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)
I decided that I disliked the main gate for our (Great Dark Horde) camp because it looked too 'make do', which it is and has been for a while since our _real_ gate, a lovely Ger, is too danged big and worse, is now missing its sidewalls. Nasty for the guards during storms. But mostly - too danged big. So the camp purchased a used pavilion top from Pennsic stores which comes sans walls. It still worked quite well for the camp, acting as a gate and a gathering place for us to escape the grueling sunlight. But - walls. It needs walls. And something that says "we are a Mongolian camp". So in the way that it goes, since it bothers me I volunteered to make those walls.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After I get some sleep. It's become fugitive again so I guess the "Pennsic Recovery Period" has passed.
stitchwhich: (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: (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)
Friends of ours are about to be elevated to Court Baron and Baroness - it's a surprise to them (they don't read LJ). It was announced within our group early on so folks who'd normally skip the upcoming event (fighting and archery only) would have a chance to be there and celebrate with them. They once lived in our home group and after they moved we talked the King and Queen into creating a "Marinus Protectorate" for their land. Their home, which they open up to host events and is a full acre or so with a huge open field, woods, and a river beach, is called "Silverleaf Estate" so since we won't be able to be there when the deed is done I embroidered a set of napkins for them with their beloved silver leaf on them. As usual, I got one backwards and the design is embroidered on the back rather than the front. Go figure. But still - while we're hosting the annual Great Dark Horde meeting (Khuraltai) I will know that our friends will feel our joy in their elevation.

Originally I'd meant to fill in the leaves but Bossman talked me out of it. I think he was right, especially since these are just napkins. They're cotton and embroidered with Splendor silk thread. It isn't as glossy as filament thread but it is durable and colorfast.

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)
In spite of not feeling well* I've been fabric shopping. Yes, Ms. "I don't want to stockpile fabric" went out and poured cash into the hands of retailers. Some of it was personal purchases due to Hancock's closing (over 300 dollars spent, although a chunk of that was on tools rather than fabric. I'll be setting aside my plans for buying an adult tricycle for a while until I reimburse our household account for that trip!). Other spending was not my own money. But of our own, one of the things we picked up was 'trim fabric' These ones:

A few yards of each will net me some lovely early-period stripes to turn into trim that is lightweight enough to actually bend and drape as fabric should rather than being thick and rigid as so many hand-made SCA trims end up. One of my goals as I learn how to weave is to make pretty trim that is pliable instead of stiff. I dislike seeing sleeves, for example. bow out in a stiff circle at the biceps because of the trim applied over the seam line.

We got over a hundred yards of various fabrics and one trim in three colours from an upholstery shop that was going out of business. Those are for the barony's Gold Key (newcomer's loaner items) collection. I'll be sewing until Pennsic, most likely, to get all of that converted to clothing. Of the blue there is about 53 yards. Wow! But at a dollar a yard for fabric and 75cents a yard for trim, it will be a real money saver.

*We thought I was struggling with a mean UTI - treated it once, had it return, treated it again, and then the longer test results came back showing no evidence of bacteria, so now a week into the second round of antibiotics and pain meds we've hit a wall. The next step is a specialist. In the meanwhile, I have deep-seated pain at the kidneys and lower abdomen which is sapping all of my energy. We've a weekend demo for the SCA coming up where I'll be doing onstage presentations - and all I really want to do it stay in bed and try to sleep. Somehow we'll make this work. I am not looking forward to loading our tent and equipment up, setting up, demoing, and then tearing down again. The thought exhausts me. But Bossman says we can do it so I believe him.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I have wasted five hours on my computer, mostly reading LiveJournal (I'm far behind in my reading) or the Book of Faces. Or the news. Or email. Or playing basic graph-based games...

Perhaps I really should get back to sewing the trim on the left side of the Rus coat I'm planning on wearing this weekend? Maybe?
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I was reading someone else's blog and they mentioned that they'd be 'taking a week off' because they were starting on an anti-depressant/anxiety medication which they knew would give them mild flu-like lethargy and aches. It made me stop and think for a moment. Two weeks ago I, too, was prescribed the same sort of thing... I've rather violently rejected the idea of taking anything like that for years - actually, rejected taking any kind of pill at all, having been raised by a woman addicted to prescription drugs. It scars a child, being the one who sits with her parent and cares for them while they detox again and again at home, away from medical care, throughout that child's middle years of growing.

But my insomnia was getting worse. To the point that I was willing to ask for sedatives (figuring that my expected lifespan will be at best 20 years, I was willing to risk getting addicted to them if I could just sleep more often than once every couple of days.) Instead the doctor suggested that I was experiencing heightened anxiety and suggested treating that as a first step. So with trepidation I've started the regime... I have been sleeping better. Sometimes f-a-r better than I think I should be. Some days have seen as much as 16 hours of sleep but I supposed I've some 'catching up' to do. I haven't, however, completely kicked the bouts of insomnia nor found an improved ability to concentrate and have been spending a goodly portion of my awake hours sort of in and out of focus. Which brings me back around to what I first mentioned reading. Perhaps, since it 'takes a couple of weeks to adapt to the medication' what I've been experiencing is akin to the aforementioned author's 'flu-like lethargy'. I hope so. I also hope that it will go the heck away soon because I have things piling up on my desk which need addressing. As well as sewing projects that are beginning to clamor for attention. (I am a deputy chatelaine specifically in charge of our Gold Key/loaner clothing and have not yet even looked in the bins to see what is available, in need of repair, or needed to be re-stocked. We don't have an event scheduled until January, which gives me a nice healthy chunk of time to get that taken care of, if I could just motivate myself.)
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I'm avoiding working on a scroll - the paper I chose for the thing (Bristol) is very thick so my light-board isn't working well. I'm not an artist, can't draw worth a darn, so need the silly light-board in order to get anything done. But it is so dim on the other side of that Bristol paper that I actually took my glasses off and had my face hovering a few inches above the surface so I could squint enough to see the images shining behind. I have the bottom edge design traced out and am only needing to draft in the left edge patterning and then - OMG - do the text. Which, btw, will be traced with an extra-fine Sharpie pen and not callig'd. This is because I "wrote a cheque from an empty account". I haven't had a chance to practice any calligraphy and being a leftie means that it takes me a bit longer to get up to speed. The two scrolls are due this Saturday morning. I shouldn't have volunteered to do them but I got my time sense confused and thought I had an extra week to get them done after the camping event.

My meal plan was successful as far as the diners went. I was unhappy with the level of disorganization that I had and grateful that I had a 'memos' app on my phone so I could make a list for myself in the middle of the night, that being when solutions to problems seem to become clear and elegant. If I'd waited until morning they'd be lost forever. The biggest difficulty was my own lack of ease in getting things done. This would have been alleviated had I asked for a kitchen helper every day instead of trying to do it all myself and if I'd stored the dry goods in bins sorted by meals. Asking someone to lay out the items in a small 'breakfast' bin while I started the hot water on the stove would be such a step up from my own rooting around in a giant bin pulling out boxes and jars while folks hovered in the public area waiting for their coffee and oatmeal and the unneeded items had to be placed on any convenient surface while I found the breakfast or lunch items.

I learned that my 'food restriction' person had given me, as we suspected, a list of foods that were a blend of dangerous-to-her ones and personal dislikes. As she said on Friday when I mentioned that I might just end up scrambling everyone's eggs on Saturday, " I don't DO scrambled eggs!" I bit back the reactive "Then you can just eat oatmeal if you are lucky, b*tch" thought that immediately crossed my mind. (I was in pain and very cold, it being a little over 40 degrees, so grumpy.) Later in the day she mentioned that she had been through a three-month elimination diet with no appreciable results so I am giving her the benefit of the doubt that she may not actually know what is causing her intestinal discomfort. I imagine it must be quite frustrating to find that some foods create dire effects one day and yet not on different one, with no medical explanation of why or the common factor. Nonetheless, she will not be on my meal plan next year.

Oh, did I mention that I am already planning on doing it again next year? I did enjoy it even through the frustrations of my disorganization. It's been years since I've cooked a meal plan for more than four people. Probably a full decade, actually. And I ended up with 5 more people on it by Friday - the head of a household who'd asked after the plan just 12 hours before I was due to leave home told his shire members that they were on it. Which I learned after they arrived two-by-two from out-of-kingdom. But with the help of a person swinging by the grocery store after their trip to Lowe's, we had plenty for everyone. They loved the chawettes, they loved the lumpia, and they adored the SOS. Which made me giggle - of all things boring SOS seems to be the one that people greet with raised eyebrows and then come back to the kitchen sniffing hopefully for seconds.

It was cold at night. Just barely above freezing. We slept warm though, and shared Bossman's air mattress instead of setting up our normal two beds. I had expected that the arrangement wouldn't work - he normally sleeps catty-corner on the mattress so he can fit. But instead we fitted together just fine. I guess old habits are not ever lost. :) The mattress was difficult for me on the days he wasn't there as I could barely get off of the thing but once he got on site I was fine so long as he was in the bed while I was exiting. I needed that extra firmness to push off from! Before we left home we went to a secondhand store and bought a couple of quilted bedspreads to take with us for the bed. I'd meant to buy only one but there were two that matched and he wanted both of them. So after two thin wool blankets were laid down one quilt (King sized!) followed, then our down comforter, then the other matching quilt. They were large enough that I could tuck the ends and the foot-level bits of the sides under the mattress, which effectively kept the blankets from sliding off the mattress during the night. Those things are not designed for tucking in one's bedding. The plan was to return the quilts to the store as donations, effectively 'renting' them for the duration of the event (a whole $14us!) and keeping us from having to find new storage space for them, but he likes the ugly things so now they are packed into a vacuum-sealed bag and put away on top of the camping gear for next Pennsic.

We had brought a small but powerful propane heater with us. We never needed to use it. We did finally figure out that it was useful on Sunday morning for the gathering area while folks had their breakfast and coffee/tea though. It was nice to have that hot air blowing on us.

The Great Dark Horde camp had six brothers camping in it and eight chagua. We had a couple of Brothers have to cancel plans, durn it. I made twelve new sheet walls for the camp to go with the six I'd already made - there were no more than that there. No one else made or brought any. Luckily for my morale, I had only expected one more wall to show up, as I knew that most of thems who made walls were not going to be able to attend. I just bought more sheets to launder and cut into new walls. Hopefully if I do a set of two sheets every payday we'll have enough by next WoW. Friends of ours who live in Clarksville are going to let us store the household's camping supplies (sheetwalls and poles. Maybe a fire bowl) at their place so we can have them consolidated. Having each of us store and bring a personal set of supplies was good in theory but rotten in practice. Next week, after our Baronial Investiture event is over I shall start painting designs on the walls with the help of some of my khanate members. That will be fun.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
All of a sudden my days seem crammed - prepping for War of the Wings has become an over-riding need. And so much was left undone after Pennsic! Which I did not really notice until this morning. I just finished making 46 little pork chawettes and still have filling available, enough to make probably another two dozen. I think instead I'll use up my left over lumpia wrappers to make a pork version of 'rolled thin pancakes'. Staying in the Great Dark Horde camp means I should serve at least one Mongolian dish, right? And it would be dead easy to add the extra ingredients to the leftover pork. Besides, they can be fried in the same way as the chawettes. And more importantly, I won't have to go to the Hispanic store to buy more supplies.

Tomorrow I shall be roasting beef and a turkey in order to have luncheon meats to serve. Maybe a ham, too. We'll see what is available at the Commissary. I'm serving eight people but only on Friday and Saturday. That is making portion-anticipating a bit of a challenge. Especially since three of them are staying at a hotel. The easy and boring route of 'instant oatmeal or fresh muffins or bagels" is going to be breakfast. I'm not going to chain myself to a stove all morning on the off chance that someone from out-of-camp will wander in hungry for breakfast.

This meal plan has its own special challenges. Oh boy, yes. One person sent me her list of forbidden foods (sensitivities, apparently). For your enjoyment, this is it:
Bell/sweet peppers
Lima beans
Raw onion (cooked okay)
Almond flour
Most soups and stews (Brunswick okay)
Oranges/tangerines/clementines/mandarins etc
Most dairy – milk, soft cheeses, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream, whipped cream (hard cheeses okay)
Ground beef is iffy
Most spicy things

In the world of medieval cookery, this is both easy and tough. Cooking without almonds? Tough. Or at least 'weird'. Leaving out New World food products - not a problem. Even the mayo doesn't phase me. I could bring some for mid-day sandwich making but I think I'll just bring two different sort of mustards and people can deal with that. The cheeses are confusing - she just told me that she could have mozzarella... I would have considered that a soft cheese. Still, there are also other folks with food concerns. One is lactose intolerant, one does not eat any veggies except for corn (which I won't serve at an SCA event) and one specified no "guacamole, hummus, or sour cream". The menus were fairly easy to come up with but I was saddened that I must leave out some items I'd been anticipating serving, like "Savoury Toasted Cheese". That would have been lovely once the sun began to set and the chill of the day set in but with two lactose-intolerant folks I will skip that one.

I've been driving for Uber like crazy at night, trying to get as many hours in as I could this week to make up for the days I'll be unable to next week. It finally dawned on me that we have an event the Saturday after we get home from WoW and I've promised two scrolls to our outgoing Baron and Baroness for their final court. They are depending on me for wording. Guess I'd better get on that too, eh?

Okay. Time to get off of the computer and get sewing again. Tomorrow is food prep, then the test feast (we're invited) for the Investiture event. There is a huge pile of laundry to take care of, pavilion curtains and flooring to sew, and packing to do. Before early Wednesday morning. Whew!
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
It is funny how (mostly) unacknowledged fear can cripple a person. A month ago, I struggled to make seven tunics and one gown for people headed to Pennsic. It took me two weeks and at least one evening of tears, with background mind-music playing "this used to be so easy, what's wrong with you?'. I left the event with the intention of making two more gowns for a person who didn't fit anything I'd prepared, yet no scissors met fabric until today. Although I did dye 4 yards of white so it'd be a nice lavender.

Tuesday was my dietician appointment. I approached it with dread - too many crisis's, too many party/celebrations over the last two months had garnered me too many pages in my food log with "over allowed amount" or even just "binged" written across the page. I was ashamed and the only thing that forced me to make the appointment was the big banner I'd read on their welcoming page which said "don't avoid your appointment if you've not lost weight - we are here to help you when you need it most!". So I went. And was surprised. I've lost five pounds. That's not the pound-a-week that I'd been doing at the beginning but it was more than I expected. And rather than getting chewed out, the dietician complimented me because, as she explained, under the circumstances of the last couple of months most people would have gained weight rather than lost any at all. She also gave me some strategies for dealing with people pushing food on me that I shouldn't be eating. It is very hard to turn down someone's homemade treat that they are so proud of, and danged irritating to have someone else shove a spoonful of something at my face with the demand, "taste this!" only to scowl and glower when I decline. "It's a small amount and you should have tried it" seems to be justification enough to treat me like an antisocial meanie because I wouldn't put that bit of food in my mouth... which social pressure I have difficulty dealing with. You know - that 'wanting to please people' thing is hard to turn off!

The downer side of the visit was learning that the soreness I've noticed in my legs when I've pushed to stay upright long enough for them to go numb before I sit back down is oxygen starvation in the cells. I was, as I had thought (but my Primary Care doc brushed off) actually harming myself by attempting to walk more daily. She wants me to start noting exactly when the circulation begins to cut off - I really only notice once the whole leg is mostly numb, because I'm focused on whatever it is that I'm doing - shopping, usually - so now I need to pay attention and get a time line. In the meanwhile, mobility at Pennsic is going to be limited far more than I had planned.

Anyway. So Tuesday afternoon had me humming to myself because a dreaded appointment had been positive and affirming. Wednesday was my oncology appointment, where I would get the news about the enlarged lymph node - was it still enlarged? If it was, that pretty much meant cancer again.

It was not. My doctor said, "You keep passing all of my tests" and has placed me on what would be a maintenance regime - my appointments will now be twice a year, and the same with CT scans. While they do not use the word 'remission' with my type of cancer, for all intents and purposes that is what I am in.

And I left his office, came home to lunch, then put music on and cut out & made two gowns from scratch (no pattern), then fitted them onto the new owner this evening and that was that.

Fear. I wasn't even aware I'd been carrying it. I now feel as though I've woken up from a sludgy sleep, mentally.
stitchwhich: (Scatterbrained)
I have a nice pile of 'muslin' sitting on the kitchen table waiting for me to use it to cut out a new sarafan - and I can't. Just can't. I haven't suffered from cutting fear in a long while but it has hit me now, with a vengeance. And I gave myself a 'get it done by this Saturday' deadline, so I need to get over this fear quickly.

This is why I don't usually take commissions from people outside of my area. Because the fear of ruining their fabric just makes me freeze like a bunny noticing a snake.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Friday featured a 10-hour drive to Slippery Rock, PA, so we could attend the Pennsic staff meeting on Saturday. It was a long drive. We decided to check out route 68, which is West Virginia's pride - it was a lovely route but not a particularly safe one - the road hugged the hills and featured many three-lane sections specifically designed to handle the slower traffic of 4-cylider cars and laboring 18-wheelers. Of course, even though our little economy vehicle was stressed trying to go up the hills, the 85-mile-an-hour coasting down the other side was nice. We opted for our traditional route (Penn turnpike) on the way back, though, as a severe storm was sweeping through and we (rightly) anticipated flooding roads and rain-squall blindness. Normally the home drive is two hours shorter than the Pennsic drive but the rain squelched that so it was a little over 10 hours each way. That made for a very long weekend. Also a downer was the discussion with our hotel, which charged us for an extra night because we had secured our reservations for "Friday and maybe Saturday" with our credit card, only to find out on Saturday that they do not consider it 'securing' a reservation but rather booking the room. So even though we told them at check in on Friday that we would not be needing the extra day, and stressed it multiple times, we found that we were charged for it anyway, "because we had to turn other people away who wanted to reserve for that night, so you owe us that." A family-run hotel, just getting started, with only 18 rooms and the oddest one we'd ever stayed in. Needless to say, we will not be staying there again. (Not because of the misunderstanding, but because of spotty service and communication, and because the bathroom, while much larger than a regular one, was lit only by one light bulb so showering was done in a dim closet-like environment with no exhaust fan from the room. Bossman was smart enough to grab one of the floor lamps from our suite and place it in the bathroom, which helped with visibility.

The trip actually was a waste of time. I had a three-minute face-to-face with the mayor, and then on Saturday morning we had a less-than-one-hour general meeting, and that was it. It all could have been accomplished just as well over the internet via email. Thankfully this is the last time I'll be called on to make that meeting - I do not anticipate ever being in a key staff position again. Since I have no plans to train as a possible mayor, and have never been one in the past, I am not a candidate for a senior staff position. This year was my one 'shot', which I appreciate but am glad to walk away from. It has been a frustrating year of no training, no SOP, and no idea what was needed from me until a series of public messages announced that I was overdue on deadlines. My comment that an SOP would be useful was met with derision... I can find other ways to meet my 'frustration and humiliation quota".

Although - I am considering checking out the Lost & Found department. There have been some 'lean' years of people doing the job more because they were trying to take care of an empty spot in the staff rather than because they wanted the position. There hasn't been a good fit for a while now. I know I could do it well, and it would give me a niche to fill. Not to mention that the hours are great compared to the hours needed for the other jobs I've done!

This afternoon at the grocery store I picked up a 24-can case of soda to bring home and then stopped, grabbed an additional 12-pack to hold at the same time, and felt good about myself. The combine weight of the two is how much I've lost since mid-February. It was cheering to hold that awkwardly heavy bundle and realize that it was something I'd not be subjecting my bones to ever again. So even though I haven't lost a clothing size yet (that happens when you are as heavy as I am), it feels good to have an awareness of my progress. I do have more of a waist, though, now - my tummy no longer juts out beyond my chest. That is nice.

I'm spending the week sewing two Russian sarafans for a friend. I've only made their pattern so far so actually creating a real one is something I am looking forward to. I don't know much about the style - I'm copying a set of finished ones someone else made for her - but I feel confident these will look good on her. The pattern did, and it was just made of junk fabric. She is paying me to do the sewing so I might be able to afford ordering our new pavilion after the weekend. That would be one worry I could set aside.

And now I should go to google and see if I can learn a little more about sarafans, just to satisfy my own curiosity.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I want to post about what is going on with me, or rather 'the most immediate thing that is going on in my world', but it is actually too private to be throwing out here into the aether. Suffice it to say that I am now enrolled in a weekly support group, to help me sort out issues which will decide the direction of my future life.

Yeah, vaguebooking, I know. I'm sorry. One of the things I brought home with me tonight was a sharp awareness that I have absolutely no one to talk to about what I am going through. Possibly I could talk with one of our sons but it seems very wrong to ask one's child to be one's comforter.

Speaking of 'one's child' - our Eldest and his sweetie flew out from Las Vegas a week before Thanksgiving. We had some family laughter around the table (first stop - all the eateries that have been missed) and then drove up to the DC area to attend an event (Holiday Faire, where I 'merchanted') and visit with a few young people who'd grown up in the SCA with our children. That was fun but rushed - except for Sunday afternoon, which Bossman and I spent in a Fairfax Barnes and Noble while the 'kids' went sight-seeing. We'd stayed in a hotel near the event site but the younger set overnighted in the townhouse now owned by one of them. So we were 45 minutes away and in a poor position to try to time it to join them for the sightseeing. The elderly (sic) slept in, had a leisurely brunch, and then settled in at B&N. Which was having a kid's event and was absolutely packed. So packed, in fact, that I ended up sitting in our truck for the last hour, napping and reading. It was so much more peaceful there!

The rest of the week was spent shopping, helping our Vegasites gather supplies for her family's Christmas celebration. There is no "5 & Below" in Las Vegas, with its bargain prices for handy gifts. We visited three different ones here, taking in all the variety to ensure that they had all their list provided for. As it was, they ended up having to pay shipping costs for a large package via UPS, and for extra luggage when they left - and yet they were gleeful about the amount of money they'd saved. Or more truthfully, gleeful that the same amount they'd set aside paid for things of better quality than they'd hoped for, even after the additional shipping fees.

And I taught her how to sew. They flew out on her birthday, with her knowing that our Eldest was going to give her a sewing machine when they got home. He wisely gave her an "IOU" so she could choose which model she wanted. Me, I gave her "The Idiot's Guide to Sewing".

Oh - and the PET scan my husband had has been interpreted by the radiologist. We haven't seen the oncologist to hear it officially, but the scan showed no evidence of surviving cancer cells. He still has a huge mass of scar tissue where the tumor once was, which will most likely not be re-absorbed into his body, and the four ribs are going to stay divided into parts, which blows for ease of movement along his left side, but still - the cancer is dead.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
For the past two, maybe three, weeks I've been sewing for my little booth at Holiday Faire. I haven't made enough stock though, not enough to reach my goal even if it all sells. There are a lot of merchants at that event and many of them are selling garb. Oh well - I will make some money and I know that some tired and anxious parents will have clothing for their children that they won't have to try to find the time to make themselves.

But pricing has been a struggle. I know that SCA garb is almost always sold under-price compared to what would be considered normal for Renn Faires or other venues. $15-$20 a tunic/dress is the most I can reasonably charge for the majority of my wares else no one will buy them - not for clothing designed to fit infants to size 8(ish). So I know that this won't be the one-shot effort that I had imagined. I'll have to set up my booth at least once more before spring, and then suck it up and serve ramen for a while so we can afford the new pavilion. Thank goodness them suckers last a long time! I don't believe we'll need another one again. Our enthusiasm for camping is fading as the TV and chair look more and more inviting. "Hotel" events are going to be more our norm.

Just for the fun of it, behind the cut are some of my little outfits. At least, some of the ones I feel fond of. SCA clothes for little people )
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I have beef stewing on the stove. With luck, it will be a hot lunch for us tomorrow. I am currently stewing the beef to rags, along with two onions and a triple handful of chopped celery. I don't normally put celery in beef soups. It is generally a go-to for chicken ones, or for gumbo. I hadn't really noticed the difference in the smell of the cooking until Bossman said he'd woken up thinking I'd made gumbo. Guess that green stalky stuff makes a real difference after all! Later tonight I shall add mushrooms and parsnips. We're going to Atlantian Coronation so I will eschew potatoes and orange carrots. Deciding that we wanted (as daytrippers) to have a hot lunch necessitated a trip to Target and then Walmart to find a wide-mouthed thermos (type, not brand) to make sure our soup would truly be hot six hours after leaving the house. Between the two of us and the google-function on my phone, we finally purchased, yes, a Thermos-brand thermos. (What are those things called, anyway?) And then I stitched up two bags to hold the large one and the small one, so they'd have extra insulation and not offend my medievally focused sight.

In two days the last Letter of Intention (heraldic submission letter) that I shall write will be ready to work on. People are making last-minute comments on it right now so even though I am itching to get started, I shall school myself to patience. It is a long one but looks to be pretty straightforward. And then I am done with my current Kingdom job. We'll be doing the turnover for the position in a couple of weeks.

It feels odd. I've had three years of working around an imposed schedule, doing things I was only half-trained to do (so it took a lot longer in the beginning than it does now) and other projects were set off to the side. This is not good for a procrastinator! I've got unopened boxes of Lego kits that are three years old! And fabric purchased for my experimental merchanting booth at the end of November, still sitting there waiting for me to apply scissors and sewing machine to it. And yet I still feel an internal governor-brake, as if there is something looming on the horizon and I daren't get started on a project which may last into a week or longer and be quite intensive... well, I suppose the looming thing is true given that I grabbed that last letter to do and told my successor that she didn't get to draft it. (Honestly, she needs a freedom-break before she gets tied to the schedule too. She's been alternating with me for months, pushing to do more as our turnover date got closer, and not realizing the difference the office title is going to make in her daily life. Sort of like babysitting a lot before becoming a parent and thinking you have a good idea about what is ahead. The difference has to be experienced to be understood.)

We weren't planning on attending tomorrow's event until just a couple of days ago. I am getting so excited about it! It has been a while since I've approached an event with anticipation rather than pushing myself through a heavy curtain of resistance and inertia.

[Edit: 2:00am. The soup is finished and I had a bowl of it for 'second dinner'. Yum. Bossman may not like it (it often surprises me, what he chooses to turn his nose up at) but I am finding it wonderfully delicious.]
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