Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Going Home, To The Place Where I Belong

Today was my second to last day at Casa Bueno. It passed with what I can only call a feeling of ambivalence. Today was my last shift with Shorty and Flyguy. It was my last shift with my favorite cook. It was the last time I will ever arrive forty-five minutes early to work so I can make sure the salt and pepper shakers are filled before the store opens. Its the last time I'll pick up a dozen doughnuts for the Saturday morning crew. Everyone keeps asking me if I'm excited.

Actually, I'm really not. I'm not excited. I'm not sorry, but there isn't a sense of elation either. I think part of it is that I'm not feeling the loss of the job yet. I mean, yes, I did say goodbye to Shorty and Flyguy as a coworker today. But I know, for certain, there will be many more moments of my life to share with them. I don't feel like I am losing them. Honestly, I don't feel like I'm losing much at all. Oscelot will still be working there, which means at least twice a week I'm going to be headed up there to drop her off and pick her up from work. I'll still see all my coworkers. I really like the food, so there's no doubt in my mind I'll still go there to eat. It will be the first restaurant that I've waitressed at that I will go back and eat the food.

I think the other reason I am not terribly excited is the prospect of unemployment looming ahead of me. Thursday night when Sakura was over I had him do a tarot reading for me. As he suggested, I asked only, what is it that I most need to know? The answer was clear and very straightforward. And I should have seen it coming. It told me that I need this break. And that I am so concerned with my past issues that I am terrified of what it coming. And it's true.

See, since I was fifteen I've had a job. I've never been unemployed for more than a couple months, and even then I was actively looking for a job. This time, I'm not. I'll be at home. I'll clean, I'll cook, I'll write. But I will not be out making money and contributing to the household I live in. For various reasons, this is very scary for me. I feel like I won't be earning my keep. As Sakura put it, I feel bereft. I feel empty, like I have somehow lost part of my worth. Despite the fact that I am constantly being told otherwise by my family, I feel like this is true. Like I am somehow less valuable than I was two weeks ago.

Sakura says this is a good thing for me, this break. He says he was concerned for my health. He said there was no doubt in his mind that I was putting my health, even my life, in danger with the amount of stress I was putting on myself combined with the physicality of my job. I don't know when to say when. I don't know when to stop. Its unhealthy. He says he's relieved I am taking time to look after myself. I can't see what's coming down the road, and I have to stop worrying about it.

I know he's right. There's no way of telling what lies ahead for me. I suppose that's part of my problem. I've spent my whole life working and I've relied on my psychic sense to give me warning if something new or worrisome was on the horizon. I've never just rested and relied on someone else to take care of me. I don't like it. But I'm going to have to live with it. I suppose that I can take to heart what Tiger has been telling me, which is I need to get back to writing and try to get published. I'm a good writer, and there's no reason I shouldn't be able to make money at it. I hope she's right. But in the mean time, I am being warned I need to write for myself, and with no pressure on me to succeed, because that's when I do the best work.

So, tomorrow, my last day, I'm going to do my best not to stress myself out. There have been a lot of things happen to me since I came to Casa Bueno. I split up with BBD. I had my pseudo affair with Rogue. I ran back into my Kitten, remembered the strength that love can have and married her. I met Oscelot. She moved in with us. We started dating her. I sobered up. I met Spice (who trained me, by the way) and made friends with a wonderful woman who reminds me that intelligence and beauty are valuable qualities. I met Shorty, who reminded me that there is always a reason for our past, because it gives us the strength to love and share with new people in our lives. She taught me that first impressions aren't always right, and that given the opportunity, you can find deep friendship with a person who at first seems like they are not a kindred spirit at all. I reconnected with Sakura and found that I have a deep sense of spirituality in me, and that there are people in this world who can love you for who you are and who are willing to go to any length to help you be safe and happy. I became friends with Adidas, who shows me every day that there is more to beauty than just looks, no matter how beautiful you are (and she is). That tenderness and compassion are sometimes hidden until you look for them, and that youth does not mean ignorance, and innocence doesn't mean naivete. And I met Flyguy, who is, without a doubt, one of the most special, wonderful people I have ever known. From him I have learned that there are people who will keep your secrets no matter what. I have learned trust. I have learned that there are, yes, heterosexual men out there who can love me, find me beautiful and accept my love and affection without expecting anything from me. (Swiss, I beg pardon, I mean of course, men whom I see in person.) I have learned real friendship. He is, to me, the best man I have ever known outside of my Grandfather, which is the highest compliment I can pay him.

Through all of this I have learned so much about myself. I've learned just how far I can push myself. I've learned how far I am willing to let someone to push me. I have learned to control my colossal anger. I have learned that I have more compassion than I thought myself capable of. I have learned that I am able to learn to respect people I thought I despised. I have leaned that I am not as shy as I used to be. I learned I am able to smooth over tense situations, and that I am as good as peacemaking as I am at stirring up trouble. I've learned to keep my mouth shut, I've learned to listen. I have learned to bide my time. My faith in the goodness of people has both been shaken, and also confirmed in ways I thought impossible.

I am not leaving bereft, not totally. I cannot look at the gifts I have received and be ungrateful for them. I cannot look at the love and friendship I have been given and wish I had spent my time better. I told Flyguy today that I am happy I worked at Casa Bueno long enough to have met him. I know fate would have found a way to bring him to me, but I am glad that in this case, I didn't have to wait, didn't have to wonder. I am blessed.

This will be, I think, the last time I ever work in food service. My mom tells me to never say never, but I am going to do everything I possibly can to keep it that way. I may be good at it, but truthfully, my temperament have never been suited to it. I'm taking what I can, and I will use what I have learned to make me a better person.

I'm not sure how I feel, really. Nostalgic, yes. Scared, of course. I am anticipating the coming months. I am unsure of who I am now, and who I may become. I suppose I should be excited about that. There's something beautiful about the wild unknown, right? We'll see. I'm still unsure. But then, I feel so sure about so many things, maybe this is just a new lesson for me to learn.

Oh- and in the process of telling some of my regular customers goodbye, I've found there are actually some of them who like me for who I am and not my waitressing abilities. I actually swapped email and phone numbers with Hot Doctor, whom  I have long wanted to. I figured now was the time to ask, since there was as little risk involved as possible. If I was gone, she wouldn't have to avoid the store because she said no, she didn't want to meet me socially. Fortunately, she is as nice a person as I thought, and she actually wants to attempt a friendship. We'll see. As I told her, she's a little older than me, and a doctor, and I am after all, a 30 year old waitress. There's a bit of a difference between us. Hopefully I'm right, and the mind I've always loved myself for is there, and its something I can still find value in. Something that can win me friends and respect, despite the fact that I have no personal accomplishments to speak of.

I'm signing off. I've written my emotions out, I think. I'll part with these thoughts. Thank you, to you readers, who have been there for me, supporting me in this and all of my wild decisions. I need it, and you never let me down. Also, if you haven't, click my link toSwisslet. He's running a half-marathon tomorrow and he's raising money for cancer research. He's a great guy and its a great cause. Go donate, if you can. (Good luck Swiss, I'll be thinking of you tomorrow, and wishing you all the best!)

I love you all.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Oh To Clean Up the Clutter of Echoes

Brace yourselves for another survey! This one is music themed and I found it (are you shocked?) on Sakura's blog.

Using only song names from one artist/band cleverly answer all of these questions:

I am also going to include a lovely song lyric for you on each one, because that's fun. Even if it isn't part of the rules. And really, the lyrics don't have to do with the question. I just like them.

artist/band: Ani Difranco

are you a male or female: Joyful girl "I do it for the joy it brings, because I'm a joyful girl. Because the world owes me nothing, and we owe each other the world."

descibe yourself:  I'm no heroine "I'm no heroine, at least not the last time I checked, I'm too easy to roll over, I'm too easy to wreck"

how do you feel: Smiling underneath "We could be stuck in traffic for over a week, with a car full of quintuplets who are all cutting teeth, and around my neck could be a flaming Christmas wreath, and I'd be smiling under, smiling underneath."

what is today:  The true story of what was "And outside sleep's open window, between the drops of rian, History is writing a recipe book of every earthly pain"

describe where you currently live: here for now "And you keep imagining that pretty soon you will just disappear, and thinking that one thing is what saves you from your fear of being here."

your favorite form of transportation: the arrivals gate "I want to drain my little pink heart of all its malice and kick back for the afternoon in this fluorescent palace."

describe your relationship with your ex: sorry I am "I guess I never loved you quite as well as the way you loved me, I guess I'll never really be able to tell you how sorry I am."

your best friend is: soft shoulder "Your voice sang the way my heart would sing, if it finally knew just what to say"

your favorite color is: pale purple "I'm torn, rejecting outfits offered me, regretting things I've worn, when i was still playing roles to fill holes in my conception of who I am."

if your life was a television show it would be called: Your Next Bold Move "But you've got the hard cough of a chain smoker, and you're at the arctic circle playing strip poker, and its getting colder and colder every time you lose."

what is life to you: Virtue "The one person who knows me best says I'm like a cat, yeah the kind of cat you can't just pick up and throw into your lap."

what is the best advice you have to give: What if No One's Watching "If my life were a movie, I would light a cigarette and the smoke would curl around my face, and everything I do would be interesting."

If you could change your name, what would you change it to: Minerva "You confused your journey with my journey, you tried to nail me like Minerva to your bow, but my job here is not to deliver you, but to hold a mirror until you see how"

I love Ani's song titles, and the lyrics are pretty nice too. Its how I manage to have so many of her songs as titles for my posts.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What Are You Waiting For?

Its only been a week and it seems like the difference in me is palpable already. I know I made the right decision.

Its funny, I've had a better time at work this last week than I have in years. I think its the lack of pressure. Its not that I am doing any less work, or that I am not trying as hard. I simply do not feel as though everything I do will have some sort of lasting consequence. I am seeing everything as clearly as I possibly can. I was right about some of my coworkers being wonderful, wanting to stay in touch. I'm genuinely surprised at the number of people who have told me they will miss me. I honestly thought most of them would be glad to see me go. I laughed when one said so, and told her that I thought they would be glad to be rid of a pain in the ass head case like me. Spice, with her usual touch for words, quipped, "Yeah, but you're our pain in the ass head case."  Sweet, right?

I've been stunned that most of the staff seem to think that I am leaving as a result of something Shorty said to me a couple of weeks ago. I'd ask how they know about it at all, but I have a lot of faith in the gossip mongering of my staff. Truth is, I'm a little more thick skinned than that. And I am friends with Shorty. If she pissed me off, I'd tell her to her face. She wouldn't have wanted me to quit. As it is, she put in her notice because she has moved to a new job, and if that were the reason, well, I'd stay, wouldn't I?

I did have one (well meaning, I'm sure) coworker approach Oscelot and tell her that she needed to be sure I loved her before she started supporting me without a job. Oscelot and I had a good laugh over that. Partially because we're so used to people misunderstanding our relationship and partially because that seems really cold. I mean, given different circumstances it might have sounded like this "I know your girlfriend has an incurable disease, but if she isn't giving you enough attention, you should let her die." It also has to do with the fact that this person has always been really, really nice to me. I was almost surprised. Then again, I am usually suspicious of people who are nice in the workplace with no apparent motivations. There's always a motivation. Either way, Oscelot reassured me she knows that I love her. Wasn't it her and Kitten telling me I needed to quit my job? Didn't they tell me to? And aren't I going to find one that won't hurt me when I get my health all pulled back together?

Still, life is better. I feel more relaxed. I don't feel quite as tired as I did. I am also feeling much happier and more productive. It seems like there are a good few of us going through it right now. Like one of my other dear friends, I have been feeling the compulsion to write. I actually got some outlining done last night, well, most of the novella I am attempting. I've promised myself I am going to make another go of it, and hopefully, I will be able to get back on the horse. There is, of course, the feeling that I might not be good enough. I'm going to find out, aren't I? I think I am good enough. I know I can write.

As a bonus, NaNoWriMo is right around the corner and I'll have plenty of time to write then.

In other news, we've been spending a lot of time with Adidas lately, and she and Kitten spend a lot of time at school together. they have a similar class schedule. Sakura and Felix have been spending a lot of time over too. I got to meet Felix's partner. He's a nice guy.

Mabon ritual went well, despite my lack of planning. I actually thought about starting the Samhain ritual this week. I;m going to have it done really early. With the help of my coven, of course. I think all the elders are going to work on this ritual, so it ought to be really powerful. I can't wait.

Renaissance Faire is just around the corner. I've got to finish the sewing post haste. I can do it. I've got a whole week before the faire that I'll have off.

I was also lucky enough to see my cousins this last week, and while I didn't get to spend as much time as I wanted to with them, something is better than nothing. I've been really enjoying the family bonding I've been doing the last month or so.

All in all, I'm a pretty lucky woman. I'm off to work, and then to lunch with the girls and Adidas. I might talk Flyguy into coming with us too. Then I have to write. And sew. And then I have two days off, in which I will totally be ready to bore you with the details of my life.

All my best, to all of you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

These Places and These Faces Are Getting Old

I usually blog about big events in my life almost immediately, but this time I've waited a few days to let the dust settle. On this past Sunday I put my two week notice in at Casa Bueno. This is huge for me.

I've worked at Casa Bueno for five years. During those five years I've gone from a waitress to a trainer, from a trainer to a bartender and from a bartender to a supervisor. The restaurant business itself has changes because to the recession we're in. I've gone from working in a restaurant that was so busy I made enough money I didn't feel the change in income from working in offices to being much slower. Its picked up in the last year or so, but its still not what it was. The store itself has changed too. Its had a turnover of about a hundred employees. The company has gotten new leadership and there's been some significant change to he menu and some of the policies. Some of those are pretty recent, or ongoing. That isn't why I'm leaving, though.

In the last five years I have also changed. I've gone from being a young woman to just a plain woman. I'm in my thirties now, and while thirty doesn't seem like that much of a change from twenty four or twenty five, in terms of ability and relatability to my coworkers, its startling. I've also gone from being a person who drinks and goes out frequently to one who stays home more. I've gotten married. I've become much more active in my religion. I've certainly mellowed out. If you had asked some of my coworkers five years ago the words "high strung" and "bitch" would have been likely to have been used. Now I'm not so sure what they would say. Some, I think, would call me controlling or demanding. Some would call me friend. Some would definitely see me as a pain in the ass. I am definitely more out of touch with my coworkers than I was five years ago. This is not something I have done on purpose, but more a result of me growing up, and them staying young. I don't fault them or myself for this, I am simply different from who they are. Again, possible reasons a person might leave, and definitely something to consider, but not the reason I am leaving.

I am, simply put, very tired. My health, as most of you who follow me on Facebook would be able to tell right away, is not what I would like it to be. I have a heavy suspicion that the last two months working with our new seafood specialties has contributed to this. Let's face it, I'm allergic to fish and being around it grilled in open air and serving it more frequently, it being in the plates and in the air and on my hands has left me in what is no doubt a mild state of allergic reaction for the last couple of months. My headaches, which had been getting better, are making a comeback with a strength that sometimes frightens me and with a frequency that is becoming almost debilitating. I am tired all the time. I am losing my hair. Not a lot of it, but enough to let me know that its not normal hair loss, and certainly not healthy. A couple of months ago I took a stress test and my stress levels were off the charts. A good portion of that had to do with my work situation. These are, indeed, good reasons to need a break.

It is more than that, though. Working as a waitress is to subject yourself to variable income. Nothing is ever certain. And you have to depend on the kindness and generosity of others to make ends meet. That's hard. It requires you to be always upbeat, always polite, always attentive. In the restaurant world there is no room for a personal life, problems must be left at the door. You cannot let the person you are effect the person your guests, and even your coworkers, see you as. Emotionally, this is extremely taxing. It is especially difficult for me, seeing as how I do wear my heart on my sleeve and am incapable of sugar coating anything. It makes life hard with regards to my coworkers. On top of that, being the age I am, I am growing tired of working with people who are younger than me. Its not that they aren't good people, some of them are, but they are younger than me. Their energy effects me differently. Sometimes their life outlooks irritate me. I don't live in the same world they do, plain and simple.

The politics of restaurant work also wear me out. By the time I made my entry back into food service I had been playing at office politics for about seven years. I'm good at that. The trick is to do your job right, keep your mouth shut, your head down and your back to the wall. Listen to everything, speak little. Learn your coworkers and do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Wait and be patient. Work hard. Its not the same in restaurants. In food service doing your job well makes you a target. People will see the little mistakes you make and make them larger, will point them out, will hound you for them. Mistakes not caught in time, or sometimes just made, will cost the company money and most of the time you as well. You are in constant wariness. You compete for shifts, for good positions. When you attain a position of responsibility you must constantly fight for it. You must work harder, every day, than you did before. And you must do all of these things with people who are (in my case, anyway) ten years or more younger than you. Most of them have less scruples. All of them love gossip, drama and watching the circus unfold around them. To watch someone fall from grace is a treat, and if you want to keep your job, it had better not be you.

Restaurants being what they are bring in a pretty diverse population of workers. Its certain that you will work with people wildly different from you. They will have different lifestyles and ideas. There will be people who don't like you, who will actively wish you ill. But still, to get the job done, you must work with them anyway. This is very hard. For me, to ask help of someone I know wants me gone, or to help someone I know was badmouthing me to my boss the day before is almost intolerable. It must be done, though. I've always said to my trainees, there will be people you don't like that you have to work with. Be good to them anyway. Its the only way you keep your head above water. Its the truth. Its also the truth that most of my coworkers would be hard pressed to tell me who it is I do and don't like, truly. I've played my part very well. And I am tired of the play.

I am tired. Tired of the physically demanding work. I am tired of the games. I am tired of the gossip. I am tired of having to be cheerful all the time. You know me. I am a happy person, but relentless cheer is grating on the best of personalities, and mine isn't the best. We know that. Beyond that, outside of work I have a lot on my plate. With my family things have been changing and its difficult to handle. With the coven I am always busy, there is always something to do or to plan. My friends have changed too, I have gained some new ones and lost a few old ones. That's life, and you move on from there, but its been taxing nonetheless. I have two relationships to maintain. My wife is finishing school and preparing to enter a new career. I am going to go back to school soon too, and that has to be considered.

So I am taking a break. I am fortunate to have my lovely partners, they are willing to support me while I rest and pull myself back together. They are hard workers who are able to help while I am not. They don't judge me. Instead, they have encouraged me every step of the way, doing everything they can to let me know they are proud of my decision and that they want me to be healthy and happy. I am very blessed. I will go back to work eventually. It will probably be something easy. I may look at some of the local book or craft stores and see if they need help. I might look and see if there's an office that wants someone to man the phones. I can do those things at little cost to my health, and I can enjoy them. I can also go back to school and prepare to have a career that I want to do. Something that will give me joy and a sense of fulfillment.

I will say this, I've learned a lot from my time in restaurants. I have learned that trust is something more important to me than even I had thought. I have also learned that until they give you reason to, people really aren't a very trustworthy bunch. Sometimes even the people who profess to love you will hurt you to get ahead. I've learned that people can be very good. I've learned that good people can sometimes do incredibly stupid things to ruin their lives. I've seen it in action now. Its terrifying to watch. I've learned that hard work and honesty only get you so far. I've learned that no matter how much you give of yourself, someone will always want more. I've learned that sometimes when you get what you want you don't really want it at all. I've seen firsthand that respect is something that has to be earned on a minute to minute basis and that people, after all, really do want to think the worst of you. Those things may sound jaded, but they're the truth. I'm not bitter, I'm not angry. Its not in me to be like that. I am, as I said, very tired.

I was talking to Flyguy the other day (one of the very wonderful things to come out of Casa Bueno - my relationship with Flyguy) and I told him that I realized not too long ago that he was one of the very few reasons I ever looked forward to work. It was easier to get up and face the day knowing he was there. Knowing that he would be at my back. Knowing that whatever anyone said or did, he would catch me if I needed him to. Then I realized that he loves me and that I can have those things, I can have my wonderful friendship with him without having to be at Casa. He laughed at me, as though that should have been obvious, and then gave me a big hug and told me I was right. He's not going anywhere. As for my other friends at Casa, we'll see. I've seen people come and go for so long, I know for a fact now that people who are willing to spend time with you when you work somewhere may not be willing to do so once you are not a part of their work lives. I've lost a few people that way, people I would have liked to have kept in my life. But, as they go, there are always more. I sincerely hope that I will find that the people who profess to love and respect me truly do, and that I will still see them and spend time with them. If not, at this point, I think I have no illusions. I am thankful for the acquaintance/friendship of many of my coworkers, but I've simply not got the strength to keep on just to maintain those ties. Its not worth it.

So, here I am, after five years, saying very manfully that I am a weak person. I am not strong enough for the vocation I have worked in for so long. I don't have the energy to keep up. I am paying my debts of honor, and withdrawing from the stage. Its the best I can do. At one time I would have valued myself less for having to do this. At one time I would have been ashamed. Now I am simply proud that I have learned that I must put myself first. I used to worry because I thought all there is in life is advancement, success, and money. I know better now. The best things in my life may be tangible- but its not money- its the people I hold in my arms at the end of a long day, or when they come into my home. It is the tools of my craft that give me such joy. It is the blankets I wrap myself in and the tea I drink when I have been drained of every other type of warmth. I will not give those things up for the world.

As for the world I live in now, its about to change again. I look forward to it very much.

Thanks for being with me through all of this.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Someting Wicked This Way Comes

So I found this survey on Sakura's blog and I absolutely loved it, mostly because its Harry Potter based and also because I love surveys. Thusly, you are subjected to another one, this time with a decent theme...

Harry Potter: Tell us about a scar on your body 
 I have a scar on my knee from when I was a little girl. I was at my preschool and we were having a "circus day" where we all dressed up like circus animals and preformed for our parents. I fell in the parking lot and cut my knee. For some reason it scarred. Its round, almost nearly a perfect circle, and for some reason, I really like it, it gives my knees character. 
Hermione Granger: What is your favorite book, how many times have you read it, and why do you love it? 
 Um, honestly, if you count the book I've read the most times its probably a tie between Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. I've read both of them more times than I can count. I love Gone with the Wind because I think its beautifully written and I love the characters. I think Scarlett is a brilliant female anti-hero. There's definitely a sense of pageantry about the book too, and I like that. The Count of Monte Cristo really resonates with me as a person.  I love the Count as a character, and I love the story itself. Revenge and personal redemption mixed up with action and drama thrills me. The layering of the book, and the use of foreshadowing is amazing. Its long, but for being written as a serial novel, its wonderfully cohesive, and the words are never wasted. 

Ron Weasley: Something you're afraid of? 
Once upon a time my first answer would have been spiders, but I've been working on outgrowing that fear. I think my biggest personal fear is letting the people I love down, or for them to stop loving me for something I have done. I don't know that there are a lot of tangible things that I actually I can't really name something that I can hold in my hand. 
Luna Lovegood: One thing that makes you different from everyone else. 
I won't say everyone else, but I do think that my bluntness is unique to most of the people I know. I'm pretty out there, and I won't put anything out there that I won't back up. I'm a very in your face kind of person, and sometimes that means I come on a bit strong, but I wouldn't know how to be any other way. 
Fred Weasley: Can you do any magic tricks? What is the best one you can do? If you can't do any, what's the best one you've seen? 
I can do a couple of card tricks but that's about it. I've seen some pretty amazing card tricks too. As far as illusion magic, I haven't seen enough of it in person to have a real answer, although I have to admit I went through a period where I was addicted to Cris Angel's Mind Freak, and I love the stuff that he does. 
George Weasley: What is the best prank you've ever played on someone? 
The best? I mean, those are usually pretty favorite prank is to put powdered milk or powdered gravy mix in someone's yard early in the morning in the summer. It gets wet with the dew and smells awful. But like I said, pretty mean. There was once in high school we took the top off a friend of our's jeep and filled it with boiling water and jello during a weekend he was away. It was the middle of February, so he had a jeep top full of jello when he came back. That was pretty funny. (Yes, we put the soft top on so his stuff didn't get ruined.)
Neville Longbottom: Tell us an embarrassing story. 
Oh, lord. Okay, when I was eighteen I had been doing some stuff that kept me up for a few days. I went to a friend's house after we had been clubbing and I yawned and got lock jaw. It had happened before so I just tried to relax so it would go back into place. Cue me falling asleep and my jaw dislocating, coming right off the hinge. When he took me to the emergency room and so I wouldn't have to be by myself he told them he was my boyfriend. That was awkward enough because he was a good 12 years older than me. On top of that, the people in the emergency room wouldn't believe I had done it yawning, so I got a lot of very unprofessional insinuations and big dick jokes while I was there. They gave me several shots in my butt, and thought nothing of asking me to depant in front of my supposed boyfriend. I had on shoe string style thong underwear...I was so mortified. 

Narcissa Malfoy: Do you have a good relationship with your family? Who are you closest to? 
Um, I think I have a better one than I used to. Its not what I would like it to be, but sometimes it hard to be close to people when you are very different from them. I was always very close to my grandpa, who passed when I was a teenager. Now, I'm not sure who I would say I am closest to. Honestly, I have a better relationship with Kitten's parents than I do with my own...
Voldemort: If you were to create a Horcrux(s), what would it be and why? 
I wouldn't. Because I would never kill anyone for any reason. If, in theory, I could do it without killing someone, I would use my wedding ring. 
Bellatrix Lestrange: Have you ever loved someone who could never love you back? 
Yes. Its painful. But you overcome somehow. I have also been on the flip side of that coin, and its not any easier. 
Ginny Weasley: Have you ever been in love with an unexpected person? 
Um, no. I don't think you can love someone unexpectedly. I think real love springs from admiration and respect for a person. Yes, it can come on suddenly, and sometimes I think it can surprise you, but I think the person is never truly unexpected if you really love them. 
Hedwig: If you went to Hogwarts, what kind of pet would you bring? (ex: cat, owl, rat, frog) 
You know, I have so many cats that I don't think I could answer anything other than a cat. But I would like to have an owl. Who wouldn't?
 Draco Malfoy: Is it better to be feared or to be loved? 
Loved, I think. Fear is a lonely place. 
Rubeus Hagrid: What is your favorite mystical creature? 
I assume this means something non-corporeal. I'm fascinated by salamanders and udines. 
Dolores Umbridge: Make a list of rules that your family (or whoever you choose) would have to follow if you made the rules.
Wow. Since I make the rules in my house this is pretty easy. Everyone does their fair share. Everyone supports everyone else. Decisions are made my consensus when possible. Everyone is respected and loved for who they are, and given help when needed. When you're angry, you wait, and think before you speak. Everyone gets to have their opinion heard. 
Lucius Malfoy: What is your most prized possession? 
My wedding ring. 
Molly Weasley: What is the proudest moment of your life? 
The day I married Kitten. 
Dobby: Who are you most loyal to? 
Sirius Black: Have you ever been accused of doing something you didn't do? 
Of course. 
Argus Filch: What's the worst job you've ever had? 
Oh, lord...I've had a few I didn't like. The most tedious was when I worked for an embroidery company. The work was dull, and the machines were loud. 
Dudley Dursley: How many presents do you usually receive on your birthday? 
I always ask for none. This last year I got three. I don't think there's really an average...
Peter Pettigrew: Are you a leader or a follower? 
I'm a leader. Not always a good one, but I try really hard. I think its harder to be a follower, because you have to trust the person you are following has good intentions. 
Cedric Diggory: Have you ever had a near death experience? 
None where I was on death's door or anything, but there were a few times where I thought I was going to die. As in, it medically looked like that might be a possibility. It gives you perspective. 
Albus Dumbledore: What is the greatest obstacle you have ever overcome in your life? 
I'd say my drug addiction, because that was a hard thing to beat...but truly, learning to not stand in my own way was harder. I think it was also the root of all the other bad habits I have had to overcome. There was a period in my life where I was always making the wrong choices, and I think I was almost doing it consciously, because I didn't care enough about myself or my own success. Learning to value myself, and not stop myself from being a valuable person...that was hard work and it took a long time.  

Minerva McGonagall: What is your favorite spell? 
In real life? I don't know about favorites, but I am very good a protection work. Those spells are the easiest for me now. Although I've done a few that were more dream oriented, and I love those. 
Severus Snape: Are you a trustworthy person? 
for the most part, yes. Everyone screws up, but I do my very best to be honest to everyone and to keep confidences given to me.                                                   
Remus Lupin: If you transform into any one animal or creature, which one would it be? 
This is a toss up between a panther and an owl. I love big cats but I would like to know what it feels like to fly. 
Uncle Vernon: What is your favorite day of the week? 
Wednesday. Its my first day off and I have it to myself. It gives me a sense of possibility and hope. I feel I can accomplish things on Wednesday. 
Mad Eye Moody: Who is the bravest person you know? 
Arthur Weasley: What do you think is the best "muggle" invention? 
The internet. No doubt. It does so many wonderful things. It can be awful, but it can also be amazing. Some of the greatest things that have ever happened to me were a result of me having been on the internet at some point. It has shaped my life in unimaginable ways. 
Professor Sprout: What is your favourite class that is offered at Hogwarts? 
I think I would really love herbology. 
Nymphadora Tonks: If you could change one thing about your appearance what would it be? 
My teeth. See, I could, if I wanted to go to a dentist and get them fixed. So the true answer is probably nothing. 
Moaning Mertile: What is something that always makes you cry? 
When people are hurting and I cannot help them. 
James Potter: Would you risk your life to save someone you truly love? 
Yes. If you truly love them there is no other answer. 
Lily Potter: What color eyes do you have? 
Professor Trelawney: Have you ever dreamt something was going to happen and then it happened? 
Yes. In my family its called premonition and most of the women in my family have it. Its scary sometimes, and sometimes its comforting. I've dreamed of people I love getting hurt, and I hated that. But then, I dreamed of Flyguy coming into my life, and that was a wonderful premonition. 
Mr. Ollivander: What would your wand look like? 
I don't know. It would be dark. Probably springy. And I imagine it would have a pheonix feather in it. 
Lavender Brown: Who is the last person who texted and have you ever had a crush on them? 
The last person to have texted me was Felix, and no, I have never had a crush on her. 
Cho Chang: If you were on the Quidditch team, what position would you play? 
Aunt Petunia: What is your favorite flower?
Roses. Any color. As long as its a rose. You know, I should post a picture of my roses sometime soon. They are blooming like crazy now that its finally rained a bit. I look out my window in the morning and see waves of beautiful pink and red roses. Its lovely. 

There you go friends. More survey action. Most of which I don't think I've covered before.  Except maybe that I have blue eyes. Most surveys talk about that, though, don't they?


Friday, September 7, 2012

For Pleasure of The Joyful Time

I may have mentioned it, but about a month ago Kitten came in the living room and asked me and Oscelot if we wanted to go to one of the regional Renaissance Fairs this year. We aren't planning on taking our big vacation in November, because we are going to go back to Portland in the early summer months. We agreed that it would be a nice little mini-vacation. So, the first week in October we are going to go up to Kansas City Missouri and go to their Renaissance Fair. I think we'll have a good time.

I haven't been in years, and the last time I went we weren't able to stay as long as I had liked because it was really hot. This time it should be nice and cool, because Columbus Day weekend is usually pretty fair when it comes to weather, by then the painful heat has normally passed us by. I've only been a few times in my life, and I've only been with people willing to dress up just once. So this ought to be a lot of fun.

Yes, we're dressing up. I asked the girls if they wanted to and they were amenable to the idea, so we're going to go in full garb. We are making our costumes ourselves. Its slow going, because I do not use sewing machines (I swear, I've tried to learn, its just not my thing) so we have to hand sew everything. Some of the stuff is relatively complicated to sew, too. I felt thankful that Kitten and Oscelot wanted to go in men's dress, but honestly, their stuff is turning out harder than my dress. Breeches aren't too bad, I suppose, as long as you get them to balloon out the proper way. The jackets are a little more complicated. I told them to hit the local costume shops because there is no way in Hades I am going to try and sew them period accurate blouses. I am just not that cool. I'm also going to make them nice, jaunty little hats and custom garters and all that. It should be a lot of fun to see them dressed up.

My dress...well, its already a trip. I've managed to get the under-dress (the skirting that goes underneath the overlay part of the dress) done. I used netting to help make it fluffy. There's no way I am going to custom make hoops. I did it once and it was a pain in the ass. I don't want to do it a second time.  I also managed to get the chiffon underlay that goes in the front, and shows in between the pieces of brocade, sewn in. I made a bumroll for the first time yesterday. I attached it in such a way that I can customize how big it gets and I can make it lay flat for transportation purposes. I also started stitching the brocade to the bodice and making the outer skirt. Its seriously heavy and I'm terribly afraid that the hanger I've got it on won't hold up. I would kill for a dress maker's dummy right about now. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone I know has one to spare. Otherwise I would be begging for it right now. After getting the overlay started, I've discovered that I am also going to want hiprolls and they need to be pretty substantial. Joy.

I truly love to sew, but I'm not huge on sewing with a deadline. If I could move at a slower pace I'd be liking this more. The dress would also look prettier because I could take my time with the stitches. Then again, if I could machine sew, I wouldn't have to worry about the stitches at all, because they'd be perfect. Maybe I should try to learn again, eh? I told Oscelot yesterday that if we wanted to go again next year, I would keep an eye out for the appropriate fabrics and I would sew us new outfits over the course of a year, so we didn't have to rush. As it is...well, the girls are going to have to pick up a needle and thread at some point so that I can get it all done.

My mom came over yesterday and looked at the dress and told me to quit my day job, and my aspirations of being a writer and go to school for seamstress work, because I'm really good at it. She liked it and it made me feel good, because she doesn't really praise many of my talents too often. Not to my face, anyway. And she's dead set on me becoming a famous writer. So I must be doing something right. Then again, she liked to sew by pattern, and I almost never use a pattern. I certainly am not now. I just researched the period clothing and undergarments and went to town. I do like sewing, though, that's true. I did get a giggle from my favorite little girl who works at the local craft/fabric/hobby store. I was telling her about what I was doing while eyeballing a few of the pattern books to look at the trims that the big companies prefer to use (polyester bridal lace? No, thank you) and she told me the outfit would be very authentic, since they didn't have sewing machines in the 1600's. I suppose she's right.

So all this blood and sweat is so we can drive several hours to a giant fair and drag these beautiful costumes through the mud, dirty them up and maybe never wear them again, depending on the condition that they're in. Ah, well. That's the joy of it right? On the other hand, I do get to see jousts and sword fighting and a lot of really talented artisans working their trade. I love that sort of thing. And the food will be wonderful. And we're planning on attending the Royal banquet for dinner, which means dinner with the King and Queen. Its outrageous how much they charge for this, but I'm not getting prettied up just so I can go sit in a tavern and have a wench slop beer on my gown. Well, not just for that anyway....

We booked ourselves a really nice hotel and we are probably going to do other things while we are there. I am looking forward to it all.  I'll probably skip the turkey legs, I can get those anywhere. But I am looking forward to ale, and mulled cider. I am looking forward to fresh corn on the cob (we're going on the pirate themed weekend so they're $1 each. Get it? Buck an ear?) and watching Kitten get real fish and chips. I don't know that Oscelot has ever been to one, and neither of them have been when they were dressed up, for sure, so they are excited. Kitten was telling me the other day, and I was pleased, how happy she was that I suggested that we make costumes. She said she would have thrown on stuff from her closet to look sort of piratey, and not have felt as cool. This, she says, will make it special for us. I thought it was nice of her to say so.

I am a little anxious. Being Americans, we aren't really familiar with forms of address for nobles, so I've been looking at the ranks and the titles and forms of address. I'm going to have to write them down for the girls and quiz them on the way up so that they can not make asses of themselves by calling a wench an honorable or something. I can't imagine. I also have to teach them how to properly introduce people, because, as a woman, its not really my place to talk. I also had to research the colors that certain ranks are allowed to wear, because if someone asks us who we are and where we are from, well, my town wasn't around then, so we'll need a nice story and they should know how to answer those questions properly. I mean, its all fun and games, I get it, but there are some serious Ren Fair enthusiasts out there, and they're usually the actors. I'd like not to insult them, or be fodder for off stage glee because we were unable to conduct ourselves like the lords and ladies we are pretending to be. In case you're curious, I'm pretty sure Kitten and I are going to be Count and Countess and I think we're going to make Oscelot either a Viscount or a Baronet. It depends. We have to determine what country we're from too...because I think being from England would be death to us all. I know Elizabethan history, but not that well. And I sure as heck don't know how to teach all the nuances of that to the girls. If we're foreigners, well, sometimes they get a little more leeway, don't they? Either way, our costumes are a mustard gold and black, so we're up there, but not so far up there that we're royalty. Just nobles. I've always wanted to be a noble. The last time I went I was a wench. Honestly, I'd like to be a marchioness, or a marquess (don't lecture me, Anne Boleyn was a marquess and she was a girl. And yes, I know she was only marquess because Henry VIII wanted to enoble her before he married her. That's not the point...) but explaining the nuance of a marquessate to the girls...again, maybe next year. 

I'll probably post pictures once I get the costumes done. I'll also probably mention the fair a bunch in the meantime, because it is very much on my mind. I know I've bored my FB friends to tears with dress updates. But then, each moment of progress on that thing is a little victory for me, because the last one of these dresses I made took me two months. I'm much faster and more focused now, and I'm sober, and that makes a difference. Looking back, I was thinking about how it was a shame I didn't still have it. Then I remembered that it was 17th century French and I was a size 2 then, so it wouldn't have worked anyway.

I'm really excited about it all. I rather wish we had other friends going with us, but then, that would mean they would need to acquire costumes too. Not to mention hotel rooms and the like. And a lot of my friends work with me, and that means they would need to ask off...yeah. I know how that goes.

Right. I have to get ready for work. The life of a wench is a hard one.

One month. One month and I get to pretend that Casa Bueno never existed and I have people to do my bidding and I get to wear a hugely fancy dress for two solid days. History can't get here soon enough.

See you soon!

PS- today's title is an Elizabethan song lyric from This Sweet and Merry Month of May by William Byrd. He was Queen Elizabeth I's favorite composer.