Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Great Basin Costume Society

So, I've recently become a member of a new costuming group in town, the Great Basin Costume Society. So far as I've seen, they've mostly done period - with steampunk thrown in. I'm hoping, at some point, to do some fantastical stuff too, but we'll see.
I've never been too enamored with the 18th century - the ridiculousness of those huge hipped pannier dresses seeming so over the top (of course I used to think that about bustle dresses, too - oh what Steampunk has done to me!! [btw, I just added Steampunk to my compie's dictionary, because I got tired of it being red underlined with as often as I use the word, but I double digress]), but with new costume society, and one of it's illustrious founders - I've discovered a desire to go all 1700's.
I mean - lookit this - it's gorgeous:
Boy do I love me the polonaise - 18th and 19th century!

And what about this:
That "embroidery" all over the above gown? Pounded silver - like assuit - into silk. *girlie sigh*.
And then there's the corsetry/stays:



















This is an amazing time for period costuming. All of the above images were grabbed from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute website.
http://www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/the_costume_institute
To make it more amazing, you can ZOOM:

Oh, lookit that!!!

Admittedly, it's best to be able to see and get up close to construction - but this is just wonderful!

Add to that the massive amount of photos on flickr and similar sites, costuming blogs (like American Duchess) - the information is plentiful, detailed and often - free!

If only there weren't so much danged sewing and fitting I'm going to have to learn.
First step - new duct tape dress form that fits my body. My current one was created for my body in a corset. I've found not a single mass produced (read inexpensive enough for me to buy) adjustable dress form that will adjust to my measurements. If it's large enough in chest and waist, it's too large for my hips - and vice versa.
Just annoying.
Anyway - sorry for the costuming ramble. There is just so much in my head that I want to get out, I figured I'd share it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Leetle eeenspiration.




Gonna try to make a mock up of this. Have the pocket watch case. Have the ability to solder. It won't take pix, but oughta look durned sweet.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fear and Loving in Reno



So, today I’m going to combine two seemingly different topics that actually are running together: my engagement and a book review.
Bran and I have been talking marriage for a while. He even asked me to pick out some rings I liked a few months ago. So while this engagement wasn’t a shock, it was a lovely surprise – especially because Bran was so sweet in arranging the steps leading up to the proposal. For those who haven’t heard the story – he buttered me up utterly as “yes” insurance. It was our third day on the ship and he had arranged a seaweed body wrap and massage, and reservations at the ship’s fancy restaurant. It was all rather lovely. After dinner, we walked around on the deck and when we hit a place where there was no one else, he got down on one knee, opened the box - and then didn’t say a word.
Of course once he hit knee I burst into tears, so I stood there, waiting… waiting… and when he didn’t say anything I nodded and burbled “yes.” He stood up and hugged me “So you’ll marry me?” “Yes.”
He then explained he hadn’t said anything when he knelt, because he knew he’d cry. This, of course, made us both laugh.
I pretty much adore Bran.
Which, however, does *not* change the fact that I’m still scared out of my noggin by the thought of getting remarried. This further segues neatly into my book review for “Committed, A skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage.” by Elizabeth Gilbert. Yes, that Elizabeth Gilbert, of “Eat, Pray, Love” fame Why then is my fear a proper segue to a book review? Because that exact fear, and the attempt at resolution, is the subject of “Committed.”
But first, a tangent (I know, you’re shocked) to the subject of “Eat, Pray, Love” (EPL from now on for brevity’s sake). I had a love/hate relationship with the book for a lot of reasons. I’m sure for pretty much the same ones that most every divorcĂ© did. I hated it because wouldn’t we *all* love to spend our post divorce insanity at the very *least* eating our way through Italy? And maybe less of us might choose time at an Indian ashram, but I would have loved that, too. And time in Bali? Oh rats – such misery. I wanna smack Elizabeth Gilbert around for such a wonderful trip. Ahhh, but the love part of the love/hate. I love her honesty. I love that she took me down into the rabbit hole hell spiral of her depression and neurosis and anger and pain and showed me around. I listened to her speak the words of *my* feelings (literally, I had the audiobook) on more than one occasion and I realized – I’m not crazy (or stupid, or weak, or pathetic). Or at least, if I am, I am not alone in my insanity (or stupidity, weakness and pathetic-ness). There’s at the very least a party of two at this table, and at least one of us is a best-selling author. There’s something to be said for that, right? So, when I saw “Committed” as an audio book offering, I figured I would get it (this was before Brandon had proposed, mind you, but with the knowledge that he and I were on a someday track to marriage barring flaming derailment).
Sooooooo… back on track.
“Committed” follows on the heels of “EPL” but doesn’t try to wear it’s shoes. At the end of the first book, Elizabeth has found “Felipe” a brazilian born Australian who she falls head over heels for. They decide to spend their lives together but have sworn never to marry each other as each has been through a horrible divorce (Liz rates hers as a 7.2 with 10 being utter decimation). That may have been the end but for the department of homeland security. At the beginning of “Committed” we find out that Felipe’s been coming into the US on work visas for 3 months at a time and then leaving and coming back for another 3 months to be able to be with Liz in Philidelphia, where they’ve settled. He’s familiar with the work visa process because he owns a gem importing business that he’s been running out of the US for years. However, he’s never been quite so “regular” about his comings and goings, which raises the eyebrow of Homeland Security, who gives Felipe the boot, not before however, mentioning the most expedient and likely way for him to be able to live in the US with Liz, is by their marriage.
Enter the conflict! Neither wants to marry, but both want to be together, so they decide they’re going to have to. The next year is spent with them traveling as cheaply as possible through Southeast Asia (Liz has not reaped the financial success of EPL yet and Felipe’s business is all in the US) as the lawyers and officials maneuver to get everything to a point where Felipe can return to US soil and marry Liz. In this time, Liz reads everything she can get her sister to ship her on “western” marriage throughout the ages (it was just too much info to deal with marriage everywhere), interviews the locals about husbands and marriage, and observes and recollects as many marriage arrangements as she can.
I thought it was all *freaking fascinating*, and oddly enough, comforting.
Maybe Liz’s ability to sell herself on the idea worked on me as well. However, she didn’t so much look at the “good side” of marriage as she flat out explored what it is and what it has been. And she has no problem at all talking about the negatives.
Such as the fact that some researchers have found that in terms of rates of depression, physical health, longevity, and salary, modern marriage is markedly better for men than women. Then, of course, there’s the 50% divorce rate. Plus, her own reasons for not trusting the institution in it’s entirety.
However, by the end, she has built the strong case (for me, anyway) that this cultural construct we call marriage is just that – a construct – and we have the right to create and maintain it however we need to to make it our own.
So would I recommend this book? Absolutely – again, keep in mind I listened to the audio – and anything read in an author’s own voice improves it immensely (in my opinion. And unless it’s Stephen King reading).
And did it allay my fears entirely? No. I’ll still be afraid. As one woman responded to her daughter who asked if all brides are as scared as she is:
“No, honey, only the ones who think are scared.”
I think. I think A LOT. I’m a neurotic sort of cat who ends up on the ceiling every now and then because with all of my thinking I somehow forget what I’ve *learned*. Luckily, I have a sweet set of friends and adoring man who gently remind me of what I’ve forgotten while I pluck myself off of the ceiling one nail at a time.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I didn't eat pie last night.

No, Josh, not that kind of pie.

Yes, I went to Marie Callendar's and didn't eat a slice of pie for dessert. Since I'm typing this, it obviously did not kill me. Of course it helped that my friend Derrick and I had just had a conversation about American's "obesity epidemic". The sad and scary part is that I actually don't really like sweets so much as I did when even five years ago. Yet I continue eat them as a reminder of a time that they tasted good and "helped" me feel better, and yet... they don't anymore.

There are times I think I'm some sort of food nymphomaniac - never satisfied no matter how much I get. Does that make me a foodomaniac? that's not at all clever sounding... latin - latin for food google: victus, nutrimens, esca, epulae, diaria, alimonium, alimentum. Victusmaniac? Diariamaniac? (ewww) Nutrimaniac? (nutrimaniac, ma-ni-ac on the floor... and she's eatin like she ne-ver ate be-fooooore - visions of self on chair on stage being doused in a bucket of barbeque sauce - Weird Al eat your heart out).

*end tanget*

I really thought about that pie last night. Rolled visions of it around in my head. Imagined the taste.
And realized that while it didn't really sound appealing, I *wanted* the feelings of comfort associated with it. Comfort that really ain't gonna happen.

In homage to Bekki's inspirational blog - I remember a time when I was sane (at least about food, anyway). For the year surrounding my divorce.
I ate when I was hungry. I stopped when I was full not FULL. I craved good for me foods and took the time to cook them. I was depressed as hell, but things were in flux, I was distracted and food gave me no comfort.

Then the flux stopped, things became calm and ordered and "boring". I've gained 30 lbs over the 4 years since my divorce. Food is the lazy (wo)man's exclamation point in a day stuck in the rut. But... it takes more and more to knock me out of the rut. Uncomfortably full. Lots of taste, fat, sugar, calories.

So... now to find a way to remind myself that the bacon double cheeseburger/pie/sushigorgefest I'm about to eat looks like the road to happiness but isn't what I really want - what I really want is challenge and purpose to knock my out of my rut. Of course bacon double cheeseburgers are easy and immediate as opposed to the difficulty and heartache and work of pursuing a purpose, a life, a goal. That is, until you're 4 years and thirty pounds down the bacon double cheeseburger life substitute road.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Oooh, hitting so close to home the windows rattle.

So first off

Not a single post and I'd already changed the name of my blog. After all - the point is to learn to love a life that doesn't seem to have a point, yes?
However, I've decided to keep the agonyandentropy addy because:
1. It's easier -and-
2. It's a reminder of the mindset I'm trying to leave behind.

The goals?
To learn to work around what I don't do well and emphasize what I do - and find a way to make a living and a life at that in the process.
Like accepting that I'm never going to *stay* organized or enjoy finishing a project or exercising but finding a way to make the fact that I enjoy the organizational process and creating new projects and the way the body moves and works all work for me.
Also to accept who I am while at the same time improving what I can. I do not have a decent grasp of money. I will always double book. But with the help of certain tools and methods and *people* - I can do better. My iphone keeps me from double booking (when I remember to enter my info), Bran gently reminds me I may not need something I'm about to buy, and my friends can laugh with me when I screw up yet another appointment.

So why make this public? Why not just scratch it all out in a journal where no one but me sees my struggles and my weakness? Because I need help. I've done some reading recently that's made me realize I really can't do this alone. I always thought that to be strong, I had to deal with everything by myself - be a big ol Hero in my own head. After all, we're all the hero in our own stories. What I never considered though was Buffy Summers has her scooby gang, Malcolm Reynolds has the big damn heroes, Hugh Heffner has the playboy bunnies... you get the idea. And while in the end we're all alone in our decisions, it's all those trusted voices that can help us get there. So I need my equivalent. And as I learn, I hope I can also become a better Scooby/BDH/bunny to *your* Buffy/Mal/Hef. And to do all that I need to find my strengths, learn to work around my weaknesses and not beat the living snot out of myself while I do it.

Well, and if I could lose 50 lbs too, that'd be bitchin.

One step at a time...