So much to do, so little time for nothing

Eight to twelve hours at work five days a week. Either game or events on Saturdays, then Sundays are either visiting with family/doing laundry/rapier practice or more event stuff. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings after work are for exercising, and Friday is more rapier practice. I occasionally get scheduled for a half day here and there, but inevitably someone calls out and I end up working the whole day.
That bugs the ever-living snot out of me. I feel like people see that I’m scheduled off-unless-needed and decide to suddenly be “sick” when they really just want a free day.
Why don’t I get free days? I don’t blame my bosses; they have to staff the clinic as is necessary. I kind of blame my coworkers sometimes though. Okay, most of the time. I mean, do they realize the kind of life I lead? If it wasn’t for my early-morning insomnia I’d never get anything done outside of work. No writing. No sewing. No artwork. Nothing. Just because I’m not out partying every night or don’t have kids to take care of doesn’t mean I don’t have things to do.
I’m tempted to request off more often just to get a break here and there, despite the need for PTO when I actually need the off days. I just can’t seem to catch a break.
Maybe this afternoon I’ll get the half day I was hoping for.
Maybe. But I doubt it.

As I ponder, bright and cheery

Yeah, despite the hour (it’s 4:15 in the morning where I’m at right now), I’m actually in a pretty good mood. I woke up during the night but went back to such a peaceful sleep that I almost feel like I don’t need the coffee I made. (I know better–the rush of a decent night’s sleep will fade once I get to work).
It helps that recent events have given me a boost to the ego. I did well in rapier tournaments at the last two events I went to–well for my experience level, at least–and I even got selected to fight in the finals of last weekend’s tournament despite being eliminated. It was a shock to hear my name called as one of the finalists, but it still felt damn good. No, I didn’t win–but considering I was up against fighters with years of experience compared to my five months and considering I was using a sword length that I’d never used before, I think it’s an accomplishment worth noting.
I’m also enjoying revisions on Book 1 of my series. I should have feedback on the last revision (yeah, I couldn’t resist–I revised before getting my feedback) soon, and it’s exciting to think I’m nearing the next round of edits before I move on to–you guessed it–more revisions. I want this as polished as possible before I work up that last bit of nerve necessary to brave the world of manuscript submission. (I’ll take a rapier fighter with twenty years of experience on me over a query letter any day of the week.)
My industrial piercing is angry at me but otherwise healing well. I often forget it’s there, and I’m super excited to get my sword barbell put in at the end of next month. Because c’mon, swords kick ass…quite literally, in the right hands.
I’ll also be doing more artwork in the coming weeks and months, which will be a boost to the spirits as well. I’d felt like I was in a rut artistically and almost kind of gave up on accomplishing anything worth looking at. I can’t show off the things I make here, but I know the recipients will love them and that’s what really matters.
So there you have it: a good morning. A rarity for sure, but welcome nonetheless.

Wandering blind

I’m not quite sure where I’m going
I barely know where I’ve been
I want to do more than I’m doing
But I don’t know how, why, or when
I’m not quite sure what I’m doing
I don’t know quite where to begin
To do things is not really helping
To do not seems more of a sin
I’m not quite much help as a listener
And speaking always comes out wrong
I don’t quite know what I can do
I don’t quite know how to be strong

Natural Armor +1

We all have our little defenses in life. Some of us use humor, some of us separate ourselves from people or situations that make us uncomfortable, and some of us throw ourselves full-on into work or hobbies.
My go-to defenses? I’d have to say it’s a combination of the three. If I don’t know what to say, I joke. If I don’t like the people or things happening around me, I shrink back and hide, and if I get overwhelmed with work or hobbies I dive into whichever one is the lesser of the two evils at that particular moment.
Social anxiety is one thing I have to defend myself from quite a bit. I have a terrible fear of meeting new people, having to remember names, faces, important dates–it’s just too much sometimes. In those instances, my best armor is one that would fall in the Natural Armor category in tabletop gaming…or would that be Charisma? I’m talking, of course, about RBF: Resting Bitch Face. Yes, I am an RBF sufferer. Except I don’t suffer. I use it to my advantage whenever possible.
With RBF, I can avoid social interaction should I choose. If I actually want to participate, I just have to focus on actually smiling and nodding and acknowledging the people around me. If not, I let my facial features relax and let people think what they may of me. If people want to assume that I’m a bitch, go right ahead. Then they’ll feel like assholes when they find out I’m actually quite nice and polite. 😉
Whatever your armor or defense may be, don’t let it take you out of the world completely. We all need some kind of human interaction to get by, even if it’s just a couple times a month. Let your RBF glow, but turn it off every once in a while to make friends and participate in life.

En Garde

Okay, I’m going to flat-out say it: I fucking love swords.
I wasn’t too sure about longswords at first; the first time I practiced with one, it was unwieldy and awkward, and I couldn’t get the forms right. I was so frustrated I burst into tears because of all the new input that just wouldn’t click. This elbow here, that arm there, and never mind that it feels weird or is a little painful. I was sure I’d never enjoy that form of swordfighting. Last weekend’s tournament proved me wrong.
Yeah, I had only picked up a longsword for the first time a week before the tournament. Yeah, my form sucked. But in two best-two-out-of-three rounds I managed to get one “kill” and one “double kill.” Granted, those were with different fighters and were both after I had already lost two rounds so they really didn’t count for the purposes of the tournament, but they counted to me. I was up against fighters who had years and years of practice, so just being able to hit them at all is, at least in my opinion, quite the accomplishment.
I did relatively well in the rapier tournament too, getting at least one kill or one double in each round (except against my husband lol damn his 6’4″ reach!), so I will take those as “wins” as well despite my two-out-of-three losses in each round. Again, aside from my husband I was paired against fighters with much more experience than I have–and even my husband had some experience with “modern” fencing when he was younger. So as the noobiest noob in the tournament, again, I did pretty well. To be able to kill or double kill against more skilled opponents is a great feeling, especially for me. I’ve never, never been good at sports. At all. And now I’ve found a sport that feels almost natural.
It helps to have the support of my local rapier community (and close friends), whose advice and opinions I deeply respect. For them to encourage me and tell me how well I fight given my skill level–it really makes a girl feel good.
Soon I’ll have a rapier of my own to practice with, which should help me a bit. The one I’ve been borrowing is a fairly short blade (so even with my freakishly long arms I don’t really have any bonus to reach) and this one that I’ve ordered is a couple of inches longer. A couple of inches might not sound like much, but in at least one fight last weekend I would have doubled versus lost if not for those two inches. I have to give that opponent props for halting the round until she could trade her regular-length sword for a shorter blade once she realized I was wielding a short blade to even things out. I’m 99% sure she saw how close I had been to reaching her and wanted to make the fight more even-sided.
That’s another thing about rapier, at least in my experience so far: chivalry. If there’s any uncertainty about a hit (because with some of the armor it’s hard to feel a hit or feel if the hit was “good”) there’s discussion and concession. Sure, there’s the occasional jerk who won’t acknowledge a perfectly good draw on the side or who will declare a double when you yourself didn’t feel a damn thing, but so far I’ve found that to be rare. The majority of rapier fighters, good rapier fighters, will fight honorably. And that’s super cool. How often in other sports do you see knock-down drag-out screaming matches or even physical fights? Well, I’ll tell ya, rapier is not like hockey. We don’t throw down our swords and lay into each other. Nope. Civilized, man, civilized. That’s the way to be.
I’m going to an event in a couple of months where I will know probably only one person outside of my local “circle” of rapier fighters. That should prove interesting, as I’m accustomed to the fighting styles of my friends and haven’t had much experience fighting others. I’m actually looking forward to it though; the more varied styles I can fight against, the better I’ll get.
Bring it on!

Livin' on the edge

This weekend marks the event where I’ll participate in my first tournament, and my stomach is in knots. I have no grand aspirations to actually win the tournament, but I’m going to try my best and see how far I can get. The problem is, I’m terrified of making a fool of myself. I know I’ll be up against people who have years and years of experience on me (I haven’t even been practicing rapier for six months yet), so barring some miraculous stroke of luck I don’t think I’ll get very far. So why am I doing it?
Well, it’s partly because rapier fighting is fun. I enjoy it, and it gives me a feeling of satisfaction when I do well. It’s the first sport that I’ve ever come close to being good at. It’s also partly a stubbornness thing, because I don’t want to chicken out. I want to at least be able to say that I participated, that I tried.
This weekend is also our induction into a HEMA rapier group, which is another thing that has the butterflies in my stomach flitting about. It’s another big thing in my life that I never thought would happen that I don’t want to screw up. So yeah, more nerves.
Despite all this, I think I’ll survive the weekend. It should be fun, and I might even partake of some non-fighting activities like illumination or calligraphy.
Speaking of this weekend, time to go steam some wrinkles out of some garb. 😉

So a-mused

Finally! After months of next to no real inspiration on the novels I’m working on, I was blessed by my muse with nearly 1000 new words of prose (even with quite a bit of cutting) that I think add depth and clarity to the story. Things that I’d gotten some constructive feedback about, mostly in areas that weren’t clear enough, now seem better and the flow is improved. It feels great to be back at it.
Except…the new inspiration comes at the cost of other things I need to do. Yeah, I’ve got Talk Nerdy With Us work to catch up on, sewing to do, social media stuff to tinker with….I should probably be chiding my muse for her terrible timing. Haha.
Still, I’m glad to have her back. I guess even muses need a vacation every once in a while.


What to do, what to do? I want to draw; I want to practice calligraphy/illumination; I want to sew; I want to embroider; I want to write … Making up my mind should be a simple enough thing, but this morning it’s just not happening.
I woke up early with a rumbling stomach. Guess I didn’t have enough for dinner. I ate a snack and drank some hot chocolate to try to calm my restless mind, but the longer I was up, the more I wanted to get done…and the less I actually accomplished. I started one sewing project by cutting the pattern pieces, then decided I should put that aside for another sewing project. Then I decided I wanted to try drawing some illumination designs. Then I decided I didn’t want to do either of those. Then I tooled around the Internet for a while. Got hungry again. Made more food. Printed out some designs to try to embroider (those are still on the printer, because I then decided I wanted to write).
Guess my Creative Attention Deficit Disorder has kicked in again. As soon as I set my mind to one task I’m flying off to another, and it’s terribly nonproductive. I’ve gotten my hands dipped into too many creative ventures/projects, and now I’m in creative overload.
Maybe I’ll skip creativity for more practical activities. I have a couple of articles to write–maybe by the time I get those done I’ll be better able to decide what the heck I want to do.

Another year gone by

Here it is: 38. Feels about like 37. And 36. Et cetera et cetera, ad nauseum, whatever. It doesn’t even feel a year closer to 40. It just feels like another year.
I’ve gotten a lot accomplished in the last year, I guess. Completed two full cosplays in record time (for me); finished the first draft of two different novels; started learning rapier fighting; taught myself how to sew Viking garb and stuffed animals…not too bad of a haul for a year.
Oh yeah, and there’s that house thing. Starting the process of building a home from the ground up. I suppose I should count that in my accomplishments. That’s more of a joint venture, though. The husband and I are in it together, through the thick and thin of it. Six and a half years together, five years to the day since he proposed, and a little over four years of marriage.
Do I have any special hopes for this birthday? Well, I have a few things I’ve been hoping for gift-wise, but that’s selfish stuff. I hope that work goes well. I hope that I get to leave work early enough to make it to the city for birthday dinner. I hope my friends enjoy the restaurant we’re meeting at. I hope for a free dessert. I hope the drives to the city and on to my in-laws’ are smooth and uneventful. Lots of hopes, but mostly just hoping for a good day with friends and family–after work of course.
Yep, I’m working on my birthday. I do most years; it’s kind of just another day in the grand scheme of things. Sure, sometimes I request for a vacation day so I can spend time with my family or take a day/weekend trip or just chill at home, but not always. There was even one time where I worked at two different jobs on my birthday. You gotta do what you gotta do, after all.
I’m wondering when the impending big 4-0 is going to hit me. For 30, it hit exactly one month before I turned 29; I was suddenly filled with anxiety and dread over reaching that milestone, which now seems insignificant. Will 40 be the same? Will I become obsessed with the notion that I’m “old”? We’ll see.