Sunday, September 30, 2007

Out with the Old

Ever looked at your room and known you really need to clear things out? Well, I have that coupled with an intense, building urge to paint my room. It's been white since we moved in. White. Before we moved, I'd been allowed to paint my room a shade more green than white. After thirteen years of flamingo pink and ABC wallpaper. Paint is good. It's good for the soul. Maybe that's why the bathroom is now the color of a kiwi's flesh (the fruit, of course).

Well, my bedroom isn't in shape to be painted. And I have this old shelf I've been wanting to remove from my room for a long time. Saying "a long time" is an understatement. I got the thing when I was in 5th grade. It's an ugly, white metal shelf that I used when I had a bunkbed so that I could put down the book I was reading without having to climb out of the top bunk. This thing had long outlived its purpose, and yet it remained in my room, filled with junk. It is no more. Now my dad can use it, for putting his own junk on. But it's not in my room anymore. You don't want to know what color the carpet was under that, after seven years of not vacuuming. It's since been vacuumed, and you can't tell that there was a big, ugly shelf there before.

Next to go was an old laundry hamper full of odd pieces of fabric remnants. Now, I have some fabric remnants that are perfectly fine, but these are the gaudily shiny fabric remnants that I apparently convinced my mom to buy when I was younger. Probably somewhere around 5th grade. They were tossed, and that pointless old laundry hamper is no longer in my room, either. Next to go will be the cat-shaped cd rack mounted on my wall.

I also cleaned things out from my closet. Didn't really start to make a dent, but I found many interesting items. Lots of bank statements from 2005 (the year I graduated from high school, when Social Security paid me to finish high school). Papers from 2005. Powerpoint notes from this last spring semester. Lots of things from Oceanography. And a pair of shoes I don't think I've worn since my sophomore year of high school. I'll pick up my clothes before I go to bed, too, to compensate for the pillows and stuffed animals going back on the floor (they reside on my bed if it's made, on the floor if it's not). I've already filled my trash can to overflowing, and most of another trash bag. Once I have the room to a more-than-satisfactory state, I'll take a picture, and there will be a picture when I'm done painting, too. Don't know when I'll paint, between 18 units, karate, chauffeuring, knitting and sewing, cooking ... I sound like a mom, don't I? Yeesh. :P

Saturday, September 29, 2007

How to Prepare for a Tournament

Good Ideas:
  • Practice your kata multiple times a day
  • Practice your kata to an inspirational piece of music
  • Review your kata mentally, seeing yourself perform your kata flawlessly
  • Practice the facial gestures you want to use to communicate the mood of your kata
  • Practice sparring
  • Get advice from your instructors on adjustments you can make to your kata or sparring style

Bad Ideas:
  • Misperform a technique in your kata and injure yourself
  • Wait until 3 days before the tournament to practice your kata
  • Delay deciding on your weapons kata
  • Don't ask for constructive advice
  • Spar a black belt

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Airway is Shut

How can a year go so fast? It doesn't seem like summer's over yet, but Monday is going to be October. I don't know how that happened. I've had my first tests in all of my classes so far this semester. Well, I've decided that I'm probably not going to try to be an audiologist in addition to being a speech-language pathologist. At least not if I would have to regularly deal with the physics of sound. That is, *ahem* apparently not my forte.

I did much better on the test for the anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system. Especially in comparison to the rest of the class. I suppose an audiologist might be able to get away without having to do conversions for sound stuff. However, I'd be rather scared if the SLP treating my child didn't know that another name for the "airway" is "trachea." How do you get away with that? How could you not know that? The trachea was just about the only thing discussed in the 2.5 hour Anatomy lecture every Tuesday.

Inka got a new bandage on her paw today, but that was about it. The vet was impressed she'd managed to keep her bandage on (as am I, believe me). Her new bandage is blue. And she behaved herself rather well in the car, too. I only had to half-push her in. On the way back from the vet's, she barely even begged for attention. She just sat curled up like a cat on her 101 Dalmatians towel on the passenger seat. There is some white hair in my car, though.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Next Houdini

How many times a month can I blog about my dog? Well, every day, if I really want to. I believe I've mentioned before how great an escape artist she is. Well, I didn't post this story last night, since I didn't want it to detract from the rest of my talk about Tennessee. On Sept. 19, she broke free of her leash/collar that I'd put her on before going to school. By breaking free, I mean she snapped the clasp. I got her three minutes before I wanted to leave, and I didn't have a chance to clean up her bloody front right paw. Luckily Mom was on her way home, so a quick phone call assured that the princess wouldn't have a muddy paw all day. That evening I took a look, in between packing, and it appeared that she'd managed to make cuts in the innermost long talon on that paw.

Flash forward to when I get home from Tennessee. She's walking on the paw okay, but it's looking like despite our cleaning efforts, she did get an infection. By Wednesday, Mom had enough, and took my princess to the vet on Wednesday. Enter a neon-orange bandage on her paw (looks like a cast, but cooler), antibiotics, and one cone. We all know how good dogs are at finding the medicine in their food, so I won't comment on that. But this mutt can get out of the cone. I've made the fool thing as small as it will go, and she still slips it off. I have to manipulate her ears to get the cone to slide on, but she manages to get it off. Dad tried to put it back on after he got home from work, and he said she had the cone off in two minutes.

I get to take her in tomorrow for the vet to look at the paw again, see if the infection had traveled very far up into her paw. Tomorrow you might be regaled with the tale of how hard it is to drive when she's begging me for attention during the whole 15 minute trip to town. Won't that be exciting?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

If you have not already done so, please do so now.

I know, it's been a few days since I've updated. Really, I've been tired all that time. Tennessee was awesome, but it throws off my sleep schedule, and anything that throws off my sleep schedule gives me migraines. Guess what I started getting Saturday afternoon.

The seminars on Saturday were great. I participated in 5 sessions that day: 2 of 3 sessions with Bill "Superfoot" Wallace (I was worn out by the time that his third session took place that day), ground fighting, women's self defense, and tai chi. All of them were very well done, very informative, exhilarating, and effective (I have the bruises to prove it). That evening at the banquet a black belt from our dojo received her 6th degree. It was a surprise for her, as it was for nearly everyone else. As a matter of fact, a couple of the highest ranks had decided on it the night before. I think that was without the input of her husband, too, who was the highest rank there at that seminar. If you know them, you know who I'm talking about.

I bought a book of Sudoku for the flight back home. Let me just say it's a good thing my professors put notes up online, because I wouldn't be able to get everything down if they didn't. I'm not saying I don't take any notes, I just wouldn't be able to get every point. Now I can at least write down the points I feel I need to emphasize.

There are multiple factors for why I was still so tired upon returning from Tennessee. One of them is the fact that my sleep schedule was thrown off, which brings in number two, the migraine. A third factor is the pressure point I had demonstrated on me Friday night (I could still feel its effects on Sunday and Monday). Fourth is the slight cold I caught on the trip, and fifth would be the two tests I had yesterday. After that I had a quiz today. All of that makes for a very tiring week, and I'm not surprised I've been out of it.

I'm going to start running. It's actually a walking/jogging program that's supposed to help one get up to jogging/running 3 miles (5k) in about 9 weeks. It's called Couch to 5k. Go figure. It looks doable, so I'm gonna do it. One of the students who got his black belt over the summer told me about it. Google it if you're interested.

The flight home from Tennessee was fun, as I'm quickly finding out every karate-related event tends to be. Taught one of our black belts how to play Go Fish (he's from Venezuela) in the terminal, then I learned how to play 21. After the dynamics of Go Fish, though, 21 seems a little ... simple. The other blackbelts on our trip were surprised by the intense dynamics my roommate and I had every night on the trip, playing Go Fish and watching HGTV. I napped on the plane until snacks arrived. I spent the rest of the trip taking pictures of clouds (actually, my roommate for the trip had taken them, since she was in the window seat), doing some of the puzzles in my Sudoku book, and taking pictures of sleeping black belts that will never be circulated, under certain pain of death. It was still funny, though. We had lots of turbulence we went through/around on the flight. The flight attendant even went down the aisle three or four times, passing out drinks. The strange woman on the other seat in my row (besides me and my roommate) had a white wine the first time he came down the aisle and didn't wake up until the flight was basically over. The best part, though, was probably when the pilot came on the intercom and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, if you haven't already done so, please do so now."

Friday, September 21, 2007

You have been Thwacked

Did more shopping today, since there weren't any karate events until this evening. I found something each for my mom and my dad, but since my brother actually told me what he'd like, he's harder to shop for. Go figure.

I worked with escrimas tonight. Very little can match fighting with sticks. My partner was a yellow belt, and I think she felt intimidated by me. I don't know why. I didn't get thwacked at all tonight until I was at the banquet, and a particular callous I have on my right wrist was pointed out to an instructor who's big on pressure points. Said instructor got excited and showed me exactly how I can use that callous to hit a particular pressure point. I know exactly how it feels, and he didn't even thwack me hard.

Tomorrow's the real deal camp. The first hour of the day is stretching. Doesn't that sound like fun? Stretching with an undefeated middleweight sparring champ. At 9:00 in the morning, which is 7:00 on my time.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Flying High

Traveling today was really easy. For me. Some people in our party didn't have as easy of a time, but all turned out well in the end. Once we got into Tennessee, we checked in and went to O'Connors for dinner. I had chicken tenders, french fries, and potato soup. That soup was wonderful, with lots of cheese in it. In case you don't already know, cheese is good. I had leftovers that I brought back to the fridge in the hotel room.

After that we went to the mall for about an hour and a half, before it closed at 9:00. I got a pair of shoes. Really my first pair of designer shoes. I like them. A picture will be posted after I get home.

Got back to the room, talked with my roommate some, and after we'd settled in to watch HGTV we had a knock on our door inviting us to go to the Waffle House. Apparently, the Waffle House is really big around here. It's like McDonald's, with one on every corner. So, at 11:00 pm in Tennesse we went and ate a waffle, taking pictures of our food, and we got special Waffle House commemorative hats, and the ladies in the next booth over were able to surmise that we aren't from these parts.

There are two computers here in the hotel lobby, so after getting back from waffles, my roommate and I came to check email and such. My roommate was singing Mission Impossible as we went down the hall, and she's a fully-grown mother of two. I now will rarely have fear again that I'm far too random.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


I've heard tell of a wench what owned a Dalmatian. Now, this was no normal Dalmatian, for that dog could be shyer than a sea-sick horse and have more energy than a hurricane. The Dalmatian had a spirit as free as a summer breeze, and very little could keep the Dalmatian at bay. One after another, the Dalmatian would break the bonds placed upon her and roam as she saw fit. They say the wench still wanders the land, following behind the Dalmatian, searching for something strong enough to keep the Dalmatian in her place, but until then the wench is forced to live her life in futilely restless days.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Ever had dinner prepared before it was time to eat? All that needed to happen was for someone to turn on the oven and stick it in. I did that today. Wanted my dad to stick it in the oven after I called saying I was out of class. With the time the oven took to heat plus the 60+ minute cook time, it should have been ready about 30 minutes after I got home from school. I got home, and the uncooked dinner was sitting on the counter. Hadn't been anywhere near the oven yet. Remember, Tuesday is my day that I'm on campus for 11 hours. When I get home, I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I'm quite often cranky. If I expect dinner to be ready, dinner better be ready. So, here I am, an hour after I got home from school, and dinner should be ready in another four minutes, but I know it will be another 5 minutes minimum to get my dad and brother to the table, even though I told them 6 minutes ago that it was 10 minutes until dinner.

On a more positive note, I saw my high school choir director at my university today. Let that thought run through a couple of times: one of my high school teachers, studying at my university. He's going for his master's in business. He only has 12 units this semester, lucky duck.


Almost forgot, I took a couple pictures this morning of the lake. It was pretty and foggy. The temperature outside when I woke up this morning was 51 degrees. Because of the setting I had to use on the camera, the pictures are a bit blurry, but I think they're still rather lovely.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Gag me with a Spoon

Something I forgot to mention before, although how I could have forgotten, I have no idea. My brother forgot to take his salsa in with him to school on Friday. He didn't bother trying to bring it in today for half credit. I think I'm going to make him eat it, with a spoon. I will sit there as he has to eat the whole container of garlic-flavored tomatoes.

I'm almost completely ready to go to Tennessee. Mainly packed, but I don't know what to pack as far as nicer clothes (for banquets, and then church on Sunday morning). Packing a gi is easy, it just takes up a lot of room if you don't want it to wrinkle too much. :P I keep checking the weather for Tennessee, too. It's supposed to be high 80's, and for a bit it looked like there were going to be thunder storms while I was there, but they look like they'll be much later (Wednesday, instead of the weekend). Don't get me wrong, I love a good thunderstorm, but I don't want one when I'm visiting a city for the first time. Speaking of weather, I had fog coming home from karate tonight. How weird is that? Fog, in September, in SoCal. I thought it wasn't supposed to arrive until February?

Sunday, September 16, 2007


I love my Dalmatian. I really do. But to say that she's high-strung would be putting it mildly. Within the last four months, she's broken nearly all the lines we've had tied out so that our dogs can be outside without leaving the property. So the last couple of days she's been in the courtyard during the day, while she still gets to sleep in the laundry room at night. Talk about spoiled. Eddy was in the courtyard with her while we were at church today, and the two of them managed to find a box of old newspaper and tear nearly all the paper apart. After Eddy left the courtyard, Inka climbed up into the planter boxes and took a nap in my mom's ice plant-type plants up there. Dad told Inka he might send her to Tanzania.

Speaking of dogs, the both of them are about 8 1/2 now. At least, that's what we think. Eddy, of course, was rescued from a junkyard, so we're not positive on that one. The point is, though, that Eddy seems to be greying around the muzzle, maybe some on the neck, and we think he might be starting to get some arthritis. Don't they usually get arthritis onset somewhere around 10? And can you tell whether or not a Dalmatian is starting to go grey?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Mail Gene

I'm getting ready to go to Tennessee next week for a karate seminar. I'm excited. I'd like some pocket money, so I asked my parents for a few odd jobs I can do around the house. Mom asked me to clean off the kitchen counters, clean the kitchen, and to clean up the master bath. So I did.

See, I had been sorting the mail into these folders toward the end of the summer, since it has a tendency to get super bad. If it were my mail, I'd be able to toss things right away. But it's my parents' mail, so I just sort, and try to make it as easy as possible for them to throw things away. When I started classes again this fall, though, I wasn't home anymore when the mail came, so it's been multiplying on the counter. So I sorted it today. I even arranged the fruit prettily in a bowl in the middle of the eating area of the counter, to emphasize the fact that I'd cleared it off.

Then my dad got home while I was at karate, with today's mail. It just sat there, so I sorted it when I got home. And then my dad pulled out all the junk that's been gathering in the living room and proceeded to sort it. On my clean kitchen counter. Mom's gonna be really happy to see that when she gets home tomorrow.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Salsa Mix

I have an advanced algebraic equation for you to take a look at:

(1 brother + 1 college-aged sister)/(1 mom working out the house) + log(Spanish III assignment) = garlic-flavored tomatoes

In case you couldn't follow my astoundingly impressive math, my brother got an assignment (last week?) to make salsa. Simple enough, right? He told Mom he needs ingredients. Her work schedule was changed, and somehow the proper ingredients never made it home. The salsa is due tomorrow (I remember when I had this assignment, too), so once again, it's sister-mom to the rescue. What did I use? That's a good question. Get a load of this ingredient list:
  • canned, diced tomatoes
  • garlic (thank goodness we actually had the real, fresh stuff)
  • dried cilantro (from a bottle, no chance to get the real stuff)
But wait, it gets better. That was the end of the correlation between suggested ingredients and available ingredients (we did have an onion and some bell peppers, but since they were eligible for observation of microbiology in action, I decided they should be tossed, instead of tossed into the salsa). The rest, well, I basically pulled it out of the spice cupboard, and if it smelled like it might work, it went in:
  • basil
  • onion salt
  • salt
  • pepper
  • white pepper
  • wasabi (just a dash)
  • a the stems of a few leaves from my sage plant, Sam
And now you know how to make garlic-flavored tomatoes. We're hoping that the salsa will have a chance to let the flavors merge overnight. If his class doesn't like it, well, I'll just toss it. If I want garlic-flavored tomatoes, I'll make spaghetti.

The best part of this is, though, that my dad still doesn't know we even made salsa tonight, or that it was even an assigned project.