Nov. 18th, 2014

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 peopleCollapse )

Nov. 5th, 2014

Lego Viking Woman
Hmmmm. RV rental from a place near the War of the Wings site would be about $237 for three days, not including distance-travelled. Nearly the same cost as a hotel room but onsite and with a kitchen & fridge.

Tempting. Very tempting. We could drive down in our gas-efficient car and pick up the rental when we're near the site. Asa is a genius.

Hmmm... heraldic ethics. As it were

I am considering withdrawing the heraldic title submission I've got up right now. I put it in with sort of a light-hearted joy, thinking it was both obscure and yet not (heralds being the geeks they are) and that it'd really only be seen by fellow heralds, at least in my kingdom, so it was fine, I reasoned, for it to be slightly 'naughtly'. (It is "Luddite Herald Extraordinary", which some of my friends here would know is totally apt for me.) But a commenting herald, whose comments don't seem to register in our internal letters, said something that brought me to a halt. He said that "Luddite" is very commonly used in the computer-guru world and would jerk nearly any IT-type Scadian right back into the modern world.

I don't want that. A mild smile, a slightly lifted eyebrow or even a twinkling eye is one thing but jerking someone completely out of the medieval isn't something I want to be guilty of causing.

So even though I've documented the name (a woman with that as a surname is registered in her church's records in late-period England), I am weighing the wisdom of allowing it to go forward to Laurel. I really didn't know it was used all that often in the IT world. Which, of course, merely underscores the fact of my own computer-ignorance.


Oct. 22nd, 2014

Lego Viking Woman
It was actually a tough weekend. We started with a slow start from our house but settled into a comfortable drive, and stopped at "our" Dairy Queen, which is located about midpoint between our house and the turn off to Interstate 95. And there our day took a downturn since someone decided that keying our truck from the back taillight (I didn't know you could key a taillight) to the front grill would be fun. They had so much fun that they went back to the middle where the passenger doors were and swiped a couple more lines too. But our insurance company has it covered so we'll only have to pay the (minor) deductible and the truck will be repaired. The estimate is for about $1568. I hadn't expected it to be quite that high. It appears that the whole passenger side will have to be sanded and repainted. The work order even calls for removing and cleaning the little metal thingies that say "V8" and stuff like that. You know, "I'm a big important truck" decorations. I knew they'd be removing those bits but didn't expect that they'd be throwing in cleaning and polishing of them.

In the meanwhile we have a 'comparable' replacement vehicle. A Toyota Tundra stretch-cab truck that is bright cherry red. Bossman is in love with the rear camera but I miss our old truck. For one thing, it doesn't require a step stool for me to get into our own truck. This replacement one is lacking step bars. So he gets the truck this week while I get the Soul. I win!

Camping is hard on us. Too hard, I think. I do enjoy myself once we get things set up, and teardown is fairly easy, but it takes a day or two for me to stop aching after we get set up and boy, does the world seem nasty while I'm in pain. I ended up telling the Autocrat, who is a dear friend, that I hated her event. When she asked why I told her it was because we were assigned camping space on a bad slope (we were - I had to crawl up my mattress every hour or so each night) and were surrounded by cars, as if we were camping in a parking lot. That is a problem, and I know that it is one they've been working on correcting, but still - it wasn't why I hated the event. I hated the exhaustion and the pain of setting up and 'getting going'. The cure, of course, is to get back into better shape so it doesn't affect us so badly but even with that, what would make it better would be to actually attend for the length of the event instead of arriving late on Friday afternoon and leaving again before noon on Sunday. Medieval camping is a lot like moving house - and we're just getting too tired to enjoy the experience. (And I was thinking about something while we were packing out. In the 'old days', someone almost always had some sort of music playing loudly during pack out, usually a Celtic band or something not-quite-modern. But we don't do that any longer. I wonder why we lost that?)

I discussed the problem with friends, who suggested trying to switch to an RV or towable camper. That is one possibility although it 'harshes our medieval experience'. We'll have to do something because the other thing that happened over the weekend is that our tent roof ripped at one of the roof ridge grommets and the tent is now dead. It is too old to repair - while I was trying to get comfortable at night I was looking at the roof canvas and cataloguing all the spots where the fabric has worn thin enough to be nearly transparent. It is time to retire the poor thing and this C-shaped rip around the grommet just collapsed any ideas about keeping it. This too, is strange - we're down to a wall tent and a wedge tent. We haven't had so few tents in all the time we've been together.

I've been drifting around the house for the last couple of days, feeling rather lost. I keep getting the nagging "need to get to work" sensation even though I gave up my job on Saturday and no longer am facing monthly deadlines. It feels very odd. I tried to assuage the nagging feeling by going on OSCAR to help with commentary but my timing is poor and others have mostly already written what I would have said. Perhaps later today I will remember that I do have a deadline and get started back on my sewing projects for Holiday Faire. Eeep! And maybe I'll remember that I need to send in my merchant's fees!!!

Our turnover-of-office was fun - my Boss (Triton Herald) gave me a pair of penguin socks. I clutched them to my chest and squeaked, "Dobby is free!" She made me laugh. Poor Bossman missed it though. He was off getting warm outer layers for me and my protégé. Once the sun went down (and why IS it that the Royals always seem to face the populace into the sun?) it got cold fast. I thought I was prepared for it but I was quite mistaken. He also fetched out truck so I wouldn't have to walk from the court area back to our camp. I was embarrassed about that but did appreciate it. I'd been in sufficient physical distress getting to the court area across the rutted campground that I was in tears and near to collapse by the time I got there. He was concerned about me. I hate it when I make him worry. But there was no way to avoid taking the long walk at a near run - Herald's Point closed at 5:00 and we had to get all the important stuff out of it and put somewhere safe while at the same time, court was scheduled to start at 5:00 and we (my protégé and I) had to be there for the turnover ceremony. We were pushing ourselves pretty hard!

I didn't see anything but our camp and Herald's Point - missed visiting camps or going to the merchant's. I didn't see Gwenyth, darn it, or Raimond and Jaelle. But I did get to spend time with others who I usually miss just about as much and that was a pleasant surprise.


All Right, I'm Getting Old

Equal Rights / Equal Rites
Pain in two fingers of one hand - it just doesn't go away. They are the two fingers I 'totalled' when I was about 13, chasing a boy at a skating rink (it was 'couples only' and he took off on me, forcing me to follow him and try to catch up or we'd be thrown off the rink until the next song). He made it to the side and grabbed the steel pipe that was the rail, swinging under it without losing momentum and kept going down the speed lanes. I misjudged and rammed my fingers directly into the rail. At the moment, all that was on my mind was irritation that I'd lost speed. I did catch him. We laughed like loons.

Later on the hand swelled up like a big balloon and I couldn't use it at all. And oh, man, did it hurt and throb! After a few days my mom, who'd thought that I'd sprained something saying "using it is the best medicine' so she assigned me extra chores; weeding, laundry, that sort of thing, anyway, she took me to the doctor's office and an x-ray confirmed that I'd shattered the proximal phalanges in two fingers and broken (as well as twisted out of postion) three metacarpals below them. Oops. Setting them after nearly five days of attempting to use them while broken was not comfortable. But I talked the doctor into a 'temporary' cast which I then removed three weeks later in order to play the lead in a school musical. (I did put it back on after each show, but still - stupid!)

As it turned out they didn't heal quite right and I knew there was no one to blame but myself. I stopped playing the guitar - bridging was impossible for me and I had little strength in the fourth finger for chording. But on the average it wasn't very noticeable through the years.

Now those two fingers hurt in the joints - in the fingers and in my palm. Most likely, if I paid attention to the barometer, I could track an alignment between the movement of one and the pain in the others. So I've sent off a request for an appointment with our doctor to get a check on them and confirm my suspicion of arthritis. It does run in my family, at least in the hands and knees, and I certainly have done enough to 'deserve' it at my age. Thank goodness it isn't my dominate hand!


Oct. 14th, 2014

Lego Viking Woman
Pain in two fingers of one hand - it just doesn't go away. They are the two fingers I 'totalled' when I was about 13, chasing a boy at a skating rink (it was 'couples only' and he took off on me, forcing me to follow him and try to catch up or we'd be thrown off the rink until the next song). He made it to the side and grabbed the steel pipe that was the rail, swinging under it without losing momentum and kept going down the speed lanes. I misjudged and rammed my fingers directly into the rail. At the moment, all that was on my mind was irritation that I'd lost speed. I did catch him. We laughed like loons.

Later on the had swelled up like a big balloon and I couldn't use it at all. After a few days my mom, who'd thought that I'd sprained something and "using it is the best medicine' so she assigned me extra chores; weeding, laundry, that sort of thing, anyway she took me to the doctor's office and an exray confirmed that I'd shattered the proximal phalanges in two fingers and broken (as well as twisted out of postion) the two metacarpals below them. Oops. Setting them after nearly five days of using them while broken was not comfortable. But I talked the doctor into a 'temporary' cast, which I then removed three weeks later in order to play the lead in a school musical. (I did put it back on after each show, but still - stupid!)

As it turned out, they didn't heal quite right and I knew there was no one to blame but myself. I stopped playing the guitar - bridging was impossible for me and I had little strength in the fourth finger. But on the average, it wasn't very noticeable through the years.

Now those two fingers hurt in the joints - fingers and in my palm. Most likely, if I paid attention to the barometer, I could track an alignment between the movement of one and the pain in the others. So I've sent off a request for an appointment with our doctor to get a check on them and confirm my suspicion of arthritis. It does run in my family, at least in the hands and knees, and I certainly have done enough to 'deserve' it at my age. Thank goodness it isn't my dominate hand!


Glug, glug

Lego Viking Woman
Nearly everyone who knows me also knows that I drink, almost exclusively, Diet Pepsi. It is in my case much like the coffee addiction of other adults. When I am not drinking it I usually imbibe some other artificially-sweetened beverage (I even use artificial sweeteners in my tea) although at restaurants I will drink water with lemon... only when dining out or at Pennsic do I drink water. Usually because most municipal waters taste nasty to me - even with our Brita filter I can taste the chemicals added to the water, which disturb me more than those in my diet beverages since I expect a chemical flavor there.

Nonetheless, after probably twenty years of drinking that one particular soda, I am going to be quitting it. Because of this: . Now before you start with the "that is only one study and could be just the same as many other 'scare studies'" - I know that. I also know that I am addicted to a particular beverage which is almost completely unnatural and it would benefit me to remove it from my life. Not to mention that it would be, if the study is correct, a smart thing for a new diabetic to stop ingesting. So that is what I'm going to be working on over the next few months. I won't be going 'cold turkey'; I have done that before and yet here I am again, drinking Diet Pepsi. Instead I'll be experimenting with other beverages and working to find a few natural ones I would enjoy drinking because I like them, not because I'm "denying myself" (a dieter's downfall). Over time this should phase out the soda. As far as I can see, "stevia" and "monk fruit" are not considered to be dangerous or contribute to diabetes. I'd been using both of those sweeteners with my teas in the last year or so anyway. But Splenda, NutraSweet, Saccharine - those are going away. I just learned, because I was googling stevia and monk fruit, that stevia's "lingering aftertaste that is so horrible" is a licorice flavor, which explains why I've had no problem with it at all. I love licorice and even have licorice teas.

(I should add somewhere in here a curious thing that I noticed and after just now talking with my eldest, he has experienced too. Plain water makes my mouth feel like it is coated with dust after I've drank it. I lean towards sodas because the carbonation seems to eliminate that. I've no idea, though, why it should be that plain water induces a strong desire to drink - something else, anything else to get that feeling out of my mouth - just after I finish it.)


Oct. 8th, 2014

Has anyone else noticed that with the "undo" button, Free Cell is a game you cannot lose unless you choose to?

Oct. 6th, 2014

Lego Viking Woman
Our new medium-sized thermos worked wonderfully on Saturday, delivering steaming-hot soup about 7 hours after we'd filled it. I was impressed. My 'lunch time' smaller thermos failed so my own soup bowl had a lukewarm offering in it. Nonetheless, it was warm enough that dipping my bread in it was satisfying.

We made the trip with one of my protogees in the back seat. Oh my. I shall have to find a way to chat with her about her need to fill silence with 'conversation'. We had no chance to take two breathes together before there was another comment or conversation-opener from the back seat. For five hours. I had a heck of a headache by the time we reached the site. Which reminds me. I hate Garmin right now. "update" indeed! Once we got close to the site and needed directions, I turned it on and the screen read, "no maps loaded". I was not a happy woman. It had seemed to work when I was at home, after the partial-upload (it doesn't have a big enough memory to hold an entire USA map system any longer so I opted for 'east coast area'.) Now I have to either go buy a memory chip and figure out how to install it, or else call for help. Stupid thing. I should have figured that 'guaranteed updates for life' would come with a worm on its hook.


Oct. 3rd, 2014

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.]

Sep. 25th, 2014

Lego Viking Woman
The one thing I dislike about the medicine I (occasionally) take for muscle cramps during sleep is that once they take hold - my goodness, do I sleep! I took some yesterday morning and didn't wake up until six o'clock in the evening. Groggy but rested. There is a reason why I just deal with those darned spasm-thingies as best I can, without drugs.

Bossman was watching TV with his headphones on... I gave him those things but I don't know if I like them or not. He has the sound cranked up pretty high on them, so I worry that they may be harming his hearing more than helping. And the house is so silent in cases like today's. Rather creepy, actually, because I can feel that someone is in the house but I have no noise to clue me in as to where or who. I wasn't too groggy to make taco salad for 'dinner', though, and we spent a couple of hours watching TV together before he headed to bed.

Today was his final (we hope) radiation treatment. At last he can let all of the horrible sticky-tape over the multitude of sharpie-pen marks start to come off. Taking the tape off is a Bad Idea as it will also remove a few layers of skin at the same time. But getting it nice and soapy, and tired of holding on, is a good one. He has over a month before he'll have to do tests again. What bliss.

It took me approximately 10 hours to remove all the stitches from my protogee's chemise's neckline. Luckily for my cramping fingers, the sleeves are too long and all I'll have to do is cut them off at the cuff and then re-sew them as they ought to have been done. I'm looking forward to giving it back to her tomorrow. I'm also looking forward to giving her the three yards or so of straps for her Viking apron-dress (hangerroc). She was low on fabric for the making of the hangerroc so I used a scrap cut into short strips, then sewed all of them end-to-end, folded the length over by fourths and stitched the edges. It will be right, one long loop over each shoulder for the brooch pins to go through (and one short loop at each front point) but my goodness was that a tedious bit of sewing. All those tiny seams stopping me every time I'd get in a stitching rhythm! Stitch, fold, stitch, fold, stitch, stop, fold carefully, sew three stitches, fold over again and hold carefully some more, stitch... ah, past that and back to 'normal'. For about five minutes. ARG!

But at least she won't have Osh-Gosh-By-Gosh overall straps like a Minne-so-ta Viking. :)

And I am excited, excited, excited that I found denim fabric with stripes that look like early-period inkles, which I shall use as trim for many, many Viking & Anglo-Saxon items.
striped fabric1


Sep. 20th, 2014

stitching away
For the last four days I've been working one to two hours each day removing the stitching around the neck of a chemise belonging to one of my protégées. She can't remember where she got it from but it was obviously a "first timer's" sewing project - the neckline was tucked wrong side out (and then the sleeves finished the same way to match), with pencil or black ink lines to show where to fold it over and where to stitch. And I'm assuming that the maker was new to sewing machines. Because after 5-7 hours of seam ripping, I'm half - HALF - finished with the neckline. Whoever made this used the same stitch length setting as we'd use for a pretty tight zigzag. The tip of my seam ripper doesn't actually fit under most of the stitches so I've been using a straight pin every once in a while. The thread is stronger than the fabric so there is no chance of holding the two sides apart and pulling the thread away between them. Wow. I'll saw one thing for the maker - they were never going to have to worry about it falling apart! They've also got some weird ruffled edges spaced around the neckline where the seams all meet. For some reason, the maker didn't feel comfortable sewing the whole thing as one overlapping casing so each seam edge is separated and the cord has to jump from one piece of fabric to the other. Ah - I bet they were confused about how to handle stitching something that is smaller on the inside than it is on the outside. Neck holes are good for frustrating new sewers.

I'm on the computer now because I just had to get away from it. My wrist and arm hurt a bit from overdoing the job today. That, and in a minute I am going to go online to search for a new seam ripper. It is finally time - mine doesn't have a working cutting edge inside the curve any longer. It's only about 25 years old or something! I wish there was a way to re-sharpen it. The shape of the handle is marvelous for ease of motion and all the new ones I've seen at the fabric store are clunky or else too tiny. But I bet there is a good one online. Once I find it, I can put it on my wish list for Giftmas.


On Forgiveness and History

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.

Sep. 4th, 2014

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.

Aug. 25th, 2014

Lego Viking Woman
Ah, this is one of the 'perfect' days. The weather outside is in the high-seventies (f) (26c) and somewhat cloudy, with a gentle breeze. Lovely to be out in. While I was getting ready to run errands our Youngest posted a reply on FB, thereby alerting me to the fact that he was awake. He works a midnight shift so him being awake at that hour is rare. One phone call later I had a travelling companion for my errands and a lunch buddy. We merely ate at Taco Bell, but still - time with my son(s) is always valued.

The little dress is mailed off, new stamps are purchased, various small errands accomplished and - - - I loped off a huge branch from our willow tree. And then hid the evidence. It will be amusing to witness Bossman's reaction when he notices. We argue over the trimming of the tree. If he had his way, no leaf or branch would be low enough for him to walk into, which would make the tree look like a Q-tip that had exploded. I wanted a willow because I love the look of the branches sweeping across the grass and providing little curtained nooks to sit inside. So we have a long-running argument about tree-trimming. It is hard for him to mow the lawn with that giant mushroom of a tree out there, I know, and he has occasionally bonked his head (and cut his scalp) on a branch. I do understand. But it was my birthday present, so I feel that I get to say how or when the branches are trimmed. We have had one l-o-n-g branch that is was growing horizontal to the ground and had stretched out about 40 feet towards the house, getting greener the further out it grew. It is was long enough to actually block anyone trying to come around the corner of the house or else force them to push their way through what seemed like a jungle-scape. I cut it off. Yup. Me, pruning shears, some sort of gardening saw that folds into its handle, and our garbage can (we don't garden enough to compost) have changed the silhouette of my tree from 'Mushroom with a Begging Hand' to 'Mushroom'. It is still a bit lopsided, but that is the result of nature's own pruning every hurricane season. Darn it. Maybe my trimming will encourage the smaller side to bush out a bit more. Won't know until next summer when the new shoots appear.

We have a few more months of green and growing so the tree should heal well before winter sets in. And I expect that if we do see any fierce storms this hurricane season, I've averted a disastrous bit of damage. Not to mention that people parking on the side of our house can now actually reach the front door without playing George of the Jungle.

"I am Woman. Hear me grunt - HUH!!"
(I think that counts as my '20 minutes of exercise each day'.)

Baby Anna

stitching away
Anna gown - finished

My part of it is finished. Mama will do the embroidery after it reaches her. The tuck in the skirt worked, so at some point it can be taken down and the skirt will be about one and a half inches longer. And there are two rows of 'soft' Velcro on the inside flap so the bodice & shirt can be widened or made smaller around the body.

Aug. 21st, 2014

Lego Viking Woman
Busy week so far... the important part of it was that Bossman is starting radiation therapy. Funny how they never say cancer.Collapse )
In happier news, I'm sewing a commissioned piece for a nine-month-old baby. I'm behind schedule and am vexed with myself over that, but I have to admit that there were a couple of days of 'just holding on' mentally after the first visit to the radiologist's. It takes a while to process and accept large doses of reality, doesn't it?

The mother wants to do the embroidery on it so I only have to construct the basic gown - it is Anna's blue dress from "Frozen". The mother wants it to be adjustable to fit the child now and when she's a tad larger, but that is easy enough to accommodate thanks to the wonders of Velcro. I'm making the 'outer bodice' of black flannel (black velvet isn't in the stores yet and besides, it is almost always acrylic. Hadn't seen un-cut corduroy, either) so I can easily stitch two tapes of the soft side of the Velcro down the back of the gown to create one wide bit so the mom can close the outfit at whichever point the child needs. I'll be putting in the weird scalloped hem, which posed a problem in how to create a skirt that could be let out for length, but I think I've solved that problem too. Thank goodness the skirt isn't a full gathered one but only a slightly-wider A-line. I believe I can create a tuck all around the top section below where it will join the inner bodice, and then hand-tack it up to the bodice's interior. Then mom will only have to undo the taking to get a longer gown and her embroidered flowers at the hem will not be disturbed.

I was referred by my doctor to a non-surgical weight loss clinic. Pffft! After two messages left on an answering machine with no responses (I did give the office 48 hour following each one), I drove there. It seems they've been getting a lot of patients and have a waiting list - which I would not presently be 'in line to be put on' if I hadn't walked into their office so the receptionist would enter me into their computer. She apologised for not responding to either of my calls. There is only one doctor and her nurse on that side of the clinic and very few support staff members. All of Sentara's (the medical facility) attention and funds, it appears, are concentrated on the surgical side, where I saw the names of five doctors listed. Of course that would follow - quick money, quick turnaround. So in two weeks, approximately, I should get a call from the receptionist to put me on the 'real' waiting list, and I can expect to hear sometime after the New Year when I might be able to begin the program. Yeah. So I called the other hospital system's non-surgical office... and talked to an answering machine.

I expect that part of the frustration is built-in on purpose, to encourage patients to pursue surgical treatment. I'm just going to have to be stoic about this. In the meanwhile, my disgust is fueling a stronger desire to get back on the weight-loss train rather than spinning my wheels as I have been while I've been chair-bound. Just for the satisfaction of walking in and saying "while I've been waiting to actually get in this program, I've lost ____ number of pounds. But I still need help developing an exercise regime to correct the damage from the chemo period and build strength in my body."

Achievement Unlocked!

Lego Viking Woman
Finally figured out how to (re)load all the music on my iPod to my iTunes player on my laptop. Previously, everything was on both it and my desktop computer and then I let my iPod's battery die down and suddenly there was no turning it on, no recharging it, and three stupid preloaded songs in my laptop's iTunes library. And the desktop was deader than a doorknob. I was at "LoI deadline" then and frustrated, so just set the whole mess aside grumbling that I couldn't access the music I wanted to listen to while I made those 'fun' decisions on the hard submissions.

Ha! Shawn-Boy, Youngest Son and giver of my first iPod came over tonight for dinner and sat at my elbow playing with my new phone's Zedge app while I tried to figure out what had gone wrong. And we made it work. All it took was

Downloading iTunes from the wrong source & filling my computer with a load of bogus programs
Uninstalling some programs, finding that my browser was all messed up no matter what
Uninstalling Google Chrome (again)
Figuring out how to start my computer in safe mode and taking it back to yesterday's settings
Downloading iTunes from *Apple* this time
Using google to find "how to back up files from player to computer"


The player is happily loading up on power from my computer right now while I am listening to my music from the iTunes files on my computer. Ah, joy. Tomorrow I shall explore our little car again and make sure that the USB port it has is exactly what I need for connecting my iPod to our car's music system. And then I shall wait, like a fat spider, for the Sirius Rep to call our house one more time - and let them refuse to talk to my husband - and then I'm going to laugh like a hyena and tell them where to put their satellite music system.

Okay, maybe that last bit has nothing to do with reconnecting with my iPod. But they did tick me off when they refused to speak to the co-owner of the car and insisted that only I was authorized to talk to them instead. To confirm that the system we never used is really one we don't want to subscribe to now that the trial period after our car's purchase is over.

Aug. 13th, 2014

Lego Viking Woman
We came to Pennsic site late this year, in the middle of service week rather than at the beginning of it. That started us off in a very surreal mood. A dear friend, Treestone, came to camp and helped us erect our loaner tent... he was working the night shift so I appreciated his kindness and was in a rush to get everything done as quickly as we could so he could get home and go to bed. Not to mention his girlfriend was in town for a visit and waiting for him back at his house.

While we were setting up the tent other staff members came by to welcome us back. To each one, as they complimented the pavilion, we explained that we were borrowing it and had plans to sell it for the owners during Pennsic-tide, to be delivered when the event was over. (And thusly we wouldn't have to pack it ourselves at the end when we would surely be the most tired and sore.) One staff member bought it right then! Even after seeing the silly dayshade.

We divided the tent as we had planned with curtains separating out the rounded ends. Bossman devised curtain rods of PVC pipe with holes drilled into the ends of the wall-side of the poles so they would fit over the tent pole spikes and be more secure. We had a connecting piece for each pair in the middle where the support poles for the ridge pole were, and after putting the 'raw' edges into that connector the whole mess was securely lashed to each support pole. As it turned out, the small section of curtain rod that Bossman cut into an "L" shape so he could drill a hole in it was a bit too long and poked out a little beyond the wall pole's spike, just enough to allow water to leak a bit into the tent at that spot during rainstorms - four spots in total. But the leaks were minor and by putting the tent poles on the bare earth rather than near our tarp/ground-cloth, the water simply flowed down and away from the interior anyway.

Our little 'bedrooms' were oddly shaped but we were able to fit both beds in there, albeit smack in the middle of each curved area, with the rest of the furniture on either side of the bed. Kitchen items (storage and garbage container) crowded in on one end since there wasn't enough room for them in the designated kitchen area. The drinking cooler and 'room temperature' water bottles were on Bossman's side while the stacked cases of drinks, the garbage container, and our dirty clothes hamper was on my side. It wasn't too bad but certainly not optimal.

One thing I hate about camping is the daily emptying of water from the ice chest before each ice refill. A couple of years ago I solved that in the food cooler by adding in three containers dedicated to storing the ice - they get filled and the rest of the cooler stays dry, so I no longer have to deal with coming back to camp to find water-logged cheese goo or pink water from leaking meat containers. And the daily routine is a simple matter of removing the ice containers one at a time to be drained and refilled. It is much easier on the back. This time, I took our left-over 'leveling wood' (the bits brought along to act as wedges to level furniture since we were camping on a hill) and used them to build a platform to put the big cooler on. Oh, that was nice! It was about the right height for digging into if one was sitting on a chair. Prepping dinner and putting away groceries was much easier than in the past! My back thanked me.

Our 'drink' cooler was filled in the normal way, bottles and cans covered in ice. It had to be drained everyday but it didn't weigh nearly as much as the food cooler did and was easier to maneuver around. It was also handy for storing store-prepared salads on top of the ice since I usually ate those within a day of purchase. They didn't fit well in the food cooler.

Through all the rain and the unseasonal cold, we were comfortable enough to be able to lend extra blankets to other camp members. I love wool blankets! I especially love wool-silk blankets! I've been using lengths of fabric to make blankets for camping since they store better than purchased blankets and I can be more sure of their content. Well - except for my Pendleton Wool blanket, that is. I just buy seven yards of material, cut it in half and then divide one half lengthwise to sew to the selvage edges of the full half. That gives me a good queen-sized blanket with the joining seams (mostly) along the edge of the mattress. After sleeping on a linen-covered pillow for the last two years, I've now decided to do the same with lengths of linen and make sheets for my bed too, if not for Bossman's. He's a little less 'adventurous' when it comes to bedding and holds tightly to his sleeping bag and bedrolls.

Aug. 12th, 2014

Lego Viking Woman
Qui audet Herald Extraordinary?

"She who dares" H. E. I think? It was from "qui audet adipiscitur", which some Roman (not named in my source) said about attempting a feat/a campaign.