roller derby!


I am not good at sports. Not only do I not play any sport well, but I’m not even very good at watching them. If I watch on TV the camera usually follows the action and I can keep track of some of what’s going on, but then my eyes get distracted and I miss everything. Thank goodness for instant replay.

Trying to keep track of what’s going on in roller derby is even more challenging than remembering to keep my eye on the guy with the ball in baseball or football. I’ve watched Whip It, I’ve read the rules in the front of the program, but it’s all I can do to follow the progress of one girl with a star on her helmet. Following both of them is a bit beyond my skills. If I can pick out the lead jammer in the moment before the official points at her I consider it a victory.


blogeditIMG_0687blogeditIMG_0702Skateland is sensory overload anyway. The light and the colors assault me (and my poor camera). I am transported back to 1986. The Skateland in my hometown looked just like the one here. It might be 28 years later and half a world away but you’d never know it looking around.

blogrollerderbydetailsI used to take roller skating as my Wednesday afternoon sports elective at intermediate school. As I have said, I don’t sports, and having to do extra sports one day a week was just a nightmare. But the roller skating elective meant walking a couple of kilometers up to the rink, changing into mufti (street clothes), and skating round and round to the best music of the day while hanging out with my friends. I was never particularly good at skating but that didn’t much matter. It was all about the loud music and white tshirts and socks glowing under the black light. And the boys ;)


I’m glad some of my friends made it out after work to come see the bout. It was the first time seeing roller derby in person for a couple of them, the second third time for me & hubby. The crowd was an eclectic mix – the families of the skaters who brought their folding chairs, friends and fellow skaters, little kids more intent on playing with their video games or their friends, and some random people off the street like us.

(I had forgotten that I blogged about roller skating and roller derby before, and that it’s actually a really cool post with some of my most favorite pictures – check it out here)

I didn’t take my good camera. I tried not to get caught up in taking photos at the expense of enjoying the action. But it’s a compulsion, trying to get a few good shots of the action, trying to capture the chaos of it. My old iPhone didn’t do too badly. I got a couple of people in focus here and there ;) and with some white balancing and selective cropping I was pretty satisfied with the photos I got. (The little voice in my head is saying “imagine how cool dSLR pictures would have been… maybe next time…)

It was a beautiful night to be out. The moon was a wafer thin crescent that my camera was not able to render accurately (it’s the bright spot in the middle, above one tree and to the left of the other. The top spot is a star, or rather probably the Seven Sisters. The other spots are artifacts, reflections of the street lights I think).


btw in Japan Whip It was titled Rollergirl’s Diary, rendered phonetically. Thanks for showing me that google images.

And thank you for stopping by again!


Posted in goings on around here, photo, photography, wanderings | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

reviewing my winter Project 333 wardrobe, moving into spring

Hi there!

It’s been quite a while since my last Project 333 post. Spring has come early to the Pacific Northwest, so I’m calling winter DONE and changing things over a month early.

spring P333 closetYou might remember that I decided not to count my winter things too closely. I didn’t have much reason to switch over between fall and winter because I don’t have as many winter options (and I don’t much like winter clothes – I wear a lot of loungewear in wintertime). That worked out quite well. I did bring out some specific things for winter events – my special pumpkin orange wrap skirt, my day of the dead skirt, a Christmas tshirt, my elf hat, a fun-run tutu, and some red accessories. When the event or season was over those things went back into storage (I keep them with the decorations for that season, although, as evidenced in the photo at the bottom of the page, the Xmas items are hanging around on top of my storage tote waiting to be put away). But mostly I wore my simple basics around the house and relied on my brightly colored teal coat and pink cardigan to keep me feeling cute and cheerful.

During the 5 months of “winter” I bought a few new (to me) things which gave me some variety, although they didn’t all work out in the long run. I tried to do the tunic sweater dress with leggings thing, but tunic sweater dresses are not a very flattering option on me and if I’m being honest I know that they never have been (ugh, the 80s!). I didn’t find any winter boots that would balance my figure the way I was hoping, so I’ve decided to leave that look to other people. (The more I see the knee high boots and leggings look, the more I notice that most people don’t pull it off very well. Lots of short legs cut in half – something I can’t afford to do!) So yeah, the tunic sweater was a one month thrift shop “rental” and that’s fine.

I am still on the fence about the pink fancy blouse I found on that same shopping trip, because I might need to buy a similarly toned top to layer under it (because it’s sheer), and I don’t know that I love it all that much anyway. I’ve worn it once. The denim dress from that same shopping trip has been pretty awesome though. It has given me some variety for winter and will probably be even more useful this spring.

new black lace topI just found another top that can be considered a “fancy blouse”  – a casual top with a little bit of something special. Long time readers might remember the aqua lace top I tried and failed to make work a couple of years ago. Well I have found a black lace blouse and it’s so much better! It is a soft rayon tshirt with a pretty lace overlay on the front panel. The lace isn’t scratchy, and the top isn’t sheer so I don’t have to find a top to wear underneath it. The lacy hem is a little longer than the lining panel and the overall length is perfect for my short torso. It was a brand new, tags-on, find at Goodwill, $48 retail, so I was happy to pay $10 for it. I’ve already worn it a couple of times and I love it.

I’m buying a couple of new cotton sweaters this season which will hopefully be useful right away this spring, but will also be ready for next fall and winter. I’m really bad about procrastinating and just sticking with what I have out of laziness, so I’ve decided to replace some worn out old sweaters now, rather than trusting that I’ll do it when fall comes back around. I have 3 warm pullover sweaters right now – a black fitted cashmere (it wasn’t quite so fitted in the beginning, but I may have grown a little), a periwinkle blue fitted cashmere exactly the same as the black one, and my “kermit” sweater, a 2nd hand J.Crew wool/cashmere blend with a nice little cable design. It was near the end of its life when I bought it and I’ve worn it no less than 38 times this year, and probably about the same the year before (I think). It’s my go-to loungewear sweater on cooler days. I’m wearing it right now. It’s pilled and a bit stretched out and it’s the color of Kermit the Frog. I was tempted to donate it back to Goodwill at the beginning of the season, and I’ve worn it 30 times since then, so I don’t feel bad. I’m replacing it with another colorful pullover – either the one that’s on its way, or another one. And I’m donating the blue cashmere because it isn’t as useful as the black one and I’ve had it for close to a decade. I’m ready for a change. I should probably ditch or replace the black one too. I ordered a bright pink pullover and a cabled grey button front cardigan, hoping not to repeat the mistake of buying duplicates. We’ll see how they pan out, but I’ll donate the old sweaters regardless.

I actually have a big basket full of things to donate this season! I was pretty brutal when I unpacked my tote. If something looked tired or cheap or fussy it went into the basket. If I had thoughts of “well it’s not very flattering but –” I put it in the basket. Even if I wore it a bunch last year! (I have plenty of nice things that might not actually be as flattering as I think they are – I don’t need to wear things I KNOW are not flattering!) and I don’t need to wear cheap-looking junkie dresses. I’m letting go of some old favorites that are getting worn out. And I’m giving away some things that I’ve had for ages but hardly worn.

P333 spring changeover donationsI’m quite proud of myself. And I’m not going to run out and replace everything. There might be a few gaps in my wardrobe but I’m going to trust that I can make do with something else that serves the same purpose or get a replacement when and if I realize I really do need it.

And when I found myself packing a box of “emergency” things to stash in the top of my closet I decided that I didn’t need to. I hung a couple of dressy dresses up in my closet as a “formal capsule” so they would be ready to wear if a more formal occasion came around. But the other things went back in the main storage tote. I’ve been storing it in a more accessible part of the basement so I can just as easily retrieve something from there as from my closet shelf. The awesome part is that my tote is getting emptier! There’s space in there for bulky coats now. I’m excited.

P333 tote for storage of extrasI’ve updated my spreadsheet with winter season totals for October through February. The spring list is not quite finished yet. I’m trying to keep a list of the things I have in storage separately from the things I have in the closet. It’s probably a work in progress, depending on how this weird early spring pans out. I’m going to try not to change things around much until summer. But if our warm weather continues (or suddenly disappears!) I might need to make a few adjustments. I’m always trying to challenge myself with this project without being too rigid.

You’ll also remember that I don’t count shoes or accessories. Right now I don’t foresee a time when I will. I have been updating my shoe wardrobe lately, replacing some worn out walking shoes and trying to fill in a couple of gaps. I will probably share a shoe post soon. Spoiler alert: they are almost all black and pink these days. And I still haven’t made the effort to get a pair of ballerina flats. But I have a selection pinned.

As always, thanks for stopping by!


Posted in blah blah blah, less, Project 333, stuff | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

neighborhood cats

While walking Mimi the other day, I met one of the neighborhood cats, a long haired marmalade I have seen from a distance, sleeping in a front window. He dashed up the stairs as Mimi and I approached, but stopped at the top with his paws hanging over the edge, lolling around, watching us. As we passed by (with Mimi in her elderly obliviousness) he came down the stairs and followed us up the street a little. He was headed to see his owner who was working on his motorbike in his garage so we said hello. I admired the cat and commented on how big kitty’s white feet were and he told me that it was a Hemingway cat with 7 toes on his front feet. No wonder they looked so big! I looked up Hemingway cats and found out a bit about the history of Hemingway’s polydactyl cats and that they are also called “mitten cats” – that was what our neighbor cat was called – Mittens! The picture on the website is pretty similar to what he looked like too.

He was such a beautiful cat. I wished I could’ve caught a photo of how cute he was, lolling around at the top of the stairs. I could imagine just how lovely the photos would look.

We have another neighbor cat who is very friendly – I met a gorgeous, slim, silver tabby named Ozzy when he was visiting the park and following everyone he encountered. I was worried that he was an indoor cat who had escaped so I checked his collar and found his address. He followed me down the street and hung out as I knocked on the door and then called the owner. No, he’s just a really friendly outdoor cat, she said.

This morning I thought he was in my back yard but it was a different grey cat, a blur of panic as I walked outside and startled him sleeping on top of the large cabinets we have stored on the back porch. Mimi came out but she had no idea until I told her there was a cat in the yard (yeah, I’m bad – I find her overreaction endlessly amusing). She went out into the yard and found the cat still there, but couldn’t keep track of him once he jumped into the tree. She finally spotted him when he moved over to the fence but she didn’t freak out too much. And he didn’t care at all. I wonder if he’ll show up again.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have cat allergies… they are such cute little psychopaths.

I’ll be back with a Project 333 post very soon. It’s spring and I’m ready to refresh my wardrobe!

Thanks for stopping by.


Posted in blah blah blah, goings on around here | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Wanderings: Lunar New Year celebrations in Seattle

Happy Lunar New Year!

(and happy spring, if you live in the Pacific NW! These daffodils are from my garden and this is my second vase of them this season. The ram/goat card is a wood block print from my favorite dreaming nomad.)

blogHappyNewYearThis past weekend I was finally able to do something I’ve been wanting to do for years – I went to Seattle’s International District to celebrate the new year. It was a perfect day for an outing – mild temperatures, sunny, breezy, clear skies. I met my friend Space and we had a fun day out.

blogIntlDistrictfeetThe district put on a food walk with 40-odd local restaurants serving $2 sampler plates of deliciousness – everything from dim sum to desserts. Space and I planned out our day based on which foods we most wanted to eat, sticking mainly to vegetarian offerings. We started with taiyaki (adzuki bean filled fish shaped waffles) and moved on to crab Rangoons, vegan sesame beef skewers, dim sum, Thai tea, mango tofu curry and pad Thai.

bloglunarnewyearfoodWe joined the crowd gathered to see the cute kid’s fashion competition. We only saw the very end – the top 3, but there were lots of cute kids in fancy outfits on the streets. Lots of cute puppies too!

A little later we watched a group playing taiko drums. Sometimes those youth performances can be kind of awkward, but the taiko group was excellent. I just looked up their website and discovered that they were the same taiko group we came across randomly one day last summer while wandering in Seattle. BTW in the picture below the stage is on a slope! I know it looks pretty weird.

blogtaikodrummingLater we were watching an awkward performance on the stage when the lion dance started out in the street. I guess there were other lion dances, maybe popping up randomly around town? They weren’t on the program. But I saw photos on the event Facebook page later of different colored lions. We crowded in with the group and watched on everyone else’s phone screens. Isn’t that how the world works these days? I wasn’t expecting firecrackers since Seattle banned all fireworks. I heard about the community asking for a special religious exemption last year. There were a bunch of police on horses supervising the crowd nearby so I assume the exemption was given. blogliondancecrowds

It was a good day. The food was excellent and we got to try a lot of restaurants that we might not have ventured into otherwise. The dim sum place we went to had tasty, filling food for very low prices. And the vegan place up towards Beacon Hill is great to know about. I would never have made my way up there otherwise.

I had been debating treating this day as a photography outing. I had my film SLR out to bring but at the last minute I decided that I would have more fun if I focused more on the food and hanging out with my friend. I was able to take these photos for instagram sharing and memory keeping using my iPhone. They may not be the best photos, but I really only needed a few decent shots to remember my day by. I definitely made the right choice.

Seattle is a beautiful place when the weather is clear (and pretty cool even when it’s not, I should add). The ferry ride home was beautiful.



I was being my weird stubborn self by wearing short sleeves on a day when everyone else was wearing coats, but I keep warm by layering heavily around my trunk (merino tee, double layer knit dress, cotton dress, and a cardigan) and trying to keep moving. Sunny brick walls are also useful for warming up next to. But I had a sweater to add for the ferry ride and walk home when it was really cold. It just wasn’t as cute an outfit with the sweater on ;)

Thanks for stopping by,


Posted in wanderings | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

around here, late February

Sigh… I have been neglecting my poor blog a little bit lately.

I guess that’s what happens when you keep up with other things.

So, what’s been going on around here?

I have been…

walking regularly. I have a walking buddy and we can usually get our 70,000 steps a week in even if we have a couple of very idle days. We take a couple of mornings a week and walk a lot. Yesterday we took a couple of detours and wrong turns and clocked almost 20,000 steps!

buying new walking shoes. I ordered online and got 5 pairs to choose from. I’ve almost narrowed down to the final two. I think I will keep a pair of cross trainers and a pair of ultra-light-weight barefoot shoes.

making lots of pages with Ali Edwards’ digital story kit – about life right now, and stories from back in the day, both way, way back stories of my childhood, and back in my uni days. I’m doing most of the work on my laptop and just putting the pieces together on paper at the end.


reading! I’ve read 7 books (although one was very, very short!) so far this year. Check out my 2015 shelf on goodreads.

catching up on doctor’s visits that were long overdue. I still have a couple of appointments to take care of. I’m thinking I might make February my month for taking care of annual self care appointments. I try to think of it as a gift to myself, but mostly I think of it as a hassle!

closing tabs, minimizing chrome, saving links to evernote, so I can be done with the internet here and there and get on with other things.

looking forward to the Seattle International District’s Lunar New Year celebrations on Feb 21st. They have a $2 a plate food walk that sounds delicious.

恭禧發財 (wishing you a happy new year!)

tracking what I eat much more closely, making sure I’m not overdoing the unhealthy things. I haven’t been very good about “eating (real) food, not too much, mostly plants” lately.

noting what I wear each day in my planner, even though I haven’t reviewed what I wore in January yet.

seeing signs of spring everywhere! We’ve had a very mild winter in the west. I heard them say on the news that the cherry trees on the UW quad are blossoming a month early. I had to mow the lawn the other day. That’s not normal here in February.

watching and loving Jane the Virgin (the best!), How to Get Away with Murder, The Mindy Project, Nashville, Gotham, Forever, New Girl, Downton Abbey, and the final, most excellent season of Parks & Recreation. (waiting for Once Upon a Time to come back – soon!)

wishing I could have seen all the awards nominated movies, but enjoying that some of the films I did see and love are being praised (recommending Boyhood, The Imitation Game, Big Hero 6, and The Boxtrolls if you haven’t seen them).

What have you been loving lately?


Posted in goings on around here | Tagged , | 1 Comment

a silly KonMari follow up photo – oshire/oshiri

Hey there,

I found this old film photo the other day when I was doing some file backups. It has always made me laugh… in part because of the look on my old friend Kev’s face, and in part because my friend Jenni was caught in such an awkward position, looking for something in her oshire (her huge Japanese closet) but presenting us a view of her oshiri (her butt!)

It’s hard for an English speaker to keep these two words straight and pronounce them correctly. I just had to double check that I had them the right way round.

oshiri oshireAnyway, I thought I would share this for Ms Ant Hill (and anyone else) who was curious about the size of Japanese closets to get some context for KonMari’s organization book. This is about half of one side of the closet, with an equal amount behind the doors to the right, plus an extra space up above. My friend’s level of organization was pretty typical – making do with a collection of plastic drawers and bookcase and piles o’ stuff.

Photo from 2000 or 2001.


Posted in books, photo, wanderings | Tagged | Leave a comment

memory keeping, memory loss, and burning journals, part 2

There was a another thread to the discussion about memory loss and memory keeping that I was talking about last time – a reference to a blogger, Danielle LaPorte, who burned 20 years of journals. All of the participants were horrified.

But I went to see what the blogger had to say about it. They weren’t memory keeping journals. They were ‘write it out to process it’ journals, a purging, a brain-dump. This blogger strongly declares that she doesn’t care for nostalgia or leaving a legacy, she wants to live in the now, not in the past, so she felt that burning her journals was a release.

But of course that’s still a horrifying thought to most memory keepers.

I have a small collection of old journals from my early teenage years. And yes, I destroyed one a few years ago, and sometimes wonder if that was the right choice. But I did it very deliberately while saving the rest of the journals carefully. It was an utterly worthless journal. It was rambling and incoherent, an 11 year old kid trying to write a journal without really having anything to say, so it became a long catalog of who likes whom and who is cute (or spunky, in 1980s kiwi kid slang) and really, it was a bunch of nonsense. The following year I kept another notebook that was similar but somehow I think I had begun to find my voice. That’s the one I kept. That’s the one that’s embarrassing and silly, but doesn’t make me feel physically sick like the oldest one did. What’s the point in keeping something that makes you feel so horrible? I would have hated anyone to read that first journal and think that they were getting some insight into my 11-12 year old self. (I don’t think I was as crazy as those pages made me sound. I think I was trying too hard.) I’m not keen for anyone to read the later stuff either, but I think I could laugh at it, especially as I get older and more distanced from it.

I still have a suitcase full of brain-dump journals. I used to write pages every morning (“morning pages” of stream of consciousness writing) and I used to reread them. I haven’t been through them in a long time but I seem to remember being surprised that during some difficult times I never even mentioned the things that were really bothering me. That makes me wonder what value those journals hold for a future me. Their purpose was probably fulfilled as I filled them, getting the stuff out of my head and letting me release the emotions I was struggling with. Someday soon I might dig some out and see how reading them now makes me feel.

As Danielle LaPorte said about her old journals:

I’ve come to the conclusion that reliving pain is actually not that conducive to my joy, growth, or creativity. Nope, it just isn’t. I’ve tried recapitulation and obsessive attachment as a means to self-improvement, and it blows. I can find plenty to be sad about in my current life — I don’t need to dig up old material.

If all those old journals do is remind me of old grievances and sad feelings, are they worth keeping? If all they were meant to do was be a dump, a garbage bin for random thoughts, is keeping them the right thing to do? Or is it better to be rid of old rubbish?

Perhaps it’s not the right question to ask but if I woke up with amnesia tomorrow would reading these journals help me understand my life any better? How would I feel about digging into these old thoughts, long since past and forgotten?

It all depends on the contents of those journals and the feelings that they bring up in my life. As Danielle LaPorte said, she’s not advising people to burn their journals. She’s just sharing the lightness and relief that she feels since she burned hers, opening people to the possibility that it’s OK to choose that option.

On the podcast everyone reacted strongly in the negative. Of course self-proclaimed memory keepers are not likely to want to burn journals, but then again, they are probably keeping different types of journals for a different purpose. Memory keepers are defined by wanting to save the past.

I’m sure genealogists shudder at the thought of burning papers too. But again, the journals genealogists are seeking are not the scrap paper notes or brain dumps that most of the journal burners are destroying, are they? Would we really want to keep all of our ancestor’s pages of notes and complaints about what a prick John is being right now? Maybe we think we would, but would we really read through all of those notes to find the little bits that are significant? And will our descendants, who will operate in a digital world and will likely inherit thousands of photos and documents from us? And maybe even a Facebook feed. (Oh my goodness, I find my own Facebook feed hard enough to trawl through looking for the good bits. Can you imagine inheriting years of someone else’s feed?! And no, don’t trust the algorithms to show you what’s valuable. They have no clue!) I asked my genealogist friend and she agreed both that no one really wants to inherit everything. It’s too overwhelming.

I also noticed that everyone was concerned that she would regret burning her journals. Regret is a funny thing. We worry a lot that we’ll regret doing something or not doing something. But only certain types of people really dwell on their regrets. Most people have at least a few regrets, sometimes pretty big ones. But regret is such a pointless emotion. There’s usually nothing you can do about something you regret. You can apologize, or make a different choice in the future, but what’s done is done and dwelling on it is pretty unproductive. I don’t think Danielle LaPorte is the kind of person who beats herself up over regrets. Not that I’m not particularly familiar with her – I just got that impression from this one post on her blog. She’s not going to sit around crying about her lost journals in the future.

She might occasionally wish she still had them (or at least the IDEA of them, because as often as not it’s the ideal memory we wish for, not the actual reality of what something was). But so what? I regret not writing diaries during my college years. But I didn’t. I can’t change that fact now. So I write down what I remember and try to retrieve some of those details, and I keep a diary now. Would I feel worse if I had kept journals and then destroyed or lost them? Perhaps. Human psychology is a funny thing, and losing something is a lot harder than never having had it. But those of us who beat ourselves up over things we did (or didn’t do) need to work on that bad habit. It’s unproductive and unhealthy and we can’t live our lives protecting ourselves from the possibility of regret.

I don’t regret destroying that 12 year old me’s journal. I wish I had written a better journal when I was 12, but I did the best I knew how to at that time. Reminding myself of that part of myself that was pathetic and fake and trying too hard really doesn’t help me now. The other journal from the following year has enough of that anyway. I trust that I made a good decision.

And as for my brain-dump journals, in theory, and possibly in reality, I used those journals to process thoughts that, once refined and worked through, came out in the other writing I was doing. I guess that if I’d done those pages on loose sheets of paper I might have placed less value on them. Maybe it’s better to do that brain-dump on scrap paper and go through them regularly to glean the best ideas and words so that the rest of it can be dumped. Part of me wonders if I should read them and see what I wrote, but another part of me thinks that if I don’t know what I wrote, would I miss it if it was gone? If I lost all those pages without having read through them for years I might never really think of them again. Or I might fixate and dwell on them, mourning the idea of the lost thoughts, wishing I could re-connect with my younger self and see what she thought about things. Which version comes true is as much about my future psychology as anything. And that is unknowable. I am as likely to be upset that I kept the journals for some reason or other as I am likely to be happy I kept them. Even if I scanned them (another months long project I’m not even considering) I am likely to regret not having the paper copies because “it’s not the same!”

Ah well. I have rambled on for long enough. Burning journals is neither good nor bad. If you want to do it, you should. I have no plans to read through my journals right now, or scan them, or shred them…

…although I did just shred more than 5 pounds of old receipts and papers… maybe that’s a story for another day.

Thanks for stopping by,


Posted in blah blah blah, memory keeping | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment