A kid, a stick, and a whole lot of whoopin!

As you may or may not know, Aidan and I have been taking Kendo classes together.  FTNITK, Kendo is a way for me to beat on my son with a bamboo stick and give Dyfus the bird while I do it because they can’t do anything about it.  Legal Beating!  WOO!!

Yes, I’m kidding.  Okay, mostly.  I’m a firm believer of never lifting a hand against my kids in anger.  Whacking away at his head with a bamboo stick is TOTALLY different. 😉

A friend of mine asked me a while back why I was leaving Aikido.  Aikido is very cool, and suited my temperment, and I just plain dug it.  He didn’t understand why I would stop to take a class with my son when I was progressing so well and possibly in line to test for my next kyu (aikido ranking systems below black belt).  I thought about taking both, but truthfully, everything else aside, I could afford for me to do both plus Aidan to do Kendo.

Plus, I’ve wanted to share martial arts with the kids and have tried to introduce them into TKD and Karate and Jujitsu, but never really got the fact that they really wanted to, that they were mostly just humoring me.  I found this place a few years ago, but had never followed through with it, mostly because Aidan was too young.  Gillian still is, and truthfully, she loves me, but this is not something she is interested in at all.  Soccer is more her speed.

The stages of Kendo are mostly dependent on belt ranking as are most martial arts, but before you can really learn anything involved or difficult, you have to master the footwork.  It’s not really complicated just looking at it, but the subtleties are endless and I agonize each week when I feel myself step wrong.  Aidan has been a trooper, enduring a lot of advice and attention from Sensei, and taking it fairly well.  Last year was a bad year for him and after getting him into a class with friends, and now that they are switching classrooms a lot more, plus a bit of therapy on the side, his selfesteem is quite high at this point.  There have been highs and lows, especially on the days where he can’t focus, but he’s been progressing nicely.

So I got an email from Sensei a few weeks ago, asking me if I thought it would be a good idea to surprise him for the holidays with his Gi & Hakama.  That’s the uniform we wear to practice, but you aren’t allowed to wear it until you’re feet are doing the right things most of the time.  And the other thing is, I talked to Sensei and she suggested that I wait to get mine until he was ready for his.  So I was psyched for him as well as totally psyched myself.  We agreed to keep it a surprise and went to class.

Dismal is a good word for that class.  He was unfocused, didn’t feel good, and had to stop about 3/4 of the way through because of a splitting headache.  Sensei didn’t say anything, but I wondered if she wished she could pull back the email 🙂  So on the way home, I told him what she had suggested in the email and he just groaned.  “Oh MAAAAAAAAAAAAAN, why tonight?”  he wailed hitting the release and dropping the seat all the way back, throwing his arm over his eyes.  I told him not to worry, that we’d practice that weekend and before class and go back in and really show her what he was made of.

Problem is, I was so focused on him, and he did so well, that she turned her attention to me.  I am by NO means even decent, but I felt about 2 in tall by the time I was done.  I know that she was correcting some small things I was doing wrong in the past, but this was embarassing.

Needless to say, I’ve had my shinai (bamboo sword) out a bit since then, and been working on my footwork.  I really want to do well on wednesday, so wish me luck.

My 40th is coming up soon and my parents had sent me and my brother to Notre Dame for a game a few years ago and wanted to do something similar for me.  I had thought about going to a monastery near Albany to do some Zen meditation for a weekend, but tho it was cool, it wasn’t for me, and doing it for three days seemed to not be my thing.

I remembered talking with Sensei last summer about Kendo Camp but we were too new, and truthfully, I didn’t think we could afford it.  Cool thing is, my parents want to send Aidan and I to this next summer 🙂  I believe we have to attain a certain level of proficiency, but I believe we can do it by this summer, at least that’s the plan.  I’m almost afraid of the level of workout it’ll be, but I think knowing that and putting it out there as a goal, we can do it.

being thankful

So what are you thankful for?  Yes, we’re all over our tryptophan highs and hopefully some of us are going out for a run (not me, still in my pj’s), but I want to take a minute to record some of what I am truly thankful for.

  • my wife, who still loves me after almost 14 years
  • my kids, who still dig me (as far as I can tell)
  • the fact that I have a roof over their heads, heat, food, and clothing
  • the fact that I have a job, tho it’s far, it’s really pushing me in so many ways
  • the internet 🙂
  • the friends that I’ve found for many corners of the country but never met in person
  • the friends that I’ve found from my past and reconnected with on some level
  • the fact that I’m happy, healthy, and moving forward with growing and changing.

Got 8 things you want to share?  Comment!!!

Haiku

What to write about?
Blogging is a way to write
about all my thoughts
——————–
Project Management
software.  So elusive. Can’t
find one with it all.

Comradery, brothers in arms, emotional relationships

I’ve always been a fan of war movies, whether it was the Bridge Over the River Quai type battlefield movies, or current movies like King Arthur(the one with Clive Owen), or TV series like Band of Brothers.

There exists, a feeling, a common emotion, a ‘something’ that bands people together in situations like this.  It’s a shared experience, and almost psychic connection between people that transends words and thought, and reaches the spirit on a level that can’t be described.  I’ve read many books and seen lots of shows and movies where this spirit is present.  The Seven Samurai, a movie about 7 men who decide to defend a village from raiders – they come to know one another, see each others strengths and weaknesses, and form a cohesive unit, a bond that is strong enough that they can know that the man next to them will do whatever it takes to do his part, to ensure the success of whatever they do, or die in the attempt.

Is it the adrenaline?  Is it a respect for one another?  I felt some of the same unexplainable thing in my Tae Kwon Do studio with a group of people that I trained with, and later had the privilege of teaching.  There was always something there, something that made us push one another, to egg on or goad or embarrass each other to accomplish more and more each time.  My biggest success as an instructor was understanding that in situations like this, you bring out the best in people, by displaying the best in yourself.  It doesn’t necessarily make you the leader, or the best, or the one in charge.  People are inspired by seeing people put their money where their mouth is, by setting the standard high and aspiring to achieve the goals and aspirations they have set for themselves.  And in doing so, inspiring others to do the same.  I think the mark of a true leader is one who is not necessarily trying to lead, but exhibits true leadership in his actions alone.

I think we do that for our children to an extent.  I know that my son listens to every word, and sees everything I do as something he should do, or try to do.  This isn’t pompous of me, it’s reality.  Sons look to fathers to emulate and to imitate.  I have the good fortune to not only have a boy who understands my weirdness, but who wants to be like me, and looks up to me.  On the flip side, I know that my daughter loves me to the end of the earth, but is learning different things from me.  She’s much more independent and sees my behavior and actions and makes her own decision as to what she’s going to do.

It’s that unspoken bond, that communication between compatriots that I aspire to share with my children and teach them to try as well.  Each group in the movies and tv that I’ve spoken of is lead by a true and noble leader, who puts his men’s wellbeing before his own.  Its the love towards that person because of this intention that is a beautiful thing whether it’s a Major and his platoon, a Seargeant and his squad, or a father and his children.

My kids – Buddy & Peanut

How do I love thee, let me count the ways:

  • I love that you both come running to the door when I get home from work.
  • I love that you want me to read you a chapter from your books before you go to bed.
  • I love it that you still like to hug and kiss me goodnight.
  • I love the fact that even tho I grumble about it, you still want me to make you pancakes every saturday morning.
  • I love the fact that you are still small enough Gillian to walk on my back without crushing my ribs.
  • I love the fact that you are improving and persevering in Kendo by leaps and bounds even tho there are a lot of times I know you want to give up.
  • I love the fact that you still think I’m cool enough to play with, and that you even let me win sometimes too.
  • I love how much Aidan loves D&D and how much Gillian pretends to just to hang out with us.
  • I love playing video games and watching musicals with both of you.
  • I love you both, even when you’ve mad bad decisions or just totally spaced out and forgotten what I’ve said 2 minutes ago.

I love you both so much that I could go on and on until my fingers hurt from typing so much.  Thank you for choosing me to be your Daddy.

Oh yeah, and most of all:

  • I love that you still both call me Daddy.

I love you,

Daddy

Sometimes nice guys finish first

Dustin Pedroia, the 5’9″ second baseman for my beloved Red Sox, just took the AL MVP award. The guy is unbelievably talented – he won a golden glove, a silver slugger, and now the MVP. He’s one of the major reasons they did as well as they did this year.

Nice thing is, Boston also got third place with Kevin Youklis, their 1st baseman who ended up playing 3rd for a large part of the season.

Yeah, and A-Rod? 6th 😛

MLB Article

One of those days

Okay, so I woke up in a gloom, and it’s quickly gone down hill.  Little shit here, little shit there, a comment here, a reschedule meeting there.

I’ll go work out, that’ll make me feel better.

Should have known.  Now I’m sweaty, sorry, and gloomy.  Had too much time to think, which in the current state of affairs, is never a good thing.  I’d love to say that all I need is a heavy bag or an opponent in pads to wail on, but truthfully, that’ll probably just depress me even more because of how out of shape I’m in.

It’s my blog so I’m allowed to whine, and if you’re still reading, you are a true friend.  Everything feels like it’s spinning in 20 directions at work, and I can’t get a handle on some of it because other things need to happen, and so I get uptight that none of that’s getting done – you know the drill.

So even tho tomorrow is Wednesday, I’m going to do some situps and pushups during the day and go to kendo at night and maybe get out some of my frustration there – but of course, it’s about finesse so the harder I try to hit, the shittier my attack comes.

You know what?  Just fuckin shoot me.

Seriously, thanks for reading. 🙂

What’s UP?!?

It’s Monday the 17th of November:

  • We’re done delivering 301 boxes of cookies to just about every single person on the planet.  “Daddy, I want to go for 500 boxes next year!”  “Fuck you kid.”  Yes, I said it.  No, I said it to you, the internet, not my daughter.  Ya dirty bastards.
  • I haven’t worked out in weeks.  Yeah yeah yeah.  How many of you have?  HUH?!?  Yeah, didn’t think so.
  • Haloween Candy + Girl Scout Cookies = lazy ass mofo, see previous bullet point.  Can you blame me?
  • Is my gloom coming through in this post?  Yeah, thought so.  Shut up Gloomy Matt.

Okay, seriously.  I’m actually doing pretty well.  I think the bit of gloom is coming from the temperature drop and the fact that Fall, for me, is kind of over.  When most of the leaves have fallen, that’s kinda it for me.  Sure, Thanksgiving is going to be nice – festive event at my parents every year – but it’s kind of the last hurrah before christmas season starts.

Is anyone else ready to vomit that you’re already seeing christmas holiday decorations and hearing those innane songs already?  ALREADY?!?  WTF?

Pledges to myself –

  • I’m going to work out tomorrow.  I swear.
  • I’m going to stop dipping into my kids candy bags.
  • I will drink more water
  • I will read to the kids more
  • I will cuddle with my wife and make her tea before bed because I know it means a lot to her.  (It does to me too, but don’t tell her I like getting her tea).
  • I will not obsess about baseball trading during the offseason.
  • I will stop using Facebook as an escape because truthfully, I don’t give a crap about updating my status everytime I go to the bathroom or go for a walk.

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who is even thinking green and seriously thank people who are actually doing something about it.

Oh, and if you’re for Prop8, you’re a ding dong.