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Getting to know you....getting to know all about you....

In the past I have primarily used this blog to rant, fairly anonymously. But in the New Year, I'm planning on getting my website up (who isn't planning a website, really) and I hope to link to a blog also, so we'll see. Anyway, ganked from Kass:

1. First Name: Julie or Margaret, depending on the day of the week

2. Age: 40, just turned

3. Location: Las Vegas, NV

4. Occupation: Domestic goddess (housewife, mother & teaching 7th grade home school), also an SCA Laurel and slightly above novice-level herald

5. Partner: Jim - married for 18 years this coming March. Love of my life, met him when I was only 18 my freshman year of college, he's been active duty in the Air Force for 15 years, currently a Section Chief for the USAF Thunderbirds

6. Kids: one son, 12, very obnoxious, sarcastic & well-read, adores Monty Python. I wanted more children, but my junk is broken. I had very strong feelings about fertility drugs and the like and so we never pursued other options. I had all the tests I could, but they could never figure out why I wasn't getting pregnant. Last year, OF COURSE, when I had given up and decided it was too late to get pregnant, they discovered during an attempt at an endometrial biopsy the mild mechanical deformity that was probably preventing conception (apparently, me getting pregnant the first time was something short of miraculous). It figures. Surgery could fix it, but I'm 40 now. Statistically, I don't want to risk having a child with health or developmental problems. So I deal with it. My hormones are relentless and I find myself randomly angry at pregnant women and crying at baby shoes in Wal-Mart.

7. Brothers/Sisters: I have an older sister who pays claims for a large health insurance company and an older brother who does something with computers...currently in Singapore. I have a half-sister that I didn't know about until I was 21 (my father had an affair before I was born) - it is very complex and painful, I have tried to get to know her but she grew up in a very uptight atmosphere and is very prejudiced about many things, we have a strange strained relationship

8. Parents: My mom retired almost 10 years ago from a large international oil company where she was an executive secretary for many years. My dad, who is also retired, thinks he's Grizzly Adams and lives in a house he built in the woods. So far in the woods that the local EMT service has a hand-drawn map of how to get down to his house. Seriously. My parents divorced the same year I got married, after 32 years of marriage.

9. Pets: I have an almost 9 year old 1/4 Rottweiler & some-other-stuff mutt named Sophie, a 5 year old long-haired white greyhound named Jamie and two 3 year old Japanese Chins named Hana and Yoshi. We have a California King Snake named Norbert, two Ball Pythons named Johnny and June and two red-eared sliders (aquatic turtles) named Armand and Master Yoda. Master Yoda and Norbert are the only critters that were purchased, all the rest are rescue animals.

10. List the 3-5 biggest things going on in your life:

A. We are moving to Dover, Delaware next August. I am wildly excited about it. I have never lived on the East Coast and I am thrilled about it - so close to so MANY cool things! Cyber friends I finally get to meet! Four WHOLE seasons each year!

B. Home-schooling. We've been very unhappy with the schools here and last summer decided to give them a pass. It's been a very rewarding, enriching and frustrating experience thus far. My son is doing well with the format we are using and is getting better grades than he has in years. He is also a twelve year old boy, which means I have consistent periods of time each day during lessons when I have to go in the bathroom, do some deep breathing and convince myself that killing him with an axe would be BAD.

C. Struggles with weight loss and some mild health issues. I lost 50 lbs on Weight Watchers in 2007 and kept it off until the beginning of this year. I was also put on birthcontrol pills last year to help control my hormones (possible early menopause - yay!) and on Zoloft to help regulate the vicious PMDD that I've developed in the last year (my husband prefers I not kill him, strangely). Something in the combo of meds changed something in my brain and de-railed my good set routine of almost two years and I put 30 lbs back on. I don't need to lose the weight for looks, but for health and I am trying to find a new way to do this without making myself crazier.

D. My fetal website and Scottish costuming research - I attempt to recreate 1570's Lowlands Scotland. Costume of this place and period is very under-researched. I'm working on a number of avenues and hope, eventually, to earn a research grant for some specific things I want to study in Scotland. I am all but computer illiterate but a close friend assures me in the new year she will wave her magic HTML wand and help me get all my pages and pages of weirdness online, for the betterment of others (snort).

E. Going back to grey! Soon, soon! I can cut all this crap off and go back to my very natural almost 75% grey. Going grey early is a family trait. I was 'au natural' until Hallowe'een 2008 when I foolishly dyed my hair, with permanent dye. Realising the error of my ways almost instantaneously, I have since been touching it up with semi-permanent dye against the day when the permanent crap grows out and I can stop dying. My hair grows very fast and to avoid looking really tacky, I have to touch it up every two weeks. Which I hate. I recently had about 6" cut off and based on the last time I stripped the color - my grey is about even with my ears, so I'm hoping to have the rest of the dyed mess lopped off soon. I don't do well with my hair too short, so I don't want to go much beyond a chin-length bob.
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Our SCA memberships are turning 21

So, I guess that means they can legally drink now in the 50 states.

I've been giving that a lot of thought lately, what the SCA has really meant to me.

The biggest thing I think, was meeting my husband - maybe a month after joining. Of course, I didn't know then what he would eventually mean in my life. In fact, the first time we met we had an argument and had quite a few after that. We knew each other for almost two years before it ever occurred to us to date, but that's a story for another time.

But through the years I have made so many friends. Friends so good that I consider them an extended family. Which means a lot to us with all the military moves we've made in the last 14 years. Everywhere we've gone, stateside and overseas, the SCA was there, with insta-friends that liked the same things we did, that welcomed us immediately into their homes and into their lives. And now that we face another move in the next twelve months - I fully expect the same kind of friendly reception - after all these years, how could I not?

We have made the kind of friends that sat through the night with me and with Jim - all through that long weekend that I tried to give birth, had a c-section and then had to stay in the hospital. They visited and called, brought us food and love and support.

The kind of friends that had us over for Christmas dinner, when they'd known us for about a week and we were still shell-shocked from having just arrived in England.

We have made the kind of friends that we can trust our child with - when what was supposed to be an outpatient surgery turned into a nearly three day hospital stay.

We have made the kind of friends that though most of them have never met any of my blood family - know their names, their illnesses, their ages and where they live - and keep track and ask about them.

The kind of friends who stay friends even when we leave and move somewhere else. Those are the truest friends, I think. That you don't see for years, but still want to know what's going on in your life, how tall your child is and want to share the good and bad with you still, even from a distance.

Outsiders can be confused sometimes about the SCA. Yes - it is, in fact, a collection of geeks and misfits, weirdos who dress funny and hit each other with sticks, and the socially inept who aren't accepted anywhere else - but we all feel a fellowship, a joy and sometimes obsession with our hobby that makes us welcome fellow members, even if they are strangers, in from the cold to sit by our fires and share our food.

It is true that I have developed an entirely strange skill set. The kind of skill set...that...well...is kind of hard to quantify. But I'm happy to say that if modern conveniences went away tomorrow, we'd survive. I'd be grumpy and scared and desperately needing a hot shower - but we'd be able to eat, preserve food, make clothes, have shelter, you name it. Jim, of course, could defend us with his arsenal of armor and baseball-bat-like weapons (grin). Plus, I can happily enter any State Fair in the United States with some of my weird craft skills ( another grin).

Who knew that on those afternoons when I came home from half-day kindergarten and drove my mother insane and she sat me on phonebooks at the sewing machine and taught me to use it to keep me busy (yes - I've been sewing longer than some of you whippersnappers out there have BEEN ALIVE - I'll be 40 this year if you are counting - thanks) and all my Barbies had the most elaborate historical costumes I could make for them, that it would lead to a life-long obsession with needlecrafts and historical research.

I am lucky enough to have family, close family that I love so much and keep in touch with. I have the kind of family that if I called tonight to say I had a body stuffed in the trunk of my car - they'd be on the next plane out, having already googled the rental place for the chipper shredder, the nearest pig farm and ordered the quick lime. So I am lucky enough not to have needed the SCA to replace family - I've got a great one. But the SCA is definitely my extended family. My family away from family, if you will.

And I've watched my SCA family raise god only knows how much money for various charities in the last 21 years. Raise money for SCA brothers and sisters who had accidents, surgeries, deaths,suffered natural disasters - it didn't matter whether they knew them or not - somebody put the call out and they were there. With casseroles, clean clothes, replacement armor, money, rides, furniture - you name it.

This has been pretty much my only hobby since the month before I turned 19 and I have to say, other than a few times when I spent money I didn't really have to go to an event I just _had_ to be at (grin), I have very few regrets. And I don't think that is too damn bad for the last 21 years.

So thanks. All of you. For friends I have, friends that I see and friends that I don't get to see that often and friends that I haven't made yet but that I know are out there. I have now been doing this for over half my life and I will happily do it for another 21 years.
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Life, the Universe, Caloric content. . . .

So we went to the roller derby here in Vegas Saturday night. A fun time is always had. It is hard-core home-town roller derby, on a flat track, as skated by some sincerely tough girls who have day jobs and don't get paid for it. The people watching is not bad either. My favorite were the two dudes who were very ostentatiously wearing Utili-kilts, but both had paired them with really cheap, crappy shoes.  One with Wal-mart offbrand Birkenstocks, the other with Wal-mart offbrand faux Teva sandals. And of course, as with most people who choose to expose their feet publicly, their feet were icky. Had they paid so much for the Utili-kilts that they a) couldn't afford a pumice stone, nor soap and water nor b) decent shoes? It was a mystery.

Afterwards, we went down to the Fremont Street 'Experience' to watch the freak parade. I mean people watch. Whatever. Living in Vegas as we do, we really don't get down to the Strip that much just to hang out. And this leads me to my main question: why the frack do people bring their small children to Vegas on vacation? Seriously! I just don't get it. If I saw one more screaming toddler strapped down in a stroller last night (after midnight, I might add), I was seriously afraid I was going to have a psychotic break. Do these people really need a Vegas vacation SO bad that they need to torture their babies?

But then, these are the same people who brought their toddlers to see '300' and the 'Patriot' when I went to see them. I really do not understand why movie theaters cannot draw the line and allow NO ONE under 17 in rated R movies. Do they really fear they will lose THAT much revenue? I don't get it.  My husband and I rarely see violent movies together, because we have a child. Neither of us needs to see ANY movie bad enough that we have EVER needed to bring our small child. Ever. End of story. Amen. I don't consider us  particularly great parents, we have plenty of foibles and failures, but it was more important to us to be the best parents we could be and that did not include my child seeing, I don't know, Sin City or Inglourious Basterds. What is wrong with people? 

I have long postulated that what most people really want is a pet, not a child. Children are an inconvenience and they would really, REALLY, like to be able to just leave it with a big bowl of food and a big bowl of water and run off for the weekend. How many times a year do you see in the news some dumbass being prosecuted for that very reason. They whine, they rationalize, but ultimately, they just weren't willing to not be able to do something RIGHT THEN because they couldn't get a babysitter. Tcha.

And luckily for us, these same people persist in playing in the SCA. They still think that the SCA is some magical land where fairies will come and clean up their children, make sure they don't run into the road, change their diapers, keep them from running onto the list field - you name it. This made me crazy before I was a parent and even crazier after I was a parent.  I haven't gotten to go to a lot of evens this year because my 12 year old has developed a serious dislike for the SCA. And it's my hobby, not his. As a kid, there are so many things he HAS to do, because he is a kid, that I don't need to add the SCA on top of that. Does it bother me sometimes? Yes. I have many selfish weekends where I would rather be at an event. But I don't need to go bad enough for my son to be miserable so that I can have fun.

Time is fleeting, people. Let your children be children while they can. Set some boundaries, for them and for yourselves. They are really only yours for 18 years - that's really a small slice of your life and theirs to be a good parent and have a good relationship with your child. You can go see violent movies when they go to college for pete's sake.  And for the love of god, don't take your toddlers to Fremont Street at midnight. Kthxbai.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed
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Meh. Blah.

I am major bummed I cannot go to Estrella now. I'm just coming down off bronchitis and the last thing I need is camping in the damp and below 40 weather.  Too cheap to pay and drive back and forth to a hotel room for both nights, so once again, not going. Once again, cooking a ton of food I won't get to eat. Sigh. I know it's for the best, I just get soooooooooooo tired of being the one to make the grown up decisions.

Back to the gynecologist next week. The birth control they put me on to regulate my hormones and the early menopause or whatever the frack it is is not really helping. It's made my PMS horrible - a week before my period, I pick these fights with my husband, for absolutely NO reason whatsoever. Last week's escalated really badly and quickly and upset us both. I do not want to murder him with an axe because my hormones are out of whack. Plus, I have no sex drive whatsoever. Just bleh. Needless to say, this is not helping with anything. The pills reduced some of my symptoms in a minor way, but not enough for me to want to continue taking synthetic hormones at my age. So, either different pills or explore the surgical options. Sigh.

On a brighter note, I've started two projects I'm super excited about. One is a nightcap for my husband. He's long been wanting an embroidered something comparable  to my coif, so nightcap it is. Still dithering with patterns, but it's getting there. Also, after a long browse at our Joann's 'superstore' this week, I picked up some really yummy scarlet wool and stuff to knit said wool and have embarked on my first pair of stockings. I have very BASIC knitting skills, but have been practicing the last couple of nights. I cast on and knit rather tightly, so I have to work on that. I always had problems with 'purl' but I think I figured out why (I feed my yarn from the left - in the 'German' or 'Dutch' fashion - my mom was taught to knit by an ancient Hungarian lady, who taught my mom to feed the yarn that way, so that's how my mom taught me... and it's the only way that's comfortable to me) so I just never grokked the mechanics of it. I also picked up a great how to book and sat Tuesday night doing purl over and over again until it was comfortable and I figured out a way to purl with the left hand yarn carry that had more 'flow'.  

What I really want is a pair of Eleonora of Toledo's stockings - but with all the eyelets and fancy stuffe, I think I need some good solid practice just with the increases & decreases before I branch out. So, I'm slightly modifying Donna Kenton's pattern in her 'Knitting Elizabethan Stockings' (a great article which has now dropped off the internet! Yay for the Wayback Machine, I was able to find it again last night!). Mine will just be knee stockings and they will have the integral clocks. I think I can finish the toe but I have NO FRICKING IDEA how to accomplish the gusset/flap thingie for the heel. But, I've got the shaft to knit first, so maybe by the time I get to the ankle, I'll have another leap of comprehension!

My husband's going to fight in Crown Tourney for me next month. Logically, we are fairly certain he will not win, but we have very strong feelings about the proper way to go about things, so we are pretending he might win (and the Taco Bell rule can always apply - i.e. everyone else but him eats at Taco Bell the night before on the way to the site & has food poisoning the next day....), so we always talk about the upcoming Kingdom Schedule, what events we can attend, what we will have to rearrange, who we would want helping us behind the scenes, etc. Trying to figure out what I want to wear. I have a heraldic surcoat about 1/2 done that I've been futzing with for about 3 years. Our arms are embroidered on satin and appliqued to the back of it - connected with two held hands. I found this conceit in a lot of Scottish visual heraldry to imply that two armigers were married & liked it a lot. I've just never been able to figure out how I wanted to shape the surcote - if I wanted it loose or fitted. I've got some beautiful grey silk and a ton of trim for the sleeves, so I think I may go with that. I'll have to mess with the fitting of it some more next week. And it would be even better if I had secksy knitted scarlet stockings to wear with it!

But now, I'm going back to bed before I start the marathon afternoon of cooking for my husband and his knight for Estrella.
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Can't see the forest for the trees. . . .

Wow. Just wow. Clark County (Nevada) School District gets an 'F' in Civics, Political Science and American History.

It NEVER occurred to me that my son would not be watching the first African American President get sworn in at school yesterday. Had I known, I would have kept him at home and just taken the damn unexcused absence.  When he got home from school yesterday I asked what he thought about the President's speech. He explained he hadn't seen it - that his 1st and 3rd period teachers only had the TV on for a few minutes - the main thing he was concerned about was Senator's Kennedy's collapse during the luncheon - that was the only thing he knew about it.  The swearing in and speech would have occurred during his 2nd period class, which was computer science. Yesterday was his first day in that class (they have gym the other half of the school year) and what were they doing instead of watching a truly great moment in American History? Writing down vocabulary words, sharing 'getting to know you' stories and playing GAMES ON THE COMPUTER! I really really thought that it must just be that the computer teacher was an idiot with no awareness, but once I called the school and spoke to the principal, it really hit home just how much they didn't care.  The principal said there were no guidelines from the District and that she had left it up to the discretion of the individual teachers.  I was flabbergasted when she told me that she hadn't watched it either - she was at another school observing teachers (who clearly didn't watch the damn thing either!). She was really sorry, but didn't know what to say.

So I emailed his 2nd period teacher. My son is not the best at A) paying attention or B) relaying a coherent account of events that occur at school. So, I thought, rashly giving this teacher the benefit of the doubt, perhaps she had told them at the beginning of class they if they wanted, they could watch CSPAN or something on the computer and he just wasn't paying attention. But no. I got a truly terse and disheartening response from his teacher, complete with bad grammar:

"Dear Ms. xxxxx , I would have love to see the president speech as well.  However, I have a job to do and I was also evaluated by the assistant principal yesterday for the entire class period.  If you have any problems concerning this matter, you may contact the principal.  Have a great day.

Ms xxxxx  "

Apparently, 'doing her job' doesn't include finding a way to integrate the Inauguration with computer science and technology. Hell, I know dick about computers and I came up with a lesson plan that could have combined the two in about thirty seconds. Apparently, everyone was so busy doing their jobs yesterday, they forgot to do their goddamn jobs.

But was my sense of outrage shared by the School District? Nope. Everyone I talked to yesterday and today let me know in no uncertain terms that it wasn't a big deal and I was wasting everyone's time. Apparently, having educators and administrators that are so short sighted and apathetic that they can't comprehend the importance of watching American History WHILE IT FUCKING HAPPENS ain't no big deal. What really burned me up was all the charming stories that played on the local news last night - of teachers in the Valley that made an event out of the Inauguration, doing exercises and teaching lessons leading up to it  - one teacher made the kids take notes on the speech because they were going to get quizzed on it. Clearly, SOME of them got it.

Clearly, I am out of touch with the goals of the modern American education system. This truly must be 'teaching to the test' run rampant, when a teacher is so concerned with an evaluation that she couldn't find a way to integrate something so important into her lessons plans (which again, include PLAYING FUCKING COMPUTER GAMES).

 I wrote a letter to the District's Superintendent with copies of his teacher's sad little email and copied my son's principal on everything. I'm certain they have little to fear from my wrath - clearly I am pissing up a rope today with all my righteous indignation (I will have to take pleasure in the fact that I included the following vocabulary words in my letters: lament, woeful, disheartening, apathy and short-sighted. I, at least, know how to spell and have a passing acquaintance with grammar, even if I do enjoy the art of the run-on sentence.)  Sigh.

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Seeking therapy shouldn't make you need therapy, dammit!

Grr. What a frustrating week. All I wanted was to get my son evaluated for depression. We wasted an appointment on Monday (an appt where we were treated very insensitively and stupidly by the pediatric staff - many complaints and phone calls followed) when it turns out we did NOT need a mental health referral and could have just found a therapist and made the appointment directly. Soooooo - we went to what we _thought_ was a therapist on Saturday that the pediatric nurse recommended only to find out at the end of the hour that he recommended therapy for my son? Huh? Turns out he was not, in fact, a therapist, but only did evaluations on kids to see if they needed to be medicated! So, not only was the hour a complete waste of time, we wasted one of the 8 paid mental health visits we were allotted. Dammit.

I finally made his school understand last week that yes, they were in fact going to evaluate him for a learning disability (if one more person tells me how bright and lazy my child is, I'm going to go on a tri-state shooting spree). His counselor, who is a twit, tried to tell me his test scores were too high for him to have a learning disability. I let her know in no uncertain terms that she wasn't qualified to determine that based on test scores and that when a parent requests evaluation, they are required by law to do it. Pissed me off.

Grr. Not a great start to the week. Doesn't help that I am eating everything that's not nailed down. It may be because it's finally gotten cold here and my body is trying to hibernate (I swear almost every winter that I have a bear gene....) - it's only amounted to a couple of extra pounds so far, but I am terrified I will put back on all the wait I've lost. On paper, 2008 was a victory. I didn't gain back the weight I lost in 2007 - but I can't help but feel like I failed - because I spent all of 2008 gaining and losing the same 5 or 6 lbs all year. I still have 95 lbs to lose to get in the realm of a healthy weight for my small frame! So, hopefully, 2009 will be a better year for weight loss. Maybe I can only lose weight in odd numbered years? Who the fuck knows.

The business with my mother in law's estate continues to drag on. I'll be very glad when it's done. I'm thinking probate is like the last month of pregnancy. You just want it to be over so bad that you don't care anymore and there's no more fear of delivery because you are ready to get it out with salad tongs if necessary.  Probably not a good analogy, but whatever.

But yay, we will finally put up our Christmas tree tonight. I'm hoping that will give all of us a lift. I am sooooooooooo tired of being just vaguely depressed. You know, not suicidal, just incredibly, incredibly blah, like eating bland food all day long.  So. I think I'm going back to bed now - I just wish I had a cave and a nice nest of leaves.....
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Is Wednesday afternoon the new Tuesday morning?

Dear small business owner who caters to SCA customers:

When I email you and tell you I have a specific deadline and ask, very politely, making no demands, that if I pay your exorbitant price to priority mail me the 8 buttons that I need to finish a project and that I really need them by Thursday and that I would be happy to pay for express mail rather than just priority mail and you email me back and tell me you have them in stock and that you can get them in the mail to me by Tuesday morning and there shouldn't be a problem and you then don't put them in the mail until Wednesday afternoon and then don't answer my emails on Thursday asking where they are and you DON'T have a phone number I can call and they don't arrive until Saturday, you are a cow and know nothing about customer service. But I suppose an 8 or 9 word email letting me know that life happened and you couldn't get them in the mail so that I might have had some other options was beyond you. You are why small business costume suppliers in the SCA get such a bad rap.
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That's not our plane. . . our plane would be on fire. . . .

Sigh. This has been an absolutely craptastic week. In so many ways.  Warning - major whingefest coming up. . . . .

Let's see. 

My mother in law passed away on Monday. It was peaceful - she was in the equivalent of a coma - deep drugged sleep she hadn't been out of in about a week, with family and hospice members around her. She basically just stopped breathing.  So, an end to her pain and unhappiness - she's been absolutely miserable at my brother in law's (she was supposed to come live with us for me to take care of her, but she was too ill to travel). She didn't get along with my brother in law's fiancee when she was all there and the days she wasn't all there, she was just generally upset and belligerent because she knew it wasn't her house. It was very sad and hard for everyone. My husband spent 10 days with her the week before she died to give brother in law & fiancee a break. We're not 100% sure if she even knew my husband was there & she stopped eating the night before he left.

My husband left early tuesday morning for Austin to help with all the final stuff that needed to be dealt with and is now in Houston packing her house up. So that meant that a) he wasn't home for Thanksgiving and b) he wasn't home for my birthday (yes, I am a selfish, whiney little bitch) - just luck of the draw, in 14 years in the military, we've never been apart for a big holiday. 

I am very conflicted about my mother in law's death. She was not a nice person. In very many ways. But she was my husband's mother and my son's grandmother and she never knew in word or deed by me, just how much I disliked her.  Much to my guilty dismay, she spent a great deal of time bragging about the three of us.  She was in horrible pain and pretty much unless you are a Nazi or a child molester, I don't think anyone should suffer like she did. So, no, I don't think hell is waiting for her - I don't believe in it - and whatever sins she committed, real or perceived, I certainly think she paid for them on earth. The last two weeks she was alive, she mumbled constantly about the persons that were talking to her that wanted her to come home. She would gesture and wave to people in her room - so I suppose that's comforting. She was clearly going to a place where she felt wanted and missed.

But now we have the aftermath of more of the way she lived her life. She made my brother in law her executor. Why? Because he's the oldest. He is not a bad guy, but he has an 8th grade education and this has all really been overwhelming for him. My husband has taken care of everything he can...but him being executor is going to be a nightmare.

My son has been depressed for the last couple of months due to her illness and all the stress at home. He's been getting in trouble at school and I have several meetings at his school to try and get some of the mess straightened out.

My husband used up the last of his leave on his last visit home to see his mom before she passed away. He is now in what is called 'negative leave' which is what you get for emergencies. It's chargeable and he has to make it up. He gets 2.5 days of leave a month. He's going to be gone between 10 and 12 days, which means he will have no leave until the end of May. And our fabulous trip this August for our 40th birthdays - the trip to Pennsic and seeing Gettysburg and all the kitschy roadside attractions along the way? Yeah. We can fucking forget that. If he doesn't use any of it, he'll have 7.5 days of leave the end of July.  Boy, do I love the Air Force and how they 'give' you emergency leave for a death in the family.

And finally, my birthday. My mom and dad each sent me a card that arrived a few days before, so I guess they were off the hook. My husband was caught up with family stuff and forgot to call. My son is 11 - oblivious. So...I basically spent the day in an 8yr old snit because I felt like the world forgot me until about 4pm that afternoon when a couple of my friends finally got around to calling. Am I better than that? Usually. Did it stop me from being upset and depressed and pissy? Nope. I'm pretty much over it now. But it was a long day. But I did go see 'Zack and Miri Make a Porno' which was sick and wrong and parts of it were extremely funny. Justin Mewes makes me scream with laughter - he's just so broken.

But let us not forget - our Barony's Yule is this coming weekend. I am the feast coordinator and yes, of course, my husband is the Autocrat. It's all well in hand - we did as much stuff beforehand as we could because we knew what was going to happen. But it's the last thing I want to fucking deal with.

But, I can report, that I weighed 3 lbs less on Thanksgiving this year than I did last year. Did I lose the weight I needed to lose in 2008? Not by a damn sight. But did I gain back any of the weight I lost in 2007? Nope. So that's a victory. A small one. But I will take it.

Sigh. So I think I am done bitching now. It's been a shitty week. Today was St. Andrew's Day. I think I'm going to go have a shot neat of some of the exceedingly good Scotch I have in celebration of  the date and try and forget the shitty week. I have a lot to do this week and not enough time to get it done in, so I really have to move past it. Our theme for our Yule was 'War of the Roses' and I bought some of Reconstructing History's patterns for the first time. I have a dress and a doublet to finish, a truncated hennin to finish and some simple shoes to make. Oh and an event to get done....whatever.....
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    melancholy melancholy
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Countdown commencing. . . .

Holy purple cats, Major Tom......

the 10 day spiffy Victorian Clothing quest for Hallowe'en is nearing the end. Chemise? Done. Open crotch pantaloons? Done.  Corset? Done except for covering the grommets. Front placket charcoal pinstripe pants? Done. Dove grey taffeta & black stripe tartan double breasted waistcoat with black velvet buttons lined with skull fabric? Done. Black velvet awesome frock coat of awesomeness with fur collar and cuffs with pewter skull buttons? Half done. Left to do? Hubby's shirt, and the rest of my stuff (bodice, skirt & some sort of petticoat and/or bustle)- which was waiting on me to finish my undergarments so I could take proper measurements for cutting. Hubby's shoes will be here tomorrow - two tone boots with integral spats and side buttons. They are yummy. He has a plain silver pocket watch which we hung on the vest in a 'single Albert' but I found the Kewlest skull pocket watch on e-bay yesterday which I got for $6.50! It's a mass produced one, but cool, the face of the skull with the upper jaw hinges up to show the clockface inside. Can't wait to surprise him with it.....

Our skull badge is finally going to Laurel after much annoyance - can't wait for it to pass......

So, back to the salt mines, as it were. Gotta cut out a purple taffeta cravat.....promise pics soon, to my what....three readers? Snort!

In a holding pattern on the mother in law moving in front. According to brother in law's girlfriend, she feels the end is near and that my mother in law is too ill and in too much pain to travel (and some arsebite stole her cell phone and charger out of her room yesterday - can't imagine what ring of hell this douchenozzle belongs in - who steals from people dying of cancer?). I'll be talking to the nursing facility today to see if they concur, in which case the focus will swing back to getting us to Austin to see her one more time.
Burrel Textile Reproduction

Many things - some good, some bad

Okay, let's see.....my husband's terminally ill mother is coming to live with us around Nov.15th. She was in an assisted living facility because she had to get her pain meds via IV and she was getting some physical therapy. Her pic line is out, she can take her meds orally, she's able to mostly take care of herself & her physical therapy sessions are almost at an end, therefore Medicare is ready for her to be booted out. She's not ready for a hospice yet, but she is too fragile and with the super super painkillers she on, she cannot be on her own. Because I am a housewife and can be home to take care of her and because no one in the family can afford a regular nurse, we're it. I am...conflicted to say the least. This is not a woman I like or respect. And soon, it appears, I am going to be her primary care-giver. For me, it's not a question of whether I can do it - I was raised (sort of) with that whole Protestant work ethic things. Add to that, a very deeply ingrained, Southern, family-comes-before-all-else and here I am, about to move my mother-in-law into our house, basically until she dies, at some unknown time, most likely in the next six months. I'm trying to look at it with a cosmic, karmic, big-picture attitude and not fixate on the details. My son is already getting some counselling - the stress is really getting to him. My husband is super-stressed, as am I, and it's trickling down. On the one hand, I think it might be better for him if he can physically take part in taking care of her. On the other hand, as she deteriorates, it's going to be very upsetting for all of us. Hopefully, we'll be able to get her into a hospice before it gets too bad.

I am absolutely convinced that modern western society has done itself a deep disservice by so completely removing death from our lives. We want our old people to die somewhere else, where someone else can clean it up and take care of it. I deeply, deeply feel that no matter what my true feelings are for this woman, it is my duty to help care for her in her time of need. Plus, we don't have any other financial options, so I will do what I have to do. Why do I keep saying I? My husband usualy works anywhere from 12-16 hours a day during the week - making rank was great, but now he's a section chief - so lots of paperwork in addition to turning a wrench. It's going to be my day to day job to care for her. I can do it, but am afraid I may be crazy at the end of it.

Next - I got my nostril pierced mid-August. I love it, think it's supercute and realize it's my mid-life crisis. I don't give a fuck. It was almost completely healed and for some reason, I got some horrible infection in it last week and I was terrified I was going to have to take it out. It seems to be resolving itself. I don't think it will be healed enough by Hallowe'en for me to wear the new stud I bought, but I can wait.

Next, hubby and I made my first duct-tape double last night. It was very odd, both good and bad (and yes, he took the opportunity to make rude drawings on me while I was trapped like a mummy). It's very odd to see yourself, life-sized, in 3D. My son thinks it's creepy. Makes me realize that though I've lost 60lbs, it's not anywhere near enough, but also made me see it's not that bad. I discovered tonight that the measurements are way off - like 9" too large around the waist and about 6" too large about the hips. I don't know if that's just a facet of duct-tape doubles or what. I stuffed it tonight, but need more fibrefil - I don't think it's the right hardness yet. It's still fairly squishy though, which I think will make up the size difference when I start draping. I've never worked with a dummy before, so this will be a new experience for me, broadening my sewing horizons, etc. It's in aid of the yummy Victorian I am making for myself for Halloween. We're doing a sort of a Sweeney Todd, LXG steampunk thing, with real Victorian clothes, rather than the weird ren-faire like amalgam that Steampunks seem to do.

We have friends that are getting married on Hallowe'en and her wedding dress from Hell is almost done. I shouldn't call it that, it's just the fabric she bought for the bodice/corset is STRETCHY and has just been an absolute cunt to work with. I've done a ton of fittings. After recutting one of the back panels 3 times, resewing the whole thing and ripping it apart 3X, I finally got it done and sat Saturday night until 2am handcovering the  30 grommets with thread. It looked beautiful - white satin brocade corset with red satin piping on all the seams. She came over Sunday morning for the final fitting. We zipped the skirt on and I said 'hmm - that's kind of loose.' We laced on the corset. It was loose enough at the waist I could pinch a good 2" on either side. That was when she said...hmm, I guess I shouldn't have started dieting! I really, REALLY wanted in a that wild moment to chop her head off with a machete. Sigh. So, last night, I ripped the whole thing apart (around the lovely hand bound grommets). So now I have to take it in on a curve at the sides, make new piping for two seams because the seams will now be longer and then somehow manage to put all the panels back together - remembering that the back half is still sewn down because of the grommets, so it's sort of a mobius bodice. I think I will regular seam the outer layer on the sewing machine, machine sew the bottom and then whipstitch the inside sections together by hand. I think it's the easiest way to work around the grommets and make the adjustments. I can do it. I just want to kill her.

But we are all supposed to come in costume to the wedding. I love Hallowe'en and because I generally spend a ton of time making my son's custom costumes (two years ago I fabricated Clone Trooper armor out of camping foam - I was picking white spray paint out of my fingernails for weeks - but it was a kick ass costume) - my costume, usually some sort of slutty pseudo witch, gets thrown together at the last minute and then I am mad. This year, my son picked an off the rack Halo3 Costume (and he's so thrilled with it the helmet has pride of place on our entertainment center). The only thing I have to fabricate this year is the boots - no problem - we got him some chunky soled boots at the thrift and I'll build up the boot plates out of foam & spray paint, easy peasy. So, this year, hubby and are getting kickass clothes that I have already spent too much money on. I found a gorgeous aubergine satin that started it all. It's a deep gorgeous purple with this....velvet flocked lace overlay on it. So, I'm making a cuirass bodice trimmed with tons of black velvet buttons, an apron draped bustle out of the purple and then a modified bustle skirt out of black taffeta. I'm going full out, chemise, drawers, corset, fingerless mitts, purple Victorian sunglasses, awesome hat with black and purple velvet roses and tulle netting. Sigh. I can't wait to get it done and wear it. I'm cutting out most of it tomorrow (I actually bought patterns! Gasp!), but won't do any fitting until the corset's done on Thursday - I should get my bones & my busk on Wednesday and can get going on it. Yes, I'm giving myself eleven days to make full on Victorian for my husband and I. But I rock (snort) and can do it.....

So, verbal vomiting over - I think I'll blogging a lot more one she moves in. I'm REALLY going to need to vent anonymously.