There have been a lot of little things


Some Christmas knitting, Jiu Bitsy ™ promotion day, and hello!?! A record player!

My first three records make me seem a little schizo. Fleetwood Mac, Violent Femmes, and Neil Diamond. No, you really don’t want to see my mp3 library. It gets worse.

Luckily, we have Half Price Books and I can get albums for only $4. I’m being picky, because you know I can go all crazy hoarder in 2.5 seconds.

I’m also giving two huge boxes of yarn to a 13 year old. Bad color choices, bad yarn choices, left over Purling Dervish stuff, and OMG! WTF was I thinking yarn. I was going to ask if she liked cross stitch and maybe clear out some of that.

I’m making room for fitness stuff. Our bikes, the weight bench, the stack of mats Santa brought. They’re kind of taking over the second bedroom. I don’t know either.

Happy Monday!

I win by losing

Team Lutter at the Matshark tournament yesterday. Of course, after I rolled. They never take a picture before I get all sweaty and gross. I also may have forgotten my sock at home, so it didn’t get to go on an adventure yesterday. I wonder if I can take a bunch of them today to open mat and put them in BJJ positions.

Nah! Too much work.

Results? Meh. I had two matches and I got silver. I really wanted to win and ended up in an Americana (the last picture shows the fun) and tapped a little later than I should have. It was my floppy, so I wasn’t able to compete in the Absolute. Some ice, a compression sleeve, and the IF unit and I should be good to go by Monday.


It’s been hot and I couldn’t train for about a week and a half. This could be a problem if I want to compete during the summer. (Unless we get mats and turn our living room into a mini dojo.) Not that it excuses not being good enough to win.  Besides, the girl I lost to was like 19. Hello 22 year age difference! That’s an excuse I might be able to live with.

‡  ‡  ‡  Whining Alert  ‡ ‡ ‡ 

I so want to prove a point. That even with the NMO and the floppy that I can do this. That I can be good. There are people missing limbs that win gold on an international level for Pete’s sake!  I really get frustrated by my limitations. I’m not looking for comments on this, I just want to say a big EFF YOU to the situation getting in the way of my plans. 

‡ ‡ ‡ End Whining ‡ ‡ ‡

 Soooo… anyway! No sock knitting or spinning yesterday. I’m going to see what the day holds before I commit to doing anything besides going to the pool and napping.

Happy Sunday y’all! What are you doing today?

p.s. Texas competed in two divisions and came home with a Silver and a Bronze. And a hurt elbow. At least it is his left and we can still hold hands. 😀

One Stripe


Yesterday was ranking day. Four and a half months in and I’m one stripe down. Yea! It usually takes about two years to get a blue belt, so I still have a ways to go.

This means I can now attend advanced class which means more work and more practice for competitions.

If you notice in the second class picture, while all of the girls were attacking our coach, the guys are standing around saying “Uh, uh. No way. Bobby will kick our asses if we get involved.” Obviously, we ladies have no fear.

Thanks for all of the cheers and support so far. I know I still have a lot of work to do.

Just listen

Don’t think or judge, just listen.

I think, overthink, plan, and judge far too much. With everything. Knitting, jiu jitsu, people, life. Although I think I judge myself the hardest. (Texas may disagree with that last one from time to time.)

I keep getting told to stop overthinking and just do.

Not so easy when you “need” a plan for everything that could happen. I suppose it is a byproduct of my upbringing. I can tell you that it drives other people nuts sometimes. Hell, it even drives me a little batty.


I need to stop and listen more. To my thoughts, to others and to my body. I need to not judge myself (or others) so harshly.

I’m finding that the longer I do it, Jiu Jitsu is making me look at my character flaws rather than just my physical ones. I really thought it was just about challenging and changing my physical self. Ha! The joke is on me… in a good way.

Happy Thursday y’all! What do you have planned for the long weekend?

Funny you should mention ribs

Day two was AH-mazing. It really doesn’t get better than a couple of professional, world champions teaching you. Especially women teaching women. It’s a different way of learning that I’m lucky I had the chance to experience.


That’s after an hour and a half of rolling. I look like I got stuck in a rainstorm and hit by a truck. Some of those girls look shower fresh. How do they do it?

I did sideways rolls down the mat twice! I am not the most coordinated person in the world as y’all may know (hello Floppy Paw Incident ’06). Rolls in general (forward, backward, and side) have left me feeling, well, uncoordinated. It felt good for it to click. They were warm ups for a couple of moves where you actually grab the other person and roll.

Which brings me to the ribs. There, I am, on the back of another girl, arm around her neck. I was supposed to dip my shoulder to the mat, roll both of us and swing around quickly to catch her arm in an arm bar. At some point when I was scrunched up and pulling her over me, something popped. It didn’t hurt right away, but now? I’m just going to say I’m glad I brought some NSAIDs and the little man hooked me up with a bag of ice.

It’s not broken. (Because, well, see that imaginary M.D. after my name?) I’m following google-fu’d instructions for breathing exercises, stretches, and icing. If it still hurts, I see my family doc this week anyway.

Class starts at 10 today, and I’m debating either relaxing by the pool this afternoon or swallowing a bunch of my sleeping pills and heading home when I wake up sometime around midnight. Right now, the getting home early sounds good because tomorrow at 12, Texas and I are both getting new to us cars. I’d hate to get stuck in traffic and be late.

What are you up to today?

BJJ and a little knitting

As some of you know, I am in San Antonio attending a Women’s BJJ Camp. Fabiana Borges, Ana Laura Cordeiro, and Gracie Barra San Antonio are hosting the event.

Last night was the first seminar led by Shama Ko, a phenom purple belt. She runs Girls in Gis and has a photography business.

Besides the insane warm up, she was teaching a move on avoiding side control and then getting a submission.

Image used from Eastern Europe BJJ.

For those of you not in the know, side control is just what it sounds like. You are on your back and the other person is smashed into your chest and face from the side. Seriously, smashed. Yes, it usually as uncomfortable as that picture makes it look. It is my least favorite position to be in. I hate it even more than being mounted. I usually see it coming and just wait for the smash. No more! Well, hopefully no more.

It was awesome meeting all of these strong, funny, confident, knowledgeable, amazing women. It was awesome seeing how different schools teach and learning new ways to do things. It was awesome rolling with only girls outside of a competition setting. It was just awesome.

Day one lessons learned:

    Don’t forget the Aminolast. Or I won’t last.
    Don’t be ashamed of my limitations.
    Don’t forget the cooling vest.
    Remind myself that I am new and that one day, I’ll understand what the heck is going on.
    Progress, not perfection. (aka – it’s the process)

A woman I was practicing with was talking about her 3 broken ribs and broken finger and she made the analogy “it’s not like we’re knitting here”. How appropriate. Because I am knitting here.


These were started March 2012. Yes, over two years ago. Shut up. I finished the first one sometime ago and I thought it might be time to finish them. I think that I forgot I liked knitting. So far, the morning has been beautiful for sitting by the pool and a little jaunt on the treadmill. (I hope that doesn’t come back to bite me this afternoon)

I’m thinking of going for a swim before class. That is, if my bathing suit isn’t too big. There is a hot tub there too that has my name on it for this evening.

Happy Saturday y’all! What are you doing today!

p.s. I promise this is still going to be a knitting blog. I know it was a farm blog for a while and now it seems like BJJ all the time, but all things go in cycles.

Just keep swimming

Texas. Hot! And I am not talking about my husband*. I’ve had to order a cooling vest and cut out my 11 a.m. class for a week or two until it gets here. The East gym is half windows. Throw in 3 hours of twenty, hot, sweaty students and it is a recipe for UGH! There is this thing called Uthoff’s where, when you get overheated, the damaged nerves (think of an exposed wire) start confusing the signals they’re transmitting. Not so much fun.

I usually end up passed out on the couch around 2 p.m. every day. Knitting stitches falling off the needles, cat on my head, the dulcet tones of bad television playing in the background. I talk about jiu jitsu and wanting to win, but the reason this all started was getting in shape. I always have that thought, at the back of my mind, that something could go horribly wonky with the NMO. I want to be as strong and prepared as I can possibly be.

Either that or I need to spend less time looking at the NMO support group stuff. Horrific stories! Probably not the best nighttime reading. Just saying.

I’m off to make my special beans for a team get together. What are you doing today?

*Although, if he would change his FB picture to a current one, some people might think so. That current one is him at his heaviest. He was working on the train at the time, it was about a year after the NMO diagnosis and he emotionally ate his way through that first year. He is about 80 lbs lighter now. He thinks seeing his fat picture will motivate him to lose more.

I still got spunk!

For those of you playing along elsewhere, y’all can just skim away.

In October of 2006, I was living my dream, enjoying sunny California, working as a contractor for the Air Force and working on finishing up my degree.  Until the day I snapped the end of my ulna off.  The first doctor that I saw said the best he could do was fuse my elbow at a 90 degree angle, but there was this guy doing amazing things at USC and it wouldn’t hurt to go see what he had to say. Dr. Itamura was able to work magic and give me back most of my range of motion. I have screws and plates in there, no cartilage, and rearranged nerves and other bits, but I could use my arm. It took 6 months of physical therapy before I could drive, let alone return to work. I was told that I could expect to need an elbow replacement in about 10 years or so.

Two years later, I was living in Texas and recovering from the second surgery on my arm. I started noticing some problems seeing things at night.  Soon after, one morning I woke up not being able to see anything with my right eye. The doctors moved fast and ran what seemed like a thousand tests.  I was treated with steroids and did regain my vision. The neurologist said that he thought I had MS and we  started treatment.

In August of 2009, blindness struck again.  I went through two rounds of IV steroids with no improvement. My neurologist at the time said he didn’t think I had MS and he didn’t know what else to do. He referred me to UTSW in Dallas to see a doctor that had just come from Johns Hopkins.  This is where I heard about Neuromyelitis Optica for the first time. I heard that statistics said that within five years, I would be blind, paralyzed, or dead. I heard that there was hope if we found the right drugs to stop the attacks, that it could have a better outcome than a diagnosis of MS. I learned that I had lesions in my spine, brain stem and optic nerves.

I still didn’t have my vision back, but Dr. Greenberg’s nurse, Maureen Mealy, advocated to have me give plasmapheresis a try even though I was outside the treatment parameters. I spent 10 days in the hospital having my plasma (and all the bad stuff that was attacking me) taken out and I was able to regain most of my eyesight again. I’ve had a couple episodes since then and I was lucky to be treated quickly and appropriately. For treatment, I now have Rituxan infusions twice a year to kill the B cells that attack the myelin covering of my nerves.

I had the one – two punch of the arm and then a diagnosis with a rare disease and I had resigned myself to a certain perception of what my life was going to be like. Years of drugs like steroids, immune suppressants, and Lyrica, and me giving up left me overweight. I checked out and didn’t even realize it.

Two months ago, after joining a gym, being bored out of my mind, and feeling ready to give up again, my husband brought up the idea of taking some type of martial arts class.  We signed up with Travis Lutter MMA and I thought I’ll just play along and see what happens. I found out that I liked Jiu Jitsu. My coach, Bobby Alexander works with my limitations and helps modify things when needed. He and my teammates challenge and encourage me to get past what I think I can’t do, even if they don’t realize they’re doing it.

I had thought that I was being positive and doing well coping with everything. Until I started training in Jiu Jitsu, I didn’t realize how much I had just given up. I didn’t realize how much I thought I couldn’t do because of my arm or this disease. I didn’t realize how I had limited my life.  And I didn’t realize how much I still had inside of me.  

I recently competed in a Jiu Jitsu tournament and I was so happy just to be there and go out on the mat, let alone win a match. In two months, I have lost 25 pounds and come off of insulin. I feel better, I have more confidence, I am finding myself, I am reinventing myself.  I still have my spunk and competitive spirit and this is just the beginning of my journey.