Have I told you about my Ninja moves?

I have been absent of late. November simply passed as one giant blur of activity with some added responsibilities that guaranteed blogging roadblocks.  Not that I didn’t try. I made a very important discovery, however. After 9:00 PM my mind turns to mush. You don’t need the details on that.

But to stay on top of an expanding schedule of activity I was forced to develop some flexible moves. My yoga practice has been invaluable in maintaining calm–well, calm for me anyway. But lately I’ve had to add Ninja moves as a form of independent study.

Even my closest friends and family have yet to actually see me practicing my Ninja moves. I’m sorry I don’t have photos. And if I could manage video, I’d be a YouTube sensation.

Autumn in Southern California offers a very subtle shift between summer and three more months of summer before we enter a mild winter. The colors do change, but not in the riotous fashion seen in other regions. It’s possible if you were visiting Los Angeles you wouldn’t even notice.

And the temperatures do significantly drop at night, but if you’re already experiencing snow, you probably aren’t interested in hearing how we ate our Thanksgiving dinner outdoors.

Gardens are confused.  Roses are still blooming, and in near perpetual sunshine, my mother’s zinnias are already sprouting in a false display of spring. Darwin is spending day after day without leaving his burrow. He isn’t eating. He knows it’s fall even if the temperatures still hover stuck in summer gear.


Well, endless summer temperatures don’t dictate length of days, and in our latitude twilight is 5:00 PM–just about the time I get home from work. Let the Ninja moves begin!

Do you remember our poor anxiety-ridden dog, Zena?  Even with her twice-daily doses of more-expensive-than-I’m-happy-with prescriptions, we still can’t leave home without setting up a barricade to the back door. Here are photos taken before we figured that out!

We don’t know if she would continue to eat the door frame down to the metal flashing, but we barricade the door and set as many precautions in motion as we can. Each time we leave the house she’s given treats, toys, and provided shelter in our little backyard guest house. She’s treated like one of our children.

You know? As I hear myself, could it be possible that treating her like a child has created such a temperamental little creature?

Oh well. Too late for that. Back to my Ninja training.

So here’s how it works.

I get home a little before 5:00 PM and need to quickly change my clothes and head out to my 5:30 yoga class. I’m only home for a few minutes, but that’s long enough to get Zena all stirred up!  If Jay isn’t home I need to stealthily sneak in and do what I came to do without drawing any attention to myself.

Step 1: I park about one house up the street, avoiding our driveway and being sure I don’t slam the car door or lock it and sound the little alarm.

Step 2: It’s necessary to approach the house with the perfect trajectory. Although the roses are currently about five feet high and quite thorny, I creep through the rose bed skilled at avoiding injury to skin or clothing. Ambling in this odd pattern to my front door, I’m sure my neighbors aren’t aware that this is a well-honed Ninja move. Perhaps they are concerned for me.

Step 3: Finally at the front door, I very, very carefully open the door without making a sound, then crouch and crawl in my best Ninja–or home intruder moves, crawl through the house to my bedroom, careful to avoid being seen through any windows.

Step 4: The house is dark and I can’t possibly turn on a light without my four-footed friend discovering her playmate is home, so out comes the iPhone flashlight and I, with great skill, impressively manage to change my clothing and sneak right back out the front door, totally undetected.

I’ve only been discovered once. That time I found Zena peering into my bedroom window and it was she who scared me!

Step 5 of “How to Train to Be a Ninja Easily” says I need to practice walking quietly, rolling my feet and using my hips to allow wide steps, and to breathe evenly. I do eat healthy foods, as suggested, but my tree-climbing days are over. I can, however, be sneaky.

Is it any wonder that by the end of the day I’m struggling to string coherent sentences together?

Oh, and another Ninja practice strategy suggests that I use nature to my advantage. Apparently being in tune with nature helps provide camouflage during dangerous missions and helps mask noise.

That’s easy. I do spend a lot of time outdoors. And I’ve enjoyed a beautiful Southern California fall. I can’t share photos of my Ninja-moves, but I can share some photographs I’ve recently taken. See if you can find any evidence of Autumn.

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I have missed being more in touch, but December is looking hopeful. And for the last weekend in November, don’t forget your own Ninja moves–apparently breathing lighter is a key skill component. Be sure to exhale!



63 thoughts on “Have I told you about my Ninja moves?

  1. How funny. Do you want to continue to hone your ninja moves or would you prefer bringing your yoga clothes with you and head there straight from work…just a thought. I can’t help but wonder what your neighbors think. Good luck!

    1. That’s a very good question, Cristine. LOL! If my husband would just stick to the schedule…see, I’m deflecting responsibility. When I leave for work in the morning we often have a plan and I fully expect Jay to be home when I return. I guess the best I can come up with at the moment is a backup plan. I would hate to deprive my neighbors of the entertainment I undoubtedly provide, however. So I will have to really think long and hard about my Ninja moves this week. LOL!

  2. Well I’ve been laughing my head off just trying to picture the Ninja moves you are describing… but even parking a block away are you sure the dog doesn’t hear the car?? My office window over looks the back yard and both our dogs will jump up and run to the gate… 5 minutes later Linda drives in, so my two recognise that noise from more than a block away… lol maybe you are lucky. My son tries to sneak into his hose undiscovered and one day decided to peep between the curtains to see where his dog was… there is a big flower pot outside their bedroom window and when he quietly parted the curtains there was the dog sitting in the pot beside the plant, head cocked probably trying to work out what he is doing in there…

    1. Oh my goodness, Rob. I can just picture your son looking out that window and seeing the dog beside the potted plant! The day that Zena came around to the bedroom window I was just sure I hadn’t made a sound. She does know our patterns very well, and so perhaps you’re right…maybe I need to rethink my Ninja moves. The dog may be worrying about me, and there is certainly no way that I can afford to add any further tension and anxiety into that poor pup’s life. I’ll have to rethink my schedule this week. The neighbors will be so disappointed!

  3. Debra, this is so funny. I am enjoying your decision to add ninja training to your busy schedule rather than taking the lazy option of changing at work/ class- that’s real dedication to widening your skill set 🙂

    1. Poor Zena really is a sweet, lovely dog, but she came to us with a “troubled past” and sometimes her issues are little hard to navigate. Good thing we love her as much as we do! 🙂 I’m glad I could provide a mental picture of my stealth moves. I imagine I look very lithe and steady…my neighbors are in actuality probably getting a good laugh! LOL!

  4. That’s it! I shall be a Ninja Warrior, too. In fact, I am right now, slinking about in the pre-dawn silence, awake for who-knows-what reason (accept maybe my body is figuring out I’m a week away from being Medicare-aged, tee hee), trying to make a cup of tea without waking up dearly beloved. I’m going to practice those hip rolling moves as I climb the stairs. Yes. That’s the ticket! What a fun post, Debra, and post-Thanksgiving delight seeing your “Autumn colors”. Actually, they do look a wee bit muted in color and subtle. Hope your outdoorsy Thanksgiving was festive.

    1. Guess what, Penny! It’s raining! And it’s been raining all day, with a big storm due Tuesday. It’s really so nice for now, of course, and gives us a bit of hope for this coming season. I haven’t seen rain like this in more than a year. I am glad you enjoyed my Ninja silliness. It’s actually an accurate portrayal of one of my more ridiculous performances, but so far it’s worked, and as long as it isn’t every day, perhaps I can keep it up! And let me wish you in advance a very happy birthday, Penny. Just keep repeating…”It’s only a number, It’s only a number…” You’re too young at heart to get bogged down with words like “Medicare!” LOL! I’m all about denial…

      1. Yea! Rain, wonderful rain. Here’s to just the right amount, Debra. 🙂 Actually, I’m not all that worried about the number, just glad to be on Medicare! tomorrow. (my birthday is still a few days away). Health insurance has been a long, hard, financial hardship, er, journey for us, which I won’t bother you about, BUT, looking forward to this big one. hehehehe

        1. Penny, I am absolutely delighted to hear that Medicare is a welcome addition to your life. I can surely understand that. Jay has been on Medicare for some time now. 🙂 I’m soon to follow. It’s a tremendous benefit and I am really pleased that it is going to offer you some relief. Insurance is so critical and it is also a significant burden. Happy Birthday all week long, my friend. ox

  5. dandyknife

    You may be onto something in the Zena department, transferring your own anxiety to her with all the heaping of attentions before you leave. She has no idea you’re worrying about the future — e.g. will she be eating the doorframe in two hours? — and thinks something is wrong right now. It might be worth reading up on how to convey confidence and matter-of-factness to her. I once heard about a child in the hospital who, despite everyone’s care, was slowly dying. He rallied only when an undergrad was sent in to give him the English lessons he was missing in school. His words later on were, “If someone was here to teach me grammar, they must be expecting me to live!”

    Meanwhile, though, great account of your Ninja moves! Your zen master will be proud of you.

    1. Oh believe me, Dandy, we’ve had all the professionals weighing in on this. The Vet, a dog trainer…books, friends, and if we keep things very calm and stable, so is she. Any changes in our schedule and she frets terribly. She’s seven years old and was rescued from a bad situation last year…some anxieties are just not going to be assuaged, I think. My husband was recently away from home for a couple of days and the poor dog wouldn’t even eat. We keep working at finding the best possible outcomes, and it is certainly better than it was…I think. 🙂 You’d like the wagon that I planted with lovely greenery so that when we barricade the door with it, at least it’s not unattractive. LOL!

      1. dandyknife

        Ohhh, six years of someone else’s history? Brave, compassionate you for working so hard with her. If I come across a good deal on rosebush-camo tights, shall I send you a pair?
        The wagon sounds lovely.

  6. Dogs are mind readers.
    Zena knows you’re on the way before you even turn down the street.
    She knows when and where you park your car.

    “She sees you when you’re sleeping. She knows when you’re awake.”

    Dogs are loyal and loving.
    Zena thinks you’re losing it, but she doesn’t want to worry you.
    She pretends not to notice you ninja-ing around the house . . . while she monitors your every move via E.S.P. and telepathy.

    “She knows if you’ve been bad or good . . . so be good for goodness sake!”

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. I can relate to this one. I have an early morning bathroom run. My old cat likes an early morning snack but sometimes he sleeps through it. If I need to go to the bathroom around 3 a.m., I sneak out of the bed without rustling the covers, tiptoe to the bathroom and do not flush until I get up the next morning. Half the time when I crawl back into bed and am comfortable, he is at the side of the bed asking for his midnight snack.

    1. Kate, I’m so glad I don’t have to feel so alone in my ridiculous theatrical performance designed to keep the dog from getting upset. LOL! You do understand! My Ninja moves are the only ones I’m admitting to today…there are others, but I may not share them for awhile. I need to preserve just a little dignity. 🙂

  8. You were missed, you beautiful creature – though none of us knew the danger you were in ! {grin}
    That dawg … sighhh … why do we DO these things to ourselves ?!

    1. Thank you for understanding, M-R. You understand, right? LOL! We can be silly when it comes to our pets, but in return they bring us a lot of joy and satisfaction, so perhaps it’s a small sacrifice that I make a fool out of myself a couple of times a week. 🙂 haha!

      1. Of course I do. An idiotic person like me, who allows herself to be bedevilled by a LARGE orange-striped and totally neurotic moggy ? – I understand all too well.

  9. How lovely that the weather was so mild you were able to eat Thanksgiving outside. Your poor dog! Maybe he needs another dog friend? You must be very agile and nimble to make all those ninja moves. After all that I’m surprised you have any energy left to attend your yoga class! xx

    1. We had a lovely warm Thanksgiving, Charlie, and now it’s raining. Hooray! And it’s raining quite steadily and is so welcome. We have talked about getting another dog, but when we asked the veterinarian about it he wasn’t too sure it would help. Poor Zena! We rescued her last year from an unhappy situation and at this point she is just so attached to my husband that he can barely move without her taking notice. I guess it’s nice to be adored. LOL! I am very silly when it comes to the dog. At least I know it’s ridiculous, right? 🙂

    1. I leave for work so early it’s hard for me to at least not make a quick pit stop at home before moving on to the next leg in my afternoon, so I prefer not dressing at class. Most days Jay is home, so at this point it’s a communication glitch–which if it continues, I’ll either have to perfect my Ninja moves or make a new plan. At this point–it’s a coin toss. 🙂

          1. Nah…..I believe in how you think you look. I was convinced I looked amazing doing my martial arts. Then I videotaped myself, saw the camera lying to me, and decided I was more amazing than the camera showed. 😉

  10. The mental picture of you sneaking through the house seems to indicate that you should be getting the drugs, not Xena! 😉 Meanwhile, glad your time has cleared up a little … and hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    1. I can be very silly sometimes, Nancy, and more often that was not my original intention! LOL! There would be other ways to address my concerns with upsetting the dog, but once I figured out this worked, I just stuck with it. Fortunately, it is not a daily occurrence. I never thought about the added exercise, but I guess the flexibility I gain in my yoga classes is paying off, right? 🙂

  11. Dear Debra, what a wonderful start to my week! In Oz it’s just after 8.00am Monday morning and we’ve had one of Meatloaf’s ‘Hot Summer Nights’. 🙂
    I’ve been having a lovely chortle, picturing you doing your Ninja stealth thing. I hope you don’t get arrested for suspicious behaviour. Even though I’ve not been wonderful at responding, your posts often bring me great joy, and always, always a sense of authenticity. You make a difference to my life.
    The photos are stunning, particularly the Asian style water garden, oh and the butterfly – that one was a magnificent capture of a moment in time.
    Take care my lovely friend, and thank you for the joy and beauty you spread. It does help me to breath easier. xxx

    1. Tricia, Your response touches me so deeply. I can’t thank you enough for sharing with me that you feel a connection through the bits and pieces of story I feel privileged to share. I do feel our friendship across the many, many miles (and such long and separated time zones) and I wish it were possible for us to share a cup of tea. But you please me when you are able to stop by to “chat” and I assure you that I understand why that is often not possible. I hope this week brings you some quality rest and renewal. I think of you often with that wish, my friend. ox

    1. I could certainly do things differently and more efficiently, Meg, but I would be nearly as amused at myself. LOL! Poor Zena. She’s quite a handful but such a sweetheart! We love her despite her neuroses. 🙂

  12. i so enjoyed your delightful writing. I was trying really hard to visualize you with your Ninja moves but all I do is giggle (that is not meant to be an insult by the way). I am so impressed that you have made yoga a priority in your life. The benefits are so worth the commitment.

    1. Oh giggle all you want, Thea! I giggle while I’m doing it. I am certainly more awkward with the shenanigans than my description of stealth maneuvers! Yoga offers me so many benefits I am highly motivated, but I only go to classes twice a week. In between, I do what I can on my own. If time were a little more open I’d love to go daily! 🙂

  13. This gave me such a grin on my face! I have such a needy dog I also have to take extreme measures! Mine mostly involve getting out the door without helping in the Great Escape. Taking out the trash involves several serious Ninja moves: one foot out, turn, block door with trash bag, arm out, twist, body out, trash out, turn, right foot out while slamming door. WHEW!

  14. Ms. Ninja… You are mistaken. You are being manipulated by Zena. Totally. Zena is the Gary Larson of the canine world. She is carefully videotaping your humanly moves as material for her next cartoon. I know. I have purchased one from Zena for a Iam’s biscuit. It shows you creeping into the house believing you are undetected. Zena’s cartoon says, “Don’t these humans realize yet we have a keen sense of smell?”

  15. Gorgeous photos, Debra, but I still wish I could see a couple of your Ninja moves. 🙂 It’s been a very long and mild autumn in the UK too, with roses still trying to bloom into the beginning of December.

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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