Monday, December 29, 2008

Tents and itouches

In a tent in Arrowtown with my daughter using her itouch and the neighbours wireless connection! They haven't passworded it, duh! Lovely night starry sky. Night night :-)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Five weeks to cruise time. Coming out of a long cold winter the body is a little pallid and while it's karate ready it's not so bikini ready. Not that it’s a tropical cruise, but there do seem to be plenty of swimming pools on the boaty boat boat.

So, a few weeks of cardio blast at the gymbo, a little mindful eating, a walk a day and then a new bi-ki-ni to stun all those elderhostellers who will be sharing my boat.

I'm hiding away a few good reads for the trip as well. Including a smattering of NZ books that I 'should' read, being a good wee librarian. I imagine they will get left at the bottom of the suitcase though, and the light & fluffy chic lit will be chosen instead. But I can try.

Sunday, September 07, 2008


I have been a 2nd kyu, brown belt, for a week now and only been to one class – that’s a bit of a record for me. Usually I can’t wait to head back in and learn my new syllabus, but I was pretty tired after this one. A few bruises, here and there, but mainly weary of training.

So, a week off…and gosh, I feel even worse. I think it’s a myriad of things; the end of winter, lots on at work, fighting off those bugs that I have successfully kept at bay for the last couple of months, etc. It could even be my stupid thyroid medication – big fuss in the news about side effects caused by a new formulation of a drug that 70,000 New Zealanders have to take. Weary, weary, weary.

It was a good grading though, I felt pretty decent most of the time – can’t jump for nuts and the stairs that I have been racing up and down for months felt ten times worse on the day– but hey, that’s the point I guess.
So, my next six months (apart from learning my new syllabus) is all about learning to spar – better protection and better techniques – punching, kicking. I want a yokogeri like my daughter’s.

Anyhoo, the photos are pretty crap so only a before and an after. And I guess I’ll drag myself down there next week.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Glorious wattle

Spring is just around the corner and our wattle is in full bloom. Each morning we wake to tui and bellbirds singing as they fossick for nectar – or whatever it is they fossick for in trees.

Is there such a thing as light sparring?

No, and the bruises prove it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Mind the head

An update as instructed…

Ok, ok, Senpai, I do feel guilty about not heading down to the dojo tomorrow at 6am, but it’s just so cold!!! I have no excuse; I’m just not going. And worse, I probably won’t make Tuesday night class either – work thing, grrrr.

One of my favourite senpai sent me the following video clip with the helpful comment “What do you think of my new move?” Much is made of me not protecting my head and much is made of a certain other senpai, who will be visiting on the day of my grading, being able and willing to kick to the head. It was enough to make me wince. Whether it’s enough to make me block my head? Who knows?

A snowy day on the bus

Last Saturday up in Halfway Bush. We usually cancel the buses when the weather is like this, but it caught me unaware and once I was heading up the road it was too tricky to turn back. Fortunately the bus is quite heavy and, while it was snowing, it wasn’t icy so there was no slipping or sliding.

I even had the right bus for the conditions - note the penguins on the side :-)

Excuse the photos, I only had my camera phone.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A couple of new senpai

Last fight is over

A hug with mum at the end. Zoë's friend and mentor,Senpai Di rushes up from one side while Sensei Seán, Zoe's brown-belt teacher (and stepfather), comes from the other side.

Zoë's last fight was with me, Grrrr!

I was told halfway through the grading that I would be Zoë's last fight. The candidates often get to choose their own last fight person - often their training partner or an inspirational teacher and Zoë had been thinking bout two or three different people. But she wasn't given the choice in the end. Jun Shihan told me it was me and I was flabbergasted, It was a big honour to be given to a green belt! So I asked a few blackbelts for advice and was told to go really hard out. So I did.

Awesome Zoë

Well, my wee girl just rocked. Most amazing weekend; from the trip up to Timaru, when she got a little emotional, to the day of her grading where she shone right though to the last fight - which was with me!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's here at last

Sunday: kata class
Monday: sick in bed
Tuesday: work
Wednesday: sick at home, but not in bed
Thursday: back to work, general class,sparring class
Friday: annual leave, off to Timaru
Saturday!!! Zoë's shodan grading
Saturday night: party, party, party...

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Saturday - ran a 7.3 hilly gut-buster that my gym organised. Got 2nd in the run/walk section. i did it with Phoebe in a push chair. Whew, haven't run for ages.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Another week slides by

Friday: gym after work.
Saturday: rest day (lollie day!).
Sunday: kata class, stair running with Zoë.
Monday: gym in morning, bag workout pm with Zoë.
Tuesday: general class.
Wednesday: skived off two classes! Took Zoë to optometrist and went home and cooked tea - sat and ate tea with family - a rare treat!
Thursday: general class, sparring class, lasagna at Senpai's.
Friday: gym after work.
Yippee the weekend!

One week to Zoe's shodan grading and we think she has a broken toe! Off to X-ray it on Monday...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Wed - Thurs classes

Wednesday fitness class - no Kyoshi, so a slightly relaxed class with Senpai Laura. Some odd combination that, as usual I just never quite get the hang off.

Wednesday green belt class - just me as usual. Steve and I did self defences, kata etc. Good to get the repitition. I almost have them sorted.

Thursday general class, same old same...then Senpai Gary, from Timaru, took Karl and I for 20 minutes or so and we got to do self defences again - yee haaa! Doing OK too. Senpai had a few suggestions, just got to remember them...Did yokosuko 1,2,3 as well. Got to learn not to jump the foot sweep, just move back and flick the leg up...

Thursday sparring class. Taking it slightly easy for a couple of weeks as the two kyu gradesare in their last weeks of preparation for shodan grading. They did mainly fitness stuff while the rest of us practiced blocks and defenses and then had about 20 minutes of free sparring.

Pizza and chat for supper.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tuesday beginners class

An hour long beginners class. Good enough fun. Focus on some basic kicks with a little cardio thrown in.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Partner work - YES!

Training today was great! I was honoured to be invited to the dojo to train with the other shodan candidate. It’s kinda cool, because as a ‘slightly older’ woman sometimes I wonder if I’m taken seriously, or if I’m keeping up. I know I occasionally squeal at the wrong moment, my eyes water on occasion – often after a particularly strong impact, or maybe my age (lack of suppleness) just doesn’t always lend itself to a spinning, jumping, sotomawashageri (I imagine I look like a inebriated grasshopper)

So, to be asked by Steve, who is in serious kick ass training mode, three weeks out from his black belt grading, to come down and do some partner work has just made my week. I’m a happy girlie. It was fun too. I’m finally getting to grips with my intermediate self-defenses and learning how to fall a bit better. So, anyway...bag work, kata, self defenses, yakosoku, Steve’s self defenses, kibadachi combinations…an hour of fun on a public holiday.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Twelves weeks (again!)

Jacob's ladder from the top

Time to get my exercise on the up and up. I never really stop, but start to take it a little more seriously as a grading comes closer. I haven't got a date for my brown belt grading but assume it will be late August. That's 12 weeks and time to get serious.

Zoë's Shodan grading is in Timaru, in three weeks! Whew, that's come about really fast. She has been really lucky with; her training partner - the lovely Karl, her brown belt syllabus teacher - Sensei Seán, and of course her mother - the amazing me! I have been watching over her quietly. She doesn't take advice well from a lowly green belt. But I've been making sure she stays healthy, sleeps and eats well. I pick her up from parties when she's drunk(!) only the once, thank goodness. And best of all I go stair running with her each Sunday after kata class.

Jacobs Ladder was our stairs of choice for this training – and what a killer set of stairs they are. Funnily the first time we went to find them we got the wrong stairs and thought we were pretty hot shit making it up and down 5 or 6 times. Later that week we discovered the real Jacobs Ladder…287 stairs of alternating steepness and widths – the last 25 or so are really, really, really steep. I only ‘made’ it up 3 times and if the truth was told I only ran it properly the first time.

Zoë was amazing, having a real goal helps, (your mind is a powerful thing when running stairs) and a mother who yells encouragement from behind for those last hard stairs when your legs are dead. Anyway last week she could run it 5 times, so we thought this week we would head back to our home ground stairs (195), of a nice uniform width and grade.

Man, we powered up those stairs 10 times, talking, chatting, and not having to bend over and almost puke at the top of each set. We rocked!

Anyhoo…Lots exercise, eating well, and refining techniques…12 weeks… here I go again :-)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Visitors from Paris

Had a lovely evening visit from Rebecca, Pedro and Alexandra. Rebecca is a freind of Julie; whom I meet in Noumea, New Caledonia and who has also visited us in Dunedin and now lives in Paris.
(Pedro, Alexandra and Rebecca)

They came for dinner on a rare night when all 6 children were home, so it was 11 for tea, squished around the table.

Jack entertained Alexandra with stones, shells and glass buttons while we chatted.

Seán and I then took them on a tiki tour to see the glow worms at Nicolls falls.

Lovely people, safe travelling!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Start time again - not that I ever stopped :-)

This is now the blog of a full time working mother. No time for the previous inconsequential marking of time and events to entertain the world and myself. No time to write of random guilt filled thoughts in the hope of working out how life should work. No time indeed for much other than work, karate, and eating. Always time for eating.

I am aware it is 3 months until my next grading – 2nd kyu! A brown belt! A reasonably serious grading, with 20 fights at the end. I feel tired and old just thinking about it tonight. Other days and nights I am excited and can’t wait for. But when I have had a couple of classes where I am criticized (constructively I’m sure) enough for me to feel absolutely useless, incapable of making any action truly effective, incapable of the simplest jab, reverse jab, it all feels like too much – am I playing at this?

My body is not a body that is particularly instinctive about anything (other than eating and reading). But I love my karate, I find it exciting and thrilling to use my body to perform moves that could be dangerous. I love pushing myself physically and I love the mind games that go with the whole hierarchical nonsense of martial arts – it’s all kinda fun when you’re ‘in’ it.

But gosh, winter has hit – the body is old, cold and not warming up in the hour-long classes, my back aches. And now I need to make more of an effort – get more fit (fitter). Techniques need to be snappier, sharper, and effective even. Know it all inside out, backwards, upside down. And it’s hard to motivate this sturdy, solid body when it’s just work, work, and work all week. I want to lie down and read for 3 months – not an hour, or a few days – I want months of lassitude, and total indulgence.

I don’t want to get up to frosty 6am starts to lift weights and pound out a few kms on the trainer at the gym. I sure don’t want to head down to the coldest dojo in the world and start rolling around on the floor – and yet that is what I will begin to do next week. 12 weeks to concentrate and get cracking. Blow away the cobwebs.

Its on again.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

50 years ago...

My favourite couple in the whole world! Married for 50 years a couple of weeks ago.My parents-in-law :-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


They really are growing up. 20, 18 and 16, all have lovely 'friends' - seen here at Jed's 18th family do.

The easist cake ever - sponge roll covered in a 'replica' newspaper article all about Jed - he has a night shift job loading paper trucks in the wee hours of the night and tossing bundles out around the town.

Jed's $300 car!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Abel Tasman

A few shots from our fabulous walk in the Abel Tasman National Park late January. Just beautiful beach, after beach, after beach. The most glorious, in our eyes anyway, was Bark Bay. So lovely that we couldn’t tear ourselves of the beach and lagoon to retrieve our camera from the hut. It may just have been a combination of weather, tide and mood, but we couldn’t have dreamed of a more perfect place while we were there. But that place now remains in our memories.

Who has the time?

Yes, well. Time is an issue here. Working fulltime is a whole lot harder than I thought it would be. Apart from the step up into quasi-management stuff and all that that entails, it's the hours, and hours, and hours that are spent at work. When am I meant to fit in the gym, karate, supermarket shopping and....the children????

Wow. I don't, however, have a new respect for working mothers. I just ask why do it? Thank the Lord for my 12 years as a stay-at-home mother and then eight years part-time work. I think I would be mad if I had had to work fulltime for the past twenty years. I suppose I should be thanking the two men in my life who made it feasible for me not to have to work fulltime.

I have so much guilt about not being home after school and so much annoyance at how little time I have to myself. I have put gym and karate above so many other things recently, because I know that if I begin a slide into slothdom and chubbiness I will be no good in other areas of my life. And yet I have no time for those other areas anyway so in a way it's wasted effort.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Christmas Eve

It's not often we get our large and motley family all in one place now-a-days. Teenagers have a habit of actually leading lives of their own. Also, there are so many extended family branches popping up - girl and boy friend families along with all the steps and exs - that we all want to contact and to see on Christmas day. So, we are attempting to start a new family tradition whereby we will get together on Christmas Eve just before midnight Mass each year. Worth a shot anyway.

From L-R: Hugh, Joseph, Lorna, Seán, Me, Jack, Jed (eyes shut deliberately!), Zoë and Ben. Seán's to the left, mine to the right and Jack is ours - Almost happy families :-)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Home alone

For a while anyway… It’s an odd time of the year. Ben is away partying in Nelson, Jed, rabbit shooting in Bendigo, Zoë is baby sitting at her dad’s and Jack’s still up in Timaru holidaying with Seán and his children (from where I have just returned).

So, for a glorious night or two I am alone! What bliss, I look forward to this time of the year all year long.