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my birthday!

my friend ericka offered to host my bday party at her place and i actually took her up on it. and I had a very small group of people show up, jenny, tara and her husband, ben, james, ed and bonnie d. jenny's kid showed up, that k loves, and tara brought her 7 year old.

it was a small group, and it was comfy and cosy. steve made home made pizza, i made pork belly and brought a bundt cake. there were cookies. we sat on the grass by the pool and chatted while we ate ed's delicious crudite, and they sang happy birthday for me.

It was a wonderful time, and i feel loved.

west coast swing show case

#ballroom
So I don't like performing. But I love learning a choreography and dancing that to music. Just like I love rehearsing improv and musical theatre but don't like performing in front of a real audience.

I signed up for a West Coast Swing performance that was scheduled for tonight. It's been really great in identifying some technical flaws I have, and the performance was very low stakes to me. There were 3 other couple dancing the same song at the same time, and since I'm a newbie at WCS, I was confident that people would watch the flashier, more competent people, and that I wouldn't grab their eye.

The dress rehearsal went great.

The sold out show a few hours later sucked.

When the stage manager lined us up for our onstage time, my teacher/partner wasn't there. The stage manager told me to get to my spot on stage anyways and I refused. The lights came on, with the three couples on stage. Without me.

The lights go back off.

The lights stayed off for about five minutes as people hunt down my partner. In the meantime, I'm in the dark, the audience is in the dark, and my chill/no-stress vibe had gone out of the window and I was battling feelings of rejection, no one wanting to dance with me, wallflower issues and every insecurity that most people who go social dancing face.

My West Coast teacher finally shows up. He was dancing with a bunch of students tonight, and had six costume changes. He danced two songs before mine, but that dance and mine were both Star Trek themed, so he didn't have to change his costume. But he forgot and went to change his costume.

He walked me to our spot, and the lights came on, while we were walking. So now, the very full audience is watching us. And probably assuming that the student (me) had a freak out moment or something and caused them to have to wait.

I was completely discombobulated and missed some leads and I forced myself to smile, since it was a performance, I don't know how convincing that was.

And finally my dance was over. I grabbed my stuff, and left before the first act was over. I drove 2 miles away, went directly into ABD's social at Uptown Dance, in the middle of their Foxtrot mixer, and just immediately started dancing one ballroom dance after another to get the taste of the showcase out of my mouth.

I am not mad at the teacher. He is sweet and reminds me of Andy who can be forgetful sometimes. It's live performance, it happens. But maybe I should just do dress rehearsals and skip actual stressful performances.

selling house

We put our house on the market finally. It felt like it took forever to get it ready, but it was more like 1.5 busy months. Andy did most of the work. He moved things to storage and he painted the place "Agreeable Gray". I did more of the admin work like finding a storage unit, finding a sublease 2 blocks away. It's a one bedroom sublease and we're all squeezed in to give some space to the home while it's renovating and staging. The whole thing has been stressful and there's been some fights.

I was pretty unemotional about selling the home till I clicked on the MLS listing and then I felt sad and bittersweet. My realtor said: "You have lived a lot of life in it."

And I have.

Feb. 1st, 2019

Oof, 2019 hss been kinda rough so far.
However, today i passed the AWS certification for solutions architect associate.
I cried when I saw the message that I passed. That exam was stressful.

then I went to the Fred Astaire ballroom party and I danced so much! Got to west coast swing a bit, and a really crazy swing, it was a blast. I had so much fun.

2018 in review

2018 in review.

* Therapy!
For a while I had 2 therapists, one covered under insurance, the typical talk therapy you see on TV. And the other one one (not covered by insurance) was an anxiety specialists, where part of the therapy was exposure therapy. Think about a horrible thing happening to your loved one and write it down.
They both were helpful, but I paused the anxiety therapist because 1. It was expensive 2. It was hard as shit. And now I know how to do exposure therapy myself (and so do you, go write down horrible things you’re afraid of. Read it regularly. Eventually it numbs you, and you realize magical thinking doesn’t work. Thoughts != real life)

Therapy led me to mindfulness and NLP. Both of which I’m still exploring.

* Ballroom Dancing!
I regularly was taking private lessons at Fred Astaire and I have improved by leaps and spins in Ballroom dancing. I also took classes at Uptown and Go Dance, and also the occasional socials at Austin Ballroom. There was a lot of ballroom dancing in my life, which is great. Yes, there are terrible videos of me doing ballroom dancing (and even worse hip hop). I might share some next year.

* Write
I finished writing my second book with my husband. This one is in revisions stage, and Andy has mostly taken revisions because my leisure time has dropped. Having written is easier. Revisions and editing are also hard. Why are so many worthwhile things hard?

* Work
I felt like I was constantly working for a while. Juggling photography and teaching high school students is tricky. I’m learning a ton by teaching AP Computer Sciences to kids though. Teenagers! You no longer scare me!

* Family
We did a lot of small trips this year. Maybe too much. But i'm reminded that when we look back on relationships, location changes is what sticks in your mind. It's so easy for days to blur together. So we wanted to make memories. That said, it would've been nice to have more leisure vacation days where we just stayed home. But we would've probably just done errands. My daughter continues to be a delight, and is becoming a force.

Overall, I felt this year I’ve grown some skills, like being able to be silent and observe, around me and inside me. I’m starting to be more aware of my triggers, and the routines that I’m stuck in (a la West World). In some ways I’m both more empathetic and also more critical of people.

I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions because I think they set you up to fail. What most people need is regular free time and space to think and reflect, and I think that’s what causes changes to stick. So I will continue to try to make that mindful space in my life.

Happy New Year! May 2019 lift us up and bring us contentment and mindfulness.

indian lodge and observatory trip #3

A few weeks ago, I told Andy, "Let's go to Indian Lodge." And he said: "Yes!"

So he drove us 7 hours to go to the quiet retreat. K asked if we could stay there forever because the buildings were white as snow.

We had a viewing at the Observatory but it was cloudy, so instead we ate hot dogs and frito pies. The large outdoor circular area was empty except for us. And K started to MC a show, and told us what do, and she had me come up. I sang a few lyrics and she said, "Thank you Mommy for that lovely song." It was fun and amazing.

The next night was perfectly clear, but the moon was waxing gibbous and bright, so we waited till after the moon set at 5:45 am. Our entire family bundled up in the cold and drove to the trailhead part of the Indian Lodge which was a bit darker, and we cuddled and looked at the sky. We saw several moving sattelites and the weirdest part was seeing part of the mountain lit up and it got brighter and brighter until I realized it was a car.

Prior to that, I had a lovely chat with an African American woman who was a fellow Syltherin Nerd, and we geeked out for a while.

hyatt lost pines

we are having a mini vacay in hyatt lost pines. i enjoy the easiness of being at a resort.

- she loves playing on the beach by the water and making sand castles or just digging and filling containers.
- we did meet the mini mascots where she saw alpacas
- met up with cidneye at a chinese place nearby
- met a family of 6 and got to hold their 4 month old
- went down the lazy river
- hot tubbing and being in the pool.
- nightly smores. too much smores!

trophy ball

i did my first ballroom performance for a small event and i was totally fine except for the few minutes before I got nervous, but it went pretty well. the thing i noticed the most was my shoulders, and that i have rounded shoulders. so gotta work on my shoulders.

improv 2018

That was exhausting. This year I got scheduled after dinner, and it was a carby pasta dinner. So I felt sluggish and tired, and I'm guessing a bunch of the potluckers were as well.
I did about 1 hour and 40 mins of games, and felt that the energy level was lower.

the rhyming game was really hard for people, and didn't do as well.
I need a microphone.

I did throw in an authentic relating game, "What I notice when I'm with you..." It was interesting, about three pairs gave up on it, and there about about 4 pairs really stuck with it and got a really deep time.

overall, I think people enjoyed it, but definitely no more improv after carby dinners.

potluck 2018

Got to Potluck early for the first time on a Saturday since I was leaving early. Got into a car with Kate, Ben and Gulnara, who accidentally took a dose of nicotine pill and it messed her up for an hour.

The house was giant as usual. I got a smaller room. And the first day was super chill with hot tubs and lasagna.

Day 2: Sunday also pretty chill. I spent a bunch of time applique-ing my leotard. And chilling and hanging out and eating too much because people keep cooking.

Day 3: today was the actual start of sessions and then later today I'm teaching improv!

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