blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
Last week ended up being incredibly and unexpectedly busy–and for a spectacular reason.

I found a new place to train.

This is not a small thing.

I moved to Colorado a year ago, mind. Though I didn’t spend every moment of the last twelve months seeking out a new dojo-home, I invested a great deal of energy looking up schools and instructors online, asking around, and spending more than a few hours sitting or standing in parking lots watching classes through storefront windows.

That watching-classes part quickly became depressing. I wasn’t looking at how marvelous the students were. I was watching how instructors managed their class and interacted with students… and never once came away thinking, “I’m impressed!” In fact, I never walked away thinking, “Wow, good job.” I wasn’t looking for a school that taught the exact art I’ve learned for the last fifteen-ish years–that’s impossible for many reasons--but was looking for quality instruction and school community.

Yeah, I’m picky. And I don’t apologize for it. But it did leave me with nothing but exhausted options by summer’s start. Then summer was too crazy-busy to expend energy on the search. Then I hit September, was tipping into depression at the prospect of letting yet more months pass without a martial arts home.

So I expanded my search and found a listing for a small school a few more miles away. Rather, I re-found it. It’s a school I’d set aside very early in my search because I thought it was a little too far away. But now that I know non-highway routes and backroads, it’s fairly easy to get to.

I sent off a little note eight days ago asking for a get-to-know you appointment. Last Monday, I received an answer. Tuesday morning, I arrived to meet the husband and wife team running the school. I started classes that evening, and have since spent about ten hours training.


After observing my kata, the head of the school said I had plenty of the yang and he’d like to teach me the yin. He started me on a couple forms–White Crane and Tai Chi–and shared the applications of the movements so I’d start with an understanding of the form rather than its mere memorization.

Husband and wife invited to come in to train during any class I wanted. I love what I learned, I loved how he taught, and during the evening classes, I absolutely loved the camaraderie and collaborative work between all students.

And when he said he’d been waiting for someone who wanted to also teach, I started getting all teary-eyed.

And the topper: I spent Saturday morning observing their kids’ classes, and got all teary-eyed again. They teach young people the way I like to teach young people. They give their young students the respect, attention, and open-heartedness I was looking for.

I am in the right place, and I’m so very glad I chose to be picky.
blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)

Now for something happy!

Our new little girl, Tanner, is settling in a little more every day.  She’s loving all the cuddles and playtime and—now that she’s well-trained to the invisible fence and the weather is better—is merrily running around the yard, investigating rabbit trails, and bounding on and off the deck just for fun.

She and Gambit have reached friendly cohabitation and are working toward being buddies.  One night last week, we let her in the house while Gambit was still out romping.  She watched out the window until he appeared on the porch, whined at us to let him in, then gave him a quick nuzzle when he trotted inside before immediately acting as if it hadn’t happened.

Already she’s picked up on the House Rules such as “All treats must be taken nicely, with no injury to human fingers,” and “Paws out of the kitchen while I’m cooking,” and “Rough play is acceptable, but must stop when humans say so.”  We’re still working on “Drop all toys on request” and “Come when you’re called even if you don’t want to.”  Those will take awhile to master.  Such is the challenge of a terrier!

We had a beautiful morning recently just perfect for pictures.  I tried to get Tanner to pose.  The result is a series demonstrating her penchant of paying attention to anything and everything that twitches.  Terrier!

Read more... )

blairmacg: (FeatherFlow)
I've a fabulous girlfriend who lives in the next town. We've known each other about ten years: went through first-degree black belt training and testing together, went through the loss of husbands together, and have watched each other's kids grow up. We can't get together often because our schedules rarely coincide. But her oldest daughter just graduated high school, so I made time to visit the graduation party yesterday.

While there, I met the usual couples who wanted to chat about their gardens, the weather, the superficial meaning of the latest sensational news story, the terribleness of their children.* Then my friend introduced me to another single woman, a woman she's worked with for years. In making small talk, I tossed out the fact I'd recently attended a feminist SFF conference. (Truly, if I want to suss out a potential conversation partner, putting "feminist" and "SFF" in the same sentence is an excellent guide.)

Then, for the two of us, the rest of the party disappeared for about half an hour. Within five minutes, the other folks at the table moved on to other conversations. The SFF part didn't interest this woman much beyond the basics, but feminist! In a small town in Indiana!

We talked about our mutual desire to remain single, and our shared wish for the occasional fling in an exotic location. We talked about raising children as a single mother who wants to raise forward-thinking adults who will find their own lives rather than children who follow the path we command. We shared our post-parenting plans, our uncommon (for this area) spiritual beliefs, and our endless attempts to find people like ourselves. Then we talked about alternate sexuality, inclusive relationships, and how we both love to have a community of strong and interesting women to learn from.

And when I had to leave, I stood up from the table and for the first time noticed the woman who must have been sitting right behind me the whole time. The look of shock and horror on her face was... absolutely amazing. I admit, I giggled. I have no idea who she was. But it was such a perfectly-timed demonstration of everything the other woman and I had discussed as stifling, that I couldn't help laughing all the way to my car.

And the friend who'd invited me to the party? She was not at all surprised we'd hit it off.

So I have a new social connection, and the day ended up being not so bad after all!

*I am mightily sick of parents who brag about their children's external accomplishments (Academic awards! Sports trophies! Perfect attendance!) then bitch about what horrid people they are (No gratitude! Never talks to us! Lazy!). It's the encapsulation of everything I hate about how I see so many children raised and educated.


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