Posts Tagged With: Karate


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Yesterday, my daughter and I picked up my sister and took her out to lunch. She is showing pink spots on her scalp where her hair is falling out. She is feeling some loss of energy and tires more easily.  She is in her third week of radiation. Four more days to go.DSC01545 (Copy)

She nor I are very practiced at chopsticks, so I told her this was a test. She’d better be able to pick up the ginger or we wouldn’t let her eat the rest of her meal. She passed the test.

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It was a beautiful day, and she managed to walk quite a bit around the mall. I was impressed and pleased. She has been through a lot and has a walker, but she strives not to use it. I told her I won’t hold your arm and treat you like an old lady. She said, “But, I am an old lady.”  I told her I’d walk close enough so that she could grab me if she felt unsteady.

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We went for gellato after our Japanese lunch, and got into story telling on our parents who aren’t here to defend themselves. “Remember at Uncle George’s wedding, when dad got soused and blitz danced everyone around the house?” I brought her a manuscript I had typed up after my visit to the Upper Peninsula and collaborated with Dawn and my oldest brother about the many places we had lived. Too many. Dawn attended 13 different schools while growing up.

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When we returned to my daughter’s house, Theo was arranging his food bank stuff. The boys are doing a community service project which is required of them for their upcoming test to reach Black Belt in Karate. Theo prepared a brochure, and canvassed one section of his street for donations. He practiced his spiel on his mom who would come to the door like an angry witch or a grumpy old man, until they giggled too much to continue. Now when he asks for a donation he has to concentrate on being serious. I guess it worked. He still has more territory to cover.

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Owen chose to pick up garbage along a section of creek where the city hosts a day camp. His first sweep netted two full garbage bags of junk. He has the opposite bank to clean before he is done with his project.

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The spirit of volunteering,  community service and physical fitness is an important thing to teach children, my oldest daughter believes. She and Austin volunteered at the Iron World Championships in Las Vegas. He worked the bike booth and handed out water, Gatorade, gelatin cups, and so on. The Triathlon is a swimming event, a run and a bicycle ride.

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Then Austin participated in the IronKids event, which is a 4K run. Pretty nifty.

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I watched a documentary about Kevin Klash,  who dreamed of becoming a puppeteer on Sesame Street when he was a young child. Klash is an endearing subject, who followed his dream and grew up to become a now famous puppeteer. How is it that some children seem to know exactly what they want to be when they grow up?  When a teacher would ask my classmates what each one wanted to be when  he/she grew up, most of them didn’t have a clue. I just wanted to be myself. My grandson Theo is certain he wants to work for Lego and become a designer.  My experience tells me he will have changed his mind several times about his  chosen occupation before he grows up. But, in the meantime, he is very serious and he owns, with a brother, a mountainous collection of legos. (Hidden under his bed.)

Click on the link to hear the budding engineer describe his passion:

His brother, Owen, has been chosen from among his peers to be a demonstrator for karate.  They encourage others to try their craft and only those who are very proficient are chosen to go on demo gigs. He is practicing  one particular move, and showed me that move:

One of the great joys of being a grandma, is not carrying pictures around, but uploading their feats to youtube and sharing on a blog.  I still have people ask me, what’s a blog?  It is a web-log.  Thus blog.



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On Thursday, we set out to bicycle Davis, notably a bicycle friendly town with well-marked  lanes that can take you through a loop around town of about 35 miles. In high traffic areas, people are ultra considerate of bicyclers. They must have had bike riders on their city council.

Virginia and I were riding pretty sophisticated bikes, while Theo, weighing about 60 pounds has a small one-gear hard pumping  pedal bike.   Our first stop was a school playground for a rest.

The kids at this school have an organic garden. Besides standard fare, they had planted  and were learning about swiss chard, amaranth, quinoa, artichokes, herbs and sunflowers.

The bike trail runs by every school in Davis so kids can bike to school instead of bus, and many do. We saw walkers, riders, and  kids on the bike paths on their way to summer fun.

Virginia joked  that the freeway overpass at Chilies Road is the only hill in Davis.

Our goal was brunch at a favorite Davis restaurant, famous for their crepes and wraps, and fresh pastries. The kids enjoyed rich hot chocolate while waiting for their food. Theo had blueberry pancakes and sausage, but Owen  had a strawberry chocolate crepe that was the equivalent of a candy bar for his meal.

This was our turn around point at 6 miles. Davis has bike racks all over town and it is necessary to lock up bikes.  We could have taken a different way back to our starting point but the kids voted to return the way we came. We had passed at least four parks with playground equipment and they wanted a shot at one of them.

Within five minutes, Virginia’s tire went flat.

The same tire went flat a second time after another five minutes. It was obvious the tire needed to be changed.

Theo rested in a nearby tree.

Owen gave mom an assist and learned how the job is done. Done quickly, actually. Modern bikes are well-engineered for repairs on the road. Since Virginia has thousands of miles on her bike, she knows the necessity of on the spot tire changes.

And, their playground of choice has one of those (now banned by most schools and parks in California) a self-propelled merry-go-round.  They’ve been in parks and schools since I was a kid. It’s sometimes difficult to understand the over protective mind-set of decision makers. It probably has to do with avoiding law suits. (I promise not to rant.)

Later, at karate classes, the boys did some sparring.

Defensive skills are only part of the process. They learn values;  courage, attitude, perseverance, politeness, respect and consideration of others.

The littlest kids are a hoot to watch. Pure joy.


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We arrived in Vegas with an agenda, part family, part friends and part big time entertainment. We bopped over to my son’s house Saturday and chit chatted with everybody before we girls, meaning daughter Kris, daughter-in-law Laurie, friend Kelly, headed for Julia’s house, another friend, for a girls night out. 

But, first we posed for a family portrait. We don’t do this often enough, it seems to me.

Before we girls left, Austin, who takes Karate, challenged me to see who could stand longest on one leg.  So, there we stood like a couple of book-ends. Austin won, but it was almost a tie. Ya gotta remember what it was like to be a kid and be silly once in awhile.

Our hostess, Julia,  prepared a wonderful table of snacks, then a garlic pasta with broccoli , plus a salad,  before we dug into our game.

I have to take a moment to describe this game because it was sooooo much fun, we were entranced for hours. Each  person in turn must guess what everyone is describing. The clues on the box, for instance, are describing a swimsuit.

Kelly and Laurie were thinking hard for an appropriate clue.

Kristanne, on the hot seat,  is brainstorming,  as she tries to make sense of the disparate clues.

Julia picks a new word or phrase for the next round.
Everyone had played this game previously except me. Each woman confirmed the game is different when only women play. It has a point system where you can be competitive if you like, but we played  for the sheer fun of it. It opens up personal conversations on a variety of subjects and I can’t imagine what it would have been like with Venus AND Mars at the table. Try it ladies, you’ll love it.

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After an appointment in Sacramento, I managed to spend a couple hours with grandsons Owen and Theo at their Karate lessons. Its very much a family affair. My perception was that Karate is a “fighting” exercise taught for defense. Besides defense, good sportsmanship, politeness, camaraderie, balance, coordination, strength, competition and exercise are among its many benefits.

Kids of all ages line up and learn the moves in a fast pace. To be quick, to be sharp, to never be caught unaware of your surroundings or danger. Girls and boys both find karate appealing.

More experienced, older kids help younger kids become adept in flash tests.

Then in sparring gear, students go one on one, all ages, all sizes mix it up. Owen, left,  is known for his ability to kick high and maintain his balance.

During the sparring matches, protective gear, and care not to kick or punch vulnerable places is the method used in training. Here father’s and sons, mother’s and daughters all participate as a family. This class has a handicapped kid with half and arm is adept at self defense and assumes a great measure of pride in his physical agility and ability. If you’ve never thought of Karate for your kids, you may want to reconsider. Not everyone is suited to traditional sports, but Karate seems to fit every size and abili

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