Thursday, September 8, 2016

Germany and the Whip Basic Meet and Greet 2016

[from the plane 09/07/2016]

...Finally settled in my seat to go home.  Now that all the excitement is over, I have time to think and leave a few tears behind.  I had an epic week with my German big brother.  I'm going to miss him and Claudia a lot.  

...I miss my babies too.  I'm ready to go home and hug them all and bring some tears with me for them too.  It was an adventure I would have never considered a couple of years ago.  Robby says I'm different, but I'm crying. So, not so different.  A little wiser, a little more grown up, but still the emotional mess I have always been.  

My first flight was exciting.  The feeling when the plane leaves the ground is wonderful.  It's like the biggest, scariest ride at the fair that you finally get the courage to get on.  Once there, you anticipate how it will be and try so hard to prepare yourself, but it's nothing you can imagine on your own.  The word I coined was "airgasm" and once it happens, there is a few seconds of panic where you want the ride to stop do you can get off and go back to what you know.  More than once I looked at my lap and said, "It's too late for second thoughts.  Hold on and fly."  So I held on...and I flew.

Eventually, I looked at the screen in front of me and saw the little cartoon airplane hovering over Munich.  There again...panic.
"I don't deserve to be here, I have a weird face, no one will like me, I'm going to do stuff wrong...I'm not good enough for this...too fat, too ugly, too stupid, too poor, too loud, too..me." My heart was pounding, the tears rolled down my cheeks.  It's too late now.  It's too late now.  Get out of this plane and fly.  

Alice in Wonderland said, "I like to think I can do at least 6 impossible things before breakfast..." I had done my 6 impossible things today...I left my babies in the care of others, I traveled across the world all alone, I flew, I left my comfort zone, I trusted others, I was not in control.  "Better get your shit together Jess.  They will love you, if you let them..."

So I got off the plane, found my bags and answered stern German questions about what I am doing there, why I am doing it, how long will I be staying, and who I plan to see.  I crossed the gate and there I was.  In Germany.  6 impossible things before breakfast.  

And then, suddenly, there was the German.  Headphones on, face buried in his phone and so,  I took a deep breath and took the opportunity to drop everything and launch myself across the room like a fat little freight train to give him a big out-of-the-blue-ninja hug.  And so, started my German adventure. 

First, Robby is a wonderfully low-maintenance host.  His home is comfortable, livable, and he treats you like a part of the family.  You don't have to worry about breaking things, or messing things up.  He does not wait on you hand and foot, you are expected to do your share, but he takes the time to ask to make sure you are okay.  He lets you do as you please.  I instantly felt at home and my first night I slept with no trouble at all. 

We took a walk on the first day and I was surprised that Germany looks so much like home.  Obviously, the houses are much different, some plants  are different, everything green seems to be more permissive than here in the states.  Nature is allowed to be more free to do as it pleases--instead of the incredibly manicured lawns here at home.  

The streets are very narrow and harrowing to drive on.  Cars are on the sidewalks and cyclists like to have their way.  I'm never complaining about having to be an aggressive driver here at home again.  There is plenty of room for all, compared to Munich.  

Slugs.  Okay, from what I understand, there are giant slugs here in the states too, but in Wisconsin, where the winters are -40 and the frost line is well over 6 feet, our slugs are tiny little bitty things about the size of your fingernail at most.  But in Munich...I saw Nessie.

The next day, we went back to the airport to pick up Wildman.  After hanging over the barrier like apes whooping and screaming his name, Robert, our very proper and sweetly reserved Brit finally entered Germany too and received a very big, very exuberant American hug, which he took rather well--all tings considering, but the return hug was unsure and, from what I hear, the look on his face was rather shocked.  After a week of frolic, though...Robert not only broke some rules, but learned to crack jokes and even volunteered a couple of warm hugs in return...By the time he left, his new nickname was SCULL HAMMER and I even got an email checking on my status homeward with--and I quote--"Hot damn, girl!"  
When I had gotten my email, I was in Detroit again, very over tired and very emotional.  I really just wanted to get home and hug my people, sit on my couch, see my animals, and the tears were falling down my cheeks.  When I read Scull Hammer's email, I laughed out loud so hard that the other people in my terminal looked up in shock to see a crazy person laughing with big fat tears falling down her face.  They probably thought I was a psychopath.   

Sandwiched in between all of that was whip cracking, lots of laughing, secret handshakes, coffee, good talks, tours of Munich, a rather large beer, quiet walks alone, the meet and greet, encouraging words, hugs-hugs-hugs, good talks, movies, laughter, so many new friends, sunflowers, and a little bit of freedom and a lot of bravery that I had never experienced before in my life. Out of all of it, I walked away a little taller than when I came, a little richer, a little wiser...   

This was a very big deal for me and I appreciate so much, everyone who was there to help me have this week. Even if I do it again, I'm never going to forget this first time.  

Germany and the Whip Basic Meet and Greet 2016

[from the plane 09/07/2016]

...Finally settled in my seat to go home.  Now that all the excitement is over, I have time to think and leave a few tears behind.  I had an epic week with my German big brother.  I'm going to miss him and Claudia a lot.

Claudia is the sweetest person I have ever met.  She found out I loved sunflowers, so I had these to enjoy during my stay:


...I miss my babies too.  I'm ready to go home and hug them all and bring some tears with me for them too.  It was an adventure I would have never considered a couple of years ago.  Robby says I'm different, but I'm crying. So, not so different.  A little wiser, a little more grown up, but still the emotional mess I have always been.  

My first flight was exciting.  The feeling when the plane leaves the ground is wonderful.  It's like the biggest, scariest ride at the fair that you finally get the courage to get on.  Once there, you anticipate how it will be and try so hard to prepare yourself, but it's nothing you can imagine on your own.  The word I coined was "airgasm" and once it happens, there is a few seconds of panic where you want the ride to stop do you can get off and go back to what you know.  More than once I looked at my lap and said, "It's too late for second thoughts.  Hold on and fly."  So I held on...and I flew.


Eventually, I looked at the screen in front of me and saw the little cartoon airplane hovering over Munich.  There again...panic.
"I don't deserve to be here, I have a weird face, no one will like me, I'm going to do stuff wrong...I'm not good enough for this...too fat, too ugly, too stupid, too poor, too loud, too..me." My heart was pounding, the tears rolled down my cheeks.  It's too late now.  It's too late now.  Get out of this plane and fly.  

Alice in Wonderland said, "I like to think I can do at least 6 impossible things before breakfast..." I had done my 6 impossible things today...I left my babies in the care of others, I traveled across the world all alone, I flew, I left my comfort zone, I trusted others, I was not in control.  "Better get your shit together Jess.  They will love you, if you let them..."

So I got off the plane, found my bags and answered stern German questions about what I am doing there, why I am doing it, how long will I be staying, and who I plan to see.  I crossed the gate and there I was.  In Germany.  6 impossible things before breakfast.  

And then, suddenly, there was the German.  Headphones on, face buried in his phone and so,  I took a deep breath and took the opportunity to drop everything and launch myself across the room like a fat little freight train to give him a big out-of-the-blue-ninja hug.  And so, started my German adventure.


First, Robby is a wonderfully low-maintenance host.  His home is comfortable, livable, and he treats you like a part of the family.  You don't have to worry about breaking things, or messing things up.  He does not wait on you hand and foot, you are expected to do your share, but he takes the time to ask to make sure you are okay.  He lets you do as you please.  I instantly felt at home and my first night I slept with no trouble at all. 

We took a walk on the first day and I was surprised that Germany looks so much like home.  Obviously, the houses are much different, some plants  are different, everything green seems to be more permissive than here in the states.  Nature is allowed to be more free to do as it pleases--instead of the incredibly manicured lawns here at home.


The streets are very narrow and harrowing to drive on.  Cars are on the sidewalks and cyclists like to have their way.  I'm never complaining about having to be an aggressive driver here at home again.  There is plenty of room for all, compared to Munich.  

Slugs.  Okay, from what I understand, there are giant slugs here in the states too, but in Wisconsin, where the winters are -40 and the frost line is well over 6 feet, our slugs are tiny little bitty things about the size of your fingernail at most.  But in Munich...I saw Nessie.



The next day, we went back to the airport to pick up Wildman.  After hanging over the barrier like apes whooping and screaming his name, Robert, our very proper and sweetly reserved Brit finally entered Germany too and received a very big, very exuberant American hug, which he took rather well--all things considering, but the return hug was unsure and, from what I hear, the look on his face was rather shocked.  After a week of frolic, though...Robert not only broke some rules, but learned to crack jokes and even volunteered a couple of warm hugs in return...By the time he left, his new nickname was SCULL HAMMER and I even got an email checking on my status homeward with--and I quote--"Hot damn, girl!"  
When I had gotten my email, I was in Detroit again, very over tired and very emotional.  I really just wanted to get home and hug my people, sit on my couch, see my animals, and the tears were falling down my cheeks.  When I read Scull Hammer's email, I laughed out loud so hard that the other people in my terminal looked up in shock to see a crazy person laughing with big fat tears falling down her face.  They probably thought I was a psychopath.   

Sandwiched in between all of that was whip cracking, lots of laughing, secret handshakes, coffee, good talks, tours of Munich, a rather large beer, quiet walks alone, the meet and greet, encouraging words, hugs-hugs-hugs, good talks, movies, laughter, so many new friends, sunflowers, and a little bit of freedom and a lot of bravery that I had never experienced before in my life. Out of all of it, I walked away a little taller than when I came, a little richer, a little wiser...










Heh...I love this one.  



This was a very big deal for me and I appreciate so much, everyone who was there to help me have this week. Even if I do it again, I'm never going to forget this first time.  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

A rather serious subject--Self defense for women.

A good friend of mine, who has been teaching Martial Arts for 40+ years, has produced a collection of instructional videos, of various subjects.  When we first met, it was his Whip Basics videos that taught me about whip cracking for sport.  I found that his teaching, over all of the you tube videos out there were concise, simple, and complete.  SAFE.  There is no bravado, no showing off, no look-what-I-can-do examples, leaving you guessing as to how to do it. He made no promises, he just taught you what he knew.  He showed you with good, clear video, plenty of examples, and really great explanations.  He wants to see you succeed.  He is approachable.  He is more than willing to help you.  He's Robby Amper.

About 1 year later, he decided to try a video how to on Nunchaku Basics.  Again, I was not disappointed with yet another means to exercise and gain coordination added to my routine of sporatic hobbies.  Slow, easy instruction with Robby's very calm way of teaching made the video perfect for myself and even my kids.  He made it accessible to anyone and even though nunchaku was not a particular interest to me, it was something I wanted to do, to hone my coordination for my whip cracking.  Not being very coordinated overall myself, it was worth it to try and practice.  It helped with the control, concentration, and even patience.  I will never be a Bruce Lee, unless of course, Bruce could have been fat redhead with ADD and cankles, but I can keep from whacking myself in the back with my whip, I can execute a crack, I can hit a target better than I ever could before, and I can figure stuff out without damaging myself.  I have these tools to succeed.

When he told me about his idea for a self defense video for women, I was skeptical at first.  There is so much information out there on technique, that I really wasn't sure he could make something different than what was already there.  My thoughts were, that in order to really be prepared to survive an attack, being a black belt in martial arts was the way to go.  If you didn't know any, you beat someone with a hairbrush and hoped for the best.  He says otherwise and he says it unlike anyone else.

Knowing Robby personally, I can say this:  He does not lie to you. He genuinely cares about helping people and he is not afraid to get his hands dirty to save a life.  From the sidelines, I've watched this project unfold, listened to the schematics, offered advice and opinions of my own, asked questions, and it is different.  It is for everyone--fat, thin, in shape, out of shape, old and young.   It is raw, scary, truth.  He makes no promises, no guarantees, but he provides tools.

You can hand someone a hammer who has never held a hammer and set them in front of a project involving removing nails.  One of two things will happen.  Failure completely, or the nails may or may not be pulled with a lot of pain and blood as a result.  Or, you can explain what the hammer does, how it works, how to be safe with it, and allow the person to practice with it before taking on the project and get a much better result, even success.  This is what is happening here. This is why it's different.

Robby said, "You won't find pink gym shoes and a jumpsuit here.  The attacker will not follow a script.  They won't be stopped because you are yelling or kicking or saying no.  They do not care if you are pretty or ugly, big or little, dressed provocatively or plainly, rich or poor.  They care about being in control."

The question to be answered then, is, what tools do you have to screw that up for your attacker?  And, are you willing to learn what these tools are? Are you willing to practice with these tools to accomplish your project?

Here is your proverbial hammer.  Stay Alive. To be released September 1, 2016.  Translated into 6 languages.   Because, safety and awareness is universal.


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

...but not MY kids...

Most little girls play with Barbie dolls and baby dolls and have mini doll families for in their dollhouses.  And then, there are my kids.  My kids play with rocks.  So many rocks...

They find them, paint them, slap eyes on them...occasionally hair....and then, it seems, they occupy the dollhouse.

They have visits in the living room and gossip about things like, how much heavier Bolder has gotten since the last river-rock-garden-gnome mixer party last summer...

They have a bedtime


They poop...um...in K-Cups
(for the record, I don't even have a Keurig)


And they...wait.  What is going on here in this dark room?
Wait.  NO!!!  Okay I need to ask. <asking
The Tiniest spawnling says they are "sleeping" 
You know?  We had better leave these two alone.

I guess if there are pebbles all over the house, we will know what "sleeping" means. 

If you really look, it does seem like Spot, the orange spotted rock (obviously), is rather tired...or bored. Hm...

Oh, wait...babies.

Yeah.  I don't really want to know...
  



Cat on a bed of nails

My cat just made her bed on my purse.  Please tell me why a cat will have a nice, soft sleeping situation all set up JUST for sleeping, completely ignore that and find the lumpiest, crunchiest, smallest, stupidest thing to try to curl up on...or give birth.  "Here my darlings," says Miss Kitteah, "Mommy has a nice box of roofing nails all set up for nap time..."

It makes me wonder what was going on in the background during cat making day...or platypus day for that matter...of course, I believe it was marijuana making day just prior...just sayin'...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Why does Mama smell like Dead Leprechauns?

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Emmalyne, whose dream came true one day when we were given SEVERAL dozen sugar cookies in the shape of shamrocks, and covered with green icing. Wow! Right?
Now, a smart parent would have probably taken possession of these cookies and put them directly in the freezer to be rationed out over the course of the next few decades...which was my plan, but "later" and "after a little while," and "let's watch a movie first..." I mean, the cookies were fine for a few hours. I'll do it later...
Of course, the children were munching on them, including sweet little Emmalyne. It was a rare treat and I wasn't concerned if they indulged a bit.
Someone in this story is a dumbass...have you guessed? No? Get ready.
So, bedtime comes and I see Emmalyne is missing. I thought she might be in with her brother, but no. He had not seen her. After a look, I see her curled up in her bed, clutching her favorite doll, fast asleep. I covered her up, gave her smooches on her little pink cheek and the house settled for bed.
I have this little habit at 3:00 a.m. of coming partially conscious for no real reason. Usually I just roll over and go back to sleep. This morning was no different. I lay there and heard creaking on the steps. I assumed it was Rebecca going down to the bathroom. The TV was still on, so I knew Curt was awake. I dozed a bit and a few seconds later, Emma walks into my bedroom.
Me: What's the matter Peanut?
Emma: Mama.
Me: Yeah?
Emma: I think I'm sick.
Having only one bathroom in the house, It is imperative for the sick to live downstairs. I started to get up to help her do just that, when...
All hell broke loose. My beautiful little baby turned right into a shamrock-green spewing factory of smelly hell and I was helpless to stop the carnage. I ripped clothes out of my dresser to try to lessen the mess, but to no avail. Emma turned into a lawn sprinkler in the middle of my bedroom.
I finally gave up and just hugged her until it was over, picked her up and sent her into the shower, pajamas and all, and hosed off. YUCK.
We get washed up, new pajamas, and I set her on the couch with a pillow, a softie blanket and a bucket with strict instructions to AIM FOR THE BUCKET PLEASE.
Curtis Edwards asks, "Is Tiny sick?"
I would actually glow green under a black light at this point. I smell like dead leprechauns. Yeah. Yep. She's sick.
Interestingly, Emma originally had went down into the bathroom to be sick, did not tell her father, but instead gagged a bit before going back upstairs to mom. Hm.
It is now 11:00 a.m. and I am finally washing the last blanket from my bed. Emmalyne says, "I feel lots better now." and even though I have washed my hands and arms 300 times, I still smell like leprechaun barf.
So I ask little Miss Adventure this morning, finally able to sit down with a decent cup of coffee,
"Are we going to eat any more of those cookies?"
Emma: "No way. I am only eating healthy things."
.....
"Mama? Can I have some ice cream?"
No.