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Showing posts from April, 2012

This Week In Pets

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You are by now aware of our household pet situation: no more roaches , no more rabbit , no more sea monkeys , one hundred praying mantises . One mouse, down from three . And then this crossed our path as the boys and I walked home from the bus stop: A baby bunny. So young its eyes hadn't yet opened, but ambulatory enough to hobble onto our path, stand on its legs, and walk toward us as we talked. To us, not away from us. Animals just don't do that. Right there in the street I decided we would rescue this thing, and to that end I took off my shirt to carry it home. (I had only stripped down to a tank, yet still, my younger son stopped, looked at me with what I think was disdain, and said, " Really , Mom." This bunny was very definitely the cutest thing anyone has ever seen. I learned on the internet that the mama would be coming back to call for her baby in the middle of the night, and that we should return him under the tree near where he approached

Non-linear Thinking, The Video

Here's me practicing the slip. I'm practicing the slip because I had a lot of trouble getting out of the way of the jabs thrown by Sonya Lamonakis , an undefeated heavyweight, even though she was taking it easy on me. Watch as she prowls the background. Practicing the slip is a standard drill. Why? Because you know the jab is coming. That's what's typically thrown first; it's a ruler to find the face. Ah, there it is. Now watch for the power hand. I'm a beginner; it's somewhat to be expected that I couldn't get out of the way. But what was going on in my head when that jab was hitting it, you wouldn't believe. Start back at when I was a kid and couldn't tie my shoes. Couldn't read a clock. Couldn't ride a bike, 'til embarassing late in adolescence. I have trouble thinking straight, in a line. I am a nonlinear thinker, as you may have guessed from that last post on Cindy Sherman . But there's nothing more linear than

Cindy Sherman

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In a review of Cindy Sherman's MOMA retrospective, Peter Schjeldahl in The New Yorker calls it pedantry to presume that "the mysteries of Sherman's art--photographs that are like one-frame movies, which she directs and acts in--demand special explanation." "You can winkle out social commentary, if you like," he writes, "...but you will have stopped looking." Perhaps he will allow me to explain and parallel my travels with Sherman's work, having viewed it via leaving my home in the Midwest, where I act as a wife and mother; and having traveled to Manhattan, where I became boxer, tourist, old friend, new friend, audience, passenger. If the commentary comes only when one stops looking, so too does the real learning. I find myself thinking more about Sherman now than when I stood before her self-manipulations in the flesh. And I was a better boxer the few times I turned off my mind. When I stopped. When I relaxed. When I stopped trying so ha

While I Was Away, He Killed The Pets

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Leaving the house for a week alone is no last-minute vacation for a mom. We load the frig, change the beds, pack a few lunches and write copious notes. In my case, I wrote everything from "change the hand towel" to "feed the sea monkeys." Yeah, that's right, I wrote it down. For Greg. The guy in charge while I was away. Feed the sea monkeys. You'll recall my earlier posts on the sea monkeys and their happy swirling above my kitchen sink. The occasional staredowns. The continual coupling . They were just powder in a packet back in September of 2011, when I bought them for Theo's eighth birthday; but now, seven months later, we've moved through generations upon generations that even ancestry.com would have trouble tracking. That is, until I left for New York. I come back, and no sea monkeys . HE KILLED THE SEA MONKEYS. Oh sure, he claims he fed them according to my directions. That's what he says . Do you believe it? I don't. Becaus

Amy Sparring With Important People [Video]

Here's Alicia Ashley, holder of the World Bantamweight title belt, playing with me like a cat with a mouse.  Remember this is my second ever experience with sparring. Which is why it ends in comic surrender.

Tis Unnatural

Let it be said that for most of us, it is not a natural act to punch someone in the head. Previously, I would laugh at stories of women boxers who apologize after a punch, but yesterday, at Gleason's, I found a similar way of thinking turning around in my head. "I hope she's not mad at me for that one" or "Why did I punch her shoulder? She needs it for her pro boxing career." Even my first punches were play, aiming just short of the nose, as you do when someone demonstrates a move in front of you with no protection, which was nearly the extent of my experience. So when Sonya's head came into view (often, but not always, because she let it), it took me a few tries before I understood I could have at it. As Sonya would later put it, "We ain't bakin' cakes here." By the time I got to my two rounds with Alicia Ashley, the unnatural instinct should have been made natural, but some of the old ways returned, probably because Alicia, a curren

So My Tongue Is Purple

It is not usual, I presume, for a boxer's second ever sparring session to happen with an undefeated heavyweight, especially when the boxer weighs in at 140 pounds. And yet she made it four rounds, of course with the heavyweight holding back, ending with one less contact lens and a bruised tongue. Special thanks to Sonya Lamonakis, who proved her nickname "The Scholar" with colorful, and sometimes painful, lessons. Videos to come.

Friday's Alright For Fighting

Apparently, Gleason's gym cam was aimed in the wrong direction this morning, so if you tuned in to gofightlive, you missed us women boxing. Hopefully, though, you stuck around for the other offerings on the channel, such as "Top MMA News" and the "iNeed A Smackdown" wrestling show. I made it onto yet another camera later in the day, some promo for some band. The old school headphones they had me wear worked well with my Adidas windbreaker. Otherwise, it's been drills, drills, and more drills, which is exactly what I came for. Learning the relaxed style of Alicia "Slick" Ashley, one of our trainers and the current bantamweight world champion, is tricky for us uptight types, but there's no trading the experience of learning it right from her, or watching the video of the championship bout with her at your side, narrating. And the great Jackie Atkins, my sister in arms. Michelle Obama, you got nothin' on us.

My Fifteen Minutes (actually, about an hour)

Boxing is a somewhat solitary pursuit: you hit the bags alone, you shadowbox by yourself in the mirror. At a famous gym like Gleason's, you do your own thing and the limelight is everywhere, from pictures of famous pros on the wall to a television camera following you around. An artist sits ringside and sketches you. I've never had so much attention in my life. And it continues tomorrow: you can watch part of my clinic Friday from 11am to about noon at gfl.tv Click on Gleason's Gym Cam and be a part of the action! Oh, and today I was christened by trainer Jackie Atkins with my first boxing moniker: "Lean and Mean." It's a keeper.

come with me

It's quiet, and there are no dishes to be done, no laundry to carry. Vacation! Some folks lie on the beach, take in a show. Me, I'm looking for violence. Will you come with me? The boxing clinic starts just a few hours from now. I'll post here when I can, though my iPad skills are limited. Come along!

Too Tough For You

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copyright green frog photo

Below The Neck: Learning Happens Here

I ran into a former boss the other day. (If you're a faithful reader here, you know I have my fair share of former bosses. Amiable relationships all. I think.) For her television interview show, I would research topics and develop questions for the host, occasionally directing a promo or helping out with hair. When she asked what's new, I brought up the boxing clinic, which, in some circles, can be awkward. People don't know what to make of boxing: athletes know it's just another sport; TV watchers mistake it for MMA; intellectuals are mystified. Some folks are impressed, the occasional guy a little too much so. So I framed it as a learning experience, which is exactly the truth: I'm headed to Gleason's to learn and play. "I can just see you," she said. "Scribbling furiously in your notebook." I stopped. Well, sure, I planned to bring a little book to record some thoughts. But certainly not in the moment. For one, my writing h

My Boxing Training (Not Yours)

With a chicken sausage half-eaten on a plate and another sizzling in the pan, at nine o'clock last night I said to my husband, from the kitchen, "My opponent's probably doing sit-ups right now, and here I am on my third course." Two weeks from today I just might compete in boxing for the first time, at the fabled Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, New York. And even if I don't, there's a guaranteed three straight days of boxing training ahead of me that demands some preparation. Having recently, and tentatively, emerged from a cocoon of injuries into recovery, my initial plan had been simply this: Don't get hurt. You bought a plane ticket, you paid for the clinic, now just lay low. Wear sensible shoes from now to La Guardia. But of course that won't do. Inactivity itself leads to muscle stiffness, and of course I couldn't risk losing any ground in my fitness level. Plan 2, then, involved attempting what I felt could accomplish each day, all the whil

BuildaBridge Institute

When Gina told me she was too “bad” to be released from the shelter for at-risk girls where she lives, I had to ask: “Are you bad, or do you do bad things?” She slammed her thin frame into the video bowling game before her. “Both.” Gutter ball. This was our first day together in a theatre workshop, and I didn’t know her well. Was she one of the young mothers here, or one of the teens for whom the shelter was purgatory—a last stop before jail? Over the next three days, Gina threw herself into the acting exercises, the heated discussions of current events, and the times we mixed the two. On our last day together, our class joined the other art groups for an informal closing celebration. My girls fought their nerves and showed highlights from our time together, anything from a mime of brushing their teeth to creating a symbolic sculpture of bodies ravaged by racist words. After the celebration concluded, I walked over to Gina. “You’re not a bad person,” I told her. “You’re not.” “I k

This Body, Broken For You

-- Where you been? --Injured. And I lost my confidence. --Come back. The gym is my church. I sweat alongside folks I wouldn't know otherwise, two or three times every week. At the Y, I egg another rep out of Lee on the bench press, and Sonya brings me an Indian spice I've been hunting. At the boxing gym, Shaun tells me his dream of opening a business. Our shared goals foster community. But if the gym is church, my sanctuary is found at the fights, in the folding chair of a darkened auditorium. Injuries had kept me out of the boxing gym for months, but when I opened the paper a few weeks back and saw the ad for Golden Gloves, I headed out. Last club show I had entered through the door for fighters and trainers, but this time, I bought a ticket and sat alone. As I watched, occasionally talking with the older man next to me (a former boxer, it's always a former boxer), I recognized familiar voices shouting in the crowd. Shari's sitting over there, I could tell; Shaun&