Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Lucky" or "How Much Will the Grand Prize Cost Me?"

A few months ago, I reluctantly went to a travel show with my sister. I had no intention of going to the show. I went because my daughter asked (begged) me to go. We arrived at the show a half hour before it ended. We walked in the hotel lobby and was immediately given a bag and a sweepstakes form. The woman working the registration desk told us to fill out the contest form first so we could be included in the drawing for a 4-night Bahamas cruise.

I neatly folded my entry and dropped it in the box. We walked around the travel show but something told me not to leave until the Grand Prize drawing. I sat in the lobby waiting for my daughter and sister. I am not sure how but I knew I was going to win the cruise. We waited for the announcement of the winner. I saw my neatly folded entry pulled from among the thousands of entries.

The announcer read the paper and wrote down some information. There was a puzzled look on his face. Anyone with a long last name would be familiar with this look. My name was announced as the winner of a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas. I was handed a certificate and told to call the office in a few days.

I did not have many details. The only thing I knew for certain was that my daughter was thrilled. I was in shock because I don’t usually win anything.

The Details
The prize is a 4-night cruise to the Bahamas for 2.
There are 3 people in my family.
Cruise leaves from Florida.
I live in PA.
Transportation to Florida is not included.
Passports are not required on a closed loop cruise but highly recommended.
We do not have passports.
I will be issued a 1099 for the value of the prize.

I feel lucky to have won such a nice prize. Despite feeling excited and grateful about winning, I started adding up my out of pocket cost…$375.00 for passports…$900.00 plane transportation to Florida…or $??? drive to Florida….$450.00 for additional person…taxes on the prize.

I better start saving!

Although I feel "Lucky",  the practical me still can't help wondering "How much is the grand prize going to cost me?"  :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Back To The Gym

The last two months have been extremely busy.  In fact, the word overscheduled comes to mind when I think back over the past weeks.  I need to learn how to say "No" and do a better job managing my time.

Whenever I am busy, the first thing that suffers is my time at the gym.  I don't feel like driving 15 minutes to and from the gym.  I tell myself that I will workout at home and save the commute time.  It never works out.  I get involved with other things and the next time I look at the is midnight.

I need to get back to the gym.

From the Self Magazine article "How Long Does it Take to Fall Out of Shape?":
After two weeks off . . .
"We will probably start to see a decline in general fitness levels," says Rasmussen. "These can occur at different rates in the muscular and cardiovascular systems." At this point, it's probably safe to jump back in at the same intensity you were cranking at before the hiatus.

After more than two weeks off...
"The longer that is taken off, the more you need to scale back," says Rasmussen. "I would recommend scaling volume and intensity back a bit, but you do not have to start back at square one." The good news: Assuming you had a solid foundation already in place, "you will regain fitness levels back at a faster rate than someone who has never had them in the first place." Phew.
I have maintained my karate schedule over the last two months but I have not worked cardio or weight training.  I can feel the difference in my fitness level.  In fact, my right knee tells me after every karate practice.  My ACL reconstructed knee has been feeling weak and a bit loose.   I joined the gym 4 years ago because of my commitment to keep my knee healthy and strong.

I need to get back to the gym!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Observations From a Rural Route Delivery Person

I may have mentioned previously on this blog that I work part-time as a rural route delivery person.  I work one night a week delivering newspapers on a driving route.   After my daughter was born, I quit my full time job to stay home with her.  I was used to working and I wanted to have spending money of my own.  A rural route delivery position was perfect for my schedule. Many rural newspaper carriers are mothers or retired people.  I returned to full-time employment when my daughter entered first grade.  I kept my part-time position.

Newspaper carriers usually deliver between 3:00 A.M. and 5:00 A.M.  Here are some of my observations and experiences:

1.  There are a lot of police officers patrolling at night.  I know exactly where they set up to monitor speeding motorists.  The police officers know my car and the reason I am in the neighborhood.  One police officer stopped me to inform me of a crime spree in the neighborhood.  He asked me to keep my eye out and report any suspicious activity.

2.  Homeowners should check their garage door before they go to bed.  I see at least one open garage door with the lights on each shift. 

3.  Parents...Do you know where your kids are?  During the summer months, I am surprised by the number of young teens walking around at 3:00 A.M.

4.  A note to the guys standing in their open garage "smoking" can smell the smoke two blocks away.  If your neighbors are awake, they will know you are not smoking cigarettes.

5.  People like to sit on their porch in the middle of the night. 

6.  A teenage boy (16-18) sat alone on his porch in the dark.  He was always there...sitting...waiting.  I knew the address of the house because they were one of my customers.  One day, I heard on the news that a boy from the same address committed suicide by walking in front of a tractor trailer.

7.  Sometimes the neighborhood watch thinks I am the suspicious character.  I was followed by a red truck until the person realized I was delivering the paper.

8.  Motion lights never fail to startle me.  I know which houses have the lights yet I still jump when they turn on.

9.  Every once in a while, I get a prickly feeling at the back of my neck.  Once, I looked in my rear view mirror to see a figure about a hundred yards behind me.  The figure stood there watching me.  I quickly went on my way.

10. There is a lot of train activity at 3:00 A.M.  I hate to get stopped at a crossroads and have to wait for a 200 car train to pass.  I feel vulnerable and make sure my car doors are locked.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Benefits of Being a Martial Arts Practitioner While Raising a Teenage Daughter daughter is not a teenager yet.  She thinks she is a teenager despite the fact she only turns twelve next week.   Outings at the mall with friends and talking about boys are on the top of her priority list. 

Just for fun.

Benefits of  Being a Martial Arts Practitioner While Raising a Teenage Daughter

1.  All prospective dates will enter the house through the dojo while class is in progress.
2.  If no class is in progress, it would be a great time to clean the sword collection.
3.  Introduce prospective boyfriends to ALL our karate friends. 
4.  Suggest the location of the first date be a self-defense class.
5.  Make sure to volunteer him as the Uke.

Suggestions are welcome!  :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What Should I Be Working On?

When I started learning karate I was given a booklet which outlined all the belt rank testing requirements. Each level was outlined in detail and included vocabulary, basics, kicks, waza, kata, kobudo, sparring and self-defense. I liked having a tangible list. I would often refer to the outline to see what I should be working on and what was next. Some of my classmates would highlight their list after they learned a technique, kata or weapon.

In some ways, things were easier as a kyu rank. You knew exactly what was expected and when the material was required. After black belt, students discover there is more time and less pressure. It will be years…not months…between testing.

When new black belt students in our dojo ask…“What should I be working on?”… I suggest the following:

Continue learning the required material.
Refine your basics and movement.
If you have the opportunity to attend seminars…Go!
If you find a martial arts book that interests you…Read it!
Explore bunkai.
Assist in class.

Recently, the black belt group in the dojo has worked on kata, kobudo, self-defense, knife throwing, tegumi drills, individual kata and two-person weapon forms. On the schedule...a night to video our open hand and weapon kata and a street clothes self-defense class.

If you get a chance, stop by and wish Bob, author of Middle Aged Martial Artist, a speedy recovery.  He was the first blog I found when I was researching ACL reconstruction.  Bob tore his left ACL in 2007 during the final minutes of his black belt test.  He posted last week that he injured his knee.  The MRI confirmed he tore his right ACL.

Monday, April 4, 2011

What Type of Thinker Are You?

I took an online quiz which tests nine types of thinking styles. My results: Intrapersonal Thinker. Spend a lot of time thinking about and trying to understand themselves. Reflect on their thoughts and moods, and work to improve them. You understand how your behaviour affects your relationships with others. Other Intrapersonal thinkers include Sigmund Freud, Gandhi, Grahame Greene Careers which suit Intrapersonal Thinkers include Psychologist, Teacher, Pilot, Child Care worker, Explorer, Drama therapist. My purpose for taking the quiz was to see how my thinking style relates to learning karate. There is an area of my training I want to improve. I don't "see" things the same way some of my training partners do. They are engineers and craftsmen and would probably be considered logical-mathematical thinkers. What is your thinking style? How does your thinking style impact your martial arts study?