Monday, January 14, 2013

The Great Early 2013 List, Stuff of Legends

Ah, lists, how I have loved and hated thee throughout the years. I've got friends who swear by lists and are very good at making them and sticking to them ('sup, Kristin?! :D) but in my case I'm simply good at making them and then forgetting to cross things off them. However, once I've written something down, it does become a lot easier for me to collect my thoughts and recall what I actually need to do. Without further ado, here is my Giant List of Stuff I Need To Do as of right now. This is made, obviously, mostly for me, but I do feel it's good to share it so people know what's on my mind, more or less.

I. Katsucon

  • FF Tactics Female Samurai costume
    • Make hakama overalls
    • Sew bolero together (including white silk trim)
    • Modify gloves when they arrive
    • Style wig
    • Make forehead protector
    • Touch up katana
    • Already purchased: all needed fabrics, wig, shoes, tabi, katana.
    • Still need to purchase: Shoes? I might have already though
  • Lina Inverse
    • Modify red tunic and leggings
    • Shoulder pauldrons: create first, attach to cape. 
    • Pauldron accessories: lots of xmas ornaments, the vuvuzela things
    • Gloves: need gem accessories and cuffs added in
    • Boots: paint white, add cuff
    • Wig: minimal styling needed, just need to put bangs in & slap the headband on it
    • Already purchased: wig, boots, gloves
    • Need to purchase: plastic xmas ornaments in various sizes, red & blue spray glass paint (my can is cashed), vinyl for pauldrons (can possibly use pleather from Elly costume if enough left over), tunic & leggings set, white accents for shirt
  • Emeralda
    • Make red tunic top and culotte...things. 
    • Make mantle
    • Make stirrup bootcovers; will go over my black suede larp boots that i love
    • Style wig. Need to put in some spiky tufts and cut the whole thing shorter
    • Modify corset belt
    • Already purchased: wig, boots, zentai suit (sigh), orange makeup, fabric & patterns for outfit + bootcovers. May also possibly have fabric for the mantle
    • Need to purchase: corset belt, buckle accessories, possibly mantle fabric
  • Princess Bubblegum (for rave)
    • Remake jacket (just alter a non-stretch pink one)
    • Possibly remake dress. Current one is strapless and also meh
    • Fix up wig
    • Need either pink boots or to finish the bootcovers I have. 5 below has pink rainboots, remember this. Could also alter my old pair of white boots
    • Experiment with makeup. Either need to get the light pink Kryolan stuff or see if a dusting of blush will work fine, probably b/c it's for a rave
  • Miscellany
    • Need to buy: makeup remover wipes, various shoe pads, a couple of the 24 hour Rimmel foundations in lighter colours

II. Commissions

  • Elly for Angela
    • Need to finish fitting the dress & make the lining for it
    • Glove...things.
    • Bootcovers
    • Need to see if Angela has gotten a wig yet. Arda's Delilah in Pumpkin would be perfect.
    • Already purchased: all black & white fabrics, shoulder ornament accents
    • Need to purchase: Boots (I think Angela is getting these), wig, black gloves
  • Cloak for Micha
    • Needs to be done by SimTerra
    • Have the pattern, trim, and half of the needed black knit
    • Need to buy: closure, silver faux dupioni trim, possibly bias tape
    • ALSO need to examine the original cloak to see how the gusset was done. Probably shirtweight interfacing or felt on a triangle of twill.
  • Crowley's new Hastings costume
    • No set deadline; would like to get him at least the pants and top by the March event
    • Need to go through my fabric stash to see if I have enough muslin for the top
    • Use the extra $50 he set aside to make it a little flashier. Maybe real leather for the cape? Gauntlets? Pouches? Not sure.
  • Suzyn's Harry Potter teacher costume
    • Due in May
    • Still in the planning stages. Need to review the stuff she sent me and get back to her
  • Rose's Sansa costume
    • Lots of sewing already done
    • Need to finish the dress & add the details
    • Need to purchase: wigs. Will do this when I can afford it, as this is a gift
  • Nik's fake hakama & real hakama
    • Fake hakama to be completed asap. Real hakama to be worked on with no deadline whatsoever
    • Need to get his inseam measurement
    • Possibly have enough fabric on hand for these already, but not sure. Definitely don't have enough for the real hakama, but that is an experimental side project.
    • Will use my indigo hakama from kendo as a guideline for the real hakama
  • Other stuff
    • Need to BE VIGILANT ABOUT CHECKING EMAILS. Stay on top of it, dude.
    • Work out a better organization system, both in the sewing room and online. Need to print out and file peoples' order forms.
    • Keep facebook updated. Need to really focus on taking progress shots
    • Get the etsy store up and running. After Katsucon, make a bunch of wrap pants and harem pants and list them for quick sales. This will also help me clean out my giant fabric stash and those pants are so easy for me to make.
    • Also need to get photoshoots of more of my larp costumes (Thraggak especially). 
    • Possibly make dresses/shirts I've always wanted to try making in a few sizes, see if they sell
    • Finish up Drew's coat and a jin-baori for Kevin. So close to being done, and then more examples of what I can do for pics

III. Household

  • Get together with Mom asap to get flooring all finished. Estimate is done, just need to get together with her for payment
  • Basement. Wall. Fixed. Or. Else.
  • Update calendars for this year & hang them up
  • Need to touch up paint everywhere. It sucks, but I gotta.
  • Bedroom
    • Laundry situation. Probably best to devote a week to doing no other chores except for finally getting all of the laundry properly wrangled
      • this means Kevin needs to assemble the shelves in the closets. Start in the closet, and work outward. it will get easier, you know this.
    • Put the folding desks up on the walls
    • Move the furniture appropriately; vanity back where it belongs, dressers near the door with the mirror between them for a dressing area; set up the reading area near the windows (Craigslist furniture, ahoy!); get a new dog bed with a smaller profile; look for some kind of long cabinet so I can do my crazy thing and pick out a week's worth of outfits all at once
  • Other bedrooms
    • After flooring is done, it's time for a major culling of the stuff that's in them
    • hang leaf shelves up in green room
    • organize both closets into larp closets; try to keep them all in one room if possible
    • guest room needs to be painted and furnished; library theme. will move most of the books up there. you know what you want it to look like, just don't forget
  • Upstairs hallway
    • Need to decide on a nice neutral to paint the halls/stairwells. White is too bright/unfinished; maybe a light grey of some kind? not sure.
  • Main floor
    • Not too much here. Eventually replace the 2 white chairs in the living room with sturdier models (those ikea chairs you like are fine). Get more decorations, like a paper screen, eventually a new dining room table, etc. 
  • Basement
    • Focus focus focus on the bed couches. It will be glorious.
    • Again, the wall needs to be fixed. Once it is, the closet under the stairs can be better organized, and everything else will fall into place.
    • Move most of the books upstairs to the library room. Keep a few fun ones out though.
    • Need a new entertainment center, with shelves under it. the world market one is great. Move the DVDs from the wall shelf to this, and then use the wall shelf + some of those ikea metal wall shelves to make a manga area. All of my manga should fit there.
    • Don't forget the cabinet under the wall shelves. Make use of the space you have.
    • Bathroom needs a mirror and eventually new lights
    • Ceiling fan needs to go; need an overhead light to replace it.
    • The sewing room....yeah, you know. Would eventually like a bookshelf/desk combo for the far wall. Also need another light in there. Maximize storage. Get one of those standing laundry carts like Kristin has; keep it in the laundry room & put all completed costumes in there. this will free up the closet for stuff in progress as well as large prop storage. No more horrible crowding mess.
  • Outside
    • Still need to get the azalea bushes out front & the pine tree removed. Sooner rather than later
    • Need to plan the garden; seeds need to be started in February.
  • Windows replaced? Eventually? Idk.
  • Fence eventually? I hope so. Really, really need one.

IV. Personal Goals

  • Kendo
    • Keep it up, mang. You can actually do this
    • Do your homework, every day. Suburi doesn't take long and it feels great.
    • Need to purchase the shoaizome uniform asap
    • Keep working on your Bogu fund! Remember to ask people to contribute to that for your bday. It will be at least $800...sigh.
    • When you've got this down, start trying out the gym. Need to get stronger, and fast
  • Health
    • Need to see: a gyno regularly, a dentist, a dermatologist, the orthopaedist. maybe need to start at the allergist's again, you can probably actually do it now.
    • Keep on being less of a jerk to yourself. You're getting better.
  • Financial
    • Crush that credit card debt that trickled back in. It will take time, but you can do it.
    • Keep up with the car payments
    • Be as thrifty as possible while still moving forward. Try selling shoes/wigs/old costumes again. Focus mostly on making commissions your income
    • Make it clear to De Shazos that if I am working on call, I need to have a few days of advance notice. Yes, it seems easier to make $40 by signing a bunch of stuff, but if you could work on commission stuff that day instead, it might not be worth it. Keep good relations with them but don't let Diane bully you into doing more than expected.

...WHEW!!!! Goodness that's long. That'll do, self. That'll do.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

State of the Audrey: Stick With Me Until The End

"To know & to act: one and the same."~Samurai maxim
Wake up.
You have to. If you live your life laying on your back, perhaps you're suggesting to the Powers that Be that you'd rather not be alive after all.
--I'd hope they know better. Also, no.
I promise you, you're late to somewhere. Wake. Up. Audrey.
--Hush. You want to sleep just as much as I do. Five more minutes.
It's been twenty minutes. Get up; stop apologizing for being late.
--NO. Not...yet.

Nothing in motion and I'm satisfied.


Making an oath has always seemed like a test I'm destined to fail. I will never forget all those years ago when I screamed, tore against the tether of the suggestion that I join others in making New Years' Resolutions. My thoughts, unformed, raw, came out crude and withering, magma straight from the core.

"I never do it. I've done it in years past, and it basically seems like a way for me to guarantee that I'll fail."
Tini's puzzled, hurt look. "'s just kind of a tradition. Maybe just say something to keep in mind?"
Me, burning, ashamed, angry. "I'm not doing it. If I do, I promise I will gain 15 pounds instead of losing them. I can't."

You can change. It's just uncomfortable.
--NO. I change, mercurial, on a minute-by-minute basis. I don't even know who I am; how I can I commit to changing that?
Stop. You know you have some fundamental things to change.
--OBVIOUSLY. But if I give them voice, then they are lost. They are swept away on my fear of being held goddamn accountable. I will fail everyone, not just myself.
Then stop failing yourself.
--Ha. Ha.

That Day. Two summers ago. Beautiful, clear June day. I am unemployed. I am losing my mind. I am sinking with nothing solid to dig my nails into. I surrender briefly, I read old manga on the back porch.

The sky is flawless, a bowl of unbroken aoi. Everything is Technicolor bright, in sharp and exaggerated focus. I hear children playing, I see bees circling the berry bush in my yard. I hear the beating of each imperceptible set of wings, I notice the subtle shadows on the periwinkle berries.

I want to die.

I lay back on the porch, the stone warm on my back. I wonder when I last felt like I was meaningful.

Who says ANYONE is meaningful? Although you have a good argument; you're pretty useless in a human-animal sense.

I stop listening. I detach completely. There is nothing, no friends, no husband, no comics, no dreams, no dog, no job interviews, no fun, no faith. In that moment, it was just me, the stone under my back, the sky, and the solemn knowledge--dropped into the center of my mind like a stone sunk into a pool--that I could, without hesitation, kill myself right then. It was not to spare others the burden of my useless self, it was not to cry for help. it was not to make a point with my demise. It was simply to cease existing. That is all.

The bees buzzed on. The children shrieked and laughed. Inside, I heard the dryer indicate it was finished, I heard my dog wuff softly at the dining room window. Above me, the sky was that zealous, implacable blue, and I stared at it, let the floating miniature lives drifting across my pupils come into focus, considered that their lives could potentially end soon as well. I was arrested by that blue nothing, that haughty firmament, just as far removed from me as I was from anything that once tethered me to earth. I stopped feeling my body. I wondered if I could just die by running out of fuel for my soul.

The sky turned a blistering rose. I remembered Crayola crayons; I could smell them. I remembered my body, stiff and unhappy with the stone porch. I remembered my dog, who needed to go out. I remembered my husband, my friends. I remembered that if I killed myself, there would be no respite, no sloughing the fact that I felt like a terrible burden, because what is a worse burden than being the ones left behind to try and make sense of it all? I needed to make sense of it all.

Welcome back. Your laundry is mouldering in the washer. The dishes are half done. You left a garment in the sewing machine with the foot pressed down so you wouldn't forget. Your dog has probably already peed inside. You didn't finish sending that job application email; the cursor is blinking somewhere in the middle of the sentence mentioning your level-headedness. If you're not selfish, get the fuck up and prove it. Call that doctor Blake is seeing. Get help.

I lit a cigarette, shakily. I sucked death into my lungs, and exhaled life. Eventually, I went back inside.


"You have ADD," Dr. A-K says kindly. Everything about her is kind, sympathetic, gentle. I feel like even if she dropped a glass it wouldn't break.

"Ahhh---hhh," I breathed out--not quite a fanfare.. I thought so, yes, but at that point, it could've been crippling depression or I could've been about to turn into a werewolf, so hearing it was something that was treatable and common was a pretty big thing.

Of course you do. Take the medicine. You still have to work, but there it is, that missing piece between Knowing, Capability, Desire and Action.
--We'll see.


The medicine works! I preach of its values far and wide. I feel that grey ooze that separated me from achieving slowly begin to melt away. I assist the Adderall, I learn to pay attention to what it is directing me to do. I am profoundly grateful. That Day on the porch is remembered, carefully wrapped up, and stored away. I am amazed that it is one of the few instances in my life where I saw the bleak blue nothing, acknowledged it, and actually CHANGED. I begin to believe I can continue to grow.

Stop. You know how this ends. You get all hyped up about things and then never see them through. We both read that Cracked article about dysfunctional families and the adults they produce; please stop setting  yourself up for disappointment.
--I'll listen for now. I can't handle upsetting something so new and delicate as relative mental stability. But I AM going to find a way to change.
Okay. Sure. Go nuts.

I make an oath to Bragi. With my hands folded and my heart intent, I focus as much as I am able and swear to learn to love myself and inform others of the fact that I do.

You can't. You know you can't.

I do. Well, more or less. In the months following this oath I made, I experience the catastrophe of my parents getting a long overdue divorce in the messiest way possible; my mother accusing my father of false domestic abuse charges, when we all know who was the abusive one in that house. She presses charges to save face. I lose myself. I cannot move. I cannot rise. I don't remember this time well because there was nothing left for me to love. Any illusions of stability and being raised by a decent, strong woman were shattered to splinters. I go to Katsucon. My friends pick up my slack.

Hahaha. Of course they do. They always do. They are better than you, Audrey. Someday they will tire of you playing catch-up and leave you alone where you belong.

I protest feebly; Mean Inner Voice is right. I hate myself for being such a wreck that I can't do anything right. I go to Katsucon. I ruthlessly force myself to have fun, and I actually do. On Sunday, the illusion shatters; my mother wants me to leave the con to pick up my dad's stuff as they still can't legally see each other and I am local, convenient. I am angry. It shatters the splinters further. I get to her house early, I feel nothing for her, I load the car. I feel that blue, empty sky again with nothing but the barest hints of life in front of it; I feel that void weighing on me.

I still, obviously can't express it correctly.



I don't know how to change. Not at all. I was right; my inner Me was right; of course it is. Look at me, who if they really knew me would love me at all? I can start anything, I can be funny and charming and enthusiastic, but right when I'm met with a real challenge, I will fail every time. I will avoid it, I will run away, I will hate myself for it because I don't know why I do it. I spend so much time thinking about why other people do the things they do, and I have no idea why I do it. Audrey, so wise, so compassionate, so funny and genuine.

--No!!! Not really! It's not. I just don't treat myself the same way I treat my friends. They deserve better.
Please. You're afraid they're going to find out how uncertain, stupid, self-conscious you are. You have a gaping void where your self-confidence should be, lightly covered like a forest trap with a mat of humour and earnestness.
--That's not anyone else's fault! I love them all so much, I would be nothing without them.
Duh. That's what I'm saying. You are nothing. You are, at best, an initial adhesive between disparate friends. You bring people of actual substance together and then stand back and preach values. Shut up. 
--Obviously. I...I'm going to run my Self by my friends. They will tell me how to change.
Hmm. Maybe that'll work; you sure as shit can't do this on your own.


I hang up the phone. It's three in the morning, and I've kept someone up long past their bedtime. I am a little drunk, but I don't drink the way I used to. I still enjoy it, though, that brew that relaxes and stimulates all at once, that allows me to shut out the Voice In Italics and just experience myself as I believe others might see me.

All that said, I am still doing this wrong. I am tired, my mouth is dry, I have work in six hours and I can't shake this awful feeling that I'm holding my loved ones hostage with my inner workings laid out in minute detail.

You're causing more problems than you're fixing.
--Ah! You're back. I know. I can't stop myself, though. I have to get to know myself through those I love most. I have a Self to assemble, here.
No one cares. You're not more important than Kristin's sleep.

I cry. I don't sleep. I lie in grey wakefulness until it's time to do what I must.


Eventually, I snap. I have been overburdening people with my Self, and then I realise I have nothing left. When I look inward, I see a few scraps of life floating idly by, and a whole lot of bravado and nothingness. All of my useless words are spent; I cannot find the ones that mean "hey I know I've been up your ass with my problems lately, but I need to spontaneously disengage and recharge myself before I burn out". So I say nothing. I fall inward, and I get the first spark of hope:

Here. Here is a calm place. Now, start building yourself from the inside out, not the outside in.
--Hey. You sound almost...helpful!

I heed The Voice. We make a truce of sorts. I begin building myself. My friends are worried, think I am becoming an alcoholic, am retreating from them. I am not becoming an alcoholic (a fact i assessed extremely carefully), but I am retreating.

The next time I truly give them words, I think to myself, I will give them meaning and not just desperate pleas for advice.


I wake up one day and admire myself in the mirror.

I literally cannot remember the last time I'd done that.


"Okay, think of it like music, maybe. Like dancing. You and your partner move as one, you trust the other, you concentrate on that until you're not thinking about it, but just doing it."

Blake is teaching me about the basics of kendo, and I am enthralled. It is hot, SO hot, and I am self conscious outside their condo complex, seeing the occasional curious eyes. His comparison to playing music ensares my soul, and all at once, I understand.

Well, what do you know. You're actually improving.

 I strike. It is correct.

I am not improving evenly. I focus so much on that building of my inner Self that it is an actual room I can visualise now: a cobalt blue hexagonal room, with banners representing issues in my life I am focused on at six points. I have this and then I left those that helped me get here hanging. I forget my friends. I assume they are tired of me. I assume they are busy, they are clearly bettering themselves as well and thus they do not need me.

I am wrong, of course. They are hurt by my absence. I learn (and am still learning) that give and take, that I need not defend taking time for myself, but that I need to alert those that care about me that I remember them.

After all, if I didn't, would I ever have left that porch, staring at the too-blue sky?



I nick my hand. I fling it into the fire for Tyr. I wince because I hate blood, but I do not hate pain any more. I acknowledge it, accept it, and move with it. It is my partner; I know its stance. My Voice has changed from cruel to cautiously supportive. I don't know enough to say if this tale has a good ending, an ending of real change, but here it is: I have declared that I will change, that I will dedicate myself openly and follow through on challenges. If I fail, I will fail with no shame. I will change the smart little girl Audrey from the one who would not raise her hand in class for fear of being wrong---oh, my deep, deep shame at feeling stupid! oh, that shame---into something resembling a warrior.

Those nights of screaming, of hating, of bleakly staring, of forgetting why I was where I was: I was lost, still, just a bit of afterthought floating across the blazingly clear sky. But now, I reclaim myself. I draw myself to the earth, I feel my own presence in my too-heavy-but-still-my-body, I defiantly press my bare foot into the cold earth.

I AM HERE, I howl into the wind. I AM.

The world can take me or leave me, but I am here. I matter to myself, and that is the truest victory.

I will succeed. I know how to, now. Watch me. I am awake.