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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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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batskeets: (yan!)
Thing I wrote on Thanksgiving, but neglected to post here:

I have to admit: being thankful felt a little bit trite, when I got up this morning. Things have been particularly hard as of recent, and perspective has been a tricky thing to grab hold of.

I went running this morning, as I have each Thanksgiving morning since 2010. I even got to hear Flash (by Queen, naturally) during that 5K of pavement pounding. I’m thankful that my legs work. A few weeks ago, I couldn’t have gone on that run.

I am thankful that I’ll have a house full of friends in an hour or so. In some cases, it will be our 5th year spending it together. But, whether it's your 5th year at my table, or your first, I'm thankful for the new connections I've made this year. And, jesus, am I thankful for the old friendships.

I’m thankful for teammates who challenge me, encourage me, and are patient with me when the chips are down. I don't think I've been the best teammate, but I hope y'all know what I feel, even when I'm not so great at expressing it.

Later today, I’ll talk to my parents, through the internet, for free, even though they’re in Taiwan, half a world and many time zones away. Yeah, so it's technically Friday there, but that’s still pretty amazing. (SIDE NOTE: Skype decided to be a jerk and not allow me to sign on. But, the fact that this technology exists remains awesome)

I called my grandpa's house, a bit ago. If you’ve talked with me recently, you know why that’s an extra-big thing to be thankful for.

I'm thankful that I still have the ability to see the little things, to experience the simple moments, and find wonder in them. Not everything has to be grandiose and life-altering in order to be worth savoring.

I’m thankful that, when terrible things happen, we don’t have to go through them alone.

...oh. And lard. I'm also thankful for lard. ;)
batskeets: (qaf)
So, yeah. Late last Sunday, I got robbed.

It had been a long day--shooting at the Comic Con all day, immediately going to three hours' worth of derby practice, and then I went straight to the comic con after party. I'm normally careful with my things, on these busy sorts of days when I might have to leave them in the car for a bit. I'll cover them up, or hide them away in the trunk, usually. But, I had my bike with me, and I can't physically open the trunk when my bike is attached to it, so I wasn't so careful this time.

After a lively evening of drinks and geekery, a friend and I ambled towards my car to head home, and when I opened the driver's side door, the dome light popped on, and I saw the wreckage of the broken-out rear-passenger-side window.

I didn't even know how to process it, honestly. I'm pretty sure I just sat there with my mouth hanging open, looking confused and wild-eyed for several minutes. I pointed to the floor behind the driver's seat and said, "you know what was there? My camera..." And then I moaned about my skate bag, which had been on the back seat.

I dropped off my friend and headed home. Joe woke up a bit when I came in--he'd apparently noticed that I was in a foul mood, based on my footfalls. He asked how I was, and I told him what had happened. He immediately leaped out of bed, hugged me, and told me to file a police report. Then, he got on his computer and started a donation page, asking people to throw in a few bucks to help me replace my things.

I slogged through a Monday filled with insurance claims, phone calls, and a full workday on 3 hours of sleep. Throughout the day, people messaged me, e-mailed me, texted me, offering to let me borrow their skates, their kneepads, their cameras. And, when I got home from work, Joe sat me down in front of the computer, and showed me all of the donations he'd received, in the 15-or-so hours since it happened. There was close to $1200 raised, in less than a day. And, as I looked through each of those names, I finally cried.

I'm still waiting on some of the insurance claims to clear up, but some of that is wrapped up, at least--it's taken claims through three different insurance policies (car, renter's, and business), but minus deductibles, the losses and the damages are all covered to at least some degree.

In the meantime, I did get to skate on Wednesday evening, thanks to loaner skates from an old Fresh Meat friend, and a whole case of loaner pads and wheels from a derby friend who recently retired. I was able to do the photoshoot I had booked early on Thursday morning with a reasonably-familiar camera, thanks to a league photograher's backup D7000. Things don't quite feel normal, but they're closer to normal than I expected them to be in just a scant few days.

I've gotten a lot of support and a lot of hugs from the people I hold dear, in a very short time. Joe has been a champion throughout--checking in on me, cooking dinner, gathering friends to surround me with warm feelings, and just being the supportive and warm human he always is. It's all an incredibly bright spot amongst a lot of aggravation. It's what keeps me from getting caught up in those flashes of anger about the things I won't get to share with the people I care about, because those things were taken away before I could give them.

I only hope I can repay all of this in some way. I don't know how, yet, but as with most things, maybe I'll be able hack something together and make it work. :)
Possibly my least-favorite piece of feedback yet: I sent out a logo comp for a health coaching business, which included a silhouette of a female runner. It looks like a normal-sized person to me, especially when I think of someone who's fit and muscular. BUT, of course, the client thinks the runner looks "fat." (yes, that was the word the client used. Ick.)

UGH. Is it any wonder such a huge percentage of women have a friggin' complex about how their bodies look?

Related: I've had entirely too many clients throw the term, "edgy" at me, as of recent. Do people even know what they mean when they say "edgy"? SO VAGUE. Ugh. Choose other, different descriptors plz kthx.

On the up side, my project manager is basically a wizard, and has taken my incredibly sparse excuse for training and run with it. She is rocking it with clients, and is making this crazy-busy period noticeably more bearable for me. The mere fact that I can count on her to put out proposals and help with communication eases my mind, and it might actually help even out how new work cycles in, so I DON'T have to be freaking out all the time.

So, in short: Awesome people are awesome. Non-awesome people need to look at their lives and look at their choices.

Heroes

Jun. 13th, 2014 10:12 pm
(cross-post from the derby blog)

Tomorrow is the last game of the season with my beloved home team. It’s been a long season of bouting, and we’ve had our share of challenges, self-doubt, and games where we didn’t win at scoring the most points. Right now, however? The only thing I can feel is excitement and optimism.

When I look at the people I skate with every week, I can’t help but be amazed. There were some very large skates to fill at the beginning of our season. We may have felt scattered, unsure, and quiet then. We may not have been sure what our role would be on this team, or even what kind of skaters we were yet. I know I had all of those feelings.

Still, as the season has worn on, we’ve grown by leaps and bounds–not just as individuals with skills and strategies, but as a team that works together. More and more often, I go to practices and scrimmages, and see my teammates have moments of brilliance they’ve never had before. I get to have moments with my teammates where everything clicks, and we’re perfectly complementing each other’s actions.

We’ve come together and combined our powers for awesome. We’ve found leadership within our own voices, to fill those empty, quiet spaces. We’ve become stronger, harder-hitting, and more controlled. We’ve gotten smarter, more aware, more focused, and more connected with each other. We’ve found confidence in realizing that, hey, we’re actually really good at roller derby. We’ve made world-class players struggle and sweat and fight for every single point they try to score against us.

I remember being completely blindsided when I got drafted to this team, but those wise captains knew what they were doing–I look around at your faces, and I know that this is exactly where I should be. The soul and the spirit of this team strengthens and inspires me, and it’s what makes us as strong as we are. “Family” was a word that came up at the beginning of the season, and it rings true. Support means trusting each other on the track, and caring about each other’s well-being off the track. We challenge each other and we lift each other’s spirits. We never stop fighting, and we do it with grace.

I always used to dread being asked who my personal hero was, growing up, because I always wanted to find my own path, rather than emulating someone else’s. I never had a good answer for that question.

Now? It looks like I have not just one personal hero, but 18 of them. I see how hard we work, how much we care, how much of our hearts we pour in, and how much we sacrifice to make ourselves better in this sport. When I look at what each of you do to make this team great, that’s nothing short of heroic. The beautiful thing about it? We don’t just do this to improve or fulfill ourselves–we do it because we want to be better support for each other.

Because of you, I understand what being a part of a team truly means, more than I ever have in my life.

Look how far we’ve come. Look at all the things we can do now, that we couldn’t have done a few months, or even a scant few weeks ago. Look how much more we’re going to do, whether it’s tomorrow night, or in the Fall, or in the 2015 season.

Together, we are heroes, and there’s no limit to what heroes can do.
batskeets: (yan!)
Things have been pretty excellent, as of recent.

Travel Team went down to Eugene for a three-day tournament, and I got my first taste of international roller derby, when team came all the way from Scotland for tournament, and scrimmaged me and the B Team the Wednesday prior! I had an awesome time playing, watching, and talking about derby with my teammates, my wifey, my main squeeze, and all the awesome leaguemates who came down to support us. Three days of derby is a LOT of derby, but I wound up feeling far more excited about it, and more secure in my place on the team, at the end of the weekend than I did at the beginning. Talk about giving burnout a good swift kick in the ass. ;)

I'm making an effort to get out and about a bit more, both to spend time with neat people, and to try and engage more with not-derby communities. Because, as fun as derby often is, it's also not who I am. I've been interviewed by a couple of folks who are doing a deep-dive into the local fashion community, which is weird to me, because I've generally been so much on the fringes of it, but getting more involved in those events will, if nothing else, help me ascertain what's realistic for my business in terms of working with local makers. And, keeping up with what's happening in the world of pretty things, whether it's fashion, web, or visual design, is good for inspiration.

I recently got to nerd out about 3-D printing and design concepts. I've been introduced to new stories in a variety of media. I've gotten to catch up with some longtime friends, after weeks, even months of trying to get our schedules lined up. I've had some wonderful, quiet moments. Comfortable silence with another human being continues to be one of my absolute favorite things. And, even though I was awake in the morning, I didn't get out of bed until 1pm last Saturday, and that was nothing short of amazing, for multiple reasons. :)

And there are SO MANY THINGS I want to be working on. Thanks to my tap dancing adventures and my Halloween costume, I'm going to be performing twice in one day, at the end of this month. I have designs and costumes to make, pies to bake, photos to take. It's one of those periods where I feel like I'm exploding with inspiration, and just need the time to make it happen. Which, yeah, the "time" part isn't exactly coming easily, but when something matters enough, you make the time. And hey, Championships--and a summertime break from Home Team practices--is in less than a month, and sunny days are ahead.

So, yeah, I'm just going to gloss over the fact that, just after hiring a new project manager (whom I'm legitimately excited about), my assistant gave notice. And then, I hired the other gal that I wanted for project manager, because she'd actually be much better at my assistant's job. But just yesterday, when we were set to start training her, she learned that her other job wants her to go full-time. So, I'm back at the drawing board again. When will this hiring nightmare end? WHEEEEEENNNN?

Right. Glossing over aggravating things. I was going to do that. So, in closing: remember that time when I was briefly famous on the internet for blowing up a Texas jammer who tried to jump the apex?



Also note my awesome teammate, who successfully jumped the apex a second or two later, and ALL of us in white-and-purple grinning like idiots over this chain of events. It was one of the more perfect moments of the weekend, heh.
It's kind of funny how much your mindset can affect the things you do. I have to admit that I approached this past weekend with a fair amount of dread, at first: on Saturday, I had a photoshoot, a birthday get-together to go to, and then Day 1 of Travel Team tryouts (ack!), and then what could have potentially been two MORE birthday parties. Then, Sunday kicked off with Day 2 of TT tryouts, followed by a 5-hour shift at the shop I'm now working for. It all sounded very intimidating and exhausting, especially after what was a pretty high-pressure workweek.

But, I turned in nice and early on Friday, and when I woke up on Saturday, I thought, "you know what, I'll go and do all the things, and everything will be fine. I can make it through the weekend, no matter what."

The photoshoot turned out much lower-key than I built it up to be in my head, and involved one of my favorite makeup artists, and I really enjoyed working with our subject for the afternoon. On the way to Birthday #1, I realized that I'd be watching Star Trek and eating grilled cheese sandwiches with my best bros, and honestly, you can't get a much more comforting activity than that, for me. I wish I could've stayed longer, but it was just the thing.

I got to TT tryouts, and wanted to throw up a little, at first. Then I remembered that, hey, we'd done all of these drills at Thursday practice, and I did just fine at them, so I should just calm down and do the thing, and let the chips call where they may. Some skills didn't click quite as well as I wanted them to, but others went better than I expected.

Then, I went to the lower-key of the two birthday party options (well, if you can call karaoke "low-key," but believe you me, it was definitely the lesser of the two evils), had a couple of drinks to unwind, had a hell of a lot of fun singing my head off, and wound up staying out very late. I fell asleep thinking that I'd probably regret staying up so late when I had to get up for Day 2 of tryouts, but I told myself it'd be fine. I've played roller derby with a hangover, and I've played derby on not-much sleep before. I know what I'm doing.

So, I got up this morning, dragged myself away from bed, put coffee and a breakfast sandwich into my face, and scrimmaged with some of the best skaters in the world. It was not perfect, but it never is. But, I communicated a lot (which I'm normally not-so-great at, being a quieter person in genera), and had some great teamwork moments.

And then I got to my shift at the shop, did a stellar job of being extra-nice to people and keeping things tidy for the first 90-or-so minutes, and then my phone blew up with congratulatory texts, because I MADE TRAVEL TEAM. ACK! :D!!!!! I'm on the B-Team, but when that puts you among the Top 30 skaters in one of the top-ranked leagues in the world, the B-Team is definitely no small potatoes.

I may or may not have, quite literally, jumped up and down in the middle of the (fortunately, empty, at the time) shop, when that happened. XD

Anyhoo, I'm closing up shop now, and I'm basically feeling like I won the entire weekend. Granted, I'm bloody exhausted, but I can only imagine how things might've gone if I hadn't shouted down the anxiety demons with calmness and positivity.

Can't complain. Not even a little. :)

Hello, 2014

Jan. 1st, 2014 10:53 pm

I wrote a year-in-review for my business blog (of course). I don't think I have enough sleep under my belt to do one for my personal life, but maybe soon? I have some gnarly deadlines to kill these next few days, so I guess we'll see if time cooperates. ;)

Christmas was strange, because it didn't involve my annual pilgrimage to California to see my folks--long story short, no plans came together, and my dad also got stuck with the holiday duty shift this year, when he usually has that time off. Throw in a big photoshoot and a few large projects with aggressive timelines on my end, and everything basically converged in a way that made this Not A Good Year To Travel For The Holiday.

On the plus side, I did at least get a visit from my parents over Thanksgiving, which hasn't happened in a few years. AND, I got to spend the entire Christmas day with my sweetie, which we hadn't ever done before. His folks welcomed me over for Christmas dinner, and everything was pretty chill, overall. As much of a bummer as it was to hear that my family wasn't all getting together this year, at least I got to hug my Joe in-person, instead of texting him a "Merry Christmas" from 1000-or-so miles away. <3

The New Year came in as it tends to: with friends, drinks, and conversation. Last night, I had our partygoers write down things they wanted to leave behind in 2013, and then burn them in our backyard fire pit. I actually had to think pretty hard about what to write down for myself, which honestly puts things in perspective for me. Last year was challenging as all-get-out, but I can't say that it was BAD in any way. Certainly not in ways that weren't solvable.

So, the things I killed with fire last night and will leave behind in 2013:


  • struggling for money

  • getting in the way of my own success

  • not seeing enough of the people I care about

  • basic bitches -- as in, people who try to tear down others who choose a path that's different from their common, standard norm.

I suppose that begs the question: What AM I going to do in 2014?

  • Well, I'm going to make hella money doing good work for awesome people. (yes, I actually said "hella money." Come at me!)

  • I'm going to say Yes to more of the right things. (especially time with people who matter)

  • I'm going to say No to more things that don't serve me emotionally, financially, or creatively. (I've already quit a board position that was an aggravating time suck. Woo!)

  • I'm going to take good care of myself and my health, so I can be more awesome both for myself, and for the people around me.

  • I've already been spending more time reading for fun, as of recent, and am definitely going to keep guarding that bit of Me Time.

  • I'm going to try out for (gulp) Travel Team. I don't expect to make it, but in the unlikely event that I do make it, I reserve the right to scale it back or quit, if it's driving me crazy.

  • I'm going to make a home just for myself and Joe, because y'know? It's time. I love him even more after living together for a year. It's only going to get better from here.

  • I'm going to take photos of amazing people who love their bodies for what they can do. (y'know, instead of sad sacks with 2% body fat who think the only point of exercise is to look good in a bikini)

  • I'm going to keep growing, learning, and making the things I do better. I think I can keep doing that. ;)

And, in conclusion: THIS GUY RIGHT HERE. I couldn't ask for a more delightful intrepid journalist to have along on my quasi-heroic ride. He's more than capable of rescuing himself from a bad situation, granted, but he certainly has the better legs, out of the two of us. ;)

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Well, 2013 has hit like a ton of bricks. I mean, things are pretty good, but right now? Aaaaggghhh, so overwhelmed. It'll pass.

Anyhoo, resolutions are really not my jam, because I'm not always realistic with goal-setting, which usually means aiming way too high, and setting myself up for failure and/or a marked loss of sanity. So I'm blatantly ignoring SMART goal-setting parameters, and just rattling off some general things I'd like to work on in 2013.

Things I want in the new year:
  • More money. I'm on my way with that, and things are definitely looking busy in the coming weeks--to the extent that I wish there were more of me to go around--but yeah, more cash please.
  • Self-care. I do so well at everything when I take care of myself. But, sometimes, I still fall off the wagon on this, and I want that to happen less. I think the big piece I'm missing is asking for and accepting help when I need it. Which, agh. We'll see.
  • More structure. Self-employment has led to kind of a weird existence without a great deal of regularity to it. Sometimes, I'm up early and in the office all day, other times (like today) I'll sleep in until 10am, putter around til Noon, and then find myself working again late at night. I hope that living with Joe will help with some of that, because splitting time between two places isn't doing me many favors.
  • To be more present. I think this has always been a problem for me, but interestingly, scrimmage has made me more aware of it. When my life gets stressful and overly busy, then 70% (or less) of my brain  is where my body is, because my mind is zooming around elsewhere. I don't want to miss out on 30+% of the wonderful things that are happening in the Here and Now.
  • To better express myself. I'm lucky to have Joe and a few friends in my life who make it easier for me to talk about what I'm thinking and how I feel. I'd love to be able to cast that net wider, though, and actually say what I'm thinking in general, rather than just overthinking it and letting it go unsaid
  • Skating faster, stronger, and smarter. I want to be the best damned High Roller I can be, and make my teammates proud, and have a really fun time doing it. And I'm going to work my ass off to get there. OF COURSE.
Things that I did pretty darned well in 2012:
  • Got noticeably better at saying No. I wasn't so sure about this at first, but there actually were fewer days when I ran around to eleventy-billion different places, because I thought I could do All The Things. If I didn't feel up to doing something, I gave my apologies and didn't dwell on it. I'll keep working at this.
  • Pushed some boundaries, and found respect for others. With a lot of thinking, and the support of people around me, I found some beliefs that were kind of stupid and not very constructive for me. But, I also figured out that some of the boundaries I have exist for a reason. I've pushed myself really hard this year, and found that I can expand beyond my old boundaries, if I do it intelligently.
  • Built a business that doesn't suck! It's actually going pretty well, even. I have a new work space now, and I did have to downsize a bit on square footage, but I love everything else about it. I'm doing work that I believe in, and that I'm excited about, and although I'm not raking in riches, I can eke out a simple existence. This year will be all about being more efficient, more networked, and more awesome.
  • Got drafted to a roller derby team. And not just any team, but the best team EVER. I now skate alongside people on travel team who used to intimidate the crap out of me. I now skate with my old Wreckers coach, who is still robably the most positive influence I've ever had in derby. It's an honor to skate with them, and it feels good to work at something and have it really, truly pay off.
  • Maintained a really awesome relationship. We communicate well, we support each other, we have fun together. Discussions that were horrible in past relationships were shockingly easy with Joe. A lot of my past relationships took a huge downturn by the 2-year mark (whether I wanted to admit it to myself or not), but Joe and I have made it past 2 years, and I still get kicky feet when I see him. Teehee. :D
  • Kept in awesome shape year-round. Even harder than losing weight is maintaining a loss, and I feel like this was easier in 2012 than it's been previously. Also, I usually gain 10-15 pounds during the holidays, but this year, I made a pact with myself to keep any gain at 5 pounds or less. And wouldn't you know? I actually succeeded. Woo!
Photo-Making Month (4) - Hairy Eyeball

Photo #4: Hairy Eyeball. In the immortal words of Willow Rosenberg, "personally, I can't get through a day without a little hairy eyeball." Fortunately, Dusty was happy to oblige.
batskeets: (yan!)
So, today started off on a pretty crap-tacular note, but it got better, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] daemonwise spearheading the Gourmet-Q, and having many wonderful people bring their fantastic selves over, along with some truly awesome food. And dude, I have friends who will stay and help clean up the epic party mess. I'm a fortunate being.

And, tomorrow I'm photographing a wedding. For one of my exes. Yes, I do find that fairly amusing. ;)

Photo: I got into my car after shooting an event a couple weekends ago, and one of my friend/clients played the Lipstick Fairy on my rearview mirror. D'aww.

A Visit from the Lipstick Fairy

On those (fortunately, increasingly rarer) days when I wake up in the morning and wonder why I bother talking to anyone, I can look back at all of these things and be reminded.
It's been a rough couple of weeks. Last week was germs kicking my immune system in the teeth. The week before was basically everyone in the free world punching my ego in the gut. Needless to say, it's been hard to motivate myself to do much of anything. I'm still getting my stuff done, but I could certainly be doing more than I have been.

Since I clearly need to get out of this funk, I'll list some things I have to feel good about:
  • I reached my benchmark goal for business income, and that's after paying for new light mods, a boom arm, three PocketWizards, two new 1TB hard drives and repairs on my RAID. I thought I hadn't spent that much on assets, but once you throw in the computer and studio fixtures, it's been quite a bit. And I still made the goal. As long as the referrals keep flowing, things will continue to be shiny.
  • I need to put my new portfolio idea to pixels, because I've recently gotten a couple of positively *glowing* testimonials that'd be perfect for it.
  • The derby-verse has been treating me decently. I let some of my wushu friends know that we needed an act for the halftime show at Championships, and they wound up performing! So, yeah, my athletic worlds collided in just about the best way possible. Oh, and I kicked large amounts of ass at my most recent scrimmage. Soon they will learn to fear my name, bwahahaha!
  • Being sick last week got me to watch Mad Men, which I have to say, I'm enjoying. Oh, and watching Legend of Korra with [livejournal.com profile] katlyn and [livejournal.com profile] daemonwise is equally enjoyable. The Avatar universe is SO GREAT.
  • I've had multiple moments as of late when, after a socially-exhausting day of chatting up acquaintances and strangers, I came home to some gathering or another of some of my nearest and dearest folks at my place. But, instead of going back into Social Mode, I felt like I could relax and let my figurative hair down. It's great to have friends who are solid enough that I can do that with them.
Oh, and I got paid cash moneys to shoot these:

A Cloud in Two Verses
UpliftJon of The Slants
batskeets: (yan!)
So, my birthday weekend was pretty sweet:
  • I spent a large part of Friday afternoon in the kitchen, making a double batch of BACON COOKIES. Those things are so, so labor-intensive, but holy damn, they're good.
  • Later that afternoon, I got an e-mail from a potential client I'd all but given up on, saying that she wanted to move forward with the (big) project we'd talked about many weeks ago, and that she'd bring me the first deposit on Monday.
  • Friday night, my hot boyfriend took me out for dinner at The Sweet Hereafter. I like that he didn't even blink when I suggested a vegan joint as one of the possible places we could go. And, in case you're wondering, that place makes freakin' delicious vegan food.
  • Saturday morning was scrimmage, which is always fun, and I'm really turning into an awesome jammer. Of course, most of the league thinks of me as a blocker because I'm good at hitting, but hey, versatility, right?
  • Saturday afternoon involved biking to Stumptown ComicsFest, to work a shift at the Geek Council's booth. I brought some bacon cookies to give away, and one guy quipped, "so you're giving away the cookies and selling the recipe?" Since I'd already posted the recipe on my business blog, that gave me the perfect excuse to pimp my web site and give out my business card for every cookie I gave out thereafter. XD
  • Saturday afternoon also involved coming home and baking a birthday cake in preparation for the joint birthday party. I made a chocolate cake, with coconut "butter"cream frosting, topped with chocolate ganache. The cake, frosting, and ganache were all vegan, and it was also the first layered cake I've ever made. It came out both beautiful AND delicious. I wish I'd had my pro-camera on-hand so I could've photographed it.
  • Getting ready for the party actually went really smoothly, in generally--I think this was the least stressed-out I've ever been prior to hosting a get-together at my house. The kitchen actually wasn't a disaster left for me to clean (unlike the old place), [livejournal.com profile] dakania and I were cooking/baking and cracking jokes in the kitchen, [livejournal.com profile] matrixleap came over early to help get things ready, and Joe came early to borrow the kitchen and help out. All afternoon, people asked me "what can I do to help?" and I really, really appreciated that. I love my roommates and my friends. <3
  • The party itself? AWESOME. We had fantastic food contributions, plenty of libations to go around, silly hats ahoy, and wonderful people. There were a metric ton of things happening this weekend, and which made me appreciate it more that people came over to my little get-together. I also love that these parties always A) make me wish there were ten of me so I could spend more time with each of the awesome people, and B) fill me with happy because the cool people I know who didn't previously know each other end up clicking so well.
  • There also may or may not have been a couple of alcohol-fueled fireballs happening in the back yard. It's really good that the concrete patio at my house is so huge. XD
  • People got me presents! Really cool ones! I completely didn't expect that. D'aww. <3
  • Sunday involved nursing a cop of Water Avenue Coffee, and finishing the third Game of Thrones book, FINALLY, so I can take a break and read something else now. But, damn, the way a Storm of Swords ended was completely worth it. Then, I met up with Joe at Stumptown ComicsFest to actually wander around and look at things.
  • While at Stumptown, we went to a panel about Oregon History, which included a little trivia contest. In spite of my doubts, we actually won, so we came away with free comics and a gift certificate for Bunk Sandwiches. YES.
  • Also while at Stumptown, I checked on [livejournal.com profile] drjeff's Kickstarter, because Sunday was the final day to make the deadline, and IT GOT FUNDED. So, he gets to write a book, and I get to design it (and a web site to go with). DOUBLE-YES.
  • I dragged my very-tired-self off to Endurance practice, which I was highly tempted to skip, but I didn't, and I wound up doing a pretty awesome job, especially considering I'd gotten all of 5 1/2 hours of sleep on Saturday night/Sunday morning. And, one of my fellow Meaties gave me a really cute hand-drawn birthday card. D'aww.
  • After practice, Joe made me curry for dinner, and we watched Avatar: The Last Airbender and passed out early. It was so, so nice to wind down after a long-but-fun weekend.
So, yes. Landing projects, getting creative in the kitchen, seeing wonderful people, skating, and generally winning at life. Happy birthday to me, indeed.
batskeets: (yan!)
In short:

I love my utterly fantastic sweetie.
I love my awesome, supportive, and hilarious friends.
I love my continually caring family.
I love my work.
I love that I respect and care for myself.

Yeah, it's a pretty good day to be schmoopy. Be nice to yourself, and be nice to the people you care about. :)
I was going to do one of those lengthy Year-In-Review survey thingers, but I wound up spending far less time on the Intertubes than I anticipated, while I was in California and on vacation. But, this year deserves a proper sendoff, SO:
  • Full-time self-employment in 2011? It actually happened. Granted, it happened sort of by accident, but I've met my first benchmark profit goal and it's not even 2012 yet. I'm not 100% there yet, but I'd say I'm doing pretty well for someone who's only been doing this full-time for 3 or 4 months.
  • My health is improving by leaps and bounds, and I'm back into running again, which is *awesome*. I've only been going every couple of days, for a little over a week, but it's a relief and a massive emotional boost to be able to do that again.
  • I have an incredibly nifty boyfriend, and I realized while I was visiting the folks that, hey, I actually would like them to meet him, and the prospect doesn't make me nervous, because he's pretty great. (that said, being asked, "is he marriage material?" is still a weird, weird question to answer)
  • I am much less stressed out by many a thing than I was one year ago today. There are a lot of sad-making things that are no longer an issue.
  • I STILL have really excellent people in my life. Really, really excellent. 
  • I'm going to get drafted in 2012, and no power in the 'verse can stop me.
2011, you've been kinder than years past. Here's hoping 2012 follows the same trend!
batskeets: (yan!)
Heh, so yesterday wasn't entirely dissimilar to how it was a year prior. On that day in 2010, I went on my first date with Joe, which involved doing karaoke with some folks while wearing a fairly hideous Christmas-themed sweater. Last night, we ended it doing the same thing, albeit at a different place.

What's adorable is that last night Joe signed up to sing Amish Paradise, and then got me up there to team-sing it with him, which he'd also done on our first date. He told me on our way home from the Ugly Sweater Party last night that he'd remembered team-singing that song, and he also remembered what song was being caterwauled off-key in the background during our first kiss ("I Ran"), and that he actually sort-of-likes A Flock of Seagulls now because of that.

Last night was different (and better), though, because we also got to hang out and have good laughs with dear friends of mine, and dear friends of his, over the course of the evening. It's affirming and generally awesome that we mesh with each others' friend groups so well. And, at the end of the night, we fell asleep together, feeling lucky to have had each other in our lives for the past year, and enthusiastic about the year to come.

So, yeah, it's been a pretty good year. We're fortunate to have found each other, and to have such fantastic people around us.
batskeets: (yan!)
Better late than never, right?

The circumstances under which I'm doing this are sometimes terrifying, but I am, finally, working for myself full-time, and doing things that I believe in and am passionate about. I'm helping the local economy, I'm helping people do amazing things, and the future looks pretty bright.

I have great friends. Every so often, some combination of mood, circumstance, and a "just because," get-together reminds me that, no matter what happens, they'll be there, and they always feel like home.

Fate or whatever else conspired to have Joe and I cross paths. We went on our first date almost a year ago (whoof) and he is hilarious, enthusiastic, considerate, driven, thoughtful, and generally awesome in a billion other ways.

I have family that cares about each other, and cares about me. Even if the latter can sometimes manifest in crazy-making ways, it still comes from the right places, and I'm fortunate to have that.

I'm thankful every time I see someone I care about and respect have the good things that they deserve come to them. It doesn't happen anywhere near often enough, but when it does, I'm immensely happy to see it.

I'm thankful for derby, because it came along at just the right time, and it continues to be the fun kind of challenge. I can't wait to attack this beast again after my ankle sprain heals. I'm also equally thankful that I'm strong and fit, and that my injuries have been minor, and that I have the know-how to help myself heal.

That's all I can think of, but hey, it's the important stuff. In the meantime, I have a splitting headache, and HOLY JEEBUS it's cold outside.
JESUS CHRIST I need to not let so many days go by between posts. Much TL;DR follows:

It's Saturday night and I'm at home on the intertubes. Not that I have a problem with that. ;)

Things have been interesting since the layoff. I've hardly had to do anything for The Job, and I've been "working" from home with their blessing. I've only been into the office once since they dropped the news--for a meeting that I thought was unnecessary, and that wound up taking all of two minutes--and my mood dropped about a billion points in the half-hour or so I was there. I really am stunningly unhappy there.

I've definitely had a couple of flip-out moments since, sparked by the issue of money, but the root of the issue was really just my feeling incredibly overwhelmed. I've been working a lot of weekends lately, and then working through the week, too, and keeping up with derby and meetings and social things, and doing that seven days a week is just not a thing I can do. It's not a thing that anyone can do, but it's easy to make yourself work constantly when you work for yourself.

Staying focused on a task--any task--doesn't come easily a lot of the time, and working at The Job, on things that were unchallenging and not engaging, got me in the habit of time-wasting. Now, I have projects that I'm excited about, but the habits that The Job cultivated in me over the past couple of years still creep in. I can tell that the next few weeks (or even months) are going to be about training my brain to be better focused, so I can make the most of my work time, and actually allow myself to make the most of my personal time, too.

Derby's going to be much the same--I'm reaching a point where I'm not running into physical barriers as much as mental barriers. I've built skills, but keeping track of everything happening in the pack is tough, so knowing when to use those skills isn't exactly clear. I have athletic ability, and my balance is improving, but my mental game is almost nonexistent, so it's going to be training the brain there, too, for the next couple of months leading up to draft. I can tell that I'm improving at that just within the past couple of weeks, but it takes a lot of active focus, and that's hard.

It is nice to be at peace with how I'm progressing, though. Open scrimmage was this morning, and I felt that I did okay-but-not-great, but I can point out several things I did that I actually feel good about, and most importantly, I had FUN and didn't get all hung-up on performance. It's pretty excellent to just keep working consistently, and to feel confident that I'll get where I want to go if I just stick to it.

So, eh, maybe I need to transfer some of my derby attitude over to my work life. I'll make it, as long as I keep pushing.

And, hey, a few breaks aren't going to hurt me any, so after this working weekend, I'm giving myself the day off on Monday--I have no meetings, no practices, no work-like obligations. And? I totally get to go to PAX at the end of the month, because my friends are awesome and managed to hook me up. I'm hoping to find a way to get a pass for Joe, too, because he'd love PAX, so fingers crossed on that.

Which, yeah, appreciation time:
--Joe is an awesome human being. He's been understanding through all of my bad moments this week. I can be myself with him, whether that's giggling like a moron watching Japanese monster movies, racking my brain at pub trivia, or being boring loaf of TV-watching person because I'm too tired for anything else.
--Rib-off was fun, and I'm proud to have A) not lit anything on fire, and B) earned a Best of Show vote from [livejournal.com profile] daemonwise, even if it was the only one we got.
--I think I've seen more of my friends in the past week or two than I had in months, which is *awesome*. Randomly kicking around on Belmont with a few friends last Sunday night was the first time in a while that things actually felt normal. I have friends whom I can be myself with, too, and that's worth so incredibly much.
--I cranked out a web site I'm proud of, and a fashion photoshoot I'm looking forward to unveiling, and I'm getting paid for all of that. Uh, yes please.
--That said, sometimes, all you really need is a good book and a bit of meditative time in the kitchen making pineapple chicken and a banana salad. I feel pretty fortunate to have my Saturday night looking like that.

Holy crap

Jun. 15th, 2011 02:28 pm
SO MUCH TO DO TODAY. And yesterday, and the day before. Waaauuugh.

Last weekend was awesome, though. I got to see one of my awesome friends ([livejournal.com profile] monkeyhole) propose to another of my awesome friends ([livejournal.com profile] sarapada), eat french toast and bacon in the woods, and go hiking and take cool nature photos. We also rescued a cute little bunny from the pit of the outhouse at the campsite. Yes, that actually happened.

Then when I came back early for derby practice, we spent the whole TWO HOURS skating outdoors on the trails. The first part kind of sucked because I was running late and they left without me, but I caught up and it was a total kick in the pants overall.

Also, here's a photo I took last week, one from the many sets I have left to edit:
Do Good, Feel Good

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