I wanted a gold

I just don’t know about these Jiu Jitsu tournaments. I end up crying after them. Oh, not there on the mat. At home, later, when I am alone. It’s a bit of sadness from not doing better and a bit of the accomplishments. The whole adrenaline rush/dump might have something to do with it too.

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I “won” a bronze. When I say “won”, I mean that there were only 3 women in my division and I lost my match. However, I performed better than I did in my last one. I defended myself against a bunch of Kimora attempts (basically, they’re trying to twist your arm back like a chicken wing) and arm bars. At least until the last one. When she swung her leg over my head and started pulling the floppy, I tapped faster than green grass through a goose*.

The good thing about all that is now I know I can defend against that stuff. It can be hard with so few women participating in Jiu Jitsu. Let alone women in my weight and belt class. Most of my classes are full of men. Strong men, with more experience. Some days I leave the gym feeling defeated and like I’ll never get this.

Next time, I’m taking knitting. I so need something distracting to do while sitting and waiting. Otherwise, I will never finish this before it is too big for me:

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I know y’all probably can’t tell, but there has been progress. There also may be some summer/ dojo footies that I have started. Now, does this sound crazy? As soon as I’m done, I am casting on for a sweater two sizes smaller than I am now.

Happy Easter y’all! Hope the Easter Bunny brought you a basket stuffed with goodies!

*Why yes, I am learning some great Southern sayings. Next thing you know, I’ll be sitting in a rocker on my porch, chewing chaw, and playing a fiddle.

**I did get complemented about having a solid base, my strength, and my defense. (Can I just add in here that Canadians are so nice? When I tapped, she was worried that she had hurt me. Her husband was wicked nice too.) I also got invited to roll with the woman I didn’t go against because of the whole not enough women in our weight class thing.

Belle and Bowie

We spent Saturday exploring Fort Worth, celebrating SSCLD’s birthday. He hasn’t really been up to doing much besides working, Jiu Jitsu, and working out, so I kidnapped him. Literally. I picked out his clothes, told him to shower and dress, and get in the car.

bellebowie

We all know how I hate driving in traffic, and Saturdays around touristy stuff tested my limits. Of course we ended up at the zoo to see Belle and Bowie, the baby elephants. Texas found funnel cake and I found out that even without seeing everything there, you can get in about 5 miles of walking.

logcabin

Next we stopped at the “must see” Log Cabin Village. Umm. Yeah. Interesting glimpses into Texas history, but it took about 20 minutes to see all of the cabins. This is where all the plans started to get derailed. We got stuck in traffic with a minor (MINOR!) car accident and two fire trucks and an ambulance coming towards me in my lane.

We tried to stop at the Fort Worth Water Gardens, but there was this thing called inner-city parking. Able to park six, long city blocks away and walk there did not seem so important after about 4 hours of traipsing around the zoo. I just needed coffee and to get away from people.

I’ll share a secret. Texas attracts weird people. Weird with a capital W. It is always a gamble going out in public with him. Saturday was no exception. There was the X-Files guy, the random facts about hippos guy (imagine that awkward Geico commercial times 50), and the lady who just pulled up to our table at Starbucks and would not go away.

It was a nice day and we spent Sunday recovering from bad eating and too much walking on uneven ground watching X-Files. (go figure)

How was your weekend?

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I still got spunk!

For those of you playing along elsewhere, y’all can just skim away.

In October of 2006, I was living my dream, enjoying sunny California, working as a contractor for the Air Force and working on finishing up my degree.  Until the day I snapped the end of my ulna off.  The first doctor that I saw said the best he could do was fuse my elbow at a 90 degree angle, but there was this guy doing amazing things at USC and it wouldn’t hurt to go see what he had to say. Dr. Itamura was able to work magic and give me back most of my range of motion. I have screws and plates in there, no cartilage, and rearranged nerves and other bits, but I could use my arm. It took 6 months of physical therapy before I could drive, let alone return to work. I was told that I could expect to need an elbow replacement in about 10 years or so.

Two years later, I was living in Texas and recovering from the second surgery on my arm. I started noticing some problems seeing things at night.  Soon after, one morning I woke up not being able to see anything with my right eye. The doctors moved fast and ran what seemed like a thousand tests.  I was treated with steroids and did regain my vision. The neurologist said that he thought I had MS and we  started treatment.

In August of 2009, blindness struck again.  I went through two rounds of IV steroids with no improvement. My neurologist at the time said he didn’t think I had MS and he didn’t know what else to do. He referred me to UTSW in Dallas to see a doctor that had just come from Johns Hopkins.  This is where I heard about Neuromyelitis Optica for the first time. I heard that statistics said that within five years, I would be blind, paralyzed, or dead. I heard that there was hope if we found the right drugs to stop the attacks, that it could have a better outcome than a diagnosis of MS. I learned that I had lesions in my spine, brain stem and optic nerves.

I still didn’t have my vision back, but Dr. Greenberg’s nurse, Maureen Mealy, advocated to have me give plasmapheresis a try even though I was outside the treatment parameters. I spent 10 days in the hospital having my plasma (and all the bad stuff that was attacking me) taken out and I was able to regain most of my eyesight again. I’ve had a couple episodes since then and I was lucky to be treated quickly and appropriately. For treatment, I now have Rituxan infusions twice a year to kill the B cells that attack the myelin covering of my nerves.

I had the one – two punch of the arm and then a diagnosis with a rare disease and I had resigned myself to a certain perception of what my life was going to be like. Years of drugs like steroids, immune suppressants, and Lyrica, and me giving up left me overweight. I checked out and didn’t even realize it.

Two months ago, after joining a gym, being bored out of my mind, and feeling ready to give up again, my husband brought up the idea of taking some type of martial arts class.  We signed up with Travis Lutter MMA and I thought I’ll just play along and see what happens. I found out that I liked Jiu Jitsu. My coach, Bobby Alexander works with my limitations and helps modify things when needed. He and my teammates challenge and encourage me to get past what I think I can’t do, even if they don’t realize they’re doing it.

I had thought that I was being positive and doing well coping with everything. Until I started training in Jiu Jitsu, I didn’t realize how much I had just given up. I didn’t realize how much I thought I couldn’t do because of my arm or this disease. I didn’t realize how I had limited my life.  And I didn’t realize how much I still had inside of me.  

I recently competed in a Jiu Jitsu tournament and I was so happy just to be there and go out on the mat, let alone win a match. In two months, I have lost 25 pounds and come off of insulin. I feel better, I have more confidence, I am finding myself, I am reinventing myself.  I still have my spunk and competitive spirit and this is just the beginning of my journey.

Canadian Post was FAST!

yarn caddy

I may have gone on a little shopping spree and ended up buying those from Cathedral Grove on Etsy. (just ignore the new Stitched by JessaLu bags in the background)  I can’t leave a review until March 12th, so I’m just going to have to rave about them here for now. I bought one for me and one for a gift. Both the Cherry and Red Oak are beautiful – and you know the cherry is going to age amazingly. Now I don’t know which one I’m going to keep.

I gave one a whirl this afternoon a few weeks ago and they work wonderfully. The base is large enough to keep it upright and it turns evenly. No herky jerky weird stuff with your yarn. No rough or splintery parts. What he failed to mention in his listing is the little rubber “feet” on the bottom so you can use this on smooth surfaces, not just carpet.

Oh, and Michael (the wonderful craftsman) was fabulous at communicating. You know me. I want all the answers and ask the weirdest questions. He was patient and nice. He was even able to give me a refund on part of the shipping because I ordered two. Overall, a great experience.

Go, order one now.

mitts knits

I got a couple of fabulous knits in the mail. I may have to make a pair of those mitts myself because I love the construction.

Happy Thursday y’all!

There was snowboarding!

Not by me of course. I fell in love with all the snowboarding stuff during the Olympics. I had no idea either. I will probably now become an X-Games watcher. Y’all might want to start planning that intervention now.

  • Current Reading:
    • Kindle – Banshee by Barry Fitzgerald
    • Nook-Kabbalah for Beginners by Rav Michael Laitman, PhD.
    • Physical book – Advanced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Techniques by Marcelo Garcia
  • Current Music: Timber by Pitbull and Kesha
  • Mood: Drained
  • Smells: Espresso
  • Sounds: The heater running
  • Sights: The mylar balloon that just won’t deflate!
  • Current Knitting: The sweater that just won’t end!
  • Current Spinning: Spinning? Who spins?
  • Current Weaving: Um, yeah, I saw a couple of loom things around here somewhere.

What are you doing today?

Happy Tuesday y’all!

I got tired

Having ALL the grass fed beef you want available to you became a kind of burden. I got tired of it.  I didn’t know what to do with it. I took a break. I started eating some weird foods the past few days. Nothing but roasted Brussel sprouts for dinner one night, smoked herring on wasa crackers for lunch. Last night, I ate peanut butter and celery for dinner. Hello?!?

So, I started surfing and pulling out cookbooks and came up with cheesesteak casserole. Done Berks County style. I had to make two batches because Texas likes mushrooms in his cheesesteak. I draw the line at bell peppers. That is not how we roll!

All the yumminess of a childhood cheesesteak memory without the carbs of the bread. Comfort food tweaked and twisted to fit a different way of eating.

≈ Zzzzzzzzz ≈

I’m tired of knitting on the sweater. While I love the fabric that Silky Wool makes, there is only so long I can knit with it. Does anyone else find that it dries your hands out? My fingers were hurting where it slides across them and I was using more lotion in one night than I probably use in a whole month.

I’m back to the mystery socks in the hopes that I can catch up before the final clue tomorrow.  Besides the peer pressure to work on the Sweater of Dryness ™, I had gotten tired of the heels. I alway mess up in some way, shape or form in picking up stitches for them. I suppose the cure for that is to knit more socks like that. However, I tried them on and they are a little loose around the heel. I might be a tried and true short row heel girl.

≈ Zzzzzzzzz ≈

Other things that are making me tired:

  • The plague that ended just in time for allergies to take over.
  • Jiu Bitsy™. In a good way. I’m sleeping much better too.
  • Roller coaster weather. Ice and maybe a high of 32 today, 60′s tomorrow and 70′s by the weekend.
  • Meditation. How do y’all do it without falling asleep?

Happy Tuesday y’all!

Hello Friday!

Did you know there are a bunch of designers donating proceeds from pattern sales during the Olympics? It is best explained here.

I was going to keep working on the Mystery Sock, but those people in that training camp group have made me pull out the sweater that I have been trying to ignore.

 

O.k. Fine! The socks themselves actually made me grab the sweater. This is my first heel flap since May of 2007.  Yes, seven years. I hate picking up the stitches on heel flaps and never seem to get it right. I made a mistake or two and this is the best looking side on this sock.  I need a timeout before facing the other one.

Reminders for me so I can remind Texas next time I send him to the store:

  • Meyer lemons are not the same as regular lemons. Yeah, they looked pretty, but they’re not the same.
  • Tide booster packs do not have detergent, so no, not the same as Tide pods.
  • Wax paper and parchment paper are not interchangeable for cooking.
  • Storage bags are not the same as freezer bags.
  • REGULAR half and half. Not fat free.
  • I did, however want the fat free greek yogurt.
  • Brand names don’t alway matter. Except for toilet paper and tissues. Hello, Puffs Plus with lotion and vitamins and all that other lovely goodness that leaves the skin on my nose.

One more thing I think I might need to drive home for him: If you think it’s allergies, it’s not. Just take the medicine, carry lysol, and stay away from me.

I am feeling mostly better today. I think one more day of rest will finally put this to rest. Of course, it might also help that Texas is in Austin. Which means his boy/plague germs aren’t circulating. I may have lysol’d and bleached the whole apartment when he left. Don’t tell him that. Mmmkay?

Happy Friday y’all! Are you knitting something today?

Keeping it playful

mystery wip

Yeah, the socks again. They’re mystery socks, so progress is regulated and I got nothing else going on with the needles. Once these are done, I have some lovely red yarn I want to make socks with. I just have to find the pattern. Perhaps one of these? (from an awesome Canadian designer)

Since this is the week of Texas working 12 hour overnight shifts, I should get a bunch of quiet knitting time in and make some progress somewhere. Someone also said I had to work on a sweater that is on the needles, hiding in a bag, and buried in my subconscious somewhere.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

If you are following along on other social networking things, this may be old news. I’ve joined a jiu jitsu class.  I wasn’t sure about it at first, with the floppy paw and all that but I love it.  The drills are all legs and core and cardio.

Those of you in the know, know that I’ve been working on losing weight for the past year and it has been going o.k. Since modifying the eating plan last month and adding jiu jitsu, I’ve lost 8% body fat. DUDE! Eight percent. Let that sink in a second. The scale hasn’t moved a huge amount, but my clothes fit differently and I’m finding muscles I didn’t know I had.

I won’t ever compete because it’s not like I can tell someone to take it easy on the arm while sparring, like I can in class. I actually look forward to going to class instead of dreading going to the gym.  I think this might be a good fit for me.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Happy Monday, y’all! What are you doing today? Do you have pattern ideas for this yarn?