It’s all over when the fat man sings

So maybe it’s not “over” quite yet. I mean, it’s barely 2:00 PM. But the presents have been presented, the family ate breakfast with us, and all-in-all, aside from Christmas dinner at my parents’ house, Christmas is pretty much over. I haven’t even had a full day off from sewing and stuff–my husband just asked how far along I am on the Persian garb. I need to stop being so wicked; no rest, man, no rest at all.

I keep trying to tell myself that after Estrella things will calm down. I’ll have fewer sewing projects, I’ll be able to back away and take a break from SCA events, and I’ll have (theoretically) more time to write. That’s still two months away, though, and I have a crapton of things to do in those two months.

Did I enjoy my Christmas morning? Sure. It was nice having the family over, everyone seemed to love their gifts, and breakfast was tasty. But now, it seems, I don’t know what to do with myself. I could write, sure, but that’s work. So is sewing. And embroidery. I wanted a day off…but it’s not gonna happen. I can see that now.

I’ve been doing a lot of whining as of late. I need to quit that…along with quitting junk food and overeating, and quitting volunteering for all the things, and quitting not going to exercise (though that one will perhaps be the toughest, because I hate exercising in public and the group of friends I work out with now goes to a public gym).

Maybe I can be lazy for another week and save the above paragraph for New Year’s resolutions. Have a big ol’ list of stuff that I’m going to quit or give up or start or start back up. Who knows. I kinda hate resolutions, too. I tend to not get them done if they’re anything associated with me losing weight or getting healthier. The writing ones? Yeah, I can do those. Cosplay goals? If I can lose the weight, I can usually manage. It’s kind of a matter of how hard I want it, or how hard Thing X is. If Thing X is writing, I got this. If Thing X is getting on a treadmill to have half the town watch my fat jiggle, well, Thing X might not be a resolution I’d keep.

What will 2019 bring me? It’ll bring me age 40, hopefully around the time Escaping the Light hits shelves. That would be an awesome birthday present. Forty years old and a three-time published novelist, with two of them traditionally/indie published and one self-published. Yeah. A published sequel will be great for the midlife crisis. Maybe I can become a shut-in when I’m not at work and just churn out novels for the next, say, twenty to twenty-five years. Hit the Golden Years with a bunch of series and standalones.

It’s nice to dream, anyway…

‘Twas the night before Tuesday

Yeah, I know, that’s not how the line goes. But sometimes, even the day before Christmas, it’s hard to get into the spirit of the holiday.

Let me set a few things straight: I’m not Christian. So really, by “the spirit of the holiday” I mean “the spirit of giving gifts in appreciation of others.” December 25th is just a convenient, easy-to-remember day to give gifts that just happens to coincide with a day when a good portion of humanity is also giving gifts. Birthdays? Sure, I can give gifts on birthdays–if I can manage to remember them. Problem is, I tend to not remember. Facebook is about the only way I remember any birthdays, and that’s kinda cheating. Jesus’s birthday (let’s not argue the validity of the December birthdate just now) is a set date, a fixed point in time. The same every year, for everyone. Easy peasy.

I’ve got all the presents that need to be wrapped wrapped. Am I expecting much for myself? Not really–and that’s okay. It isn’t about what you get. I know people say that, but I mean it. I want to see my dad smile when he gets his gift; I want to see Mom smile. My sister, brother–I want people to be happy with what they get. What I get is inconsequential.

This is going to be a busy week–after Christmas comes a day of working on charts, then a Twelfth Night party with our household, then a full day of lasers, then a day off (whew!), then a weekend where I’m going to bow out of doing much of anything other than the craft projects that have backed up on me. I’ve got one and two-thirds Persian outfits to get done, a crapton of embroidery, and not a lot of time in which to get them finished. So I think I’m going to stay home for the majority of the Twelfth Night parties my husband has planned for us to go to. I just don’t have the time.

Speaking of which, I have a pirihan to finish.

Slow burn

I’m trying. I really am.

I get up and go to work every weekday (unless the office is closed or–rarely–I request off for an appointment or something). I work a full week, sometimes into overtime, and I hardly ever call out or ask to go home early. I clock in on time, and I stay until my boss says I can go. If that means clocking out less than twelve hours before I have to clock in again, then that’s what I do. If it means working when I’m in pain, I do. If it means working through a panic attack, I do. I can’t afford not to.

Most weekends I end up doing SCA things; whether it’s an event, a household meeting, rapier practice, or crafting various things for SCA events, household meetings, or (rarely) something just for me.

I sleep when my body lets me. Sometimes it’s six hours, more often closer to four, maybe four and a half. I drink caffeine and take Adderall to make it through the above listed days without falling asleep sitting up…or standing up. Or while driving.

I do the laundry every week, sometimes multiple days a week. Sometimes I’m aching enough that I have difficulty picking up the clothes that end up on the floor instead of the hamper…. so I leave them. Sometimes I’m so worn out from all the other things that I leave the clean laundry in the dryer for a few days and just fluff it when I need something to wear. Sometimes I go to the effort of taking the laundry out of the dryer and putting it back in the hamper until I have the energy to put it away.

When I have time alone–usually in the wee hours, when sleep evades me–I write. Or edit. Or revise. Or embroider. Or sew. Or plan and execute social media marketing stuff for my writing.

There’s more, but right now I can’t think of exactly what.

I’m trying. I really am. But I am feeling more and more burned out lately. Just thinking about the things I have to do makes me exhausted and depressed. The things that I used to do for fun are now duties. Chores. Requirements. Necessities. There are deadlines upon deadlines upon deadlines. Even the SCA events that used to get me all excited now fill me with dread. It’s not “yay! I get to do this thing!” It’s “well, I guess I have to do this thing.” 

I need some me time. Problem is, time is not something that I have available to give myself. It’s all filled with things. Work. SCA. Housework. Crafting.

I can only do so much. My body and my mind and my spirit are all stretched as far as they can go.

I need to think. Introspect. Look inside. Take all the pieces and see where they fit–and what ones shouldn’t even be in the puzzle. I need to prioritize and cut back where I can. 

Some people might feel like I’m pulling away, but it’s not trying to get away from them so much as trying to regroup.

I’m committed to several things for the next two months. I have to hold on at least that long. But after Estrella War?

I might not try as hard. I really might not.

All Wrapped Up

The holidays are upon us, and even though we’re mostly giving out Mason jars of salsa or apple butter (made by my husband–I am NOT a cook-y wife) to a lot of people, there are still some presents that needed wrapping, which is usually my job.

I did a shit job this year. Lol

In my defense, I was pretty achy last night. Long day at work, and my back was having none of my shenanigans. Still, I got about a dozen presents wrapped, more or less, so that’s an accomplishment of sorts.

My project of making little gift bags for all the apple butter and salsa flopped, mainly because the apple-butter-jar-sized bags I was making ended up being too small for the Mason jars my husband is going to end up using, and I never got around to even making a mockup of the salsa-jar-sized bags. Oh well. So much for contributing to the gift-making this year.

There’s still lots to do to keep me occupied though–I just have to find the motivation to do it. I wasted time on bags (since the ones I made were too small, I have four that aren’t even finished yet), and I still have many many sewing projects to get done in a rapidly-shrinking time frame.

Persian garb. Embroidery. More embroidery. Hemming. All that combined with work and visiting family and SCA twelfth night parties and work and …. sheesh!

I’ll get it done. I have a terrible procrastination problem, especially when I’m achy like I have been lately, but I also tend to pick up the pace in the crunch and eventually get all the things done.

Speaking of that pesky work thing, though….I gotta go get ready!

Full Plate, Table 7

I’ve done it to myself again. Gotten too many projects on my plate for the coming month or two. Sure, I’ll get them all done, but until then I have to start buckling down and prioritizing.

Projects pending (in no particular order):

1- I have to finish the embroidery for the Atenveldt royals. Of which I am less than a quarter of the way through. Deadline: about a month.

2- Persian garb for my husband and myself. Can probably step this up to get it done in time, with patterning help from a friend. Deadline: Jan 4.

3- Gift bags. These were a cute idea, but due to unforeseen circumstances no longer really truly needed. Deadline: eh, project’s scrapped at this point.

4- Embroidery for the Baroness of Tyr Ysgithir. Solid black boar about 5″ big. Deadline: Estrella War in February.

5- First official round of revisions on Escaping the Light. Giving myself a few days before diving back in. Deadline: no official deadline as of yet, but I don’t want to procrastinate too much on that.

6- Commission cross stitch for the “Boss Lady” at RhetAskew. Actually making some $$ off this one, but I’m not charging much. Deadline: none really given, and she knows I have some other projects going.

7- Non-Rus Viking garb pants for the hubs. He doesn’t dig the Rus style, so I have to find some magical time to get those done. Deadline: Probably Estrella War?

8- Finish the embroidery I started on hubby’s Viking hood that I made for him. More than halfway through with this one, but the royal embroidery took precedence (ha! SCA pun!). Deadline: Estrella I think. Hoping to crank it out as soon as I get Project 1 done.

9- Read an ARC of a sci-fi novel that I’m going to help promote. Need to know at least a few quotes from it for a game I’m going to do when I do the author takeover. Deadline: Oh yeah, this Saturday.

So yeah. I may have bitten off too big of a chunk. It wasn’t until I started putting the sewing projects on a spreadsheet to keep track that I realized what I’d gotten myself into! I can do it, though. I work better under pressure. Right? Yeah. Right.

A learning experience for all involved

Estrella War is fast approaching, and though I have a ton on my plate–between sewing/embroidery projects, revisions, and life in general I don’t have a lot of free time–so of course I decided to volunteer to teach a couple beginner embroidery classes at War.

It’s not quite been a year since I started embroidering. I am almost wholly self-taught. And I am terrible at teaching things that I can pick up without help. So why did I decide to do this??

Part of it is because I want to get better at my art, and teaching something can sometimes lead to insight to better ways to do said thing. Part of it is because I want to impress my hopefully-future-Laurel. (Yep, Guilty.) And part of it is to get over my fear of talking in front of strangers and my fear of not being able to teach.

My problem with teaching is that, as mentioned before, I tend to pick up new things without much help. I am self-taught in embroidery through Pinterest tutorials and a book my husband bought me. That’s kinda pretty much it. Not trying to brag, mind you, but it is what it is. I learn through seeing and doing. I see a picture of a type of stitch, and I do it, and there you go. All of the following were pretty much done by derping my way through it. Go to Pinterest, search Stitch A, look at pictures, practice Stitch A, lather, rinse, repeat. I’ve even done some mundane embroidery for family members thanks to this learning method.

Not everyone learns in the same manner as I do, though, and that’s the sticky part. I have to try to tailor my teaching method to help people who don’t learn the same way I do. 

It’s going to be tricky, but I think I can do it. If I’m going to teach as a Laurel some day, I need to do it. Am I nervous? Yeah, but I’ve got a few months to get over that. And I get to plan ahead. I’m not diving in headfirst without a clue as to whether or not the pool has water in it. Who knows? I might even make a tutorial post or two between now and then to give me practice at teaching without an audience, so I can work out the kinks. (Heh-heh, I said “kink.”)

I’ll get all the things done eventually. The Persian garb. The gift bags for Christmas. My husband’s Viking hood. The cuffs and hems for Their Royal Majesties’ garb. The embroidery for the Barony of Tyr Ysgithir’s new Lady in Waiting bag. New cup cover for myself, possibly? Wait. I probably shouldn’t add new projects until I finish these…..

After feast comes famine

I made it through Thanksgiving weekend, despite my stomach and esophagus rebelling against the copious amounts of food I had each day. Now I have to buckle down and get back to work on Escaping the Light, among other things. 

There’s still the original Super Sekret Projekt for embroidery that needs to be done, and the current projects I have lined up. There’s making gift bags for the Christmas holiday giving season. There’s embroidery that the Baroness of a nearby Barony asked me to do before Estrella War. There’s my husband’s Viking hood to finish. There’s two full Persian outfits to make before January. There’s a lot.

In addition to going back to my old writing and crafting habits, I have to create new eating and exercising habits. I’m tired of being fat. I’m tired of feeling sluggish and miserable. I’m going to go back to exercising with my friends, but I worry that I won’t be able to get back into the routine or keep up like I used to. They have never once made me feel bad about not being on their level physically, but my own tricksy mind has. I mean, I used to kind of be able to keep up. Now, on the rare occasions when I’ve gone back, I am far, far behind while they all have increased their stamina and endurance. It sucks.

Today I have my annual physical, too. So I have to tell the doc about the weight issues and other concerns I have…like the aforementioned reflux that has been eating away at my esophagus and is in no way healthy. It can be damn dangerous if I let it go, actually, so I need to make sure I get some kind of prescription for it. I can take OTC meds, but there might be something stronger or better for it that he can prescribe. Maybe.

The breakneck pace of constant SCA events and other running around has slowed some, but not much. I’ve got a dyeing class that I’m going to this weekend, a household meeting (we’re finally officially members of House Sable Millrind!), next weekend is Christmas shopping with household members, the weekend after is the work Christmas party, the week after that is pre-Christmas at the in-laws’ house, the week after is…something, I’m sure. Maybe that’s a weekend off–I don’t know anymore.

Amidst all of that I still have to find time to exercise, to practice rapier more, to write/revise…

…And to goddamn sit up straighter. Geez, I didn’t even have anything overly spicy or irritating for breakfast, but because I’ve been slouching I can feel the acid creeping up inside my chest. Yuck.

The good news is, the Christmas tree has been up for a few days now and no cat destruction has occurred. They’re mildly interested from time to time, but aside from sniffing it or maybe nibbling on the plastic branches, Rory and River really have been good with it. Mostly leaving it alone. Hopefully I won’t lose too many ornaments this year to feline antics.

I still have a couple of Doctor Who ornaments to put up, but they’re fragile and important to us because they were gifts, so I’m waiting until I’m 100% sure they’re at least relatively safe from the cats. 

I guess that’s about all for now. Life moves on. The wheels keep turning and all that. But I’ve got at least some semblance of a plan for keeping myself in better shape and for getting things done.

(Not so) lazy Saturday

Busy busy day ahead of me today. I have to wash fabric for some Persian garb I’m going to be making, make mock-ups of the pattern out of other fabric, clean up the house for guests, have a ton of people over for a Saturday Thanksgiving, then, knowing me, I’ll crash early (as I am wont to do) and wake up tomorrow for more cleanup and then rapier melee stuff in Tucson.

I could’ve had the mock-up started, but I kinda keep falling back asleep. I wake up and another half an hour has passed. I’ve had my Adderal, I’ve had some coffee, but clearly not enough coffee. Need moar coffee.

Super Sekret Projekt #2 (technically #1 because I did it first) is done! Can’t post pictures because the recipient doesn’t have it yet, but I will once it’s gifted. Still haven’t received the silk for Super Sekret Projekt #1, so that one’s on the back burner until I get the fabric I’m going to be embroidering.

The Persian garb is for the Twelfth Night feast my husband is feastocratting for our Kingdom. It’s a Middle Eastern theme, so we’re making Middle Eastern garb to wear. I found some really cool black fabric with a neat gold-and-white pattern on it for my surcoat, but we haven’t found a good pattern for hubby’s coat yet. We were at a cringe-worthy price range as it was with these fabrics already, so we’ll have to get him a coat fabric later on. Here’s the fabrics I have for the pants, surcoat, and undershirt (pirihan, I think?):

Hubby found the grey-and-gold fabric, which is a similar pattern to some of the fabric we used for our Italian Ren for last year’s Yule feast. It’ll go nicely with the golden yellow linen for the pants and the black patterned fabric for the surcoat.

Book 2 is stalled–again. I just can’t figure out how to make the section I’m at more interesting and suspenseful. Grr.

I guess that’s about all. I really need to get off my lazy butt and get the fabric washed. Or the mock-up maths done. Yeah, the pattern we’re using requires math. It’s easy math, but I just cringe at seeing the equations like being back in school or something. Fucking homework, man. Just when I thought I was done with that crap.

Cramped situation

I’m back to embroidering (did I ever really stop? Lol), and it’s starting to get to these arthritic hands of mine.

Whether I use a hoop or just hold the fabric myself, it seems my fingers get incredibly cramped and painful. I can only stitch for a little bit at a time, which is making projects take longer. Thankfully, I am limiting the number of projects I take on.

I have a Viking hood for my husband to embroider, of which I have gotten probably a quarter done. That’s my Current Project. My Next Project will be a mundane cross stitch for a paying customer. Then, Project Number Three in line will be a large embroidery that isn’t due until Estrella War in February. I hope to get some personal embroidery done in between Next Project and Project Number Three, but we’ll see how my hands tolerate it. I get so excited that people want things embroidered by me that I don’t take the time to say “Sorry, but I wanted to embroider X for myself first.” I need to do that. Take time for personal projects as well as commissions.

The Next Personal Project? I think some embroidery for a Viking Hedeby bag I plan on making. I have the handles, I have the fabric I need, and the rope for the strap will be easy enough to get, but I need to embroider the fabric before I put the bag together so I’m not stitching through the lining. Then after that? Maybe some subversive cross stitching or other such embroidery for hanging up around the house. Maybe something geeky. We’ll see…in March, most likely, because of time constraints.

I’ll eventually get to making garb and cosplay stuff for myself again. After I finish my Current Project and the subsequent pending projects. And after I finish Book 2 and submit it. And after….who knows what will come up next.

One down, three to go

The embroidery is done!

For now, that is. I still have one small project and two large projects ahead of me, though, so my reprieve is short lived. 

The book signing went well. I can’t remember if I mentioned that, but the bookstore sold over half of the twenty four copies I brought for them. Not too shabby for an hour and a half at a tiny store in a tiny town.

It was pretty cool signing my book for people. I signed a few copies of Whispers of Death when friends brought me theirs, but this was my first time making an appearance at a bookstore to sign a book. I enjoyed it, and I need to get busy planning how many books I need to order for bringing to Tucson Comic Con.

Sadly, I probably won’t be able to cosplay for TCC. I’ve gained too much weight. I don’t think I’ll fit any of my costumes, and there’s no way I can lose enough by then.

Oh well. I’ll still have a great time.