Thursday, June 28, 2007

Diet Problems

You know how when you really want to do something, you just can't do it? But when you don't want that something to happen, it does? Yep, I'm having that problem right now.

My weight. Is becoming a problem to me.

At the end of the summer, my focus will be on maintaining my weight, and size, due to the faire. But right now, when I need to lose weight, I am having problems focusing, and lack willpower to change my eating habits. The "No Pizza" post-it note on the phone is working for that food, but I need a permanent post-it in front of my face for other things.

I kicked the caffeine habit, but the diet is kicking me.

And the worst part is that the low-sodium, low-fat diet is more important to my health than the no-caffeine... I have to do this. I don't have a choice.

I am going to do this. Ten pounds will be gone in July, and five in August (after which, it can't fluctuate at all, due to the faire and costumes needing to fit). Accountability is the key.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Vacation - Day 1

Yesterday, I dropped my son off at Boy Scout Camp for the week. Normally, I volunteer and attend the entire week, but this year, I decided it was best to stay home. I will still be heading out there in the evenings, to help with evening programs at the campsite, and deliver any needed items. I just won't be out there the entire time.

I'll admit that I was a little worried about how my son would take it when it was time for me to leave, but I needn't have worried. As we were walking up the trail on the way to dinner, as we neared the point when I would leave, my son dropped back, to say Good-bye.

He leaned in and said, "You won't forget to bring out a new supersoaker, will you? One with secret-side-attack?" (Hey, he's a teenager!)

And then a few steps later, he came back and hugged me, and said Good-bye for real.

I think he'll be okay. ;)

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Getting ready to take a well deserved rest, but wanted to get a link posted as to what we were doing this morning at Valley West Mall.

Hey, kids: Valley West opens play center
Dragons, castles and bridges await patrons on lower level near Younkers


June 22, 2007

Valley West Mall is rolling out the red, blue and green carpet for its youngest visitors.

The 30-year-old shopping center at 1551 Valley West Drive in West Des Moines has joined the growing number of malls offering play areas.

The mall will debut the 2,000-square-foot play center Saturday. The MetaBank Play Center sits at the south end of the shopping center on the lower level near Younkers. The fairy tale castle-themed area includes soft-sculpted play equipment in the shape of dragons, castles and bridges and other pieces.

Note, please ignore the flamewar comments at the bottom of that article.

Totally missing from the article, is that the Royal Court of the Des Moines Renaissance Faire, plus Robin Hood, the Rainbow Fairy, Tib, and Captain J.P.Boyd were also present. The Court danced, mingled with the kids, promenaded, and held knighting and Lady in Waiting ceremonies, and gave a weapons talk (I got to show of my lovely dagger!). Lots of fun, but a lot of work. We had a great response from everyone we met.

The play area is beautiful. It made me wish I were little again! They even have a book shelf full of books for the kids to read, and plenty of room for the parents to sit and watch the little ones. Everything is cushiony, from the floor to the different things the kids can climb on.

We got to the mall at around 8:45 am, went straight to the mall office, and I threw on my garb as quickly as possible. The ceremony was at 9:30, and we played with the kids a bit in the play area before it started. We finished all of our shows at around 11:15 or so, then spent another 15 minutes talking with people, before going back to the mall office to get changed.

It was a long morning, but a lot of fun. We also discovered two things: 1.) being in an air-conditioned mall is much warmer than being out in the open in garb (no wind!), and 2.) Escalators and farthingales are scary. 'Nuff said. ;)

Nap time, now. I am exhausted. Then, it's off to Hobby Lobby to find a velvet foot for my sewing machine, and then to the store to get cash and quarters for the laundry. Then, I have a bunch of laundry to do so my son can pack for camp.

Yet another busy day...

Friday, June 22, 2007


My son's costume is finally finished. Sixteen buttons down the front. Everything worked out okay. It's going to be a pain to get buttoned, but it is finished.

Now, to packing my bag with my costume stuff, then it's a earlier night than normal for me. Can't wait to get some sleep...

Evening list of accomplishments

In order to keep myself on track tonight, I am listing what still needs to be done on my son's garb:

1. Shirt - DONE
2. Pants - DONE
3. Socks, cut tights, and add top binding
4. Finish lining on doublet.
5. Add trim* to front of doublet, and sew buttons into place
6. Add trim to doublet collar.

* Clasps were way too expensive. There was no time to make button loops, not to mention the fact that there wasn't any satin cord in the color I needed to make the loops. However, I did find a nice wide trim that had loops on both sides, that just happened to be the right size to be used a button loops. Problem solved. I am adding the trim to the collar as well, to tie it all together.

I may even get to sleep tonight!


I worked solid from 6:30 until about 10 minutes ago. I managed to get my son's shirt nearly done. I just have to hem it, and add the hooks and eyes to this collar and cuffs. Or maybe I will use ribbon ties, as it would probably be quicker.

The doublet is still in the same condition it was last night: lining not done, no buttons, and no button holes (or loops). And it just occurred to me that the quickest way of doing fastenings would be to get some simple clasps and have it close that way. Trip to JoAnn fabrics is needed tomorrow lunch hour.

Pants are not done yet. I bought a pair of black scrub pants, and am going to cut them off below the knee, make a drawstring, and for less than $10 and probably 20 minutes, INSTANT VENETIANS. I think I'll add a button to one side, to tie the ribbon around, to make it look more authentic.

Okay, can't stay awake a second longer. I have got to get to bed at a decent time tomorrow night... Luckily, it's $5 pizza night at Hy-Vee tomorrow... No cooking for me...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What a start to the evening.

I barely made it home in advance of a storm. I had just enough time to get the mail, drop off my purse, "deadhead" the flowers, and turn on the TV. While I was emptying the dishwasher, my son saw that we had left the broom on the deck. When he opened the door to bring it in, the tornado sirens went off.

So, I grabbed my purse, he grabbed his guitar, and we both grabbed shoes and headed for the laundry room.

To make a long story short, a radar indicated tornado turned into a storm-spotter sighted tornado just south of town. Everything is fine here.

And now I am getting on with my evening plans.

Up too late.

But I managed to get a large amount of work done.

1. Lining machine sewn to shell where possible. The arm holes and a small section of the back have to be handsewn into place.
2. Cut out shirt (shortened by 6 inches front and back. This thing was to his knees.).
3. Sew neck gores to neckline. Wrong, of course, but I wasn't in the mood to rip it out and try again. So I made it work. Like anyone is going to see it.
4. Cut front slash, press to point, and turn over again to enclose raw edges. Hand sew into place, with an invisible stitch. This looks really good, but the stitches have to be so tiny that it took me an hour, and I am considered fairly fast at hand sewing.
5. Got 80% of the lining and shell at the arm hole slip stitched. The folly of using unbleached muslin as lining to a red garment have already been noted. Dumb, yes, but I already had the muslin, and was sick of spending money at the time. I didn't think it would even be seen, but I am discovering that it will show more than I want.

Time to write up my list of what needs to be done tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Sorry I have been so lax in posting lately. I am working like crazy to get my son's garb finished (wearable, anyway) by Saturday. We have to be in Des Moines by 9 am, and dressed before 9:30. My son is going to wear his garb there. And I realized this morning that he doesn't have a hat to match his new garb. I think he can make do with the old hat, but I am going to have to add some trim or something to it.

The doublet is so close to being finished. If it weren't after 11 pm now, I would be sewing the lining to the shell. However, my machine is getting louder and louder, despite repeated cleaning and oiling. I am just praying it will make it through this batch, then I am going to see about having it serviced properly. It might be loud simply because of the number of layers I am going through (five layers in some places). I am using new needles, and going slow, and it seems to be holding out quite well so far. I am betting it just needs a rest, sort of like me. ;)

Anyway, back to work. I have to finish tracing out the last two pieces of the shirt pattern, and I am hoping to get it cut out tonight. I made a mistake earlier, when I sat down for "just a minute" on my bed, and fell asleep for two hours. I hate it when that happens. I am still struggling with just general sleepiness sometimes, especially after work. But, the benefit is that I have been able to get more done tonight in two and a half hours than I did in three and a half last night. Sleep is good.

Okay, this time I mean it, I am going back to work!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Life Altering Moment?

Thank you again, Nan and S! I don't think he likes it or anything, do you?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Getting things done.

Mom and I were up early this morning, making potato salad for dinner tonight. I have beer bread in the oven, and the spinah dip was finished just a few minutes ago. Not too bad an accomplishment.

List for today:

1. Laundry (already sorted and ready to go).
2. Finish cutting out doublet fabric and lining, and sew pieces together.
3. Attempt to get the venetian and shirt patterns traced off and the paper pieces cut out.
4. Eat lunch.
5. Short nap, if necessary. Wait, I'll be running after toddlers all afternoon. Nap is absolutely necessary.
6. Go to K's house to be with my family.

Time to get back to work.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Still waiting.

I had my MRI/MRA this morning, and had an appointment with the neurologist this afternoon, to go over the results. However, the report by the radiologist was not finished. So, the neurologist made a brief explanation of the MRI/MRA images, stated that he didn't see anything that stood out as wrong, and that they would call me after they had received and reviewed the report.

So, I still don't have a definite answer on what that report is going to say. Still waiting for the call. So, I made some chocolate brownies, you know... to pass the time. ;)

I just want things to get back to normal. Ring, damn it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tomorrow = Big Day

MRI/MRA at 9am. I'll get the results at my 1:00pm appointment. Won't be blogging results immediately, for obvious reasons. I hope everything is normal, but the downside to that is that I will be back at square one.

I started getting a headache around 3pm, and it is still hanging on, despite two tylenol when I got home from Rountable at around 9:15. I would be in bed right now, but I am waiting for a load of laundry to finish drying. (oops! done right now!)

And with that, I am going to go nurse my aching head, and try to get some sleep.

Monday, June 11, 2007

So far, so good.

I had an appointment with my doctor this morning. All of the tests so far have come back normal. By mid-afternoon on Wednesday, I'll have the results back from my MRI/MRA. It looks like this may be a one-off thing, or something that we may just not know why it happened, and might happen again at any time. Or, it may happen again, later, then we have another round of tests, and finally find something.

In any case, the last round of tests is yet to come, so I am holding off on any conjections. All I do know is that I have frequent headaches, and fatigue. I'm just more tired than normal for me.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Being Productive

To do today:

1. Get ready for the day. No p.j.s today.
2. Get quarters for laundry.
3. Wash car.
4. Do six loads of laundry, including the corduroy I bought for my son's pants. Fold and put away.
5. Clean out cupboard by phone.
6. Sort misc. patterns that were left in a box after the big ren faire sewing rush for the scouts.
7. Separate the trims I bought for my son's new doublet and slops (the complicated set).
8. Separate the buttons that I bought for his current doublet.
9. test new recipe for low-salt goulash. Note: Turned out pretty tasty, but needs more garlic powder.
9. Clean out refrigerator.
10. Start working on my son's room. Oh. Lordy. - Update: Slightly delayed due to nap-taking. I swear, i only meant to lie down for 30 minutes. I even set the alarm. Too comfortable! Okay, mostly done. We have four more rubbermain tubs to sort through, but everything is mostly organized and purged. We even carried out the garbage (quite a few grocery bags worth, plus one box, and a broken Hot Wheels Volcano part). I am officially exhausted.
11. Cut out doublet. Not happening tonight. I am going to bed.

I think that is about all I can realistically accomplish today. I am already achy and tired from what I've finished so far. I have to be careful to rest in between tasks, or I am going to end up taking another four hour nap, and yet again wasting a good chunk of the day. As it is, I am going to sit down for a bit, and let my back recover from hauling laundry baskets up and down stairs.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Beautiful Day

Gorgeous out today! We went to visit my sister this morning. My son played with my 2 1/2 year old nephew, while I held the new baby (he's so good! Barely made a peep!) J. was wild, of course, because it was close to nap time. We left as my brother-in-law was trying to get him to sleep.

We had rehearsal in Des Moines at 12:30, so we ran through the drive-thru to get my son something to eat, then got on the road to Sleepy Hollow Sports Park. We had rehearsal at Festival Park, and ran into Rick, who was busy trying to plot out where the new restroom facility will be located. Patrons and merchants, you're getting flushies!!!!!

We practiced promenading, introductions, and dancing. We also talked about what our characters will be doing when out among the patrons. For example, I will be looking for a husband, with the help of the Queen and the Duchess of Kent, Lady Isabella. This should be quite funny. ;)

We have one appearance this month, on the 23rd, at Valley West Mall. There will be press-releases for this, as well as a bunch of media-type people at the actual event. We're participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony for a new children's area of the mall. We'll be dancing, talking with people, doing a knighting and lady in waiting ceremony, and teaching people the three dances that we've learned so far. Later in August, we'll be attending a farmer's market as the court, shopping and talking with people about the faire. Anything we can do to generate interest and publicity, and get a good turnout...

After we got back to Ames, I pretty much crashed, and took a nearly four-hour nap. I had a headache, and just needed to rest. I didn't even move until after 8 pm, at which time, I bolted out of bed, appalled that it was so late. My son hadn't even eaten dinner yet, although I noticed that he had a peanut butter sandwich at some point. I went grocery shopping, and we ate dinner when I came home. I feel like such a loser-mom, because he made himself a frozen dinner for supper (spaghetti and meatballs, the $1 Banquet brand dinners. Hey, he likes them, and they only have 400 calories, which isn't terribly bad.). The only problem now is that I am awake when I should be sleeping.

I've got to get a bunch of things done tomorrow, in advance of having company next weekend. The main thing is getting my sewing stuff sorted out and put away, and my son's room cleaned, disinfected, sterilized, and whatever else you need to do to a teenager's room to get it presentable. Our big project is finally getting the tubs of toys out of his closet, sorted, and donated or put into storage. Legos and sporting stuff can stay, according to him. Hot Wheels stuff, and movie toys will go into storage for later eBay sales. Everything else is going. Finally!!!!!!

I also need to get his doublet cut out, and put together. We found the rest of the buttons that we needed (sixteen down the front, with four left over for the pants). I spent more money on the buttons for this than I spent on the fabric! (of course, if I work out how much of that tablecloth I am going to use on his doublet and sleeves, it would be about $2.00 in fabric!). At least the hard part is over. The second mock-up is pretty close to the right size. I can cut the outer fabric and lining tomorrow, and get things mostly sewn probably by Tuesday night, if I work steadily. It has to be done by the 23rd, so that the Viscount of Hereford can look the part, rather than looking like he's been dragged through a muddy field, and used his tunic for a napkin. Damn turkey legs. ;)

Whoa, I wrote a little more than I had planned... Well, time to end this long and rambling post (my second in two days, I see). I am going to get a snack, then sit and try to read until I get sleepier. I have no idea why I slept so long this evening, other than the fact that we were pretty active this afternoon. My headache is back now, too. Hopefully, it will be gone tomorrow...

Friday, June 08, 2007

New Project

Well, my son completely destroyed his garb from last year's Des Moines faire, which means that I have just two weeks to complete a new doublet, shirt, and knee length pants. We have a public appearance, as it were, on the 23rd at Valley West Mall.

I am ready for a challenge like this! This one is not going to be terribly complicated, as there just is not time, but it will be a good test for later garb.

I spent a good amount of time earlier this week working on altering the pattern for a doublet. I measured him carefully, consulted the complex measurement/size chart, and thought I had come up with a rock solid pattern that would need only minor adjustments.


So, tonight, I simply traced out two sizes larger, and put together a mock-up. Of course, tonight would have to be the one night when he actually went to sleep early, so I still don't know how much it will need to be taken in. My gut thought is that it is probably okay now.

I want this doublet to fit properly, but the problem is that he is a growing kid, and what fits now is not going to fit later this summer. So, I am making it a little longer than it should be, and hoping that an increase in activity and better eating habits will do the same thing for him that it will for me.

And yes, I had to put a "No Pizza!" post-it note on the phone tonight. A little late, but better late than never. I have got to get this eating thing under control. Both of us need to change our habits. Right now, there are no snack foods other than fruit and veggies in the house, and that is NOT going to change. Of course, it doesn't help when you order pizza for dinner because you JUST CAN'T STAND IT anymore...

Okay, to get back on track and describe this project...

My son's doublet will be a deep red brocade, with a scroll pattern. It began life as a tablecloth that I found on clearance after Christmas. I bought three of them, at $5 each, 10 feet in length each. Originally, this was going to be for a gown for me, but I needed something for this doublet test. There will be more than enough leftover for a gown (hopefully - that pattern matching thing might be a bit of a problem), and I'll just make sure that we don't wear them on the same day. I think that I am going to make narrow sleeves, to help with the problem he has with getting his sleeves in things. His shirt will be white muslin, and the pants will be black pinwale corduroy (somewhat cheap, washable, and DYE-ABLE). Which reminds me, I need to order his tights... or else find a pair of used black boots in a size ten (then hope his feet don't grow - right).

Okay, time for this rambling post to end. I have to get a good night's sleep tonight. We have rehearsal tomorrow afternoon! Opening day is less than three months away!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Getting things done...

1. Finished tracing the pattern pieces for my son's new doublet.
2. Cut out pattern pieces.
3. Cut out pieces in muslin.
4. All this after actually cooking dinner, and doing two loads of laundry.
5. Going to sleep now...

Just in case anyone was wondering how things went on monday...

(I was sick yesterday, or this update would have happened earlier)

Monday, I had my consultation with neurology, and am scheduled for an MRI/MRA next Wednesday (pretty much an all day thing, once you count out an hour and a half for the procedures, then the appointment later in the day when they tell you what the MRI/MRA showed). They let slip that my heart tests appeared to be normal, and that the carotid arteries were less than 10% blocked (which is decent - they don't do surgery until they are 80% blocked, so that's one worry out of the way). My appointment with my doctor is on Monday, and that is when the "official" test results will be explained, and where she'll order more tests if needed to rule out even MORE things.

Good news then, is as follows:

Could have been:
1. Complex migraine with neurological symptoms. (It didn't feel like a migraine! I've had enough migraines, and this didn't feel anything like it. No light sensitivity, no nausea, my hands did not tingle, all things that normally happen during my migraines.)
2. Possibly a blood clot that went away on its own on the way to the ER

Low on the list:
10. MS, although the speech problem didn't last long enough (it would have been days rather than minutes. Here is where my sister, the nurse, said "MS is hard to diagnose, and it has to start somewhere." She just doesn't want me to let them rule it out right away, because the sooner I know, the better.)
11. A seizure: except it lasted too long for a seizure.
12. Vasculitis

The big "C" was not mentioned.

I had a bunch of blood drawn on Monday to test for a couple of things, and to prep for the MRI/MRA (they did a much better job here than in the Fort Dodge ER. No bruise at all from Monday. i still have a bruise from the ER, and that was nearly three weeks ago.).

So, all in all, it's been a pretty stressful last couple of weeks. I did manage to finally become caffeine free, and I am eating healthier (although I have an intense craving for pepperoni pan pizza from Pizza Hut, which is totally out of the ordinary). I'm making adjustments.

I am going to continue with all of my normal activities until my doctor says otherwise. I am a firm believer in having something to look forward to, and in keeping my hands busy. And I am looking forward to getting back to royal court rehearsals! ;) I miss my friends!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

not fair...

I actually had energy last night. I was able to get laundry done, and was also able to get through five sheets of pattern pieces for the men's patterns (cut out pieces, sort into envelopes, tedious. I have more than half left!)

I was looking forward to another day of getting things done.

Until I rolled out of bed, and discovered rather alarmingly that I have the stomach flu.


Monday, June 04, 2007


Had my neurology consultation today. My MRI/MRA is next Wednesday.

I got to spend a little time with my new nephew this afternoon! What a cutie! I always forget how little newborns are...

Saturday, June 02, 2007


My mom called my cell phone after midnight. I snapped awake on the chair at my sister's house. "He's here!"

My new nephew has been born! Everything went well. Whew.

Time for some sleep...

Friday, June 01, 2007

Six minutes...

apart, that is. My sister and her husband are on the way to the hospital right now!