I didn’t set out to challenge myself.

In fact, had I known just what I was getting into, I probably never would have done it.

But I didn’t have any idea, so when a friend asked me to join her in a beginner’s capoeira class I said “yes”.

And then, by the time I found out what I was getting into, when I glimpsed the first twinkle of the water at the bottom of the well I was about to dive into, and started to panic, it was too late.

I had already jumped.

Street roda in Santa Cruz.

The thing is, if you found a box labeled “Jessie’s Kryptonite” and opened it up, you’d find dental work drooling on a frustrating lack of rhythm that would be squashed in the corner with a bunch of bananas. Math facts, foreign language and singing would be filed under the category of things I failed at in school and crippling shyness would be crying right there in the middle of it all, terrified that the whole shebang was going to fall off someplace really high.

Capoeira consists of a circle of people singing in Portuguese while playing instruments and clapping as they watch two people play together in the middle of the circle. Occasionally people offer you a banana for a snack when you are done. If it were performed on a cliff edge and required you to run through your seven-times tables as you did it, you’d pretty much cover all the things I have spent the majority of my life avoiding.

Street roda in Santa Cruz

But, I had already made the leap.  I said I would do it and I have always agreed with Horton when it comes to issues involving faithfulness, so I nervously went along with my friend.

The movement drew me in.

I lived in a pool for a large portion of my life. I knew I could flutter kick with the best of them but I had never done a cartwheel.  I hadn’t done a handstand since I got yelled at in grade school for practicing handstands in the outfield when I was supposed to be fielding balls. But I learned to do both, and to move in ways I never had tried before. (Heck, I didn’t even know these movements were possible. Did I mention I used to live in a swimming pool?) I liked the challenge of the movement. The physicality of pushing my post-children body into doing stuff I never thought it would be able to accomplish pre-children was addicting.

A perfect example of a movement I didn’t think was possible. (And no, I can’t do that, but two years ago I couldn’t do a handstand…)

The movement drew me in but the people I trained with were why I stayed. Never, I thought, could I do this thing. I can’t clap in time to the beat, I can’t speak Portuguese, I can’t sing anything and every time I try to do any of these things in front of people I burst into panic induced tears. But the group was kind, and encouraging,  friendly and fun.  And even though I kept crying and sniffling and panicking, they continued to be understanding and patient. I quickly found that despite myself I was having fun, so I kept coming back.

I panicked and cried at every class I went to for the first year.

But I loved the people. I loved the movement.  Even the challenge of learning all the things that come so very unnaturally to me was starting to grow on me. Also I’m very stubborn.

So I kept coming back.

It’s been two and half years.

I can clap and sing at the same time- (sometimes). I understand rudimentary Portuguese and can sing a number of songs in it (some of which I even understand). I can play inside a large circle of people who are watching me without bursting into panicked tears- (usually).

I didn’t set out to challenge myself, but oh have I ever.

We just got back from a fantastic week-long vacation full of capoeria and all the good people involved in it. When I think of all the fun I have had, all the people we have met and all that I have discovered I can do, I’m grateful I really had no idea what I was jumping into.

Because it’s true, had I known just what I was getting into, I never would have done it.

And I would have missed so very much.






Happy To See Me

I was gone for a few days last week.

The day I was returning home my Granny said to me “Your girls will be happy to see you.”

“Oh,” said I, “they might be, but they will hide it very well.”

After being gone for almost three days I walked up to Jane while she was playing with her friend.  Jane’s friend happily called out, “Jane, your mom is here!” Jane glanced up and went back to playing without acknowledging my presence.

I didn’t see Ivy and Clara until the next morning. Ivy gave me a nice hug, told me she was ready for school and could she please now use the tablet that had accompanied me on my trip.

My reunion with Clara was not so much a reuniting but more of a spectacle as I watched her come into the room and flop face first into the couch while crying and yelling at everyone to go away. Clara and I are not morning people, I felt her pain.

At least John was very happy to see me. He said many adoring husband things and listened to my stories and held me close and then said. “I’m officially abdicating the running of the household, you’re in charge again.”

I’m not upset by these reactions, quite the opposite, I’m very happy to be able to leave my family without a soul crushing, guilt inducing, flood of tears. In fact, I’m happily leaving on vacation again this week, for much longer this time and it’s good to know they will all be just fine without me!


Crossword puzzle time

Mom read the clues and wrote the answers. 

Granny supplied 90% of all the answers and 100% of the spelling. 

I supplied 10% of the answers 100% of which were doubted by my mom. 

Gramps supplied us with half an answer.

It took half the day to finish the puzzle. 

It’s highly probably Granny would have been done in half the time without all of our “help”.

Logic? But… Ducklings!!!

There are a slew of logical reasons why having animals is a pain in the behind and no sane person should ever want to keep a menagerie like we have.

But yesterday I got to wake Clara and Jane up by introducing them to a baby duck that hatched overnight.

And then today, my birthday, another hatched.

Logic and sanity be dammed…

…raising animals is the best!



Courageous Cain by D.J. Davis

I read this book and I was torn.

The romantic in me loved the sweetly developing romance.
The dog lover in me wants to be the main character.
The mystery lover in me loved watching the plot unfurl.
And the scaredy-cat in me is afraid I’m going to have nightmares for months…

…but I think it’ll be worth it!

Would I recommend it? No really, I started reading this one, decided it would scare me too much, stopped and then finished it almost a year later. It is good…in a serial killer sort of way…

Z is for… Zip Tie

I’m fairly convinced that most projects can be accomplished with nothing but the cunning use of zip ties.

This line of zip ties is, cunningly, attaching panels of light weight, small holed fencing over the top of the hog panels that my dad used to make my new, fantastic mobile duck and goose house.

The double layer of wire will be strong and has small enough openings to keep, as my husband calls them, rotten ____ ____ ____ raccoons, from getting in. (Fill in the blanks as you please, but if it’s a word that’s complimentary or something you could say in front of a 3-year old, it’s probably not the word that goes there.)

Just a few more finishing touches (insulation and a tarp over the top) and we will be ready to move the birds in!


…And this completes my month of photo blogging through the alphabet!