I won't even make one up.
But hello, faithful reader! You will be happy to know that I still live and breathe and that very little of my life has changed, at least in the big picture sense. I still have my same old job, live in my same old apartment, remain involved in my same old stuff (dance class, karate, pub stuff, piano bar). These months of being officially car-free have barely even registered with me. It feels like it's always been this way. This is in part because I totally stopped driving the thing in September, but also because it's just so easy to live like this around here, I sometimes have to remind myself that car travel IS in fact an option, either via ZipCar or the ever popular ride-bumming. For the record, I get rides as infrequently as possible, and those who drive me on a more than occasional basis get rewarded (I was my cousin's designated driver for the 4th of July, for example).
I earned my purple belt in karate, which I'm probably WAY too proud of. It's a big step, though. It's kind of the line between beginner and intermediate, and the test was damn near unbearable, but I made it through. There were at least two points during that test where I was ready to just walk out. I didn't want that purple belt that badly. I really didn't. But something made me stay both times and I'm glad I did. The first near walkout was during the first hour, when everyone is inside (after they turned off the air conditioning I might add), being subjected to an unusual amount of fairly cruel calisthenics. It was horrible. Everyone was drenched in sweat and totally miserable, and during one of our "rest periods" (ha), there were tears. And not just mine. Others were crying, I swear.
The other time I nearly walked out was more of a mental challenge. There's something called "slapping out", which basically means falling in such a way that you won't get hurt. Being "taken down" means that someone is practicing one of their defensive maneuvers on you and...takes you down. You, at that point, slap out so you don't break your head, neck, wrists, tailbone or all four (five?). One of the reasons I tested for the purple belt in June rather than May (aside from the fact I failed to show up for the majority of April) is that I kind of refuse to be taken down. It's frightening for me. I'm not a tiny person, and the bigger they are the harder they fall and all that. It's also unnerving, feeling out of control like that. That, and one day during one of the blizzard classes, I DID get taken down....a bit too hard. I wasn't prepared for it and I smacked my head. I was really freaked out, generally, and specifically freaked out that I'd wind up snowbound in my apartment with a concussion. Not cool. My instructor was totally patient and understanding (as always) and let me go at my own pace. We even spent half a private lesson with a pile of mats (kick shields, really) on the floor, to soften the fall. I *FINALLY* got used to being taken down inside the studio. So what was the problem?
They moved us outside. To make space for the other groups testing for other belts, and to get us into the cooler air, the second half of our test was performed outside. Green space being hard to come by in the city, "outside" means a large bit of sidewalk outside Trader Joe's. Which means two things. First: On a Friday evening EVERYONE I KNOW is passing by stocking up for the weekend. I'm red, sweaty, look like I've just been crying (because I have), dressed like a ninja and doing karate outdoors. Awesome. Second, it means bricks. BRICKS. I'm expected to be taken town....to FALL onto a brick sidewalk. The tears recommenced. I was so frightened that I was going to crack my skull open, and was really about to just leave. I asked if we could go back inside, and was told no. But it was a kind no. A "you can do this" no. The whole group was held up 15 minutes while we all (for my sake alone) practiced slapping out again and again before the whole defensive maneuver/take down stuff happened. And guess what? I survived. And got my purple belt :).
So that's my update for now. I really will be around these parts more often. I need to find a good balance for this blog. The majority of my amusing anecdotes/points of stress still have to do with the male of our species (though that whole business has gotten FAR simpler in the past month or so), and I just cannot and will not write about all that but I'm sure I can remember to write about something funny/silly/cute/annoying/stressful/etc that happened at work/dance/karate etc. I will do it!