ladysprite: (new)
2017-03-24 06:50 pm
Entry tags:

Just A Day

At this point, I've transitioned to doing hospice pretty much full-time. I still do relief work maybe one day a week, but I may be dropping that after this summer - I'm keeping busy enough that it's possible that relief time is cutting into my time to care for hospice patients, rather than giving me something to do when I don't have any hospice work.

Anyway, I realized that I haven't ever taken the time to write down what a regular hospice day looks like for me. So, just for the sake of anyone curious, and for my own posterity.....

Hidden, likely to get long.... )
ladysprite: (new)
2017-01-28 08:38 pm
Entry tags:

Charmed

I know the world is full of badness right now, and I know that it's bleak and horrifying, and I've been doing what I can to be both a candle in the darkness and a squeaky wheel. And I feel guilty talking about almost anything else. But at the same time... I want to chronicle some of the goodness in my life, too.

[Unknown site tag] and I just came back from a week in New Orleans, and while it wasn't quite our usual winter Week Somewhere Warm and while I'm not quite sure NoLa is quite my city, it was ultimately a lot of fun (thanks in large part to [livejournal.com profile] evcelt's recommendations; thank you!). But our last night there was, far and away, the best part of the trip.

We had booked an evening Haunted City tour with a company that promised a "more immersive" experience - hands-on ghost hunting, access to haunted locations, and a full recreation of a Victorian seance. I figured that, whether the ultimate experience was awfully good or just awful, it would at least be entertaining.

When our guide handed [livejournal.com profile] umbran, our resident skeptic, an EMF reader, I couldn't help but make a Supernatural joke. At which point the guide paused just enough to show me his Devil Trap tattoo. Within 20 minutes we were having to make a conscious effort to slow down, stay on topic, and not leave the rest of the group behind as we babbled at each other about everything from American Horror Story to the Fox sisters and their role in the Victorian spiritualism trend to the Salem witch trials and our own personal theories behind them.

The tour and the seance were both hugely fun, and as things were wrapping up I made a reference to my work in hospice and end-of-life care, and half-joked about being a psychopomp. And he paused, and told me to stick around for a few minutes after the official end of the tour.

Which is how my husband and I wound up at the invitation-only vampire and magic-users speakeasy hidden behind one of the jazz clubs on Bourbon Street, nursing something red and sugary, learning card tricks and divination, and playing 'what White Wolf setting was your favorite?'until sometime after last call.

I know that I lead a charmed life; sometimes it's just more obvious than others.....
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
2016-12-31 07:16 pm

It Was.

This was the year that I finally had to invoke legal action to stop my father from contacting me. It was the year I cut off all contact with that half of my family.

This was the year that three of my friends died in one week.

This was the year that I spent four months throwing up everything I ate, and being told by doctors that it was all in my head.

This was the year that I watched in horror and disbelief as my country crashed and burned.

This was the year that I learned just how extensive and disgusting the abuse I was subjected to as a child was.

---------------------------------------------------
This was the year that my business took off and became not just self-supporting but me-supporting. By next year, if I wanted to, I could quit relief work completely.

This was the year that I was accepted into a program that will culminate in me becoming one of the world's first certified professionals in my field.

This was the year that I learned how to put my own well-being ahead of that of my abuser.

This was the year that I stopped being afraid of cameras.

This was the year that I let myself be open to friendships, and found so many amazing people because of it.

-------------------------------
I have no words for how mixed my feelings are about 2016. I have no idea of what 2017 will bring. I am a sea of confusion and emotions right now....
ladysprite: (new)
2016-12-10 10:22 am

Why I Keep Going

So I've been going through some rough stuff lately, and it's been taking a while to get better. Which is a nice way of saying.... it really hasn't been getting better. And so I woke up today pretty much the same way I have for the past almost-month - nauseated, nightmare-shaken, and sincerely wishing I could just cease existing instead of facing the day. But I had a house call to get to, so up and out with me.

And then I got to the house - this was a follow-up on one of my chronic cases. And the kid who opened the door greeted me with a huge smile and 'HI DOCTOR BECKY!' (said kid wants to be a vet, and gets very excited when I let them try on my stethoscope and help with exams). And the dog trotted up to me wagging its tail. And the other kid insisted on showing me his new Star Wars bag that looks JUST LIKE my doctor bag, and the family insisted on sending me home with a handful of homemade chocolate chip cookies that they were prepping for the brunch they were hosting in a few hours, and I remembered for a little while why I do this thing that I do.

Whatever else good or bad I can say about my life, or the world... I am unbearably, unbelievably lucky in the work I have fallen into.
ladysprite: (new)
2016-12-01 10:33 am

The Raffle Approaches

Work, holidays, work, circus, work, sick, work, and the world. I know I don't post here a lot; it's a hard habit to keep when I'm also juggling a work blog and a new business and a life.

But! I have things to say now! In particular, I need to talk about the Arisia charity raffle.

Arisia is coming up pretty soon now; we're only a little more than a month out. And the convention is graciously allowing me to run a charity raffle this year, to raise money for the Alzheimer's Association in honor and memory of Sir Terry Pratchett.

So far, I've managed to put together a pretty impressive handful of prizes, but there's always space for more. Our last raffle raised about $4000; I'm really hoping to beat that number this year.

I know that the world is scary and harsh right now, and I know everyone has a lot on their plate. But please - if you're a crafter, or an artist, or a writer, or a maker of things, or a worker in any sort of interesting field - if you can find the time and energy to donate, we need prizes.

Let me know, and I can tell you where to send your donations (or pick them up from you if you're local). And if you have any questions I can do my best to answer them. Help me fight the dark and remember that people have the power for great goodness, no matter what else is going on in the world....
ladysprite: (new)
2016-11-02 02:35 pm

Not Yet

I feel like everything in my life is in a state of 'getting ready' right now.

I'm trying to prep for the first session of a LARP that'll be running in a couple of weeks.
I'm working on choreography and planning for a silks routine that, if I'm lucky, will be ready for stage-time in a few months.
I'm trying to put together plans for Thanksgiving dinner, between menu and hosting and figuring out who'll be there.
I'm gearing up for Module 3 of my Hospice Certification Program, and trying to ready myself for whatever that entails.
I'm trying to organize our winter trip (to New Orleans this year), and figure out timing and housing and travel and what to do while we're there.
I'm pulling things together for the Arisia charity raffle, and trying to ramp up outreach for prize donations.

And all of this amounts to a lot of work, worry, and anticipation without a lot of concrete accomplishment. I'm generally pretty good with delayed gratification, and I like keeping busy... but I also need to keep this in mind when I start asking myself why I feel so frazzled and unproductive at times.
ladysprite: (new)
2016-10-27 08:51 pm

Now What?

Today is the first day in over a month that I've gone in to work at a clinic, come home, and been done.

Not 'come home, change bags, and go out on a hospice call.'
Not 'come home, change clothes, and go out to circus class.'
Not 'come home, open my work laptop, and spend an hour and a half doing hospice paperwork.'
Not 'come home, make dinner for six, and play hostess.'
Not 'come home, turn around, and go out to a meeting.'

Just... come home. That's it. No more work, no more errands, nowhere else to go.

I made dinner (frittata with chorizo and potatoes), and I have a pan of maple apple bars in the oven. I worked out. I actually had a chance to look over the list of games for Intercon, and sign up on my own instead of handing my password over to my taller half and asking him to pick something for me.

And now.... what do I do? It's pushing 9pm. I'm tired, but not ready to sleep. It's still early. I've done all the things. I've answered all the email I can muster the energy to answer. I suppose I ought to wash dishes or finish unpacking from last week's conference or something like that, but I'm out of energy. And at the same time, sitting still when I'm not so exhausted I'm at the point of collapse feels foreign and awkward.

I have time to read. Or watch Channel Zero and get some work done on my latest crochet project while I'm still awake enough to follow the plot and my grip isn't too fried to hold the hook. Hell, I might even get more than six hours of sleep tonight.

Luxury....
ladysprite: (new)
2016-10-07 09:16 am

Gifts From the Universe

Last night should have been amazing. I had dinner with a handful of friends whom I don't get to see near often enough, and we laughed and joked and talked about games and horror movies and the show we were going to see. And then there was a Postmodern Jukebox concert, and it should have been awesome.

Except.... it was good, but not enough to erase the deaths that have been slamming my community for the past week. And in retrospect maybe loud and crowded isn't what I needed. And why was the guy next to me on his phone for the whole thing, while the person in front of me kept getting up to walk in and out of the concert hall?

And afterwards, it felt like everyone in the hall was there to be actively mean to me. Looking at the merchandise table, someone felt the need to push me and tell me that they were in line and I was trying to cheat my way in front of her. I left, so she could buy her damn t-shirt without my heinously offensive presence, and paused on the sidewalk outside the line of traffic to try to collect my cope.... and someone else walked out, went out of their way to shove past me, and made snarky comments about the apparently heinous crime of standing on the sidewalk. And I just fell apart.

I'm not surprised; between still recuperating from sickness, multiple deaths, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, and multiple triggers, I was overdue for a PTSD breakdown. And [livejournal.com profile] umbran was there to help me through the worst of it. He wrapped me up and coaxed me into moving and shielded me from the people and kept me upright and talked to me as we headed back towards the T station.

And when we were almost there, cutting through the edge of the Commons, we found the labyrinth.

Someone had chalked a labyrinth onto the walking path. Huge and complex and intricate and waiting. And I started walking it. And a few turns in I felt my shoulders relax and a few turns later I could feel myself focus again, and by the time I reached the center I could see the world clearly again, instead of through the lens that told me everyone was attacking me. It wasn't a perfect and instant cure, but it helped more than I thought anything could.

Arnis says we can move the cars and draw a labyrinth on our driveway, in case it helps in the future - and that, if it does, we can paint it there more permanently. I don't know if it'll help in the long run or if this was just a fluke, but I'll try anything....
ladysprite: (new)
2016-09-27 07:04 pm

Too Much Continuing, Not Enough Education

So as I may have mentioned once or twice here, I'm currently taking part in a Hospice Certification Program. Year and a half, couple hundred hours, gets me a handful of extra letters after my name and teaches me a ton of cool stuff.

I'm nearing the end of the first of four units, and so far it's been almost completely amazing. This part is a series of online lectures, with quizzes after each section and mandatory group forum chats and essays and homework, on the basics and fundamentals of hospice care.

It's been incredibly useful, both in reassuring me that so far I'm practicing with good standards of care and in giving me tools I can use to make my practice even better. The lectures are usually anywhere from half an hour to an hour long, and they've covered everything from definitions of hospice to laws and practices regarding body care to explaining to clients the concept of patient-directed care, and I swear there's been at least one thing in each and every session that's been directly applicable to my day-to-day work.

And now I'm on the lecture about Compassion Fatigue in Caregivers. Which sounds incredibly useful and relevant and helpful and important, right?

You'd think.

Except it's almost four hours long. And it is almost entirely comprised of the lecturer alternating between rambling about herself and humble-bragging about how of course, while we're supposed to take care of ourselves and not overwork, we all know how hard it is, and she *totally* doesn't practice what she preaches and just works so hard.

Out of curiosity and boredom, I actually watched the timer in the last section of the lecture to see how much time she spent talking about the subject matter versus talking about herself. In an 18 minute lecture, precisely 4 minutes and 32 seconds were spent *not* talking about her life.

I have learned absolutely nothing about compassion fatigue. I have, however, learned about her hobbies (quilting and bicycling - but not long distance, only maybe 30-40 miles at a time; her husband prefers 50 mile trips), her food preferences (she hates cooking, but will eat peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon), the angst she felt moving away from home to go to college and how frequently she called her parents her freshman year, her divorce, how much credit card debt she accumulated in her first five years in practice, her decision to go to her first swing dance class (a desire to challenge herself, because she has a fear of trying new things), her initial hatred of sewing and how she parlayed that into said quilting hobby......

I still have an hour plus of this lecture to go. If I didn't have the prospect of a quiz and forum conversation at the end, I'd be so tempted to just hit 'play' and let my cats watch it instead of me.

At least I know I'll get the question about her preferred sandwich spread right.
ladysprite: (new)
2016-09-21 09:36 pm

Portrait Of A Failed Hospital Visit

My doctor asked me to call him with an update today, to let him know how I'm doing. So I called him, around 1:30pm, and left a message with his answering service (the only way you can communicate at all) telling him that I'm maaaaaybe 20-25% better, that my pain is still very positional, and that I'm still getting dizzy and falling down with any effort or exertion.

At 6pm he finally called me back; he's worried about my lack of improvement. In particular, he's worried about my heart. Enough that he felt that I need a cardiac ultrasound. Immediately. He ordered me to go to the ER tonight, and told me that he'd call ahead to let them know to expect me.

I had to run home (I was on my way back from a euthanasia, so I had to handle the aftercare), but I was at the ER by 7pm. Where I got hung up at intake because they had no record of my impending arrival.

After half an hour of hunting, paging doctors and offices, checking multiple departments and hospitals, digging through stacks of faxes, and generally failing, a note was finally found that my doctor had called, but that the day shift person had failed to write it down anywhere, and hadn't told anyone on the night shift about the call. No worries, though; I was promised that I could be admitted through the ER and get the ultrasound tonight.

So I was admitted to the ER. Where they.... started the entire triage from last week again. Wouldn't listen to a word I said. After half an hour, when I was informed that I would be getting bloodwork and chest x-rays and an EKG, and told them that I had had all of that done RIGHT THERE ONE WEEK AGO and all I needed was an ultrasound, I was told that they don't do that there.

Not at all. No after-hours ultrasound service at all, no urgent ultrasound service at all. All imaging must be scheduled, at least one week in advance.

It would have been super helpful if they had told my doctor this when he called. Or me, when I came in. As it was, I'm at risk now of being rejected for future procedures because the end result was that I now have a record of showing up with chest pain and then departing without being seen (because I see no reason in repeating the same tests that were non-diagnostic last time). And I still don't have the test I need.

The only option they gave me was to be admitted overnight in the hopes of a slot opening in the morning, if the ICU docs felt it was crucial. At which point I decided to just come home, because I can be here and be slightly less miserable. I've left a message with my doctor's answering service, letting them know that I wasn't able to get the test they requested; hopefully they'll be able to find someplace that can do it sometime over the next couple of days.

But.... big fail, Lawrence Memorial Hospital. And I'm tired of being broken.
ladysprite: (new)
2016-09-20 04:22 pm

Weird

The biggest challenge with pleuritis and pericarditis? It's exhausting.... but that's it.

I'm not so miserable with fever and chills and nausea and extraneous misery that I don't care. I'm not zoned out of my gourd on drugs and unable to think or focus. I'm tired, like all the time. And I'm in a low-grade panic state because I can't get enough oxygen, which is scary. And breathing aches and hurts and feels like doing tricep pushups, only in my entire chest. (NB: tricep pushups are the WORST)

But.... mentally? I'm a bit slow around the edges, but otherwise here. And so the worst challenge I'm facing right now is utter, mind-numbing boredom. Which is almost impossible to alleviate, because having company over means talking and talking means running out of air. Walking? Ditto. Shopping? same.

I've been making do - I've had a couple of low-key guests who have been able to come and entertain me and keep me company. And I'm getting better, at a glacial pace. But I tried to go back to work for a 9-5 shift yesterday and wound up blacking out and falling on my backside in the middle of the treatment area, and while I survived my two house calls today I have bailed on cooking dinner for our tabletop group because I don't trust myself to do that much knifework unsupervised and unspelled.

On the other hand, while I may loathe this much downtime, it's probably good for me. I've had time for introspection. I'm mostly done with the first unit of my hospice certification program. I've gotten some reading and crafting done - including a bunch of handspun yarn to enter into the Topsfield Fair's spinning competition. I've started working back on a crafting project that I had set aside for half a year because it was too teeny and fussy.

I need to find a way to hit some kind of balance with my life and my body that doesn't include working one until the other collapses.....
ladysprite: (new)
2016-09-15 12:46 pm

Diagnostic Obscurity

Last Friday I woke up feeling like I was having a panic attack. Stabbing chest pain, pounding heart rate, trouble breathing, all that fun stuff. I pushed through work, where the techs took decent care of me between visits and the other doc made sure I was monitoring my heart rate and pulses, and after a few hours when the breathing wasn't getting any better I realized it wasn't panic.

Okay, I figured; it's probably just a bizarre manifestation of my seasonal allergies. They usually show up as coughing fits, but stuff changes sometimes and shortness of breath makes sense as an asthma/allergy sign. Once I got home I dug up my (expired) inhalers. No help. But hey, they were expired.

So I spent Monday arguing with my doctor's office trying to get them refilled ('but why do you want a refill on a medicine you aren't taking?'). I was finally able to pick them up Tuesday.... and they were still no help.

Yesterday morning I got an early appointment with the NP at my doctor's office, who insisted that I seemed fine to her. Lungs clear, even though I was having to pause for breath after every few words. Strength "normal" (note to self - having medical professionals assess for weakness by checking grip and bicep strength after 2 years of circus arts leads to skewed results). I was told to take Claritin and I'd be fine.

That night, when [livejournal.com profile] umbran saw how I looked and sounded, I went to the ER. It's amazing how quickly you get triaged when you go in with chest pain and shortness of breath. And after 5 hours, 2 EKGs, chest x-rays, unsuccessful nebulizer treatments, extensive labwork, and the ultimately diagnostic low-tech test of my doctor asking me to lean forward and see if it stopped hurting, I got my diagnosis.

Pleuritis and probable pericarditis. For which the treatment is, unfortunately, 'be miserable for a while.' With a side order of 'don't do too much,' and cringeworthy doses of prednisone.

I've managed to reschedule all but one of my house calls for today, cancelled my private silks lesson, and called out from tomorrow's relief shift. I'm tucked into the sofa with a crochet project I haven't picked up in months, a stack of Astro City comics (thank you [livejournal.com profile] hungrytiger!), and only a moderate sense of guilt that I'm not working on my certification program or cleaning the house or... much of anything other than breathing. And drinking. So much tea. Stupid prednisone.

At least I finally get to fulfill my wish of being a languid tragic Victorian damsel.....
ladysprite: (new)
2016-09-08 10:44 pm

Failing At Journaling

Once again, I fail at keeping up here. Partly it's time; partly it's habit - I'm just not in the pattern of writing here daily, and the more I miss the harder it is to re-start. I miss having a place to just keep track of daily life, and I'll try again, and I'll probably slip again, but this is better than nothing.

This week is the two-year anniversary of my first silks class; now I'm in Level 5 (as high as they go before you go into the schools pro-prep program). I still have a ton to learn, and I'm at the bottom of my class again - mostly because this is my first time in this level and with this teacher, while the rest of the students have been up here for a while. It's hard to hold on to my confidence when I spend most of the class having to remind the teacher that I have no idea what she's talking about when she says 'just crotch the fabric, wrap like for a back-dive, and then do a pencil descent,' but... I'm three weeks in and surviving, so I think I can do it.

I've also been gently informed that it's about freaking time for me to start thinking about performing. So, because I am me and I am obsessed with planning everything way the hell in advance and down to the last millimeter, I'm working with a teacher on choreo for something that'll probably see stage time this coming spring.

I was boggled at just how much this is giving me the heebie-jeebies, until I realized that this is the first time in over 20 years that I have volunteered to perform. Every time I've been on stage, it's been at someone else's request. I was press-ganged into Commedia, asked to pitch in with variety acts for burlesque, tapped for choreography or performance aid for SCA events... I've never had to actually take a deep breath, stand up, and declare that, in my own opinion with no outside validation, I am good enough and talented enough to take up space and time on a stage. And that's a hell of a lot scarier than hanging by my ankles 20 feet above the ground.

Of course, that's also why I really probably ought to do this, too. Whether or not I have the aerial chops, I need to stretch my self-validation. Doesn't make it easy, though.....
ladysprite: (new)
2016-08-17 07:48 am

Emotional Support Animal

Ever since we brought our current pair of cats home as kittens three years ago, they made it clear that they had strong preferences in their people. Harlequin - the long-haired black fluffball - is daddy's little girl, running around the house peeping at [livejournal.com profile] umbran to be picked up or to have a toy thrown, and climbing on his chest whenever he holds still; Harrison - the lanky orange male - is mine, climbing into my lap whenever I'm working and making sure I never need to climb the stairs without an escort.

We didn't plan this or try to sway them this way; it just happened. Each of them will tolerate the other human if their person of choice isn't around, but it's pretty clear from their demeanor in those cases that they're settling.

Except....

For the past couple of weeks I've been having an even worse time sleeping than usual. In particular, I've been waking up in the middle of the night sick and panicked and generally miserable. And each and every night, every time I wake up, Harley has been by my pillow in less than a minute. And she curls up inches away from me, and purrs as loud as she can, and stays there until I fall asleep again (at which point she presumably returns to her preferred position, balanced precariously on my husband's side).

I don't know what pushed her to start doing this, or why she's suddenly deigned to grace me with her love and support, or how she even knows that this helps. But anyone who says that animals don't have or understand emotions, or that cats don't care about people like dogs do, can tell that to my fluffy little protector....
ladysprite: (new)
2016-08-15 08:24 am

NYC

[livejournal.com profile] umbran and I just came back from a weekend trip to NYC - we usually go away for a weekend at some point in the summer; this year I was too overwhelmed to put together our travel plan so I asked him to make it happen, and he stepped in to assemble a fairly impressive adventure.

Usually our getaways involve wandering around harms and museums and parks in green spaces of New England and then retiring to a B&B; this trip was much more about excellent restaurants and bustling cities, but it was a good change of pace. We got to meet up with friends that we haven't seen in over a decade, go to a Broadway show for the first time in almost as long, and generally explore the city as much as the oppressive heat and humidity would let us.

"Something Rotten" is better than I ever thought it would be (and I had fairly good expectations) - it does to both Shakespeare and Broadway what 'Galaxy Quest' did to Star Trek, with as much love and in-joking as that movie. It's better than 'Spamalot,' and in a class with 'The Drowsy Chaperone' and Forbidden Broadway. Just... with more iambic pentameter and codpiece jokes, and Epic Tap Battles of History.

Dinner at Sardi's was worth every penny. No; it's not the best food I've ever eaten, but it was good, and it was dinner. At Sardi's. It's like a bucket list thing for theater junkies, and now I can say that I did it. I feel all fancy and stuff.

Brunch the next morning at Alice's Teacup was absolutely wonderful. We walked the 2 miles through a mostly-empty Sunday morning city before the heat became too punishing, and then spent the next hour in a quiet, cool oasis of dark wood, mismatched china teacups, delicious food, and perfect tea; thank you [livejournal.com profile] mermaidlady for reminding me that I needed to go there!

The only real disappointment (other than the train malfunctions on both legs of the trip that delayed us by multiple hours each way) was Forbidden Planet. I had vague memories from high school of an epic bookstore; unfortunately, whether that was ever true or not, what's there now is mostly a collection of Pop figures and toys, with about a half shelf of actual books. Still, I found a new (to me) DeLint, so even that was a qualified success, and from there we ducked into The Strand and spent the last couple hours before our train wallowing in air conditioning and miles of books.

And now I'm back in the real world, facing some truly challenging crap, but at least for a couple of days I managed to push it away.....
ladysprite: (new)
2016-08-06 10:00 pm

Miss Jean Louis: A Biography

So much can be said about Miss Jean Louis - epic poems have been written in praise of her tireless efforts on behalf of the endangered elopus, murals have been painted in tribute to her pulchritude, and I know of at least once city that has been renamed in her honor after her endeavors to save all of its children from a tragic epidemic of mundanity.

But today I would like to speak of one of the lesser-known periods in her life. It may come as a surprise to those who have followed her endeavors, because our beloved lady does her level best to hide her light under a bushel, but Miss JL did, in fact, spend her first three years after college as a Professional Jackalope Wrangler for Ringling Brothers Circus, at the same time establishing the Underground Railrun that eventually helped smuggle these precious and brutal creatures back to the safety of their prairie homes.

It was at that very circus, when she was but a girl, that Miss JL first fell in love with the noble jackalope; in fact, though she has never confirmed this rumor, many maintain it is why she ultimately went on to obtain her PhD in genetics from Moreau University. In any case, the young Jean was at a loss for how to aid the poor brutal beasts. Luckily for them, her determination is matched only by her patience and cunning.

After completing her first degree (in Pre-Cambrian linguistics, as we all know), Miss Jean Louis returned to infiltrate the circus, first presenting herself as a cotton candy sculpture artist and knife-thrower's target. Over time she endeared herself to the jackalope husbandry team, through her charm, wisdom, and her realization that the only treat those bloodthirsty beasts love more than the flesh of their foes is, in fact, fresh-spun cotton candy molded into the shape of tiny petit-fours.

After endearing herself to both the jackalopes and their captors, Miss Jean worked tirelessly night and day for over a year to find others as dedicated as she to the plight of feral mythical beasts and their exploitation. Together with such champions as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Angela Lansbury, she formed the Jackalope Liberation Army and dug a series of literal underground runs to free the poor abused chimeras from their circus habitats and return them to the prairies of their youth.

(It must be admitted, though, that this was made easier by the fact that the jackalopes themselves did most of the digging; the hardest task of the caregivers was steering them. Left to their own devices, the animals were more inclined to tunnel under sorority houses and playgrounds.)

All in all, the efforts of the JLA were a resounding success, and over 3 years more than 400 jackalopes were successfully reintroduced to the wild, leading to the epidemic of black plague and the gang wars between feral cats and antlered bunnies that plague the midwest to this day.

It was during her time in the circus that Miss Jean Louis also discovered her deep and abiding passion for flying trapeze and her tragic allergy to sequins, but those are tales for another chapter....
ladysprite: (new)
2016-08-05 04:17 pm
Entry tags:

Crazy Week

So I've been quiet here this week, mostly because it's GISHWHES, the crazy week-long international scavenger hunt that I vanish into once a year, only to emerge with ridiculous stories and a lot less shame.

But there's one thing I need all y'all's help with for this year's hunt. In addition to random acts of kindness and art, GISHWHES tries to make the world a better place. And towards that end, we're trying to raise money for a very important charity.

So I need as many of you as possible to donate to this fundraiser: https://www.crowdrise.com/change-a-life-khoulouds-story/fundraiser/KnightsofTardisia

It doesn't matter how much; every little bit helps. Just... please, toss a little in if you can.

Thank you all so much!
ladysprite: (new)
2016-07-21 03:08 pm
Entry tags:

I Ain't Afraid Of No Gender-Specific Social Tropes

So. Ghostbusters 2016. It's a thing. A kerfluffle, maybe even. It's also, in every possible way, pretty darn amazing.

Is it the best movie ever made? Nah, it'll take a lot to reach that bar. Was it perfect? No; it still has room to grow. But neither was the original Ghostbusters, and I still love the hell out of that one. And the existence of this version doesn't erase that one; nor does it ruin it or spoil it or do much of anything to it except complicate Google searches for it.

What it *does* do, though is finally fix the situation of not ever seeing a character or characters I can identify with in movies. I have lost count of the number of times I've come out of a theater after watching an otherwise-awesome movie with [livejournal.com profile] umbran, wondering aloud why they couldn't have made ONE of the background/second-tier scientist characters female. This? This was an entire movie of smart girls being smart at each other. Eating pizza and goofing and being excited about learning things and showing off their niches without kicking other people for their lack of expertise in that area and not once bringing up 'when are you going to have kids?' or training a man who will ultimately do their job for them.

And it's funny, and it's cool, and it's GOOD. It's good enough that I kind of want to go see it again.

Oh - and to everyone who's Just Seriously Concerned About Remakes, and wants to know why it couldn't just be a sequel? Because having it be a sequel would erase most of that legitimacy. In this story, the women are self-made. They learn and discover and invent and become entrepreneurs on their own merit. In a sequel, they wouldn't *earn* their positions - their roles as ghostbusters, and their legitimacy, would be handed to them my guys who did it first, no matter how smart or talented they were. This story - where they blaze trails and succeed on their own merits - is a better story right now.

These are the characters I've been wanting since I started watching movies. I can only hope there are more to come....
ladysprite: (new)
2016-07-14 04:00 pm
Entry tags:

Making Art

Earlier this week I had the first inking session for my newest tattoo (and as an aside, when the heck did I become an ink addict? I never meant to get any beyond the first one....). It's going to be absolutely gorgeous, and my artist is amazing, but this was especially interesting to me because it was the first time I got to watch and be part of the art-design process.

I adore my artist; he has an amazing ability to take a vague description and a series of pictures and turn them into something that's exactly what I never knew I was looking for - but always in the past this has been a black-box process. I (or my husband, or my friend) give him a handful of concept pictures, talk to him for half an hour or so about what we want and why, and then go home. When we come back a week or two later, he holds up a drawing and asks 'Is this your tattoo?' And it always is.

This time? My email full of concept art went to the wrong address. So when I showed up for my inking, he had my verbal description and a couple of Google image searches for 'blue morpho butterfly tattoo' that he'd done on his own, and.... not much else. So the first hour and a half of our session was iterative art design as we looked up pictures, shared them with one another, and tossed ideas back and forth, him sketching as we went.

I can barely draw a stick figure, so watching him make lines on paper (in between looking up videos of his toddler to share with me, discussing the concept of negative space filigree, and comparing visual balance to Delsarte school of motion) and having them suddenly turn into a picture was nothing short of magic. And then watching the process of it go from generic-butterfly to my-image as we adjusted a line here, thinned a section there, moved a section to match the shape of my collarbone....

And all of this was followed by another half-hour of him staring at my chest and shoulder, making vague swoopy motions with his hands as he figured the precise shapes he wanted to bring out to match m body lines, and doodling and erasing sharpie dots along my sternum, pec, and shoulder.

Art is beautiful. Ink is beautiful. But I've never been privileged to understand the thought and design process that goes into making something exquisite and personal and special like this, and it was amazing - not just for the appreciation of skill and consideration, but for being able to witness the enthusiasm and happiness that the creative process brings to someone truly devoted to it. This is going to be an awesome piece...

(For the record, my initial description to him was 'something kind of like a blue morpho butterfly but not true-to-life, kind of stylized, with some surrounding shaping or lines or something to suggest movement and transformation.' What I'm getting is a 3/4 profile butterfly following the line of my left collarbone, with a negative-space filigree through and around it, spreading across my upper chest and shoulder....)
ladysprite: (new)
2016-07-08 09:10 pm
Entry tags:

Growing

It's been almost a year since I cut my hair, and I still love having it short. But part of the fun of short hair is experimenting and playing around with it. And I've played around with rag curls (epic disaster) and color (amazing) and curling irons (still don't really know what to do with them), and so it's about time to start playing around with letting it grow.

And what I'm realizing is that, for people with incredibly thin, fine, bone-straight hair, there is absolutely no graceful way to go from a short pixie to a bob. Like, none at all.

I know, get it cut in layers. I know, get it cut shaggy. I know, get it trimmed regularly by a professional. Believe me, I'm doing my very best. It's just that I've hit what I'm guessing is the hair equivalent of the miserably gawky pre-teen phase. The longest layer, at the top, is maybe 5" long - just long enough to hit my eyes but not long enough to pin to one side, and because it's so thin and light it looks feathery whether I want it to or not. Just long enough to cover the tops of my ears awkwardly, not long enough to push behind them. Too long to play peekaboo with a headband, but short enough that if I try to tuck it back with said headband the ends stick straight up.

And, again because my hair is so fine, any attempt to put any sort of product in it at this length just weights it down and makes it look sticky and dirty. When it's shorter I can use styling gunk to get it to do what I want (which is usually 'look cute and tousled, but in a cool way'); now it's long enough that I can't get any lift - there's too much weight from the length, so I just wind up with gunky floppy hair. That feathers across my forehead and hides the top half of my ears.

I feel like an ugly duckling, and I'm about to cut this experiment short. Literally. If I can ever carve an hour out of my schedule to get to my hairdresser. Maybe when winter rolls around and I can hide under a hat I'll try again, but for now I think I'm out of patience with this mop....