Manual labor

It’s that time again…not even 0500, and I’m wide awake. So what’s a girl to do? Well, if you’re me, you end up cruising Pinterest for interesting or helpful images and tutorials. My latest pin obsession? Images from medieval fencing manuals.

Yep, I’m taking it upon myself to try to learn more by…osmosis? I’m not sure what I hope to gain at this point from the diagrams, because I don’t really know how to read them properly–yet. Sure, I can see the drawing and say “Okay, so that guy is standing like so,” but when it comes to the diagrams of movements and such I’m at a loss. Lots of lines and circles all over the place. Or sometimes not even that; just static images that I guess were helpful in ye olde times for teaching fencing and rapier fighting.

I’ll learn how to read them eventually–that’s going to be part of my training as I progress in the rapier arts–but for now, they’re kind of just interesting drawings that I’m saving for the heck of saving. The Spanish Circle is especially mind-boggling, but I’m pinning it anyway.

My hope is that, once I learn how to read the manuals and translate the images into movements, I can start gaining ground in my fighting. Fencing is the first and only sport I’ve ever been remotely good at, and I don’t want to let my teacher down. Yep, I’ve finally chosen a fencing teacher who can give me good one-on-one guidance in my path. I know I’m years from any special awards or recognition as far as period fencing goes, but better to start studying now. Imagine: me, the always-did-her-homework-in-the-five-minutes-between-classes learner, actually studying stuff.

It may take me a while, but I’m going to kick this rapier training in the butt!

En garde!

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Big plans, but nothing much planned

It’s another full weekend as I head off to “war” tomorrow, but I have surprisingly little to do. There’s a guard shift and marshaling, but other than that my schedule is pretty much wide open. I might take a look at some of the other activities available at the event. Usually I stick to my comfort zone and hang out with the rapier crowd, maybe go shopping if there are vendors. This time, though, I may not want to stand around the battlefield all weekend, and I doubt I’ll do any shopping. So I might actually get a chance to check out some arts and crafts that might interest me.

Not having a period craft that I want to focus on seems weird to me. I normally jump head first into crafts, but nothing I’ve seen so far really grabs me in the way that modern crafts do. Illumination: I just don’t have enough confidence in my drawing/painting skills. Maybe the painting… maybe… but not the drawing. Beadwork? Meh. Weaving? That’s my husband’s gig, and he’s plenty good at it. Sewing? Yeah, I love to sew, but period clothing can be tough. Viking clothes are easy enough, but the later period stuff is more complex. I’m not sure I want to focus on that.
Embroidery interests me somewhat, but I’m wondering how much of a time-suck that will be… Not to mention the potential for arthritis flare-ups in my hands. Of course, any craft has that potential. I’m just not 100% committed to embroidery yet. But who knows? Maybe this weekend there will be a class that gets me hooked.

In short….

Damnit. I guess I’m not getting out of writing a synopsis for my novel.

I had felt a rush of relief when the publisher approached me, but it turns out they want to follow protocol. Which is cool, I get it, but did it have to be a synopsis? Ugh.

I guess that’ll be something I work on during my short break today. And after work. And, depending on how frustrated I get with it, tomorrow morning.

Thanks to a Facebook group I’m in (gotta love those Facebook groups) I have a guideline for making the synopsis, but it still terrifies me. I just have this fear that it’s going to be awful. Laughable, even. The same feeling goes for the outline I have to do for the publisher as well. I’m a pantser; I have very little outline before I begin, so I have to basically go through and create a post-outline. A poutline, if you will. Because I am basically pouting like a petulant child over this. 

Guess I should just suck it up and get over myself.

Here goes nothing.

Beatdown

I’m done. Done. Totally, completely, 1000% done.

Except I’m not. I have more to do, farther to go, deeper to dig. In other words, I’m shit out of luck.

Ok, let me back up a bit.

I’ve been covering for a co-worker who had surgery a week ago, and even though I learned how to do that position a little over a year ago, my training was quick and dirty. Basically, the only backup person for that position quit and I had to step up and dive in. Speed training.

Incomplete speed training.

Yeah. There are huge chunks of aspects of the position that are missing from my knowledge/experience base. Some of the things never came up during that speed training, and despite me pointing this out multiple times it has never been rectified. I literally am the only other person “trained” in this position, and as the past week has demonstrated I am not truly prepared.

I didn’t realize how much stress I was under this past week until this morning. My worsening insomnia, which I had been attributing to just me being me, has most likely been due to this sudden change in work duties. This afternoon, the buildup of stress and strain and pressure came to a head in the form of a massive anxiety attack. During the work day. Full-blown crying-my-eyes-out find-a-place-to-hide-from-reality anxiety attack.

It has been a long, long time since I’ve had an attack that bad while at work. I have to admit, I’m more than a bit ashamed of it. I thought I was past this kind of thing.

Guess not.

Now, work life isn’t my only stressor right now. I have other things going on that are probably not helping matters. Could I cut back on one or more of the non-work activities? Sure. I could. Will I? Probably not too much. Some of my private life things demand a certain degree of responsibility, and some of them involve dear friends who I do not want to disappoint or let down. So I’m going to plow through my off hours just like I’m plowing through the work stress. Will that mean more breakdowns? Probably… but hopefully I can keep any impending meltdowns to times when I can get away and hide my shame.
I’m not sure what I’ll do to destress aside from the date night that my wonderful husband has planned for tomorrow. Work will calm down eventually. I’ll get my personal life sorted to the point where I can function.

I just wish I could fast forward to this stress leveling off.

Soon, though, right? Please?

Crafty

And, thanks to my mania, I have inadvertently agreed to make at least one “tournament prize” that’s due…this weekend? I hope not, because I’ll be out of town until Sunday, but maybe my friend meant a future tournament.

See, I found this cool link on Pinterest for a fabric bento box using scraps and leftover fabric laying around. Small pieces required, so no need to buy huge quantities–and if you have enough scraps, you don’t need to buy any, really. Bonus: I have enough of my exploding TARDIS fabric left over from my Jedi TARDIS cosplay that I can make a bento box of my own–once I get bias binding for it. The pattern/tutorial, which is really cool and so far easy enough, calls for making your own binding. No offense to the designer, but eff that mess. I am going to go out and buy more binding since I’ve run out of the color I want to use.

How does this relate to the prize I agreed to make? Well, I told a friend of mine about it, and she thought it would be cool for me to make a prize (or prizes) for fighting tournaments. Which is cool and all, but, uh, where’s the time? Where’s the time, man?

I’ll tell you where it is: Work. Work and volunteering and gaming with friends and vacations and….and and and. Yeah. I keep forgetting that I have a social life now, and I can’t just stop what I’m doing to go sew/sculpt/draw/paint something. Oops.

I’ll get something done, though, even if it’s only one thing. I might have to do some marathon cutting/sewing work, but I’ll get it done.

It’s kind of fun learning new stuff, especially crafting. Perhaps this will be a good outlet for my creativity and extra energy.

Mimicry

The sewing project that I thought last night I could do without pattern or tutorial? Woke up, started it, tried it, made one little mistake that was easily corrected, and nailed it. Observe the “inspiration” picture from the pin I found:

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For more experienced sewists, probably not too big of a deal. I, however, sometimes get mixed up without photos or patterns to go on, so I kinda sewed the pockets on upside down at first. However, that was, as far as I can tell, the only mistake I made. Behold:

I didn’t add a strap to hold it closed when it’s folded up (because it was like 3am & I was not quite functional enough yet to figure that bit out–next time though; next time), but basically I did the thing. A small folding desk organizer for my craft room–or for whatever I decide to stick in there. The best thing is, I didn’t spend any extra money on it. This puppy is made 100% from scraps and leftover materials I already had from previous projects.

So now Pinterest will become even more addicting. I’ve gotten it into my head that I can do probably more than I actually can, but if I can do even half the things I’ve seen that I want to do I’ll be able to use up a lot of the scraps that have been taking up tons of space in my craft room. I’ll be able to make gifts, maybe even things to sell on Etsy or eBay or something.

Just a little copycatting, and maybe I can be productive.

T-minus 9 days

Nine days and counting until my first out-of-state war. Nine days to finish three tunics (one of the four is finally complete, one only needs the rest of the trim sewn down, one is cut but not pinned/sewn, and one hasn’t even been cut yet). I have my hands full, that’s for sure.

Thankfully, I have great friends to help out and make the time pass better. One of my friends has offered use of her home’s space to do my cutting and whatnot, as well as offering her company, both of which I am grateful for. I discovered last week that I tend to operate more efficiently (still slowly, but more efficiently) when I have someone to talk to, gossip with, whatever, than when I’m in my own workspace. I think part of it is that I get distracted by things like my phone, the Internet, and other projects that are piling up as well. None of that is really conducive to finishing these tunics.

My hope is to get the already-cut tunic finished and the not-yet-been-cut one cut and maybe pinned today. That would be a tremendous weight off my shoulders as far as the deadline to finish these. Hell, I might be able to get some trim on a couple more tunics instead of just the one.

The only good thing about this deadline is that it’s taking my mind off the reason for the deadline: the war itself. I haven’t done many rapier melees, and the ones I’ve done have mostly been practice. Okay, almost all been practice. I’ve been told it’s easier when you’re in the thick of it, but that doesn’t do much to calm my nerves about it. So far, I tend to be too slow and clunky on the field, especially compared to my more experienced comrades. Even my husband is much better on the battlefield, but I sometimes wonder if that’s due to his military experience. Hell, most of them have military experience. They know how to follow orders, how to make heat-of-the-moment decisions, all that stuff. Orders process immediately in their mind, whereas I have to think about okay, what was said? Oh yeah, this. So I need to do this. By which point in time the order for “this” has passed and they’re on to another order.

Now I’ve gotten myself all worked up over it again. Geez. I guess I should put down the laptop and get my fabric and thread together. I’ve got a lot of work to do.