Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Dance like nobody’s watching - just try not to crash into your neighbours ;)

I’m gonna forewarn this might be long.  It’s 1am, I’m writing in my phone, and my brain is fried.   Consider yourself forewarned ;)

So today was another Saturday dance class; one that had been in my calendar for a while.  But wow was it ever the opposite of what I wanted to do this afternoon.   It had been a really brutal week - good, but exhausting.   Like exhausting enough that today was not going well.  My workout in the am def did not accomplish anything useful; I was the supreme opposite of motivated for literally anything; I had SO much stuff to do (most of which, admittedly, I *still* have to do); I wasn’t feeling super hot physically; and the weather was meh, which is actually a win for indoor activities but not for inspiring me to go outside to get to said activities.

Suffice to say, a 1:00pm class when my natural low point of any day is about 2 and I had ZERO interest in getting off the couch.  I could even have justified it with sitting ON the couch: I could’ve accomplished a number of my mental-load tasks that had to happen today.

BUT.  Every. Single. Time. that I’ve even vaguely considered not going, I’ve had So. Much. Fun. that I felt the need to get my ass off the couch.  That, and I knew this class was special for my coach and I’d be a pretty horrible person to not show up when I’d already committed to it.

I dug through my closet to see if I had any other skirts that twirl lol.   A class a couple wks ago I was accidentally wearing one that did and I swear it’s the dance version of a power suit for a job interview.  It amazes me how how you feel about how you look can impact everything.   That particular one though - while it twirls nicely, was WAY too hot for today.  So okay dig through…. And found one that definitely was ordered online at some point, although I don’t remember when or why.  I say this because it was a wrap around skirt which in a store I would never have tried on, but when they arrive in the mail….   Lol and since I chose to spend my entire teenage years at a barn in boots and breeches, it took me WAY longer than it should’ve to get it tied so it sat correctly, didn’t show lines from the other layers, and was structurally sound lol.   BUT, as I expected, it twirled nicely ;).  You know, priorities.  Gave up on any kind of top lol and simply went w comfy.  Baby steps ;)

But now I had a twirly skirt, so I had to go.  Admittedly still not into it when I got there, and my brain was *really* fried.  But chit chatted with some of the ladies and committed.   Now for those who’ve been here for a while, you may remember how excited I (and to be fair, some of the others) were that these classes seemed to be getting easier.  Because coach M says ‘no, they’re not harder, we were just getting better’.  So what does it mean when the class seems *much* harder?!?!?   Lol oh dear.

I will admit at first I figured it was cause I had no brain power left, until I realized much of the class was having the exact same problem.  To which superstar coach on the spot revised an easier version we could sub in instead.  Except, of course, for me it was *not* easier lol.  In fact, it was way harder.  I will admit though that might’ve been at least mostly mental - logically it was much easier, but since I *really* liked the hard one even though I was struggling w it, I didn’t want to get downgraded and, well, mindset already grumpy, I’ll admit I might not have put quite as much effort into mastering it as I should’ve.  Although - fair to me, that’s one I always struggle with although I also usually enjoy it too.

So, moving on, when asked for opinion I was the first to speak (who’s shocked by this?   Welcome to my blog!) but not the only and it turns out the vast majority were in agreement or unwilling to voice disagreement.  But those who usually contribute were all aligned.   Win!

So we tried again until we stated to get it.  The “hard part” (a fun kick/cross-over thing that was a combo of new and fast) wasn’t actually hard for me but the very next step (a lovely slow slide) which seems to be easy for the rest of the world was?!?! lol so close enough;).   Eventually I figured out what I was doing wrong and then that whole thing got much easier (I felt I was always late; turns out adding an unrequired step is frowned upon in dance ;-P) - SQUIRREL: autocorrect changed that to “unrequited step” and I really wanted to leave it cause it made me laugh.  So feel free to sub that in if you like ;)

Moving on, the next adventure was a zombie walk.  Lol I’m so not even kidding.  I finally had to pause with “I understand the steps (I mean it’s literally walking, conceptually I mastered that a long time ago) but what (TF implied but not spoken cause polite people in this crowd lol) am I supposed to do with my arms?!?!  I feel like a zombie!”  Which, yeah women support system - part of why I love this class - was immediately seconded by somebody far more entertaining than I who brought up that she felt like she was in the Thriller vid - complete w a *much* better zombie than mine.   Lol.  Amazing so between giggles and other people doing Thriller impressions I actually got some advice on what to do to improve it.  I’m gonna admit that piece never felt good, but at least I had something to try.

And then.   Yup, we’re not done yet.  For added complications, coach M decided that a class full of middle aged women would be a great place to bring in a body roll.   Alright - hands up, who knows what that is?   Cause if you had asked me, I would’ve said the last body roll I did I was probably in when I was still in single digits and in involved rolling my body down a large grassy hill.   Shockingly, that was NOT the look she was going for ;-P.   Suffice to say, this was where we learned who in the class has actual dance in their history and who does not lol.  I’ll leave it to you to YouTube this one cause this is getting very long and the bath is getting cold ;).  

BUT what was super exciting to me - and it kinda happened in two places - by the end of the class, for the first time ever, I was quite happily and confidently applying choose-your-own-adventure dance.   I have literally never done that.   The skirt helped ;).   It made me smile every time it twirled, which made me far more likely to move my hips ;).   But yeah, that body roll, I will break it down very analytically and figure it out, cause that’s what I do.  But not there or then.  So instead in that pause, normally I’d just kinda stand there awkwardly till we were back to another step I knew but this time I was just on my own happy “make up your own thing” space.   And there were two other sections, both involving turns (one fast, one slow) that same thing - those ones I could do but I was having an awful lot of fun w my hands and arms that has literally never happened before.  It’s the skirt I tell you!

And *that* is why I’m still smiling, even many hours later.    So much fun.  So glad I went.  And no, the rest of the day did not get any more productive, but somehow now it was okay :)

Quiet zones are good for my sanity ;)

 So some things I learned / remembered today while commuting today:

  • if there’s a local train and an express train that get to Union at almost exactly the same time, you will have your choice of seat and breathing room on the local while the express will be packed.  Since I’m going to be exhausted anyways I aimed for the earlier local which means if I’m late for any reason I’ll still get to the office at the same time, and if I make it, I can relax
  • I actively hope for an “old” car to stop at my spot lol.  And if it’s not packed, I will walk a significant distance to get to one.  For those who haven’t had the dubious pleasure of GO Transit travel, as per almost every form of transit, each time they release new cars there is less space for each seat, they also tend to be harder and more upright (space again).   Plus side is some new cars have power and/or internet, but I spend all day on my computer and the phone has data so I’ll take leg room any day!
  • AC on train cars is not optional.  
  • It’s amazing to me that I will still go to the same place on the platform that I started using in high school lol - I mean, ironically the building I work in now is literally attached to the one I worked in then so it makes sense, but there are many more options now for exits that would potentially save me some time.   Once upon a time it mattered; if you weren’t the first or second in the car, you didn’t get a seat.  That’s not real life anymore usually.   So I could walk all the way to the end and get on the last car.  BUT - being in the middle gives me more options when I get to TO, both for escaping crowds and for food if I’m so inclined.   AND makes it easier to get an old car ;).  Options in both directions.  I hiked a long way today for that privilege *g*
  • The quiet zone is sacred.  More places should have quiet zones ;)

I wonder if the Dunning-Kruger actually enables people to try new things cause they're hooked before they realise how hard it is???

Moderately amused recently and feel like I’m “so close” to getting it but actually have no f’ing idea where I am on the Dunning-Kruger scale.  It’s highly plausible those who have some clue would role their eyes the same way I do when somebody who has done a trail ride once “knows how to ride” lol

When you don't know what you don't know it seems easy.  
And then you learn ;-P

Brilliance or disaster is super frustrating.  The only saving grace is almost always after a brutal day, I *expect* the next one to be awesome so I’m super pumped when I go in.  Esp if there was a rest day inbetween.  This will be a real issue when it doesn’t work lol, but so far I’m enough of a beginner it’s fine.

Things I’ve learned recently:

  • When you are on your phone (audio only) you cannot use your video to record practice sessions.  Arguably this might be for the best ;)
  • Being upside down makes me feel like a kid; so does cartwheeling out - esp if I land on my feet lol.   At some point I may need to learn to do a proper cartwheel, but today is not that day
  • When filming outside, keep phone in the shade ;)
  • When filming if at all possible film from the side that you *don’t* bail on cause otherwise you’ll have many many a** shots as a result ;).  I have seen more closeups of my derrière than any human ever should lol.  I try to crop that before sending to Elaine for help - she shouldn’t have to suffer too!
  • It is super beyond frustrating to not be able to stick the balance.  I’ve always had excellent balance - the fact that it was never upside down should be irrelevant ;).  And my unicorn farts glitter too ;-P
  • Time passes much more slowly when upside down; this was in the last blog post but it’s still true!
  • When I remember to actually push through my shoulders, my balance is shockingly better.  Imagine that *eyeroll*  Form follows function in most sports lol.  There are videos, esp in the L holds, where you can literally see the second I remembered I should do that lol
  • My strength is improving faster than literally any other program I’ve ever done.  Bar none.  And I’ve tried a LOT of them!   Lol.  When I started I couldn’t even support my body weight on my wrists (like plank / push-ups / etc I always did with hands tented).   Apparently this is normal for office jobs.  Not okay.  Esp not okay if you want to do a handstand lol.  In videos I’m seeing visible definition appearing in arms, shoulders, and core which is super motivating when all I do is kick up, come down, kick up, come down, endlessly with no actual balance achieved.   I thought I was done with up/down lessons!!!
  • Codicil - strength is *really* important.  When I started I could only hold a few seconds at a time.  The other day I clued in that if I’d like to hold a balance pose for 30 seconds, I’d better be able to hold the position that way on the fence at *least* that long.  It is no problem.  Even at the end of a workout.  I may struggle to get up or engage my core once I’m there, but at least wrists and arms can do their part.  And core is close.  I figure by the time I get the balance sorted my upper body is going to be awesome!  Apollo arms +++ (those who know…)
  • Increasing lower core strength = less back pain.  Awesome side effects
  • Rest days are critical
  • Mobility and flexibility far more important that Day 1 me would've ever imagined.  I had figured out upper body strength and balance (albeit did not assign enough responsibility to core), but somehow never clued in to the other two.  See Dunning-Kruger above lol.   I’m currently limited by my shoulder flexibility.  Getting better but meh.
  • Progress vids are SO important, esp when stuck.  I looked back recently through the blog posts and the first couple days?!? What a difference!  These are super important when nothing seems to be getting better.

I'm sure you've heard the thing about herding cats, but have you heard about cats herding?

So Nola has learned basic herding skills from Sasha.
  But she doesn’t have Sasha’s patience so it’s really quite entertaining.

For instance - my office and my bedroom are at opposite ends of the hall, with the stairs in the middle.  After work I generally go downstairs and feed the critters.  So about 4:45 Nola will appear and stare at me.  From 5-5:30 or so she’ll start knocking things off any elevated surface to get attention lol.  Then when I get up she’ll try to herd me toward the stairs.   But when we get to the stairs she runs down then - which means if I dare to keep going to my bedroom for some reason is she *ever* annoyed lol.  OMG.   So she’ll start yelling every second or so till she eventually comes back up to yell at me from closer (stupid human) after which, if I head toward the stairs, the whole thing will start again lol

Sasha meanwhile knows enough not to commit to the stairs till she’s pretty sure I’m actually going ;).  And even then she follows me down, blocking the way back up, just to be sure.

Vaguely related - the Mythbusters episode re Herding Cats is mildly amusing if you're inclined to google ;)

The next step in our backyard evolution

Today's exercise schedule.  Sweet.  Keep that in mind.

Now, let's switch topics.  Cause that's fun ;-P

So I love flowers and have a *great* respect for stunning gardens.  I also, have zero flower design ability.  Made far worse by the fact that I also have zero flower knowledge.   So after being unhappy with the results of my garden design efforts in both Burlington and Oakville, I got smarter this time.   We have a lovely blank slate full of possibilities, I'd rather just skip the learning curve.  Lol so we hired a designer to plan our garden for us.   She came out and spent several hours here -- we knew where we wanted it to be (general shape and size), but colours, style, etc etc.   Took a ton of pictures and came up with a design for us that was exceptionally well done for complete novices since they layered the images of the design on to the phots of our yard, so we could literally see what it would look like.  She also told us what colours we We went back and forth on some minor details and then good to go.

So fast-forward to this week when the plants were being delivered.   Originally that was going to happen last Thursday but... weather.  It's Canada.  Who's surprised?   So plants came this am, and the pros carved off the sod and put down some soil so we got a cheater start :).  They also, importantly, placed all the plants where they should be planted.   And it looked SO good.

Starting to be real

The designer put everything in place, so idiot-proofed it as much as possible ;)

While the back was being idiot-proofed, we could start on the front.   This one was far less intimidating for sure.  It's a shade garden, so a very different design, but I have high hopes it'll look awesome :)

The front when we'd finished

Our friend Janie came over to help and we took on the back yard.  With three of us, it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared.  Esp with fresh soil (our yard is clay, so the extra layer makes it less digging into the clay).  Win.   Dig a few holes, check that it looks right, bone meal, water, plant, soil, water again.  Rinse and repeat.
We started with the narrow part of the garden...

And then moved onto the wider section :)

We were SO excited to be done (for today),
when I realized Sasha was struggling with the pond

So I moved one plant and built her a garden path.
Spoiled?  Perhaps.  But she deserves it.  And Tucker will use it too ;-P

And also a couple other trees that will hopefully grow up
before the giant willow is inevitably chopped down at some point.

So we got a TON done and I'm so excited about how it works.  HUGE thanks to Janie for all the help!  Next steps are to put down mulch and acquire and place the stones to surround the rest of the garden.   And ALL the watering *sigh*.  That bill will NOT be fun again this year.

Now - remember today's exercise plan?   So...  I feel like the rest part might've been a fail, even if my watch tells me I haven't done enough yet ;-P.  It doesn't always reflect reality *g*.   As for the rest?  I mean, I *definitely* went outside ;-P.  I threw the ball for Sasha a ton of times, that counts as playing right?   And we're not going to talk about "nourishing food" today.  lol

I'll give you one guess what we had for dinner ;-P

The dreaded L

So today was entertaining in that I was reminded by how much time slows when you’re upside down.   The closest memory I have is being bucked off a very large and very athletic 4yo year old horse years (decades?!?!?) ago.   He’d only been under saddle a few weeks.  He spooked while I was mounting and shot forward, resulting in me somehow being on but *behind* the saddle.  You know - exactly where a lion would latch on in the wild.   I sat the first three broncs trying to figure out how to get back IN the saddle when physics kicked in and I was thoroughly launched.   I vividly recall flying though the air thinking “well, if he threw me this far, he’s not likely to step on me” lol.  And being in my 20s, I dusted myself off, and remounted without the drama this time - although definitely horrified the poor woman in the ring w me at the time lol.

So fast forward - I don’t get to ride very often these days, but am actually having a disproportionate amount of fun being upside down.   Except, when upside down is in an L shape.  lol idk why, but this one still freaks me out.  And yet, it’s arguably the position I’m most successful at balancing in.  Classic.

So hands on ground, shoulders over wrists, hips over shoulders, hips w a 90 deg fold, legs straight to the fence.   Builds strength and alignment w/o needing balance.  Bonus points for one leg straight up in the air.  All good right?  And then on top of it - if you do it right, you’ll be well balanced enough to peel gently off the fence.

So I got that for the first time a couple days ago, and seriously felt like I could’ve stayed there for ages.  I couldn’t lol - came down in seconds.  But it *felt* incredibly secure.

Now fast forward a bit and Elaine had recommended some exercises for me for lower core, as she’s identified that as a key weakness in my current position.  So we have Boat / Hollow Body Hold, the classic strength builder for lower core.  Nothing new or exciting.  Except that I’m old now and it took me almost two months to build the strength to lower my legs enough.   Front Body Line Drill, which I’d never heard of before and did NOT understand how it could do anything…. Until I tried it lol.   Essentially lie on your stomach and then with your chin, chest, and hips on the floor lift your stomach off the ground.  Bonus points for arms over your head and off the ground.   So I could do this, and I could tell it was really helping my body learn the position it needs for handstands without the balance requirement.  Win.  (For the horse people - the feeling in some ways is v similar to a half halt.  And for the record - it’s *really* hard to half halt upside down for some reason).   But then when Elaine saw that one, she sent over a video of another exercise not for learning the position but for building strength.   Since I didn’t have sound at the time, only visuals, I promptly named this one Floppy Fish.   Essentially also on your stomach but with hands behind head, lift both feet and chest off the ground (the actual gymnasts in the vid were rocking - hence the floppy lol). I honestly didn’t think I could do it cause I have very little back flexibility.   But turns out I can!  Win lol.  Except that in about 1.5 seconds, I felt a definite twing in the sides of my lower back.   I’d always taken that to be a sign of poor flexibility but finally clued in that it’s strength.  Cool.  I’m much better at fixing strength than flexibility, even when it’s a muscle I never knew existed ;)

I swear there’s a point to all this!

So today I got into the L (which is somehow way more terrifying w both legs on the fence than with one up?!?!   I don’t get it.  And my legs do NOT want to straighten - which is definitely fear-based because while my hamstrings are tight, they’re not so tight I can’t do a straight L right side up lol.   Anyways got my balance and stuck.  Like really stuck.  It felt awesome.  Like “hey now I’m starting to get bored, I wonder if I could lift my legs together without cartwheeling?”   And as I was feeling this, I suddenly had very insistent twinging of the floppy fish muscles.  “Hmmm more proof Elaine was right.  I sense this could set me way back or end very badly if I don’t listen to those muscles.  I should step down now.” And then a conscious decision for the First. Time. Ever. to voluntarily leave a balance position.   I was sooooo proud of myself lol.   

If you zoom in, you can see my foot is NOT on the fence.  
Sasha, as always, supervising ;)

Now remember, I video everything.  Partially as the most super useful self training tool ever.  Partially so I can send to Elaine w a WTF?!?! Or a “yeah me!!!” And she can help or celebrate as needed ;).  And partially so that when I invariably seriously injure myself pretending to be 10 again it’ll simplify the job for whoever has to figure out what happened.   So - who wants to take a stab at how long this forever handstand was while I had this conversation with myself?   Anyone?!?   It certainly felt impressively long.

The time-stamped reality?  Greater than three but less than four seconds.   Like handstand time is literally slower than plank time.  But a lot more fun ;)  Lol I wrote a story about slow time and long time once - just reminded me.  It’s here if you’re interested.  And there are a lot of websites which state that apparently the fun part is also true?!?!  They suggest that being upside down apparently releases happy chemicals in your brain (amongst other physical benefits).   However, due diligence required since everything I could find was either posted by a yoga-connected person, or about inversion therapy.  The closest I got to a "reputable" source is WebMD.  And, I mean, by that site I have at least half a dozen fatal illnesses so (for comparison, according to my real-life doctor, I'm in excellent health, so I'm gonna stick with that).  Anyways, IF there's actual accuracy to it, it could be part of why even when it’s beyond frustrating, I’m still enjoying this.   And have always liked being upside down so not shocking.  Usually by end of wk 6 in ANY fitness program the novelty has worn off and I’m bored.  I generally complete them - out of stubbornness more than anything.  But this might be the first one ever that I’ve actively looked forward to almost every day.

Anyways - as for frustrating - while the L was awesome, I couldn’t do a fence or freestanding stand to save my life today.   I think ALL the muscles are down.  Tomorrow is a rest day where I think I’ll actually need to rest.   Boooo

Here's the two side-by-side;
The straighter back in today's is 100% thanks to those lower-core exercises.

I saved a unicorn tonight

So I have to tell you about this puzzle I finally got around to finishing. I started it January-ish, in the depths of winter when I very much wanted something light, mindless, and whimsical to do. I couldn’t find a puzzle I wanted to do for art (aka to hang and frame) but I did find a lovely unicorn standing around w some butterflies in a meadow in the woods. Perfect.

The box said it was an Escape Room Puzzle. I had no idea what that meant but happy unicorn so doesn’t really matter. There was a paper story about the unicorn that I read, figured I’d figure out what it was talking about later, and then promptly forgot.

So away I go putting pieces together and I realized fairly quickly the picture that was forming did not match the one on the box. And there were some odd things - random numbers around the edge pieces and symbols in strange places around the puzzle. Wasn’t going to frame it anyways so all good.

Sad unicorn :(. If you zoom in you can see the grey horn.

Except, my unicorn wasn’t standing and definitely wasn’t happy. And her horn appeared to have lost its lustre. Sad. Finished the puzzle, enjoying some of the smaller details that would be hard to notice if you weren’t looking literally at each piece individually. Decided I should revisit the escape room component. Reread the story to learn that she was, in fact, dying. Oh no! But wait! I could save her! Lol

Well now we know why the unicorn is sad...

Except I couldn’t ;-P. It’d been a long day. I was sure saving her had something to do with the symbols and the numbers but no idea what or how. It’s cardboard - it’s not like it’s going to suddenly glow…. I clicked the “hint” QR code and clued in to how the puzzle worked, but decided the three hours of sleep I was working on was not sufficient brain power for me to do that much work (sorry unicorn).

BUT - I was sad for my unicorn friend and really curious what this all was about, so I’m going to freely acknowledge that I cheated and opened the answer envelope. Where I learned that certain pieces, if you took them apart and reattached them together, would, in-fact, rejuvenate our lovely unicorn’s horn. 

Happy and healthy once more

And I have to say in a world of crazy tech, the simple ingenuousness of this really made my night. So if you’re a puzzle person, maybe consider an escape room puzzle some day :)

Spanish silliness

lol excellent - just in time for slushy season!

Omg this made me laugh. 

Background: So I’m studying for a Spanish exam that I’m pretty sure is beyond my capabilities. It’s in Nov and my teacher is convinced I can be strong enough to pass by then. This exam is global, and being one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet, there are a lot of resources online to help one prepare. One of the most consistent pieces of advice is to read and listen to Spanish specifically from Spain. The reason from Spain is that while every “standard” Spanish dialect is acceptable to use on the exam, almost all the reading and listening will come from Spain. Hmmm good tip. Cause other than my current teacher, who lives in Spain, literally every exposure to Spanish I have is from Latin America.

So I asked said teacher for sources and got some really solid YouTubers and a few news sites. What made me laugh today was when I signed into the Health section of Spanish CNN the highlighted article is about how small amounts of alcohol can lower stress. You know, like the stress caused by a self-imposed decision to take an impossible exam ;). Snarky me appreciates that. There have also been studies about how non-native speakers speak much more fluently when slightly intoxicated. Might be time to rethink the whole not drinking thing ;)

Related frustration - almost every "article" of interest to me on CNN's site is a video.  Presumably useful for listening practice but super frustrating when the point is reading news articles.  Sheesh.

I firmly believe that stupid should hurt, I just wish it self-applied a little less often ;)

Typed on phone - consider yourself forewarned!

(There will be a lovely pic of our pond here in am, but can’t post from phone oddly…)   

So while working on our pond this am, I smashed my finger between two rocks (ironically while demonstrating how well the would fit together- spoiler alert, they fit almost perfectly and there was 100% not enough space for my thumb to be inbetween them).

So it’s been a long time since I’ve done anything that’s hurt quite that dramatically - and I have to say that while the whole thing sucked, my logical brain was mildly amused by my body’s extreme reactions.  Like our survival instincts are wild.

Let’s start with - at first crazy amount of swearing.  All the words in my grasp of the English language and I must’ve repeated “fuck” 20 times in a row w no other words.  C at this point was trying to ascertain how serious it was and I was trying to tell him it’d be fine I just needed a minute, but I only had that one word to work with.  How is this an evolutionary advantage?   Can’t say “there’s a pride of lions, watch out” just mutter words most women scold their children for using in public.  Helpful.

I also pulled off the glove (why?  This would do no good) and curled both my hands around it (this one makes slightly more sense but not a ton).  When I finally looked (realistically all this was a couple seconds but time slows when you’re having the opposite of fun) the thumb nail was quickly being filled with blood and the back of the thumb was already hard, tingly, and odd coloured.

C who has far more exp w these types of random injuries than I do, advises that I get my thumb above my heart (avoid more blood than necessary pooling) and sit down.

I was going to take the first advice (even though he’s pretty sure I’ll lose the nail, I’d really rather not have to stab something sharp into it to release pressure) but shrug off the rest to keep working at what we were doing.  The pain sucked but it was already downgrading rapidly.   Except that when I went to move, I realized that his first suggestion of sitting down was *not* optional and if I didn’t sit I’d pass out in the next couple seconds.  Since all around me were landscaping rocks, this would likely not end well *sigh*

So I sat down right where I’d been standing and elevated my hand.  All good right?  Except that apparently my body hadn’t gotten the memo and I started hyperventilating?!?!?  So excessively dramatic for what is, in reality, a little thing.  And what really amused me is that’s what said logic brain was thinking: “this is dumb, and you’re hyperventilating.  Iiiinnnn, ooouuuttt, breathe slowly” - like my inner voice giving me both the normal inner voice snarkiness and then *switching tone* to the exact one I would use externally to talk someone else through the same thing?!?!   Like really?  And then my mind would wander and I’d start hyperventilating again and both inner personalities would come back and collectively solve the problem.  Meanwhile the academic part of my brain is going “this is odd but very cool” lol

Then I clue in that I’m suddenly feeling nauseous - which is so NOT going to help.  And snarky brain is like “wtf, we get the message, we need no more signs that you’ve got an owie.”  So I get up and go to get my water, but only get as far as the deck before dizzy again.   Sheesh.   So sit for a bit more till nausea outweighs dizzy and relocate inside to facilities that can manage that.   So much unwarranted drama.  Like really.

Come back and sit still for a bit more sipping water and systems slowly regulate themselves.   Rest of the day no problem except for occasional rude reminders that things that should be mindless (like tucking my hair behind my ear - which I do a few hundred times a day; or even doing up a button - for something those without long hair can relate to) may hurt for a while *sigh*.   Said thumb is now about twice the size it should be, a smoky shade of purple on both sides, and doesn’t fully straighten.  It only hurts when pressure is applied though.   The real test will be the 24h rule - which is approximately tomorrow am.   Fingers crossed it’s okay.  I’m *really* queasy about things in my - or other people’s - nails; I can’t even peel chestnuts off horses (those who know…).  Interestingly, I’d have no problem piercing the skin on the other side (you know, the organ than can expand to deal with the situation) but the idea of the nail gives me nightmares.  Thanks brain.

So yeah - that was my mini psyc experiment for the day.  While the results were moderately entertaining I’m still gonna give it a solid 0/5 stars.  Highly do not recommend.  And I’ll be very annoyed if this interrupts my current fitness plan which is actually getting results AND I’m enjoying it.  Like no.  Not an okay time to stop.

Hope your wknd had a more auspicious start than mine!


So Thursday I had the first L ever that was truly balanced, and I was SOOOOO excited.  Only to realise my finger had stuttered and turned the camera OFF before I started.   I gave everything I had to recreating it and failed repeatedly.   And then I tried some freestanding ones and they were pretty horrible to.   It was, disappointing and frustrating to be sure.  And I know, logically, that this is 100% normal part of learning.  That does not actually make it any easier.  What it DOES do, is make it okay, and make me more inclined to try again the next day.

Alas the next day ended up being a bit of a write off.  Suffice to say there was zero practice.  Or exercise.  Or anything.  Combination of busy and not well did not lead to practice.

So then we get to this morning.  I did *not* sleep well last night and then was woken up super-early (thanks Nola.  Sheesh).   So even while I was warming up to practice, I was not in a good mental space.  Yet, that first L the other day?  At least as good as the one that didn't get filmed.  Maybe even better!   

The important part to note here is the foot next to the fence is not ON the fence.
I held this, in balance, for almost THREE WHOLE SECONDS.
In my new life, this is awesome lol

AND shortly after, I had my first freestanding hold that I felt was actually balanced, rather than just straight up, tiny pause, straight down.   It was a bent-knee pose, so not *quite* what I'm going for, but still huge progress.  So yeah super-excited about that.

I timed it on the video, it was less than 2 seconds lol
But it was SOLID.  And it's the first one that has ever been.

Traditional brilliance or disaster of the beginner learning curve.

And then, to top it off, I went and squished my thumb between two rocks later that day :(.  It is now thoroughly purple. We shall see how that impacts practice over the next few days.  I don't have many weeks left till my goal, so I'm really hoping it's still usable.  Currently looks like the whole thumb is covered in charcoal.  Probably not the best sign, but we'll see.

Entertaining the neighbours

Today was the kind of day that demonstrates why adults don’t learn new skills.   Not cause they can’t but because it’s horribly frustrating when to fail over and over and over when your brain says “this should be easy”.

Today was the first day I really tried practicing without a fence.   Last time I learned how to “bail” but was so sore I didn’t even attempt to actually do a handstand.  After today…. Well suffice to say I am 100% comfortable w bailing lol.  I did it many, many, many, MANY, times.

Some things I learned:

  • video is KEY.  It’s all new, and generally happening in a second, so being able to replay each one and see what should I have done differently sets the next one up for improvement
  • When there are 8000 things to fix, the “next one” is unlikely to be any better.  Nor the one after that.  Nor…. Well you get the idea ;)
  • Without the fence, if I’m not paying attention, my hands will default to WAY farther apart than they should be - which is an extra challenge I 100 do not need rn.
  • Practicing the form standing actually dramatically increases chances of success of the next try
  • Part of what the fence allowed was time.  I realized I was setting it up in stages:  kick up, straighten shoulders, tighten core, tighten legs, find balance.   Without the fence you have to do all those skills together. That’s…. A bit much for my little brain  atm ;-P.  
  • If I forget the core engagement, a - it fails super fast, and b - omg does my lower back ever hurt instantly.  Like talk about instant correction!
  • What I did do, just to make sure I wasn’t fully entrenching BAD habits, was every once in a while throw in a fence hold to re-establish how it’s supposed to work (theoretically- let’s acknowledge my fence holds aren’t great either lol)
  • I’m playing a little w keeping my second leg bent - it’s a bit like keeping an arm out for balance.  I’m hopeful it’ll help me get said balance and then I can straighten it.

Also, the street behind us was having work done - you better believe the flag guy stopping traffic at the corner of our lot was highly entertained by this insanity.  Fortunately most of the cars couldn’t see, but he had just the right view.   As did my elderly Nepalese neighbour who doesn’t speak a word of English and is often very confused by what I’m doing lol (last time he got his grandson to ask it was spreading cold campfire ashes over the grass); this time he just finished his smoke, shook his head, and went back inside lol.  So yeah, I’m def hitting the crazy old lady buttons younger than expected, but I think as long as it stays away from my work persona, I might be okay w that ;)

Anyways - in the end there were 21 videos today.   Each of which had between 3 and 10 tries.   Of ALL of those - 2 resembled something that might one day be a handstand.  The first one that felt “right”, I quit.   And it took ALL of my adulting abilities to do so.  I’ve studied enough about how we learn to know first and last things you do are what gets embedded (so first was fence, last was as good as it could get) and I’ve been both a coach and a learner for long enough to know that “one more time” esp on a new skill, is *never* one more time.  And a coach I had when I was very young once told me “once us luck, twice is a fluke, three times means you’ve got it” — this has always stuck w me and generally played out to be accurate.  But today might be the first time ever that I’ve convinced myself to accept the fluke and call it a win lol.   Also, since it’s a “fresh day” (aka after rest day) I felt good - it was *super* hard to acknowledge that I’m not strong enough yet to do “just a few more” after dinner.  Here’s hoping it all pays off tomorrow ;)