Weekend Update

It was a remarkably pleasant weekend:

Garden Update: Husband and I went to Gale’s Garden Center on Friday (I had the day off of work) and purchased many flowers. Most have been planted in the planters and yard. Husband may be planting the last few today while I’m in the office. 🙂 We went a little overboard on marigolds; but not so overboard; I think we’ve gone more overboard in the past, heh. Anyway, always pleasant to have flowers planted. Also when weeding the front bed prior to planting we discovered a bit of vine which had planted itself from last year’s planter! I accidentally pulled it as a weed and quickly re-planted; bonus vine! Here’s hoping it survives. Also we bought a new umbrella for the back yard table.

Archery Update: Shot Archery on Sunday; we did Royal Rounds. I… did not do well. However I *did* get one bullseye on the 40 yard target which pleased me greatly 🙂 (Now if only I’d shot well at the 30 yard or 20!) Anyway, a day shooting is better than a day NOT shooting, and the company was great and weather pleasant. Got a bit more sun than I’d like, but otherwise lovely day.

Art Update: Worked on my first self-portrait of the “UGLY” painting; I started with the letter Y as it was the first dry from under-painting. Since I want to do my SCA 40 year portrait for the U, I chose a 3 quarter pose facing the opposite direction (to balance the Y with the U). Wasn’t too happy with it at first… the light was odd in the room with the overhead light, light from windows and light from the lamp; at first I liked the odd combination of shadows, but as I painted I think it was too much and distorted the face. I tried compensating and it got very stiff and blocky… I made some adjustments last night before bed and I’m happier with it…. enough to set it aside and start the next self portrait at least. I can always go back and mess with it more, eh? Also concerned that I’ve lost some of the “Y” with how solid the portrait is. Originally I was planning more transparent, but as I kept correcting the paint got thicker.


Gratitude – Friday edition

Once again I neglected to post Thursday gratitude on Thursday; mea culpa gentle reader (or maybe readers? There may be two of you :)) so here is a Friday edition. As always, I have a lot to be grateful for:

  • Paid time off, thank you all you labor organizers who fought hard and long so I could enjoy such benefits!
  • Coffee, always. Am I an addict? Yes. Yes, I am. Mmmm…. coffee.
  • I am a stronger, healthier person than I have ever been.
  • Lovely weather
  • My pink color block dress; alas she is nearing the end of days… I have worn it a lot and do love this dress. I hope eShakti brings it back!
  • My key fob for duo login. I much prefer it to the phone ap.
  • This small green coffee cup I got at a Gwyntarian event; it was a coffee bar and you got to keep the cup. It is one of my favorites, small and handy.
  • My “Ugly” painting is moving along nicely… I’m kind of excited to do the self portrait and I know what I want for three of the four paintings.
  • Cats
  • We live in a great age for printed fabrics
  • We bought flowers for the garden today. ❤
  • I got a poppy from a vet outside the garden center. I do like to buy a poppy every year and I actually had cash on me!
  • The Huntington ATM which gives $1 and $5 bills!!
  • A lack of financial concerns in my life. Financial freedom is a rare and wonderful thing. I cannot take it for granted.
  • Avocados.

Thursday Gratitude

Hey, it’s Thursday! And as always I have much to be grateful for:

  • Paid Time Off; very glad that my employer offers vacation time and that I get to use it.
  • Sunday was a remarkably lovely day; I almost blogged about it, almost, heh. Met Marie at the Museum for a photo shoot with her Nebula Awards dress (Prom dress! hee!) and after taking photos I sat and sketched a drawing in the 18th Century French Drawings exhibit that I’ve been wanting to. Female nude study by Prudhon. Some random guy gushed about my artistic ability which was a bonus! And I got home in plenty of time to attend the local archery practice which was lovely. So let’s be grateful for a great day Sunday!
  • Wendy’s. Some days you just gotta have a junior cheeseburger deluxe and a chocolate frosty. I’m just sayin.
  • Agatha Christie; I’m really enjoying the Miss Marple short stories!
  • Jury Duty; yes, I am grateful for Jury Duty. Part of it is that I’ve always wanted to do it; maybe I watched “12 Angry Men” at too young and impressionable an age but I’ve always wanted to do my civic duty and I’m grateful to be on a Jury. Also, as they say, a change is as good as a rest and it’s definitely a change from my routine!
  • There is a coffee pot in the Jury room.
  • Goslings! It is Gosling season and there were MANY adorable little yellow floofy goslings at the Lagoon today. ❤ So cute!
  • I also saw a turtle.
  • I packed my lunch today; thank you morning me!
  • At lunch I also went into the museum, I brought my sketchbook and did a quick sketch of one of my favorite pieces. It only took a few minutes; I was still back to my office in plenty of time before the lunch hour was up; must remember that I can do this!

Thursday Gratitude

It is Thursday, and as always, I have much to be grateful for:

  • Agatha Christie; my word she wrote a lot of books. I am enjoying my quest to read my way through the Euclid Public Library’s collection of her works. In general they are enjoyable; there is some casual racism and sexism which is sometimes startling, but in keeping with the time and place the Author lived I suppose. Anyway, it’s interesting and a great brain rest trying to figure out “Who done it”
  • Data and statistics; Data doesn’t lie. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to point at numbers and say “Well… your perception may be that, but here’s reality…” Very happy to be in the field of data analytics, really enjoy my work and I see the value of it and that’s awesome.
  • Better living through chemistry continues; wish I’d gotten this prescription years ago now, heh.
  • Jury Duty; how cool is it that a private citizen can take part in our judicial process and be a part of ensuring justice for our fellow citizens? It’s pretty darn cool.
  • Public servants; there are a lot of cool people out there who have dedicated their lives to helping others and that’s awesome.
  • Cats and kittens; it is Kitten season so here’s a shout out to all the cat rescues helping those precious little kittens survive and get loving homes! (Oh if it weren’t for my husband I’d adopt them allllllll…. omg, so cute! Kittens!)
  • Coffee
  • Paid Time Off; I took a vacation day today and It’s much needed.
  • I had no trouble finding parking and getting to and from downtown earlier this week (I was very anxious about that bit, heh.) and I was on time.
  • The weather is supposed to be nice this weekend!
  • My mechanic had an opening for oil change tomorrow so I can get my poor, neglected car her oil change.
  • Said car has been reliable for me for almost 20 years! Verily, I got a good one. (She turns 20 in November.) Pardon my anthropomorphizing my car; her name is Pryia, by the way.
  • My husband did the dishes; again. (OK, he always does them… I am such a bad partner when it comes to housework!) Very grateful I have a husband who is tidy and cares about the home being clean and in good repair.
  • The Embroidery guild favor project is going very well! Very happy how many people are pitching in and making favors!

Thursday Gratitude

Hey, it’s Thursday and I have a lot to be grateful for.

  • Lovely weather today, got to wear my nice wool sweater instead of a jacket. Also wore a jaunty hat because it’s sunny; I love wearing jaunty hats!
  • Glad we went to the SCA meeting last night; I danced a bit with Master Aiden which is always very fun while my husband gabbed with his husband, hee.
  • Better living through chemistry. So I broke down and talked to my doctor about medicine and am now on a pill for cholesterol which he wanted to give me ages ago and another for depression. OMG. It works! Who knew? It’s been almost two weeks and I can tell that it is helping already. Woah. I resisted for years because I’m generally resistant to taking medicine (I should just eat better and exercise, right?) but it’s silly to continue to punish myself for not being healthy when there is medicine that works.
  • Also grateful I have a primary care physician who gets me.
  • The Women In Technology field trip last week was a success. Yay! (I was the organizer so I worry… shouldn’t’ve, it was easy peasy and fun.)
  • French fries
  • The lovely ortho fellow from Brazil is back, she’s nice 🙂
  • Coffee
  • Cats! Both cats were very affectionate this morning; perhaps they knew I was going in to the office and wanted to prevent it? hee.
  • Did I mention the lovely weather?
  • My husband is baking Russian tea biscuits. YUM.
  • So many pretty spring flowers on campus!

Weekend Update – Standard Bearer’s

Our local baronial champions event, Standard Bearer’s, is one we usually make it a point to attend. It’s small, but important. Every year I compete in the Archery champion shoot and I’ve done the rapier once. Saturday morning I was dragging my feet… I had set my thoughts on getting my rapier gear together in time to fence in the Standard Bearer’s competition… and I hadn’t done it. The weather forecast said hot, and I hate the heat. I hadn’t made it to archery practice recently and I was sure I wouldn’t shoot well. I didn’t like my garb. I needed more time to prepare for this. I was just CRANKY.

So I dragged my feet, a lot. Since the event was just around the corner from us; and archery wasn’t scheduled until the afternoon, there was no reason to be there early. I expressed not having anything to wear; and the husband suggested I wear my yellow kirtle. And it wasn’t a bad choice; I mean… it’s linen and fairly light. However the wide neck meant a lot of skin exposed to the horrible daystar… I decided to wear a high necked tunic under the dress instead of the wide necked chemise that was meant to go with it. I was angsty about how it looked… but it did cover the skin. Sure I looked horrible, I grabbed my stuff, and climbed into the car to go to the event. The husband did his best to be cheerful and positive… if not for him I probably would’ve just stayed home.

We got there; there was a coffee and pastry bar, husband got a doughnut and was happy. The breakfast bar is his favorite thing. We headed outside right away; it was cooler out of the building. We went over to the list area and socialized a little while the tournament was still going on. Husband went to the archery range and I sat and talked with Tariq a bit. Then I got lunch; started to feel a little better chatting with folks. Finally I realized there was no more putting it off; if I wanted to get some ends in before the archery competition I needed to go to the range. I sighed, picked up my bow and trudged up to the range…. and I had the wrong bow. I had grabbed my husband’s recurve instead of mine. Ugh.

Well… nothing to it but to hop in the car and drive home. In a way it was a good break; something simple and useful to do. I dropped my bowl and spoon from lunch in the sink, went up to the attic, left the husband’s bow and collected mine. Drove back to site. I was still in time to shoot. I didn’t warm up too much; since I hadn’t been shooting a lot I didn’t want to wear out my shoulder and arm on practice.

And I had a nice afternoon shooting and hanging out with friends at the range. I did not shoot as well as I hoped. I was quite disappointed, actually. But… I was in a better mood. It helped that two people complimented me on my outfit, which I had thought looked horrible.

We put the bows away, got more coffee, sat down in the shade and socialized some more. It was, honestly, a very nice laid back day once I got over beating myself up.

We went in for the court, as one does, to see who the new champions were. We got a nice spot against the wall (the floor and wall were cool and it was a bit warm in the building.) and chatted pleasantly with folks before court. The nice young man I was talking about thrown weapons with ended up being the new Standard Bearer, seems a nice bloke (I told him he should totally learn to fight holding the standard!) Velvet was made rapier champion and then… they called me up as Archery Champion! I nearly said “What the..” out loud. I was so shocked! I didn’t think I was in any danger of being picked with how I had shot that day!

Their Excellencies took me to task on what I had said to them earlier in the day “You will dedicate yourself to archery for one year” oh yeah, I said that. Right. There was a moment’s “What am I getting myself into?” pause, and then I agreed, wholeheartedly to be their Champion. I mean… this is a job I’ve applied for again and again since I first got a bow, back when I was dating Edward! We’re talking over 20 years here… I just hope that I will be a good champion and do them and the Barony proud. ❤

Best moment for me was Muldonny’s congratulations; he was so happy and genuine it made me feel so good.

So yeah… I guess I’m going to Pennsic this year.


Weekend Update

This was a very nice weekend. On Saturday I decreed that we should go see kittens! And so we journeyed to Cleveland Heights and Critical Hit Games to view their adorable foster kittens. I always feel like I aught to buy something when I’m there… but honestly I was just there for kittens.

Afterward the husband and I went to Sophie La Gourmande on Lee and got lunch and many lovely yummies for later. I really love that shop; it reminds me so much of France. And the sandwich was amazing. We also dyed eggs, because eggs.

On Sunday the husband and I did our traditional easter basket hunt. I think I did particularly well hiding his. 🙂 It was fun and I love that I married a man who likes to play and do such silly things as much as I do. Also he gets the basket with the pink bow because down with gender stereotypes! hee. We did go a bit over board on candy, as always. So many jelly beans! We live in a great age of jelly beans. We got sweet and sour ones, spice ones, black licorice and fruit juice flavors.

Afterward we went to the North Chagrin Reservation for a nice long walk; it was a beautiful day and I took a lot of photos of interesting tree stumps.

It was also a weekend of many naps, which I think I needed. Feeling a bit refreshed and alive after that… a welcome change, heh.


On Masking

A while ago a friend commented on how good I am at masking. “Before I knew you, I would’ve never known you had all these issues.” It was an odd moment as I wrestled with if that was really a compliment or not. Yeah, I’m really good at masking. Especially for someone who prides herself on honesty. I hide my struggles and issues and get annoyed at people who don’t.

Looking through my Facebook photos… it’s page after page of me looking happy. Smiling pleasantly when I was tired, sad, annoyed, depressed, suicidal… but in the photos, damn. I look happy.

I have practiced for years the fine art of looking happy. Unfortunately, that’s not the same thing as being happy.

I mask because I want people to treat me well. I want them to think I’m “normal.” I had plenty of experience as a child being different and getting bullied because of it. No one complains when the pleasant, kind normal person shows up. I don’t want to burden others with my pain, either. I don’t want to bring them down. As a compulsive people pleaser, I’m always paying attention to the moods and feelings of others and very VERY aware of how my mood can impact them. (One of the reasons I get angry with my husband when he expresses anger/frustration etc. I ask him; don’t you think about how your outburst affects me? And he doesn’t… I guess most normal people don’t. They are having emotions and expressing them.)

It means that I take burdens I don’t have to. Hold on to pain I don’t have to. Worry about how other people are perceiving me more than how to deal with the pain I’m feeling.

A wise person once said; don’t judge your insides by someone else’s outside. My outside looks great… my inside? Oh girl… it’s a mess.

The truly healthy answer is probably somewhere between masking and public tantrums… a balance point somewhere between those extremes. I do value honesty and I’ve been working on not answering “Great” or “Fine” when I am neither great nor fine. There’s a way to be honest that you’re struggling without burdening others. “Hanging in there” is my new favorite reply to “How are you doing?” It’s honest. I am hanging in there.


Thursday Gratitude

I am grateful that I remembered it’s Thursday and to post my weekly gratitude post. As always, there is a lot to be grateful for;

  • My schedule is remarkably free of meetings today; very good as I am lacking in my energy and enthusiasm for such today.
  • The Cleveland Museum of Art – the south entrance is now open! Yay! I can walk to the museum on my lunchbreak and look at some art and make it back to the office in time easily when the south entrance (Closest to me entrance!) is open.
  • Flowers; I dislike the spring in general, but I do love the flowers and blooming trees. Every snowdrop, crocus, daffodil and hyacinth makes me smile a bit 🙂
  • Coffee which makes all things possible. Today I had my first cup of the coffee Katie gave me as a parting gift.
  • The joy of crumpling an old to do list and tossing it into the bin
  • Mechanical pencils
  • cats
  • naps
  • I have my therapist appointment tonight, yay therapy!
  • The storm yesterday was actually fairly mild and I got a walk in before it easily.
  • The smell of rain

But you were always such a happy child…

Quote from a neighbor, sometime after our Dad got custody of us and we were talking about how horrible our mother had been “But you were so devoted to your mother! You were always hanging all over her.”

At the time I was deeply ashamed, she was right, of course. I was constantly telling my mother that I loved her and bringing her small presents, showing her affection in any way my small child brain could figure out. Now I’m more forgiving toward child me. This was a defensive action I was taking. I knew that my continued safety relied on Mom being happy so of course I did everything I could think of to try and keep her happy! She was always asking us if we loved her, so I learned to say it constantly. (And how gut wrenching was it for me, when I recognized this same behavior in another child. The fawning attention toward her mother… it showed me that she was probably being abused.)

Quote from our Aunt, who still hasn’t quite accepted that we were abused children and do not want to see our mother. “But you were always such happy children!”

Of course, in public. In public we were free, momentarily, and able to be normal children and receive attention and even a little love. We were happy when adults like our Aunt visited. Not only was she always kind to us, but it was a respite from abuse.

There’s this image in the popular mind of the abused child, like Cosette in Les Miserable, always sad and forlorn little waif, never smiling and playing. But in truth; the smiling child hugging their parent can be an abused child too. We played and laughed and enjoyed our moments of freedom. And I do remember our mother rolling her eyes at our antics and saying to the other adults about how much of a handful we were; and getting sympathy for having such rambunctious children. Just another incident of her telling us that we were the problem, and the other adults always agreed with her, so how were we to know it wasn’t true?

Just to say; abusers are great at grooming their victims and hiding their abuse. I wish more adults were versed in spotting the signs. They are frequently not obvious and not what you’d expect.

Our Aunt Jean, mother, Dad, older sister Terrisa in the back row, me, Marie and our cousins Tommy and Doug in front. Circa 1980