Friday, December 3, 2010

More Madness

But fewer photos.

Today is not a repeat of yesterday. Yesterday dawned wet and misty, and stayed alternately rainy and misty pretty much all day. Lovely stuff. But today? Sunshine -- and merciless, clear, ultra-violet laden sunshine at that.

In one sense, that was a good thing. Today is the Scottsdale Christmas Parade, a ritual much beloved by all in the area. Trucks get gussied up with all kinds of decorations. Children wedge themselves into bizarre costumes. (Elder Son is a 'Tourist', for his classroom float. Their theme is 'Outback Australia', for whatever reason. Very Christmassy. Anyway, the boy has a huge straw sombrero, large sunglasses, loud shirt, giant flowery shorts down to his knees, and camera. He insists that he follows the Way of Twoflower. I am proud of him.)

In another sense, not so good. As part of the festivities, the ju-jitsu group was asked to put on a display, so for the last two weeks, I've been putting the kids through their paces. And they rose to the occasion very nicely. But of course, on the day of the demo we're out in the middle of the street, in the full sun. The mats underfoot get hot very very quickly. And all those full-length uniforms, many of them black (including mine) are a bit of a hazard and a handicap.

It went well, though. I kept it to half an hour, out of consideration for the sunshine and the kids, but they would happily have gone much longer. We did throws, and locks, and self defense. We demonstrated games and learning techniques. Then all the kids got into the pine-board breaking (they really love snapping pine boards. I've never quite understood why. But they do.) and finally, I did a draw-cut with the katana to bisect a watermelon (which was conveniently balanced atop a bag of ice on a small table) to close the show -- and of course, to distribute pieces of chilled watermelon to the kids. Yay!

It's all very small-town. Nobody expects Bruce Lee and a team of ninja - which is good, 'cause we're all samurai here. But it still takes energy, particularly from me.

Those of you who've seen me in full flight will know that... ahhh... not to put too fine a point on it, I'm a performer when needs be. I've done enough work on stage and similar to understand the principles. I know you have to project, to have presence, to fill the workspace and engage your audience directly. I can ad-lib pretty fluently, and speak with sufficient power to fill a country concert hall as needed.

It's odd, though. You hear about 'energy', and it certainly takes something to fill all that space, keep things moving, keep interests up. But -- it's not like actually training, or fighting, or working in the sun. You wouldn't think there was really much of a strain to it. And it's not a very stressful venue. It's a friendly crowd of people who are interested mostly in their kids, so I'm not particularly nervous or adrenal beforehand.

Despite that, without fail, half an hour after the show I'm good for nothing. Wiped out. Utterly drained.

So, here I am at home, quietly recovering. And with the boys going into town this evening for an orchestra do, I even get a night off from cooking and family. Yay!

That's okay, though. Tomorrow we dive right back into it: community bike ride involving Nat and the kids, and then Nat will go to music in the evening so I'll be Parent In charge.

Swings and roundabouts. For the moment, I'm going to get some rest.


  1. So did the young bloke try and sell in-sewer-ants to passersby? (GREAT choice of costume by the way).

  2. Kids love to karate chop things, or generally be ninja/samurai like in their destructions. So breaking pine boards is awesome!

    I never got the chance at a pine board, but I still remember my parents banning me from watching TMNT because I was out the front swinging a kitchen knife around in a sock.

    As it turns out, I'm on a good start to fire twirling. Mutant Turtles are the greatest teachers.

  3. Kitchen knife in a sock? Whoa.... that's bad-ass for a kid.

    Bondi -- I'll relay your compliments, sir. No in sewer ants were sold, but I believe he enjoyed his role to the hilt.