Can’t beat the heat

It’s mid-June. In Arizona. I’m about to head on a road trip in a sweltering car for three hours to a town that’s about ten to twenty degrees higher than our little mountain town.

WTF is my problem???

Guess I’m just a masochist or something. The conference/event/thing I’m going to is semi-mandatory for me (& not for pay), but I think it’ll be fun despite the weather. Meeting new people, learning new things, all that jazz. Plus I’ll have friends there, and my husband, so I won’t be all by myself. So that’s cool.

We’ll see how far I can take this peopling thing. I’ve been more socially active the past few months that in, like, the past decade. Not sure that’s really much of an exaggeration, either. Quite possibly literally a decade. And ​for a socially-awkward introvert, it should be interesting to see how I adapt. So far so good.
Right now we have friends in the car with us. I’m about to post this and then get social.

And melt… because the car temp gauge thing says 100 degrees.

Procrastination can be fun…and so, so boring

Procrastinating: a long-standing tradition of doing things other than the thing you need to do in order to avoid doing that necessary thing. One example is what I’m doing right now.

I have a certification at work that needs to be renewed every three years, with X amount of continuing education credits to be obtained over the course of those three years. Me? I’m sitting at 4 years 11 months, and I’m just cracking open the textbooks (or website, as it were) to get this done.

For a while I had an excuse; I had somehow locked myself out of the free CE website my job gives me access to. I’d forgotten my user name or password or both and couldn’t log in. So no site, no CEs. Of course, there are always paid CEs that can be obtained through the credentialing organization, but those have two pitfalls: 1) They cost money, and 2) the email address for the organization is apparently considered a “promotion” by my email server and thus any emails with offers of new classes/CE opportunities do not go to my inbox. No inbox notifications turns into an out-of-sight-out-of-mind situation. I’m human, after all; I forget.

It doesn’t help that my whole life I’ve been a crammer, not a planner. I don’t “study.” I read the material five minutes before the test and wing it. If it hasn’t sunk in during class, then I failed at listening. Most of the time it sinks in. This though? This requires doing the actual “homework” to achieve the desired goal of X number of CE credits. I can’t just show up to the tests and skip the “classes” (like I did for both semesters of college Spanish that I took). The tests are included in the reading material–and they’re based off of this reading material. I can’t just skim. I have to read it. Good Gods, this stuff is boring.

Okay, so it’s a bit interesting. If I didn’t find the medical field at least somewhat interesting I wouldn’t be working in it. And I do enjoy learning new things. I guess it’s just the read-and-regurgitate method of learning that’s making things drag. Not that video learning would be much better…that just gives me more chance to space out, and I have to rewind over and over to catch the things I zoned on.

So what have I been doing the past 4 years 11 months to procrastinate? Well, I’ve written two books; made several cosplays; hung out with friends; watched countless hours of TV; gone on vacations; etc, etc, etc. I’ve basically been living life with nary more than a background thought of these recert CEs. So lame (of me…the CEs are valid and necessary).

Now that I’ve regained access to the recert site, I should have plenty of time to get all of my CEs done. I just have to cram.

It’s the last 5 minutes before the test. Better get cracking.

Molasses

Learning can be a real pain–and a frustrating challenge.

I’ve been training in this new position at work long enough that I’m improving in one area but still stalled in another.

The prep work is killing me, time-wise. I’m so s-l-o-w that I know I’m driving my trainer crazy. I’m baffled as to why I’m not getting any faster, because I was doing this part of the position before I actually started on the “real” work of it. It’s bugging me and it makes me feel bad. Like I’m failing at simple set-up.

I know, I know, everyone learns at a different pace, but this part of the job is pretty much rote. Lather, rinse, repeat. Or something along those lines.

Another problem is my RA. The spine is not happy with the new movements and such that I’m doing. I’m hoping it’s just because I’m not acclimated to the new position and that, like the other positions I do at work, my back will adjust with time.

It’s not the pain that’s slowing my prep time down, though, not really. It’s preventing me from doing a full day of this job, which will pose a serious problem if the RA doesn’t settle the fuck down. I can’t only do half days of this. I need to be able to cover a whole day if necessary.

Beyond frustrated at this point. Now that I’ve finally worked up the nerve to do this type of work, my back is telling me I can’t do it. I’ll be really disappointed if my spine doesn’t adjust–and so will my coworkers. 😦

Ventilation

Okay, I gotta get this out.

When giving a critique to someone, it’s recommended that said critique is constructive. Talking down to the person you’re critiquing is no way to go, nor is touting your few college credits in creative writing and editing, nor is bragging about being a “published author.” I’m a published author, too. Granted, it’s self-published, but I’m published, damnit, and I’ve sold books (counting when my book was on a free promotion, I’ve sold hundreds of books as a no-name, no-creative-writing-credit nobody). Five-star reviewed, baby! Should I shove that in your face when critiquing your work? No.

I must admit, though, it made filtering through the egotistical critiques and finding the substantial ones easier. Now I just have to rewrite and resubmit to the critique group, based on the criticism that is actually pertinent and not petulant.

Frustrating doesn’t even begin to cover it. Infuriating is better.

Was I ever this snotty when giving critique? I fear I have been, in which case this critique has helped me to become a better critic in the future. I’ll take into consideration that it’s a human being I’m critiquing, not a machine.

Will I be more harsh in my upcoming critiques of her works? No. Retaliation is no way for an adult to act.

I’ll take the high road. Point out only mistakes, and leave good comments here and there to soften the blow.

Bitch better be glad I’m not vengeful.

Oh, and in case she reads this: I did RESEARCH the gender neutral pronouns I used. Do some of your own research before you go tearing into someone’s work. Ignorance is not becoming on you.

The Great Weight Debate

I’ve been morbidly obese for probably close to two years now, and while exercise is fleeting at best (going out walking in the winter sucks), hunger and cravings are exponential. Especially the cravings.

There’s a new drug on the market that I’ve seen commercials for…well, not new-new, but a new combination of two older drugs that have previously been used to treat addiction and mental illness. Hell, I’m already crazy and I’m addicted to food and caffeine, so why not give it a shot?

Next time I’m at the doctor’s (which is sometime this month), I plan on asking about this prescription to see if it’s something I can try. I mean, can’t hurt, right? I’ve even been one of the two meds before (for OCD behaviors like cutting and picking at my skin). So it’s likely safe to take with my other meds, and if the other part of the combination drug might interact with my other meds the doctor would be able to tell me.

Here’s where the PSA comes in: do not take diet pills or any such medications without consulting with a doctor. Seriously. Don’t do it. It’s dangerous as shit and most of the over-the-counter stuff isn’t really FDA regulated as strongly as prescriptions are. Some OTC stuff isn’t even FDA regulated at all, meaning there’s no QC as far as how much of what is in it or the quality of the ingredients. Even prescriptions can be dangerous, so talking with a doctor is a must. Talk with your pharmacist, too. Licensed medical professionals. People with medical and pharmaceutical degrees. Not your second cousin twice removed’s best friend who you kind of know on Facebook. Not even me. Half the time I’m talking out of my ass, but here I’m serious. Talk. With. Your. Doctor.

If you’re overweight (or even think you are), you need to see a doctor on a regular basis anyway. Get your annual physical, get weighed (as much as it sucks to do), get tested for diabetes and heart disease and any other things that can be affected by weight gain.

A lot of people try to recommend over-the-counter stuff to me for weight loss, and I flat-out turn them down. I mean, I take enough meds as it is between the bipolar disorder and the rheumatoid arthritis…do I really want to take some random OTC drug that may or may not severely interact with one of my other meds? Uh, no. I do not. I want to stay sane and safe.

I risk enough drinking as much caffeine as I do. I take a prescription stimulant to stay awake during the day because I have a tendency to nod off at random times if I don’t. No lie–they even tested my blood for narcolepsy years ago because of this. No narcolepsy associated antigen was found, but lemme tell you, if I don’t get my prescription and/or don’t have any caffeine, I’m zonked. I fell asleep a few times watching Rogue One recently. A freaking Star Wars movie! How can I do that? Well, I didn’t drink any caffeine before going to the movie. Zzzzz. Oops. But that lends to addiction, and to risk of heart problems because my pulse rate is usually sky high even at rest. So another PSA: don’t be a dumbass like me and OD on caffeine.

Anywho, to make a long story even longer, be smart about medications. Even if you think you have no other choice besides OTC “miracle” meds or miscellaneous herbal stuff, talk with your doctor. I want y’all to be safe. I want me to be safe. So I’m taking the plunge and asking about this new medication. It may be costly (most new meds are, sadly), but if I want to get serious about losing this weight I’ve got to cut my cravings, and I just do not have the self control for it. Who knows, maybe losing the weight will help me sleep better…maybe it will amp up my energy enough to where I don’t need the caffeine as much. Maybe I’ll fit into that corset for Phoenix Comicon a little better.

Lotsa maybes, but nothing’s certain until you try.

Just try responsibly.

New beginnings

Nope. Not another post about writing. Fooled ya!

This morning I’m writing about work. Weird, right?

I can’t talk about work much on social media. I work in a doctor’s office, so I have to watch what I say. Can’t be violating any privacy regulations or things like that. But also work is, like, work. It’s not that interesting … usually.

Today I start training in a new position. It’s a little nerve-wracking, because this position is super important to the surgery department. I even have study materials.

The study materials show me one very important thing: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” Seriously. I’ve cleaned and sterilized all of the instruments used (while working in a different position), but making sense of which one’s called what and is used for this or that and in what order–sheesh! It’s a lot to remember.

If I successfully train for this position, though, and it works out, I’ll have learned nearly every position someone of my level can learn there. It’s pretty interesting. Despite my bitching over not understanding all the different instruments (yet), I enjoy learning. The procedure of surgery is fascinating, and I’m excited to learn–I’m just nervous about the application of said learning.

Eventually, I’ll have to work on my own in this position. All on my own. No help. Eek!

An hour before I leave for my training today, I’m starting to feel the reality of it. You know how these things go–you know it’s going to happen, but it’s not real until just before it happens. And I’m nervous as hell. Heart pounding, stomach in knots … the whole gig.

I know can do this. I just don’t know if I can. Y’know?

Well, off to some writing to calm myself down. Or I guess I could be studying. Like I’m supposed to.

Boob Pockets! A Tutorial

Boob Pockets! A Tutorial

Did the title grab you? If you’re a cosplayer (or anyone really) who, like me, is lacking in the boobage department, you may get frustrated by some overbust corset patterns that are totally cute but totally too big. Where’s the cleave? Not here…

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Nothing. It’s a damn shame, because I worked hard on that corset. Pleather is a bitch to work with. And, seeing as how I don’t know how to alter corset patterns (yet), I thought I was stuck with it.

Not so! I came up with an idea that has turned out great, and I decided to make a pictorial to show how I “fixed” the corset to fit and look great…in time for Dragon Con, no less 🙂

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So this is the corset top. Pretty er, flat when laid flat, but still obviously not flat enough to push the girls up the way I want. My solution? Those little silicone cutlet things you can buy to go inside your bra. Buuuuut….how do I prevent a fashion faux pas and keep the buggers from falling out in the middle of the con? Of course! Boob pockets!

Thus my boob pockets were conceived. Now, this would be difficult and damn near impossible with a corset that has fused layers instead of sewn layers, so I have no advice on fused fabric corsets. I may be a noob on sewing, but I can sew through one or two layers without sewing through the top layer. So that helped a lot. It takes some practice, so maybe playing around with some scrap fabric first will help get the technique down. I’ll show you how I do it later on here. I also recommend sewing the corset first and getting the boning channels and bones in, because you certainly don’t want to accidentally sew either your boning channel or your boob pocket shut!

As you can see from the above photos, I made it so the cutlet would be removable for ease of washing…and for reuse of the cutlet with other bras and such. It took me forever to get the placement right and pick out the right kind of fabric for it. I mean, anything too rigid and the cutlet’s not going to fit right unless I sew it just right…and I’m not skilled enough to guarantee that. I decided on something stretchy, but not too stretchy. I had a pair of stretch leggings that never fit, so they were sacrificed to the fashion gods. This is how I got started:

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I placed a self-adhesive bra cup on the leggings and cut around it with the fabric folded so I got two even pieces (you can also just set the cutlet directly down on the fabric). I cut a little wider than the actual cup because A: 3 dimensions–don’t forget this in your design; and B: I wanted to give myself room to sew my basic pocket into shape before I placed it on the corset…that way I could position it easier without having to fight with an unruly cutlet.

So as you can see, I made sure the cutlet would “fit,” then I pinned around it with it between the two pieces of fabric. I left room for the cutlet to be taken out (don’t forget this!) and then removed it with the pins still intact. Now I knew that it could be stuffed in and taken out with the seam where it was, and I was ready to sew my pocket halves together, once again leaving a space open for the cutlet to be inserted and removed. Once that was done (I serged the seam, but you can zig-zag or maybe baste? I haven’t worked with stretch fabrics for very long…maybe a couple of weeks…so I’m no expert on which stitch is the best for this), I put on my corset, put the cutlet in the pocket, and started adjusting and pinning until I had the placement down. Adjust and pin carefully! You don’t want to puncture yourself, and you don’t want to puncture the top layer of corset fabric if you can avoid it.

I tried to get it roughly even with the first pocket. Since these pockets will be on the inside, they don’t have to be perfect. Besides, once you get the first one sewn, it’ll be easier to sew the other one in place evenly. Again, leave a space open for inserting and removing the cutlet. I’d put that in bold again, but I think you get the point. Next we get sewing.

So here comes the one-layer pinning and sewing. As you can see, if you’re careful, you can get the pins and needles/thread through the inner layer(s) without puncturing the top layer. On the pleather that I was using, that was particularly important because, again, the stuff is a bitch to work with. Once a hole’s there, it’s pretty much there.

You can sew it with the cutlet in or out, I guess. I sewed it with the cutlet in because I wanted to make sure it stretched tight and held the cutlet in place well. I didn’t want saggy cutlets, after all!

When you take the cutlet out, as you can see the pocket will pucker and look wonky. That’s okay. You want it like that, because that means it’ll stretch to fit the cutlet firmly. This is why stretchy fabric is so nice for this; you can accidentally sew it too tight and not have to worry about it, because it’ll stretch and you won’t have to seam rip any of your hard work.

In the bottom picture above, you can see that I also sewed the corset side of the opening down. I don’t know that this is a really necessary step, but I figured it would reduce the chance of the pocket ripping off and secure it better. Be careful not to sew the opening shut if you plan on removing the cutlet at any time.

Okay, you’ve gotten your pockets cut, pinned, sewn, placed, pinned again, and sewn onto the corset. Next, let’s see how it turned out…..

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Omg, look at that cleave! Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Ready for Dragon Con, without risk of a rogue cutlet escaping 🙂

I hope this tutorial is helpful to someone. It’s my first time doing one of these, so I tried not to forget any steps.