The hardest week: Part 2

February 11th, my second dan test. I trained for that day for months. Push ups, and cardio, and sparring, and hours of forms a day. I was going to be ready. But I forgot, the point of the test is to break you, and Master Peterson will push as long as it takes. This time it happened to be about 5 and half hours. 

This was only six days after putting Waldo down, after a weekend of sitting on the couch with my sick dog… NOT TRAINING. This test was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’m still not really sure why I did it. I guess I just needed a challenge. Logically, I did it because we are moving, and I didn’t want to test under a brand new instructor or curriculum (part of me never wants to, I wish I could stay a Key’s forever, I love it there), but there really was no need to do it now, most people wait much longer than the minimum waiting time, I just barely waited the minimum. 

I had to learn and entire set of forms plus my form for my belt PLUS make up a form. I found all this out about 3 months before I tested. The last few months have been pretty hardcore, going to Tae Kwon Do everyday there are classes, going to FIT class 3 days a week, and doing forms every free moment in my living room. 

Its interesting being the first one from a young school to test for second dan, I felt like I was a bit of an experiment, but at least it was me and not some kid. We know how it works now and can much better train the next group to test. 

The test itself was hard. Extremely hard. Much much harder than my black belt test. The only thing I’ve done that was more exhausting was labor and birth and only because it was 24 hours of regular contractions followed by major surgery. This 5 hours was about as exhausting as that 24. I really don’t remember the order of the test well… but we started with some cardo, basically we jumped a lot, then we did forms. We did all our forms, then did all our forms as fast as possible, then did all our forms in a straight line… then we did tons of kids on paddles while he brought us up one by one to do our high forms. I was doing ok till we started doing jump kicks (this is where Ace got some amazing pictures) that was exhausting!!! 

We also did, kicks down the floor, combinations, then made up our own combinations of kicks, combinations of hand techniques, and combinations with both. We did self-defense, sparring, board breaking… and more that I know I’m forgetting. The test ended with us balancing a staff on our thighs while we were squatting. After being totally beaten into the ground (wrenching at one point) we had to squat till our thighs were parallel with the ground not let the staff roll off. Every time it did 25 push ups were added to our total (less that 20 minutes earlier I had finished the last of my 120+ push ups). I dropped it 5 times. We were given a big speech about working together and how we bonded as a group… it basically meant one thing… we were all doing more pushups. Now we all were doing the highest amount of anyone in the group, 175. I gave it everything I had, crying as my left arm kept cramping up and giving out, soon only able to do one at a time, on my knees. 

Those helping administer the test came out to help encourage us to finish and it was really encouraging, but that didn’t give my arms strength. I got to 142 when we were told to stop. I was extremely disappointed. We were then told to pose for a picture then dismissed. I cried as a chugged water. I couldn’t do it. But.. that kind of was the point. My instructor said he was proud, and it took me days to believe him. I seriously thought I had failed him and our entire school the whole weekend even though I had passed. Eventually I accepted that I actually did a really good job. Seeing the pictures helped. they are bad ass. 

Go like Ace’s Photography page on Facebook to see them all. 


Hardest Week: Part 1

I haven’t written in a few weeks because the week of feb 6-12th was the hardest week ever. Last I posted Waldo was still with us…

When I took him back to the vet monday morning on the 6th I heard the worst news possible, he had cancer and only had a few days at most to live. I took him home with pain relievers and anti-nausea pills in hopes of having a good day or two with him. All we got was that afternoon. I was determined to make it the best day I could. I settled in in the living room with him with water and some rice and chicken broth if he felt up to eating.

He got worse and worse all day and would barely raise his head when someone came in the room. I cuddled with Waldo and my son Mark on the couch for hours. We decided we needed to let him go that day, that we didn’t want him to suffer though a long night has he had the night before… we knew we wouldn’t get any sleep anyway, but stay up with him all night.

We had a few visitors come by to say their goodbyes to as my sister put it “One of the greatest dogs in the world.” Mind you this dog, bit her two year old son and she still thought this about him. He was really an awesome dog, who just had a rough start to life (we didn’t get him till he was 2.5). At 4:15 I took all 5 dogs out back with Ace, Mark and I, the whole family playing in the yard one last time. Waldo did have enough energy to chase the ball for a few minutes. God he loved that ball… At 4:30 I made the hardest drive I’ve ever made. My last drive with Waldo. I cried the whole way.

I refused to leave his side the whole day, even till the end. We had to wait nearly an hour at the vet because I wouldn’t let them take him back alone to put in the port and they wouldn’t let me back while other dogs were back there.

Around 6pm Waldo very peacefully breathed his last. The vet had only just started the injection when he stopped breathing. I really don’t think he would have made it anther few hours and was glad we let him go. It was the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my adult life. How do you chose to end another life? How do you let one of your best friends leave forever? You hope, you hope the rainbow bridge or something like it is real. You hope in a new heaven and a new earth where every person and every dog that has every lived are happy together.

RIP Waldo. You are loved. Image


My dog Waldo is sick. We don’t know what’s wrong. Last night he wouldn’t eat dinner… he didn’t want to do anything. He just sat there and looked miserable. I felt his tummy, it was huge. We left right away fot the emergency vet. It wasn’t air, it was fluid floating around in his abdomen. They have no idea why. Their biggest concerns are an infection or cancer.

Waldo was the 2nd dog we got, and he’s our oldest at about 5 1/2. Here is the day we adopted him, in November of 2008 (This is the day after we got the idea for Mosaic).


The day after he came home.


Last night wondering if my dog had only a few days left to live or if he still had many healthy years I realized, that whatever the case I can be happy knowing I did right by him. I’ve always said my goal is to give Waldo a happy life the rest of his life and to give him a good place to live. I’ve done that. He is a happy healthy dog, who eats pleanty, but not too much. He has his own crate with a blanket in it. His own collar and tag picked especially for him. He plays with other dogs everyday. He knows lots of people that love to pet him. He has a boy that adores him. In the summer he goes swimming and in the winter he sleeps a lot becuase he doesn’t like the snow. He has me, an owner that knows all his issues, and what makes him happy. I know that if he swims more than an hour he’ll get stiff and hurt for days, I know that all he really wants is to eat, sleep, and fetch. I know he still has a hard time trusting that he’ll have enough food and I’ve worked with him to help him gain confidence and trust. He’s had a good life with us and however long he has left will be good. Wether its 2 weeks, 2 months, or several years.

Here are a few more pictures of everyones favorite cross eyed beagle/corgi.

Waldo with one of his favorite fetch toys.


Swimming and playing fetch, few things are better.


Waldo following Luther's path after the "Snowpocalypse" Jan 2011.


Waldo and Mark Christmas 2010


Waldo playing with Mark.