Ubiquitous Hairband Folly

November 30, 2016 by Rieshy

The set up:
I'm sitting in church between my 9 year old son and my 17 year old daughter.  Sitting is hard for me, especially when it involves shoes and chairs. I'm trying to model appropriate behavior even though my 17 yo is shifting around next to me.  I desperately want to pull my legs up and criss cross apple sauce to relieve the ache in my knees.

My 9 yo is paying attention to the service.

Then I notice my 17 yo has a hairband in her right hand.  She's smoothly manipulating it with just her right hand so that a knot appears.  Knotted, unknotted.  Knotted, unknotted.  How is she doing that- and does she know the cherry stem trick?  Stiff knees forgotten I watch fascinated.  My 17 yo notices me watching and whispers, "Do you want to try?" A part of me knows to say, "No."  But there was an edge of challenge to her whisper.

Mutely, I hold out my hand and she slips the hairband over my fingers.
My 9 yo is paying attention to the service.

I tried to roll the band this way, then that.  I used my thumb to twist it- it was like a miniature game of Chinese hopscotch from my childhood- except harder.  The service retreated. Thoughts of Baltimore playgrounds flashed through my head.  I would figure this out! I wonder to myself if the name Chinese Hopscotch is even used anymore or if it is now considered culturally inappropriate. I could feel my daughter smirking beside me.  I add my pinky to the mix and twist the band in the other direction. We are a competitive lot and I was losing.

Then TWANG.  I managed to launch the hairband through the air so hard that it hit a woman's head in  the pew in front of me with enough force, and the correct angle, to bounce off her head, skim to the left where it bounced off her bald husband's head only to miss their child's head and finally land in the aisle.

It was as if they had both been bitten.  Amazing how high startled people can jump while remaining sitting.

My 17 yo starts shaking with suppressed laughter.
My 9 yo is paying attention to the service.

The husband looks at his wife with confusion and no small part irritation and reaches across his child to fetch the errant band to hand it back to his wife.  I see her mouth, "NO, it's not mine."  He drops it as if it were a loaded diaper.  I can't blame him; hairbands of unknown origin are not something I would pick up either.  They both look around.

Dignity, always dignity.  My daughter and I stare straight ahead.
My 9 yo is paying attention to the service.

The couple in front of us shift back in their seats. I become acutely aware of the row behind us.  They know something's up and unfortunately the row behind me contains more of my children and their spouses... People I've spent a lot of years trying to model appropriate behavior to.

I feel the sobs of laughter rising.  Tears come to my eyes with the effort of holding in snorts.  As a diversion I smack my 17 yo on the leg in that timeless hand-language of blame-assignment hoping everyone will assume she is the culprit.  Yes, I publicly blamed my daughter for something I had done.

17 yo shakes harder with not-so suppressed glee.  Not only has she won the hairband competition but she knows that I've tried to blame her thus creating a double win based on public cowardice.  If I had audibly snorted it would have been a triple play.

But here's the catch, after being hand-language blamed if she were to whisper, "Mom, you did that," as the teenager, she will look even more guilty.  She will look childish and a bit foolish.  She will be the disruptive pouting teenager.  She falls right into my trap, "Mom," she hissed.

Mwahahaha.  So there, girl-child of mine.
Dignity, always dignity.  I won after all.

Rest Days

November 28, 2016 by Rieshy

Rest days.  I have seven children and it was Thanksgiving weekend so the phrase is an oxymoron but I've rested from martial arts for 5 days.   Not even in my living room.  I restrained from side kicking my 15 yo in parking lots. That's a long stretch and there were a lot of parking lot opportunities this weekend.

I have walked, quite a few miles.  Over the holiday break my husband and I started looking up a coffee shop that's operated out of a trailer.  They change locations almost daily- it felt subversive- like we'd also need to know a special handshake.   If we could walk to it without having to walk on a highway we went for it- even if it was a 7 mile stroll.

I was hoping the time off and gentle walking would quiet the odd pain I picked up during jujitsu last week.  -The strain from trying to hold a spider guard while being slowly stacked/squashed.  Pain in a location that's awkward to massage in public.

The result?  I feel dusty and not quite awake and a little too old; like I could pull something if I moved too quickly.  I ache from sitting so much but for the first time in months my shoulders don't hurt.  Who knew that resting would make me so very hungry, and my spider guard pain?  It's no longer waking me in the night but it's still quietly glowing and sending occasional bonus sparks.

I'm curious to see how I'll feel today when I get back on the mats.  I need the dust blown off and my muscles warmed up.  I want to make sure I can still kick.  After all, what 15 yo son doesn't need to receive a loving motherly parking lot side kick?

I just wonder- at 49 maybe this many rest days in a row is counterproductive?


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November 21, 2016 by Rieshy

Today is a hard word.
Except for dogs.

Especially when you wake wrestling with yesterdays and tomorrows.

Being today requires focus
and faith
and hope.

Today is made by God's hands.
He compassionately holds the yesterdays and tomorrows remote
because todays are hard.

and if God's love is renewed every morning.
that's today too.

Lamentations 3:22
Psalm 118:24
Matthew 6:34
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November 18, 2016 by Rieshy

front door wreathes
and open windows.

Fall days of 80 degrees
and dogs fed twice by mistake.

pumpkin muffins
and Christmas wish lists

Fall days of 80 degrees
and children sleeping late.


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Constantine the Great and BJJ

November 15, 2016 by Rieshy

Yesterday, I got to free roll quite a bit.  My main thought was survival.   I watched myself, with brilliant instincts, move in all the wrong directions and in all the wrong ways.  Repeatedly.  I wanted to give up.

Why did I feel defeated?   Because I tapped out?- I'm used to tapping out.
Moving wrong, unfortunately, is nothing new to me.  Moving wrong, being drenched in sweat and feeling exhausted aren't new to me either.

I went home thinking that I've always been a Jack-of-All-Trades-but-Master-of-None; so why am I fighting to change that when I'm about to turn 50?  Ridiculous.  Lots of other negative self talk ensued. Then came the whining.

Sometimes, and it's rare, when I'm free-rolling fight or flight turns to flight but it's kind of impossible to fly when you are caught in s-mount or side control or mount or even with a really weird kimura. Thwarted flight is the epitome of powerlessness and defeat.

In my history class today one of my students read this quote; attributed to Constantine the Great, "Thinking is the great enemy of perfection, The habit of profound reflection, I am compelled to say, is the most pernicious of all the habits formed by civilized man."

I think he was talking about Jujitsu.  In other words; it's time to think less, and wash and dry my gi for another round.

Universal Solvent

November 6, 2016 by Rieshy

Sometimes tears hang hard
they get stuck
and won't roll,
After things go from scary-bad to

They feel ungrateful and superfluous.
After all is well.
After all, he's well;
released from the E.R.

Eye brims burn
feeling hot
almost angry.
a mom's heart doesn't count the cost.

But sometimes, mine wants to.
sometimes mine does.

A squeezing blink and the hot and angry
the tired and grateful merge till
that superfluid rolls.