Sunday, November 27, 2011

Warriors Are Out There

Warriors come in all shapes and sizes. My little warrior, John-Pio was at Boulders traversing and practicing his own boulder project. He's been climbing more lately, and not only that, but he's been dreaming about climbing, too. He said, "I dreamed I went all the way to the top and I felt so great!" This is pretty much the only part of the wall he's been working out on for the past two weeks. It's really fun to watch him turn up his psych for climbing!

Now, real films about warriors are out there - mainstream and underground alike. A few of the recently made films in 2011 are actually on my movie list: "Warrior" and "Garbage Warrior." For now, since most of my spare movie time is spent watching movies about climbing and climbers, I would recommend two movies made by Ian Cotter-Brown, creator of Rock Warrior Films. Ian's been exploring Devils Lake and surrounding areas, putting up fun problems and telling others they should probably go do them. I've been out with him several times and his low-key understated psych is, ironically, what gets me psyched!

Check out his newest film, "Wisconsin Stone," which you can download for a mere $5. While you're at it, you should also see, "Midwest Unknown." Both are great films featuring local climbers, including one of my all-time favorite friends, Katie Schultz! If you want psych and inspiration, watch her send Rail Gun V6, Battle of the Bulge V7/8, Fat Pants V7, and Bark Biter V4. Katie shows steady, strong work on these problems, making the film that much more motivating and fun to watch. She's certainly one I consider a warrior - and a humble one, too - as she makes her mark on the midwest bouldering scene. Check out the trailer here, and then go to the site ( and download it - it's worth it. And, thanks to Ian, for making a film we can connect to and for putting it out there for us to see - you're the real warrior for making these and showing us what is possible.

Thanksgiving Weekend

After going back to work full-time this year, I am re-learning how special weekends are to me. Now more than ever, it's the long weekends in particular, that I savor. Since my four day weekend is just about over, I looked at the calendar and counted 26 days until my two-week winter break! As I look ahead to vacation, I don't want this weekend to go by without reflecting on how meaningful and fun it was to hang out with my family. It was great that Peter and Ruth joined us on our little road trip to Chicago to feast with Scott and David. And it was especially wonderful to see Scott and David, something we are committed to doing more often. They are just fun-loving and spirited. And, they're UNCLES. How much better can that be for the kids to be surrounded by three of their favorite uncles?

I actually launched Thanksgiving with the annual JOMANA Team's "Thankful Feast." My students brought dishes to share and many of their families came to celebrate. We had a table of food, and like every year, our event was highly coveted by former JOMANA team students who have moved onto 8th grade. They kept passing by our classroom hoping for that special invitation. We had everything from the traditional to the culture including Dolmas, egg rolls, Thai noodles, Ms. Matson's mac 'n cheese and sweet potato pie, Lefse, turkey, stuffing, and of course, Mint Oreo cookies. It is a tradition that our team started years ago as a way for our students to publicly thank their family, friends, and teachers for being a part of their lives.

It would have been hard to bear going off for two days without climbing, so we climbed for a long time Wednesday evening. My favorite part was that Emma came, too! She is a rare sight these days with her schedule, and juggling two houses, so I loved that she was there to belay Misa and get in some bouldering herself.

With the kids packed and the van loaded with four adults, one teenager, and two kids, Emma drove us all the way to Chicago! She was looking forward to her longest drive behind the wheel and I am totally confident in her abilities, and psyched she can chauffeur us! Our feast with Scott and David, and some of David's family, was an amazing array of casseroles, turkey, roasted vegetables, and pies. The weather was nice enough to get in some football and frisbee, and cool enough to play with the Wii. I love that Emma, Misa, and John-Pio could spend that much time with their Uncles, and I am grateful that family time is just as precious to them as it is to us. At one point, John-Pio exclaimed, "I love Chicago and I love San Diego because that is where all of my best family lives!"

Life has been pretty low key Saturday and Sunday. I climbed and ran a little, got some housework done, and slept in. Getting more than six hours of sleep a night makes my body feel healed and repaired, good enough to get back after the things I love this week: Work, Parenting, and Play!

Here are some pictures from our weekend, including a few shots of the Thankful Feast. Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!