Things are coming along with the wedding stuff, and it's pretty great. Venue for ceremony is locked in, venue for reception is all-but-locked-down (the rep is working up the contract as of now), I've asked 2 of my 3 desired bridespeople to be my attendants, and I got a fantastic dress for way under budget. It fits so well that I may not even have to alter the thing, which is frankly amazing. My future sister-in-law has been eager to help out with things, I think I have a cool idea for a bridal shower, and perhaps most importantly, I am not freaking out about any of this. Things are moving along, and I feel in control and not overwhelmed in the slightest. Let's hope it stays that way. ;)

Derby continues apace. The first part of the season was hard, because we had a bout very literally every other week for our first several games. And, coaching my juniors team on top of that has made it pretty time-consuming. But, we have a nice several-week gap between this past weekend's game and our next one in April, and my juniors will be ending their season on April 1st. So, room to breathe is definitely coming soon.

Also, I won MVP blocker a couple weeks ago, which I'm pretty stoked about. I feel like I've been actually improving and playing better this season, and I've gotten really comfortable with the inside line and forward-facing blocking. It's pretty encouraging to finally see progress, because last season felt like one big plateau.

Work has been a slog, largely because small businesses have had a hard start to the year, and thusly, so have I. I've been in my own head a lot, and have been dealing with a couple of terrible, time-and-energy-sucking sub-contracting gigs that I seriously want to quit. But, there are also some really exciting projects that are close to launch, and some exciting potential projects in the pipeline, so hopefully my mood will improve.

Today, I also joined a local co-working space and "social club," as they describe it. While I chatted with the owner, I told her something that I hadn't entirely realized was true until I said it: I don't really have a community around my work, and I'm feeling a need for that.

I have wonderful people in my personal life. I have a great community surrounding my derby life. But, aside from the people I pay to work with me--who are both awesome, to be fair--I don't have the same sense of community with my work life that I do in other parts of my life.

Swapping business cards at networking events isn't doing the job. I haven't found a place where I felt there was space for my whole self at any job or networking group, since I moved to Portland. This, however, seems like a thing that's geared towards ambition, balance, and genuine connections. Hopefully, this will be a step in the right direction, or at least get me out of my own head more often.

And holy crap, I need Spring to get here soooooon. The day-and-a-half of sunshine we had over the weekend was a wonderful lift, and I want MOAR. Preferably without some stupid "spring forward", sleep-stealing time change attached to it. ;p
We had our annual gathering to ring in the new year, last night. We revisited a couple of traditions, and added in a couple of one-night-only rituals for the troubling year that was 2016, which included burning a cardboard effigy of 2016, and whacking a person dressed up as the evil spirit of 2016 with foam swords. My friends are kind of insane, but in a really good way.

Our longest-standing ritual is to write down things from the year that we wish to leave behind, and burn them in the fire pit. Last night had us commiserating over losses, struggles, and the bleak truths we've seen in our world. We stood around the fire as snow floated down around us, remembering that we have each other, as we consigned sadness to the flames.

This year, it took me a little while to think of things to burn, but I came up with:

  • Old Lady Back Problems - it's getting there, very slowly, but I want to get back to where I can do athletics and not have to think about it.

  • Anxiety and Fatigue - pretty self-explanatory, but after being sick twice in two weeks, I'm looking at some professional help for this.

  • Silencing Myself - I think that I internalized the idea, very early in life, that nobody is listening to what I say, except perhaps to judge or make fun of it. So, even now, I habitually stay pretty quiet. And there are times when I really shouldn't.

  • Racism and Bigotry - again, pretty self-explanatory.

A newer ritual is to reflect on the good things that happened, and stick it to the wall, so we can see and share in each other's good fortune. There are now new engagements, new homes, new jobs, new names, new experiences all over my dining room wall. People made strides towards the lives they wanted, even if those strides were difficult. 2016 was a hard year in a lot of ways, and it felt doubly important to treasure the good parts of it.

For me, I had a pretty good run. My faith was shaken in some parts of my life, but I found solid ground in other arenas. There were times when things seemed to click together in an almost uncanny way, as if they were meant to happen. I think the hardest part of this year, outside of the political/ideological sphere, has been actually internalizing the idea that no, not everything has to be a terrible struggle. I felt a lot of anxiety when I didn't have a reason to--I was waiting for a shoe to drop, when there wasn't a shoe there to begin with. The battle with anxiety is one that I still have to fight in this year to come, and likely in the years after that.

I don't necessarily expect better things from 2017. To do so would be naive. But, I still hope for it every day. I've heard it said that this coming year should be one about community, chosen family, blood family (if those relationships are healthy), and connection, and that's a mission I can wholeheartedly get on board with.

Happy new year, my dears. We've got this, together.

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GAINZ

Nov. 30th, 2016 03:02 pm
Did a 253 lbs (115 kg) back squat last week, and a 301 lbs (137 kg) deadlift today. That's a 20-pound gain on the squat and a 13-pound gain on the deadlift.

I've felt like such an old lady these past few months. The physical therapy, the 2-month break from skating, the change in seasons making me want to hibernate when I'd otherwise go out, the tension headaches that have been so frequent post-election... I know that I'm quite healthy overall, but it sure feels like it takes a lot more maintenance than it used to.

Being able to throw big weights around is a really, really valuable reminder that I have a lot of power in these ridiculous muscles of mine, and that my body *is* healing and getting stronger. I honestly wasn't sure I'd hit any new PRs in this 10-week cycle, because I had to back off of activity for that long, but I did, and that's great news.

And, perhaps it's also a good reminder that I also ask a lot from my body--especially now that I'm back to a full skating schedule again--and that maybe I shouldn't feel bad when I want to lay around and watch television instead of staying out late. ;)
The protests made it onto my street today. I heard the shouts and chants from inside my office, so I grabbed my camera and ran out to the street to see what was happening.

It seemed like a relatively small group, but there were so many young faces in that crowd. They chanted and held signs, but they also hugged, teased, and socialized with each other like kids always do. It felt weird to see the frustration of protest and the behaviors of everyday life alongside each other.

Then, one of my junior skaters spotted me taking photos, and ran up to me to say hello. I've only had a couple of practices with the team so far, so it feels a bit funny to call them "my" juniors, heh. But, even though I've only just started to get to know this teen, I couldn't have been prouder of her.

The group passed by quickly, so she ran off, and I called after her to stay safe. I later learned that it was a group of students from Portland Public Schools, so hopefully that fact will keep them safer.

I'm proud of the young people of my city--they're paying attention, and they're not content to sit by in apathy. But I'm afraid for them, too. I know their future hangs in the balance.

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Today was something of a bummer. I woke up feeling sick, after a week that included five photoshoots, three birthday parties, another halloween-ish party, a scrimmage, a league meeting, and a visit to the Goodwill Bins. I was supposed to have my first derby practice back with my team since going on leave, and I was also supposed to coach my first practice with one of the league's juniors teams.

Instead, I squeezed out what little code I could muster in the morning, and then laid around in my pajamas, half-watching Quantum Leap in a haze, and dictating e-mails and marketing copy into my phone when my head felt clear enugh.

But, my housemates put together an amazing meal for all of us to share, and all I had to do was schlep down the stairs to make myself a plate. We enjoyed one of the best TNG episodes (Darmok) and a bit of British Baking Show while we ate, and I wrapped myself in a blanket and it was totally relaxed and restful and nourishing. I'm full of ham and gratitude right now.

And, there was also an interesting development after Saturday scrimmage--my first time putting skates on in two months--when I blocked a newer jammer pretty extensively. A more naturally boastful person might say that I dominated her, heh.

I'm told that her kid was watching and decided to draw that scene. So, the new Meat is the fearful-looking jammer (depicted as a literal jar of jam), and I'm apparently that feisty-looking jar of peanut butter on wheels that's coming after her.

Seeing this made me laugh out loud and it might be one of the better sports-related compliments I've ever gotten. ;)

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(un)happy

Sep. 1st, 2016 03:37 pm
I like this.

I have never been the ebullient person, overflowing with volume and excitement. I enjoy things, but my expression of that isn't always pronounced. Anxiety, ADD, and Depression are words that loom in my history.

"You don't seem very excited," is something I heard a lot, growing up. As an adult, I sometimes find myself expressing more loudly, but probably more for the benefit of others than for my own sake.

If you ask me how I'm doing, I usually say, "I'm doing all right," or perhaps, "eh, hanging in there." If you were to ask me if I'm happy, I might shrug and say, "sure, I guess so." I'm not UNhappy, per se--I'm not sad on this day, and I haven't been depressed in quite a while. But am I overjoyed by the mere act of existing? Ehhh...?

I don't know if I'm happy. But, I have things and activities and people in my life that make me feel fulfilled, and that's pretty great. I feel a lot of gratitude about that.

An old and short-lived therapist of mine once suggested that my "set point" might simply be different than everyone else's--that I'm just naturally less happy, less excitable than other people. I felt vaguely ripped off, in that moment.

Don't get me wrong: therapy helped me cope. Therapy helped me understand what was happening to me, and learn how to manage it, and if I had it to do again, I absolutely would. Therapy helped me become a more fulfilled and more positive human being, and it made me aware of my own attitudes.

But, looking at this? This might be the first thing... maybe ever, which has made me feel that not being "happy" *doesn't* automatically mean that something is wrong with me.

I like this.

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/unhappy
WELL, there went an entire month. Yeesh! And my brain meats are all kinds of crazy today, so this will likely be super-random and disjointed, heh.

Had a pretty huge month income-wise, and landed a couple of big projects. Enough so that I may get the new laptop that I've been wanting for a while. Of course, there's another part of my brain that's saying, "maybe you should save up for the wedding, dummy." But, the wedding is not a business expense (heh), and my laptop is getting increasingly old and slow, so eh, we'll see. Advice has been to wait for the next Macbook Pro update to be released, so I'll likely sit on the decision for at least a bit longer, anyway. :)

Speaking of wedding, September 2017 is the target zone for that. Yes, it's a ways off, but you know who has two thumbs and is not in a hurry? THIS GIRL. My goals are Simple, Fun, and Low-Stress, and having a longer timeline will be good for that on all fronts. Saving up is a big thing, because I've been very intentional about keeping my personal debts down, and I have *zero* business debt, and I am certainly NOT going to change any of that for this ridiculous wedding thing. I do currently have enough saved up to go dress shopping at some point, but I suppose that'd also involve things like deciding who my bridesmaid(s) will be. And I am having THE WORST time with that, largely because I hesitate to saddle any of my friends with the obligation, heh. I am ridiculous. How do people decide these things, anyway?

I've been going to the gym a lot, and now The Joe will be able to join me--he just finished the Foundations course, so we're going to go together today for his first normal class. It's possible that I'll lift heavier weights than he does, but I've also had a year-or-so head start on barbell stuff, and did bodyweight strength training for years prior to that, so that seems fair. ;) But, he also actually enjoys distance running, while I merely tolerate it. Basically, he's the cardio hamster, and I'm the 'squatch who likes to throw boulders around, heh.

Related: it's pretty great to be with a dude who feels proud of my physical prowess strength, rather than intimidated or threatened by it. :)

Derby-wise, I have both a TT Alumni bout and tournament this month, which is exciting, but also rather inconvenient, because I've been trying to rest my body from skating more than usual. I have a knot of muscles in my back that refuses to loosen up, and it's gotten to be pretty disconcerting. I've been reading up on things and talking about it with some of my sports-doing compatriots, and it sounds like it might be due to my glute medius not firing consistently, which definitely tracks with how my hips are structured. BUT, for now, I get to wait for a doctor's appointment next week to get some answers and/or referrals.

Summer traditions are pleasant and plentiful, thus far. 4th of July was full of flames, food, and friendship. Did my annual Oregon Brewfest lady-date with [livejournal.com profile] marykae and tried some very good beers and also some really weird ones. (much to my surprise, Mint beer was the Meh experience, while Pesto beer was actually pretty good?!) Gourmet-Q looms on the horizon, and I have no idea what to make, but it's always a fun afternoon regardless.

And, new things: veggie gardening has been decently successful, aside from a few stupid cabbage worms. Strawberries are thriving, I got to harvest a few poblano and sweet peppers and string beans, bell peppers are coming along, the basil is practically exploding, and the first round of grape tomatoes is crazy-delicious. Not bad, for somebody whose gardening knowledge lives entirely on Google, heh.

The new Ghostbusters movie was really fun. Folks who said it was "written by checklist" weren't exactly wrong, but the cast and chemistry was great, and the movie was genuinely funny. The new Star Trek made me very happy, and it actually managed to be all action-packed for the newbies, while still feeling like it had some of the soul of the original series. They could've done more with Idris Elba, but overall it made me pretty hopeful about the new TV series in 2017.

Anyhoo, that's all that's coming out of the brain meats at the moment, so it's back to the grind.
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GUYS GUYS I DID A CHIN-UP TODAY. Like a for-reals, unassisted one. They are generally easier than pull-ups (which I still can't do yet), but I HAVE NEVER DONE A CHIN-UP BEFORE AND I DID ONE TODAY.

Also, I hit 230 lbs. on my back squat. Back in my Fat Years, I topped out around 230 lbs. Also, boyfriend-at-the-time had, unbeknownst to me, started jumping up-and-down upon and generally trying to mess up the scale, because he didn't want me to keep weighing myself and feeling sad afterwards. So, it's possible I was even heavier than that, but I basically stopped looking or caring once I hit 230, until quite a few months months later when I decided to actually, really try and lose some weight.

Still, today I put the equivalent of an entire Me-In-2002 on my shoulders and squatted it. That feels significant.

Pretty damned stoked, I have to admit. :D
This is overdue, heh.

SUBTRACTING:

Working after dinner. This continues to be good. I've had these weird bursts of energy, since derby season ended, where I just feel like working, so I have occasionally taken advantage of that impulse.

Social media/e-mails before breakfast. I've been able to keep this down to a pretty manageable level. Having to go to the gym in the morning helps a lot, so it doesn't really get out-of-hand anymore unless I'm really sleep-deprived and just not wanting to do anything at all.

Some derby things. It's off-season! Woohoo! Everything dropped off pretty quickly after Champs. And then I got called up into the TT Reserve, heh. I'm not entirely sure what I'd do if they wanted to put me on the TT Roster, but as a Reserve skater, I only have to show up 50% of the time, and even if I were on the team, nothing in the summer schedule would cut into my weekend. So, it still feels like a break and doesn't feel like such an imposition on my personal life.

Working on weekends. Aside from the very occasional photoshoot, I've been doing really well at this. I've had a couple of occasions that are much like the after-dinner times, where I just felt like working on something, but usually a fun project.

Things/people that suck up my energy and give nothing in return. I'm trying to think of something that would fit into that category, and am so far coming up empty. So, I figure that's really good news. :)


ADDING:

A SMALL movie afternoon/night or other small-sized gathering. I just finally put a new one on the calendar! I'm looking forward to it, and actually even bothered to come up with a theme, of sorts. They've been working

A creative photoshoot every quarter. Q2 is definitely not going to happen, given that Q2 ends, uh, tomorrow. ^^; But, I've been throwing a lot of my energy towards another project that'll hopefully result in a successful crowdfunding campaign and some ongoing residual income. SO, that seems like a perfectly reasonable alternative. :D

Networking. My Derby Networking group has been going okay. Attendance hasn't been great on the face-to-face meetups, but we're going to try rotating dates, because there's apparently a fair amount of interest. And there's also been some discussion in the online group that isn't driven by me, so that's also a good sign!

Better eating. I have to admit, I haven't been the best about this. I dove back into doing social things more frequently, after Champs, and surprise, that's left me with less time to cook. Also, Joe's busy season is in full swing, which means he's not able to pitch in as much, either. But, I think things will calm down in the coming weeks, especially with my intern's 5-week stint ending in less than two weeks.

So, yeah. There's always something that can be better, but I can't complain much right now, either. :)
Well, our season didn't end the way it started. We slogged through our first two games only to be narrowly defeated, but then we came back to win our next five games. Our Championships win was not by a narrow margin, either--we won definitively.

I didn't personally skate my best game, but it didn't matter. Everything we'd built over the course of the season came together, we fought for every point, we worked together as a team, and we captured the win. Being a co-captain this season, and having drafted seven (!) new people to our ranks, I suppose you could say I had something to do with that.

To be completely honest, I think I both gained and lost confidence this season. I lost confidence as a skater, and that got into my head more than once. I'd been an anchor on this team for two seasons, but this season, suddenly, I wasn't. I had no real idea what to do about it, and I wasn't getting much in the way of feedback from our lineups coach--all I knew is that she wasn't giving me as much playtime. It sort of worked out in some ways, because I wound up working on jamming for a while, and wound up jamming my first full game and winning MVP for it. But, as a blocker, I feel plateaued and shitty, and I still don't really know how to communicate that to anyone on my team in a way that doesn't sound whiny and entitled.

I'm really starting to question whether I *can* improve without sacrificing more of my time for derby, and that isn't something I can or want to do right now--or possibly ever again. Getting into Crossfit also has me thinking about retirement, and while I'm not done just yet, it's no longer hard for me to imagine life without derby. My teammates are either young people who can make roller derby the center of their worlds, or they've already had children and planted family roots. I have Life Stuff I still want to do, like having kids, traveling, building my business and my home. I will likely have to stop playing derby, at least temporarily, in order to do at least some of that Life Stuff. That's still a bit hard to swallow.


Where I gained, however, is when I figured out that my way of being a leader has value. Early in the season, I quickly came to realize that I'm not the leader who makes inspirational speeches, or grabs for the steering wheel. I'm never the most outspoken person in the room, but I have my eye on the details, and I work to take care of my people and give them what they need to do better. There was a brief period when I felt like maybe I was an incredible failure, because I'm not a more archetypal leader-y person, but you know what? I like me. I know what I'm good at, and I don't do what I do for glory--I can hang with being an unsung hero, and making a difference in a quieter and more personal way.

Once I figured that out, I felt pretty great in general. Quiet confidence isn't something that often translates well, especially when there are louder voices in the room, but I don't need to be the center of attention, and that's what gives me power. I like myself and feel secure in my own awesomeness without that external praise.

But, in the end, nothing compares to this team, and I can't imagine that it would ever be easy to leave. We've gone through some heavy turnover and a lot of changes, but the heart of this team has never wavered. If anything I've done as a captain over these past few months has helped us continue the tradition, then I've succeeded in the most important way possible.

I also read a Muhammad Ali quote to my teammates, before the game. I happened to see it the night before, in a flurry of posts about Muhammad Ali's death, and although I don't idolize him the way some people do, this felt relevant enough to share:

"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them--a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill."



SO, I did my first crossfit competition this past Saturday. It was an in-house competition, so just among people at my gym, but it was still fairly intimidating. Only four women signed up, but even among those four, I went in knowing that I wasn't likely to be the best at any one thing. One gal has me beat on raw strength--she can squat over 300 lbs and is a vegan with insanely ripped thighs, which is basically as rare as a unicorn--and although I'd never been in class with the other two ladies, the leaderboard told me they could both run a mile in ~6 1/2 minutes, which I just can't even wrap my brain around. I can run somewhere around a 9 1/2 minute mile, but only on a REALLY good day. And I've always found cardio to be aggressively dull, so it's no big shocker that it's not my forte.

The good news? I didn't die! ;) I spent a fair amount of time remembering how much I dislike running. (short answer: A LOT) And, I also spent a fair amount of time cursing whatever made me think it was a good idea to do the Thursday workout, because it left me with sore arms on the morning of the competition. Apparently, the amount of rest my body needs before a crossfit competition is more than the amount it needs before a derby bout, oooooops. XD

Anyhoo, here's all the terrifying/awesome stuff they made us do:

Event 1: 30 calories on the Airdyne bike for time (47 sec)

Event 2: Clean ladder, 25 sec at each station, increasing weights from 73 lbs to 133 lbs or failure (133 lbs + 8 front squats)

Event 3: AMRAP in 10 min (7 rounds + 5 reps):
--5 push jerks (65 lbs)
--10 deadlifts (65 lbs)
--15 box jumps (20" box)

Event 4 - For time (24:57):
--Run 245m
--50 Lunges per leg
--Run 400m
--50 Wall Balls (14 lbs)
--Run 800m
--50 Kettlebell Swings (35 lbs)
--Run 400m
--50 burpees
--Run 245m

In the end, I came in 2nd overall, which was better than I expected. :) I wouldn't have regretted it even if I'd come in dead last, though, because simply getting through all of this was not something I could've done a year ago. And, it's nice to be reminded that being pretty good at multiple things can still get you decently far, even when you're not-the-best at any one thing. I guess that makes me the Ryu of my gym? Heh.

Also amusing: the men's side of the competition ended in a tie, so they toyed with them a bit on the tiebreaker, making them think there was going to be some absurdly heavy prowler push, but instead, the top two guys had to do an egg carry. As in, put an egg on a spoon and walk around some cones. It was pretty hilarious.

I already knew that my gym has a nice little community built around it, but they take care of their people: I apparently looked so wrung out going into the last 245m run that the head trainer had my judge follow me for the whole 245m and cheer me on until I finished. XD Also, they had beer and cider at the ready and burgers on the grill by the time the competition was over, and oh my god, I'm not sure a burger has ever tasted that good in my life. MEAT FOREVER

Anyhoo, I felt pretty destroyed yesterday, but today I was back at the gym and I'm still incredibly sore, but I have to admit I'm pretty jazzed to get back at it. Derby off-season is coming up, and I won 2 Months of Unlimited Membership thanks to my placing in the competition, so that means more time to throw barbells around and get stronger. ;)

It's been a tough few weeks. Not in a terrible sort of way, so much as in an overwhelming and draining sort of way. I've been working a challenging (but surprisingly enjoyable) part-time coding gig at an office downtown, juggling the workload coming through my own studio, doing my best to be a good captain and a dependable athlete for my team, working towards being a more present friend, and trying to squeeze self-care somewhere in there.

The self-care part, well, hasn't exactly been on-point. Shoehorning an extra 10-20 hours of work into my week has been overwhelming, to say the least, and there's been Life Stuff that's been happening, on top of that. There've been more days than I care to admit where I can barely muster the energy sit and watch television, at the end of the day. I've been allowing myself to rest when I don't feel well, and actually delegating the occasional task, but I also haven't been eating or sleeping particularly well. I physically showed up to everything I could, but only mentally showed up to... maybe half of those things? That's probably being generous.

Last Wednesday, I went to scrimmage, and I showed up. Maybe it was finally catching up on lost sleep, maybe it was the extra cup of coffee in the afternoon, but I felt fully present and excited to play. I'd almost forgotten what that was like, heh. In the following days, I started feeling more energized about a lot of things, and was ready to jump into my Monday, refreshed and ready to tackle everything that comes my way.

Then, my dear old friend Insomnia decided to show up. I laid awake for hours, slept fitfully, and woke up yesterday feeling like garbage. Again.

I looked at my calendar, and it was mostly empty, except for a little lunchtime music show that I'd written down. I was so tempted to just not go, because I felt so exhausted. I was so sure that nobody would miss me, if I didn't show. But, then I thought, "who knows when this will happen again?" And at that point, I decided that I didn't want to make another excuse to not do something. Not today.

So, I went. I brought my camera. I mainly just listened, because I wanted to enjoy the moment, but
I did snap a few photos. It reminded me that I really love watching creative people work. One of my favorite things about taking photos at random events is the opportunity to take a longer look at the expression, the intensity, the love and attention that goes into what they do. Sometimes, you see a flash of bashfulness or disbelief in their face--they're so mentally and emotionally invested in this THING, but they're never quite certain that it will be loved by others, and it feels like a wonderful surprise when it is. It's a moment of honesty and bravery. Seeing that always renews my faith in humanity, at least a little bit.

I cried for a little while, after I left. The sleeplessness, the overwhelm, all of the feelings that I'd been trying to process during the in-between moments finally piled up high enough to break the dam, I guess. I suppose I like to think of myself as the calm center of a given storm--even when things get crazy, I keep that cool exterior, and hope that being calm will let those around me relax, too. I don't often feel moved to tears, but if ever there was a trigger, music is certainly it. I never stop being surprised at how easily music can influence our emotions, if we let it.

I guess this is a note to myself that a big piece of Kindness Without Excuses is to choose those No Excuses moments mindfully. And, perhaps another piece is to remember that I don't have to be cool with everything all the time. My emotions are worthy of space, and sometimes I'll have to make a bit of extra room for them.


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It's been a pretty up-and-down couple of weeks, but I think (hope?) things are falling into place.

I went in for two interviews last week, and ended up with two new contract gigs. One hasn't started yet (and will probably be fairly easy once it does), but the other is predicted to be 10-20 hours/week through the end of April, and they had me come into their office to start working on things the day after our phone interview.

Being in an office after freelancing for the past 4 years is WEEEIRD, y'all. Even though my recruiter said suggested dress was, "casual," I spent half an hour debating what to wear for my first day, heh. I'm also slowly getting over being anxious about screwing up or being incompetent, heh. Woooo, impostor syndrome! They've asked me if I've worked with various utilities in the past--a couple of which I have, but a couple of others which I haven't. Still, when I do have to say, "No," they seem happy to help me get set up, and they just say, "cool, well, you'll get to learn about that, then."

That's one of two encouraging things about this gig: I'm getting to learn and become more comfortable with coding-related things that I'm less familiar with. (related: the more I work with SASS, the more I reeeeally like it) But, it's learning in a context that lets me also use skills I already have, so I don't feel completely out of my depth. The other cool thing is that they mentioned having some design work that they'd like to hand off, if I'm interested, and of COURSE I'm interested in that.

In other news, Travel Team tryouts are tonight, and I'm not doing it. I was on the list until a couple of days ago, and I had a lot of anxiety about it. Part of me wanted to go all-in and do it again, and another part of me was panicking, wondering if the only way for me to get consistent play time again was to get back on TT.

But, another part of me didn't want to make the sacrifices in all of the other parts of my life in order to do it, and that part was apparently the loudest. Getting the new in-office contract pretty much sealed it, and work in general has been pretty fruitful so far this year. I feel more in control of that, and of my time in general, than I have in probably years, and that feels important.

Anyway, TT Wait List will be there, if I get towards the end of my contract and have enough time and headspace for MOAR DERBY.

Also, in the several months since I joined my crossfit gym, I've front-squatted over 200 lbs., and I'm already being peer-pressured about A) doing the in-house competition, and B) competitive lifting, heh. It's something I've enjoyed a lot, though, so it's pretty much inevitable that I'll do it eventually, haha. At bare minimum, I've found myself a post-derby-retirement plan. ;)

SO, yeah. Doing Life Stuff. It's working for me.

Oh my god

Feb. 16th, 2016 03:07 pm
I just tried to take a call, but for some reason I must have just missed it, because they were sent to voicemail instead.

In their message, they basically tried to contend that we can't meet in-person to train them on how to use their web site (which was horridly built by someone else), because "[their] site isn't on [their] laptop, it's on [their] desktop."

And, because I reviewed it to answer a bunch of questions they sent, they already know that I was able to look at their site on both my desktop AND my laptop. Because THAT'S HOW THE FRICKIN' INTERNET WORKS. ::facepalm::

Yeah, I don't think I want to have this meeting anymore. :p
WELP, it's February, and it's felt pretty crazy so far. My brief sojourn to the family homestead at the end of January was eventful in maybe not the best way--short version: United Airlines is THE WORRRRRST, and so is paying for your own hotel room after they cancel your connecting flight and maroon you in a strange city overnight. BUT, the change of scenery was nice, and I am now a hybrid owner, which is pretty great. I just moved the bike rack and the rest of my stuff over from the old car yesterday, so now Doctor Zoidberg is in his proper place on the dashboard, and the car finally feels like it's Mine.

It definitely took a bit to recover from getting up at 5:30am and driving for 13-ish hours, though, and I did so just in time to go to a party on Friday night and become totally wiped out all over again. Woooo, introversion!

I've also been experimenting with being a morning person since my last post, and finding that I actually hate it far less than I expected to! Heh. Getting to the studio and accomplishing things before I go to the gym actually feels pretty good.

Also, in the Eventual Wedding department, I have emailed a photographer and a jewelry smith who I just adore. The former is waaayyy cheaper than I expected based on the quality of her work, yay! The jewelry designer works with recycled metals and diamonds, so she says I can trade in the old engagement ring from college that I still have for some reason, and she can recycle it into a new project and put it value towards whatever we do for our rings. I'm pretty jazzed that old ring can become Someone Else's Lovely Custom Jewelry Piece, and also help us towards some really lovely wedding bands, instead of just being pawned or sitting in a box for another decade-or-so.

Checking in, becasue it's necessary.

SUBTRACTING:

  • Working after dinner. I've been doing pretty great at this, on the whole! Getting tired earlier has certainly seemed to help, heh.

  • Social media/e-mails before breakfast. This has been tough, largely because it's been harder to get my brain to fully wake up at an earlier hour, and staring at the internet is a convenient crutch in those moments.. It does seem less impactful on my day when I do fall off the wagon, though, because I'm not sleeping as late.

  • Some derby things. I had a Web Team meeting yesterday, and while I haven't out-and-out quit, there are people stepping up to do things, so that I don't have to do everything, and that is HUGE. I might actually get to do fun things that I'm both interested in and specifically well-suited for, instead of boring maintenance stuff!

  • Working on weekends. WELL, it's been good for the most part, except that I agreed to do an event photobooth Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday this week. Because I'm smarrrrrt. :p I'm getting paid, though, and it's 2-4 hours per day, so nowhere near the grind that Maker Faire was.

  • Things/people that suck up my energy and give nothing in return. Continuing to do well, I think. I've made a few intentional choices about who to spend time with, and have gotten to see some people that I see too seldom, but who are TOTALLY worth my time. It's really happy-making. :D


ADDING:

  • A SMALL movie afternoon/night or other small-sized gathering. I'm looking for a good time to do the next one, and debating whether it'll be another movie night or a bowling night! (I just acquired a free bowling ball! I should use it!)

  • A creative photoshoot every quarter. I have the team pulled together for Q1! Well, except for the model. But still, makeup, hair, AND wardrobe, and they're all super-talented. The hairstylist is out of town the next couple of weekends, so we may not get the shoot date set until March, but it's going to be gooooood.

  • Networking. I keep finding out about interesting-sounding networking meetups, and then realizing that I have meetings or shoots or derby things already booked at the same time. Meh. It's not going to be that way forever. AND, the Derby Networking Group is having its first lunch meetup tomorrow!

  • Better eating. I prepped a second freezer meal, and ended up using one to feed my teammates. It was delicious chili, and I felt all accomplished afterwards. Yay!

WELL, I can't say that playing the Season Opener with metric tons of Midol swimming through my veins was how I wanted to play it, but other than the lady-problems-induced brain fog, it was a good game. We came out very strong in the first bout of what could easily be called a "rebuilding season," so if we look this good now, we're going to look awesome in these next few games.

The only thing I feel sort-of-bad about was that I wanted some of the newer folks on our roster to have more play time, but the game was too close for comfort on that front. It makes me wish I had played better. :/ But, the new folks that did get a fair amount of play time did SO incredibly well, and I'm proud of all of us. It's going to be a great season with a lot of opportunities for our people to shine. :D

On a semi-related note, I really ought to follow up on the hormonal birth control thing, now that I actually have a primary care doctor that I've visited in the past year. (did I mention that the November Death Bug was bad enough to actually make me go to the doctor? Because, yeah, that.) I quit the pill quite intentionally, but I've been hearing about other methods that could help make The Monthlies less debilitating and awful, without involving such a high dose of hormones.

Anyhoo, a mid-month check-myself-before-I-wreck-myself about how things are going:

SUBTRACTING:

  • Working after dinner. I've been pretty conscious about this one, in particular, and am doing well at it so far.

  • Social media/e-mails before breakfast. It's not perfect, but it's getting there. I still poke at social media on my phone while brushing my teeth, but it's a lot harder to get sucked into things.

  • Some derby things. I asked our Volunteer Coordinator about handling our practice signups for Fresh Meat, so while I haven't handed it off yet, it'll be off my plate before February!

  • Working on weekends. Ehhh, hit-or-miss. I wound up working for a couple hours the Sunday-before-last, but that was mainly because I'd given up a couple hours on that Friday to do volunteering. Still, it'd have been nicer to just have that free day, and I feel the difference.

  • Things/people that suck up my energy and give nothing in return. Doing pretty great here, I think? It's a bit harder to tell what the return is on something when you're not very far into it. But, there are at least a couple of things/people that I'm wasting less of my life on.

ADDING:

  • A SMALL movie afternoon/night or other small-sized gathering. It just happened yesterday! I was tempted to cancel, because I was still having horrible cramps, but I sucked it up and pushed through. People came over and watched a great movie and ate bread that I made, and I wore pajama pants the whole time, because that's the true test of friendship, really. XD

  • A creative photoshoot every quarter. I have started assembling a team for the Q1 shoot, which will probably drop in February. All are excited. I am excited, too.

  • Networking. I unfortunately screwed myself out of attending a new group this month, because my dentist appointment conflicts with their next meetup. :/ But, I ended up being booked for a gig later that day, so I guess it wasn't meant to be. On the up side, I've been dutifully polling my seed group of Derby Networkers about what we want out of the group, and will likely be putting our first face-to-face meetup on the calendar this week.

  • Better eating. First freezer meal is in the freezer! The Joe and I have been eating more breakfasts at home, too--the fact that his tour schedule is so reduced right now helps with that.

Well, someone I sort of know (but haven't physically seen in probably a couple of years now) seems to be quite convinced that both they, and I, have Asperger's.

...this is not to say I've never suspected that of myself. Because, I did once, quite a few years ago. But, I can't help but assume that, if I did have it, then my super-awesome now-former therapist would've picked up on it after seeing me for 2 years? And, it was most certainly not a thing I expected to hear out of the blue via the internet. XD

Still, I'm glad they at least have answers for themselves, at least. Simply having an answer or an explanation for such things can do so much for a person's mindset and ability to cope.
So, the theme that's emerging for 2016 is what I'm calling, "Kindness Without Excuses." Self-acceptance and forgiveness has been an important thing for me to build up--punishing myself and becoming an anxiety ball over every little thing was only going to wear me down to nothing, in the long run. In the process of adjusting my mindset, I've done a lot of things that I never thought I'd be able to do.

But, while that self-kindness has been wonderful to me, it's also becoming a reason to make excuses--an excuse to not do things. Or perhaps, to do the things I do, but without the capacity to be fully present for them, or to enjoy them very much. The fact is, to really grow as a person, you do have to push yourself out of your comfort zone every so often.

So, I'm looking to find the balance between pushing myself and being kind to myself. Moderation in all things, after all. That means being more focused and strategic about how and when I stretch myself, and how and when I give myself a break.

SUBTRACTING FROM MY LIFE:

  • Working after dinner. Working through the evenings has been a tempting thing to do, because I work well in the afternoons and evenings, but that also means feeling like I'm getting less down time. The reality is that I'll get that down time elsewhere, whether I like it or not--usually by accidentally frittering away time through social media or some other dumb thing. That's not really what you'd call high-quality down time And speaking of which...

  • Social media/e-mails before breakfast. I have gotten so incredibly bad at mornings that it's embarassing, and I know the Internet pit is 95% of it. I KNOW I can do better, because I did it when I had a day job. I just focused on getting ready, and worked once I got to work. I exercised and usually cooked breakfast and got there on time and everything. I mean, I wasn't *happy* when I was at my day job, but it's not really fair to say that mornings were the source of the misery.

  • Some derby things. I already started this (go me!) when I quit Travel Team, and again more recently by not re-applying for Officiating Committee, and I'm seriously considering breaking up with Web Team, as well. All of these were things that I felt passionate about when I started, but now enough time has passed that I'm burned out by them. Also, I think about the internet way too much already, so do I really need to dump volunteer hours into that? It'd be great to just focus on Captaining this season.

  • Working on weekends. I definitely want to be more vigilant about having full days off regularly, which means no work and no derby. Maybe even no social obligations, if Introvert Brain demands it. I already had the opportunity to do this last weekend, and it did put me in a much better headspace and made me more energetic about going back to work, and doing better work.

  • Things/people that suck up my energy and give nothing in return. It seems to be part of my narrative that I throw myself at things, whether they be projects or relationships, that just end up being one-way time-and-energy sinkholes, and yield little-to-no reward or fulfillment for me. If nobody cares what I'm doing, then I don't need to be spending my time on it. And if anyone DOES care what I'm doing, then they can do me the courtesy of showing it and making a contribution.



ADDING SOME THINGS:

  • A SMALL movie afternoon/night or other small-sized gathering, hopefully each month. Big parties are fun, sometimes, but smaller gatherings are what I need. It's too easy to float on the surface of loud, drinky gatherings, and make only tangential contact. And, I don't plan a lot of things, anyway, so if I'm going to ask others to put effort into our relationships, then I should try harder at it, too. My first movie night will be the day after the Season Opener, so it'll be awesome to lay around being sore and hang out with my bros and decompress!

  • A creative photoshoot every quarter. I don't want to say every month, because I want to pull together ideas that are more in-depth, and not just be phoning it in every month just so I can check off a box. I already have one in the planning stages, and I hope it'll be really neat.

  • Networking. It's been a struggle for me to find a networking group that isn't just elevator pitches and business card swapping, and that also has like-minded people in it. I don't like to be judge-y about what people believe, but I'm also reeeeally tired of pretending to be interested in numerology and DoTerra oils and other fluffy woo-woo things of that sort. SO, it seems that I've given myself the project of starting a networking group for derby people. There are a lot of people in derby who know each other on-the-track, but don't know each other's professional lives well (or at all). And, I know we already have a terrific culture of support in our nature, because that's a big part of what the derby community is about. I think this has a lot of potential!

  • Better eating. I wasn't exactly BAD at this in 2015, per se--my body composition has been pretty much the same, aside from getting more ripped when I started doing Crossfit. But, I did fall off the wagon in the Fall, in the sense that while I was eating a healthy amount of food, it was often eaten out and eaten in haste. I've started on a Freezer Meals project of sorts, where I use whatever bit of food budget I have at the end of a given week to pick up ingredients that I can bag up together and freeze, so when I get busy, I can just pull one out of the freezer and toss it in the crockpot before I leave the house in the morning--minimal thought and energy in those too-busy times that will inevitably happen. :)

  • Some kind of skill-building or online course. This may not happen until the off-season, but all the free evenings I had last summer were really nice, and I did good business in those months, so I think there'd be room for it. It'll likely be something in web development or web-specific design, because I'm fairly certain that any permanent job I'd have a shot at would be web-related.

Heh, I didn't write anything here at all in November! I can't remember the last time I've done that in like a decade. Not that there was much to talk about anyway, because most of it was just, "HAY GUYZ, I'm sick and exhausted and I barely have any energy for work or roller derby or anything." The cold I had hung on for long enough that I actually went to the doctor about it... only to have them give me Sudafed and tell me to wait it out. ::sigh:: That was the case for most of the people I know who caught it, though, so I guess this season's crud is just a particularly brutal one.

My car also has decided to be a turd twice in the past month-or-so: the first time, the alternator was going out, so the car crapped out rather suddenly on the way home from derby. Fortunately, [livejournal.com profile] matrixleap helped me replace the battery, and another professional mechanic buddy of ours was able to come over straightaway and put in a new alternator.

The second time was apparently the new alternator being defective, so it started to crap out, too. Fortunately, I caught that problem early and recognized it from last time, so I didn't get stuck anywhere. And, the part was still under warranty, so that replacement was free. I had a dentist appointment in Beaverton less than two hours after it started acting up, though, so it was a pretty annoying inconvenience, but an inexpensive one, at least.

I also have a new bike now, which is pretty excellent. I got it on a huge, hundreds-of-dollars markdown thanks to a Black Friday sale, so all I had to do was head to their pop-up showroom, take a test ride to see if I liked the thing, and they ordered it and had it shipped to my house for free. I finally got it and took it on its maiden voyage around the neighborhood a couple of days ago, and it rides so much smoother, and it'll be lighter on hills, too. Now, if only it we weren't having the rainiest week ever right now, so I could actually ride it!

Tonight is another home team draft, and it is once again a thing of controversy. The only truly melodramatic part dropped late last night, and my co-captain got really fired up about it, but our coaches and I were able to calm things down. It sounds like other team captains are feeling similar about the aforementioned melodrama, too, so that's a comfort. In any case, I'm confident that we'll be fine and will get rad draft picks, and it's nowhere NEAR as stressful as last time around. (I slept straight through the night last night, which is a far cry from the night before our previous draft, heh)

In other completely random news, I think I leveled up my karaoke game yesterday: I did Juke Box Hero at a holiday party, and then afterward, a lady came up to me and asked if she could talk me into doing backing vocals on her band's next album. Haaaaahahaha. I'll be shocked if they actually contact me about it, but it's a cute story, anyway.

I've also been watching a lot of 80's music videos recently (or rather, putting them on in the background while I work), and they're completely bananas and also making me want to do photoshoots based on them. It's been a while since I've had any headspace available to feel inspired, so it's a nice feeling to have.

I mean, really. LOOK AT THIS STUFF.

replay-america-the-warrior-screenshot

Yeah, something like this might have to happen soon. XD
Here's how October is shaping up:

Oct 1st: Client photoshoot
Oct 2nd: Draft Night
Oct 4th: Other, Different Client photoshoot
Oct 5th: First Home Team practice of the season
Oct 9th: Shoot at fashion show
Oct 10th: Team Fundraiser Party
Oct 14th-15th: Move to New Studio
Oct 16th: Get on a plane to Austin to skate with Travel Team (?!)

And that's just the first half of the month. And it also doesn't factor in design/coding deadlines.

Sweet jesus, I'm going to die. XD

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