Dreaming the Dream

So after many long years away, I’ve decided it’s finally time to really rejoin the SCA for really real. I played seriously from 2004-2010, and then a little in 2014, but hadn’t even unpacked my garb from the move over two years ago. (I’m still missing pieces of it – I have no idea what boxes it might be in.)

But I need people. I need MY people – the nerdy ones, the ones who geek out about hem stitches and wool types and pigments, the ones who make parchment and who cook over open fires. I need people who won’t expect me to be an authority except where I actually am one (see: nowhere, right now), and who will meet me where I am and let me find my footing in a world that captures my imagination AND my desire to create things.

D&D is amazing – I still play every weekend give or take. But D&D is 4 hours  a week, and since I’m not DMing, I’m not having to prep for a game – it’s just time set aside to do things with friends, and those friends are virtual.

I need people in real life, friends to do things with and people to teach me new things. I’ve become very focused and specialized and I miss being able to talk about all of the things I was learning. 

So tomorrow I’m going to my first SCA event in almost six years. Some of the people have changed, but others are still around – probably much better at their arts and skills than they were when last I saw them. The event is Ansteorra’s White Scarf Ruby Anniversary – celebrating rapier fighting in the kingdom that started that entire line of study and fighting in the Known World. 

This is a really apt event for me to go back to. When I first joined the SCA, I was in college in Waco (Emerald Keep), which was being run by a gentleman named Don Edward Mercer. Don Edward was Queen’s Champion for HRM Sibri in the fall of 2005, and he basically offered me a free ride (I’d bring breakfast and gas money) to whatever events he was going to. We’d talk in the car about the history of rapier fighting, about the stories and legends of the art, about the relationship between a fighter and the Queen. It set up a magical thing for me to be part of and to sink my teeth into at the same time as I was first starting to play WoW. 

So from Emerald Keep I moved to Loch Soilleir, where I still live, and there I truly blossomed – learning scribal arts and fiber arts, learning cooking and weaving and dyeing. I made friends that I’m still friends with. 

It’s hard to explain what it’s like to be spending my free time this week getting ready to event – the early morning drive, the garb, the feast gear, the packing a cold bag with snacks and things to eat and drink. The realization that I have no feast gear, no period-looking mug to drink out of. I’ll make do, but I’ve got some kit-rebuilding to do. (And I really probably need to pick up some mundane camping gear.)

But most of what I’m excited for is the chance to meet people – to have friends again that I share common interests with, or that I can nerd out with about things that are interesting to both of us. There’s so much out there to learn, and so much that I want to start doing again, that I’m having to pace myself. I’ll get there though.

And until then, tomorrow I get to go and see if the dream is still alive, in the little things. I don’t have a full set of garb yet – I’m just wearing a plain burnt orange kirtle and a white headscarf/veil. But that will come with time as well. I love making clothes for the SCA, and I think an order of linen is in my future, for a new sideless surcoat and for a proper veil and wimple. 

Wish me luck then, as I start this new (old) chapter in my life. I’ve been Anna online since 2004… but I’ve been Anne in the SCA since 2006 or so, and it’s time to try that name back on again.

Lady Anne atte Rydeforde

Starting off 2013

I usually don’t make “New Year’s Resolutions”, simply because I don’t think this is always the best time of year to be starting new things. After the bustle of the holidays, winter sets in, and I’m up for a period of resting and recharging, not reorganizing my linen closet.

At least, that was my plan, but I’ve found myself setting up some mental goals in the last week anyway, maybe because so many other people are doing it. Instead of vague, unmeasurable goals though, I want to set up things that I can actually track. Maybe I will readjust my plans after a month or so, but at least I’d like to have some idea of whether I’ve stuck to these or not. As such, I’m not making goals for the whole year, just for the month of January. Ideally I can make some of these things into habits, and if I remember, I’ll revisit them in February. That seems more manageable to me.

So what are these goals?

Eat out only once per week.

My work schedule has changed from the 9-80 to a regular 40 hour, 5 day work week. This means I’m not getting up quite as early (6am instead of 4:45), which means I’m not going to bed quite as early, which means I have a little more flexibility in my evenings. SSH and I are both feeling like we could eat better, and the more cooking I do, the less I have to eat frozen gluten free meals for lunch (which are OK, but there are only about 4 options that I consider edible, and that gets old fast). If I limit our eating out, and cook more in the crock pot, I’ll have more leftovers for that, and we’ll both be eating much healthier.

Blog once per week.

Easier said than done. I miss writing about things, and I can access my wordpress login to this blog from work, so hopefully I’ll remember to keep things updated. If I keep up with my other goals, this one should be easy, since I’ll have something to talk about beyond work and sleep.

Walk at least 1 mile, three times per week.

After a pain flare, my schedule got the better of me again, and I quit walking (and biking). I’m still tracking the miles to Rivendell, and I’m ALMOST to Crickhollow. I will be trying to walk MORE than my minimum, but 3 miles a week is my minimum goal. It’s the best time of year for walking in Texas, since I don’t have to change clothes to walk right now. Hopefully I can set up a proper walking habit. This means changing my evening schedule slightly, since I’ve been showering as soon as I get home from work, and spending the evening in PJs, but I think now that I can stay up until 10, I can make it work.

Spend at least one night per week reading.

I realized that I think I only finished two books in 2012, and that makes me pretty sad. Especially given that I used to work at a frigging bookstore, so I have no shortage of books. So I’ve set a goal to FINISH at least book a month in 2013. You can find me on GoodReads if that’s your thing. I’ll be posting there as I finish books. I’m not going to make myself read all fiction though, since I’m apparently still too easily wrapped up in things. The last book I finished was very good, but I spent a whole weekend being sad after finishing it, which isn’t super fun. Re-reading counts too, but I’m going to limit my re-reads. I do want to get through Harry Potter again, once I finish Lord of the Rings.

Spend at least one evening per week doing a craft or hobby.

This will probably be spinning, since I have my new spinning wheel to learn! It might also be knitting or sewing, or writing letters. Or maybe doing canning projects. I feel like since I started my new job, all my hobbies except “putter around on the internet” have been largely abandoned. Hence the goal of doing them one night a week! This is allowed to be done while watching television, though we’re in the Long, Dark, Miserably Baseball-less Winter, so there’s not a lot I want to watch during the week.

Meditate at least 10 minutes, two days a week.

This can include seated meditation, walking meditation, mantra meditation, or stretching/yoga type meditation, just so that I don’t get bored. I’m allowed to combine this with the walking 3 times a week goal, but I have to actually concentrate on using the walk as a meditation, not just say “well I walked, that counts for two things.”

Unfuck my house at least once a week

Those not familiar with Unfuck Your Habitat may want to check out their tumblr, about page, tips, and welcome packet. It’s suited me better than FlyLady, which was becoming a constant source of anxiety instead of helping me keep my house clean. Working 12 hour days and needing at least 8 hours sleep apparently isn’t the ideal situation to feel like you have to spend at least an hour cleaning your house every day. I like the 20/10 system, and it’s helped me keep on top of the housework in a short time on weekends. Except for laundry, which still takes several hours, but there’s not much I can do about that. Anyway, I want to continue to keep on top of that, so this is really a “continuing” goal instead of a new one.

I am hoping I’m not biting off more than I can chew, but I think it’ll be a good experiment to do for a month. If any of these proves to be obnoxious, I will not hesitate to axe them from the list. Most of this list is about having more fun and being more well rounded, and if I’m miserably sitting in my living room spinning because it’s “official spinning day” and I’m hating every minute of it, that kind of defeats the point. So maybe these are more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules (thank you, Capt. Barbossa).

Feel free to help keep me accountable for this. I’m tired of doing nothing but work, putter on the computer, and sleep! Here’s to January!

Flex nibs and flexibility

Sometimes I think my brain inherently seeks balance. Or rather, that it craves balance, and I use my various hobbies and interests to help with that balance.

I find myself involved in a lot of long-term pursuits. I’m 3 months into a new job and still firmly “in training” – it takes at least 6 months, if not a year, to get the hang of everything. I’m walking to Rivendell (a 458 mile project) … two miles at a time. I’m continuing with therapy, where nothing happens quickly. I’m growing out my hair, which takes very little actual work (just gentle delicate care), but requires a good bit of patience at half an inch a month.

So when I turn around and think about something like knitting, I’m just flat out not interested in a project that’s going to take hundreds of hours of my time. I love knitting, and knitted things. But my stick-to-it-iveness is just running out on all the other things I have going. I crave projects that I can start and finish in an afternoon. Like making pickles. Or playing with fountain pens. Or writing a letter. Or playing with markers until I have a mandala.

In some ways, I’m a little sad – I miss the big crafting projects. I really enjoy doing them. I have a whole wall of shelves full of baskets of yarn and spinning supplies, and a closet full of sewing stuff. I know and love the satisfaction of working for a long time on something and then being really proud if it when I’m done.

But I just don’t have the attention span or the patience for anything that looming just now.

I started a knitted dishcloth about a month ago, and I’ve done about 15 rows. All in that first sitting. I’ve lost interest now. (I’ve repeatedly said that this is why I’m a blogger and not a novelist. I can write a story for 500 words, but not 50,000. I don’t have the attention span, and forcing myself to do it just makes me hate myself and my project.)

I also no longer have big chunks of time to work on stuff. If I get home from work at 5:30, take a 20-40 minute walk (35 minutes gets me 2 miles at a decent pace, but some days are more tiring than others), make dinner, eat dinner, and clean up/pack my lunch for the next day… it’s getting close to 8pm. I go to bed at 9pm. Blogging happens in that hour, as does any video gaming that might happen. If I have to take a shower, back that up by another half hour. I’m trying to reread The Lord of the Rings, but that’s not been working out so well – not because I don’t love it, but simply because I want to sit for more than 10 minutes at a time to read, and doing anything involves constantly stopping to look at the clock because I don’t want to run over.

Sitting down in my hour of project time and looking at 14 repeats of a 16 row lace chart just makes me want to cry.

But I can tackle a page of calligraphy practice. Or re-inking my pens. Or a letter to a friend. Or making a mandala. Or watching a bit of baseball and blogging.

I guess sometimes I just need “instant” gratification and to feel like I’ve actually accomplished something tangible.