Wow - has it really been Halloween since I last posted? I need to do better about updating here! It's really easy to get out of the habit, and the next thing you know it's months later and you haven'tput a thing on the blog. Oops!
Life has actually been fairly busy over here. Karate continues apace. All three of our white belts have passed their yellow belt tests within the last month, so congratulations to all of them! It's very nice to look at the class and see all that color. Now I just want to see a little less color again - a few new white belts, and our brown making the leap to black would make the winter just perfect.
I, personally, appear to be on a serious learning binge. Given that I'm always learning something (hence the name of the blog) this translates into a serious amount of new stuff coming down the pike. In karate, I'm plugging away at Urashi Bo, the longest of our kata, and my second-to-last 1-person kata to learn. I seem to be about a third of the way through right now, which means about the length of one of our normal kata. In karate-related, I'm plugging away at learning Japanese. This is seriously fascinating, and the more I learn, the more interesting it gets. It's very, very different from English, and it's probably going to take a while to achieve any fluency. Right now I can form and parse simple sentences. I can (for example) Ask how much something is, where something is, order food, introduce people, or discuss the weather (and have some prayer of understanding answers). We'll see how all this holds up the next time it gets put to use (2013 at the next World Tournament at the earliest).
In addition, somewhat inspired by the Japanese, I've been brushing up on my French, at which I used to be fairly fluent, but which I let lapse after never really having a real-life use for it. I may never speak French real-time, real-life to a French person, but at least I can read my Tintin and Asterx le Gaul books in the original (OMG there are soo many puns in the Asterix in French. It's awesome!)
We have a new choir director at church now, and he's exercising me pretty thoroughly too. Whereas the previous choir director seemed to be a little reluctant to have me sing, and would often only decide to have me do something reluctantly and at the last moment, the new guy seems to be more than eager to have me do solo work. Unfortunately the first thintg he's pulled out for me is gospel. I love good gospel, but I have never trained or sung gospel (unless you count two songs sung as part of my HS choir), and my usual style of presentation runs to the formal and somewhat stiff. I'm very afraid that me attempting gospel may be more pathetic than inspiring. Or possibly inspiring of laughter! I'll give it my best, but we'll have to see how it goes down. I'm very hopeful, though, that once he runs me through my paces on a couple of his choices, he might let me choose to sing something of my choosing, which would be really awesome. (Also something that's never happened at this church. I tend to do solo work when it's down to "We want to do this piece, and Cindy's the only one who can (hit the high B, handle that run, learn it that fast, etc.) which means I do a decent amount of solo work, but almost never stuff I love.)
In a complete aside, I did not, despite pre-planning for almost an entire year, get to do a duet of "Oh, Holy Night" at Christmas. For some reason I did not quite fathom, the Music Committee decided that the ladies who did the piece three years ago should repeat this year - and then those ladies decided, when it got to be the week before Christmas and they were still having serious performing problems, that they would bow out and not sing. At which point it was too late for Cindy and Cindy to get back in. So bummer, I still didn't get my shot, but at least we broke the standing tradition of "It's not Christmas until somebody mangles "Oh, Holy Night"! Seriously, if after this much effort I had had to listen to a bad rendition, I think I would have burst into tears.
And the last bit of new learning for the new year, and my favorite of all? The flute! My wonderful sons, with their father's collaboration, got me a flute of my very own for Christmas. (My precioussssss!) Despite various family medical emergencies (now over, thank goodness), I have practiced every single day since. I'm up to about an octave-and-a-half of range, though I still have some problems with flipping registers unintentionally. Recognizable (if breathy) music can be heard! I've wanted to play the flute since middle school, and it would never have occurred to me to ask for one for Christmas, but I really, really love it it pieces.