May 102014

This an entry I wrote for my then-derby-league’s blog, but never submitted. I have recently transferred to a different league, but I liked this and wanted to post it somewhere.

Self confidence has long eluded me.

I was a very shy, anxious teenager. It was a huge accomplishment when I managed to speak up in class. I would frequently spend so long analyzing what I wanted to say that the moment it was relevant would pass, and I would be left silent and shaking instead.

Things got a bit better in my early 20’s – I had a couple of retail jobs where I had to learn very quickly how to talk to people. It was terrifying, but the longer I did it the easier it got. But the second guessing remained – I would lie awake at night thinking about things I’d said during the day that I thought were embarrassing, imagining customers or coworkers remembered these things with the same minute detail that I did. Of course I know that’s rarely true, but I couldn’t stop myself from thinking it.

Fast forward to May of 2012. I decided I wanted to play roller derby after seeing a friend’s bout up in Vermont. There was a magic in the air – all of these women were so badass. They were decisive, confident. That was the kind of person I wanted so badly to be – one that did things with conviction, that wasn’t so paralyzed by anxiety that she talked herself out of even starting anything new.

I began the fresh meat program with no assumption that I’d level up, ever. I just wanted to try. I wanted to be in better shape, and I needed to know if I could do something I set out to do, even if it scared me. I did the best that I could. I fell hard and often. I felt everyone’s eyes on me as I did a lap alone in a drill, I felt slow and awkward and uncoordinated. I saw only what I expected to see – all the failures, all the mistakes. When I assessed for level 1, I was so nervous I felt sick. I spent the entire assessment convincing myself that I had failed, telling myself it was okay, I would do better the next time. Much to my surprise and relief, I passed. But that triumph was soon drowned out by the much louder critic in my head – you’re slow, you’re out of shape, you will never get better.

I almost stopped going. It felt like so much pressure – why would I intentionally put myself through something so difficult?

But I had started this. And I wanted to be someone that did things with conviction, that wasn’t so paralyzed by anxiety that she talked herself out of continuing when things were hard.

At some point, I turned a corner. Practice became something I looked forward instead of something I dreaded. All the hours of skating, and all the time spent talking myself into going, began to pay off. I transitioned to skate backwards without falling, first only once, then more consistently. I found I could do 5 laps in one minute if I pushed myself hard enough.

Level 2 assessments came on a freezing, early Sunday morning. I was so nervous I shook through most of the assessment, started hyperventilating. I told myself that I could make it through one more drill. Then one more. Again, all I saw were mistakes – the times I fell, the times I stumbled. I convinced myself I hadn’t passed, that it was okay, that I would try again.

I passed.

When one of the assessors told me that I’d improved so much, that she was proud of me, I almost cried. I had accomplished something I thought was impossible.

While I still see the flaws, still second guess myself, I’m beginning to see the things I accomplish. I wish that I could tell my nervous, awkward teenage self the kind of woman I would become – someone that does things with conviction, that isn’t so paralyzed by anxiety that she talks herself out of moving forward.

 Posted by at 4:56 pm
Jul 132013

And now I will talk about an album that actually just came out recently instead of 5 or 10 years ago!

I started out my Boards of Canada fandom slowly – I picked up the EP In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country on a whim at Newbie’s because it was cheap and I’d heard good things about BoC, but I never really got into it – it was only four songs, and while they were enjoyable they were not especially memorable. But a few years later, when I finally shelled out the money for a copy of their then-most-recent album, The Campfire Headphase, it was a different story. From the first listen I was absolutely in love. These were sounds I felt I needed to hear at the time – they filled a void in me in the way that only really, really good music can. Only a couple of days (and probably 5 or 6 full listens) later, I wrote this intimidating block of text about how fucking wonderful this album was. I was, and still am, completely enamoured with BoC generally and that album in particular. Having said that, I have since gone back and dipped into the rest of their catalogue. While I’ve found other lovely music (Music Has the Right to Children basically lives up to the hype), none of it has affected me like The Campfire Headphase. But Tomorrow’s Harvest is a close second.

I don’t know how to describe this music. It’s walking along city-bright streets at night, the lights in windows high above glinting sharp in the corners of your vision. You’re trying to get home, and you’d take the train but you missed the last one, so you’re walking alone. You’re a bit wary – this isn’t a part of the city you’re very familiar with. But the city at night is beautiful in a harsh sort of way – all reflections and angles and shades of grey.

It’s uneasy music, yes, but soothing at the same time – I was feeling particularly anxious when I listened to it for the first time earlier, and while it didn’t compound the anxiousness, it sort of validated it. Like I felt better about being anxious because this music agreed with me – the world can be a scary, uncertain place sometimes. But it’s also beautiful because of that.

While I really enjoy Music Has the Right to Children, it doesn’t affect me in the same way. It’s too light, too sunny and airy, to really stick. I listen to it a fair amount, when I can’t take anything else – emotionally loaded lyrics, or vapid pop, or moody electronica. So I guess it does fill a need. It’s music unencumbered with associations – it simply is, it fills the air with sweetness, it’s immensely enjoyable. But it’s not important in the same way.

But with Tomorrow’s Harvest, BoC has again filled a void. I needed this music earlier tonight, and music I need is music I will keep coming back to.

Nov 112012

Hey Internets! I haven’t been on here at all since school started. But I have, weirdly, been up to a bunch of creative crap, despite being so busy with school I want to curl up in a tiny ball.

First, there is Nation Novel Writing Month, which I have attempted before, but have never put this much effort into. The idea is to take the month of November and write a 50,000 word novel, from start to finish. I didn’t get far at all the last time I tried this in 2007, a few pages maybe (the file has been lost to the ether that is switching computers several times, or I’d check), so I am trying this again. I’m already over 3,000 words, which isn’t much compared to how many words I SHOULD have by now (there are charts and graphs and numbers over on the site – at my current rate I will not finish until April of 2013, says the graph). But still, I haven’t written anything even this long in years, so I’m proud of myself. Maybe I’ll post the damn thing on here at the end of the month, no matter how far into it I get.

The next order of business is my mostly finished but very stalled-out album. James helped me record the majority of it over the summer, and it is mostly done, but I got burnt out around September when school started, and haven’t recorded anything since. There are a bunch of little things that need to be re-recorded or added to, and one song that still needs to be recorded in its entirety. So one or two Saturdays is probably enough to finish it on my end, I just need to stop being a disorganized, stressed out mess. Ugh.

That’s most of the interesting things I’ve been up to since… August? I should post on here more often. I should also start baking things and taking photos again. School has kind of sucked the life out of me; I’m kind of surprised I’ve done anything at all since September.

Actually, I did hang out down by the Charles a couple of days in August, and took some pictures. Most of them didn’t come out very well, but this is kind of cool:

There are these nifty pedestrian walkways to get over Storrow – I like how you’re way up in the tops of the trees. Also, this makes me miss summer.

And this is pretty cute:

I’ve been doing roller derby since May, I don’t think I mentioned that. I’ve had a tough time getting to practice the past while, for school/work/my brain hating me reasons, but I’m trying to get back into it now. Either way, Miso wants to join me.

Hopefully I will be back sooner than later.

 Posted by at 2:43 pm
Aug 122012

In my endless quest to find new places to read reviews of ambient/electronic/IDM/glitch/whatever, I’ve realized something – there is a tendency to review not the music itself, but the packaging. This includes things like album art, song titles, and even quotes from the artist about their intent. I find this unspeakably odd. I was looking around for reviews of Tim Hecker’s Ravedeath – 1972 (which I do not yet own a copy of, digital or otherwise) because I’m a huge Tim Hecker fan and wanted some feedback on whether this was an album I’d be interested in, before lurking around the internet to find a copy on CD. I usually read reviews on Headphone Commute, which I adore, because they don’t do this. They tend to focus very specifically on the music itself, often on things like the weather/season the music goes well with, or the emotions and memories it evokes. This isn’t to say to say that things like song titles, album art, and intent aren’t important, but just that they’re secondary to the actual music. I would hope, anyway.  To that end, my recent desire to get music on CD instead of downloading it is, granted, based partly on wanting the packaging that was intended to be released with the music. There’s something about opening a CD and looking through everything that’s included, holding it in your hands, looking at physical photographs. But in the end, the music’s really the only thing that’s important. You can have all the best intentions and marketing and design but if the music is shitty nothing is going to fix that. This is what happens when Miso wakes me up at 8:30 on a Sunday morning and I can’t fall back asleep.

 Posted by at 10:25 am
Aug 102012

Hey all! I think I haven’t posted on here since I moved back in January. I am now living in a tiny but very nice apartment in Somerville. The new view from my bedroom window:

But the move was back in January. What the hell have I been up to since then, you may be asking? I mean, you’re probably not, but I’m going to assume you are. I moved a week into a school semester so things got really crazy really quickly. I somehow made it through the semester mostly unscathed, only to start a full time (unpaid) 6 week internship, which only ended the second week of July. Since then, I’ve been looking for a job but also finally, actually recording songs! My good friend James has been kind enough to help me record a bunch of songs in his little studio type thing (it’s in the creepy back room of his bizarre/awesome apartment) and generally listen to me whine about being nervous and help me get better at playing in front of other humans. So yay! I’m hoping to have all the recording done by the end of August and have an actual album worth of songs done and released somewhere on the internet this fall. I’ve spent the last several years writing a ton of songs that had nowhere to go – I never had the equipment or patience to record much of it, and I don’t really perform in front of people because it terrifies me (trying to work on this, see below). SO ANYWAY that is the thing I’m currently geeking out about. In the meantime, have a video of me being a dork and singing in front of a camera:

 Posted by at 10:47 am
Jan 172012

So I have been suckered into getting a tumblr, and in trying to figure out what to do with it, I did some thinking about what this blog is for exactly. Originally, it was supposed to be for writing about my baking/crafting/knitting/whatever endeavors, which has been true for the most part. But I’ve also posted a lot of random photos on here that I wasn’t sure what else to do with, with no real connection to the rest of whatever post they ended up in. This seems like a great use for said tumblr account. So in the future, photos of Miso being adorable and of clouds and other things I like will end up on there. I’ll still post photos on here that are relevant to whatever I’m writing about (baking, etc). Yay organization!

But right now: PACKING AND LOUD MUSIC. Just discovering how awesome Florence + The Machine is – a little late to the party there. Loud and confident and oddly upbeat mostly. Good packing music.

 Posted by at 6:34 pm
Jan 132012

So the boy and I (and Misoface) are moving to Somerville at the end of the month! After a 6 month or so battle with the bullshit that is renting in Boston, we have found an apartment that is in a really nifty, convenient location, and we think we can fit our stuff in. The kitchen is much less epically wonderful than the one we have in Gloucester, but being able to walk to the red line makes up for that, I think.

I will really miss this view, though….

In other news, I have started some crafty things up on my break from school. I recently finished a pair of cabled fingerless mittens in a forest green, which unfortunately I have deemed odd and ill-fitting… so I got more yarn, in a lovely pale purple this time, to try again. I think I’m going to alter the pattern a bit (which I have never attempted before…) to make them fit better/lay flat. They curl a lot on both ends, which bugs me. I’d take a photo of the finished gloves, but I’m lazy. And they’re weird looking. But I do have a photo of them in progress…

Also, I baked a bunch of gingerbread cookies for New Year’s, which Stace was kind enough to take a few photos of.

Clearly, there was beer involved.

Ooooo macro photography of sugary cookie dough!

And the finished cookies, plus a glimpse into just how much of my old ceramics I still have floating around/don’t know what the hell to do with.

Oh oh and some photos of Miso. Because I can’t resist.

Other people are occasionally in our apartment, and when they are, Miso will sometimes sit on them. Sarah and Scott are not allowed to move, apparently.

So I couldn’t title this post with lyrics, because the music I’m listening to is completely instrumental. I’m rediscovering Dropsonde by Biosphere after letting it get lost in my insane music collection for a year or so. It’s perfect music to let fade into the background without completely disappearing. Warm tones and jazzy drums and crickets. Organic and lovely and wonderful.

More soon hopefully! <3

Sep 152011

Following is my impressions of The Campfire Headphase by Boards of Canada, written around 1:00 am while I was crazy with sleep deprivation. I’ve been listening to a lot of new (to me) music lately, what with all the driving and homeworking, and I figure if I’m too tired or busy to do much else I should at least write about that. Also, I’ve been reading a lot of Headphone Commute, which is really nifty if you’re into this sort of music. Enjoy my crazy.

Warbly, sparkly, tape-decayed guitar and synth; solid, syncopated rhythms clicking and popping and etching their way across my tired skull; field recordings of ocean waves and chatter and traffic; tiny, repeated melodies that stick to the insides of my head like warm soup on a chilly fall day, nourishing me, softening my hard edges. I can’t believe how late I’m discovering this music. I’ve had the EP In a Beautiful Place Out In the Country for a couple of years now, and I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s only four tracks and not nearly as large in scope as The Campfire Headphase. Apparently, this is the Boards of Canada album that fans of Boards of Canada dislike, I guess because it’s a huge departure from their earlier albums. Not knowing much of their other music, I can’t comment on this, but as a newcomer to BoC and appreciator/collector of IDM/glitch/ambient/whatever generally, I think this album is totally fantastic. I guess maybe it’s like Tusk was to Fleetwood Mac fans when it came out: totally out of left field, a complete departure from the “signature sound” of Rumours, and not what people were expecting or hoping for. But with time, this irritation tends to smooth itself out, I think, if the music is actually good. Despite not being in line with people’s expectations, Tusk is a great album, maybe even better than Rumours in some ways. Maybe this is true of The Campfire Headphase also? I intend to get the other albums BoC has out to answer this question for myself. At any rate, to quote Editors, “I’m so glad I found this, I’m so glad I did.” Even if I’m six years late.

Jun 202011

So… lemon muffins! They just happened. I’m going to actually post about something the night I make it, instead of a month later! (All photos by the lovely and talented Stacey.)

They were super easy, as the recipe promised. I do need to get a lemon zester or some other more appropriate zesting device, however. This was a little awkward.


Wielding two spoons. Fancy.

Fast forward 22 minutes…


There are holes in the top that you can’t really see that are filled with delicious lemon sugar goo. Mmmm.

Next time, more lemon sugar goo. Possibly involving Limoncello. I almost got some today, but it’s expensive…

So today’s musical selection… pretty sure I’m the only person that kept listening to Happy2bHardcore after graduating from high school. But Chapter 3 was always the best one. (Don’t be afraid, take all you need from me, and we’ll be strong together…) It’s just so damn chipper. I have a hard time being miserable when listening to this. It’s also my go-to “I got two hours of sleep and I need to drive to school RIGHT NOW” remedy. Better than coffee!

Stay tuned for a post with photos from around Gloucester. Hooray summer!

 Posted by at 11:48 pm
May 032011

Kitty photo time.

Stace and Miso are so cute. SERIOUSLY.

View from my porch.

When it’s really foggy, seagulls congregate on the field across the street. I don’t get it…

So I may not be cooking or knitting or painting, but I’m taking photos! That’s something, right? I haven’t been home enough lately to do much else…

Also, Guster concert on Saturday! I finally got their most recent album, Easy Wonderful, and it’s nifty. Catchy as all hell, and really cheerful without being annoying. There’s always been a special place in my heart for Guster. They remind me of the good parts of high school – meeting people in Boston to see them for free in Government Center, cheap concerts in college gyms. That and a whole lot of driving around central MA. “We were young, 21, all those years ago…”

 Posted by at 1:44 pm