Life of an Imperial Barbarian
|Basileus Basileon Basileuon Basileonton|
|May. 22nd, 2015 @ 11:31 am Antici.......|
Current Location: dinning room tableI thought today was going to be Go Time(tm).
Current Mood: restless
Current Music: Tighten Up by the Black Keys
I woke up in the wee hours one big flex-ball of muscle and a slightly panicky sense of nausea. When I could breath again, I shuffled to the bathroom in case the nausea should increase (and for obvious reason) but the feeling passed and I didn't have reapeat of any sort of body length flexing. It's not painful, more like a momentary case of paralysis caused by ridgid muscle and a forced held breath. I suppose lack of bodily control would put people into a painful panicked headspace, but I have never been overly troubled by the sensation.
I went back to sleep to highly detailed and realistic dreams, which while occasionally upsetting were also occasionally amusing. I don't often dream of my sister, let alone in a hijinks plot line along with old co-workers in a gamer convention setting.
When I woke again, I just laid in bed, wondering if today was the day or this weekend, but after a half hour of staring at the clock, I guess we're no closer to Go Time(tm) than any other day.
My last appointment with the good doctor had a check under the hood. 60% effaced and 2-3 cm dilated. For some women, that's a "Get all your shit in one ditty bag and grab lunch on your way to the hospital". I can hang for a week or more at halfway dilated and fully effaced. For the non-stop action of my monsters, they've been generally uninterested in actually making an appearance. Okay, save for Liam. He was right on time. In fact, I can safely say it is the only time he's ever been timely in his entire life thus far. Used up all his mojo on Day One, apparently.
I am 39 weeks as of today, so I could technically go at any moment. Like a volcano! Sera has been at my mother's house since Tuesday, figuring she was the only weak link in my emergency contingeny plan should I go into labor in the middle of the day. I thought it was awfully brave of my mom to take on a four year old for what could easily amount to a three week stay at grandma's (based on my tendency to go a week past due) as Sera is neither shy, nor retiring, and on the verge of not needing naps any more - a staple of my mother's entire life. Seriously, my childhood revolved around her nap schedule.
This repreive has allowed me a sense of leisure without the crippling guilt of letting my daughter go feral. Not to say mom isn't probably letting her watch as much tv as she was getting here (possibly more) and probably twice as much junk food (here she at leasts snacks on fruit, cheese, and an amazing amount of salami), but she's probably getting a lot more attention. This is good. My mother has always preferred boys to girls (this is a wide spread family issue) and I've been slightly concerned Sera was going to get some Second Class Citizen action going on there, so this bonding might be good for the both of them. I've not had the energy to give her much attention and the pitiful way she cries that she has no one to play with and wants to go ride her bike and go to the park and all those active things I just can't manage in my Hippo Stage just adds to my Maternal Sense of Failure.
The boys continue going on with school and homework/fucks to give have pretty much dried up. We've hit the filler days of walking to the library and game days and the like. I'm trying not to let it upset my already-upset with the school. They think the baby clothes I'm washing are outrageously cute and incomprehensibly small. They remember Seraphina coming home, but you forget how tiny they are when you lay out those onesie and teeny-weeny socks next to their clothes (already being mistaken for mine/Jimm's depending on item/color when the laundry sort happens). The changing table is set up, the first load of brand-new clothes from Ma Polli and my mother are washed and ready. I've still not been able to shake the sense that Delta Unit is a girl and - surprisingly - my mother also thinks its a girl (despite buying an assload of boy clothes). Ma Polli sniffs, clucks, and declares it better not be, seeing as how no grandaughter of hers will wear boy clothes and she just washed all these blue/manly newborn onsies.
Her Generational Gender Bias Baggage is just as mystifying as my mother's.
I'd be okay with going early. As much as snagging June as a Martin Cousin Birthday (the last month of the year without any of us spawned within its confines) would be a personal win, I'm done. It just seems like things would fall out easier if I went early rather than late. I like emeralds more than pearls anyway.
|May. 21st, 2015 @ 01:32 pm Poor Investments|
Current Mood: anxiousMeg came by a few days ago to dig up my peonies for her garden. She's a few months late, I think, as they're already trying to bloom (I think it's been too cold for ants) and quite tall. The root balls seemed very determined not to be removed despite not being very deep. In fact, when her husband leaned on the spade handle to lever them out, the handle snapped in half! For prize winning flowers, they are remarkably hardy (I tend to associate prize winning breed with weak and fragile) and I suppose aside from the two or three she managed to get out of the ground, the rest will have to wait until fall or spring for removal. I don't know if hers will survive transplant shock what with the fierceness with which they clung to where they were planted, but considering how many times I've dug these guys up and handed them out, they keep coming back. I'll have some for her for later. Clearly.
Current Music: Ain't No Rest for the Wicket by Cage the Elephant
Our ham-handed gardening over, we lingered to chat. She is also frustrated with her school district (better than mine, by far) and their unwillingness to jump her son a grade and the two of us trying to suss out the mysteries of our respective honors programs. For the record, she was always an honors student, I was not. It has encouraged her to make the expensive decision to send her wee monster to her old Alma Mater - Avery Coonley. It belongs to the same snooty independent school association that our local Elgin Academy belongs to. Like a fraternity of super expensive advanced schools. Knowing what I know about Elgin Academy's tuition, I can guess what Meg is planning on shelling out. It means some sort of annoying office monkey job (she's been a stay home since she was pregnant with wee Jamie) in order to make tuition. I didn't think to ask her what she was going to do over the summer, but her mother-in-law is about to move into town, so perhaps that's her answer.
As I sat there feeling Delta Unit kick me in places unmentionable, I realized I'd never be able to get a job that would send all four kids to Elgin Academy. I'm not sure I could get a job that would send two of them. I realized at that moment - finally - all the theories and reasons postualted the culture of helicoptering parent in the mad rush to use enormous reasources for minimum number of children, why the birth rate is taking a nose dive for Millenials and how the economy impacts all of it. A single child is expensive, but you can more easily invest every dime/moment in that child for the greatest return on that investment. More than that and you'd break yourself.
I had sudden visions of my four monsters as under-educated bad-side-of-town hood rats never bothering to think/work/achieve much of anything beyond the limits of whatever small town/mentality they end up in. I've a large extended family and I've seen where the kids of RIch Uncles end up vs Poor Uncles (or Aunts, in the interest of genetic lines/earning potential). As Barb once said, "Easier to make a home run when you're already on third base".
My mother doesn't think this is a likely outcome because neither Jimm nor I (nor the friend/family we keep close) would put up with that kind of skating through life. I fear that if the boys can't make the cut into the honors program (for whatever reason they keep failing the test) they'll be completely unprepared for the world. I suppose as long as I instill some sense of drive and accomplishment and squash this outrageously insulting "but C is passing" and "it doesn't have to be perfect" mindset, they'll be okay. But its clear they're not being challenged, practically sleeping through class and above average (well, in Xander's case - as long as it doesn't require good behavior). Ma Polli thinks we need to sell the house stat an move elsewhere (what's with Boomers and this idea that moving/house buying is this easy thing?!?)
I have already failed them and Delta Unit for not being able to go back to work and get some shitty office job to pay the monies needed to give them a step up in life.
Jimm pointed out that Meg didn't do much more with her advanced schooling than I did with my above average schooling. It's easier to no nothing with something than it is to try to do something with nothing. I fear that my Horsemen are starting out with nothing.
|May. 17th, 2015 @ 05:37 am I'll take Complications for $500|
Current Location: dinning room tableJimm had bet a few days ago I was going to go into labor early. Having only two days left on his "Within 6 days" window, I highly doubt it'll happen at this point. His reasoning was that he had six days left to finish an achievement on Ingress which required a daily action within a certain time window for a full 60 days. Of course I'd show up and blow it in the final stretch. Why woudln't I?
Current Mood: tired
Current Music: silence of a sleeping house
I found this reasoning to be sound despite my tendnecy to not go early.
Liam, for the last week, has sounded like he's got a softball lodged in the back of his throat. He has professed no discomfort, has no fever, and there have been only breif secondary symptoms like a snotty nose. As Liam seems to have inherited my personal flaw of being susceptable to any throat/upper respitory/sinus ailment that came creeping down the pike - I let it go. You can only really do so much for a cold, even if he does tend to hold on to it for a nearly a month at a time. Without any other symptoms apart from huge ass tonsils (which I have in abundance and dentists suprise-comment on them frequently) what else is there to do save make him gargle with mouthwash and hope that kills whatever is thinking about festering?
And then there's wee Seraphina who - late Friday night - coughed herself awake and ran into my room looking like a distressed kitten about to vomit on my face. It really is amazing how fast a pregnant woman can move when need arises. I steered her to the bathroom, let her cough it all out, the prompted dosed her for fever and a bit of Mucinex for the snot that was clearly trying to drown her. She slept with me the rest of the night. Slept being a trifle optimistic, what with the waffling between "I'm hot/cold" and me listening to her gurgle and wheeze as she tried to breath through a gummy nose (Liam also lacks the self preservation instinct of breathing through one's mouth - I'm poleaxed) and whatever was in her lungs.
The fever seemed to go away and she certainly was full of pep the next morning, so a bit of Tylenol and she was on her way. Wasn't until later that afternoon - after the pediatrician's office had already closed for the day (naturally) - that I thought to look in her throat. Holy sweet zombie Jeebuz, that was disgusting. Made JImm look and then we called the boys up from down stairs for a check. Liam's was equally disgusting and he had that sick-breath that could wither oak trees.
Guess who's going to Urgent Care! Awesome - because that's always more expensive than the pedatrician's office, but I wasn't sure if we could wait until Monday morning seeing that awful Lovecraftian horror that was thier combined tonsils. I was betting strep, despite Liam's apparent asymptomatic state.
Nope. Liam apparently has a garden variety case of pharyngitis (which I have never heard of - I guess it's like tonsillitis?) and is on nine days of Amoxicilin. Although, I'm not sure how garden variety it is with absolutely no discomfort in a throat so swollen. My children are weird. Seraphina? Also a touch of the pharyngitis but also penumonia. Penumonia!?! Where the hell did that come from!?! I guess all that gurgling I was hearing the night before was the infection settling into her lungs. She gets a four day course of azithromycin. Xander, being blessedly disease free, has been enjoying running around with the Usual Suspects. Liam, not feeling ill in the slightest, is pouting through his mandatory couple-days incarceration, despite the fact it's very likely he already infected everyone over the last couple of days.
Poor Seraphina's last day of school is Monday. A make up snow day, so the rigorous academic program for the day will be eating popcisles in their pjs and watching a movie. If she's fever free today, I'll let her go - 'cause Monday will be day three of the meds and she won't be contageous. Liam I'll let go back to school as well, seeing as he's asymptomatic anyway and by then the meds should make him contagion free.
If I needed to make the last 12 days of pregnancy more complicated - this is certain the way to go. I'm feeling better about the Pertussis booster I got at my last appointment. I had gotten the Tdap boosters when in the hospital with Sera (since I could not, for the life of me, remember the last time I had gotten a tetanus shot let alone any boosters) but apparently Pertussis is common enough (thanks anti-vaxxers) and virulent enough that regular boosters are recommended, especially if you have/work with newborns. I would have signed up for the measles one as well, but I can't get that one while pregnant.
So - place your bets? Early or late?
|May. 8th, 2015 @ 09:44 am Saving for Later|
Current Location: dinning room tableJimm and I managed a trip to the Art Museum yesterday (and, for a wonder, all that walking/stair climbing did not trigger early labor). The Byzantine exhibt they had is ending on the 10th, so we were under the wire. They had two embroidery pieces - all gold work of course - and I was surprised at how fine the gold threads were. Finer than any of the stuff I've seen on the goldwork at A&S comps I've occasionally visited. This was like sewing thread fine. Machine sewing thread. Hair thin wires all couched down invisibly. Sometimes in a brick work pattern of chevrons and the like, sometimes (I suspect) over threads to give a basket weave, or at least a bumpy texture. The hands/face/body were done in split - again, threads so fine I feel like I would have needed a beading needle and a single silk strand to reproduce it. Again(!), everything I'm seeing being churned out on the A&S side looks...crude?...heavy?...thick?...by comparison.
Current Mood: sore
Current Music: Solstice Bells by Jethro Tull
The silver was surprisingly untarnished. On the funeral cloth - Jesus' loincloth was all silver, despite the rest of the piece being pure gold. I don't think I've ever really seen a silver metalwork piece before - gold is prefered probably precicely due to the tarnishing issue. I suppose the musuem might have cleaned it during some sort of restoration/conservation work. It was the chalice veil that I was actually most interested in, and I'm putting this information down while I still have it -
Cat. No. 75
Chalice veil, late 13th- early 14th century
silver and gilt-silver embroidery on silk
overall: 52 × 65 cm (20 1/2 × 25 9/16 in.)
Benaki Museum, Athens
©Benaki Museum, Athens, 2013
It seemed to be on blue velvet and had some interesting patterns going on. The ends of the metal weren't plunged, just folded back on itself and outlined in more silver and sometimes silk. What I thought was the most interesting was the chevron/braided work outlining the urn (held by an angel). It reminded me of the stitches you'd see in Japanese embroidery when they were embroidering cords (only this was much much much narrower). It wasn't plaited, the way you'd see in Elizabethan, just....more like paving stones. Two stitch angled each time inward, covering the ends of the preceeding two stitches.
Obivously - they did not allow photography.
The information above comes from their exhibition catalog - http://www.nga.gov/content/dam/ngaweb/p
As for the other piece -
Cat. No. 74 / File Name: 3514-067.jpg
Epitaphios, c. 1300
silk, gold, and silver wire on linen
overall: 72 × 200 cm (27 9/16 × 78 3/4 in.)
Musem of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki
If you do a search on it - you'll actually get an image. What I found fascinating is the reprsentation of certain angels. I forget which ones they are at this moment - the ones that are rings of fire with a hundred eyes and some wings. That's not Seraphim - Thrones maybe? One of those higher up amorphous angels that no one ever talks about or portrays (because they would look sorta of alien and pagan in todays hyper human hippie Jesus era). Anyway - they were all along the border of the epitaphios. I'm thinking that I need to incorporate them into some embroidery work I'm gonna do eventually. Have no idea what it would be, but I really liked them.
|May. 8th, 2015 @ 08:35 am I'll see your Clever and raise you a Shut Down|
Current Location: dinning room tableXander's been bringing up the issue of Seraphina being the only one getting her own room. Several times. He's obsessed with having his own room to the point where I'm tempted to stuff him in the hall closet (which is deep enough to put a pallet down on the floor but not wide enough for much else). I've tried to explain patiently that since Sera's the only girl - there's no one to share a room with.
Current Mood: tired
Current Music: "Pibroch (Cap in Hand)" by Jethro Tull
Twice now - and rather triumphantly - he's pointed out that I'm a girl. The smug look on his face as he laces this presumed ace on the the table is adorable. I let it go the first tiem with a "I share a room with your father." but last time he didn't let it go. Several times he pointed out I was a girl and so I could share a room with Sera. I don't know who he thought Jimm would share a room with, because if he thought he was going to get his own room and Jimm was going to bunk down with Liam and Mr. Unnamed, he obviously was insane.
So I looked him dead in the eye, repeated that I share a room with daddy and added "Because we like to have sex. That's what mommies and daddies do in the privacy of their own room. Have sex."
And that pretty much ended the conversation right there. Triump turned to mortification and I'm pretty sure this topic won't be brought up again. I gave him the soft landing of "if it turns out you're having a sister instead of a brother, Sera will share a room" but made it pretty clear the issue of my switching cabins wasn't happening.
|Apr. 30th, 2015 @ 12:22 pm Busiest time of the year|
Current Location: dinning room tableThere are various points in the year that I go "Gah! It's our busiest month!" and after the panic subsides, I realize it's no more busy than a handful of other months in the year, it's just that they're usually interspersed with down months, making the busy months that much more crazy. January is chaotic - for back to school, the start of melee season, (less of an issue now that Jimm is knighted), and Xander's birthday. August is generally shitty for back from Pennsic (for Jimm, anyway), back to school, Lovecraft bbq and it blends seemlessly into the nightmare that is September where we're still trying to get the school/scout schedule set and Liam's birthday. December, of course, goes without saying. My hate for May might be directly related to my ever expanding girth and inability to do anything but sit here and stare into space, but I seem to recal hating previous Mays for the same end-of-year nightmare of random days off, Spirit Weeks, picnic, half days, Spring concerts, and end-of-school meetings.
Current Mood: stuck
Current Music: When Doves Cry by Prince
The fact that my spawn date is five days pre-end of school (thanks to a week of snow days) only complicates matters. Although, I suppose me going early would make it even more problematic for then me being in the hospital for at least three days leaving Jimm to scramble with the assorted grandmothers on covering said concerts, school spirit days, and Xander's ramping-up Boy Scout schedule. Seraphina's last day of school if May 18th, so that's at least one thing taken off the schedule at some point. I just feel like I'm running down hill and my choices are either snap an ankle, take a dive and roll the rest of the way, or keep flailing and hope I don't crash and burn at the level off.
I'm so not ready for this baby, in almost direct opposition to what a 4th should be. At this point it should be all routine, right? I'm a professional. First, the poor thing is still unnamed. I've got one preferred candidate, Jimm has none. It would almost be easier if he had a preferred candidate because then we could at least debate down from those two points in either candidate or compromise between the two of them. As it is now it's just "How about X?" and a "....no, I'm just not feeling it."
I feel like I'm having this sterotyped conversation -
Man: "Want to go out to dinner?"
Woman: "Sure, pick someplace."
Woman: ".....no, not in the mood for Italian."
Woman" "I don't like that steak place, too loud."
Woman: "You know Chinese makes me gassy."
Man: "Well, where do you want to go?"
Woman: "I don't know - just pick something."
Only now I'm the playing the part of the man and all those resturants are names that I think sound good and fit our naming convention.
Yes, Desmond makes Jimm gassy.
At any rate, we're also having the Baptism argument, with me taking the stance of Culture and Tradition (like every other co-opted pagan holiday we have on the calendar) vs the Organized Religion is Stupid Why Are You Even Bothering. This might be a moot issue if Godfather Joey (who's my eldest godson) can't be in town the weekend we can get it done (churches only baptize on certain weekends) what with that whole military thing or if we can even get a church at all since I don't think we've gone to church since that last epicly outrageous offensive homily we sat through during Xander's First Communion. Baptisms have to be in a church (no living room sacraments by wandering priests) and if it doesn't happen in the parish we're registered with (I believe I have taken us off the roster a while back) you need a permission slip from said pastor to take to another church (oh, say if you were doing it out of town to grandma can be there). We've got a Deacon Uncle who might be able to pull a string for us, but then we circle back to the Cultural Milestones vs Church Bad debate.
I suppose I have until August - which is when Joey has a long weekend he's coming home for.
Maybe I'm just in some sort of slow moving transitional phase. The tapestry is done and I have 101 projects I should/want to do - but no idea which one to start with and how to prioritize them. I already wounded myself by cutting a modern sampler off my embroidery frame and sticking it back into my sewing cabinet. I'm afraid if I fall off the wagon of getting projects finished, I'll laps back into being one of those dabblers that never ever finishes a project (for the man mental-block reasons one keeps oneself from finishing anything). Actually, making myself new garb would be a priority, and something I really want to get a jump on, but I have another month (minimum!) before I can even start playing with that, even knowing that six months past spawn date, I'll probably have to re-make everything just for the usual post-partumn body changes.
Being in flux blows. I know that I have to wait through this transitional period (coupled with the fact I have an all-time-low motivation to do anything but breathe), but at the same time it feels like I'm wasting time and maybe doing anything might at least knock out a few projects - hobby, paid, volunteer - and having nocked those out, I'd feel better about life and less unmotivated (my mental blocks of fear and indecision having been partly dismantled).
I've done two things this morning that I identified as potential ball-and-chain drags, I suppose I should work on three and four.
|Apr. 14th, 2015 @ 07:59 am Teachable Moments In Parenting: Scene opens in the kitchen|
Current Location: dinning room tableXander: (contemplating my Anne Taintor calendar for April) Mom, why does it say "The girls couldn't say "rubbers" without giggling"?
Current Mood: amused
Current Music: Si Vis Vera Frui Luce: Si Vis Vera Frui Luce by Philippe Le Chancelier
Me: (points to the 50's style rain boots the girls are wearing) Rubber is a slang term for wellies. Do you know what those are?
Xander: Oh. Yeah. Okay. But why are they giggling?
Me: (contemplates Xander) Rubber is also a slang term for condom. Do you know what those are?
Xander: (holds up hand to stop the conversation) I see where this is going. No thank you. (leaves room)
Trying to figure out now where he's learned about condoms and why he's so embarrassed. Hopefully, with every parental embarrassment, it delays his experimentation another year.
|Apr. 10th, 2015 @ 06:11 am Excessive Metaphores|
Current Location: dinning room tableI dreamed I was in one of those never ending buildings - the ones subdivided into endless little eateries/boutique type stores. For the most part.
Current Mood: lonely
Current Music: silence of a sleeping house
I dreamed of standing in some approximation of the White gym of my old high school (we had two, White and Purple, the school colors) watching people getting displaced off the risers-in-u-shape as the marching band came out to play in the same formation. I found Clare and Meg, they asked me about the book I was carrying (finger stuck in it to hold my place) and I told them it wasn't the book I thought it was going to be. I held it up and could almost just barely read the very bland text-book like cover. I thought it was going to be short stories, but it was more like case studies of social-psychological subjects; brief overviews of their damage. It led me to where Great Aunt Vicky was standing by the wall. I took her hand and was now holding a very large and ridiculously over-sized trophy in the other - a Noble for Literature I think. I forget now that I'm awake. I talked to her and cried as her image dissolved into that of Uncle Ed, her widowed husband. I had been deluding myself she was still alive because I could not admit there was no heaven and she was not somewhere omnipotently being aware of my life success and my crazy, uncivilized, beautiful but totally ill-mannered children and waiting for me on the other side of some rainbow bridge to catch up on what life handed out to me while she was gone. I missed her so much and it hurt so bad to realize she's not been here this entire time.
I went for lunch and dealt with the bitchy employees of some sichuan food eatery who randomly decided they weren't cooking anything, but rather than hang a sign or lock up shop, they'd just sit at the bar and yell at people who walked through. I was very close to the outside as I stalked out of their shop, declaring I'd never eat there again, but took one look at the sunny green park through the windows on the doors and turned to go deeper into the building.
I found Amy with a lady companion that did not look fun or interesting, but I invited Amy for lunch, figuring that I could put up with weird lady because I needed the company. Somehow Cass and Pat appeared and we all split up looking for a place to eat. Cass was telling me how we were all monkeys, but not Pat - he was a falcon that was sustained by the blood of monkeys. I took it to mean that Pat's growing up in a high tax bracket meant he didn't understanding some of the struggles that us lower rent types took as the normal course of life. Or, he really actually did grow up falconing in some exotic local where a falcon could hunt monkeys. I never interrupted her as we wandered, I wanted to eat.
We never did find food. They all seemed empty. One shop lady had a strip of clear tape on her forehead with the words of her shop on them. By the raw marks on her skin, you could tell the tape was taken off/reapplied daily, some sort of visual marker for the owner of a particular shop in the building. Telling employees from shoppers. We got directions to a good resturant - it meant leaving this strange meandering building and actually going outside, walking along the river behind the Great Wall (the map looked like some English-type city, where new buildings stood among pieces of old wall in the usual 400 year old city maze), but finding the door outside seemed like such a chore.
Finally I was on my own, separated from my friend in a teeny shop I didn't want to go into, but was somehow encouraged by the owner. Barely 10x10 and barely stocked with random artsy crap that looked like the same artsy crap you saw in 101 other boutique type stores. Like a walk-in closet (with window!) that barely had any clothes in it. The owner was a tall woman, slightly stocky - her frame reminded me of Loopy but it wasn't her. She closed the door and locked it behind her (in a move that was suppose to be smooth and stealthy but so wasn't) while she stared uncomfortably at me. I stopped talking to her and asked her why did she lock me in but she never answered. I might have been able to go through her or - if desperation took hold - go through the big window behind me showing me that same sunny park I saw before - but I woke up at that time.
|Mar. 31st, 2015 @ 09:43 pm Fledgling|
Current Location: dinning room tableSo that whole bit with Xander doing his Bridging Ceremony and no one there to welcome him to his new tribe - the Scoutmaster of Troop 2 called and apologized and all that and assured me something would be done at the next meeting he showed up at and amends would be made.
Current Mood: nervous
Current Music: silence of a sleeping house
Yesterday, Jimm gets out of work early to hit the meeting (the church meet spot is close to the train station) and I linger in a Parent's Meeting (they're changing the Webelo program just in time for Liam to start it) and Jimm is helping out with Liam's den project. The Den Mother escorts Xander to where the Troop is meeting (a bonus of Xander choosing this particular troop is that I don't have to try to race to two separate locations every Monday!) and to introduce him to the Leaders and yadda yadda yadda.
She comes back to say, "Well, he's integrated." Both Jimm and I stare at her. Apparently, they were ready to do his welcoming-in right there on the spot and, rather than have his Den Mother come fetch us (which she offered) he said, "No, I'm good" and bridged over without us doing the damped eyed proud parental thing on the sidelines.
I'm not sure how I feel about that.
Xander gets his calmest, most powered-down, when he's nervous and/or scared. Subdued is a word rarely applied to Alpha Unit and when it is, that means he's upset about something and/or hiding it. It is very possible he didn't want Jimm or I there because he wasn't sure the protocol, whether or not he was embarrased to admit to wanting us (although that's not usually a thing with him), or he wanted to be a big guy and do it on his own. Maybe even he was embarrassed by all the fuss and just wanted in, over, done with.
Kids gotta fly, right? At some point they make little determinations on what they want and how they want it and what they're comfortable with. The sooner they feel masters of their own destiny - or at least master of the self - the better off they'll be in navigating the world and figuring out the people they might like to become. This won't be the first time Xander decides to leave us out of the loop nor the last (he's already had a long and problematic history with making "because I want to" decisions, but I digress). I wish I could have seen it, gotten a picture of the handshakes and new kerchief being put on, but I did get to see him at the end of the pack meeting getting his Tenderfoot badge with the rest of the new kids. There are 8 of them and that makes me terribly happy. Xander keeps getting the short stick when it comes to age mates - either older, younger, or just plain old intolerable. This is also a fairly large pack with a bunch of older kids - a demographic that Xander is desperate to be a part of.
Watching him at closing ceremonies, I could see right to the core of his cold-white (his nervousness/emotional roller-coaster) and how he was deperately trying to keep it cool so as to fit in. Whatever he thought that meant. There's a pack camping in two weeks, same weekend as Pinewood Derby, and he straight up said "I don't care it's my last chance at Pinewood - I've never won anything, so I'd rather do this troop event."
There was a brief moment that I thought that if nothing else - and despite all the still-hot-button-gay-issue controversy imbedded in the Boy Scouts - maybe this will be good for Xander. There might be a boy community/path to manhood here that Xander wants to walk and, at least on the surface, it seems to be better than the small group of low-rent grommets he has now. That "find a better peer group"/fly with the eagles kind of thing. I'm nervous about letting him go - first time on a Without Parent camping trip. I'm afraid he'll say inappropriate things, swear often/loudly, being a total shit-bird in an attempt to be cool. Or worse - get upset and have no safe outlet and burn bridges on his retreat to Siberia. I suppose it's time to have a talk with the Scoutmasters. I don't mind them imposing pack punishment for infractions. I just don't want him kicked out. After all the expelling he's already gotten, all the ostricization, I think this would break him.
|Mar. 27th, 2015 @ 12:06 pm Albatross|
Current Location: dinning room tableI suppose I should discuss.
Current Mood: quixotic
Current Music: Virgo Serena, Motet For 4 Parts: Ave Maria
A few weeks ago, I finished an embroidery project that lasted seven years. Well, more like 6.74 or whatever, but close enough for gov'ment work. It still needs to be mounted on the display fabric, extra pencil marks erased to the best of my ability (they are surprisingly resistant), and other finishing touches that might be necessary. There's a few images I'd go back and tweak, but I'm trying to decide if that would destroy the piece (as a frozen-in-time cultural/anthropological record of the time it was made) or just pave the way to madness. There are at least two bits that I can't bear to look at, they embarass me so much, but it somehow seems sacreligious to go back and "improve " it.
Finishing it is akin to a breakup that was long over due. On one hand, you're sad for missing that familiar filling of time and yet being oddly relieved that it is all over with. At last.
But as thankful as I am to have the project done (my sister even more so) I'm very dissatisfied with it. I started it out with the materials I had on hand, being so hand to mouth and deep in debt that even buying DMC thread onsale would make me sweat with fear that the dollars spent meant the difference between the kids having milk and peanutbutter or going without. Okay, our financial situation might not, in reality, been that dire, but it's what it felt like to me with all the assorted childhood money-issue triggers surfacing.
It also caused a long-standing insecurity about it, as from the start questions were asked about "why not period materials" and the like. At the time, I had no idea where to find such things, save for a very exclusive needlework shop in the Gold Cost (a very rich snooty area of Chicago, populated by Ladies Who Lunch). The idea of spending that much money for so small a bit of thread? I might as well have been buying real gold purl for Elizabethan needlework. Looking back on the whole thing, I'm not really sure I was making this tapestry for anyone but myself and had originally thought about keeping the whole things secret and under wraps until it was finished (if it was finished) and I could put it up as one big piece. What eventually necessitated me bringing it prematurely to the viewing public was the need for stories and information. I apparently lacked enough basic English skills to convey to other Scadians (via email) what it was that I was looking for and basically had to show them pictures. Joke goes here. It's what prompted the making of a website. Once upon a time I could barely manage AOL and somehow I managed a website. A click and drag template website, to be sure, but considering my tech level, you would have thought I learned Java overnight. Making it public also had the side affect of being accountable. Pride in not failing to finish it.
I really had no idea what I was doing, embroidery wise. While my understanding of history was deep, vast, and at times ridiculous, my understanding of the making of things was limited. I can point to the differences between Minoan, Persian, and Assyrian. I can differentiate Elizabethan from it's Spanish Contemporary. I aced a History of Fashion course in fashion school merely because of my anthropological/historical background (earning the emnity of my peers and the delight of my teacher), but I didn't know what went into the crafting aside from modern techniques of sewing and a childhood of cross-stitch kits. How did one go from making Christmas ornaments on Aida cloth to elaborately worked shifts and tunics?
So I was flying blind aside from a Bayeux Tapestry coffe-table book that gave me beautiful detailed images of each panel, the narrative, and some small bit about the threads/colors used and the stitches. So, I went with that as a base for my visual, the cheapest threads I could afford, mimicing the stitches they used. The idea behind putting it on the backing fabric the way I did (with uneven hem) was to make it look like a relic in a modern display (much like how the Bayeux is now), an effect that might have been better done if it had been age-looking wool/linen and not bright heraldic colors of DMC (with a few extra shades thrown in here and there). It was over the course of working the piece that I began to learn more about the art form I was doing. It was probably in part prompted by the insecurity of "not period" and had to justify what/why I was doing (it is oft recommended not to retro-document a project!) and part in a "what the hell are they talking about?"
It was also prompted by the realization that suddenly people thought I was an authority on shit I barely knew and I had to work to fill in the gaping holes in my knowledge as people were coming to me for advice, information, and teaching. How doing an period-ish project in a very early "primitive" medieval style suddenly made me a reasource for late period very technical technique, I have no idea. But there it was. Flattering, but I can't possibly be the only embroiderer in the Kingdom. Isn't that a common artform from which Laurels spring? Lord knows you can't swing a sword around here without clocking a costuming Laurel, someone's gotta be doing the embroidery that was also common to the costumed era!
At the end of it all, I'm disappointed with project. It could have been done better. I learned the history of the society (the reason the thing was conceived), I learned how to finish project (I never used to finish anything), but pretty much anything embroidery related I learned actually had nothing to do with the tapestry itself, just outside reading on things I could only dream about trying because I had this albatross around my neck. In terms of construction/execution? I never got past the non-periodness of it and - with more learning and SCA exposure (I really was a newbie when I started this) - it looks even more cheap and tacky than when I got cornered by that apprentice the first time I displayed it six year ago. Overall? The work of a individual desperate for wyrd fame who's ambition outstrips the skill necessary to actually obtain such things. Perhaps that's the person I was and have evolved past it, being able to see my green and inexperienced beginnings.
It is epic in scope, I'll give it that, but big isn't better and going big because you can is great, assuming you have the chops to pull it off. Not enough chops in this work, I think. I'm pleased to bring it out and display it for whomever wishes to see it, but I'm giving it an "Acceptable" in terms of work/execution. By far not a masterwork and I'm kinda embarrassed by the fuss being made over it. There is nothing about it that speaks to me of a finely crafted future relic, something that will one day be some sort of sacred bit of history cherished long after my name has vanished from memory.