Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

2018 Birthday Post

Today is my birthday. Won't you help me celebrate?

Life IS a circle sometimes and that can be appropriate.

Over 35 years ago, I began learning the Cheng Man Ching (Zheng Man Qing) version of Taijiquan from Carol Yamasaki, who was a direct student of CMC from his New York days during the late '60s and early '70's. After a year or two, life took me in other directions as it sometimes does.

A few years ago, I decided that dusting off that form practice and polishing it was a worthy pursuit of a man my age, and so I began practicing again, to the best of my recollection and with whatever references I could find.

Earlier this year by chance I made the acquaintance of a current student of hers. It turned out that she had a class in the evenings during the week that was not all that far from my office! In May of this year, I started learning from her and my practice has blossomed.

Running was a bust this year.

I like to run but I draw the line in certain places. Since I usually run in the dark, at least during the beginning and end of the seasons, I don't like to run when it's wet or slippery out. I don't like dodging puddles and not being sure where I'm stepping. At my age, healing from injuries takes longer these days.

I also need the temperature to be at least in the mid 40's before I'm going to step outside. I've run when it's colder, but that's something I'm not really fond of.

Winter had hung on for a long time. Where I would normally get started around the end of March, we were heading into April before conditions were leaning my way. But before I could get on the road, I had three weeks in a row of work related travel.

I find that it's hard enough to maintain any good habits when I'm traveling, much less running, so we were into May before I could lace up my shoes and get going.

I dove into it, running perhaps a little too far, too quickly after not having run since last October or November. But wait! There's more to it.

For some stupid reason, I decided to may last year's shoes last a little longer before using my newer shoes. I don't know what I was thinking, but the result was that I badly bruised up the soles of my feet.

I tried letting them heal up and trying again, but it became very clear, very quickly that they needed to heal up over a longer period.

I decided to let it go for this year and to pick it up again next spring. In the meantime, my taijiquan practice has benefited from the break.


You take the bitter with the sweet.

One of my sisters in law was diagnosed earlier this year with brain cancer. There is no known cure yet.

She's relatively young (51), in otherwise good health, and is neither overweight or a smoker. She's got those things going for her while she endures the year long chemotherapy regimen.

She's had a great attitude in facing the long odds against her.

Her husband has been remarkable in how he's been all over everything and has been finding options for her, for any eventuality.

The support that they are getting from family and friends is heartening.

I hope that I will be able to report next year that her cancer is in remission and a cure has been found.


For the rest of us, we have no complaints; how could we?

My wife works three days a week which allows her to help care for her sister two days a week. This year she and I will be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary.

To celebrate her 60th birthday, which is the day before mine, She and I, together with our two daughters took a look weekend trip up to Mackinac Island. We had a great weekend.

The older daughter has visited a number of national parks this year. 

My youngest daughter is going to Iceland on vacation next spring.

And I am just fat, dumb and happy at age 61,

Books that I enjoyed over the last year:


walt said...

Happy Birthday, Rick!

Perspective-counts-for-something Dept.: From where I stand, you still seem quite young.

I read today that Benjamin Lo passed away. I have a strong bias for the 'life' part, despite the Taoist suggestion that whatever comes is "well and good."

You might appreciate the new book "Aware," by Daniel Siegel, MD. Full of both practical and technical data. I would think the Amazon Reviews would give you a good sense of the contents.

Rick Matz said...

Thanks, Walt! And thanks for the book lead. I will certainly look it up.

Yes, Ben Lo passing. The passing of generations.

walt said...

Rick, please forgive me for offering this, but it might be of some value to your sister. Over the years, while reading about health and physiology, it has been stated that cancer cells cannot survive in a high-oxygen environment. Is this true? I don't know. On the West Coast there is a string of Sacred Heart Catholic hospitals that now are called Peace Health. They advertise a therapy at the Hyperbaric Center | PeaceHealth that claims to saturate the body with oxygen, including the brain (for instance, in cases of stroke, or trauma). They claim remarkable healing ensues. Any application to brain cancer? They would know.

If any of that approach is of interest or looks fruitful, this fellow ( wrote a book about oxygen molecules, including their affects on health.

Again, apologies for intruding into your family business.

Rick Matz said...

My sister in law.

There is a hyperbaric healing center in the Detroit area, so we have that.

Her family is all over it and she's being cared for by both the Henry Ford Cancer Center and Duke University. Between them, they pretty much have access to everything.

Thanks for the information and I'll make sure to discuss it with her family.

Benjamin Judkins said...

happy birthday Rick! Thanks again for running such a thoughtful blog over the last year.

Rick Matz said...

Thank you, Ben! Your Kung Fu Tea is one of my favorite blogs.