Tuesday, November 30, 2004

In Which My Sister Gains Even More Fame...

Check it out! Navan made it into The Irish American News. The story is under Features, under Raised on Songs and Stories. Sheila becomes more and more famous! Meanwhile, I studiously avoid working on the kids' science fiction story I'm writing. Instead, spare moments are taken up with reading a near bodice-ripper (not really my genre) and messing about on the web. I should really be sewing. I have 8 pairs of lounge pants to make for Christmas gifts, and more goodies, too. I have already sewn things I need to list on the Amity's Market Board. I have jewelry to make. Yikes! Life is busy!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Kicking men, Shipping News and possibly more...

OK, so I haven't updated in a while and here's why. I was busy:

1) fighting with men

2) sewing like a madwoman

3) reading The Shipping News

And here's how all that went...

OK, fighting with men. Yep, physical fighting, but with protective gear and judges. You guessed it - it was my first Tae Kwon Do tournament. :o) There were only 4 of us adults and 3 of us were from the same school, and 2 of us were married to each other. I was the only woman. Yes, I had to fight my husband. And then another guy from our school. I won one and lost one and so took second place.

Let me just say how very different it is to spar at a tournament. Wow. I just can't express that enough. I think when I have more experience that will change (at least I sure hope so) but for my first one I foud that I really reverted to my early sparring days. My focus dropped down from the shoulders to the scoring spots on the hogu (ugh!) and my stomach was in knots and my wind - can I just say that though my endurance has improved a lot over this last year, I still need to work on it a LOT MORE!!!! So I immediately began a jump-roping regimen after that experience. I'm suprised little kids don't drop over dead on the playground from jump-roping. Seriously. And those marathon sessions - how do they DO that??!!? I started off with 2 mins and then, due to tripping a few times and getting the rope tangled on my toes ended up going for a total of 3.5 mins. That seemed like a really good workout, so I've kept up with that over the week, though last night I did a lot better and was able to tack on another 30 seconds after a short break and still feel good. So I guess it's helping already. Our matches are 2 rounds of 1.5 minutes with a 30 second break in between. Seems more like 5 minutes when you're out on the mat. Add to that that we had only free-sparred maybe 4 times EVER and the tournament kicked my butt. Oh and we weren't allowed to kick to the head (I think because it was mixed gender) which stank because that's the strongest part of my game and the weakest for the guys I fought (remember, I know these guys.) I definitely need to work on the lower part of my game. But it was a blast nonetheless. I had a lot of fun with the forms competition, got first place and was able to compete against the other 1st places for the "Grand Champion" trophy, which, to my surprise, I won! :o) The older girls competed as well and had fun and did great. Kacey racked up 2 insane scores (30s and 50s - good grief!) and was going easy on her opponents. She obviously should have been bumped up out of her age group. Molly had a good match. She needs to work on her timing and her speed, but I can appreciate that. Her form was really good!

After the tournament, I had to sew like a madwoman for the bazaar. John made some AWESOME display trees for me - 2 table-standing trees and a floor-standing one. Gotta do the picture thing soon. I sold more than I ever do in one day online, and made more than I'd expected to, though not all that much. (yep - online biz is slow, mainly due to lack of advertising) I have a lot left to put up on my site, which I should have done today, but didn't. Molly manned the table with me and we had a good time talking and knitting and shopping the other booths. (So did I actually bring home any profits? you ask. Um - not sure...) I found out that 1) our tiny town is not really ready for Playsilks, and 2) I should have brought more non-Christmas children's aprons. It was a good experience, though, and I had fun making everything and would like to do it again sometime. I'm not sure I've ever spent such a long time not having to take care of anyone before (since having kids.) So it was very relaxing just sitting there at the booth. OK, I guess I was gone for about that long when we went to the Sarah MacLaughlin concert in October (which was AWSOME, by the way), but that's the only other time.

Now for The Shipping News. Well, this one's a bit complicated. Right. First off, I picked it up free at a library sale after having it recommended to me by my sister, who had not read it and who gave me a very odd and non-related description of it based on what I can only guess was a dream she once had combined with whatever Irish song lyrics she was currently decoding. ;o) OK, so going into the whole thing, I had this vague (and as it turned out, completely wrong) idea of what it might be about. When I started into it, all I could think was "man, this sucks. The writing style is SO obnoxious. HOW did this win a Pulitzer?!" Granted, I do not actually know the criteria for being awarded a Pulitzer, so that thought may or may not have had a leg to stand on. Maybe a Pulitzer is given for the most innovative use of grammar. I should check that out. So anyway, I started complaining about it to my friend and asked if she'd read it. She had, and said that it was really good. So I gritted my teeth and read on. I'm glad. :o) I still can't explain it, but it became a page turner. Maybe it was that picture of Kevin Spacey on the front. I did turn back to that a lot. But seriously, even though I could NEVER make this book sound interesting by describing what happens, I truly wanted to find out what happened. Maybe because I'm a romantic sap and wanted desperately for Quoyle to find his true love, and figured (judging from that cover) that it would happen. I mean, really, you don't put a picture of Kevin Spacey and 2 beautiful women on the cover of a book unless someone's going to fall in love, right?

The thing other than writing style that really bugged me was the handling of that poor Quoyle guy. First off, he was not beautiful (sorry, Kevin- you're too lovely to be a realistic Quoyle.) So Kevin on the cover was a sort of distracting, hovering-in-the-wings guy, because no way was he Quoyle. But I was able to pretty much turn that off while reading. The big thing that got to me was that throughout the first part of the book, he really came off as a sub-intelligent, Of Mice and Men's Lenny sort of character. And then suddenly - maybe a fourth or a third of the way into the book - he had a brain and was a quasi-intelligent human being instead of this pseudo-retarded caricature of a guy. So he never quite jelled for me. It's disconcerting to think you have a character all figured out and then have the rug pulled out from under you like that. But the story - well it was a page turner and I'm glad I pressed on (with glory, hoo rah.) I'm very curious now to see the movie and see how the whole thing was handled. There's a lot going on as thoughts and descriptions that I'm not sure how you could get across in a movie. I'm curious if it even comes off as being the same story. Gotta rent it I guess, or check the library.

And now it's time to go to Tae Kwon Do...