Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Foreign Language Lesson

I got Chinese food Sunday from this great new place in town. I made some small talk about the weekend while the cashier, a totally sweet tiny old Chinese guy, was ringing me up. He asked me if I was ready to go back to work Monday, and I just said that I had the day off. (Which is true, Mondays are my day off, national holiday or no.) He responded very sincerely with, "Ah, right. Holiday? Memorial? You will remember and cry? For the soldiers?" I almost responded with a pithy reply about being at a barbecue, but just in time I caught myself. Memorial Day. In remembrance of the soldiers who have died. I didn't have the heart to tell him most people would be spending the day tipping back beers at a barbecue. That the only crying I could forsee was any drunken domestic argument the poor cops on duty would have to deal with. That most of the country would spend the day in happiness that they did not have to work, rather than in reflection of the lives that were given so that they could have a choice in where they worked. Instead, I assured the man that I would remember the soldiers, quietly took my food, and left. Isn't it amazing how someone who is just learning a language can remind us of what our own words mean?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

On Getting Beat

I've got a mat burn on the top of my left foot, a blister on the toe of the same foot, a knife burn on the inside of my upper arm that is still stinging, my entire right knee is bruised, my elbow is swollen, and I have bruises on top of bruises on my hands and forearms. And I think I finally started to get the hang of the grappling move we did a few weeks ago. In other words, class has been excellent this week! =)

Other than that, not too much news this week. Not a lot is going on. I've been working in the office in the afternoons, doing class in the evenings, and working on the baby blanket. I'm planning on spending the weekend totally cleaning and scrubbing the apartment and possibly starting to pack some stuff up. Why? Oh yeah, forgot to mention, I'm moving in three weeks! Not far, though, literally to the next building over. Chrissy is moving to Solvang to be closer to her boy, and I'm moving into her old apartment, which is bigger than mine, is upstairs, has a walk-in closet, and (most importantly) lots and lots of natural sunlight coming into the living room. I'm so excited! Sunlight! Yay! Now I just need a new couch...

No class next week, as they're closed for Memorial Day and I have rehearsals in the evenings all week. I'll do a private class on Thursday morning to go through the testing stuff I'll need for my recommended black belt test on June 2. I'll be in performances for the first few weeks of the new cycle, but I already know the form I'm going to have to do for my black belt in July, so I think it will be okay.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

No More Students!


Sorry. I mean, "Congratulations to the Class of 2008!"

Our Conservatory students graduated today. This is the first class that I have been involved with for the full two years they are with us, and I think it has been a learning experience for all of us. It's been an amazing journey - watching these students who came in during the Fall of 2006, some of whom had never worked on a show before in their lives. Now they have not only learned the basic skills and I would be thrilled to have any of them on a crew for me, but we had one design costumes for two shows this year, one who designed props for two shows, one who got to mix a live show for the first time, and one who called her first ever very own show this week and is now going on to continue her education in stage management. I look at them now and am so proud of them and how far they have come. (I am very proud and happy for our acting students as well, but I don't have quite as active a hand in their classwork as I do for the tech students.)

Blessings on ya, kiddos. I'll see you in rehearsal!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Birthday report

Let's see...I spent my actual birthday closing a show and then sitting through two different rehearsals in the evening. However, I got a completely awesome new jewelry box from Mom and money from Dad (with explicit orders that it be spent on making strawberry jam, which I can live with). My brother says his card is in the mail, which should be good, as the two of us aren't exactly known for sending the most modest of cards to each other, so I'm curious to see what this year's is. (Think along the lines of the "Here's your present, a card from the most thoughtful wonderful, caring, good-looking, etc., sibling ever!" type greeting cards, and you'll get the picture.) Chrissy surprised me with balloons and a cake at 1/2 Hour (the time the actors are called to get into costume) before the show on Sunday, and she, Aleah, Kristin (another of our interns) and I went out and had dinner at Bamboo Garden tonight before class. (By far the best Chinese food I've had in a long time!) Chrissy also got me a pretty blue tank top and some lotion. A hug and a kiss from Cute Guy (who, to be fair, had no one to tell him it was my birthday, and even if he had, we're not really dating). All in all, it was very fun.

Quickly, in other news, the baby blanket is growing. In fact, it's getting to the Every Round Is Getting More Interminably Long Since The Last stage. Sadly, I got too distracted watching NCIS tonight, and did half a round before realizing that I was doing a knit round and should have been doing an increase round. Sigh. Get to tink that back tomorrow, yay! Still waiting on the stitch markers to send the HSS3 package. Mom got her Mother's Day package, so I can finally show off this:

Her bright green (as per request) hedgehog.

75 pushups tonight in Haganah (three sets of 25), plus two sets of 20 "up-n-downs", where you start on the floor like you're going to do a set of situps, grab your (standing off to one side) partner's hand, stand all the way to your feet (leading with the hips) and then sit back down. The rest of class was mostly defense tonight, which means we'll probably do a lot of conditioning on Thursday. Sir said yesterday that from now til testing, we'll be breaking boards every class. I'm glad, because it means I'll get to really work on that stupid jump side kick, but I'm dreading it, because it means I'll have to really work on that stupid jump side kick. And I get to go to sparring this week! Yay! I'll be testing again on June 2nd, and I really need to get my new dobok broken in. The jacket isn't too bad - I think they probably did something to it when it was silkscreened with the new logo - but the pants are so stiff they can pretty much walk by themselves. I've washed them a few times already, but I think I will have to wash them a few more in order to have them useable by testing! (And Sir has decided that I will, indeed, be allowed to test. He makes me lead, among random other forms, In Wha 2 - my current regular class form - during EVERY instructor class and always threatens to cut me from the candidate list if I mess it up. I'd just like to point out that no one else in that class has a belt rank riding on any of these forms! Nor does anyone else in regular class have to demonstrate their form in front of the entire instructing staff twice a week. If I haven't memorized this form by now, I'm screwed. Luckily, I probably could do it in my sleep, if I had to!)

I came running into the dojahng late tonight, straight from work. Normally, I have enough time to go home and change before class, but I'm helping to supervise the tech/dress rehearsals for Showcase this week, so I brought my class stuff in with me to change at the dojahng. While Sir, Mr. R, and most of the tkd or kickboxing people have seen me come in straight from work before, the FIGHT guys usually don't. Between actually having some feminine clothes on when I came in and having my toes painted (I don't usually have bare feet in Haganah, but I'd forgotten socks), I got more "You look like a GIRL!" comments from the peanut gallery tonight than ever before. It doesn't bother me, it's all in fun. I did have to take Shane down a bit harder than normal after he failed a takedown and tried the "well, you're a girl and I was being nice" excuse, though. He knows better. Lucky for him, he's cute, was just teasing, and actually is a decent guy and one of my favorite partners in class.

Speaking of Cute Guys, though, only *I* would have the dumb luck to get involved with one of the few straight guys I know who is actually busier than I am. Sigh! Someday we might get a chance to hang out again. Maybe.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A day for the important people ;-)

Murphy's Law really is the most annoying thing ever. I really wanted to send Mom a bottle of Tolosa Chardonnay, but since I had other things to send also, I didn't want to just order it and have it shipped straight from the vineyard. After realizing that I just wasn't going to get enough time to get up to the vineyard to get the wine, I gave up on the idea and just shipped the rest of the stuff. Today, I walk into the grocery store not even a block away, and about five varieties of Tolosa's wines, including the beloved Chardonnay, are on a "Now Proudly Carrying" display front and center. You'll have to come visit to get your wine again, Mama. I know it's very hard to convince you guys to come to California, so I'm not above using a bribe. Twist, twist.

I'm never sure which is more fair. That I have to give a gift to my mother on my birthday in honor of her becoming a Mother with my birth, or that she has to give me a gift on Mothers' Day, because without my birth, she would not have become a mother. Either way, I'm sure we both ended up with the better part of the bargain.

Here's to a young woman who has done things the hardest and most impulsive way possible since the day she was born, and here's to the mother who has lived through her antics these past 27 years.

I love you, Mom.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Yes, I am alive, and I do realize that I have not posted in over a week, which makes some of you nervous. I've been kind of busy, mostly due to class, work, and trying to pretend that laundry doesn't need folding. I have been knitting, though! See:

This is the start of a baby blanket for some friends who are due over the summer. Honestly, my friends just need to slow down procreating - this is, what? My sixth baby blanket now? Anyway, this is kind of a cross between KnitPicks' Carnival Baby Blanket (pattern and link no longer available, although Ravelers can see projects here) and a circular Spiderman blanket I found online. I liked the circular chevron shape of the Spiderman blanket, but wanted something a little more baby-ish and sweet. Since they don't want to know the gender of the baby, I got to have some fun with the colors. Unfortunately, the green doesn't show up very well in the photos. I'll have to work on that. It's pretty shapeless right now on the needles, but I'm estimating that it's currently about 18" in diameter right now, maybe a little less. I'm using Bernat's CottonTots again, since I liked it so much the first time.

I also finished these, finally:

My HSS3 socks. Jaywalker pattern, in Cosmic Fiber's Ravenclaw 2nd Year colorway. This is the first time I have ever gotten Jaywalkers to size properly to my feet (which, luckily, are about the same size as my pal's), and of course, I have to give them away. The colors kind of looked better in the skein than knitted up, but yet, I still like them a lot. There's a little bit of flashing, but more in the darker v. lighter sense than actual colors flashing. I did these guys toe-up, with a picot bind-off at the cuff, because I wasn't sure how much yarn I would need, and frankly, I was not in the mood to deal with ribbing when I got to that point on the first sock. The picot is also a much looser bind-off, so I'm hoping that goes to helping fit my pal even better. I am still waiting for the stitch markers, but then I'll send the package off! (It's only about a month late at this point - I was a terrible pal this time around. I hope the package will make up for it!)

I also have one more FO, but I can't share it yet.

Let's see...other than that? Work has been fine. We're getting ready to close this weekend in Santa Maria, take two weeks off this show, then come back, do a week of pickup and put-in rehearsals, tech for 12 hours, and then start the run all over again in Solvang. While Solvang definitely has it's share of quirks and inconveniences, it will be extremely nice to be able to call a show without being doped up. I'm apparently very allergic to some dust or whatever in the booth at the Marian. It takes my body about twenty minutes to react, causing my sinuses to fill up, which then makes it difficult a.) to hear the show because my ears are clogged and b.) to breathe, because I can't breathe through my nose as there is too much junk in the way, and I can't breathe through my mouth because I have to talk almost constantly during the show. Luckily, a single dose of Claritin or equivalent will usually prevent it, if I remember to take it in advance. In that way, it's better than the outdoor allergies, which seem to involve the more stereotypical sneezing and sinus pressure, and the only stuff that seems to kick it is Benadryl, which has the unforunate tendency to knock me out. (I missed a whole evening of class due to that stupid drug last week!)

Class is going pretty well. Monday was a little rough this week for some reason. It was just hard to want to go to kickboxing in the first place, and then it felt like I just could not do anything right during either of the tkd classes. Had trouble with my board break (surprise. No, I shouldn't think that way! Bad!), could not remember forms or one-steps for anything, etc. Haganah the next night was better - I did a total of 60 pushups last night! 3 sets of 20, alternating with sets of squats. They actually did not hurt at all, and I didn't have to go on my knees for any of them! This gives me much more confidence for the physical part of my black belt test this summer. I still need to work on grappling, though. We just started doing it in regular FIGHT class, although most of the guys have been messing around with it for a while, and it is a VERY different skill and muscle set than I am used to! Tonight's classes were much better - I got partnered with a beginner in kickboxing and a much lower belt in regular tkd class, and that is always interesting. I only blanked once in the middle of a form I was leading in instructor class, too, which is a first. I DO work on the forms outside of class, of course, and am making pretty good progress on them - the only ones I really would not be completely comfortable leading through are green, purple, and brown belt forms (Songham 5, In Wah 1, and Choong Jung 1), those just won't stay in my head for some reason - but usually as soon as Sir calls my name and the form to lead, it goes straight out of my head, and I want to say "I HAVE been practicing! I DO know this! Even though it totally doesn't look like it!" I didn't feel like that tonight, though, which was awesome.

I had a realization, though. There is a group of teens/tweens in regular class that are only a few belts below me at most. A couple of them are in my belt block, the rest are in the block just behind me. They are all Leadership students, yet they are often unfocused, mildly disrespectful, disruptive, and their forms and techniques aren't strong. (Yes, Sir knows this and is cracking down hard on it, but he can't be everywhere.) I often see the ones that are my belt level and think "This is so not fair. I'm doing so much more work than they are, yet at the next testing, they're going to get the exact same reward as I am." Then it dawned on me. These guys would never be encouraged to take a FIGHT class and be missed if they didn't come. They would never be asked to help teach a kickboxing class. They would never even be allowed to take the instructor class that I feel so clumsy in. I AM being rewarded for my efforts. I'm doing more work because I've earned the right to do it. Mr. R and Sir were teasing me at the end of the night for being a walking "triple crown" - I'd worn my kickboxing t-shirt, my FIGHT pants, and of course, my tkd belt. They are the only other people in the entire school who can honestly say they are actively involved in all three styles at once. (Sir babysits while Mrs. S does kickboxing, but I know he helps her come up with new ways to torture us.) That's pretty darn good company to be in!