Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

One thing I’ve learned since starting this blog is that if you decide to venture out of your comfort zone, choose your traveling companions wisely. I think this was especially true last week as I tried something so very unlike me. I recruited some brave souls to join me on my journey to become a tigress.

When I married, I not only got a husband, but also wonderful parents-, grandparents-, sisters-, brothers-, aunts-, uncles- cousins-, and friends-in-law. It was a package deal. They are some of my favorite people and I was dying to get them to join me on a blog challenge, especially before one of them moves halfway around the world (sadface).

I found out there’s a free class offered every other week in Provo and Sandy called Tigress Women’s Self-Defense. Me, a tigress? Hardly! But I figured if I could never imagine myself ever trying it, I should definitely try it. It would be hilarious to see how ridiculous I looked and no one would appreciate it more than this particular group of friends. And lucky me, they actually agreed to it. Did you know that, although they are usually solitary creatures, a group of tigers is called a streak? I kinda like that.

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Our group included my sister-in-law Michelle (the champion of our trivia match), my cousin-in-law Kami  (a resting-nice-faced librarian), Kami’s sister Keri (who helped me with my attempt at crafting and was definitely not interested in becoming a tigress but was willing to come anyway to watch and photograph along with my mother-in-law), and Ali, my husband’s good friend ever since second grade. The first time I met Ali she was working at the zoo and we stopped by to visit. As we walked toward her, when we were about fifty feet away, she saw us and shouted, “Look! I’m fulfilling my lifelong dream. I’m a cashier AND I have my nails done!” My other friend-in-law Carol couldn’t come but she did contribute this picture, which makes her every bit as valuable, in my opinion.

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I’m not sure what I was expecting from the class. Something like this?

Or this?

Or even a little of this?

I wore my stretchy pants to be prepared but the rest of them didn’t because, as Ali pointed out, we could be attacked at any moment, not just when we’re dressed for it.

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We also all prepared for the class by arriving right after eating large quantities of Indian food, which we soon learned was not such a good idea. Try doing this on a full stomach:

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Or this:

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Instead of the punches and kicks I had imagined, we were placed in different positions and taught how to get out of them using leverage to knock our attacker off balance enough to injure him and run away. Most of the moves they taught us were counterintuitive to what we would naturally do but they made a lot of sense, and, more importantly, they worked. I found myself saying, “Oh, duh!” over and over. Also, as you can see, many of the positions were slightly awkward. Kami thought it would have been easier to do with strangers but I was much more comfortable practicing on a friend.

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Even though we laughed a lot, we still took it more seriously than I thought we would. Early on in the class we seemed to shift from “Isn’t this silly that we’re doing this?” to “Let’s try to get this right and hope we never have to use it in real life.”

Did we become tigresses? Well, we got pretty good at the moves we learned, although the instructor said we still need to work on speed. We also need to work on being more fierce because I’m pretty sure an attacker would not be as accomodating as we were to each other. That’s not to say I made it home unscathed. Here’s what happened when I practiced escaping Ali’s choke hold (20+ years later and she still has amazing fingernails):

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Even though I’m not as tough as I could be, I left the class feeling very powerful. I wanted to go right home to show off everything I had learned and I made plans to return for the next class. It’s something I never would have tried but I’m so glad I did, and I’m pleased as punch that my fellow streak of tigresses came along.

It was an exciting evening and I was pumped for several hours after I got home. But then early the next morning I woke up with a start as I realized that most women don’t take a self-defense class because they want to try something different. They probably do it because they’ve experienced some trauma or because they don’t feel safe in their daily lives. I replayed in my mind all the different positions we learned to escape, this time from the perspective of someone feeling real fear or someone who may have lived through similar experiences, and I felt sick to my stomach. The moments we thought were so funny when practicing with trusted friends didn’t seem so funny anymore.

I remembered the instructor of the class asked us not to practice the moves with our spouse, hinting but not stating outright that it was safer for us not to disclose what we’ve learned. I laughed about it at the time – we all laughed at the thought of my husband being the slightest bit dangerous. But why did I think that was something to laugh about? The statistics about domestic abuse aren’t funny at all. They’re sickening, actually.

Then when I remembered that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month all those slightly uncomfortable positions we practiced escaping while we giggled awkwardly didn’t seem funny anymore. I realized that I come from a place of privilege. I don’t fear for my safety when I walk late at night in my neighborhood. I’ve never been abused by a parent or spouse. I don’t know what it’s like to feel powerless just because I’m a woman.

I realized just what a service these self-defense courses are to the community, offered free of charge on a regular basis to empower women and give them the skills they may need to survive. I hope I never find myself needing to use any of those skills, but having some common sense tools at my disposal is reassuring. I think I’d like to return for more practice and instruction, this time with more awareness than I had the first time around.

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Get Smart

Anyone who has raised a son is probably familiar with the Fact Phase of boyhood. The Fact Phase usually begins around age 4 or 5  and can last for several years before they eventually grow out of it or become a more entrenched know-it-all. Boys in the Fact Phase only like reading non-fiction books. They love absorbing information almost as much as they love sharing information. Most sentences out of their mouths begin “Did you know that…”

My kindergartener is currently in this phase of life, but seeing how his oldest two brothers grew out of it, there’s still a chance he’ll move on as well. I’m not so sure about my fifth grader. I’m starting to think we’ve already passed the point of no return on the path to becoming Cliff Clavin.

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I don’t want to assume this only applies to boys. It’s just that I don’t have any daughters and I was never into fact collecting so in my mind it’s a boy only kind of thing and I’m probably wrong. I wasn’t into it then and at my age, I don’t think I’d be able to remember anything if I tried. I can’t remember anything I learned in school and my boys never ask for help studying so I’ve never had to refresh my memory.

But when I heard on the radio that The Leonardo museum hosts a monthly Trivia Night, I thought, “Awesome! This will make Fun April even better.” I’ve watched enough British television to know how trivia night works so I made plans to attend, all the while forgetting that I don’t know things.

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What exactly was I thinking? Like “I’d like to climb Mt. Everest if I could ever find a spot on my schedule to get over there. It sounds fun.” Or “What should we do this weekend? Run a marathon?” Did I think I could just decide to know stuff and it would suddenly happen? Not smart.

But the thing about a trivia night is that it’s a team event. I just had to get the right five people to join me and everything would be fine. So I asked my husband, my sister-in-law Michelle and her husband, and my two smart, Trivial Pursuit-loving parents to come with me. This was going to be so fun! I was so excited!

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But then I made the mistake of trying a few practice quizzes online like this one just so I didn’t go in cold. And then I freaked out because after attempting a few of them, there was one thing I knew for certain: I am as dumb as a box of rocks! Apparently I needed to know everything about everything – history, geography, mythology, religion, sports, pop culture, science, more stuff, and even more stuff, and I was going to look like such an idiot.

But then I remembered that on all the shows, they divide up the subjects among the players according to areas of expertise. Okay, what could I contribute? I made a list:

  • Children’s Literature (but only the books my boys like)
  • Classical Music (except my dad and husband know more than I do)
  • Pop Culture (as long as it’s something I like)
  • Science (as long as there’s a song about it by They Might Be Giants or Schoolhouse Rock)

So, so sad.

I figured I could study up on the long drive downtown so I borrowed fact-y books from my fact-y boys before we hit the road. We crammed in all the information we possibly could and hoped for the best.

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We arrived in time to check out who we were up against. The room was filled with mostly young, hip people you would expect to see at Trader Joe’s. One team was discussing their rankings from the previous month, another was made up of complete strangers being introduced for the first time, and the most noticeable was the team consisting entirely of bearded men. I didn’t think to count, but I think there were 10-12 teams gathered in the museum’s atrium and I just hoped we weren’t the lowest scoring team.

Each team was supposed to come up with a name so my sister-in-law combined parts of each of our three last names and came up with the mythic-hero-sounding name Robin Grimlander.

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The game consisted of six rounds with ten questions each round, two points per question, with a few bonus questions. Each trivia night centers around a particular theme and I was instantly relieved when they announced the evening’s theme would be “Kids”. I know about kids! I raise them and teach them. Things were looking up!

And once we got started we realized we worried for nothing – the questions were not nearly as scary as those on the online quizzes and many of them centered around pop culture from the ’80s and ’90s. And it was clear that we had a secret weapon on our team. This lady:

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I knew Michelle was sharp and remembered every detail of every movie she’s ever seen and every book she’s ever read but I wasn’t prepared for just how quickly she was able to pull random trivia facts out of her brain. When we heard a new question, we would each think about it, then those on the team who had an answer would say it out loud only to see that she had already written it down on the answer sheet and was holding it up for verification. Then there were the many times none of us could think of an answer and we looked to her to save the day. And we just sat with our jaws open like:

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Each round was centered around a different topic: Things You Learned in School, Kids in ’80s Television, Child Prodigies, etc. Michelle’s greatest moment had to be when she not only got the correct answer but when she identified the question before they even asked it. They announced that the next round would be Kids in Sports and she said, “There’d better be a question about Mary Lou Retton in there…” and what do you know, she was right.

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Although we consulted and agreed on many of the answers, we each had our moment of glory at some point during the game: My husband was possibly the only one in the room who knew that the first song by the Osmonds to reach #1 on the Billboard chart was “One Bad Apple.” My brother-in-law knew the name of the high school from Saved By the Bell. My dad identified Tony Bennett’s “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” on the listening portion. My mom deduced from the multiple choice question how many pin curls Shirley Temple could possibly fit on one head by measuring on my husband’s head. I knew with every fiber of my being that the scandalous game that came out in 1966 was Twister. And Michelle knew everything else.

The secret to a good Trivia Night team is that it all comes down to trust. Do I trust my own memory? Do I trust my teammates? This was especially evident with the question: “Name the first movie Corey Feldman and Coery Haim starred in together.” Obviously Michelle and I were the only two on the team who would know or care, so we discussed whether it was Dream a Little Dream or Lost Boys. We went back and forth, me remembering exactly where I was the first time I saw both movies, she remembering a specific song on a soundtrack. She was sure it was Lost Boys, I was pretty sure it wasn’t but I also trusted her crazy accurate memory so we went with Lost Boys. And surprise, surprise, she was right.

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The trickiest round was the last because it was all name-that-tune/artist and many of the songs were pop songs. Luckily my husband has taken to listening to a lot of Top 40 female empowerment ballads lately (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d write) so he helped us a lot.

So what about my list of skills I wrote before Trivia Night? Well, the three literature questions I answered were from books my kids like; we did nail the classical music question but it was a group effort; I did well on many pop culture questions but I was a failure at any questions about boy bands or Beyonce because I never liked them; and I was able to answer three questions thanks to They Might Be Giants and Schoolhouse Rock.

I bet you’re dying to know how we did, aren’t you? Not only did we not fail, but we almost won the whole thing! We only lost by three points — that means if we had gotten two more questions right, we would have been the first place winners. But the Mister Wives were very gracious about their victory.

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As second place winners, we each received two tickets to return to the Leonardo, which isn’t bad at all, but the first place winners got memberships to the museum. If only we had known which square in Four Square was the highest ranking! If only we had guessed 1939 instead of 1936 as the year of the first little league game! We might just have to study up some more and return next month. Watch out, Mister Wives, here comes Robin Grimlander!

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Skidamarink a Don’t

Are you in for a treat, folks. Because my planned activity for the week had to be postponed, I invited my sister-in-law Kritter to write a guest post about her traumatic experience venturing out of her comfort zone so we could all laugh at her. I’m so glad she agreed to do it – it’s even funnier in writing than it was when she told me the story in person. And sad. But mostly funny. Take it away, Kritter:

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This is a little story I like to call “The Fateful Day I Entered a Roller Skating Race, Despite the Fact That I Hadn’t Been On Wheels in 15 Years, Because I Thought It Would Teach My Son a Lesson About How It’s Good to Get Out There and Try Even When You Know You’re Not the Best… (And It Ended Very Badly).”

This is a story that, when I tell it, people ask me, “Are you crying because you’re laughing so hard, or are you crying because it’s so sad?”

This is the story that I told Kristen about a month before she started this blog, and her reply was, “See?  That’s exactly why I don’t try things.”

Here’s what happened.

One day, when I was in the midst of a hard time—and not just a regular hard time, but a really hard time where my dad had just died & we lived in a new city & I didn’t feel like doing anything at all except laying in bed and watching Netflix—we were invited to a school fundraiser at the roller skating rink.  I went just to get my kids out of the house, but on a whim, I entered the parents’ race. I didn’t do it because I had any kind of skating skill (like I said, I hadn’t been to a rink in a really long time) but because when the kids’ races started, I watched how my 8 year old stuck to the sidelines instead of joining in, and I realized that my own stick-in-the-mud behavior probably played a big role in his refusal to even try.

And so, fueled by mother guilt, I approached the starting line with about ten other parents, as the rest of the crowd moved to the sidelines to watch us race. I was a bit startled to realize that even without my kids hanging on my arms, I felt wobblier on the rink than I expected.  I wasn’t too worried though.  I had known I wouldn’t be fast, but I felt confident that when my son saw me finish my two laps, even if they were just slow and steady, my example might prick a bit of his own sense of adventure…or grit… or resilience…or what have you.  In that moment, I was kind of proud of myself—I was taking a small but pretty bold move out of my comfort zone for all my family and a couple hundred other people to see, and it was going to be a positive experience.

The referee said go, and I was immediately passed by all the other moms and dads.  No biggie, I really didn’t care.  But I decided for the sake of my pride that I needed to pick up a little speed.  It was just a few seconds in, on the very first turn, that something a lot like this happened:

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At which point two of the dads zipped past me, already on their 2nd lap. Wow… some people took their roller skating races seriously!  “Oh well,” I thought, and with an embarrassed laugh, I stood up immediately.  Sure I felt awkward, but this was a lesson in resilience, right?  Think of what my kids were going to learn when they saw me jump right back into the race.  And jump right back into the race I did… just long enough to cover three more feet of ground before something a lot like this happened:

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Then, while I sat startled on my butt, still just half-a-rink away from the starting line, I was lapped by every other single person in the race, all of whom were now just half-a-rink away from the finish line.

At this point any thought of teaching my children any kind of lesson about anything fled my mind.  This was going so much worse than I had imagined.  All I wanted to do was get to the exit and blend back into the crowd as quickly as possible. Slowly, carefully, I planted both skates firmly on the ground and gently pushed myself upright.  In one horribly awkward but surprisingly fluid movement I went from something like this:

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to precisely this:

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Now at this point in the story, it would have been a great dramatic climax if there had been blood, or broken bones, or if I found out someone had been filming the whole thing and it turned into a viral video.  Nothing like that happened.

What did happen was that when I dared to pull myself up to standing once again, I came face to face with a group of sweet 10 year-old girls who had watched the whole thing go down. “You can do it! Don’t give up!” they cheered. While I was touched by their compassion, I was mostly just horrified to realize I was the object of children’s pity. Sigh… this was more than I could bear. Holding onto the wall to avoid another public fall (which at this point was sure to lead to public crying), I began my scoot toward the exit where my family was waiting, about 20 feet away.

Now that it was clear I was not going to finish the race, other skaters started making their way back out onto the rink. That’s when the announcer started calling racers to the DJ booth to receive their prizes.

First it was, “Winners come claim your prizes!”

Then “All finishers come claim your prizes!”

I kept scooting.  I wasn’t even a finisher… I was getting out of there!

But then the DJ persisted, “All participants in the parents’ race, please come claim your prize at the DJ booth…  If you skated –at all- in the parents race, please come claim your prize.”  Yeah, he was definitely talking about me…I had now garnered the pity of even the teenage skate rink DJ.  Luckily, it was at this point that I finally made it to the exit where my family was waiting.

My 8 year-old son squeezed my hand. “You did good, Mom.  You should go get your prize.”  Oh boy, kid. Not a chance.  “Nah, I don’t want it,” I replied. I knew he could tell I was embarrassed, but I tried to smile it off.  Ugh, this was the exact opposite of the lesson I had set out to teach my sweet boy!  I had to get back in the saddle! I took a deep breath, steeled myself, and reached for his hand.  “Come on,” I said. “Let’s skate one more lap together before we go home.”

As we walked back toward the rink I heard the DJ make one more plea for every last race participant to head over to the booth for a prize. What was this guy’s deal?  He would not let it go. We were really only ten feet away from the booth but after my racing spectacle, I was not going to do anything to draw any kind of attention to myself tonight.

Hand in hand, my son and I entered the rink.

And then the last bad thing happened.

It’s kind of a poetic irony really, that we had skated into a crowd right in front of the DJ booth (where I was not going to claim my prize) when my son, with all the power of his 45 pounds, suddenly toppled and yanked my arm so hard that I crashed directly on top of him.

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There was no blood, no broken bones, but my knee had landed a crushing blow to his skinny little thigh. As I pushed myself up and cowered over him, he clutched his bruised leg and wailed.  “I WANT TO GO HOME!”  “Me too,” I sighed.  And we did, immediately.

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If I could send a letter back in time to myself on that day, here’s what I would say.

Dear Me a Year and a Half Ago,

So, tough night at the rink, huh? I can’t believe you entered a roller skating race, you nut!  What were you thinking?!  It makes a pretty funny story later though, and honestly I kind of admire your chutzpah even thinking that was a good idea. Sorry you’re going through such a tough time, though… and I know this really didn’t help.

But guess what? I think you should milk those staying-in-bed-watching-Netflix days a little bit longer while you can still get away with it.  Because it won’t be too long before you’ll start feeling like you actually want to do things again.  Nothing involving wheels though! Playing the piano, knitting socks… those are more your thing.  You actually will take your family back to that roller skating rink eventually, but this time NOBODY will enter any races, and you will have no regrets about that at all.

Oh, and I think you’re going to like this part! Guess what that 8 year-old boy is going to want for his birthday when he turns 9…

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And you know what? When he falls down, he gets back up every time.

Hang in there. It’s going to be ok!

Won Wee Wee

I used to have a recurring dream where I would discover a whole new part of my house that I had never known was there before, always in the basement and often ridiculously large. The rest of my dream would consist of me planning what I would do with all that extra space and I always woke up disappointed when I realized it was only a dream.

Apparently this is a common dream which is supposed to symbolize finding new potential within ourselves:

“New rooms in a house in a dream can relate to areas in our lives where we are discovering new skills, abilities or strengths within ourselves.  While we may feel we know who we are and what we are capable of, dreams of new rooms invite us to open our minds to the possibility that we have even greater potential than we thought.  New rooms are like an extension of ourselves.  Just because a house is built does not mean we need to move out when we need more space, we can extend and build to make the house accommodate our growing and changing needs.  So too can we extend our own personality, to embrace new ways of living.  Dreams of new rooms invite us to look at what we thought were our limitations, and to recognise that we can move beyond them.” -Amy Campion, The Dream Well

That’s an interesting way to look at my recurring dream, but I don’t think it applies to me. I only started having the dream when we moved into our first small apartment and I kept having the dream wherever we lived until we moved into our current home. Before we moved here, we always lived in close quarters piled on top of each other like The Napping House. Since we moved to a home with enough space that allows us to spread out and to have a place for everything and everyone, I’ve stopped dreaming about finding extra rooms. For me, the dream was much more a very practical desire than about discovering the potential within myself.

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One of the benefits of having extra space is that we have other places to put our televisions so we don’t have to have one in our living room. It’s always bothered me when we’ve had a t.v. in the living room because it seems to make it the central focus of the room – all the furniture placement depends upon the television placement, and as a result, gives the impression that we center our whole lives around the t.v. I like to have the living room set up so people face people, so our focus is on each other.

It’s a really nice idea in theory, but I’ve noticed that instead of sitting together and chatting in the living room, our family often spreads out to our separate corners of the house and to our separate screens. Even though I value my own personal space, it seems that having all that extra room leads to separation, and that can’t be a good thing.

This week is spring break and since we’re not traveling anywhere, I tried to think of a way to avoid the usual family sprawl, something to bring us all into the same room. And so I turned to the one thing I usually view as the nemesis to our family togetherness – the television.

Ever since I finished reading the Harry Potter books last summer, I’ve wanted to watch the movies. I was curious to see how they adapted the books to film and how the characters I imagined compared to those in the movies. We begged and borrowed DVDs from friends and had ourselves a Spring Break Harry Potter Movie Marathon (we capitalized it to make it seem like more of a special event).

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Just because I’ve never seen any of the movies does not mean I live in a box. I knew what some of the main characters in the movie looked like before I read the books, so I was able to picture them correctly, but I was way off on Dumbledore. I was pretty sure he was played by Ian McKellen but I guess I was confusing him with another bearded character from another film version of books I’ve never read. I had not realized that Dumbledore was played by Richard Harris (from Camelot!) for the first two films and Michael Gambon (from Wives and Daughters!) for the rest.

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Since I’m a big fan of BBC dramas it was fun to see which great British actor would pop up next. Probably most surprising was Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix LeStrange – I didn’t realize she was in it and she was super creepy. Whenever she and Maggie Smith were in the same scene I imagined it was Lucy Honeychurch’s chance to release all of her frustrations on Charlotte Bartlett and I was tempted to cheer her on.

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And let’s not forget about Dawn French’s role as the Fat Lady.

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I liked Hagrid much better in the movies than in the books and Fred and George were much less annoying to me this time around. Dobby was larger than I had imagined and so was Hogwarts. I know they left parts of the storyline out in the movies, but I didn’t really miss them.

Watching all eight movies in seven days was interesting – not only seeing the kids grow up so quickly (they were so cute and tiny in the first movie) but also seeing the evolution of special effects technology (in the first two films it looked like video game animation). It also was more dramatic to see the change from the light, happy times in the first few movies to the darkness and fear in the last few.

Now that I’ve watched all the Harry Potter movies I feel less like I’ve been living in an underground bunker all these years and my kids seemed to really like our movie marathon. We had plenty of popcorn and Sour Patch Watermelons to keep everyone happy as we all squashed together on the couch or my bed and then I had to remind myself how happy everyone was later as I brushed the popcorn kernels and Sour Patch sugar out of my bed. We discovered some new funny lines to add to the family lexicon, including our own pronunciation of Ron Weasley’s name: “Won WeeWee” (trust me, it’s hilarious.) My husband, who does not have a spring break and didn’t get to join us for more than one movie, wants to make movie night a more regular thing.

I’m still not about to move the t.v. into our living room but this week has made me more aware of the ways my need for space might not match what my children need. Judging by how early in the morning they tried to wake me each day to start the next movie, apparently what they need is my shoulder to rest their bony heads on, my ribs to jab their elbows into, my pillow to borrow, my Snuggie to steal, and my candy stash to raid. And judging by the fact that I’m already trying to decide what we’ll watch together next, I guess I need some of that too.

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No Fooling

April, what took you so long? I’ve been looking to you, the light at the end of a dark tunnel, the sunshine after the rain, and I’ve trudged through the long work hours and concerts and extra commitments knowing that if I could just make it through the last few months, I would have April as a reward. I have big plans for you, April. We’re going to have fun together, you and I. Although many of my blog challenges involve things I’ve never tried because why on earth would I ever want to, some are things I’ve always wanted to try but just never made the time or never dared to do. But because it’s April and I feel so free and indulgent, nothing’s going to stop me. I’m doing the fun stuff, starting today.

Today I tried something I never knew I was missing. Today I cut the noose and let it loose, I stopped talkin’ and started walkin’. That’s right, you guessed it:

As you probably already know from your frequent visits to the website, this is a fitness program unlike any other. It is defined as: “A springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse’s gait and ideally induced by elation.”

“It’s about Self-Expression. It’s about Non-Violence. It’s about Conservation.” It’s about “allowing ourselves to fulfill our own sense of self-expression instead of imitating others like monkeys.” And it’s about “enhancing the inner-child in ourselves and feeling like free-spirits as though we were children again.”  But whatever you do, don’t use its trademarked name incorrectly.

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Reading that makes me nervous to even mention the activity by name. For someone who’s such a free spirit, Joanna sure keeps tight reigns on her prancing empire. But you know what? Good for her. She’s appeared on talk shows, advertisements, and even a John Meyer music video She knows how to squeeze every penny out of her fifteen minutes, from her book to the $30 t-shirt. Not bad for some free YouTube videos.

I found out about a one-time-only class being offered at my husband’s work in honor of April Fool’s Day and begged all my friends and neighbors to join me. I had a few takers, but when the day arrived sick kids, car trouble and other real-life issues meant I was on my own. From the description of the class, I thought I was going to be prancing my way through a college campus with coeds. I was getting panicky and starting to regress a bit to my former self but I was determined to see it through.

Usually when I exercise, I prepare by pulling my dirty hair into a ponytail and changing into old sweats but I was inspired by Joanna to dress up for the occasion. I put on a nice cardigan sweater, some lovely jewelry, and I whipped out the curlers to make my hair look just right. I wanted to look my best so I could feel my best.

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Luckily my friend Rebecca made some last minute babysitting arrangements so I wouldn’t have to go by myself. She’ll never know how happy that made me. We found the location and a few other people looking for the class but the instructor wasn’t there yet. Everyone was starting to wonder if it was just an April Fool’s prank, but then he arrived.

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And it turns out the class was not for students but faculty, staff and spouses so most people were real grown-ups there on their lunch break in business attire. And we didn’t prance through campus but in an enclosed area away from the public eye so it wasn’t as frightening as I imagined. We were quite a varied bunch.

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Oh, and did you notice the horses? Why didn’t I think of that? I even own my own horse mask and hooves.

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It was fun to try but as Rebecca pointed out, real horses wouldn’t just trot around in circles – they would want to run free. I loved the feeling of the wind in my hair and the sun on my back but I think I can only understand the true magic of prancing when I have plenty of room and can see the way stretched out before me. How can I “spring off the ground like an antelope” in a small yard.? I need space and freedom.

Since so many of my friends were so very, very sad to miss it (you know you all were) and because one friend actually showed up but couldn’t find us and thought we pranked her, and because I think it would be even more fun to prance with a whole posse, we’re organizing a neighborhood event, just a get-together, nothing to violate trademark laws, I promise. So feel free to join us on April 8th at 5:00 p.m. or feel free to step outside to watch as we prance past your house. I’m sure I’ll be even better the second time around.