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 Bribes were met with a withdrawn jerk of the head before she stalked off.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: (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: )

Burnt.

Out.

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: (Waiting)
Two weekends ago I drove for five hours to attend an SCA event called "Atlantian University" - a daylong classroom event with (usually) 8-12 classrooms set up to host 1-2 hour classes about medievally-related subjects throughout the day. As well as sundry "how to do your SCA job" ones thrown in along the way. (The five hours back was much harder on me than I expected. Perhaps 'ten-hour daytrip drives' are not as much of a good idea as they were when I was younger.)

One of my Apprentices rode with me as well as my oldest BFE (Best Friend Ever), who kept the conversation going by asking the occasional off-beat question. One she asked my Apprentice was, "Where do you see yourself five years from now?" and it hit me pretty hard - harder than it did the respondent.

I haven't been thinking about "The Future" for a very long time. Not in any useful manner, at any rate. To tell the truth, I've never expected to actually reach 'the future', old age, in any case. My health never lent itself to the making of plans or of envisioning such a thing as a real possibility I'd have to deal with in my life.

The question has caused me to look at our home, our hobby, and our finances in a new light. For example, I'd been haphazardly clearing out this and that for the last couple of years after seeing what my adult friends had to deal with when their parents passed on and thinking about what it would be like for our children to have to pack up/clear out our home once we did too - but now, well now I'm looking at it and thinking more along the lines of "what will it be like to have to live with this stuff for the rest of a long old age? Do I want to? Do I even look at most of this anymore? Use much of it any more? Do I want to settle for this item or that one instead of reaching for something which would light up my (or Bossman's) eyes when I saw it every day? And what about when we, as some of our friends have, hit the "we're not going SCA camping any longer, nor schlepping all that medieval furniture around" stage? In all honestly, that isn't too far off - I can't see us being willing to do so in, say, five or six years. Not at the level that we currently do. By Pennsic 50 Bossman will be 69 and I'll 64... loading the truck full of wooden furniture for a two week long vacation just doesn't seem all that inspiring in that future.

It's very odd. I have never - ever - needed to consider my own 'old age'. I trained myself out of that sort of daydreaming when I was a teenager and was diagnosed with my heart condition and its limitations. After it failed and was magically corrected, multiple surgeries kept me focused on the 'now', and then my cancer struck. And four years later while I was still under treatment his did. Again, the 'now', the 'let's get through this' mode was predominate.

And now I have a real future with no plans and no goals. It is rather intimidating but exciting all blended together.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
According to Wikipedia (hush, I thought their article was well-written),
"Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), pardoning (granted by a representative of society, such as a judge), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship)."

I have been thinking about 'forgiveness' and myself a great deal lately. Looking around me in a social context, there is a significant (or at least to me it seems significant) number of people who I am around often but who I would not choose to be near outside of the social event simply because at one time or another they've betrayed my trust or caused harm to me or mine. But this means that as I continue in my favorite hobby and the years travel on by, that small number of people grows a little larger. Yes, some of those people do gafiate away but others may gain a greater prominence within the group. And I've noticed myself growing - sour, shall I say - at some events watching those I once knew as friends enjoy themselves with others who are still friends, all while I hold myself aside...

So I question myself about my 'forgiving' of whatever it was that caused our break. In all but one case, I've long ago brought myself to understand and forgive their actions, as I know that everything is justified in the eyes of the actor and their views will not be the same as mine. I've tried to see things through their eyes. But yet, the hurt is still there, especially since I am well aware that they will never acknowledge, nor apologise, for their actions. History has been rewritten and that is solid in their worldviews. Yet I miss some of them. And they still seem to want to have me involved in their world. But yet again - there can be no going back to what we once had. Not for me. Because I know myself well enough to know that without reconciliation of our past, I will never trust them again.

So have I actually 'forgiven' them? If I cannot bring myself to the point of clearing the board of all negatively (and isn't "I care for you, want you to be happy in your world, but will never trust you with anything important to me' negative?), then have I actually succeeded in forgiving?

I have no real pain when I'm not near any of these people but I do feel sadness and sometimes heartache when I am around them.

The Wikipedia article goes on to say,
"As a psychological concept and virtue, the benefits of forgiveness have been explored in religious thought, the social sciences and medicine. Forgiveness may be considered simply in terms of the person who forgives including forgiving themselves, in terms of the person forgiven or in terms of the relationship between the forgiver and the person forgiven. In most contexts, forgiveness is granted without any expectation of restorative justice, and without any response on the part of the offender (for example, one may forgive a person who is incommunicado or dead). In practical terms, it may be necessary for the offender to offer some form of acknowledgment, an apology, or even just ask for forgiveness, in order for the wronged person to believe himself able to forgive."

I thought I was a loving and forgiving kind of person but I don't think I truly am.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Sometimes the difficulties inherent in an off-beat sleep schedule are not very obvious. I sat down at 1am for a snack after doing a lot of work at my desk. I thought I'd just want a little savoury 'something', as people do late at night. So I had a bag (1oz) of potato chips, feeling rather naughty since they are carb-heavy. Then I had another bag. Then two slices of lunch meat. Then a nectarine. And finally yet another bag of chips.

And then it occurred to me that I'd been craving a meal, not a snack. Perhaps because I'd eaten 'breakfast' 12 hours before and 'lunch' six hours after that.

I did manage to get a lot of admin-stuff cleaned up from my desk. That means that I have phone calls to make to medical billing offices in the morning, darn it, but it is nice to actually have our bills back in normal order and the riff-raff of 'Pennsic mail pile' finally gone from my sight. It is all shredded and in the recycling bin now.

Plans for tomorrow are for some salad-making, clothes cutting (I've GOT to get started on the sale stock for Holiday Faire!) and the printing out of Pennsic device pages so I'll have something to do with my hands at our baronial business meeting. Ah, Crayola Therapy...

Speaking of that, I was given a sweet compliment yesterday while answering a question for someone and I'm going to save it here so I can find it again during the dark times: "...you have a reputation as someone who knows their stuff, is always willing to help other people learn, and is ALWAYS helping out in one way or another. That's not exactly something to sneeze at." The next time I'm feeling like snarling, maybe I'll remember that and keep my teeth behind my lips. It is more fun to cheerfully help someone than it is to be grumpy.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Today a few friends came over and we experimented with my stovetop smoker1. The first thing we learned was that the woodchips included in the smoker kit were tiny little bits of sawdust, of which we were supposed to use 1.5-2 tablespoons worth, while the woodchips purchased at our local Kroeger are bigger chunks I would call 'kindling'. Naturally we put too much of that kindling in the smoker and the first batch of tomatoes as well as the Portobello mushrooms came out tasting like... campfire. Rather pungent campfire at that, which was a shame since we were using apple wood. Luckily we caught on to our mistake after that and the alliums came out quite nice (they will be pureed into a nice paste) while the leeks were heavenly on top of a slice of rye/pumpernickel bread with butter. I had wondered about the wisdom of using the leek greens - I shall not soon forget the absolute mouth-joy that came afterwards. Yum. Young Matt-the-rapier-fighter is a very gifted cook.

Unfortunately, the other thing I learned was that three and a half hours of playing with a stovetop smoker results in one's mouth tasting of smoke no matter what one eats or drinks afterwards. Or how much gum one chews. And that smoke-flavored cinnamon toothpaste is really nasty. Ugh. So from now on, there will be no more than two batches smoked in a day. Even with the house doors open and the fan going.

Tomorrow we are meeting up again to re-try the mushrooms and to smoke the various bell peppers brought over by my soon-to-be protégée. It seemed unfair to force her to go home without trying them but we were all pretty tired of smoke flavorings and the evening was growing late. I have yet to try my garlic, either. The too-smoky tomatoes have been saved to be combined with the second half of the batch, simply stewed, to create a ketchup that is supposed to be wonderfully tangy (and smoky) and totally unlike any commercially available ketchup. We shall see. It calls for 'pumpkin pie spices', fructose, and a cup of diced bell peppers along with a half cup of minced onions and some chopped garlic. I am looking forward to trying it. And this time, I shall measure out 1.5 Tbsp of wood chips, weight that, and use the weight to determine how much of the chunkier wood to use in the pan.

I've firmed up plans for taking a new protégée - between her work schedule and Bossman's chemo schedule, it has made finding a mutual event weekend tricky. Nonetheless, we've found one and if all goes well will be holding the ceremony at Ruby Joust. Not that it will be a Big Thing - I'm not much on hype so we'll have a quiet ceremony and sign our contracts among friends.

1http://www.rakuten.com/prod/gourmet-stainless-steel-mini-smoker/223880859.html?listingId=252508513&scid=pla_google_TheGrillLife&adid=18172&gclid=CIynhZqK1b0CFc1cfgodDWYAEA
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Very few people will get why this is cool, but anyway - our eldest's Giftmas present to his dad was this picture and an autographed $2 bill from Gallegher.005
stitchwhich: (yule reindeer)
Suddenly we're hosting a gathering on Christmas day. "Suddenly" as in being told by, not my husband, but a group message via phone from someone else who'd been in the room, "Oh, by the way, after you went to bed (tummy problems1), the rest of us decided that we're going to go see The Hobbit at noon on Christmas, then head back over here to hang out, play games, and such." Since I'd already invited one couple of military Holiday-Orphans to the house, we went from a quiet TV watching/gently chatting group of four to a house of seven people looking for entertainment... and dinner will be expected. Holiday dinner. I told them all to bring one item "that you would eat with Savoury Toasted Cheese" and one desserty-thing. I am hoping that the males will interpret "what you eat with STC" as meat, while the females will think of either veggies or breads/rolls, and we'll have a somewhat easy dinner which can be eaten catch-as-catch-can, as I know that once they're in the house gaming will commence and continue until the wee hours. They're all bringing their own preferred beverages. For that, I am looking forward to our Coast Guard couple since she's a tea drinker (first person I've known besides me who'd squeal about getting a small electric water pot) and she's bringing her own. I have various types here that she is interested in trying "even though they are in a bag rather than loose", so I suspect that I'll be drinking tea most of the day rather than diet sodas so she can have a sip of each type I brew for myself. Which is a good thing. I have been contemplating cutting sodas out of my life but as Diet Pepsi has been a staple for over 20 years, it is not going to be an easy thing to do should I truly decide to go for it.

Anyway. We have one picky male who never eats veggies of any kind, one overweight high-blood pressure male who says he is being careful about his diet but who shows up to our house with chips & packaged processed foods, and one girl who has made the ugly twisted-face-of-rejection after trying nearly everything I've offered or suggested with the exception of three dishes... Luckily, STC is one of those. Thus that choice2. I have no idea what our Coasty friends are going to think of this thrown-together plan. I am thanking my stars that there are only two people in my acquaintance who are lukewarm about Digby's cheese dish and neither of them will be here.3

So tomorrow will be dedicated to cleaning the house and decorating. Right now all we have up for the holidays are the cards on the wall and the wonderful wreath of Douglas Fir that Marion sent to me for my birthday. It smells glorious. Everything else is still in the boxes. Our children will be here in the middle of January and that is when we'd planned on celebrating Giftmas but our guests are all Christian and stuck here rather than able to go home, so the least we can do it make it festive to look at and 'homely'. To that end, I will be putting together my Lego Winter Village, which will be sitting on the mantle since it has grown too large for the top of a bookshelf.

And completely off of the subject... I hate cussing. I do it too much. But there isn't a person in my social sphere who'd stop me if I did it in public after making sure that everyone knew I was trying to stop. I've got too much of the 'mother/teacher face' or something. Got any suggestions about how I can self-edit? Certainly, when I am around people older than me, or extremely young, or even in settings such as schools, churches, hospitals, I manage to never curse. In fact, I don't when I am by myself and do something stupid or painful. But get me with people who are laughing and fooling around, or have high energy while working together, and my mouth fouls up. I hate it. I got trained into the behaviour by my shipmates in the Navy and with everyone around me also cussing (and it so common on some TV shows or in the movies), there's been no noticeable lack of it in my everyday world. But *I* don't like hearing myself do it. So how can I train myself to stop? The difficulty seems to be that it happens during social interplay, when people are talking a mile a minute, so it is out before I can even think. And the setting is such that the last thing I am being mindful of is my speech patterns. The only thing I can think of is to try the old rubber band on the wrist trick but surely there is something better than that which might work!

1 I have been exhausted for the last week, and stressed with mild tummy distress. Exhausted - I slept about 44 hours out of 48 on Thursday/Friday. Saturday was a carolling party and a trip to the Commissary, which wiped me out again, and yesterday was our normal card-playing day - with friends we hadn't played with in months! Yay! - and I ended up having to take anti-nausea medicine and then lay down on the bed within dashing distance of the bathroom (overshare. Sorry) before they left. I'm not happy about this... these last four month cannot pass fast enough, I tell you. The cumulative effects of this therapy suck!

2... and we bought a good ham but I'm not telling anyone that we did until I see their offerings. It's already baked so all I'll have to do is re-heat it once we get back to the house while the STC is being prepared. :)

3 I'm going to try it with a blend of brie and cambert cheeses, just to see how different it will come out. Digby doesn't specify so even though it's been drummed into Atlantian's heads that it must be Brie, any mild and soft "farmer's cheese" will do so I thought it'd be fun to experiment. Besides, I'd only bought 8oz of Brie and now need more - which isn't available at our local stores, it being (basically) Christmas Eve..
stitchwhich: (Autumn)
'tis the time of Scanziety... my CAT scan was yesterday but I won't learn its results until Thursday of next week. It is odd, what that uncertainty will engender. It has become usual for me to have dreams that play out the worst of the 'what if' scenarios - probably a cynical holdover of the "don't get too complacent" lesson we learn growing up.

So I decided to ride this one out and actually roll with it. What if I was out of remission? What would I do? I guess first I'd want to learn what the probable prognosis was - how long, approximately, would I have? And following that... do I, or don't I, tell anyone. I know - that sounds weird, "Of course you'd tell" you may be thinking. After all, there is my husband and my sons to think about. But the truth is I don't know if I would tell them or not. Not at first. I think probably not. The thing about being me is that I've been the comforter in our family, very rarely the comforted. I would want to give myself time to absorb the news and to process it. And then I'd have to think about how best to break it to my spouse. He has always believed, since we met each other, that he would die before me. It is a comfort to him and anything other than that would be a betrayal by the Universe on a scale I cannot even imagine. No. I'm not kidding. His normal reaction to anything dire happening to me (or threatening me) is complete and absolute - total - denial. It isn't going to happen, I'm being a scardy-cat or hysterical, this is the stupidest thing ever since it isn't based on reality... on and on. I just can't see myself arguing with him about my own mortality. It would waste most of whatever time I'd have left. Sure, he'd end up convinced in the end but why destroy the (however brief) months of good times that I'd have?

And following that would be "do we tell other folks right off the bat or wait until I become house/bed-bound?" I think I'd like to tell folks relatively early, so they'd understand why I was backing out of jobs I have and not volunteering for others, but I don't know. People get weird when they have to face mortality.

And then there's that 'bucket list' that so many people have suddenly started to focus on.

I don't have one.

Never really thought about one - there are too many things I'd "like" to do to narrow it down to a numbered list, and most of those are just daydream material, not things I'd seriously want to devote myself to doing. I've already been living what would be the top numbers on that list. I've had children. I've lived to raise them and they love me. I'm in a hobby group that stretches my creativity, my skills at research, and my desire to serve. I have a faith that is fulfilling and basic.

There isn't much more beyond that besides 'the trimmings'. Anything else would just be flourishes on the things I already have.

I would, though, make a point of clearing out my junk from our home. Even the Legos. Because as much as I know my family says they'd cherish this or that, the truth is that none of them really treasures that stuff for itself but rather for the fact that I love the stuff. So sorting out the dross and saving a few specific items to pass on seems wiser. And as far as Legos go - selling those would bring in funds to buy the newest sets, which I could build and enjoy and then sell again. It would be a case of diminishing return, but hey - it'd only have to last for a little while.

I'd have to start teaching my husband how I handle the bills and our accounts. In his family, it is the woman's job, not the man's. Except for taxes, strangely. Our sons have the recipes for all of the dishes they loved growing up. I don't have copies of them here - but that would be okay since Bossman rarely eats anything I've home-cooked anyway. He's grown into a sandwich-and-chips kind of dinner eater.

Other than making final arrangements (because I know Mr. Denial would freeze solid if he had to face that), I think that covers everything I'd be concerned about. What about you? Have you ever thought about what you'd do, what you'd need to take care of, should you have a life-deadline?
stitchwhich: (making sushi)
I've spent two weeks basically ignoring heraldry. I shall be paying for that this week during the catching-up phase.

It was all due to the lumpia fundraiser, which did well for a first effort and not only reaped a tidy profit (roughly $740 for the day's food booth, to be added to as orders come in for frozen rolls) but was fun enough that the booth workers are cheerfully planning 'next time'. I'm not sure when 'next time' is going to happen. We are looking at next spring... our next Coronation was suggested but since there isn't a bid in for that yet, we'll see.

I learned a lot. One quick (and heavy) lesson was that if we offer "onion free" versions of the lumpia, which we did knowing how many of our friends can't eat onions, we will be overwhelmed with requests for that style. Because while we were thinking 'allergies' customers were thinking 'preferences'. My little 'special order' 4-lumpia pan was not up to the number of orders we got, nor was our supply. I'd made only 60 onion-free rolls out of every 200.

Next time we will definitely serve everything buffet style. We have the heater/serving units with the sterno cans sufficient for what we can serve, and with aluminium half-bins in each of them we can offer meat/no onion meat combos easily as well as different desserts. All of them sold for a dollar a piece so having the cashier just count the rolls on a plate should make things faster and easier.

Experimental flavours are fun to make and all, but they present a serving nightmare when there are too many of them. However, doing a buffet and using the bins means we can just cook up a batch of whatever-it-is and then whisk away the empty bin and replace it with another flavour afterwards. It does mean that if someone is looking for a particular type of dessert (or the pizza rolls, or the pork & pineapple rolls), they'd better keep an eye on the booth.

I think we have whetted the appetite of our kingdom members for lumpia so when we choose to do this again I believe that sales will be at least as good as they were this time. And perhaps we will get pre-orders for delivery of frozen packs also.

There was only one overheard "I refuse to buy any of that because it isn't period" comment. It is unfortunate that I wasn't the one who heard it, and that I was not effective in teaching others that this was a (far less expensive and more modernly common) variation of an actual period recipe. Maybe that unhappy person would have been appeased. Be that as it may, we were flying through the hours of serving, and in no way missed the disgruntled individual - we were too busy cooking and serving others.

So the barony had fun, made money, and ensured a hot lunch for the attendees. Outside of the 'should have done it buffet style' lesson, my only regret was that I wasn't able to get some of the lumpia to the feast cooks while they were working.

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stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I have drawn an imaginary line in the sand and am determined I shall not cross it.

See, there's these two guys - one dad, one son. They live in the state below ours so we don't see each other often, just during Living History demos. They do Viking re-enactment and the dad 'took care of' his son's kit (clothing) after a demo one weekend, as a favour to his son. The dad is, shall we say, somewhat absentminded. Yes, he lost both his son's two outfits as well as the clothes he himself was wearing that weekend too. Mostly likely he dropped it all off at some cleaning service and then forgot to pick it up. That would be months, or even almost a year, ago.

So the clothing is long gone.

Now the son is working in retail as an assistant manager and doesn't make a lot of money, but he's been invited to a Viking re-enactment event in Scotland this September and is so very, very excited about attending. He's also, as I said, mostly broke. I told him that if he'd buy the fabric, I'd handstitch his clothing for him, making him two replacement kits. That would be four tunics and at least two pairs of trous.

The dad heard us talking about it and started telling me what he wanted, assuming right off the bat that I'd be sewing for him. This took me aback as I'd never extended the offer to him. In fact, until he started telling me what clothes I needed to make for him, I didn't know that he was going to Scotland with his son. I have no bloody idea how to sew for the guy and never intended to as his shape intimidates me - he is tall, extremely obese-but-losing-quickly, with a very pear-shaped body. So pear shaped that he must wear suspenders to keep his pants up as his skinny hips are completely overwhelmed by a massive belly and sides while his shoulders are almost thin enough to fit into a size large man's shirt. As a 'draper' rather than a 'drafter', I'm lost on how to craft whatever it is that he thinks he wants, especially since they both seem to think that the only acceptable type of trous to wear are the Thorsbjerg style. I am not making those for daddy! I have an old pair of the son's pants I can use as a pattern for him, which is the only reason I was willing to try replacing his. And as you can tell, I'm fairly angry about the assumption that I'd be sewing for two rather than one.

So... fast forward 6 weeks. The son has been in touch with me, asking about which fabrics to purchase, but the dad has been totally silent (I never said that I would so it could be he got the picture when I went silent). Nonetheless, it has been six weeks and I've had no fabric to work with. And I'm looking at the calendar and thinking about how fast I can hand-sew clothing.

Normally, I'd start sending the son reminders about what is needed and letting him know that he's already behind in getting the supplies to me. With those two, it is the normal course of action. But you know - I'm doing him a big favour, and would be doing his father an even larger one if I did make that guy something... and I have decided that I am NOT going to act like their mother or wife. I'm not going to contact them with reminders or yet more links to fabric sales online, nor am I going to rescue the son as I did six weeks ago and show up with a tunic whose material I'd paid for, dyed, and made on my own for him so he could take part in our annual Highland Games demo.

If it is important to them, they'll have to step up on their own. If they don't - then they are in the same spot they would have been before I said I'd help out. They can buy their stuff from commercial sources.

I usually cave in and in a flurry of busy-ness and stress get things done at the last minute for people who act like this, but this time - no. They, and I, need to learn that my time and talent are valuable gifts and ones they don't get to squander.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Posting to remember it because boy, does it apply to me.

Lord Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old.
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.
Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.
Make me thoughtful but not moody: helpful but not bossy.
With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but thou knowest Lord that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.
Seal my lips on my aches and pains.
They are increasing and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years by.
I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others pains, but help me to endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint some of them so hard to live with, but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people.
And, give me 0 Lord the grace to tell them so.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I wrote that title because I've been thinking about the turn my health has taken and trying to dwell a bit on what purpose that change has. I firmly believe that we live to learn, to experience, and to better ourselves by our experiences.

”here's my thoughts, including a bit of introduction” )
stitchwhich: (Default)
I need meat in my life. No, really. This last week has brought that home to me... I've spent the week eating, pretty much, all the time I was awake. My calorie counts were high - not excessive for the average woman, but far higher than my norm, and my carb counts really exceeded what they should (in the 200g-range for a day's ingestion. Not good.) And I was hungry. HUNGRY. I'd go to bed craving food, even when I was full, and wake up in the middle of my sleep cycle thinking about getting a snack. And on top of it, I was constantly tired and unable to think clearly, like a person who is decrepitly ill. Dishes & laundry were piling up and the SCA-stuff I was enjoying last week seemed suddenly uninteresting and (or) too difficult to wade through.

Today, when I woke up exhausted again after (again) chasing sleep for hours, there was nothing easy-to-hand left in the house which wasn't mentally labelled "Bossman's, not yours". And I was, as was becoming usual, hungry and desperate to eat something that could relieve the feeling... but there was nothing that didn't require a great deal of preparation and I couldn't think clearly enough to try, so tired, grumpy, and groggy, I forced myself to the store and picked up fruit (my normal snack, as opposed to the carb-heavy stuff I'd been eating) and swung by a Tex-Mex shop for 'breakfast'. I ordered twice as much as I normally would eat and then came home and almost ate it all.

And the food-craving was gone. Poof! As if I'd imagined it. Most of what I'd eaten was meat, cheese, and beans - high protein items. I've gone 5 hours, now, since then and it just occurred to me that I might want to consider eating a meal again - which is a more normal state of affairs.

That got me to thinking and the follow-up to my cogitation was a quick leafing through my food log. Yup, data supports my theory - I'd not eaten a goodly amount of protein in one setting for more than a week. After a couple of protein-lean days, the hunger craving set in and the days following were a blurred fog of rest&food cravings unfullfilled no matter what I did while my energy level was bottoming out.

So now I know. Start each day with a good serving of protein - not just an 8-oz package of yogurt, and keep an eye on that wobbly food pyramid. This also means that when the stores open tomorrow, I'll be making a bee-line for the deli department to get some more slices of "Healthy Ones" meats, as they had been the highlights of my previous week's meals (we were eating a lot of quick foods) and the meat selections were really tasty. Not to mention low-calorie and satisfying. We haven't tried the pre-packaged offerings but the deli-sliced ones are sure good.

So note to self: Do Not Run Out of Meat & Cheese. Ever Again.

In other news, I'm down 45 pounds since I started changing my dietary habits in February. I'm still wearing the same clothes but they've getting loose enough that I foresee a size switch when the cold season starts. And an emptier closet, as there will be no reason to hold on to the too-large spring/summer wear. I won't be needing it again.
stitchwhich: (Wicca)
I'm converting some old printouts to an electronic file so am saving some stuff here, too. This is all "open" stuff, of course. :)


The Law of the Priest and Priestess

You may come to them for a few moments,
then go away and do whatever you will:
...their love is unchanging.
You may deny them to themselves or to yourself,
then curse them to any who will listen:
...their love is unchanging.
You may become the most despised of creatures,
then return to them;
...their love is unchanging.
You may become the enemy of the Gods themselves,
then return to them;
... their love is unchanging.
Go where you will; stay however long you will and
come back to them;
... their love is unchanging.
Abuse others; abuse yourself; abuse them and
come back to them;
... their love is unchanging.
They will never criticize you;
They will never minimize you;
They will never fail you, because to them
you are everything and they themselves are nothing.
They will never deceive you;
They will never ridicule you;
They will never fail you, because to them
you and God/dess-nature,
To be served and they are your servants.
No matter what you become,
They await you always.
They know you; they serve you; they love you.
Their love for you, in the changing world, is unchanging.
Their love, Beloved, is unchanging.

My friends

Oct. 20th, 2010 01:16 am
stitchwhich: (taking note)
It came to me, a little over two weeks ago, that I really love the place I am at with my circle of friends. The circle is rather small. A year ago, I regretted that, thinking that I was missing out on something and feeling a bit alone as I heard about people doing this or that together. Now, I've grown enough to know I'm not missing out on anything I value. I have just the right blend of companionship and solitude, and best - a group of people I truly admire.

Who are my friends, you ask?

They are the people who, if I should have to say, "May I speak with you? It really hurt me when you...." react with appalled shock and rush to say, "I'm sorry" and "Can I do anything to fix it?" and "I didn't mean for THAT to happen!" They will explain what they were thinking, what was going on around them, and sometimes even say "I was just in a horrible place emotionally and you got in the way of my swinging arm. I'm so sorry" - because they trust me to love, understand, and forgive them.

And I do.
And they do the same for me when I mess up and hurt them.

My friends have integrity. When something comes up, I know that they will respond with kindness and honesty. They have no need to lie to themselves or surround themselves with hyped-up drama renditions of their lives - because their lives, while stressful, are also full of love and appreciation for the large and small things that fulfill them.

My friends help me be a better person than I am. Better than I was yesterday, a month ago, a year ago - and what draws me to them is their own shining desire to grow better themselves. I realised, a couple of weeks ago, that my friends all heed the duty-call of introspection and are not easy on themselves when they perceive failure. Yet they forgive that failure in others.

My friends commit themselves to The Greater Good - in their lives, in their hobbies, in their voting choices. They give, consistently, to others. They volunteer for work that is not shiny and eye-catching but needs to be done... and they get it done, without drama, without excuses for dropped responsibilities, without the need for constant applause. They don't shirk a job and then lay the blame on others.

They accept responsibility for their decisions and actions. Heck, all of them take responsibility for things that aren't their own - because they care enough to rue any lessening of their world around them and can't suppress the desire to make things better. Even when they already have more burdens to carry than they should bear.

My friends are the people who I have to bargain with to let me do something for them, instead of letting them do something for me. And so we help each other to give in graciously.

They talk to me about each other and about others of our acquaintance. Because they are always trying to find a way to smooth a path, ease a pain, help someone up, heal from a hurt inflicted by another. That sometimes means talking about things in a way that others may interpret as 'gossip' - but gossip doesn't ease a person towards finding acceptance and support for an individual who has put one off, or someone whose character one cannot trust but must deal with constantly anyway... my friends care about the people around them, even those who are not within their circle of friendship or who are swimming in a swamp of toxic behaviours. And when we do slide into the path of gossipy crochets, I can count on them to pull us all back out, or assist me to do so if I notice it first. And we smile, and relax, and we all are relieved. Because my friends are great-hearted.

My friends are not perfect. Neither am I. But together, we sometimes find moments of perfection. Of laughter, joy, fulfillment, love. Without needing to stand on another person to get it, without cruelty, crudity or leering sexual sliminess.

I really value my friends.
stitchwhich: (Autumn)
This morning has been a time of contemplation. Mostly about death and our reaction to it. Perhaps I am odd in my own - having 'died' twice, and having had a 'near death experience' both times, it does not leave a big gaping hole in my soul when I look at it. Frankly, I'm looking forward to it. So much to learn, so many answers to finally get... I am excited, sometimes, by the thought that sometime soon* I will know what Diety really wants of us, if we reincarnate or if we don't, what the rest of our progression will be like. To experience a different level of relationship with the Almighty. To see, perhaps, old friends and family (Oh, to see my mother healed again! How she will shine!). There is nothing to fear there.

This life we have is an eyeblink in time, a dust in the desert of eternity. I find that comforting, that what we do, what we say, will someday be nearly immaterial to what we are thousands of years from now. For one as imperfect as I am that is a true comfort. Individual episodes of action or behavior set a pattern of personality. This life sets our patterns as we know them but does not, cannot define who we will be eons from now when our souls have long, long left these particular fleshly envelopes behind. I view the possibilities with wonder. I strive to keep those possibilities in the forefront of my mind when dealing with the people around me.**

Anything more I'd write would be nattering. I need to finish my diet Pepsi and get some caffeine in my system. :)


*don't freak - 'soon' means 'sometime in my waning years', which I am entering. Get real, I'm in my fifties!

** I fail more often than I like, but everyone needs a goal and this is one of mine.

Good Quote

Jul. 12th, 2009 11:46 pm
stitchwhich: (Default)
I'm catching up on the SCA Herald's List and came across this gem:

"there are wannabes, and there are gonnabes. They are rarely the same people."

That's a keeper. :)
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