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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

...oh. And lard. I'm also thankful for lard. ;)
batskeets: (yan!)
Things have been pretty excellent, as of recent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also note my awesome teammate, who successfully jumped the apex a second or two later, and ALL of us in white-and-purple grinning like idiots over this chain of events. It was one of the more perfect moments of the weekend, heh.

Hello, 2014

Jan. 1st, 2014 10:53 pm

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

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

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

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

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

  • struggling for money

  • getting in the way of my own success

  • not seeing enough of the people I care about

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


batskeets: (yan!)
SO. As I briefly mentioned the other day, Joe and I have been looking at apartments. Not as many as we'd have liked, but as many as our respective insane work schedules allowed for. And, as I alluded to, it was a really annoying process. Most of the places we looked at ranged from Just Okay to Completely Underwhelming. A couple of places were nice, but not nice enough for what they were charging--especially after we heard that one of those really-nice remodeled places was in a very sketchy neighborhood. As in, bullet-hole-through-your-window sketchy. And the hallway also smelled funny. They want $1400/mo for that? Uhhhh, no.

One place was actually fairly terrific--really spacious, pretty close-in, located in a decent, quiet neighborhood, and very affordable. But, we got talked out of that one by the owner and the property manager, who were both asking questions that got invasive to the point of being fairly creepy. And they flat-out said that they would rather rent to a couple than to a pair of friends, which, HAY GUYZ, that's against discrimination laws in Oregon.

AND, the manager also ASKED ME IF I WAS PREGNANT. She blamed it on the fact that I was wearing my big winter coat and a long, poofy scarf, but come ON. When is "are you pregnant?" ever, EVER an okay question to ask a person you've just met? In this context, it was just even more weird, invasive, and unsettling.

Anyhoo, when we came down to it, we didn't see any places that we liked that much--we liked some of them well enough, but not as much as the Castle. I've certainly enjoyed living at the Castle, and it's a ridiculous-cheap deal for the quality of the space. It's also reasonably close to the Hangar, which a NoPo place wouldn't be. And, the vibe transitions seamlessly when Joe is over, and [ profile] dakania and [ profile] daemonwise are both home, too. It's like Joe has always been there--and, granted, he's around a lot, but it's like he's supposed to be part of the gang. IT IS FATED.

The only real issue Joe or I have with the place is the commute, but not having to commute between deep-SE and NoPo in order to see each other would certainly make both our lives easier. And, well, the schmoopy reasons of wanting to have a place of our own. Still, looking at the pros and cons, and crunching the numbers, him moving in at The Castle seems like the most responsible option. Responsible is generally far from romantic, but you know what? I'll be happy to be sharing my home with him, no matter where that ends up being. (well, maybe not in a studio apartment, heh. DEFINITELY not a studio apartment.)

So, we're going to make good with the fact that I live in a pretty sweet house that doesn't cost very much, even if it is a bit further away from downtown than we'd like. If we find a place for just-us later, that's great, but right now, this is good.

He'll be moving in on March 1st. And, in true Castle Coronary tradition, we're already batting around plans for a tempura and sushi party to celebrate. Mohohoho. ;)
YOUGUYS. I didn't expect to be saying it this soon, but: I'M BOUTING THIS WEEKEND.

The Coos County league is apparently short on skaters for their bout on Saturday night, versus the Rainier Roller Girls. One of the girls I know from RCR knows them, and put out the call for a couple of extra girls.

I said yes.

So, yeah, shortly after I wrap up at Fresh Meat practice, I'll be grabbing a carpool up to Seattle and playing an actual game! They're even making me a shirt with my number on it. Eeehehehehee.

Anyhoo, on the off chance that anyone I know is reading this, and either A) in Seattle, or B) feels like randomly driving just under 3 hours to watch me play, here is the link for venue and ticket info:

Nervous. EXCITED. Hoping my kidney-area stops aching by then. (it will) But yeah, mostly the first two.
And, a rare appearance in front of the camera. Hanging out with my fellow nerds (most of whom are affiliated with the Geek Council in some way), bike-riding around in the sun, and representing my derby league isn't a bad way to spend a day.

Oh, and those most likely *are* the greatest socks I have ever owned. Just sayin'. ;)

Related: it occurs to me that I need a derby userpic. Maybe if get less busy, I can do something about that. ;p
I'm about ten kinds of exhausted, after sorting through and hauling my stuff from the old place to the new one, over the past 3.5 days.  I remember when I used to feel like this more days than not. How the hell did I ever function like this? Fortunately, I'm being nicer to myself nowadays.

The new place is shaping up really nicely, our internet is hooked up, cooking in the kitchen feels like a breath of fresh air, and I sleep better at night. This is going to be a place for good times, and also a place to feel relaxed and groovy, and at-home.

Jeebus willing, I'll have the last of my things out of the old place tomorrow morning, and then it's just figuring out the buyout terms. I feel like a massive weight has already been lifted. Hells yes.

Maybe in a year or three, I'll buy a new house, one that fits what my life is becoming. But for now? This is pretty damned fantastic.
I was going to do one of those lengthy Year-In-Review survey thingers, but I wound up spending far less time on the Intertubes than I anticipated, while I was in California and on vacation. But, this year deserves a proper sendoff, SO:
  • Full-time self-employment in 2011? It actually happened. Granted, it happened sort of by accident, but I've met my first benchmark profit goal and it's not even 2012 yet. I'm not 100% there yet, but I'd say I'm doing pretty well for someone who's only been doing this full-time for 3 or 4 months.
  • My health is improving by leaps and bounds, and I'm back into running again, which is *awesome*. I've only been going every couple of days, for a little over a week, but it's a relief and a massive emotional boost to be able to do that again.
  • I have an incredibly nifty boyfriend, and I realized while I was visiting the folks that, hey, I actually would like them to meet him, and the prospect doesn't make me nervous, because he's pretty great. (that said, being asked, "is he marriage material?" is still a weird, weird question to answer)
  • I am much less stressed out by many a thing than I was one year ago today. There are a lot of sad-making things that are no longer an issue.
  • I STILL have really excellent people in my life. Really, really excellent. 
  • I'm going to get drafted in 2012, and no power in the 'verse can stop me.
2011, you've been kinder than years past. Here's hoping 2012 follows the same trend!
Today is awesome:
  • I made an exceptionally tasty breakfast this morning (Maillard reaction, I love you)
  • I got my federal tax refund
  • I applied for that hot job that is totally perfect for me omjesus
  • I drank a toddy coffee and it was DELICIOUS
  • I sold a disc of high-res photos for Real American Dollars beyond what I expected to get from a previous photoshoot
  • I may be set up to do some quick-and-awesome photos for Guns N Rollers next week
  • I'm coming up with a sexy design for the local Geek Council
  • I'm getting a haircut this afternoon
  • I'm playing with my straightsword tonight
  • I have a completely free evening after my regularly-scheduled swordplay
  • I am test shooting tomorrow and really looking forward to it
  • I have a lot of other awesome things going on this weekend, which I am also looking forward to
Also, here is an ugly camera photo of my decidedly-not-ugly new business cards, which came a few days ago. Come to me, dolla' bills.

Yeah, this is a good end to the week. Now, to get myself to the gym.

Twoo Wuv

Feb. 14th, 2011 01:37 pm
I can't complain about today. Well, okay, maybe a little: I *am* stuck at The Job for another 4 hours or so. After that, however, I will be dropping by my studio, and then gorging myself on delicious sushi and sake, and thanks to a sizable voucher I recently earned, I won't even have to pay for it. Win!

Anyhoo, yeah. When this day rolls around each year, I always find myself debating whether to note it, or ignore it.

As the years pass, I find myself having far less patience for the major holidays, and Valentine’s Day is the worst of the lot. The pink-splosion at my local Fred Meyer almost made me physically ill, and reminders of the holiday are damned near inescapable. My problem with V-day is the same as with Christmas, or other commercialized occasions: the expectations that come with it become so obnoxious and demanding that it completely overshadows what we should be noting and appreciating on that holiday. Celebrations of love, family, togetherness, are forgotten in favor of fulfilling the obligation of making some grand and utterly expected gesture. It makes any sentiment behind the gesture seem smaller, more hollow, less genuine.

The consumer market focuses on couples, of course, because buying a diamond ring for your mother or your roommate is a tougher sell than buying one for your significant other. It’s about money, not feelings, and couples are the easiest target. That fixation on romantic pairings tends to make everyone who isn’t a couple feel like garbage. This is a day that’s supposed to be about love, and by focusing on one type of love, we’re almost encouraged to overlook all of the other loves that exist in our lives.

Last year, I’d ended a relationship of over three years, a scant 3 or 4 days before Valentine’s Day. Clearly, I understand the meaning of good timing. Breaking up was absolutely the right thing to do, at that point, but in the face of a beastly commercial holiday designed to extract Real American Dollars from couples, it’s still difficult not to feel at least somewhat melancholy. When you’ve recently become single, most would expect to feel the crushing weight of loneliness on V-day.

In my case? I had the opportunity to see something unexpected and wonderful.

I went into that weekend with an overwhelming amount of trepidation, and I fully expected to be spending most of my time alone, watching sad movies and wailing into alternating pints of beer and Haagen Dazs. Instead, I spent the 13th at a small-but-enjoyable gathering, with welcoming faces and engaging chatter. On February 14th, I woke up in less-than-spectacular spirits, but I soon found myself at a friend’s house, playing video games, nursing a hangover, and feeling vaguely emo, because I know some truly excellent people, who were understanding and willing to keep me company. I had a long coffee and heart-to-heart with a dear friend the following day, and I’d had words of support coming to me throughout the weekend, in-person, by phone, over e-mail, even via Twitter.

All of the caring, the support, the listening, and the laughter that came forth from everyone I spent time with over that weekend was unexpected, and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d felt so grateful, and so loved. The company of people who are dear to me was a far better gift than any amount of flowers, candy, or schmoopy poetry would’ve been. It still is.

With that in mind, I vote that you hug, kiss, call, or write someone awesome today, or maybe even several someones. It doesn’t matter if they’re friend, family, or lover; I’m pretty certain they’ll appreciate it, and they deserve to know that you appreciate them.

When tomorrow rolls around? Do it again. Love is awesome, and there’s no reason why we can’t show it, in some small way, every day. THE. END. <3
I've been doing a lot of that today, in the moments when I'm alone with my thoughts. Hee. :)

Also, the new skates came in, and tonight was my first practice with them. They're certainly not the magical solution to all of my problems, and they're going to take some getting used to. After 6 months of having the front wheels further forward, and more boot and weight placed in front of my toes, the new set feels pretty strange. Still, I can already detect some positive differences, too, so once I get used to them? It's on like Donkey Kong.

There are a lot of things I'd like to be doing right now, but I'm pretty tired, and I haven't been eating terribly well, so I have my peaks and valleys. I'm finding myself wishing that I had enough physical energy to back up all of the creative energy I have right now, because there's a LOT of creative energy ready to explode out of my head.

Still, on the whole? No complaints.

Hello, 2011

Jan. 1st, 2011 11:40 pm
Well, things didn't *quite* go pitch-perfectly last night--the short version: I still suck at time management, and moving more than three people to a new location is like herding cats--but nothing catastrophic happened. I had good times in several locations, the evening ended on a good note, and I did get to see many of my most beloved people, even if it wasn't for as long as we'd have liked. 

There are things that weigh on my mind, today (but then again, when don't they?), but I have to say: on the whole, Jan 1st has treated me *far* better today than it did in 2010.

I woke up at a reasonable hour, feeling happy, and with no sign of hangover, which is the direct opposite of last year. I had a low-key brunch at the house with a few of my favorite people. <3 I dashed off to Alyson's annual New Year's Day clothing swap afterwards, and actually found shoes in the pile that fit my gigantic feet, for the first time ever. I came home feeling run-down, but still had a nice, meandering chat with roommates. And, my body has surprised me by not giving me a full-blown case of Teh Sick after drinking last night! Still not feeling 100%, but at least I have *some* hope of fighting it off.

Overall, I'm fairly shocked that the holiday season was relatively angst-free, compared to previous years. Yeah, last year was particularly awful, so that makes for a pretty startling comparison, but even in years prior to that, things still never felt all sunshine and primroses.

Anyhoo, I'm tired and I'm editing, and I wish I were reading a book and sleeping, instead. But, it's okay. It'll all be fine in the end.
batskeets: (j)
I got my keys for the studio last night, and got to see it with the floor finish and some of the paint in place. It's already worlds better than it was when we first looked at the space, so I'm pretty damned giddy about that. I'm sure my excitement didn't show much on the outside, because it's been a very stressful and work-heavy week, but oh, this is so, so good.

Having a studio again is certainly one of those things that doesn't sink in right away, but we paint walls tonight, and tomorrow is Moving Day. I'm not sure how much of *my* stuff I'll be moving tomorrow, because I have about eleventy-billion edits I need to do, and I don't know when we'll have internet. But, once I have my workstation moved over, and start working there? It's going to be AWESOME.

Doors feel like they may be opening in the areas I've been waiting for. I'm so overworked right now, but in spite of the stress, I'm actually in a good mood. I'm eating well, staying active, sleeping through my nights reasonably well... there's so much to do, but it's going to be worth the blood, sweat, and tears. Just having more than one direction I could go in is encouraging enough on its own.

There are already times when I feel like I'm completely ignoring my personal life, but there are some parts of that which can certainly be put on hold. (i.e. dating) But eh, it's only a couple of weeks of death-by-work, and the important folks will still be there when the dust settles.

I feel like such a sap posting this sort of thing, lately. XD But eh, might as well do what I can to combat LJ's rep for being the One True Home of Internet Wangst.
What an amazing day.

With my family having been ~1000 miles away, I've spent the past 10-or-so years of celebrating Thanksgiving with other people's families. I come from a small family, so Thanksgiving hasn't typically been a big-deal, cook-at-home holiday for us, anyway. This year, seeing my own family was, again, not-so-feasible. And, well, not having a boyfriend's family to piggyback on, I found myself without plans. But, instead, I was fortunate enough to have the luxury of spending it with the family I've chosen for myself.

We wound up with 17 people congregated in this house, a blazing fire in the fireplace, a few games, a lot of laughter, and so much food we couldn't even fit it all on one table.

I had the honor of raising my glass to toast some of the greatest people I know, with words that some part of my brain had intended as heartfelt, but that more likely came out more in the realm of tongue-in-cheek ridiculous. Hey, I'd had a couple of shots, and I'm not exactly great with public sentiment. ;p

Still, I couldn't have asked for better. Not by a longshot. And it wouldn't have happened without the presence of every single person under my roof today.

I am absolutely doing this again next year. :)
batskeets: (yan!)

Well, for the most part. There was some pretty huge dating drama, which ultimately led to failure. It's too bad, because things started off amazingly well, but they blew up in ridiculous proportions. We're at least taking a break, more than likely for good, and I'm confident in my choice there, especially if it means less hurt and frustration for us both in the long run.

Anyhoo, other than some serious difficulty sleeping, even the sheer frustration of that ultimately couldn't dampen my spirits. I slept ridiculously late on Saturday, and wound up being slightly late for derby practice, but it was okay in the end, because I decided to sack up and do my first scrimmage!

In short, it was total sensory overload, but it was also kick-in-the-pants fun. I did my first few jams as a Blocker, thinking I might have gained enough knowledge to have *some* clue of what to do, buuuuuut... yeah, not so much. It feels as though there are a million things to observe and think about: what you're doing, what your fellow blockers are doing, what the opposing blockers are doing, what the jammers are doing... and that's *after* you've already devoted a good chunk of your brainpower to the task of simply skating without falling on your ass. Meanwhile, both teams are yelling out warnings and talking strategy, and there are so many places to look that it feels like sheer insanity. I did a pretty terrible job blocking, to be honest, but eh, as the skating and strategy becomes more intuitive for me, it's only going to get better.

After a few jams, I decided, eh, what the hey, I'll try a round as my team's Jammer. And, sweet merciful jesus, my endurance is *awful*. XD And, I also took a minor penalty after being hit off of the track, and re-entering incorrectly. But other than that, I apparently did pretty well! The singular task of finding openings in the pack and taking them was less overwhelming, and I had a blast doing it. I definitely need to build speed and endurance if I have any hope of ever being Jammer on an actual team, but hoshit, I LOVED IT.

Anyhoo, the rest of the afternoon had [ profile] theamazingjosh and I raiding the JoAnn Fabrics for a black backdrop, and despite the absurdly long line at the cutting counter, we escaped with our lives and a serviceable yardage of fabric. Then, I found myself at Value Village, buying a completely awful blonde wig for a last-minute costume, and I was lucky enough to tag along with [ profile] katlyn to a Halloween party full of people I didn't know. It was well-attended but lower-key party, which completely fit my mood, and there was Rock Band 3 to fill in the gaps. I also got to chat with [ profile] archmage again before his departure, and everyone else at the gathering was very cool.

I packed it in early that night, so I could be ready for Alyson's wedding on Sunday, but some combination of the aforementioned drama and my sleeping in too much had me awake past 4am. I still woke up with a surprising amount of energy, though, so everything seemed okay. Also, [ profile] theamazingjosh was awesome enough to fill my vacant second shooter spot, so not only was it my last job booked through the old company (!!), but it was also my first wedding with a member of my new team. Both of these things are AWESOME.

It was a wildly non-traditional wedding, so things were definitely not the usual, in terms of first looks and formal portraits and what-have-you. But, I worked the whole day on 5 1/2 hours of sleep, running around in a costume, and I had an amazing time. My work is *always* better when I'm working with people I enjoy and want to be around. But a whole day of doing work that I love, surrounded by friends, and helping them celebrate a day that they'll always look back on? I need more days like that. I really, truly do.

Anyhoo, I'm at The Job today, I'm tired, and I'm counting the minutes until I can run away from my desk, but I'm awake, I'm alive, and my heart is full-to-overflowing. Excelsior!

Also, I do believe I've decided what my costume will be for next Halloween. I did this as of two days before THIS Halloween. Yep, I'm ridiculous. XD

Hell. Yes.

Oct. 8th, 2010 09:25 pm
batskeets: (yan!)
I'm fresh out of the shower after an addle-brained, but ultimately good wushu practice, I have a tasty salad in my hot little hands, and I am *finally* going to finish watching the Dexter episode I've tried to watch three separate times this week. (I fell asleep about 15-20 minutes in each time... d'oh)

AND, I have two books on loan (Pattern Recognition and Apathy) with glowing recommendations to go with, and another of my own I've already started in on (A Game of Thrones). Oh, and yet another book on loan from a derby friend (Down and Derby, naturally). The mind reels at the selection.

This may be the best Friday night in ages. <3

P.S. I am strongly considering declaring next week to be Mental Health Week, because sweet merciful crap, I'm looking forward to the alone time this weekend. We'll see if I'm sick of my own company by the time Monday morning rolls around. ;)
While driving home on Sunday, the following lyric popped up on one of the new albums I'd acquired for this round of Road Trip Listening:

Did you ever lose, but feel like a winner
Nothing could fuck with your pride

And it was PERFECT. That, dear friends, was my weekend in a nutshell.

I arrived in Berkeley on Friday night, after a surprise visit to Pixar (!), feeling tired and apprehensive, and wanting nothing more than for the weekend to be over, so I could go home and recover from the past two months of overcommitment.

I came away from Collegiates in March feeling inspired beyond belief, but with all the traveling that happened between that and CMAT (Vegas, Imnaha, L.A... ooooof.), I wasn't exactly able to maximize my training time. Missed practices, bad sleep, stress and exhaustion, and a last-minute band-aid on my southern broadsword form to get it up past 1:20 was not exactly a recipe for wushu victory.

And beyond that, I'd had a pretty rough year, emotionally-speaking. And, after a month of aches and three months of physical therapy last fall/winter, my knee is still not behaving perfectly. I wasn't able to train as hard as I wanted while in therapy, and the knee started complaining a couple days before the tournament. I knew I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to be. I knew I'd be asking more of my body than it would likely want to give me.

Late Friday night, as I was falling asleep, I had an odd thought: I'd done some work on a jumping outside kick with a single-leg crane stance landing, while I was in physical therapy. Landing that way actually meant fewer painful impacts on my bad knee, so it at least gave me something more advanced to work on. I'd stuck the landing maybe a few times, but it was still pretty sketchy.

And I thought: why not throw it into my form? And after sleeping on this notion, I realized that I really had nothing to lose by attempting it. And, as [ profile] monkeyhole wisely observed, "if it goes awry, you'll have a good story later. If it goes well, you'll have a good story later!"

When the time came to suit up, I was feeling the nerves like I always do. I walked through various bits of my forms to grind them further into my memory, while Franz Ferdinand and Queen blasted through my earbuds as a strangely calming anthem. The Hurry-Up-and-Wait game is par for the course at CMAT, and that only serves to build up the tension even more.

Finally, they called us up for nanquan. I popped out my earbuds and learned I was going first. Greeeeat.

I threw in the single-leg landing early, and I didn't stick the landing, but I didn't fall on my ass, so that was fine. It was about what I expected. Coming out of my kick-up, however, I stumbled a bit, and that was... unexpected. Normally, this would be the point where fear takes over and my brain checks out, leaving my body in a hazy auto-pilot mode, rushing woodenly through each movement until I check back in during the final salute, wondering what the hell just happened.

This time, however, it didn't. I felt my gaze harden and my breathing deepen as I kept going. I was present and cool-headed in a way I'd never been before. By the end, I was completely exhausted, my knee was aching, my throat was raw, and my quads were burning, but I didn't care. I'd been placed in a situation where I'd lost my head a dozen or more times before, and somehow found my way to clarity. Other people with more practice and preparation beat me squarely, so I didn't make top 3, but I was still smiling when it was over.

So, yeah, first form down, and better than I'd hoped. Nandao was a terror of a different sort, though: only one other person had registered, and she'd decided to drop out. Because my event was so small, I was saluted in with several nandu-level spear athletes, and slated to go before their event. Usually, when I perform, some world-class nandu competitor is lighting up center stage in another ring, so nobody's paying much attention to what I'm doing.

This time, however, I was in the same ring with the Nandu kids, and that meant everyone was watching me. I should have panicked, and in any other year, I would have panicked. But, I didn't. The section of the form that we'd added last-minute was pretty clunky due to lack of practice, but it didn't sway me. I finished strong and I didn't even flinch.

I'm certainly not going to glorify my skills: my performance was far from perfect, and I can easily pick out things that I know I've done better in the past, and things I can definitely do better in the future. But, even as I pondered on those things, I couldn't feel bad about them. My head was in the game from start to finish, my mind was actually with my body as I went through each movement. And it felt amazing.

When I received my gold medal for nandao, I couldn't help but smile, even though I didn't really have to beat anyone else to get it. It's never been about that, really. The battle I'd won was a battle I'd fought with myself for over 6 years. After psyching myself out with anxiety time and time again, I beat down that anxiety and emerged feeling nothing but satisfaction. I'm optimistic about the months ahead. I'm even considering Nationals in July, for shits and giggles.

So, yes. Of all the medals I've gotten, this one is by far my favorite.

batskeets: (yan!)
So, yes, I'm 30 today. The day is half-over, and I do not feel like an old person yet. This is good.

This also meant that some serious celebrating need to happen, so Saturday was pretty damned crazy. I was up until 3am on Friday night working on my space helmet, and then I spent over four HOURS on Saturday cleaning the house. D: As the afternoon wore on and I kept scrubbing, I started to worry about having enough time to pull everything together, and by the time I finished, it was 5pm. I'd actually forgotten to eat lunch because I was so busy cleaning.

Anyhoo, I rolled on over to Lippman Co. to use my Groupon and pick up decorations, thinking that, yes, I could still pull this thing off. But, when I got there ten minutes later, I found that Lippman Co. was closed for the day. CUE PANIC.

I ran around Wal-Mart and JoAnn looking for party things, didn't find anything in the thematic vein that I was hoping for, and by the time I got back with those, it was 6:15 and I was running through the house trying to do about 10 set-up things simultaneously. Fortunately, my friends came trickling in one by one with offers of assistance, and it all came together in those last few terrifying minutes.

And from there, it was AWESOME. Lesson learned: asking for help? Sometimes, it actually works. ;)

The rest will be in list-type format:

  • The costume turned out brilliantly. There are a few details I'd like to add before wearing it again, but given the time crunch, it rocked. My only complaint was that I couldn't wear the helmet for long due to A) being too warm, and B) not being able to hear so well. My cranium is large, and the helmet was a tight fit.

  • Hoshit, [ profile] katlyn and [ profile] circeramone brought the Pretty. Definite glamorous dress envy!

  • Whenever I mix social circles, there's always a moment of apprehension on my part about everyone getting along. But when it works? SO GREAT. I recall a point in the party where someone commented on [ profile] monkeyhole's t-shirt, and then there was a flurry of geeking out about W00t Shirts from people in like three different social circles. Seeing the people I love getting on well with each other fills me with happiness.

  • So many hugs! And at the same time, not enough of them! It was so fantastic to see everyone; I wanted there to be ten of me so I could give you all more of my attention.

  • I most definitely need the recipe for the beverage that [ profile] xplo_eristotle made, because that stuff was tasty.

  • Speaking of needing the recipe: Bacon. Wrapped. DATES. I burned my mouth a little on the first one, but holy crap. SO WORTH IT. Aaaghghskldahfklhgfl. (<-- that is the sound of me stuffing piping-hot deliciousness in my mouth)

  • Months of not drinking + metric tons of weight loss = zero alcohol tolerance. (poor Andy!)

  • Staying up until 5am may not have been the wisest choice on my part. How did that even happen? But a lot of it involved kicking it on the couch with [ profile] marykae, so I consider that a good trade for sleep. ;)

  • SO MANY THANK YOUS. [ profile] daemonwise for wrangling a metric crapton of party snacks. [ profile] katlyn for helping with party snacks AND an 11th-hour WinCo run. [ profile] herince_emyn for making the adorable and delicious cupcakes *and* a CD to add to my playlist. [ profile] matrixleap, [ profile] marykae, [ profile] bychoice, [ profile] bodhranist for coming early to help with decorating. [ profile] circeramone for responding to my Twitter panic attack and getting many bags of ice. Travis for hauling his Rock Band gear over for the party. Ben for getting the music going when I couldn't focus on my laptop for long enough to figure it out myself. [ profile] bellybalt for taking awesome photos that brought all the happy feelings back in again when I looked through them. I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting somebody, but I'm so grateful for all of it. I can't even express how much.

In conclusion, I think I've realized that I'd generally rather GO to a big party than throw one. It's not even the prep or the cleanup, it's just that I find it so much harder to connect with people when I'm hosting, and I inevitably end the evening feeling like I didn't see enough of anyone who attended. I was so wound up and distracted by making sure everyone had a good time that I couldn't really stay in one spot for long, nor have a proper conversation. For the first hour or two, I had trouble even thinking of where to start one.

But, all said, it was pretty freakin' epic. I had a lot of reason to smile. And I still do. :)

Over It

Mar. 10th, 2010 01:42 pm
GOD. I have so much to say and I don't even know where to start.

I guess I'll start with this: the past 5 days have been exactly what I needed. After all the chaos, internally and externally, I feel like I've found my center again. I gained insight from words I didn't expect to hear, and I found inspiration in places I wouldn't have thought to look.

The trials of the past 6 months, the aches and injuries in my body, the pain of separation, the despair of fighting battles with no foreseeable end... I'm over it. I'm over all of it.

I have choices to make, and they'll be hard ones. It's never easy to choose between the things you love most. But there are stories in my life that I thought were coming to an end... and I see now that maybe some of them aren't over yet.

I'm not finished. And the only thing left to hold me back is me.


Mar. 7th, 2010 01:54 pm
I got back from Eugene about 20 minutes ago. Collegiates was exhausting and amazingly fun, and I'm SO EXCITED ABOUT WUSHU AGAIN AAAGGGHH!

I'd forgotten what this feels like, and I am so glad to have it back. I almost wish that my plan was not to go out of town again, but to just find 20' x 40' of carpeted bliss and train like there's no tomorrow.

But, hey, this feeling is enough for the moment, and the future is mine for the taking.

Anyhoo, more later. Now is the time to shower and pack. (again)

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