Saturday, September 28, 2013


As a lot of you already know, I spent this past week attending a self defense class.  I think I told everyone I know that I was going to do it, mainly because I was nervous and didn't know what to expect out of it, but no one really knew what to tell me.

One of the members of Steve's band is a detective with the county police department, and she deals with crimes against children and sexual assault survivors, so when the county allowed them to hold a class, she told Steve that I should come.  I agreed, but as I said, I was nervous about doing it.  I have never been to anything like that before, and I am not a very strong person, physically.  I didn't think I'd be able to learn anything I could actually do. I might have even chickend out of going, if not for the fact that I work at a place where I'm sometimes scared to walk outside by myself.  I figured that whatever I could learn might be helpful.

The class was called RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) and the main purpose of the training (obviously) is to give you the skills you need to protect yourself in case of attack by disabling your attacker enough to get away.  The class was only 4 days long, but it was intense, and I'd come home at the end of the day completely exhausted.  There were 42 women attending the class, no men allowed except for the male instructors, and some of the most badass women cops and civil servants I've ever met.  What we learned was fairly easy to do, although the trick will be to remember to do it if/when you are ever in a situation that calls for it.

One thing I wasn't expecting was that I'd be in a class with so many people who'd been victims of sexual assault and physical violence.  I suppose it's almost a given that you are around people like that every day, no matter where you go, but people don't really tell you those things unless they know you very well.  To hear some of the stories of these women would just break your heart, and to watch them learning to fight back was amazing.  I've been fortunate enough so far not to have been a victim of either one of these crimes, but if I had, I don't know if I would have been brave enough to face it head on like these women did.

Friday night was the night we did our...I'm not sure what to call it, really.  Our practical exam, maybe?  It was the night we had to use what we've learned in the class against the male instructors (who were in these terrifying padded suits that made them all look like Judge Dredd.)  Not everyone who took the class came back for this part.  But those of us who went were all padded too, in helmets, elbow and knee pads, and padded gloves. We were supposed to do three different scenarios: The first was fairly tame, where we just had to break out of an unexpected arm grab.  The second was a bit scarier.  We were to be approached from behind, heckled, and then grabbed.  I'm not sure what I did, but I managed to knock the guy down and I landed on top of him.  (I'm a significant amount of woman to fall on someone, so I hope he's ok.)  I kind of just went into Spider Monkey Mode, where I managed to get out of his grasp, and because I was in the moment, I landed a hammer fist to his face cage that may or may not have been necessary.  He had to be taken off to the side and checked.  I felt bad about that.

Several women had trouble with this one, because it was too familiar to them from when they were assaulted.  Some cried until they could be calmed down, and one lady just went mental.  She ran after the instructor, beating him and screaming, and had to be pinned down.  That was the one that really drove it home to me that some of these women were really struggling with the whole thing.  I can't imagine having to be in these scenarios if they'd happened to me in real life.

Because so many of the women in the class were struggling, they weren't going to make us to the third scenario unless we were certain we could handle it.  I almost didn't do it.  Everything we'd done had caused an adrenaline rush, and by the time we had come back from our break to do the last thing, I was shaking.  However, I'd promised myself that if I was going to do this class, I was going to do it all no matter what.  I was one of 8 women who did the last part.  They turned off the lights, and we had to close our eyes.  They walked us around the room so that we'd be disoriented and not know where we were.  All three Judge Dredd guys came at you and heckled you, walking around you, bumping into you, and then one of them would grab you.  I sincerely only remember bits and pieces of what happened when I actually got grabbed, but it didn't take long for me to get lose.  I know I punched and kicked, but everything else is a fuzzy blur.  I'd forgotten to open my eyes until right before I punched the last time.  I kind of forgot what I was doing and ran after the instructor to hit him again before I remembered to run to the "Safe Zone." People were cheering for me, and that was awesome, but I wish I could remember what I did.  All I know is that by the time I settled down, I felt like I might either cry or throw up.  Luckily, I did neither.

I honestly don't think I expected to feel as weird about the whole thing as I did once it was over.  I tried to tell Steve, but I couldn't explain it well enough to make it make sense.  I'm very, very grateful to have been taught everything I learned, and I'm even more glad that I was able to use what I learned to complete the scenarios, but I think it scared me a lot, too.  It isn't just that I'm more aware that women are frequently attacked and hurt, much more often than I knew AND a lot of the times it's by people they trust, although that is terrifying enough in and of itself.  I think it also scared me that I am capable of hurting another person, and that I will do it if I have to.  I'm not physically violent, really, but when put in that position, even in the fake situations we were in last night, I just blanked out and came back to myself beating the crap out of a person.  It took me a long time after I got home to calm down from it all.  Even after I got up this morning, I was still shaky.

I'm so very, very glad I took the class, and I recommend that any woman take it if they get the chance. The RAD classes are poorly funded and have been cut back to only 2 a year, but I can't imagine many other city funded things that could do as much good as the class I was in.  Seriously, do it.

*****Earlier in the week, we had to pair off with someone to practice the moves they were teaching us.  My partner was this teeny-tiny grandmother who might have weighed 100 pounds and she was two inches shorter than me.  You've never lived until you have had to get someone's maw-maw in a headlock, and in return, have that maw-maw kick your ass.  :)

Monday, September 16, 2013


A couple of weeks ago, I kind of got conned into going to a youth Lock-In with the kids from my church.  I say conned, because I was under the impression that he would have to cancel the whole thing if he couldn't get an adult woman there as a chaperone, and I didn't want him to have to do that.  There was another adult woman there, but apparently she wasn't old enough...being almost 30 AND a RN wasn't sufficient, I guess.  *Sigh*

At any rate, Steve had already agreed to chaperone and I was there too, along with three other adults and 23 teenagers.  Yikes.

We spent the night at a local gymnastics facility, where they have trampolines, this weird pit filled with foam blocks that you can jump into, balance beams and uneven bars.  I think it's a place where cheerleading squads train or something.  I don't know, I just know we treated it like a big playground.

We were there all night, and being a chaperone meant we didn't get to sleep, so we jumped on the trampolines and used (or tried to, because let's be honest, I am not cut out to be athletic in any way) the other equipment.  It was fine!  I didn't hurt myself, turn my ankles or anything.  Considering I'd been moving around a lot, that was a miracle.  By the time the whole thing was over, I'd been awake for about 25 hours and I was sooooooooooo tired.

We took the kids back to the church and stayed until they were all picked up, and while I was talking to my coworker, I went to lean back on his door frame.  At least I thought I was near his door frame.  Apparently, in my very tired state, I wasn't standing where I thought I was, and I fell.  I tried to catch myself, but my shoes got locked together and I fell, flat over, without the benefit of slowing myself down at all.  Honestly, I think if I'd seen myself, I would have thought it was hilarious, but hitting what I'm fairly certain was a concrete floor with only industrial carpeting on it as padding, wasn't very funny at all.  I managed to get up (the way you do when you've hurt yourself and don't want anyone to know) and played it off until I got into the truck to go home, but I genuinely thought I'd broken my wrist or dislocated by shoulder, or something!  Oh, it hurt so bad!  I guess the only saving grace was that my head didn't hit the floor! Oy.  Luckily, my skeleton is made of wrought iron or something, because I was OK.  Well, relatively OK, because I still sometimes hurt from where I fell, but I know nothing is broken!

So that's the story of how I spent an evening jumping around and hanging from things without getting a scratch, but almost killing myself at the office while trying to lean against a door frame. Ta-da!

Friday, September 06, 2013


1) Out of all the people I work with, I'd have to say that the person I talk to the most often is the youth minister.  His office door is right next to where I sit, so we're in each other's line of sight almost constantly.  This means we talk to each other quite a bit, because...we're right there.

I realized a while back that he's trying to figure me out, because he's always asking me questions just out of the blue.  They aren't weird questions or anything, but they usually are completely random and unprovoked.  I'm OK with this, because I love talking about myself, as you all know. Hee!  No, really, I don't mind answering questions, I just sometimes find the questions that he asks me to be a bit odd.

Usually it's stuff like: What is your favorite book (restaurant, music, and etc.) or sometimes it'll be something like: What is the most you'd spend to go to a concert, and who would you go see?  He'll also sometimes ask if I like to do things, like play sports or skate or swim.  I know part of it is that he's trying to figure out what he can con me into chaperoning for the youth group - because I've told him I'm not interested and he finds that unacceptable!  Other times, I have no idea, because he just goes back to what he's doing, like he's got interrogative Tourettes. 

Anyway, the reason for me telling you all of that, is that no one has asked me about any of that stuff in such a long time that I haven't really been thinking about what I like and what I don't, and usually the answer to the "Do you like to..." questions have ended up with me saying no, I don't.  I mean, an unusual amount of these things he's asked me about have ended with me saying that, no, I don't like to do those things. An alarming amount of things he's asked me about, I just don't like.  I can also rarely ever think of my favorite...whatever.  It's very weird and now I'm feeling incredibly self conscious about it.  I mean, I don't care what he thinks, but it's weird to me that there are so many things I'm not interested in.  I'm not particularly narrow minded, nor do I consider myself a stale misery biscuit, but I'm beginning to wonder if I am just world weary at the ripe old age of 35!  I hope not!  I promise, I do like things!  I can't think of any of them right now, but I promise!

2)  I'm sure most of you know that I started another blog a while back.  It's called "We Review All the Things" and it was intended to be collaborative with some friends, but I didn't realize at the time that those people were very, very busy and wouldn't be able to do it with me.  It is pretty much just something I do occasionally and so there aren't that many reviews on there, and they are mostly all for food!  See, I like food! 

Well, I was looking at the stats for both of my blogs, and according to the blogger analytic (is that the right word?) chart, the newer blog of food reviews, which I started in 2011, now is within 10 views of this blog, which I started in late 2003!  I can't decide if I'm just terrible at telling stories about my life, or fantastic at reviewing food! 

3) I fell off my bike the other day and it was very embarrassing!

Steve and I have been biking with Steve's band director, Dave, for a few weeks now.  I hadn't actually been on my bike in years before we started doing this, because it's a pain in the neck to haul it to one of the riding paths, and I'd gotten a little out of practice.  Granted, I didn't forget how to ride, but getting the feel of my bike again has been a challenge.  I had forgotten that you can't just clamp on the brakes!  We were on a new trail, and there was a hairpin turn I wasn't expecting.  I tried to simultaneously break and turn, by bike locked up and flipped sideways!

It scared me more than anything.  I've been worried about wrecking since we started riding, and it just happened so fast!  Granted, it could have been worse.  I could have been hurt badly.  However, I managed to fall smack on my right buttock, and I barely even felt it! (No jokes please.)  I also managed to fall right in front of this guy and his kids.  He jumped off his bike to help me, but the only thing injured was my pride.  Well, my leg did hurt after a couple of days, but not as badly as I thought it might! 

I think I may have the wrong type of bike for me.  Steve bought it for me when we first got married, and for what I use it for it works well enough. It's just heavy and a little bulky, and I think it might be more of a mountain bike than one better suited for riding paths.  Of course, I wouldn't dare invest in an expensive, new bike unless I get way more serious about riding, and that hasn't happened yet!  However, I do look adorable in a bike helmet, so I might have to ride more just to show that off! :)

Nah, I'm kidding, I look like something horrible from Mario Kart is perched on my head.