Friday, March 30, 2007


1. WWF or RAW or whatever the hell professional wresting is called nowadays has to be some of the most comically bad stage combat I've ever seen. I happened to catch the last few minutes of one while waiting for L&O:SVU to come on the other night. Maybe from a live audience viewpoint, it might sell, you know, like 50+ feet away, but on camera, not so much. Know your medium, people! I love stage combat, and that just hurts to watch, it's so bad.

2. I can't finish the Socka Socks. For the first time ever, I will not have enough yarn in the skein to finish a sock. I'm going to have to get a coordinating solid color for the heels and toes. Argh - can't I finish ANYTHING right now? I'm SO CLOSE on the SRSP, but that extra stitch/missing decrease is bugging the hell out of me. I have to go back and find it. I'm going to try to get some quality time on it tomorrow. I really really want to finish it by Saturday.

3. John called this afternoon! He's trying to get the show going again and wants to work through a touring version of it with me soon. I really really hope he can get it going again on a solid basis. Getting our crew and show back together for a real tour would be...unbelievably awesome! I cannot express this in words. Seriously. We're talking about a possible show in North Carolina in October or November, and possibly a few others in the fall. I have to stay at PCPA until we get to the point where he can pay me the regular salary, but I think we should be able to work it out if we get the dates far enough in advance. I hope so! (Did I mention I really want to work with him again?) I'm going to try to get down to LA after opening to spend some time with the new and old toys. Need to brush up on some of my illusions. That is one place in the world I can easily spend a fourteen hour day without noticing the time at all.

4. Cinnabon's cinnamon bread that they sell at Vons (local grocery chain) is incredibly yummy. It's great with breakfast, or, toasted with butter and the tiniest bit of sugar, a great and healthier-than-a-lot-of-other-snacks-snack. It's not the healthiest stuff, of course, but, as someone with seemingly insatiable munchies once a month, this is a lot better than the bag of chocolates or Oreos I'd normally turn to first! (I swear, there are times I wonder if pot would make me eat less!)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Back to the grind

I woke up fully intent on eating breakfast (you know, like you're supposed to), going to the gym and running, then coming home, showering, and getting ready for work (bunch of meetings this afternoon before rehearsal). My hips are so sore from the final kicking drill we did last night, though, that staying home and doing some pilates and stretching seems like a better idea. No broken hands last night - I did break the board first hit, although I must have caught part of it with my wrist again and not felt it. It doesn't hurt, but it's all bruised again. Oh well. My students think it's cool.

More on class after the cut link.

Class was big tonight, but not as intense as it was the first time I went through a testing week. After a total brain fart during attendence (I'm not usually in the row that collects attendence cards and completely blanked on what I was supposed to do - there's a great start to the evening!), we warmed up with drills (partnered with CGB, who is also not a bad teacher, as I learned), then went through all three self-defense moves and practiced our forms like usual. After that, though, was a little unusual - Sir had us line up against the wall and then called us out in ranks to show our form like we would for testing. It was really cool to actually get to watch what the other people around you have been working on instead of catching it out of the corner of your eye. After that final nasty drill (gripping partner's hand for balance, seeing how many round kicks you can do in thirty seconds without putting your foot down), Sir called me and a few others who wouldn't be there on Wednesday to stay after class and work on the board breaks. I had several people, including Sir, compliment my form after class, which was kind of nice. I made some comment to Mr. R during formwork along the lines of it wasn't my form I was worried about, it was my self-defense, so he stopped me and we did self-defense instead of formwork for a bit. I know the moves, but they aren't in my body like the forms and one-steps, so they feel awkward and clumsy to me. I'm going in Monday afternoon for my test and will talk to Sir afterward about my concerns. Part of me is thinking, "Well, obviously I can do the stuff that they require for the test, so as long as I know it, I should do it and what's the big deal?" while the other part of me is going "There has to be more to it than this."

I finished the first part of the second short-row sequence last night, but my stitch count is off. The first time, actually, it was off by three stitches. Found where I thought the mistakes were, tinked back, fixed, and am now off by one stitch. I'm pondering fudging it, since for the life of me, I can't figure out where else I forgot to decrease. We'll see.

High winds, high tides, and low temps today. They're saying maybe even a thunderstorm this evening, although what is considered a thunderstorm here wouldn't even pass as someone's rumbling tummy where I grew up. I do miss thunderstorms. As much as I bitch about the weather in the Midwest, I've lately seriously been thinking about maybe moving back. To Chicago, specifically. The only problems being that I have no money and no job contacts there, so if I do move, it will not be in the immediate future. I love California, but I do miss being close to my family. My great-grandmother is in the nursing home, and my grandmother, my aunt, and my mom have all had recent minor surgeries/health issues that I wasn't able to be there with them for. Chicago is about three hours from my hometown. But it does get cold there. I hate cold wet weather, but on the other hand, it does give me an excuse to knit warm wooly garments that I can't use much out here! So I'm thinking...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monday, sweet Monday...

With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein, Sundays aren't really all that in my little world. After four eight-hour days and two twelve-hour days, by the time Sunday rolls around, my brain is pretty fried. Sunday evening rehearsals are the hardest for everyone - it's hard to keep focus and energy in the room. More lines are dropped, more blocking and props forgotten and timing and energy are more off than on any other day. And then you get to come home to a dirty house, since you haven't had the time or energy to clean up during the week. Ugh. We do, however, have the entire show up on its feet. Publicity photos are up on the PCPA website. They're at the bottom of the page. The actual show shots aren't taken until Final Dress, but these turned out pretty well. And my apartment is pretty much clean now, just a few dishes to do and laundry. Always laundry!

I'm to the second short-row sequence for the front of SRSP. Once I finish this post, I'm going to make lunch, start some laundry, and work on SRSP for the rest of the evening. (Except for class and dinner, of course!) I'd really love to finish the front tonight, but I'll be really happy if I can get through this final short-row sequence to the neck shaping!

Some tkd ponderings after the cut (it's windy and a bit rambling, sorry)
Class tonight! Hopefully I will break the board and not my hand this time. I'm feeling good about it now. Kind of like, well, I know what will happen if I don't do it right and I lived through it, so now it can only be better, if that makes any sense. Testing is this weekend again, so class tonight will be intense, I'm sure. I am eligible, but I don't know if I will or not. I'm comfortable with the form and one-steps, but am terrible with the self-defense moves and would really like to do the board break a few more times. Plus, I'd have to schedule a different testing time again, since I have rehearsal Saturday. Last week I said something along the lines of "Wow, they test fast here, don't they?" to CGB and Blue Belt and both of them responded "Not fast enough!" But then, both of these guys have previous experience with other forms of martial arts as well, and they also go at least four times a week whenever possible. I wish I could. I have the sneaking suspicion that my studio, and maybe the entire ATA program, is what Amanda would call a black belt factory. I'm also wondering if I've found a flaw in their rotation method - what happens if someone doesn't pass a test or can't test for some reason? Do they continue to work on whatever form they've been working on or do they have to start learning a new form? It seems like the latter would be detrimental to them passing the next test. I really like the people at this studio, and I really like the way the class is structured and how everything is taught - I feel like I'm both being challenged and that they know I haven't done this for years like the majority of my classmates and I need to be taught and to learn. I also want my belts to be something I work at and earn, rather than "Eight weeks are up, line up for your new belts!" Not that I'm not working for my belt, but you know what I mean? And to be completely honest, if I choose not to test and come next week and all these new white belts have orange belts, I'm going to feel more than a little jacked. For now, I will treat it like an activity that I truly enjoy, with people I like being around, and maybe I won't test this time. I will, however, ask if there is a possibility of getting a pickup lesson in once or twice a week, just because I like to be there and doing it, and it's hard to do some drills and self-defense on your own. Or they can just start having some adult classes in the mornings =)

Friday, March 23, 2007

At last!

The package from KnitPicks actually arrived Tuesday. Of course, they had to deliver it during the about three hours I wasn't home, so they dump it off in the apartment complex office, which closes at 3:00p. So I didn't get it until Wednesday, and have barely had time to work on it since. But I am progressing a few rows at a time and maybe soon I'll have a sweater! The Socka Socks, as I'm calling them, continue to turn out with odd patterns, but I have to admit that they will be the most interesting pair of socks I've done so far, color-wise. I also have to admit it's the worst job of picking up gusset stitches I've done so far (there's a small hole I don't feel like fixing). But I'm almost to the toe - it's amazing how much faster thicker sock yarns work up.

Non-knitting content after the click below.

The hand is much better, although still rather more colorful than usual. However, if one more conversation goes
Other Person: What happened to your hand?! (It was fairly noticeable, I guess.)
Me: A bad board break in my taekwondo class.
Other Person: Maybe that's a sign that hands shouldn't break boards! *insert look that indicates Other Person is speaking to someone of either damaged or lesser intelligence*
I might scream. They just don't get it. And besides, I heal. Okay, so the bruises ended up on the exact places on my fingers and wrist where I need to rest my hand to write, so two afternoons of meetings and an evening of superspeed blocking didn't really help the bruising and it was still hurting enough to put ice on it again last night after rehearsal. Oddly, the worst wasn't the bruises. It's something along the side of my hand that objects to repetitive bending and stretching of the pinky, such as one would do with things like writing, typing, erasing, moving tables, that kind of thing. But after a few days with ice packs and only a couple ibuprofen, all seems much better now. A few more days and everything should be back to normal color, too - just in time for the next class! I think I can do the break next time, though. Just need to work on aim.

The show is going really well. It's a little intimidating working with a resident director who is a really good friend of my direct supervisor, who is a really great stage manager. I feel like I'm constantly being measured against her and that I fall short. But it is a very fun show anyway, and it's great to be working with everyone again. The show is very well cast and well directed and will be tons of fun. We're almost finished blocking Act Two, which, for those who know the show, is when the penguins get delivered. Because, really, this is a play about weird props: cockroach farms, sarcophagi, and, of course, escaping penguins. Plague is going through still, though. Luckily, none of my team has caught it yet, but we've had at least one actor sick every day. Sigh.

For the record, my cat is insane. We all know he's terribly neglected, of course, so much so that he must beg for attention. He's quite vocal about it, too. Lately, though, he's been fascinated by the front door. I know that there are possums and feral cats around, so I don't know if he's smelling or hearing them or what, but he'll stare at it, talk to it, bat at it, and suddenly meow and run away from it, only to chase his tail for a while and lay back down in front of the door to talk to himself and start all over again. I clipped his leash on (yes, he has a leash and we do sneak outside occasionally, but only on the leash and I'm always with him. He doesn't walk on the leash like a dog, but it gives me control over his radius of freedom) and we went out for a few minutes. There wasn't anything there but concrete, of course, but he seemed to like rolling around on it. He's never acted like he's wanted to go outside before, so this is weird. Cats! Oh, and there was this super sweet, absolutely gorgeous grey/orange/white calico female kitty at PetSmart the other day in the adoption center. Her name is Pepper and she's three years old and is not declawed. If she's still there next time I go, though, I might just have to get an adoption application and find out more about her.

Monday, March 19, 2007

3 Things

1. You can totally tell a difference in a week where you've eaten decently and worked out and a week you've skipped meals, eaten junk, and worked out. I still maintain that a good diet isn't eating less often or cutting everything out (except for health reasons, of course), it's eating smarter and more balanced. This week was a good week.

2. In the past two and a half months I've studied tkd, the big lesson I've learned is that the body is tougher than you expect. It's not unusual to look down and notice my knuckles bruised and bleeding during class, without ever feeling a thing. However, knife strike board breaks, if you don't hit with the right part of your hand - the side of the palm - Really Hurt. Yes, it deserves capitalization. My hands aren't feeling so good so the pics are a little blurry:

Bruised (and earlier bloody) knuckles:
Bruised and swollen fingers:
Bruised and swollen wrist:
'Nuff said. Ouch.

3. Self patterning sock yarn can be really weird: Fortissma Socka Colori. Some dyelot number for color. Maybe it's the gauge, but you'd think the two different fake Fair Isle/Intarsia sections would repeat as well, but no, this is going to be interesting. No knitting tonight, though, I'm going to go finish watching Digging For The Truth and put more ice on my hands...

ETA (the next morning, now that I can type): I did end up knitting more on the sock last night. I turned the heel and started the gusset decreases. I realized I could not just sit on the couch and watch tv - I had to be doing something. I think it actually helped - my wrist and fingers didn't feel as stiff, although my pinky and wrist were still slightly swollen and very bruised when I woke up this morning. Cute Green Belt was watching - I was practicing the board breaks after class - and passed on some words of advice from one of his previous instructors as I came limping off the mat: It only hurts if the board doesn't break. I also got to partner with a new white belt, and he was fun. The whole group of new white belts were there again tonight, as well as Orange Belt Kid. When did I become the person to ask questions to in that group? Oh, and we did this kicking drill where you balance on one foot and round kick to the front, then turn 90 degrees and kick, then turn another 90 degrees and kick without putting the kicking foot down. I think they said it's part of the second dan form. I learned it's much easier to balance left/kick right than balance right/kick left. I figured the dominant foot would be easier to balance on, but apparently I was wrong - again! =)

Sunday, March 18, 2007


No rehearsal until...Wednesday? Really? We had callbacks for students who are auditioning to become part of next year's acting class today, so the faculty was busy with that, so no rehearsal. Monday is our normal day off. The director was called out of state to a meeting for another show he's directing this summer (apparently this was the only time they could meet and he had to be there in person for it), and wont' be back until Wednesday morning. So no rehearsal Tuesday. I'm going to have no freaking idea what day of the week it is next week. But I might get to watch House! I hope it's a new episode...This is a good thing, as we blocked ALL of Act One yesterday - thirty pages of blocking in eight hours makes for a cramped hand!

I went shopping today after callbacks. I got several more spring-like and, well, nicer, shirts for work and even a few dresses. I got a really pretty kind of art-deco print maroon and gold strappy dress for Dinner opening that I will have to find some kind of wrap for (it will be way too cold in the theater and at the restaurant), and a cute funky 70's print dress that will be very fun for Company's opening this summer. Now, I am normally not a shopper or even particularly fashion conscious, so it was pretty exciting to not only find fun colors but also that the current styles and fabrics are fairly flattering. Now I have to find some shoes and a wrap for the red dress and some cute black flats and I might actually look more like a professional and less like a college student at work. Of course, this is assuming that I reduce activities like...oh, buying two books in a series, getting home and finding out that I already have those two books, and having to take them back and get the two that I had originally PLANNED on getting in the first place...

As for knitting, all I can say is that the rest of the WotA better get here tomorrow (I paid for 2-day shipping!), because I want to finish this sweater! Tumbling Blocks was in my bag, and somehow got pretzel crumbs all over it from a snackbag that got turned upside down. The skein is okay, but the one time I don't have the scarf and needles in the bag...sigh...cashmere and crumbs. I'm hoping this will work out. The socks I've started to occupy myself with in the meantime have got to be the weirdest self-patterning sequence ever. I'll take a pic tomorrow maybe, after class. Yay class! Feels like I haven't been there in a month, for some reason. Have I mentioned that I can't wait for class tomorrow?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Beware the Ides of March...

While it's true that every month has an "ides" - the fifteenth day of March, May, July, or October, and the thirteenth day of the rest of the months, although it means "middle of the month" - thanks to good old Bill Shakes, we're all familiar with the Ides of March as a day of reckoning or something to be wary of now. (For those who don't live in theater and have forgotten high school lit classes, it stems from the soothsayer's warning in Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, where it becomes the day Caesar is assassinated. I've always wondered why the play, truly more of a story on Brutus' mind and heart, was titled after a character who dies in the first act, but hey, I haven't been famous for 500 years, so what do I know?)

Anyway, this ides has lived up to its promise, and it's only3:30p. I was so proud of myself last night - I was in bed at 2:00a and asleep by 2:30a, which allows me to wake up at what I consider the reasonable hour of 10:30a. (I'm like that, I will usually sleep almost exactly eight hours if I'm not woken up during that time.) At 8:00a the phone rings - one of the students calling out of rehearsal sick. Apparently the plauge is starting around again, as we've had four students sick in the past two days. Great. The interruption of sleep threw my bioclock off, and I did not wake up again until noon and was still groggy. Ugh, a whole morning wasted! I run around trying to get ready to go into the office by 1:30, and as I'm getting ready to walk out the door, I open it to find the apartment complex manager. They're replacing all the bathroom light fixtures in the complex. Great. My place is a wreck (okay, not really, but not as clean as it would have been had I remembered the super was coming today) and the Teddiecat is nowhere to be found. I finally locate him in the back of the closet (the doorbell terrifies him for some reason) and taking advantage, shut him in the closet so the lighting guys can use the front door without worrying about the cat, and get to the office just before my ASMs. I give them their whole three projects to do this afternoon, approximately ten minutes worth of work each, and try to track down information on someone who asked for a job reference. Unfortunately, the person in question was an intern here seven years ago and neither Chrissy or I have ever met her, nor do we have files going back that far. All we have are her grades, and given some of the people who were here before Chrissy, the grades may or may not have anything to do with her stage management skills. So that was interesting. (The moral of this story is Keep Your References Up To Date!) I send the ASMs home after they finish their stuff, check on Outreach and Spring Dance stuff to make sure my interns aren't driving people crazy (everyone is very pleased with our current crop) and come back home to let the cat out of the closet. He is Not Happy with me, but at least I have a new bathroom light and a cat who hasn't broken any rules. Ahh, two whole hours before I have to go to rehearsal! I think I'll work on SRSP! Hmm...I'm almost to the end of the current ball of the MC. I know I had four balls of it, and bought two more, so I have six total. I have used five - two for each of the sleeves and one for the back and what I have done of the front. I cannot find the sixth ball for ANYTHING. I have no idea where it is. And, of course, it's the next color in the sequence. I have looked in every yarn storage space I can possibly think of, including every bag that I've used since Stitches. I'm sure I've only used five balls. Ugh. I don't mind dealing with KnitPicks, of course, but to buy ONE skein of WotA really isn't worth the price of shipping. Maybe I'll get a US 0 circ from them, too. Mrph. There goes getting the sweater done this week!

In other news, I'm thinking of frogging Snowdrop and doing a Leda's Dream stole instead. I like the snowdrop, but when you keep looking at a pattern and going "Oh, I wish I'd used that yarn for this instead," well, that tells you something. Now I'm going to run through my form and onesteps once or twice, and curl up with some Mythbusters and Tumbling Blocks before rehearsal. Luckily, it's just table work this week, which is my favorite part.

The cat is now punishing me by walking on the keyboard, licking my hands, and plopping himself in his most elegant sitting cat pose right in front of the monitor. When all of this results in getting picked up and dumped on the couch, he gets cat hair all over my shirt. We're going to chat.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Meme cuz I'm bored

1. What time did you get up this morning? 11:20a
2. Diamonds or pearls? both, preferably set in silver or platinum if it's diamonds;simple pearls
3. What was the last film you saw at the movies: Casino Royale
4. What is your favorite TV show? House, L&O (all versions), Digging for the Truth, Mythbusters
5. What did you have for breakfast? pizza (lunch is usually my first meal because of when I wake up)
6. What is your middle name? Marie
7. What is your favorite cuisine? Mexican, anything homemade
8. What foods do you dislike? peas, beans, cooked greens - prefer veggies fresh & raw
9. What are your favorite chips? Nacho Doritos
10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? favorite CD is Holiday Pops! but normally I listen to a mix of mp3s
11. What kind of car do you drive? Scion xA (the ugly bubble, not the ugly box. I love my car! =)) 12. Favorite sandwich? pb&j
13. What are characteristics you can't stand? the "because I deserve it" attitude
14. What are your favorite clothes? pajama pants and a tank top
15. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be? oh, do I have to choose just ONE place? Australia (again), Israel, Egypt, Greece, anywhere beautiful and warm
16. Favorite brand of clothing? probably Mossimo or No Boundaries
17. Where would you want to retire? no idea
18. Favorite time of day? afternoon/early evening
19. Where were you born? Urbana, IL
20. Where have you lived? Lane, Clinton, and Chestnut, Illinois; West Lafayette, Indiana; Nipomo, Santa Maria, Bellflower, and Anaheim, CA
21. What is your favorite sport to watch? baseball, football with my family, hocky
22. Coke or Pepsi? Where's the Mountain Dew?
23. Beavers or ducks? does this mean something I don't know? beavers, I like mammals...
24. Are you a morning person or a night owl? night owl
25. Pedicure or manicure? never had either but would not object to either
26. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? hmm...don't think so
27. What did you want to be when you were little? an astronaut
28. What is your best childhood memory? roughhousing with my dad and brother with my mom watching us and all of us just laughing
29. Piercing? ears
30. Ever been to Africa? no, but I'd go if I could
31. Ever been toilet papering? no
32. Been in a car accident? yes
33. Favorite day of the week? Monday
34. Favorite restaurant? The Hitching Post steakhouse
35. Favorite Ice Cream? mint chocolate chip, or if we have to go B&J, Phish Food
36. Favorite Fast Food? does Subway count? In&Out if not
37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? none, and I've had to take it in two states
38. From whom did you get your last e-mail? Amie
39. Which store would you choose to max out your Credit card? oh, I don't know, some upscale department store so I'd have a choice of purchases
40. Last person you went to dinner with? Danny (AF Guy)
41. What are you listening to right now? Law & Order on tv
42. Your favorite Color? blue, green, and purple
43. How many tattoos do you have? none, not against them, just can't think of anything I'd want permanently engraved on me
44. Favorite magazine? right now, Interweave Knits

Monday, March 12, 2007


Okay, I knew as soon as I said there was a possibility SRSP could be done soon that something was going to happen to prevent work on it. This weekend was gorgeous - bright, sunny, and 85+ degrees with a lovely breeze. Am I going to sit in my unairconditioned apartment with wool in my lap? Um, no. It was perfect weather to take a book to the pool or the beach, so that's what I did. With appropriate sunscreen, of course. I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid.

The cat melted few times - he gets warm, so he snoozes sprawled out on the floor as wide and long as he can possibly be. He turns into this unidentifiable blob of fur. I've been making sure that he has plenty of fresh water, and I've been putting a few ice cubes in it every so often. Oh, and the whole trouble with the litter box thing? It was - get this - turned the wrong way. As near as I can guess, when the litter box is facing one way, the rake comes toward the door (and probably him, since he likes to go watch it), whereas when it is facing the other way, the rake doesn't come towards him, so he's "safe". Cats! Males! (Take your pick.)

Stripey Socks and I are no longer speaking. I just really don't like them right now, and I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it's the fabric. I might have to go down to, gulp, US 0's. Which means I'd have to buy sock needles. Mrph. I'm trying so hard not to spend lots of knitting money this year! I'm not a huge fan of the yarn, either. Anyone want some KnitPicks Simple Stripes? It's self-striping, faux-Fair Isle grey, blue and white stripes. I don't know what I'm going to work on instead. None of the socks in progress fit in Project Spectrum, and I'm trying not to start anything new. We'll see. I might have to start a new stockinette pair. Just, you know, to have a purse project in the right colors.

Class was crazy hot tonight, because of the weather. There weren't quite as many people there this week as last week, but it was still crowded, and even with all the doors open, it was like working out in a sauna. I had to have my bottle of water, I don't know how everyone else got through without it. Maybe I'm just wimpy like that =) Sir was back, and we did more punching drills. We still did a lot of kicking drills, and worked on the self-defense moves for this unit again. I got partnered with C. and a different blue belt with lots of braces whose name I don't know tonight. I really don't like this unit's self-defense moves. I mean, they are effective, I suppose, but one of them seems overly complicated. Not to mention that it is a wrist..I don't know...lock, I guess, and I'm way overly paranoid about wrist and hand injuries. I always have been. I got teased about having "lady" (very small circumference, highly sensitive) wrists, but it was okay. Sir promised we'd do our new board breaks next class. Ma'am worked with us a little and taught us the proper procedure to present to testing judges. Other than that, Orange Belt Kid and I were left pretty much on our on for formwork tonight. Several people are still in the process of learning all of the moves of their new forms, so most of the instructors worked with them.

It was a pretty uneventful day. Rehearsals start tomorrow - yay! Totally cuts into the knitting time, but hopefully I'll be able to sleep again!

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Knitting progress: Tonight I cast on the front for SRSP and have started the waist shaping. And I forgot to work Monday into my calculations, too, so having a finished sweater by next weekend is definitely a possibility. Again, though, as soon as I say that, something will strike, so don't hold your breath. But that is progress.

Physical progress: For some reason, one night during class it just hit me that I really need to start building up some cardio endurance. I try to run twice a week, and...I actually look forward to it. My current routine has me alternating walking/jogging rather than jogging the whole time. It hit me Wednesday, though. I hadn't eaten particularly well for a few days, but decided to go to the gym anyway. I did one mile and started flagging. Damn, that second mile was really hard today. Wait, that second mile? And it was hard today? I've been hitting just over two miles, counting warm up and cool down, with my jogging/walking method pretty consistently, and I've gotten to where I expect that distance. And I haven't been sore or out of breath. But again, it's a running/walking combination. So when I went today, I wanted to see how far I could go just running. 5 mph, a 12 minute mile, my jogging pace. I did a whole mile just jogging! Woo! I ran out of time to go into my running/walking routine but I thought that was kind of cool. Chrissy mentioned wanting to do a 5 or 10k this summer and I kind of laughed. Now I'm not laughing. I might be able to do a 5k by the start of the summer. So that is progress.

Personal progress: I have officially been here at PCPA for a year now. A lot has happened in the past year. I lost a boyfriend, and gained a cat, independence, and several new hobbies. I reconnected with old friends and have made some new ones. This week alone, I have learned six people's names, two people's ages, some background on a few, and shared a couple beers with some others. I taught some, and I learned from some. I feel like I'm on the brink of something, and with rehearsals starting next week, I feel like I'm in a good place and am really happy and confident. So that is progress.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

67% Complete

Do you know how dizzying it is to try to keep zigzagging stripes straight? Of course, the stripes on the spare towel don't help.

I had to pin out the back just to make sure that it was, indeed, the right shape. On the needles it looks a little weird at the end. I think it's turning out okay, though. It's grown a little with washing, but not surprisingly so. I actually finished it last night, which times out to two and a half days to do the back. Not too bad. Maybe this is convincing me that pieced sweaters aren't the huge time suckers I thought they were. I do have to admit, though, the ends can get a little tedious. This is the collection so far:

I think I'll start the front tomorrow. If I work on it tomorrow night, Saturday, and Sunday before we tape out, I might have a new sweater to wear to rehearsals next week. We'll see.

I also spent some time at the studio tonight and learned some new things.I watched sparring again tonight. Ma'am, Mr. R., Cute Green Belt, Blue Belt, and a few others were there and I got a chance to ask some of the questions I'd written down previously. In class, they do tournament sparring, full contact. Rounds are five points or two minutes. They said (apparently I need the full committee of Ma'am, Mr. R., Blue Belt, and a junior black belt I'll call C. - age 13 - to explain things, but it was fun!) that adult testing sparring was usually no or light contact, and is mostly to show some of the flashier moves you can do and offensive and defensive moves. The testing judges are looking for techniques, combinations, and confidence in the moves. All of them agreed that there are ranges of appeal for sparring - some love it, like Mr. R., others do it to test, like C. - and also that a lot of it depends on your partner. They also all kept reminding me that it wouldn't be too much longer before I'd have to be out there with them. They seemed to have a lot of fun rubbing that in. I find it exciting and frightening. Mr. R told me that he thinks I'm doing really well for how long I've been here, and wants to see me spar. Ma'am said I seem to have a knack for remembering movements and taking notes from instructors. She encouraged me to continue thinking of it like choreography, since that seems to help. I am definitely writing things down, though. I did it for my white belt for everything, and can't believe it didn't cross my mind for this one.

I learned a lot of answers to some questions that have always been too minor to bother asking in class but seemed okay tonight. Ma'am told me about the horizontal stripes I've seen on some belts, like Red Belt Girl's - they mean the person is in the Leadership Club and studying to eventually be an instructor. She and Blue Belt explained why certain groups of belts are all learning the same form - they teach things on a cycle system here. White, orange, and yellow belts are in one group; camo, green, blue and purple are one group (I think); and red belts are a third. The only reason I learned the actual white belt form as a white belt is because that just happened to be where they were at in the cycle at the time. I think it might be a little weird to learn, say, the yellow belt form as a white belt, and then have to go back and do the easier white belt form for your orange belt, and it miffs me just a little. They said it keeps classes more organized, prevents "rank jealousy" to an extent, and is mostly for the younger kids to have more people to learn and practice with. Blue Belt especially is a big fan; he was telling me about studying karate by rank and how he likes this system a lot better. I remain unconvinced.

I stayed and watched a little of the Haganah FIGHT class (Fierce Israeli Guerilla Hand-to-hand Tactics, an Israeli military/street fighting self-defense style) afterward. C. also stayed - Ma'am is his ride home, and she's in FIGHT, along with Mr. R. and Cute Green Belt - and was really cute. He spent the time explaining some of the different clubs and programs he's done at the studio, and telling me what some of the different patches and trims meant. He was trying to get me to do the Black Belt club, a group of students who've committed to getting their first dan black belts. They wear patches on both sleeves. Junior black belts have black trim on the lower hem of the dobok. The highest rank a junior black belt can earn is fourth dan. It takes two years minimum to earn second dan, and a year to get first dan, but color belts can test as often as every two months, although that's not common in the higher colors. C. wants to be master rank and own or be a primary instructor in a school by the time he is Sir's age. That gives him about fifteen or twenty years, I think. He could do it. He was very chatty - I get the impression that he's usually the only one there watching during FIGHT (it's ages 16+) and is generally bored there. It was fun, though.

I'm just figuring out how to cut posts, so I hope this helps control the length of some of them. Anyway, I get to meet the YPs and their parents tomorrow, so I should get some sleep.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Sweaters, Socks, and Midsemesters

Just when you think you're done with the whole school thing, you start teaching. Or, in my case, not "teaching" but "supervising students," which amounts to the same thing, I just don't get paid for it. The good part is that we have a pretty darn good group of kids here. The hard part is midsemester evaluations. You spend the afternoon watching them get hammered from all of their current teachers and supervisors. It's tough sometimes. But there is a lot of good that comes out of it, too. We found out some issues that the students had concerns about, and it's always good for the students to get feedback on their work so far, both positive and negative. I wish we had done something like that when I was in school. Maybe it would have been the kick in the arse I'd needed. Ah, the memories...

I really want to start the entrelac socks now. But I can't. I've been so good. It will have to wait until it's proper time in the spectrum. I'm thinking I'm goint to use the Spunky Sport in Berry Pickin' for them, which would put them either in April/May for the pink or August/September for the purple. Depends on how I do with the rest of my project list. I'm definitely not going to do the whole "two solid colors switching back and forth" thing. I did that for Danica, and hated it. I have varigated sock yarn for exactly this purpose. Well, okay, so I hadn't planned on it at all, but it works out the same =)

I am about halfway done with the back of the SRSP. You know how sometimes you're working on something, and it just kind of hits you that "Hey, this is really cool, and I'm Making It!"? That was totally me yesterday. I'm so pleased with both the look and the speed. In fact, I'm half tempted to say that I could finish this sweater this week, but as soon as I say that, I won't be able to. I'm through the first Short Row sequence and am starting the even rows before the second sequence that includes the arm shaping. I'm weaving the ends in as I go, but it's pulling at some of the stitches for some reason, so I might go back through afterwards and weave them i with a needle. I'll see how it blocks out.

Class was pretty big last night, and I wasn't the lowest belt there! We had three new white belts, although for some reason they were getting taught the orange belt form. I get confused with the form rankings sometimes - Cute Green Belt and two purple belts were also working on the same form. Ma'am, Mr. R and the real Mr. H taught last night, as Sir and Mrs. S's new son decided it was finally time to arrive. It was the first time I've had class with Mr. H, but he was fun, too. It seemed like everyone kind of stepped up to show a different instructor what they could do and where they were at and, of course, reflect well on Sir. I got a thumbs up and a "very nice" on my form work, although it was so crowded I could barely kick out without hitting someone, and we had to constantly adjust our movements so as not to run into other people. I wonder if they will have to start splitting up the classes if they keep being so large. He had us do some different kicking drills with the "tombstones" (really hard kicking targets) that were admittedly more kickboxing styles than tkd, although he tied them in with self-defense, and some punching drills. Yay for punching drills again! My shoulders are still talking about it, if you know what I mean, but I really like punching drills anyway. I got stuck with Orange Belt Kid for punching drills, but he seemed better and didn't back off as far as he usually does. I got partnered with a black belt for the kicking drills, but since the techniques were slightly different, it wasn't as painful as last time I did drills with a black belt =) The next testing date is the end of March - 8 weeks between tests. I'm pretty sure I'll be eligible, since I've had two months this time, and not just a handful of classes like the first time. I need to clean up my chambering and a couple of my stances, and for some reason these one-steps just will NOT stay in my head for anything. I have had to ask Mr. R or Ma'am to show them to me again every time. Plus, we still haven't done our board breaks and we've only done the new self-defense moves once so far. So I don't know. Maybe not. We'll see.

Now, back to SRSP. Maybe I can finish the back tonight!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

33 1/3% FO

After many long toils (okay, more like enjoying working on it whenever I felt like it), I have:

No, not two short skinny scarves. Two sleeves. Sleeves for the Short Row Striped Pullover. Sleeves, check. Now I've started the back:
I have old lady hands, and the stockinette curls like no one's business, but I'm pretty happy with how it is looking so far. I've done the first stripe repeat and started the waist shaping. The hardest part is remembering to count the rows and stay in stripe sequence. It hasn't been too bad so far, but then, I haven't started the short row portions yet.

I finished the sleeves a few days ago. I decided to start the back today, since I was supposed to stay off my ankle. It's been hurting off and on since I went running Thursday. I had an idea of babying it this weekend so it would be good to go for Monday, but nothing gives you more energy to get up and move and do stuff than not being "allowed" to. So I did finally rearrange my living room - I should have a little more room to practice now. I watched a show on the History Channel about how all these prophecies say the world is gonna end in 2012 and freaked myself out a little. (Now I figure there's nothing I can do about it anyway, so why worry one way or the other? At least, that's what I tell myself.) I didn't do all of the cleaning I had planned on doing this weekend, though, so I'm going to have to really hit that hard tomorrow and Monday. I want to get this place nice and scrubbed before we start rehearsals. I got a new collar and a leash for the TeddieCat and we went outside on the patio for a little bit this afternoon. He doesn't exactly walk on a leash, but it allows me to take him outside for short periods of time and I think he likes that. Watched some Law & Order, a dog show, and apparently too much History Channel. Tomorrow promises to be very similar, with the added...schedule...of having to sit through a rehearsal for a dance show to support one of my interns. Then class on Monday, the rest of this week half days in the office, and starting rehearsals next week. I can't wait to get rehearsals started! Someone remind me I said that when I start saying that I'm working too much.

I might frog the Snowdrop Shawl - it's just not workin for me anymore. I have no desire to work any farther on it and don't want to waste the yarn. I'm thinking a Leda's Dream or Scherazade (sp??) stole instead. Maybe. Oh, and I went to do a toe up heel flap and gusset (again) on Stripey Socks and started increasing every other row instead of every row, so I now have to frog the heel and start again. What is it with me and these silly toe up heels?? Mom got her socks the other day and said she loves them but they are a little too small. I'm hoping some cold water and stretching will block them out a little bigger. I'll make her another pair that's sized for my feet.

I hope, in five years, I'm not still where I am now. In my life, I mean, not necessarily physical location. There's a lot I still want to get done!