Monday, October 29, 2007

First of all, I want you to know that I have never been "really" injured (knocks wood furiously).

I have never broken a bone, I have rarely bled, and I have never had to have surgery, so far, as a result of an injury in Japanese-paradigm based martial arts training.

I had a moderate medial ankle sprain to my deltoid ligament and supporting structures in 1998, and a mild shoulder separation/shoulder jam from 1995, and one Nov 27, 2007. The real pisser is, that something that happened 12 years ago, happened again. With trusted friends, in a technique whose ukemi I thought I had overcome. In seven years of training with Chuck, I have never had more than a bruise.

I got him to take a pic: Nice bruising, and the articulation between clavicle and shoulder capsule is standing up even more than it did before. The Rolfing process had brought it down to almost unnoticeable, and hopefully my colleagues can iron it out for me again, once I can stand to have it manipulated.

I saw the orthopedist, who instructed me to ice, take something for pain (Naproxen sodium 1000 mg per day, with Nexium to protect my stomach) and to "dangle" my arm down by my side to take the pressure off the swelled, jammed bursa. I've probably ripped the acromioclavicular ligament up again and the rear trap feels sore and stiff. I'm also getting stiff in the front and back from splinting, hematoma and swelling.

The good news is, I have good mobility and steadily lessening (thank goodness!!) pain. I checked my journal from the last time I did this, and I was swimming laps (while cursing) in about two weeks. I've called the local osteopath as well, and hope to get started on physical therapy next week. Last time, I didn't have health insurance!

I got on the mat casually, and was just sort of "messing about" and just didn't have my focus tuned in. It came back sharply after the injury, and I managed, somehow, to "go inside" and reduce the dislocation myself. I don't remember much about it but a deep determination and a soft POP, which everyone else heard.

The reason for the injury was my lack of focus.
It's not a problem I have on Chuck's mat, but I don't have my head on right for aikido, any more. I've never been an ukemi bunny... but I've managed to survive, and hopefully not be a complete idiot.

The pain is just that, pain. The feeling of being stupid, and WORSE! feeling like I let down everyone at the seminar, especially Peter and our own dojo. The feeling of failure, and not being able to participate, was way more painful than the injury.

I am still touched, by the people who ministered to me. The thrower was deeply apologetic, and the resident nurse made me promise to see the ortho and splinted the arm for me for the drive home. Peter sprayed me down with arnica, and Pauliina just put her hands on the owie and held it-- one of the best things for acute pain. Karl managed to find me ice, and Barbara brought me more. Pauliina hovered like a concerned mother ducky. I'm afraid I stole Peter's training towel to wrap the ice pack in.. will send that back with his notes.
Someone brought me homeopathic arnica, which I don't believe in, but, in extremis, what the hell.

The seminar was a blast, and a great success, and that's the important thing.
I'm especially grateful to everyone who stepped up and pitched in around the house.

Good friends are great blessings.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dear friends are warning me against returning.

It may be, that I have a choice, but, uninsulated by the Status of Forces agreement, incompetent in the language and laws of the land, and compelled by circumstance to cut the political umbilical cord which connects cg to free housing, utilities, and a kind of allowance against the death-spiral of the dollar (suppressed by our politics:, thanks Cousin Frank!), we need to go back to what we know.

Or move to Costa Rica, whatever.

Researching the neighborhood I am thinking of moving to, Travis Heights in Austin, I find that someone I knew in high school was stabbed to death in a parking lot on the east side of the highway there, in June 2006. Schoolchildren found his body in the morning. I wonder, if he would have wanted to be a warning. Perhaps, he would have. I remember some author's mantra, if you can't be a good example, at least be a terrible warning.

I knew his sister, we worked together in high school. I knew he was a performer, but I had never seen him work. He dropped out of school, to become a juggler.

I used to work in the biggest theater in town, the Americana. It was surreal, not just because we were all young and experimenting with everything... well, I wasn't, chemically anyway. My grip on reality has always been slippery enough, without loosening it further with any kind of psychoactive WD40.

I hadn't thought about the guy since last I saw him, had never connected him with the Esther's Follies performances, and his little sister was just, like, oh, he does stuff... Shelly, I'm so sorry. His name was, is "Ryder" Red Ryder, Warren Schwarz. Sorry I am so late in my salute. Sorry I never saw him "do his thing" in person. Watched it on YouTube. You know, I used to wonder why he wore a top hat in school... figured he had a reason, thought it was cool.

We want to think well of the departed, but I think this guy is more than that. He made his mistakes, he was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, seen by the wrong person in the wrong circumstance. There's very little defense anyone can make use of, once these variables are tipped. I think he would have wanted to be an example. He was a good guy, and never meant to do harm. It's just hard to get past personal demons.. sometimes they win. Did I say I was sorry? It's a pitiful mantra, but it's all I've got.

Meanwhile, I feel now, like I'm stepping over the bones of the past, to come home. I've warned my ex, and we are having a nice email conversation. He is a great and generous person, and I would recommend him to anyone who could do right by him.

When you don't exactly burn your bridges, but you don't take time to put them out either, it's a delicate negotiation, to come back home. Unapologetic Dixie Chix fan that I am, just listen to Long Way Home and you'll get the way I've been on.

Dear friends have warned me against most of the things I have held, and will hold dear, in my life.
You'll just have to keep loving me, when I nod, give you a hug, and go do whateverthatstupidthing was that worried you so much, understand that even I don't understand the path I'm on. How can I? Women in budo don't exactly have a blazed trail to follow.

When Opportunity calls me home, there must be something there for me to do.
I ended up over here, and, while I am no christian, I have tried to be an instrument of peace, deep in the entrails of war. I have never loved a fight so much, as what I have had, here.

With my mate by my side, I have raked over coals many comfortable bureaucrats who would rather hold down a chair, than benefit the people who pay their salary.
I have taken in the stragglers the medical community would, well, medicate out of existence, and made them walk again. Literally. I make soldiers who would be useless, on medication, function.
Throw that away, if you have the IQ of a stapler. Contact me, otherwise.

Brother Peter, brother Francis, you know I have work here, to do. You know I will make myself mobile and available to those who call out for laying on of hands in a particularly effective manner, to keep the Word (of budo) alive.

Through it, around it, and by my own inability to pay attention to whatever the damnfool StatQuo thinks it's on about, maybe we can educate some folks still able to Pay Attention.

Ryder, I took those Texas Employment Tests, and they said I would excel at Sleight of Hand.

You'd love, where I took that joke.

Right up their noses.
No, really..

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm one of those rare modern Americans who has a home.
It's Austin, Texas, if you ask my mother, who was there (after a fashion) at the time.

I'm doubly lucky in that my home is one national leaders have falsely claimed as their own, to gain the imperative of respect. If you count luck as the Dutch do, Austin is lucky. We are the Amsterdam of the Southwest US.

I can say "we" again.

While I was in Austin last March, I asked a veteran in my profession (SI) what it was like to be in a town which respected, and supported, what she did.

She smiled, said it was a great joy and a great honor.
You know, we never needed to say anything... I felt it in her, and she felt it in me.
I was on the verge of my homesick tears, and she comforted me, in a very grounding, structural way.

Since then, every time I have gotten a session (damn few, due to my remote location!), I have gotten up ready to "to go" in a place slow to orient, evolve and accept. I can only hammer one will at a time to what I do... and if I don't have Chuck's job to give me time and space, I don't have time to beat my way through the brush. Stuck in Army limbo, it's hard to make a commitment, except to the Army. And that's not going to happen. Too many broken bodies, broken lives, too little care, too little time, too little too late, too many demands on folks considered in this administration an underclass, rewarded with capital letters and rotting rehabilitation facilities... too much heartbreak.

I've lost my patience, and am not willing to lose my mind, break my fingers and my will against a multitude of stubbornnesses and stupidities.
The Oberpfalzers like to watch everything for years, before they give it a try. They won't have time to wait, with me. The very nature of my existence here is ephemeral, as far as they are concerned. And they will miss what I have been taught, because they were too slow to try it.

I've learned the language, I've learned to appreciate the culture, there are things I love, and things I can't get. I would stay, but the environment is not pro-business, and the language, bureaucracy and culture are deeply opaque. I have gone in further than most non-natives, and can converse in a limited fashion. I hate the limits, though. I suppose I would hate them, anywhere.

The Army is, if anything, slower and more stubborn as an organization. Individuals who discover the benefit, like the lieutenant I saw today, putting her body together 10 months after the birth of her first child and made a passing grade on her PT test for the first time, are quick adapters. The rheumatologist who came to me with jaw problems for herself, and sends me the most interesting clients, is another quick adapter. Her efforts to bring SI work into wider exposure have been beautiful and ambitious. However, preaching to stones is preaching to stones. I cannot bring people into responsibility. I can just prod them upright...

So when this same veteran put out the call for professionals in her area at a new holistic health center in Austin, I sent a small sad note that I wish I could respond. She said, they'd be glad to have me.

I talked to my husband, who has not been extended in Germany, by a penny-pinching administration.
He encouraged me, and knows I've been suppressing my homesickness for our good, and his career, for years now.

He is willing to do what it takes, to support what it is I am here to do.
This is what started the whole odyssey.

So I find myself back at the beginning of the maze, possibly with a lot of cheese.
As long as we're not starving, I'll hope it's not Velveeta.

Apple crunches sweet and sour
fall sunshine.
Piercing regret,
sweetness lingers.

Endless summer girl
I don't mourn the summer slipping
Only the slip
Of time and memory.

Fall is
sinking into the Dark.
We Fall...
Life is ever in the balance

of Dark.
There is no fear.
Only bright splashes of color
preservation of the Light
and survival.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I've got a love letter in my soul, for Bavaria.

The implacable goddess with her swords and her arrows, hunting hounds at her feet and the harvest at her breast, the direct mother of the Texas star. Beer-gardens, hunting stands, fields and trees, industry and agriculture combined with a live free or die lifestyle has been the Bayer's lifestyle since they were tribes.

I've been living with my love letter to Austin, tucked into my sport bra, worn to illegibility, secret and sweaty, up until this time. Even I can't read it any more. Something about the soulfulness of always being overheated, stuck in traffic, overcharged for beer or coffee, and grumbling about trendies and tourists taking over the place.

I've got a love letter in my soul, for Europe.

She's been dealing with the idealists, slackers and drunks and druggies of the world as long as the Continent has been dry. One weekend in Amsterdam will teach anyone the limits of human tolerance to addictive idiocy. Everyone wonders why the French are so crabby in Paris -- I'm sure the average native Austinite feels the same about SXSW.

Somewhere, someone drew the short straw, and I got an invitation to go Home.

I'm pretty sure I'm ready.
Just don't ask me to stay during boiling August and early September, or juniper-poisoned January/mid February. For the rest of the time, I'm ready to get my feet on the ground, and my hands into people willing and ready to change.

I'm ready to get life off the starting line.

Meanwhile, I've fallen in love with damp, cold Bavaria, and will miss her sweet, clammy hands... the fall colors, the quick seasons, the fall colors, the SNOW, the feverish short summers, mushrooms, apples, berries and bittersweet sloes.

It's part of the cost of musashugyo, to miss all the places you visited.
I'm lucky enough to have this experience, and will never forget it.

Actual love letters coming shortly...