Over the weekend, I was in Seattle to lend a hand with some wedding photography, and I thought it'd be fun to take a bit of extra time to hang out and see a fwe sights. I didn't have a ton of time, but I did get to visit Gasworks Park on Monday morning, and we also hit up Volunteer Park--the conservatory was closed, unfortunately--which was right by the cemetery where Bruce Lee is buried. After spending more than 7 years of my life dedicated to practicing Wushu, Bruce Lee is especially legendary for me, so I had to take a moment and pay homage to him.

We walked through the cemetery until we found the location of his headstone, and while I waited for a few other folks in front of us to take their turn, I thought about how I wanted to document the occasion. As a dedicated martial artist, a moment like this was a pretty huge deal, and since I already had my camera out for shooting at the parks we'd been to, taking a photo seemed to make perfect sense, but something about it was unsettling for me.

Then, I saw the guy ahead of me ask his friend to take a photo of him while he posed next to the grave site, and I realized: I don't want to be that guy. I'd done photoshoots near cemeteries once or twice before, at the request of portrait clients, and the sense of age and history has always been interesting to me. But, the idea of posing with or even just taking a photo of a specific grave didn't feel like the right way to pay my respects to anyone, much less somebody who'd had such a massive impact on the martial arts community.

When my turn came around, I went up to the headstone, and silently took everything in. We marveled at how young Bruce and Brandon Lee had both been when they died, but after a couple minutes of mostly-wordless observance, we simply moved on and left in search of other sights. So, yeah. It was a momentous occasion for me, and the picture in my mind is enough to be worth remembering. Sometimes, you have to choose your moment, and I chose to hold that one with brain matter instead of pixels.

Instead, here are a couple of photos from other spots. It wasn't the absolute best time of day for landscape-y photos, but Gasworks Park is definitely a photographer's wet dream:

And, seriously? This HAS to be a TIE Fighter. Am I right? ;)

(EDIT: Uh, HOLY CRAP, this is TL;DR. Sorry for the ridiculous length.)

You may or may not have noticed that I haven't talked about wushu much, lately. For a while, it was simply because not much was happening there, and it was easily overshadowed by the tremendous emotional rollercoaster that was the first few months of Fresh Meat. For the past few weeks, however, it's because I haven't actually been to practice. Like at all.

Looking back on it, this is something that's been building for quite some time, now. I've had no shortage of complaints about the class format at the wushu school, that I learn much faster than they're willing to teach, that they don't train me hard enough, often enough, or for long enough. I don't think they've ever taken me seriously as an athlete, and each tournament I've been to since moving to PDX has had me going in feeling hideously unprepared and in sub-par physical condition, compared to what I had at UO.

I quit demo team back in February, and I've been fine with that. Surrendering the competitive aspect of wushu was acceptable, given the constraints of training at the School, and the fact that I had a much more robust athletic culture offered to me through derby. It was a relief taking things down a notch, and I enjoyed simply working on basics and learning compulsory straightsword.

But, then the nagging complaints started to creep back in. The classes are still designed for weekend warriors, for kids who are under-18 and have short attention spans. I wanted fine-tuning, I wanted deeper understanding of the practice, but there was never time or allowance for that.

They still teach too slowly. I realized that, even coming to class only once a week, I was still able to easily keep up with the new material in the form. Even after having missed class for close to a month, I could probably still go in and catch up fairly quickly.

There was also the fact that, without demo team, I had little-to-no say about what forms I'd be learning in class. I was lucky that we were learning compulsory straightsword, and that I was actually excited to learn it, because who knows what they'd be teaching next?

And, of course, there are belt tests, which have always been completely and utterly arbitrary, and not at all tied to actual skill level. EVERYONE passes, and some of those people can't even remember the entire form on their own.

And then, I injured my knee, which meant that I didn't do jumps or sweeps in class for two months.

And then, my summer workload kicked in, with meetings to attend, sessions to shoot, and editing backlogs to take care of.

And, finally, the "annual renewal" came up at the beginning of June. Yes, not only was I paying monthly for the privilege of practicing a sport I've trained in for over 7 years, but they also charged an annual "membership" renewal. It's a bullshit fee, and I know it. In fact, once you factor in belt testing fees, and whatever weapons they arbitrarily decide to teach (and therefore, sell) to us, I was spending over $2000 a year on wushu.

Yes, I loved the sport THAT MUCH. When I first moved to PDX, quitting was unthinkable, even in the face of expensive classes, and having to go through 2-3 months of white belt class, because they wanted to "evaluate my skills." I even searched for classes at other schools in town, but I wouldn't settle for their incorrect teaching methods. I wanted real, honest-to-god wushu, with coaches from China who really knew their shit, and I sucked it up and did what it took to afford the fees. I did gain some very amazing coaches. Master Chen and Master Gao were both fantastic to learn from, when I actually got a minute or two of their undivided attention, and they're sweet people, but I feel that the business model imposed by the head of the School stifles a lot of what they have to offer.

I lost a lot of things, when I left UO Wushu. The community of (relative) peers, the culture of support and the "wushu family," the drive to train harder, the ability to put in more practice time and effort, the infectious excitement of just being around people who are as obsessed with the sport as you are? I haven't had any of that in several years, aside from small doses via occasional visits to Eugene or once-a-year trips to Berkeley. It's no wonder I got bitten by the roller derby bug when I did, last year--there was a huge gap where UO Wushu and the rest of the Wushu community used to be, and the derby community was able to fill those gaps.

To keep spending that kind of money, and not even get what I truly want from the practice? I've reached a point where that doesn't make sense to me anymore. I can pay $25/mo to skate until I'm blue in the face, and another $30/mo gets me kick-ass full-body circuit training 3x/week. That's still not even half what I was paying for 45-minute kiddie classes twice a week at the School.

So, yeah, I haven't been to wushu since the end of May. It's sad to me that this is the way things have gone. It took them four years to take all the fun out of wushu for me, but they did wear me down. I DO still think about going back, though, or switching to Taiji, or something, ANYTHING. I do miss wushu, but I also want to be doing it on my own terms. That may be too idealistic to hope for, but what I had at the School was so far from what I want that it's just not worth it. Not right now.

It's okay, though. It's not who I am, it's just a thing I do. There are days when it'd be fun to go to wushu class, but there are other days when it feels more like a distraction from more important goals. I want to nail down my business and really make it work. I want to get drafted to an RCR team. I want to spend time with J, I want to see my friends. And I *need* a certain amount of down time.

I do think some part of my brain will find a way back to it again, though. I still do my splits and stretches, and I love the idea of finding a nice place to use the Taiji knowledge I gained from Chen and Gao. It'll just have to be a far different way of doing things than this, and at a different time than this.
As previously noted, my derby progress seems to be on the upswing again, and that's pretty excellent. Last night, after having struggled mightily with the 50-Lap Killer since I came onto Fresh Meat, I was making it my bitch, up until my right shoelace came untied and I was forced to stop and re-tie it. I could've easily kept going, though, and I didn't have to drop to the inside again until we switched to reverse direction skating. That was a HUGE victory, and I'm feeling less frustrated and adrift than I did even one or two weeks ago.

Still, if you've read my LJ or talked to me at all about derby in recent months, you know that I've gone back and forth about quitting on at least a semi-regular basis. In fact, I had an emotional moment just yesterday, where I damned near turned the car around and went home instead of going to practice. (good thing I didn't, because I later learned that the high emotions were due to, ahem, other factors) It's been an up-and-down journey, and only recently have things started to level out for me to a point where I feel like I can even remotely deal with what's on my plate.

What's been more strange and emotionally confusing, over the past couple of weeks, is watching the Fresh Meat ranks waver and begin to thin out. A wave of the flu is making the rounds on the team. Status updates go by on Facebook after almost every practice, lamenting soreness, pain, and having had a "bad skate day." It's becoming rare to see a week go by without at least one person breaking down into tears after practice, due to the sheer frustration of it all. I haven't been one of those people yet, but I've been damned close.

Several Freshies have been parked on the bleachers during practice, as of late, because they've sustained minor injuries and need to take a few practices off. Some have stepped down entirely, because they've injured themselves badly enough to require a longer break from skating, or even surgery. Others have stepped down for their own undisclosed reasons, and it's the ladies in that latter group that surprise me the most: some of them were skating well and never seemed to be struggling, but apparently, they were, on some level that wasn't so easy to see on the surface.

Honestly, I feel pretty weird each time I look on the forum and see a post that reads, "_________ has stepped down from Fresh Meat." I do find myself a little amazed that I'm still there, when other, better skaters have fallen by the wayside, and I'm proud of myself for that, but it also feels strangely unjust to me. Why am I still flailing around on the squad, while other people with more talent and ability are leaving? Still, more than anything, I'm just sad for each of them, and curious about what made them break, what was the final straw for them.

It's times like this when the question of when to persist, and when to walk away weighs heavily on my mind. I've been turning it over in my head for weeks, with regard to my own commitments, and I wonder what motivates some of us to keep going, when others stop. We've all heard plenty of inspirational tales in our lives about people who've triumphed in the face of adversity, and it does take an incredible amount of grit and determination to do that. The harder lesson to learn, however--one that I'm still in the process of learning, myself--is to know when it's okay to quit, or even to take a step back.

There's a balance between quitting too easily and pushing too hard, and it's hard to find. It's possible to give up too early, because you think you can't overcome a problem, when it simply requires more effort than you originally expected. It's also possible to push too hard, and break yourself emotionally with stress, or physically with injury. The unfortunate thing is, there's no good way to tell someone which situation they're in, or what battles are worth fighting, because each battle is fought for different reasons, different benefits.

It's hard to accept that something you truly want for yourself may not be what you need right now. It's hard to accept that it may not be possible, within the framework of your life. It's hard to make yourself stop training right now, so you can rebuild and come back stronger later. It's hard to understand that a thing that's been part of your life for years might be something you've grown out of. It's hard to tell yourself that you may have taken on more than you, or any human being, can possibly manage. It's hard to realize that something that used to make you happy isn't making you so happy anymore. It's hard to accept that quitting now does not mean quitting forever.

It's a difficult call to make. If we're lucky, we'll eventually learn how to make the right one.


Oh, and in case you're wondering, part of my solution goes into effect tonight: I'm quitting wushu demo team and scaling down to just the regular classes. This means I won't be competing this year, which is something I'm strangely okay with.

The more I think about the decision, the more at peace I am with it, so hey, good on me.
I think I whined internally to myself about not wanting to go for the entire drive down there, but going to Eugene turned out better and less stressful than I expected. I got to wushu for a bit on Friday, have dinner with friends down there whom I haven't seen in far, far too long, have breakfast on Saturday morning with another set of friends I haven't seen in ages, and then teach some eager-to-learn UO Wushu kids for the better part of the day.

Teaching wushu to people who are legal adults? And who are self-motivated and interested in learning? Good lord, I miss that. There's so much about the UO Wushu experience that I miss; wushu itself is still something I like to do, but staying passionate about it has been challenging, here in PDX. More often than not, it's visiting UO that gets me fired up again, and this trip was no exception: the notion of competing at Berkeley is nagging at edges of my mind again. I can't say that it's likely, but the jury's still out.

I got back to PDX in time to watch a bit of the derby boutcast from Seattle, and then private room karaoke was the order of the evening. Voicebox is awesome, and needs to happen again. I did have more to drink than I probably should have, however, because I went on a 2am donut run, and then found myself wide awake after 4 1/2 hours of sleep. Woooo.

Sunday found me doing yoga, catching up on Fringe, and attempting to laze around at least a little, before going to derby practice. My muscles were fantastically sore, but Minnie spent the last 15 minutes just focusing on the few of us who aren't endurance-cleared, and it was incredibly helpful. By the end, I was skating remarkably faster with just about the same amount of effort, so I take that as a good sign... now if my crappy endurance will just hold out for more than 3 laps of super-awesome skating form, I'll be set. ;p

Joe and I met up with another friend of his at what was billed as a Truth or Dare event for adults, later in the evening, and it was part pub trivia and part telling embarrassing truths and doing silly stunts. One of the Dares culminated in my applying makeup on Joe, and I apparently did too good a job of making him subtly-pretty, because the winner of the extra bonus points looked like he'd been shot with Homer Simpson's makeup gun. I also "got rid of crabs" by eating 6 of these Asian crab snacks for 5 points each, heh.

I also learned that I really don't have a lot in the way of funny or interesting Truths to tell about my sex life, but that didn't come as much of a shock. Long-term relationship experience, I have in spades; wild and crazy hanky-panky stories? Not so much. Still, it was a pretty amusing evening, although it'd have been better with more people participating. Sounds like they're going to do the event again next month, so maybe I'll try coaxing a few more folks out.

Anyhoo, I'm much more relaxed today than I expected to be. And hey, I'm away from The Job due to the holiday! I'm still working on things, though. Yep, this is how I roll.
So! The studio party went along pretty swimmingly. I did my usual thing of stressing out about getting everything in order before guests started arriving, and then stressing out about making said guests feel welcome, once they did, but I did eventually get past that. Again, as usual. We had a good turnout, got plenty of comments about how great the space looks, and good times were had by all. Oh, and the cookies were an absolute hit. Bwahahaha!

Party hosting is hard, though. I realize more and more, each time I host anything beyond a small gathering, that throwing the party becomes about the guests' experience, and my own desire to spend time chatting and enjoying the company of others usually falls by the wayside. I'm always left feeling as though I didn't spend enough time with anyone, but would I feel better if I just did whatever I wanted, with no concern for how my guests are feeling? No, probably not. There are more important things than oneself, sometimes.

Still, it was a fun evening, and I'm looking forward to seeing some of the photographic silliness that ensued at various points. ;)


The weekend's looking pretty good. Saturday night, there will be private room karaoke for a birthday, and Sunday is largely up-in-the-air, aside from derby practice. Tonight, I make my way to Eugene, to give UO Wushu a good beating at tonight's practice and tomorrow's Nanquan workshop... or at least, as much of one as I can, given my currently-gimpy condition.

I'm giving some thought to whether or not I'll compete at Berkeley this year, and I'm leaning towards No, at the moment. I have fun practicing at my current school, but I don't like doing tournaments half-assed, and I have a hard time seeing any way that I could go to Berkeley and not do a half-assed job. As of now, I have two sections of a Nandao form, when we should really have the entire form choreographed. The teaching at the school has always been much slower than it needs to be for me, and I don't get enough carpet time to actually improve, so the additional pressure of competing under those constraints isn't terribly appealing.

I suppose I could, theoretically, chase down a 20x40-foot carpeted space--which, uh, not easy to come by--and train on my own with the buckets of free time I have. Except, oh, wait, that part about having free time was 100% sarcasm. I love wushu, and I'm having a great time learning compulsory straightsword in the too-short classes at the school, but that's not going to help me be competitive.

Fact is, there are more important things for me right now, than trying to pull together competition-level forms. It makes me sad to realize that, but the lesson being beaten into me, over the past few months, seems to be this: "Now may not be the right time. Now doesn't have to be the right time. Stepping back for now doesn't have to mean giving up forever."

Still, I might make the trip down for the tournament, just to cheer for my folks and soak in the vibe. We'll see what happens. In the meantime, I'll pass the Nanquan torch to a great bunch of kids who have a lot more time and a lot more fire for competitive wushu in their hearts.

Oh, and on a more cheerful note? THREE DAY WEEKEND! I love it when a work holiday pops up when I least expect it.
Saturday Night. Wushu Demo. PSU. I believe the event doors open at 5pm, but I was told to be there at 7:30, so the stage show won't be starting until later in the evening. But yes, come see, if you're so inclined!

So, yes, another full weekend was had. Gatherings, karaoke, photoshooting, and derby practices... the latter of which was quite the rollercoaster.

I had a terrible time during the on-wheels portion of Thursday's practice; I was extremely tired for no apparent reason, and wasn't performing well at all. My knees have been acting up again, too, so pushing through exhaustion was next-to-impossible, once the knee pain was thrown on top of it. When you're already at the low end of the field on your better days, that all becomes pretty damned demoralizing.

Then, when we did the half-hour of off-skates conditioning, I busted it out, and when I looked around, it became pretty apparent that I'm one of the fittest people on the squad. I've received comments from other girls at derby, too, about how strong I am, or how strong I look, so this has been something of a pattern. After off-skates training wrapped up, though, the self-deprecating part of my brain said: "hey, if I'm one of the fittest and strongest, why am I also one of the absolute worst skaters here?"

...stupid brain.

Needless to say, I felt pretty despondent after that, and was dreading Saturday practice. That practice didn't go too terribly much better, in terms of how well I skated, but we did have the opportunity to scrimmage, so it was more enjoyable, at least. Captain O also took each of us aside for a one-on-one during practice, to check in and see how we were feeling about things, so I actually got to have the, "I'm struggling very badly, when I don't think I should be!" conversation. He gave me a few things to work on, but he also did assure me that I'm not as horribly behind as I think, and that a lot of my basics are solid.

He also noted that I should pay a visit to the skate shop and have my skates looked at, in case there was a problem there. I actually had a few spare moments after practice, so I hustled on over and did just that... and found out that I hadn't been measured correctly for my skates. My current pair is too big, so I've spent almost 6 months on skates that don't fit me. Hearing that was equal parts relieving and frustrating: I was Relieved to have confirmation that my skating issues weren't just a matter of my being a lousy skater, but Frustrated because I don't have the cash to buy properly fitted skates just yet. So, I get to deal with the problem for at least a couple more weeks.

Still, I finally got enough of my energy back to feel somewhat stronger at Sunday practice, and I think I'm over the emotional hump, at least temporarily. A lot of girls now have Blue Star clearance, I'm not one of them, and the coaches have made it clear that they want to clear the rest of us SOON. The pressure's on, but there's not much I can do but keep pushing onward, and hoping that things will get better sooner, rather than later.


On the plus side, just about everything else is either looking hopeful, or going along really, really well, so even the looming specter of bad skating can't cancel that out. I'm feeling good today. :)

A few days

Dec. 23rd, 2010 02:28 pm
So, yes. A lovely time was had in San Francisco, even though we didn't end up doing much, outside of just having a tea and chatting. I already expected Scott to be a complete and utter sweetheart, based on our interactions via The Intertubes, but he was all that, and a gracious host, and even though he and his roommates have only been moved into their current place for a few days, they already have a very warm and friendly space.

I bought him breakfast the next morning, before I left, so we wandered around the corner to a cute little diner, that played actual oldies, i.e. songs that were oldies when I was a kid. Oh, and peanut butter banana pancakes? Yes please.

Breakfast: It's Tops!


That evening, I had dinner with LA Email Party people, and every last one of them was lovely and sweet and hilarious. I was so exhausted from all the driving, and lack of sleep, and traffic, that I foolishly left my camera in the car, but the time seemed to fly by. I'd have loved to hang out longer that evening, but half of us had travel plans in the 12 hours following, and the rest had work in the morning. I'll just have to come back down again when the holiday madness isn't quite so all-encompassing. :)

Yesterday, my master plan was to go to a practice with the Angel City Derby Girls in the evening, but I got word in the morning that it was cancelled, sigh. Hopefully, some other skating opportunities will crop up, or I may just end up beach skating all by my lonesome. Hell if I'm going to haul all my skate gear 900+ miles, and not use it at least once.

Fortunately, I did get to have lunch in Burbank with a couple of my wushu homeboys. Thomas was UO Wushu during my first year with the club, so I met him for lunch near his job, and one of the kids I coached in Eugene (Tom) also met up with us. Apparently, I missed the boat on a lot of the wushu crew that lives down this way--most of them were back in Oregon for the holidays, heh--but it was nice that this worked out, at least. And! Collegiates is being hosted at UCLA this year, so that could be just the excuse I need for another visit. ;)

Thomas at Porto's

Other than that, I've been doing a bit of working out, some gift wrapping, helping out my relatives in the kitchen, and a lot of sleeping. The latter still feels like Not Enough, but I suppose I do have a lot of catching up to do, on that front. Still, it's very, very nice to just... sit.
Well, Saturday decided to follow suit with the rest of last week, and proved to be, uh, eventful. Fortunately, it wasn't as incredibly exhausting and/or demoralizing as Monday thru Thursday were, heh.
  • Rolled out of bed at 9:15 to get ready for a coffee date. Damned near fell asleep again, after being out late on Friday night, but I got up and out the door, on track for being about 10 minutes late to said coffee date. While on the highway, my car started sounding odd, so I got off at my exit and pulled over, to discover that my tire had completely blown out! I called and left a voicemail for the dude, saying, "you're not going to believe this, but my tire just blew the hell out on the highway," and apologizing and such.
  • Dude called me right back, and started off saying, "I am *really* sorry I'm such a flake and am not there yet!" Apparently, he'd gotten up early to get ready, and wound up falling back asleep later, heh. After I told him about the tire, he offered help, so he came out and changed my tire. AND he also handily jumped my car, because I was an idiot and left the headlights on while we were dealing with the tire. After all that, we had 15 whole minutes for me to buy us both coffee, before I had to take off for my wushu demo. Said coffee was a macchiato at this little shop he'd suggested in NE, and it may have been the best coffee I've ever had. Holy damn.
  • The wushu demo itself was fine. We didn't find out that we'd even be doing a demo until 2 weeks prior, so with the Thanksgiving holiday, we'd had almost no practice time, but we pulled it off. It was also nice that we actually got to perform on the wushu carpet this time, because slippery gym floors? Not so good for traction.
  • After demo, there was just enough time to make a deposit at the bank, and dash off to derby practice. It was a shorter practice than usual, but I did my skills checklist, and I'd already passed the rules test a couple weeks ago, through some miracle of divine providence. SO, that means I'm officially cleared as Scrimmage-Ready. Doing the skills checklist really helped drive home the point of how much I've improved since I started, so even though it's an early, *early* step on the road to derby awesome, it still felt like a victory. :)
  • After practice, it was run home, shower, grab food, and go to the derby bout! It was a double-header, and My Hero Napoleon was in the second of the two bouts, so I got to sit with [livejournal.com profile] marykae and a few other girls from Wreckers, and scream my head off, and it was awesome. Once that was over, I came home, loafed around the house, and passed out.

Sunday was much, much more chill. I met up with Kenna to talk webstuff, and then worked on web things that I was actually (gasp!) excited about working on. It's so good to be doing design again, even on a small scale.

AND, [livejournal.com profile] katlyn , [livejournal.com profile] daemonwise , and I sat down and finally finished watching the 3rd and final season of Avatar. I LOVE THIS DAMNED SHOW. A couple of minor issues with the ending, yes, but still, so completely worth it. I think I'm preaching its gospel almost as hard as Veronica Mars (or possibly more?), at this point. And I may have to find some excuse in the future to dress up as Avatar Kyoshi, heh. (P.S. [livejournal.com profile] phasmaphobic : I still don't see the resemblance, but eh, I never do. ;) But costuming as an Earth bender? Uh, YES PLEASE.)

Anyhoo, now it's Monday, and so far, it's proving to be a far better one than the last. Decisions reaffirmed, design work being well-received, and the day is flying by. Hell yes. And there's Farscape viewing tonight!
I'm in the midst of a surprisingly unplanned weekend. Not that I'm *complaining*, mind you.

Yesterday was a most excellent day. I met the one-and-only DP celebrity known as [livejournal.com profile] littlebluedog, via working with [livejournal.com profile] theamazingjosh on photos for his web site. I also was able to run around with a Nikon again later, and it turned out to be excellent practice for me, as far as getting more comfortable with where the various dials and controls are located, because we shot such a variety of indoor and outdoor locations. I don't think I got a great deal of usable material--I didn't even take many shots, really--but I'll certainly feel like less of a dial-twiddling moron the next time I shoot Nikon in a more formal client situation. ;)

And, oh my sweet lord, Kenny and Zuke's: where have you been all my life? Best damned pastrami sandwich I've had in a coon's age, and I think I need to go back there as soon as is humanly possible to try the latkes. I'm glad I've been able to gradually start eating food that's closer to "normal" this past week; my mindset is still significantly altered after the hardcore phase of the cleanse, so I've actually done well with eating out and NOT being full of empty calories and regret afterwards. It's refreshing to be so aware and so much more able to enjoy whatever I'm eating.

Wushu practice went pretty well; we're actually *doing* conditioning now because the belt test looms on the horizon. Never mind that we should be conditioning consistently, all the time... yeah, one of my myriad gripes about the class format at the school. But, oh, my special Nandao time on Friday nights makes it all worth it.

I spent my late-evening doing laundry, chatting with [livejournal.com profile] dakania, and being ridiculous on Skype until close to 2am. These past few nights spent at home have been so, so nice. I might even have time to read a book and (gasp!) play more Dragon Age tonight. I can't remember the last time I was able to play video games twice in the same week. Introversion, I love you.

Derby practice was all about hitting and taking positions today, and I feel like I soaked up a lot of knowledge after doing all of those drills. And, scrimmage went a hundred times better today; there wasn't enough time for me to Jam again, but I did at least feel that I wasn't completely useless as a blocker, and I think I actually applied a couple of drill concepts to what was happening. Mental clarity feels effin' brilliant. It was also nice that I could actually accept an offer to grab lunch and watch the WFTDA Nationals with a couple of derby buddies after practice. The webcast feed was atrociously choppy, but it was good to get to know the ladies under those helmets.

OH, and the highlight of today is getting on Facebook a little bit ago, and seeing this comment from my derby coach/secret ladycrush: dude. you're [sic] skating is improving so much. it's awesome to watch. just thought i'd let you know. ♥ Squee!

Note that, normally, your/you're is one of my bigger pet peeves--it's generally an insta-rejection if an OkCupid suitor dares to make that mistake when they first write to me. In this case, I'm SO completely floored to have gotten this comment, I don't even care about the grammar error. XD
The past couple of nights have been, thankfully, pretty low-key. I've definitely found a greater appreciation for the moments of seemingly-mundane normalcy in my life, as of late.

Monday night had me at [livejournal.com profile] marykae's for a relaxed-and-groovy evening of Veronica Mars, in which we finally finished the series, including the 10-minute teaser pilot for the Season-4-that-never-happened, which has Veronica working at the FBI. (and can I just say? The idea of Veronica Mars without her dad in the mix completely doesn't work in my brain.)

Our next target is Farscape, which I'm pretty darned excited about. I watched a fair bit of the first season, but that was ages ago, and I lost track of it when I went away to college, because Crap Dormitory Cable = No Sci-Fi Channel. I've been looking for an excuse to watch this. (shit, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] veiravx and [livejournal.com profile] dark_knight_l, I've already started making "wormhole technology" jokes, and I haven't even *seen* those episodes yet. I'M SO READY.)

Last night, I was a doofus and forgot that I didn't need to report in at wushu until 7:15, so I showed up at 6:30, and rather than sit around for 45 minutes, I wound up doing two classes. I still wasn't caught up on sleep, so I never thought I'd make it through, but I actually felt pretty good, by the end. I think it may be safe to say that I'm getting my wushu groove back... fingers crossed.

ANYHOO. Here's a taste of what I've been shooting recently:

+5 shots, and the stories behind them )

Tonight will be spent at home, most likely playing Dragon Age. And maybe having a Skype date.
The wushu fire in me has been waning over the past few months, and in a pretty serious way. When I haven't been thinking about work, derby, or how crappy I feel this week, I've been mulling over this development.

Fact is, wushu has seen me through a lot of ups and downs. My love affair with wushu has lasted longer than any of my prior relationships. In tough and stressful times, wushu was often the only thing keeping me sane and centered. Wushu was basically my gateway drug to a whole host of wacky physical pursuits, and I owe my health, my fitness, and my active lifestyle to it. It sounds corny, but wushu truly did change my life.

With that in mind, it's hard to contemplate being without it, even though my heart hasn't been in it the way it used to be. I've thought off-and-on about quitting, but I don't think I'm quite there, yet.

So, I have something of a strategy for how to really test this, and see if I'm really Done, or just burnt out:

Take a break. Not just from wushu, but from a lot of things. Wushu has felt like one obligation of many, as of late, and I know that's not helping. Fortunately my schedule opens up more after Halloween, so I'll get the chance to do that soon. Even next week isn't so bad, aside from Alyson's wedding and any bachelorette-related shenanigans.

Hang in there until after the belt test. I've also figured out that I really don't enjoy 9-section chainwhip. It's very heavily based on timing your movements just right, so being even an hour short on sleep will slow my reaction time just enough to have me screwing up all over the place, and beaning myself in the head with a weighted metal object. Yes, this is frustrating as hell. And we've been doing it for MONTHS. We just finished the form last week, so belt test *should* come up soon, which means we'd start a different form after that, and I'll be free of chainwhip.

Go to Eugene some night soon and train with UO. It's not a huge secret that I don't love my current school. I *do* love my teachers, but the way classes are structured gives me very little freedom, and the training is definitely not as rigorous as I want it to be. It's tough to stay motivated. But things like practicing with UO, judging at Collegiates, getting back into a community of peers who love the sport, have always left me more fired-up to train. So, maybe reconnecting with my roots again will help me remember why I love this.

If none of these things works? Well, maybe it's time. But for now, I'm giving it a little room to breathe, and seeing what happens.
Day Two of the Week of Doom, heh. We're shooting with a senior in a bit, and it should rock pretty hard. It'd rock more if I was at 100% operating levels, but I'd say I'm at, oh, 75%. But, I have a plan in mind, which makes things more manageable, so that'll make up at least some of that missing 25%.

I called in sick to wushu tonight, which is legit, because I haven't exactly been feeling the fire to train lately, and training when I'm not feeling great is not going to help with that. At. ALL. I should probably work on my Halloween costume, but I have a feeling it'll just be a whole lot of laying around and sleeping. Sleep is beautiful. Juuuust sayin'.

Oh, yeah, sleeping. Definitely. Have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn to shoot for The Job tomorrow. WEEK OF DOOM, I tell you. If I'm spectacularly bad about email, text, whatever this week, I apologize in advance.

I would also like to be on skates right this very minute. I'm getting a little obsessed. Reading Down and Derby on the bus is probably not helping with that, either. ;)

And, in conclusion, Doom doom doomy doom doom.
Well, I got busy with photo processing yesterday and forgot to post about last weekend. And I should, because it was pretty great.

Friday night was wushu practice, as always, and I've been working with Master Chen on a new nandao form for the past few weeks. At this point, we have several good pieces, but haven't strung them together into a cohesive whole, yet, and there are parts that definitely don't come naturally to me. But with more practice, this form will be badass, and 100% worthy of advanced competition. I may never make it to Nandu Land, but having a new and personalized form is exciting. Working on this at demo team practice is basically the only thing that's truly motivating me to go to wushu, at the moment.

After practice, I came home and had dinner, took a shower, and then had my bedtime tea and read a fucking book. Being home alone was fantastic. <3

Saturday, I went to Derby practice, and it went pretty well! I realized after practice that I didn't fall down even once, which came as a complete shock to me, so I hope it was due to increased skill, rather than lack of risk-taking. I have felt like less of an uncoordinated slob in general, over the past couple weeks, so I figured maybe the previous weekend's practice wasn't a complete fluke.

But no, the highlight was just after practice, when guest coach Napoleon (who's becoming something of a regular coach; she's been there for several weeks now) told me I looked a lot more comfortable on my skates. (!!!) "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it." D'aaaww! I'd already stopped feeling quite so awful about how I was progressing, but it was SO nice to hear that from her. It's amazing how supportive and encouraging some people are in the derby community, and it's obvious that many of them go out of their way to do that.

After that, I went to IKEA and picked out my new couch, and was fortunate enough to save some dolla' bills by finding the comfy chair I wanted in the As-Is section. Of course, I spent that on some new curtains and throw pillows to go with, but I've needed to get curtains for that room for a while, so it was a legitimate and long-overdue expense.

Then, I had a delicious dinner out, which was, unfortunately, riddled with some disturbingly awkward and uncomfortable moments. But, I got to dance it off with [livejournal.com profile] katlyn afterwards at Holocene, until we got worn out on the guest DJ's selections. We sat and chatted in one of the side rooms for a bit, until a bouncer suddenly ordered everyone out of the room. It looked like some guy had gotten in a fight/hurt himself on the dance floor, but we didn't find out any specifics. HOORAY DRAMAZ. :p

Sunday was much better and far less dramatic: my new couches were delivered, and hoshit, the living room looks at least ten times more amazing. I'm withholding photos until I have a chance to clean up a bit more, because I'm re-thinking the furniture arrangement and considering painting an accent wall, but I'm excited to finally be doing something respectable with the living room.

Then, I met up with [livejournal.com profile] _dilate_ at Oaks Park for the Halloween Bazaar. There were some cool classic cars styled up in spooky fashion, incredibly cool steampunk jewelry and accessories that I was tempted to buy, and also some strangely adorable crocheted Cthulhu and Shaun of the Dead dolls.

We had a mid-afternoon nosh at the Muddy Rudder after that, and then I went to Get Fit class at the hangar, and all of us derby girls had our asses thoroughly kicked by the trainer. It's basically an hour of bootcamp/circuit-type training, and I've always done circuit training solo, in the past, so it was quite a bit different. But dude, I worked HARD, and I'm still sore today, and I LOVE IT.

In between, I did a lot of cleaning and tidying around the house, and working on photos. I'm still more behind than I'd like to be on the photos, but I'm getting there. I guess I wound up doing quite a bit over the weekend, after all, but I had the luxury of choice. I wasn't committed to be at a bunch of places at any particular day or time... it was nice to just decide spur-of-the-moment, for once.

Oh, and I completely neglected to mention this last week, but on Thursday night, I went to see the Corin Tucker Band at the Aladdin. It was interesting to hear what she's doing now, outside of the context of Sleater-Kinney; we agreed that she didn't quite seem like herself, early in the set, but she was rocking it out by the end.

Feh, how is it almost lunchtime already? Time needs to slow down.
Whooooof. Scattered, crazy, and likely poorly-written, but here's the weekend recap:

  • Went to wushu practice, and made the chain of bruises on my left arm worse again! But, I nailed down the new section of my nandao form and it was 100 times better than last week, so Master Chen gave me some new and slightly confounding material to work on. My new form is going to be fantastic when it's done, though, and I AM EXCITED.
  • Met up with Travis at the Blitzen Trapper show! They sound amazing live; they played a few new songs, and a lot of my favorites from their last album, and it was also nice to *finally* catch up with Travis a bit. I've been busy, but Amy has been even busier than I have (is that possible? heh), so I hadn't seen her and Travis in quite a while. Sounds like things will be slowing down for both she and I soon, though, at least, so that should hopefully change.
  • I was coaxed out to the Fez post-show, for mass quantities of booty-shakin'. Blitzen Trapper made me feel like dancing, but nobody wanted to dance *at* the show, of course. Sleepy Portland show crowds, jeez. DJ Gregarious is definitely improving; the mixing is getting smoother, and he quite possibly made my night when he played Rebellion (Lies) by Arcade Fire. Also, amusingly enough, I thought to myself at one point, "oh, I'm out dancing! [livejournal.com profile] dawningday would be up for this," but then I realized I didn't have his number, so I shrugged it off. But then, moments later, there he was! Good to know the dancing train still rolls, even without my help. ;)
  • Peeled myself out of bed in time for a proper breakfast, and then rolled out to derby class. It's definitely going better, and I feel pretty confident about the parts that involve actually moving. (crossovers, sticky wheels, etc.) The parts that involve stopping? Uh, not so much. XD T-stops are going to be my mountain to climb, I can already tell.
  • MK and I also had our first Wreckers practice; it was roasty-hot in the hangar, but I learned a lot, had a good chunk of time to work on my knee-drops, and my inner thighs are *still* sore today. Holy damn.
  • Went home to shower, and then grabbed my laptop and kicked back at the Press Club on SE Clinton for a few hours, to eat crepes for dinner and work on my new business web site. Crepes were tasty, and I think I'm going to love the web site once I'm done with it.
  • Karaoke, which was fun, as always, and we also encountered a dude who was the first man to really, truly impress me at karaoke in a long, LONG time. His voice was amaaaazing, and he didn't sing a song that I even knew or liked, but his mad vocal skills held my attention from start to finish.
  • The aforementioned Impressive Guy also attempted to sing I'll Make A Man Out Of You from Mulan, which would have made my night, if the karaoke track hadn't been broken. (my wushu crew would understand my sentimental attachment to that song, heh) But, that did give me the idea of singing I Just Can't Wait To Be King, which was so, so fun. I need to make that song happen again, and soon.

  • Lazed around a lot in the morning, but managed to get some photoshopping done, and almost went to play kickball for an hour, but then didn't because I was short on time, and [livejournal.com profile] kaptian and Hilliary had decided to opt out.
  • Biked on down to Brewfest to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] marykae and Andrew, and drank a bit more beer than I'd intended to, but it was worth it. One beer did make enough of an impression that I actually remembered it: Reggae Junkie Gruit. There were some hilarious moments that usually involved one of us trying to find the other two, and it was really nice to just wander around, taste excellent brews, and relax.
  • Towards the end of things, I got hungry and bought a slice of pizza and a brownie from the Rogue brewery food stand, but the guys there gave me two brownies, even though I told them I only wanted one. So, I kind of accidentally made us some drive-by friends, by giving away the extra brownie to a guy sitting near us. It was nice enough chatting with them, and I'm pretty sure Andrew got to enjoy a bit of safety as a direct result of my action, so I consider that a job well done.
  • Biked back to my house at hyperspeed, so I could do a musician photoshoot for [livejournal.com profile] virgoqueen7 and her musician partner. I took them out to Powell Butte and got pretty, pretty pictures, and [livejournal.com profile] matrixleap  assisted me with hauling gear and keeping my strobes from falling over, which was really nice of him.
  • After the shoot, [livejournal.com profile] matrixleap gathered me, [livejournal.com profile] daemonwise and [livejournal.com profile] herince_emyn together for a bite to eat over at Tik Tok, and then I went home, proofed the images from the shoot, downloaded and watched the new True Blood episode, and slept nowhere near enough.
I'm gearing up for event shooting this afternoon, and then doing absolutely nothing this evening. Except watching Netflix. And maybe playing Dragon Age. (which, yes, I did find time to play for a bit last week, too. Slow progress, I know.)
And now, five questions, courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] daemonwise :

1. When was the last time you were happily scared?
It had to be when we moved up to Portland in 2007. A large part of how the decision to move came about was because my roommates and I were essentially being kicked out of the house we'd been living in, so the owner could sell it. Things happened pretty quickly, and as excited as I was, there was also a lot of potential for terrifying results. What if I can't find a job? What if I don't make any friends? What if I end up on the street, juggling swords and weaving baskets to make ends meet?

But, all told, it was a blessing. I love this town and could be happy in it for a very, very long time. :)

2. How did you get into martial arts/Wushu?
My introduction to wushu was entirely the fault of [livejournal.com profile] junsiew . Our moms have been friends for years, and she's basically the awesome younger sister I never had, so when she came down to the UO for college, we wound up in the same Japanese language class, and spent a lot of time kicking around together on-campus.

She got pulled into the UO Wushu Club by another friend of hers, but the club was *much* smaller then: maybe half-a-dozen or so people would show up to train with any regularity, and she was often the only girl at practice. Of course, at the time, I tipped the scales at ~220 lbs. or so, and even in my thinner days, I'd never been anything even remotely resembling a natural athlete, so it sounded crazy to me. Still, after enough needling from her between classes, I finally caved and went to practice with her, in Fall of 2003.

Long story short, something about the beauty and challenge of the sport wormed its way into my brain, and I found myself at practice 3 times a week, 2+ hours at a time. It beat the hell out of me in ways I'd forgotten were possible, but it became something of an obsession, before long. And now, six-and-a-half years later, I'm *still* training regularly, and I have no intention of stopping.

3. How does your perception of yourself match your picture of everyone else’s perception of you?
Well, I don't think I have a particularly good sense of how others perceive me, I suppose. But for a long time, I'm pretty sure it didn't match, uh, at all. A lot of that was your garden-variety low-self-esteem sort of thing, but, being a somewhat-private person, I've always felt that there were layers to me that others weren't aware of.

One thing I do know about myself is that I'm most definitely the Stiff-Upper-Lip Girl. If something's bothering me, most folks are completely unaware of it at the time. I regularly have people tell me, "you seem completely fine," even when my universe feels as though it's caving in, and I'm actually working on breaking down this tendency, because I've historically done this to a fault.

I also came to hate the word, "shy," growing up, because it was often applied to me, and I felt that it said so little about who I really was. I'll admit that quiet, distant, awkward, and easily distractable was a frequent state of being for me, and it remains a natural state for me to this day, but "shy" never felt like the right word for that. People who've seen me act, or do karaoke, or wushu, or any of the random things I latch onto, know that I can be pretty darned loud and showboat-y, when I have a mind to.

Anyhoo, point being, I think that letting myself be more open is leading me towards a place where my self-perception might actually line up with how others see me, in the none-too-distant future. :)

4. Money, space, time, and hired talent (if need be) are no issue; tell me the business you’d be running at that point.
Wow. Well, in an ideal world, it'd be a creative collective of some sort, where I'd tap into the talents of the people I know and love (while being open to new ones, of course), and we'd bring our skills together for greater awesome. What the shape of that would be is... uh... not exactly clear. I'm not exactly a natural at entrepreneurial pursuits, however, so this is a tough question. For me, having my own business is at least as much about the relationships I build as it is about assets or products, and any business I run would have that as a major part of its mission statement.

5. What’s the most embarrassing thing (that you’re willing to share in a meme) that ended up going fantastically for you?
You know, I'm not sure I can think of anything embarrassing that ended in a fantastic way. Most of my embarrassing moments are just flat-out embarrassing. ;) I may edit this later, if anything comes to mind.

I'm not going to do the giving questions part of the meme, because I'm lazy. And I also have a lot of work to do. ;)


Jul. 20th, 2010 12:06 pm
Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] theamazingjosh :

Partnership - I do like working with people... or at least, the right people. I'm pretty easygoing, so it's not hard for me to have at least a reasonably-functional partnership with a lot of people. I have, however, had the occasional bad experience, and they've basically taught me that I don't deal well with disorganized people who are poor communicators. I figure that's not an unreasonable thing to ask, though. ;)

My favorite partnerships are the kind where we can express ourselves freely, naturally bounce ideas back-and-forth, and then make them a reality. The follow-through is critical, but the sharing of the creative process can be so, so enjoyable. I love when someone comes along and gives me a new angle to consider when looking at a situation, because I do get mentally stuck, at times.

Trust - Oh, nelly. I have certainly accumulated some trust issues over the years. I'm not sure how much more I can say about that without *really* oversharing, but suffice it to say, trust is a Very Big Deal for me. My trust can be difficult to earn, but it's also pretty darned tough to break. I've been known to talk like a huge misanthrope, at times, but on a person-to-person level, I love to give people the benefit of the doubt. But, those who do manage to break my trust have rarely come back from it in any permanent sort of way.

Hand-to-hand Combat - This is funny to me, because I actually have very little experience in hand-to-hand, but I like to pretend. ;) I practice contemporary wushu, and a lot of folks assume that I can beat the crap out of them, but we actually do very little sparring, and mainly practice forms for performance. The up side of this is that I look pretty awesome when I'm pretending to beat people up. There are definitely martial applications behind the moves, but there's an element of flashiness in contemporary wushu forms that you wouldn't see in an actual fighting situation.

I *have* recently become more interested in gaining more practice at hand-to-hand skills, however, and have been idly tossing around the notion of studying muay thai. Note that I say, "idly," though, so it may be a while before I find the time and resources to actually do it.

Photography - Yeah, this is definitely a Thing I Do. It's not who I am, but it's a major player in my life, certainly. My major point of fascination is people, and I guess I like the challenge of a moving target, heh. A flower will stay put until I grab the perfect shot of it, but a person will not. And, well, I think I'm sort of in love with the notion of showing each person a part of themselves that they were previously blind to.

Friendship - Friendship has always been a big deal to me, but I haven't always handled it well. I've spent a lot of time in the past worrying about being perceived as a complainer, about being too emotionally high-maintenance, or too much of a burden, and I've come to realize that it has often kept others from sharing *their* burdens with me, no matter how willing I was to accept them. I am learning how to be more open again, and I think it's finally starting to help me build the kind of friendships I always wanted, but was too anxious or afraid to take on.

I pride myself on being a loyal and trustworthy friend, on not sharing secrets that shouldn't be shared, and on making my own judgments about the people I know and associate with. I'm lucky enough to have had truly amazing people in my life, and I don't know where I'd be without them. They've made the bad times bearable, and the good times amazing.

NOW, you do it:
Reply to this meme by yelling "Words!" and I will give you five words that remind me of you. Then post them in your LJ and explain what they mean to you.

I'll give the same caveat he did: if you don't post/comment often, or we aren't close via chat/RL, please don't be bothered if my 5 words aren't the greatest fit. :)
So, after falling down the previously-mentioned half-flight of stairs post-photoshoot, combined with the flailing attempts at 9-section chain whip floor work, some unfortunate bumps and scrapes practicing new nandao sections, and my usual bouts of absurd clumsiness, I've spent the past couple of weeks looking, uh, rather spotty. And that's putting it mildly. The bruises from the stairs incident are finally mostly-faded, but damn. If I weren't A) single, and B) a hulking mass of female kung-fu bad-assery, I'm sure someone would've called the domestic abuse hotline by now.

Anyhoo, a lot of things seem to be on the way to resolving themselves, so outside of the gob of snot that refuses to dislodge from my sinuses, I'm feeling pretty good about the past 5 days.

I am slowly plowing through my task lists, and as stress creeps downward, creativity is beginning to creep upward again. I have a nice little pool of Fun With Illustrator flights of fancy, for whenever I'm simultaneously not-sick and possessing free time.

Oh, AND! Studio spaces. Holy jeebus, the search is equal parts overwhelming and exciting. I found a guy through Twitter interested in a studio share, and his work is good and he is sane. We're also finding that we're on very similar pages, as far as what we're looking for in a space. Part of me wants my very own space, but I *am* relieved to have this option in front of me, if I need it.

I also seem to have made a Friend into a Good Friend, which feels pretty excellent. There are some vaguely painful parts to what went down, certainly, but it could gone been much, much worse than it did. Whenever I find a person who gives openness and honesty, I want to just hug them forever, because it can be so, so rare.

I'm house/pet-sitting this weekend, which is PERFECT, because another damned Adopt My Kittens post cropped up on [livejournal.com profile] damnportlanders the other day, and it left me craving mass quantities of therapy, in the form of giving scritches to fuzzy animals.

One of these days, I *am* going to come home with one of those little fuzzy bastards, and I will have no regrets. Well, until Andy's head explodes due to his utter distaste for pets, anyway.

Also, in the past 48 hours, I have seen the following, within five blocks of my very own home:
A) a man unicycling up the street, with an accordion strapped to his chest
B) a man driving a DeLorean into the Save-a-Lot parking lot.

Like, damn. God bless this town.

Hey dudes

Jun. 16th, 2010 12:39 pm
So, I'm feeling mostly-better today. Still feeling possible illness clinging to me, but mood is much-improved.

Friday night was bananas. Post-wushu, it was Laptop Party with Alyson and Alicia, which turned into more of a, "Let's talk about boys, and Nerd things, and dressing up cats in sailor suits," Party, but eh, it's what we needed, and I *did* get some work done, at least. After that, it was a party at [livejournal.com profile] veiravx and [livejournal.com profile] phasmaphobic's, which got me drunker and kept me out later than I'd planned, but eh, when the good times are rolling, it's hard to stop. ;)

Saturday? Also crazy. Woke up early despite my best intentions of sleeping in, so I worked out, and made Almond Butter Krispie Squares for the BBQ at [livejournal.com profile] _dilate_'s house. (they were delicious, by the way) I buzzed on up there just in time to hang out for 15 minutes, and then dash off to my wushu demo. Which I was late for.

See, it was supposed to take 15 minutes to get from the BBQ to the demo location in Vancouver, and I gave myself half an hour. As of 20 minutes after leaving the BBQ? I was still in North Portland, stuck on the I-5 onramp. Thanks, Portland traffic! :p I arrived after demo had already started, missed the opening kicks/jumps/combo portion, ran into the bathroom, threw on my silks, and came out ~30 seconds before I had to perform. So I busted out 2 sections of Nanquan with a hangover *AND* no warmup.

Yes, that felt about as spectacular as you're probably imagining it did.

Anyhoo, the rest of the day was much better. I got back to the BBQ, enjoyed some good grill food, tasty snacks, and good conversation. AND [livejournal.com profile] this_is_not_art was visiting! And she is adorable. <3 And there was laying in the grass, soaking up the sun and sky, sipping on sweet tea vodka with lemonade. (blame [livejournal.com profile] circeramone for that bit of inspiration, heh) And there was a random adventure to Voodoo Two and Lake Oswego with loud and ridiculous sing-alongs, and hilarious chatter from the back seat. I finally got home a little after midnight, and slept like a log. Good, good times.

I wandered back up to NoPo on Sunday morning for breakfast at the Cup and Saucer, and then headed over to get ready for the Two Gents performance! And you know what? It was freakin' fantastic. I was fully prepared to have nobody show up, for things to go horribly wrong, for it to just not be well-received, or any other number of things. But it was quite the opposite: we had a bigger audience than I expected, they laughed and enjoyed, we hit our lines in new-and-hilarious ways, and it was a lot of fun. Very draining, but very worth it.

The rest of the afternoon involved pizza at Old Town, and then lazing around the house finishing Season 1 of Avatar, and dipping into Season 2 just the slightest bit. Still loving that show. <3 Uncle Iroh! And then I sat on my deck and sipped some tea while watching the sun go down. Ahhh.

So, yes, exhausting. But worth it. The End. <3
ATTN People Who Always Ask When My Next Wushu Demo Is Happening: THIS SATURDAY, June 12th, at Cinetopia in Vancouver! We'll be doing a demo at 3:45pm on this day, as a lead-in for the new Karate Kid movie.

Speaking of wushu, I am learning new 9-section chain whip moves, which is equal parts frustrating and fun. The ground work often makes me want to cry like a girl, and I may never achieve proper butt-hops, but I'm figuring it out. The new leg swing-y move, however, has likely left a lovely smattering of bruises on my back. Wushu means never having to run out of ways to cause yourself pain! :D

I feel like I had a really lazy weekend and have no business being this tired and sore, but upon further reflection, I actually did quite a few things.

80's dancing on Friday night was fantastic, and I'm glad I went! They had the music videos for each song projected on huge video screens, and good LORD, they were hilarious and awesome. I was a bit surprised that they started playing the last song at 1:15, because I completely expected that they'd be spinning tunes until after the bars closed. But, at that point, I'd been shakin' my thing for 3 1/2 hours and my knees were NOT happy with me, so this was probably a blessing in disguise. We also hit up Montage afterwards, where I opted to try out the alligator jambalaya, and it was pretty tasty.

I inexplicably woke up at 9am on Saturday morning (god, WTF, body?!), so I did some yoga, finally cleaned up my room, processed photos, and then played Dragon Age for about half an hour, until I realized I was too tired to play video games. So, since most of the group had bailed on the Ground Kontrol plan anyway, I took a nap and watched the season finale of Fringe, and then got up and went to the show I'd planned on attending. The show was pretty fun, but I was definitely dragging towards the end of it.

I helped [livejournal.com profile] twilite_embrace move her big furniture on Sunday, and then went over to watch The Big Lebowski with the rest of the Two Gents cast, for fun and research purposes. I swear, that movie gets funnier every time I watch it, and I'm so excited to do the first reading this coming Sunday! A lot of us kicked around and played some Rock Band for a bit after the movie ended, and and then I went home and lazed around watching Doctor Who.

I have no idea what I did to make myself so sore, but my delts are killing me today. Waaaugh. Oh well, it'll pass. And tonight = SCIENCE PUB. And sleeping.
Here's the rest of that list. Again, in no particular order:

16. Get digital piano and play the hell out of it.
Oh lord, do I want to play. So much. I'm watching Craigslist like a hawk until a deal on a good keyboard pops up.

17. Stimulate the local economy.
This is something I've always wanted to do more of, but I didn't feel I could afford it. Now that money is more free-flowing, I could really take this on, and still have quite a bit left for savings. I've always been a fan of farmer's markets and locally-produced foods. I'd love to focus my girly spending on locally-made wearables, because I know great people who produce such things, and I want to support them. I've also sometimes been able to support local businesses by going to them for my own business' needs, too, and I love that and want to do even more of it.

18. Learn bike maintenance.
I know at least a few people who maintain their own bikes well, so why not me? Every time I ride my bike and look at my screwed-up back tire, it fills me with sadness.

19. Do something that scares the crap out of me.
No, this does not mean pursuing the realm of "extreme" sports. This is about confronting fear, and gaining strength from doing things I would previously have avoided, no matter how ordinary some of them might seem to others. Some of the things on this list could fit the bill, but I imagine the real triumph will be something very personal, and fairly difficult to quantify.

20. Tap dancing class.
Of all dances I've tried thus far, tap is probably my favorite. There HAS to be a tap class for adults in this town (EDIT: that does not also conflict with wushu practice). I've looked for this off and on with no luck, but confound it, THIS WILL HAPPEN.

21. Try out kettlebell and/or CrossFit.
I was reading about both of these things off and on, at the height of my fitness frenzy, and I wanted to try it, because functional strength training is fantastic. This might be a good opportunity to do so. I think I might be too wimpy for CrossFit, but maybe kettlebell would help me work up to it?

22. Aesthetic improvements for my house.
My bedroom is already well into this process, but the rest of the house essentially looks like a bunch of random crap haphazardly thrown together, because... well, that's what it is. I *would* like to get some paint in the walls, and then some art to go with it, and maybe some furniture, further down the line.

23. Art prints for my home, and possibly yours.
I've procrastinated on getting my own art prints sorted and printed, largely because doing that before I'm done painting didn't make much sense. But I have a lot of shots, and a lot of bare walls, and maybe you have bare walls that need prettying, too.

24. Doctors and dentists.
Because I'm the sort of person who doesn't seek medical care unless I'm having a problem, I still don't have a primary care physician or a dentist, after living in Portland for three years. This is dumb, and I should fix it.

25. Give more gifts.
I think I fell out of the whole gift-giving thing during college, because I had no money to spend. Still, when Christmas shopping time rolls around, I'm consistently reminded that I enjoy finding the perfect gift for people I care about, the thing they'd love but wouldn't expect. It'll likely be a thing I do when I'm struck with a great idea for someone, but I already have a couple ideas for upcoming birthdays and am putting them into motion, and I hope to make this more of a habit.

26. Leave room for spontaneity.
My calendar is taking over my life, and I do not like it. I'm something of a Plan Monster, and most of my major goals require me to be, and I'm usually assailed by raging guilt when I promise something and then fail to follow through on it. But, it *is* possible to leave room for large, unplanned blocks of time, and I must learn how to do so without becoming a flake.

27. Stop hating my job.
This could manifest in several ways. I could learn to accept the boredom and frustration, because it is only temporary. I could somehow alter the shape of my job so it becomes *less* boring and frustrating. Or, I could quit The Job entirely and do something else that I love much more. Which of these things it'll actually be? Biiiig question mark.

28. Teach an after-school program.
After shooting for an article at The Job about after-school programs and meeting some of the volunteer instructors, I had the thought of running an after-school wushu program. I'd be teaching older kids, *and* spreading the gospel of wushu. Of course, now that I might actually have time, the school year is almost over, but there's always this coming Fall.

29. BAKE.
I have not baked nearly enough, largely because this tends to run counter to goal #4. But hey, maybe doing this will teach me the meaning of moderation.

30. Let the right ones in.
Yes, I Have Trust Issues, but it doesn't have to rule me. There are people worthy of my trust, and I should know when to give it to them.

And, even though it has already been stated previously, an extra one to grow on:

31. Play more games.
The D20 campaign is starting off on the right foot, and this weekend, I am officially buying myself an XBox 360 and a copy of Dragon Age: Origins. Throw in monthly game nights and other such gatherings, and I'm already pretty well on my way with this. W00t!

March 2017

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