Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Hey! Remember me?

Yeah, yeah. I know.


Anyway, yeah, the blogging's been kinda "on hiatus" for a few months. I've really been hit hard by a combination of too much work, too much travel, too many commitments, some personal drama, and a lingering -- sometimes almost overwhelming -- malaise that has haunted me in the months leading up to the first anniversary of my best friend's death.  Put these things together and voila! Not a whole lot of urge to share, you know?  I try not to dwell on the negatives, and I try even harder to not drag others into my own little hells when they come along.  Everyone has hard times in this life, and I have wonderful folks who help me through the tough times.  I just don't want to spend a lot of time writing about it.

So yeah.  No blogs for a while.

All this "stuff" has also done a bit of a job on my training, too.  I mean, I'm still training, and still teaching when I can.  I still love it.  But I've been spread so thin that actually learning new technique, new forms, etc. was kind of ... well, frustrating.  Nothing would stick.  It was taking me forever to learn things, and what I actually managed to get a grip on I often forgot by the next time I managed to make it to class. Hit a tournie in March and did a pretty piss poor job, mostly due to just not having adequate time and focus to prep adequately.  That kind of stung.

But you know.  Whatever.  Moving forward.

So the big thing right now is that life is starting to settle back down a bit, in both the "busy-ness" sense and the emotional sense.  The lingering sadness over Gregory's death has receded to a manageable level following the end of April (that whole "the first year sucks" thing?  True).  Work is more sedate and we have some really exciting changes coming for my job and for our company.  I can see a time in the near future when I'll be able to really re-focus on my training in a meaningful way. 

But first?  I'm takin' my ass to Italy.

After 20 years of marriage, Christine and I chose to celebrate this fairly huge milestone in our lives together by FINALLY getting off the damn North American continent and crossing the pond.  We'll be flying out on June 3rd, returning on June 14th, and spending time in Rome, Sorrento, and Florence.

One thing I've learned about myself in the past few years is this: when I become obsessed with something -- and I mean truly obsessed -- about something, it means I really need to take a break.  When I say "obsessed," I don't mean "really interested."  I mean constantly thinking about something.  Waking up and immediately wanting to jump on the internet so I can do more research.  Counting days.  Talking at length -- annoyingly, no doubt -- to anyone nearby about the subject at hand. And that's how I've been about Italy for the past few weeks.

I really need this trip. 

So, in keeping with this theme, for the next month or so the blog is gong to be about Italy.  Our plans, what we've researched and learned.  How we've planned things and chosen locations.  What we expect to do there.  And then, once we've returned (or perhaps even while we're there -- there's WiFi on the high speed rail system after all ...), we'll walk through impressions and experiences, and lessons learned. I expect there will be a lot of ecstatic wonder.  Dumbfounded joy.  Awe and adoration.

And gelato.  There will be a LOT of gelato.

And when I'm done, I hope I'll have put together a bit of a travel diary that others can use to plan their own trip to this incredible country.  Martial arts might play a role in these writings -- I mean, it's kind of an omnipresent fact in my life, even when I feel like I'm not focused on it as much as usual.  And I'm sure we'll get back to it in time, regardless.  It's not like I've run out of things to talk about in the art I love. But perhaps, for the next month or two, this blog (and this trip) will provide a purer, more real example of "shin chook" (tension/relaxation) than I've been able to demonstrate here before. 
For the past year it's felt like every aspect of my life has been defined by nothing but tension. It's clearly time to give relaxation it's turn.

Bring on la bella vita.

So, in the next few entries?  We'll walk through our rough itinerary -- when we leave, how we're going, when we arrive, where we're staying, and how we're getting from place to place.  We'll look at some of the money issues involved, too -- this ain't a cheap trip, but we've found some ways to save a little and still treat ourselves well, with some great hotels lined up and nice transportation options all over the place.  Looking forward to sharing.

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