Sunday, November 6, 2016

One Year Reflection

I thought I started studying Armizare in October when in reality it was September.  Thirteen months have passed since I started this journey into HEMA, which stands for Historical European Martial Arts.  It turns out it was mid September when I discovered our recently opened HEMA school, High Desert Armizare.  So I missed my one year anniversary.  Whoops.  (sheepish grin)  I am pleased that not only have I stuck with it I have become even more enchanted with it-ALL of it.

  I remember being not so thrilled about the idea of grappling.  But learning dagger sounded fun and cool too.  So if I had to learn grappling and dagger to learn how to wield a longsword I decided I would still do it.  I picked up sword work fairly easily.  Well compared to the other two anyway.  Out of the three I struggled the most with the dagger.  Grappling wasn't far behind.  For about the first nine months or so grappling and dagger work were my least favorite. Mainly because I found it to be difficult and awkward for me.  I believe part of it was exhaustion after working a graveyard shift with too little sleep.

   August and September it seems like we worked with swords completely.  Three weeks ago we started working with daggers again.  I am doing much better and am just as thrilled with it now as I am sword work.  A clearer, non-sleep deprived brain, more experience in Armizare and a greater understanding of how it is a holistic system has made quite a lot of difference.  I have a greater appreciation and knowledge of body mechanics and physics now.  I love how just a simple move properly performed can bring an opponent to their knees.

At about that time a member of our sister school, NW Armizare put out a free app on google play "Pocket Armizare".  A free phone app that combines all four of Fiore's manuscripts in one place and they are all cross referenced with one another.  So if a play is found in all four you can see them all do to the cross referencing.  To the gentleman who did this, "THANK YOU!"  I happily downloaded it and have been scrolling through it.  It is a handy reference to help remind me of what we did in the last class.  I am amazed at how much of it we have covered this past year.   With this app I can also make my own notes using what are me a key terms to remember the day's lesson.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop

One of the things I've dealt with this past year is learning how to live without a horrible anxious feeling.  I knew nothing was wrong, bills were paid and I was doing things right.  After living in that anxious, stressed, worried state for so long it took a while to get used to being able to live without a feeling of dread and fear, waiting for that proverbial other shoe to drop.    Months later I would feel that dread.   Getting busy at work seems to have helped a lot too.  I didn't have time to notice the feeling.

I'm getting back into the swing of things again.  I am back to training with my sword daily, practicing blocks and dagger strikes.  I've picked up my weights and started with them again too.  

Now I just have to keep up with taking better care of myself.  As my perspectives change for the better I see things a bit differently,    When my inner child rebels and wants to play I ask myself, "is this self-care?  If not then are you honoring yourself? And the answer is generally no.  

A little short and sweet, but I wanted to get it out.  

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Loyalty, Commitment and Myself

Just read a meme about the traits of loyalty and commitment.  Trying to write a comment that showed how true it was in my case without sounding like I am bashing or bitter.  Because I did  destroy myself with blinf loyalty and commitment to an addict. As I was trying to think of how to say in a short and simple manner how being destroyed has re-made me into what I am.  I was thinking along the lines of  I have learned....and was searching.  I was going to say I have learned that I must first be loyal and commited to myself.  

But how loyal and committed have I truly been to myself?   Not to good I think.   I need to be loyal to loving myself, respecting myself and trusting myself.   I did good today however.  I bit my tongue, told myself not to let it get to me and managed to shake it off.  When my new boss is stressed, well you know they old saying, shit rolls downhill.  I hate people jumping all over me out of the blue about nothing and I hate how the rules change from one day to the next.  Also less time to do more and then they make it more difficult.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Light At Last

The past six weeks have pretty much been utter chaos.  I have had a lot of ten, twelve and thirteen hour days.  And that doesn't count working at my own business.  I have pretty much spent the prime of this summer working,  grabbing some food and sleeping.  I have made my HEMA meetings and kept up with my meditation.  Everything else has fallen by the wayside.  Including my free weight lifting routine and my regular sword practise.  :(

Due to the extra work I have actually gained upper arm and body strength.  I believe it is the extra tag prep and hanging.  Because I have been so behind at work I have started jogging and loping from spot to spot to hurry up.  Needless to say my lungs are now in better shape along with the rest of me.  Once things settle down at work and the days are cooler I want to take up jogging/loping with my dogs.  Now that I am used to it I like it.  (So admits the gal who hated running/jogging.)  I have started losing weight again due to the long hours and frantic pace.  This also leaves me to tired to have much of an appetite.

I have spent the past six weeks working on overcoming my childhood PTSD triggers, reactions and coping skills.  Whether I wanted to or not.  My new store manager brings all my issues and bad coping skills to the front.  I am slowly learning how to cope with my reactions to her, my own issues and how to interact with her.  

 All the overtime has given me extra income and I have been able to get  couple of things that I have been wanting for awhile.  I now have a sweet acoustic guitar I love and my steel practise/blunt longsword has been ordered.   Now I have some things that are positive to offset all the hell I have went through.  I have music to soothe the savage beast and if that doesn't work I have a sword to defend myself against it.  LOL

I feel like I have leveled up a bit in my HEMA skills.  I now have enough experience that I was allowed to play or should I say spar with others for the first time.  The first bout I had trouble looking outside of the mask. I think it was because I was focusing on my opponent's sword-not my opponent himself.   My second bout I made myself  watch my opponent's face first, the rest secondarily and/or peripherally.  I love it and find it exhilirating, but I have a long ways to go to learn how to think fast enough to do more than just make one swing at my opponent or block his swing.  I have to learn to think on my feet better.  I managed to defend myself for the most part.  But I never managed to think past the moment and to think how to counter, counter-attack etc.  I also need to become comfortable about attacking.  I found that I like to wait for the other to make a move first.  That results in a lot of circling....

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hectic Days

I mentioned the other day to a friend that I missed the stamina I had in my younger days.  Up until I was about thirty four I was in excellent physical condition.   Remember the old saying of being careful what you wish for?

I ended up going non-stop from the time I crawled out of bed at one am in the morning until I accomplished the absolute minimum I had to have done and can crawl back in between five and seven pm.   I did this for ten days straight. At that point I had not had any downtime to relax-at all. No time to clean house, take out the trash, do the dirty dishes or clean up the kitchen.  No chance to check e-mail or get online.   My weight lifting has been spotty and sword play outside of HEMA  non-existant.

I have done well running so long and hard on so little sleep.  I have definitely been building up that stamina to work longer and harder...This has also kick started my weight loss program again.  I am pleased to say I have kept up my daily meditation.  I have also managed to not lose any ground on my weight lifting either.

I finally got two days off in a row. I don't think I get two days off together for the next two weeks.  After that looks like I'll be doing the scheduling. Hmm.....Let me back track a bit here.  I have been working full forty hour weeks at my retail job.  I have been prepping and learning to take over for my boss who was going on vaction for a week.  Then it was two weeks, and now she has retired.  She's not coming back.  Until she is replaced I am now by default the lead of my little department.  So that includes things like scheduling, and ordering supplies.  

Monday, July 11, 2016

July 11, 2016 Weights, Guitars and Arm Bars

Another busy week.  You are probably wondering what weights, guitars and arm bars all have in common?  Read and you will find out, lol!

I have been unhappy with my lack of progress for months.  I just couldn't seem to move past the reps I'd been doing.  Then I switched up to slow and fast reps on the advice of my MMA friend.  (I think I will just start calling him *Jay from now on)  After about ten days of consistant training I upped the number of my reps by five. Three nights ago I had a break through moment-all of a sudden the weights felt like feathers. I upped the number of my reps another five.  The next step will be to add another set of reps to my work out.  I am so gratified to finally see results from my hard work.  It also encourages me to continue on.

I think part of the problem was inconsistancy.  Honestly I didn't like weight lifting, because to me it was boring and it was work.  That attitude made it hard for me to make it a daily habit.  Now that I have become used to it I am learning to love it and enjoy it.  I also believe my daily meditation is helping me.  Physically the deep breathing improves my oxygen capacity which enables my whole body to work better, quicker, harder. Mentally it is improving my attitude, willpower and perception.

I have reached the conclusion that for me all this exercise is necessary habit that I have to keep up. The necessity of it is well worth the overall benefit of feeling better, healthier and more energetic. I am close enough to fifty that I have evidently already hit that stage in my life where the muscle mass I gain will be lost within days.  I can go one day without weight training.  I have discovered I just can't do two.

I played another friend's electric guitar down at the pub the other night.  That was fun and pushed my comfort zone.  I mean I did play in a public venue per se.  May of only been four or five other people there, but I did it.  It may be a small step in the overall picture of things but for me it was a big step outside of my comfort zone.  To willingly expose my imperfections in a public place opening myself up for ridicule.

I learned how to get out of two types of arm bars this week.  I also learned a little about forward and reverse throws and how to counter a hip to hip check in grappling.  I really do love body mechanics.   Smiles 

*Jay is not his real name

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Busy, Busy,

Well first of all I have been extremely busy the past three weeks.  I have been working forty hour weeks. I've been to Portland, Or for the college graduation of one of my best friends from high school and a sister of my heart.  We went tot the Rose Festival too while we were there.  I went with my son and another dear friend and sister of my heart from high school.  We had a great time.  I really enjoyed seeing the ships for Fleet Week.  I took my practice sword with me.  I diligently stretched and trained while I was gone.  *smiles* 

I ordered two crates of glass, received it, cut it up, priced and put it all away.   Made a new logo pattern and made a custome logo.  Have to make it again as I missed putting a line in correctly.  Still teaching,  Have a new student starting tomorrow.  Getting the order for the next crate of glass together.   

I have added thirty minutes of meditation to my daily routine and am doing a free weight routine every day now too.  Taking the advice of a friend I have switched up the free weights a bit too.  I split my reps in half.  I am doing half slow and easy and half quickly to build speed along with muscles.  I think my arms are looking more toned.  My friend who is into MMA has agreed to take me on as a student.  I am excited about it.  The only problem will be coordinating schedules for lessons.  I worried over that quite a bit.  I decided that since this wonderful opportunity exists I will believe and trust in fate to make it work out.

I missed this month's second meeting for the graduation.  The third meeting he had to cancel due to family obligations.  Despite the lack of HEMA meetings we have been given homework to read and study.

Also I have started playing guitar again after ten years.  I am blaming my friends at the bar for that.  Anyway my other son is so nice to me.  He is letting me borrow his electric guitar to practice on.  I play simple stuff.

Well, I have to get back to work on my glass list and studying!

Monday, June 6, 2016

Just Keeping Up

Not a lot going on.  Nothing new.  I was too tired at our meeting on Saturday and ended up sitting it out.  I just wasn't able to track well enough to follow along.  So very frustrating.  I still watched and listened.   I did get clarification on a move we had been working on though.  This one is a block with a fendente, drive one's opponent's sword into the ground, stomp on it.  Follow through with a false edge sottano into a true edge sottano.

I did pick up an escape artist dog out of the street and returned him to his owner to and from my meeting.

I have been keeping up with my push-ups and sword practice.  Still very random with the free weights.  I do them while reading manga or watching anime at night before I go to bed.  I have been out with friends a lot lately at night instead.

Sword training will be increasingly difficult as we are hitting our peak heat season.  I may have to forgo training some days as my o nly free time for it will be in the heat of the day.

Oops, I lied I picked a guitar up and and am playing again. So I guess I do have something new to share, lol.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Very Trying Day

Today has been one of those days.  It started out nice and mellow.  About four hours into my work day I started worrying and it went down hill from there.  This was one of those times where my patience was constantly tested over and over for hours.  And the same when I first arrived home.  Some of it was too much too do and to little time to do it in.

After I made it home I lost my temper finally.  I chose to finally let it go.  And it was really umm..........flat, a big let down-disappointing even.  There was no catharatic release what so ever.  I think it will be easier to contain it in the future.  No release means no reason for losing it.

I would like to believe this is the result of my taking up martial arts, regular stretching, exercise and meditation.  Living a healthier lifestyle.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Totally Hooked

I don't think I ever really understood what the allure of a sport or martial was until recently.  As of this past Saturday night I would have to say that I am totally addicted to martial arts.  I had the honor and pleasure of sparring with a friend of mine who has practiced and taught MMA for many years.  It was intense, exhilarating and I loved the challenge.  For some reason he decided to spar with me.  He had enough fun that we did it again Sunday night. We plan on doing this again in the future.  I feel honored that he is sparring with and teaching me.  There is a great connection here and no special regards to me other than ability.  I may have lucked out and found my instructor.

I have to thank my ex-husband and my close friend and "second" husband Jeremy for giving me a good grounding in the basics of blocking and striking.  Twenty five years later those basics are still there and appear to be serving me well.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Fun Holiday Saturday

My day started out a little bit on the wrong side.  I overslept badly and was almost two hours late for work.   I was allowed to make up an hour of the time I missed.  I checked for about two hours  I like doing it every now and again to keep in shape and refresh my produce codes.  Then I came home, changed my clothes and opened up my store for the day.  I had quite a rush and had a good day in my shop.

After I closed up for the day I went with my friend and son to our local Saturday Market.  There I visited all my vendor friends.  I finally had my belt shortened.  That eight inches of excess belt end is finally gone.  We had an early dinner from one of the food vendors there.  I tried something new and enjoyed it.  Seasoned beef dumplings, dipping sauces and salad.

I finished off my day by ending up at my local pub where I hung out with friends and got to enjoy a really good classic rock band.    Before the band started a couple of my friends and I sat on the deck taking turns playing guitar, bullshitting and picking each other's brains in general.   Later when the band started playing I ended up dancing and sparring the night away, lol.

I was blessed to have a really great day and see many of the wonderful friends I have made over the years and new ones too.  Good times were had, awesome memories made and a lot of great connecting with others happened.  I had a great time sparring with a good friend who has practiced mixed martial arts for many yeasrs.  He challenged me, encouraged me, gave me tips and did not take it easy on me.  It was exhilarating and I loved every minute of it.  I hope I get to "play" with him again.

p.s.  I did get in a good training session with my sword today too.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Peace, Contentment And The Posta Dance

As I sit here gazing out my front window at my beautiful Snowball bush watching the wind ruffling the leaves and flower balls.  (Actually it is a huge bush, more the size of a small tree.)  I am am contemplating my life and I am very content in my life right now.  I am meeting my obligations.  I am learning and growing as a person in so many ways.   I am finally living my life in the manner I have desired for so long.  I am back to where I need to be as a person.  I have worked hard, struggled a lot and overcome much to get back to this point.  I have a lot of room for improvement, but I am happy.  I have finally found my peace.

Practicing daily with my sword and keeping it close to my side at home is a visible and physical reminder to live my life right.  To walk firmly upon the sacred red road.  In return I get peace, calm and contentment.  I lose worries, regrets, panic attacks, and anxiety.  The physical exercise improves my physical and my mental health.  I find the exercise to e it's own form of meditation.

We have been working with our swords the past three club meetings.  We have been practicing a variety of sword handling exercises and working on our posta dance.   I have learned a couple of new moves.  Today I was able to work my way through the whole dance with the training video. I finally have it down in my head.  To me this is a real achievement.   Especially since I had mangled it so badly at first.

p.s.  I am still doing my push-ups and am training with my sword daily.  Today I practiced for abut a half hour this morning and around an hour this evening.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Captain America, Civil War

I had no idea what I was going to do today.  I was unable to get inspired to do any housework.  I was all ready to spend the day working in the yard, but it is raining so that isn't happening.  I figured I would stretch and train.  But after that I was trying to decide what to do.  Luckily for me the kids decided to go see the Captain America Civil War movie.  It was very excellent as usual.  
I still haven't remembered as much from yesterday's practise as I wish.  Sometimes I get it and sometimes I don't.   After reflecting on the issue for a while I have decided that I need to start a list of terms that are used in martial arts and I need to look up the true definitions.  I may have ageneral knowledge of what something means , but it may not be specific enough.  How can I learn the Armizare terms if I cannot correlate them with their English counterparts.  I think understanding the English terms will help me to learn the Armizare terms.  I have been frustrated with my lack of remembering and using those things.  It is time to solve it.

I haven't engaged my brain in learning and studying like this for many years.  I am definitely rusty at it and the thinking progression I need to improve the cerebral part of learning Armizare.  

I truly believe our minds are very powerful things.  With determination and patience one can train it for amazing results.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

I Refuse

I am finally starting to get back into my routine.  I didn't ever stop stretching, but I stopped doing  push-ups and my free weight training has also been real sketchy.  I have to admit to going days without training with my sword.  Anyway four days in a row of doing my push-ups again.  I am training daily with my sword again too.  It is the easiest as it is my favorite.  

Sensei taught us a couple of fun moves last Saturday.  We practiced those and worked on our sword dance.  He also ran us through some more new things.  I am disappointed as I don't think I am going to be able to remember all of it.  Could have something to do with practicing in wave of spring thunderstorms.  Thor's blessings to us warriors.

I think taking up a sword is one of the better things I have done for myself.  I am finding myself to be a lot more resilient.  Physically and mentally.  This is really a blessing.  After spending so many grey, blah depressed years I fear going back-ever.  I REFUSE    

Monday, May 9, 2016

Reading Jag

I've been on a reading jag the past few weeks.  Every now and then I have to escape and I will do this by reading.  The downside is that it really messes with my sleeping schedule.  Right now at this time of the year, more than ever I need to be kicking things up a notch.  It is the middle of spring and the cycle of yard work-cleaning and weeding has resumed.  I have been working 37 to 40 hours a weeks with occasional overtime on top of everything.  Hmm, maybe that is part of the reason for wanting to escape.

At this point I am not taking good enough care of myself.  I need more sleep.  I have decided to try something different tonight.  I am going to try to use my imagination to go to sleep to tonight.  If I can make this work I will fall asleep a lot quicker.  I've noticed the better the daydream the quicker I fall asleep.

With everything going on my training is also suffering.  I have not lost anymore weight.  On the other hand I have not re-gained any either.  I want to re-watch the anime series that kindled this interest in martial arts.  These ones show an amazing determination and strength of will not only to survive but to exceed and protect those around them.  These help to inspire me to stay my course.  To be that amazing person I know I can be and to keep improving myself.  For those anime characters those traits meant life or death.  I want to think of my training as life or death.  In the long term it may said to be so for the benefits of exercise alone.  I have also noticed that it improves my mental state.  And for me that is very important.  

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Women And Muscles

Until this year I had never aware of the issue that girls shouldn't have muscles.  I have become aware of this after becoming a member of the Esfinges.  I found it rather surprising to hear that guys don't like strong girls.  I have always been fortunate to be in environments that encourage, respect and admire muscles regardless of gender.  I live in Central Oregon.  The town I live in is a hub of innumerable outdoor recreational sports and activities.  About thirty minutes and you can either be in the Cascade Mountains or out in our High Desert.  Then there is all the rural and wild areas of ranches, national forests and BLM land.

I spent my elementary and middle school years living on a large ranch.  (Although we lived on a large ranch my folks ran several decorative building stone claims on the ranch.)  Towards the end of eighth grade my folks moved back to their home town.  I went from being a country girl to a stoner.  As a stoner girl in high school I hung out with the "bad boys".  My strength was an asset and I was respected for it.  I can remember many nights hanging out at the roller rink arm wrestling them.  Or weightlifting and swimming at the local pool.  Then my dad bought the tavern where the loggers hung out and drank at.  Those folks worked hard and they played hard. Muscles were admired and respected regardless of gender.

Monday, May 2, 2016

I'm Never Changing Who I Am

"I'm still the same as I was, now that you understand I'm never changing who I am."  from Imagine Dragon's "It's Time".  

It's not that I am changing.  I am just letting go of the facades I was taught to hide behind and refining the rest. I am learning who I am underneath the false fronts that I was taught to hide myself behind.  I was raised to "be a proper lady".  To be polite, to smile and hide the pain and keep up the appearances, to never rock that proverbial boat.  To suppress and deny myself to please others  I am done hiding and apologizing for being me.  

This is an ongoing process and it is also is a learning process.  I am discovering things about myself that I was unaware of previously.   In learning to allow myself to be me I am learning my own strength, power and value.

Facades and chains seem to go to together.......actually I would have to admit that the facades and false fronts are another type of chain.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Chains That Bind

One thing that I realized while writing my last post is how much of my past I lived in emotional/mental chains. These are the restraints imposed upon us by society, our loved ones and ourselves.  Many of these are the rules, laws and morals that govern us and make up the foundation of our life and our civilized world.  I am talking about the emotional/mental chains we put on ourselves.

These chains may be fairly obvious or very subtle. I am thinking of the chains we "wear" in order to please others or should I say keep the peace?  And those that we impose upon ourselves to become socially acceptable.  For example I tried attending Alanon many years ago.  I stopped because I knew to follow those twelve steps properly I would have to cut ties with my mother who was a co-dependent, enabling, martyred wife of an alcoholic.  As I knew it would hurt her badly I chose not to hurt her that way.

I can do what I want and not have to explain myself to others unless I choose to do so.   I no longer have to live up to other's expectations of me.  One of the ways this shows in my life is that I am finally developing healthy boundaries and keeping them.  I don't "have" to be responsible for the actions of my ex.   I don't have to live  my life to please others.  It is nice to not have to worry about upsetting others.   Of course being single does make it easier, lol.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

Another Year Older & Wiser

Well I have survived another year on this planet.  I don't feel "older".....But I definitely feel wiser.  I have learned a lot about myself int he past year.  I have had a lot of growth mentally and emotionally. I have lost forty pounds and am getting to where I have a lot more energy.  Not to mention the fact I don't hurt from extra physical exertion or unexpected slips on the ice.  I feel better than I have in years.  Physically and emotionally. I finally crawled out of the gray depths of depression for more than a very short while and have stayed out.  I feel like "me" again, just better than before.  The other big thing I have learned is to be grateful and appreciative of what my body can do.

I have decided that now is the time where I get that second childhood.  Twenty/thirty something again but with the wisdom, self love and confidence I lacked the first time around.  I am working on regaining the perspective and energy I had for life then.  The world is my oyster and anything is possible kind of attitude.  I have at least another twenty to thirty years left and I want them to be good.  I want to have fun, make a lot a of great memories and have a wonderful time.  I am looking forward to getting my body back into prime physical condition.  I am curious to see how close I can get to regaining the strength, energy and stamina I had in my twenties and early thirties.

I went for a hike in the desert at a favorite spot.   The weather was gorgeous.  I took my good friend and neighbor with me.  We have been to a lot of the same places and we have talked about "getting out" for a while.  So I drug him out to accompany me on a "birthday" hike.   Wonder if he'll be willing to go out hiking with me again.  Ran him into the ground I am afraid.  Of course the fact he partied too hard the night before did not help.  I took it easy on him though.  I set a slower pace than normal, at least for me anyway. Well we shall see.  

I was appalled to realize it has been at least four years since I went out and played int he desert.  I used to go several times a month weather permitting.  This was my second time walking out cross country from the "top" of the small canyon we hiked up through.  The first time was the last time I was there four years ago.

Yesterday was my "Friday".  I put in seven hours at work on five hours of sleep.  Then I went on a three mile hike.  I was so jazzed when I got home that I ended up going out and working on my front roses.  Pruning and weeding around them.  Yes, I got to the pruning a good month late this year.

And the best part?  I get to go out and hike it again today with my sons!   It is going to be another beautiful day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Another Day Closer To My Dreams

As I was getting ready for bed last night I had another thought about waiting for my soulmate.  I tend to have trouble falling asleep at night, work nights are the worst.  I seem to get into watching or reading something and have trouble putting it down.  Even things I have seen a lot already.

So my big thought was the sooner I fall asleep the sooner tomorrow will come.  Tomorrow is another day closer to my soulmate, my goals and my dreams.  Another day closer to the life I want instead of the life I have.

Although the life I have now has definitely improved since this time last year.  I learned so much about myself, what I want, where I want to go and who I want to be.  I have learned to accept myself, be comfortable with myself and love myself. I have learned to live as a single person.  I have forged a new life for myself out

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Soul Mates & Hidden Vows

One of my of my soul sisters posted a meme to my Face book wall.  I have seen it before and really liked it. A picture of an elegant woman with long hair in a full length black leather coat hiding a sword behind her back.  It reads "Don't look for a princess in need of saving, look for a queen to fight by your side."   Today I read it and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I now love it.

I realized somewhere in the past six months I have made a vow to my soul mate and to myself.  I have vowed to be patient and await your arrival in my life.  (I am fully aware of the fact that this meeting may never take place in this lifetime or that if it does we may not be able to have the relationship I am yearning for.)  But for now I can stand strong and improve myself.  So that if that blessed event should come to pass I will be ready for you.  I can and will continue to learn and train to be a better person and to have the skills I need to be his queen and fight at his side.

When that day comes I want my soul mate to see me as a beautiful, strong confident woman.  One that he can respect and admire. One who can inspire him and give him strength. A woman worthy to be queen to his king.  Mentally, intellectually and physically.  I will do my best to be ready for that day.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Today I had a good stretching session and a really good practice session.  On top of it all I remembered to do free weight training.  

One thing I do before I start stretching is I spin in circles.   I am doing this to improve by equilibrium.  I found that I would get dizzy too quickly.   I started out with about five spins and now up to twenty plus.  I call this my "spin training", lol.  Once I am dizzy I go into the splits. From there I do stretches that involve being on the floor.  I finish up with stretches best done standing.   About two days ago I noticed my flexibility has improved.

Practice involved footwork followed by unarmed blocks against blows-dagger or otherwise.  I practiced fendente, mandritto and reverso dagger strikes right and left handed.  My left hand is weak on these.  I don't know why I haven't been doing these left handed before this.  Sword training started with one handed techniques, left and right handed.  Then onto two handed guards and strikes.  

I remembered to train with my free weights tonight!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I watch a lot of anime, A LOT.    Since my boys introduced me or should I say I stumbled into watching it from being in the room as they were watching it.  Anime is about all I ever watch anymore.  Of course this has led me to go read whatever my current favorite is in it's manga version online. I have noticed that although I tend to go for the fantasy genre I do  seem to find ones that have good lessons.  No not lessons, but inspiration.  I feel I am being guided to whatever inspiration I currently need or that will help me.  

The inspiration I found in my current favorite is about the strength of one's determination to work hard to get where they want. The protagonists in this series know what they want and they inspire each other to work hard to get there. That is what stood out to me.

I have spent the past year learning about myself, what I want and need. I spent months thinking and searching about what to do to get there.  Changing jobs where I work has given me a fairly stable schedule.  This helped me to decide what I wanted and needed to do.  I have found a new path and new goals.  This series has been a positive inspiration for me as I adjust to my new life.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sunday, March 3, 2016

As of yesterday meetings are now on Saturdays.  As long as I can get someone to babysit the glass shop I am able to go.  We now have a schedule of three Saturdays on and the fourth one off.   We worked on our sword skills this time.    Now learning a new form of measure, practiced our fendentes from Posta di Donna.  Learned a nice little move to use when the swords bind in the "weak" areas, aka about the last third of the sword.  (the pointed, sharp end, lol)  We also practiced not flinching as a sword is swung at us.  It was all done in a very controlled manner.  I found it harder than I expected to not flinch.  It is very instinctive to flinch when something comes flying towards your head.

We were granted the pleasure of watching our teacher spar with the youngest member of our group.  This young man works with us and over in the valley.  He has been doing this longer than the rest of us, excluding our teacher.  He used longsword and dagger against our teacher.  Teacher used longsword, dagger, poleaxe and axes.  It was very neat to watch.  They did about three rounds.

The more weapons I see used the more I want to learn how to use them myself.  My inner Celtic warrior queen appears to love all weapons.  Apparently she has quite the blood thirsty, battle streak.  She loves weapons.  

Monday, March 14, 2016

March 14, 2016

Had another fun and informative HEMA club meeting.  More dagger work.  I really enjoyed the counters, blocks etc we learned yesterday.  I love how he informs us of how this can all be used to defend oneself against a modern attack.  How these counters work against other things being swung at us.  We worked on the first, second and third masters of dagger.  Blocking dagger attacks barehanded.   How to block the strike, move into a bind or arm bar and use that leverage to off balance one's attacker.  And how to counter their counter against such a move.

Dagger is the one area where I have had the most trouble with so far.  The first session was okay.  The second one I struggled with the counters and finally managed to really get one.  The third one was very frustrating, and I felt like I really didn't learn anything at all.  This fourth session I did well with learning these counters.  I was able to grasp the concepts and repeatedly apply them properly. 

I think the main issue is my mental state.  Being able to put myself on a even footing with the other members in my mind makes a big difference.  I am learning and practicing how to dismiss my fears and insecurities to get into that proper frame of mind.  In doing this I am able to free my mind which allows me to relax and focus on what we are learning.  My insecurities can cause me to tense up and try to hard or maybe I should say overcompensate which leads to frustration and failure. The more I practice the easier it becomes.  

This discipline is really helping though.  Most our members are already experienced in martial arts.  I am getting much better at taking constructive criticism from my sparring partners.  I feel like I am becoming a better sparring partner too.  I am learning to be more aggressive in my attacks so they have to work harder.  I am honored to work with and learn from these members.  

Now if I can only find someone to practice this with repetitively until it becomes instinct.  That would be lovely.  I have the time, energy and a place to practice by myself.  I can practice guards and strikes.  But I cannot practice these lovely counters that require a second participant.  This is where I really wish I could get my boys into it.  

*After writing all this I can see where a lot of the previous dagger work has combined together in yesterday's session.  A block from the first session, the dagger strikes that I got down pat from the second session.  That arm bind I couldn't get from the third session.  

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Winter Bend 2016

Winter Bend Rondevous is an annual  late winter black powder shoot and re-enactment camping that has been going on for decades.  Our time period is pre-1840 and basically about the love of black powder guns, mountain men and their lifestyle.  We dress and camp "primitive".  Their is also a "tin tipi" camp for those who can't of don't want to camp primitive. This particular rondy gets a lot of tourist traffic.  I realized this Winter Bend that I have been doing this for twenty four years.  Below is a picture of the camps that were set up in front of ours.

I have camped at as many as I could when the time and money allowed.  If I couldn't camp we almost always visited.  I've not shot a lot after the first couple of years.  I have gone for the primitive camping and to see good friends and make new ones.  I have a large canvas wall tent.  Which I have set up to have a liner.  It also has a wood stove.   The picture below is of the inside of my tent.  The wood stove is in the lower left hand corner that isn't in the picture.

There is a Trader's Row.  There are a few core traders who can always be counted on to be there.  After that you never know what goods one may find.   My first Winter Bend there was a tinsmith.  I still have my original, tin candle lantern.  I wish I had two or three more.  I am thinking of looking into the craft.  I've honestly thought it sounded like a PITA.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Busy As a Worker Bee

I have been so busy for the past few weeks.  I have friends visiting for a while who are staying on the property.  It is actually working out well and we are having fun.  I get to be a support and encouragement system for my good friend who is physically disabled with several critical illnesses. We are stretching out and walking together.  I am helping her to become more active physically and we are good company for each other. In return she is helping me to become motivated on getting stuff done around here.  In other words she is keeping me on track.

I have been working on cleaning up stuff in the back corner of my yard.  I have been feeding trash left behind by my ex into my garbage can.    I have been working on my pile of wood too.  I pulled a bunch of the old wood scraps out and cut them into firewood for camping.  Which we used on our *annual winter camping trip.

We came home from camping on Sunday (the 28th).  We got everything unloaded.  I had planned to completely clean the camp kitchen on Monday.  Along with washing the camp quilts and tumbling the dust out of the wool blankets  And of course the usual chore of emptying, cleaning and re-packing the clothes box.

The drain pump on the washer died as John was washing his work clothes Sunday afternoon.  The drain pipes on the kitchen sink started leaking badly on Monday when I was dipping the water out of the washer.   So Monday I also cleaned out under my kitchen sink and replaced a corroded connector. I still cleaned the camp kitchen inside and out too along with the clothes box.  I decided I would worry about the camp quilts and wool blankets another time.  They aren't that dirty.

I missed the past two HEMA meetings.  I missed the one that was changed from a Sunday to a Saturday.  And had to give up yesterday's meeting to move my "new to me" fridge.  I have been lazy with my sword practice lately with everything going on.  My weight has stayed the same I have not lost anymore weight, but I haven't gained any either.

This month's physical goals are to keep up my HEMA training and practice.  To make lifting free weights to build my upper body a daily, anime watching habit.  Keep stretching and walking.

*Tomorrow-Winter Bend Rondy, aka my annual winter camping trip.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Life Tests And Potential

"I wanted to test myself.  To see what my potential was." 

 Life has definitely tested me.  I have been heated, hammered, folded, shaped, and tempered upon this forge we call life.  As I look back at my past experiences-what I have lived through and how it has shaped me.  I have found my potential to be substantial.  And on the heels of that I think to myself "Now that you are freer of negativity just think what you can accomplish."

On a happy note I was able to be somebody's hero today, lol.  I was able to stop what I was doing and help out a good friend.  I am grateful I was able to help.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

February 4, 2016

February, 1, 2016
I noticed it was the first today.  Today my dear daughter would of turned 17.  She would of been a junior this year in high school.  Enough time has passed since her death that I am starting to miss these dates-her birthday, date of death etc;  It means I have learned and healed from the loss.

I watch a lot of anime anymore.  Not only do I find it entertaining I find there are lots of good life lessons to be found in it.  Things to learn from.  At times it is a kind of mirror. One can find characters to identify with and in the process learn and discover things about themselves.  When I ask myself why I like the show and the characters in it, what it is that draws me to this character I learn about myself.

For example one character remarks to the other "He didn't ask for any help, did he?"  I realized that like this character I don't tend to ask for help and that I am also used to being on my own.  I am used to relying on myself.  First in part because I am an only child and I grew up in a rural area so I was isolated.  I had very few friends and I grew up in a dysfunctional family.  These circumstances enhanced those tendencies and my life continued to follow that pattern.  I married and had my own dysfunctional relationship.  Secondly asking for help or relying on others leaves me hurt and disappointed.  Now I am on my own and I still prefer to rely on myself and well my life has just worked out this way.  Like this character, I too have been through a lot and am a strong person.

February 4, 2016

As I mentioned in the last post my poor, old worn out shoes are really affecting my footwork.  I find when I practice barefoot my feet are going where they are supposed to.  My "poor" footwork is a direct result of my worn out shoes.  I am really fighting them.  They are over two years old.  I got them when I about forty pounds heavier. I walked differently then.  I put more weight to the outsides of the balls of my feet, especially the right foot.  Also that part of the shoe is worn down badly and no longer offers any support to that part of my foot.  As a result I am almost walking to the outside of the sole of the shoe on that foot.

I broke down today and looked my favorite tennis shoes up on Amazon.  To my surprise with shipping and handling they were about half as much as I had expected.  Needless to say I ordered them.  I am looking forward to new shoes!

Friday, January 29, 2016

January, 29, 2016

I have been extremely busy the past two weeks. Between arranging to have last Saturday off for the seminar and all that we have to do at work.  Store resets are a pain in the you know what for us.  We have to re-site the aisles.  On top of that there are a lot of sale changes at the end of the month.

So I arranged to take Saturday, January 23, 2016 off for the "Fundamentals of Armizare" seminar at the Northwest Fencing Academy.  I had a great time.  I met and made new friends in the HEMA community.  I learned some new techniques and worked on adjusting and correcting things I already know.  My practice paid off and despite being a newbie I kept up and did well.  I also met another lovely Esphinges member (international women's HEMA group) who gave me my club badge.  I have never had a club badge before so I fount that rather exciting and cool too.

The first two hours were stretching followed by reviewing and practicing footwork.  My stance will need continued improvement as my feet want to line up when they shouldn't.  (Really worn out shoes are part of my problem.)  Then we went onto some body mechanics.  Practicing proper form for sword strikes.  Then it was lunch time.  After lunch we picked up steel training swords and practiced different guards and strikes.  We stuck to largo plays.  Then we donned masks and gorgets and practiced these moves against partners.  It was a lot of fun.  I didn't get as much out out of the very end as I was getting tired-mentally and physically.  They finished with some sparring where I and the other newbs sat out and watched those more experienced have at it.  Afterwards we went out as a group and had dinner and socialized before we had to split up and head home in our separate directions.

This weekend I stepped out of my comfort zone and did several new things.  I used a steel sword for training.  The biggest was the class itself.  I have never participated in a martial arts class before or done anything like this before.  I have done some swimming exercise classes at the local pool and worked out at Curves.  The whole seminar was an exciting, new experience and I was nervous at first.

I have reached a stage where I gone beyond the "I want to learn" to I am learning and I am doing.  I notice as I practice now there is a feeling of I am a swordswoman instead of a wannabe now.  I am know I still have a lot to learn, practice and experience.  And even years down the road there is always room for improvement and learning.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Monday, January 11, 2016

YAY!  HEMA club training yesterday.  We had seven people total including our fearless leader.  I met three new people.  I believe one was already a member, but the two others are new.  A mother and son.  I've really missed the training and my new friends over the holidays.   We covered footwork, sword grip and some basic guards.  I learned a  few new ways to go from one guard to another. Both in hand to hand combat and with my sword.   I am amazed at how quickly time flies during these training sessions.

I have made the commitment to attend the training seminar, "The Fundamentals of Armizare" on January 23.  I have purchased my ticket and am excited about going.  I will be carpooling with our leader and others.  I have already arranged my work schedule to have Saturday off.

Another milestone I've passed in my life is I am now ten years free of nicotine.  I have anticipated that clean date for years.   And it passed me by.  I didn't remember until three days after that date. Whoops....

I have met my weight loss goals for the holidays.  That goal was not to gain any of what I have lost back.  GOAL ACHIEVED!   Actually I have lost another three pounds.  I stepped on the scales again this morning since I've went in another notch on my belt.

I am spending more time with friends and having a real life, social life outside of work for the first time in years.  I am enjoying it.  I had forgotten what a people person I am.   I still have to have my alone time, but I do enjoy people.  I am one of those lucky people who seem to get along with most anyone.   Maybe because I always look for the good in others and I usually find it.  

I am finally getting back into the swing of things around the homestead here.  And I have actually expanded what I am keeping clean.  My progress is slow, much slower than my impatient self like.  I am working hard to recognize what progress I have made so as not to become dispirited.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Hello Sweet 2016

This is the year to "clean house" and I do mean this about my physical surroundings and my yard.  To sort, clean, toss, organize and fix.   Paint, scrub, patch....etc;

I am excited to see the positive changes in my body this coming year.  The continuation of losing this excess weight, getting back into excellent physical shape and how much better I will feel.  I expect my energy and moods to continue to improve.  Increased stamina, strength and how much I will have learned when it comes to protecting myself.

Cleaner eating and living.   In hindsight I think the malfunction of our refrigerator was a wonderful blessing in disguise.   It still keeps things cold, but not as cold as it should.  Eggs, margarine, cheese and sour cream seem to hold well.   For me it meant a change in my way of thinking and in how I eat. I rarely use bread anymore let alone mayonnaise.  I eat sliced meat (not processed lunch meat) and cheese instead of a sandwich.

My "goals" for 2016 is to keep doing what I have been and to keep working on doing more like I have been.  I am slowly getting back onto the cleaning wagon and am slowly turning chores into good habits.   To continue being good and frugal with my finances.

I do believe I am actually kind of excited about this new year!