Most people weren’t in the office this particular Monday I went in, because it was a holiday. Our office was closed. We had a server upgrade that weekend, and I needed to be there early Monday morning to make sure everything migrated over okay. I decided to bring my camera and new lens I just purchased, to try it out after I was done fixing server glitches, to make sure it was the zoom range I was looking for.
There’s this great walking trail up on the cliffs in Del Mar at the end of Del Mar Heights Road. I had no idea it was there. It was the perfect place for me to test out this lens for my Canon, because it was a massive zoom lens! I didn’t realize how much of a zoom it was. I’m glad I gave it a test drive, because I ended up taking it back. It would’ve been great if I did surf photography, or something. I fInally decided on a lens that’s 18mm-135mm and I absolutely love it. It’s a great walk around lens with a great range. But first…here are pictures from the 75mm-250mm…
This nice man was sitting on that chair. He had watched me take a few pictures down the way, and when I walked by, he jumped up and insisted I take a picture of that Adirondack chair. I knew my lens was way too zoomy for me to capture it right, but he was so happy that I would photograph it, so I did. I may or may not have almost fell off the cliff, but I got a shot. Thank you sweet man!
I had a dream last night that I figured out a way to record my dreams on my iphone. How brilliant would that be if we could do that?? No more forgetting the awesome dreams you had, you could just play them back. You know how when you try to tell someone what you dreamt about (like what I’m attempting to do right here) and you can’t convey it just right and they just don’t get it, nor do they care? Well now you can just sigh, roll your eyes, whip out your phone and show them for themselves. Then their eyes will brighten, they’ll look at you and say “I get it, Ang (insert your name here), I get it!” Anyway, it would be amazing if it were true. It reminded me of Inception, because I had a dream in my dream, but then I watched the playback of my dream in my dream. Or was the dream I was watching just another dream I really dreamt in really life?
My brain hurts.
Speaking of brains, I’m learning to juggle. You’d know that if you were following my Instagram. If you’re not following my Instagram, shame on you (aka you must have a life, and really, that’s better). I decided to video my progress, because, duh.
Clearly it needs some work. But I’m totally getting it, and that’s very exciting.
Also, I found these amazing circus shoes at Nordstrom Rack that were originally $250, but on clearance for $30 because who in their right mind would buy circus shoes?!
I guess I’m not in my right mind (just ask that guy in the mirror, it’s clear from his face that he’s judging me). But they’re amazing and make me incredibly happy. And currently being displayed in my bookcase, as circus shoes should be.
Next to my juggling balls, of course (when not in use).
I do this thing where I see something either in person or online and think “I can totally make that”. Truth is, I usually can’t. But I have this false sense of thinking I can make anything! Twenty giant birdcages hanging from the ceiling elegantly in Extraordinary Desserts? Suuuure! An abstract painting someone would actually want to hang in their house? Of course I can! This time though, I thought I could possibly do it. The only skill I would need is to know how to wrap a piece of yarn around a stick. I think I can do that!
I rummaged through my old jewelry making stuff to find extra embroidery thread (I used to make bags for the jewelry to go in) and that brass bar. Knowing my track record of thinking I could do this, I decided not to spend money on high-quality supplies, and just use what I had. You know…practice. If it turned out well, then I can buy the good stuff.
Here’s what you’ll need:
I bought the brass bars at Lowe’s, and I’m pretty sure you all know where to get embroidery thread (Michael’s. You get it at Michael’s.). I laid my colors out in the order I wanted them to be on the bar, to make sure I like how it looked. Totally not necessary to work with it like that though, especially since I started in the middle and tied one string on each side to make sure everything was equal.
Okay so…you figure out how long you want your center to be, then cut! I think having the first three being roughly the same length is probably a good idea. Then figure out how much shorter you want the next, cut two equal, and alternate putting them on the sides. Here’s how you “tie” it on the bar:
You get it, right? How do you explain that in words? Double the yarn evenly, put the loop end over the bar, bring the cut end under the bar and through the loop, then pull (I guess that’s how you say it). Then you just keep going. I quickly realized it was very helpful to have the bar on something, so I grabbed the nearest candle holder (unlit, of course. duh).
This project takes only one happy hour to complete. One to two drinks and you’re done! Oh, you must play your favorite spotify playlist and sing real loud while you do it, otherwise it won’t turn out as good.
After you put all them all on (make it as wide or narrow as you want it!) then tie a longer string on both sides so you can hang it. I think a ribbon would be nice, too. Hang it up somewhere and trim any of them you want. Or leave it haphazard. Follow your heart!
Here’s my finished product:
My cats were really into it, as you can see.
Here’s the front up close:
And here’s the back:
I like the little knot-things in back, you can make that the front if you want.
Here’s what I would do differently…
Better quality yarn! I think a silky, heavier yarn would be gorgeous. Or even a super thin one. Quality is the key here, folks (which is true for everything in life, I’ve decided). Here were two of my inspirations: Nike Schroeder String Art and Glitter and Grain
I cut too heavily. I wanted it to have more of a gradual slope up to the outer edges. Next time I won’t be so heavy handed on the string cutting (this didn’t happen in the trimming part, it happened when I initially cut the string pieces).
I kept the tails short when I tied the piece that allows the whole thing to hang. I think if it’s as long as the other ones, maybe it will disappear.
And that’s it! Easiest thing to make ever, instant gratification. Now I’m dying to buy high quality yarn/thread in really cool colors and do this thing right. Maybe I’ll stick with a smooth brass bar, maybe I’ll use the driftwood I smuggled in from Costa Rica. I don’t know, maybe invite all your crafty friends over and do a craft/happy hour soiree. BYOMaterials!
I took a little mini-vaca this past weekend, and drove up to Pismo Beach. I’ve never been to the Central Coast. I’ve spent plenty of time in San Diego, LA, and Northern California. But have never ventured up Highway 1 until Saturday. And it was amazing. I wish I could’ve taken pictures from the road, but I was the one driving, so decided to play it safe instead. The weather report called for thunder storms all weekend, but all we had were beautiful puffy clouds with scattered storm clouds, tons of rainbows and a few very short downpours.
This last minute trip came at the perfect time. Work has been totally insane, I’ve been working way more overtime than I like and I needed a brain break so bad.
We stayed at the Sea Crest Hotel, which was right on the cliffs, as you can see from the picture above. That was the sunrise view from my balcony. Tough life I lead, right? We were in the North Tower on the fourth floor, so the views were amazing. The rooms are a really good size, very clean, and I swear I saw their patio furniture at Target last season. Which is fine by me! They have a really great breakfast that’s included in your nightly fee, with yogurt, fresh fruit (including grapefruit!), toast and waffles (not homemade waffles, just the kind you toast), oatmeal, cereal, hard boiled eggs, juice, coffee, pastries…more than the average breakfast at an average hotel. I ate breakfast outside next to one of the firepits they had going. I did not want to leave.
The night we were there we went to a restaurant recommended to us by a local, at the SeaVenture Hotel. Most restaurants there use only local ingredients, and this place was no exception. It was so good! I had the margarita flatbread with a balsamic reduction, and the goat cheese and beet salad. Oh yeah, and a flight of wine.
They said a flight was three pours that were each a third of a glass of wine, so it was supposed to equal one glass of wine. But c’mon, they were three whole glasses! Not a bad deal. Everywhere I had wine this trip, it was excellent. Being in the Central Coast wine country, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Here was my view from the table…
They supposedly have a great happy hour M-F with half off appetizers and drinks. With this view and those prices, it’s possible I’d be there every night. Just sayin’.
The next morning bright and early I grabbed some coffee from the lobby and took a walk down these wooden stairs to the beach.
These little birds were so cute. They kept chasing the waves, then running away from the waves, with their tiny little legs.
Extra credit if you see the little rainbow in this last picture! (Hint: it’s to the right of the end of the pier)
There is so much wildlife there, more than here in San Diego. Which sounds strange. But there just is. I saw tons of dolphins in the water, nine deer all together up in Lopez Lake, flocks upon flocks of all different kinds of birds, bugs galore! My poor windshield was never clean. I guess I was really heavy handed on the beach pictures, but the hills on the other side are so incredibly green and lush! The ten minute drive to Lopez Lake was like you were in the Irish countryside. The trees were so pretty, with knotty and twisted dark trunks and branches, and moss hanging from the ends. Driving into town you pass so many vineyards and wineries. I could only stay two days, and with five hours driving each of those days, I totally didn’t get to explore enough. But I’m already making a list of what I want to do next time!
It’s about time I give you a full trapeze update! As you know, I went through a crappy spell when I just wasn’t improving that much at all. To be honest, I was doing pretty bad. And most days I left the rig, I was disappointed and discouraged. Am I just not cut out for this? I’ve wanted to do this my whole life, I thought I’d excel at it! Be the best trapeze artist they’ve ever seen (albeit, not limber in the least), I would impress them all with my natural ability. And I was just failing left and right. Should I quit? Give up? Move on with my life? I couldn’t bring myself to do that, I loved it way too much. The more bruises and bumps and shoulder pains the better. Our bodies are meant to work hard like this, and it feels so good to be using it to the full. And doing flips is pretty awesome too. Besides, no one is good at something when they first start learning it! I needed to keep pushing myself. Quitting gets you nowhere. It’s not an option.
So I kept at it. Two days a week I make the trek out to the rig, don my black ballet slippers, wrap those homemade wraps around my wrists to protect my already blistered hands from ripping further, and climb up that ladder and jump off that platform over and over again. And one day…I did everything right.
I had been working on a turn around with a push away. That means you jump off the platform facing forward, when you get to the other side of the rig you turn around on the bar, so you’re facing the platform, extend your legs up and over the platform, then when you swing back to the other side, you do a back flip to the net. Eventually when I can swing a bit higher, instead of extending my legs over the platform, I’ll let go of the bar and land on the platform. That’s the whole point of the trick. There was a couple other girls working on the same trick, and Dave was having them just do a back drop to the net. But he specifically instructed me to do a back flip (aka push away). It’s not the first time he’s had me do the more complicated tricks. I think he sees my potential and passion, and wants to push me further. He knows I have it in me (at least, that’s what I tell myself, ha!).
So! I’ve been working on that trick for a few weeks, then finally something clicked and my turn around portion is much cleaner, I’m getting higher on the board each time, and my push aways are flawless. I’m getting yells from Dave like “pretty!” “That was in your top 3!” Then finally last night, “you know, you could do that out of lines”. Out of lines! Yes!
I have not done that trick out of lines yet. But just last week I did do my first trick out of safety lines. Knee hang with back flip to the net, then also to the catcher. Just out of the blue Chris said “Do a knee hang out of lines off the second riser, we’re going to catch that tonight.” Second riser?! Guys, I haven’t used the riser before, it’s always scared me. It bumps you up two-three feet higher than the platform. You use it so you get a higher swing, which was necessary if I’m going to a catcher without safety lines to boost me higher if needed. So I marched on up there and nailed it, complete with back flip, about six times. I was so proud of myself! Dave said it was beautiful and perfect. Unfortunately I don’t have a video of that to show you. But I do have a video of me doing splits out of lines for the first time last night! Complete with a little twist at the end so I land in the net on my back, not my face. (warning, grainy video ahead!)
I now hate safety lines. They hold me back. They get in my way, they slow me down. I used to never want to do tricks without lines, I needed their comfort. But now I just can’t wait to do tricks out of lines.
I still need to work on my form. I stretch every day, but progress has been slow! I’m working on being more flexible, keeping my toes pointed and my body tight. Legs straight as an arrow, never bending my knees. If you saw my very bent knees in the video, you’ll see why I need to improve on that.
When I left last night, Dave said I’m improving much faster than most people, and it’s been really fun to watch me. There have been a number of people that haven’t seen me fly in a few weeks, and they’re shocked at how much I’ve improved. So, maybe I really am meant to be a trapeze artist, just like I always knew in my heart! Or maybe I’ve just had a great couple weeks and I’ll continue to suck next week. Whatever it is, I’m not going to give up. I’ll be flying for a very long time.
While I was at my dad’s house, I did my fair share of exploring the neighborhood. One morning we walked to Peet’s and looked way too much like homeless people in the Ross, which was in the same parking lot. It might have had something to do with me trying on a dress in the middle of the store over my workout clothes, complete with tennies and a beanie because it was freezing outside. The laughing dressing room attendant may or may not have told me I should just come back later to try it on properly.
One crisp morning, I ventured out on my own. I knew there was a trail nearby, I had been on it years ago with some friends. I sleuthed it up on google maps and headed there. I knew it was going to be pretty. But I didn’t anticipate the morning sun making every single thing in my path glow.
I really tried to narrow these pictures down for you, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t even decide which mushroom picture was the best. You can choose! I took these pictures with my phone and didn’t edit them one bit. The sun is just that slanty and amazing up there in the wee hours of the morning. Just beautiful.
Wednesday night was considerably warmer than it has been the last few weeks on the rig. It makes flying that much more fun when you’re not freezing your butt off. I’ve been struggling with getting a pretty back end planche down in time to get caught by the catcher. When I first got to the rig, I walked up to the outdoor heater (you know, the kind they have on restaurant patios) where Dave and Susan were keeping warm. Dave gives me a hug and says “I want you to learn a turn-around tonight. Let’s forget planche for awhile.” Susan completely agreed, said she was going to suggest that. (A turn-around is the first step you need to take before you learn how to jump back on the platform.)
My first time doing it, they were all pretty impressed it was my first try at it. It was sloppy! But for my first time? Not bad I guess. I pulled some exceptionally bad ones that night, and some pretty darn good ones, too. Especially considering I just learned the trick that night. There were only four of us flying that night, so we each had tons of time on the rig. I was exhausted at the end of the hour and a half and was feeling pretty good about myself.
Then Dave came up to me and said “Some people come out here and fly like Sabrina*”, one of the younger girls that was there that night (*name has been changed to protect the innocent. Or in this case, the guilty). “But not me”, he continued, “I’d rather give it everything I got and do it all the way. I’m not content with just doing it.”
Dave just told me I was half-assing it.
This girl is cocky, acts bored the entire time, and just does enough. She never really improves. Ever. I’ve flown with her many times before, and she just does the same thing, with the same crappy attitude.
I drove home that night, feeling good about what I accomplished, but replaying what Dave said in my head. “Dave thinks I’m half-assing it! I’m not half-assing it! Wait…am I half-assing it?! If I’m half-assing that, what else in my life am I half-assing??”
I proceeded to spend the rest of the week analyzing every important aspect of my life, wondering if I half-ass it all. Do I just go through life half-assing and I don’t realize it? I guess at work, sometimes I half-ass it. But other times I work my ass off. My entire ass. It’s gone. Nothing left. So maybe when I let myself slack a bit it’s okay? Or maybe it’s not. What about other important things in my life, including my relationships with people? I don’t think I’m half-assing those things, because those things are top priorities in my life. But is that only half of my ass talking??
I’ve always fought for what’s important in my life, things that I really wanted, I worked really, really hard for. And I’ve accomplished a lot! After analyzing my ass all week and how hard it’s working, I’ve come to the conclusion that no, I do not half-ass these top priorities in my life. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do better. Put more into it. More umph, if you will.
Today at trapeze, I worked both halves of my ass. My warm up swing (out of lines, let me remind you) is improving with every swing. My back sweep is getting stronger, my seven better. I did a few very good turn-arounds with a cut-away (includes back flip). I did much better planche’s today. My take off’s were improved. I was caught twice by Tori doing planche both times. Then after class, I went over and played with the traveling rings, which was so fun! I did pretty darn good at that, too. Even pretty! Kira said “Whoa, you could be really good at this!”
I came home wincing in pain. My blisters have formed underneath my callouses (I count ten blisters in total, just from today). The biggest one popped before we started catching. I cut the skin off and taped up and kept going. I landed on the net wrong one time and both knees are bruised pretty bad and hurting.
This is not half-assing. What Dave said motivated me to have more confidence and to keep fighting (harder!) for the things that matter most to me in life. I really was giving everything 100%. But 110% is so much better.
So now I’m celebrating by drinking champagne out of the mini bottle. At noon. And wearing a hat because it’s freezing in my house. HERE’S TO HALF-ASSING!
Guess who took her first swing(s) out of safety lines??
Yep, that would be me! I think I can truly say I’m training to be a trapeze artist now. Right? I felt like I was lying every time I told people that (which was every chance I got, of course), but now it’s GOT to be true. Out of lines, baby!!
This doesn’t mean I don’t have safety lines for every trick. This is only on the warm up swing. Each time I safely perfect a trick, then I will be allowed to perform it out of lines. When you don’t have those safety lines to get all tangled up in, you can do net tricks! That’s what you saw me do at the end of the video, when I hit the net. I have no idea what they call that net trick. Pencil something, maybe? You land first on your back, then do a 360 and land on your back again. Apparently I did a good enough job the first time, Tori’s “oooooo!” told me so.
It’s so good for me to watch videos of me flying. I can totally see what I need to improve on immediately. I had no idea I was bending my legs that much (we won’t discuss all the other flaws I saw).
Things are much smoother without those darn lines in the way. It’s quieter, you swing higher, have more control. I love it. I’m so addicted to this, you guys.
Last week, I was on vacation. This wasn’t any ordinary vacation, though. Because my little sister is engaged! And we had a wedding to plan. I mean, she had a wedding to plan. I mean…I’ll try to not get out of control.
So, first stop after the airport was wedding dress shopping! At my favorite wedding dress designer, Sarah Seven, in her San Francisco flagship store. (Can you tell I used to be a wedding photographer? I know way too much about the wedding industry!) I’ve never been real wedding dress shopping, so I was hoping for champagne. And look! We got champagne! Not in fancy glass flutes, but I’ll take what I can get.
Let’s take a closer look at these beauties, shall we?
That was totally worth the zoom.
The shop was on the second floor of an old San Francisco building with a bay window and old wooden floors that creaked when you walked on them. The door was unmarked, like it was a secret. Perhaps to avoid walk-ins? The bridal consultant heard us clomping around the stairwell and came out to find us. These dresses are gorgeous, the fabrics luxurious. All the dresses are designed and made to order, custom to each individual bride, in Oakland, which is where my sister lives. How great is that?
Did I mention she asked me to be the Maid of Honor? Let the games begin!!
Later on that night we had to do a few Polish cherry vodka shots with the fam, of course.
One little cup is missing…one for our older sister. She can never get away from work this time of year. But we missed you!! Kisses!
We had a great meal with family friends in Piedmont that involved wine, laughs, amazing brisket, and an impromptu piano duet by two very talented pianists. I slept in most mornings, stayed up late most nights talking and listening to great music by twinkle light. Ate too much cheese, drank too much wine, and did you know it’s peony season??
Since when were peonies available in December? Madness, I tell you.
The sun in Northern California this time of year is amazing. This is the quaint little street my sister lives on. That hillside of homes were just glowing with the setting sun behind me shining on it. It blew me away. The sun is extra slanty up there, I didn’t realize how different it was from San Diego. Every sunset was a crazy golden glow, the sun always in your eyes, but you welcomed it. The sunsets in San Diego are more pink this time of year. Not that I’m complaining about beautiful pink sunsets.
It’s always tough when vacation is over, but always nice to get back home to my little world down here. Even if it does mean back to work with no vacations for awhile. This month is going to be a long one!
It is freezing in San Diego. Literally. It snowed yesterday night! Not last night, yesterday’s last night, which would be the night before last, I guess. The weather was totally crazy and us San Diegans just totally got a kick out of it.
It was late. I had just driven home from the coast, where it wasn’t really that cold, I decided. I was surprised. It appeared it may not rain again, and I was a bit disappointed. When I walked from my car to my house I noticed how much colder it was here than a mere ten minutes earlier there (I must live in a cold pocket or something, it’s always colder here, I feel like I live in a totally different city, but I do not). I put on my cozy pj’s and hop into bed to read (okay fine, pinterest. whatever). Next thing I know there is this HUGE thunder clasp! The cats freak out! One runs to the kitchen and hides in one of the cabinets (I couldn’t find her for a full ten minutes). The other is just sort of running in circles not knowing where to go. About 20 car alarms go off immediately, I have no idea if mine is one of them. Most of them turn off pretty quick, but one is persistent and won’t be quiet. I throw my fancy warm jacket over my scantily clad pj’s, slip on some clogs and race downstairs to see if it’s my car annoying all the neighbors. It wasn’t. Good car. On my walk back I see a huge lightening bolt across the sky! It was super low, too. I live sort of on a hill, so I have a grand view of the valley (and I’d like to think, my kingdom subjects) below. This lighting bolt was parallel to me. Very low. I’m surprised it didn’t strike one of my subjects. Poor lowly subjects. Then more crazy thunder. This whole time, I could see beautiful bright stars in the sky, the big dipper was trying really hard to pour stars on my head, but I moved just in time.
Back in my cozy bed (after I found Lilli), the rain started. Hard. Then the wind. Then the hail!! I swear it was hailing. I jumped out of bed to try to prove it was hail, but you know how hail doesn’t look like hail from your window sometimes? At least, not San Diego hail. And not from upstairs. I’d have to actually get shoes on and go outside, down the stairs, again, in order to prove it to you. And I just wasn’t really willing to do that. So I just trusted my ears, and all of the “it’s hailing!” tweets I saw and stayed in bed.
It poured most of the night, the wind howled until the wee hours of the morning. And we all woke up with a mostly clear sky and freezing temperatures. Soon thereafter the snow pictures on Instagram came pouring in. Just a wee bit into the mountains there was enough snow to make snowmen and have snowball fights. Families bundled up their kids and got up there fast before it melted. Palomar Mountain has snow. Mount Laguna is covered in it. The view of it is so pretty from here in town!
And now this morning. 7am. It was 32 degrees outside. 32! Freezing temps, people! The sky is perfectly blue, not a cloud in sight. The low today will be 27. 27! (sorry I keep repeating myself) It’s a fun week to be a San Diegan, folks.
This morning I shall be braving the 32 degree weather hiking Torrey Pines (for the first time, where have I been??) whilst donning warm woolen hats, fuzzy mittens and down vests. Bring it on Jack Frost, we’re ready for you!
*Above photo stolen from Instagram because I was too busy eating pizza and looking for a dress to wear for my sisters’ wedding instead of adventuring in the snow like a normal person.