30 August 2011

All Skated Out

I have not done this much skateboarding in years. Soul Brother #2 and I have skated and skated and skated since seeing Malba on Saturday. The child is still gun shy about going to a skatepark. He fears the critical gazes and comments from those who would make fun of him for being a newbie who can barely skate. But let me tell you this kid has come a long way since Saturday. The little boy who couldn't stand on a board on his own is now kicking and pushing, practicing turns and generally looking comfortable on a skateboard.

He's made it clear that he wants to practice. We tried to get our skate on in front of the house. That didn't work because the sidewalk is too uneven and bumpy. (I won't let him skate in the street since we are not off the beaten path.) Since he won't go to the skatepark yet, I was trying to figure out where we can get our skate on without having to worry about the surface and traffic. That's when I remembered a large concrete opening at the home break. I'm not sure what that space is used for. It's wide open, yet barricaded from cars. This, then, has become our skate spot of choice. We can freely skate and practice there without worrying about much of anything except the John Deere-like riding mowers spewing grass cuttings everywhere.

We've skated there two days in a row. Today, we went straight there after I picked him up from school with lunch and a change of clothes (since he wears a uniform). We do a little talking, do a little skating, rinse and repeat. And now, my legs are on fire from having skated so much. This evening, I talked to Tuma about lessons simply because Malba is so far away. There will be days when he won't want to meet us halfway and I can guarantee there will be days when I won't want to brave traffic just for a lesson. Now I've found someone whom I believe Soul Brother #2 will warm up to as quickly as he did to Malba.

Today was one of those days when I surfed in the morning and skated in the afternoon. My legs are unhappily still attached to my body. They hurt. Malba told me to work on tic tacs (tick tacks?) and I've done that. He told me to do 30 consecutive kickturns on the ramp. I've done that too. My skating is improving by leaps and bounds if only because someone has told me things I can do to improve.

I suppose we will keep doing the skate lesson thing for awhile. It's helping my child's confidence and it's bringing my skill level up quite rapidly.

Pray for surf and uncrowded skateparks.

27 August 2011

Mother/Son Skate Date!

Micke Alba. Soul Brother #2. Duarte Skatepark. Hot as hell.

It's well known by my friends and family that I skate. I was forbidden to skate as a kid. However, when I could get away with it, I did. I had skateboards hidden in the closet in my room. Often, when my parents were off doing who knows what, I would sneak a skate or two in. I even found an empty pool within a few miles of my house. I skated that too.

I didn't skate much after that. The pool was off-limits once I told a few folks at my high school. They let the cat out of the bag. The place was overrun by skaters, even though the pool was in a black neighborhood, and was eventually made unskateable by the owners of the property.

Mind you, I was still sneaking around to skate. (Aren't teenagers normally sneaking around to have sex?) I got caught a few times and finally stopped skating. Then I went off to college. I didn't skate there either . . . until my senior year. I don't even remember what set me off. All I knew was I wanted to skate. And skate I did. Then I graduated. I stopped skating once again.

Fast forward a couple of decades to find our heroine once again drawn to skating. By that point, I was surfing. The surfing, of course, sent me right back to skateboarding. But before I could truly get my skate on, I learned that my left knee was so riddled with osteoarthritis that it would have to be replaced with a joint made of titanium and plastic. The knee replacement, and the spectre of never surfing again, trumped any thoughts I had about skating. My concern was whether the joint would work well enough to allow me to surf.

Then something amazing happened: I got the knee replaced and decided that life was too short not to skate. Period. I decided I would skate to the best of my abilities given the fact that I had a knee with limited flexion. I had a miniramp built in the backyard. I found a group of women who skated. I made my first visits to skateparks. (I've only been to, I think, three skateparks in my entire life!)

That brings us to the present.

I met Malba awhile back while at an informal session at the home of one of the women in the skater chicks group. He'd been invited to give lessons to anyone who was interested. I'd spent about 15 minutes with him and was completely impressed by the way he does his teaching thing. So, I decided I'd try to hook up with him at a later date for my own lesson.

In the meantime, I realized my kid had been quietly talking about skating. There were little comments here and there. I didn't immediately catch on that he was expressing a serious interest in it. Thankfully, I pay attention to what he says. Before I called Malba, I asked Soul Brother #2 if he wanted to take a lesson from Malba. Wasn't I shocked when the kid said yes? Now, this was especially surprising to me because my child is self-conscious about certain things. As the day for the lesson approached, I could tell he was getting nervous. He was worried that people might laugh at him because he couldn't skate. Mind you, this kid hadn't been on a skateboard at all. My hope was that his will to learn would trump his fears. I was also counting on Malba to put the kid at ease.

Today was the day that my child became a skater. He didn't even know how to stand on a board before Malba got hold of him. He looked truly unhappy at the beginning of the lesson. But by the time we left, he was truly stoked!! (He came home and practiced outside on four different occasions! He's hooked!!)

I wore my favorite pair of Vans with my favorite pair of socks from when I was still a competitive cyclist.

Soul Brother #2 and I split the lesson—he got the first half and I got the second. Micke had me working on tic tacs going up a slight incline. Learning to do that maneuver from a standing start, while going up an incline, will help me learn to generate speed around a skatepark without pushing. We also worked on some other things. Of course, I can't leave a skatepark without taking a good slam. (No, there's no picture of that.)

I think it's safe to say, even after only one session, that I'm now the mother of a skater. The child's got it bad. Malba gives homework. Again, the child went outside four times to practice. FOUR TIMES. He's now talking about when we can to go the skatepark, more lessons with Malba, etc.

August 27, 2011—the day "Mommy's Little Skater" was born.

24 August 2011

Paid the Cost to Be the Boss

Look at me!
Know what you see?
You see a bad mutha.

If you've never heard this song, which is on the soundtrack of a blaxploitation film that I never saw, you haven't lived. I once sent the link to this video to a white friend on Facebook, urging him to tap into his "bad mutha" as he struggled to survive working at that horrible fashion house where we met. By the time I'd finally quit, I was trying to hold my bad mutha in check, hoping it wouldn't escape and get the revolution under way with a few pointed words, a dangerous head tilt and a massive afro sporting a Black Power afro comb perched precariously near the top of that perfect sphere.

A bad mutha is a bad mutha. It has nothing to do with skin color. That term transcends race, geography, gender or what have you.

Sometimes I feel like a bad mutha in the water. It's not often since that state of mind takes way too much energy. I need it in a crowd. Then again, I shy away from breaks with crowds large enough to bring out my bad mutha.

Cos you know what? My bad mutha doesn't surf as well as I do.

That bad mutha stuff isn't me. I know folks who don't know how to be anything but a bad mutha. You've got to befriend them if you can. Because.

The bad mutha doesn't step to friends.

However, the bad mutha will have your back when you need him.her.it.

In other news, it's been relatively flat.

That's a four-letter word, you know. You can quote me.

21 August 2011

Under My Thumb

Once again, a random blog post title just popped into my head. I'm not a huge Stones fan. I don't hear Stones songs in my head very often. (Now, Howlin' Wolf and Bad Company are a different story.) I run hot and cold with the Stones. For every song I like, there are about 10 others I don't.

No, I have no reasonable explanation for the fact that I'm blathering on about The Rolling Stones.

Onward and laterallyward or whatever.

Much like those who split their time between the summer home and the winter home or between the West Coast and the East Coast, I've been giving my divided attention to mats one day and surfboards the next. Or whatever.

I'm drunk on the mat Kool-Aid, the taste having grown on me since my first sip. I don't even remember when I started drinking the surf Kool-Aid. I do remember it was many decades ago, long before surfing became fashionable . . . literally.

And to think I always thought people were staring at me because black women are a bit of an aberration in a surf lineup.


They're staring at the purple Kool-Aid mustache!

14 August 2011

And the Award for Grace and Style Goes to . . .

13 August 2011

Proof That I Still Surf Boards

I've been matting a lot of late. But I've gotten on my board too. Now that summer is upon us and the lineups in L.A. are so bloody crowded, I've been forced to beat a hasty retreat to spots I don't normally frequent. These spots, as it turns out, have some damn good waves. And when I'm presented with a damn good wave, particularly if it's a right (cos Lord knows this goofy foot lives for going left), I think of my mat first. Mats are great fun. That, of course, is the thing that keeps you on the mat. However, when you get the mat on a wave with a decent shoulder, mats turn into serious, mind-blowing business. You needn't take my word for it. Other mat riders know. George Greenough knows. There's no law that says everyone in the water must know . . . that . . . one's relationship to the wave, to the very ocean itself, is more intimate on a mat.

With that said, I still surf. My most recent sessions have been ones that saw me hike into a spot, with my fellow matter/surfer TT, with fins, a mat and a board. In those cases, my sessions were split between the mat and the board. Alas, I've yet to see a good left during these sessions. Point breaks that go right seem to be the theme for the summer of 2011.

There's a mat meet tomorrow. I will take a board. And I probably won't surf it. Unless. I see a good left. A really good left. A really good almost empty left. Yeah. Summertime. Weekend. Not.gonna.happen.

09 August 2011

Mat Stoke . . .

is the gift that keeps on giving!

08 August 2011

Speaking of Jobs

06 August 2011

My Companion Piece to Steiny's Post

It's time to face the facts. There is no middle class. We all know it, but refuse to believe it because doing so is much too painful. But if you look at the state of this country, the truth is undeniable. I blame neither the Republicans nor the Democrats. Instead I blame the Republicans AND the Democrats. They got us into this mess. They refuse to get us out. Perhaps they fucked up so badly for so long that they no longer care to do the right thing. They have their money. They have their status. They have all they need and want. We, the American people without means, are unimportant. There are no lobbyists representing us . . . even though, when you think about it, the people we've elected should, in fact, be our lobbyists, right?

I like Steiny's post. It speaks volumes because it speaks the truth. Thank you, my friend, for posting that. This is my response:

Yes, Do Blame Laird

That's what I was doing as I was sitting there.

Seriously, that's too much man for my taste. Does any one person need that much testosterone in one body? He resembles a side of beef that can walk, talk and SUP.

If you could see my face, you'd know I was not amused.