blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
No, it hasn't been a bad day.

Instead, it's one of those wake-up too early even though you wrote until almost three in the morn, discover an email about a piece of paper that must be submitted to a certain government agency by the "deadline on the original letter," dig up letter, confirm date is a mere 48 hours in the future, try to log on to the website you haven't visited in six months, discover your first three guesses at the password are wrong, get locked out of the account, read the passwords were automatically reset by the government agency three months ago anyway, spend almost an hour on the phone either waiting for a representative or talking to one, finally gain a new password, attempt to review personal data on the site, accidentally wipe out most of it, then take another half hour to re-enter it while dojo staff calls with questions about next week's summer camp and your mother texts you about the fact your father will be showing up on your doorstep in less than an hour, and realizing you haven't even yet changed out of your PJ's and it's after two in the afternoon kind of days.

Now the paperwork issue is resolved, the camp questions are answered, and I've 90 minutes before heading to the dojo.

On the other hand... remember that writing thing I mentioned above?

Almost two thousand words of a new opening chapter. Breath of Stone is officially underway!

And no, I've not heard a peep from the kid yet, and I'll be surprised if I do. I told him he didn't have to call me at all unless he needed something. He's only there for a short time, and the last thing I want is him feeling obligated to call his mother. Since the majority of folks on the trip are adults, and the teens are all sixteen and seventeen, I suspect he's getting the experience of Being An Adult as well.

Doesn't mean I don't miss him, but that's mine to deal with, not his to fix.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
I've been playing around, on and off, all day with writing a "What I did in 2013 and hope to do in 2014" post.

It ain't happening, folks. This is the best I can come up with.

I had me so mightily ambitious goals on the writing front this year--ambitious enough that I would have been satisfied to fall somewhat short of meeting them. I had novels and novellas and wellness books I wanted to complete and publish. And it all seemed doable at the end of last year, even after I was slammed unexpectedly with a rush of new students at the dojo.

A year later, only one little goal was reached.

Three events of the year--rather, what those events triggered--pushed all those other goals aside. First, my best friend and mentor of over twenty years died in April. Second, I accepted that I am and prefer to be single—and would no longer try to "fix" that—in May. Third, my entire family (Dev excepted) moved 2000 miles away in September. Combined, they triggered nearly a year's worth of, "Who am I? Where am I in life? Where would I rather be? What do I want to be when I grow up? What sort of life do I want ten years from now? What will be my role as my parents age? Where do I want to be as I myself age? And when I have those answers, what am I willing to do to make it happen?"

I did my thinking and evaluating and considering and mourning. I did my parenting--working with Dev through school, work, grief, and life-planning. I ran a dojo. I tried a couple different things on the career front, most of which found small success that required far more investment of time than the payoff justified. There was much flail of the non-joyous variety. Only recently has something come to fruition, and that just might be a game-changer. I'll know more by the end of January.

But on the topic of writing... I published one wellness book, though most of the profits from doing so won't come to pass until summer. Two others are in draft form, and a third is outlined. An unrelated non-fiction project is also in the works.

I got within shouting distance of completing revisions for Sand of Bone (and outlined the sequel), made a decent start with Crossroads of America (and outlined two new books in the series), put together a rough outline for the sequel to Sword and Chant, started a contemporary romance (!), and played with a half-dozen other projects just enough to keep them fresh.

So... writing goals for 2014? Too much is up in the air to make solid plans. Contracts are still under negotiation. Other responsibilities are in flux. Other people need to make a couple other decisions before I move forward (a waiting game I dislike greatly). So making a goal on specific projects, or number of projects, wouldn't be worth the pixels. Instead, my writing goal is to create things I'm proud of, and publish things that connect with readers.

As for everything else, this pic forwarded from a friend of mine sums up my personal intentions for 2014:


If I could call you all up and have you over for a grand party, I would. I try to explain the best I can, not only in an attempt to be understood, but in the hope it might help someone else going through troubled or confusing times. I try to remember to ask rather than assume, and have made an effort to look at the perspective of others when I disagree. And I love my friends. I love my family. I am thankful for every contribution you made--large and small--to 2013, and I am already grateful for the support, kindness, and advice y'all will offer in 2014.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
The dogs started their raw food diet last week, chowing down on chicken quarters every morning. Yesterday they had rack of lamb as a treat. In the evening, they have a raw apple, carrots, or banana. They both believe this raw food thing is the bestest most wonderfulest idea ever.

Despite all the reading and research I've done on raw feeding over the last year-plus, I still couldn't shake my fear of feeding the dogs raw chicken bones. Thus I sat on the back porch as they ate, ready to intervene at the first sign of trouble.


Ty the Wonderdog had no trouble at all--expected, since he lived on the farm for years and dined on... whatever he and the other farm dog sniffed out in the woods. Seriously, there was a patch of meadow up the hill from our house we nicknamed The Bone Yard because it was the dogs' favorite place to stash their treasure when they could eat no more. I once found a... a thing that so grossed me out, I was determined to get rid of it. After a couple attempts the dogs foiled, I decided to dump it in the fast-moving river, figuring the coyotes that roamed in the woods down there would eventually grab it. That was not to be. Instead the dogs swam down the river to retrieve the thing and return it to The Bone Yard.

So yes, Ty is quite accustomed to raw food.

Gambit was another matter. He was absolutely certain he should love-love-love the chunk of raw meat in his mouth, but he couldn't figure out how to eat it. By the time Ty was licking his lips in satisfaction, Gambit was just starting to experiment with tearing off little nibbles. Ty looked on as Gambit went from nibbling to gnawing. I'm sure he would have pitched in to demonstrate technique, if I hadn't been watching. But in the end, Gambit succeeded in finishing his meal.

Seven raw meals later, it's obvious they're not having trouble with bones, or any other part of the meal. Gambit still takes longer to eat his portion than Ty, but danged near any creature would take longer to eat than Ty.

As for the miscellany:

I've been scolded about working my arm too much--a scolding brought about because I was stupid and re-injured it and am back to wearing a soft brace all the time.

Related to the above, I'm sitting on the Black Belt Review Board today--very excited to watch one of my students test, and excited/sad to watch three adults of my own cohort test because I was supposed to be testing with them.

We shall see how much progress I can make on Crossroads before the end of November. Yesterday was my day to believe everything I write is junk. Stupid junk. Stupid, derivative, incomprehensible, boring junk. But I've been here before and, just like my occasional certainty I'm a clumsy and substandard karateka, the feeling passes.

The above feeling was shown the door this morning, when I got a note from a friend that said his coworker liked my first book and wanted to know when the next one would be coming out.

And, in the most important news of all... DEV PASSED THE WRITTEN DRIVING TEST AND NOW HOLDS A REAL LICENSE. This means that, on Sunday, I can hand him the car keys, he can drive himself to and from work, and I can stay home.

It also means the beginning of fret-festivals every time he leaves the house on his own. I'm assuming the edges of that worry will dull over time, much the same way as every other fear.

Lastly, and least importantly, I've been feeling restless again. Truly, I should have figured out how to have a career as a travel writer. It's been months since I've traveled more than 50 miles from home. I'll be heading to Denver in December, but will be staying with family, so that doesn't really count.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Just a general round-up:

1.  Dev and I are both so very relieved and happy to "take back" our homeschooling plans.  Schooling through Indiana University seemed like a good idea, and probably would have been great about five years ago.  Alas, their class work and degree requirements shifted toward "Common Core" at the same time the university cut its staff.  We were left with extremely limited class options (no more ability to take dual credit courses, no more flexibility for degree completion, a mere handful of electives) while paying way too much for what had become, essentially, lessons I had to mostly teach anyway.  Besides, most of the classes were simply classroom-based methods jammed onto the internet.  Online classes must be structured differently to be effective!

After a great deal of research--and confiming of said research with outside sources--I decided to quit fretting over "accredidation" and focus on, y'know, the learning.  An increasing number of colleges and universities are standardizing the process of evaluating homeschooled students for admissions, and we have guidelines now on how to prepare and present a homeschool transcript and portfolio.  We already have our reading lists, textbooks on every subject but biology and chemistry, an excellent math tutor who can't wait to see how far Dev can go, free courses available online through awesome colleges and universities, and a variety of community professionals who have agreed to show Dev different parts of their career and business.  And in August, we begin the homeschool version of Rosetta Stone's Italian.

2. Dev is heading to aviation ground school for high schoolers this summer.  My father has taught at this program for years, and Dev would have attended last were it not for a conflict with karate camp.  (Last year was his tenth year ata karate camp, and he wasn't about to miss that!).  Dev is thrilled, and so am I.  For five whole days, I will have nothing to worry about except my own appointments and classes.  Woohoo!

3.  I'm still coming around, mentally, from the loss of Patricia.  Just a few months ago, when it seemed the cancer had been fought back yet again, she and I were discussing moving in together again in about a year and a half.  I suppose both of us should have known better than to hope for such time, but neither one of mentioned a second thought.  Maybe we both simply needed to believe it.

4.  Related to all of the above, everything related to writing is taking far longer than it should.  It isn't a matter of inspiration or willingness.  It is time.  Effing time.  One of the things I'm doing to address that is cutting my garden size in half.  This is not the year I can spend oodles of time out there during the growing season, or many hours processing the bounty of a large garden at harvest time.

5.  Should the universie be willing and Dev be on his game, he will have his driver's license sometime in the next thirty days.  We'll do the road test likely in the last week of May, and the written test the second week of June.  Dev wants more car than he can afford right now, so we'll likely share a vehicle for awhile.  This won't be an issue over the summer--when he plans to stack up a bunch of hours--though I can't see us going much beyond November without a second vehicle.

6. And the dojo? Still humming along. I'm averaging between five and six new students a month, though that will likely drop to one or two over summer months. We're now gearing up for summer camp, less than two months away. Part of me does wish I could attend as a mere student again. Since I'm running the dojo, running Dev's schooling, running my own publishing, and running my new (in development) wellness project, I'm getting tired of being in charge of something all the time!
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Very little in the way of writing was accomplished today.  It was one of those days made crappy by sparse and broken sleep, and predawn musings about whether I'm a terrible mother.  Those musings seem to be my "awake too early" regulars.  By dawn, I'm usually fairly certain I'm a decent mother after all.


Since it's spring break around these parts, attendance at karate class was sparse.  The upswing is that I had a chance to focus on my own training for a bit.  Two weeks ago, I shared with my sensei my desire to aim for Sandan rank, and he supported my decision.  That means choosing three empty-hand katas and three weapons katas to focus on.  Right now, I'm opting for Jitte, Nan Dan Sho, and maybe Empi Sho.  I've a feeling, though, Sensei will tell me I must do Kusanku.  The very thought makes me wonder if my knees will explode.

*Note: Videos are approximations, not exact representations of the style I train.  Just the closest I could find. :)

Weapons katas will be chosen from Yamanni Ryu.  Most likely, at least one of the katas will be bo (long staff).  I'd like to do at least one sai kata.  If I had nothing to do but train for the next six months, I'd pick up the tonfa.  Alas, I just have too many things to do to learn a new weapon.

Aside from the katas, I've got to sharpen my throws and multiple-attacker defense.  My push-ups are passable, but I'd like to be able to do all fifty in one set instead of two.  (One set isn't required, but it would certainly feel good to do it!)
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

I love being part of building a brand new stand-alone dojo. I love watching kids show up for the first class--sometimes totally hyper, sometimes afraid we're going to Karate Kid them--and end their time on the mat with glimmers of self-discipline and happiness. I love seeing my higher level students discover new skills. And I deeply love watching students change the way they say "This is hard!" (It starts as a whine, then becomes a statement, then transforms into a desired challenge.)

But what I love most of all is bowing nervous but excited parents onto the mat for their own first class.

I remember how it felt to be in that position. I'd wanted to learn karate since I was a kid, but never voiced that desire to my parents. It was the mid-70s, and I the only female I knew who trained in martial arts was a classmate who scared the shit out of me. My knowledge of martial arts could be summed up by three things I thought true: karate was that it was a mysterious and violent thing, Bruce Lee could kick anyone's ass, and I wanted to know how to do it.

I remember how it felt to be in that position. I'd wanted to learn karate since I was a kid, but never voiced that desire to my parents. It was the mid-70s, and I the only female I knew who trained in martial arts was a classmate who scared the shit out of me. My knowledge of martial arts could be summed up by three things I thought true: karate was that it was a mysterious and violent thing, Bruce Lee could kick anyone's ass, and I wanted to know how to do it.

Saying karate wasn't What Girls Did at the time is too simple, though. In reality, I was held back by my own little-girl fears and insecurities. Who was I, a geeky and awkward kid, to say I could attempt such a thing? Then, as a young adult, I bounced off a couple martial arts programs. The first attempt was a community college class that was utterly boring. The second attempt left me unable to walk without severe pain for about two weeks. That's when I discovered congenital hip dysplasia, even as minor as I'd always considered mine to be, was a really bad match for the kind of training I'd been exposed to.

So when I enrolled my son in karate, I did it with not only the hope it would be good for him, but that I'd find a karate-home as well. It took some talking and convincing from the instructors, but I finally bowed on the mat for my own first class. I was frightened. I was awkward. I feared looking like an idiot, and I fearing hurting myself. Most of all, I feared being thought of as arrogant and presumptuous for thinking I--a dorky mom in her early thirties--could ever attain a reasonable measure of skill.

Tonight, I had a mom bow in for her first class. She worked hard and she struggled. She will be sore tomorrow, and even more sore the day after. And she will, I have no doubt, show up for class again on Monday. But the greatest moment was when she bowed off the mat with a smile and said, "That was actually fun!"

And that, my friends, is the greatest moment of teaching

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

Last weekend was spent in Asheville, North Carolina with That Wonderful Man.  Fabulous food, great conversation, and cool outings.  He and I both have exciting things in the works.  I so enjoy hearing him talk about things he's passionate about. I came home feeling all warm and glowing and other cheesy things. I am already looking forward to seeing him again.

The dojo is growing so quickly I decided I needed help sooner rather than later, so I began training a woman who can help with some of the administration and sales. We're fortunate to have found someone who has not only the job skills, but the understanding of and passion for our program. In addition to the new help, we're reconsidering our spring and summer schedule because of the high number of new students coming through our doors. This is a good problem to have, as long as we continue to manage it properly.

The Storybundle launch has been pretty awesome. The rising sales numbers has put me in a marvelous mood. More on that experience as it unfolds.

Revisions for SAND are back on track, and I'm so very happy with the results. The changes are moving the plot and character arcs away from their formal residence, Rim of Melodrama. I am so much happier with the results, though still resigning myself to the fact I'll not be finishing these revisions until late March. I simply don't have the hours.

Dev achieved a solid, productive school day without me needing to prod and nag. That was, in truth, the biggest anti-stress event of the day.

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
I've been feeling just a tad overwhelmed lately with the bits and pieces of all the projects before me.  Teaching for hours at the dojo? No problem.  Remembering to email three different people about six different things?  Gah.  Why is it I can recall all my clients' names and conditions and such, but only remember to fax a document when I'm sleepless in bed around three in the morn?  Again, gah.

The problem--and it's a good problem, don't get me wrong!--is that many things are growing quickly, and growth demands more bits and pieces.  But I'm not quite to the point with any project that I can justify getting help.  The dojo is getting close.  If growth continues at this rate, I'll have someone in to help by mid-March, I suspect.  On the wellness side, there isn't an opportunity for help because all the current bits and pieces must be done by me, alas.  (I already have someone who books my appointments for me, thank goodness!)  And the writing bits are, of course, all on my shoulders.

And--oh, yes--parenting and tracking the schooling of my teenager who is now exploring post-high school options and driving options and job possibilities and renewed karate involvement and possible guitar lessons.

But for now, I have a single hour during which I can write.  This I shall do.
blairmacg: (Default)


It's been awhile since I've written about writing.  Writer though I am, my life encompasses other roles.  Sometimes those roles take precedence out of necessity or choice.  This time it has been a little of both.

First and foremost is always Dev.  Though it's true he is capable of great independence now, I'm of the opinion that the later teen years are not the time to dial back parental involvement.  My involvement in his life has certainly evolved, but it hasn't lessened.  Where once it involved organizing play time, it now encompasses checking in with and socializing with the parents of the kids he is involved with.  Taking him back and forth to museums and camps has transitioned into transporting him to work and more focused activities.  And the most important aspect is the time set aside to talk.

I'm determined to maintain a healthy connection.  Part of that comes from watching how friends of mine--parents of remarkable teens-becoming-adults--balance their parental role with the child's independence.  The give and take they've achieved is, in my opinion, something to be emulated.

Another part of my determination comes from memories of my own teenage years, realizing now that the great independence I was granted as a teen was far more than I could handle, and it resulted in more than a few extremely poor (and long influential) life choices.  And I remember a high school boyfriend summing up his friend's problems by saying, "No one is ever there when he gets home.  No one asks him about his day."

The other factor is the Brand! New! Dojo!  It is at last open.  Every belt level has now had at least one class in the new space and--despite some first-night inabilities to concentrate--all has gone well.  I'm incredibly optimistic about the coming six months.  And I'm already learning and re-learning a great deal from Shihan about teaching.  I anticipate my ego will get in the way more than once, since I'm going from a completely independent instructor to an instructor sharing the mat with a very senior instructor.  I also anticipate my ego will eventually find its rightful place and shut up. :-)  The students are thrilled, and that's what matters most.

Lastly, I've had a robust desire to take care of many household chores that have floated along undone for months on end.  The Green Room (otherwise known as the spare bedroom that serves as a storage locker) has gone from two-thirds full of stuff to a mere score of unsorted boxes.  The number of boxes stored in the garage has fallen in half.  The little master bathroom is no longer a blank cubicle.  Next comes the tilling under of the garden, the trimming of the shrubbery, and a couple hours of mulch-o-rama before it gets much colder.

I have been writing non-fiction projects, but those are "work," not story-play.

But!  I did pull out my Most Rejected Story (which is also, oddly enough, my Most Often Complimented by Editors Story) for feedback and tweaking.  Awesome feedback. :)  I'd thought to send it to one more market, but read something specific in their guidelines that rules 'em out.  So last night I designed a cover for it.  Dev--who hasn't read the story--told me the cover looked, "Pretty, but a little creepy," which is precisely what I wanted to achieve.  I do believe this one will go live this weekend.

blairmacg: (Default)
It seems as if the only answer I can give to the "What are you up to?" question is, "Still working on the dojo."  I suspect that'll be the case for the next couple weeks, even though classes will start in there on Monday.

To run a community school, all you need is an agreement to rent a small space for small blocks of time, a cell phone, and file box.  Everything else--supplies, focus pads, whatever--is brought in on an as-needed basis.  But setting up an independent dojo is quite another matter.

First come the big things: building out the space and painting it all, then installing flooring, mats, mirrors, and signs.  Then the smaller pieces: decor, furniture, inventory, and tools of the trade such as kicking/punching pads, padded weapons, and the like.  And the paper.  All the paper!  Tracking logs, certificates of achievement, schedules, instructions, information.  Marketing materials and outlines.  Teaching decisions and lesson plans.  Newsletters.

And now we've reached the stage of total cleanup--which will be my life for the next two days.
blairmacg: (Default)

Today was a wellness appointment day, when I see seven clients in seven hours.  Over the summer, I only schedule two such days per month, but in the winter, it can be four or five days.  More than that, and I start referring clients to other people.  I just can't handle that intensity more often--the reason I set aside all hope of ever being a fulltime counselor.

That hour with the client is spent discussing the details of what they eat, what they drink, what they take, what they do, what they think, and what they feel.  New clients, accustomed to delivering their health complaint in 90 seconds or less, can't imagine why we need a full hour.  But I'm not there to connect Problem A with Solution B.  The goal is to educate the client about why diet and lifestyle choices impact how--and how well--life is lived.  We go through everything they're taking, prescription and otherwise, and make a list of things to discuss with their physician.  We discuss research versus hype, assumptions versus reality, and why the latest obscure herb they heard about on Dr. Oz might not be worth their time to hunt down.

But the most important segment of the appointment is the Sustainability Assessment--or, as I tell clients, the process by which we find strategies to sidestep their excuses.  ;-)  And I do mean strategies.  Not guilt trips, not intellectual reasons, not shaming statements.  Instead, we discuss, step by step, how changes can be made.

Example: A client was trying desperately to get her sugars under control, but was struggling with cravings and habits that crept in every time she tried to change what she ate.  She'd do well all day then, on her way home, would stop at the corner store to pick up the local newspaper.  And a root beer and a candy bar.  She absolutely couldn't walk out without those treats.  Her dietician had told her all about the healthy choices she could make instead--low-salt nuts, a high fiber fruit, and so forth--but the client would still end up with the other treats in addition to the healthy ones!

So I suggested she have the paper delivered to her home.

That one action--the choice to focus on behavior rather than the food that went with the behavior--opened the door for her to examine other choices.  It gave her a different perspective, a renewed sense of control over her habits.

Usually I'm completely wiped at the end of the day, often because a couple of the appointments are folks who don't want to be there, who were talked into it by a friend or family member, or are there to engage in a debate about allopathic versus alternative medicine.  (I don't debate. I just start printing off research for them.)  But today was a good day--some new clients who couldn't wait to use their new knowledge, a returning client ready to take the next step, and two clients doing so well I won't need to see them again unless something goes sideways. 

I left the office late, but invigorated.  Folks had made changes to their lives that actually did change their life.  Other folks had new hope for situations they'd been told they'd just have to live with.  And one woman walked out knowing the changes she'd made had saved her marriage.

Every time I think I just can't spend another day giving individual appointments, the universe sends me a day like today.

To top it off, I drove past the new dojo on the way home and admired the awesome signs that were installed today.

blairmacg: (Default)
Tonight, after a parent meeting and regular karate classes, my upper level students and their parents all helped load our 1000 square feet of mats into trucks.  Then we caravanned across town to the new dojo, unload the mats, and did the Happy Dance.

We're committed now.  Class must follow the mats. :-)

There's a wee bit of construction left -- three doors to be installed, many mirrors to mount -- and the painting touchups that must follow.  And cleaning.  I started on some cleaning today, then realized the pointlessness of cleaning before the day of sawdust production and sanding.

Really, just having the mats in the space makes a huge difference, psychologically, for me.  Things no longer feel in limbo, so stress levels begin to fall.  And having the support of students and their families means as much to me as the support of my own teachers.

So.  Five days until the dojo opens its doors as an independent school.  Five days as we transition from little community school to fulltime dojo.

And y'know what was pretty cool?  I signed up two new students tonight!

Sometimes I simply can't believe I do what I do for a living.

Dojo Update

Sep. 9th, 2012 08:45 am
blairmacg: (Default)

It has been a busy few days, working in the new dojo.  Many of my students are pitching in, building a community as well as a dojo.  Today should be the final major painting day.  The coming week is for sign installation, clean out and clean up, and new carpet.  Then, once I get the back rooms cleaned out, I'll paint those as well.  Mirrors and mats shall follow.


I had a few moments of gut-dropping anxiety, thinking through what must be done to make this work.  By the same token, the to-do list has a demonstrated, measureable success rate.  And I wouldn't be taking the risk if I didn't believe in the results.


It's been a trip, figuring out what works in this little city.  Its population is in transition, shifting from rural agriculture and manufacturing employees to include residents who treat the city and surrounding countryside as a bedroom community while working in larger cities.  Most longterm residents aren't much interested in anything that hasn't been in town at least as long as they have.  Most newer residents don't do much in town if it isn't part of the kids' school or church activities.  Finding advertising that hit our target population has been...difficult.  Now, with a dojo that sits on the main road, we're expecting that to be our best "billboard."


I'm looking forward to having a master instructor in my dojo for the months ahead.  (Being a single mom, I couldn't commit to teach five nights a week, so someone else is coming in to help get things rolling.)  My students will reap great benefits directly, and my own teaching skills will get a boost as well. 


On the selfish side, that instructor will be drilling me on sparring.  When working self-defense, I'm relaxed and in control.  When I'm sparring, my brain turns off the strategy center and lights up bright green with BLAIR SMASH.  Then, when I get a penalty called, I get too timid.  It's psychological, I know, but haven't yet found a way to step around it.  Having an instructor there to drill me three days a week will hopefully make the difference.

blairmacg: (Default)

Gambit II, our rescue pup, has suddenly expressed interest in images on the television.  When Dev plays Skyrim, the Little Bit is absolutely transfixed.  A few nights ago, a show we were watching showed an injured dog, whining.  Bit jumped up and ran to Ty, who was peacefully sleeping by the couch, and pawed at the old dog until he got up.  I'm not sure of Bit thought Ty was whining, or that Ty should be alerted to the whining dog.

Today I cooked down five gallons of Roma tomatoes into about three gallons of tomato sauce.  Lots of garlic, onions, basil, oregano and bay leaves.  The house smells like an Italian restaurant.  That is a marvelous thing.

The attitude Dev brought home from his summer camps is still going strong, thank goodness.  He helped run our recent belt promotion, and took charge of the class with confidence and smiles.  He is managing his work hours around his school hours.  He is gearing up for the increased karate training that comes before his next test--this one for his adult Shodan.  He's hoping he will be given the title of sensei at that time as well.

Today I realized just how much my life could change if the new dojo location takes off.  In the space of a week, I've gone from running a very small community dojo to being in charge of a larger business launch.  Um...yikes?

Even with the dojo opening, September will be an "easy" month.  The big decisions have been made.  The schedule contains not a single out-of-state trip.  I have only two days of wellness client appointments (and I'm holding to that unless I fill every available slot of those days).  No dog shows, no karate seminars, no workshops or speaking engagements.  Whew!

Diatomaceous earth is awesome.  Last August and September, when the season turned a bit dry, we had a terrible time with ants coming in, searching for water.  And, this being Indiana, there are always crawly insects ready to make their home in yours.  Drought tends to make it worse.  But this year, I put down a barrier of diatomaceous earth all around the house.  No ants.  No beetles.  And I think I spied two spiders over the course of the summer.  Best of all, it isn't a toxic chemical.  It was, as I said, awesome.

Lastly, That Man continues to make me happy.  That should probably be firstly as well.




blairmacg: (Default)

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