Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye 2015

Good bye to another year.  2015 was a long year in some respects and in others it flew right on by.  It started out a bit rocky as I was grieving the loss of a twenty five year relationship.   I had to truly accept the fact that I am single and the life I had always expected would never be.  I don't think I had ever given up on the idea of "us" until then.  I never expected to have to have to fight my battles and this world standing on my own without him.  I never expected to run the family business by myself or to be my sole protector and provider.  The loss of that was very hard on me.  It destroyed my sense of who and what I was.  I had a lot of anger, sadness, disappointment and resentment to deal with.

I read a wonderful blog post on Suburban Samurai today.  His posts really resonate with me as I understand the struggle.  I too have lived with despair, grief and even hate.  I have somehow managed to make it through and am slowly emerging from it's terrible dark nothingness into the light.  I am learning albeit slowly how to embrace the light and to live again-not just survive.  May I continue to follow the sacred Red Road for peace, happiness and to remember to be eternally grateful for it.

As I look back and try to put 2015 into perspective I realize how far I have come in the past year.  I finally feel as if I am emerging from the shadows after so many years.  I am learning who and what I am.   Realizing that I am so much more than I ever thought or dreamed.  I am learning to believe in myself and love myself again.  I have learned that there is much about myself to like, respect and even love.  I am strong, kind and honorable.  I have many talents and skills.  

And I am learning to forgive myself for the past.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bah, Humbug? No Thank You

Last week I felt like I was starting to slide back into that grey hole of blah, ugh, bah, humbug state.  I noticed that I have absolutely NO tolerance or patience about going back there/being there either. Realizing where I am at has helped me put a stop to it.  I am serious when I say I am thankful for the snow.  I truly believe I needed that exercise and that it stopped my funk.   I am also making the effort to visit with others instead of holing up with my laptop in my room.

I am also saddened because I have been unable to find any holiday spirit and cheer this Christmas. Since my mom died in 2003 all holidays and special events lost a lot of their magic for me.  That has continued to disappear over the years as I've lost more and more of my family.  My maternal grandmother, my daughter, my other maternal uncle, my father.  Along with this we were hit with the great recession.   Then top it off with being broker than usual this season.

As I mentally worked my way through all that negativity I decided that I must plan better for next year.  In retrospect it the best holidays I've had were when I planned well in advance making things so much simpler.  More often than not I have been a last minute, stressed shopper due to lack of finances.  2016 will not be like 2015!!!  I will be proactive and either put money away for Christmas each month or make/purchase things ahead of time.

There's my pity party, all done and over.  I bounced back into a much better mood after getting it out of my system.   I truly believe the forced exercise did the trick.  I also smudged my room with sage and prayed for the release of the negativity.  Oh, and figuring out a plan to make things easier and less upsetting in the future.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Had another snowstorm over the weekend.  I sure wasn't looking forward to clearing my block of sidewalks by hand.  Heavy, wet snow.  Too wet for the snowblower.  I was cringing as I envisioned my upcoming sore, abused muscles protesting the workout. However by the time I got off work on Sunday half of it had melted away making the job easier.  Two days later when I figured I would be hurting and maxing out on Aleve instead I have awoke and am not hurting.  I do not need to take any Aleve either.  Wow!  And then someone plowed the glass shop parking lot yesterday.  I believe it was Wade across the street.  THANK YOU!

Sunday I really was getting crabby before I got off work.  My goal was to get the snow off the sidewalks and then I could put on my jammies and hibernate in bed for the rest of the day.  Once I arrived home I changed my clothes and hustled out to get that chore done.  I was hurrying because as a business I try to have it done by noon.  Say daybreak is about six am and I have six hours to remove it so therefore noon is a good time deadline.  After that I had an attitude adjustment and between that, the exercise and fresh air I was back in a good mood and didn't hide out the rest of the day.

No HEMA meeting this past Sunday due to the snow.  I am missing them and seeing the other members.  I do know that this is only temporary.  I am still working on the Posta dance.  I think I have step eight down and am about ready to tackle step nine.  I've had days where I have found myself wanting to slack off.  I have managed to keep myself at it. If for no other reason than I know it will help me and make me feel better in the long run. I also remind myself that to learn it so I can be good at it requires patience and repetition. Then I remind myself of past things I've learned that required that same dedication and practice.  Not to mention that there is a bunch of other reasons to keep at too.  I think this is a good example of one reason why one should keep learning.  I find I am having to learn how to learn again!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I cannot believe how quickly fall is going by.  Time is really flying by.  Christmas is just over two weeks away.   Where has it gone?  

No HEMA meeting today.  I did have a great practice session tonight.  I spent about an hour practicing.  I am about three fourths of the way through the posta dance he put together for us. Tonight I finally felt it "click".  Especially going from the *Porta di Ferro to *Posta Frontale.  That time I did it and my body just flowed through it.  The moment where one just knows-"that is how it is supposed to work".   And then a few minutes later I moved through the first seven steps beautifully.  Now to keep practicing so I can move with my body like that every time.

Keeping the kitchen and house cleaned up so far.  Actually have cooked a couple of dinners the past week.  I tried my hand at making breakfast egg, bacon and cheese "muffins".  For someone who doesn't tend to cook well without a recipe these turned out great.  

*These are two different guard positions.    

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Had another fantastic HEMA club meeting today.  After the past few days we had a heat wave and hit about 30 degrees Fahrenheit.  The patio had been cleared of snow and was mostly dry.  As the sun was out and the patio was in full sun it was actually quite nice.  Moving and being focused helped too.

He has put together a drill or Kata of offensive and defensive moves that flow from one to another.   He designed it for us for practicing solo.    Covers all twelve of the guards with a nice mix of cuts and thrusts in it.  He had us film him with his camera.  The goal being for him to post a private video for us to use so we can get it all down along with the names of the moves.

I am really enjoying this.  I love the sword and the art.  I think his enthusiasm for the sport really shows in his teaching it to us.  I am so lucky to be able to learn this!

I had a great Thanksgiving despite the awful road conditions that kept my aunt and cousins from being able to attend my dinner.  So I invited my neighbor & friend.  I also got to visit with a long time friend of mine who came in off the ranch for Thanksgiving with his mom.  He still has one!  He usually stays next door.  I spent several lovely, laughter filled nights just hanging out with my friends.  We drank whiskey, shared lots of laughter, reminisced about the good times and bullshitted the nights away.  It has been a very long time since I've let loose like that and had such a great time.

The stretching and exercise are really helping.  I tried fixing my leggings on the way down the stairs.  As a result of not paying attention I lost my footing, landed on my hiney and slid down several steps.  I am NOT aching from head to toe like I would of been three or four months ago!!!  

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Warrior Princess

"Willow the Warrior Princess" To feel her rising up within me and to acknowledge her presence is a very powerful thing.    To honor the blood of ancient royalty that flows through my veins and to accept my strong, fiery, powerful side.  "P'Richard"  is Welsh for son of a chief or king.   "O'Hagen" is Celtic and traces its roots clear back to King Nuada of the Silver Hand.   I come from an ancient heritage of warriors and I choose to honor my ancestors and myself.

I have found an amazing passion for the warrior nature within me. Whether by accident or design this is where my path has led.  I feel destiny has led me to this life.  I know there are many other ways for a women to honor her inner warrior in a more traditional feminine manner. That path does not appeal to me.  I have deliberately chosen to fully embrace the masculinity of this path.  There is something about it that calls to me so sweetly.   I know I have an inordinately strong inner core.  It cries out for me to teach it more, to hone it and make it sharp.  The more I learn the more I crave to learn.

Another thing I believe is that we women have been taught for centuries to suppress that side of ourselves.  We are taught to put our safety and trust into the keeping of men.  That our place is in the home and on the sidelines in a support role.  We are finally starting to reclaim that.  Despite what our cultural media pushes at us.  They are doing us all a great disservice.  I am also stating to learn about all the women that did fight.  We have always fought.  Modern history does not wish for us to know these things.

I think all roles should be considered gender neutral.   Our roles should not be defined by our reproductive organs, but by what we are passionate and good at.  Many of us are not suited for the life of a warrior-whether male or female and those that are should be encouraged regardless of being male or female.

*I am starting to learn more about women in history and how if one looks they can find women that fought despite the world trying to tell us otherwise.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Another great, fun and learning filled class.  First part of class we went over the grappling from last week.  Today learned the twelve guards and a new defensive move.  I did well with constructive criticism today.  He worked hard to teach us stuff that we can definitely practice on our own.  Love that.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Until recently I have never thought of myself as someone who is into being physically active.  I have little interest for sports.  Not watching them nor playing them.  Then I realized that I love how one's body can move and flow.  That is a love of being physically active and I saw myself in a new light.

I find I am addicted to how the body and sword flows together in one smooth movement into the next.   There is something deep inside me that loves this feeling.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015  First Snow

So far I am doing well today.  Up early.  I've started my day with a set of stretches, on into a round of sword practice followed up with a meditation session.  It started snowing as I started sword practice.  Today I have added another push-up into the reps.

Today's real exercise workout will be strength straining and body conditioning.  This will be achieved by the wielding of various cleaning agents, sponges, broom and mop.   Lots of scrubbing and elbow grease will also be required

I now have a clean stove and oven and the corner counter behind the sink and stove is also clean.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

This Sunday we covered the four basic defensive positions.  I find it fascinating how there are certain,  basic moves that are the same at their core in both Eastern and Western martial arts.  I learned some basic grappling moves.  Ways to grab and hold someone and how to counter them.  These moves are as important to self defense in the here and now as in the past too.   

I have to admit that when I first learned that Armizare is sword, dagger and grappling my first reaction was "Ewww, I don't want to learn grappling."  (I saw it as wrestling and it is much more than that.)  I was good with the dagger as it is on my learning wish list too.  I decided that two out of three wasn't bad and I'd just have to deal with it.  Now that we have actually got to it I find I am just fine with it.  I just needed to change my perspective of it.  

I feel very lucky to have found this group and the wonderful people in it.  I am looking forward to a future learning new skills, some arcane and some applicable in the here and now and the friendships I am building.  It is an amazing world that is opening up for me.  And I have found a fun way to get exercise to boot.  

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Having Some Real Moves to Practice, Thursday, November 12, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015

I am so pleased to have these new moves to practice.  One handed cut, thrust and a defensive swing that leads into a nice counter attack with several variations.  I can't practice the latter part as it requires a sparring partner. There is hope as dear son may yet be interested.  

It is a nice feeling to know what I am doing. At least a few moves anyway.  I know that I am no expert and all that.  But now I have these things I know how to do now so I can practice them. The more I practice the more I like it and the more I like the more I do.

I have been working on push-ups and am now doing four at a time.  I am trying to remember to drop and do them at least three times a day.  Sheesh I can remember a time I could of done 20 at least.  I really do not like how my physical strength has deteriorated of the past three plus years.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

I practice several times a day.  I am enjoying being able to practice "real" moves.  I am slowly building upper body strength.  Four push ups tonight were easy enough for me to add a fifth.  I am practicing the one handed handed moves I learned.  I do as many repetitions as I can.  When I start getting sloppy from fatigue and discomfort I switch to another move. I am managing to run through two sets of reps right and left handed.  I had trouble with the left handed cut at first as my hand was too weak to properly manage the move.  I was having to do it with both hands.  Then I do some two handed moves until my dogs tell me they are ready to come in.

I am strengthening my hands without leaving them hurting later.  I've had some sore and stiff neck muscles too.  The most painful ones are in my forearms and I don't seem to be bothered by them the rest of time for which I am grateful.

Today I was cranky and out of sorts.  I woke up with a fuzzy head.  Woke up feeling like I was out of it from cold medicine.   Ugh....I really don't like being so irritable.  I decided it was stress and anxiety caused and proceeded to accomplish the task that was creating this.  So I did.  I also had several meltdowns along the way.  I fussed and cussed and kept going.

I decided to burn some sage this evening to cleanse my room, myself and my lungs. Smudging with sage disinfects the air.  I was using it for spiritual, emotional and physical cleansing.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday, November 8, 2015 Second HEMA Meeting/Class

I have spent the past week sticking to my stretching and practice routine.   Otherwise I've had my head buried in paperwork.  I've caught it up and got it all filed away.  Paper work is not something I like and tends to leave me feeling as if my head will explode.  This is a chore I had to do if I want to keep my home.  After that all I want to do is relax.  (translated-paperwork left me no time or energy to journal)

I've been studying  YouTube videos trying to find ones that deal with Fiore's techniques.  I found several called "Posta di Donna".  Of course both are a bit different and one insisting that other variations are lazy and poorly done.  I stuck with the one that felt "right" to me.  One has rather simple footwork, but then the sword is held at what to me is an awkward angle cocked back behind the head and neck.  It felt overkill and awkward to me and to bring the sword around forward and down. It does not feel like it flows properly and smoothly.  This is the one claiming that other variations were incorrect.*  The footwork of the second was bit more complicated, but the angle the sword is held at feels more efficient and the stroke flows smoothly.  It also shows three different striking variations where as the other doesn't.  The footwork on this one also steps one to the side of the line of attack.

Today was my second club meeting/class.  The weather was nice enough that we were able to be outside and work, or should I say learn sword moves.  I got to meet another of our club members, a gentleman who is older than me.  The more I get to know my fellow club members the more I like them.  I definitely am losing my feelings of being "odd".   I was a bit nervous at first, but once I forgot about it I feel I did well.  I found myself a bit chagrined at first being corrected.  I just had to remind myself that I am there to learn and it is normal, natural and that I need to hear it.  Otherwise how will I get better?  I have to work on the concept that having something corrected is helpful-not criticism.

The practice of the footwork for the Posta di Donna that I favored practicing payed off today at the meeting.  The footwork for the moves he showed us today was the same.  I learned Fiore's one handed sword defense against the cut and thrust.  Not to mention I learned the basic cut and thrust.  I also learned how our defense controls the measure and what we can do at different measures.  One of the neat things I learned today is that Fiore liked to keep things simple.  Many moves and techniques use the same basic principles.  The refinements are the variations of how these basic principles may be used.  We worked on one handed sword moves.  I got to use a wooden waster and a steel trainer.  

I really had a good time and am looking forward to next week.  It was really rewarding to see my practice paying off a bit.  Not to mention getting to learn and use some things I have seen in videos.

*HEMA is about studying and trying to recreate European martial art skills and techniques that are based on the remains of historical manuscripts and drawings.  Different people have different interpretations based on these.  Needless to say there are differences of opinions on what is correct or incorrect.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015 Altering the Pommel

So I finally made it to the hardware store for some sandpaper so I could sand down those "sharp" edges on the pommel of my practice sword as recommended by my coach.  It is a  Hand and a Half Training Sword by Cold Steel.  As I said earlier the name does say it all "hand and a half".  As I mentioned in previously my left hand wanted to slide down and grip the hilt lower and was encountering the angled edges of the pommel.  The angles felt sharp and extremely uncomfortable.

Here is how I actually ended up doing it.  Number one I am not the most patient of people.  I started with some 100 grit paper.  Decided it was too slow.  I grabbed an Xacto knife and carved the edges down.  Then I got out the palm sander which had a really coarse grit already on it.  I used the palm sander to really smooth and round out those edges.  I finished up with the 100 grit and then some 150 grit.  What a difference! It feels so much better.  Now I can grip it where I need to without hurting my hand.  Being able to grip it a bit lower with my left hand feels much more natural.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thursday, October 29, 2015

One thing that I realized during my first club meeting is that I was really unaware of European (or should I say to me "western") martial arts.  I tended to think of them in general as modern things like boxing, fencing, using firearms.  Learning most these skills is just as expensive if not more so than joining a dojo to learn eastern martial arts.

During the meeting I found myself comparing eastern martial arts against HEMA.   HEMA is about sharing arcane fighting skills with others.  A group of people passionate about their art who desire to teach and share it with others who desire to learn. As well as needing sparring partners.  It is still teaching the mindset, skills, reflexes and heart of a warrior. These things are still applicable for living in today's world.   This things are what I am looking for.  So I am back to learning European aka western sword skills.

I've had a pretty good day.  Despite getting off to a very slow start I feel like I accomplished quite a bit today.  I did all my morning stuff and had a nice practice session with my practice sword.  I finished up an order of replacement panes for lamp fixtures.  Did another one this afternoon.  Cleaned up the rest of my cabinet mess, worked on a counter top and put away scrap glass.  Trimmed Lacey's toenails, paid bills, cleaned out voice mail and finally set up my message for it.

This morning I actually sat down and did a real meditation session for twenty minutes.  I've concluded I don't know as much about meditating as I thought I did.  More research on it for me tonight.  I found it hard to stay in the same position for so long.  It didn't help that I was stills ore from doing five, yes only five push-ups on Tuesday.  Time to do some more.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015
I've decided it's a mild cold.  No real bad sinus congestion, but I am waking up congested with that sinus burn and it is moving into my chest.  The worst of it is the fatigue.  After working at my real job I just took the rest of the day easy.  I watched a good documentary on HEMA,  "Back to the source-Historical European Martial Arts" documentary.  It was very educational to me.  Now I have a much better understanding of it and how it works.  What I need to be doing to learn.

No hide nor hair of Buddy.  False alarm Sunday night.  But it wasn't him.

Tuesday, October 28, 2015
Feeling a bit more energetic today.  Or at least my determination and will power are better today.  I'm going to putter away at some stuff that needs catching up. So with that I now have the dishes all caught up-three sink loads later.  No I don't have a machine for it.  I AM the dishwasher.   I was up and in the shop in time to receive my glass order and our order from Schwan's.  I think I've got my starfish photography prop finally painted.  (Thank you journal.  As I was previewing this post I remembered that my starfish and can of paint was still outside!  It could rain and there will be frost or heavy dew in the morning. So now they are safely inside.)

Have I mentioned that what were my tightest fitting jeans started slipping down?  I had to start wearing a belt with them.  So I broke down and stepped on the scales again.  I've lost another five pounds.  I still find it fascinating how once I gave up on losing this weight and now here I am losing it.

I stretched out in front of the heater. Best way to start the morning when it's chilly over here in the shop.   Found a left over piece of doweling from a closet rod.  Perfect length for use as a tool for dagger practice.

Buddy is still MIA.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Friday, October 23, 2015
I'm rather excited.  I discovered yesterday that we have an official HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) training club here in central Oregon, High Desert Armizare.   Armizare  is the term used by some for Italian martial arts, it is fighting techniques based on the manuscripts and illustrations by the fourteenth century master of this art Fiore dei Liberi.

Got that display cabinet cleaned of and out of the glass shop, yay!  Yes I stretched and practiced.

Saturday, October 24, 2015
I've really waffled over whether or not I was going to be brave enough to actually go to the club meeting on Sunday.  I have encouraging friends, but the clincher was the wording of the e-mail in response to my requesting information. " My goal is to create an awesome community of people that happen to like to swing swords."   I am going to be brave enough to do it.

Tired today and just no motivation to work in the glass shop after putting in my eight hours at my "real" job.  So I ended up taking it easy.   Went dog hunting for my step granddog at ten pm.  He jumped through a closed window and no trace or sign of him to found.  As he pushed through the curtain we believe he is uninjured.

Sunday, October 24, 20
No one has seen Buddy.  Tomorrow I will help my step son to fix the window.  He gets the glass and I will install it.  Hoping that dog is okay and safe.  Lack of energy is due to unhappy sinuses.  Not sure if it's irritation from stuffy air, allergic reaction, infection or a super mild cold.  Extra sleep and making sure I eat well and take my vitamins.

I went to the club meeting.  I am so glad I did.  My anxiety and fears were groundless.  I was soon at ease and enjoyed getting to know our coach, and the other lady in the club.  One thing he pointed out is that in many clubs the members go and train yet they don't really know each other outside of the club.  His goal is for us to get to know each other beyond the club setting.

I got some advice on making my training sword easier to handle as I was right about that "hand and a half" thing.  Going to be taking sandpaper to that pommel to round the "sharp" edges down so it doesn't bite my hand like it tries to now.  He also recommended where to go and what to purchase for a real training sword.

I learned about the two basic steps used in Armizare.  Then three different dagger strikes, blocking, disarming and using the disarmed weapon back on the attacker.  One thing I liked is how he pointed out openings and other things that could be done in different circumstances.  

I learned more about Fiore too.  That these manuscripts are the equivalent of a college level training and instruction.  They assume you already know the basics.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Buddy check day.  Later today I will be calling friends and family who served in our armed forces.

I have decided that I  need to be more serious about this my training.  I've reached a point where I am ready to ramp things up a bit.  I'm going to get serious about doing reps of the swings I am learning. Two sets of reps at a time is all I can handle at the moment.  I am hoping to repeat these sets twice a day if not three times.  I could probably manage three reps of two of the moves I am practicing.  But after doing two sets of a downward stroke from high striking guard on my left I realize I am very weak with this move.  This probably is where most of the pain from learning that previous move came from.

I am grateful that I've learned how to properly warm and loosen up my sore muscles.  I expect a lot more sore muscles.  Doing a move slowly helps me to analyze the movement and flow of it.  I can concentrate on making sure my grip is right, ditto the coordination of my body.  It definitely helps with control of the movement.  I think being able to do a slow, controlled precise movement helps one to master the movement while building strength.  After mastering the move one can build speed.

I have decided that for now I really need to pay close attention to my left hand and how I'm gripping it.  I am going with the theory that I am not holding my practice sword correctly and need to improve on it.

Another reason to start dancing again.  I need to practice spinning.  I get dizzy too easy.  I think this is something we lose with age because we aren't out doing cartwheels or somersaults or spinning in circles just for fun.

Today has been a rather lazy, laid back one.  Guess I needed a break from the cleaning.  I did get the stuff moved out of the display cabinet I am getting rid of and finished that one last non-Spectrum glass bin.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015  
I've discovered that as long as I start out slow and easy I can practice despite the soreness.   After I had warmed and loosened up those muscles I was able to speed up.  I did not push the speed of this move the other night.

Tuesday was spent hanging out with good friends while I cleaned more glass.  Things are looking so much better in the shop.  I remembered to stretch out and to start my sword practice slow and easy. Started working on a new move and this one was easy to get the hang of.  Need more wrist and forearm strength.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015
I love going home from work at ten thirty/eleven o'clock in the  morning knowing I have put in my eight hours already. Today I got a half an hour of overtime.  Also acquired paper copies of my paychecks  for the past six months.  I remembered to stretch out.  Sword practice is easy to do.  I will practice my short list of moves several times a day.  Every time I put the dogs out to potty I practice. Gives me something to do while they are doing their thing and I don't have to worry about them getting in the way.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

I'm surprised, yesterday's entry received eleven page views....

Getting that particular step-swing, sword back up for guard, repeat, etc;  There is a "snap" to the swinging of the sword for it.  I might have it figured out, but I have to build up my forearm muscles for it.  Definite soreness today.  To me it means I am learning and building.  This soreness is also making it difficult to practice properly today.

And on the subject of meditation this came across my Facebook feed.  "Meditation Can Grow Your Brain In Just 8 Weeks".

So I did my stretching and I've practiced some swings.  I've held back today due to the soreness in my forearms.  Hopefully I won't be so sore tomorrow.

Slogged thru more glass cleaning.  Looks like it will take me at least one more day to finish the non-Spectrum glass cabinet bins.  Ugh...I am tired of it.  Still have two dozen bins to go.  Then there is all the Spectrum glass cabinet bins...I am so done with this already.  *sigh*  I will get there.

Actually it is not the snap of the downward stroke, but the stopping the momentum and the direction of the sword and bringing it back up to the high guard position for the next swing that has created the soreness.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday October 18, 2015

"When all is said and done I want to be able to look back and know that I truly did my best."  The most inspiring thing that I have thought and told myself all day.

This is one of those days where I must practice perseverance.  I am one of those types of people who can have trouble "sticking to it" and following through to complete my goals.  My logical mind knows that I must repeat over and over training exercises.  To get that step and sword swing down pat, correctly.  Then to continue to repeat it to build strength, speed, agility and muscle/body memory.  My heartfelt goal is that thru the path of the sword I to learn to apply myself even when I find the chore repetitious and boring.  To transcend that chore into a comforting routine.

So today I "force" myself to keep moving forward, albeit slowly.  To slog on thru the cleaning and chores that need to be done.  And I must say the sword training exercises are a lot more fun than the other stuff I am trying to get done today.

I didn't want to go outside, lay the tarp out in the trailer and then pick up all my pruning mess and load it into the trailer, but I did.  I didn't want to go over into the glass shop, sort, dust and put the books back on their racks, but I did.  I did not desire to pick up that sword and practice today, but I did.  My reward for picking up my mess?  The knowledge and comfort in knowing it is done, ditto the books.  As for sword practice?   My unexpected reward was to attain that  moment when my body worked in harmony and I felt that "click" when the move I was practicing went right-I did it.  Now I can work on the speed of it, my agility, stamina and the burning of it into my muscle/body memory.
This also means that I can soon start on learning the next move.

Friday, October 16, 2015

October 16, 2015

Not much of anything exciting today.  I was up early and back to cleaning in the glass shop.  Another day and I should have all the non-Spectrum glass cabinet bins clean and the contents also.  I am re-organizing these bins as I have a lot of art glass that I want to break down into smaller, more easily sold pieces.

I spent an hour outside this morning pruning all the plants, shrubs and tree branches hanging over the sidewalk.   That was a good  upper body work out.  Tomorrow after work I'll start dragging them to the trailer.

Today I followed my morning routine, stretched out and practiced my swordplay-several times.   I may not mention whether or not I meditated.  I usually do.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

New Book "Modern Bushido"

I ordered a book a week ago and it arrived yesterday.  "Modern Bushido, Samurai Teachings for Modern Times" by Toshishiro Obata.   I read parts one and two.  I tried to read it slowly and carefully-not to race ahead in the manner I am so prone to doing.  For me it was an amazing experience.  I love how he pares everything down to it's bare essence in such a clean elegant manner. I am so glad I purchased it and that it is not an e-book.  I have underlined quite a bit and made notes in it with a pencil.

I was raised to respect books and to handle them with care and I always have.   I started to read it and the urge to note a particular sentence or passage struck.  As I was resisting the urge I recalled several different instances of books like this being notated and commented on as the reader read from them. So I grabbed a pencil and went for it.  This book is for me-to help me become the person I want to be. It amazes me how narrow and focused my world became in order for me to survive it.  I look forward to it guiding and broadening my thinking again.  As an hyper-active (ADD) adult I need this to prevent me from bouncing around willy-nilly and to help me see ALL areas and not miss things.

One of the things that really resonated with me is he talks about how in life one will experience three major changes.  I have felt lately that I am on my third major life change.  I look forward to my evolving and improving life.

"What does it mean to be Samurai?
  To devote yourself utterly to a set of moral principles.
  To seek a stillness of your mind.
  And to master the way of the sword."
                                                          -The Last Samurai (2003)

The above saying is from a meme I saw today on Facebook.  I did not check on and so I hope it is correct.  I have always tried to live my life in a good, honorable manner.  I will honestly say that when I was ill and using I did not always do so.  Addiction tends to take a toll on one's morals not to mention all those other areas.

I did my stretching and am practicing with my training sword twice a day.  Morning and evening.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday, October 14

Some days I have a great idea for a blog post title and many days I won't.  As this is more of a way to journal the how, where, why and whats of my life journey I refuse to worry about it.

Yesterday I was a very busy gal.  I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and the fact my shop is closed to get the carpets steam cleaned.  My little dog has turned into quite the whizzer around here.  So I vacuumed them thoroughly, moved a bunch of stuff and spent a good eight hours cleaning the shop carpets.  It felt really good to accomplish so much in one day.  I find it very hard to put in that kind of energy and get that much done in one day.  Getting there though.  I stretched and practiced with my sword too.   Then it was an early night as I had to work this morning.

After putting in my eight hours at work I didn't want to do much cleaning here in the shop today.  But I persevered and cleaned out one top section of a glass cabinet/rack.  Twenty four bins vacuumed, the glass cleaned and put back.  Some bins also had to be washed out.  Broke down and priced a full sheet of glass out of the stash cabinet.  So I can go to bed feeling I did accomplish something today.  Did I mention I put the belly band on my little whizzer today?  Well I did, no whizzing on my clean carpet or my clean cabinets.  I also stretched and practiced my swings today.

Forgot my pedometer this morning so I can't tell you how many miles I put on today.  And I totally forgot about it yesterday.

Reclaiming myself and my energy feels good.  It is so nice to wake up with energy, hope and plans!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Still Recuperating

It's been a couple of days since I've posted.  Time to check in.  I survived a full workday on Saturday and then managed a nap before I had to open up the shop.  I didn't stretch or practice.  I was counting the minutes until I could close and go back to bed. There I snuggled up and watched anime on my laptop.  I didn't have to work Sunday and declared it a "PJ Day".  I spent the day in bed watching stuff on Netflix.  I am grateful I was able to just be lazy and do so.  Once again I did not stretch or practice.

Today is Monday.  I am feeling quite a bit better, but I am still not up to par.  I had plans for more wall scrubbing.  After my morning stretches and a short practice session I realized I am still pretty weak with no stamina and quickly breathless.  So I will be flexible and try to putter around the house and just take it easy for one more day.

I found a meme on Facebook today that I feel accurately describes my new journey.  "She needed a hero in her life so she became one."   I love it.  And with that I am out of words for today.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Head Cold Day One

I thoroughly enjoyed another session with my practice sword last night.  I had to force myself to to put down the sword and quit for the night.  If not I am sure I would of overdone it as I was having so much fun.  I started out with a bit of dancing and then practiced sword strokes.  I'm going to have to set up a playlist of music for dancing.  I always danced to the local rock and roll station in the eighties.  I couldn't really get into it last night with fifties be-bop or celtic rock.

I'm guessing I put on three plus miles yesterday.  I kept doing things that caused my pedometer to reset....

After all the fun with my sword last night I developed a sore throat about an hour later followed swiftly by that raw feeling one's sinus's get when congestion hits.  I took some Umka, my vitamin and relaxed for a while before turning off the laptop and going to sleep.  I am usually asleep by ten anymore.

So today with a good night of sleep and a dose of Elderberry syrup* I was determined to continue with my new good habits.  I followed my morning routine of stretching followed by swordplay practice.  I am determined to clean the top of another display case.  Once it is done I can take it easy if need be for the rest of the day.  I work tomorrow so tonight will be an early one and I want to ready to pass out earlier than usual.  As for my healthy diet all I can say is I will eat my banana today.   I just don't have enough will to be that good today.

*I love Elderberry syrup.  It helps reduce the symptoms and my body to get over it quicker.  I love Umcka, but found that for me the Elderberry syrup works even better.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Stretching With Dogs

Another day started nice and early.  I have once again made it a priority to start my day out with a stretching routine.  I have to admit it it gets interesting as once I am down on the floor or reaching for it my two dogs think this means playtime. While I finished stretching they played a bit with each other.  It was good to see them playing.  This looks as if it will also help my doges to get in better shape too!  The golden girl really needs it.  My little guy isn't overweight like she is but I know he could definitely use some conditioning.  So we all had fun with it this morning.

I am definitely getting addicted to swordplay.  I love how I can notice daily improvement in my skills.  I can definitely feel how it is conditioning my body.  My forearms, upper arms,  mainly triceps, core muscles in my back, shoulder blades and my ribs along with my neck.   I have always had strong legs and that is one area I haven't lost nearly as much muscle unlike my upper body.

I am wielding two handed with the goal of wielding single handed once I am stronger. Ultimately I would love to be a dual wielder.  I also know that this may not work for me.  As I learn swordplay and my strengths and weakness I will learn what works best for me.  Already I am able to do some swings using my right hand that I could not do a week ago.

I was reading today that dance has been tested as the best over all method to keep oneself fit, keep oneself smarter and ward off dementia. As a teen I danced for hours every night in the privacy of my room.  When we moved into a two story house with my bedroom above my parents I had to quit as my dad started going to bed about the time I'd start dancing.  I was extremely physically fit until my early thirties and I really miss it.  I want to start dancing again.  This time I'm going to bring my sword into it.  We'll see if it works or not.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Learning To Use A Sword Just For The Fun Of It

Day 2.  After a good breakfast and stretching out I practiced some basic swings with my practice sword. It is already starting to feel more comfortable to me.  And I think there is a definite feeling of right or not right when I am swinging.  A smoothness to it when it is done correctly.  I am enjoying it more than expected.  I love that feeling when my body moves in harmony.  That moment where one enters the flow and everything moves with precision and grace as the mind and body all work effortlessly together.

Going to sleep tonight with a inspiring thought that tomorrow is another day to work at being the type of person I admire and want to be.

Day 3.   Today I arose, got ready and went to work.  I put in my eight hours.  I wore a pedometer and had five miles on it by the time I clocked out.  I had a good brunch.  After I returned home I stretched out and practiced my swings some more.  I have decided that I need to wake up about 30 minutes earlier so I can stretch and practice before I go to work.  This might take a while.  Trying to go to sleep at six pm can be really hard some nights.

I may be working "graveyard" shifts, but it is really cool to have put in my eight hours and be headed home at 10:30 in the  morning.

I am only practicing for short periods of time and doing it several times a day.  My goal is to build up my muscles slowly.   Yes I am experiencing some mild soreness.  I don't mind mild soreness, but the kind where one can barely move?  No thank you.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The First Day Of Training

"When the student is ready the teacher will appear."  I recently decided to pursue martial arts for a variety of reasons.  As I was talking to a friend and neighbor yesterday he revealed that he taught martial arts in college.  He offered to teach me.  His advice was to start stretching to prepare.  So today I began the start of my new journey-I started a stretching routine. I know that in the future I will be adding to this routine, but for now this is it.  I followed it up by playing around with my training sword.  I practiced about four different swings.  At this point I am looking to condition and strengthen my body.  I need it.  I don't feel like I did that much but, boy oh boy I can feel it.  Some of my muscles feel like jello now.

What has led me here to this, a bit of background and information.   Willow is my alternate ego and has been for many years.  She is what I want to be and the best of me.  What follows are the reasons that have led me to this new journey or should I say stage of my life.

The past twelve months or so I have been doing a lot of hard thinking, meditating and soul searching due to two major events.  The first was the final, split with my ex-husband.  He left me in 2006, I divorced him in 2007 and tried again when he sobered up in 2012.  By this time I knew that it would never work and that we needed to be done.  His finding a new woman and quickly marrying her was actually very hard and earth shattering for me.  It left me with a whole bunch of negative emotions to work through.  I felt worthless, unlovable, redundant and obsolete among other things.  Not to mention I had to grieve the loss of our relationship and the loss of the man I always thought he could be along with realizing I most likely will always be single.  It's taken me a full year to accept that and learn to be comfortable with it.  The second although not nearly as painful event was realizing ten days ago that my baby is all grown up into a responsible man.  My focal role as a parent is over.  I have to step back ad let him go. Parenting just took a back seat role in my life.  Now I needed a new focus.  As a good friend said to me "Now you can follow all those dreams from when you where a girl."  And I was left thinking "What dreams?  They are either broken or completed."  So more searching.  What did I want to do when I was in my teens/twenties?  What did I give up on or forget about?

So here I am-a forty six year old, overweight woman who desires to learn self defense via martial arts and how to swing a sword.    I have always been fascinated with martial arts.  Back in my early twenties I sparred with my husband and my "second husband" who were both hard core Bruce Lee and Jeet Kune Do fanatics.  I loved watching all those movies with Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Jean Van  Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal.   Here I am almost twenty five years later and I am still fascinated with the strong martial arts warriors.  Probably even more.  I don't know how or when I became side tracked from that.  I am past fascinated I am obsessed!  I have always been drawn to and admired strong, confident people most of my adult life.  I have decided that must mean I need to become one.

I have many other reasons than just the fact I am obsessed.  I have raised my children and need a new direction as my parenting role has taken a back seat.  I need exercise as I want my body back.  Sure I want my figure back and more importantly my energy, stamina and strength too.  I really miss that part of me.  Not to mention the fact that physical exercise improves moods.  I miss being a bubbly, bounce off the walls in a good way kind of person.

I am now divorced, single, loving it and planning on staying that way. As I no longer have a man to protect me it is time to learn to protect myself.  Sure I can go buy a handgun, take classes, learn how to shoot it accurately, strip it down, clean it, put it back together and get a concealed carry permit. But I also know that there will be times when I can't carry it or can't get to it.  I know the best defense starts with my brain, after that it is up to my body.  This makes the skills for wielding any weapon secondary for defense in my opinion.

I have come to realize that in order to survive the chaos that has been my life I have become a "warrior" in many ways already.  I have a very high standard for myself and others-my morals, ethics, beliefs, etc;  reflect that.   As I research martial arts I have come to see that I am already following the warrior's code.  It is time to round myself out by learning the physical skills I need and this will also continue to train me mentally to be the person I desire to be.

Also I have always had a very strong "survivalist" streak and consider myself a "renaissance" woman If push comes to shove I have a wide range and variety of skills and I know I can survive.  But these skills will not defend me from others.

I have spent a lot of my life trying to get it together, keep it together only to have shit happen and start over.  I've been through a lot, learned a lot and lost a lot.  It is my hope that learning martial arts and the mind frame that goes with it will be that which I need to be the person I want.  I want to keep a clean house, a nice yard, pay my bills and be financially secure.  I also want to be able to take care of myself physically and mentally.  I want all the good things, parts and habits that I had before becoming a meth head back.  I am so effing sick and tired of knowing what I need to do and not being able to cross over to the actuality of doing it.   I have been at this standstill for way to long and way to many years.  Every time since 2006 that I have finally started to live again something has come along and taken that away from me.  Events that put me into a sedentary lifestyle.  Whether it was wham-bam you now live in a hospital with your daughter or a slow spiral into depression due to physical exhaustion.  I have lost the will to take care of myself, my home, my yard, my finances etc; at least three times in my life and trying to get it back this time has been almost impossible.  I HATE IT!!!!