Monday, March 09, 2009

Mt. Rainier training so far...

Well, I haven't blogged in ages, and didn't train much either. I came down with the winter doldrums and evil Cedar Fever, which put me out for about 2.5 months. Luckily, spring is here, and the spring allergens are not so potent as cedar.

Over winter, I confined myself indoors and did physical therapy (for a strained ACL injury) 2x a week, and did aerial dance 3x a week. But now, I've got less than 5 months to get my butt in gear for the Rainier climb.

Here's what I've done so far...

2/22/09 - Hike 5.5 miles at McKinney Roughs

2/24/09 - Physical therapy - 1 hour (hips, hamstrings, quads, balance)
Hike ~2.4 miles with elevation gain of 850 ft at Enchanted Rock

2/27/09 - Aerial dance - 1.5 hours (arms, shoulders, core, upper body)

3/1/09 - Aerial dance - 1.5 hours (arms, shoulders, core, upper body)

3/2/09 - Walk ~3+ miles at Brushy Creek

3/3/09 - Wakeboard at Texas Ski Ranch (arms, shoulders, core, upper body,
balance, obliques)

3/4/09 - Hike 4 miles with 20 lb pack at Lakeway Blvd trail
Aerial dance - 1.5 hours (arms, shoulders, core, upper body)

3/5/09 - Physical therapy - 1 hour (hips, hamstrings, quads, balance)

3/6/09 - Aerial dance - 1.5 hours (arms, shoulders, core, upper body)

3/7/09 - Hike 7.5 miles with 22 lb pack at McKinney Falls State Park

3/8/09 - Lifted 40 pound pack a few times for pack fitting

3/9/09 - Hike 3 miles with 23 lb pack at Hamilton Greenbelt
Aerial dance - 1.5 hours (arms, shoulders, core, upper body)

I'm trying to do at least one activity every day. It's tough. I really need the cardio and weights, but gym memberships are expensive (I can't run because of bad knees, I can barely ride a bike..hmmmm...). I think I'm going to have to succumb and get a gym membership...but on the bright side, I got a temp job (starts March 17th), so once that first paycheck hits, I'll feel more comfortable with being able to afford going to the gym.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

2008 rewind -- a year of new experiences


This year has been like no other. A year of new experiences. A year of pushing my own boundaries. It has been an amazing year for that...

I started out the year by quitting my metalsmithing/jewelry job. The pay was low, I commuted about 20 miles 1 way. I was losing my creativity. So I decided, after about 4 years, that I needed a change...that was by far the longest I've held a job for on my own accord.

I ran away to Panama and Costa Rica for almost 3 months. I chose the destination based on my friend's wedding in Costa Rica. Panama was splendid. I went to some amazing places. Got around as I always do, by myself. Costa Rica was good, but was a bit too touristy for me. I bought a surfboard for $125. I got my TEFL certificate, which proved to be more difficult than I had imagined (only because I put a huge effort in it). It broke me down for a bit, I almost quit...but then took a long weekend in my favorite spot, Dominical, did some surfing and thinking, and came back even stronger. The class I had left to teach was the best, and I got huge complements from the students. I sold my surfboard, then went back home.

Within a week of being home, Kit, a fellow jeweler, called me up. He had gotten Sarah on a movie job. They needed another person and so Sarah had recommended me. Coming back from Costa Rica extremely broke (CR was way more expensive than I had imagined), I decided to take this opportunity. I learned a lot of new things, used new tools and materials. The hours were crazy (12hr+ days, 5 or 6 days a week). The money was good. In 2.5 months of work, I was just $3,000 short of making my annual income of last year. So I was set.

Sean and I decided to go through with our deck plans. We hired an architect to design and build a new deck. The original one was 100 sq ft. The new one is about 600 sq ft, and well worth it (our backyard is a steep slope). It was *very* pricey (5 figures). Rather than go into debt, I decided to use over half of my movie earnings to pitch in for the deck that we could pay for it outright. I have never written a 5 figure check before..and it was odd...damn...but well, it's better than going into debt if you can help it. So I did it.

I spent the rest of the year unemployed (no more movie jobs), tried to sell a few things on etsy, wakeboarded *a lot*, and made some new clothes.

I wakeboarded so much at TSR that I pushed my limits...injury after injury...twisted ankle, pulled hip out of its socket, shoulder strain, hyperextended elbow, hyperextended knee, and concussion...but I had a very progressive summer. I entered my first wakeboarding competition at Fall Fest..competing against seasoned competitors, all younger by a few years to 15 years younger...I thought...why not. I placed 4th out of 5, but rode the best in my life, as did all the other ladies. What I learned from the experience was that there's a good comradarie amongst the women competitors...a very supportive group. Competetive, but supportive -- pushing the limits of the sport for the women's division.

In October, I started taking aerial silks classes, another new experience. Lacking the dance background and grace factor, I started off a bit clumsy looking, but have impressed myself at what I was able to accomplish in 5 weeks. At the end of the semester, we had a student performance. It was my first performance ever, and turned out great. I loved the class, my class mates, and my teachers. I am starting to learn to express myself with body movements...something that doesn't come natural to me, but something that is becoming more natural as the days go on. I have continued to go to the open sessions to practice, and have also signed up for the Intermediate aerial silks class in January.

This month, I had my first audition. Dance audition. Blue Lapis Light puts on a performance about once a year, and they had auditions for their next piece, which will be put on next summer. I decided to try out, hoping that it would be more harness work than actual dancing on the floor. I arrived at the studio for the auditions. There were so many cars, that I got really nervous and questioned what I was doing there. I *almost* turned around and went home...then I saw Lita, my classmate, parking her car. I didn't turn around, but rather, walked into the studio doors. There were about 25 dancers auditioning. I had no idea what to expect, but went through it anyways. There were true dancers there...people with years of could tell. And then there was me *lol*

We started off with some warmup exercises. Then we walked around the room, and connected a random dancer, then first, it was kind of akward for me...then I started to feel the energy of the other dancers, and got into it. In the end, we were all attached to each other in some way, in motion...then we froze in time and was beautiful. We continued on with a dance piece we learned from Nicole. A lot of the others were really good, while I felt like I looked like a donkey kicking in the air and flailing around...but I gave it my best. We broke up into smaller groups and came up with a small group piece. Then did the harness work. I feel like I did well in the harness, but awful on the floor. At the end, we performed the small group pieces. It was amazing to see what everyone had come up with. A 4 hour and 15 minute audition...I was exhausted at the end. But I am glad that I did. I didn't get selected -- there were so many good and beautiful dancers (if you've seen me dance, you know that I can only ghetto booty dance)...but I feel like I grew as a person...another new experience.

With that said, it has been one awesome year...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mt Rainier climb - Aug 2009

On 1/1/06, Sean and I summited Mt Kilimanjaro at 19,340 ft in elevation. That day, I swore that I hated moutaineering and would never do it again. Now Kili was not technical at all, just a high altitude hike.

Fast forward to now...and we have just booked a trip to climb Mt Rainier in Aug 2009. Wait a second..what was that? Climb another mountain? So call me crazy...

My friend Daisy, who was also part of the Kili expedition, suggested a Rainier climb. We said, sure, why not. Not really looking into it, but thinking..oh, it's only 14,410 feet high..that's nothing ;) The treks book out fairly quickly, so we had set Thanksgiving as our booking date. These past few days I decided to start really looking in to the climb. Yeah, it's going to me more rigorous than I originally thought. Do-able, but rigorous.

I will be up there *hopefully*

The guide said it was the toughest endurance challenge in the lower 48 states -- summit day will be a 15+ hour day -- ascending 4400 feet, descending 9000 ft, over 12.5 miles. For a comparison, Kili's summit day was about 14 hours -- ascending 3600 feet, descending 8200 feet, over about 9.3 miles. The differences between Rainier and Kili...Rainier is much lower, Kili is at 19,340 where severe altitude sickness can set in..every foot higher puts you at more risk for altitude sickness. Kili is 4930 feet higher than Rainier. But that doesn't mean Rainier is easy. Rainier is a technical mountain. It is one of the snowiest places on *earth*. We will be roped in for the summit push, traversing glaciers, have to keep the pace of the group (and I am a really slow hiker, ascending). Do I really know what I'm in for???

With some doubts in my mind, 8 months and 8 days before the expedition, I want to revisit my Kilimanjaro summit push...grueling, windy, cold, not geared up enough, separated from my group...and I made know what I accomplished...yeah, I can do it.

I have a little over 8 months to get my body superfit. I do have a kickstart in it with all of the wakeboarding and aerials that I have done. Now it's time to target the muscles that need to be worked.

I started training yesterday. Nothing difficult. Just took a walk with my dog through my neighborhood with a few short jogging sprints for about 40 minutes. Sounds like nothing, eh? Well, my neighborhood has a lot of elevation change in it, which is great for training.

Today, I'll strap on a 18 pound pack (I know, doesn't sound like much at all) and hike around with her again. I'll go down to the lake and back -- descending pretty much all the way down and ascending pretty much all the way up.

I wasn't so serious about training for Kilimanjaro. It was quite a half assed effort. We did fit in some longer day hikes to get used to the distance, time, and mental effort in a long day hike. But we didn't do *that* many. This time, I've gotta get serious. Being that this is day 2 of training...I hope I can keep it up...

Aerial silks thus far...

I haven't blogged in ages, so I thought I would catch up a bit...I took the Beginning Aerial Silks class at Blue Lapis Light for about 5 weeks (it was 6 weeks but I started 1 week in) and learned a lot, did things I never thought I would be able to do.

Some of the highlights from the beginner class (anyone can learn!):


Bat hang

Double footlock split roll up (rolled up twice)

Hip key

Single leg lock with pointy toe (that's not the name of it!)

The class ended with an informal student (beg/int/adv) and teacher performance at the studio. Kim and I did a duo, which we had figured out and practiced the class before the performance. We both got a bit nervous, too. But it all went well. Everyone did really well, and it was a fun event.

Check out our duo:

I also got some stills from our practices and performances. More pictures to keep you entertained:

Bat hang


Double footlock split roll up

Single footlock pointy toe (you never know how the fabric is going to spin)

Double footlock split roll up in motion

Double foot lock split


Bow and Arrow

And this really really hard bit (arms!!!) at the end

The rest of the student and teacher performances, which are all awesome, can be found at the link below:
You Tube - aerial performances

I had a lot of fun with the performance, but I was glad it was over just as well. Got a little bit of butterflies. I'm fine with public speaking, but I have never performed in any sort of way..well, except 10th grade drama class which I did horribly at! So it was a new arena for me.

Since then, Blue Lapis Light has had open studio twice a week, where I can practice on the silks and have a good opportunity to learn new things. There are some things that I still need practice at -- coming out of the bat hang and the single footlock pirouette. But I have had a chance to learn a few new things...

This one...gets way harder as the session goes by!

I've signed up for the intermediate class, which starts Jan 12th. I am excited what else I could learn. I feel like I've learned so much already that I have no idea what would be next :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Waketoberfest and MakerFaire

Waketoberfest had it's 10th year celebration last weekend. We made it for Saturday's daytime festivities. I didn't camp out this year because I just had way too much going on. Last year, I camped out and had a 0 sleep because of some people clinking and clanging in the middle of the night, cooking up a meal. And I forgot the earplugs. Well, maybe next year.

It was pretty cool...not as busy as it was last year. The water was waaaay lower, so travel from area to area was a bit longer...but we hopped onto Bret's tailgate anyways, so it didn't really matter. We saw the boat comp and stayed for most of the skate comp, but got sunned and heated out. I ended up with massive tanlines even though I used SPF 60. Geez. So we headed out early. Still a good time with good friends...but too bad we missed out on Chef Foletta's cooking...MMmmmmm!

We made it out to MakerFaire on Sunday. I missed last years because I was too cheap to pay for the entrance, even though I wanted to go. This year I know what...I'm going. I convinced Sean by saying that there were going to be robots and stuff he'd like, too. That, and the people watching would be good.

Art cars, crafty goodness, a giant mousetrap, and robots...was a good time. My friends Jennifer of Textile Fetish and Amy of Craft Chi were selling there wares, so we visited them for a bit. Had a walk around the Craft areas and the Make areas. But we had to cut it short because we something planned for the afternoon.

Well, here are some pictures to keep you entertained...

Tesla music show

Yep, hula hooping around my neck..the people behind me thought I was crazy..heard one say, "that must hurt...". Well, I stuck my arm up trying to bring it down to my waist and the thing knocked my nose and teeth around...that hurt a bit.

Mousetrap girls

Life sized mousetrap


rattlesnake bike

All in all, MakerFaire was a good time. Wish I could have stayed longer and explored more. Hopefully they'll keep Austin as one of their host cities!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Aerial silks classes

Last Monday, I was trolling around craigslist looking for random jobs. I saw an ad that Blue Lapis Light was looking for dancers. Not that I can dance...that's besides the point. I had heard of Blue Lapis Light in 2006 when they had posted an ad at the Austin Rock Gym looking for climbers to perform in Requiem, which would be a performance using the old Intel shell of a building before it was destroyed. I was tempted to inquire, but I have no coordination or dance skills, so I didn't. I saw what they did, aerial silks (I didn't even know what it was called then), and thought, wow, that is so cool.

Two years later, I've gotten out of climbing for the most part (replaced it with wakeboarding...climbing in Texas summers...just sucks...and chiggers..ugh!), but stumbled upon Blue Lapis Light's website again. They had just finished offering classes..I was like..wonder when the next set of classes will be. I'd check back every once in a while, and there was nothing new.

Fast forward to last Monday...strolling craigslist...Blue Lapis Light is looking for dancers...hmmm..I wonder if they're offering aerial silks classes. So I went to their website again, and classes had started a week before. I told Sean about it, said I had been wanting to do it for a few $20/class...he said to go ahead and sign up for it (with no income on my side, I'm personally financially strapped, but he said I could do it..yay!).

I started taking the class in their second week, but was able to catch up just fine. My upper body strength and lessened fear of heights that have come from both climbing and wakeboarding are a definite huge advantage. My first day, we learned to climb the silks, which I had no problem with. They only let us climb up two 'steps'...I could have gone all the way up to the top, but they were insistent that we didn't go too high.

We also did this thing where they tied some sort of knot in the bottom. Then we took the two sides, one in each hand, then did kind of a back flip in between the fabrics, so that our hip area (front) folded over the knot, then hung there. We found our balance point there. Then we righted ourself up, and sat on the knot like it was a swing. From there, we lifted ourselves a bit so that the knot was in our lower back, and then went over backwards so that our head was hanging down, and our legs were spread apart, side split style (or as far as you could go to one). While still upside down, we straightened our legs upwards, and wrapped them around the silks (fabric) twice. Did a few 'sit ups'. Then bent our knees backwards, did a huge sit up to grab the fabric above our knees, piked our legs, then brought them through (hips to the sky, legs opening out). It creates a harness like structure with the silks. And gawd, it hurts!!! So then we got out of that, all the way back to the ground.

Not bad for my first day! Well, I was playing catch up as well, trying to figure it out, study the moves and whatnot. The class had done that the session before. But caught up to speed with the class just fine.

My second day of class (it's a Tues/Thurs class) we did something new. We learned to climb up a bit, separate the silks while in the neutral climbing position, hold on to the sides, then let our feet go (so that we were only holding on with our hands), then dangle both silks between your legs, wrap your legs around the silks twice, rest, then lift yourself up and step into the silks to create a stirrup where you can stand up. And then go into a front to back split (or as close as you could do -- see the picture below). That move was so freakin' cool. Again, the whole climbing/wakeboarding background helped sooo much...I'm able to death grip the fabric like I've death gripped sketchy climbing holds and death gripped the handle trying to land some of the wakeboarding tricks.

My class at Blue Lapis Light

Since our class is big, we all took turns trying these maneuvers out. They showed us the next step, which is...from your splits, grab the front silk with both hands, then roll towards your open side, going upside down then righting yourself so that you've done a full rotation. Then do another full rotation. To get out of it, roll the opposite way. It looked scary watching someone else do it, but it was not scary at all when I tried it. I felt extremely secure in the silks, and felt completely in control that I didn't have any problem with it.

And then class was over. So much fun. If I had the extra funds, I would get the silks and the rescue 8 and set it up to play with at home. We've got locking caribeaners already as well as a crashpad and extra climbing gear to hook this stuff up outdoors...oh so tempting. But if that is what I learned in just 2 days, I am curious to see what I'll be able to do by the end of the class (last day is Nov 13th). :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Introducing my little online shop :)

The movie industry is really slow in Austin right now. The rumor was that there would be a film starting up at the end of September. I was trying to hold out for that opportunity, and enjoy my time off. However, the film as been pushed even further back to 2009.

With that said, it has given me the opportunity to 'test the waters', so to speak, for selling my handmade goods. I have been really busy taking pictures, uploading them, and working on my little etsy site. I registered a domain name as well, but my reluctance of using computer skills has gotten me nowhere in building my website. Soon, though, I'll let ya'll know. I've spent my time working on my etsy site.

So check it out! My little shop is at:

So far, I have just a few categories...earrings, hats, and scarves. It has been a while since I have used my jewelry workbench. But I have cleared it off, dusted all my tools, and am ready to put it to use again!

Here is a little preview of what you can find at origamistars...


Let me know what you think! :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My first wakeboarding comp!!! =D

I decided, sort of last minute-ish...well, a week before, to enter my first wakeboarding competition -- Fall Fest at Texas Ski Ranch. I love free riding, no pressure, and just having fun. The thought of competing had crossed my mind before, but I was just too chicken to do it. A bit of suggestive pressure from my fellow riding friends...and then I entered. My riding had improved significantly since I took that roadtrip to Kansas City Watersports with Louise and Josh, a trip that reinvigorated me. And then I know what, there aren't enough women competing anyways. The women don't get as much respect as the guys do. So I think with more chick riders out there, the better it'll get. So I entered to support my fellow lady riders...the ones that always kick ass.

I had my doubts, then I thought, it's okay..I'll get token last place but be there to support them. I'm totally fine with it. And I am so glad that I entered...

Yesterday was the preliminary rounds. There were 5 of us who entered, 4 would move on to finals tomorrow. I was reaaaaallly nervous. I didn't know what to expect. The only things I had competed in in my entire life were nerdy academic tournaments. I was by far the most unathletic kid growing up, not to mention clumsy, too (and still am). So competing in anything athletic was a bit unheard of for me. Yeah, I was so nervous that I had to pee three times before our division went!

Long story short, I got 4th place for the day yesterday...fell on my backroll and switch 360 attempts, but rode well for the rest of it. That 4th place let me qualify for finals which wer today. The other ladies did awesome...Danielle got a nice toeside 540, Holland (who is 16, rides for Gator Boards, and competes boat comps at world level) stomped tons of big air and tech tricks, and Louise killed it and landed a tootsie roll for her wildcard. For those of you who are don't understand this wakeboarding jargon...I will tell you that a tootsie roll is a damn hard trick, that I don't believe I'll ever have the cojones to try. Picture throwing yourself off a ramp (on a wakeboard, of course) doing a front flip, and passing the handle behind your back so that you spin 180. Yeah.

I was so excited to have qualified for finals, that today, I was not nervous at all. I was so calm and collected, and happy to place 4th or whatever...I was just going to ride.

Today, I was the 1st to go. My first lap consisted of a deep press to the right on the long fun box, a press on the water between tower 1 and 2, heelside jump over the iceberg with a lein grab, some surface stuff on the straight with the booter and kinked rail (backwards sliding on the water, pressing slides), an ollie before the exit bouys, then a switch heelside frontside 360 spin on the funbox...something that I've learned recently and have been able to land pretty consistently (amazing..usually it takes me forever to figure something new out!). That was the end of my first run. I got out and went back in line.

Danielle was after me. She rode the left a-frame (skinny rail) to the end of the flat, I believe, and then she threw her toeside 540 off the wedge, and landed it, clean as ever...solid! It was exciting to see that. So I thought...damn, I'm done for! I can't remember the rest of her 1st run after that sick 540.

Holland and Louise followed up, and both threw down many good tricks, I can't even remember. They were definitely the show to watch out of the women's. Both solid riders, both different tricks and styles.

I was up for my 2nd run. I started off, hit the long fun box and frontboarded it (hit it toeside, road backwards), did a switch heelside jump with a melan grab off the wedge, landed, surface 180, edged toward the booter...I normally aim for the left top corner of approach was so off that I hit the right edge of it...normally, if that is going to happen, I back out and don't hit it at all..but this was the moment, I had to do it. I threw my sketchiest, low, backroll ever. Yuck. But miraculously, I landed it..buttchecked it, really, but rode away...I was so excited (I have not landed one in days, and they have just been getting worse and worse, so I was frustrated with my backroll attempts as of late)...I could not believe it. I rode on, and then tried to hit the right a-frame switch..but only got over about 1 foot on it..maybe. I was so excited about landing the backroll that I completely forgot about my wildcard, so I exited.

Danielle had a nice 2nd run after me, rode the right a-frame switch all the way (her first time doing it!) and fell on her wildcard. Holland and Louise, once again, showed us how good this division gets and that it'll only get better. Holland threw a huge tantrum over the iceberg (backflip over a large object) and got her first ever air trick, an air raley. Louise threw trick after trick, a few airtricks...a krypt and backroll, and landed another tootsie roll for her wildcard.

Since the other girls had done their wildcards, I was last to do mine. I was going for that elusive switch heelside frontside 360 off the wedge...something that I had never gotten, but had gotten close. I have gotten the handle in my hands before a few times, but never been able to ride away. So I went for it. Concentration, happened so fast that I don't even remember it, but I made a huge splash when I landed, slapping my butt in the water, popping myself back up, and riding away. I must have said, "Oh my god" a million times all the way to the exit bouys. First time landed the switch 360, first comp. Unbelievable. I still can't believe it.

Needless to say, Danielle and I gave the judges a run for their money for scoring for 3rd place. We both did good tricks...Danielle with her toe 5, me with my backroll and heel 3...Danielle hit 2 rails, I hit 1 rail but really badly...Danielle solidly stomped the landing on her toe landings were butt checks and sketchy...

We were all excited about our runs, everyone did extremely well, a lot of firsts...we joked around about what the tricks we'd be throwing in the future...Holland with her temper tantrum (double tantrum)..once her knee is heeled up, who will be the one to throw the first crow mobe, etc etc. It can only get bigger and better from here, and I am so glad that I entered to be a part of it all. It makes me want to get better...gawd, my rail riding sucks...need to improve that majorly...but just better in general. I totally don't mind being the old lady in the comp (at least I don't look like it!).

In the end, I got 4th, Danielle 3rd, Holland 2nd, and Louise 1st. And all four of us rode extremely well. I rode the best I ever have. Ever. Well, the backroll was sketchy...I found linking the switch jump melan grab, surface 180, to backroll was really time to think or get composed, so may have added a bit (mentally) to my sketchy roll...but that 3 sealed the deal.

Here's the prize bootie that I got...

According to the other girls, we got pretty good prizes this comp (as we should since we all rode our asses off!!!)...I got a Helium vest (unfortunately it's a guy's, so Sean thanked me for winning him a vest! lol!), two liquid force shirts, newt juice, a few nike 6.0 toys, and some stickers.

Sean and I stayed around for all the comps...the guys did awesome. The intermediate competitors were fierce...many I believe to be the upper echelon of that division. So if there wasn't a women's division, I'd be in intermediate, and I probably would have placed last in that division. Actually, probably isn't the word, I would have placed last in that division..they were really good.

On to the advanced, and out came even bigger tricks. I could only hope to do, but this getting old thing..and not wanting to get hurt know...hmmm...

The skaters had a solid division as well. They were doing stuff that I can't even do on a wakeboard. Oury nailed so many tricks, one after another after another...

The pros were the division to watch. Every single guy threw down...huge air, huge tricks, most that I don't even know what they're called...

After the awards ceremony, I ended up riding for a little bit. My left hip is hella sore as well as every single muscle in my body. But I wanted to ride for fun. Danielle had suggested that I hit the left a-frame (I had complained that I don't hit it because I hate the swim back to know..the learning phase..fall a lot, swim a lot)...I just kept going for the right a-frame, which is my switch side..but I suck at it, if I hit it, I 50-50 it, which is really ugly and not stylish at all. In my free riding, I know what, I'm going to try that left a-frame. The first time, I rode over about 6 inches of it and overshot, so rode around it. The second time, I 50-50'd up the upramp, got to the flats, naturally boardslid it almost to the end of the flat bit, and rode away from it...I was like...holy crap, that was too easy. I can't believe how much easier that was than the right a-frame....guess you know what I'll be working on!

What an awesome weekend!! I am a bit wakeboarded out for now...will take a few days off then hit it again. But this time, progression in mind...