Category Archives: family

Senseless Monkey!

Started my fancy new job this week as a census monkey!  Technically, my job is Enumerator, but that doesn’t really mean much.  I feel that census monkey is a lot more evocative.  Basically I just go to the doors of people who did do their censuses and point out that they didn’t do their census, hey, what should we do about that?  I am, like, three days in, but it’s pretty good times so far; I like talking to strangers while holding a clipboard.  I had to take a pretty hardcore privacy oath (6 months in prison!), so I can’t blog the undoubtedly exciting confidential information I’m gathering.

I managed to elbow Kickboxing Erika in the eye on Friday.  I felt the squish and everything!  Gah!  I started pulling back at the last second, so it really wasn’t hard, thankfully.  Earlier, she punched me bare-knuckled, full on the head.  These were both during defensive drills, so it was fault of the strikee, not the striker.  We were both just having a particularly stupid day.  Stupid to the point of, during one drill we got halfway through then just stood there, staring at each other for a full thirty seconds because we couldn’t remember who went next.

My dad came up today, and for Father’s Day I made him put a basket and a rack on my bike.  Haha, I have such a nice-looking bike, and the rack and basket came from a yardsale and are attached with metal tape stuff and look like total crap.  Fun fact about me: about 90% of what I own was free, and also I have no aesthetic shame.  “Concept?  Matching?  Whatever, if I get the bike for free, then I can afford leather boxing gloves.  And an extra yoga class!”

I had a fun bike adventure that didn’t involve actually driving it at all!  I always kept it locked to a tree behind my apartment, and I got home the other day and the tree had been cut down, and my bike was gone.  The part of my brain that does logic said, clearly, the landlord had cut down the tree and put my bike somewhere safe and I just had to call him and everything would be cool.  But the part of my brain that is frankly way more fun at parties immediately thought, holy crap, some thief loved my awesome bike so much they cut down a WHOLE TREE to get it holy crap!  It was totally the logical first one, of course.  The cool-ass part of my brain is never right.  I’m pretty sure that’s reality failing to live up to my standards.

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MMA Days!

We had the greatest kickboxing class.  MMA class!  This is, Mixed Martial Arts, which is what UFC is all about.  Basically, it’s mixing grappling and kickboxing, in this case kickboxing while on the ground.  So first my partner, a big guy, sat on my chest while I punched up at him for at least three minutes, I couldn’t see the clock but holy crap it’s hard to punch up.  I had to keep moving around, too, and trying to bump him off, which means basically bucking up with my hips to try to get him off my chest.  The poor guy wasn’t very used to grappling, though, so I had to remind him a few times to be really heavy on me and actually have his full weight on my chest.

Next!  I got to sit on a heavy bag and punch down on it.  So much fun, not even kidding.  I always wondered how the UFC fighters threw proper punches on the ground, since they didn’t have the full range of motion, but you can really get your hips going!  I now love hammerfists, and I only just discovered them in that exercise.  Also, we did an exercise where we laid on the ground and scooted in a circle on our backs while kicking right up into a front kick.  Basically, kicking the person in the face before they try to get past your legs and into your person.  These are the lessons that will get me confused in grappling class.

In another day entirely, I finally went to a co-ed grappling class!  And I even rolled with a man!  Very exciting!  (Although, when I explained it to Classy Erica, I phrased it, “I went with the men!  Now my knees are so bruised.”  I need to get better at saying things.  I am covered in awesome new bruises, is my point.)  We played a great game called Bulldog, which is sort of like Red Rover with your eyes closed and also violence.  Hard to explain quickly, but it is full of testosterone and badass and I enjoyed it.  I hope to play it more once I get better at it and the guys know me better and are more willing to tackle me.  The learning part involved a lot of really fun take-downs that I can’t remember the names of, so I can’t link to them here.  The important part is that I remember how to do them (I CAN’T REMEMBER HOW TO DO THEM).

Yesterday was my pre-mother’s day visit with Mom, an event celebrated with sushi (every event, people, I am telling you, sushi).  Then, a party with Sam, where I was sociable and talked to people I didn’t know, which was “everyone other than Sam”.  I was competing with other partygoers, to see who knew the fewest people there, and I was the proud winner of that game.

Today I got a last-minute invite to see the play Top Girls, which is seriously awesome and I love it.  The first, long scene could probably just be the whole play, although the rest is worth watching, too.  I have learned about several badass historical ladies I did not know about at all, how terrible is that.  Lady Pope?  How did this chick escape my notice for so long?  Yes, she’s legendary and probably not real, but I think I’ve made it pretty clear that I choose my reality based on it’s fantasticness.

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A Kick in the Face is Better than None

Aw, this is my last update from this particular reference desk you folks will ever get!  It is completely dead here, because exams are over and it’s the long Easter weekend.  Let us hope I get even one question.  But the memories!  The memories of all my lovely questions!  Oh, such cherishing.

I have had some good times in kickboxing this week, let me tell you.  I got kicked in the face!  It was a complete accident on Rosie’s part, of course, just a matter of missing the pad and hitting my jaw, but it was a hard kick and everything.  It was during drills, not sparring, so it’s not like I messed up by not dodging or blocking.  I was supposed to be in the kick’s way, just a foot and a half lower.  Anyway, I am totally stoked over this.  Kicked in the face = officially hardcore.  Poor Rosie kept apologizing, because what else can you do after you kick someone in the face?  I would feel completely horrible if I did that.  But I got kicked, so I’m just aces.  Anyway, my reaction immediately after the kick was strange.  About five seconds of being completely fine, followed by thirty seconds of freaked-out pain, followed by being completely fine again.  I think in a fight, I’d hit back during those immediate “completely fine” five seconds, and the adrenaline would carry me through the painful part.  I know this is probably common knowledge, but it’s the first time it’s happened to me, so I’m all intrigued.

On Friday, we did a whole bunch of kicking.  I don’t know if you know this about me, but I have a simple dream.  That dream is to one day become Anderson Silva.  (IN CASE IT’S NOT CLEAR, SILVA IS THE ONE WHO WINS THE FIGHT.  THAT’S THE ONE I WANT TO BE.)  As such, face-kicking practice on Friday was a crucial part of that goal.  I mean, getting kicked in the face is badass, sure, but at a certain point I would like to win fights in very cool ways.

Bootcamp on Saturday morning!  We did some insane thing called plyometrics.  Wikipedia with it’s fancified letter-words doesn’t get across what plyometrics is, which is jumping.  Jumping a lot, in strange, inhuman ways, while being assured that anyone can do anything for thirty seconds.  A really hard one, but probably my favourite for the “fun factor”, are called rock stars (found as the first workout of this video).  Seriously, you pretend to be a rock star, jumping as high as you can while whaling on your guitar.  The arm motion is completely superfluous, it’s just good goddamned fun, because if you’re already jumping that high, then you might as well air guitar.

Went home for Easter dinner and had Easter dinner times.  It was also part birthday dinner because my birthday is next week.  Whoo!  I got Easter chocolate and birthday chocolate.  Pretty much the best day ever.  I also got cool new sneakers, because working-out people are supposed to get new sneakers every six months and I’ve had mine for almost a year.  And they were falling apart, too, so I guess it’s true.  Anyway, mine are awesome and black and comfy and you guys, I have a confession, every time I get new shoes I imagine myself fighting crime in them.  Cool black sneakers are sort of ideal, and big boots, but it gets a little ridiculous with, say, sandals or high heels.  I started this habit pre-kickboxing, too, so we can’t even blame that.

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Extending the lesson

So many exciting shenanigans, I can barely keep up.  (Everyone please remember, I have a very loose definition of “exciting”.)  I went for a cottage weekend with various of The Girls last week, to celebrate our freedom from MLIS-dom.  I ate such a ridiculous amount of food, I am not joking.  If I ever want to become truly skinny, I have to stop being friend with people who are such good cooks, I swear to Christ.  But that would entail losing both wonderful friends and fabulous food, and I’m pretty sure I look awesome anyway, so I’ll just keep everything.

The cottage was lovely, even though I had to leave a day early for work, like a big big loser.  But I had some forest shenanigans.  I did nature yoga!  I did my tree pose on a rock by a still lake, then I found a rock in the middle of a running stream, so I did tree again on it!  It was harder in the running stream, because of the movement.  This is science with yoga I am doing, not fucking around in the woods on one leg.

Then I had to part with the most precious thing, my mother’s car.  Yes, strangely, after Mom got back from her Caribbean adventure she seemed to want her car back.  Also, her cat.  Madness.  I tried to make a run for it, me and the cat against the world, but I can only get places via Google Maps, so the cops can find me pretty fast if they just check my search history (“Come, Kitty, to the Amherst liquor store!  Then the New Brunswick border, and freedom!”).  Also, if I got lost (and I would), I would probably call Mom, which makes stealing her car a little unrealistic.

Hanging out in Truro was good times.  I again played board games with six-year-old Tyler, and again lost to him.  This time it was Trouble, so it’s less likely he was cheating, the little sneak.  Next time I go up, he wants to play chess with me.  God, as you may remember from this, I have played chess exactly once and did pretty badly (though eventually won).  And considering how much this kid kicks my ass, he’s probably going to be giving me pity do-overs.  I think I need to start studying my chess moves in time for my Easter chess beat-down from my tiny nephew.  I’ll play against the three-year-old after, to bolster my ego.  (He will eat my king and I will weep.)

Kickboxing on Friday!  We took a trip to Thai-land, as in Muay Thai, which is seriously fun.  The stance is different, with the hands out in front instead of up next to your face.  It feels very natural for punching, but defensively a little exposed, since I’m used to getting smacked for not having my hands next to my face.  Also, we were supposed to have our legs straighter and bouncier, but I’m pretty sure I immediately forgot that, the way I immediately forget my grappling stance in grappling, because apparently my legs only like to do one thing no matter how stupid that is.  So, we were blocking an overhand hook, grabbing the partner in a one-handed side-clinch, then kneeing him in the stomach.  Then, block the punch, push the face, knee the stomach.  Muay Thai apparently involves a lot of kneeing people in the stomach, which is a thing I can get behind.  We ended with a bit of the old spinning back-kick, which is fun to do once but hard to do, like, twelve times in a row.  I think I need to practice spinning without getting dizzy or something, if that’s a thing, Classy Erica probably knows.

Also in kickboxing, we did an exercise where we had five minutes for holding a plank.  You didn’t have to hold it for the whole five minute, but as soon as you dropped out of the plank, you were done.  My plank is so crappy, I usually can’t hold it for more than a minute, but then I go in and out of it.  So for this, I didn’t want to be the first person in the class to drop out, so I just tried and tried, and lost all track of the concept of time and anything else, and when I finally collapsed it was three and a half minutes.  Holy crap!  I thought I had the worst plank in the whole world!  That time isn’t the best by a long shot (a few people kept it for the whole five), but it’s way better than I ever even dreamed I could do, so I was pretty excited.  Apparently, according to the Plank Gods, if you can hold a plank for two minutes you are Officially Fit.  But the Plank Gods are kind of biased.

Saturday three-hour bootcamp!  Whoo!  We couldn’t go to the gym, so we did it at the club.  This just meant a little less weight-lifting, a little more whatever-insanity-Gerald-could-come-up-with.  The best insanity was a balance exercise where you stood on one leg with your other leg extended as high as possible, in front, to the side, to the back, while moving your arms up, to the sides, in front.  For a very long time.  Seriously working those balance muscles that I’m pretty sure just don’t exist on me.  My balance is so bad, I had to stand facing away from everyone else, so everything I was looking at was completely still.  I managed to zebra up my legs because I retarded when it comes to skipping ropes, as it turns out.  We also did piggyback calf-raises, and I actually collapsed when my piggybackee hopped on me the first time.  She was bigger than me, and my piggyback posture is apparently bad.  I’ve always been strong enough to power up from my bent back with partners my own size, but it’s different when they’re heavier than you.  So!  Long-time readers may remember my guide to being a piggybackee.  Now I will impart the lessons on giving a piggyback ride.

  • Keep your back up straight.  You’ll want to lean forward, to equalize the weight.  This will actually throw off your balance!
  • Have your legs bent and shoulder-width apart, with one in front of the other for balance.
  • You are strong enough!  Booyah!

Today I finally got back to grappling.  I missed it for the past few weeks because of crazy homework and the like.  But I’m back!  We learned a really cool take-down called the head-snap.  Basically, you just grab the back of your opponent’s head and shove it down quickly, and then they’re on the ground!  And if they only go halfway down, then you choke them.  If they don’t go down at all, then I don’t know what to tell you, my algorithm has failed.  Then we did the Fireman’s Carry Takedown, which is fun as hell but really not something I plan on busting out until I practice it a little more.  You wind up in a weird position after the person flips.  At the end, rolling!  I used the head-snap, which is so simple and effective, so much love.

Last night I went with various (former) classmates to watch some archival footage from the thirties in a church.  It was strangely engaging.  There were home movies of someone’s honeymoon from 1932, documentaries about porpoise hunters, and also the greatest short, ever.  It was about burglars and mushroom casserole and it seriously needs to be remade by Jerry Bruckheimer as a summer blockbuster stat.  No one else in the church seemed to find it as hilarious as us, though, which is weird, because it had the most bizarre plot, but everything hung together perfectly.  Like a perfect short story, that ends with a pile of burglar corpses strewn merrily across your livingroom while everyone laughs.

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MOTHER OF CHRIST MY ARMS!!!

I attended one of Gerald’s three-hour bootcamps on Saturday, for the first time in months.  So much fun, but holy mother of crap on a hockey stick my arms hurt.  I really got familiar with weights for the first time, this is the reason for my lovely pain.  We did a lot of weight-lifting “to failure”, which just means you keep lifting the weights until you can’t possibly lift them anymore.  Then other things, like doing sit-ups while holding a 20-lb weight above your head.  Now, I can pound out sit-ups like a champ, but ohmygod they are hard with the weight up there.  Go try it, I’ll wait.  I was tired by 12, and we had to do 50.  I was worried about dropping the weight and breaking my glasses, but then I was kind of, like, oh yeah, my face is right under my glasses.  Don’t smash my face, that’s my money-maker!

We also ran some laps around the Dal track, and I have no idea how far it is but I got almost all the way around four times (with craziness on the steps in between) before I had to switch to walking for a minute.  I figure that’s not too terrible considering I haven’t run since the last bootcamp.

Later that night, went out for drinks with kickboxers/bootcampers/fun people.  It was a Goodbye Maggie thing, as Maggie is leaving and won’t be punching me in the stomach anymore.  I discovered that ginger beer is an awesome mix, because you can’t taste anything over the power of ginger beer.  I also learned that, if you drink with Gerald, there is a good chance he will dare you to do pushups on the dance floor.  And, being as I’m me, there’s also a good chance I’ll do it!  Oh, there are pictures.  Maggie and I did it together, and in our defense, no one was dancing at the time.

Yoga was really interesting this morning.  Apparently, in addition to hips, another place I’m weirdly flexible is shoulders, so that was fun to learn.  Also annoying, because I was trying to stretch my damn shoulders and my stupid face was getting in the way.  My stupid, stupid face.  Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes!  We’re doing a 40-day yoga thingy, now.  We each pick a particular yoga position, preferable something we’re crap at, and do it every day for 40 days.  So, at home, we take out our mats and do the position, throw in a sun salutation, and the idea is that if you already have the mat out you’ll do some more positions because it’s there and yoga goddamned rules is what it does.  I picked tree pose, because it’s a balance pose and it’s become increasingly clear to me that I probably need three legs, my balance is so terrible.

My mother is away to exotic locales, and she’s left her cat and her car with me, which is very exciting.  The cat was pretty displeased with the arrangement yesterday, alternately hiding under my bed or wedged behind my stove somehow.  He’s calmed down now, though!  I swear to God, purring occurred.  Now to get used to have cat hairs wedged into every crevasse, ah, I had forgotten that irritation.  The car is exciting, though I haven’t used it much.  I hate parking!  Parking in Halifax is a pain in so much of my butt, seriously.  So, yeah, I could drive forever, I just never want to stop, is pretty much my problem.

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Maple Sugar Shack!

Went on a road trip up to the Sugar Moon Farm with Kathleen, Monica and Naomi for the purpose of eating maple syrup, with perhaps some things to wrap the maple syrup in.  Oh my.  We did the ‘pouring the hot maple syrup on the snow’ thing, which is the best thing ever.  I remember from my halcyon childhood, we would make it spell out our initials or whatever, but in this case we took a popsicle stick and made, like, a lollipop of pure, warm maple syrup with some snow mixed in, and it was pretty much just bliss, right there.  I got pancakes with maple syrup, and a hot chocolate with rum and maple whipped cream, and a biscuit with maple butter.  You would think this would be too much maple, but you would be wrong.  If I die by drowning in a vat of maple syrup, you will know that I died happy.

We also took a tour of the maple shack.  Sadly, we’re not quite in season, so it wasn’t really functioning.  That meant the Evaporating Room, rather than being a warm womb of maple steam, was actually just a freezing shack.  Not that I was looking forward to a maple steam bath OR ANYTHING!  The tour was really aimed at kids, so the four Masters students politely stood by quietly and learned about maple.

We also tried to go to the Anna Swan Museum in Tatamagouche, but it was closed, so instead we went to Big Al’s Restaurant, which had an Anna Swan exhibit and also food, because we totally weren’t planning on stuffing our faces completely full at the Sugar Shack an hour later, no.  We learned many important things about giants, human nature, and how Shannon just will not tolerate people mispronouncing Tatamagouche.  My theory is that people pronounce it like it’s French, when actually it’s Mi’kmaq.  And I just looked it up on Wikipedia, and it actually is from a Mi’kmaq word, so my half-assed folk etymology panned out!  Whoo!  Also, Wikipedia says I pronounce it right.  Justified by Wikipedia!  Man, that should be a new internet acronym.  jbw: Justified by Wikipedia.  I bet it’ll have a lot of application, once it catches on.

In other news, I have worked out Not At All this week.  Wait, no!  I did carry a table piggyback-style that Kathleen and Monica found on the side of the road back to their house after brunch the other day.  Does that sentence work?  I guess, more importantly, did you get all the elements from it, Internet?  Fine, good.  I carried a table down the street for a while.  It was a super-cute fifties-looking thing, and really little, just for two people.  And by the side of the road!  Surprisingly easy to carry once I got it into a good position on my back.  Piggybacks, man, I tell you, they make everything better.  I was really tempted to try to get on the bus with it, though.  “This is my brother.  He’s disabled.

Other than that, Reading Week, I’m all over the place, no working out to speak of, eating candy and pancakes all day.  Oh my, this is not good.  Well, I’ll get back to the club soon enough!

I hung out with my nephew and made good on a promise to play board games with him.  I had expected Trouble, because Trouble rules, but apparently a six-year-old is capable of losing a Trouble game (how?) so instead we played the Pokemon board game, and I got my ass so kicked.  I was baffled as to how Tyler could be beating me so badly at a game that was all chance, but my brother just told me that Ty cheats, the clever little thing, so now I feel better.  Of course, now the question is how a six-year-old was cheating me without my noticing.  I’m stupid no matter how you cut it, is the basic issue.

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Valentine’s Yoga!

We had partners yoga for Valentines, so Kathleen was my yoga valentine.  I am really sucky at partners yoga, of course, but it is ridiculously fun.  My problem is I tend to freak out as soon as my feet leave the floor when a person picks me up.  I can give piggybacks until the cows come home, but I whine like hell if someone gives me one.  Also, for all my badass pushups, I am bad at benchpressing a person.  This must be fixed.  Anyway, Shanna had a lot of fun making all the poses into two-person poses, she’s a cool instructor.

My grappling tournament is in, like, three days!  My brother called me yesterday and said he wants to compete, too.  Yay!  I didn’t know he could grapple, his formal training is all in Karate Kenpo.  But it turns out he has some informal grappling, and the tournament is open, so he’s coming in.  He was worried he may go up against me, and was all, “I can’t get beat up by my little sister, I just can’t”, but men and women are separate (like God intended), so we’re good.  So, now I’m imagining some comic-book scenario in which my brother and I fight crime.  Or perpetrate it, I’m cool either way, I just want to wear a mask and have family time.

Other important grappling news!  I finally got a recruit!  I’m always trying to get, like, every woman I know to come to the women’s grappling class, and one of the ladies I bug finally came.  Judy, from kickboxing class.  Oh yeah, I’m gonna make a fellow MMA fighter, this will be awesome.  Maybe we can fight crime.  Really just looking to be Wolverine, here.  This is how I assess every single situation I encounter.

Fun thing at work!  I mentioned this article to my boss, about a legal guide to the apocalypse in New York, and he was all, “Hey, we should buy that!”  So I actually led to a book being bought at the library.  This is what being relevant feels like, my word.  I’m just bragging here, you can ignore me.

Oh yeah, I also accidentally revealed today that I’m an alien spy, sent under deep cover.  The problem, you see, is that whenever I try out a new hairstyle, I don’t really know if it’s a way humans actually wear their hair.  So I had to ask if I had a human hairstyle today.  I did, as it turned out, but the secret’s out.  Now, to return to the lonely vacuum of space.

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