Posts

Showing posts from 2017

So you're interested in bullet journalling...

Image
I've mentioned bullet journalling on my blog before, but never really went in-depth into what I do, so I'm taking the time to talk about it now, since I've seen some of my friends express interest :) 2018 is rapidly approaching, and the new year is always a good time to refocus and get organized again.

Bullet journalling (or BuJoing for short) is basically an organizational system. It is highly customizable, and you can tweak it to suit your own needs, but the very core of it is the use of bulleted lists to plan and log your life.

Bullet journalling mainly consists of two parts (that can be separate, or totally meshed together): the calendar/planner part, and the "collections" part. The planner part is pretty self-explanatory--this is where you write down your appointments and To Do lists--but collections, if you're not sure what they are, are really just lists of anything you want to keep lists of. People will keep lists of books they want to read, books th…

"The plan is to fan this SPARK into a FLAME": Deadlifts for Doernbecher recap, health scares, and looking ahead

Image
Now that I am done with catching up on grading and winter break has officially begun, I can now take some time to reflect on recent events! (Literally... I just finished my grading about half an hour ago and walked around the house, arms up "Rocky" style in triumph, before sitting back down at my computer to start this entry.)

This weekend was QUITE A TRIP.

Saturday was Deadlifts for Doernbecher. This was my second time competing in D4D, and I have to say, this year was so, so, so much bigger than last year. Which is not to say that it was small last year, but this year D4D was held at Ancestry Brewing and featured pro lifters (men and women) coming in from all over the country. Standing in the warm-up area in the back, I was shaking in my Chucks just being around them and watching them get ready.


Because I'm not going to lie, I kinda want to BE one of them someday. I know I have forever and a ways to go, but if I think about all the sports I've ever done, powerlift…

Why even try?

Image
This weekend is Deadlifts for Doernbecher, the annual deadlift competition that my gym hosts (here's my post from last year), and as can be expected, I'm excited about it but I'm also a little nervous because I have high hopes for my numbers this year.

This year, there will be a bunch of elite guest lifters attending as well, which adds to the pressure. I am eager to impress, and would love to someday be considered one of them. (I know I have a long way to go.) There are women a good 40 pounds lighter than me who can pull a good 40+ pounds heavier than I can, so knowing they'll be there is definitely a heaping of humble pie, if you know what I mean.

It's funny--no matter how well I do at any given training session, I follow so many stellar lifters on social media that I never feel like I'm good enough or strong enough. Which in turn sounds ridiculous, because... good enough for what? Strong enough for what? For myself? For people who know me? I'm pretty su…

If you can help...

Image
Hi!

This is the deadlift competition I'm doing soon. It's a charity meet to benefit Doernbecher Children's Hospital. It would be AWESOME if you could kick some $$ their way. We are all together trying to reach $25k. As of today, we are halfway to our goal.

http://www.deadliftsfordoernbechers.com/
Click "Donate" at the top :)

Thank you <3 <3 <3

Grateful

Image
Tomorrow will be busy with lots of cooking, so I am taking a minute right now to reflect upon the good in my life.

It's been quite the year of ups and downs. Did I know, when I wrote my Thanksgiving post last year, that I would end up working in a yarn store, getting to share something I love to do with other people? Did I know that I would finally succeed in getting pregnant, after almost a year of failures that broke my heart every time, only to experience one of the biggest heartbreaks I've ever had to experience? Did I know that losing that pregnancy would open a door that led me back to teaching in a completely new way, that I think I actually really love and want to stick with?

I am grateful to be alive. Bottom line. At the VERY least, I am grateful for that, because if things had gone differently, if I had waited any longer to look into my symptoms or book an ultrasound appointment or whatever... I might not be right now.

I am grateful to be working, and not just to ha…

Midterm lessons

We are nine weeks into the semester, and as I'm working with my students to get their grades up, I can't help but spend some time reflecting myself on what I'VE learned so far this year at my new job:

Some things aren't different, between teaching online and teaching in person. Some students are still adorable and sweet and enjoy coming to class; some students will still either ignore you or fight you on everything (and then complain about how low their grade is).It's hard to work from home because it's hard to draw the line as to when to STOP. I don't LEAVE at the end of the day, thus clearly delineating a boundary between my work life and my home life. I don't have bells signaling when it's officially lunch. I mean, teachers at in-person schools also spend tons of time after school and on the weekends working as well, so that part isn't so different, but I'm saying that not having a commute doesn't mean that I'm working any less. Ha…

The freedom in forgiveness

Image
One of the constant struggles in teaching (one of the MANY constant struggles!) is coming up with a late work/make-up work policy and getting students to understand it, respect it, and stop asking for so many damn exceptions. Trust me, I've had MANY a conversation about the appalling entitlement of kids who keep ignoring the not-so-fine print (seriously! Boldfaced and underlined and caps-locked size 16 font!!!) and asking us to ignore the rules we've worked so hard to set out for them.

I've played around with how late to allow work to be turned in, and what percentage to dock. I've never allowed them to re-do or re-write. "Them's the rules, kid." I spell it out for them on the first day of school, and it's up to them to sort out their business out within my parameters. And I get frustrated when I have to constantly answer the same questions over and over.

Well, thing work differently at online school. At orientation and staff development, we were tol…

This is what happens when you spend Saturday night at Target.

Image
I miss running. I miss it with an ache that I feel deep in my chest.

Tonight at Target, I was walking past the activewear section (which is actually where I get all my workout clothes), and there was a huge display for running gear. "Keeps you cool while you run!", the tag said.

I don't run. Not anymore, I thought.

And there it was. That familiar ache and that stinging sensation behind my eyes. For a moment, I thought I might actually start tearing up, right there in front of the racerback tank tops made with wicking fabric.

If I miss it so much, why don't I just try to do it again, and start slow? My friend, I'm afraid at this point, my knee can't even handle a slow start; it hurts when I walk too much, sometimes. Or all I have to do is place my foot down wrong while I'm walking and I can feel a sharp pain that makes me catch my breath, and then I have to limp rather gingerly until it sort of works itself out.

At this point, I have to decide whether I rea…

"Even if it makes others uncomfortable I will love who I am." - Janelle Monae

Image
My beauty blog has been on hiatus for quite a while now, and I'm undecided about when I'll get it going again (or even if). No, I haven't stopped loving makeup and makeup artistry-- I think what has changed most for me (aside from moving to an area where I don't feel the need to be so made up all the time, and not working full-time out of the house anymore) is that I've been feeling increasingly estranged from beauty blogging and social media.

Go ahead and check the Instagram page for any major beauty brand or retailer-- what do you notice about the models and influencers they regularly feature? You do get some racial diversity. You get some body diversity. You even get some gender diversity. You very rarely get all these things at the same time. And you almost never get anyone who looks like they're older than 30. (I mean, there probably are major influencers who are over 30, but they usually don't look it.)

I've said quite often that representation ma…

Heading down new roads

Image
A lot has happened in the last few months (as you've probably read), and now I can add one more thing to the headlines: I'm returning to the classroom.

Well, sort of - I will be teaching full-time online. I'm not going to have a physical classroom, but rather, I'll be working from a home office, and teaching high school students from all over the state of Oregon through my computer screen.

The first order of business (besides doing all my HR paperwork online) was to head out to North Bend for our New Teacher Orientation.

Four hours away, in a part of the state that I've only heard of and never been to (Coos Bay), to spend three days as a new teacher who doesn't know anyone else learning about a new method of teaching that I've never done before.

*gulp*

(Though, I think the driving-far-away-all-by-myself part made me more nervous than anything else.)

I'm a creature of habit. I've spent all ten years of my teaching career at the same school. Sat thro…

Project round-up

Image
I've gotten a lot of knitting done lately. Here's a look at my latest round of FOs.

Pattern: May mitten from Kelbourne Woolens' "Year of Mittens" series
Yarn: Cumbria Fingering from The Fibre Co.


Pattern: Haruni by Emily Ross
Yarn: Cormo Fingering from Sincere Sheep


Pattern: Fuss-Free Festival Shawl by Louise Tillbrook
Yarn: Lilt from Black Trillium Fibre Studio


Pattern: Hawkshaw Cowl by Kate Burge and Rachel Price (I made another one for my dear friend Jen)
Yarn: Independence from Spincycle Yarns

And of course, because I never stop, I've got some other projects in progress that I'm excited to see through to finishing :)

A new normal

I'm doing okay.

That's what I tell people, because it's the truth - I'm doing better than "miserable and sad," but I'm definitely not "cheerful and joyful" either. I'm doing okay.

I'm struggling to find my way back to "normal." There is something about that profound moment of seeing the plus sign on a pregnancy test that rocks the very foundation of your life (well, my life, at least), such that I can no longer remember what exactly I did to pass my days before I was pregnant. And now that I'm no longer pregnant, I'm trying to figure out how to pass my days again.

Oh sure, I probably wasn't doing much differently - knitting, reading, going to work, posting on social media, whatever. That stuff all looks the same. You know, outwardly. But inside, I've been so restless and confused, like my entire existence is fidgeting and doesn't know how to settle down. What was my life like before all this happened? Who wa…

Loss

On Sunday, May 28th, after days of nausea, exhaustion, and other symptoms (including a late period), I took a pregnancy test and it came out positive. We were ecstatic, over the moon, after nearly a year of trying. Jolie was going to be a big sister!

By the end of January 2018, we would have a baby!

* * * * *

Yesterday, Wednesday, June 14th, after days of spotting, intermittent cramping, and lower-than-normal HCG results, I went in for an ultrasound, and was diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy. They rushed to me the ER immediately for surgery, where they discovered that the mass (that would've been our baby) had grown so large that my Fallopian tube was bleeding quite a bit into my lower abdomen, and I was pretty much on the brink of rupture.

By the time I woke up the next day (this morning), I wasn't pregnant anymore.

* * * * *

The short of it is that... this is hard.

It was hard for me not to share the good news when I found out, but some part of me just felt compelled to wa…

Kindness

Image
I got this tattoo almost ten years ago, I think. It's gotten harder to read over the years, and I should probably get it touched-up, but it says It takes strength to be gentle and kind. It's a line from the Smiths' song, "I Know It's Over," and regardless of what the rest of the song means, I liked it enough out of context to get it tattooed on my arm, as a daily reminder to myself.

I try to err on the side of kindness whenever I possibly can. (Maybe there's a little Hufflepuff in me after all, I dunno.) I choose kindness whenever I can, sometimes even to my own emotional detriment. I also internalize criticism and blame myself first, rather than unleash on other people. Maybe if I take the brunt of the hurt, then other people won't have to.

I know there are lots of people out there who would not do the same. They will protect their own self-interests and mental images, tooth and nail, and I understand that instinct. They might say that I'm weak,…

100 Days: Learning to change

Image
30 days have passed of my 100 Day challenge. What have I learned so far?

- My most difficult area was actually sleep. I definitely do not sleep enough.
- I need to not buy Easter candy on sale.
- Giving up soda was not hard, but maybe it's because I've replaced that addiction with sparkling water, because now I drink that constantly.
- I am definitely not drinking 32oz of water straight-up per day, but I drink just about everything else (coffee, tea, sparkling water, protein shakes, etc.) and since I was sick for a few days, I had a lot of soup. That's gotta count for something.
- I didn't meet my workout goal, but I did START working out again, which is better than not working out at all.
- I tried to journal every day, for my own peace of mind, but sometimes I just wasn't into it. But I do pretty much knit or craft in some form every day, and maybe I should just consider that part of my self-care time. I like the idea of guided meditations, but I don't often…

FO: Hawkshaw Cowl

Image
Another finished project for your viewing pleasure!

This pattern is the Hawkshaw Cowl by Kate Burge and Rachel Price of Spincycle Yarns and uses two (different) skeins of their worsted weight single-ply yarn, Independence. I've chosen to call this my Unicorns and Mermaids cowl because the two colorways I chose, Goddess Above the Clouds and The Bee's Knees, remind me of unicorns and mermaids respectively. (My skein of Goddess literally matched my Unicorn Frappuccino yesterday!)

This was my first-ever brioche knitting project, and it was EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY. Thank you, Kate and Rachel, for making this experience painless! Brioche knitting creates a squishy, reversible fabric that resembles 1x1 ribbing, and when you do it with two colors, it looks AMAZING. I'd always been too intimidated to attempt it before (I don't know why, don't ask me), but I seriously can't resist Spincycle Yarns' colorways, and this looked like a quick, easy knit. (It was.)

The pa…

100 days of health and fitness

Image
Okay, so it's probably not a secret, but in case you didn't know, I have not been making health and fitness a priority in my life lately. Either I haven't been feeling well, or I've been overwhelmed, or I just can't overcome my inertia - no matter the reason, my body (and as a result, my mind as well) has been feeling pretty lousy. I mean, to be honest, winter has always ended up being my "off-season" anyway, due to weather and illness, and ever since I moved up north, I've been in the doldrums even more.

BUT... it's now officially spring, and the sky is a little bit brighter, and I'm ready to pull myself together and get myself back on track. And what better way to do that than to do a fitness challenge?

Some thoughts on the new live-action Beauty and the Beast

Image
It's been a while since I've done a movie review on this blog! Usually, the only movies I bother to see and blog about are book-to-movie adaptations, and those usually go on my book blog. (I mean, technically, yeah, BatB could be considered a book-to-movie adaptation, but... meh.)

Okay, so fair warning: Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney movies, and Belle is absolutely my favorite Disney princess. (See?) As a kid, I of course identified with her as a book-loving outcast. Also, I love the, uh, Frenchness (?), and I'm sure it had something to do with my decision to take French in high school.

Therefore, I was rather intrigued when I found out there would be a live-action remake, and I was SUPER excited to find out that my favorite princess would be played by another favorite bookworm of mine, Hermione Granger Emma Watson. (PS - Before I ever found out that she was cast, I had made a list/photo collage of Disney princesses as my favorite YA characters, and I …

Here's a thing that happened: I'm writing for VINA!

My first blog post for VINAzine is up!

Woman Crushes IRL: Valuing the women around us

I want to be where your heart is home

Image
Spring is just around the corner, but as far as I know, it will stay rainy and gray around here for quite a bit longer. We've had a few nice days here and there, but overall it's been the darkest, coldest winter I've ever had.

I find myself missing the California sunshine. I had an errant thought the other day that I really want to go to Disneyland. I mean, that's not unique or special - a lot of people love Disneyland and it's fun to escape into a fantasy away from your real life. But this time I actually was thinking about the getting-to-Disneyland part of going to Disneyland too.

I'm not really into long drives, and the drive to Disneyland is largely unexciting - just lots of brown hills and farmland, for the most part. But there's something in my heart right now longing for that vast stretch of sun-drenched freeway.

Of course, it's not just the sunshine that I miss. I'm pretty isolated up here - I have Portland-area friends and coworkers and gym…

Some people are never happy.

Image
This morning I was looking at the above article about the new swimwear line from plus-sized model Ashley Graham. And I had some... thoughts.

And then I happened to glance at the comments section on the Facebook post that shared the article, and saw this comment, which pretty much stated what I was thinking:
This isn't swimsuits for all haha. It's swimsuits for women with big hips, a narrow flat stomach, and huge boobs. That's fantastic for the folks who look that way but all of us ladies aren't that blessed. To which someone else replied,
Some people are never happy. To which _I_ replied (in my own head), "No... we're not."

I mean, as the first comment said, "That's fantastic for folks who look that way." I'm happy for THEM, but no, I'm not satisfied. No shade to Ashley Graham--I'm not picking on her--but she is essentially a larger version of the same body type that is pushed on women by the media. It's GREAT that she's l…

FO: Dragonscale gloves

Image
Don't fashion me into a maiden that needs saving from a dragon. I am the dragon, and I will eat you whole.
Pattern: Dragonscale Gloves by Rachel Barlow
Yarn: Dream in Color's Smooshy with Cashmere in the colorway "Mermaid Shoes"
Quote: Requiem of the Moon Poetry



Lessons from a snow day

Image
“The water hears and understands. The ice does not forgive.”
― Leigh Bardugo, Six of Crows
As you may have heard, last week Portland (and surrounding areas, like where I live) just got the MOST SNOW EVER. Well, the most snow Portland has ever gotten in a really, really long time. (Other parts of the country probably wouldn't bat an eyelash.)

At first it was fun - a FOOT of snow to stomp around in, and no way to get to school or work? There were sounds of play and joy coming from all over the neighborhood. Even my dogs had fun hopping around the backyard before scrambling back inside to escape the cold. (And we had fun watching them!) It truly was a winter wonderland, and we all marveled at the giant flakes falling from the sky, forming a smooth, pure blanket of white on the ground. We finally had enough snow to build a proper snowman, not a snow-covered dirt snowman like the one in To Kill a Mockingbird. It was breathtakingly beautiful and awe-inspiring, seeing our normal everyday…