Year of Yes

So I turn 33 tomorrow! I made it and so far it looks like NO ONE WILL BE IN THE HOSPITAL!!!! Seriously the last 2 out of 3 birthdays were spent in the hospital, first with my dad then last year with my sister’s car accident. Although the nurses do love left over birthday cupcakes…. they’ll miss that this year.

That leads me to my YEAR OF YES. I came across this book thanks to Jenny Lawson, the author of Furiously Happy and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, famous for The Bloggess site she runs. She had a down day a few weeks ago and to spread love and cheer for those of us in the same boat she asked for followers to create an Amazon Wish List with ONE book they really needed right now. I had 100% no idea what to put so I scanned Jenny’s list for inspiration. And I stumbled across Shonda Rhimes’s Year of Yes and Year of Yes journal.

Yes, THE Shonda Rhimes of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder fame. Turns out this amazing person is just as much as an introvert as I am if not worse. Her older sister confronted her one Thanksgiving and said “You never say yes to anything.” And, like her, it was a bolt of lightening. I never say yes to anything, even if I really want to do it. And if I do say yes there is a damned good chance that I’m going to pull out at the last minute with some excuse and feel even worse about myself. Or, if it’s a Facebook invite, I ignore it and it goes away from my events list.

I’m only about half way through the book and she herself is just starting her Year of Yes but I get it. I 100% get it. It’s about doing the things that scare you or that you are missing out on. Getting over yourself, over coming that anxiety or whatever is holding you back to live life to the fullest. It took Shonda herself a while to come up with this plan but, like me, it was like a strike of lightening, the fire under our asses. HER YoY included things like going on Jimmy Kimmel Live, giving the commencement speech at her alma mater, playing more with her kids, no matter what was going on. Mine, of course, aren’t quite that dramatic (in the eyes of the world) but to me, it’s a big freaking deal.

So… what are my YoY plans? I’m still working on it but one thing I’d like to do is take a burlesque 101 class offered by a Facebook friend. I’ll probably never perform but it looks like so much fun and a big body positive confidence booster. I’d like to say YES to more drag shows or local musical productions, concerts at IU that are free and just as good as anything in New York. Yes I’ll do that 5K with you. Yes let’s gym it up. Anything to get me out of the house, active and happy. I’m filling up my Facebook events with things I’d like to do, a LGBTQ+/Ally picnic later in June to remember the Pulse victims and come together as a community. This Saturday is Spencer Pride Fest and I’d love to drive over for it. Birthday parties, general parties. If I can make it I’m saying YES.

Yes to travel. Yes to that amazing meal. Yes to hanging with a friend over drinks or going to that movie together.

YES to life itself.

When I think about it, I’m not going to lie, the panic and fear and anxiety already set in. What if I say or do the wrong thing? What if I get there and no one will talk to me and I’m the creep in the corner? What if I’m one of the only people there? What if, what if what if?! My life is a constant WHAT IF and that leads me to staying home, in bed, with my cats and my cell phone. Watching OTHERS go live their lives and enjoy themselves and wonder why I couldn’t have done that myself.

No more backseat, watching from social media. I’m starting my Year of Yes tomorrow.

Your cholesterol is better… but you might have cancer

Hi everyone. I’ve been putting off doing this for a few days as I come to grips with my life right now. I went to the doctor for a follow up visit from my January annual. My triglycerides (carbs) were double what they needed to be so Doc put me on a limited carb diet (literally everything I eat, bread, pasta, potato etc etc) and told me to come back in 3 months. At that time he also casually mentioned that my white blood cell count was higher than normal and he’d flag that to look at again in 3 months. Could just be allergies or the ever present sinus infection I always seem to have.

Fast forward to last Tuesday. Blood work has been done and I sulk into the meeting knowing I didn’t do enough about the triglycerides to make him happy and I was about to get “yelled at”. Not really, Doc is amazing and really inspiring and would never yell at me about my failures. He works from a laptop and shows me that my cholesterol numbers went down or up as needed and he was happy. The triglycerides were not quite where he wanted them (let’s be honest here I ate a box of mac and cheese the night before the blood draw) but they were much much better than in January.

Then he asked how I was feeling. Being an honest person with my doc here in my 30’s I told him that my depression and anxiety were pretty horrid and I was exhausted all the damned time. That some weekends all I do is sleep. I don’t eat, do laundry or shower, I just lie in bed, to exhausted to do anything for myself. I’d been under the impression this was my depression working on me and that maybe if I got a new pill or a 2nd pill it would help. He prescribes Wellbutrin to go alongside my Lexipro script easily. Too easily I thought.

So drops the bomb. He says “Well let’s look at that white blood count.” I had 100% forgot about it, so focused on my eating habits.

The numbers had climbed from January. I literally had no idea what he was trying to tell me. I remember the word allergies from January so I told him I’d been sleeping with my window open and been trying to be outside more but wasn’t taking any allergy meds. It was just allergies, I’ll start taking my Claritin and it’ll be ok. He dismissed this and said that the concern was in my lymphocytes, whatever the hell THAT means. I just nodded along oblivious to what he was telling me. He’s the doc, he knows what’s best. I know very little about the blood, it’s never been a concern of mine enough to study and read about blood disorders.

Doc said, I’m referring you to a hematologist who can go over this with you more in depth.  They’ll be calling you this afternoon (the appointment was at 9am) and I want you to see them ASAP. Um, ok doc, whatever that means.

So I get my print out of what we talked about today with my next appt to see him about how the new anti-depressant in 3 more months. I think “Sara you should probably check the Mayo Clinic website to see what the fuck he was talking about” and to prepare myself for this new doctor I’m about to add to my list.

Fuck it all the first thing that came up was leukemia. I might have fucking cancer in my blood trying to kill me. Instant panic attack. Anxiety goes through the roof and I just want to go home, get in bed and cry my eyes out. But I’m to tired for that and I need to work for the insurance I’m probably going to need.

Then the “rational” part of my brain tries to take control back from the panic part of my brain. Panic part has ALWAYS been larger than the rational part so this took a while. “You don’t have cancer you idiot. No one in your family has a history or leukemia. You need to figure out of you are due for your 10 year updated colonoscopy, that’s the cancer you need to worry about. Jesus God Sara I swear you need to calm down.”

Panic part of the brain won out again and kept reading about the symptoms/signs of leukemia. Let’s just copy and paste that list from the Mayo Clinic and go over it together, shall we panic side?

  • Fever or chills YES
  • Persistent fatigue, weakness OMFG YES
  • Frequent or severe infections Sinus infection count?
  • Losing weight without trying Yeah right thankfully although I did loose 3 pounds!
  • Swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver or spleen Kind of?
  • Easy bleeding or bruising All the time…. I’m a klutz
  • Recurrent nosebleeds It’s not drippy but it’s been bloody all winter I just figured it was because I was snorting the dry air of Indiana winter.
  • Tiny red spots in your skin (petechiae) No, thankfully. At least I think.
  • Excessive sweating, especially at night ARE YOU WATCHING ME SLEEP MAYO CLINIC (this has been going on since like January where I wake up and my pillow is soaked and there is sweat dripping down the back of my neck. I just thought it was to hot in my room so I turned off the heat and it was still happening)
  • Bone pain or tenderness Everything hurts all the times, even parts I didn’t know could hurt on me besides my normal ankle, knee and back. Hips, shoulders, everything on my hurts all the time right now and has for a few weeks. 

So…….. rational part of the brain is no where to be seen at this point and hasn’t returned. I’m literally in panic, fight or flight mode, 100% now. My appointment with the hematologist isn’t for 8 days. 8 days of panic. Great….

Other things this could be: my spleen or appendix acting up, raging infection somewhere in the body that I have no idea about. But honestly the symptoms for those things don’t really fit.

Yeah, I might have cancer. I might be in a literal fight for my life this summer/fall. So if I seem panicky, anxious or just out of it the next week or so just bear with me, I’m going through some shit I never thought I’d ever have to deal with in my life.

Do You Wanna Run a 5K?

So I told you in the last post I’ve been paired up with a student of personal training here at my job. We’ve met now 3 times, twice doing workouts and she wanted me to sign up for do a 5K. I did tell her it was a goal of mine, but for this fall. She said that wasn’t good enough, she wanted one done in May. 5 weeks away.

I registered and paid for it today and ordered the t-shirt to remember my shame. Can’t back out now. I posted about it on Facebook looking for support and “you totally got this!” messages and wound up with a running buddy. A friend of mine of a few years is going to come up and do the trail run with me in support. And then SHE posted about it on HER Facebook and is gathering even MORE people for my support group.

Oh yeah, did I mention, I didn’t just sign up for a road race 5K, I signed up for a TRAIL RUN through the Morgan Monroe State Forest.

Because go big or go home for your first time out right? I can already feel my shin splits screaming at me after the first half mile.

What does this mean? Cram in the 9 week Couch to 5K training in 5 weeks? Hell to the no. I’ve already made it clear that I will not be able to run the whole thing. I will use my intervals to run/walk the thing and finish as best as I can.

But I’m 100% killing two birds with one stone and will be participating in the Save the Manatees 5K virtually! This is where you sign up on line then run the race in your own hometown and at your own time. So I’ll be running the 5K trail run and count that for the virtual run as well. Cheating? Maybe but both organizations are getting their money and that’s all that matters.

Plus Save the Manatees has a finisher medal that comes with the package, even for us virtual runners.

I’m gonna get me a medal.

And then…. 10K in the fall? Is my broken down body even capable of that non-sense?

First let’s survive through May 20th.

Wow, fuck right off depression

Ok so it’s been awhile, again. I’ve really been battling with my depression and anxiety off and on for the last part of the winter and this early spring. I’m functional in that I go to work, sometimes go out by myself to the movies or to dinner or to a play or two. But most of the time I go to work, work my shift, come home and go to sleep. I don’t eat dinner, I don’t shower, I just take off my clothes once I hit the room to my door, drop them as I cross to my bed and climb back in the messy bed I’d vacated earlier. I’d kind of check my social media but most time I’d fall asleep to the BBC World Service and playing my word search app.

Not a great way to live.

I’d think “I’ll make up for it this weekend.” NOPE. I’d hardly get out of bed, eat or take care of myself and my life. I don’t remember the last time I actually did laundry. In a fit I cleaned my room up a bit and threw all the dirty clothing (the stuff I wear to work) in the basket and drug the basket out to my living room. Fully intended to take it downstairs the next day and wash it. About 3 weeks later MOM finally got sick of looking at it and washed some of it with her stuff. So grown up of me.

So the struggle is daily. I’m still taking my meds and trying to eat healthy but tonight was the first time in 3 weeks that I actually took a full shower. No joke. I know, that’s disgusting. But that’s the reality of depression. You don’t even have the energy to BATHE!

I believe in the spoon theory. A quick backstory for those that don’t know what that is. The spoon theory is that you wake up every day with a limited number of “spoons”. This number is different for everyone based on different factors in your life. Quality and length of sleep, diet, medical conditions etc, all add to or take away your daily number of spoons. Some days I wake up and feel I have an unlimited number of spoons and I never think about them. For about the past 3 or 4 weeks I’ve had a very limited number of spoons to get through my day. Some days I have little to none. One Sunday I had 0 spoons. I slept all day, didn’t eat and only got out of bed to go to the bathroom. That was the worst.

I know people are worried about me. I know my family is worried about me. I think the friends that have noticed are worried about me. I hate having people worried about me.

BUT…

I have some good things coming my way via work just this week.

IT’S PRIDE WEEK at my work. I’m so proud to work somewhere that recognizes the LGBTQ+ community.

Last Wednesday I met with a student who is taking me on via her Intro to Personal Training class. We are going to work together for the next few weeks as trainer and client. She’s going to push me, I’m going to push back and hopefully I will come out on the other end with a new cheerleader. She’s so amazing and friendly and just seemed to GET me. I think it helps that at this point I have no where to go but up so I’m willing to try ANYTHING to get out of this rut. Every week she DOES have a focus thanks to this being a real college class but we’re going to rock this out. We meet again this Wednesday for baseline metrics to follow my progress.

This Friday is my first massage with the new massage therapy students. It’s free, and the teachers are from my normal massage clinic, That’s The Rub so I know the students are going to be well taught. I have an appointment this Friday and again in about a month. In all this will save me $200 and get some training for a student in real life work. It’s all about the students, even just working in the Testing Center like I do.

Saturday Pride week ends with an AMAZING drag show at work that benefits the Ivy Tech Student Emergency Fund (I think that’s right). It’s an all ages show held in the afternoon so the audience will be different but that’s ok! Bringing local drag performers to people who might not be able to come out to The Back Door every weekend.

The IU baseball team is at home this week for some games. They just swept the Northwestern Wildcats this weekend so they’re riding a high.

Plus this paycheck week is an overtime week. So I’m going to treat myself. Shape up my hair (it’s a shaggy mess), get a new pair or two of jeans (the hole in my crotch of my only pair is atrocious) and maybe take myself to a nice dinner somewhere.

I need to get back on track. I have an appointment with m doctor coming up and I hope I can take to him about maybe trying a new depression med (I’m already taking a daily B12 supplement).

It’s one day at a time, some times it’s one hour at a time. When my spoons run out I’m not going to apologize or beat myself up. I want to go to bed at night with few spoons left because I lived that day to the fullest, whatever that means for that day.

Because that’s how I’m going to beat this dragon back down again. It’s reared it’s ugly head for to long it needs to go back in it’s hole for a while. The battles are exhausting, and some I’ve not won, but I will win this war.

New Year, New You Bull Crap

So I had my annual physical with my doctor last Friday. My blood pressure was so much better thanks to the second pill he put me on to take care of my headaches. My sugars were perfect (my dad’s siblings are pretty much all diabetic so it’s a concern for me). My cholesterol was borderline. The carbs/sugars were TWICE what they should be. If I can’t get it under control by our next visit in April I’m going to be put on ANOTHER medicine to help control it. This is NOT what I wanted for my life, a pill for every problem!

TWICE.

FML, folk.

Everything he listed (bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, potatoes) are staples in my diet. Literally 80% of what I eat was listed. He just trashed pretty much everything I eat.

What am I supposed to freaking do?

He said look at the paleo diet. Meat and veggies. Meat and veggies. So I got a few books from the library and started doing some reading. It sounds good but totally not feasible for my lifestyle. Not that I can’t eat the stuff it’s just the time to prep the food, check all the labels in the grocery store, spend hours searching for recipes that are easy to make but don’t take 5 hours and a ton of ingredients that cost a fuck ton.

So I threw paleo out of door and am sending the books back to the library with my mother. It’s just not going to happen, sorry folks. Those that can and do follow paleo, more power to you, but it’s not for me. And the changes have to be sustainable and realistic for me and my life. Paleo doesn’t fit.

But eating a freaking salad everyday for lunch and dinner isn’t going to cut it either. I HATE salad, the things I have to add to the salad to make it edible (cheese, dried cranberry, sunflower seeds and dressing) make it not so healthy any more.

My go to lunch: soup and a sandwich. A FREAKING SANDWICH.

Really, ya’ll.

So that’s my life right now. Lots of cranky feelings. I realize I need to approach these changes with a positive attitude otherwise I’m going to fail and backslide quickly. But I’m like a little kid, they’re taking away my comfort blanket and I’m cold and cranky and HUNGRY.

Best part, I went to the store with my mom yesterday. She was buying for the house, I was just buying for myself for the week or so of lunches at work. My cost :$77 Hers:$85.

So this is going to be hard AND expensive.

If you see a lot of tears and bitching and moaning about little things, bear with me. My body is crying out for carbs and I might lash out. It’s not you, it’s me, literally.

It’s been a long time/now I’m/coming back home

So it’s been a while 2 months since the last post. The election happened, NaNoWriMo came and went and the Holidays are over. We’ve survived this far into 2017 and 2016 went out with a bang.

Work is still going well. We had the last week off, which was nice. I’m making connections and new friends throughout the building and getting nice compliments in return. Finals week was NUTS but I survived. Anytime a student can walk in to the testing room feeling confident and walk out with a smile from me making it easier for them I consider that a good day. One guy today told us he loved us.

Pets: well that’s a different story. On January 1st we finally put our old lab mix Rose to sleep. She was between 15-18 years old and had finally stopped eating. She was blind and in pain and it was the right thing to do. Loki girl is recovering from pneumonia, no idea how she caught that. She gets 2 antibiotic a day and has perked up quite a bit. She’s back to giving side eye and meowing and getting into things. So it was a really rough way to end 2016 but it needed to be done.

Quilting: I’m going to try, in 2017, to not start any new projects until I get an old project completed (quilted and bound and off to it’s new home if it has one). I have about 17 old projects in various stages of completion. Some are fabric with patterns that need cutting, some are cut and ready for piecing, some are in various stages of piecing and then there are some waiting for backing and finishing. Either way, I need to finish these before I get distracted and start other things. They’re projects that I love and want to finish I just find something new to start and it gets pushed aside. I’m excited to finish some things and get them into their new homes in 2017. Spreading the quilt love.

I’ve also taken on the role of Publicity Chair for the Bloomington Quilt Guild’s 2017 quilt show. The show is in mid-November and I’m responsible for getting people interested and in the door those 2 days. I have some fun ideas about using video and YouTube and other social media that has developed in the last 3 years since the last quilt show. Plus I know how to use Twitter, Facebook and things to drive publicity where some other chairs in the past might not have. It’s a big undertaking, I don’t know if I have a committee yet, but I wan’ted to get more involved with things and this is the first step. We have a meeting this coming Saturday to go over the plan for the Spring. Writing press releases and setting up interviews and things with local media is my gig this spring. I’m both excited and nervous as there is a lot riding on the right publicity at the right time.

Personal: I’m still fat and tired but I’m really going to do something about that in 2017. Someone has caught my eye and I’m ready to move on from the unknown status of the past and see where life takes me. I’m not getting any younger, even though everyone thinks I’m still in my 20’s apparently, not 32. Just someone to hang with, do geeky stuff with and tell me I’m pretty.

I gave in a few weeks ago and really sat down to listen to the Hamilton soundtrack. I had tried this summer and realized that I needed a block of time to sit and really listen to it, not just have it on as background noise while I went about my life. And I’m in love. It hasn’t really changed my non-existent opinion on Hamilton himself but I have mad respect for Lin-Manuel Miranda for making the world give a shit about Broadway and the Founding Fathers again.

Blog Future: I hope to start making regular posts on Sundays, updating my quilting progress, any success or failures I’ve had during the week and picking one topic of the week to talk about. A way to get to know me even better than on regular social media. It can be a news story, updating or education on a cause that is important to me or just a general rant about life and how absurd human beings are. I’ll be sure to throw in any movie, TV or book reviews as I come across the media as well.

Here’s to a great 2017!

NaNoWriMo has begun

Hey guys. Well we are 3 days into National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo). Reader friends who are participating, how are we feeling? This is by far my most successful attempt. I’m just short of 6,000 and a tiny bit ahead of schedule right now. I’ve actually found time to do a lot of my writing at work. It’s quiet now and I’m getting what I need to get done, done. I had blocked off an hour and a half every night after work to sit at my desk and write my 1,667 words out but this is just kind of working.

I was going to hand write EVERYTHING out in composition notebooks. That lasted he first 500 words. My poor wrist couldn’t handle it and I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to 1) keep up with my word count 2) transcribe what I’d written once I was ready to type it all out. To verify your word count at the end of the month, and therefore be an official winner of NaNoWriMo if you reach your 50,000 words, you have to upload a digital file that counts the words for you. I’ll still carry my notebooks to write in’s on Saturdays with my local Bloomington NaNo group but almost everything else is typed.

I’m using Google Doc as a word processor. I don’t need anything fancy at all, just a place to type and save. The cool thing about GD is that I can access anywhere there is an open internet connection. At work, home, on the go via my phone. That’s how I can take the notebooks to the write in’s and be able to stay on plot. I can read what I’ve gotten so far off my phone and go from there. Type it up when I get home into the Google Doc and move on. The GD also has a word count feature like Microsoft Word or other processors. It saves it automatically for me, I can just close the browser and off I go. It’s made this whole attempt so much easier than in the past.

I found out there is even a voice to text feature with GD so I could dictate via my phone if I was driving or at the gym etc etc. Somewhere I couldn’t write in a more traditional way. How cool is that?!

Still figuring out my other characters. I have my main character down pretty well, which wasn’t that hard once I started writing her. She has 3 friends, 2 female and 1 male, that I have a general idea about but I’m still figuring out how they are going to fit together within the story as well as stand out in their own right. And I’m not even close to dealing with the rebels leader and her second in command (second in command might have come to me the other day while typing out what I thought was going to be a throw away bit of info and it clicked to me… we’ll see if I can get the dots to connect). They’re second and third act. I’ve barely started the 3rd act. Before I stopped to write this my 4 teenage characters were just sitting down to open their Notes together, which is the flash bang to start the running plot.

My main fear right now is I’m going to get on a tear and start getting closer to the end of the plot in the middle of the month and I’m going to be no where NEAR 50,000 words. At first you’re like, oh yeah that’s not much at all I can TOTALLY do that. Then you sit down to actually work, you type out this giant paragraph and it’s less than 100 words. And you have to do that HOW many more times in 30 days?! Right now, I’m on track with word count. It’s not hard to fill the count but it’s not as easy as it sounds at first. You become OBSESSED with the word count function on your processor, checking it every few minutes, even if you haven’t typed a thing. Something MIGHT have changed. It’s ridiculous.

Word count of this post so far: 703 up to the word ridiculous. Less than half of what I need to create daily. For 30 days.

Sometimes you got it sometimes you don’t.

Dreadnote

Lots to catch up on since last time:

Quilt Retreat: Had a lovely time with my quilting friends at Spring Mill State Park October 9-11. Ate lots, took a long hike around the lake in beautiful fall weather. And of course got lots of sewing done. While there I was also able to listen to a full audio book, You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott. If you’d like to read my review it will be up soon on my Goodreads page. Plot Summary from Goodreads for those that might be interested “Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate. From a writer with “exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl,” (Janet Maslin) You Will Know Me is a breathless roller coaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition.

I gave it a 3 star review on Goodreads and like I said will elaborate there shortly.

I’m not going to post any photos of what I worked on at quilt retreat because they are all gifts and I’d like to keep the gifts a secret before I give them out as much as I can. I will hopefully remember to take final photos and post those once they get to their new homes.

Job: Still going well. I made it through midterms week with nary a scratch on me. It’s quieted down again until finals week but there is still plenty to do.

NaNoWriMo: I’m still struggling with a complete plot idea for this novel attempt. Anytime I sit down to think about it my mind goes fuzzy with static. So while I’ll have the characters, villain, setting and scenes hopefully planned that’s it. So I’ll be a combo of planning and writing by the seat of my pants aka “pants-ing it”. The local Bloomington NaNo group is getting together twice a week for write ins. The ones on Wednesday nights probably won’t work for my schedule but I hope to make the ones on Sundays at the library. And they’re having a kick off event as well at a local restaurant that I hope to get to. I’m really going to give it a try, my binder is made for my pre-writing even. Still don’t know if I’m going to hand write (best for portability) or type it up somewhere and share it between my work, home and other computers at libraries etc with Google Docs. My sister has my poor, beaten up laptop for her “school work” and I can’t take it away from her for the month, even though it’s mine.

And I guess that’s about it, really. The title of this post of the title of my NaNoWriMo novel this year. Seems tacky and cliche but I don’t care. It might change but I wanted something before I started to give it an anchor.

Hello, it’s me

I’ve been rather busy. I started my new job as a testing proctor at the local community college. It’s a LOT to learn but everyone thinks I’m doing ok so far. I can at least get a student set up with their test, which is the main part of my job ya know. It’s a better environment for me mentally. I’m not emotionally invested as I was with the pets. Midterms are next week and we should be busy, busy, busy. But I have the first 2 days off to go to quilt retreat with my friends. So I can ease on in to it.

This past weekend I was lucky to get out of the house quite a bit. Thursday the 29th Bob the Drag Queen came to The Back Door here in Bloomington for a show. The local talent was amazing and worth going just for that. We had the hostest with the mostest Argenta Peron, Richard Cranium (who was spectacular and the costumes were on POINT, I’m usually not crazy about the female to male performers, Drag Kings I guess, and I don’t know why but this performance was wonderful and fun), Bunny van Doren and Pepper Mills providing burlesque realness. I realized that I need the confidence of a burlesque performer. They just go out there and DO IT and love it. So that was a great night of local talent and I was really happy to see the local crowd upping their tipping game. When I first started going to these shows three years ago now no one but ME would tip. I got a lot of attention from the performers that way but this shit ain’t CHEAP yo. So Argenta started giving a heads up before shows that YES it is ok to tip and has came up with ways to make it easier and less awkward to tip performers, which was nice. For some people it’s hard enough to leave the house to come to the show, actually interacting with a performer to hand them a tip night be to much. BUT they want to show their appreciation so folk take bags or boxes of buckets around the crowd to collect. Let’t the performer perform and lessens any anxiety for folk that need it.

Then Bob came out to do her thing. It started as a bit of a stand up act where she joked with the audience and told a few Drag Race stories. She did a great mash up lip sync that was spot on. You could tell that time and effort to perfect to musical cues was taken. This is her full time JOB now and you could tell. Not knocking the locals, it’s just the truth. She enjoyed the performance and crowd so much that she did another number unplanned. She taught us all how to Vogue, duck walked and death dropped all over the place. I just loved it. He’s about a billion feet tall WITHOUT the giant heels. So while I wasn’t super crazy about him on the show the first few episodes, in real life she’s a darling and a great representative of the drag community.

So as I was driving home and trying to think thoughts I was just really happy I made the effort on a work night to go. The Bloomington drag community is so warm and welcoming to performers and the audience. I’m proud to be a tiny part of it through Oriana Peron in some way and hope to even do some sponsorships of local queens in 2017 with my new job money coming in. The community gives me so much to smile about and I’m always happy after I leave a performance I really want to give something back to those performers other than $1 and $5 tips.

Friday after work my mother and I attended the Indiana University Fall Ballet. The first was a Balanchine choreographed number that was lovely. The corp wore Wedgwood blue tutus with (I think) yellow trim. From our seats and with the lights the trim looks white, adding to the Wedgwood effect. The principle dancers were wearing yellow with blue trim, making me think it was yellow but white. Either way it looked like a Wedgwood plate (not a bad thing!) or an iced sugar cookie, with the white tutu poking out. The second performance was modern ballet, which I’m going to admit isn’t my thing. It was a premier performance with wonderful music. I actually really enjoyed myself. The costumes were lovely and the lighting was really nice. Warm golden tones that really highlighted the various skin tones of the dancers and invited you in to the performance in a warm setting. The final number was Twila Tharp choreography and you could tell. I realized half way through why I wasn’t crazy about “modern” ballet but LOVED traditional.

Traditional ballet they all line up in lines and repeat movements in a wave or together. It’s nice and orderly and lovely. Modern ballet, some choreographers have them all doing different things, going different ways and not all the time in beat with the music. My poor OCD tendencies were going NUTS. Not that there is anything WRONG with this style, it just isn’t my thing.

Saturday I had received a free ticket through work to go to the final IU theater performance of Dancing and Lughnasa by Irish playwright Brian Friel. I had read this play during a continuing studies course through IU a few year ago and was eager to see it performed. If you know anything of Friel, or Irish plays in general it seems, they are more interested in the family and home life and those interactions, rather than some sweeping epic with lots of sets and characters and various plot lines. This could not have been more of a model for that. A small acting corp, 5 sisters, an older brother, a love interest and a male narrator who is the grown up son of one of the sisters. That’s it. It’s a one set deal, the house they all share in Donegal. A few of the actors and the behind the scenes folk were making this their Master’s project, which made me happy. Any attention paid to Irish things is ok with me.

The actors did all attempt an accent, with the help of a dialect coach that did an OUTSTANDING job with them. No one dropped the accents or tripped over Irish pronunciations that can be a bit off. I wasn’t sure about the love interest, he was supposed to be Welsh and I’m not familiar with that accent myself so I couldn’t tell you if it was good or not. The older uncle ended up with a British accent but that was to be expected. He’d spent many years prior with the British Army in Africa in a leper colony. When not speaking Swahili he would be exposed to the British accent so it made sense if you paid enough attention to the back story. You could tell a lot of work and thought went into just that bit of the performance, which made me very happy. The acting was spectacular, as always with an IU production. The costumes, while simple, fit the actors well, allowed movement (they do dance quite wildly after all) and were period perfect to that time in Ireland.

A lot of the issues I had with the performance were just the play itself. The brother, when returned from the British Army because he has malaria and is dying, is shunned by the local church, despite being a Pastor (I think) himself. I think this has to do with the play’s setting within history (1938). He was working with the hated British as an Irishman. Or maybe it was a jealousy thing. Either way, the man, because of his interaction for so many years with the African tribes thanks to his job, has a more fluid outlook on religion and worship than when he left, which could also be a reason for shunning. But either way it’s never made clear WHY he is getting the cold shoulder from the townsfolk, and that annoyed me. I love detail and intricacies like that. At the end of the play the reason had no bearing on what happened. It’s just a detail I enjoy in stories.

Would I have recommended a viewing? Maybe. I would have said, go for the work the actors and the crew have put in to the play. It was fantastic from top to bottom. Just don’t expect much out of the material. You are left to your own devices as to smaller details of what is going on in the play. It’s just a Friel play through and through. I’m glad I went. It was in the larger theater of the “new” theater wing at IU. I somehow sat in the front row (don’t recommend again, my poor neck) which was a treat. All for free thanks to my job and the Bloomington Fire Dept bringing us some tickets.

So it was a busy weekend. On top of my arts dates I’ve been cat sitting for a friend. She was her regular pet cats that are darling and 2 sets of mommy and baby cats. One set will be 2 week old Thursday and 1 set is ready for the spay/neuter surgeries this week so they’re 8 weeks. There isn’t any better therapy for me than to sit in a room of playful kittens and watch them go. So that’s been fun. And of course snuggles from the mommy kitties.

Next week, Sunday afternoon through Tuesday evening, I’ll be at Spring Mill State Park for a quilt retreat! I already have my packing list together and a vague idea of what I’m going to take with me to work on. I’m excited to go but don’t have much as prepared as I usually go. Usually my fabric is cut and ready to sew together. The largest project I’m taking is from a jelly roll that is precut. I sew those together in a random order then subcut those. So I don’t want to do that until I get to retreat. I find with “random” stuff it’s best for me to sit and do it in all one go otherwise the “random” always looks different. Which… is the point maybe?

Anyway it will be a nice relaxing weekend with friends to kick off fall. I hope to get a lot done and enjoy myself.

Sorry this was soooo long. I just wanted to get some ideas out about the things I did and saw these past few days. This Thursday one of my favorite drag queens, Willam, is coming to town. I am SO EXCITED about that. So things keep coming up, my depression keeps letting me go and things keep looking up. Finally.

~S