stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I have a difficult time with the concept. Or at least, with defining the point at which a slippery slope becomes an insulting one. Perhaps this is because of my faith-path, in that there is a strong tenet of 'if that is what creates a relationship between you and Divinity, then it is a valid thing for you to do/use'. 'Valid' being a not-very-exact word for what I mean.

I have no difficulty understanding that there is an ignorant offensiveness about sexpot 'Indian Maiden' Halloween costumes or the team name "Washington Redskins". Where I bog down is at things I consider to be extremes but are apparently not; practicing yoga if one is not from India, dreadlocks when one is not a native of the Caribbean, hanging a dream-catcher in one's bedroom when one is not of the Ojibwe/Ojibwa (Chippewa) tribe.

I grew up celebrating the American ideal of the 'melting pot', the concept that each culture which contributed to the mass which is the population of the USA had aspects to be respected, valued, and incorporated into an American lifestyle as desired, that in this way we as a population were strengthened and drawn together rather than held separated and small in our collective identity. That does not seem to be a valued view any longer. And I, as a child of an older cultural generation, am saddened as well as confused, because now I do not know where I may give offense rather than inspire camaraderie. If I say, "te nada" to an individual who thanks me in Spanish, am I being offensive because I am not Hispanic? (You may snort but in a facebook conversation that was exactly an example which was given.) If I have, as I do, a statue of Quan Yin on my altar because that is the aspect of the Goddess who most inspires and speaks to me and through which I channel my dialogue with the Lady, am I an insensitive cultural thief?

Once I had a neurosurgeon who was Brahmin. He'd grown up in his native land but came to the US later and trained in medicine here,then got a cmmission in the Navy. I, reading his diplomas on the wall, caught on immediately to his cultural background because of his full name, so was not surprised when he addressed his statements and questions to my husband and rarely looked me in the face. After my surgery, however, my ward nurses were appalled by his 'rudeness'. I'd been placed in a ward which was not the neurosurgical recovery ward else I think there would have been no problem as the staff there were probably already used to his behaviour. But the staff in the Women's Surgical ward were indignant on my behalf and astonished when I explained that to the contrary, he was showing me courtesy by not looking me in the face, as he was treating me as a respectable woman would have been treated in his own culture. (This is likely because I had asked him, upon our first meeting, if he was Hindu.)

I wonder nowadays which of us would be considered the rude person - him for treating me with his cultural-based respect, or me for not demanding that he behave as we'd consider the American Medical Norm?
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
The weekend has been lovely. Busy, of course, given the holiday, but lovely. I slept my weird schedule and am tired now after getting up only eight hours ago - but I JUST found the PIN for my online library account so I can't go to bed yet, right? And I've got fabric in the washing machine shrinking before I turn it into a 12thNight gift. Sports cloth - it is so tricky. After two hot washings and dryings, it may come out with a decent hand. Luckily, it is for a surcote so a little stiffness won't hurt. (Heh. autocorrect flipped over 'surcote'. I've had this computer for five years and I never got around to adding that word to the dictionary? Shame on me!) It is a perfect 'Atlantian Blue' so I hope the recipient will be happy with it.

We had friends over yesterday and today. I think that is why I'm tired; peopled out. But it was fun. We need new games to play though. We have six we play regularly and that isn't enough. The hard part is finding ones that will appeal across the board. A couple of our 'regulars' are anything but intellectual - media-stream action movies are their candy so games which require more than a superficial knowledge, strategy, or words leave them cold ("Quiddler" is rarely approved for playing, and then mostly to make Bossman and I feel good). I'm thinking of "Uno". I'd like to come up with something else that would work for a group of 5 or 6 players.

We will have two different card-playing groups in the future. One person, who brings a friend, has decided that they do not wish to be around another person... it isn't a case of emo-crud but rather the hygiene and manners of the shunned one. I understand the motivation of the shunner and cannot fault them for putting their comfort-level in the fore, but it doesn't simplify things for me. I swear to the Gods I am about ready to start a 'new' group and only keep two of the original players! So There! (Huff!)

Nah, I wouldn't do that. This will pass or be resolved in time.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
For a long time my posts have been about my health - and I regretted that even while I recognized that journals are about what weighs on our minds. Bear with me here, this is a relief one, and hopefully one of the last of the long slog.

After my diagnosis for sleep apnea1 I felt first shock, strong denial, and then acceptance. And then I googled "long term symptoms of sleep apnea" and found a fairly comprehensive list. Now, every "symptom of____" list is going to contain things that are also due to any number of other conditions. I know that, you know that, and only a handful of our friends don't know that. But I was stunned to see some of them because they seemed so non-intuitive. Insomnia is a symptom of sleep apnea. Once you think about it, it makes sense. The body, if it could speak, would be saying, "What, set up that whole "I'm going to starve myself of air for the next few HOURS on purpose? Are you kidding me???" so your subconscious resists sleeping. Nocturnal leg cramps are a symptom, MIDNIGHT MUNCHIES are, believe it or not, also a symptom - reminding me of the Inuit saying, "food is sleep and sleep is food". In that case, your system is looking for the energy supply you are not getting via REM sleep as well as forcing you awake long enough to raise your oxygen levels again.

I dug into my past LJ entries, where I had started trying to suss out what was going on with me during what I shall refer to as 'my cancer phase'. Notes about various apnea-related symptoms started showing up in the fall of 2011. The incidences of comments about them and attempts at workarounds began increasing early the following year and I can follow the snowballing of the symptoms in the last eighteen months or so to the point where it is now, with me constantly exhausted, sleep starved, and emotionally volatile. And all that time I never even twigged to it, would even have scornfully scoffed at anyone who'd suggest that was what was bothering me. According to specialists, this is fairly common in the case of women, who do not present the same sort of symptoms as men, which most GPs are more familiar with. Apparently women are sent for testing only half as often as men.

So I am really, actually, looking forward to sleeping with a horse-halter stupid attraction-killing mask on my face as soon as I can get one. I know, you don't have to try to tell me, that it will not solve all of the difficulties I've been bitching about online. But it will address at least a third of them, if not nearly all - and even with a third of them relieved, I can get back to being me. Because one other thing that journal-digging did was show me how strong I have had to be over the last few years as my body battled this debilitating undiagnosed condition while also trying to recover from cancer, the onset of diabetes, and a major change in diet & exercise routines. I have no idea how long this has been as bad as my test showed it to be but I do know that over the last couple of months I was gearing myself up to ask for an Alzheimer's test as well as antidepressants because of my very apparent cognitive and emotional degeneration. I was that desperate and scared. Now I have hope.


1 (and sidenote: one 15 minute discussion about getting the tests started was billed over $5000 to my insurance!!!)
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
For my birthday I'd asked my family for a tablet to replace my (falling apart) Nook. What I got was an Asus 17.3" x751 (?) laptop. Wow! A new laptop was on my 'need' list as the one I'm currently typing on is beginning to show signs of failure, but I'd put that in the future to worry about.

So now I'm trying to decide on a carry case for the new one. I sure love that the power cord and adapter is almost as small as those for cell phones and tablets. So much nicer than the huge two-part clunky one of this laptop!

I'm surfing amazon.com looking for cases that take advantage of my prime membership. I'm going to lay the various ones I like out on this journal entry so I can compare them and think about it. I already know that what I don't want is yet another office-briefcase black one. That is what I have for this computer and it is as thick as an overnight case. Bah!

https://www.amazon.com/Goldwheat-17-inch-Laptop-Bag/dp/B01CPAEOPY/ref=sr_1_15?s=pc&rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1480506766&sr=1-15&keywords=computer+bag+for+17+inch+laptop&refinements=p_85%3A2470955011



https://www.amazon.com/Meffort-Inc-Neoprene-Carrying-Removable/dp/B00EN2VP5K/ref=sr_1_41?s=pc&rps=1&ie=UTF8&qid=1480506893&sr=1-41&keywords=computer+bag+for+17+inch+laptop&refinements=p_85%3A2470955011
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I've been struggling with a sense of resentment and guilt while dealing with facing a particular behavior but have not found an effective way to let go of the guilt or resentment (actually, in the opposite order). I finally googled a phrase I've been using to describe this behavior to myself and found a few helpful webpages. I'm going to make a stockpile of quotes from those pages here so I will have a one-stop place to re-read them as I need to.

From In Sheep’s Clothing, By George K. Simon
"Manipulators are often skilled at using what they know to be the greater conscientiousness of their victims as a means of keeping them in a self-doubting, anxious, and submissive position. The more conscientious the potential victim, the more effective guilt is as a weapon. Aggressive personalities of all types use guilt-tripping so frequently and effectively as a manipulative tactic, that I believe it illustrates how fundamentally different in character they are compared to other (especially neurotic) personalities. All a manipulator has to do is suggest to the conscientious person that they don’t care enough, are too selfish, etc., and that person immediately starts to feel bad. On the contrary, a conscientious person might try until they’re blue in the face to get a manipulator (or any other aggressive personality) to feel badly about a hurtful behavior, acknowledge responsibility, or admit wrongdoing, to absolutely no avail."

"Playing the Victim Role – This tactic involves portraying oneself as an innocent victim of circumstances or someone else’s behavior in order to gain sympathy, evoke compassion and thereby get something from another. One thing that covert-aggressive personalities count on is the fact that less calloused and less hostile personalities usually can’t stand to see anyone suffering. Therefore, the tactic is simple. Convince your victim you’re suffering in some way, and they’ll try to relieve your distress".

From Yahoo answers (of all places)
" I once read a book called "When I Say No, I Feel Guilty". I can't remember for sure who the author was, but I believe his last name was "Smith".
. . . Anyhow, this book really helped me. One of the techniques he has for pushy people like your so-called "friends" is called "broken record". You just repeat the same phrase over and over again. . . don't give excuses. They don't give a darn about your feelings and will only try to manipulate you in order to get their way. They don't even care that they are forcing you to let them stay and that you really don't want them there. So, reasoning with them is out of the question. Your answer should be "I am sorry, but that just won't work for us". They'll say something like "Oh, we just need a place to sleep, you won't even know we are there." Your answer "I am sorry but that just won't work for us." You don't give them any answer but that, thus the "broken record".

From Hey Sigmund, "Toxic People: 16 Practical, Powerful, Ways to Deal with Them"
http://www.heysigmund.com/toxic-people-16-practical-powerful-ways-to-deal-with-them/
"Co-existing with toxics means going around them to set your own rules, then accepting that you don’t need them to respect those rules to claim your power."

Be empowered by your motives.
. . . Sometimes toxic people will trap you like a hunted thing – you know you don’t have to give in to them but you also know that there will be consequences if you don’t. The secret is to make your decision from a position of power, rather than feeling controlled. In the same way there is something they want from you, there will always be something you want from them (even if it is to avoid more of their toxicity). Decide that you’re doing what you’re doing to control them and their behaviour – not because you’re a victim of their manipulation. Personal power is everything to do with what you believe and nothing to do with what they think.

They might get worse before they leave you alone.
. . . Think of it like this. Take a little human who is throwing a tantrum. When you stand strong and don’t give in, they’ll go harder for a while. We all have a tendency to do that – when something we’re doing stops working, we’ll do it more before we stop. Toxic people are no different. If they’ve found a way to control and manipulate you and it stops working, they’ll do more of whatever used to work before they back off and find themselves another target. Don’t take their escalation as a stop sign. Take it as a sign that what you’re doing is teaching them that they’re old behaviour won’t work anymore. Keep going and give them time to be convinced that you’re not going around on that decision you’ve made to shut them down.


Be clear about your boundaries.
. . . You can’t please everyone, but toxic people will have you believing that you can’t please anyone – so you try harder, work harder, compromise more. It’s exhausting. Toxic people will have your boundary torn down and buried before you even realise you had one there. By knowing exactly what you’ll tolerate and what you won’t – and why – you can decide how far you’re willing to let someone encroach on your boundaries before it’s just not worth it any more. Be ready to listen to that voice inside you that lets you know when something isn’t right. It’s powerful and rarely wrong (if ever). Whether someone else thinks it’s right or wrong doesn’t matter. What matters is whether it’s right or wrong for you. Let that guide your response and when you can, who’s in and who’s out.

You don’t have to help them through every crisis.
. . . The reason that toxic people are often in crisis is because they are masterful at creating them. It’s what they do – draw breath and create drama. Don’t ask questions and don’t offer help. It might feel bad because it’s not your normal way, but remember that you’re not dealing with a normal person.

You don’t need to explain.
. . . No is a complete sentence and one of the most powerful words in any language. You don’t need to explain, justify or make excuses. ‘No’ is the guardian at your front gate that makes sure the contamination from toxic people doesn’t get through to you.

From "friendship blog"
"There’s no magic solution that lets you say no without possibly hurting someone else’s feelings. I really struggle with this also, but I’m getting better. I find it helpful to remind myself that the other person isn’t really being considerate of *my* needs."

http://www.wikihow.com/Say-No-Without-Feeling-Guilty

Those last two there, those help a lot.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
This morning there came a call from Dr. Sleepy with the results of my test. Apparently I have severe sleep apnea, with my breathing stopping more than 60 times in an hour. I thought I had slept for 6 hours but he tells me that the monitors showed a little less than 2.5 hours...

I am feeling decidedly grumpy about this. I went in sure that wasn't my problem and over the last few years have been somewhat superiorly snooty about the whole explosion of c-pap machines being rained down upon the general population. I was prepared to vent my scorn when I'd surely be told that I needed one, since that was the default that each tech or doctor in the clinic immediately jumped to before I was examined but, well - I can't argue with the machine's findings. If I am truly not getting sufficient oxygen and rest then that too neatly explains a lot of my difficulties. Probably not the leg cramping but the grogginess and lack of mental clarity, the irregular sleeping pattern, the odd depression I've been feeling, and the weight gain - those are all symptoms of apnea.

So I've humbly agreed to come back for another session where they will fit me with various masks and devices to see which one is the most effective. I expect that there will be a narrow selection given my history of chronic sinusitis.

A stupid sleep mask. Air being pushed into my face each night.

I am not happy.

But I'm desperate enough to accept the indignity if it will help me towards growing more healthy. Whether or not I'm going to tote the thing to and from SCA overnight events remains to be seen. I will have enough time to evaluate its benefits before the camping season begins again in the late spring. Nonetheless if it will help me change my sleeping irregularities and be able to think again, it will be well worth it.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Oh dear. I have lazily avoided blogging since last month. Nah, really - it wasn't laziness, it was a combination of anxiety and lethargy. I still feel it but tonight I also feel like writing in here a bit. Blink your eyes, none of this will be pithy, important, or memorable.

We had a local SCA event on Saturday. I was running the registration table ("Tollner" was my job) with two new volunteers to help me. A couple of weeks ago we had gotten into a discussion about how the job used to be called "Troll", as in the story about paying the troll in order to cross the bridge... but between trying to make our SCA jargon more academically respectable and also make it easier for new attendees to find the registration table, the title 'troll' had been made Officially Discontinued and Undesireable. A few people started calling the job "the Gate", which led to jokes about the movie Ghostbusters (Gatekeeper) so they just referred to themselves as "the Gate" which wounded my ears and bent my mind. So I went looking through sources and finally asked on a Medieval Academic list about alternate terms and lo and behold here was this perfectly useable one from Middle English that even sounded vaguely like our beloved-but-passé "Troll" - Toll(ner).

My two new assistants, though, liked "Troll" and wanted to be called that. I didn't think a whole lot about the silly excuses we invented during the conversation for justifying the use of it until the morning of the event when one of them showed up with three sets of wigs for troll-doll costumes. Human sized, of course. And so there we sat, the three of us, in pink (with a baronial coronet on), purple, and rainbow hair. As I was wearing Viking Norse clothing I was proclaimed 'the most historically accurate' troll. But only because none of us was going to strip down to our skin and stick our hands out to our sides while wearing silly smiles. Many, many photos were taken and posted on various media, which I shall be years living down.

Sunday morning they, and a few more of us, gathered together to watch a showing of Dr. Strange. I liked it. I know that some of my friends did not for feminist reasons but I hold in mind that Marvel and DC comics started being written for the most part for young, young men (okay, boys) in the early 1940-60s and frankly their access to women, or even girls, was in limited and strictly defined venues. So of course we're not going to see any real kick-hinney fabulous women characters. Well, except for Agent Carter, that is. DC/Marvel heroes are going to love without knowing that they do, estimable women who they can never actually have a relationship with. At least until the movies morph away from the script lines of the comic books which birthed them.

Sunday night featured a trip to the local Sentara Hospital System Sleep Clinic where I was wired up for every possible nocturnal behavior excluding sex and left to sleep in a dark room with very loud 'white noise' machine. It was a fairly comfortable room and the bed was a sleep-number type which helped this waterbed-loving person rest but the tech's insistence about sleeping on my back was annoying and then went beyond that into quite irritating. "I've had three vertebrae replaced and cannot lay on my back without extreme pain" didn't seem to have any relevance to her.
"I'll need you to sleep for at least half an hour on your back."
"I cannot lay, much less sleep, on my back."
"I'll need you to try - it is when you are on your back that we can most easily detect a need for a c-pap machine."
"I will be in an escalating amount of pain for each minute I spend on my back. There will be no sleeping. I hope you can understand that - I cannot lay on my back."
"Well try anyway. It is important for our test."
"If I were the sort of person who showed signs of apnea while somehow miraculously sleeping on my back during this evening's test, that would do no medical good towards helping me solve my sleeping issues because I DO NOT AND NEVER HAVE SLEPT ON MY BACK. Solving for a null situation is useless."
"It will only be for half an hour or so."
Sigh.
"Whatever."

I did sleep during the night, off and on (NOT on my back and only after taking oxycodone to deal with the pain I developed after trying to follow her instructions) and then came home, showered, slept for 10 whole hours, and showered again. I believe I still have smears of that blasted guck in my hair from the various sensors. No amount of hot water seems to fully eradicate it. I'm considering a dip in a vat of denatured alcohol. And I've been assured that they will be calling me in a few days to schedule more tests before I see the specialist next month.

Sheesh. All this because I'd like to see if there is a way to train me into a regular 6-8 hours of sleep at the same general timeframe each day since I have not been successful attempting it on my own.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Our willow is beginning to shed leaves. It hasn't hit the heavy dropping stage, just the sort of shedding that we get after a hot, hot summer and then wind moves in to usher the seasonal change. Hurricane Matthew continues to be watched. We are supposedly heading west this weekend to crash with friends who live in the country (yay, a botany major's fall harvest on the table! Yum!) and then attend a meeting in the middle of Saturday elsewhere. It will take longer to get to, or from, the meeting than the thing is scheduled to last but sadly, I must attend so I can pick up fence posts and sheet walls from the guy who'd borrowed them from me last spring. It really is tempting to throw the whole idea to the wind and simply drive to the guy's house on Monday since he lives only 90 minutes from me rather than the six hours we'll be driving to get to the meeting. We are due for heavy rainfall Friday through Sunday but Monday is pretty clear. Ah, but we'd not be visiting Ken & Jael, and missing all the storm-surge flooding in our area over the weekend. It should soak back down by the time we head home Sunday afternoon. But still - three hours on Friday, six hours on Saturday, three more hours on Sunday... I really don't feel up to all that driving just for a quick meeting, even if we get to visit friends as the better bookend part of it. Our house sitter lives where flooding is normal during storms so is more than happy to relocate to our place for the weekend. We somehow ended up with a place that is about a foot higher than the surrounding area so (knock wood) have never flooded even when our next door neighbors have water in their living rooms.

I've been painting sheet walls for the last couple of days. Just a simple badge in the upper right corner of each wall but 22 badges do make for a lot of time bending over a table. Those are done and now I'm inspired to finish a very fancy sheet that I'd started last spring and had to set aside. I should be frying up ground beef to freeze for the event but the paint, it beckons. Expect to see some photo before I fold the thing up for packing.

Stormy weather has brought on another headache. I suppose I should consult with a doc and let them diagnose 'cluster migraines' but it seems rather silly given that the main treatment medication isn't something I can use so Motrin or Tylenol will be what I can take for the pain. So why waste the doc's time with something he can't treat and I'm just going to have to tough out? Especially something as medically hazy as 'cluster migraines'?

One of my most difficult food-intolerant diners has had to back out from coming to the event. She was 'difficult' only in that her sensitivity was one I'd never heard of before and necessitated a lot of pre-cooking for things I'd normally buy ready-made. Of course, all of those are prepared now. Poor lady, though. I can't imagine living with such a restriction. (She cannot have carrageenan, which hides in 'processing' so is often not listed in the ingredient lists on food packages.) She was really looking forward to the event but her doc has nixed it.
stitchwhich: (age is a privilege)
Six years ago my husband had a massive heart attack - he coded out four times but they brought him back. Emergency surgery saved him. They put in a stent. Afterwards we were told that he had exhibited none of the classic risk patterns/behaviors except that he smoked cigarettes. His weight, blood pressure, pulse, cholesterol and so on were all normal, so the cardiologist was at a loss about how the attack could have happened. He said it was a nice normal heart - and that Bossman had taken no damage from the attack itself.

For six years Bossman has been going in for follow-up appointments to monitor his condition. Today he was told he is past the risk point for a recurrence and does not need to return for any more appointments.

So this Mabon is a celebratory day for more than one reason. Horray!
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
"Feeling better" changed into "I don't feel well, going back to bed again" and it took a few days before I caught on that I most likely have a sinus infection. They tend to follow a cold or the flu and sort of lurk, like a bad detective following you, on the edge of awareness until something finally jerks them out into the open. A bit of a fever did that today so sometime tomorrow after the antibiotics begin working I'm sure I'll be back to zipping around again. In the meanwhile I am hating that this is the 'blah' season of television shows with nothing new on. Blah. I'm reading too much ("Is that possible?" she asks.) I must hie myself back down to the public library to renew my card and thereby be able to read new books I haven't had to purchase. I do absolutely resent the (new-ish) requirement that library cards must be renewed every two years no matter what. Because we can't risk, you know, some person moving three blocks sideways and ending up in an adjacent city and then daring to use our city's library system afterwards. Oh noes!

Like a squirrel I am storing up supplies. Mine are only for the upcoming almost-a-week-long camping event that I'll be cooking at, but still - slowly things are accumulating and, of course, blocking space in our home. Instead of vexing me I find a sense of satisfaction whenever I look at my growing pile. There! That bit done! Right now our kitchen table has two tunics on it that inspire the same feeling. They are complete but for the finishing of the neck openings. The sewing machine is put away for the next month. There will be a day of baking to follow (as soon as I start feeling better again) and then, until the event packing day the table will be covered with vinyl sheeting so I (and hopefully "we") can paint the blank sheet walls. I don't expect to finish all of them and don't have any burning need to try, so long as the 'blanks' have our identifying Horde Cookie in the upper right corner. At the event itself I'll be more than happy to alternate empty walls with scene'd walls so long as I have enough of them to encircle the camp. I'd forgotten that I had 'assigned' the creating of a camp gate to one of my Horde Brothers until he brought up in conversation what he'd been thinking about doing for it. So I'm relieved of one back-of-the-mind worry.

We drove to Atlantian University last weekend. It was a long daytrip, nine hours on the road, but this thrice a year event is one that I try never to miss. Except for the sessions that end up at the WoW event site, as an 'outdoor' university. I admit, I'm lukewarm at best about those. I like classrooms. And controlled air conditions. And chairs I don't have to tote from one tent-classroom to another. Lazy, that is what I am!

I taught a class this time. Another instructor had to bow out on Thursday night so I got a request to step in and take over her class. It was on basic sewing skills; threading a needle, making a knot, three stitches (running, back, and whip/overcast), and "which threads to use on which fabrics". I made a quick handout by cutting & pasting Heather Rose Jone's “Archaeological Sewing” section about those three stitches and encouraged them to explore her site as soon as they could since all the students - 14! - said they wanted to try to hand-sew an outfit.

I was surprised that anyone had signed up for the class but even more astounded that there were actually women there who did not know how to thread a needle. I owe the original instructor an apology for not seeing a need that she had identified. It was a good class and very satisfying to teach, especially when the students felt confident enough to be willing to practice their stitches for a little while and then go directly to sewing a piece of clothing.

The best part of the class, however, is when [livejournal.com profile] loosecanon appeared in the open door of the classroom long enough for me to throw dignity to the wind and squeal like a girlie before collecting a nice hug. Which was a good thing to do as I didn't see her again for the rest of the day. She lives in the East Realm and I had no idea she'd be at this event.

I spent the rest of the day sitting at the registration desk collecting the instructor forms (a listing of who attended each class) and visiting with those who were working with me. If sitting around conversing and laughing is considered "working". I am so glad that the registration team is letting me join in with them.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
The problem with 'feeling better' is that one's brain starts to write cheques that one's body (or time) cannot cash.

For instance, I'm cooking for 14 or so people in a 5-day camp next month and (cheque written) need at least two new tunics or gowns. It finally occurred to me that while I have a perfectly acceptable sleeveless surcote-styled apron, what I don't have is but one gown and one tunic whose sleeves can be rolled up to stay out of dishwater or flour in a bowl. Oops. And all of my tunics are linen, nice enough that I'd rather not chance staining them while spending each day in the kitchen. So I must sew myself some new garb. I have piles of fabric in my craft room that are in the 'need to use up' category of cotton so I think a few kitchen tunics which can later be donated to Gold Key as "Men's tunics" are the ticket. They will be plain as all-get-out but sturdily made. Because I have so much free time between now and then...

I'm mulling over side dishes for the event. We will have two evenings with everyone onsite so one will feature Rolled Thin Pancakes (a Chinese/Mongolian 14th century dish) along with ham lumpia, the modern descendent of RTP. I've never served either of these with sauces or side dishes but wonder if I should. Usually people just stuff themselves until they look at the next batch with horrified longing. So maybe those don't need side dishes. But the next meal will be a selection of sausages the men (it's mostly men) can grill over my little tripod campfire while they are hanging out after the fighting and archery sessions and I should have something to go with those. I have one diabetic besides myself to consider but I think that I'll do something specific for us two and for everyone else try something like mashed parsnips & carrots with cheese. I don't know. Got a suggestion for something I can take along which won't require too much cooler space? My cooler use is going to be awful!

And there is the painting of 22 new sheet walls, three hanging baskets to fix the chains on so they can actually hang (I've not much hand strength so this is in fact a chore), a kitchen layout to map so this year's try will not be as chaotic as last year's, a hangerroc to finish hand-sewing, and things that have slipped my mind right now but which will surge back as soon as I am laying in bed trying to sleep again.

I haven't ridden my sweet trike yet. A tropical storm followed by the flu has set that back. I can't wait to get on it now. Maybe this evening after the heat of the day passes. Until then it will be the last of my camp wall sewing, a mountain of laundry, and writing my after-Pennsic deputy mayor report. Oh - and checking out amazon prime for a solar phone charger. Gotta get that charger. Oh, and get to the commissary for this week's food supplies.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
In a little while we will be going to a five-day camping event. I have to be honest - the only reason I am looking forward to the event is that I will be cooking for about 10-15 people and that makes me all squeely-happy. I've been happily contemplating my menu and my diners for months now. But I threw the invitation open to everyone in our camp (it is a small camp) and now have a couple who will be on the plan who will be camping for the first time in about 17 years. No, longer than that - Pennsic 17 was their last event. He is handicapped with fibromyalgia and diabetes complications. That doesn't affect my menu planning much at all since I, too, am diabetic. There will be plenty to eat for him and I without shorting the selections for the normal (and the food-sensitive) folks.

I am ashamed to admit that I am now dreading the event because of this couple. They are open-handed and kind folks... but he's been shut up in two rooms of their home for years now and is one lonely garrulous man. Constantly talking about himself, his past jobs, honors, and actions for hours on end. Hours. And any sign of disinterest results in smoldering rage cumulating in a dramatic flounce of some sort.

They will be there the first day, which is normally a light one, just one or two tents in camp and few in the event at all. So will I since I am the camp master for the household camp. They know only a handful of people from our baronial group, who will likely be camping in a spot too far away from him to be able to visit. Which means that I anticipate he will be sitting in my kitchen nearly full time, talking.

I understand his loneliness and his need to connect with people, to feel validated and worthy. And I can usually support that with an open ear for an hour or so. But after that I begin to want to run away... too introverted, I guess, because I end up exhausted after interacting with him.

I have no idea how to reduce the amount of time I'll be, well, subjected to his self-focused verbosity. The last time I tried to change the subject to something more up-to-date and general he went into a pet and "quit" the SCA within a half hour of walking away. That's on him, I know, and not my problem. And to be far he was going through a difficult drug withdrawal as they were experimenting with various types to try to alleviate his pain.

But how - especially as a Peer - do I create an open dining area such as I've had in the past inside our tent and at the same time divert him from spending all of his time sitting there monopolizing the conversation with bragging and 'instructing'? Politely? Got any useful phrases or actions you could suggest? I don't want to hurt his feelings or make him feel unwelcome but at the same time, I will be basically chained to my kitchen - by design - and that means I am a sitting duck.

I'm guessing that this is a time-worn problem so there has to be some coping skills in history somewhere, yes? "Garrulous old man you can't escape" has got to be fairly common in village/castle/town life?

[Edit] In the manner of things, once I'd typed this and left it to try to sleep I thought of a couple of strategies. One would be to simply be honest with the man and tell him that I am far more introverted than I appear and that I need quiet to balance out the socializing that will come at each meal. If he can be quiet around me, I could deal with him always being in the dining area. And, since our tent is divided in half with the front half the 'dining/hosting area' and the other a kitchen on one end and our sleeping area in the back, I can just pull the curtain between the kitchen and the dining area (the sleeping area's curtain is always closed) and say that I am going to rest. That I'd be doing so by sitting in a chair stitching on something is beside the point. Additionally, I plan on offering our little collapsible wagon to him & his wife so they can tote their chairs and beverages with them and send them out to visit the nearby 'village' (artisan's row), merchant area, and even the archery range. I only need that wagon once or twice a day to fetch refilled water jugs.
stitchwhich: (Cindy-girl)
We knew when we had to have Humility put to sleep (old age) last July that we'd not consider getting another pet until after we'd returned from Pennsic. But since our return we've just not put any kind of energy into even looking. The house still seems full of her presence and there is not a gaping sense of 'empty' such as we'd had in the past once a beloved pet had passed on. Instead we are feeling comfortably content without having to do upkeep chores associated with ownership.

It seems as though we should be concerned about this. It is quite unusual for us to have an empty home and be comfortable in it. Whenever we talk about it though, we both agree that it just isn't time. As lifelong pet owners we know that when it is 'time', our new friend will somehow show up.

But there are still moments like right now when I look through adoption webpages and wonder why I don't feel any desire to even meet the dog in the picture.

Waiting Is.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I have acquired more stuff. On Friday we travelled to a Sam's Club out of our area so I could get a shiny red tricycle rather than the shiny gold ones available at our local store. Yeah, we checked out regular bike shops first but the price difference for the rather boring and mundane model that I wanted was huge - I'm not ready to spend a minimum for $500 for a bike when I don't even know for sure that riding it is going to be something I can maintain! So - shiny red bike came home in a box. Sunday morning, after he woke up and saw that I was desperately fighting to get to sleep, my man waited until I'd succeeded and built the bike on his own, letting me sleep for eight hours rather than waking me up to be a part of the Trike Building Team. There is now a long scratch through the paint on the support leading up to the handlebars - and I don't care. Because he sunburned the heck out of himself and sweated a few pounds, too, so I could have my new toy for this week's increase in my physical activity plan. I'll get some car paint to dab onto the scratch marks. Or maybe just by some reflective paint and decorate right over it.

Riding a trike is weird. You can't lean into a turn. In fact leaning seems to be counter-productive, as it misaligns the rider to the bike frame. That is going to take some getting used to and will likely impact any decision about buying a regular bike down the line.

I've been researching headlights and tail lights. I already know that I will most likely be riding during the night so those are quite important. I don't know how it is in your area but my little corner of suburbia has few sidewalks, if any, and we are legally required to ride out bikes on the roads... where reckless drivers can ram us on their own terms. Or so it seems. Which is one reason why I'd rather ride at night - fewer cars on the roads and bright lights on my trike will make me far more visible than I shall be during daylight cruising beside parked cars and trailers on the sides of the roads.

I am not actually required to buy a helmet. My own doctor told me that I needn't, pointing out that since helmets are normally worn to protect a rider from damage while falling and the likelihood of falling off of a tricycle is about 5%, it is not necessary for me to wear one. (He said that if I were to be riding and fall because I'd been struck by a car, then there would be a lot more to worry about than head injury. Likely he is right about that but the cautious part of me is still looking at a helmet. If I can wade through all of the ones offered online. Good gravy! It is worse than porn!

Saturday we delivered the small fridge to its new owners and came home with my 15K89 Singer sewing machine. Which does not have an operator's manual online. I shall have to use the 'generic' 15K manual. Oh, and it does come with a case. So this is what I've got now.


I haven't tried to use it yet and likely won't until I get the 22 sheet walls for our GDH camp perimeter sewn and painted. Or at least as painted as they are going to be by mid-October.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I decided that I disliked the main gate for our (Great Dark Horde) camp because it looked too 'make do', which it is and has been for a while since our _real_ gate, a lovely Ger, is too danged big and worse, is now missing its sidewalls. Nasty for the guards during storms. But mostly - too danged big. So the camp purchased a used pavilion top from Pennsic stores which comes sans walls. It still worked quite well for the camp, acting as a gate and a gathering place for us to escape the grueling sunlight. But - walls. It needs walls. And something that says "we are a Mongolian camp". So in the way that it goes, since it bothers me I volunteered to make those walls.

Which means that I need a new sewing machine. Because my pampered Janome is not going to be used for heavy-duty sewing of canvas and strapping. There is a guy in our area who does sewing machine repairs who is willing to work a deal with me. I provide a bit of cash (and a small dorm fridge we were getting ready to sell off) and he is providing this>



Yes, it is old. A 1949 British Singer. No, it is not electric - it is hand-cranked. Isn't it a dandy? I don't think it comes with a case though, so I shall have to ask him to keep an eye out for one. A modern case would just be too, too sad.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Three weeks of living in the muggy outdoors was exhausting. And yet not. For the first time I had an air mattress on my bed rather than a real one and it was a joy. The mattress predictably lost air during the first night and then stayed in that state for the rest of the time. Its softness was an awful lot like sleeping on our waterbed. For once I came home without sore shoulders and hips. And slept deeply, too, almost every night.

The Deputy Mayor job was fun. Great, even. I'm going to miss doing it next year.

I'm taking a year 'off' from the SCA. Or more specifically, from my local group. Maybe two years, I don't know. I've been very excited about my plans ever since I made the decision - projects that I had waiting are now things I am looking forward to, and I'm even planning new ones. They are all for my own satisfaction - no deadlines, mostly, and no pressure to please others or work around their expectations. So relaxing.

This break time will eliminate the time sink volunteering has had over me so I cannot use any more excuses about getting stronger and building muscles & mobility. I'm looking forward to camping next summer and being able to be useful during set-up, or rather, during unpacking and erecting the pavilion. I AM useful during set up after the pavilion is up, as I am the one who arranges all the furnishings and creates the kitchen set-up. But the heavy lifting has been done by my husband and it's not fair.

Yesterday started the 'build muscle' regime. Minorly, just one exercise done here in the house, but I feel good about it. Today I return to my food log. It was lovely to set it aside for a month (a whole month!). I ate double-stuffed Oreos last night as my celebratory farewell to unmonitored munching. It wasn't as satisfying as I thought it would be - the dietary changes have modified my dining desires. I would have killed for some decent cherries instead. Alas, the season has passed.

Today I also pull out my sewing machine to put together the rest of the blank sheet walls our camp will use for War of the Wings. Or at least 'this batch' of them. I've had the fabric sitting there for a year and was never inspired to finish it up, even with a whole bag of bias tape hanging from one of the cabinets in the craft room as a 'reminder'. Now I want to do it.

After I get some sleep. It's become fugitive again so I guess the "Pennsic Recovery Period" has passed.
stitchwhich: (Humility the Manx)
Shortly after kittenhood she changed into a standoffish loner. She didn't want any foods other than her dry kibble. Bribes were met with a withdrawn jerk of the head before she stalked off. She didn't want to be petted, groomed, or picked up. She didn't allow any new animals into our home. She couldn't be trained - even litter box etiquette became increasingly difficult to for her to maintain. She hated the outdoors. She hated visitors. Even our sons, who she grew up with, became 'visitors' once they moved out. She would hide from them under the couch and hiss if they came near.

We lived ten years with only her since she would not allow any other pet into the house and in that time, at best, we merely co-existed - ignored, for the most part, unless one of us happened to be eating a Cheese Nip or Cheetos. For that, she was willing to approach and stare at us until we gave her one small bit. No more than a small bit, mind you. Anything more was haughtily refused.

But her whole life she did seek out whichever one of us was alone in a room and lay on the ground somewhere nearby, purring. So each night she was my nearly-silent companion in the library, hiding somewhere with only her purr to let me know she was around.

Today she took her final rest.

And I cried like a baby the whole while. I don't know why.
stitchwhich: (fireworks)
On Friday I woke up at 6:15 to a grey day - only, well, I didn't know it was 'day'. I had slept so hard that when I woke up to the overcast light I thought the sun was setting and I'd slept all through the day and Bossman had gotten home while I was still abed. I shamefacedly made my way into the kitchen and was sitting at the table glumly contemplating what that meant for the chances of getting any sleep that night when Bossman came into the room and asked me why I was so down. Then he reached for his denture case. I asked him what he was doing, and he replied that he was getting ready for work as he does every morning. Oh dear. He got a huge laugh out of my bewilderment. I shook off my dazzlement enough to quickly dress and drive him to work, giving me the car for the day, then called our youngest to see if he'd worked overnight. And that resulted in a lovely breakfast with my son followed by a trip to the DMV to procure a new ID card for him. He refuses to get a driver's license for some odd reason, even in this city-transportation benighted area, but after he'd been mugged he had no ID at all and had been putting off the (dreaded) trip to the s-l-o-w DMV office ever since. With the presidential election season creeping near his need for one was becoming dire. It turned out to be a quick trip - only around an hour. But with the time it took to find all of his paperwork beforehand it was nearly lunchtime when we walked out and his father, having a short day, was ready to come home. So we fetched him for lunch and then dropped our boy/man off for his bedtime while us older folks drove off for fun.

By which I mean that we gassed up the car and then braved the Sprint store to get a new phone for the Bossman. His was so old they didn't even accept it for a trade-in. Somehow along the way I got a new phone also, thanks to the BOGO deal they had going, and a free Samsung tablet E for the man, too. And we came out of it with our monthly bill lower than it was when we walked in. I'm a little confused about how that all happened - especially since we, the two of us, have a third cell phone line now, but there we go. They used my husband's old phone for the new line's number and handed it back to him. I guess we needed a 'new' line in order to get the BOGO deal. I haven't checked to see how long we have to keep it activated. Both of us are now working on learning the ins and outs of our phones' operating systems. We moved away from Samsung models to the newest LG. It is a big phone and barely fits in my pocket. It does NOT fit in there when I have it in its (also freely given before I could say "I don't want that, actually") waterproof case. Apparently with it in that I can take a bath with the phone or take it swimming and use it as a camera. Okay, sure. So there are two cases for mine now - one for everyday which I bought at the mall (a vivid blue case which looks nothing like my husband's previously matching one) and one water-, earthquake-, drop- proof case for Pennsic use. It will be in a pouch then, tucked inside a knitted bag*. We both went to bed early that night. Evidently the process of phone acquisition is exhausting.

Saturday morning started with the uncomfortable awareness that I'd contracted another UTI and off to the Urgent Care clinic I went. I loaded up my sewing equipment before I left the house and after an exam, lab test, and prescription stop I was on my way to a "Sew-appaloosa" at a local library. One of the chatelaines in our barony had reserved the space for the pre-Pennsic panic stitching frenzy. Only about six of us showed up but we got a great deal done and left contented. I worked on creating a groundcloth for our pavilion. There doesn't seem to be a local source for 16x16 canvas tarps but we'd found a 12x16 last year while setting up for service week and made do with it and two 8x8s. Friday morning I bought another 16x12, and that night tore out all of the hemming on both of them, then laid them out on the floor at the library to double-check their measurements. A little cutting and stitching later has gained us a 17x18 groundcloth... yeah, I know, not "16x16" but my beloved husband insists that it be larger than the tent's actual interior footprint. I don't know why. I suspect I'll be making it smaller after we try out his suggested size this year. I've one edge hemmed and tomorrow I'll finish the other three. Today has been 'lazy day' and all we've done is visited Long John Silver's for dinner and then lolled in front of the television to catch up on episodes of the BBC's "Endeavor". And maybe a couple of other shows too; "Houdini & Doyle" and "Royal Pain".

Tomorrow, or rather later today, we'll host a traditional bar-b-que party and cards.


*Why do I need to carry my phone at Pennsic? Because only one of my department heads has a phone assigned to them. We need our phone to communicate with each other. I anticipate that it will feel very weird next year to not need to carry the thing around with me.
stitchwhich: (Cindy-girl)
Yesterday I went to a local library where one of our members had scheduled a sewing session, the June-obligatory "prepping for Pennsic" thing. It was pleasant, at first, with a large brightly-lit conference room that had a HUGE table, big enough for the folks at one end to be cutting out patterns while we at the other end were sewing our own projects. I acutally had a new project for myself, a red hangerroc that I was hand-sewing. It will be so nice to have a new piece of clothing! I didn't go crazy and try a new style (pleated front) but right now I have only two - one linen and one wool - and this one is such a light weight fabric that I know Pennsic is going to be more comfortable.

But then the talk turned to the social climate, and lack of participation, in our barony. The organiser began to talk about her concerns, laying out various points of non-participation and frustration, and I - I broke down into tears. There in public. So embarrassing.

The group is pretty much shattered and has been for a while. We limped along with our past Baron and Baroness being a healthy bandage over the wound but now that they are gone it is getting worse again. Drama and politics, a severe lack of honest communication, a steady decrease in volunteers who care enough to learn how to do the job they've volunteered for. We have a Senechal we only see every other month at the business meetings who doesn't answer emails or phone calls, a MoAS who shows up once a month to schedule the weekly classes and is never seen again, and a herald who only files reports... he doesn't show up for workshops or heralding at events - his two predecessors are handling the job while he is our figurehead.

So, well - folks are frustrated and tired of trying to drum up interest. I understand that. There is a chance that this barony will actually fold. And here I am, backing out. I felt ashamed. And exhausted all at the same time.

Once my tears became noticeable the folks in the sewing room hastened to reassure me that it is not my job to carry the health of the barony on my shoulders. They said that I'd done more than enough for too long and deserved to take a breather. But it is distressing to hear someone enumerate the group's needs and know that I just can't help, just don't have anything left to give to it, even though it may actually end up being dissolved after all these years.
stitchwhich: (shake)
Helped one of my protégées with their sewing yesterday and was glad I was there to do so since she had a technical problem she had no idea for fixing (neck hole was cut wide and shallow, too wide to sit comfortably on her shoulders.) She now has a gown with a contrasting yoke, inside and out, and it encases the wide opening and has a smaller, more flattering one instead. The color combination is not what I would have chosen but these are her heraldic ones so I can't argue with the decision... well, artistically I can. Fashionably I can. But as a Scadian herald I just have to shrug my shoulders and suggested that with the new yoke she might as well add cuffs too. Some of the people reading this will see that gown in a few weeks. :)

I am feeling lighter in spirit already. My resignations had been sent a few days ago so the changes in attitude were already working through before I posted yesterday's scree. I've already caught up on the 1200+ "SCA Heraldry" list messages that I had not yet read, as well as fourteen month's worth of SCA-cooks list messages. And all of my bookkeeping (love that word - oo-kk-ee) is done. So is 'catching up on all the emails for Cultural Affairs'. In fact, I am now cheerfully going back to check on them two or three times a day, out of (gasp!) curiosity and a desire to see if there is anything I need to handle quickly. Because I want to. That's new and I like it.

I am using today to repack the Rubbermaid bins holding all of the loaner clothing and am washing all of the fabric that I'd set aside for crafting new pieces of loaner apparel. We have a couple of spare bins left over from something else we'd been doing and I shall carefully pack all of the ready-to-cut fabrics in there, safe and out of my sight. I am leaning towards passing those on to the new Gold Key deputy. He doesn't sew but he is quite conscientious. It may be that other members of the barony who do sew would be willing to 'check out' a length of fabric and return it as a completed article of garb. It doesn't have to be me.

While the fabric is cycling through the wash I believe I shall build one of my Lego kits.
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