anotheranon: (adventure)
It's been a silly weekend.

Friday I flew out to Sacramento for D.'s 1920s-themed holiday party. He was already out there for work; his company was graciously flying me in for the party itself, and I was looking forward to a break from the cold weather and the opportunity to costume, followed by a visit with D.'s mom.

Yeah, it didn't quite work that way.

I don't think anyone could have predicted that a winter storm would close Dallas/Ft. Worth airport.

Snow and ice. In Dallas. Not incredibly likely, which is why they weren't prepared and hence, the shutdown.

Then the trip got interesting.

I could type out a boring blow by blow: the numerous times I cycled through the main airline desk try and get any flight to the west coast, the inconvenience of losing my bag in luggage limbo for the entire weekend (complete with our costumes, all my clothes, and most of my cosmetics), or the obvious fact that I missed the fun party and definitely got cheated out of warm weather.

But I won't, because that's not the interesting part. )

The oddest of all was how little the chaos got to me. Normally I am a creature of habit, OCD enough that fret over every little thing, but when a situation arose that was beyond control or reckoning I just went with the flow and it turned out ok. And I remembered what it was like to trust people right off the bat.

So what should have sucked, didn't.

As I type my bag is in transit to my door from a local airport - in theory. It was supposed to be here 2 hours ago, but whatever - I'll make do.
anotheranon: (fencing)
Despite my misgivings, I actually rocked at Nationals. As in, alarmingly so.

getting there, and there )

the competition, now with spectators )

wandering )

All in all a good end to the season and several months of banging my head against the wall :)

flatlander

Mar. 21st, 2013 09:49 pm
anotheranon: (illus)
I was in Reno this past weekend(ish - Saturday through Tuesday) for a national fencing competition.

Not noteworthy: not my first and definitely not my best showing, but the first where D. has gone with me. He spent some of his teenage years in Lake Tahoe so he went to see old haunts when I was on the strip and show them to me once I was off.

On the strip: Sunday was the scarier of the two events I was signed up for and I did better than expected: won 1 pool bout, almost won another, and even won my first DE (this is maybe the second time I've done this at the national level). Monday...not so hot, partly because I ran into my old nemesis Absence of Blade repeatedly, partly because by that time not only the dry air but the altitude was getting to me :( I had been warned that being in the mountains could have an impact on my ability to breathe if I wasn't used to it, and how! It not only slowed my movements but my brain as well; I could see attacks coming from a mile off and couldn't get my lazy carcass to do squat against them.

I only thought I'd been in "the mountains" before; this was my first trip to any part of the Rockies and D. has been right all of these years; the Appalachians are but foothills by comparison! It's hard to describe, but the perspective is just grander and more dramatic - as D. showed me his old neighborhood I felt like I was either on a cliff or in a bowl, with no in-between. When we got out of the car to get good photos of Lake Tahoe my vertigo kicked in as I got near the edge of the road because it seemed to my "flatlander" eyes to drop off so dramatically.

Lake Tahoe itself was...well, I didn't expect it to be that big! Like I said, grander scale. The houses were unusual compared to what I am used to as well: a lot more natural wood, no yards but multi-level homes taking valiant advantage of the steep inclines. Kind of more "in tune" with nature, at least on the Nevada side, where laws prevent the cutting of trees to get a better view of Lake Tahoe. We went briefly onto the California side and development was a lot denser and the tree cover thinner by comparison.

So I'm home now, back to colder but blessedly wetter weather, and my nose is happy (or at least happier). I am keeping in mind for future reference that high altitudes destroy my game. Also pondering the new side I've seen of D. I'd never seen anywhere he'd spent his teenage years before and it helps me put him in a broader mental "place", if that makes sense.
anotheranon: (craft)
...was the word of the weekend.

D. and I took our delayed trip to NYC last weekend, and it was good :)

It was my first time on the Vamoose bus, and I was fairly impressed. No cheap Greyhound this, there was free wi-fi, NY Times and bottled water. I did get a little headachey towards the end because of jolting, but it's worth it not to have to haul a car up to NYC.

First stop was the Spanish Institute Fortuny retrospective. Oh... oh my. Sometimes I forget how astonishing these gowns are when I have only my books for reference, only to see the real deal again and be reminded of the layers of color and detail inherent in the three-dimensional piece. Pieces such as these could not be made now, as each piece required so much individual handling to make it into the work of art it is.

Most of the dresses were displayed with a tunic, scarf, or other outer piece that reminded me that dresses weren't the only thing Fortuny made: his printed velvets are so delicately embellished, colors changing subtly under the light.. .just amazing.

I noticed a number of different variations of neckline, embellishment, and even fabric that I'd never seen before, and it gave me a new direction for my ongoing Fortuny research: create a database of gown details and see if I can find any patterns by date, color, etc.

D. and I then went out to Strand Books. Which was next door to Forbidden Planet comics. Always a hazard, but a good one :)

Finally, my first trip to the Met. The main reason was for D. to see the Gubbio Studiolo, a masterpiece of Renaissance intarsia commissioned by the Duke of Urbino, a condottiere made good with a taste for art and learning.

It's another case of the real thing being far more breathtaking than any photo. After 500+ years, the individual wooden pieces are still bright and set perfectly edge to edge, without any shrinkage or warping over the centuries. The 3-dimensional effect is subtle but startling - I really didn't expect it to be as richly textured as it was. Again, something for which there seems to be no place in the modern world, as simply appreciating it requires time that is so seldom available.

If I could be said to have a passion, this would be it: the transformation of mundane materials into works of art, and the tangible nature of that art - to feel those silks, cut the wood with my own hands. Pushing pixels around may pay the bills but it doesn't have that same immediacy.
anotheranon: (adventure)
Also this week I:

anotheranon: (busy)
I've been remiss in updating the ol' LJ, mostly because I'm still in lazy holiday mode/on west coast time:

Christmas week was great but hectic. We went out to Seattle to see D.'s family. Rarely and wonderfully, mom and stepdad and all of the siblings and their families were able to get together, and Seattle was chosen because that's where the new niece is - and she's an ideal baby, all smiles and never cries unless something is really wrong. Four-year-old niece is on a princess kick and got the most fabulous dress-up dresses with twirlable skirts. The older nieces are going through preteen rockiness but mostly well; the nephews are for all purposes adults and fun to talk to.

The siblings all seem to be happy, and togetherness was balanced by time apart - each family had their own place to stay (including a two-level delightfully minimalist loft in the arts district that set my aesthetic lust all a-quiver!) I'm very fortunate that I get along with my in-laws and enjoy spending time with them!

We did spend a good amount of time walking, mostly around the hotel and the Pike/Pine area, finding record stores with genuine vinyl records and almost as rare, an independent brick and mortar bookstore that reminded me of the late lamented Oxford Books of Atlanta. I made a deliberate trip to Red Light Vintage, and though I found nothing that fit I recommend it to vintage seekers if you're ever in town as the prices are criminally low.

Due to the whimsical inclinations of Google Maps we got to see even more of the city, driving past multiple (as in, every corner, sometimes twice) coffee houses, wig shops (?) tattoo parlors and restaurants in search of a drugstore (that ended up being a block from the hotel :P) I'm surprised that I like Seattle in winter as much as I do in spring, even without the blisteringly bright plants in bloom. It's more casual, funky, and relaxed than DC, which was much needed as being at home can be such a roller-coaster. Our hotel was nice (free coffee every morning!), so we spent much of our quiet time just sleeping and reading.

And oh, there was reading! D. got me a Kindle for Christmas and despite my misgivings (I can't share books, I'm limited to Amazon's format) it's addictive at first use - at last I can read all of those obscure novels that the library doesn't get, without eating shelf space! There's also internet access so it functions as a limited laptop.

As with all holidays there was an unholy amount of food and wine. We found gut-busting Italian, old fashioned pies, Belgian waffles and deep, dense coffee (of course).

Saw the new Sherlock Holmes (a total scream, especially Stephen Fry as Mycroft) and New Year's Eve (better and more poignant than expected).

Due to a 10-hour break between hotel checkout and redeye flight home, we visited the Museum of Glass and marveled at tiny glass flowers, and had a quiet evening at Indochine, with just about perfect food and wine.

It was good :)
anotheranon: (Default)
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Probably Athens GA to Lexington KY, for a rave back in college. The organizer told the then "net rave" population that if we could get there and bring the vibe, we'd get in free.

In theory it was only an 8 hour trip but when you go to Nashville for a pit stop it turns into 12. Con: surprise 12 hour trip, flat tire. Pro: good company, good party and seeing D. at the end. And some surprisingly good chocolate mousse in Nashville...

Passing the time? Talking to keep whoever was driving awake!
anotheranon: (fencing)
This past weekend was the 2nd leg of my March travel marathon, to Detroit for a North American Cup.

NACs happen several times a year and have a similar national scope and size as summer Nationals, but don't require a separate qualifying competition. As such, I'm eligible for more than one event and as I'm not sure if I'm going to SN this year, I thought I'd let this be my big fencing trip for 2011. For a variety of reasons NACs aren't always in the most glamorous locales, and this one was in Detroit.

Locale/venue, and tales of good customer service )

fencing foo )

It occurs to me that I've been to 4 cities in the past 2 months, and while for some that's life, it's unusual for me and I'm rather looking forward staying put for the next few weeks. This weekend: sewing and a deep tissue massage.

March

Jan. 18th, 2011 01:28 pm
anotheranon: (busy)
Finally finding a quiet place between now and February but March is looking like a madhouse:

anotheranon: (goodstory)
It occurs to me that with the visits for Christmas and Nationals, I've probably spent more time inside Atlanta city limits in the past year than...a long time, at least. Maybe ever.

See, as often as I've said I'm "from Atlanta", it's not true, not really. I lived there until I was about 18 months old, but I did most of my growing up in the exurbs. I got into the city occasionally through my teen years, but it was mostly for record shopping or clubbing/concerts. I told everyone I was from Atlanta because 1) no one's ever heard of Duluth, and 2) my self-conscious teen self was anxious about being perceived as an awful suburbanite mallrat or [insert cliche here].

This is why I can't answer many questions about what are the best restaurants, nicest neighborhoods, etc.: I really didn't experience Atlanta at that level. Much of what I remember from my teen years has changed dramatically, if it's still there at all - indeed, on both of my recent visits I stayed in the Olympic Centennial Park area which wasn't even built until I after I moved away (1995). I couldn't even tell you how to drive from point A to B because I wasn't allowed to drive :P

As such my recent visits have been an interesting mix of nostalgia and discovery, i.e. "so THAT's how I get to x", "this looks like nowhere I've ever been - because it wasn't here when I was", etc.
anotheranon: (adventure)
I wasn't necessarily planning to ski when we went up to Gatlinburg.

I wasn't necessarily not planning to either. I knew it was on the itinerary and in the spirit of "fortune favoring the prepared" I packed a ski bib I got somewhere, who knows when ago, just in case. So when my sister-in-law suggested visiting the ski resort for the nieces first lesson, I figured, well, DID pack this huge fluffy thing and I've gone without real exercise for too many days...

...and by the time we drove up the hill and got through the lines, I was committed, lemme tell you! Evidently the holiday season + snow = one of the ~5 busiest days of the year for ski resorts (who knew? Skiers, of which I am not one) and it took 2 hours to rent all of our equipment, suit up, and get to the training slope.

An hour of instruction was required for beginners, and I'm grateful for it - my only other skiing experience as a child didn't, and I remember mostly lying in the snow, freezing. In that hour I learned how to put on/take off the skis and how to turn and slow myself down. I managed one or two times down the very flat slope and I kind of get the appeal - the slow build of speed and focused trajectory. The nieces picked it up even faster, and though each fell once, that was about it.

I fell quite a lot, but most of it was on purpose. I got the theory but not the practice of slowing down and the "bunny slope" was so packed with people who wouldn't get out of the way that I wiped out multiple times to avoid collisions. SIL had gone down the slope for real skiers while we were in training, and suggested another beginner's slope that was less crowded.

It was NOT a beginner's slope after all, but none of us realized that until we'd accelerated way past our comfort levels and tumbled to the bottom. The catch holding the skis to my boots were HARD to get off and wore out my arms far more than my legs. SIL commended us for taking the chance, and I was glad too, as part of my new year's resolutions (more in a later post) is to push my comfort zones.

Through it all, I was not as cold as I remembered or expected to be - having the correct cold-weather gear made a huge difference. So does adrenaline :P

I think I could get used to skiing given more practice at a much less crowded resort, but no idea when that will happen. The bib came back along with everything else, so I'm prepared at least.
anotheranon: (adventure)
I finally got my suitcase back yesterday morning. Given that we flew back in late Friday/early Saturday, this was incredibly inconvenient. Very fortunately everything was present and intact, with only a travel-size lotion bottle breaking in transit.

Somehow the bag ended up on an international flight(?! No one at the airline could figure how this happened. Perhaps bags like London this time of year?) and came back from London via Detroit on Monday afternoon. Evidently even a quick connecting flight doesn't speed things up because it's a given that any unaccompanied luggage from outside the US takes 4-6 hours to clear customs.

As I type this I'm still doing laundry :/ Silly (?) me packed all of my nicest casual clothes because we were seeing family and so I wanted to look tidier than my usual after-hours sweatpants, but that meant that had the bag been lost I would have had to replace most of my jeans, best bras, and 2 very nice cashmere sweaters I received as gifts :(

If nothing else, I've learned not to pack everything for a trip no matter how nice I have to look or how long I'll be away - 1 week's worth, no more, carryon forever!

On the upside, erring on the side of caution meant I did have my snow boots and ski bib available when the snow hit the ground and we ended up hitting the slopes - something I hope to find time to post about over the weekend.
anotheranon: (Default)
It's been an eventful holiday season.

I was in Atlanta for Christmas not only for the first time since I moved here, but for the first white Christmas in GA in over 120 years.

I got to see my family, in-laws, and extended in-law family for wonderful times by firesides and at tables :) Much conversation and observation was had.

In Gatlinburg (more record lows/snow) I had my first downhill skiing lesson and realized I might be able to learn the sport given a (much) less crowded bunny slope. Also learned I can fall intelligently when I have to. This is perhaps worth a post of its own.

New Year's was spent at the airport luggage carousel, only to discover that my bag (with most of my good casual clothes + Christmas gifts) hadn't made the flight. Much online tracking and irritated calls to the airline later, I've learned that somehow it wound up in London (?!) and may not get back here until tomorrow night or Tuesday (!!) Also perhaps worth a post of it's own but not the fun, exciting kind :/

I've been tweeting madly but not really able to read LJ. If I missed something crucial, point me at it.

shiny

Dec. 2nd, 2010 11:10 pm
anotheranon: (Default)
So, I'm back from my first trip to Las Vegas. I liked it, almost in spite of myself and itself.

let me clarify )

Short version: Las Vegas isn't what I would have chosen for myself, but the window shopping, shows, and spa were fantastic, heavy on the "fantasy". I found the all-flashing, all glittering vibe invigorating but tiring, and truth told I started to reach saturation point after about 3 days. Perhaps next time more spa, less time on my feet and some non-Strip day trips would be good.
anotheranon: (Default)
  • 09:44 Awake and blundering around time to repack - I'm going home!! #
  • 10:24 I am stupid. #
  • 11:52 @iamclavdivs - just all manner of disorganization. I need to be home! #
  • 11:55 "Puppy" and "ugly dachshund" - guess which is which: tweetphoto.com/32468138 #
  • 15:25 RT @shesgeeky: Happy Embrace Your Geekness Day! is.gd/dqFOl #shesgeeky Live it love it own it! #
  • 18:55 @YuliZ @eBay_Fashion - you had me at Tilda Swinton. She could make a paper bag look stylish! #
  • 19:48 Leaving. Airplane mode now. #
  • 23:26 ...and after delayed plane, rain, and other adventures I'm finally home with D. and cats, and this phone is nearly dead :) Nite all! #
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anotheranon: (Default)
  • 12:20 My mom's biscuits are still so much better than mine :) #
  • 15:12 Taking MARTA down to hotel for #sn10. Damn hot, real hot (90F+) & I'm glad I won't have to haul gear + suitcase for a few days after this! #
  • 15:52 Checked in for #sn10 - can see venue from my room tweetphoto.com/31521876 #
  • 15:57 Hotel elevator can only take 3000 lbs - good thing my #fencing bag only FEELS that heavy in this heat. #
  • 17:05 Took LOONG way 'round from hotel to venue (pant pant) - getting roomie to room; meeting @bodhibadger for dinner. #
  • 17:30 Found roomie, is cool person. Splitting cab fare or shuttle back to hotel given ridiculous heat #sn10 #
  • 17:33 Saw old rave site on way down; is now "rodeo disco". Sometimes you really can't go home again. #
  • 17:37 RT @MargoEve: Are you a good Kisser? Come to our "Kissing: The Eloquent Silence" class 7/13; br.org <- think this wd b gd 4 kids. #
  • 19:47 Lost in Atlanta on way to Iberian Pug in Decatur. It's an adventure.... #
  • 23:21 Hearty rec. of The Iberian Pig restaurant in Decatur for hungry # fencers. Delicious plus fantastically attentive service. #
  • 23:22 Off to bed - I'm gonna help my Div II buddies warm up tomorrow #sn10 #fencing #
  • 23:23 @MargoEve I know it's not - apologies if I wasn't clear. But still I think a class about kissing would be great for teenagers. #
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anotheranon: (Default)
  • 13:23 tweetphoto.com/31162098 ; tweetphoto.com/31162182 #
  • 16:37 @bodhibadger Do not know - I won't be on site @ #sn10 until Thurs eve. Eagerly awaiting info on list. Must get RFA on Twitter! #fencing #
  • 18:00 @iamscully -I was very briefly, & quite unplanned. Sorry I missed you! #
  • 18:41 RT @quasigeo: #Warehouse13 Season 2 premiere tonight. W00t! #
  • 18:42 RT @USFencing: Hurley wins women epee title 15-7 #sn10 #fencing #
  • 18:43 RT @fencingnet: I uploaded a YouTube video -- Morehouse vs. Igoe 2 of 2 youtu.be/508hirzDH-E?a #sn10 #
  • 18:46 #fencing sorts in Atlanta, PLEASE use the #sn10 hash tag- makes it easier to find up-to-the-minute results. #
  • 19:20 Small dinners of fruit & muffin + watching birds in Mom's backyard = calm before the storm that starts Thurs. #sn10 #
  • 21:31 RT @USFencing: Live streaming video from #sn10 in Atlanta starts Weds @ 1p.m. EST. Check out usfencing.org/live for all the action #
  • 23:03 RT @TimMorehouse: Meet Olympian & Nat.l Champion Tim Morehouse @ FENCING.NET 12-3pm Tomorrow @ GA Congress Ctr: wp.me/pfSw1-1gN #sn10 #
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anotheranon: (Default)
  • 11:38 @racheline_m crap, just catching up - glad Bristol is still on & hope worst really IS over! #
  • 12:45 Catching up on test & visiting with fam. Also: chocolate cake. #
  • 12:46 On site @ #sn10 sometime Thurs. Doing stretches & footwork to keep limber #fencing #
  • 17:22 1st trip to a Fry's - media/appliance heaven. Mom has strong opinions on washer dryers. #
  • 19:13 RT @TimMorehouse: Images from Summer Nationals of #Fencing in Atlanta: wp.me/pfSw1- #sn10 #
  • 19:42 Saw old photos of my hometown@ Fry's. Dust roads, wood plank houses, surprisingly not all long gone. #
  • 21:01 @iamscully Yes. #
  • 21:07 I swear, 1000 years from now archaeologists are going to dig up Memphis & decide Elvis was some kind of deity. #
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anotheranon: (Default)
  • 08:40 @ airport early. So nice not to have to rush! Fairly empty, esp. for holiday weekend. How long can I resist the sweet perfume of Cinnabon? #
  • 10:16 Cheering at the next gate over - evidently Brazil just scored? #worldcup #
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anotheranon: (Default)

  • 11:21:11: Airline wanted to ping me $150 for my fencing bag. Annoying - this is 2nd time w/damn thing that all is well out but huge fee coming home.
  • 11:21:56: Receipt reveals they charged standard checked bag fee but - damn.
  • 11:23:17: @TriKrav - thanks!
  • 11:34:00: Overheard: "I shoulda [something unintelligible]. I shoulda been taller & better looking too, but we play the hand we're dealt."

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