Friday, May 22, 2015

Everything but the Kitchen Sink: Packing for a feis, or the apocolypse, whichever comes first

I think I will affectionately refer to this weekend as Feispocolypse 2015.

Akron and Cleveland are this weekend. The only thing that is prepared is my feis-on-wheels.

I've spoken about it before, but being your own feis mom can be kind of stressful. Even if some moms make their older dancers pack for themselves, let's be honest, they are probably looking over it for at least the essentials. Luckily, I've never forgotten my shoes, but I have forgotten a sports-bra. That was a painful day.

Packing for yourself, but even more-so having to wrangle your own pack can become burdensome, so my best recommendation is to part smarter, not harder.

A while back I decided schlepping everything in a jumbo dance bag was beyond my upper body strength. I also decided that more popular wheeled cratey type things would make me one of the coold Irish Dance kids, I had no inclination to spend over $100 on a suit-case with light up wheels that I could maybe sit on. Let's face it, Irish Dance is an expensive enough hobby as it is. I also wanted something that I could keep a little more organized. So, I thought outside the box, or rather, inside the box. The tool box. I bought myself a Stanley Rolling Workshop. $50 at Home Depot. It fits my essential feis pack list.

Three separate cases that stack, latch and roll
Top of first case has latching trays, perfect for bobby pins, safety pins, hair ties and clips
Interior of first case: pretty standard tool box, but adapts well to wig, hair product, deodorant, brush, mirror and sock glue storage

The middle case, designed for small nuts and bolts serves well to keep make up sorted
Bottom case is big, and deep. Good home for shoes, tape, snacks, water and even a change of clothes. 

 So, my entire feis gear, in an easy to roll, mostly waterproof case. No having to juggle wig box, makeup case, shoe bag, etc. This also sums up my packing list pretty well. I also usually bring a book, or my tablet for those long periods between dances or lunch breaks.

I am pretty sure, between the snacks and the change of clothes, I could probably live out of my feis-in-a-box for like 48 hours.

If you are at Akron, come and say hi!

Akron Feis:
Start Time: 9am (currently expecting approx 8hrs of sleep)
Registered for: 416LJ, 416RL, 416SJ and 416TJ
Prepared for: none of the above (!!!)
Number of competitors: 7, 11, 13 and 10
Hoping for: Widespread 24-hour influenza and lots of no shows
Will settle for: the usual - not placing last
Shopping list: new ghillie laces, mine are mismatched. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Irish Dance Blerch

Do any of you guys follow The Oatmeal at all? It's hysterically funny, albeit, not for the easily offended. I'd like to say that I've been following it since before it was popular, but that wouldn't be entirely accurate, mainly cause I am not convinced that there was ever a time it wasn't popular. But I digress. . . .

There are many side-splittingly funny and educational comics on there. You can learn why Tesla > Edison. You can learn about the Mantis Shimp. But most importantly for the case of this blog post, you can learn about The Blerch.

A while back, The Oatmeal (he might actually have a real name, but if I ever meet him I will probably call him 'Mr. The Oatmeal') did a comic entitled "The terrible and wonderful reason I run long distances."

As I have often said that I am rather dwarf-like in regards to running (as in "I'm wasted on cross-country! We Dwarves are natural sprinters, very dangerous over short distances. Just keep breathing, that's the key") I figured that I would not be able to identity much with this particular cartoon. But being the good quasi-fan-girl that I am, I opened it up and I started reading it. And I discovered the name to something that has been haunting me for years. But, really, you need to go read it yourself. I'll wait . . ..  .

Ok, so. The Blerch. I have one. Only instead of a running Blerch it is an Irish Dance Blerch. The same little fat cherub that follows The Oatmeal when he runs has a sister that follows me when I dance. They look identical, except instead of a sweat band, my Blerch wears a giant crazy wig.

Like seriously . . . I want to start a hash tag campaign or somehow directly contact The Oatmeal and have him draw an Irish Dance wig on his blerch, just for me. Somehow, I don't think this will ever happen. But a girl can dream, right?

Basically, what I am trying to say is "what he said", only I am entirely less funny about it.

I've been blerching so bad recently when it comes to dance class, and it's landed me where it always lands me; right before a feis, out of shape, out of practice and thoroughly unprepared. It's a double-header memorial day weekend. Historically, I've done pretty well at the two competitions, but that isn't enough.

The Blerch is telling me not to go. I've learned like 15% of 2 of the new steps I need to learn. I've forgotten steps that I've previously done well at because I've been ignoring them in favor of practicing my trouble-spots. I've been feeling particularly fat and gross and self conscious the last few weeks. Y'know, all those terrible little voices - Fear, regret, doubt, cake.

But, As I was sweating my ass off in class tonight, a muscle tweeking behind my knee and convinced that I was going to die - either from over-exertion or embarresment, whichever came first, I wasn't picky - I kept reminding myself of a few things (except my treble jig - despite my best efforts, I was completely unable to remind myself of that, causing me shuffle like a moron by myself in front of the whole class).

The things I reminded myself of:

1. No matter how much I wanted to drag myself home and drown my sorrows in Peach Milkshakes rather then sweating and derping infront of a bunch of children, I remembered that I am never going to give up this fight. And the only way I am going to get better at it is to keep pushing through it even when I don't want to.

2. No matter how terrified I am of going to these feiseanna and embarrassing the ever living jibbers out of myself, I've already tanked at competions before and I have managed to NOT die from the shame. And I am not going to give myself the option of not going! (remind me of that on Friday when I am trying to bail again, ok?)

3. I might not get a medal, and that is ok. First off, I hardly deserve one with the lack of practice and effort I have been putting into it. And second, to have the privlidege of doing something I love, of pursuing a childhood dream that was always unavailable to me - that means alot. Medals are just icing on the cake.

So, I have a busy week ahead of me. Besides normal life tasks such as work, church, home, husband, etc, I have to find some time and place to practice, I have to ice down my bad knee, I need to soothe my wounded pride and then find somewhere to lock it away so it doesn't get permanently damaged this weekend, I need to iron the frumper and trial run the wig. I need to scope the competition online, find my lost treble jig and lose my bad attitude.

Think I can manage that all in a week?

Alright, going to go put up mt feet as they have not stopped aching since class. I will leave you with this parting thought . . . .