Is it Time to Go Home Yet?

Work drags when you have something exciting waiting for you at home.

(Like a nephew who is free with his smooches.)
This doodle has nothing to do with anything.

Even so, I still made myself go to the rock gym, and I'm so glad I did because I totally rocked out a 5.10, and once I'd come back down all triumphant my belay partner accused me of "climbing like a girl".  Which is, as you must certainly know, a compliment in the highest degree.


Not Blowing Smoke

So my nephew Grasshopper is visiting (and his parents too I guess) and you guys, it is so awesome.  It is so awesome, you guys!  I mean, my house is completely unprepared for a toddler, but that's cool- Grasshopper is more than happy to take me around and show me all the things that shouldn't be within his reach (but totally are).  Also I let him lose in the back yard to kid-test it, and from the happy noises he was making, I believe the yard can now be certified Kid Approved.  And then he and I had special Auntie-Nephew bonding time wherein we sat on my bed and he nommed on my old childhood rabbit (creatively named Bunny).  And then I explained that we do not nom on Bunny, and he kissed it by way of apology.

My nephew is obviously brilliant.


Have a dragon, inspired by the most recent round of Draw Something with my mother:

I wish I had not been lazy and left off the background.  Ah well.


Wing Made Shoulder

I started to draw a wing, but it turned into a shoulder.  There is something appropriate to that, I think.
And then I erased the original curve...
My usual Tuesday Belay Buddy wasn't at the gym today, so I did some bouldering on my own (and tore up my elbow, which means I now have an impressive scab that I can't actually see without the aid of a mirror), and then hooked up with a nice lady that I've chatted with before, and tackled a 5.10 that is big on balance (and trusting in your feet).  I am a giant fan of how nice and friendly everyone is at my two main athletic outlets...


On the Rooftop

You guys, you don't even want to know what my day has included.  I mean, I kind of want to tell you because I'm all about the over-share, but I'm not actually going to, because seriously- it involves other creature's fluids and you just don't want to know.  ::twitch::

Instead, have this sketchy-sketch, which involves only sweetness and nothing of the ick variety.

Scribble scribble whee!
It's gorgeous outside right now- the air and light and everything is just so perfect- and I'm listening to beautiful music and wishing it was always like this and also that I didn't have to go to work tomorrow.  On the bright side, we had lamb burgers for dinner, and it's only a three day work-week for me, since Nathan's brother and his family are coming for a visit and I'm taking Friday off to be awesome with them.  Huzzay!


Michael's Sword

Warriors have been very much on my mind, lately, a state of being which led to today's doodle of a flaming sword done in the same style as my angel wings, because why not?

(as well as some random thoughts)

Which brings me to my next point about what sorts of images I find appropriate for Memorial Day.  I am the daughter and granddaughter and sister and niece and cousin of military men and women, and I feel pretty secure in my entitlement to an Opinion on the matter.  Which is why I will tell you that I, personally, am greatly aggravated by all these images of grieving people sprawled across graves that keep popping up on my Facebook feed.  It is not obnoxious to me because I don't think Memorial Day is important or that it shouldn't be acknowledged as something more than just a day off from work- in fact I do know that it's about and I do believe it's important that people remember that men and women have given their lives for freedom.  What aggravates me is that these particular photographs arise from one of two scenarios: either they have been set up for effect, in which case they are a slap in the face to everyone who has experienced actual loss, or else they are exploiting people's genuine suffering so that others might put self-congratulatory status updates on their Facebook page because they remember the "true meaning" of Memorial Day, one long weekend out of 365 days.  And I find both scenarios equally distasteful.

Other people's grief should not be a spectacle or a mockery.  Let us remember the sacrifices made, yes- but let us do it with dignity and respect for all parties involved.


Methods for Clearing Your Sinuses

Before I get into today's Crossfit Adventure, I want to over-share with you a bit.   Specifically I want to over-share about the really disgusting thing that occurred with my littlest cat this morning.  This is her:
See that dime?  Remember that.  It's important later
Last night I heard her sneeze.  And then she kept sneezing.  And then she crawled into my bed and laid there all pitifully.  Oh no, I thought. Poor sick Kitty.  She kept having random sneezing fits as I puttered around, getting ready for bed, and she stayed close to me once I got in (helpfully sneezing right in my face and dear stars mucus everywhere gross gross gross).  In fact, she woke me up several times throughout the night with her violent bouts of sneezing, to the point that when I woke up for the day around 0630 I grabbed my phone to google, "cat can't stop sneezing" to see if it was an Emergency or not.  A cursory glance at the webbernets told me that most likely it was a respiratory infection, and that yes, I needed to take her to the vet for it.

And then I looked at my poor sick kitty, still curled up near my chest, and do you know what I saw?

I saw a piece of grass.  Sticking out of her nose.

So I did was any responsible pet-owner would do.  I grabbed her head in the vice-like grip of my left hand (thank you, climbing) and used the other to extract the grass.  Which was way longer than one would think physically possible.  Behold:
See the place on the left where it bends?  From there to the furthest left is how much was sticking out of her nose this morning.

Yes, that came out of my cat's skull.  And no, she hasn't sneezed since.


Do you know what else is good for clearing out your sinuses?  Burpees.  How do I know this?  Because!


As a team of two, complete 200 burpees. While one person does burpees, the other does double-unders. Your score is the time, and total number of doubles.

So remember how the other week I was all, "Team mates are great because they inspire me to go harder!"?  Well there is a flip side to that, and it's "Team mates are awful because I end up screwing them over and feeling super bad about it!"  Especially when I team up with someone ridiculously fitter than I am, which is what occurred today.  Although man, thank goodness he was so much better than me at double-unders, because our overall score would have been even more shameful, otherwise- as it was, his ability to rock out 40-50 during each round (we agreed to swap off ever twentieth burpee) meant that we scored better on that part than some of the other teams.  No thanks to me, who got like ten on my best round ever- and not just because he was doing the burpees faster than I was:
Only a slight exaggeration of what happens when I flub double-unders.

And the other teams- oh man, don't even get me started.  Suffice to say that the other ladies were doing 25 burpees to my 20.  It made me want to climb under a rock and send out apologies to my partner for the next month.

But hey- we all start somewhere (::coughcoughbeendoingthisforthreemonthsnowcough::).  And he was really nice about it, even when we were the last ones finishing our WOD while everyone else was walking around outside trying not to puke.  But I would not blame him one bitty bit if he avoids my eye the next time partner workout comes around...

(Oh, and afterwards my sinuses, which had been clogged, were super-clear.  Hence the title of today's entry.)



I am staring out  my window right now, watching the sunlight play in the falling rain.  Or perhaps it's the rain that's playing in the sunlight.  You never can tell, with the PNW.
She is singing about wishing I'd done a better job with the underside of her jaw.

Now I get to check two more things off my "I've been gone for a week holy crap there's so much!" to-do list, one of which is getting the blog alllll caught up.  Next up?  Bath time for Certain Puppies.  Who, honestly, don't really even count as puppies anymore.  And then?  Meal planning out the wazzoo... or perhaps laundry!  My life is Excitement, and so can you!


Mid Year's Resolution

Basically what you need to know is that I feel like crap.  I've been feeling like crap for several weeks now, but it's gotten especially bad in this past week.  Moreover, my athletic performance has gone down and my brain is foggy and just plain dumb.  Even Nathan has commented on the number of times I've been not just wrong but grossly wrong this past week.
This is the face of a dumb person.  Who is in physical sadness and cannot do her pullups the way she wants to.

The fact that all of this coincides with me not eating properly (strawberry milkshakes are in season and I am weak) does not exactly strike me as a coincidence.  Especially when paired with some of the more... obvious physical symptoms.  But I'd just gotten into a rut where I felt so bad I didn't even care that I was making myself feel worse (emotional upheaval sabotage!).  My Petulant Self said, "If we're going to feel like crap anyway, we may as well have some more of this delicious dairy," and then she did.  Daily. (I can handle limited dairy- daily milkshakes are not limited, never mind the added sugar, etc)  The problem with that mind set is, of course, that if you keep doing they bad thing because you've already done it, well... you'll never break the cycle.  And so I've made the decision that it's time to snap myself back into clean eating.

I'm already doing better with the diet, but come June 5th I will be stepping it up to a 30 day full-on correction.  I won't be quite so strict as I was during my elimination diet, (plus no RepairVite so heck yeah to that) but I will definitely be going strict paleo for the month.  The theory is that I will work out my meal plan ahead of time (because life is just easier that way), and, of course, I will share some (or perhaps all) of it with you guys, to keep me accountable.

More entries about what I eat?!  I'm sure you can't wait!


Back Where We Belong

The plane began its descent into Portland and, naturally, had to drop through clouds to do so.

It made me grin like an idiot.

When we stepped outside and the cool evening air washed over us I felt a knot in my stomach loosen, and all I could think was that, as much as I miss our families when they're so far away, this really is where I belong.
I feel like she probably knows things.



Rough character design for a story which may or may not ever get beyond the brain-composting stage.
As you can see, one is missing...


Clan Coralia

A slightly more detailed rendition of this doodle:
Pissed off.  And rightly so.

The thing is, this is more or less how I picture their horns- but now that I've drawn it out I'm thinking they may need to be even more impressive, especially if they're going to be used for goring.  Which, of course, they are.


Nathan and Jenny O's Pretty Long Day

Although the circumstances that have brought us back down to Alabama are not the best, it has afforded us the luxury of spending time with large swaths of our families.  For example, this morning we, along with my mom and brother, went down to Montgomery Zoo, where I learned that you can hand-feed giraffes and that, moreover, hand-feeding giraffes is awesome and they have very distinct personalities regarding how aggressively they will wrap their tongues around your hand to get at the food (did I mention awesome?!)

Once we had to leave there (because my brother had to continue his drive on to Atlanta to hop on a plane back to the real world), Nathan and I settled in for the three hour drive up to see his paternal grandparents.
Granpa R

It was good to see them- it always is, of course, but especially so in the wake of a funeral.  We didn't stay for very long, because visits that go beyond an hour are a bit tiring for them, but we got a few new stories out of Granpa R, so that's always good.  Then it was back in the car for the return drive, but we indulged ourselves by stopping at our favorite Mediterranean restaurant in Birmingham (or even, perhaps, the world?).  I tell you what- I do not in any way regret our move, but there are certain things about the 'Ham that I miss very much indeed...


Splintered Avatar

When people die, they generally leave behind an estate- a helpful reminder that you really can't take it with you.  And where there is an estate- regardless of how insignificant that estate may be- there are generally heirs.  Often those heirs are the children of the person who died.

My grandmother had three children- my uncle, my aunt, and my dad.  My dad, as you may have surmised, died quite some time ago.  Which means that the share of the estate that would have gone to him goes instead to my brother and I.

We heirs have met up to discuss Certain Matters, and although there are four of us we form a triangle: my aunt sprawled out on the floor, my uncle reclining in a chair, and my brother and I sitting closer to one another.  Looking at it like this, this group of four forming a three-sided shape, I am suddenly overwhelmed with the knowledge that I am there not so much as myself, but as a symbol of someone else.  That my brother and I are, in essence, the avatar of our father.  And when I say avatar, I do not mean in the video game sense.  I mean it in one of it's older definitions: "a visible manifestation or embodiment of an abstract concept".

That's what you become, when you die- an abstract concept.  Or, sometimes, especially if you die young, you become deified.  Either way, the word avatar remains appropriate for what my brother and I, collectively, have become.  It is disconcerting, to look at him, and to realize that in this moment we are not individuals, we are two halves of a missing whole- moreover, we are two halves of two wholes, because someday my mother will no longer be her own manifestation, either.

Disconcerting.  Sobering.  And really kind of freaky.

The Other Half of What I Am



This is what I wrote- although, of course, it is not exactly what I said:

"Framma was fond of telling me, "Never let a little thing like the truth get in the way of a good story."  And while that rule of thumb has served me well in my own story-telling endeavors, when I sat down to compose these words I realized that, in the case of Jemima Elizabeth Richmond Owens, the truth is better than any story I could possibly have come up with, anyway.  And if it turns out that some of what I know as "fact" is, to the best of others' knowledge, "fiction"- well, let's just agree now to go with whichever version makes the best retelling.

 My grandmother was born in exciting times- a time of talkies and jazz, flappers and bootleggers.  Is it any wonder she would live her life on equally exciting terms, traveling the world and forging her own career?  She was a child during the Great Depression, during which time she learned that love, determination, and hard work can temper a lack of funds.  She took these values with her into her own adulthood, acting as a proper officer's wife, a loving mother and grandmother, and a student who earned not just her bachelor's degree, but also her master's.

 She met my grandfather, David James Owens, quite against her will and under much protest- but when she saw (and I quote) "that handsome young man sitting on the floor playing jacks with my baby sister!" well, she was intrigued.  And then when he stood up ("a tall drink of water!") and gave her his arm to steady her there was a spark- and that was it for the both of them.  Love at first sight, at first touch- love that weathered a war and across continents, through the joy of raising of three amazing children, and the tragedy of losing one.  Love that filled her life with beauty and purpose, and that led to strange psychic tendencies that came in awful handy when she needed Papa to pick up bread on his way home.  They loved each other with a storybook love, and she kept right on loving him even when he let a little thing like death make him miss their 60th wedding anniversary.

 She had several names, my grandmother.  Her husband and friends called her Jim-e, because she hated the name Jemima and didn't understand why her mother, who surely knew the burden of her own name, would chose to pass it on to her.  Her children, and eventually their spouses, called her Mamma.  My brother and I called her Framma, which she delighted in because she'd never liked the title "grandma"- and when she was upset with herself it was, “Oh James!”  Strangers called her Mrs. Owens- although generally speaking, people didn’t remain "strangers" to her for any longer than she could help it.  But there was one other name she was known by for many years: Senora Owens.  This was what her students at Belleville High School East called her, where she taught Spanish and coached drama, speech, and debate.  She loved the teaching, and it pleased her to no end whenever anyone else in the family tried their hand at it, which several of her descendants did.
 She also loved art, and was a passionate painter who pursued her craft well into her golden years.  She showed regularly at galleries in Jacksonville, and was very proud of the money her art earned for charities.  As for me, my favorites were always her watercolors, in no small part because she once illustrated a story for me in that medium.

 My grandmother, as you may have gathered, was a consummate storyteller.  This means that not only did she tell stories, she collected them.  You never knew what mundane interaction with her might later be turned into a new family "classic"- and somehow you always came off sounding far more clever and accomplished than you remembered yourself being at the time.  She was generous that way- choosing only the best to record for posterity.

 I will miss my grandmother.  We all will.  But we're luckier than many who lose loved ones.  Lucky that she was a story-teller, that she collected so many stories, and that she repeated them to us so many times.  Because now when we tell them to each other, and to those who will come after us, regardless of whether or not she features in them, she is there with us, encouraging us not to let the truth get in our way."
Words to Live By


Editing, Jenny O Style

I've been a bit busy this week, obviously- busy with things like flying cross-country for funerals and the like.  But now I'm getting things caught up (again with the questionable time-stamps), and I hope you'll forgive some of the... less-impressive entries.

This one, for example:
Ooo, sneak peak! (and remember- this is unedited, so cut me some slack)

It's a teeny doodle done in the margin of my Sleeping Beauty manuscript, which I've been editing as I sit trapped in planes for hours on end.


House Herriven

Here is a preliminary sketch of a character that is mentioned in passing in the Sleeping Beauty retelling:
She crafts jewelry.  With capital P Power.

She's drawn next to a human male who stands at about 6'1".  I'm still trying to decide whether or not I want to go with the whole bald thing for her species...


Queen Mab?

Who knows?  Not me- I have emails and instructions and eulogies to write!  BLARGH!
Color once things calm down, honest.  So maybe next month some time...


That Other Thing I Did on Saturday

That other thing I did on Saturday was go looking for appropriate funeral attire, since I'm  now too small for anything in my wardrobe that might have worked.  It's hard to feel too put-upon about that, although after four hours and twenty friggin' dresses I somehow managed to feel pretty put-upon.

I prevailed, however, and here is a doodle of the dress (and shoes) I ended up with:
Also some other, non-related stuff, because why not?
If you are a lady (or a fashion-conscious gentleman), chances are you totally get why it took me so long.  If you are a regular dude you are probably thinking, "Just buy something black and be done with it- sheesh!" and I don't really blame you.  But let me explain just why, exactly, it took so long.  There were several factors in my Funeral Attire Quest:

1.  Comfortable.  The funeral is in Alabama in late May.  That means it will be hot.  As such I knew I wanted a dress, not a pant suit.
2.  Appropriate.  I tried on quite a few dresses that were physically comfortable, but way too short for me to feel socially comfortable in at a funeral (this is a common problem when shopping in the Jr and petite sections.)  Furthermore there is a certain level of formality to the event- so I had to turn away several dresses that were just too damn casual, in spite of their appropriate hemline.
3.  Flattering.  Call me vain, but I want to make a good showing to relatives I haven't seen in however many years. But because it is spring/summer and "flowy" is currently "in", it makes it even more difficult for me to find a dress because my bosom does not do well in "flowy" bodices.  My ladies, they need some structure, because without it I tend to look fat- and I am not fat, so I bloody well have no intention of appearing to be so.
4.  Fit.  My new Crossfit/climber body means that my already broad back and shoulders are now even broader- and my biceps are larger than they've been since I rowed crew in college.  What this means is that I am now limited to sleeveless options- and while I actually prefer sleeveless, anyway, it just meant that many more dresses I couldn't "just buy".

I did finally find a dress that works- although I literally have to have help zipping myself into it.  Still.  At least it's done (and I'll try to get a picture up later so you can see how it matches up to the doodle).

(And then, of course, I had to get shoes to match... ::sigh::)


Mother's Day Happenings

I don't have kids, but I do have fur-babies, so have a picture of Nathan talking to his mom while our derpiest baby snoozes in his lap:
Sleep Derps

The vast majority of today was devoted to cleaning the house so that when I come home from the funeral I won't go into a depression/killing rage.  Coming home to a dirty house tends to do that to me, especially after being on a plane...


Hairy Situations

Today's WOD:

"My Buddy and Me"

One person runs 200m while the other does a wall sit. One round is when each person has done each movement.  (penalty:  if you cannot hold the wall sit until your partner returns, you must do ten squats before starting your run- while your partner holds their wall sit)


As a team, complete 200 Sit Ups. One person holds a plank position while the other does sit ups. Split them up however you like. (We chose to switch off every 25 sit ups)


5 Lengths of Burpee Leap Frogs  (This link gives you the basic idea, except we lay down instead of holding plank, and alternated leapers in a continuous activity kind of thing)


Ah, team-mates.  By far the absolutely most-motivating thing for me-  I always find I have a little extra to give if I know someone is waiting for me (and doing something unpleasant while they wait).  It's definitely more effective than relying on my hit-or-miss competitive streak (some days it's there, some days not so much...)

Since there were only three of us this morning, we made a Super Team, which meant that for the first leg it was me and Girl #2 doing wall-sits together while our male partner did the running.  I will be honest with you- I was pretty sure I'd be the one to screw up the wall-sit.  It was an incredibly pleasant surprise when I was able to hold it the entire time- all four times.  There may have been some swearing and some pounding on the wall, but by stars I held it.  No comment, however, on whether or not I was the the slowest runner...

Sometime during my run one of my hair-ties jumped ship, and as I started my first round of plank I noticed that my left braid was rapidly becoming a cascade of free-flowing tresses.  Not optimal for sweaty-activities, but there was nothing to do about it but press on (have I mentioned our WODs are timed?).

Fortunately for me, the stars smiled and I just so happened to see my hair tie (which is about the circumference of a dime and made of clear plastic) laying in the sun as we were organizing our burpee leap frog.  So I stemmed the chaos of my unraveling hair and got to hopping.

I'm just glad I braid my hair so tightly...

And just in case my drawings don't properly convey the ridiculousness of that aesthetic:

Who had split-personality hair and two index fingers?
After that it was Farmer's Market time, and then?  Avengers!  We enjoyed that very much, and I look forward to seeing it again.  It fills me with glee that Joss Whedon can now pretty much do whatever the hell he likes, and no one (::coughcoughfoxcough::) can nay-say him.  You go, Joss.  You just go.


I Like the Camel Brush

It gives a damn nifty effect:


All of Them

I feel this one is pretty self-explanatory.


Family Reunion

Here is a thumbnail for a piece I am going to be doing in the near future:

It's my dad, my grandmother, and my grandfather, all young and healthy and reunited.  Because my grandmother died today, and I'd like to think that somewhere out there, one hell of a party is going down.


Derpy Dog

Sometimes our dog, she likes to derp:

This dog, she is a-derpin'.


Mysterious Mystery

The funny thing is, I'd meant to do a Cabin in the Woods doodle, but then I thought it would be funny to do the cast up like Scooby Doo (I still do, actually) and then as I was looking at pictures of the Scooby Doo Gang for pose references, I ended up doing this instead:
The real mystery is, why are Velma's hands always behind her back?  Just what does she have back there?
Daphne is looking put-upon because let's face it- there's never a use for her, except maybe getting rescued.  And girl's tired of it.  She's ready for some purpose in her life.  (granted I have not watched Scooby Doo in literally decades, and according to the Interwebs she's developed since then, but I have to work with the reality I know...)

Velma.  Velma's lookin' smug because she knows she's the favorite.  Sure, Daphne is supposed to be the hot one, but who can resist a girl in a short pleated skirt and knee-high socks?  Also it struck me that Velma is probably a lot stronger than Daphne- look at those muscular legs, whereas poor Daphne is walking around on twigs.  So Velma's got brains and brawn... no wonder she's looking smug!


SUP, Dudes!

(yes it was the obvious way to go with the title, but cut me some slack- I'm tired!)

Today was the day I finally tried my hand at something that's long intrigued me: stand up paddleboarding (or SUP, as it's known).  Now, strictly speaking, my interest is more in the application of said board to waves, but since there is a lake a heck of a lot closer than an ocean, I was more than willing to give paddling on a lake a try.
Anatomy, shnamatomy...

It was not surfing (obviously) but it was a lot of fun.  So much fun that I will probably invest in one (or, perhaps, take someone up on their long-ago offer to provide me with one, if said someone is still interested).  I need to do more research first, however, because as nice as the hand-crafted ones I tried out today were (and my goodness, they were nice), I need something that will perform well on either a flat lake or a wave- and at this point I don't even know how the ideal dimensions for either... or if perhaps it makes no difference one way or the other!  (somehow I doubt that- after all, there is such a thing as a specifically "sea  kayak"...)

So much to learn in life...


Using Crossfit as a Warmup?!

We had an option for our WOD today- we could choose to do yesterday's WOD:

400 m walking lunges

or we could do today's "official" WOD:

Hang Cleans
Hollow Rocks

For me the choice was pretty easy, for several reasons.  First, when I'd seen yesterday's WOD posted (yesterday evening) I was kind of bummed that I'd missed it.  Second, why do burpees if you dont have to? And finally (and most importantly) I had a 5k Walk/Run for the Animals that started at 0900 that I was supposed to meet for at 0830 (I do the 0800 session of Crossfit), and I knew I could finish the 400m faster.

It was just me and one other guy who opted for walking lunges, so of course I launched into my typical early-in-the-WOD-banter, because I believe in evening out the odds by stealing the other guys' breath with laughter.  He especially seemed amused by my expletives:

Real and true things that I say when under duress.
By the time I finished my cool down ("When you finish, your legs will think it's a great idea to lie down," warned Jack.  "Do not listen to them- go get on the airdyne and work them out.") it was a smidge after 0830, so even tho I wanted to stay and jabber, I had to get a move on.

I managed to make it to the starting line just as things were, well, starting, so my team knew I was there even if I spent the rest of the walk nowhere near them.  Taking a 5.5 month old puppy on a 5k is a great deal like taking a little kid on a 5k: there was a lot of stopping to investigate stuff, then running to catch up/just because she could (less whining, tho').  After the midway point she seemed to flag a bit, so I jogged while she trotted gamely next to me, but then she got her second wind and... well, my quads had Opinions about that, especially in light of their earlier abuse.
My dog runs way faster than I do.

The truth is I think that doing that 5k was maybe one of the better things I could have done after today's WOD, in terms of making sure my muscles didn't seize up.  Of course, now I'm faced with the fact that I cannot go down stairs (except by scooting on my butt, which Nathan finds hilarious), and the dread of what second-day-after-soreness will bring... but I'll think about that the day-after-tomorrow.  In the meantime, I have a bunch of free comic books to read.


Meet Me Halfway

When I set physical goals, I tend to do them in sets of three.  I set an "initial goal", something that I feel pretty confident about being able to hit, with some effort.  I tend to think of that one as a "morale booster goal".  I also set a "middle goal", which tends to be more like the "real goal"- something that could be bragged on without any sort of equivocating.  And then there is a "high goal", something that I don't think is impossible, per se, but that I do think is going to be pretty damn difficult, and something that I'll be okay with if I don't hit.

I set myself some goals back in February, right after starting Crossfit, and a month after I'd started climbing regularly.  My initial goal was to be able to do one pull-up: just one.  That's plenty impressive for a female, right?  Sure it is.  (Plus it's the USAFA requirement- or at least it was back in the day)  I hit that goal at the beginning of April, and I was pretty damn thrilled.  My second goal was to be able to do three consecutive pull-ups, like I was able to do back in college when I rowed crew.  Being able to do three consecutive pull-ups is definitely something you can brag about, especially as a female.

I hit that goal last night, and I'm feeling incredibly good about it- especially because, when Nathan took a video of me demonstrating it this afternoon, I saw how much smoother and quicker my pull-ups are getting (the first two in the set, anyway).

My "high goal" is to be able to do five- I've never in my life been able to do so many, and when I set that goal it didn't seem like something that would come quickly or easily.  But after today I'm realizing that maybe it's not so "out there" a goal, after all, and that in all likelihood I'll have hit it by mid-June.

Oh perspective, you tricky so-and-so.

The thing is, I'm not really sure what my next physical goal should be- I think it's silly to keep making pull-up goals when obviously those will just keep coming, as long as I keep practicing.  The obvious thing would be something like running a 5k with a better time than my last one (not hard to do) but honestly, that goal just doesn't appeal to me, and if a goal doesn't appeal then where's the motivation?

I have "things on my to-do list", including learning how to lead-climb in July (and also running the Portland 5k Foam Fest), riding my bike across the river at some point, and climbing outdoors- but none of those are really "goal" things that I can work towards: they're just things that I will or will not do.  So I'm not sure... any ideas?


Fun Hair and Time-Consuming Food

I thought my hair was fun today, so I drew it:
Inspired by a photo of a Native American woman I saw at the Maryhill Museum- wish I could remember which tribe, but I can't.

Initially I was afraid the "frill" of the braid tips would look silly, but the more I looked at it in the mirror, the more I liked it- and the more I thought it was actually flattering to my face shape (which is a bit long in the doodle- ah well).

Anyway it's about 2130, and I still haven't had dinner.  Dinner is currently in the oven, and I'm feeling pretty annoyed about the entire situation, since according to the book it should have taken twenty minutes to prep, but in reality the prep time was over an hour- and then there was still a good 45 minutes of cook time.  Grrr.  It had better be pretty friggin' delicious, is all I have to say about that.

But I'd rather close this entry out on a positive note, so I will say that I went to the rock gym today and ran into one of my new climbing buddies (made last Tuesday) who was there with one of her roommates, and the two of them invited me to climb with them.  And, thanks to their encouragement, I tackled not one but two 5.10- routes.  Oh sure, I didn't finish them without taking a few falls, but at least I finished them.  Ultra satisfying.  And what's especially good was that on the first one, at least, I know exactly why I fell (core wasn't tight enough) and I feel pretty confident that when I try that route again I won't fall.



If  you're a fan of David Weber, you'll probably know what this is:
Treecats love celery, oh yes they do.

If not, well... it's an alien.  An arboreal alien that is supposed to look like a cross between a cat and a ferret, with six limbs and opposable thumbs.  And this one is male, because he's gray and cream.  ::coughnerdcough:: Anyway....

I've always had a difficult time properly picturing treecats, which naturally makes me want to draw them.  Drawing something is an excellent way for me to figure out the anatomy of something, which is why when I'm describing a "creature" in my writing, I often must sketch it out first (Pegs, for example)  (Also the dragon from my Sleeping Beauty retelling).

Anyway there it is, my attempt at understanding just what, exactly a treecat looks like.  And in case you were wondering what prompted this little exercise, it was reading A Beautiful Friendship, which I thoroughly enjoyed and am looking forward to the sequels thereof (not the least because Jane Lindskold is taking over on the series).


Commuter Adventures

I have quite a few of them- adventures on my bike, I mean.  Many of which involve me channeling Daryl.  But today's adventure was not one of rage so much as amusement and vague disquiet:

(And just so you know, I was wearing regular black work slacks, nothing spandex-y.)
In case you cannot read my chicken-scratch of a thumbnail, what happened was this:

I was grinding my way up the Big Hill near the beginning of my route, and I was putting a lot of effort into it because I had my gear set at 6 (out of 8).  It's not very dignified-looking, but I keep it that tough because I use it as a chance to give my quad a good workout.  Anyway, a middle-aged dude was walking down the hill and he said to me, "Wow, that'll give you buns of steel!" (that phrase alone would have dated him even if I couldn't have guessed his age from his face).

"I know, right?" I said with my best dashing grin.  Then I was past him and moving along, and he yelled out,

"It's working, I can see!"

"...uhhh... thanks..." I said, and tried to be more flattered than weirded out.  But c'mon, guy- you just went from awesome-commiseration-dude to vaguely-creepy-lech in thirty seconds flat.