Friday, June 30, 2006

Lives of Moms

"I think ballet and Tae Kwon Do go together. My new form even has a pas de chat in it."

Ballet class is over and I'm chatting with Carol, who's instructing while Suki is gone.

"Really? A grande pas de chat, with the front leg going out?" Carol demonstrates.

"No," I tell her. "Just the usual small one. Here's I'll show you. We start here--" I get into the back stance before the jump in Toi-Gye, then do the jump into the "t-stance low x-block," ki-happing.

I should point out that this conversation is taking place out in the ballet studio's hallway. I don't really realize how strange it is to be doing a tae kwon do move in a ballet studio hallway until I notice a couple of the moms looking at me kind of oddly.

They're the more typical ballet moms. Kind of like the more typical tae kwon do moms--moms who are there because they brought their children. They are not taking class. They are sitting and waiting, magazines in hand. They look their age. They are calm and full of decorum.

One says to me "Oh, my son took tae kwon do for a while."

"Yeah," I say. "Mine did, too, but they quit and I didn't want to. Besides, I think it'll be useful to know tae kwon do when they're teenagers."

"Yes, I had them take it so they could defend themselves," she answers, misunderstanding me.

"No. I meant that I will be glad to have a black belt when they get bigger than me."

Something about that encounter made me think again about different ways to be a mom.

I think lots of moms are really proud that they are giving up their own lives to sit in ballet studio hallways or spend half the day driving children from one activity to the next. I know moms who practically brag about having no time for themselves because they're always ferrying children from one place to another.

Clearly, I'm not that mom, and sometimes those moms make me feel a bit unsettled, like a slacker. Am I doing enough for my children? Should I be sacrificing more of my life so their lives will be fuller?

Of course it's not really that simple. Maybe those moms were the kind of people who didn't really like being involved in stuff. Or maybe they were glad to know their days of learning new things and being involved in activities were over.

And, really, my kids just aren't that interested in the many activities that kids do: they're not interested in team sports, not interested in boy scouts, etc. etc.

Still, the encounter raised the old doubt that (I would guess) moms often feel about how they're raising their children. Everyone has their own different way of being a mom and raising children. It's easy to see different ways and wonder if they're better than your own, not just different.

The day after this encounter occurred, I got a thank you note from a student. I'd been on her thesis committee and had her in two classes. We'd gotten to be friends of sorts, as she is a mom about my age.

Though most of the note was thanking me for my encouragement when she was a student, one sentence wasn't, and it stayed with me. "I appreciate your focus on your family."

To her, I'm mostly a college professor. But she knows that I'm a mom, too. And she got to see how I balanced those two roles.

Maybe in some way, I'm providing students--non-traditional ones and also those younger ones--with one more image of how a mom might live her life, loving her children, being there for her family, and also nourishing her own intellect, body, and soul.

I need to remember that next time I have doubts.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Second Uniform

I was going to post here last night, but I ended up doing some internet shopping. I'm thinking of getting a second TKD uniform. It would be nice to have a change--and I wouldn't have to launder so often! Besides, most of the other brown belts have second workout uniforms by now. It seems like a good idea, since I do TKD 2-3 times a week.

First I considered these cute workout pants, but, sorry, I've decided against them.

They are not durable enough for REAL workouts (jersey fabric, like a heavy t-shirt) and made more for being flattering than working out. Alas. Especially since I'm pretty sure they say "small but dangerous" down the leg. Or is it "brainy blonde"? Maybe I should just get a pair to wear around home . . .

I think it'll probably be this uniform.

Advantages: V-neck top, so it won't gape open. Middle-weight fabric,so maybe a bit cooler. And I like the diamond-weave, which should make it drape nicely on a small frame.

Any thoughts about uniforms/workout wear from anyone? Feel free to give advice.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

mid-conversation . . . .

Jane: . . . but I'm the only adult there who's not taking Tae Kwon Do there with my children.

Bruce: Your children were there with you, but you've been orphaned.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Wacky day today, beyond the usual back-from-a-trip madness. Just like reading the essays of Montaigne: one damn thing after another.

Domestic stuff, like laundry, grocery shopping, baking. Home repair stuff, like finishing the trim in Robbie's room. Writer stuff: two articles to finish and send in, photos to take. And the boys home with me, too. I'm not very good at multi-tasking.

By the time I left for TKD, just was not sure if I was completing everything to satisfaction.

I felt splintered.

One good thing about being at the dojang: you have to be where you are, focus on doing TKD.

Small class today, but a good workout, from stretching to forms to combination kicking up and down the floor.

In the combination kicking I noticed, as usual, that the turning kicks are the hardest: reverse kick, jump reverse, and--my downfall (often literally)--the wheel kick.

I don't understand this. I can turn and turn in ballet with little problem. So instead of walking back up to the front of the room, I remind myself how to turn and do chainé turns, piqué turns along the side of the dojang, turn after turn. No problem. But the wheel kicks still gave me trouble!

Extra Work
Master Hughes is going to be out of town next month; Ms. Pryor too. So we brown belts were asked to help out with teaching. I'll do Saturday, and may help out with Monday or Wednesday kids' class. I guess it's part of moving up in rank. I'd rather be taught--teaching when I'm there seems like a busman's holiday--but I guess I'm moving into a semi-teaching role at the dojang.

Bon Voyage
Justin leaves for a 4-week visit to France Wednesday morning--Master Hughes had forgotten, but I hadn't. I wished him bon voyage this evening, a la francaise (darn; I don't know how to type those accents and cedil).

I'm curious--is TKD popular in France? I sense it is in Great Britain, as I have some readers from there. I wonder how it's taught, and if an American black belt would be welcome to visit or take classes. Perhaps some investigation is needed . . . !

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dojo visit

Just returned from a weekend trip to Chicago. We went for a memorial service--for the father of one of Bruce's high school friends--and stayed to visit with family.

I enjoy going to cities. London's my favorite, and then my hometown Cleveland, but Chicago is definitely up there, too. The memorial service was in Lincoln Park, a neighborhood north of the downtown area. Jean's dad was apparently not a religious man, so his memorial service was not in a church. It was in Ann Sathers Swedish restaurant!

The announcement of the service urged us to take public transportation if possible; Jean's environmentally-conscious and city-loving dad "would have approved," the note said.

Don't need to convince us! We love public transport. So we took the train to Union Station and the L up to Lincoln Park. The boys loved it. "It's like the tube, but up high," said Robbie.

We sat at the back of the banquet room so I could take the boys out if necessary during the service. It was necessary. But Lincoln Park is such a cool neighborhood. I knew we'd find things to look at. We did. There was a poster store, a bonsai store, and a store with elegant vintage dresses. Great for window shopping.

But when I spotted a Japanese Market, we had to go in.

We looked around at the food (sticky rice cakes, about 8 varieties of Pocky Sticks, sesame crackers . . . ) and oragami books. Then I convinced the boys to go upstairs. That's where the Karate classes were being held. "Visitors welcome," said the sign.

Like our dojang, this dojo was in a large open gym above a business. They had a huge wooden platform to practice on; the rest of the floor was tile. Mirrors lined the walls at one end, and chairs stood along the side on the tile part of the floor. There was a children's class going on, just 4 children and 2 adult black belts.

After we entered, one of the black belts slipped over to us and smiled. I bowed and she did too.

"Can we watch?" I asked. "I'm studying Tae Kwon Do, so I'm interested in seeing your school."

"Oh," she said, smiling. "You're welcome to stay."

We stayed for a very short time, but got to see the children working on some moves across the floor, marching, like we do with Ms. Pryor. They were a little sloppy, as kids sometimes are, but the teachers corrected gently.

I would have liked to have come back for the adult class--at noon, after the service was over. We were all together, though, so I suggested a walk to Wrigley Field and the L back down to Millennium Park instead.

Maybe sometime when I go to Chicagoland, I'll find out where Kicker Chick studies and visit her!

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Nothing like a good day at the dojang to rally one's courage. Especially after a week or so of feeling out of it!

Wednesday was that good day.

It's the week after the belt ceremony and I've noticed that's a time of good vibes around our school. Everyone's been promoted and is excited to learn a new form. People who haven't been there in a while are there, the ranks are full, and there's a happy buzz in the air.

On Wednesday, the girls in the locker room chattered happily to me about horse camp and annoying boys. Justin still had nail polish on the toes of his left foot (someone had ambushed him after he fell asleep at a party). Brian was back from vacation.

Before class, Ms. Pryor helped me and Brian work on our new form. I actually feel like I'm beginning to get it. There's always a period when I'm first learning a new one that I feel awkward as I try to master the new moves and combinations. I'm not quite over that awkwardness, but I'm getting there.

Plus, the new form, Toi-Gye, has a move in it--the groin grab--that causes much amusement during practices, as one can well imagine. Brian A. had me just about distracted with laughter when he was helping me the other day.

We worked on sparring a bit, and I got paired up with lots of lower-belt kids. That means I didn't get very good practice for myself, but I got a chance to teach, and that's fun.

"Nice kicks," Master Hughes told me after sparring. "Your front kick looks good." Now that's encouragement I can use.

So I'm feeling better about things now. A short weekend trip to Chicago won't take much of the edge off things.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Like Riding a Bicycle

Normally, I'd think of having a ballet class with Carol as a special treat. Suki's my usual ballet teacher, but I took modern dance one semester and ballet one semester with Carol, who teaches at the college and at the ballet academy.

But today was the first day back to ballet after a 3-week hiatus, and I was having trouble keeping up with Carol's very brainy class!

Normally in her classes, Carol gives very intricate exercises: barre exercises with fast footwork and quick portes des bras (arm moves). Lots of counting necessary. Her center floor stuff is similar, and she also makes you not only do each combination to each direction (to the left and to the right), but she makes you reverse each one, too. So whatever you do to the front, this time you do to the back, etc. etc.

It's a great challenge for the body and the brain!

But today was the first day back to ballet after a 3-week hiatus, and I was having trouble keeping up.

My body felt like there were gaps between my joints, like everything was loose and sloppy. Once my brain finally understood an exercise, my body was WAY slow to follow. I was thinking that if I'd had today's class a few weeks ago, right after the recital, I'd have been in good enough shape to get something out of the challenge.

Kind of like the way I felt Saturday when Ms. Pryor asked me to try breaking two boards with a jump reverse kick. I was ready to do it at the test, but by the Saturday a week later, enough of my edge was gone that I wasn't ready to do it.

People talk about different physical activities as becoming physically ingrained the more you do them. For example, doing ballet. The way you stand becomes "body memory" and you no longer really have to think about turning out from the hips or tucking your pelvis: you just do.

I believe in that, sort of.

When I came back to ballet at age 40, after not having taken dance since I was in college, it was not an alien activity. "You've taken dance before," was the comment I heard. Some things just come right back, once you're in the right environment, with the right promptings.

Still. I am always amazed at how much one can lose after being away from an activity--like TKD, like ballet--even for a short time. Like a week. Or three weeks.

What does one lose? I'm not really sure. You get that loose feeling in the joints. You lose muscle tone. You lose fitness (pant pant! puff puff!).

When I come back to TKD or ballet after a break, I am reminded, often fiercely, of my own mortality. That however hard I work out, however strenuously I train, however well I do a pirouette or a jump reverse kick, my abililty has an ephemeral quality to it. Without practice, it fades, like a suntan in September.

This is good for me to remember. Sometimes I feel mighty proud of myself for reaching the level of fitness and ability I've reached. And me a former unatletic wimp! But I must remember that it's fleeting, it can pass, my ability can wane, and maybe will as I age, or as I get busy or the focus of my life changes. Or if I get ill.

I guess the"riding a bicycle" metaphor has its limits. I may remember how to ride that bicycle after not riding for a while, but I'm always going to need to practice again before I ride very far or with much style and grace.

Challenges of Summer

Problem 1: It's hot. Our 2nd-floor dojang gets sauna-like in the summer, despite the high ceilings and 2 air-conditioning units.

Problem 2: It's vacation time, so people miss class, including teachers.

Problem 3: It's vacation time, so I miss class.

Last night all 3 of those came together. I was coming back after being gone for a while, lots of people were missing, and it was mighty hot. But Ms. Pryor had us line up and do "marching drills" from one end of the room to the other anyway.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Romeo and Juliet

I've been watching a video of Romeo and Juliet recently. It's the Prokofiev version, some of my favorite music. But it's the dancers who really have me transfixed.

This videotape is of the Royal Academy of Ballet's 1966 production of the ballet, with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. They are two of the most well-known dancers of the 20th century, and this video shows why they are! The pics above are from the movie. I wish they were bigger!

I'm especially watching Fonteyn. I knew that she danced way into middle age, and Nureyev was her partner then. As I watched her dance the role of Juliet, I fell in love with her style. She dances so fluidly, her body flowing and her movements seemingly effortless. Perhaps the RAD was consciously reacting against Balanchine's attention to crisp technique (Balanchine was a famous choreographer of about the same time).

I wanted to see this version because I'd heard about Fonteyn and Nureyev and how there was electricity when they danced together. The Fonteyn-Nureyev duo was famous. In this production, they have such chemistry on stage--you could almost believe they were Romeo and Juliet, or that they loved each other passionately.

They did love each other, but not romantically. Nureyev was gay. In fact, his homosexuality was the big reason he defected from USSR, which thought him a threat to the country's family values and wanted him in custody. But Fonteyn and Nureyev were close friends all their lives.

I wondered aloud how old Fonteyn was for this production. Bruce looked it up and we discovered that she was 47.

47! When there are closeups, you can tell that her open, expressive face is not the face of a 13-year-old Juliet. Her face is beautiful, and so is her dancing. She inspires me. If one can be the prima ballerina at that age, then certainly one can learn to dance en pointe or earn a black belt at 44.

The video reminded me of another I've watched, one called "I am a Dancer," which shows Nureyev at work in the studio and performing a couple of pieces. At one point, they show him at the barre, sweaty and working hard. Then you hear him speaking in a voice-over, saying that if he even misses one day of practice, he can feel it in the way his body moves.

OK. Makes me feel better that I was moving slowly and awkwardly at TKD today after a full week away!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


"So, what I'm asking you is, would you be willing to do a short dance piece for tomorrow?"

It's 6 in the evening and one of the people in my small group at the faculty workshop is in my room.

"Yes," I answer her. "I'll do it. But you have to teach it to me!"

So the next morning, there I am, demonstrating a dance for our small group. No problem.

I'm not sure I would have always felt comfortable doing this. I've always had a bit of performance anxiety. I don't like to be a "soloist," I always said. It makes me nervous to be in the spotlight; I don't really like the idea of having everyone watching me, expectant.

That was one of the things I wanted to work on in martial arts: to learn focus and concentration and confidence in performance, especially in solo performance.

I think I am growing in that area, becoming more confident, able to focus, less nervous. That will be good for many aspects of my life.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Yin Yang

"Cool yin-yang necklace," says Peter, the guest speaker at our workshop. Peter has just used a yin-yang symbol to illustrate some of the tensions that exist in teaching and learning. (Challenging students while also encouraging them; being a coach while also being an evaluator--"opposites" that actually interact with each other, meeting and departing, etc etc etc.)

"Yeah," I say. "I'm learning martial arts, so I love this sign."

"Martial arts?" Peter is interested.

"I'm learning Tae Kwon Do."

"Jane is actually a dangerous weapon," jokes my colleage Bob, who's also helping to lead the workshop.

People often make this joke. It's especially funny because I'm small, blonde, female, middle-aged, an intellectual. Ha ha. A weapon.

Though it's a joke, this is one of those areas of martial arts where I don't feel confident. I don't feel like a weapon. I don't feel like a warrior. Though I like sparring, that's a game. Real fighting--I don't have that instinct.

"Pretend you're in a life and death situation," Brian had told me when I was worried about breaking boards for my test.

"If it's a life and death situation, I'm running away," I had replied. "I don't have that instinct."

Is that OK? Do I need to develop that fighting instinct more? Is that why I want to learn martial arts? Maybe, a bit. Being more of a fighter--both physical and metaphorical--might not be a completely bad thing.

Back to the workshop, though.

"Martial arts are good," says Peter, ignoring Bob's remark. "You develop focus, strength, calmness. That's good."

Yes. I think that's where I am, with Peter's view. Still, might not be bad to develop the Yang to my Ying and learn to be more of a fighter.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Forms in the sand

First full day of the faculty workshop. Problem with these things: lots of sitting and talking and thinking. Lots of eating (great food here). Very little exercise!

I tried to remedy this by doing some ballet and TKD during a break in the workshop. Worked through Suki's extended ballet warmup and some TKD stretches. Then moved outside to do my forms.

Forms are kind of an indoor thing. Doing them outside is . . . different. Underfoot was grass and sandy soil that squished under my bare toes. The four walls of the dojang were missing (which way am I facing? Toward the flags?). The beautiful view of Lake Michigan, the sounds of the waves, and the soft breeze threatened to distract me. Still, it was fun!

I finished up my workout with a brisk 45-minute hike through the woods. I was rewarded with the sighting of a little grove of wildflowers I've never seen before: Yellow Lady's Slippers! That's the flower at the top of this post.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dateline: Door County

Hello blog-readers. I'm writing to you from a little laptop in the greatroom of a beautiful lodge in Door County Wisconsin. Here's the lodge from the outside.

When I arrived, I thought maybe I was at Edoras (LOTR fans, notice that roofline!)

And here's the shore of Lake Michigan.

I'm here for a faculty workshop--I'm actually part of the group leading the workshop. So I'm trading my taekwondomom hat for my professor hat for a while. But we do have wireless internet, so I hope to post on my blog now and then.

And I may even do a bit of TKD while I'm here!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Photographer boy

Robbie's been my photographer at the last 2 or 3 promotional tests at TKD. He likes to fiddle with my digital camera, make movies, and take photos. I like him to be there, in that friendly and disciplined space, doing something he enjoys, being around people who know him and care about him.

This time, I wasn't sure if he'd make it. The test was scheduled for 9 a.m., so I was leaving the house at 8:30--earlier, I thought, than he'd want to leave Saturday morning cartoons.

"Hey Robbie, you wanna take pictures at the test today?" I yelled.

There was a pause.

"No, I'm gonna stay here and build with LEGOs," he said.

So I headed for the door. But as I opened it, Robbie yelled from the living room. "I changed my mind. I'll go."

He trotted in and grabbed my cameras. "But I don't like Tae Kwon Do, and I'm not gonna talk to anyone."

He bolted past me and into the car.

I'm not sure what this "not gonna talk to anyone" thing is all about. Especially with Robbie, who practically does not shut up when he's with me. When we're together, it's "Mom" this and "Mom" that. At one point on the trip to Wisconsin with the TKD group, he was talking just about non-stop, he was so excited.

But he can also do that sullen, silent pre-teen "not gonna talk" thing. I've seen him do it at church, and even at school. "Robbie's a smart kid. But I wish he'd participate in class discussions more," said his teacher at one point. Are we talking about the same kid? I thought.

When we arrived at the dojang, Savaun said "hi" to Robbie, who did not say anything. This annoyed me, as they had always liked hanging out together when R was in TKD. Maybe he was embarassed.

But Robbie had fun taking photos. You may have seen the "movie" of sparring that he made--on the previous day's blogpost. Here are some more of his shots.

Here we are doing basic moves. You can see how big our dojang is and how small our testing group was.

Here I am sparring with Mindy and then with Pam. Both are a good challenge!

Robbie took some photos of other people sparring--and having a good time. Here's Savaun and someone else.

Brian A. is sparring Grace here.

I'm glad Robbie got photos of my elbow strike break. Master Hughes and Mr. Houtz are holding for me, just like they did for that photo of me doing a flying side kick break when I was an orange belt!

At the end of the test, Master Hughes announced that he hoped to have a picnic out at his Dad's house where kids could ride a go-cart, ATVs, and mini-bikes. Robbie's eyes lit up. "I'm going!" he said. And on the way out, we chatted with John and Dillon about computer games and CGI.

I really wish Robbie was still in Tae Kwon Do. It is such a great way to direct and control energy. Robbie has a lot of energy, and he's not always good at directing and controlling it. But he really lost interest in Tae Kwon Do, and despite my encouragement and firmness, it eventually became too much of a struggle; he didn't see how to make it his own. Going to Tae Kwon Do became something I decided on and controlled, not Robbie. That was enough to make him rebel against it.

And that's probably where that "I'm not going to talk to anyone" thing came about. He wants to tell me that he's in control when it comes to his Tae Kwon Do future.

Still. If Robbie can be part of this wonderful group at least sometimes--as photographer, as event-attender, as black-belt-cake-eater--I'll be happy. I believe he'll soak up some of the goodness of our dojang in those small doses.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Good Test

I arrive at the June promotional test in a downpour. Robbie's with me and we dart into the building. It's warm inside, which feels good for a moment, but I know it'll get hot later. I change and head out into the dojang.

It's a small group testing today, only two rows. That's, what, 14 people? My first test, the rows of students went all the way to the back. Our school is shrinking. At test time, though, that's nice.

Mr. Houtz appears, dressed up, to judge with the other black belts. I shake his hand and we chat a bit.

"I hope you'll start working out with us again," I tell him.

"Maybe I should do yoga with you again sometime," he laughs. He tells me about a "yoga for runners" class. Mr. Houtz runs in races and has some trouble with arthritis in his hip.

"That sounds like a good class for you," I tell him.

Robbie sits at the back with two cameras. He uses my digital one to make a movie of the whole group doing forms. He's up front when he makes it, so Savaun is right in front!

"It looks like a battle," says Robbie. That's a compliment. You can watch at the link below.

Forms movie.

Movies take up a lot of space on a little camera like mine, so the rest of the time he uses my film camera, getting some shots of me sparring--and of me breaking those boards!

I must say that breaking went well. I've been putting it out of my mind so I won't worry. I set up for the front elbow break very carefully. Arm breaks scare me. Master Hughes gives me some tips--he and Mr. Houtz are holding for me. "Hit with the meat of your arm," he says. "My arms don't have meat," I point out.

But I break, first try. Only a small bruise.

I get ready to do my jump reverse kick (two boards--before the test, Ms. Pryor has once again urged me to try two boards), but Master Hughes only has one. I ask him about it, but he says one is fine. Who am I to argue?

That break also goes well--I think I could have broken two.

Ms. Pryor asks me about it later. "I'd like to break two. Maybe we can do it in class sometime," I say. "Just to prove I can do it."

When I go up to talk to Nancy, my black belt judge, she compliments me. "Good test," she says. She says it more than once. It's nice to hear.

We're all drenched with sweat by the time we leave, and tired, too. Robbie has finished my roll of film. I'll post those pictures--and probably some of Brian A.'s--when I can.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Closer to black?

I'm getting closer to getting that black belt, I guess. Brian has already ordered us and Matthew the little black/brown belt key chains--and I think he's ordered the black belt ones, too.

I like his confidence.

"And if I quit?" I asked him once. I'm not always confident.

"I'll come to your house and take you to class."

I sometimes feel confident about being in the upper color-belt ranks. Like when someone asks me to help them with a form, and I can.

But I often feel a bit over my head these days. It may look like I'm getting closer to being a black belt, but I sometimes feel like I'm just becoming asymptotic to that goal.

(Math metaphor courtesy of 11th grade math.)

An estimate

"How many classes have you had?"

I'm about to turn in my test application to Master Hughes and he points out a line I've left blank.

"How many classes? Since the last test?" I figure a bit--8 weeks, about 2 classes a week.

I write down 16.

"Sixteen? You've only had 16 classes?" Master Hughes hands the sheet back to me.

"He means since you started Tae Kwon Do," Ms. Pryor explains.

"Since I started?! I have no idea how many classes since I've started!" I say.

But I figure it out. 8 weeks between tests, about 2 classes a week, give or take. This will be my . . . 9th test.

144 classes. Approximately.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Exercise or Exertion

I was going to exercise today--my plan was to swim at the Y.

But I ran out of energy. I used it on a chore instead.

Summer, when the kids are home, is my time for doing Big Chores. My teaching/freelance schedule means that I have a very flexible and light work schedule in summer. So I postpone the big stuff until now.

Today's chore: staining the deck.

I'd washed it yesterday, so I just needed to put down the Thompson's Water Seal. I did it with rollers, a small one for the railings and picnic table, a big one for the floor of the deck. Much faster than a brush, which is what I used before.

Still, at 5 p.m. when Bruce arrived home, I was immobile on the couch, unable to get up and go to the Y for a swim!

I remember reading once that exercise was different--and better for you--than just plain old physical exertion (cleaning house, painting, staining the deck). Something about it being more relaxing and focused on making one stronger. The idea was that even if you are physically active in your day, you should also be sure to get some real, recreational exercise--sustained cardio, or weights, or stretching, etc.

Still, I don't know how people with jobs that require lots of physical exertion can manage to exercise TOO.

I'm putting off the swim until tomorrow when Bruce comes home for lunch. And no deck-staining tomorrow (I'm all done!).

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


After a week of rehearsals and thinking about ballet most of the time, I'm feeling very ballet-ish. I said to Brian that I just have to get back into the TKD mode. My next promotional test is this Saturday.

Sometimes I wonder if doing both ballet and TKD at the level at which I'm doing them is a bit too much. Recently I've been feeling stretched in both classes, like I'm keeping up, but just barely.

Of course, I don't really mind that feeling, too much. There's something exciting and invigorating about learning something new. And I like the way I often see how martial arts and ballet parallel one another in some ways. Still, I wonder if I could do better in one or the other if I dropped one.

I'm not ready to drop either one yet.

On the Recital

Hope you all enjoyed the recital photos. I thought it might be nice to give a behind-the-scenes look at a studio's end-of-year recital. Besides, that's where I was, behind the scenes. I was also the photographer; hence, few photos of the taekwondomom!

I spent almost the whole day at the theatre. There was a final dress rehearsal in the morning. Then at 4, there was a class for the advanced dancers. I decided to go, and I just got make-up on and hair done after that and before the show.

Besides helping girls with dresses and hair, I also did some babysitting for the little boy dancers--they were in the picture. They thought that next year there should be a "boys only" dance, and that it should involve weapons.

Bruce and the boys went to the show, arriving at the beginning of Act II! It made such a difference to me, knowing that my guys were out there watching me.

Robbie said, "You looked like you were having fun, being picked up."

Bruce said, "Your number got the loudest applause, though that's not scientific."

All in all, an enjoyable day. There's supposed to be a DVD of the recital; I'll see if I can put a clip on this blog.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Recital Photos

Saturday, June 03, 2006


"You don't learn from a situation where you do something well. You enjoy it and you give yourself credit, but you don't really learn from that. You learn from trial and error, trial and error all the time."

--Suzanne Farrell, former principal ballerina for George Balanchine's American Ballet Theatre.

Friday, June 02, 2006


I was wrong about the ballet rehearsal schedule.

This is what I said a couple days ago about the detailed rehearsal schedule for Thursday night:

the times crack me up--it's hard for me to imagine the Tech rehearsal will run smoothly enough for those 10-minute windows to be correct!

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The rehearsal was EXACTLY on schedule. Wow.

Robbie said he wants to see the show! (Maybe not to see me--I told him about the dance after ours that was choreographed to music from Star Wars. . . ) I think if the guys arrive right about 7 at intermission, they'll be able to get in then and just see the 2nd half, including our dance. And Star Wars.

Now if only Bruce and Eli can be talked into it :-)

Thursday, June 01, 2006


"We do not remember days; we remember moments."

Are you . . . ?
"Are you one of the teachers here?"

I'm getting ready for class over near the edge of the dojang when one of the parents speaks to me.

"I'm not a teacher," I say to the older man who's sitting in one of the folding chairs. "Would you like me to get one of the teachers for you?"

"Well, I just had a question about that student oath that the kids take . . . "

I listen to him, and it turns out he feels that he had been disrespected by one of the young students waiting for a ride outside the dojang.

"I'll let the teacher know about it," I tell him.

Ms. Pryor says she'll have a word with Master Hughes. "Kids just need to be reminded," I say. She nods.

Anyone here . . . ?

"Anyone here not want to sweat today?" Ms. Pryor asks us once we're lined up. "Because today's going to be a workout where we sweat!"

It's hot in here and I'm already sweating . . .

Do you really . . . ?

"Do you really take ballet?" asks Jessie. We're working on some simple sparring techniques and 10-year-old junior black-belt Jessie is my partner.

"Yes, I do," I tell her.

"Do you do this?" she asks. She holds her arms above her head in a circle, the icon for ballerina.

"Yup," I say. I show her the correct way to do 5th position in relevé.

Then I show her how to spot when doing turning kicks. She says she hates turning kicks. "It's a ballet trick," I say. "Look at your target, and as you turn, make sure your eyes get back to the target before your kick does." She does it, and does an excellent reverse hook kick.

Anyone want to . . . ?
We've just finished some simple tumbling, wonderfully fun somersaults that go right into a jump front snap kick. Then we do cartwheels. I've forgotten how fun this is to do!

Ms. Pryor is stacking up a pile of pads in front of one of the mats.

"Anyone want to do a diving somersault over this?"

No way.

But it's fun to watch Justin and Brian A. do it! I wish I had my camera!