Monday, September 30, 2013

Capture Your Grief 2013

Starting tomorrow, I am going to participate in at least part of the October 2013 Capture Your Grief project. I found out about this late last October and completed several days of photos. I'm going to post the subject list here. You can read the details on each subject on the Project Heal page.

I know that losing Garrett and the aftermath of my health and recovery has affected many of my friends. I also know that many of you have also experienced loss. If one of the subjects has meaning for you and you'd like to contribute a photo or a story but don't have a blog, let me know. There is also a public Facebook event where anyone can post their photos. The other side of the world has already begun posting some beautiful sunrises.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Adventures in Suburbia, where the cars are weapons

Oh, my gosh, you guys I am cracking UP right now. I know this is such a suburban, first world problem but I have been so entertained this week by illegal parkers who have been giving me threatening looks and, now, trying to talk smack at me. And failing because really?

Parents around Autumn's school have always been dangerous, bad drivers. I absolutely cannot believe the risks people will take with their kids in their car and other kids walking around. I have almost been run down countless times. At least once a week I have also gotten thisclose to a car accident from parents not paying attention or who are driving like drunks on a beer run.

This year, parents have been extra terrible about parking in the crosswalks and on the corners during pick up. Not the ones right in front of the school where there's a crossing guard but in front of the school park. Don't laugh, but I made a map. Maps are fun!

It got so bad last week that every day parents were on all the corners, in the crosswalk and, one day, in the street parking to wait for their kids. I sent a note to the police department asking if a patrol could come by and check it out because it's really tough to cross the street. I can't see around all those cars. I mean, I'm roughly the same size as the oldest kids at the school and I have almost gotten hit more than once. I can't imagine how it must be for the kindergarteners and first graders.

Well, Monday a patrol showed up but in the wrong spot. He was over past the circular drive. And, that day there was one of the largest SUVs on the market, lets call it the Land Yacht, on one side of the crosswalk. And, 4 feet away from the curb, another SUV sat in the other end of the crosswalk with cars wrapped around the corner.

As I crossed, I noticed a person was in the Land Yacht. I told her, politely, that it was tough to cross the street when she's parked in the crosswalk. She goes, "sorry" but not like she really was sorry. So, after threading my way through the cars, I went to the crossing guard, who is super kind, and asked her what I can do. She told me to talk to the officer who I hadn't seen at that point.

I basically told him what I just wrote and that I didn't know if it was illegal but it was certainly difficult to navigate. It took him a bit to work his way through the traffic and the crossing children, but he made it over to the Land Yacht before she made it out. I happened to walk by as he was giving her a warning. A bunch of the parents parked on the corners scattered like pigeons. I have no idea if they even had their kids or if they simply abandoned them. He then pulled in behind the woman parked in the middle of the street in the crosswalk and waited for her.

It was glorious.

Unfortunately, the two moms now glare at me every time they see me because, OMG, they have to park two feet further back so the FIVE YEAR OLDS can cross the street safely. Frankly, I don't know how they know it was me because I have heard a couple of different dads talking to the principal and the crossing guards about how dangerous that one intersection is. But, the mom in the Land Yacht has been especially horrible, giving me the stink eye, roaring her engine when I walk by and she's doing the carpool line and, once, clipping the curb where I was standing and waiting for the crossing guard to signal me across. It's really very middle school.

I've been vaguely concerned that she might try to hurt me. I'm not worried about her hurting me so much as I'm worried about Autumn. All I need is an unhinged mom in a moving weapon! Plus, with my luck, she's Autumn's class's room mom...anyway, one of my friends asked me what I was going to do and where I was going to hide the body. But, I kind of picture it going down with me pinning her and calling the police. For some reason this isn't appealing because it feels like I'd get a lot of not great attention, haha.

Anyway, I'm sure it won't come to that but today I was walking back and stopped at the crosswalk across from the park because someone stopped to turn left into the carpool line. You're really not supposed to do that because you're cutting a ton of people off plus it takes forever.  The lady rolled down her windows and yelled, "I AM JUST TRYING TO TURN LEFT." Which, duh. And although it would have been nice if she had stopped behind the line, I don't care so I just shrugged and did my hands in an "I don't care" motion. And then I saw her dog. And then I saw the car make and model. It was the stink eye lady!

After waiting for some other cars to turn right, I started across behind her vehicle and she sticks her head out and is muttering at me. Finally, she goes, ARE YOU THE ONE WHO TALKED TO ME MONDAY??

And, because I am nowhere near civilized and enlightened yet, I made it worse. I said, "Does it matter? What are you planning to do?" I promise, I said it super politely. And then I kept on walking which means I didn't catch all of her smack talk before she ROARED away...just to stop short because she didn't make it into the carpool line. I guess I could have been more irritating to her. An old friend of mine took off her earrings and stilettos and almost pulled a lady out of her car for almost mowing them down once. Man, I love that story.

So, yeah. It appears that a crazy person with a dog and children and a vehicle that counts as an assault weapon is gunning for me. If I never post again, you know what happened. If she gets out of her car, I can almost certainly take her. But I don't think anyone's winning against a Land Yacht!

ps, I'm not really planning to take her out. I'm pretty much going to stay in crowds from now on. I'm also going to meet Autumn closer to where I usually meet her after school just to be safe.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In which fruit for breakfast becomes a goal

I haven't written much about etiquette lately because I can't figure out how to write what I have in my head. Plus someone I know recently did what I was going to write about next which is...potentially awkward. I need people to just send me letters I can answer Miss Manners style. Aaaanyway, in the vein of growing up in a rough situation, I was just laughing with Mike about an old memory and thought I'd share.

We live in a part of town that has a reputation for being full of snobby rich people. Heck, I used to think that about this end of town! What I've discovered, though, is that most of the people here aren't dripping with cash. They are people like Mike and me who drive cars til they die and don't go out to eat. I mean, some of them are.

Others are totally the stereotype. A mother came to a library meeting once. I recognized her jewelry because it's a designer the women in Mike's family really like. I have one of his more affordable, no jewel bracelets. One year for Christmas, all the girls got a piece of the guy's jewelry from dads or significant others and I got a short chef's knife from Mike. We all went "oooooooh." And then everyone looked at me like "what?" Hahahaha. Anyway, the mom showed up wearing a good $10k worth of earrings, bracelets, watch, rings and earrings. Seriously. To a library meeting. But, whatever, it's her thing. It's not my thing. And probably wouldn't be even if we could afford that much ice.

Back to the memory, some time ago, I told Mike that the moment I knew I wanted something else was on a mission trip. Jesus didn't come down to me or anything but I went to this house. It was clean. Spacious. They had a VAN with a TV. But, for whatever reason, that isn't what struck me. The next morning, they had cut up fruit for breakfast. WHO DOES THAT? I remember thinking, you know what, I am going to have FRUIT for BREAKFAST someday. Have you ever seen the tv show Life? It was like that with the fruit.


Of course, now I know that a house and cut up fruit isn't everything. Not that I thought it was everything then but when I was barely scraping by, it seemed like money would make everything easier. Straight up honest? Not living paycheck to paycheck is easier, hands down. At the same time, moving up a bit in income brackets hasn't done a lot for the smoothness and predictability of our life, obviously. And, really, all the DIY and making a comfortable home is less for appearances and more for being able to use our gift of hospitality to minister to our friends and anyone else who finds their way here. I'm sure the same is true for the family with the fruit. But still, sometimes I look around the neighborhood and wonder how I got here from where I was. I still don't have cut up fruit for breakfast, though. But that's mostly because no one else in my house will eat cantaloupe or honeydew except for me.

That's not to say I have gone gently into suburbia. Mike's dad likes to tease me about how I'm a fitness instructor with an SUV (I am a martial arts instructor with a weapon hauler, thankyouverymuch). I don't entirely fit in here any more than I fit in when I went to school in my old neighborhood. Although not feeling like I fit in with the tennis moms feels less dangerous than not fitting in when I was in school. You guys, I seriously would HIDE in the library during lunch in middle school because I was so scared of the crowds. Yes, I was doing martial arts but I was also smart. One little kid vs. a group of bigger kids? Those are bad odds! I might have become a researcher, hiding in the books all through high school if a guidance counselor hadn't sent me over to one of the better schools in town. She looked at my straight A's, looked at me, looked at my mom, and got out some paper. She said, "look, don't tell anyone I did this but you will never survive here. I am going to send you over to this principal. I want you to ask her to make room for you."

I used to work near here. It isn't looking too bad! Interestingly, if you google our current town, you get pictures of big houses. Google where I grew up, you get mug shots. There are revitalization efforts happening and I hope they go well!

Mike reminded me of my "I'm not going to be broke forever" epiphany the other day. He got me a bunch of Samurai Chai Mate for Valentine's Day or Christmas and asked me if I had any left. I told him I haven't had any all summer because I was saving my nice tea for when it's cooler and I can really savor it. He said, "you know your fruit thing? Your next goal can be getting to drink Teavana tea just because." Ha!

Anyway, I had an actual story to tell about Sharaze the suburban vigilante, picking up people's trash in my SUV, and the fact that I am now mildly concerned that at least two moms are going to assault me but you have to wait for that because I rambled way too much.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Hammers are not my friend

I got some great conversation about my last post on Facebook. That link and a question I asked about female leadership in church got about 40 comments each and the discussion was civil, helpful, and full of all kinds of people in many walks of life. I love it! And I love my friends. In a completely unrelated Facebook comment thread, a friend asked if anyone had videos of themselves doing throws. I had completely forgotten that this was out there, but my friend Chuck taped me learning a new throw from a kuntaw practitioner we met last year. Fun! And...awkward. Haha. I should show this video to the people who only see my finished product.

I walked away from both virtual conversations feeling really good. I still don't know what, if anything, I'll be doing about getting more women in class. My friend Shang who trains in and teaches Wing Chun in Los Angeles put it well--what do I want? Do I want to actively bring in people who don't necessarily want to learn or do I want to teach what I teach in a healthy (and continually evolving) manner and accept who comes in my doors? It's probably a little of both. I'd like to make my environment one that is friendly to anyone who walks in but I also don't want to water down or only preach to a certain population, so to speak. So, no easy answers.

Another aikido teacher in town said his classes are about 40% female. After some discussion, it's likely helped by the fact that one of their main instructors is a woman and his daughter is a student. So the class was seeded, in a sense. It's like the time Mike started going to certain group fitness classes. He was the only guy. But then they started popping in and staying. He broke the "only women do that" barrier and now the classes are, while still overwhelmingly female, becoming a little more diverse.

His school is also in a part of town with many more young people and it is a well known more liberal part of town, if there's such a thing. So, there's a little more openness to aikido and, possibly, a lessening of some social barriers. I made the observation that, in contrast, our main campus is in a part of town that is wealthy and heavily conservative in terms of both politics and religion. I think it's possible that many of the women in our school's area are protected, not protectors. Either by choice or by habit. Like we talked about earlier in the week.

Anyway, something else funny happened on Facebook. A friend wrote about wanting to change her bike tire. One of her friends, a person I don't know, went on and on about how men NEED to feel manly. Emphasis hers. And that she likes to tell her husband how she likes all the masculine things he does and would he please fix this sink.

Of course, I laughed and laughed. Mike and I are pretty even on house chores. Although I am home more and do the bulk of the cleaning, Mike does laundry and the yard. I kill bugs and hang pictures. He's a lot stronger than I am so, today, we had to adjust Autumn's bike and we did it together. I held it and he did all the joint and bolt turning. Mike has no patience for this kind of thing, so once we finished with Autumn's bike, I changed my bike tire tube. Autumn and I took a ride and I realized my brake pad was rubbing so I took it apart and put it back together. Easy peasy, no men need to feel like men angst (incidentally, it must be exhausting to live with someone who needs constant reassuring that he is not, in fact, a woman).

Here's where is all went wrong. We need to organize the garage. I decided to take this one corner where we have all of our yard implements propped in a very spider webby corner. I put on my gloves, decided to go cheap and use nails to hang up each item, and went to work. It was a disaster. For some reason, I just didn't have enough brute force to break through the wall so I ended up holding the nail with a needle nose plier while I slammed the hammer down. Once, I accidentally hit the nail too far in because once it made it through whatever was so hard, the nail would sink right down. So, in my attempt to pry the nail out, I did something and then this happened:

Noooooo. I tossed my hammer aside, sat down to weep, and decided this might be the universe's sign that I am denying my true nature and I need to sit back and be the little woman God intended me to be and stay away from those big, bad nails.

Yeah, no. It's great for the ladies (or gentlemen) who hate fixing things and hammering to have a spouse or family member or good friend who likes to do things like this so they don't have to. Heaven knows I've never mowed a yard and never plan to--DON'T JUDGE ME. But...this was, like, a CHALLENGE and that wall WAS GOING DOWN. I totally finished and it looks awesome.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lowering the Barrier--Looking for Ideas

An article got me thinking about women in martial arts and personality types. This time, at least. Like I said in the last post, the subject is generally in the back of my mind. You should definitely check out the article. A good friend of mine posted the link. I didn't expect to like it because, well, there just seems to be a lot of people bashing anyone who doesn't toe the gender role line. Not to mention all the awful modesty screeds getting a lot of screen time. Plus when he posted it, he just said it was interesting. I thought, "hmmmm. Interesting can mean a lot of things."

But, in all seriousness, I think the article hits many, many good points about why I have no female students over the age of 15. And you know what else? I have been taking the dojo calls for about a year now. I haven't even had inquiries from any women unless it's getting information for their kids.

Joan of Arc
Why don’t more women get involved in the martial arts? Well, maybe because it just doesn’t necessarily come natural to them. Maybe because generations of social conditioning and thousands of years of evolution stand against it, by providing them with a set of instincts and unconscious thought patterns which guide them away from unnecessary violence, for their own protection. Not because they are weak – but because they are crucially important.

For a long time, Mike and I have been talking about why this is. I still think some of it might be personality types. That either because of nature or because it's been suppressed or bred out of women, the personality types that enjoy fighting--even the controlled type that I teach--are generally found in men. Or, that for many, many, many years, it's been the exception for a woman to be a warrior than the rule.

The writer of the article covers a lot of the reasons women have been a protected group--child bearing and breast feeding, for example, is pretty much the domain of women and without women, a culture cannot propagate itself. This guy wrote a paper where he comes to the conclusion that partiarchy kept women from war in the sense that they couldn't participate in war councils and battles because of a potential conflict of interest. Women tended to leave their homes and go to their husband's home and so might have divided loyalties. I can buy that.

Nakano Takeko
In essence, women have to overcome centuries of social conditioning, millennia of evolution and the current zeitgeist before walking into a dojo. And when they manage to drag themselves there, what they often encounter is an environment which is far from gender-neutral.

So, now that technology, sheer numbers, and some cultural shifts has made it so that those women who are so inclined can pursue the martial arts, I am back to wondering why I have very few women in my classes. I suspect it'll be Autumn's generation that really starts to feel free to pursue more stereotypically masculine hobbies. My teen/kid classes are 50/50 right now. Few of them will stay until adulthood. I do wonder if there will be increased pressure for the girls to conform to "girl" hobbies as they get older. I guess I'll watch and see.

In the meantime, does anyone have any ideas or insight on what kinds of things *would* make a dojo environment more gender neutral? I'm a female instructor who isn't physically imposing but I've discovered that's not super helpful. Many people assume I'm extra tough or they will never get to my skill level because I'm naturally talented. To which I laugh and laugh and laugh. Still others don't like to learn from me because I am a woman and small and they think that I wouldn't really know what I'm doing. Talk about conflicting reviews!! In terms of intimidating environment, my classes aren't in typical dojo settings. One is in a ballet and fencing school. The other is just a room at a church. So, it isn't like a concrete and steel Rocky boxing basement like back in the day when I first started taking aikido.

Among the ideas I've been batting around is a martial arts 101 class. Like a 6 weeks program where students would learn to stand, do basic punches, learn to roll and things like that all in regular workout clothes and with music alongside others who are at the exact same level. I'm also starting a Body Bar kickboxing class at a local church gym this week. It's fitness kickboxing done a little more slowly (and safely, holy cow some of these kickboxing teachers are unsafe!!!) with moves less like cheerleading and more like actual muay thai and, during certain intervals, we'll use a weighted bar to do weapons-inspired moves. Kind of like this but with my own spin on things.

But, that's about as far as I've gotten. Have you ever considered martial arts or self defense? What made you decide to do or not do it? Is there anything I could do to help lower the barrier to entry for women or men who aren't all RAWR CAGE FIGHTING?

Friday, September 13, 2013

Smoting is my personality type!

Mulan: Prepping for the Matchmaker on Disney Video

I used to be really stressed out about not being the stereotypical Southern/Asian culture woman. I'm not quiet and submissive. And I'm totally Mulan. I went to a counselor at a great Christian psychology office here in town some years back and told her how tough it was to try to be all the things books like Love and Respect (part of our church CURRICULUM!) wanted me to be because I'm just not. And Mike isn't the kind of guy they describe in Biblical Manhood circles--he just isn't stressed out about it and probably partly because of a more chill personality and partly because he's a guy and people aren't all YOU ARE RUINING YOUR LIFE BY BEING A NURTURERRRRR. Which really isn't entirely true, now that I think about it so it's probably just Mike's natural chillness.

And my counselor? She said, "why do you care?" That's a gross oversimplification of several hours of counseling and so is the rest of this paragraph but she and I talked about how, well, I'm living inside what I believe is God's will for my life. Also, I have a happy marriage with a husband who isn't the one asking me to change. And et cetera.

So even though I'm not angsting (zoloft probably helped with that since I tend to need it when the angst goes overboard) about being a so-called "strong female" (said with the disdain of a televangelist, lol), I still think about gender roles, the Bible, and culture.

I've had this theory that I can in no way substantiate but I'd love to find someone respectable who has done or would do research on this. I have always wondered how much personality type and social conditioning have to do with gender roles and expectations. I remember once, when we were going through Love and Respect, asking what in the world would have happened to me if I were alive in the 1300s (other than die a horrible death due to eczema, bad eyesight, severe allergies, or the plague). One of the guys, without hesitation, said burned as a witch. I AM JOAN OF ARC. I wasn't raised to be. I have occasionally actively tried to suppress that part of me. But it's just there.

Source. Also, Mike will see this and go "wow, that really is Sharaze."
This is generally at the back of my mind but yesterday a few people posted this Harry Potter Myers Brigg graphic that's pretty cute. And, I'm James Potter and an ENTJ. The funny thing? I have done official tests and not-official tests and it is always the same. Also always the same? It's the most rare female personality type, along with INTJ. Famous ENTJs? Napoleon. Mmhmm. One site describes it this way and you can click to read more:

This is the classic leader of men type... 
Females: This is the classic Amazon girl. DC Lawyer Bitch is probably an ENTJ. That is all you need to know.  
General: This is a very male type. They are probably found in leadership positions in proportions far beyond their small number in the population. Females will not wear this type well and their own hypergamy will make it hard to find men that “measure up.”

I, by the way, had to look up hypergamy. It is the practice of marrying up. Which I did, hahaha. I think that even this simple website description is very telling. But, you know, I'm not Amazon woman. I'm also not DC Lawyer B***. I think I wear my type well (and, yes, I know that these letters are not the be all, end all but it's still fun and interesting!). I really like this video my ESTJ friend sent me that I'll put at the bottom. The healthy ENTJ teachers they describe, one of whom is, interestingly, a UFC guy, is the kind of teacher I try to be. Makes me feel better about all the other martial arts teachers who rant about me being soft and too not evil to my students. I call it not being a bully, personally. And, actually, I think I'll stop here for now but next time we'll talk about social conditioning and the dojo! In the meantime, what's your personality type?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Once Upon a Time...

...there was a Very Small Sensei.
Very small, indeed.

The Sensei had a Student. The Student was six years old and very blond and very excited to learn all the new things. After much hard work, he was ready for the second Stripe on his Yellow Belt; the Stripe that would tell everyone he was preparing for Orange Belt.

The Very Small Sensei had another Student who would help during the Test of the Very Blond Student. She would be his Uke and he would throw her. Because the Uke's family was moving, her Uniform was packed up with the rest of the house.

Our Sensei thought hard, because students must wear their Uniforms for Tests. But, she had an idea! She needed to wear her Hakama and Gi top for the Test and always dressed in Layers. So, the Uke could borrow the Sensei's Gi Pants and Class Shirt. It was brilliant! Although the Pants and Shirt were a little too big for the Uke, it worked out just fine.

Now, when the Very Blond Student put on his uniform for testing, he set his Shirt aside. The same type of Shirt that the Very Small Sensei wore. This is an important moment and pivotal to our story's end.

Josh, aka the Very Blond Student
He tested and passed with Shining Colors. His Uke was fabulous and did an excellent job with such a Great Responsibility.

After tests and clapping and cheering and photos, it was time to put the Room back together and after the Task was completed, our Sensei retrieved her Clothing from the Uke.

As the Students were leaving, the Very Blond Student ran up to the Very Small Sensei and held up a shirt. "Sensei! This is not mine! I can't find my shirt."

The Very Small Sensei thought, "Uh-oh," and looked down at her Shirt. Lo and behold, there was a Black Stain on the Shirt. A Stain which the Very Blond Student made several weeks back on HIS SHIRT. Sensei sighed, took the Shirt from the Very Blond Student, and said, "Ummm, excuse me."

And so, the Great Mixup was solved. And will never be forgotten.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

In which I taper off

Back in December 2011, I wrote about starting zoloft and why I decided to start taking it again. The short of it is that I was having some anxiety problems, most likely as a result of all the crazy hormones making a general tendency to anxiety much more severe, and the counselor and I decided that a prescription would be beneficial to take the edge off. I had a good run on it. No major side effects that I know of and I was able to stay on a very low dose.

A couple months ago, I started talking to Mike and my doctor about maybe coming off zoloft. We decided it was a good idea just to see how it goes. I began tapering off. First, one every other day for a few weeks, then one every 2 days and so on. I've heard horror stories about coming off sertraline but I'm completely off now with no noticeable issues. I'm not sure if zoloft type drugs just work well with my system or I tapered off well enough but, either way, I'm happy it was a smooth transition.

Mike and I keep an open dialogue about how I'm doing. I seem to be fine. No anxiety problems. I haven't been overwhelmed by anything or any projects. No angsting about "OMG I AM A FAILUREEEE BECAUSE MY DISHES AREN'T WASSSHHHEDD." It seems like any emotions I feel, even the angry or sad ones, are in the "normal" spectrum of responses to events. I'll keep monitoring. I've always been pretty good about getting help if I need it from a counselor so hopefully if anything does change, we'll catch it pretty quickly.  

By the way, these kinds of people? I still want to punch them:


If you click on my original zoloft post, I linked to a blog called Hyperbole and a Half and, since then, the author of that blog has posted an update of her journey with depression. Language warning, like last time, but her update is pretty amazing and transparent and I definitely suggest reading it, especially if you're struggling with dark times. Or if you know someone who is struggling.

It's a hard process, getting healthy. It sucks sometimes. Sometimes it sucks a lot. Straight up honest, I still have days where I'm all "really? REALLY, GOD??" I think God is probably okay with that. It's odd that I decided to come off zoloft right now when things are kind of tough financially and emotionally for the whole family. Like, last night, Autumn cried because her friend is getting a new sibling. She was all, "why does he get TWO? Why don't we have a baby yet?" But it felt like the right time? I don't know. I DON'T KNOW ANYTHING EVER. We'll see. I'll keep exercising and crafting and going to the acupuncturist and talking to my family and friends and all of the things I have done over the last couple of years to keep my head on straight. And, if I need to go back to zoloft, or something else, I will. And I'm sure you'll hear about it.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Cleaning and Classes

TODAY I AM CLEANING. I don't know why. I mean, we all straighten here every day but, today, I seriously deep cleaned my kitchen. And I'm working my way around. I haven't the slightest idea why I got the urge today, but there you go. It's a better urge than, say, eating a pound of chocolate. Which isn't to say that isn't a *fabulous* thing but, while enjoyable, usually ends in a stomach ache.

I've been talking to different gyms and people and emailing and visiting and I'm not super encouraged by the results. It isn't always that I don't get a position, it's that the times are wrong or they need something I can't (or won't) really do. I'm probably going to go with what I've got and start applying again when the New Year's Resolution rush begins. Very happily, I did get one class that has the potential to expand. It's at a church gym and the people are nice and the pay is pretty good. It's not much different from my aikido set up where I get a certain percentage of the students I attract. So, it's incentive for both parties to make sure the class in successful. I was looking for some ideas for this class because it's going to be kickboxing with some weights in the mix. I ran across this guy and I like his routine and teaching style so much that I bought his dvd.

My mom liked this so much she's thinking about driving all the way to our town (we live in a suburb about 45 minutes from her suburb) to do my class. She cracks me up. I did look around in her area to see if anyone was hiring and the only places that are would be places where I'd have to start completely from scratch and build the classes myself. I'm not quite ready for that kind of work because I'm still trying to rebuild my aikido classes after a bunch of my students started new schools or sports, moved, or went off to college.

I have an audition at a church about 5 minutes away Friday. Mike and I actually went there many moons ago and one of their pastors officiated our wedding. Their gym is a ministry. Although I really need to make money, if none of the other places where I applied pan out immediately, I might go ahead and do a class or two there, provided the way I teach suits their clients. I'd be giving a 5 minute devotional before class, doing the class, and praying with anyone who might need it. The church also pays for certifications and, if I ever decide to go the personal training route, that's a paid position. So, I don't know. I think it could be a good way to take what I'm trying to do with this blog (encouragement for me and others, mainly), meet people, and get some experience. This church is also interested in aikido during their next budget season. And they expressed a LOT of interest in Kidpower. Mike and I agreed it'd be worth it to at least walk through the stages and see where this ends up.

In the meantime, I know that I rarely get comments here on the blog--it's usually on Facebook--but, wherever you're reading this, maybe you can help me out. When I teach fitness kickboxing, is there anything you'd like the instructor to do? Any particular things you hate or love? For example, I despise going super, super fast with kickboxing. And I love it when the instructor gives low impact options. What about you?