Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bionic Girl

Today has been a long day. A long, long day. I helped my friends A. and T. move this morning. They have a baby on the way, due in September, so they moved to an apartment that's nearly twice the size of the one that they had this year. We made a couple of trips in the vans and moved a bunch of furniture and boxes, and while the last load was coming in I put myself to work cleaning up some of the kitchen. The last tenants left the place a pretty big mess, so the clean up job will be a big one, but it's not outside the realm of possibility. Nothing some bleach water, a broom, and new paint can't fix. Once it gets aired out and cleaned up it'll be a nice little abode.

From there I went to judo. Wednesdays are always insane for me. I get on the mat at about 5:45 for some preliminary stretching, then we have kata seminar from 6-7:30. In Ju-No-Kata, the kind that I do, there are four of us working: me and my partner, and the reigning Canadian champions. They are very nice and give us lots of good pointers, so the hour and a half goes by really quickly. We've been getting better in strides, but it can be frustrating to try to fix teeny little things, and it gets super hard on the lower back. Every time we finish a complete set, we have to stop and stretch and give our backs a break for a couple of minutes. Then we get up and do it all again. I like it because it's a bit like dancing; you have specific movements that you must do in exactly the right way, and you have to have grace and a good connection with your partner in order for it to look good. We have a competition in August that we're preparing for as well. It's Masters level, which means people over 30, so technically I shouldn't be participating but since I'm the uke (the attacker, which is less glamorous) I think it should be okay.

Then at 7:30 there's the regular practice, with cardio, circuits, throws, technique, and randori (sparring). That goes until 9:00, and then there's free practice, so I usually put in another 20 minutes or so before I have to shower and catch my bus. It was a good workout today; I worked with a white belt (a beginner) and showed him some technique, and I got to do some randori with K., a woman black belt who's very very good. She's in and out of the competition circuit so she's great to work out with, both technically and tactically. I feel like, after a year back in the sport, I'm finally getting back into my game a bit. It's nice.

Of course, now my body wants to kill me. It wants to crawl into a corner and die, after eating everything in my apartment that stays still long enough. It wants to swell up to three times its size just so I can't get any sleep, and to calm it down I'm going to have to munch on carrots and utilize every ice pack in the fridge, alternating them on various body parts for the next couple of hours. And tomorrow I won't be able to walk. But that's okay, because it's Canada Day, my dad's birthday (Happy Birthday, Dad!), moving day in Quebec, and the day my body goes on strike (well, that's every Thursday, but whatever).

Now I'm going to cuddle up with some ice packs, suck my thumb, and whimper myself to sleep, all while revelling in how awesome it is to be an athlete.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Groundbreaking News

Not really. This post will be dedicated entirely to the fact that I have now discovered Coke Zero, and my life is complete in ways that I never even knew were possible.

Not really. But Coke Zero is pretty freaking good. I'm not a big soda drinker, due entirely to the fact that I have no car and so any groceries that I buy must be carried home on a ten minute trek that seems like forever when you're carrying heavy things. Like the time, never to be repeated, when I schlepped home a 15 pound bag of rice. Now, I'm a strong girl, and 15 pounds is normally nothing. But combined with a backpack full of other things, and the fact that the day was hot and the bag was slippery, it was the most ridiculous thing ever to try to transport home.

But back to Coke Zero (I wish I was getting paid for mentioning it so many times!). The thing is, I'm a Pepsi girl. Especially when it comes in a glass bottle, like it used to in PEI when I was a little kid. Coke is usually too syrupy-sweet, and diet sodas always taste like plastic. But Coke Zero gets close enough to the Coke taste to be legit and non-disgusting, while retaining the zero-calorie-ness of diet sodas. In fact, whatever sweetener they use makes it actually taste better than regular Coke, because it's not quite so sweet. And when it's in a cold ice chest, and the outside temperature is approaching Hades with humidity, there is just nothing better. Nothing. Better. Nothing.

Now that I have wasted your evening with my little gastronomical update, I will return to my current mission in life: taking as many notes as possible on the various aspects of the Protestant Church in Ireland in the early seventeenth century, including but not limited to its interactions with Catholicism and Catholics, and its application of apocalyptic polemic thereto.

Thank you for not snoring.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Precious Letters

I finally cleaned off my desk this evening (and if you were a paper product, you would be singing the Hallelujah Chorus right now). I hadn't really touched the piles since Christmas, and while I can't believe that I just admitted such a thing in public, I rather enjoyed having such a large and diverse pile to sift through all at once. It was very interesting to see what things were commanding my attention six months ago.

One thing that I found a lot of were letters and postcards. I prefer to keep in touch with people via paper product much more than email. It connects me to another time, the way things were throughout human history up until about 40 years ago. Anne of Green Gables wrote letters, as did the March sisters; men at war, students travelling or away at school, immigrants trying to make a new life in America, everyone wrote letters.

I enjoy everything about the letter-writing and -receiving process. I take my time selecting the color and design of the stationery I want to use, as well as the pen. I jot down the things that I want to include in the letter so that I don't forget anything and I can give my thoughts a bit of organization. I make sure I have a solid hour to write; a letter of 2-4 pages usually takes me that long though I'm not sure why, and I want to make sure that my train of thought has minimal chance of getting derailed partway through. I date my letters and sign them, and I mail them as soon as possible.

They usually take a couple of weeks to reach their destination (thanks to Canada Post: another entry for another time). I like to think about when the person will be getting their letter and what their reaction will be. And to me, there's nothing more exciting than opening my mailbox and receiving a piece of mail with a handwritten address. Something that's not bills or ads. Yes, I realize I just made myself sound like a grouchy 40-year-old. If you're going to read this blog, you should probably get used to that. But I digress. It's exciting to tear open the top of the envelope; even when I try, I can never do it neatly. I'm always smiling and often laughing when I read through the letter. I like to keep it on the side of my desk (hence the six-month-old pile from today) so that I can glance over it and re-read it whenever I need a pick-me-up.

And the best part is, because mail takes a couple of weeks to reach the person, there's plenty of time for new things to happen so you'll have plenty to write in your next letter. And if you don't respond immediately - I often wait a month or so in between writing - the person won't care and may not even notice. So much better then email, where if you go for more than 24 hours without responding you feel obliged to apologize for the delay, and if you are the one waiting for a response, you start to envision all sorts of scenarios that would explain why it's been 6 hours and you still have no reply (Maybe they're not at work today. Maybe they're ignoring me. Maybe they've been kidnapped. Maybe they took all of their friends on a Caribbean cruise to an island without internet and they didn't invite me! Maybe... etc. etc.).

To sum up (since I used to teach 8th grade and I've found that no one remembers what you spent the last hour teaching them unless you include a summary right at the end), I like letters because I am neurotic and I have a very large paper collection in my top drawer. The end.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Scene 1, Take 1

Hello big world.

This is my second attempt at breaking into the blogosphere. My first was a LiveJournal that I had in high school (all the rage back then, let me tell you!), but I figured that since I have changed so much since then, it might just be good to get a fresh start. But my lovely little LJ is still out there, faithfully keeping watch over the turmoil that was my life between 10th grade and my graduation from university several years later. If you truly must see it, just ask.

This step of starting my own blog reminds me of a book that I used to love when I was a little kid: The World Is Big, and I'm So Small. One of the pictures in the book is of the little protagonist rabbit opening the front door that is way, way too big for him, and staring out into the world beyond his house.

I feel like that rabbit right now.

And so, dear reader, hang on for the ride, and bear with me. Who knows what tomorrow may bring.