l i l e p h y t e

June 28th, 08:41 | Came the hour, came the paddler

Alright, no, I have not forgotten about this whole "interweb" thing, nor have I somehow deluded myself that half-assed meme entries are somehow magically going to chronicle with any accuracy what's going on with my life. What is going on in my life, you ask? Dragonboat. This month has been insane, and although it's not over, it might as well be, for the vast majority of paddlers in Ontario.

This past weekend was the Island Races, a dragonboat competition that used to be, by a long way, the largest dragonboating festival in North America. This year, since they jacked the entrance fee up from Wow, That's Kind of Expensive, eh? to Holy Jinkies! How Does Anyone Afford That?? (seriously, $1800 per team? ludicrous), the attendance was way lower and personally I think that's just a load of suck. I mean, yes, it was nice to get four races per team instead of the usual three, but given the choice of competing against everyone and knowing for real where you stand, or getting to compete in one extra race... I'd go with the real competition. The grounds looked almost empty with all that bare grass where teams who couldn't afford to come this year weren't. It was too bad.

Anyway, rants about the organizors' money-grubbing ways aside, it was an awesome weekend. Yours truly volunteered her body to one of the other teams, so I got to paddle both with my women's team (blue wristband) and the mixed one (pink wristband) for a total of 8 races across the two days. (This may not seem like much if you consider that the average race is about 2m30s (look, we're not in the A-division, alright?) but for those of you who don't get it, just look up a dragonboating video on google or something. It's intense. Fun, but intense.) Shocking news to report from The Morning After: I actually wasn't that sore. I had a little muscle acheyness going on, but it wasn't nearly as bad as the day after Stouffville, where I was in four races, and was completely wrecked the next day. I take this as a sign that I am both buffer and fitter than I was... two weeks ago? Is that even possible? I'm not too sure, but it's a good feeling to really know for sure that I'm in better shape than I was.

So in the aftermath of not having had time for anyone for the past month, with only weekday practices left for the Montreal race, I'm left looking at what's left of my life, and the whole of it seems to be in shards. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Yes, it's my choice that I basically had no weekends to myself since April, and yes, I could have just chosen to bail on the boating at some point during the three months, and yes, I'm sure it's All My Fault, as countless people keep telling me. As unfair as it is, however, I choose to hold my ground.

This is important to me. It's one of the (yes, many) things that I decide to do, and so I signed up, it's in my schedule, the rest of my life flows around it, with very few exceptions. I don't think it makes me nearly as inaccessible as people say I am though -- after all, I've had hours and hours to knit random scraps of experimental mostly-immediately-ripped-out-again woollen things, help my mom with her 6-weeks-early packing, and see FilmGuru to hang out and watch his short film. I realize that I can be hard to get ahold of, and tend, at any mention of get-togethers, to try to offer at least three options for times, and I'll keep all three open. People who are adamant about their One Time, especially if it's a last-minute thing, frustrate me, because even though I know it's a little unreasonable on their part, I still feel guilty, and honestly? I've been feeling guilty since last October. It's ridiculous, and it's unwarranted; I am pretty flexible. I've made a lot of changes, and I am not that hard to find time with. If calling more than 6 hours before you want to do something is too much to ask then I guess, yeah, I do never have time.

This is all making me sound very bitchy; I don't really feel that way, just tired. In other news though, I've been test-driving these high-tech hair elastics (shut up -- they are! They've got like texturized rubber bits on and stuff) that my mom got, and thus far, I'd have to say that they're holding their own. (My life? Edge of your seat excitement.)

Today I put on my English Teacher hat, as I try to write constructive feedback for short stories written by a loosely-run group that I'm signed up with. Every month or so, our leader will email us a picture and, thus inspired, we are encouraged to write between 2 and 10 pages worth (prose is expected, though not required).

The picture for this series of fiction was of a whole troupe of garden gnomes hanging out on "gnome hill" where a sign on a tree advertised a "concert -- one night only!". It would figure, what with it being my first time and all.

Anyway, so I wrote out a half-assed piece of pseudo-horror, that actually could be acceptable, if I'd spent more time polishing it. I was horrified to read other peoples' carefully crafted oeuvres -- these people are far too serious as Writers for NaNoWrimo -- but now I need to calmly sit down, write out some nice feedback, and maybe even ideas on how they can improve their Serious Writing.

I'm not particularly daunted about it; a couple months of trying to tactfully explain to my ESL student why what she's written -- while not wrong, per se -- should probably be changed has made me relax a lot on the whole "giving feedback" front. There is still a tiny portion of me that worries that someone will get all up in my grill "And who the hell made *you* Editing Queen? Your ideas suck!" but mostly I figure they asked for the feedback, they can suck it up. It's a nice freedom.

So, no, I'm not too scared of this next part. I'm mostly just daunted about trying to write the next project, which has a really good, if less chipper picture. (In case you're curious, imagine a postcard-sized picture completely covered with loopy scribbling (illegible) except for a small section in the middle that says "I still write you letters -- I just don't send them anymore". Chilling.)

And that's about it for my life. How's all y'all?

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