If you like what you read, consider donating to help me support my family.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Beef Tongue

I can understand that there are plenty of people who would be repulsed by the thought of eating a cow's tongue. Especially if you have ever let a cow lick you and noticed that a cow's tongue is rough like a cats, but bigger. Much MUCH bigger! I felt the same way once upon a time ago.

Then, at a short lived Mexican restaurant that served a variety of meats - chicken, beef, pork, lamb, goat... - I decided to try the beef tongue tacos, and WOW! They were SO good! I also - on a later visit - tried the tripe, which was also fabulous, lol!

Anyway, the restaurant ended up closing because - in my opinion - it was simply in the wrong location. Too close to too many picky eaters, and not close enough to those who like the variety they offered. However, just to note, my mom is a picky eater, and she LOVED the place. She simply ate the "normal" stuff, lol!

I had read that tongue was fairly easy to make, but I wasn't in the habit of buying it from the grocery store on the RARE occasion that I actually found one or two for sale. A couple of months ago, someone said that they had one they wanted to give away, and I snatched it up! I thought it would be perfect for us. Free food AND the opportunity to learn to cook something new :-)

Then it sat in my freezer until the weather turned colder, because I originally received it when it was SO hot outside that the thought of cooking was downright repugnant. Yesterday, I took out my roasting pan - which looks like a carbochon steel roasting pan one would put in the oven - but is made for my electric plug-in Nesco roaster oven.

Into my pan, I plopped the frozen tongue. Then I completely covered it with water. I probably had at least a gallon of water in there even though my pan wasn't full. It has about a gallon and a half capacity - if I remember correctly.

This next part is hands down THE most important part! I grabbed my RealSalt brand sea salt and poured a generous amount in the water. This is not some eggs frying in a pan. A little dash of Salt will not do ya! You have to salt the water until it tastes right. It should be pleasantly salty but not TOO much (unless you like Au Jus). If you can't taste the salt, add more. The salt is not necessary for cooking the meat, but it IS necessary for taste.

To my salt water, I added garlic powder, onion powder, cilantro, and a couple dashes of pepper. I did this by shaking each spice into the water until I thought it looked/felt right, but I would say that I put about 1TBSP garlic powder, almost 2TBSPs onion powder, maybe 1/2TBSP of cilantro, and literally 2 or 3 dashes of pepper. We don't like pepper in my house, so I tend to have a VERY light hand when I add it to anything. I added just enough to give it that zingy taste without being hot.

I totally recommend adjusting the seasonings to your own tastes, and adding or omiting as needed.

Anyway, then I set the pan in my electric roaster and turned it all the way up at first. This was simply to get it started. After about 1/2 hour to an hour or so, I turned the temp down to 200 and let it slow cook for several hours. This has the benefit of making the house smell AWESOME!

When I was finally too hungry to wait for hubby to come home any longer - and the potatoes I'd tossed in the oven were finished baking - I started slicing up the roast. I knew one thing for certain, and this is important.

You're going to want to "peel" the tongue! I took a knife and simply sliced off the "skin." Then, I cut the roast into bite sized chunks for my boys, and took one as a sample. I was BLOWN away! A normal roast cooked properly has this texture... It's like something really tough was forced to become tender until it almost melts. It still has this almost gritty feel in the mouth. Gritty is not the right word, but I can't figure out a better word...

This texture was almost velvety. Smooth! Tender without even trying...

I set some aside to see if it would dry out as quickly as any other roast. You know... When you set a slice of roast on your plate, dish up the sides that accompany it, bring it to your table, sit down to eat it, and it is already almost crusty because it has dried out just from a combination of heat evaporating water, and cool air stealing the moisture...

This didn't. I think it has something to do with the texture. Like there aren't as many pockets between the muscle fibers to store water or air which normally gets released when a hot roast meets cool air. OR MAYBE it's because I had the temp much lower. Shrugs, who knows?

It was tender and it didn't dry out. That's the important part. I ate it with the potato and plenty of the juice from the pan - which has turned into a delicious broth :-D

MORE IMPORTANTLY: Y'all know I eat weird things, so my review is biased. What's Hubby think? What do my boys think?

Well, they all watched me cut off the skin. Without it, it looks like any other meat, so I let them watch me. They were okay with this because Gryffin hates skin. Phoenix was sad because he loves skin, but I told him this wasn't the kind of skin that was good to eat. Honestly, that's what I have heard, so I don't really know if it's true.

I gave them each their portions and their potatoes, and to understand what they thought, you have to know a bit of history. Normally, both my boys like their meat well enough, but they almost never eat it all. If the meat is hard to chew, or if it dries out, then they won't eat it. They'll let it sit on their plate forever until it's time to throw it away. As a result, I tend to give them just a little at a time, and then give them more if they want it. This prevents the meat from drying out...

With this, I set it on the plate and watched it disappear! They thought it was easy to chew, and it didn't dry out. They made sounds that indicated that it was yummy, and then asked for more. In short, they LOVED it!

When hubby came home and watched me prepare his portion, I explained that this was worth trying no matter what he might think. He told me that he has no problem eating the tongue, which surprised me since he can be a picky eater. He loved the texture too, and also asked for seconds.

All in all, I totally recommend eating beef tongue! Especially if you want to have a nice and tender roast. However, there are other things you could do with it, such as the tongue tacos that were my first experience with tongue. I'm now hooked, and can't wait to get my hands on some more tongues! I would even love to try the tongue of other animals :-D

That sounded so wrong, lol!

Have a happy day!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Being Diabetic

I wrote this as my status today on Facebook:
I'm beginning to see why one of the keys to consistent blood sugar is to eat every four hours on the dot. If my body goes longer than 6 or so hours without food, my blood sugar starts to go WAY up! For example, this morning - after sleeping for 7 hours and not having any food for at least another 4-5 prior to that, my blood sugar was 177 right after I got out of bed. Once again, I was too nauseous to eat. SO I waited until now - close to an hour later. I decided to test my blood sugar again, and it is 199. I haven't eaten anything! I haven't even had tea or drank anything, so my body is not reacting to food/sugar. Sometimes I think THIS is what the practice of religious fasts are for. For when people like me have so much excess crap in our bodies that we have to deprive our bodies of all food - while keeping hydrated - until our bodies "reset." Then the body can start over slowly by adding food a little at a time. Too bad I don't have THAT MUCH will power, lol! However, I do find it ironic that my biggest blood sugar problem right now is that I apparently don't eat enough, LMAO! No one who has ever looked at me would ever accuse me of not eating enough, but seriously, I eat maybe twice a day and have like one snack... If I'm hungry.
 My recent miscarriage provoked me to have my body checked up on. Get this, while eating a pretty good and nutritious diet of meat, veggies, and the occasional grain or sugar, I FELT great. I was even losing weight for like the first time EVER! However, my blood sugar was out of control, SO out of control I had a gout attack that lasted nearly a month before I finally went it to have it treated. I ALSO miscarried...
Now it's been several months of trying to control my blood sugar, and I have to say this: it frickin' sucks! I do not feel good, I'm gaining weight again, and it doesn't seem to work unless I eat nothing but bacon and lettuce. This indicates to me that I actually need to drastically reduce the amount of meat I eat - which can also turn into sugar in the blood when necessary, and some people have suggested that it does so automatically anytime a person eats more than the amount their body needs at any given time. The excess is automatically converted so that it can be stored as energy. AKA adipose! That would be fat you know. The stuff that makes a body puffy and lumpy, sigh...
 So I have 3 options and a serious choice to make. Do I:
A- revert back to the diet that made me feel good and lose weight that ALSO makes my blood sugar consistently high (around 200 is my guess based off my A1C - which supposedly anything over 140 causes permanent damage to my body, though I'm in mostly perfect health).
B-  Make my diet even stricter than it already is by eating nothing but Cod Liver oil, Coconut oil, RealSalt (which between just those three things alone I will have all of and abundantly more of my daily requirement of nutrition), bacon, gibblets, VEGGIES, and tea with cream. OR:
 C- Do I continue on as I am with a mostly meat and some veggies diet that doesn't seem to be helping?
 The more I have to struggle with this, the more I am reminded of my biggest personality flaw: I hate meaningless repeat work! I hate doing the dishes because as soon as I'm done another sink load of dirty appears. There's no point. It's absolutely meaningless to do them. It's the same with homework. Unless it requires more thought than picking words out of paragraphs from the book, then I refused to do it.
In the case of my diabetes, I am ready to give up and just accept the consequences. If doing all - or at least most - of the right things just doesn't work, than I don't see why I should do it. I would far prefer to eat a healthy diet that is just - sadly - not right for my body than starve myself or eat a diet that is better for my body, but still isn't helping like it should.
 GRANTED (inhales deeply and sighs) I have cheated on it. Back in 2003, when I went on the Atkins diet, I stuck with it as long as I possibly could. I literally ate NO carbs other than the minute amount in cottage cheese and meats. I also managed to get pregnant with Gryffin because my body finally had what it needed, or rather didn't have what it didn't need.
This time around, I am sticking to it about 90%. I will eat an apple approximately twice a week and watch my blood sugar soar from 130 to 200 in about 2 hours and take a massive amount of bacon or about 2 days to come back down to 130. (Again, anything under 140 is liveable.) One day or weekend a month I say eff it and eat all the things I am not supposed to such as pizza and Chinese food (noodles and sugary sauces) and all the chocolate and food I could eat at the Renaissance Festival.
 Oh, heh heh... Then there's the time of the month when I eat organic, soy-free, dark chocolate and not much else...
 I'm struggling! You want to know the WEIRDEST thing? If I post what I eat every night for a week - keeping in mind that if I post that we are eating hoagies for dinner, that really means that everyone else is, and I'm just eating the meat with lettuce and cheese - people see that I really do talk my walk. I really do eat low carb AND organic and healthy as much as possible with NO junk food! I get asked fairly frequently HOW I can possibly do it, lol! How do I stick with such a restricted diet?
I always say that I stick with it because I have to if I want to be healthy. I CANNOT and will not rely on drugs to theoretically fix my body when all I have to do is eat right. In fact, the idea is so ABSURD to me that I laugh! Imagine this:
Scenario A - Sugar or something that turns into sugar enters the body. The body uses what it needs and sends out insulin to store the rest for later. BUT, the body has way more in storage than it will ever use, and refuses to take in any more. SO, doctors prescribe two things to this person to help them. 1- A drug that forces the cells in the body to open up and accept more sugar into storage AND 2- insulin which does the EXACT same thing, but works better than the body's own insulin because the body doesn't have any resistance to it.
Scenario B - Person knows that sugar in any form is bad for them and simply does not eat it. Person therefore doesn't need drugs to "manage" their condition.

I will choose Scenario B every time, but the frustrating thing is that I seem to be having a mixture of the two. I eat right and STILL have high blood sugar, GRR!

I'm ready to just give up. I asked hubby what's the worst that could happen, and he replied. "You could have your feet amputated."
He's right though. Diabetes doesn't usually just lead to death. You get there eventually, but you tend to lose things along the way. Eyes... Feet...
I've seen it up close and personal when my uncle's father (uncle by marriage - so NOT my grandpa) followed ALL the doctor's instructions until he was missing toes, bed-ridden, and then finally died.
Throw in the fact that I've had this damn gout attacking my big toe on and off ever since my miscarriage, and WHAM! I'm scared... I don't want to lose my toes, my feet, OR my eyes!
Sigh! ... so, I guess I give the so restricted it frickin' sucks diet a try...

In the meantime, there's that something in the back of my head that is the undefinable sum of my religious beliefs whispering that there's a lesson to be learned here and I'm missing it. Seriously, if doing all the right things doesn't work, then I have to keep looking until I find what does, right? That's my lesson, right? So WTF is it???
To end this, it is now after 2PM AND officially more than 12 hours since I last ate. I'm going to check my sugar again to see if it has gone higher, or if I have reached the threshold where it will now start to go down.
211... it's still going up, but at least now I'm actually hungry...
I'm off to find something to eat. Have a happy day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Extended Family - Chapter 6

Chapter 6

Happy Birthday Sadiya!” Her family cheered, surprising her. She hadn't exactly told them nor made a fuss out of it, so she was astonished that they knew when it was.
Sadiya smiled at the sight of the wax 17 that was on fire atop her cake, and then obliged them by blowing it out. I wish that my uncle doesn't argue with or fight me on this...
She waited for them to eat a special dinner they'd made just for her, along with some cake and ice cream. She even waited until she opened all her presents and expressed how grateful she was for them. Then she took a deep breath.
Uncle Jeremy? I'm going to be gone overnight tomorrow.”
What for?” Jeremy wondered with a frown. Had she simply wanted to go to her nudist place, she would have said so, and that would have been the end of the conversation.
Truth be told, Sadiya had considered lying and telling him exactly that, but she didn't like lying. She sighed and rolled her eyes around to express how much she hated having to tell him this.
It's for my tournament. I want to spend the night in the hotel so that I can be fully rested rather than travel weary when I compete the next day,” Sadiya confessed.
O...kay... I don't really see a problem with that,” Jeremy admitted with a frown, wondering why she seemed so reluctant to tell him about it.
Sadiya sighed in relief, happy that he hadn't put up a fight after all. She'd been afraid that he was going to assume that she wanted to spend the night with her boyfriend! This thought occurred to him, and he narrowed his eyes in suspicion.
Why don't we all go with you?” He suggested.
Sadiya gaped at him, getting incredibly angry. “Why? You didn't go to New York to cheer the boys on during their competition. Why would you want to come with me?”
Maybe because you seem to be hiding something, and it's making me suspicious!”
Argh!” Sadiya roared in frustration. For one moment, she had thought that she was going to get out of an argument.
She has a point dad,” Joss muttered. “You've never come to see any of our competitions.”
With you, I know exactly where you're going to be and what you're going to be doing. I'm with you in spirit and praying for you to win, but with her, she won't even tell me what this blasted tournament of hers is!”
I won't?” Sadiya asked, perplexed.
Well you haven't so far. In fact, you've avoided it!” Jeremy shouted. “I almost get the feeling that you think this is an excuse that I won't question just so you can have a free pass to fool around for a night or two!”
Sadiya gaped at him in astonishment that he would think that about her after all she'd done to prove to him that she wasn't like that. Then she laughed. Harder and harder until her sides ached.
I fight! I'm competing in the National Martial Arts Tournament!”
You what?” Jeremy had a hard time wrapping his head around this concept. Sure she had sparred several times while he watched and even seemed to be pretty good at fighting, but he couldn't quite picture her in an actual competition against others who were serious about winning.
That's so cool!” Hunter blurted out. “Okay, now I want to go!”
Joss wanted to remain petulant that his dad was practically bending over backwards for her when he never had for his own son, but he was much too excited. “I want to see you fight too! It seems like something you'd want to have people around to cheer for you...”
Sadiya sighed. “Well yeah, it's nice to be able to look over and see mom and dad watching me with a big grin, but... I almost decided not to go this year because I thought I'd be too depressed to win anything, but now...”
Sadiya abruptly walked to the refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of her favorite spring water. She gulped a few sips, and then sighed. “I just can't get it out of my head! It's in my blood or something!”
Jeremy nodded. “Other than feeling it unfair for me to go to your competition when I haven't gone to theirs, do you have any objections to us coming?”
Sadiya shrugged and shook her head. “Not really.”
Then it's settled!”


Sadiya packed almost as lightly as if she was going to her nudist resort. She took up more than her fair share of the back seat by listening to soothing music and meditating cross-legged the entire way to the hotel. Joss and Hunter were a little annoyed by this, but decided to just ignore her and chat about their respective interests and tentative plans for the future.
Meanwhile, Hayleigh and Jeremy quietly chatted about their work while pretending not to listen in on their sons. This was still the best way to learn what the boys were thinking!
They arrived at a fairly posh hotel about three hours later, and Sadiya came out of her trance before anyone could even tell her that they were there. She completely startled Hunter, who gave a small shout of surprise, and then thumped on his chest lightly.
Don't scare me like that!”
Sadiya simply giggled.
A bellhop appeared practically out of nowhere with a trolley to transport their luggage with. Sadiya paid him no attention, grabbing her purse and striding directly to the man at the front desk.
Miss Carlin! So good to see you again!” He greeted warmly.
Hi Jerry!” Sadiya returned the greeting, and then signed the receipt he handed her. Her room was paid for by the tournament, and was the best suite they had.
Good luck tomorrow, but I think we both know that luck has nothing to do with it!” Jerry joked a bit lamely, handing her a pair of key cards.
Sadiya laughed anyway. She gestured for her family to follow her as she followed the bellhop. One long elevator ride later, and they were on the top floor.
Wow! This room looks expensive!” Jeremy exclaimed as they stepped into the room.
Sadiya shrugged. “It probably is.” She tipped the bellhop and thanked him for his service. He nodded and respectfully left.
So, how does this work?” Jeremy wondered, knowing nothing about the Martial Arts Tournament.
Well, all of today and part of tomorrow, anyone who has qualified to compete has and will be fighting to make it to the finals. The finals start tomorrow.” Sadiya yawned, stretching as wide as she could. “Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get plenty of sleep.”
Jeremy nodded. The suite was actually three rooms – two bedrooms and a common room. Sadiya disappeared into one without another word, and Hayleigh gushed praise over the jacuzzi in the corner of the main room.
I don't care if you like the idea or not! I'm stripping down and relaxing in that tub!”
Hunter laughed. “Knock yourself out, mom!”
In the morning, no one knew whether or not they should wake Sadiya or let her sleep. They all appeared far more nervous that she was! Around 9 am, a knock on the door announced the arrival of breakfast.
A man from room service set a tray on the table, and then left. Sadiya emerged from her room – which Joss had once again shared – and grabbed the tall shake while everyone else took a plate full of bacon, eggs, and toast.
What's that?” Joss asked curiously.
Eggs and cream and a little salt. Oh, and a bit of coconut oil,” Sadiya informed them.
Eww!” Hunter blurted out just as Joss murmured, “Okay, why?”
I can't eat too much in case I get punched in the stomach! I need something small and easily digestible that packs a nutritious punch,” Sadiya explained.
Uh-huh...” Hayleigh remarked, wondering if Sadiya was serious. “Is it likely that you'll get punched in the stomach?”
If one of my opponents has an opening,” Sadiya shrugged without the slightest concern. “So long as a person doesn't purposely – or maliciously on accident – kill someone, then anything goes!”
And my sister let you compete in this?!” Jeremy demanded, knowing that it was far to late to stop her even if he could figure out how.
Yep,” Sadiya replied with a cheeky grin, and then warmed up with some yoga and a little light practice to get her muscles fully awake and ready to fight.
At 11:30, a knock on the door prompted Joss to admit a man who worked for the hotel. “It's time, Miss Carlin. The car is ready for you.”
Thank you,” Sadiya said with a smile. She led her family to the elevator, and then waved at the handful of people that wished her luck. A woman attended the door, opening it for her at just the right time.
I wish I could be there to cheer you on, Miss Carlin,” the woman stated.
Thank you,” Sadiya replied, then continued on.
A man held open the door to a shiny black stretch limo. He waited for them to all get in it, and then promptly shut the door so that he could drive them to the stadium.
Do all the fighters get their own limo?” Jeremy wondered, but Sadiya finally looked nervous. She forced herself not to bite her nails as the limo drove, but stared out the window with her nails digging into her cheeks.
I can do this, I can do this!” She chanted.
They arrived at the stadium about 20 minutes later, and the driver let them out. This was definitely not the main entrance! The driver smiled at them.
The family box is just at the other end of the hall,” he informed them.
I know,” Sadiya muttered. “Thank you.”
Good luck, Miss Carlin.”
She nodded, squared her shoulders, and then marched into the stadium. She stopped just outside a door, and then pointed at it.
That's where all of you can sit to watch the fights. We've arrived just in time for the quarter finals...”
What does that mean,” her family asked curiously.
It means that you'll get to see the best of the best duke it out for the Championship title,” Sadiya explained, and then a loud booming voice over the speakers prompted her to hiss. “Hurry!”
They opened the door but stood watching her in concern as she fussed with her hot pink tee shirt that said Sadiya in black letters on the front and Carlin across the back. She made sure that her black yoga pants were loose enough not to restrict her movements, but not so loose as to trip her up or fall off. In fact, the waist band was pretty tight.
Satisfied with her outfit, including the little bit of gauze wrapped around her hands, Sadiya faced a massive door at the very end of the long hallway.
From inside the small room where her family was supposed to be watching the crowded stadium, they heard the announcer do his job.
... Annual Martial Arts Tournament! So far, we've seen fighters from all over America battling for the 8 spots in the finals, and now here they are; this year's finalists!
Bobby Martin, Mike Collins, Dean Schmidt, Cho Chang, Tom Benson, Mark Foreman, John Hamil, and it is my very great pleasure to introduce you to our two time returning champion: Sadiya Carlin!”
The crowd had been roaring as each person cheered for their favorite contenders, but now the roar increased to a deafening pitch. The doors in front of Sadiya opened up and she strutted out like she owned the place. Her arms were in the air, and she turned in slow circles as she walked so that everyone could see her.
As she walked, the announcer filled in anyone who might have missed her previous wins.
This little lady is only 17 years old, but don't you dare underestimate her! She has won every official match she has participated in from her very first local competition! She easily took her state title at 14 then went on to win Regionals! She shocked everyone by winning the National Championship her very first year fighting at the tender age of 15! And she hasn't lost it since! I for one look forward to seeing her in action again!”
Finally, she was standing in line with the other finalists. Sadiya waited as a scantily clad woman – a crowd pleaser – stood in front of each fighter to let them choose a numbered ball from the box she carried. Watching each choose their ball, she had an opportunity to get a good look at her competition.
The 6 men and 1 woman were all in their 20s and 30s. They all looked stronger and more powerful than she did, but she wasn't concerned about that. Her main weapons were lightning fast reflexes as well as the ability to turn her opponent's strength against him or her.
Once they all had a ball, they held them up for the audience to see.
And our quarter final matches have been determined!” The announcer informed everyone needlessly. “Number 1 is our Champion Sadiya Carlin, and she will be facing Mike Collins. I don't think I have to remind anyone that only one of these two will be moving on to the semi finals! Good luck to both of you!”
The other three matches were announced, but since that wasn't so important right now, they walked over to the waiting area while Sadiya and her opponent climbed into the ring. Well... Mike climbed; Sadiya decided that she just had to get the audience on her side with a flashy maneuver that had her flip a couple of times until she landed in the middle of the ring.
She waited in her designated corner while Mike waited in his. Both of them played to the crowd, who clearly favored Sadiya. Finally, the referee commanded them to bow to each other, and then the fight commenced.
Sadiya let him come to her so that she could evaluate his gait and center of gravity. He tried feinting a few punches, but she could see in his muscles that he was preparing to make his real attacks. She blocked him easily, and then decided that he would be a fun opponent to tease.
He clearly longed to beat her into a pulp and take her title from her, but she was far too good at defending herself for him to get any good hits in. He tried to kick her legs out from under her, but she simply jumped and rolled out of his way.
When the crowd seemed like it was getting bored – tired of her playing with him – she got serious. Appearing in his face as if by magic, she punched him several times before kicking his feet out from under him. He recovered quickly, flipping back to his feet the very second after he landed.
He wouldn't fall for the same trick twice, so now she had to change her tactic. Circling him, she waited for openings, and then took full advantage of them when she could. He remained just guarded enough that she wasn't doing enough damage to knock him out yet. In fact, it now seemed like he was the one toying with her.
She narrowed her eyes in determination, and then widened them in shock as she realized that she'd left him an opening to her face. He took it, confused at the grin she now wore.
While he was busy falling for her bait, she was preparing to leap backwards and do a flip. During her flip, she planned to kick him once in the face on the way up, and once in the chest on the way down. This sent him flying! She landed on her feet fully prepared to defend herself, but he was still rolling from his back to his front and trying to get to his feet.
She didn't let him, attacking him in rapid succession until he was flat on his back once more. His eyes rolled back and he looked to be unconscious. The referee began the count, not surprised when he successfully reached 10 and pronounced Sadiya the winner of this match.
The crowd had held its breath to see if Mike was going to get up, but now leapt to its feet to roar in congratulations. Sadiya performed a flirty little bow, repeating it a couple of times as she turned in a circle. The moment she felt she had properly paid her respect to the crowd, she walked to the waiting area with the other fighters.
The next match would determine who she was up against in the semi finals, so she planned to watch it very carefully. It was between Mark Foreman and the only other woman – Cho Chang.
Sadiya couldn't help but admire Cho as she thoroughly beat her opponent. It was a pretty even match, but Cho had a little something extra that made Sadiya just know she was going to win from almost the very first moment the two fighters bowed to each other.
When Cho punched Mark out about 15 minutes later, Sadiya nearly jumped and shouted yeah! Only the fact that she didn't want any of the others to think that she might purposely lose to Cho made her contain her pride in her fellow female fighter.
Bobby Martin fought Tom Benson, and though they seemed to be determined to send each other to the hospital, Bobby won the match. He denied that he was injured, and insisted that he was just fine and could fight in his next match.
Dean Schmidt fought John Hamil. John seemed to have this grace around him that made it hard for Dean to get through his defenses, but Dean was determined and extremely powerful due to his build. He was at least 6 and a half feet tall, and built like a redwood! He may not have gotten through John's defenses often, but when he did, he did damage! John was soon knocked out for the count of 10.
There was a short break so that the audience could use the restrooms if needed, and then the semi finals started.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I do believe this is a first! I am not sure that two women have ever faced off during a Championship bout, but I can tell you that I have never seen any go up against Sadiya Carlin before! I confess, I rather hope this will turn into a totally hot catfight, but if I know these ladies the way I think I do, this match will be anything but!”
After being given permission to fight, Cho decided that her best defense was to attack Sadiya relentlessly. She clearly favored a boxing style of fighting that was lightly seasoned with kicks. Sadiya actually preferred to use her legs and did so when it seemed like Cho was going to pin her to the ropes and break through her defenses.
Flipping out of the way, Sadiya presented her back to Cho just long enough for the woman to attack, then she caught her, flung her to the ground, and then sat on her in order to rain punches like hail in a furious storm. Cho managed to reverse their positions, but Sadiya used the momentum to keep rolling until she could break free and leap away.
Panting pretty heavily, Sadiya decided that she needed to end this match pretty quickly, before Cho managed to break through her defenses and beat her up. Cho was relying on strength, but she didn't have the ability to perform acrobatics like Sadiya did.
Sadiya did a couple of flashy flips around the ring for a minute to distract Cho from her real plan. When the time was just right, Sadiya rolled onto her back in front of Cho and kicked as if spinning her legs in a circle. Quickly rolling out of the way, she delivered another kick – this one to her side where Cho was in the midst of falling – which flung Cho a bit away, rolling as she went.
Sadiya got to her feet to watch Cho get up and come at her again. This time, she rolled onto her back at the last moment, using Cho's momentum to pull and then throw her into one of the corner posts. Cho made a terrible wheezing sound, then crumpled to her hands and knees.
She got up as determined as ever, but Sadiya could see that she was running low on energy. Sadiya realized that Cho was expecting Sadiya to do another flip or roll. So, Sadiya decided to surprise her.
Standing her ground as Cho circled her warily, Sadiya waited until Cho launched herself at Sadiya. Cho had planned to go with Sadiya if she rolled or flipped, but Sadiya countered with a mighty kick that landed in the center of Cho's chest. Cho went flying, and then panted as she stared at the ceiling.
The referee began the count, and Sadiya held her breath as she wondered if Cho was going to get up or remain laying. Even Cho seemed to be wondering this. Time ran out before she could gather the motivation to try again, and she rolled over to give Sadiya a rude gesture.
Sadiya simply bowed respectfully, and then held up her hands for the cheering crowd.
Sadiya Carlin will be fighting in the Final round, but who will her opponent be. Find out next when Bobby Martin and Dean Schmidt vie for the opportunity to face our Champion!”
To the crowd's massive disappointment, Bobby Martin turned out to be injured after all. He got into the ring with Dean Schmidt, but it only took one punch to knock him completely out cold.
Well that was unexpected, but there you have it! Dean Schmidt is going to be trying his best to take the title of Champion away from little Sadiya Carlin! I think I'm probably not the only one who has noticed that he's practically twice her size! I'd wish her luck, but I don't think our Champion is going to need it!”
Sadiya sincerely wished that she'd had a bit longer to rest from her previous match, but she downed a sip of water and marched back to the ring. The Crowd was chanting her name, so she took a few moments to play it up for them. Leaping onto the ropes of the ring – which were just a little bit stretchy – she walked around in a circle, repeatedly throwing her fists in the air.
The crowd got nearly silent as they waited for her to say her catchphrase. She didn't keep them waiting long.
The bigger they are, they harder they fall!”
The audience roared in agreement, and then began chanting her mantra with her.
Oh boy! Sadiya thought, almost nervous. I'm going to have to do this quickly. I have to take him out before he can find even a single opening! If I let him lay even one hit on me, it'll be over!
Jumping down into the ring, Sadiya took her place.
You can talk big all you want, Shorty, but you're about to become a bug on my windshield!” He clapped as if squashing a bug between his hands.
Sadiya looked to the referee, who nodded and commanded them to bow to each other.
Dean didn't wait for the command to fight to be fully uttered before charging her like an angry bull. He planned to ram right into her and send her flying out of the ring.
Sadiya closed her eyes as if saying her prayers, and then caught him and used his momentum to throw him clear of the ring by a good 10 feet. He landed, rolled to his feet, and then roared in outrage.
You coward! You didn't even try to fight me!”
Sadiya shrugged with an overly innocent expression on her face. “Hey, you were going to do it to me!”
She leapt up onto the ropes again to taunt him. “And that's why I'm the champion!”
She back flipped to land in between the referee and the scantily clad lady who held her trophy.
You saw it here first Ladies and Gentlemen! That's why Sadiya Carlin is the Champion!”
Sadiya took hold of her trophy and then waved to the announcer, who congratulated her on her third consecutive National victory. It was totally clich̩ and actually monotonous since they did it every year Рbut the stadium abruptly started booming the song: We Are the Champions. The crowd sang along, cheering and just plain screaming in excitement for Sadiya.
She bowed to them over and over, and then finally made her way to the door she entered through. Joss pounced on her the moment she was through the door, squeezing her tight and jumping excitedly.
She returned his hug, and then insisted on, “Water!”
Hunter already had a bottle in hand, and pulled the two of them into the family box so that Sadiya could rest and drink her water. She downed half the bottle before forcing herself to stop.
Jeremy looked nearly apoplectic. “That was... dangerous and reckless and... dangerous! And stupid! And completely freaking awesome!”
Hayleigh ran her hands over Sadiya as if she thought the girl might be seriously injured. “When you went up against that... that giant! I thought you were going to die! I was seriously praying that your parents wouldn't come haunt us for letting you die so young!”
Neither Joss nor Hunter said a word, and she looked at them curiously. Joss explained in a whisper.
We were screaming too much, and now our throats hurt.”
Oh!” Sadiya exclaimed in understanding, and then grinned at them.
The door to the box slammed shut. “There's my little superstar!” A smarmy man in a loud tuxedo stated as if he was Sadiya's long lost older brother. “I know you previously thought you were too young, but have I got a proposition for you!”
He paused and Sadiya rolled her eyes. “You can star next to Sylvester Stallone, no no! Arnold Schwarzenegger! Tom Cruise? Brad Pitt? Come on baby, throw me a bone here! Who do you want to star with you in the next mega blockbuster super hit?”
Raymond!” Sadiya half groaned half whined. “I don't care what you offer, I don't want to be a movie star!”
Of course you do! Everyone wants to be a movie star! And you wouldn't be just any star! You be the next Angelina Jolie! The next super hot female action star! You be a permanent member of the A-list!” Raymond promised.
Sadiya laughed. “I've got way too much on my plate as it is! When would I find the time or the interest to star in a movie?”
Raymond purred in his smarmy way. “Come on, just try it once! I promise you love every moment of it!”
The door slammed open again. “Miss Carlin! Nike is prepared to pay you a million dollars to endorse our shoes! Just star in a commercial!”
A commercial!” Raymond roared in outrage. “My little superstar star in a commercial when she could be staring on the big screen!”
Yet another recruiter forced his way into the room. “No! Endorse General Motors and we'll give you all the money you want, plus a free car of your choosing!”
Endorse Nike and we'll support you should you decide to compete in the world championships!”
Sadiya sighed. As calmly as possible, she walked to a button on the wall and pushed it.
Security, there's an infestation of leeches in the box reserved for the Champion's family! Please remove them as quickly as possible!”
Yes Miss Carlin!”
Now why did you have to do that?!” Raymond whined. “I just know we would have come to a satisfying arrangement if you'd just take what I have to offer!”
Bye Raymond, see you next year!” Sadiya dismissed him with a grin and a wave.
He immediately cheered up. “I can see it now! Four time National Champion turned mega superhot action star. July 4th will no longer belong to Will Smith, it'll belong to Sadiya Carlin!”
Sure it will!” Sadiya called after him. He was not the only one smart enough to retreat before security forced them too.
Sadiya knew that they only had about three seconds for an explanation, so she used it as wisely as possible. “Stay behind the security guards and don't draw attention to yourselves!”
The security guards arrived, and finding the leeches gone, smiled at Sadiya. “Miss Carlin, right this way, your limo awaits!”
Sadiya nodded, squared her shoulders, and gestured for the guards to protect her family. They gave her a look that practically shouted, Well duh! That's our job after all!
Sadiya strutted down the hall, stopping at the first reporter in line. The stadium allowed only those representing the biggest news stations and talk shows to wait for her in this private hall. So long as she answered a couple of questions for each of them, they mostly left her alone.
The last one in line was a woman who smiled at her warmly. “Sadiya, just pretend you are talking to Jay Leno, okay?”
Sadiya nodded, having done this before.
Now that you are a three time champion, do you plan to go for a fourth time?”
Well Jay, I haven't decided yet,” Sadiya answered.
Could it be that you have something bigger and better to aim for?”
Sadiya grinned at the camera. “Maybe...”
Oh you little tease! Come on, give us a hint; What does the future hold for little Sadiya Carlin?”
Sadiya shrugged, still giving off a mysterious smile. “All I can tell you, Jay, is that I plan to finish up my college degree and then I plan to reevaluate my life and see what I want to do next.”
What about the rumors that you have a major movie deal in the works?”
Definitely not true!”
Well that's all the time we have for now. Congratulations on your win, and I hope to see you change that number from three to four next year!”
Thanks Jay!” Sadiya exclaimed, waving at the camera.
Okay and cut! Thanks Sadiya!”
No problem!”
Sadiya continued walking, the guards shielding her family from the curiosity of the reporters. A couple minutes later, they passed through a huge crowd of lesser reporters. They all clamored to get an interview with her.
Sadiya simply smiled and waved, pausing to let her family get into the limo first. Finally, she was in the relative privacy of the car. Her driver quickly got them on the road back to her hotel.
Aaaahhhh! I'm exhausted!” Sadiya announced. She curled up to Joss and lay her head on his shoulder.
Are you crazy?!” Hunter demanded. “You should take the movie deal!” His voice was still scratchy from earlier.
Joss nodded in agreement. “Yeah! You'd make a ton of money, and then you could easily retire to do whatever you want for the rest of your life!”
Maybe after I turn 18,” Sadiya murmured sleepily.
They both promptly tried to talk some sense into her, but her uncle stopped them.
Now boys... Sadiya has already stated several times that she doesn't want to be a movie star. I think we should let her rest a bit.”
The boys grumbled, but agreed.
Uncle Jeremy? Will you object if I go to my cabin for a bit? I always need to rest for at least a week after winning Nationals...”
Jeremy smiled at her. “Sure thing. I can completely understand wanting to get away after that frenzy.”
Thanks!” Sadiya whispered as she fell asleep.
The limo arrived at the hotel, and Hunter volunteered to carry Sadiya. Jeremy directed him to their SUV, then sent Hayleigh and Joss up to their room to retrieve their belongings. It took them about 20 minutes, and then they were on their way home.

Sadiya decided to spend every other week at her cabin throughout the rest of summer. Sometimes everyone accompanied her for the weekend, and sometimes just Joss did. Most of the time, she was on her own. Except for her dogs and all her friends at camp.
She used the time alone to think about her future and what she wanted to do with her life. Laying out in the sun, she realized something very important. As much as she loved fighting in the Championships, it simply wasn't something she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
She also didn't want to be a movie star. Sure it sounded fun, and she knew she could potentially make a lot of money at it, but she already had a pretty good income and had no ambition to be rich.
In fact, dividing her time between the three business she had inherited had taught her the most important thing of all; she simply loved them! Her favorite was the campground, followed by Sacred Earth Foods, but all three of them meant the world to her. She didn't even need to finish her second degree in order to run any of them – she had learned to do so at her parents side over the years. However, she loved to learn, so she planned to stick with college until she turned 18.
All in all, she realized that her life was more or less exactly the way she wanted it. There was just one thing she wanted more than anything... She held up one of the puppies Diamond had recently given birth to, then playfully blew on her stomach.
Grabbing her cell phone, she called her boyfriend.
Hey Ian, I need to talk to you. Can we meet on Wednesday?”
Ian thought this over in silence for a moment. “Yeah, I think I can get my wife to take the kids to a play or something. I know! The circus is in town...”
Thanks Ian, you're the best!”

Go To Chapter 7

Charts and Readings