Saturday, November 21, 2009

More on Staying Prepared

Staying prepared. Just a couple of comments today because I am under a deadline.

Two things I have done to increase my overall preparedness, that have made my life better/easier overall:

1.) I put together a preparedness journal stating my own personal goals, it charts my progress on projects that I have a round the house. I call it a preparedness journal, but really it's more like a Captain's Log. If I have a brilliant idea, or question about something meaningful that I don't want to forget, or simply a goal I want to achieve, like cleaning the shed, I write it down. There's just so much stuff to keep track of these days, I now have to write things down if I want to accomplish anything, or I forget or feel overwhelmed by it all.

More on that: As I've mentioned previously, life flies by so quick, before you know it another day as passed. If one hasn't been diligent about his or her projects, suddenly you ask yourself where the week has gone and what have I really accomplished.

Looking back over your journal, where you've crossed out things that need to be done, projects that you've planned for or that have come up, it's a lot easier to note your progress and chart your trajectory. There's just a sense of much reduced anxiety and aimlessness. You see where you're going and where you've been. Much like a ship at sea, if you have no focal point on the horizon, but land behind you, you look back every so often to a point you've picked out and line it up with your stern. You keep your eye on that point every so often to make sure you are on course.

2.) Making sure I have a knife, multitool, and flashlight on my at all times. (When I am not at work, I add a sidearm to this list) Everywhere I go, I keep these essential tools with me, not in a 72-hour bag I rarely use. I purchased a Maxpedition M-2 (shown above) belt pouch, which Clare jokes with me is a fanny pack, though it's not. It's about the size of a mid-level digital camera case, and it has been invaluable. I keep all my daily carry gear in here and there's lots of room to spare, as in for an extra magazine, matches, a bit of medication or first aid items. This little buddy seams to be built to last and has been an awesome purchase.

I just want to emphasize how life gets easier when you have the tools you need on you or close by. Now that it's daylight savings time, I can't tell you how helpful it is to have an LED flashlight on hand, or at work to have a coouple of knives and a flashlight with me at all times. Life become easier, and what used to be a pain in the arse, becomes easily manageable.

Having appropriate tools also makes you less likely to skip a step in looking out for your safety. I am especially thinking of a flashlight. Having a flashlight at night as you are walking to the wood pile, or to your car, gives you an advantage, psychologically as well as physically. The last thing you want is a critter sneaking up on you nearby, especially if it's a vagrant or your own cat who's trying to stalk you. :)

Peace out yos.

Over and Out,


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Inspiration vs. Perspiration

"Just do it."

I often spend oodles of time looking for the inside scoop. Too much time. Speaking for myself, there comes a point when you should just be aware of the main points, make an informed decision, and move forward.

That can be hard to do, with so many distractions pounding it's way into our daily lives. Whether it be through entertainment or work, it is easy to become sidetracked, distracted, and even uninspired to take command and do the stuff that should and needs to be done. Even when at home, family life has a way of taking priority--as it should--over the best laid plans.

Sooner or later, however, a moment of opportunity presents itself. You have the time to do "it," whatever "it" may be. After days of rain and cold, the sun begins to shine once again. One has the time, but does one have the will?

Doing what needs to be done when it's uncomfortable or not-entertaining in some way, determines how much we can truly accomplish. If we remain complacent until the angle of the moon and the sun meets our perfect standards, chances are we will be waiting for a long time.

So let me finish this rambling post with a thought: sometimes it's simply time to get off our ass and get to work.

Over and Out,


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Back on the Mat

(Me training outside in Reno in October 2004)

After more than a year hiatus, I returned to the dojo to train in earnest and watch a nidan (2nd Degree Black Belt) test. I also was able to see the new dojo for the first time, and it is truly awesome.

It felt good to launch some people and scream while swinging a heavy stick at people for an hour. My nerves are still tingling from feeling totally alive out on the mat. As I have taken my place in my new life in Front Royal, I felt I duly took my place in the new dojo, which had been inaugurated by the visit of Saito Hitohiro Sensei from Iwama Japan two weeks ago. It was really just amazing to be a part of this place and be standing in the fulfillment of many, many long hours of planning and hard work.

For those of you who don't know, back in May 2002 I joined Aikido in Fredericksburg as an enthusiastic and devoted young martial artist, aspiring to be the embodiment of martial grace and strength gleaned from long hours of hard training. My sensei had only recently moved from Reno, where he was sensei of many years, to Fredericksburg, VA, with the intention of building a world-class dojo on his own property with quarters for uchi-deshi (live-in students) and plenty of space besides for training. An East Coast Iwama headquarters, if you will.

I followed the group from the time it rented a dusty corner dojo as part of a quasi-martial arts co-op in a deserted mini-mall, training once in the parking lot at night because someone had locked the door. To training in a moldy big box gymanistics stadium/roller rink, which had the most irritating boom box music playing for the pom-pom group.

To retrofitting an industrial complex into a serious albeit temporary training space, which is where I took my black belt test. Indeed, I had always wanted to be a part of the core group of a dojo start up, and this dream of mine, like so many others, was realized.

My life then moved away from active Aikido training for awhile, but today I know my training and presence in the new dojo was my re-initiation to the serious study of the martial ways. I won't be down there often enough to sign up for a monthly membership, but often enough that I can begin to hone my own skills and take the journey to nidan myself in a couple of years and to places beyond.

I am looking forward to it and some better health in the process.

Over and Out,


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Accomplishments de Weekend

I expanded my pantry by 50% or so with the addition of new homemade shelves. It took forever because it just always does around here. But now I can breathe easier, as our mud room/furnace room/craft room/pantry is more organized with items no longer living haplessly on the floor.

I also replaced an outlet in the process, organized the entire pantry, and took stock of our stores. In the process, I found several items that were at large and others about which I had totally forgotten, such as preserves from some place up in Niagra that was given to us over the summer. Cool.

Lastly, I purchased the special 20th Anniversary Issue of Backwoods Home Magazine, whose website is now in the links section here at the Update, along with The Survival Podcast. Both are excellent resources for everything you need to know on prepping for SHTF or homesteading. Well worth the look.

I just wanted to vent here that I feel so much better now that the new shelf has been built and in play. It's been on my mind for a long time. The place just feels better with most of the crap of the floor in it's own proper place, and that's what were going for here. Organization.

So that's it from me for now. 2 posts in 2 days. Peace out, yos.