Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Resolutions 2014

Let's take a look at how I did for '13:

Pass Gold Moves - erm... I took gold moves, and got some good feedback.

Train like a 10K - did it!

Move it, move it - I did six 5ks in addition to the 10K.

Competing - I competed four times at skating competitions, getting two gold and a bronze. Not bad.

Axel - I'm close...

Shrinking Woman - I have been maddeningly gaining and losing the same 7 pounds all year long. No one is surprised by this, apparently I'm supposed to give my body time to adjust to this body. I also found I was eating wrong, and put my body into starvation mode by counting my calories too closely. Sorry body.

So, what's up '14?

Gold Moves, again.

Keep the running going - I joined the Grand Rapids Running Club, and will start doing more with them to prepare for the 10k in May, the 8k in August, the 14k in September, and the international half in Detroit in October. Not showin' off, just showin' up.

I find that I'm not quite enjoying competition anymore, that may be due to the emphasis on freeskate as opposed to exhibition style competition. Since I'm getting older and time (as well as money) is becoming more precious, I should be able to focus on competing what I like, am I right?

I do have freeskate aspirations. The axel and improving all the little things that would make me a more polished skater. How about little things, like the half jumps like the stag or a split? More variation in my spin positions, how I hold my arms in the layback?

Oh I need to lose these 15 extra pounds. I had originally stated in September I wanted them gone by March 31, but that would be 5 pounds a month the next three months, and I wasn't even losing that when it was coming off steady. Maybe a more realistic goal would be 15 by September, when I see my doctor for my annual?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Typing Out Loud: 200!

Here it is, post #200. It's amazing to think it took me from 2008 to 2012 to get to 100, and less than two years to make it a double.

Looks like I have a lot to say.

A lot has happened since then too.

I've lost nearly 40 pounds, my father and my father in law.

I've been recognized for my art at ArtPrize, Festival of the Arts, US Figure Skating, and various galleries throughout Michigan.

I've obviously written quite a bit, and it has been noted in the oddest of places. Yes, I'm doing the River Bank Run for free for the 4th year in a row. That's almost $200 in entry fees won.

And my skating achievements have been recognized as well, from the skating to the judging.

And the running! I went from heaving my way through a 5k to upping the ante to an international half marathon this October.

Not bad for a middle aged woman realizing her Walter Mitty dreams.

I've discovered I still love to write. I still love to learn. When it comes to the playlists and why art matters, I research the subject so I can educate myself and write true, comprehensive articles. I've done a bit too much dipping into the past for nostalgia pieces, but it has helped me understand who I am today. And why I don't like The Who all that much. There's also some pieces of me I didn't like seeing, which is part of the experiment as well.

While "selfie" is the word of the year and is a scornful nod towards the current trend towards self-absorption, I do hope my writing has reflected the world around me and how the reciprocation of thoughts and inspiration are part of a bigger picture.

Or at least made a few of you laugh.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why Art Matters: Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock

The bows, the ribbons, the satin - oh so iconic. This dress from the 1986 collection.

There are such things, like boy bands, high heels, and the Real Wives series that make me think I have to turn my girl card in to the office that is in charge of such things.

Then formal wear season begins, and I am issued a rhinestone studded one-way ticket to Hello Kittysville, all while shrieking "Pretty!"

Arguably the most iconic prom dress designer is Jessica McClintock. She made a name for herself with Gunne Sax, a company she bought into in 1970 and purchased outright in 1972. Designer of distinct hippie and prairie looks, her dresses were a mesmerizing swirl of silk, taffeta, brocade, velvet, cotton and linen.

I of course became aware of her dresses in high school, one of many girls eagerly anticipating the March issue of Seventeen to see what looks to shop or dream for prom season. One dress from the 1986 season, a vintage-y dress in off white with a mock choker, sweetheart neckline, with trumpets of purple and pink flowers scattered on the fabric haunts me still. I would even take the dress above.

The appeal is in the feminine details. Ribbons, bows, lace, beads, flounces. Her dresses were cut to fit and flatter most any girl. And romantic; I'm sure it's no accident many of these dresses came in pure white, to remind a teenage girl to look forward to her wedding day.

Since I didn't go to prom in '86, that elusive dress passed me by. The next year, Gunne Sax debuted the bubble skirt and I just couldn't go for that, especially when I had a formal sitting in my closet, a "will do" remnant from being a bridesmaid.

I contemplated a McClintock for my wedding dress, but her collection was a tad too casual for the church wedding I was planning. Wistfully, if we were ever to run to Vegas to celebrate our anniversary, I would scour ebay for just the right JMc to flaunt as we renew our vows at some drive-thru rock and roll chapel. Just a thought...

A few years ago, fate dropped a vintage ice blue brocade Gunne Sax gown into my lap. I wore it once to the Whitecaps winter banquet with a snow white wrap and a rhinestone baseball pin. Far too formal for the occasion, but memorable because I was able to mingle with major league ballplayers feeling a bit like a princess.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December Playlist: Living in the Gilded Cage

The Garanimals Method of putting together a rock band. Is Stevie Nicks #28?

To hear these songs is to hear that life on the road isn't all groupies, green M&Ms on the contract rider, and screaming "are you ready to rock [insert city name here]?!" before launching into the encore comprised of songs everyone knows by heart.

Limelight, Rush: Loving the life but loathing it at the same time.

Faithfully, Journey: song dedicated to the girlfriends and wives back home while the boys are dealing with flashpots, empty bottles of Jack, writer's block, etc.

Jukebox Hero, Foreigner: boy dreams, boy lives dream, boy realizes dream bigger than him, boy is washed up but never forgets the roar of the crowd.

Shooting Star, Bad Company: boy dreams, boy lives dream, boy realizes dream bigger than him, boy dies for dream, but if you listen to the wind, you can still hear him play.

Home Sweet Home, Motley Crue: kind of insightful yet ambiguously penned. Is every night on tour like coming home because they are at home on stage? Are they looking forward to tonight because it's one day closer to coming home?

American Band, Grand Funk Railroad: It's all about the groupies, and having a whore in every port. I don't know if it was the effect of the 70s but GFR isn't exactly poster boy material, but that didn't stop them from taking full advantage of rock stardom.

I Wanna Be a Rock Star, Nickelback: I despise this band, but this song is a hoot and a holler. It makes fun of while embracing all the trappings of rock stardom.

Turn the Page, Bob Seger: world weariness from Michigan's favorite son (sorry Ted Nugent). My next door neighbor use to play this over and over on an 8-track of Live! Makes you second guess approaching a celebrity if you see them alone in a diner nursing a cup of coffee.