stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
...I hate them. And by that I mean when someone says 'the gallant thing' to me, thinking to please me, what I get from that is "you are either blind or a liar".

I am not young. That's a good thing - I long ago did the die-on-the-table thing (twice) and every breath since then has been a triumph over death. My age is no secret, nor is it something to be ashamed of - that is one of the weirdest concepts I've run across I sometimes think. I turn 59 at the end of November. I like my birthday - I bless each year I've lived since the last one and want to celebrate being with, and caring for, my family and friends. The number of years is rather immaterial. And the date kinda irks me since the US changed Thanksgiving from "last Thursday of the month" to "fourth Thursday" because now I never get to have my birthday on Turkey day.

I am about 120-150 pounds overweight. That means I have a big roly-poly body and I'm old enough to have those women's hanging skin flaps on my upper arms. I am taller than most of the men I know and often feel behemoth beside them. I wear trifocals that make my eyes look strangely enlarged and also smaller, all at the same time. I never wear makeup. I do not dye my hair. The grey is just starting to come in and I am rather excited about that, thankyewverymuch. Raising my sons - I earned that grey years ago and it is overdue. (You raise a fire juggler/sword swallower or a kid with no awareness of mortality and see if you don't deserve a few lines & grey hairs!) Standard jewelry is currently my wedding band and will someday, when I'm close enough to a decent weight, be expanded to re-include my Wiccan dedication ring after I can get it cut down and repaired. Earring holes closed up many surgeries ago - which procedures also mean that my body, which only one person is ever allowed to see nekkid, is covered in scars front and back. Even at the knees, thanks to an angry young man with a strong throwing arm and a few sharp rocks. The most attractive feature I can claim are my eyes - I got my maternal Grandfather's "Black Welsh" eyes and when I'm happy they sparkle. Or so I'm told.

So - "you are always young and beautiful" just ticks me off. As compliments go, I know it is a standard line for 'any woman', but honestly, if a person actually wanted to make me feel good about my physical self one day/time, "That color of shirt (gown, dress) really brings out the glow of your skin/the color of your eyes" would be a good one. Or "I notice that since your weight loss has started, you are moving with more of your old grace - it is lovely to see." would be a nice one too. But best of all are the ones along the lines of, "you make me feel happy because ____ ." Those work every time. Trotting out the same ole-same ole compliment one would give their grandmother just leaves me cold and a little enraged. I have a mirror. I know what I look like. I strive for "neat and clean" and hope that I mostly greet people with a smile. That, my friends, is what is attractive - one's joy at seeing someone else. One's physical envelope? Eh.

"Always young" "never aging" "so attractive" and worst of all, "sexy" - those will reduce my esteem for the speaker by a wide margin*.

*Exceptions are given for Thems Who Have Been Long-time Flirts. They (you) know who you are.
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: " 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.

Did it.

Jun. 28th, 2014 01:06 pm
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Twenty inches of hair is on its way to Locks of Love. I'm not posting a picture of the new haircut for a few days - it won't look like this three days from now because the hair that is left has been 'straightened' by the weight of what was below it, so for now it is actually a bit longer than it will be next week.

And I got an apology from the hair stylist. She cut my hair while it was dry for Locks of Love, then we went back to wash it before the styling and she gasped... the wet curls came up a good two inches shorter than she had expected. "My hair really curls a lot" did not have the same meaning for her as it did for me when I said it. So right now I'm not as happy with it as I will be in a couple of months when it might reach my neck. (It makes me laugh - for shocking my friends tomorrow, it is about perfect.) I figure I've got probably three months of growth, at least, before I'll have to go in to have the layers trimmed and a little more styling done to it. In the meanwhile, it feels great.

"Daily styling" will consist of getting it wet, running my fingers through it after the shower and then, if I feel like it, 'scrunching' the sides a bit. Oh, and reminding the bangs that they should try to stay out of my eyes.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I have explored Google. And dredged up a memory of a haircut I did like...



I once had something like this. It was longer in the back but I remember that the only thing I disliked about it was attempting to braid it. I believe I have a winner.

It will be nice to do something that reaffirms being alive and enjoying living after the last few years of health-stress.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I am considering cutting my hair. And by that I mean "probably shorter than shoulder-length". Because, you know, I am a fat woman living in a hot and humid place so my hair is almost always piled onto the top of my head or pulled back in a stark ponytail. I've mostly kept it long because of inertia and wanting to avoid wearing a coif while doing Viking reenactment. But that makes for a multitude of "God, I'm hot" days just for a a handfull of "hey, this looks right" ones.

I've loved having long hair, and really love that it now reaches my waist when it is dry. But it is naturally wavy and I do miss the waves and the curls it had when it was shorter.

So I can't decide. One preventing a decision is not knowing a darned thing about short hair cuts. Each one I've had in the past has made me look like a Nazi war camp prison guard. No, I mean that. The big scary woman whose regard would make you freeze in your tracks. That has thrown me into re-growing the length as quickly as possible.

But I think that comes from ignorance. I don't look at beauty books or magazines. I rarely even notice "hairstyles" unless they are somehow outstanding. I believe I need to research it. I'm not sure how, though. Does one google "women's short wavy hair styles"?
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Members of the SCA will understand this one - other folks may be a tad bewildered. Or just think "Meh. Weird."

Everyone who has been reading my entries knows that I was working fairly hard on a fundraiser for my barony by making and selling lumpia. Ultimately, this time (we did it last year too) we netted about $1100. Not bad. Altogether our two lumpia-making drives got us roughly $1800 closer to a new baronial pavilion, which we really are needing.

This last Saturday was our baronial birthday event. Our silent auction fundraising coordinator faded into the walls before the event happened so I ended up taking care of that, too... it was no big deal, silent auctions being what they are. Neither was I particularly enthusiastic about it, it not being my idea and I have been rather opposed to 'yet another automatic fundraising thingy for baronial members to spend their money on' event activities. Thus the lumpia - one (needed) lunch at Coronation, and a chance for those who like it but can't make it to order some for themselves outside of our local events.

Anyway. Their Excellencies called the lumpia crew (my 'roller-babes'!) into court to thank them for their/our efforts. I'd forgotten that they'd most likely do that. Then, when I was moving slowly into the background again, his excellency stopped me and said he had something to say to me personally. That caught me a bit flat-footed. He started by saying that they'd appreciated the work I was doing, and that he, personally (being also a cancer-fighter right now) knew how challenging it was to do such a thing while dealing with physical pain and weakness, and that he was astounded by my dedication and hard work while being confined to a chair. He was playing with something in his hands, worrying at it. He told the court that there really wasn't anything that they (Their Excellencies) could give to a person who already had all of the awards that the barony could offer. Then he held up a chain, a circle of steel links. He said that he and his two squire brothers (I knew the now-Sir Colin but don't know the other) went into a Sears store together and bought those chains, 'fence chain number 5' as promises to each other that they would see their way through their training and someday, if they were deemed worthy, they would swear their oath of fealty on their 'brother chains'. It was a physical token of their dedication to chivalry. And one day, he did swear his oath on it, and he wore it for five years before putting it aside for a new one. He said he had always cherished it and that he would have sworn he would never, ever, give it away because there was nothing he could imagine that would cause him to part with it.

And then he gave it to me.

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.

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: (Default)
One little compliment can make you feel great. So, please, give me a compliment, anything in the entire world, even that my shoelaces are pretty. Put this in your journal. Once you get some comments, put that entry in a memory or tag and when you are feeling down, just go to that entry and this will remind you how great you are.

Comments are going to be screened so none of you will know if I'm uber-popular, who gets over 100 comments on this, or who's a total loser and doesn't get any.

(I copied this from [ profile] alienor and can assert that the idea is a really good one for a person - years ago I was in a very depressed place and a friend organised a 'I love/respect you because..." letter-writing campaign for me as a surprise. I have kept every single letter and re-reading them in the middle of the night kept me from doing something I'd later regret. So yeah, even though this is just an Online LJ Meme, I pledge to respond to each and every one of them I see on my Friend's List - because it's an easy gift to tell someone how you admire them - and to add to their shield against the hard days we all have.)

My window

May. 9th, 2006 04:36 pm
stitchwhich: (Starry Night)
I spend a lot of time sitting by the windows in the front of the house - the table that hosts my laptop is there. And I've realised that it has become my serenity spot. Used to be, that would be my corner of the kitchen table where I do my crafty-stuff, but no, now it's my window. I was starting to log off of the computer when I heard a dove outside the window, sitting on the rocking chair by door. I can look out and see the chair, part of my willow tree, and the holly bush... each one has a different bird by/on it. Dove on the chair, little starling (?) in the holly, and three mallards under the willow. In the wee hours of the morning, the ducks are still sleeping while the wild bunnies come and munch the grass under the willow.
It's urban, I know. But I love my little corner of green. And all the birdsong that I hear as I sit here and enjoy the dappled green of the wind through the willow branches.
stitchwhich: (Starry Night)
The Allergy Season. Being awake during the 3-4 hours that the grass pollinates in my area... at least, I think it's the grass. Trying to sleep means waking up because I'm raking my fingernails against my face, trying to scratch the itch in the back of my throat. Man. The new spray-meds work great except for these three hours every night.

I pray for rain, sometimes, just to sleep when it is dark.

In other news (meaning, "no more complaining, sailor!"), I got three items repaired for the Gold Key chest and one new one made up. I think I'm going to take the mountain of muslin that has been hiding in the bottom of my fabric stash and turn as much of it as I can into simple 16th century shirts/smocks and give those to Gold Key, too. If I make them long enough, they'll do equally well for men and women - many of our newcomer women want the rennfair skirt/vest combo and rather than the one or two pathetic drawstring chemises we have I'd like to offer something a little more correct to wear. Maybe it will inspire a few to experiment with something more correct to period. I know that the newcomer guys will wear the shirts tails-out with a belt ala "pirate movie', but that's okay - if they come to more than one event and like the late-period stuff, they will hear the siren call of the slops & jerkin soon enough. And they'll already be familiar with the shirt (even though I'll be sewing the minimum style of them - no fruched collars here, thankyouverymuch).

My depression is lifting. I've got to learn how to develope a thicker skin. Do you think that there's classes? It appears that frequent exposure to poking isn't helping me develope insult-histimines. I must think on this...
stitchwhich: (Default)
I recently have been musing on my lack of compassion. Thin skin? maybe. It's no excuse... (I'll grant it to others but I reserve the right to be harsher with myself. I prefer to strive to live up to my own standards.) I've been bothered not just a little, by tales of backstabbing and nastiness. Enough to want to strike back, somehow, to - well, resolve it one way or the other so it could stop bothering me. And in that being bothered, I've lost sight of my own desire to view the best of someone instead of the worst. I can't stop backbiting and sly remarks. Not by shining a light on them or by ignoring them with dignity (or even poorly-hidden pain). Folks who do that and who encourage it in others have their own insecurities and nothing I say or do can help them heal from those - that takes a decision on their part to want to heal. And none of us are in a position to force such a thing. So I have to let this irritation, this defensive pain, go. Because in allowing it to rule my thoughts about the situation, I'm becoming like the ones who are hurting me and mine. And that is unacceptable.
So if, in the future, I stop you from telling me a tale, and ask if it's something I can do anything about, please understand that it's not personal about you. It's about protecting what I hold dear - my ability to love without judging. Because it's far too easy for me to lose that when my heart has been cheese-grated.
stitchwhich: (Default)
Okay, so I was the head cook yesterday for the first time (for me) in about four years. What did I do? Well mostly, I sat in a chair and chatted with folks. I did wash a lot of dishes, as they came up, and I peeled some cucumbers (gave me a chance to giggle with Kat) but mostly, I was lazy. Well, lazy after I got all the supplies unloaded. Because when folks who know how to cook better than you do are your 'helpers', well, there just isn't anything to do but sit back and watch the magic. So I did. That was fun. Watching them interact was the best part of the day for me... cool people meeting cool people over a stove - now that's the way to make friends!

The food was good, I think. At least, everyone in the kitchen liked it and a few folks even came back to the kitchen to tell us that they liked it too. I don't think we could reproduce exactly anything we made - the basic recipes were messed with as they would be when good cooks get to play with spices and supplies. There was a lot of spoon-tastin' going on. :)
And for all that I over-bought supplies (on purpose), there wasn't much packed home. Mostly the stuff that I couldn't put out on the sideboard (the person in charge of it in the Hall decide to shut it down two hours before dinner was ready and on top of that, I forgot to put out the apples and pears in the first place! Arg.)

I'm grateful as all-get-out that Arni packed my chair. I'll be spending the next few days in the house and taking my time sorting and re-packing the baronial supplies - I'm back to "feels like walking after being treated to Falanga" so time on my feet will necessarily be as short as I can make it. I will be most glad when the heal process is over because it sure affects my effectiveness. Not to mention my mood. But it will still be a very nice memory now that it's over. And I found that I was right - while I don't really enjoy being in charge of a feast, the folks who come to help me make all the pre-feast stress worth it.
stitchwhich: (Default)
Avoidance behavior. Boy am I in a full-bloomed outbreak of it. I should be cutting out garb for Arni and I. I should be cleaning out the second room (Shawn's old one) so I can set a bed in there and offer privacy to guests. I should be out in my car traveling to the various ethnic stores in the area looking for canned fava beans. (Ever tried calling a store that specialises in non-English foods when you only speak rudimentary Spanish or German? Better to just get in the car and go there so the clerk can get the full benefit of my 'confused but nice older lady' look. Not that I'm finding the beans.)
Oh. And I'd better get on the phone or the email and find a home for the 50 loaves of bread that are done 2 weeks before I was told they would be - and that I have to pick up on Saturday. Because with the advance warning of two days, I should be able to arrange freezer space for those, right?


Stressed? No not me. Why do you ask? And while we're at it, what do you say to a long-distance Internet friend who has undergone gender re-assignment and just broke the nws that he is now a woman? I want to be supportive but I'll be danged if I know what to say after, "Lucky you, gravity hasn't been your enemy yet!" (She sent pictures.) There's got to be some sort of something I can write that is supportive but not nosey.

And did I mention that I'm off of the little pills that keep one from getting preggers and incidentally also keep one from *spiking estrogen episodes*? Yeah, I needed that like a hole in the head. Okay, well, it was time to stop taking those but I think if I'd been intelligent I might have waited until after the busiest month of the last five and certainly not change things before my first event cooking gig in oh, about 4 years or so. Because I'm feeling a little stressed. Even thought really, it's all under control. I just can't get my hindbrain to understand that. Arg.
stitchwhich: (Default)
On the way home from Unevent this weekend I was ruminating about my service (actually, I was second-guessing how good/bad/changed I was and whether or not I was morphing into a 'dinosaur' and needed to start stepping back from active work) and it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, I might be on occasion as efficient as I'd like to be. That's because I was thinking about the Pennsic Troll booth and its history. look! History from my view! ) [Edit: and Arn adds, "I've been telling you that for years, you know."

I think I might be proud of that. And I'm not so worried, now, that what I end up setting up for the QuarterMaster's office will be good... it will surely need tweeking, but it won't be disastrous.
stitchwhich: (Default)
My wrists and arms hurt. I just spent 5 hours making a "pirate shirt" for my youngest only to learn that his carpooling buddies didn't want to bother stopping by my house to pick it up. Since I live about 6 blocks away, I find that a little annoying. Since I've spent half of my sewing time handstitching decorations on his shirt and finishing visible seams, I'm even more annoyed. For this, I could have stayed in bed and got eight hours of sleep after all.

'Course, he's going to really like the shirt when he gets to see it. And I wouldn't really have been quite so annoyed if he'd thought to call me 2 hours ago when he was 'kidnapped'. Being rushed sucks, I know. And now he only has one shirt (I gave it to him last night) to make it through the entire Convention. His roomies are going to learn not to stand between Shawn and a clean shirt - the hard way! :)

Guess I'm not quite as annoyed as I thought I was.
stitchwhich: (Default)
This is the last Night of Observation, late as usual (gee, this writing after midnight is getting to be a habit)... The Night of Family Pets.

I was going to write about Cindy, my last basset hound, but really, after I said goodbye to her ( I found that I don't have anything to add. And Gimli... ah, Gimli. I wasn't going to write about him, but I think I will )
stitchwhich: (Default)
The Night of Teachers - not my family members, actually, because I haven't got a dead one who taught me much that I'd want to celebrate, so... An unnamed black lady )
stitchwhich: (Default)
It's a good feeling when one's son calls all the way from Las Vegas to ask a question because he and his co-workers were in a discussion and he said, "Hey, my mom would be the best one to ask about that!". So he called, I answered, and a message with online links for documentation is already on it's way... so how DID the Sphinx really lose it's nose? Do you know? (I do!)
stitchwhich: (Default)
In January of 2003, I lost the ability to do much lifting, walking, sitting - you know, housewifey stuff - and then gained it back. This evening, I did something I've not done for over two and a half years. I made our bed by myself. Not much to brag about, I know, but anyone who has been dependent on someone else for everyday life necessities will understand why it made me feel somehow empowered. We have a California King Extra-long waterbed. With a heavy layer of silicant in the mattress to reduce "wave action". That's a heavy, heavy mattress. And a wide one, which necessitates bending while on tiptoes in order to reach, lift, and tuck the sheets under the mattress in the middle sections. I did it. I did it alone. pardon me if I grin to myself for a while.
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