Friday, March 30, 2012

The Voice of Choice (politics, abortion, not BJJ)

Payback Is a Bitch for Abortion Clinic Protestors, Thanks to a Brilliant Landlord

reposted from Jezebel, by Cassie Murdoch, March 30, 2012.

Todd Stave has the unenviable position of being the landlord of a building in Germantown, Maryland, which he leases to an abortion provider called Reproductive Health Services Clinic. So he knows a little something about dealing patiently with anti-abortion protesters. But when they started calling him at home at all hours and harassing his family, he got fed up and came up with a very clever solution: Do unto others as they have been doing unto you.

Problems really began for Stave at the end of 2010, when he leased his building to LeRoy Carhart, one of the only doctors in the U.S. who openly acknowledges that he performs late-term abortions. As you can imagine, he's a controversial man, and protesters come from far and wide. There is a constant group of them parked outside, praying and holding up signs, many of which have pictures of mangled fetuses. That's pretty much a landlord's nightmare, and yet Stave has a very calm attitude about it. He told Petula Dvorak of the Washington Post this week,

It's their right. They are protected by the First Amendment. And outside the clinic is probably the most appropriate place for them to express their views.

If you're wondering how Stave can remain so relaxed about the situation, he explains, "I've been a member of this fight since Roe v. Wade. Since I was 5 years old." You see, the clinic used to belong to his father, and then his sister ran it. When he was younger, the office was firebombed, and protesters were often gathered outside his dad's house. So he's used to a certain level of harassment and he'll tolerate it — but only up to a point. And recently, the usually calm, cool, and collected Stave was pushed to his limit.

It's common practice for anti-abortion protesters to disseminate doctors' personal information and urge people to harass them—and it can clearly go far beyond that, as with the 2009 murder of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas. LeRoy Carhart, who's now in Stave's clinic, had his Nebraska farm burned to the ground back in 1991. But protesters in Maryland figured out they could start targeting Stave for owning the clinic's property. He was largely unfazed by this campaign, until last fall when they took it too far. On his daughter's first day in middle school, a large group of people protested outside her school, and then they showed up again for back-to-school night. They were naturally carrying signs with his name and contact info and those nasty pictures of fetuses.

Stave was furious, and then it got even worse. Dozens of the protestors began calling him at home, around the clock. His friends wanted to help him fight back; that's when Stave had the brilliant idea of turning the tables on his tormentors. He began recording the names and numbers of the assholes who called, and then he gave the list of info to his friends and asked them to call these people back on his behalf. Shazam! And the really smart part was that when someone from Team Stave called, they always took the high road. He explains,

In a very calm, very respectful voice, they said that the Stave family thanks you for your prayers. They cannot terminate the lease, and they do not want to. They support women's rights.

Genius. While it was initially only a few friends doing the calling, the group quickly expanded. Soon, he was up to having 1,000 callers at his disposal. And they got crafty too. They'd look up information on the people who'd placed unwanted calls to Stave, and then when they called, they'd drop the names of the person's children or their school into the conversation. They'd also, said Stave, "tell them that we bless their home on such and such street," and then name their address. Are you getting shivers up you're spine yet? Stave's calling force became so powerful that sometimes he was able to hammer an unwanted caller with up to 5,000 calls in return. Looks like two can play at this game, stalkers.

Stave's approach was so appealing that he was flooded with people from all over wanting to help. So he organized Voice of Choice, which now has about 3,000 volunteers. They don't just fight back for Stave anymore. They'll make calls on behalf of whoever is being bullied by anti-abortion protesters, whether it's a doctor or a landlord or their family.

When asked if he thought this method of payback was harsh, Stave said no: "We gave them back what they gave us." Actually, not even. You gave back a mild, family-friendly version of what they gave to you. You proved to them that you know where they live and who their children are, but you didn't show up at their homes and schools and threaten them. You didn't come onto their lawn with posters detailing terrible imaginary things that they've done. You're serving up Revenge Lite™: Tastes great, less killing.

What's more, Stave is strict about who Voice of Choice will make calls for. If it's just run-of-the-mill protests outside clinics, he won't help them because he believes in people's First Amendment right to be out there saying what's on their mind. Protestors must be personally harassing doctors or landlords in order for Stave to step in. If only abortion opponents had the same respect for people doing what they were allowed by law to do. Ahem.

So this is the part where the evil bullies who've plagued him (and others) at all hours of the day or night learn their lesson after having a taste of their own medicine, right? Yep, yep. They all realized they were being horrible, and now every anti-abortion protester is treating their pro-choice opponents with the utmost respect. HA. No. Actually this is the part in the story where it gets much worse. Ready?

Since Voice of Choice has been such a success, Stave was honored by NARAL in California last week. Knowing that he was going to be out of town receiving the award, his personal band of haters chose that moment to canvass his neighborhood with fliers that had a photo of Stave in a Nazi uniform, photos of Holocaust victims, and bloody fetuses. [Pause for a brief rage-stroke intermission.] Of course, the fliers had Stave's contact information—and all of the phone numbers and addresses for other members of his family.

This goes without saying but, nevertheless: This is so incredibly fucked up. First of all, the guy owns a building, not a concentration camp. Second of all, what kind of person picks up a flier like that and thinks, "I need to get in touch with this Nazi!" God help us all.

Obviously Stave's daughter and all of his neighbors saw the fliers, but the contact information for Stave's family members must have been spread around. Because on Monday an abortion protestor showed up at the dental office owned by Stave's brother-in-law and began doing his abortion-protestor routine outside. That's such a great idea — I'm sure the random patient walking in for a cleaning is totally going to make the connection that the dentist's brother-in-law owns a building where there's an abortion clinic, and therefore abortion is wrong. At this point, Stave was back in town, so he went over to confront the protestor. And when he got there, the creep said, "How was your trip to San Francisco?" Deep inhale, slow exhale.

It is amazing that people like Stave have fortitude to stand up to psychos like this coming at them from every direction, but thank heavens they do, because, honestly, the thought that these protesters get away with so much is sickening. It's hard to know where these nutcases will end when it comes to making Stave's life a living hell—but it's probably not going to get any better now that he's getting more and more national media attention.

At least we know he's got plenty of backup from Voice of Choice. The worse these people get, the longer VoC can keep them on the phone, telling them all about the many "blessings and prayers" they're sending to their home addresses and to the locations of their children's daycare centers. Then everyone will be so busy making and receiving calls that they'll have less time to spend protesting outside clinics. And maybe in the future, we'll get to a magical place where both sides are talking to each other 100 percent of the time, and a woman will be able to walk right up to the front door of an abortion clinic without being harassed—because everyone will be so busy talking on the phone to their enemies to notice or care what she's choosing to do with her body.

Read more about it here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Brazilian Legs Drill

Relearned it in class Monday night, and been putting it into use ever since... :) Donald suggested we watch the Zak v Kron match to see it in action-- but maybe I have the wrong Zak v. Kron or maybe I'm distracted with work, because I'm not seeing it here! Tell me if I'm wrong!

Shoutout to teammate Travis Orr, competing at his first Pan as a brownbelt this weekend. Are you watching it on BudoVideos? I am curious how it will work as I've heard they'll be streaming all the matches, all the time... that's a damn lot of work! And good luck to everyone else I know competing this year-- Mallory, Jennifer, Dolph, Gianni, the Evil Twins Christopher and Christian... Wish I could be there to cheer you on, maybe next year!

Also, a cool list from Inner BJJ of the 50 top BJJ blogs.

While I'm here-- this is what I'm making for dinner tonight.

Hoisin Pork with Napa Cabbage
serves 4; 290 calories per serving

1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips (about 3 inches long)
1 tsp. kosher salt; more to taste
3 Tbs. hoisin sauce
2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs. canola or peanut oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
6 cups napa cabbage, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces (about 3/4 lb.)
1 red bell pepper, cored, thinly sliced, and cut into 2- to 3-inch lengths
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

In a large bowl, season the pork with 1/2 tsp. of the salt. In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar.

Heat 2 Tbs. of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet or large stir-fry pan over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until it browns and loses most of its raw appearance, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the skillet. Add the garlic, and once it begins to sizzle, add the cabbage and pepper. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring, until the cabbage starts to wilt, about 2 minutes.

Add the hoisin mixture, the pork, and half of the green onion and cook, tossing, until heated through, about 1 minute. Let sit for 2 minutes off the heat (the cabbage will exude some liquid and form a rich broth), toss well again, and serve sprinkled with the remaining green onion.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Check out the Science of Skill!

I was recently interviewed as a "top BJJ nerd" by Dan over at ScienceofSkill and I have to say, it's a mesmerizing blog. Mesmerizing because he links to so much cool stuff, and subdivides his content nicely too. There's a section on MicroBJJ for the little guy (and of course, sections about Robson Moura and the Mendes Brothers) as well as performance psychology, skill acquisition, fight strategy... I really dig it :) So I've added Dan's blog to my blogroll (and to my list of reasons the workday doesn't seem to have enough time in it...)

Hope you all had a good weekend, I did! Excited to see off one of my teammates, Travis, who's competing at the Pan in just a couple days... excited to put into use some new butterfly stuff... did some gardening and cleaned up flower beds that exploded in weeds with all the rain we've had.. also helped my husband install our new oven (and promptly baked cookies in it, just to test it out!)

I will say it's been heaven to train at my new academy. For one thing, I know you'll say bad idea, but I don't feel like I have to take charge of my own training any more. I don't agonize over what my goals should be or what I should be working on next, because I have that much faith in my instructor. I guess it could be seen as lazy? but I'm perfectly content to work on what he tells me to, in the order he chooses to present it. Because I have so much trust in his judgment, and I believe he truly watches us and cares that we're digesting the material, and he's giving it to us in the best order for us to grasp it conceptually. It's also awesome because he rolls with all of us. It's a miserable feeling, in a way, because I'm sure I'm revealing how little progress I'm making or how poorly I am applying his lessons-- but he's very patient, and if I ask questions in the middle, he'll give suggestions and hints. So I feel like there's a finger on the pulse of the academy. Good hands on the reins. Whatever lame analogy I can come up with on a Monday morning.

When I should be working!

The Raptor gi has been worn a bunch, so it's ready for review. I'm about halfway through Emily Kwok's DVD, the B12 instructional, and 1/4 of the way through Drysdale's no-gi one as well. Coming soon, as soon as I can!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring cleaning cookies.


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons evaporated milk (or regular milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or maple flavor is good too)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans


Preheat the oven to 375. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the evaporated milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture till just barely combined (do not overmix, you'll have tough cookies). Mix in the oats, chocolate chips, coconut and pecans. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be spaced about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown but still soft looking. Cool slightly on cookie sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stupid criminal!

Prosecutor friend in another state just emailed me:

I was told when I started at this job that by the time we catch a rapist in [my state], it was estimated he had raped six times... Curiously, I just handled a case where the rapist (who was walked in on by a roommate in mid-act and fled) was recognized by that roommate a couple of months later when the rapist walked into her rape counseling center in [large urban city] to volunteer as a counselor. They gave him a bottle of water at the rape crisis center as they interviewed him, swapped out the bottle as he toured the facility, then matched his DNA from the bottle with his semen from that rape (one of several he ended up matching for).

I was so proud of that counselor and their cool-headedness... I could kiss them.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Exhilarating weekend!

I had a great weekend :)

I got to train twice-- a good review class on Saturday, covering high guard armbars when they stand up in your guard, or omoplatas and the omoplata sweep as an option. I had a really fun training partner who was encouraging and didn't make me feel stupid, which was awesome. Because my omoplata sweep? It looks more like I'm having an epileptic fit on the edge of a cliff and my partner has to pull me back from the brink of death.

And then afterwards, we did some king of the hill stuff that reminded me how far I have to go even against blue belts. (Of course, they're badass blues who trained with my instructor all summer, but they were able to crush me before that too. Not to mention the purples and browns!)

Then Sunday was good positional sparring without really any rest between rounds, for a solid hour.

I have been super depressed over the whole fertility thing lately. I don't know if "this month" worked or not (give me a couple days) but I've been so sure (based on doctors' opinions, reading, research etc) that I just can't get pregnant on my own that I even bailed on my "no caffeine and take it easy" plan... on Saturday even though my heartrate got up to 140 I only sat out one round, and after class I had half a coke. I know, not exactly deep sin, but picture me living the cleanest most careful life before-- that coke was the sweetest, fizziest thing I've ever tasted, and I was just thinking "Fuck it, I'm not pregnant anyway and I'll never get pregnant so who cares!" (Good thing I'm not, like, a cocaine addict or something-- then I'd probably get pregnant in half a second. Half a coke is not much caffeine, before you call CPS or the Republican Party and report me.)

Anyway-- everything's come up roses now, because I found out last night that there is potential to do IVF, and if that works, maybe late this year or next year I'll be pregnant! The short version is, we do a couple cycles where they get the most number of the best possible quality eggs out of me. They add my wonderful husband to the mix, get a bunch (hopefully!) of embryos, and they test them. Any that are chromosomally abnormal wouldn't implant (connect the placenta to my bloodstream in the uterus) anyway-- so they only put back the one(s) that will make a baby. Hopefully there's more than one normal one, in which case they leave the remainder on ice so I can poop out a sibling (or more!) in the future!

I love my husband for supporting me in this very emotional, very scary, very expensive journey. He's amazing. And I'm walking on clouds today. I dreamed about it last night. I feel like this huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders, like I can do anything! Anddddd.... because for the next bunch of months (number as yet unknown) my eggs will be taken out of me, I still have to eat clean and be healthy, but I don't have to worry that working out hard will stop me from getting pregnant. Soooooo, I can get back to the stress relief and healthy living on the mats!!!!

While we're talking healthy-- here's a fabulous Vietnamese-inspired chicken salad that's fast and easy to make. You can wrap it in lettuce leaves, put it in rice paper/spring roll wrappers, or just eat it as a salad. Serves 2-4 depending how hungry you are.

3 small shallots, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
1 jalapeno, chopped (seeds removed if you want less heat)
1 Tbsp. sugar
ground black pepper
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 Tbs. fish sauce (aka patis or nuoc nam, use soy in a pinch but really try to get fish sauce)
1 lb. boneless, skinless, thin-sliced (1/4 to 1/2 inch thick) chicken breast cutlets
6 oz. package coleslaw mix
1 cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

With a mortar and pestle (or a fork inside a bowl) pound the shallots, jalapeno, sugar, and 1/8 tsp. pepper until the shallots are very soft (but not pureed) and liquid is released. Transfer to a large serving bowl and stir in the vinegar and fish sauce. Heat a nonstick pan over medium to medium-high heat till a drop of water sizzles.

Season the chicken with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Let cool and then shred the chicken with your fingers into long thin strips, pulling the meat along its natural grain.

Toss the coleslaw mix into the vinegar mixture. Add the chicken, mint, and cilantro and combine well. Top with the peanuts and serve at room temperature.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A new perspective on competition in jiu jitsu.

I want to share with you an amazing and insightful conversation I had this morning with one of my mentors in jiu jitsu and life... but first, another boost for Seana, the purple belt who is battling ovarian cancer at the retardedly early age of 26. And then, the new perspective on jiu jitsu competition, at the bottom. :)

Watch this interview with Seana last week at Toronto BJJ where Seana talks about her history in martial arts, where she grew up, her cancer and how she is staying so positive and strong throughout her fight. She earned her purple belt while going through chemotherapy!!!!

Check out the interview and please lets all help Seana Rossi submit cancer.
Please share this video, repost it, send it to other MMA athletes, forums, companies, whatever you can do to help this warrior out.

Donations can be sent directly by email money transfer like Paypal to

Direct Bank Direct Transfer can be made to:
Seana Rossi, Account # 08902 010 6433480

To donate through check, money order or cash please contact Melissa Biscardi through facebook or via email:

So this morning I was chatting with an amazing man, a 4-stripe purple who teaches BJJ, married with kids, runs his own business. I am proud to consider him a friend as well as a teacher.

He told me about his different outlook on competition these days. He started competing (in various fora, not BJJ, but including wrestling) when he was a little guy. At the state finals in wrestling (which he won) he described a very powerful match against a beastly muscleman, which he conquered by sheer out-beasting on a mental and physical level. "I have a lot of rage in me," he explained, "and that's how I used to be in competition. Violent."

I can tell you, this was a shock. He's the coolest, chillest, mellowest cat there is. Yes, he's fit and strong, yes, he wins tournaments, yes, he's defeated a blackbelt in a tournament as a purple. But I wouldn't picture 'rage' or 'violence' when I think of him even in a tournament setting.

But that's what he tells me, so I believe it. However, he says this most-recent tournament was different for him. He woke up the morning of, looked at his sleeping wife and kiddoes on the way out the door, and pondered about blessings. How full his life was, and how he already had everything he needed.

As he drove the couple hours to the tourney, he thought about how previous tournaments (and other athletic competitions through his life) were all about taking from the other guy. Taking the belt, taking the medal, taking the glory. Showing him who's boss. Winning. Beating them. Making the team look good. Dominating.

As I listened, I nodded along, thinking of my internal (or blogged) pep talks before tournaments. Like this one, and this one. Pouncing wildcats and so on. "Break her f*cking jaw if I have to" was a silent mantra for a while.

No, this time he wasn't going to take. He was going to share, to give. To share his amazing technique. To "confound" his opponents, in a spirit of love, harmony, brotherhood. (I hope he doesn't sound dumb here, because if he does that's all me. He is anything but, and this philosophy really resonated with me.)

And that's exactly what he did. He rolled into the tournament, scouted a spot, and napped. Had some coffee and breakfast, and napped again until his name and bracket were called. Genially shook hands with his opponent, absorbed his energy (instead of pushing him off the mat, as he could have) and flowed with the go. He sensed his opponent's vibe, redirected his momentum on a spiritual as well as physical level, and nailed a slick-as-ice takedown which sounded like a fireman-carry variant, transitioning into an armbar. Since he's not actually Master Po, he didn't get that armbar (though he did eventually collect his opponent's arm a la Ronda Rousey, except his opponent knew to tap BEFORE dislocation).

More importantly, his opponent bounded up from the mat all smiles and expressed sincere "ooh's" and "ahh's" about my friend's great technique. So he successfully confounded his "enemy" and shared his skill.

I know, maybe sounds all hoo-hah. But I was entranced by the idea of a competition mindset that was less about grinding your opponent's face into the dust, moistened only with his tears and blood.... and more about sharing this awesome journey through skill and application and direction and attention that is jiu jitsu...

Perhaps, as you prep for the Pan, Mundials, or whatever tournament is around the corner in your heart... consider relying less on the beast within, and choke the snot out of your opponents with LOVE.

I'm serious.

"Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
Caine: No.
Po: Do you hear the grasshopper which is at your feet?
Caine: Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?"

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Seana-- purple belt, age 26-- cancer fighter. Help!

Seana is a purple belt under Jorge Britto at Toronto BJJ. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 26. She needs help.

More information at:

I donated through PayPal. You can too. Also, please do what you can to spread the word.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Tate v. Rousey

If you didn't watch Strikeforce on Saturday night, surely by now you've seen the stills, the youtube, and the Gracie Breakdown....

In case no, here's the full fight.

Here's the Gracie Breakdown (as they note: viewer discretion is advised.)

I was THRILLED to death that Ronda won. I didn't like the attitudes displayed by either woman leading up to the fight. I won't use the term "lady" for a reason. I didn't like their behavior during the weighins either. However, I have utmost respect for Ronda's skill as a judoka, and I (for some reason) like her better than I like Miesha, so that's why I rooted for Ronda. And screamed bloody murder throughout the fight.

Just my $.02, while I try to keep in mind that when it's YOU in there, things happen way faster, and it's a lot harder to do what should be done than you realize. I am trying to be sympathetic to Miesha in other words.

-- It seemed like Tate didn't prepare to fight someone who eats a few punches, gets the head and arm control from inside, does a hip toss or harai goshi, and then goes for an armbar. In other words-- did she really think about who she was fighting in this matchup? Because that's Ronda's deal-- takedown > armbar. She's the Arm Collector. Tate should have known this coming in!

-- Instead, it looked like she wanted to punch. She didn't work to maintain a striking distance. She didn't kick to keep Ronda away. Unless you have one-punch-knockout power, or precision kicking to the face, it's going to be hard to win a striking fight early on and quickly enough to be immune to the takedown.

-- She didn't make Ronda work and burn off some energy. (Ronda's longest fight previously was what, 1:30? something like that?) Now I know Ronda cut down to 135 for this, so you would think that included enough work to have plenty of cardio-- but what if the cut was tough on her? You'd think the strategery of the Tate camp would have pushed for a bit of delay.

-- When Ronda got in close, it seemed like Miesha just accepted the inevitable. I'm a total yutz when it comes to judo, but I have been taught some ways to foil a hip toss. I know with adrenaline and yes, a world-class Olympic medalist in judo, that it might have been just too fast and hard to deploy any counters. But as many times as I've watched this fight, I didn't see anything that I identified as even attempts at defeating the judo. Did you? did I miss something?

-- WHAT THE FLIP was Miesha doing on Ronda's back? Yay that she got there, of course-- but she had DOUBLE UNDERS from the back. Does Miesha train on the ground at all???? was she just stuck with her gloves under Ronda's arms, given that Ronda was messing with Miesha's hooks using her hands?

-- To critique Ronda just a tiny bit-- she would have finished that first armbar if she would have had better control of Ronda's upper arm. Instead, her ankles were crossed and her knees spread wide. This is conclusive proof that Ronda is in fact mortal.

-- I kind of wonder if Miesha's elbow was dislocated at the end of the first armbar. Sure seemed that way.

-- I have a hard time picturing wanting to win a fight so badly that I would go through the pain of a fully inverted, reversed, inside-outed elbow to get it. I know, Jacare sucked it up and won against Roger with a broken arm. Yet another reason I'll never make it that far.

What did you think of the fight?

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Reader question about subscribing....

I'm so illiterate when it comes to this stuff. Can anyone help? This reader sent me the following question and I don't have a clue!

"I just came accross your blog and love it!!! Is there a way I can subscribe to it so
I get your posts in my email?"


After cauli ear, that ain't no thang.

Working on a "real job" project that's actually fun, and complex, and seemingly infinite; it's like a fractal. Every time I think I have resolved an argument, I see that I could go one level deeper. And every time I think I have the big picture, I step back and see that I was only working on a fraction of the whole. The downside is, I rarely want to get up from my desk and hit the gym during my lunch break. Hopefully this project wraps up in another two weeks or so.

Haven't been training much at all. I love my new academy, and I love the people there, but I feel like I'm shortchanging myself and them if I don't/can't come all the time like I used to. I've gone from training 6-7 days a week to less than 6 times a month. The classes are very carefully ordered and directed by our Master (Donald is far more than just an instructor, let's be real) and I know that when I miss a class it really hurts my comprehension and ability to perform in the next ones. This has become a death spiral-- a Zeno's Paradox of sorts. You can't attend any classes, because you can't attend them all.

I know this is false, and I know I'm only hurting myself, but I can't seem to get out of the rut and on the mat unless all the stars have aligned just right. That means work is not intruding, nor is family life, and I'm not inordinately tired, and I'm not trying to get pregnant. Because yes, I am having such a f*cking hard time getting pregnant that I am becoming "that woman"... that woman who, despite eons of human generations, is afraid that the most ordinary of activities is going to prevent reproductive success. No more caffeine, definitely no alcohol, more vitamins and supplements than a horse could swallow at once (all approved by my doctors, don't worry), and no excessive exertion during the fabled "two week wait." So half of every month is out the window. And now we're going to start some additional approaches, involving me injecting myself with stuff, so I don't know what it will do to my mental, physical or emotional status before the said two-weeks. We'll see.

It was funny though-- when I went to the class at the doctor's office on "how to give yourself injections," the other gal was all skeeved out about the shots and told her husband he'd have to do them all. She looked at me and was like, aren't you afraid?

"Uh, no, I used to have to drain my cauliflower ear all the time."

You could have heard a pin drop. Guess that's reason #846,399 I'll be the odd-mommy-out in the playgroups. If I make it to them.