[sticky entry] Sticky: Welcome to My Journal

Jun. 12th, 2015 05:55 pm
liralen: (crane)
Welcome to my journal. I'm putting this at the top so folks can find things easily. There are so many years' worth of stuff on this journal that it's not that easy to find things. I started out just journaling, but then got into writing fiction as well.

First, trip journals. They're all family friendly. You can also just click the travel tag as well to see everything related to it.

Just to keep this short... )
liralen: A pictures of one of my bees (bee)
We're leaving tomorrow for vacation, and for the last week, it's been on and off again rain.

I don't really like to go into the hive when it's raining, since the bees get grumpy about getting exposed to bad weather.  So I just held off for four days. I'd been hoping to do the inspection on Wednesday, but it wasn't good and sunny until Sunday morning.

So I skipped church, and went into the hive in mid-morning, when the sun was full on, and a lot of the field workers were out. I prepped with a sugar water spray bottle, my suit, and head gear, and just went right in.

And I found what I'd hoped to find... )
liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
It's raining tonight.

The soft hiss of water on the pavement, the spatter on the windows, and the coolness through the house. The sky was a riot of fluffy clouds, shadows, and curtains of water being blown in from over the mountains.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
One of the interesting things was that when I first started down the competitive path, I lost about 15 pounds of weight from my high of about 172 lbs, during the worst of the stressful days of moderating. Then, over the course of the six months of competitive, I got down to about 150 lbs.

I'm not a small woman to begin with, I'm 5'9", and I did and still do construction, so 150 was kind of frightening. The only time I'd ever hit that weight since my late 20's was also during my moderatorship, when I'd gone four months on extreme stress and got to the point where I came down with vertigo before I could actually stop and rest for a week. I regained my weight fairly quickly with actual sleep and food.

I did that again.

Within two weeks of quitting competitive, where I was cooking again, lifting again, and went from doing about 3000 steps on average per day to doing about 7500 a day now, I got back up to 155. Now I'm at 158 and steady with the usual daily fluctuations as I had been before all these adventures. The interesting thing is that even with the weight gain, I still fit into my skinny clothes, so I suspect that a lot of the weight regaining was mostly muscle mass that had atrophied when I wasn't moving around all that much and forgetting to eat. I went from getting breathless just going for a walk to being able to do my usual three mile walk easily.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (Finch)
Yes, it has occurred to me that the whole year's worth of pursuing gaming was actually my running away from something else.

Immersing myself within game worlds, with people I could probably never see face-to-face, whom I didn't even know the real names of, was incredibly like the early Usenet in some ways. Handles like MonkeyMasterB8, Synchronous Heartbeat, ExtraOrdinary, Randomizer, ToastGhoast, and my favorite EvilDeath1234 were all a part of it. Most people felt it mildly rude to be looking for real names, though, eventually, with all the time in conversation, we would start to talk about our real lives.

Pursuing, if not perfection, at least excellence, with those whose sole purpose was to get better at the game, was intoxicating, and playing with people who did little but play video games for all their time off filtered for those for whom this was their life for now. And it turns out a lot of us really are walking away from life for a while, for various reasons.

And I had my own reasons... )
liralen: A pictures of one of my bees (bee)
It paid off.

Putting the mini-marshmallow in instead of having to dig the cork out later. I did like I did last time, and waited three days to make sure they'd all settled in before I went into the hive in order to figure out if the Queen had made it out and if there were things I had to do in order to get the missing frame back in.

There were things I had to do, the girls were really busy.

And they were very clever about it all, too. )
liralen: A pictures of one of my bees (bee)
Murdoch's called last week to say that the bees would be in town on May 1st, and that I'd have 24 hours to pick them up. Then yesterday, Sunday, they called to say that people could pick them up Sunday afternoon/evening as well as Monday; but since I wasn't actually expecting them, I didn't get the message until today. And they said that we could pick them up until 5pm today.

So we went there a little before 2pm, as I had 911 all morning. It was kind of a rough set of incidents, including one with a suicidal father whom the dispatchers called directly to get him out of the house without weapons... that worked out; but it was odd to listen through.

But it was good to be with John and getting the girls. )
liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
It's been odd, this last week.

Since about Monday, after I'd finished turning everything over to the team, I've been getting back to my life.

And it's been a mixed bag... )
liralen: On the road (road)
Four of the guys who were regulars, either as substitutes or as main players, have said that they won't go forward with the team. Merek, the one with the most experience in competitive, who had gotten into ESEA open teams that were quite good, said explicitly that he wasn't going to play with the team if I wasn't playing anymore.

He said that he'd had so much experience in competitive that it wasn't about winning anymore, it was about the people he was playing with. And if they weren't fun to play with, then it wasn't worth doing. And if I wasn't going to be playing with him, then he didn't want to play anymore.

When I told Joanne that they'd had to have an ex-plat medic to replace me, she interrupted and said, "They can't replace you. No one can replace you." She was right.

And I have to hear them both... )
liralen: sfm of my medic (my_medic)
I started in October, at the very last minute putting an ad up on the UGC LFP forums for the NA Iron teams. There were, as I understood it, five divisions, the lowest being Iron, then Steel, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. And the teams that placed in the top so many spots of each division could move up.

I honestly didn't think I could even get into Iron... I only had 700 hours in the game, and barely 60 of them were as a Medic. I'd mostly played Pyro, Engie, Heavy, and Medic was my fourth-most played class. But Medic was the one class I thought I might be able to play in the 6's meta, which really only allowed for medics, soldiers, scouts, and demomen.

I had no idea how bad I really was... )

In LA

Mar. 28th, 2017 10:49 pm
liralen: Finch Painting (Default)
We've arrived in LA. It is the latter half of Jet's Spring Break, and we're here to remember, and to visit a few people, including a niece who is in school here and a friend I've never seen in the flesh before, but whom I talked with a great deal over a good many things.

We'll see how it goes. In the mean time, my body is amazed at what it's like to not play TF2 for an entire day. We've been to Trader Joe's and to the Mecca that is Original Tommy's, and eating my single cheese, extra chili, hold everything but the slab of fresh, local tomato, please.

It was amazing. My stomach is still uneasy about what I did, but... a price well worth paying. *laughs*

We got out to the Santa Monica pier at night, walked it and ate a churro. Got to see the fishing was good on the end of the pier, and got some good steps in today. It's a break from the gaming...

We made it into the top 16, didn't make the top 8, however, who were in the play offs. We do, however, have a chance to go into silver from steel. There are a few new players who want to join our team after one person left and the other just got less interested in the game itself. The personality mix is far more volatile, now, but the talent involved is much better. My mentor says that I'll do fine in silver, with him to help me learn and use his experience to help us, too. And we have one of his good friends as a team mentor as well.

So it's going to be a little crazy. So I'm taking time away from my rig, and I'm going to try out a few significant changes to see if I can't get my aim to be both better and hurt my right hand/wrist less. And we'll see...

But the time away is going to be essential for the change, and I'm going to have to sleep and rest away from the computer as much as I can. So we'l see how it goes.
liralen: (Urahara)
I have rarely, in my life, been so without a long-term plan for where I was going or what it was that I was going to do. With work, there had always been a plan; with the books, there was the finishing of them; with the painting, there were the shows; and with the church, there was a clear agenda of what had to be done.

But, ever since May, I've been going forward into this gaming world like a blind man moving without even a cane to figure out where the next step even was. I'd just feel my way forward with each day; and things happened to me, sometimes without my really consciously choosing what it was I was going to do, who it was that I was going to seek out, or even a very clear idea as to what it was I was even attempting to accomplish. I would blindly ask and then I would receive the unexpected. Like going to TPF and asking to learn how to play with other people and being gifted with people well beyond what I thought was my ability to play against. Going into competitive TF2 and suddenly being given a team, of all things. And then going and doing what I thought might be best for the team, with the advice of my most experienced comp player who was all of 16-years-old, and we now have a good chance at going into the playoffs.

And I've been given the most amazing of gifts... )
liralen: (trouble)
Lots of things have been happening, some of them looked bad when they happened, but some of it has turned out all right.

Our 20-year-old Passat died a complete death, I've had periodontal problems, and my old overuse problems with my hands and arms have come back with the competitive video gaming. None of those things were particularly surprises, per se, but they haven't been that much fun.

Coping has had a few good side effects... )
liralen: (Ukitake Tea)
... I did nothing but exist.

It was 9 F (-13 C) outside, and I stood there, watching through the open garage door all the tiny flakes dance down out of a white sky onto a landscape blanketed in light and limned in sepia and shadow. Every breath bit cold at the linings of my nose and the back of my throat.

I stole the moment because I was helpless.

There was nothing I could do, so I did nothing but exist.

I had an 11 am appointment that I was going to miss. I'd left my keys in John's car, and he'd found them there, and was running them back to me in order to rescue me, taking time from his meetings and calls and arrangements, making me a priority ahead of the rest of his plans. I was grateful.

I'd called the chiropractor to tell them I was late, and they would tell my massage therapist. We would just have to wait and see how things played out.

So I just breathed and saw and felt.

And it was good.

John was happy about being able to help me, and I was grateful to him for the help. I ended up being half an hour late, but both my therapists moved their times around for me this time. I'd done the same for them in the past, with as little fuss, but it seemed a miracle for me. *laughs* I thanked them, and got taken care of by them, and was, again, grateful.

With their help I'll be able to scrim tonight with my team. I'd found a scrim partner the night before, and another captain gave me their spreadsheet for organizing scrims, and another captain said that they'd love to fight us again: we were a good challenge. My pocket soldier talked with me about strategies and personal mottoes during his off period in high school. My medic mentor took some time to go over a demo with me between his college classes and performance periods.

I am being helped all the time. An exercise I hadn't consciously undertaken, but it was one I needed. I was horrible at asking for help before all this TF2 stuff, and now I'm asking for help all the time, and it's all from people who don't get asked that often by someone like me, either. It's good for them, too, to know that they should be respected for their abilities, patience, and authority--for their agency in someone else's life.

I ice every night, to save my hands for a little longer, to let myself play a little more. I know my hands will go, my reflexes fade, my hard-won muscle memory will, one day, be nothing but memory; but, for now, I fight as hard as I can, learn as quickly as I can, do the best I can for the people I'm with.

And it's enough.
liralen: Finch Painting (Finch)
A UGC Steel team, even.

And people seem to be trusting me with it.

So.

Since about April, I got involved in the TF2 (Team Fortess 2) gaming community. It started with joining the failing Team Play First Community, and getting pulled into the staffing because someone found out that I could play with computers and get them to do what I wanted them to do.

Read more... )
liralen: (crane)
We've been in San Diego for our annual visit for Thanksgiving. It's been a little crazy thinking it's been a whole 'nother year. I've also been very absent from these pages.

I think it was mostly because of the habit of keeping private the happenings at UCC Longmont, and it went even further now that I am friends with dozens of very Internet-active men in their teens and twenties. They're all great people, but are very private about their private names, they keep very strictly to their gaming labels, and they've seen what fame can do both bad and good. So they're careful about not giving out private information, and I respect that.

Plus, nearly all of them are in the tldr camp, it seems. So I just don't. Or haven't. *laughs* Don't like being boring, in some ways, but it does seem like I've left the places I used to frequent all the time.

But sometimes I feel like I left my old loyal audience behind... )
liralen: Finch Painting (dandelion)
We woke up when we wanted to wake up, on June 28th, as there wasn't really anything we had to get to, and after the last two early mornings, it was nice to laze in and sleep.

But I did get up eventually, and we'd done a little research the night before about the various breakfast places in town. One seemed a little too posh, relying on "Best Breakfast in Radium" advertising along with lots of types of Eggs Benedict and fancier dishes. There was one that was just around the corner from our hotel, so we went there, instead, and were very glad of our decision.

For the usual pictures... kind of... )
liralen: Finch Painting (teacups)
One June 27th, we came up with a great plan and it worked out really well, and it was a lot like the one that we used to get to the top of the tramway in Jasper. We basically got up early, left the campsite before nearly anyone else had even gotten up out of their tents, and we hit the local bakery before heading up to the parking lot at Lake Louise.

Read more... )
liralen: Finch Painting (superglue_flake)
... you really can see forever.

If you get high enough.

And we took the fun way up... )
liralen: Finch Painting (sunset)
When we were in Banff, we'd found out that the next two days were going to be cloudy and rainy, so we decided not to be that ambitious on the 25th. Besides, it had be cold enough during the night, that I actually put my stocking cap on for sleeping so that I'd be warm enough. John let me sleep in while he built a fire and made coffee and had his breakfast. So I didn't get up until nearly 10 am, to a beautifully overcast day. *grins*

Cut for pictures... )
liralen: Finch Painting (trees over Jet)
So after our night in Banff, we headed north along the diagonal highway that goes through Banff and Jasper National parks. When we arrived at the park last night, John bought a pass for five nights, and the lady at the booth said that we could add on a night any time we wanted if we needed to do so. The hotel had a hot tub, which we happily used, and then served us a full pancake, bacon, sausage, scrambled egg, and toast breakfast, so we ate our fill.

For pictures and a lot more text.... )

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