Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I made a blanket with jumbo yarn!

Oh hey, a knitting post!

I'm about to go into a detail-intensive discussion of the making of this blanket, as well as some tips if you're thinking about making one (or even buying one) yourself, so if you're interested in that, read on. If not, here's your tl;dr.

Pattern: Wonderful Big Stitch Throw

Materials: Red Heart Boutique Irresistible in Grey; 47" circular needles in size 50 (25mm)

Quick notes: I used 9 balls of yarn. Finished dimensions ended up at about 48" square. My gauge was about ~3.25 stitches x 4 rows (4" square) in stockinette stitch. It took me about two days of knitting really intensely.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

I'm willing to wait for it

So, last night I went in for my very first workout with Savage Strength Conditioning, which is about 35 minutes away from my house. I've been in contact with Jeron, the owner/coach, for the last year or so, since I knew I wanted to continue training after our move.

It was awesome, and different. I'm not going to do a whole compare/contrast thing between gyms, but I will comment on one thing: I joined Savage as a part of their competitive powerlifting crew, so not only was everyone there last night also a powerlifter, but they aren't merely casual lifters either. These guys and gals are into it, and they're exactly the sort of people I need to push me forward.

I love my old gym, and I miss them terribly, but one thing that was difficult is that powerlifters, particularly competitive ones, were few and far in between. And there were many times when it was literally just me powerlifting, and everyone else was doing the planned workout. (Gabe, my PL partner in crime, works out earlier in the day.) And it's fine, because I'm not the most social person anyway, but sometimes I just felt alone in my journey. I'm not saying that people weren't wonderfully supportive and kind, because they absolutely were and I love them to pieces for it; I'm saying that I often wished for a crew (or even a buddy!) who was doing the same thing I was - someone with whom to share the journey and the experiences.

So now I've got one. And I'm nervous as hell because I desperately don't want to let them down. (And I also don't want to let down everyone who's rooting for me at home either.)

I had a lot of fears going into last night, about disappointing Jeron and Team Savage, about disappointing everyone at Anchored, and especially about disappointing myself. I haven't worked out since July, and even before I left, I was showing up only sporadically anyway. I've spent the last two months in such a funk because my life has been in this suspended state for so long where I was ready for normalcy (craving it!) but I was not ready to definitely head in one direction or another. I wasn't ready to join Savage until now because we've been trying to get our life settled, and I think the lack of physical activity really took its toll on me mentally - I've been feeling depressed, restless, even physically ill. Nothing about my life right now resembles what it used to be, and again, I know I should count my blessings that I have been given the opportunity to take a breather, but like I've been saying, I am not a person who handles "rest" very well.

So anyway - my fears. In addition to my mental funk, I have been dealing my fears as well. I've spent the last few years watching two sports that I love (derby and running) eliminate themselves from my life as options, and then I experienced tremendous difficulty with my knee in the two weeks leading up to my competition in March. I would be lying if there wasn't a voice in my head that constantly asks, "What if you can't do this anymore either? What if this thing is over before it even starts? What if you never match your PRs ever again, let alone exceed them? What if you have already reached the end of the line?"

And I feel pressure now (self-applied pressure) to measure up. I've set this bar for myself, and I am desperate to hurl myself over it. I mean, I'm smart enough to know that I need to take my time getting back to my old level of fitness, but there is an undercurrent of urgency to live up to my numbers and to make people proud, to create a space for myself in this sport and prove that I belong there. In a way, it feels worse now to know what I'm capable of, as opposed to being a wide-eyed newbie who was just good at following instructions: now I'm invested; I have something at stake. And the expectations I've placed on myself are a double-edged sword.

But I need to trust the process, and I need to trust my body. Being betrayed by another person is a difficult thing, but what about when it's your own body that betrays you? How do you rebuild that trust?

I need to believe that my strength will return. But I need to learn patience. I need to learn how to wait for it. I've waited this long to move to Oregon; I've waited this long to finally join Savage and start working out again; I can wait for my body to catch up too.

It felt good to lift. I'm happy to be back. I can't wait to see what the future holds for me in this sport.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Busy nothings

“Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.”
- Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

Wow! Where have I been?

The short answer to that is, "Absolutely nowhere." I've been busy, but I also have been doing nothing, which makes absolutely no sense.

Perhaps a more accurate explanation would be that I've been busy doing things that no one else would consider important. I'm not working and I'm not working out (yet - looking forward to going back to powerlifting next month!), but my daughter has started school, and I'm still trying to figure out what I want out of this new life, and that takes time and energy. Even though I have decided to take this giant pause in my life, the world is still spinning around me, and I have to make sure that I don't allow myself to spin off into nothingness.

As I've said previously, I feel a little aimless right now. I am someone who NEEDS to keep busy, even if it stresses me out to the max, because without all the routines and time schedules and responsibilities, I feel absolutely adrift. And I'm a little isolated here - I have Portland-area friends, but in truth, I'm not ready to be social yet. (I haven't even worn makeup in the last three weeks, if that gives you an idea of how not-myself I've been lately.) I've left the house mostly just to run errands, and otherwise, I'm just inside all the time. I know, it's not healthy, but my inertia has completely changed.

But like I said, I'm "busy" too - just, not busy doing anything of consequence. I'm trying to take advantage of this opportunity I've been blessed with to finally get to the things I've always wished I had more time to do.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Idyllic or just idle?

For me, actually "nothing" is quite impossible
I'm feeling antsy.

I told myself that this would be a good time to take time off, to let the dust settle and then figure out what I want to do with myself (whether that involves teaching or not), but the truth is, I have a very hard time sitting still.

I know that I have in the past overloaded myself to the point of stress tears and exhaustion, but in truth, I feel much better being overly busy.

Case in point: I am much more prone to bouts of depression when I'm injured/sick and can't work out or even leave the house. It was so hard for me to work full days and then show up at the gym or derby practice (or wake up early the next morning for a run), but if I'm being honest, that's when I was the least unhappy. I may have been exhausted beyond belief, but at least I felt like I was DOING something. I felt like I had some sort of purpose to my day.

At this point, we haven't even been here a month yet. We still have lots of unpacking and cleanup to do, and yes, I should go do that. But this whole "being unemployed" thing does not sit well with me. I know that any normal year, I would be at school right now (literally, right now - I'd be on campus at this particular second), wishing that it was still summer. Except that this year, I technically AM still having summer, but I can't shake this nagging feeling that I should be doing something.

I'm not complaining that I have nothing to do. I have LOTS to do, and I'm not bored. It's more like, nothing that I AM doing right now is satisfying my need to "serve a purpose," if that makes any sense. I've lived my adult life with this relentless need to fill up my calendar and push forward, and at the moment, I don't have any goals or endgames in mind, so my planner pages and my days feel a little empty.

I'm sure I sound like a jerk, and that there are a lot of people who would trade places with me in a heartbeat so that they can have a chance to relax and do nothing. I don't know what to say, other than I apologize for being a jerk, but I am profoundly unable to relax and do nothing, at least, for extended periods of time.

I'm even terrible at vacationing. My parents like to take relaxing tropical vacations fairly often, and I haven't joined them since I was a teenager, because after the first day, I get restless. Actually, it doesn't even take a full day - after about 15 minutes of sitting in a lounge chair, I have to get up and go walk around or explore or something. (And also, I don't like hot weather or direct sunlight.)

When I think back to any trips I've taken in the last five years, they've all been centered around athletic events or they have been to busy places like Disneyland. Even when I've come up to Portland over the last few years, I've had to jam-pack my days or else I would start to feel antsy. As much as I've complained about needing a breather, I honestly don't know how to sit down and breathe.

This is a rough space for me to be navigating right now. I'm uncertain of my future professionally and even athletically, and not having the pressure of work or training for an event is actually more pressure than having them.

So why don't I just find a job then? Why don't I find something to train for and start doing it? Believe me, I've been having fits of panicked job-searching. But I'm also trying to remind myself that I haven't even been here a month yet. We still have boxes to unpack. Jolie hasn't started school yet. I should take a damn breather and slooooooooow down. I know logically that I should treat this time as the blessing and the privilege that it is and take full advantage of the fact that I can take time off, but it's hard to change who I am, someone who has kept herself REALLY busy for the last decade, who has suddenly found herself in a whole new life.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Happy Esther Day from the Pacific Northwest!

Happy Esther Day!!!

Esther Day, in honor of a young woman named Esther Earl, is a day to celebrate love - specifically, the non-platonic (read: non-Valentine's Day) love between you and your friends and family. I'm going to be honest and say that I always forget to celebrate Esther Day (because it's the day after my daughter's birthday, and I'm usually super pre-occupied with that), but I wanted to make a special point of celebrating it this year because we just moved from California to Oregon a week ago and now I am hundreds of miles away from the people I love whom I've been spending time with on a regular basis. 

Things have been hectic (which is why I haven't posted in a while), but I wanted to take the time to tell my friends and family back at home how much I love them and miss them. There's a lot that I love about being up here, but obviously there are things that I miss about the Bay Area, the biggest thing being my squad - my MANY squads, of people I know and love from work, from derby, from running, from powerlifting, from all the schools I have attended in my life, and of course, my family. 

I love you. I love you. I LOVE YOU. I unabashedly, unashamedly love you, from the very depths of my heart. 

I don't know who I would be without you. I don't know WHERE I would be without you. I am the luckiest person in the world to have such an amazing squad of friends, colleagues, and family. 

I have spent the last few weeks visiting people and saying goodbyes (to the best of my ability - I'm sorry that I couldn't see everyone!), and it never fails to astound me how many people are just... IN my life, who show up for me, who are there for me. Y'all are amazing, and you inspire me, and I LOVE YOU, and even though I'm far away, I'm going to try my best to be there for you too.

I love you, and I miss you, and I hope that I will get to see you again before long. Thank you for being a friend.