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Time in a bottle…

But there never seems to be enough time

To do the things you want to do

Once you find them…

All too often, time slips away from us and even though the best-laid plans are made, you still have missed opportunities.

I have been keeping up on my “50 Firsts before my 51st” birthday challenge to myself and it has gone really well.  I am actually surprised I have so many, 42 to be exact, and I still have 120 days until my 51st birthday!

So I thought today I would update everyone on what “firsts” I have managed to accomplish in the 245 days I have been 50 years old.  My last update was in March so the list has grown quite a bit.

My 50 Firsts before my 51st Updated List!

  1. Climbed the Teotihuacan Pyramids, Mexico City
  2. Ate Crickets & Ant Larva, Mexico City
  3. Fought professional MMA Fighter, Josh Tyler
  4. Did my first Facebook Live Feed, in conjunction with Readyman.com
  5. Started Crossfit @Brickwall Crossfit
  6. Did my first official Crossfit WoD Competiton
  7. Drove thru Donner Pass
  8. Camped out in my new car
  9. A 17 Year promise finally fulfilled
  10. 1st Cortisone shot in my knuckle ever (ouch)
  11. 1st credit card strictly for flight benefits
  12. Traveled to Barcelona, Spain
  13. Tried Calimocho in Barcelona
  14. Had coffee & Cake at Satan’s Cafe
  15. Fought in an actual Bull Fighting Ring
  16. Missed my first flight ever!
  17. Tried PODS from Australia (so damn good)
  18. “Acquired” my first BOTN banner
  19. First punch in the face without a helmet
  20. First pour-over in Europe
  21. Tried Kumbacha (and liked it)
  22. Ran my first International Conference
  23. First A-Line bob haircut
  24. Ran the Spartan Sprint (and survived)
  25. Received my first package from Japan
  26. Got my first Hobonichi Planner
  27. Started Kali
  28. Started my first Happiness Journal
  29. Purchased a Paipur Journal
  30. Started my first Bucket List
  31. Bought my first set of Kali Sticks
  32. Started Jeet Kune Do
  33. FIKA
  34. First Long Black
  35. First Shakerato
  36. First Gibralter
  37. First time demonstrating positions for Kali
  38. Tried Baba Ganoush
  39. Bought my first Espresso Machine!
  40. Purchased our first Dyson
  41. First Colonoscopy (and 2nd the next day!)
  42. First Affogato

So as you can see, things are moving along nicely and I am quite sure I will go above the 50 firsts before my 51st birthday but I decided to write down EVERY first, no matter what, because I wanted to be sure I had a complete list, and it’s been nice going back over them actually.  Mostly all good memories really…

Now, I know some have asked what I plan to do NEXT year.  Well, again, TIME is always fleeting and I want to experience so much more.  So the idea I have been thinking about is setting goals and trying to reach those goals (big and little ones) within a set period of time.

I know that “101 in 1001” is popular, which is to try to accomplish 101 goals within 1001 days, which is 2.75 years and would go from 12/13/2017 to 09/09/2020 (which is a very cool finish date).  But I may end up with “51 in 501” instead which would end on 04/28/2019 instead.

I don’t know for sure what I may end up doing, but I have started thinking about some of my short term & long term goals already and getting them down on paper, just in case.  If you have suggestions, please feel free to let me know!

Interestingly enough, when I was researching the dates above, I found out that as of today I am 18,508 days old.  If you look at that number and think about 1001 days, it doesn’t really seem like a long time.  But when you consider I am 50 years, 8 months and 2 days old, and 1001 days is 2.75 years, it seems much longer.  I guess it’s all in how you look at time and even how you measure time.

I want my life to be measured in moments, adventures, experiences and explorations, so the minutes, hours, days aren’t soooo important.  But I do want to keep track, because days, especially now, go by so quickly.  And while I can’t slow down time, I can slow myself down and enjoy all those wonderful things within the constraints of time. I just have to be more aware of it passing I think.

Too many people in my life have suddenly been taken out of the time loop we all enjoy, and many of them were unprepared.  When I stand at the gates of Valhalla, I want to know that I spent my time well, that I left nothing out, and that I made a difference to someone, somewhere.  But most importantly, that I got the most out of life, without having too many regrets.  Live. Love. Laugh. Fight. I want all of those things and more. So while some may

Live.

Love.

Laugh.

Fight.

I want all of those things and more. So while some may think all my list making and idea processing is silly, it helps to keep me on the path that I want to end on.

Death will come for us all eventually, and I am perfectly fine with that, although I would like to live well beyond this century and I think I will, if it’s possible soon enough.

But I also know the Nornir have woven my destiny long ago, and while I still have some time left in my bottle, I want to be the one who spreads it around the way I want to…

a little here, a little there…

pouring a bit of it over those who keep me wild…

just for good measure.

 

 

 

 

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Throwback Thursday…10 years in the making!!!

Yesterday, April 12, 2017 was my 10 year post-op anniversary of my Roux-en-y Gastric Bypass surgery.

Had that surgery not occurred, I would not be here today.  I was told within minutes after coming out of anesthesia that I was lucky I had my surgery when I did.  In two years max, I would have needed a liver transplant and at that time, I was so fat, I could not have even been considered for the wait list.  I would have died before I could have lost enough weight on my own to even qualify to be put on a list…much less get a donor liver.

Yesterday, after going back over ALL my previous year’s blogs, looking at old photos, and remembering each year I took my comparison pictures, I felt thankful.  I felt alive.  I felt grateful.

But for the first time, in almost my entire life, I also felt “normal”.

I know I have expressed hate for this word, because I always felt like it put me into a category where I couldn’t be myself.  I couldn’t stand out or feel like what I did mattered. Being “normal” always felt off to me.  Hell I can barely type the damn word without using “quotation” marks to make it stand out lol.

Last night while Greg and I were celebrating, we discussed the past 10 years and the changes we have made.  Interestingly enough it was funny we were celebrating at our favorite BBQ place, having wings for dinner.  I told him how odd it was to think back at the days after my surgery and knowing deep down in my heart I would never be able to enjoy a meal again, yet here we were, eating a “normal” meal like everyone else around us.  We both got an order of 12 wings and we went home with half of them left.  So technically, we couldn’t even eat a “normal” (see I can’t stop) portion between us!

I never have to worry about not fitting into a booth any more.  Or if a chair will support me, or if I am too big to fit through a doorway, or to be able to pee in a regular bathroom stall.  Trips that involve flying don’t terrify me any longer because I don’t have to ask for a seat belt extender and pray that it fits.

Most of all I don’t have to worry about what people think about the food sitting in front of me, or if I order a dessert, because I look “normal”.

To many of you, any or all of these worries probably seem insane, or at the very least silly, why would someone worry about going to the bathroom and fitting into a stall?!?  Yet fat people worry about it ALL THE FUCKING TIME!  If we don’t do it consciously, it happens subconsciously, trust me.  You would be surprised the things I never thought I had to think about…until it stopped.

I can remember suddenly realizing I didn’t have to think about where to sit, or what to sit on, or be bothered with how far away I parked, or if someone would see me sitting in my car eating a hamburger.  Because now I could pass for “normal”.

Pass for Normal…

Think about that for a moment.

Even when I have lost over half my body weight, even after I have spent the last 4 years of my life working my ASS off training, putting my body through hell to train for a sport that I love, I STILL worried that I had to ‘pass for normal’.

Last night was the first time I actually admitted to feeling normal out loud.  That I could enjoy my meal, eat what I wanted and feel good about it.  Thinking back to how I felt that first year, I wasn’t sure I would ever get to last night.  But I am there.  I still have panic that some day I will wake up and be 450 pounds again, literally overnight, but those moments are few and far between.

Have I lost/gained pounds over the past 10 years?  Sure.  You can see it even looking back the last 6 months.  My face always shows when I am gaining or losing.  Right now, I am more muscle than I have been in the past but I also have additional weight too.  I am the heaviest I have been since my surgery.  I am at 230 pounds.  A lot of that IS muscle, but I am also 50 years old.  I have some work to do to get back down to my 200-210 range but I am no longer willing to put my body through the adrenal fatigue, the excessive training and the obsessive worrying about my weight that I have done over the past 10 years.

I struggled this year, with learning how to train my body the correct way and not put myself through the trauma I have in the past.  Its difficult when you are competing with 25 year old’s, and knowing that their bodies react so much differently than yours.  But with age comes knowledge and I have to learn how my body needs to be trained and not over train because I feel the need to beat every 25 year old into submission.

Trust me.  Its a daily struggle.

I also had a lot of stress this past 6 months.  I’ve had to deal with an office reorganization on top of learning how to go from being the only woman on the team to leading 9 women on our own team.

Its been a rough ride.  Its been well worth it, but believe me, my ulcer and hormones have needed a break for awhile now.  And my weight shows it.

But when yesterday came and went, there wasn’t any guilt.  There wasn’t any shame.  There wasn’t any regret.  There was just happy, joyful, “NORMAL” me.

I kept waiting for it all to sink in and throw me into the pit of despair I had always fought when I would gain or lose weight or when my numbers weren’t as good as I thought they would be…

but it never happened.

I’m alive.  That’s pretty fucking amazing.

I’m an athlete.  We go through plateaus and barriers and we figure it out.

All of this is…

NORMAL.

For the lack of a better word…I am normal.

And while it still rubs me the wrong way when I say it…its ok.

Just this once 😛

 

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Chaos Reigns…

I realize its been awhile since my last update here.  I will try to update you with everything I can but just know that basically my life is Chaotic at best right now and life can sometimes hand you a curve ball…

In February, my office went through a big change.  We hired a new Executive Director and while he is great, he has changed a lot about the way our office works.  We also had a couple of key folks leave, thus creating a shortage in workforce, so a complete restructure had to happen.  In that, I actually came out very well, my job as Events Manager stayed pretty much the same, just a much more intensified schedule.  Where I would have had some downtime, I now have other duties, so work is pretty packed.

On top of that, I am also the Captain of the USA Womens Team for Battle of the Nations 2017 and that, combined with my personal training schedule and work is consuming most of my day.  What little free time I have I spend trying to clean my house, get my gear ready, spend time with my husband & fur kids and yes even play a little World of Warcraft.

While I do tend to thrive on Chaos…I do prefer to have ups and downs in that craziness.  It keeps me a bit more grounded and usually its only the last month before Worlds that I get a bit lost…this year, it happened a few months early.  So I do apologize for not getting an update out there sooner.  Just know everything is running much smoother than I could have imagined at first and after a minor breakdown or two, I am back on track.  Mostly.  I still have 6 weeks before Worlds, so who knows what will happen lol.

I did manage to add a few things to my “50 Firsts before my 51st” list and I did an updated video on my drive home from the Sonora Celtic Faire Tournament this past weekend.  So I can at least update you with that!

My 50 Firsts before my 51st Updated List!

  1. Climbed the Teotihuacan Pyramids, Mexico City
  2. Ate Crickets & Ant Larva, Mexico City
  3. Fought professional MMA Fighter, Josh Tyler
  4. Did my first Facebook Live Feed, in conjunction with Readyman.com
  5. Started Crossfit @Brickwall Crossfit
  6. Did my first official Crossfit WoD Competiton
  7. Drove thru Donner Pass
  8. Camped out in my new car
  9. A 17 Year promise finally fulfilled

So the list is growing and I am sure over the next 9 months it will grow exponentially and I am looking forward to sharing those moments with you when I can.  As I said, there will be some firsts that are a little too personal to share but I will at least denote them in some way 😛

Otherwise, I am currently deep into my training for the World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.  The competition runs from April 29 to May 1, but I will be doing some traveling before that and many of my firsts will come into play then.

On a side note, I did manage to read (listen) to Neil Gaiman’s new book “Norse Mythology” and I must say, it is extremely well done.  If you have ever had interest in the Sagas or the Poetic Eddas you should give this great book a chance.  I have gone through it twice now and I love it.  It’s very well written, it follows the most logical paths to the stories that I have heard and he bases his versions partially on Snorri Sturluson’s writings, which I have enjoyed.

Hopefully sometime within this year I can break away from my chaotic schedule and get to Iceland, it is on my list of places to see and right now tickets to Reykjavik have never been cheaper.  So, here’s hoping.

The USA Broad Swords are doing great, the USA Team as a whole will be announced soon and we are all preparing for our jaunt overseas.  After that I have DragonCon and ITOC to look forward to as well as a few other tournaments, in country and out.  So while the World Championships are first and foremost on my mind right now, there’s a lot of things coming up after that as well.

Hopefully you enjoy my little video as I am driving through the beautiful Donner Pass on my way home yesterday.  It was a glorious day and I couldn’t help but be filled with happiness and joy simply for being alive.

I think the full moon the night before set everything right again…

Here’s hoping…

The Bad Ass Valkyrie

 

 

 

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2017…Balance and Gratitude

2017 is finally here.  I have been embracing it for a full 5 days now, pondering where my focus might be this year.  Balance.  Along with gratitude, satisfaction and appreciation. These are what I plan to focus on.

  • Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; rediness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
  • Satisfaction: fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations or needs, or the pleasure derived from this.
  • Appreciation: the recognition and enjoyment of the good qualities of someone or something.

I am a woman who loves extremes.  Extreme sports, extreme lust, adrenaline, fear…anything that gives me that rush that drives me. My highs are pretty high but my lows can get pretty low.  When you find something that drives you, there comes a point where you exhaust your input and you seek more.  I will be the first person to tell you that “I want what I want when I want it”.  Period.  End of story.  When I don’t get what I want, or things don’t go the way I think they should go, I get pissy.  I know this about myself and I try very hard to NOT be this way, but, again, I am a balls to the wall kind of girl.

I won the husband lottery when I met Greg.  He understands the way I am, he navigates it VERY well and is pretty much the one person who can tell me NO and I listen.  Mostly.  And he knows this about me, and we have yet to have an actual fight.  Some of you more alpha males out there might think that he doesn’t have “control” in our relationship…and you would be wrong.  We have balance.  In my own life, I may be wild and chaotic, at best, but in my relationship with Greg, we actually have a very balanced lifestyle and it works very well for us.

A lot of folks who meet me first, or hell, have known me for years, and finally actually MEET Greg face to face are quite surprised at how we are together, as a couple.  I am very much the person I am when I am on my own, but I am also a wife and a lover and a partner when I am with him.  Thus our dynamic is very different, for each of us, when we are out together.  He has never felt the need to “control” me, nor does he need to.  When we are together we are balanced.  That actually happened very early on in our relationship and I think its one of the many reasons he and I clicked so well, because we just fit. We knew it from the moment we sat next to each other in his tiny little apartment and talked about getting married the night we met; and we know it now, 21 years later.

Greg is someone I am grateful for. Some one I appreciate and someone I am satisfied with. There is not another person on this planet that I can say that about.  He is my anchor in this crazy world and he is always my happy place.  Its funny, when I call him my anchor, he always thinks of it as a big weight that gets tossed overboard from a boat.  When I say it, I mean that he is what holds me in place and lets me bounce back to my home, my life and my happiness when I am stretched too far beyond my limits.

Which brings me back to BALANCE.

I have spent the last few years going to extremes and last year I entered 2016 with 2 major injuries, my ripped IT band and a tendon release on my left wrist.  I had a rough time recovering from both of those and I am very thankful I entered 2017 injury free.  But with the injuries I learned a very important lesson, one my body has been trying to tell me since I started training for this sport in 2013, I am NOT young any more lol.  I am 50 years old and I can’t train like a 25 year old and expect the same results.  My body is physically and metabolically different.  I don’t perform the same, I don’t recover the same, and finally I have realized I can not train the same as a 25 year old.

Thus balance is key.

Now, before we all start getting crazy ideas that I am hanging up my kit and walking away from fighting, remember…I am still that balls to the wall girl who THINKS she can do it all.  So, what I have come to realize is that in order for me to still be able to do this craziness, I have to find my balance, in my eating, in my training, in my running, in basically everything.  Even gaming!

After my big 50th Birthday celebration I needed down time.  And in typical Amy fashion, I went to the extreme and pretty much just gave in to everything.  I drank Coke, I ate sugar cookies, I played WoW all day long, and I sat on my ass.  It was the holidays…and the end of the year…and I needed to reset.  So I sort of just sat in my study, played video games and snuggled my furbabies all day long.

Did I need it?  Yes.  Did it feel good?  Yes.  Did I throw out most of my good habits for two and a half weeks?  Yes.

I don’t regret doing it…but I do wish I’d had a little more balance (and so does my scale).  But I do feel more clear about facing the new year and working on my 2017 goals.  I don’t really do resolutions as they are firm decisions to do or not to do something and the only place I like rigidity is in men and weapons, thus I prefer goals.

I had my first test of balance today actually.

I went into my running app to get my 2016 numbers. I was not a happy girl (injuries be damned).  So I did what any self respecting data tracker does (yes, I might be a little OCD when it comes to my body stats), I pulled ALL the numbers, all the way back to Jan 2013.  I started this sport in June, 2013 so this is even before then!

Instinctively, I started freaking out.  Running is the one place I have hard, solid numbers. Numbers don’t lie.  Numbers are how we win.  Winning is important…right?

(insert rabbit hole here)

I immediately wanted to top whatever the highest number was, because I had to be better than myself this time last year and I failed.  Then I started comparing this year’s numbers to last year’s numbers, then I broke it down by month. Then I went a little more crazy and went back 2 years.  Then 3 years.  How am I supposed to WIN when I can’t prove it with numbers…write down ALL the numbers…figure it out…make it work!!!

and that’s when I finally stopped myself.

What I ended up with, finally, was a way to “balance” my insanity…because not even getting HALF as many miles this year as I did last year was wigging me the fuck out.

I wrote down my monthly miles for the past 4 years.  I averaged them by month and decided to make a goal of the highest monthly average, which is 33.85 miles/month, which will put my mileage for the year at 406.20.  My highest monthly mileage was in August,2015 and I ran 90.13 miles that month(wtf was I thinking).  My knee jerk reaction was to run 91 miles every month…and I realized I was going way too extreme and reigned myself in.  So instead, I set a stretch goal of 41.66 miles/month which will put my mileage at 500+ miles at the end of the year if I meet it.

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Yes, there’s a little part of me that says “round up the numbers it’ll be better” but again, I am trying to find balance, even in my ocd-edness.

After actually typing all this out, I wondered what my actual average mileage was, overall. Its 23.18 miles/month.  I went back and looked at my stats. I met it once in 2016.  4 times in 2015, once in 2014 and 4 times in 2013.

I kind of see a pattern.

Go to an extreme, body forces rest.  Go to an extreme, body forces rest.

Balance.  I need it.  Numbers prove it.  Time to do it.

So folks…there’s a little peak into what my brain goes through in setting goals.  Yes, I know it STILL sounds a little insane, but that part is just Me.  I have other fitness goals for the year that I will not bore you with, but I am also going to focus more on gratitude and being grateful.  Satisfaction, even when I don’t meet my goal for a month or I miss something that could have been added to my “50 firsts by my 51st” list.  I am still so much more satisfied with my life, than I have ever been and that gives me an appreciation for this beautiful world that we live in and the people I choose to have in my life.

I am typically a positive person, I look at the world through the eyes of an optimist.  I prefer seeing the good in all things, and I want us to all be happy. Yet I know things will be hard, especially for us as a nation, over the next 4 years.  But I hope we all try and look at the world around us and figure out how to make it better, and how to find balance, even when most think we are surrounded by chaos.

Chaos isn’t a bad thing…you just have to be brave enough to face it and work through it. That’s it.  What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.  So find your strength, find your happiness…

Find Balance and be Grateful

Here’s to a great 2017 – skål

Amy Graham – The Bad Ass Valkyrie

 

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50 Firsts before my 51st…

December 13, 2016 I started my 50th year on this planet.

I have made many different plans on what I wanted to do for my 50th birthday but none of them seemed ‘quite right’. Traditionally, I have started the first day of December with Amypalooza…its just a big count down to my birthday on the 13th…sort of my own version of the 12 Days of Amy so to speak.

Birthdays growing up were never a big deal in my family, thus as I grew older and was able to celebrate them as I choose, I like being able to have a big celebration if I want to.  I know had Greg and I ever had kids, we had planned on big birthday parties every other year, and small dinners with one or two friends the off years.  Greg always had huge parties and he got to a point he didn’t like them…so a balance of the two seemed like the best idea.  I have always felt that celebrating the day of your birth is important…as are surprises, presents, flowers and hugs!  But I’m just that kind of woman…

This year was the big Five-O for me.  I wanted to do something special since I was never meant to see this birthday.  I thought of photo shoots, coffee table books, calendars, tshirts, and every other crazy idea I could imagine.  Then, I knew what I wanted to do.

50 Firsts before my 51st.     (FYI Greg came up with the great title)

Over the course of this next year I will do 50 things I have never done before and hopefully document them in a way that I can put them into a coffee table book that I can have for the next 50 years.  I asked a few of my older friends what they did to celebrate their 50th birthday and some had a party, some went to dinner, some didn’t acknowledge it and some…to my HUGE surprise…had no idea what they’d done.  They couldn’t remember!!!

Those of you that have known me for more than 15 minutes realize I am not someone who will turn 50 quietly.  FUCK THAT!!!

So yes, I will have several actual photo shoots, I will have a big damn party (thank you to the bestest friend on the planet for hosting it in Boise this weekend) and I will shout it from the top of the tallest pyramids I can find…literally!!!

I am 50.  I am a fighter and I am MIGHTY!!!

In my short first video blog (vlog) I have attached, you will see me get a little emotional.  I can tell you the energy, the power, the strength and the love that I felt on top of the Teotihuican Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico City was pretty amazing and I am glad this whole crazy adventure started there.

 

So the list stands as follows: 2 Down, 48 to go!

50 Firsts before my 51st

  1. Climb an Ancient Pyramid (I climbed 3 actually)
  2. Eat A Bug (I ate a cricket and Ant Larvae, those will count for something damn it!)

 

I have a few more that I know will happen like getting my first tattoo done out of the country, hopefully seeing a new country or two (Mexico didn’t count since I had been there in college technically).  Running my first Spartan Race in June.  Meeting some of my birth family this summer, and maybe even Harry Potter World for my 20th Wedding Anniversary.

We will see where this Adventure takes me…my life is pretty damn fantastic and honestly I am more blessed than I ever thought I would deserve but I know I am exactly where I should be, doing what I should be doing and that’s a very powerful feeling.

Even at just a few months ago I was pondering just how long I have left in the fighting arena, yet now, with new training methods and some possible breakthroughs in technology, I no longer dread the end, because I can see myself fighting longer than I ever have before.  I don’t worry as much about fighting women half my age and half my size, I fight my own fight.  I train my own body.  I am the athlete I am supposed to be, and if that doesn’t fit into your views of who I should be, that’s your own opinion.  I fight for myself, no one else.  I lead a group of women fighters who train for themselves, who fight for themselves and who can stand alone against all odds.  We all choose to come together and become a team who fights for our Country and will defend one another at all costs.  That is a powerful thing and I am proud to be a part of it.

This grand adventure has no limits, no negatives and no boundaries.  Celebration is the order of the day and I plan to embrace it ALL.  If I can eat a cricket in a cave after climbing ancient ruins, surrounded by people I love…I can do pretty much anything!

So buckle up folks…its gonna be one hell of a ride!!!

 

 

 

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Extensions of Me…

Along my path I have been asked about various things that I do when I fight, when I make my weapons and what prepares me to do what I do.  Last night I finished up my new axe and was painfully reminded of why I don’t skip steps.

Years ago at Melee Madness, an awesome SCA event that gets held at the closest thing we have to a castle here in Utah, I was awarded a prize, a beautiful axe, and proclaimed the “Meanest mother” for that event.  Not in a Motherly sense…in a bad motherfracker sense just so you know.  That axe was awesome but using it in steel practice had cracked the haft that came with it (hard woods don’t last long in this sport) and thus sat on my work table needing to be fixed for several months.

I decided to re-haft it with rattan and put my own energy into it so that I could use it in competitions when I wanted to use a punch shield & single handed weapon instead of my halberd.  I also wanted to be sure Hannah had something to fight with at ITOC in a week, so I got to work on Sunday.

Everything went smoothly once I got the old haft out. I shaved down my rattan, formed it to fit the head almost perfectly and then got it all stained.  I let it cure in the heat of my garage for a full 24 hours and last night I was ready to put my finishing touches on it, knowing I wanted Hannah to have some time with it to get used to the feel.  Only I had to work late.  So, once I made it home I got to work.

I had everything I needed, I’d done the rune transcription and all I had to do was put it all together!  Easy!  Or so I thought.  Since Hannah was going to be using this weapon I decided not to follow my regular hafting rituals.  Normally I rune my own inscription into my weapons as an extension of me, putting part of my energy into it, as I have taken away some of the earth’s energy that it had.

However, I knew this weapon would be used by others, so I inscribed its name instead, therefore letting it carry its own energy to the user. I usually also add a few droplets of blood to the weapon, its a personal thing for me and something I learned from someone who has much more magic inside them than I ever hope to.  But because again, I felt that it might interfere with the energy of another user I decided not to.  In that very instant that I made the decision not to, my lovely furchild Heimdall, the BattleCat pushes my leather shears off the table and some how manages to carve a nice gash into the tip of my big toe.  Then he jumps down, and promptly lays on it, rolling around in it like a wee devil of a beast.  For those of you that know me personally, you know I tend to follow the Norse Gods, and I found it quite fitting that the message I got, was in the form of a cat.

Thus, I did end up adding several drops of blood to the weapon (some not by choice), whether it was a message or not, and decided then and there I would never forego a step in my own ritual again.  Feline message received, loud and clear.  Raven’s Beak feels great in my hands and I can only hope that the energy that went into it, will flow freely for anyone else that wields it.  I will also take care when and if that weapon gets used against me, for a weapon will always transfer energy back into its owner…one way or another lol.

I talk a lot about energy.  I truly believe in good and bad energy, and that you can transfer that energy from one thing to another.  A tradition I learned many years ago from a man I admire greatly taught me that everything in this world gives something up to become another thing.  Camric and his crew that were visiting us from Gleann Ahbann burned their shields at the end of an event, returning the energy to the earth. The shields had protected them and given their energy to the bearer and thus that energy was returned.  At my squiring ceremony a year later, Camric, who is also known as Green Shield, sent me part of his ducal shield, that had won him two crown tournaments.  It was to be burned so that the energy released would protect me, as it protected him.  At the time it was the most touching thing a fighter had ever done for me, and I didn’t want to let it go!  But when it came time to put that relic in the fire, along with bits of my fighting history and other relics from fighters I knew and cherished, I knew my first personal ritual had been born.

Now, when I retire a shield or a haft is broken, its burned. When I haft a new weapon, bits of it are saved and I burn them at various points when I want to put a little bit of me into the earth.  I took shavings from my halberd to Prague this year and burned them in the campfire at our encampment, to add my own bit of magic in a far away land.

I rune my weapons, I engrave my swords.  I carry Valkyrie wings into battle, so that I can pass them on to people who have inspired me.  I have small bottles of earth, rocks and other natural tokens from my battlefields because I was given a small container of earth from the first battlefield the United States team ever walked on to…and that meant the world to me, so I have carried on that tradition.

Simple things and simple actions, with sentiment behind them mean a lot to me.  The tokens I have received from fighters these past few years aren’t expensive or laden with gold, they simply mean something to the giver and to me.  That type of tradition, that type of ritual…that type of energy, is what I feel when I talk about magic.  They all invoke a spirit of togetherness, of inspiration and of a moment in time that can never be taken away.

So when I create a weapon, or hand sew a garment, or give away a token, its all an extension of me.  There is thought, inspiration and yes, even a little bit of magic in everything I do.  Its a part of me, a part of who I am…of who I’ve become, because of all those that came before me, of those that inspired me to do more.  Who gave a little bit of their magic to make mine stronger and to help me confront the negative we all inevitably have to face in one form or another.

Put good into the world.

Return positive energy to the Earth when you can.

Live a life worthy of inspiring.

Pass on your own magic.

Believe…

 

 

 

 

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Armored Combat, bariathlete, bariatric surgery, BotN, Dragon Con, Full Contact Medieval Combat, gastric bypass, IMCF, Medieval Fighting, Mixed Medieval Martial Arts, SCA Fighting, Sword Fighter, Uncategorized, weightloss success

Dragon Con 2016

I got back from Dragon Con 2016 last night.  I fell asleep surrounded by my furbabies and my loving husband.  When I woke up this morning I was rejuvenated in ways I can’t describe.  I am an extrovert that thrives on energy others give off and Dragon Con is one of the best places to ‘feed’ on energy.

I arrived Thursday afternoon and immediately spent time with friends I usually only see once a year. That seems like a theme for me, since when I compete overseas, I only get to see those fighters from other countries once a year as well.  All in all its much better than not seeing them within the span of a year, that is for certain.

This year I drank deadly mai tais, danced with dragons, fought with 15 other fighters in the ‘Octagon of Doom’ and still ended up with plenty of sleep and feeling refreshed at the end of it all.  Some would say I was doing it wrong…but I can tell you, I am doing it right.

My husband only goes every other year, and this was his year to attend.  Sadly, he wasn’t able to join me and I really missed him, as did our friends. Sometimes I wonder who they’d miss more lol…not really.  He is perfectly amazing in his introverted ‘extrovert’ shell and more loveable than anyone could ever imagine.  He is committed now to next year as I have already secured the hotel AND his pass.  Gregman Cometh…or there will be hell to pay!

This year I was also saddened that one particular entourage was no where to be found.  Alas, he and his companions were kept away by a crazy shooting schedule, thus I was left to my own devices.  Those included a lot of coffee, some banana bread and sleep.

I did however get to be a part of a particularly wonderful panel of women, show off my armor in an armor fashion show panel and fight my ass off on Sunday.  All in all, a damn fine showing for Dragon Con. We didn’t walk or fight in the Parade this year and I missed the Geek Girl Fun Run thanks to previously mentioned deadly Mai Tai’s but still, it was a great event.  I even have highly inappropriate video to prove it…maybe if I get the ability to edit it, I will post what I can.

Aside from my family of friends and fighters, the thing that stuck out most about this year was the love and affection I felt everywhere I went.  Whether it was a longtime fan or someone that had just met me, they made me feel great. I went into this con a little down but coming out the other side of it refreshed, empowered and filled with love and kinship is amazing.

Having people walk up to you and tell you that you’ve changed their lives…that pretty much takes the cake on winning anything…ever.  I just love knowing that some how, at some point I made people think about things differently and that makes any kind of pain or discomfort I have in sharing (or oversharing) worth it.  I truly love my life and I wouldn’t change anything about it, even if I could.  Its way too much fun!

So for all those folks that stopped me at the panels, in the halls, on the Marta or even in the airport to tell me how much they enjoyed my talk and my fighting…thank you.  You are the reason I continue to do this and I hope that I never let you down.

And for those folks that told me I remind them of Lynda Carter…I still love you to the Moon…or maybe even all the way to Themyscira  🙂

I also want to take a moment and thank David Skirmont for the amazing portrait of me this year.  He always does such wonderful things for us at Dragon Con, and he is an amazing photographer.

Also, Aaron Cherrington who took great photos of us all and filmed all my fights.  As well as Thomas Riley at youtube/MedievalReview who filmed many of our panels and fights.

All of you gentlemen contributed time and efforts to us that can never be repaid.  Thank you so very, very much.  It means a great deal to us all!

To the Palmetto Knights and all the fighters and support that came and helped out in the panels, in the fights and in The Armory…y’all Rock!  Much love to each and every one of you…<3

I had a wonderful time and I am already counting down to next year.

See you in 2017 Dragon Con!!!

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