Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Gift


Things will probably be pretty quiet here at All Astonishment for a bit. It seems that my Crohn's Disease, which has been in remission for the past 2 years, is trying to make a comeback. I need to devote my dwindling energy to healing right now. And napping. Lots of napping.

I'll be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, feel free to browse the archives or just sit and stare into space. Take care and be grateful if you are feeling healthy. It really is a gift.

Serious Style


For a visual treat, check out some of these talented photographers. I love their style!

Mika Beth Edwards

Pet Shine Photograhy

Kristi Hedberg

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Pests, Be Gone!


Amy over at the Idea Room, posted the most ingenious idea yesterday. It has restored sanity to my home. Thank you Amy!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sicko Spins and Hooks



Even though I was feeling under the weather, I decided to go ahead and try to test for my red belt last night. On the way to class I took a couple of Tylenol and washed them down with a Starbuck's Doubleshot. If they kicked in, I might just have a chance.

Our Instructor on Thursday nights is quite fond of Ladders. Not the kind you climb, the kind where you run lines. These are also called "Suicides". I think they are aptly named. Thankfully, we skipped the Suicides last night and warmed up with jogging. I can jog very slowly. I am very good at jogging slowly. Slow jogging is very good. They should call it "slogging".

For our test we had to escape three different ways from a side headlock on the ground. I showed you one here, remember? Then we performed our new kicks, which included a lot of "hook" kicks, which I am not very good at. Especially when I am susposed to spin, jump and throw a hook kick at the same time. Miss Munchkin is really good at these. I'm equally proud and insanely jealous. Then we moved on to kickboxing combinations, which involved a lot of elbows, knees and a good amount of clenching. Once Miss Munchkin caught me in the nose and it HURT. I know, I know, turnabout is fair play but still! We ended with a drill, one designed to push us physically. At the end I was barely standing and trying quite earnestly to catch my breath. It's hard enough for me when I'm well, at this point I was wishing I had waited to test. But it was over and I passed. Out. Not really, not the "out" part. But I did pass. So did the Munchkins.

We start learning new material next week. Can't wait!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another War



This week I've been fighting a cold, a stomach ache, and my washing machine. So far I've lost every round.

Tonight I face one more battle: Belt Testing. Miss Munchkin and I are going for our red belts and Master Munchkin will test for his high brown. I'm hoping I'll have the stamina to get through the class. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Only if You're Ready


Check out these photos over at Coal Creek Farm.
But only if you're ready for a smile.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Cookies


With the hint of Fall in the air, I thought it was the perfect time to try this new recipe. I made these over the weekend and they were delicious. I would recommend doubling this.

By the way, I really like this cooking website, Culinate. I came across it recently and am impressed with the quality of ingredients in the recipes and the nice photography.

Eye Candy



A few more shots from my time with this lovely family:





Look at those dimples! My husband said the little girl's were big enough to "eclipse the entire earth". In a good way, I'm sure. ;)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Master's Musings



Some gems from the Master:
Dad, do you think there is an anti-matter parallel universe?

(referring to a cartoon) They really have inaccurate theories; bullets don't blow up.

Mom, can you fix me something to devour?
Master Munchkin, age 8

Friday, September 18, 2009

Men of Reason


Personally, I am a morning person. I love to get up before the rest of the household and have some uninterrupted time to myself. Right now I am sipping coffee and listening to the crickets, not the birds, chirp.

My husband, on the other hand, is not a morning person. I thought I'd honor him with a few choice quotes:
I'd like mornings better if they started later. ~Author Unknown

I have a "carpe diem" mug and, truthfully, at six in the morning the words do not make me want to seize the day. They make me want to slap a dead poet. ~Joanne Sherman

Dawn: When men of reason go to bed. ~Ambrose Bierce

Early morning cheerfulness can be extremely obnoxious. ~William Feather

The best thing about morning is that it's over by noon.

Morning amnesia: nature's way to keep you from waking up screaming.

How about you? Are you a morning person? Or do these quotes ring true for you too? :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Inside My Head

Master Munchkin brought our little Flip mini video camera to Fight Class last night and caught some footage. Happily it ran out of space before I had to spar the big guy in the back. That was not pretty!

After watching myself on camera, I have to admit: I look much cooler inside my head. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stinkin' Cute

I had a fun photoshoot with a dear family last night.












































Not only are the mom and dad entirely lovely, just look at these kids!

















I had so much fun.
I can't believe I get paid for this.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

She Strikes Again!


You may recall some of my clumsier moments in martial arts class. My lastest victim was Miss Munchkin herself. Last night we were working on various self-defense moves and Miss M grabbed me from behind in a bear hug. I dropped my weight and started throwing elbows. Well, one connected. With her nose. Ouch!

I followed her to the bathroom and stayed with her until the bleeding stopped.

"I'm so sorry; I feel awful!"

(muffled thorough a kleenex) "That's OK. I forgive you. Besides, you can blog about it."

(laughing) "You are really something, do you know that?"

"Yeah." (grudgingly) "Well, it is kind of cool."

Uh, oh. I don't think I'm going to be living this down anytime soon!

Friday, September 11, 2009

A Truth Universally Acknowledged


It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young boy, when in the possession of an unsupervised computer, will Google websites like Happy Ninja and Extremely Sharp weapons and will be in Little Boy Heaven until his mother discovers him and grounds him for Googling without permission.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Labor Day





Hope you had a chance to put your feet up today!

The Only Reason for Time

The only reason for time is that everything doesn't happen at once. Albert Einstein

Here are some interesting links from Time magazine, for your browsing pleasure:

10 Things to Buy during this Recession

50 Best Websites of 2009

And, an intriguing article, Why Exercise Won't Make you Thin. I'm not entirely sure what I think about it, but I have seen some of its claims played out in my own life.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Standing About in a Stupid Manner


(photo from despair.com)

One of my goals in Fight Class is to learn how to avoid getting hit. You may be thinking, "Well, DUH!", but actually, getting hit is part of boxing. It's good to learn what that feels like and how to respond. But currently, after I throw a punch, I stand around and, of course, get nailed. I need to move out of the way. The problem is that everything happens so fast! By the time I register that I landed (or missed) my shot, I am already recoiling from my partner's.

So, for my sake, here's is a short lesson in How to Dodge a Punch. Pardon me while I watch it. Repeatedly. Maybe it'll eventually sink in!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Pesky Moms and Moons


Miss Munchkin had a friend stay over last night and, since it is now past 10 AM, I've been entertaining myself by tossing frisky critters, one at a time, into their room to wake them up. Trooper is great at snuffing in your ear and wagging his whole body while standing on your chest and Amigo is an effective alarm clock with his deafening purr and his sharp little claws. So far, I've been nice, but if they don't get up soon, I'll put the dog and the kitten in their room - at the same time. Bwahahahhaaa!


Last night we pulled out our telescope and spent some time looking at the moon and Jupiter. We could actually see 3 of Jupiter's moons, Io, Europa and Ganymede. It was amazing! And the detail on the moon was breathtaking. We could see the very distinct craters and seas. The girls were in awe and so was I. By the way, do you know how many moons Jupiter has? I had to look it up - I had no idea! I think you'll be surprised.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Bad Dog!



Until recently, Trooper has been doing pretty good about staying in our yard. But last week our very naughty sweet little adorable puppy figured out how to infiltrate our neighbor's fenced backyard and gain entrance to their house through their doggy door. Now, our yard is no longer of any interest to Trooper - not when there are new smells to sniff, new foods to eat and new neighbors to annoy!

To make matters worse, he has not learned that ever-so-important command, "Come!". So when he gallops out of our yard, he will pause long enough to look at us, acknowledge our pleading, then thoroughly ignore us, happily chasing butterflies and sniffing strange new spots in the neighbor's yard. It's just like having a toddler! (Well, maybe except the sniffing part.)

So, until our fencing arrives, cute little Trooper has a cute little rope on his cute little collar, keeping him in our huge front yard when he's not in the house.

On the positive side, this week he did clean out all of the food crumbs and bits that collect between the couch cushions. Good dog!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Anatomy of a Bench Monday


Yesterday Miss Munchkin wanted to do some running so we went to the local arboretum. It has a great path around a lovely pond. I didn't feel like running so I brought my camera. While I was there, I checked out the options for Bench Monday.

Here, Miss Munchkin, stand on this bench for me, would you?
I want to see how it looks in my camera.



Thank you. Yes, I know it's hard work.




















Now, wait! I didn't call you, Master Munchkin!
Be careful!


























OK, my turn. Here, hold my hand so I don't fall.


























Now everyone down. Just me.





















Um, Miss Munchkin, can you hold the camera a little more.... oh, nevermind. Just keep shooting.


























There you go, thanks. How's it look? OK, that's a wrap!

Check out my other Bench Monday photos here.