Sunday, October 21, 2012

Camaraderie is the anecdote.

Some friends and I signed up to participate in a local Warrior Dash.  I was nervous that my body would be unable to meet the physical needs the race would demand and I would lie wasted in chest deep mud.  I was correct, the race did demand a lot of my jiggly body but surprisingly this sack of bones was up for a bit more than I bargained for.  There was a great deal of bargaining and begging on my part, after a mile I was more than ready to be rid of the knee deep mud.  The teetering traverse and a collection of walls nearly claimed me but through tears and cheers I pressed on. 
My fear of falling almost proved too much for me to bear, I was gasping for air and my eyes could only see bright white light.  I was sacred out of my wits, my body was giving up on me, and then I heard it..."you've got this Jane, only 5 more feet to go".  Sobbing I sat down and scooted my rear across the remaining 5 feet, all the time hearing "almost there, keep breathing, don't look down".
Obviously my fears range in their severity and intensity and during these past few weeks I have enjoyed their physical effects on my body.  After each obstacle I faced I grew giddy, I found energy I thought I had lost over a mile back.  It was invigorating.

Fears my be poison to ambition but camaraderie is the anecdote.

Fear #15 Walking into a break-in at my home.
Fear #16 Warrior Dash.
Fear #17 I won't lose anymore weight.
Fear #18:  While alone in the house, I am showering and I hear the dog barking.  In shear panic I have to access my surroundings for weapons.
Fear #19:  While alone in the house I begin choking on my medicine.
Fear #20  That Shihan will teach a class in my dojo.
Fear #21  I won't live up to my expectations. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

growth spurt

I am beginning to think that maybe I am not really scared of failure, maybe I am scared of success.  I know the idea is strange but with success change seems to quickly follow.  Although change is inevitable and change is good, it is still change.  Transformations bring feelings of awkwardness, inadequacy, and growth.  I believe I may be having a growth spurt.


Fear #8:  I may have made choices in my life that have kept me from being something grand.

Fear #9:  I am scared of possibly becoming a widow.

Fear #10:  Riding through town with my windows down, enjoying the nighttime breeze, will lead to me me being carjacked.

Fear #11:  That there will be a house fire and I can't get everyone out.

Fear #12:  Roaches or spiders may climb on me in my bed and lay eggs in my hair or ears.

Fear #13:  I have an irrational fear of dentists and dentistry.

Fear #14:  I am terrified of failing my black belt test, and yes I am aware that it is at least 3 years away.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Since I have started this 'Black Belt Journey' I have realized how fearful I really am.  It seems that it really is the only thing that is standing in my way.  There are days where the fear of never being able to pass the test for black belt actually prevents me from doing my best at the dojo.  I really need to get a handle on this before it thwarts me from achieving something that could mean so much for me.  Years ago my mother taught me that when a task seems insurmountable you should break it into parts, make it seem smaller.  Since fear is such a big part of my life I have decided to try to be candid about my uncertainties and take some at a time.

Each day I will state a fear that has plagued me that day however small, scary, big, or funny.  At night as I lie in bed I'll marinate on it and see how I let that fear dictate my actions and hopefully through a microscope it won't seem all that daunting.

Fear #1: The very moment that I cross under my awning is also the very moment that the gecko can no longer hold on for dear life.

Fear #2: The feeling of something crawling on my foot in the car really is a bug that Cheetah forgot about in the car.

Fear #3: That Cheetah will never have the chance to grow up.

Fear #4: I will never reach my fitness goals.

Fear #5: I am afraid that I will be attacked and will not be able to protect myself or survive.

Fear #6: That I may pee on myself, in the dojo, due to tons of jumping-jacks.

Fear #7: That my husband secretly steps on the bathmat while wearing shoes.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

black belt: a journey, not a destination

While out with my boys this weekend I was recognized.  Rereading the phrase I just wrote really makes things abundently clear for me.  The family and I have been back in Cajun Country for nealy 4 years and I finally found what was missing.  After some gentle nudging from Tarzan I stepped up and joined karate.

As we get older we tend to lean toward comfort.  We strive to find the place where we can strive, we find what we are good at and we stick with it.  It has been over a decade since I have been in a truly uncomfortable situation.  Karate has changed this; I have been attacked, hurt, embarrassed, nervous, and scared.  Now that I am 3 belts into this journey I can tell you I have also felt pride, excitment, surprise, and joy.  There may be times where I dread going to class because I know that it's going to take A LOT of hard work to get me 'black belt ready' but I think I have to do it.  I am suppossed to be a Black belt wearing Momma!

So to the lady at Academy who wanted to let me know I was impressive at Friday night's ain't seen nothing yet!  (Oh and thanks for the boost to my ego and my motivation, lol.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

with each great nap comes great change

I have spoken before on the love affair that I have with my bed, the last time I crawled in and settled down for a recharge I began to reminisce.  I can remember 3 great naps in my life; the first one was in high school, the second in college, and the last one occurred soon after I became a Mom. 

My grandparents had a bedroom in their house (the middle bedroom for those that know the house) that was perfect for taking naps.  It had one window so you didn't have to worry about the sun light rousing you before you were ready and the ceiling fan had this hi speed that created just enough wind and just enough sound.  The other key element to this nap were the bed linens.  The sheets were worn in, making them cool and satiny smooth, and the light weight floral bedspread kept you cool enough to snuggle deep into the bed.  I had been on a road trip with them for the summer and we were enjoying the last few days of summer at home.  We had eaten soup and sandwiches for lunch, O'pa had gone off to 'bowl' and O'ma was in her chair just resting her legs.  If I close my eyes I can feel the cool floor under my feet as I head down the dark hallway lined with pictures of grandchildren.  I awoke to the smell of decaffeinated Community coffee, and the sound of O'ma and O'pa discussing plans for the rest of the week.

I remember coming home from college for the weekend, after an early morning mass I donned my social club sweatshirt and faded boxers and joined my dad in the living room for a viewing of 'Two Mules for Sister Sara'.  Mama had been roped into making our favorite chicken and dumplings so we knew we had plenty of time to watch the whole movie.  I made a pallet on the floor and 2 1/2 hours later I woke up in the middle of "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon'.  I remember rolling over and seeing the blue couch pillow with the red flowers and I instantly's so good to be 'home'.

Cheetah has never been the best sleeper, but when he was a newborn I thought I was going to go nuts; sleep deprivation had me on my knees.  One day I decided to try creating the perfect nap environment for us.  I closed all the blinds in the bedroom, turned on the ceiling fan, and dressed in a comfy set of pjs.  I bathed the boy and put him in the softest gown, said a silent prayer and slide in bed.  Five hours later I woke up just in time to see him slowly waking up in my arms.  It by far tops my list of best naps ever.

As I described each memorable nap I realized that they all had something in common.  Each experience seems to occur at the cusp of a big change in my life.  I was heading into my Senior year of high school, starting my Senior year in college, and getting my footing for motherhood. For me, the greatest moments of change all start with waking from a deep restorative sleep.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

keeping away from avalanches

Let me start by saying, "I know it's been forever."  Every day I visit my favorite blogs and I admit that I am a bit disappointed when there is no new post but for some reason the thought to write on mine never crossed my mind.  Granted I don't have a ton of followers hanging on my every word but maybe not getting on the page to post my progress is why I can't seem to pass the 30lb mark. Things have been going wonderfully:  Tarzan has started karate, I tested for my yellow belt and was invited to the Black Belt Club, and Cheetah enjoyed a 2 week vacation with the family in Mississippi.
We have had a blast celebrating the 4th of July with family, enjoyed a visit from a very special family, and have spent as much time in the pool as humanly possible.



With all the fun we've been having Cheetah says his top 2 activities of the summer have been his birthday party at the bowling alley and watching Winchester Fletcher!

Now that the heat has us running indoors, Cheetah and I found this cool shirt idea on pintrest and new it would be perfect for this weekend.  We had all the supplies we needed: cotton t-shirts (although you could use anything), Sharpies, rubber bands, paper cups, magazine, and 91% rubbing alcohol. 

You place a magazine inside the shirt to ensure the colors don't bleed through as you go.  Pick where you want to get started, slide the paper cup inside the shirt and secure the rubberband on top.  Now that you have your blank canvas secured you can begin to draw a design, we did all different ones but found that shapes worked the best (Cheetah preferred drawing pictures of things).  Keep the design to just over the size of a quarter, add 10 drops of alcohol to the center of the design and watch the magic happen.

The possibilties are endless, it's a really fun idea and it is something the kids can do during the hottest hours of the day.

I have allowed myself a small break from the daily mile due to the 7 days of rain we have had here, and for the past 2 weeks we have enjoyed a vacation from karate.  The dojo had it's annual instructors retreat,  I have tried to stay active by doing multiple miles on the weekend, doing my PS3 intense kickboxing class a few times a week, and continuing with my free weight and ab workout 6 days a week.  I have kept to eating healthy with a weekly 'cheat day', I am suprised at myself for choosing to eat well everyday.  I have cheated a handful of time since January but I remind myself that one slip doesn't mean there has to be a rock slide.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shihan's 21 day challenge

During last Thursday's self-defense class we received a surprise visit by our dojo's Shihan, he focused on muscle memory as an integral part in defending oneself on the streets.  He highlighted techniques that could be altered to give you more time to get away or to secure yourself a safer position.  He discussed the importance of becoming comfortable with the feeling of being kicked or punched in this classroom situation.  He revealed that in most dangerous situations people are unable to respond appropriately due to shock; if you are familiar with the feelings that come about from a physical confrontation you will be able to react and create a safer situation for yourself. 

When class ended, Sensei asked me to speak with Shihan about my 'Year of Dragon' and see if he could shed any light on why I was hitting a wall during my training.  We spoke at length about my juicing, diet improvements, exercise challenge, and my training for the C25K; he was proud that I had taken my health into my own hands but felt I was pushing too hard.  His blunt and honest advice was refreshing.  "You are too big to be running right now.  Why are you doing SO much, you are going to stress your heart out of your chest."  After learning what my end goals were and discussing the hurdles I was encountering he came up with a 21 day challenge just for me.

"You must move every day, eat only good foods...good foods do not come from places that have drive-thru windows.  I want you to drink wheatgrass everyday, walk 1 mile every day, work with your arm weights, allow yourself bad foods every once in a while, and do hard workouts (in addition to the daily mile) 3 days a week". 

I am 5 days into his 21 day challenge, Amazingly I have been able to keep the wheatgrass down.  I have more energy and I am able to rest better at night, it is hard to get up early every morning but I promised him 21 days and I refuse to not meet such an easy challenge with all I've got.  Sixteen days to go!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Time flies

How can it possibly be the last day of April?  I mean where DID those 720 hours go?  I had great plans for my blog posts; I even have the pictures to prove it but the next thing I knew it, it was today.  The month of April was chock full of wonderful for the Smith family.

We kicked off the month of showers with a family filled Easter celebration; cousins, aunts, and uncles all met up at my parents house.  We dyed eggs, hunted eggs, overloaded on perfectly decorated treats, and had SO much fun just being together.  With Easter came the conclusion of Lent and with pride (a perfectly acceptable amount of pride) I must say I was successful, I actually kept my end of the bargain and refrained from the delicious white potato.

We had yet to have family pictures taken, and through a 'seize the deal' special we found a wonderful photographer named Susan Angelle.  We had a really nice time, and have been pleased with how it all turned out...check out our photographer's homepage, she was terrific.  Next came 2 belts tests in karate, Cheetah was testing for his blue belt while I studied up for my yellow belt test.  We both worked hard on our self-discipline and practiced many hours on honing each skill, it all payed off in spades.

In honor of my '2012 year of the Dragon' challenge, I ran in my 1st 5k!  It was a success, I not only survived but I also finished in under an hour.  My final time was 49.27, I was elated.  Thanks to the perfect location of the 5k, I was also able to squeeze in some girl time for a full weekend.  It was refreshing, just what the doctor ordered.  Since then I have been able to shave off 50 seconds from my time, I am working toward my goal of 10 minute miles.

With 1 more month under my belt, I am just on the other side of 20lbs gone and still working out at least 4 days a week for 45 minutes each day.  I continue to work hard on developing a love for all things veggie, which means I am forcing veggies down by the bowl full just hoping to fall in love. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

After 9 years you deserve a hootenanny.

A couple of weeks ago Tarzan and I decided, on a whim, to take a vacation day from work and spend it together. After I whisked Cheetah away to school our day began with a hootenanny (check out the link), and might I say that I feel ALL vacation days should start with a hootenanny. 

We enjoyed catching up over cleaning up the garage, folding clothes, and lunching downtown.  It's easy for me to forget how effortless conversations come with Tarzan, how much I laugh at his inappropriate humor, and how safe I feel when he's near.  It was nice to bask in the glow of our young marriage and be so grateful for the time we get to be together. 

Today Tarzan and I celebrate 9 years of marriage and while some celebrate the 'big ones' like 10, 25, 50, and 75 years together, I feel that each year under our belt is an accomplishment.  I have spoken here often on marriage and how it's no ordinary walk in the park, how we need not take advantage of the one relationship where we feel the safest.  I love my marriage; it's not always filled with smiles, laughter, and copious amounts of sunshine but it's full of love, respect, and adoration.  Every day I am so thankful that I was blessed with a true partner, someone who is in it for the long haul.  For when the chips are down and the bank is low I know Tarzan will be there to stop me from betting it all on the 'river'.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Quality time with my 1st BFF.

This past weekend I had the chance to have some 'girl time' with my #1 Mama.  I left 1st thing in the morning on Saturday so that the fun could begin as soon as possible.  We started off by painting our nails green in honor of St. Patrick's day. 

After a gab session and a fashion show we were dressed and off to lunch at the Rusty Pelican.  Their mahi-mahi sandwich was amazing; we sat on the porch and talked about everything and nothing.  Mama informed me of this great local shoe store that measures you for the perfect pair of athletic shoes.

After my evaluation, I was matched up with the a Debbie Gibson styled neon embellished running shoe.  I must admit that everyone was right, having the right shoes makes a world of difference.  After procuring my new glass slippers from Varsity Sports we headed back to her house to rest up before the night's festivities.

We headed to a local restaurant (featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives) called 'Louie & The Redheaded Lady.  There were so many wonderful items to chose from, we were able to settle on the Eggplant Algiers as our starter as we perused the dinner options.  I cannot begin to describe how good this was, the sauce alone was inspiring!  For her entree, Mama got the spinach salad (topped with fried oysters); it looked delicious and she had plenty for a second meal.  I opted for the fried shrimp and boiled squash and had leftovers too, everything was so delicious.  If you are ever in Mandeville, don't miss the chance to try this place, it is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Eggplant Algiers
We then headed to Corks & Canvases for our 2nd painting, it was so fun.  This time we were painting our own 'blue dog' (inspired by the paintings of George Rodrique).  Everyone was to draw their own dog and design the background as well.  I think our's turned out pretty well...

After a quick run for frozen yogurt, several hours of girl time, and 8 hours of sleep we headed to another local hotspot for breakfast...Taste of Bavaria.  We feasted on German style apple pancakes, baked eggs, and a side of Nuernberg brats.  I had been there before and decided it was the perfect place to reminisce about our years in Germany.  It was fun to hear all the stories of my Mama growing up so far from her family.  As I listened to her describe the town and detail the days, I could literally see the scene unfolding through her eyes. 

She may have changed as the years passed but when I look in her eyes I am 3 years old, sitting across from her in Burger Time begging for a corn dog.  I love spending time with my mother, it's so nice to see the women we're becoming.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PSA: Gaining perspective.

In this digital age we are beginning to overuse certain terms like; LOL, LMAO, IMHO, and FML.  I don't think there is a day when I don't 'LOL'.  Of all the abbreviations, it's the latter that truly unnerves me.  For those who don't know FML stands for, 'F*uck My Life'.  I see people using this term on Facebook and Twitter, and I have to count to 100 to help ensure I don't flood their pages with insults.

Let me assure you, on days when things are truly 'FML' worthy you will know.  You will be begging for a day filled with: car trouble, unexpected moves, tardiness, stubbed toes, financial woes, spilled coffee, flat tires, and missing keys.  When a true misery (war, illness, death, maiming, etc) of life strikes you down, you will be seen as the boy/girl who cried FML.  Your posts can be viewed by countless people who are faced with real adversities in life, imagine how it must feel for them to see those 3 little letters.

It's all about perspective.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I say potato!

After 2 full months on the 'year of the dragon' plan, I am down 15lbs and I am starting to see my arms and legs taking shape.  I am pleased to say that my heartburn is also gone, thanks to cutting out carbonated beverages completely. 

Committing myself to a year of improving my health has lead me to give up something for lent.  I haven't made a lentil sacrifice in over 10 years and I am really enjoying it.  I could only think of 2 things that would be a true sacrifice; since there was no way in the world I could give up cheese, I opted for the white potato. 

That means no mashed potatoes, no french fries, no hash browns, no baked potatoes, and no crab-boiled potatoes.  Did I mention that it's crawfish season??  It has been hard but I haven't caved yet, breakfast is proving to be difficult.  I found a recipe on pintrest for 'egg cups' and I really like them, but the recipe calls for hash browns.  I opted to use sweet potatoes, you MUST try this.

There is one thing I want to point out, don't fill the cups all the way like I did...I can still smell the eggs burning on the bottom of my oven.  Next time I make them, I think I'll swap out the ham for mushrooms.

I found another great recipe for breakfast, this one was delicious.  I loved the taste of the pumpkin, the bread wasn't very sweet but I guess that's the point in eating healthier.  I would add more cinnamon and even nutmeg.

I am continuing to try different veggie dishes and learning healthier substitutions for my dietary favorites.  I am pleased to say that I even found green beans that I love.  Who knew you could boil green beans in low-sodium, fat free chicken broth?  Oh.  My.  Gosh.  SO good!
I found a way to enjoy squash without frying it, these zucchini chips are awesome.  I nearly ate myself sick.  Oh they are good, I would even dare to say they are better than the green beans...

I think the only way that I am going to lose more than 15lbs is if I stay off of pintrest.  If I ever have the chance to build a house I will make sure that the kitchen is closed off from the rest of the house, maybe I'd spend less time in the kitchen.