, which, to be fair, is more accurate.

We were given two outdoor tables: numbers 9 and 10, which I thought appropriate, since my birthday was 9/10. 🙂

Our time at the restaurant was pleasant, and the weather was unnoticeable, which is to say, it was perfect. I was surprised that many friends gave me cards. Here are a couple (slideshow) from a fellow pun-lover and a friend who also appreciates the joy of randomness:

Read the rest of this entry

My Birthday, Part 1: What Was Supposed to Happen

Standard

My birthday last year was amazing. I got The Band to play, we had an epic snowball battle with fake snowballs, my neighbor made tattoos of my face

I thought, why not repeat that again this year? If it ain’t broke, you know?

So, months in advance, I was happy to secure the band and the venue. This year was going to be even better because the band’s guitarist was graciously letting me be Birthdayzilla by requesting that certain songs make the set list, while others not so much. (“Stacy’s Mom” does not have it going on in my book.)

I also bought two of these:

A blow-up beach ball that you stick a glow stick inside. How fun for an outdoor night-time event, no?

Also, since I blew it last year and didn’t take advantage of my pull with the band by requesting “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for Neighbor and me to dance on a table to, I made certain it would make the cut this year. “Not a problem,” Guitarist had said with a smile.

All was looking golden, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Then this…

Read the rest of this entry

The Return of Andre the Giant

Standard

Those of you have been with me a while may remember “Timmy/Andre the Giant,” the tall guy who was my frequent Jiu-Jitsu partner at the 11 a.m. classes. The one who broke my foot in January. (I exaggerate. It was maybe my toe. And maybe not even, but I was limping and out of class for a while.)

My wounded foot a few days after “The Incident.”

That was the last I’d seen of Timmy until I arrived at an 8 p.m. class where the previous Master Cycle class was winding down.

“Hey there, stranger,” he said with nary a look of shock as I sauntered over.

“You don’t seem surprised to see me still here.”

“Nah, I knew you were hooked,” he said, reminding me of way back when I showed up a few minutes after 11 a.m. and he said, “I was beginning to worry.”

At the time, I told him, “If I’m not here, I’m dead.” Or, as it turns out, if I’m not here, it’s because you broke my foot.

Boy would it have been funny if I had said THAT to him.

~~~

I told SD1 that his blog nickname is Surfer Dude. He gave a big, appreciative, smiling nod. “Nice. I like it. It fits,” he said.

“And your little brother is Surfer Dude 2.”

“That’s okay. So long as I’m number one,” he said.

At a recent 8 p.m. class, there were only two students, both newbies. But SD1 and another blue belt, whom I’ll call ‘Stache,’ because he’s always perfectly clean shaven, (Just kidding. He has a mustache.) were also there.

Read the rest of this entry