Awestruck

Jan. 15th, 2012 08:49 pm
ladysprite: (Default)
I am home from Arisia now, and only just starting to recover from the overwhelmingly emotional experience that the charity raffle was.

I spent more or less my entire con at the raffle table, and I don't mind at all - it was kind of nice to sit and watch the world come to me, and we were positioned so that that's exactly what happened. Our raffle table was right at the foot of the escalators that led to the dealer's room, volunteer area, art show, teen lounge, and con suite, so I think that everyone in the con walked past us at one point or another.

[livejournal.com profile] tpau and I set up to start selling raffle tickets around noon on Friday, and for about 3 days straight that's what we did. We sold tickets, and chatted up everyone who walked by. And somehow, our little raffle - my goofy idea that started as a whim a year ago - became something huge. I feel like everyone at the con decided to take part ownership in it, in an awesome way. Not in that they tried to take credit, or take something away from us, but in a way that let everyone be part of something good by joining us.

Dealers saw us, and started running out to ask if they could donate prizes, even before I had the chance to go in and ask. Guests saw us and came hurrying back with autographed copies of their books. The Writer's Workshop decided to use their brainstorming to create another prize. It felt like every time I turned around, there was something new on our table, being added to the list of prizes.

And people bought tickets. And bought tickets. And bought more tickets. We had lines of people waiting to buy, at some points. People bought tickets, called their friends, and then came back for more. And while they were buying tickets they talked to us, and shared their stories about their own histories - fighting cancer, or working in charity, or... just about anything. And then we raffled off our prizes, and got to make people happy by giving them awesome stuff - even if many of them weren't there to hear their name called, there were enough present to make it feel a bit like playing Santa, and the rest were all smiles when they came to pick their prizes up.

I feel more like a part of the Arisia community than I ever have before. I feel exhausted and overwhelmed and a little shell-shocked, but most of all I feel good.

In the end, we sold 5,218 tickets to 376 people - over 10% of the con attendees. And we brought in...

wait for it....

$4000.

In my wildest dreams I imagined MAYBE earning this much. But I acknowledged in my heart of hearts that these were ludicrous, absurd, ridiculous and unrealistic dreams, and that we'd probably honestly make about half that. And here we are. $4000. In 3 days. From a few hundred amazing people.

Special thanks to [livejournal.com profile] tpau for being my teammate in all this, to [livejournal.com profile] umbran for being my pillar and my support, to [livejournal.com profile] jadasc, [livejournal.com profile] baron_saturday, [livejournal.com profile] dagibbs, and [livejournal.com profile] metaphysick, and to Dan-who-is-not-on-LJ for helping set up, tear down, do data entry, make change, tear tickets, write names over and over again, and generally hug me and keep me sane when sometimes things got a little bit overwhelming.

I think I'm going to collapse now. And maybe cry. In a good way....
ladysprite: (Default)
The upside of being at one clinic on a semi-regular basis is that I get to know my coworkers a little better. Like when I found out that one of my favorite techs has a husband who's a sushi chef. So, being the shameless charity-pusher that I am, I asked her if the restaurant he works at would be interested in donating a gift certificate or something like that as a raffle prize.

This was a couple of months ago. She said she'd look into it, I gave her a beg letter to pass on to them, and I never heard anything back. Not a problem, I thought; easy come, easy go. And then I found out that the restaurant he works at is a crazy high-end place - the tech in question has mentioned him making food for folks like Taylor Swift and Kevin Bacon - and I figured that's why they blew me off. I haven't had good luck getting overly-fancy places to donate.

And then she texted me last night, letting me know that they did, in fact, want to make a donation, and that it was, in her words, "a lot."

So. O Ya Restaurant will be donating an omakase dinner for two, with drinks (for those like me who aren't familiar with the term, it's the sushi equivalent of a chef's tasting menu). Estimated value $350.00

Holy cow. And Merry Christmas to me. I never expected anything this awesome, and I think, with all due respect to Studio Foglio, we may have a new grand prize.

So if y'all were hesitating on buying raffle tickets, you may want to do so now. Details are about 2 posts below. We've also added more new prizes since then - earrings and a pendant from [livejournal.com profile] starcat_jewel, gift certificates to 3 Trolls Games & Puzzles, and a whole bunch of books.

I have no idea how this has managed to turn into something so huge, and I only hope we manage to sell enough tickets to make it worthwhile, but... wow. You guys, this is epic.

Pausing

Nov. 24th, 2011 11:56 am
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
Okay, then.

Stuffing is assembled, and ready to go in the oven when it's time. Pumpkin gingerbread and cranberry-apple pies are done and cooling. Gravy base is finished, just waiting for the turkey drippings to be made into a roux and simmered in. Olive tapenade and lemon-mint-pepper ricotta are done and waiting to go on bruschetta.

Bread has been cubed for bread pudding; that'll go in the oven just when we sit down to eat. Green beans have been snapped. Hazelnuts are toasted and being chopped as I type this. Turkey is brining, and will be coming out to go into the oven in about 20 minutes - [livejournal.com profile] umbran is on top of that, bless his heart.

And.... that's it. It's too early to peel potatoes or start the custard for the bread pudding; succotash is going to be a last-minute toss in the skillet. There's going to be the standard last-minute rush around the kitchen about a half an hour before we eat, as I saute green beans and mash potatoes and whisk gravy and try to get all the last-minute bits timed just so, but for the moment, I think I'm caught up.

In three hours my house will be full of friends and family and loved ones. I love this holiday. Right now, though, I think I'm going to sit down for a few, catch my breath, and enjoy the peace....
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
So, a simple one, today. I am grateful for the occasional easy day at work - for a surgery day when I'm not overbooked, when the procedures go smoothly and my coworkers are equally lacking in stress, and when my clients are all at least somewhat cooperative.

And, pursuant to that, I am grateful that, when I got home from that day, I had the energy and cope to laugh and be social with the house-full of friends that were coming over for tonight's tabletop game. It felt like I was truly myself for the first time in a long, long time, and that felt.... really good.

I would love the chance to get used to this.

Surrounded

Nov. 14th, 2011 10:47 pm
ladysprite: (Default)
On the one hand, I feel a bit guilty that I haven't gotten around to mentioning this yet, in my list of gratitudes. On the other hand, today more than any other day, it seems appropriate.

I am grateful for my friends, and for living a life surrounded by people who care about me, and for me. I've joked that I seem to draw white knights and protectors to me like a magnet draws sewing needles, but it's true - and I cherish this fact more than I can say, even while I'm not quite sure what I've done to deserve it.

And today I have a blue rose and a card from a friend who heard I was having a rough day at work and snuck out to my office to deliver them to me (and a handful of slightly confused coworkers, who aren't quite sure what to make of the handful of non-spouse guys who show up to meet me after work, deliver flowers, or otherwise drop by the office for greetings and hugs). I have a mashup of 'Sweet Home Alabama' and 'Werewolves of London,' hunted down by my pet DJ. I had a warm home and dinner cooking when I finally escaped from work, and a new issue of Cooks Country to entertain me - another gift from my amazing husband. I have an invitation waiting for a new game, courtesy of another dear friend who is doing a truly Herculean job of cheerleading and supporting.

I am lucky beyond belief, and I am surrounded by affection and support. I have no idea why, but I am not going to argue it....
ladysprite: (momongo)
Today's gratitude is for all of the awesome, kind, generous, helpful, supportive, and generally amazing shopkeepers and businesspeople of Salem, Massachusetts.

Given that today was likely to be one of the last nice days of the year, and given that it's getting close (at least, in my timeline) to Arisia and the raffle [livejournal.com profile] tpau and I are running to raise funds for the 3 Day, I spent today wandering the streets of Salem along with my boon companion, lucky charm, and Good Idea Guy [livejournal.com profile] metaphysick, hitting up shops for donations. (And a secondary shout out of gratitude to him, because it was his idea to hunt there.)

For those of you not familiar with Salem, it is a town full of tiny, kitschy, kooky stores, mostly with the word "witch" somewhere in their name, selling exactly the kind of stuff that would be welcome and more at Science Fiction conventions. And, apparently, these stores are almost all owned by generous, easygoing people who will gladly share their wares for a good cause. They also all apparently know each other, leading to suggestions like 'Go to Store X on Y street and don't do your speech. Just tell 'em Lorelai sent you, and they'll listen.'

And while I'm at it, gratitude beyond belief goes to [livejournal.com profile] braider, my deputy at OVFF, who mamaged to come back from that convention with a crazy number of CD prizes - and to all of the artists who donated. And to [livejournal.com profile] tinyplasticmeat for the beautiful cowl and mitts she knitted for the raffle.

At this point, the raffle is gearing up to be something truly epic. I have an entire autographed run of Girl Genius. I have autographed novels, and a box of games from Steve Jackson that, by itself, is worth more than most of my Christmas hauls when I was a kid. The Drum Connection in Arlington has given us a certificate for a doumbek (winner's choice). I have (as noted) a hell of a lot of amazing CD's. I have jewelry and free psychic readings and gift certificates for boutique clothing and jewelry stores and handmade afghans and hand-dyed yarn and free passes to haunted houses and t-shirts and gaming books....

I can't wait to see how this all plays out.

And for those of you who promised to donate prizes, it's getting pretty close to raffle time - especially if you're one of the truly heroic people who offered to make crafty items or jewelry. If you're going to be bringing items to Arisia to donate, please let me know by confirming here; I'm keeping a spreadsheet at this point. And if you're not going to be attending the con, or if you just want to get donations to me beforehand so it's one less thing to keep track of, please either let me know so I can pick things up from you, or send them - I'd hate for things to get delayed by holiday mail busyness and not get here in time. (I will happily send my address to anyone who needs it.)

This is going to be amazing. Thank you all so much....

Cozy

Nov. 12th, 2011 11:35 pm
ladysprite: (Default)
The interesting thing about this exercise in gratitude is realizing just how many things I have in my life to be grateful for. It doesn't make the challenges go away, but it does help provide a bit of perspective, and balance.

Today I'm most grateful for having learned how much of an impact keeping warm has on my mental and emotional well-being, and my ability to tolerate the cold, dark parts of the year. (Yes, I know that for normal humans it's not REALLY cold yet. For me, it's already into uncomfortable and bordering on intolerable.)

Winter has always made me miserable. But I am forewarned now, and forearmed with things like silk longjohns and tights and chemical handwarmers, and I know when I come home that I can put on my polar fleece top and burrow into the blankets on the sofa with a mug of tea and thaw myself out until it doesn't feel like winter anymore. I can't make it not-dark anymore, but at least I can keep the chill under control.....
ladysprite: (Default)
A simple one, today, and a longer post when I get the chance.

I am grateful that the Mississippi Personhood Amendment did NOT pass. Sometimes my faith in humanity is justified.
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
And some days I'm just grateful that it's over. That soon I'll be able to curl up in bed with my cat purring next to me, listening to my husband read to me until I fall asleep.

One of the best things I ever realized was that all days end eventually. That no matter how scary or rough or frustrating or stressful or busy, at some point it's not going to be today anymore. Soon I will declare this day finished, no matter what, and tomorrow it'll start over new. Some of the same problems may still be there, but they won't all be, and the new day won't have all the same baggage.

So. G'night, y'all. Fresh start tomorrow.
ladysprite: (Default)
This evening I am grateful for kind, thoughtful clients, and for reminders that sometimes I make a difference in my job.

This morning started out as a nightmare. I made it into work 20 minutes before my shift started, hoping to make myself a cup of tea, review my cases for the day, and get a head start on phone calls. Instead, I walked into a madhouse. We were down at least one staff person in each department. Every emergency slot left open in my morning schedule had already been booked, and there were two more walk-in emergencies waiting. My computer wasn't working (a fairly hefty problem in a paperless office). And in spite of having come in on Thursday on my day off to get ahead of the game, my inbox was stuffed with phone calls to return, prescriptions to fill, records for new clients, and referral reports - and, hidden inside the stack, a beautiful thank-you card from a client I had seen a few weeks ago.

In the middle of a nightmare day, having tangible proof that I'm good at my job - that someone appreciated what I did, enough to take the time to write down how they felt and send it to me; that I made a difference in their life and that what I did mattered to them - was enough to turn my day around. Sometimes, when things get crazy-rough at work, I wonder why I bother, why I beat my head against the walls of angry animals and angrier clients and financial barriers and fear of litigation and stressy coworkers. Today that wasn't a problem.

Little things really can make a difference.
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
It's a little on the late side, and I'm a little on the tired side, and I spent a good bit of today in social situations that wound up taking energy instead of restoring energy, so there's a part of me that doesn't want to do this right now.... but there's a larger and more stubborn part of me that says this is exactly the time that I should be working on this.

So, something simple, tonight. I'm grateful for the gray ribbed cardigan that I made for myself a few weeks ago. It's soft and warm and it fits just about perfectly, and it lets me keep from freezing when everyone else in the room wants the window open and I'm curled up in a tiny ball trying not to freeze. And not being cold makes everything else so very much easier.

As a second, bonus note, I am grateful that I am learning how to manage my own responses and my anxiety levels, so that when I'm in a situation that, a year or a few months ago, might have wound up triggering a panic attack, I can now take a few minutes, step away, and manage to stay, if not cheery and bright, at least level-headed and self-aware.

It's a step.

Gratitude

Nov. 5th, 2011 04:14 pm
ladysprite: (momongo)
I saw this starting somewhere else - I can't remember now, alas, or I'd give credit - and it reminded me that I wanted to try it. I've done it before, and it's a good project, and a good personal challenge. And right now I'm in a good headspace after spending a couple of days surrounded by friends and love, and working on the inside of my head, so I'm going to give it a try.

What is it, particularly? For the rest of this month, I'm going to try to post one thing every day that I am grateful for. Between Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday, anyway) and the holiday season in general approaching, it's a nice way to keep my mind focused on the good things that the world in general and this season in particular bring to me.

Today I am grateful for local theater. In about an hour I'll be on my way to meet up with a friend to get dinner and go see 'Legally Blonde.' I have been looking forward to this for weeks - live shows are a blast, and I am lucky to have the chance to go see this, and to share it with someone who loves it as much as I do. I'm dressed up (probably more so than I have to be) - because I love the opportunity to make an activity into an Event, I've got the soundtrack ready on my Ipod, and I am ready to go.

This is going to be awesome. :)

Edited to add: Ohmigod you guys, words cannot say how much fun that was. I so miss doing theater....
ladysprite: (momongo)
First things first - thank you so much to everyone for your sympathy, compassion, and well-wishes for Moxie. It means a lot to me to know that there are so many people who care about her, and are rooting for her. Alas, I can't pursue any sort of action against the tech who was taking care of her; there's no law against doing a lousy job of taking care of a kitten; the most I can do is make sure I don't put any patient of mine or pet of mine in her care again.

Now, the better news. Miss Mox herself is doing remarkably well. Better than I would have thought possible. Friday night it was a little bit touch-and-go; she was weak and disoriented and having trouble with food. But she took a bottle again without any problems, and by the next morning she was looking better.

She ate more over the weekend than I would have thought possible for such a tiny animal, and we gave her a serious bath to get some of the staining and junk off her fur. And she ate, and she ate, and she ate. By Sunday morning, she was almost back to herself.

She's still emaciated, but she's starting to get a little bit of a full-belly instead of a hollow belly. And if she can't run laps around the sofa for a half hour straight, she's at least running, and playing, and trying to jump over my sneakers.

And hey, she used the litterbox for the first time today. It may just be random chance, but it's a start.

In one sense, I'm almost angry at this - it proves that it *was* just starvation that was causing her signs, and not some degenerative neurological condition like the other hospital was claiming. Which... yay, for getting better, but boo for confirming that my baby was nearly killed by negligence.

End result, though, happy healing kitten, and that's all I can ask for.

Y'all put out some powerful mojo when you try, you know that?

Gratitude

Jul. 15th, 2011 08:16 pm
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
So I've vented in here before about how rough things have been lately - death, doom, work, stress, health, family, and a whole score of other problems all falling on top of my head at once. So I feel like I ought to take a moment right now to say something else.

This has been a pretty darn good week, and I would like to send a thank-you to the Universe and to whatever powers might be responsible for making that happen.

Nothing earth-shatteringly, life-changingly amazing has happened. I haven't won the lottery, or discovered a cure for cancer, or suddenly manifested phenomenal artistic talent. The problems that were there before are still there.

But on the other hand... the weather has been nothing short of gorgeous. Warm and sunny and breezy and bright, and I've managed to get outside to enjoy it. I've had a couple of days off, and good people to share them with, including a day exploring yesterday that involved kitschy antique stores, 300-year-old cemeteries, climbing trees, secondhand bookstores, and quite possibly the best hot dog I've ever eaten.

I got to donate blood. That in and of itself is a world-brightening event.

My garden is doing well - we have enough blueberries that I should be able to make pancakes tomorrow, or maybe even muffins if I'm lucky. We had fresh sugar snap peas in homemade fried rice last week, and tomorrow there will be green beans. Even the broccoli, and the soybeans and wax beans are doing well, and there are finger-sized zucchini, and the tomatoes are starting to redden.

I have a beautiful new skirt, and a book that I had been searching for for the past decade or so, and a crafting project that is amusing and entertaining me, even as it decimates my wallet (altered books are fascinating, and quite possibly I've bitten off more than I can chew, but it'll be a fun attempt, at least). Also, I am utterly hooked on my Nook.

Even tv is being cooperative - 'Falling Skies' doesn't entirely suck, and it looks like 'Alphas' might actually be pretty good. And the kitten is growing and thriving, though I think I have to abandon my Arthurian naming tradition; while there are several beautiful, elegant, sophisticated women's names in Arthurian legend, she is none of those things, and none of the names I try on her seem to fit in the least. She needs a name that's a little spunky, and a little dorky, and a little ridiculous. Current front-runner name is Moxie; it seems to suit her.

So. Thank you, universe, for sunshine and grass and being tired from walking instead of from insomnia, and for blueberries and good books and good people and all that stuff. I'll enjoy the heck out of this for as long as I can....

Thankful

Nov. 25th, 2010 12:40 pm
ladysprite: (momongo)
This is my favorite holiday.

My mother is here, visiting me. There's a pecan pie cooling in the pantry, a couple of appetizers waiting in the fridge along with a pumpkin chiffon layered dessert. Gravy has been made, and is waiting to be warmed. The vinaigrette for the broccoli has been made, the sausage for the stuffing has been browned, and the green beans are snapped and ready to roast.

In an hour I'll take the turkey out of the brine and put it into the oven, and start peeling potatoes and prepping the apple cake. Not long after that, friends will show up. My angel of a husband has tidied the house, we've got the extra leaf set into the dining room table, and right now we're enjoying a bit of calm before the storm.

I can't imagine being happier than I am right now, looking forward at the rest of the day. I am so blessed, with my home and my husband, and my friends, and my life - being able to have a safe place, to have the resources to put together a celebration like this and the people to share it with.

Thank you. To my friends, to my family, to the world. Things may not be perfect... but right now and right here, they're pretty darn good.
ladysprite: (Default)
There is one up side to this whole flooding and rain situation, and that is the reminder that [livejournal.com profile] umbran and I have some amazing friends.

Within minutes of mentioning the problem, we had multiple offers of crash space and shower space. People have come out of the woodwork with advice and offers of help and sympathy, and one friend went above and beyond the call of duty and delivered a spare pump to us, which is happily slurping away at the now-diminishing lake.

With luck, the basement will be dry enough by morning that we should be able to re-light the boiler and have hot water. And from there, we can start trying to salvage things and plan for the next round of 'Sprite and Umbran Versus Lake Hedgemazehaus.

Right now, though, I am basking in the knowledge that I have such kind, thoughtful, and caring friends, and the luck that brought me to such a place in my life. Thank you all, so much.....

Edited to add: it even looks like the comic books may have come out mostly unharmed. Lucky beyond belief....

Balance

Jan. 29th, 2008 07:22 am
ladysprite: (MoonSun)
In between all the garbage that life is throwing at me right now, with work trauma and time pressure and tragedy and other things, I need to remember that I actually have a darn good life.

I have a house that I love more every day. I have a husband whom I adore, who loves me and treats me like an angel. I have cats that curl up on my lap and purr, and I have a career that I love, even if sometimes the individual details are less than perfect.

Most of all, I have some of the best friends in the world. Friends who will hug me for as long as I need, who come out of the woodwork to take care of the cats at the last minute, who will pull out silly hats and shiny things to distract me from bad news or give me trinkets to brighten my day.

I am really, truly lucky....

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