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26 April 2014 @ 02:15 pm
In one month I will be going into hospital to have all four of my wisdom teeth removed. The surgeon is giving me a week off work, but I don't know if I will take the entire week. I mean, if I feel able to work on Friday then I guess I could go in for a few hours. No sense in staying at home when I could be slaving away over a hot grill.
I am also intending to take no more than two days off classes. I expect to miss Tuesdays class, as I have my op on the Monday, and it wouldn't surprise me to miss the Wednesday as well. But Thursdays, I will crawl over hot coals in order to get to that class.

I chose to have the surgery on Monday in order to give me several days recovery to get ready for class on Thursday. Gotta see my favorite Sensei, after all.

Will be interesting afterward. How will I feel. I imagine my jaw feeling like I've been run over by a tractor, hopefully there isn't too much swelling or bruising. I have doing some research online, trying to find out how teeth are removed when they are still way up in the gums. I know they have to cut the gum, but there are no videos to show me exactly what they are planning on doing, and that makes me a bit wary. My mouth will be full of stitches and blood afterward, which will be the worst part. Its bad enough getting one normal tooth pulled, but to get four out at the same time...*shudder*
Current Music: ABBA
31 March 2014 @ 05:55 pm
And what a huge day it was! Up at 5am, showered and freshened up, then into town to wait for the bus that Sensei Pam had so kindly organised for us all. There were about fifteen competitors from Bendigo on the bus, as well as a few friends and family along for the ride.
A stop at McDonalds on the way to get some brekky and coffee, and we were off again, arriving at the venue at around half past nine.
Events started at ten, and continued all throughout the day, with the final event, the team kumite, concluding at around three thirty in the afternoon.

This tournament was a little different, being a regional tournament, we were competing only against those in our region, so the age groups and divisions were mixed up a little, putting the yellow, orange, and green belts together, and the blue, red, and up to first Kyu brown belts together.

First up was young Holly, who traveled on the bus with us. This was her first tournament, and she did her first kata - wonderfully well, I might add. Very proud of her, and lets hope there are many more tournaments to come!

I watched Rory and James compete, and also Anthony. I was trying to get around to watching everyone compete, but unfortunately, wasn't able to.
At 12pm, it was time for my event. Along with myself, Julie, and Helene, we had three brown belts to compete against. One of the them, Clare, I have competed against numerous times - and she was a red belt when I last saw her! I offered her my congratulations.

I felt my kata was good, this time. In the ten or so minutes it took for the official to come over and check off our names, and then while the other girls went out on the ring, I stood still and concentrated on my breathing. In through the nose, and out slowly through the mouth. My heart had started racing and the nerves were in my belly, so the breathing helped to slow everything down, so that I was still nervous, but able to hold good balance out there. During the whole kata, I just continued to breathe. I think I did go a little faster than I wanted, my pauses could have been a little longer, but overall, despite not getting a good score, I know it was a lot better than last time. It felt better, the nerves were not so bad, and I was happy with how it went. Next time I can only improve more!

Kumite was good, also. I was up against a brown belt named Steph, who was very good - I got a half point on her, and at one stage I actually would have scored against her, but the judges said I didn't get the point, because despite the fact I retracted, I didn't kiai, so no score for me, which was a little disappointing. After we sparred - and Steph won, by the way - she came around the ring to me and said that I had a great guard up, holding it in to protect myself, which she said she wasn't doing as well. She also said I actually got her a few times that the judges didn't pick up on - so I guess if they had, I could have actually beaten her! I thanked her for her lovely words, they made me feel so happy! Imagine, a brown belt coming to tell me that I did a good job. How stoked was I?

Us blue belts from Bendigo didn't come away with a medal, but we did come away with a wealth of knowledge, and a lot of happiness!

As for the team katas and kumites, nothing for kata, but our kumite team, which consisted of Sensei Bob, Sensei Alex ,Steve, Helene, and Julie came away with bronze, which was a huge feat, so well done guys!

Next time I hope to enter a team kata event, and a team kumite event. Maybe Tracy will do it with me? Hmm...
12 March 2014 @ 09:09 pm
Just over two weeks until tournament and I am trying hard to perfect my kata. I am hoping that this time, I can go out into the ring and do my entire kata without the usual wobbles. I have been practicing hard, and have managed to slow the kata down, to around 1m 45s. I usually rush through it, and that makes it look bad, as the judges can't see your hips or any proper technique. Proper technique and using your hips in Bassai Dai will get me a better score than last time. Even if I don't come home with a medal, if I can beat my last score, I will be very happy.
Tonight before class I practiced my katas. I believe I did the best Bassai Dai I have ever done before, even if no one was there to witness it. I was happy with it, and I reckon that if I can do as good as tonight at the tournament, I should be in with a chance.

I am also practicing my kumite and tonight I did well, and won praise from Sensei Phil. He said I did a great job, and I believe I did. I am learning, slowly, but surely. Its such a great feeling to feel yourself progress. It makes me more excited to head to tournament and make myself proud.
Current Mood: accomplished
28 January 2014 @ 02:53 pm
This is Rafa, in all his OCD glory:

Pick wedgie, rub nose, left brow, right brow, left ear tuck, right ear tuck, and he's good to go. Love it how he likes his water bottles lined up just right. God forbid anyone move them!
Current Mood: artistic
27 January 2014 @ 02:45 pm
Its not exactly a secret that my favorite tennis player on earth right now is Rafael Nadal, so of course I was firmly in his corner last night, when the Australian Open final began. Rafa's opponent was Stanilas Wawrinka, the world #8.

While Wawrinka won the match in four sets, I wasn't impressed with his attitude during the match. During the third game of the second set, Nadal become injured, I suspect, when he attempted to return one of Wawrinka's backhands - which are out of this world, I might say. The following video might give you an idea of exactly when the injury occurred:

After taking an extended medical time out (six minutes), the crowd booed Nadal when he returned to court. Later, Nadal said he understood the reaction, as the crowd had paid good money to see a decent match, and they were not going to see one. He had nothing but praise for the crowd afterward, though, which is typical of him.
When Nadal was being treated, Wawrinka argued with the chair umpire, Carlos Ramos, demanding to know where Nadal was, and what he was being treated for. Ramos refused, stating that Wawrinka had no right to know what Nadal was being treated for, and that even he wasn't aware of what was wrong. Wawrinka then spent the next few minutes arguing, complaining that Nadal was taking too long to return.

Lets get real, here. If a player is injured, they have the right to a medical time out. All players are entitled to one. If a player is forced to play with an injury, how does it make the match fair? How would Wawrinka have felt, winning the Open, knowing that all Nadal could do was stand there? In being treated, the match became as fair as it could have been.
Also, if the opponent knows what the injury is, it basically hands the match to them on a platter. If Wawrinka knew that Nadal had a back injury, he could use that to his advantage, which isn't a bad thing, until you consider the fact that the match wouldn't have been fair. A fair match is when both players are in top form, not when one player is seriously injured and the other player at 100%.

I felt that Wawrinka's attitude needed a bit of adjustment. To argue with the umpire, then with the officials, then to continually yell at the people in his players box during the third set was just ridiculous. Sometimes, you need to harden the fuck up and get over yourself.

Some people have attacked Nadal, claiming that his back injury was faked. I wager a guess that not one of those people watched the match all the way through. If they had, they would know that no one can fake an injury like that. Plus, what is there is gain from it? Why would any professional tennis player fake an injury and lose a major tournament? Nadal wanted this win, badly. If he won last night, he would have been the first man since Rod Laver to win all four majors at least twice. There is no way he would have faked an injury - and the agony on his face should have been obvious to anyone. He's the world number one. He doesn't fake injury, he doesn't retire either, no matter how much pain he is in.

Last night, Nadal came out the favorite, and Wawrinka the underdog. With Nadal injured, the roles reversed, and Nadal was the underdog, giving him the support of the crowd once they realised the severity of his injury.

Had he played in top form last night, the match outcome could have been very different. Wawrinka wouldn't have had a mental meltdown, and Nadal wouldn't have had a physical meltdown. I think the match would have gone to five sets, and I think that Nadal would have taken it out, with a heck of a lot of hard work. As it was, it wasn't a fair match because Wawrinka never got the chance to play Nadal at 100%. He won largely because Nadal was seriously injured, so when they meet again, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Wawrinka played well, he has a superb backhand which is his biggest weapon, and it was that backhand that was the downfall of Nadal - it was attempting to return the backhand that injured him.

So, well done, Stan. You played well in the first set, but as soon as Nadal become injured, your attitude changed and when you berated the umpire and shouted at the members in your players box, you lost a lot of respect from the people in the stadium, and those at home. You need to show more respect to your opponent, the umpires and officials. And eat some concrete.

See you next year, Stan.
10 January 2014 @ 04:46 pm
A pregnant woman in Texas got up to attend to her infant son, and collapsed from a pulmonary embolism. Her husband discovered her body afterwards, but it is not known how long she had lain there. Her heart had stopped beating. She was resuscitated and placed on life support, and declared brain dead.
She had made it verbally clear to her husband that she did not wish to be kept alive by machines, yet Texas law dictates that her wishes be ignored, and she remain on life support, because she pregnant. The fetus was 14 weeks old at that stage, in late November, and now it has reached 20 weeks gestation. At 23 weeks, Texas law considers the fetus viable, and it will likely be removed, enabling the family to switch off life support. However, there is no telling if the fetus suffered brain damage because it is unclear how long the woman had lain unconscious.

ABORTION rights activists launched a petition Wednesday to take a pregnant American woman declared brain dead off life support in Texas, as requested by her family.

The body of Marlise Munoz, 33, has been maintained with technology for more than a month because of her pregnancy. She had collapsed at her home in late November due to a possible pulmonary embolism as she got up to take care of her firstborn son who is now 15 months old.

She had told her husband and parents that she never wanted to be kept alive by a machine should tragedy strike, but a law in conservative Texas is stopping them from carrying out her wishes because she is pregnant.


Marlise is dead. Nothing will change that. The only thing keeping her heart beating, and that fetus alive is the tube down her throat. Forcing her to remain on life support simply because Texan conservatives value the life of a fetus more than the rights and wishes of the potential mother is cruel. One has to wonder if the state of Texas will pay for her medical bills? If the fetus is brain damaged, will her husband have to foot the bill, or will the state step in and lend a hand? My guess that as soon as that baby is born, they will wash their hands of this mess, and expect Mr. Munoz to financially provide for not only a toddler, but a severely brain damaged child as well.
Mrs. Munuz may not have put her wishes in writing, but even if she did, it wouldn't have mattered. Her life support could have been pulled had she not been pregnant. But because a 14 week old fetus resided in her womb, it was determined that she should remain alive, becoming an incubator until such time her baby was viable.
This is one law in Texas that needs to change.

EDIT: Marlise Munoz was removed from life support on the 27th of January, after a judge ruled that the hospital could no longer keep her alive. Her body was released to her family, who can now begin preparations for a funeral.

Current Mood: apatheticapathetic
29 December 2013 @ 04:37 pm
This is a rather controversial law that passed recently in NSW parliament. It would define a fetus at 20 weeks as a separate, living person, when that fetus was killed as a result of violence.
The law was prompted by a woman named Brodie Donegan, after she was hit by a car at 36 weeks pregnant, which caused the death of her unborn child, Zoe.
The bill was put to a conscience vote, and passed overwhelmingly. Pro choice advocates say it could potentially threaten the right to obtain an abortion - and I have to agree.
How can we define a 20 week old fetus as a separate person only when it is killed as a result of violence? What makes that particular fetus more important than another 20 week old fetus?
A fetus is NOT a separate person - and no law will change that. A fetus is not a person until it is born, and has taken a breath. It is not separate until the cord has been cut - until such time, it is attached to the woman, and we all know that when something is attached, it is not separate.
Very, very few women would be the unfortunate victims the same violent incident as Miss Donegan - do we really need laws in place to protect a tiny minority? Especially a minority who are not even considered legal people?
I believe that if someone harms a pregnant woman, and causes the death of her fetus, they should be charged. The fact that a pregnancy ended as a result of such violence shouldn't be ignored - but at the same time, how can we pass a law which protects one fetus, but not another?

Keep in mind that I am insanely pro choice (if you haven't worked that out already) but I see so many potential problems with this law. I only hope that it doesn't interfere with a woman's right to choose.
Current Mood: awake
28 December 2013 @ 04:52 pm
I always find it amusing that every time someone's kid acts up, they claim he has either ADHD, ODD, or some other such illness, as if that somehow excuses the fact that their child is a brat in need of a good spanking.
A child plays up at home, refuses to listen to his/her parents, and is taken to a doctor and put on medication for ADHD or ODD. A child mucks around at school and refuses to learn, same thing. We never blame the parents - I guess it would be too politically correct to blame the parents for their child's behavior.

I find this particular 'disorder' quite amusing. Here's a list of 'symptoms' to describe a child who 'suffers' from it:

  • Become easily angered, annoyed or irritated

  • Have frequent temper tantrums

  • Argue frequently with adults, particularly the most familiar adults in their lives such as parents

  • Refuse to obey rules

  • Seem to deliberately try to annoy or aggravate others

  • Have low self-esteem

  • Have a low frustration threshold

  • Seek to blame others for any accidents or bad behaviour.

Goodness me, it sounds like every child on earth has ODD and is in need of medication to control their behavior! Kids will be kids, and kids get angry, they love to annoy other kids, they often refuse to pick up their toys, and I am sure that every parent can say that their child has sought to blame someone else for an accident or bad behavior. And how many toddlers (think terrible twos) have 'frequent temper tantrums', and refuse to obey the rules? EVERY NORMAL TODDLER ON THIS PLANET!
I find it ridiculous that years ago, these so called 'disorders' never existed, because kids were disciplined, and parents weren't the bogans they are today. Now, parents let their kids eat whatever they want, they let them go to bed when they want, and they let them set the rules. Parents have given up control of their kids, and let the kids rule the roost, and they claim they are powerless to prevent it. I call bullshit. Take away their Xbox, their Playstations, and iPads etc, and see how long it takes for little Crystal, Hayden, or Travis to become a perfectly behaved cherub. Not long, I assure you.

Current Mood: amusedamused
21 December 2013 @ 08:53 pm
Last night was our last 'official' karate class for the year. Sensei Luke and Sensei Lisa were taking this class, and it promised to be a lot of fun.
It certainly didn't disappoint! I would guess that there were around 50 students who attended, from white belts to black belts - although the black belts were Sensei's, so I guess they don't count. In that case, the highest grades were the blue belts, of which there were 8 of us - myself, Sam, Rory, James, Anthony, Julie, Chris, and Len.
We were all placed into groups, as Luke and Lisa had set up separate 'stations' around the dojo, which we would visit throughout the course of the evening.
The blue belts got placed into one group, and rest of the students into four other groups. The first station we visited was run by Sensei Phil and Sempai Rob, and they had us pair up, and face each other. Each team was given a pair of focus mitts, and one person put both mitts on and held them out, and the other person had to punch each mitt, and then drop down into sumo stance, while the other person swung their hand at you. The aim was to punch and duck quick enough to avoid being hit. We all had a lot of fun with this activity.

The next station we went to was run by Sensei Kate and Sensei Marie. Again, we had to pair up, and we each picked up a foam noodle - the type you see at swimming pools - and with one hand, we had to 'spar' our partner, trying to strike and block with the same hand. We rotated around so we all got a different partner, and after a few more sparring sessions, we were given two noodles, and this time, when we sparred, if we heard the word 'GO!' we were allowed to spar everyone - so we all basically ran around bopping each other until we were told to 'Yame', or stop.

Our next station was run by Sensei Tracy and Sensei Cesar, and involved kick bags. Four of us held the bags, two people on the left, and two on the right, and the other four had to come through with a round kick, step through, then kick the bag on the other side with the opposite foot. So we kicked the bag on the left first, then the bag on the right, then the second bag on the left, then the second on the right. For some reason I find this one hard to explain. You will have to imagine as best you can!
After we changed over and those holding the bags got to come through and kick, we changed over again, and this time, we had to do double kicks - two kicks on each bag. Harder than it looks!
Our next station was run by Sensei Danny and Sensei Pam, and involved 'board' breaking. Not real boards, mind, but hard, plastic boards that fitted together like a jigsaw. There were four different boards, each one harder to break. At first we had to break them with a front kick, and then we had to try and break them with a punch. My fingers ended up so scraped and raw after that! I was surprised at how hard they were to break.

Our final station was with Sensei Alex and Sensei Bob, and was a tug of war. We each formed two teams, and took an end of the rope, which was very thick. I was a little worried about getting rope burns, but I forgot about that once I realised that we had a competition on our hands! My team won the first two rounds, and as it was best out of three, we won! Girl power for sure! A couple of us swapped sides and we had a few more rounds, then four of us sat down and the other four got into teams of two and had a few rounds, before we swapped over. My hands were so sore by the end, I had marks on my palms from that rope!

At around a quarter past seven, class was over. We'd been through every station and it was time to bow out and see who received the much coveted Student Of The Year Awards. One student from each dojo would be given an award, which recognises a lot of things, like respect, dedication, that kind of thing.
I was lucky enough to be awarded the Student Of The Year Award for Tracy's class, which thrilled me to bits. When I heard my name, I knew it was for her class, and I went and got my award, shook the hands of Sensei Luke and Lisa, and the other Sensei's, making my way down to Tracy. When I came to her, I just gave her this big grin and she wrapped me in a bear hug. I ended up getting hugs from a lot of other Sensei's as well!

Of course, I put my happy news on Facebook. I got Julie to take a photo of me with my award and I uploaded it to my profile page. I didn't do it because I wanted to brag, but because I was proud. I upload a lot of my awards to Facebook - I like letting people know how I am progressing. I am extremely proud of my performance this year, and wanted the world to know about it!
I can't wait for 2014 - more classes, more training, more to learn.

09 December 2013 @ 07:31 pm
Since my last two entries were about the concerts I attended, I figured that one about my arrival in Melbourne wouldn't go astray. Perhaps my readers (yes, I know people read my blogs) would be interested to know about my first real 'holiday' in one of the biggest cities in the country?

I packed everything on Friday night, and constantly checked and double checked, feeling sure that I would forget something, as I tend to be a forgetful person. It turned out I hadn't forgotten anything, and at 9am on Saturday morning, I headed into town. I had to stop by the bank to transfer some money into my account in order to pay for my motel. It was only on Friday night that I reread the email they had sent me, and realised they wanted me to pay by card, as apparently I had stated when booking that I would. I booked back in May, so its understandable I might forget. After I had transferred the cash, I headed off to Breen street, to meet Tracy, who was going to look after my car for the two days I would be gone, and take me to Saturday morning's karate class. I packed in Breen st, and waited for her. She said she'd be there at around 10am, but when it was five past I wondered if she was late. Then I figured she had probably parked around the corner. She told me to park near the gates, but where I was, there were no gates. So I drove around the corner, and sure enough, she was waiting. Didn't I feel like a dill!
We parked my car inside, and I dumped my stuff in the boot, and we drove off to class.
Class was enjoyable, as it always is, and afterwards, I changed into fresh clothes, and Tracy drove me to the station and dropped me off.

My train arrived at 12.32pm, and after grabbing some food at drink from the kiosk, I boarded, and we were off!

When I arrived at Southern Cross Station, I immediately set about finding my motel. The signs were easy to read, and after a short walk, I managed to find it.

Look pretty flash from the outside, doesn't it? The below picture is exactly what my room looked like:

I think they must have actually taken that photo from my room!
The only disappointments I had was that my room, like the one above, doesn't have a window, so you have to have the lights on at all times. You couldn't tell it was sunny outside as the room was dark at all hours. Also, the television didn't work - I couldn't get any of the channels, so I gave up and used my mobile phone to play some music.

In the late afternoon, I headed off to Etihad for my first concert, and arrived back at around 11.30pm. It seems that many other people had chosen to stay in this motel. I was in the South tower - there are two, both North and South. The South tower has a pool and a gym down in the basement, but unfortunately I couldn't use either as the shorts I had brought along for swimming didn't fit me! I should have checked before I left, I have lost a lot of weight over the past few months, forgot that a lot of my clothes no longer fit me!

I found my bed very comfortable, and I slept well. In the morning, I got up and headed off to Spencer Outlet Centre for some breakfast. I found a little cafe called Rojo's, and I placed my order of bacon and eggs on toast, with a hot chocolate.

It was worth the $7.95 I paid for my bacon and eggs, although I wish they cooked the eggs longer - I hate sunny side up! I want my eggs cooked, not runny!

A lot of shops were closed, so I had nothing to do. I went back to my motel and pretty much just slept until it was time to head to Etihad again.
I bought some more merchandise to add to my collection - I came home with two short sleeved shirts, one long sleeved shirts, two cups, a bag, a program, and a necklace.

This morning I woke up at 9am and got my bags in order, before heading down to the lobby to check out. I then made my way to the station and boarded my train, where I gave Tracy a call to let her know what time I would be arriving in Bendigo. One hour and forty five minutes later, I was home!
At the merchandise stands, I actually bought Tracy a necklace, too - as a little thank you gift for looking after my car and taking time out of her day to come and pick me up from the station:

This is what our 'bling' looks like - except ours is on a gold chain, not a black cord. I think it looks great. More to add to my collection!