Friday, December 31, 2010

Recap 2010....Dreams of 2011

I may not have blogged all year, but I was busy! A few of the things I completed:
Baby Quilt


Sahara's Dream had opened an Oregon Art Beat segment on our own fabulous Natasha Bacca!

and more cake....

I think this is my best work so far!

Love the Mickey!

2010 was a truly mixed bag...Good things happened and hard things happened.  Overall, I'd have to say it was more hard than good. Perhaps that's why I'm excited about New Years - A chance for a year with more good than hard.

I'm no resolution keeper, but I do have goals for this year:
  • Get my GPA back up. I crashed and burned Winter term 2010...taking 5 terms with no break was not the smartest thing I've ever done. By the middle of the term, I was so overdone it wasn't funny. Grades slid badly and I barely finished. Took Spring and Summer terms off, and hit it again last term and finished with a 3.37 GPA. I'd like to get it back up to 4.0....but I'd settle for 3.5!
  • Suhaila Salimpour Level II prep and ....maybe..... testing for the level in August. If you don't know about her bellydance format...imagine being a couch potato and signing up for a triathlon. That's a bit extreme - but so is the format! All isolations up to full time - twice as fast as was required for level I. So....learn something really hard....then learn to do it twice as fast! It's a big leap...
  • Keep knitting - even if it's plain boring projects. It keeps me sane and makes me happy.
  • Regain health - work on reducing my blood glucose levels, cholesterol, and other health issues through diet and prescribed supplements/meds. Resist the sugar demon.
  • Dance solo more often. I choreograph/train fabulous dancers, I direct an award-winning troupe ( and I rarely dance solo. Time is a big factor...and if I'm honest with myself, I hate the way I look in costume and that's a big factor. I need to just "do it"
  • That leads me into my last goal: Avoiding procrastination. I've heard it called "failed perfectionism - if you can't do it perfectly, don't do it at all." No bueno. Don't like that - so why do I do it?
Goodbye (good riddance?) 2010.....Welcome 2011, a year of no regret.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Yarny Goodness....

Kureon Sock S150

Kureyon Sock S164

Baktus - about 25% complete
I know, all the knitting world has viewed Kureyon sock 9 million times .... but I promised myself I would be more faithful about documenting my knitting with pictures this go round - so there you have it. Unoriginal. Boring. Same old same old.

Thoughts on Baktus....
Again, this seems to be a pattern that took the blogs by storm about a year ago. Typical of me to pick something dépassé...but it is just what I need knitting wise - simple, pretty, have to pay just a bit of attention but no charts, cables, lace....all the things I have no time for. So it's all good. I'd like to try a stripey one next, maybe with that other skein of Kureyon sock you see above and a solid...only problem there is I tend to go a little too matchy-matchy with those things and then the stripes blend in too much...note to self: no matchy-matchy....

Life Returns to Chaos...
Monday begins a new term of school....Dance classes resume with class on Mondays and Thursdays, private students Tues, Thurs and alternate Sundays, and troupe on Mondays and Fridays. I seem to prefer hectic and chaotic....while these two weeks off have been nice...I'm jonesing for some dance and missing my troupies and students.

Health, where are you?
After a recent set of rather extensive lab tests...I find myself facing a handful of supplements a day, a low glycemic diet (translate:  no potato, no bread, no grain, no pasta....) and a new hope for regaining health and losing weight. Turns out all these years I made myself crazy trying to lose, but couldn't? Apparently my hormones are all outta whack and you just *don't* lose weight when they are that messed up. Tack on a lil vitamin D deficiency and insulin resistance, and I find out I'm really not lazy and unmotivated - apparently it didn't really matter what I tried or how hard, it wasn't gonna go. Who knew? Here's to a healthier New Year....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Things I've Learned While Knitting....

I taught myself to knit using a Lion Brand Scarf/Hat kit. Someone had shown me how to knit probably 10 years before, but I had done very little and had promptly forgotten all the little details. Around 10 years ago, I had a lil breakdown. Way, way too much stress combined with little-to-no support left me pretty much a basket case one day. I'd left my marriage of 14 years, had 4 kids 10 and under to support completely on my own, had come out and promptly lost 90% of the support/friends/family I'd had....and one day I started crying over some small detail....and I couldn't stop. I cried for about a week. The tears just rolled down my face....and I could. Not. Stop. I had to take time off (that I could not afford) from work....because all I did was cry.

One of those days off from work, I wandered around the local Fred Meyer....again, tears slowly just running down my face. I couldn't stop. I wandered down an aisle and it turned out to be yarn...and there was the aforementioned kit on sale for 50% off. It was dirt cheap and I thought maybe I could distract myself....

And knitting brought me back to sanity. It was something to concentrate on, something to keep me "doing", creative, forgiving - hey, make a mistake? rip it out and start again! I started knitting and I did not stop for about 9 years. I taught myself to cable, to knit in the round, to knit socks, to knit lace. I made cool stuff, I made some downright fugly stuff. I devoted myself to growing a stash...and I was a very good customer at the LYS. I took a couple classes on knitting intarsia and stranded colorwork.

Some things about my knitting bugged me. I'm great at starting lots of new things, not so great at finishing. I lose interest. The next new sexy yarn comes along and my head is turned and whatever I'm knitting goes in a bag and gets shoved somewhere. I really, REALLY wanted to knit sweaters....but seemed to never be able to work on it that long...the bigger the project, the sooner it seemed to get frogged or just abandoned.

I started taking college classes two years ago, and for the most part had to put away all my creative stuff. Quilting, knitting, room for it when you work two jobs and go to school.

This fall, my son was diagnosed as having ADHD-PI (the PI stands for primary inattentiveness). What this means is he does not appear to have ADHD. If you look at a group of kids, he will be sitting there appearing to be paying attention....but if he is not DOING something, INTERACTING with something, his mind is not is busy elsewhere. The lights are on, but he's out on an adventure somewhere else. In learning about this condition....I began to suspect the fruit don't fall far from the tree. All those symptoms are ME, through and through. There was no testing for ADHD when I was a kid....and like my son, I was good at being "appropriate" in class - but if I wasn't doing something, I was daydreaming.

Now I know why my best choreography happens in the car! I listen to the music repeatedly, and soon as I drive along I begin to "see it"...then I go home later and write it down. When I knit (again, doing something, interacting with the yarn and the needles) - I am calmer, happier, and better able to focus.

When I dragged out a skein of "craptastic" acrylic and needles (the closest thing I could reach, the stash is sort of buried in the garage) and started knitting a couple weeks ago, my partner groaned and rolled her eyes. She sees 20 UFO's and enough yarn to start my own lil store....and thinks, "here we go again!"

But finding knitting again is balancing me in a way I almost can't describe. I did promise myself that I would knit from stash for awhile, because God knows, I have enough to pick from. Enough sock yarn to knit a couple dozen pairs of socks...all different weights, and certainly all the needles I could use. I did, finally, use a gift cert to the LYS yesterday I'd been holding on to for over a year, and purchased 2 skein of Kureyon Sock at 40% off....which will become who knows what.

I know that right now in my life, there is not room for big projects. Not room for charts, or cables, or anything that you have to make 2 of. I need knitting I can pick up at any time and just knit for however many minutes I have...not something I have to pay a lot of attention to.

I'm casting on today with the newly acquired Noro Sock S150 for a Baktus scarf.

Hopefully, I'll get some pics tonight and post them with my next knitting post.....

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Sugar Rush

I usually stick to cakes and cookies but I was inspired by too much Cupcake Wars!

French Vanilla Cupcake with Italian Meringue Buttercream

More of the same...

Red Velvet cake with traditional buttercream

Red velvet cake with traditional buttercream

The santa cuppies were a LOT of fun and had a great wow factor! I've been lurking at Cake Central quite a bit and some of the creations there are amazing, very inspiring! All of the cupcakes were baked using the White Velvet Cake recipe found at Cake Central, basically a heavily doctored cake mix recipe. I used french vanilla creamer/pudding for the flavors. The red velvet was a total experiment as I had no chocolate creamer/pudding on hand, so I used Hershey's cocoa and a vanilla pudding, and made the "creamer" out of hot cocoa mix, LOL. Came out great!

Next post, knitting!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Suhaila Salimpour Level II - The Right Stuff

When I try to explain the Suhaila Salimpour Bellydance Format to non-dancers, I usually say "it's like boot camp...with bellydance." I don't think that's too far off the mark, either. To dancers, especially dancers who've been around a while, there are varying opinions on the subject. Needless to say, I'm firmly enamored of the format and what Suhaila has much so I often joke, "Yes, I drank the koolaid...and I want more..."

I certified level I in 2009. At the time, level I was all I hoped for...I didn't really see myself pursuing anything more in the format. I felt I was too old, had too many health problems, was working full time and going to school - it just wasn't possible.

So naturally, here I am - striving for Level II in August, 2011. Living out of state from "The Mothership" as Suhaila's studio is fondly called, means I study via online classes, audio training - downloads of up to 30 minute drills I practice on my ipod - and with a close friend who also pursues the dream of Level II.

Sometimes I wonder, what was I thinking? I'm 46, obese, arthritic...I work full time, go to school part time, teach dance part time...I'm a parent to two teenagers...what possibly makes me think I can really DO this? But then, I keep on. Will I make level II in 2011? I honestly don't know. I'll go to the workshop for the CEC's and the experience, and decide at the end if I'm testing.

In the meantime, that means I have eight months to prepare. I've been working on level I classes about a month - because level II classes were frankly too fast and too hard (the warm up, OMG!) after not taking online classes for several months. January is my begin date for Level II classes. You know....on top of 8 credits college, working full time, teaching dance 3-4 nights a week, and 2 nights troupe practice a week...mmmmm. sure. You betcha.

Stay tuned. I'll be talking about training for Level II, the ups and the downs of it, in future posts.

You know, if the warm up doesn't kill me....

Dance, Knit, Bake...Go to School

I once had a knitting blog that fell along the wayside of going back to college....and I realize how much I missed it. I thought of reviving it...but decided to make a blog that could encompass my whole life...the life of a dancer, knitter, baker, student, mom, lesbian, Here Goes Nuthin....