New Newness

January 14, 2018 by Rieshy
On my kitchen counter I have an espresso machine and a French press.  On my stove I have a percolator, an Italian stove top espresso maker and a Turkish cezve. Because, umm,  because- actually I have no good reason to have 5 ways to make coffee.  I just really really like coffee.

Sometimes you want your cup of joe with a nice creme, and sometimes you want a demitasse filled with coffee thick enough to chew- you get the idea.

When I got the cezve from a daughter this Christmas I researched Turkish and Greek coffee making videos and started boiling away.  I experimented enough with different recipes that I couldn't sleep.  So I took some time off and came back to the cezve from a different angle.  Almond milk.

What if I boiled the coffee directly in almond milk instead of water?

And I discovered perfection and a bit of an oddity.  If you boil Turkish coffee in almond milk not only do you still get that wonderful froth but the coffee somehow ends up tasting like hot cocoa without the treacle-like sweetness of hot cocoa.  Not to mention strength and thickness wise it is like having your coffee and eating it too.

2018- may I discover something new each week, and may at least some of the discoveries be more life changingly profound but all just as delicious as this week's new newness.

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Grappling Games, Part 1

December 11, 2017 by Rieshy

Standing with my 16 year old in line and having to explain, 4 times, that the spectator bracelet was for my son and not for me was fun.

Having all my children excited for me was both an ego boost and a prod.

(note to self, get photo of children standing still and looking at camera)

Having a teammate to pose with was awesome.

Knowing that my Sensei Dani and Larry Kooyman, from Family First Martial Arts, were both there with their kiddos to support Tina and me brought home comfort to an unfamiliar arena.

Having a blast both losing.

And winning.

And losing.

And winning.

The Jujitsu community is amazing.  
Sean Patton from UFC in Hendersonville coached me- just because he is awesome.


Rule of Thumb- No Snakes In The Dark

November 30, 2017 by Rieshy

I love teaching martial arts.  I love having a mat full of kids; it's a mat full of potential and I don't mean just martial arts potential.

Someday everyone of "my" kids is going to be out there; adulting.  I'd like to think that the discipline, focus, patience and kindness they practice every time they come onto the mats will become part of who they are.

A couple of days ago I was talking with a class about how performing kata solo in front of an audience can be nerve wracking or scary but it helps you lock the moves into memory and strengthens your ability to rely on your own knowledge.  I thought I'd segue into a little motivational talk on the importance of forcing oneself out of comfort zones to practice self-reliance and strength....

It was all going well; one child raised their hand and talked about how scary it was presenting a science project at school, another child talked about dance class.  Encouraged I said, "Find something a little scary, like doing your kata in front of your family or friends, and make yourself do it.  Practice bravery."

At this point a nine year old raised his hand; with a frightening lack of facetiousness he blurted, "I think playing with snakes in the dark is scary!"

We took a water break.

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Daily Swindles

November 19, 2017 by Rieshy

Confidence is a shell game.

Fake it 'till you make it.
Speak softly so people will listen;
except sometimes they won't.

       Is that where the big stick comes into play?

Believe in yourself,
your talents,
your skills,
your worth.

       But what's the grading scale?

Know yourself,
your talents,
your skills,
your worth.

       Is there an office for remediation?

But don't think so much.
Convoluted venn diagram contraindications.

Only God remains,
immutable and most surprisingly of all;
omnisciently still in love with us all.


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Planning Squirrels

October 10, 2017 by Rieshy

A skill I'm working on.

I fly by the seat of my pants.
Most of the time.
I plan just enough to have a track to be derailed from
because, duh, trains can't fly.

My 10 year plan?
It's been: be alive
while not eating cat food as a dietary staple.

It's not lack of faith nor a paucity of dreaming.
It's years of mothering and multitasking others.
Years where flexibility equaled survival.
And admittedly the latent tendency to let a teenaged daughter convince me to purchase new socks.

The exact same socks I had in 7th grade.
Except in 7th grade I wanted to be too cool for pompoms so I cut the pompoms off.
Pompoms- eternally derailing but actually kind of fun.

what was I planning?


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Drip Drab

September 30, 2017 by Rieshy

Everyday decisions.

No puppy dog tails,
Instead mostly Dribs.

I've started testing for my second degree in mixed martial arts which ends late September 2018.
I've got a plan- and a training schedule for the pre-season and I'm pondering running shoes and the disappointing impracticality of 35 year long-desired nose piercing.

I'm vibrating now but I know the dream squisher is coming:
the Everyday Drab.

I was told last weekend to have one goal and accomplish it.  I don't have one goal, my brain is too messy for that.  Jujitsu- siren song, Goju Shorei- rock in my awkward shoe.  Curses, I find myself lusting after swords and hakama.  Or maybe I'm just a little in love with Caitlin Dechelle.

And that's just martial life goals.

Drips and drops.

Because brains and muscles take time and everyday coffee needs brewing, children need civilizing, bills need paying,  mowing needs scheduling and eyebrows (occasionally) need plucking.

One goal? ARGGHHHH.

So it's everyday drips and drops the dribs and drabs of training for a person who loves grand schemes.  Living... everyday... patiently, it's a hard skill.  The lack of fanfare a temptation to quit and not even  grandly; just slowly fade until life is just a series of everydays, all passing through.

This testing? Drips and drops, dribs and finding joy in drabs.
Hoping for sugar and spice along the way.


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It's All About Age

August 20, 2017 by Rieshy

One shining morning at our Baltimore, Maryland kitchen table, with early a.m. sunlight glancing off a mixture of airborne dust motes and chalk dust,  my father let ME squeeze a bladder that puffed chalk off the surface of some ancient tablets while leaving chalk in the cuneiform impressions left by a thousand or two year old scribe. ME, small, young and hyper me, was trusted to hold the entire tool in my hand like a real archeologist.

It spurred me to find important artifacts on my own.  I dug in my back yard.  Some old milk jars and a broken bracelet were not that exotic and the holes left behind annoyed my mom, especially when she realized I had but a vague idea of where our property line was situated but when we went to Texas that summer I hit pay dirt.  A real artifact!  Something impressive that had been alive a long time ago:!

We had driven out to my grandfathers farm one hot summer day in West Texas with an Aunt following my granddad's El Camino pickup in our family vehicle, a Volkswagen Beetle, a dream vehicle lacking both air conditioning and space for its family of 6.  I remember dust and annoying my mother by asking why Granddaddy lived in town but farmed out of town while my other grandfather lived on his farm.  The niceties of a economically devastating drought decades prior not being quite proper to bring up.

I decided to distance myself from my inexplicably annoyed mom for a bit and found something wonderful.  Something large and mysterious and definitely within the purview of both an archeologist and paleontologist.  Something that Had to be taken home to investigate further and to use a prop for future pretends.  And with the mysterious power sometimes imbued to children under the age of six I managed to wrestle my find to the Volkswagen and stow it under the driver's seat completely unseen.

On the drive home after about 1 minute my mother suddenly asked, "Who stepped in a cow patty?"  Everyone dutifully looked- a task not made easy by how tightly we were all packed in that baby blue, 1975 Volkswagen Beetle.

1 minute more passed and my mother more sharply asked, "Who got manure on their clothing?"  Everyone was clean.

Ten more seconds and my mom jerked the car over to the shoulder and shouts, "Everyone out- someone stinks to high heaven!"

We all disembarked and were all visually checked and double checked by both my mother and my Aunt.  Suddenly I was nervous; things were often my fault.

We got back in.  My mother was gagging, everyone else was also now complaining of the smell.  My aunt suggested that there could be a dead animal in a ditch and that we just needed to drive faster.  We drove faster as my mom gagged more and more frequently.  The car swerved a final time to the shoulder and she leapt out, gagging quite grossly.  She had a sensitive nose.

But this time as my mom crouched by the car, head near the ground trying not to vomit from the mysteriously terrible smell with a car full of adolescent onlookers she spotted something white sticking up just a bit from under her car seat.  White and definitely not part of the car.

All I remember next is my mother's version of cussing (which never included any actual curse words) as she and my aunt worked for 15 minutes to get my find dislodged from underneath her driver's seat and tossed into the ditch.  I was heartbroken.

I learned then that it's age that makes things interesting; the tablets Dad had been translating were accounting lists of goods sold in an ancient Mesopotamian market.  And organic things must be very, very, very aged before you are allowed to either collect them or find them interesting.  Recently deceased and somewhat still-gooey cow skulls, even if they did have horns, were unequivocally not old enough to be interesting and more importantly not collectable.

My career trajectory was obliviated.  I was devastated and changed my future professional goals to things that wouldn't require as much time; settling for a future as a stunt double or spy.  Or both.