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
I seem to be doing better in the realm of making time for creative projects that aren't for clients, which is good. I've done artwork for three t-shirts so far, and have some nice ideas for the next few.

I also photographed and designed four different posters of travel team skaters as superheroes, in a scant two weeks. It was a concept I absentmindedly wrote down a couple of years ago, so it was pretty exciting that a team fundraiser gave me the excuse to finally put this concept together.

These images were printed out 18"x24" and sold in the fundraiser party's art auction, and pulled in close to $1000 for the team. So, yeah, I think I did all right. ;)

(click to embiggen)


batskeets: (yan!)
I had a Saint Bernard on set for about 20 minutes, during a shoot this past weekend. He was clearly one of those large creatures that has absolutely no concept of how huge he is, and just wants to bounce and race around like a tiny puppy would.

He was the biggest, fluffiest, goofiest guy on the planet, and it was THE BEST.

SLG_7007_social
By some weird twist of fate (namely, an all-day workshop I was supposed to attend getting postponed due to the presenter being sick), I wound up having Saturday completely and totally off. I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. I didn't go to a workshop, or to the studio, or to the Hangar, or to any previously-agreed social obligation. WEIRD.

Joe was leading a walking tour of the food carts, so I spontaneously decided that this would be the day that I finally went on the danged food cart tour, which I've been wanting to do for a while. So, I tagged along and got to try food from a lovely array of food carts West of the river that I'd heard about, but never visited. One had Chinese dumplings that actually reminded me of childhood, and that is most definitely not an easy task.

There were also other, different dumplings, which were not Chinese, but were also notably delicious. And, some of the best falafel I've ever eaten. Oh, and I'd be remiss in my duties if I failed to mention the deep-fried Mars bars! Even 1/3rd of one was enough to last a while, heh.

SLG_6147_webSLG_6144_webSLG_6152_web

And because I can, BEAUTIFUL PUPPYFACE

SLG_6148_web

I've done a bit more wandering around with my camera than usual over the past few weeks, but it was especially nice to be doing so on a gorgeous day like this one. Usually, when I'm shooting a lot for clients, I don't so much feel like shooting outside of a work/portfolio building context, and it was nice to still have the itch when I had some time to myself. Moments are important, even the little ones.

In other news, I went to my first "pre-tryouts" practice for travel team last week, and holy smokes, standards are high. But, they don't seem unattainable. It's a little strange to realize that the group of people whom I perceive to be better skaters than I am is actually getting smaller. There are still people on the A-team who intimidate the bejeezus out of me, but eh, I'll get over it eventually. I learned a ton from that one practice, so regardless of how tryouts actually go, I'm going to come out the other end as a bolder and better skater.

Oh, and this morning? TOTALLY WENT TAP-DANCING. It's been over a decade since I last did that, but I still have my shoes from college, and I found a class through parks and rec that actually fits my schedule. It's a beginner-type class for adults, and I think I might be picking things up a little faster than most--it's amazing how much your body remembers even after that much time--but I had fun, regardless.

And finally, I think I just made myself throw up in my own mouth a little looking at the below, heh. It's good to have talented friends who will coax me out from behind the camera every so often. :) WUV.

1491749_10202926245139850_1779472593_n
I wish there was more money in making pretty fashion photos in this town. Because, y'know, I hate LA, and would probably also not enjoy New York, but damned if I'm not good at it.

Portland Sparkle!

Yeah, even the local alternative weekly likes this shoot. It's not the first time they've run my work, either. Booyah.

In other news, I spent a large part of July 4th road tripping to Seattle, to play in a tournament where you enter with a 5-person team, and play a single, 2-minute jam against all of the other 5-person teams. We were team TACOCAT, because palindromes are great. And so are tacos. And cats. And my ridiculous peacock capri pants.

Most all of the other teams were basically co-ed superteams, so we didn't win the cash prize, but I think we were the first team to beat the team that did win the cash prize, and it was a pretty effin' beautiful jam. And we won at having the most fun, even in spite of Nabi's hematoma of doom.


Shortly after, I got hit by a pretty massive bout of Capital D(epression), and wound up taking most of the rest of July off from derby, and spending a lot of time feeling sad and loafing around in my pajamas. I'm feeling mostly-normal now, so I'm back at it, but in a way, it was almost easier to just feel sad all the time, instead of my usual state of mild-to-moderate stress, tiredness, and aggravation.

I think the hardest part was talking with Joe (and any friends who noticed enough to inquire) about how I was feeling. Mainly, it was the part where he'd ask if there was anything he could do, and I said, "no, there really isn't anything you can do that you're not already doing." Just saying that out loud made me sadder, which, oops. The thing is, well, outside of being your usual thoughtful and caring self, there really isn't much you can do for a depressed person--they just have to give it time and work through it.

On the plus side, I did get back into having fun with cooking, so the time wasn't a total waste. And of course, I did the necessary workthings, so I'm not starving. And just, holy wow, I have the greatest boyfriend.

...aaand I had somewhere I was going with this, but I got distracted by dinner and Fallout 3 last night. Anyhoo, I'm working on a rebrand, have some big potential projects in the pipeline, and I went back to derby last Saturday because I was finally starting to miss it. SO, I guess y'all can rest assured that things are pretty much back to normal now. :)

Oh yeah, and Joe recently became an uncle for the first time (d'aawwwww), so we visited his sister at the hospital, I took some very nice photos for them, and I also got to hold a very tiny human for a while. I guess she liked me, because she completely sacked out in my arms, heh.

935091_10151615421283347_494444297_n

OH MY GOD

May. 22nd, 2013 05:14 pm
batskeets: (spoon)
Can I just say? Networking continues to be EXHAUSTING. I went to a luncheon today, and while I think things went mostly-well as far as engaging with people, I came away with the worst headache imaginable.

Related: maybe I'm just being a giant whiner, but a lot of times, I go to these things and start talking to someone, and I feel like things are starting off well... and then someone else (usually someone they've met before) comes up and essentially hijacks the person I'm talking to. At best, my train of thought gets lost and the flow of things gets all broken and awkward after the conversation hijacker leaves. At worst, they get wrapped up in talking to each other, and wander off as if I was never there.

First of all, what's the point of going to a networking event if you're going to just talk to people you already know? And second of all, what is it about me that makes people think it's okay to conversationally lawnmower over me? RUDE.

Completely unrelated except for being work-centric: I've proofed two recent shoots that have reminded me why I should never, ever let my clients pick their own models. The model I'm staring at right now is so overly-pose-y that it's hard to look at. Knees pointing one way, torso pointing another, AAAAUUUGGGGHH. Maybe that works for an avant-garde photoshoot, but this client is not even a little bit avant-garde. SIGH. I mean, I still got good shots, because I always do, but man, I'm really having to pick and choose.

In other, less complain-y news, I bouted last weekend, and, um, it didn't exactly go wonderfully. Well, okay, so that's not completely true. For me, personally, it was pretty good--I skated as well as I ever have. I also hit the other team's superstar, nigh-impossible-to-catch jammer out of bounds, so hey, DAY MADE. But, yeah, one of our regular jammers wasn't in the lineup, another had a bad night, one of our best blockers was out with a hamstring pull... throw in some pretty terrible ref calls (or non-calls, as the case may be), and long story short, we didn't win. But hey, we get a re-do on this one: we play the same team for the Championships title in just under three weeks.

SO, I've resolved to quit booze and dessert until Championships. The huge gap in our bouting schedule this season left me feeling adrift, at times, but now I'm so fired up to work my ass off and win that game that I can't even express it. SPORTS FEELINGS.

I am cognizant of the fact that I may not make that Championship roster--I'm an inexperienced rookie, and I know I got on Saturday's roster by the skin of my teeth. Hopefully, our injured blocker will be back in time for that game, and that alone could be enough to bump me off the roster. Still, I'm going to do my damnedest to make sure that I'm on it. Even if I don't make it, I'll be that much stronger when it's over.
HI GUYS. I completely spaced posting notice anywhere outside of FB and Twitter (with as exhausted as I've been all week, I deserve a little slack here) but tonight is my first First Thursday opening in my new studio.

I'll be featuring my new client and pretty photos I took for her lookbook, and we'll also have a local designer of cool hats and accessories. 6:00-8:30pm, near NW 2nd and Couch. Exact address and details are on the Facepages!

And, here is one of many pretty photos you'll see there:
Hammer and Nail

Yep.

Dec. 1st, 2012 12:03 pm
Yeah, so, I fell way behind on posting photos, but I did make it past 30 by the end of November, and honestly, I have a bunch more that I'd planned to post, but I didn't have time to edit them. I always forget to factor in the effects of Thanksgiving weekend when I plan my November. You can see the rest on Flickr, and I'll probably post a few more, once I get them edited. I figure, eh, it still counts if I shot the photo in November, right?

In other news, today is bout day, and I am not rostered to skate (not shocked about that, since they had 14 people for their 14-person roster, before drafting me and my two rookie pals), but I'm still really amped. I'm pleasantly surprised at how much I already love my team after two short weeks. Hell, really, more like 1.5 weeks, since things got cancelled for the Thanksgiving holiday. I'm excited to put on all the gold glitter I can possibly muster, and scream my head off for my teammates. Oh, and actually sit with my friends who I sold tickets to, instead of slaving away at some horribly draining usher shift.

Oh, and the studio move is being delayed, which is simultaneously annoying and a relief. Short version: the wood floors didn't turn out anywhere near as well as the contractors led me to believe--enough so that the leasing agent was visibly embarrassed--so I wound up saying that if they don't refinish the floors, then I don't want the space. Leasing agent went to bat for me right away, and got back to me maybe an hour later, to tell me the landlord agreed to refinish the floors! Down side? The refinishing work will take a few days, so it's pushing back the move date.

No lie, I really, really was looking forward to getting the move done with and getting the hell out of the old building, but I'm not exactly heartbroken that it doesn't all have to happen this weekend. In fact, if this hadn't happened, I wouldn't be at home posting this--I'd be in the new studio, furiously painting as much as possible before moving my stuff in. Now, since I'm not moving my stuff on Sunday, I don't have to rush through the painting, and I won't be a completely stressed-out wreck from juggling derby and moving responsibilities in the span of the same 48 hours.

Still, I'm really looking forward to moving out of the old building. The management there has been stunningly unresponsive to all of my attempts at communication with them over the past two months, and they hadn't exactly been on-point with things before that, either. They obviously don't care about maintaining a business relationship with a good tenant like me, seeing as I can count exactly how many craps they give without using any of my fingers.
Photo-Making Month #20 - Making a Prettier Princess

Photo #20: Making a Prettier Princess. A makeup artist preps a young girl to model in a runway fashion show. This girl was more than a little excited about having her hair and makeup done by a professional team of stylists.
Photo-Making Month #19 - Ever-Watchful

Photo #19: Ever-Watchful. This pup walked in a fundraiser fashion show for Dove Lewis, in spite of his missing leg. He watched calmly as all the hustle and bustle took place backstage.
Photo-Making Month #18 - Old Becoming New

Photo #18: Old Becoming New. Hastily shot this inside a recently-renovated building. When this space is done, it could be someone's new headquarters. Maybe mine.
Photo-Making Month #17 - Mixed Media

Photo #17: Mixed Media. Autumn builds with plants and color, to frame what we make with metal and glass.
Photo-Making Month #16 - Neon Days

Photo #16: Neon Days. Not quite as arresting as it is at night, but the neon casts its constant light.

Photo-Making Month #15 - I See The Power

Photo #15: I See The Power. A view from the basement.

Photo-Making Month (14) - Limited Beer, Infinite Food

Photo #14: Limited Beer, Infinite Food. This 5-ounce sour beer was delicious, and I was lucky enough to get a glass before it ran out. My identifying tag for my food order lurks in the background--apparently, edibles are more plentiful. ;)
Photo-Making Month (13) - Jim the Photo Maker

Photo #13: Jim the Photo Maker. I get a weird feeling of amusement when I take a photo of someone who's also a photographer. It almost feels like you've gotten away with something you shouldn't have.

(yeah, I realize it's grainy as hell. It was *really* dim in that room, so dim that I wouldn't have been able to get a flash-free shot with my old dSLR. Full-frame sensors are, once again, THE BEST.)
Photo-Making Month (12) Election Night

Photo #12: Election Night. Modern technology continues to affect how we take in important world events--I guarantee there wasn't a single adult in that room who didn't check their smartphone or laptop at some point during the election proceedings.

P.S. I don't even want to tell you how high my ISO had to go for this batch of shots. Eeuuuggh. How did I ever live without a full-frame camera?
Photo-Making Month (11) - Tools of Another Trade

Photo #11: Tools of Another Trade. Thread holds so many of our everyday things together. Human planning, thought, and effort goes into those things.
Photo-Making Month (10) - Fall From Beneath

Photo #10: Fall From Beneath. In the rainy Northwest, it's rare that we get beautiful, sunny, just-the-right-temperature days in November. Sun peeking through yellow leaves of autumn, against the bluest of skies? I don't think I'll ever get tired of that.

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