Blackbird Fly

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..:::..:. ...
Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment
To arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment
To be free

January 2013
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Hoo-lee-ah [userpic]

Tonight I went to a seminar at my gym called "Weights for Weight Loss." While it was highly entertaining (the personal trainer that gave it is a hoot), I didn't really learn anything I didn't already know. Still, it's nice to know that I at least had the right information as far as weight lifting goes. They also had a dietitian there which I thought was great, and I asked her afterwards about combining vegetarianism and strength training. She confirmed that my problem when I was lifting heavy was probably that I wasn't taking in enough protein and that's why I was so danged hungry all the time. That's a tough problem to solve though, given what I already eat. It's going to take some work and planning I think. The good thing is that she didn't outright dismiss a vegetarian diet as being incompatible with strength training, so that was encouraging.

But anyway, the point is that the seminar has got me thinking about hiring a personal trainer. I've used a trainer before and it was great, but I used her in an instruction-only capacity to teach weightlifting techniques and supervise my form until I was comfy enough to go on my own. I've never had somebody personally overseeing my fitness routine and progress for an extended period of time. I think it might be fun and shake things up a bit, as I've been feeling stale and unmotivated with my usual stuff lately. I'm trying to justify the cost though and that's tough. But I suppose there's not really a commitment beyond whatever sessions I initially purchase so I could just buy one package and see how it goes. I think I would try and schedule with the guy who taught the seminar as he seems very knowledgeable and also fun, which is definitely a good thing when working out.

Hoo-lee-ah [userpic]

Today at Best Buy, Shaun and I got into an argument over the improbability of the metal bikini outfit thing that the chick on the Rift: Storm Legion expansion box was wearing. I say it wouldn't even stay up, let alone stop any kind of weaponry. Shaun claims that it might be attached in the back and that's how it stays up. But we all know that nobody (that makes video games anyway) cares that boobs don't work that way (NSFW, but flippin hilarious).

Anyway the funny part, besides the argument itself, was the guy down the aisle listening to us and laughing while trying to pretend that he wasn't. I totally saw you, dude!

Hoo-lee-ah [userpic]

We took down the Christmas decorations today. That always makes me a little bit sad, not because I miss the baubles and shiny things (though they are nice) but because I miss the lights. Christmas lights are what make the ever-darkening dreariness of December better. And they make everything seem warmer somehow. Now I just have to remind myself that we have passed the solstice, so each day is ever so slightly getting longer again.

I'm definitely looking forward to being able to spend more time outside again. I'm just too much of a cold-weather wimp to enjoy walks outside when it is so cold. And running during the winter is o-u-t. I spend most of the season paranoid that I am going to fall and kill myself just walking, so no way am I running anywhere. Good thing the gym is indoors and warm! Though it does get crowded this time of year. I was amazed today because we got there 25 minutes before the class I wanted to take started and we were #17 and #18 and the class completely filled up 10 minutes later. I think that's probably a record.

We went to Strong, which is an instructor-led free weight routine set to music. It's pretty fun, though it's hard to lift very heavy weights in stuff like squats and lunges since there is no rack to assist in getting the weight on my back. I'm limited to what I can press over my head (when tired) which is not reliably much more than 30-40 pounds. I've been doing 30 for a while now and really should move up to 40 soon. Anyway, it's a fun class. Shaun came with me today and didn't totally hate it, so score one for that. Though he said that the music just made him want to dance rather than lift weights, so I think we will go to Zumba tomorrow and see how he likes that. And I can try out my new outfit!

As a Christmas fitness gift to myself, I got a totally cute new outfit from Prana (Top in purple, pants in black, and shrug in purple, my favorite part!, which is a high-end yoga clothing company. I usually scoff at the idea of $80 yoga pants, but I've tried all kinds of the cheap ones and I always hate them. My two original pairs of cheap pants (no longer made so I can't just go get new ones) that I actually did like are now so old that they have holes in awkward spots and I really shouldn't wear them in public anymore (though they make great lounge at home pants!). So finally I decided to see if the $80 ones are actually worth it. It makes me laugh though, because this outfit is now the most expensive outfit I own by far (except for my wedding dress), and I bought it to sweat in. I figure it will be great for both yoga and Zumba classes though, so I will definitely get some use out of it.

Hoo-lee-ah [userpic]

Well 2013, here we are.

The end of 2012 was pretty good, with lots of time spent visiting family and friends. Christmas with Shaun's family went well. I made the gingerbread house and train for decorations with some help from Shaun and his Mom and they turned out great! I think I am going to try and build one for Festival of Trees this year, assuming I remember in time to sign up.



I got some nice gifts, mostly baking related from Shaun's parents. His brother got me an awesome Iowa t-shirt that I love, and Shaun got me a Kate Spade bag and wallet that I ♥. I got Shaun a replica blaster and belt to complete his Han Solo outfit for wearing to cons and such in the future. Which reminds me, I need to see about getting a Princess Leia wig as well...

The weekend after Christmas, we went to the Chicago suburbs to visit with some of Shaun's college friends, which was a lot of fun. It's been a while since we've seen Brad and Jenna and the others. There was a lot of fun gaming, including Telestrations (aka telephone-pictionary) which is my new favorite party game.

There was even more Telestrations action on New Years' Eve, when we had Jess and Nathan, Lindsey, Bryce and Jack over for a casual evening of gaming. We ended up having so much fun playing games that we missed the ball dropping at midnight, oops! So to remedy that, Shaun grabbed our mini disco ball and stood on a chair and we had our own countdown, which was just as good if not better than watching the TV one.

Hoo-lee-ah [userpic]

I wish I wrote in here more. So many things have happened in the last few months that are very worthy of recording and yet I haven't. I'm still planning on a wedding post with pics, but I haven't written that yet either. I better get to it before I forget everything!

I also wish I took more pictures. I think my resolution for 2013 (I don't usually make them because "resolutions" seem empty and I believe in making a real effort to change yourself if that's what you want) is going to be to do a better job with the blog - more writing and more pictures. Maybe I need a new focus besides the minutia of my daily life.

I'm not sure what else I do enough to blog about though. Fitness is a constant in my life now (hooray for that I suppose!), as is nerdy stuff, baking and crafting, but I'm not sure I'm far enough into any of those worlds to solely dedicate my blog to the topic. I'm not quite sure if there's enough room in the blogosphere for one more crafter-baker-fitness-nerd.

I'll give it some thought.

Hoo-lee-ah [userpic]

It's a big day for Julia and her Civic Responsibilities!

- I voted this morning!

- I get to report for Jury Duty this afternoon. I've been summoned a couple of times before but never had to report, so I'm interested to see how this works.

Hoo-lee-ah [userpic]

I get married next weekend. And to the 80 million people who have asked me this question in the last few months: I am ready.

I am so ready. And I don't just mean that I'm finished with all my wedding projects either. Though I should note, this is like the one time in my life I've been finished with projects well in advance of the deadline (take that, 18 years of school!). I guess working on project stuff is easier when you really want to. Who knew!

But beyond that, I'm ready to move on with my life. Getting married is a huge step. Something that responsible adults do. I sometimes still feel caught in a limbo between being an adult and not and I think this will help. It's strange how easy it was to slip into a life where I don't see or talk to my parents every day and where I have complete independence over what I do with my time for each minute of the day. I work, I help Shaun take care of our life together, rinse and repeat. It sure seems like a grownup life, but I don't often feel that way. I mean, we even have a house, but I still feel like a little kid playing pretend. I think getting married will make everything a little more real.

And I love Shaun so much. I think we're a fantastic match. We have similar life goals and values, our strengths work together, and our weaknesses complement to minimize problems rather than magnify them. I feel ridiculously lucky to have found someone who loves me so much to the point where I don't know what I did to deserve it. But whatever it is, I want to keep doing it.

Introspection aside, I think the wedding is going to be awesome. I really hope everything goes smoothly and that people have fun. Today I'm going to start packing up the wedding stuff to take it to my parents' house next week. It'll be nice to get the dining room back from weddingland mania, but I'll miss having so many little projects to work on. I really like doing that sort of thing. I guess I'll just have to start doing little things for the house instead. Work on my goal of having a house that looks like it came out of a magazine (but a little more lived in).

A few of my wedding projectsCollapse )

Mood happyMood happy
Tags: wedding!
Hoo-lee-ah [userpic]

Shaun and I officially are licensed to wed in the State of Iowa. That's pretty cool, but it wasn't an entirely happy day because I had a minor identity crisis and emotional breakdown over changing my name.

I thought I had it all planned out. I'd just keep my name as is, tacking Shaun's surname on the end of it, so I'd have two last names. No hyphen, as I don't really care for how that looks aesthetically. But then, about an hour before we needed to leave to get our license (I'd have to make my name decision when we applied) I started worrying about how complicated that might be to change with various offices that can't deal with someone having two last names. About how people would just call me by Shaun's name anyway since as a culture we're not really used to people having two last names.

Enter crisis. I don't like any of my choices - two last names is too complicated, a hyphenated name is too long and unwieldy, I don't want to lose my maiden name, I don't want to lose my middle name by replacing it with my maiden name, and I don't want to not share Shaun's name. I really had no freaking idea what to do, short of having both of us change our names to something different (Shaun Solo has a nice ring to it). Unfortunately in this instance, Shaun was no help whatsoever. His chief concern was largely the ease of the name change process, making the logical choice be to just keep my name the same. After all, he reasoned, we'd still be just as married. True, but part of me really wanted that personal connection that sharing a name offers, not to mention it makes a lot of life situations easier. Really who wants to have to show your marriage certificate just to qualify for a couples' membership at the gym? Or to get visitation rights at the hospital?

In the end, and at the last minute, I decided that the way to get closest to what I wanted was to add my maiden name as a second middle name and take Shaun's last name as my surname. It's not exactly the same, but at least I get to keep both my maiden and middle names. I will miss being addressed by my maiden name, but I'm excited to share a name with Shaun.

The funny thing is, I didn't even really think I liked my maiden name that much until it came time to lose it. But it's been a part of me for a long time, and I'd be sad to see it go. Same with my middle name, which I've always been fond of. This way I get to keep both, at least in a small way. Most people won't ever see them, but I know they're there.

Mood thoughtfulMood thoughtful
Tags: shaun, wedding!
Hoo-lee-ah [userpic]

Shaun and I have been trying to take a dance class for a little while now, so we can be not so inept at real dancing, rather than the "just move yo self to the beat" kind. It would be especially nice to have this done before our wedding next month (also, wedding next month holy cow). It hasn't worked out at all for various reasons, so we finally bit the bullet and signed ourselves up for a few private lessons.

The first was last night and it wasn't too bad! We brought our first dance music in so he could hear what kind of style we're interested in, but I think we'll be learning more than just one style. He started off by showing us some swing steps. I took a few swing lessons in college, but that was a long time ago. Shaun's never done any kind of formal dancing, but he picked it up really fast. I was very proud of him! We learned the basic step and underarm turn, cross behind and a couple of closed position things. I don't really know the official names for things, but it was probably about 6 things which is pretty good for half an hour.

For the rest of the hour, he tried to teach us some introductory ballroom stuff and that was kind of a disaster. He actually said that we picked up the swing so fast he thought that we'd get this too, but I don't know what was different - it felt much more awkward. He kept telling us to just "walk normally and put your feet where you feel like they should go." Well my feet wanted to go where Shaun's were and that doesn't work so well! We practiced the dancing-walking when we got home and I think we got better at it by the end. We'll have to practice more before next week, that's for sure.

We don't really have any good practice music though, especially for the swing. I found some online recommendations and I'm going to see what I can find at the library today.

Hoo-lee-ah [userpic]

And, we're back! Back from GenCon that is. And it was awesome. The hotel situation was a little cramped, but we managed to have a good time anyway.

Event highlights included:
- Orc Stomp 5K- A fun run on Thursday morning to start the con off right. This was a really enjoyable 5K. The people were cool and friendly, and they even got a squad of orcs to start the race, which was fun. The really great part was at the end, when a girl who finished just after me told me that Shaun and I were her inspiration to finish, since she was following us the whole way. That's never happened to me before, and it's a good feeling!

- True Dungeon- Oh man, I wanted to do this last year so badly but we didn't decide we were going to the con until after it was well past sold out. This year we made getting True Dungeon tickets a priority and it was so worth it. (True Dungeon is basically life-sized D&D but without the role-playing characters part. You're just yourself going on a dungeon crawl. With real puzzles and huge animatronic dragons. It is awesome.) Our group all had fun and we are all excited to play again next year. We even got some good gear to save and use again!

- D&D Next playtest- New version of D&D coming out at some point and we got to do a playtest. The DM was super fun and we enjoyed antagonizing him with awful puns.

- Glitter Guild Burlesque- This is turning into a tradition. The dances were a little more niche-nerdy than last year but still fun. And the hostess is a riot.

- Chainmaille class- I made a chainmaille bra for my monkey! It's supposed to be a full chain shirt, but I didn't have time to finish and what I did get done looks suspiciously like a bra or a bikini top, lol.

- Pole dancing class- This was cool. We learned a couple of different spins and a stand-up-from-sitting that can be used in between to make a mini-routine. It was both harder and easier than I thought it would be. The spins are much easier if you just stop thinking and let gravity work for you. But wow it uses a lot of muscle strength too!

Of course, doing all these things with good friends and just spending time hanging out and going out for delicious dinners was excellent as well. We are already making grand plans for next year's con!

My costumes went over very well this year. I had fun last year and got some nice comments, but the response this year was much better. I got a lot of compliments on my pirate costume, but not a ton of pictures. But my Edwina Scissorhands (that's what people kept calling me) was a real crowd pleaser. It's kind of weird to walk by a group of people and hear them talking about you - "Hey look, it's Edward Scissorhands!", "Oh cool, look at her!" etc. I also got told several times how original it was, which was nice too. Tons of people asked for pictures, which was nice after putting a lot of effort into assembling the outfit. This one will definitely be recycled next year and I'm hoping to do even better with the scissorhands gloves and some of the other decorative details.

Those of you keeping score might notice there's no Jedi costume. That's because my pirate and Edward Scissorhands outfits both require wearing the same pair of boots and my feet really needed a day off in between. I didn't want to ruin a good costume with bad shoes, so I just decided to wear comfy clothes on Friday. No regrets here!

Pictures!Collapse )

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