stitchwhich: (Default)
My vision is coming back into focus. That is one less worry for me.

My Pennsic staff members have sorted out all their difficulties (so far as they are letting me know) so I am feeling very positive about how this year is going to go. And now we're into the 'fun time' - pre-packing for the event, whittling down, in my case, the things that I've been bringing every year so it won't be such a burden for my husband when it comes to loading up the truck. Besides - I have too much miscellaneous SCA stuff. I have a perfectly good, if somewhat eye straining, pink collapsible basket I could bring for trips to the shower, except it is full to the brim with SCA tchotchke I've been holding on to, meaning to 'find the right place' to pass it on or to use some time in the future. I am determined, this year, that it get emptied out and all that stuff removed from my house or actually used.
stitchwhich: (Default)
I've lost the last three days to sleeping. I'm not ill, simply drugged. Tomorrow I discontinue the Effexor - I can cope with depression or anxiety until after Pennsic and we can try a new medication then, when I don't have deadlines and responsibilities looming.

Besides, I'd like to spend some time with my husband, who changed out of his pjs to make a 10:30pm food run* for me right now, anyway, I'd like more time with him than an hour or two between my sleeping periods.

Although I am going to miss the ease of not eating... I've lost 25 pounds since I started taking this stuff in May.

*10:30 at night and I've had 349 calories to eat all day. I'm not hungry even now but I must eat something. "No less than 1300 calories daily" said the nutritionist. He has gone to McDonald's - of all places - to fetch a Quarter-pounder, French fries, and a milk shake in the hopes that I can choke most of it down. All my healthy (and far too low-calorie) food in the house is making my tummy roil just at the thought of it. There is no way I could eat enough of it to bring my numbers up so junk food it is.
stitchwhich: (Default)
I haven't posted much lately as I've been coping with the side effects of a new prescription which have been somewhat debilitating. It is for depression & anxiety, which are something I have a hard time admitting to myself that I am suffering from. It seems too easy to take things day-by-day and not see the cumulative effect until something forces you to do so. I'm not sure I am comfortable, yet, with taking a 'mood altering drug' as I am an old-school kind of person who believes that I ought to be able to bootstrap myself back up to 'normal'. Other people have a legitimate need for medication, but not me! I should be able to tough it out and fix my own attitude. Funny how we're so often mor3e judgmental about ourselves than we are about others.

Well, my blinders weren't working and unstarted or unfinished chores hit the stage of being direly overdue so I was no longer able to feed myself excuses. And thus the medication.

It causes tremors and sleepiness (but not much success in actual sleeping), as well as excessive sweating and worse, it has affected my vision so my glasses - trifocals - do not give me clear vision in any strength. That irks me as they are brand new and there is no way I can afford purchasing $450 worth of glasses 'just because' only months after getting these ones. I've been spending a lot of time in bed staring at the inside of my eyelids or reading books in a bid to get tired enough to achieve real sleep. You'd think that would be a cause for anxiety all on its own but no, it just makes me more prone to laying there bored.

So I've not had much to write about. Even this post strikes me as "blah, blah, health whining, blah".

Tomorrow we're having friends over to celebrate the Fourth of July. Or more truthfully, we're using the holiday as an excuse to have friends over. None of us truly feel celebratory about the USA right now. I'm looking forward to laughter and weird foods. I think everyone coming over is bringing something different and they all have lists of things they refuse to eat. So it should be an eclectic mix. We're firing up the grill. Folks will being a meat for themselves and a side to share. I made an offhand remark to my husband about the sorts of foods we once thought of as traditional for this holiday and now I'm cudgeling my brain trying to remember what goes into 'traditional' jello with fruit in it. His eyes lit up when I mentioned it so here we go.
stitchwhich: (Default)
I did not know that normal treatment of a broken finger, or even a dislocated wrist, required that the cast or splint be removed within 3 weeks of the injury lest the tendons and muscles around the break 'freeze' and mobility of the digit/wrist be lost permanently. The things we learn by way of living life...

So I am typing this cast-free, with two fingers still swollen and puffy. The break on the little finger is knitting although the skin is still dramatically bruised and swollen. I am guessing I jammed the ring finger but it is becoming easier to use while typing although the tip of each of them is tingly, and thus distracting. I am to daily attempt to bend them and use them, massaging them into easy movement else three weeks from now there will be the dreaded formal PT (as opposed to the at-home informal PT I get to do while the bones knit.)

We hosted an SCA event last weekend. It was our kingdom Crown Tourney. Normally, our Crowns are rather small with less that 300 people onsite. But this is a popular King and Queen, who put out a call to the Baronage and the Chivalry to provide challengers so our List was at 41, and attendance at 407 - record breaking for us.

We lost our contracted event site with cabins about a month ago when the owners decided to put it up for sale. It was a favored camp and a great loss. Churches are finding it harder and harder to afford the matainance. Heck, even our Scouting organizations are finding it difficult. (Holding events at Scout camps is not favored in our lush-filled kingdom. If there isn't alcohol allowed then there is little support for a camping event. This makes me sad.)

A couple who'd once lived in our barony retired across the state to a large estate of land, building their home and outbuildings by themselves pre-retirement. They specifically bought their land with an eye towards hosting SCA events. Their home (Silverleaf Estate) was our new site. Over the years they've built three outdoor showers, an outdoor kitchen (she'll use it for canning, too) and cleared enough space to set up sufficient shelter for over a hundred diners. We had 122 people onboard at Crown under two pavilions, with room for off-board diners.

I organized a Consort's breakfast. That was fairly easy. Mostly I've spent the last four weeks reminding the Autocrat about various things she either didn't think of or let drop. In some ways, I swear, I feel almost like I was the Autocrat! But that isn't fair - she came up with some creative solutions to the problems inherent in going from a full kitchen to a roughed-out one still in the works. And other members of the staff covered the numerous holes she hadn't recruited. So I was proud of my barony and the cooking staff - the Head Cook and his wife had just purchased a new house while their sale of the old one finalized the same day, only a week before the event. He was making sausages as he and she were packing boxes and doing final repairs to their old house.

Ouch. Done typing.
stitchwhich: (Default)
Last Thursday during a fall (I tripped over a low curb) I broke my left pinkie in a really impressive Y-shaped green split fracture and dislocated sundry bones in my wrist and palm. We were only two blocks from a quick-serve medical clinic (Patient First) so in I went. Three X-rays and a splint later, I was out again. The fracture had set itself, thank goodness, but the misaligned bones were unremarked. There was no attempt at actually setting anything, just a splint to stabilize and the advice to visit an orthopedic office to be treated. It took three and a half days before an opening was available - I used a lot of the pain drugs before that happened. But now my left hand and wrist is in a pretty light blue cast and there is only pain when I do something stupid.

My husband thinks my brain flew out the window. I made him drive me to the store to buy socks to go over the cast. Right now it looks like an obscure bondage device. Even though we bought pretty socks. with two holes cut to allow the un-casted fingers and thumb out, the whole thing is covered to mid-forearm. And I can now move my arm, or get dressed, without the rough exterior folds of the cast catching on any clothing it comes in contact with. being a female, you can imagine that my bras are much safer than they'd been.

We went to a noisy restaurant for an SCA event staff meeting this evening. as my broken hand is also my dominate one, I ordered finger food so it was easier for me to keep up with the discussion than it was for most of the attendees. It looks like we'll have a good event, notwithstanding the autocrat's lack of organization and attention to the details that don't affect the Royal guests. Other staff members are (disgustedly) taking note of the things she's unconcerned about to ensure that they get covered. She's overbooked herself with her modern job and her time is fleeting - she's on the road a lot, even leaving the 1900 meeting to make a 3.5-hour drive to another city for a job that starts at 0500 this morning. She is a department head for a very busy Pennsic service. I sure hope this isn't an example of how things will go there!
But those folks are accustomed to punting so I have no major worries about them as long as they have electricity, internet, and plenty of crayolas.
stitchwhich: (Default)
I find the forced air to be irritating, and the noise (sort of a 'background ocean wave noise' right in front of your face) to really be distracting although I've been told that one of my friends who went through the bariatric weight loss process still has to turn on his cpap each night - not to use it himself, but to lull his wife to sleep with the sound. So I'll probably adapt.

I can positively state that it makes answering the bedside telephone a real pain in the patoot. [picture a sideways smile here]

I've used it for three days and have only had one night of leg cramping. It had gotten to 'daily', so this is an improvement. And while I haven't had as much sleep as had become 'normal', I am more alert and able to think than I have been in a long while - even if I am also somewhat sleepy. I've not managed more than five and a half hours of sleep each night so that is understandable. In fact, I'm up now rather than in bed because I've reached the point where the noise and air pressure bothers me more than being awake would. I'm leery of napping later on since that often hoses up getting to sleep at night but I may just give in and skip the machine for that while. Perhaps an alarm setting for 90 minutes would work.

Random acts of house cleaning are happening more often. Clearing of horizontal surfaces is also happening and my (long overdue) checking account balancing is imminent since it doesn't terrorize me to consider tackling it. These are all wonderful effects. Oh, and I went back to monitoring my foods (calories and carbs) today after months of being too overwhelmed to do so. The scale does not hate me, thank goodness. I guess the changes in diet have become ingrained, but my glucometer, well... let's just say I'll be avoiding my doctor until I can get things down to a better level for the next AC1 test. Because right now, he'd be insisting on insulin. I know I can get it under control again with a return to carb-watching and this newly re-found physical energy.

I am seriously considering skipping the account balancing to go take a bike ride instead.
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)
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."

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: (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)
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)
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: (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.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I have been upending my life. Sort of. It finally came to me in a moment of clarity that I was suffering from a deep burnout with the SCA. Not with 'living history' or my love of what we study, but with the society, or the various personalities, of those I interact with and what they expect of me. And like many volunteers, I'd overloaded myself with jobs and long-term projects to the point that I was not doing anything I enjoyed but merely what duty dictated.

I was angry and resentful towards my friends who were not knocking themselves out on a local level to 'make things go'. Lividly angry, in a couple of cases - and unfairly. Haven't we always preached "Do what makes you happy; if it isn't making you feel happy or fulfilled, stop it!"? But yet I'd ignored that directive in my own case to give in to 'duty'.

One of the odd things about being created a Peer in the SCA is that we have a almost uniformly-accepted mandate to 'continue to work to improve the Society'. We are openly scornful of those who step aside to see to their own pleasure as that is something acceptable in non-Peers but is shameful in us.

I fell into that trap.

Heck, I was so overwhelmed with jobs waiting to be done that when I wasn't sick, sleeping, or doing housework, I was stressing over what I 'should be' doing. I haven't even built my newest Lego buildings - which if anyone knows me, is downright weird.

So I took a deep breath, recentered myself, and resigned. Sent notes to my barony and Heraldic & Chatelaine superiors that I was resigning from various jobs, that I would not be taking on new ones, and was stepping aside to recharge my SCA batteries and recover from burnout. (I am still the drop-dead deputy for our Kingdom Herald but since that only really involves a few email discussions every few months, it was nothing that needed stepping away from. I'd like to keep my hand in a bit.) However, and this is just for my own edification later on when I start to thinking that I can return to volunteering, this is what I am stepping away from: )



It is my hope that in a few months I will re-read this and exclaim in wonder about how grumpy and sour I sound, and be thankful that I don't feel like that any longer. I need to get my mojo back.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
It has been a tumultuous week & a half. I'm going to bullet-point. Sorry, I know that is not the best journalistic style.

I've been too sick to drive for Uber. I haven't been sleeping well but even though I'm awake during the hours I'd normally be driving, I'm tired and dizzy. I miss it. I also miss the minor extra income it brings in.

We drove to Cooper's Lake a week ago, on a Friday as folks were getting out for lunch, which meant hitting DC rush hour traffic midway through our trip. Luckily for us we always take a route that runs diagonally across the state so our overlap with the dense traffic was short term. And, although I shouldn't have, I had a Dairy Queen banana spilt for dinner. Because I could and we were there. It is at our traditional gas/food stop during that trip.

I was stressed about the meeting for the next day. My lousy health this winter/spring meant that I was not as diligent about getting my Pennsic job done and I had 37 email strings (Gods do I hate gmail and its formatting!) to wade through before the meeting, some of which were letters asking for my help and having been dated a month ago. It was shameful. As it turned out, I was about even for 'doing my job' with the rest of the Deputy Mayors, which is both heartening and embarrassing all at the same time. Guess we all had a lousy few months. Nonetheless the emails were sorted, my departments were updated, and I'm now back in the loop again. Although about $200 poorer because I can't request a refund for my travel costs.

I've decided to take a break from Pennsic staff next year. Sure, I'll do duty - we all should volunteer a few hours - but overall I am going to be a 'tourist' and relax. It is the first time since Pennsic 21 that I will not be on staff. I did schedule a break one year but a friend guilted me into running a Page's School once we got onsite. The autocrats had never bothered to find a staffer for it and there I was, sitting with her on the Cooper store's front porch trying mightily to resist while drinking Pennsic Chocolate Milk (it deserves the capitalization) when a little girl came out of the store with her brother excitedly telling him that "THIS year I'll be eight years old so THIS year I get to go to Page's School too. You don't get to have all the fun this time!"

Well yeah. We were both Boy Scout Commissioners and we could put a one-week school together while standing on our heads and blowing kazoos. So no break for this staffer. (It was a good school and people were absolutely fantastic about stepping up at the last minute with few financial resources. I still remember some of the classes with nostalgia.)

The lumpia fundraiser thing is done. More specifically, I am done pimping the sales. It was a total flop in that we profited only $80 and I have sealed and frozen lumpia filling our freezer to the very top. Over 900 sticks of it, not to mention the 200 or so over at our Baron and Baroness' house. But - done and no longer my headache. Except that my failure haunts me.

I've 'fired' my weight loss dietician, which means I've quit their program since there is only one 'non-surgical' doctor. I've finally learned that 'encouragement' isn't an aspect of their care but pushing more drugs as an answer to the slowing down of loss is. I've not lost any weight in months but neither have I been the least bit diligent about cooking, exercising, or watching my calories during the months of feeling sick as a dog. Twice I asked for a 'pep talk', a group to meet with or anything that may help me regain my perspective when I went in for my follow-ups and each time I was told that they "didn't do that and have I considered this drug or that surgery?" I need to regain my enthusiasm for cooking foods again instead of tiredly reaching for whatever ready-made or easily-grazed item is in our cupboards. Now that the exhaustion from last month's cold has begun to lift the kitchen is starting to look more attractive to me. Next comes motivating myself to the gym.

- Sewing must happen. A lot of it. I had a family and a single guy needing loaner clothing for the event this weekend (the single guy's roommate posted at 10am on Facebook on the day the event opened, asking for 'whoever is in charge of Gold Key". They didn't actually get to my house until after 8:30 at night, long after the event had started. Yes, it was crazy for me to even allow it. But I did so knowing that with such a gross abuse of courtesy on her part (he didn't know any better but she is a Laurel), I could now have a group-supported 'rule' put in place requiring borrowers to contact me at least two days before an event. And the new guy, who'd never met me or anyone else in our group, has a few names and faces to remember. He seemed rather embarrassed about it. I learned later that it may have been because our Chatelaine visits their house two or three times a week to see their other roommate and she'd told the Laurel over and over again during the past month that she should contact me early if she needed to borrow anything.) I was at home because I was sewing a tunic for the son of the first family, who could not find a single thing in our Gold Key that would fit except for one cotton and one thick wool tunic. With an expected high of about 90f, wool wasn't going to do.

I am lividly angry with our country's health care situation. Our (past) baron is dying of a cancer that cannot be cured. That makes me angry in one direction but more importantly to me (given the 'somethings we just can't take care of' situation for cures) is the fact that his wife is killing herself trying to take care of him, their child, their home, and keep an income coming in while the medical community stands by and whistles in the wind as she whittles herself down past the point of exhaustion. Cancer shouldn't cost two lives for every infection.

And a man I respect highly and love dearly is dying of a different kind of cancer because he cannot afford health care. He's too proud, too private, and too, too exhausted with the medical merry-go-round to even consider trying to start a "go fund me" sort of thing so he is going to die while ignorant idiots posture and rant about the 'evil that is Obamacare'. I swear by the Almighty, if one person snarks "Obamacare" to my face I am going to pop them in the kisser. Yes, it is a freaking ugly package - but that sure as shooting wasn't Obama's fault and the politicians who posture and prance while fanning their egos with it have cost, or will cost, many of us the lives of people we care about.

And I don't love that man half as much as his partner, who is the mother of their pre-teen daughters does.

I'm wiped out tired. Think there is a way to change out one's batteries?
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
We had rain on Friday and part of Saturday. It was a welcome break from the heavy pollen flow. Without the awful sinus headache those days were quite productive - errands were run, lumpia was made, household chores long ignored were completed, and dining outside of the house was enjoyed.

Unfortunately, the pollen production began anew on Sunday morning and by late afternoon I was in far too much pain to care about our weekly card night - I was seeing flashes of light when I blinked, which was too close to what I understand would be a migraine headache. And this after 600mg of Motrin. I ended up being lulled to sleep by the sound of laughter coming from our kitchen as my husband and some friends played through the early evening.

I'm up again - the worst of the headache has faded to the background so I'm taking advantage of it. I finished rolling the last batch of lumpia I had waiting already mixed, then inventoried our supplies of finished lumpia and am now torn between starting a new batch (I've three more batches of cooked & chopped meat in the fridge) or doing laundry & paying bills. What excitement! What a grand selection of occupations! Actually - playing logic games on my computer is beginning to sound attractive.

We met at a local library this afternoon for a sewing session. There were only three of us but it was productive. I had not been aware that am opportunity was coming up and had no new project to work on (being solely focused on getting lumpia made) so took my Viking Rus coat there to add more decoration to it, a project I'd started and then set aside when the winter-themed event (Ymir) had passed. It has been hanging in the craft room forlornly waiting for me to work on it. So I did, and got a lot more done than I expected. Say! Now that the kitchen table is cleared off after that last rolling session, it is perfectly situated for me to work on finishing the edging of that coat! Maybe I could get that done tonight as it doesn't require much in the way of brainpower. I'm planning on running a double line of trim across the bottom of the coat and up the two front edges, ending them at about thigh-height with a bowen knot. Like this:

That takes the coat outside of the realm of 'documentable' and firmly into 'conjectural' but it will be attractive, especially with the to-be-added fur sleeve cuffs, so I foresee an easy sale when the coat ends up being too large for me to wear after more self-shrinkage.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I've spent the last two days rolling lumpia - or more precisely, chopping up all the ingredients to go in the lumpia and finally getting to the point where I could roll a batch up. Beef ones, 115 of them so far. I'd meant to do more today but instead went shopping for more ingredients - tomorrow one of my protégées/apprentices will come over and we'll get started again. I must have all six types done by next weekend so there is a lot of chopped oriental ingredients in my fridge right now, waiting to be mixed in with the rice and soy sauce.

Everything is going slower than I want it to - the elms and oaks are pollinating the entire corner of my world and I happen to be allergic to them. Staying inside is helping - going shopping means that I'll be trying to claw my throat out sometime before I can get back home again. May I say that I am grateful to the inventors of the neti pot, Sudafed, and Zyrtec. Oh yes. And Motrin, unfortunately, as my head aches all the time right now.

So I have not been driving for Uber in the last two weeks - headachy and fuzzy-brained as I am, I don't trust myself behind a wheel. Although the loss of my weekly mad money is hitting me. How quickly we adapt to extra income, eh? I'd not realized what a sense of fulfillment it was giving me, to be able to not stress over an extra bill or a higher-cost item that I'd normally have to scrip and save for. Those trees better find a room - I want my driving evenings back.
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