superdaintykate: (jumpyrat)
[personal profile] superdaintykate
I apologize about the complete lack of Leota posting. Things got frantic enough that I shut most of the rest of my life down in order to finish the darn thing, bless her, and -- as you know if you read FaceBook -- I left the wig until THE DAY BEFORE I WAS SUPPOSED TO LEAVE. Which was utter insanity.

Luckily the sewing went largely without a hitch, the biggest issue being that sewing takes forever. I always forget and think I have plenty of time managed and then everything takes pretty much twice as long as expected and god help me if there is a problem, because then I lose my freaking mind. This is the only time I regretted having a job and, more specifically a commute, because I loved being able to sew all day in natural light when we have it, and I kept swearing at Bellevue drivers and thinking I would have rather have been home banging a lining into a bodice than dealing with their passive-aggro shenanigans.

I was very, very glad that I had the forethought to put in the extra bits at the front. I didn't really end up using them, but it really helped me relax somewhat knowing they were there and I could Fix Things if they turned out too tight. I am also very glad that I made the new bodice rather than trying to let out the old one, as much of the problem was the sleeves being (period-appropriately) tight and I think trying to deal with gores and fussing with lining and all that would have made me more insane than starting from scratch. The biggest issue was placing the sleeves -- they sit lower than the shoulder point, and I think my idea of the Point of Shoulder is different from that of the pattern designer, and I hate fitting so there I was trying not to sweat panic sweat into my bodice as I poked myself with pins. Luckily, once I got to that point I went back to her website and re-read the tips she'd given me on fitting the last time around, and I saw an illustration that showed me pretty much where things needed to be.

The only other real issue, I think, was with the stenciling. I had planned to use felt pens, thinking I would save drying time, but ended up shredding the pen tip on the sharpish edge of the stencil and hello, coloring in a stencil by a pen takes way longer than glopping on paint with a brush. Plus I couldn't find pens that wouldn't bleed and get fuzzy -- they were "fabric dye" pens, technically, and not meant for line linework. I considered testing Sharpies in a moment of panic, and then thought, hell with it, and went with the paint. Unfortunately I loaded up the brush too much on the first one, which OF COURSE was on the front breast, so very visible, and OF COURSE some of the paint ran under the stencil and made it a bit blobby. But it looked okay enough not to beat myself about it too much (lots of hair to cover if necessary), and I used the paint-drying time (which was shorter than I thought it would be) to make a nice little Leota pendant which turned out to be a good addition to the costume.

So then it all came down to the wig, and I just set everything up in the sunroom and Went At It for several hours. I had sectioned the wig several days prior, and started the teasing process the night before during Paint Drying, and then just made a space for it to happen and it did, thank god. I watched a few other tutorials for ammunition, because my Wiguru's technique is very much about polished, fabulous retro styles and I needed a FRIED QUEEN thing happening. So I went through and used Guru's technique for teasing in sections, brushing through the ends and twirling the curl around my fingers when finished, and used all the hairspray, and then just lightly backcombed the front section with a brush and glued it together with more spray, and I am completely, completely happy with how it turned out. I got more and more relaxed the bigger and poofier it got, and as I saw that my teased sections were standing perpendicular to the wig.

And so I went off to Disneyland and wore it, and it was great, but would have been much more great had I not been at the Party alone, which was weird for me. I am usually totally okay with and prefer doing the Park by myself but I guess this was something social that should have been shared, so now I know for next time.

Some frustrating stuff happened, the first of which was Alaska Airlines ripping the front pocket off my newly-purchased suitcase in a repeat of damage they did to my last suitcase, which is such bullshit, I can't even believe it. I mean, COME ON. I went to the baggage agent's office as soon as it happened and got a voucher for repair, but I knew that would mean a trip with the bag out to Sea-Tac for repairs and I had kind of lost my faith in this bag to withstand further travels, so I took a shot and took it back to Target and they didn't bat an eye and gave me my money back. And Now I am thinking of investing in an Eagle Creek bag after the holidays for upcoming trips.

The other frustrating thing was completely my fault, as I neglected to check Alaska's carryon requirements and assumed the wig box would fit in the overhead compartment. Which of course, it did not. And this led to an attendant telling me in no uncertain terms that it was probably best that I not attempt to bring said box onto my next flight and I should find alternate transport for my poor wig. I totally accept responsibility for this, though not for her pretty piss-poor attitude about it. I made it very clear that I was depending completely on their mercy and good graces and was incredibly vocally thankful for them; there was really no need to act like I was being a privileged snot, which is how she made me feel. When I got to the Sheraton I saw in the room guide that I could inquire at the front desk about assistance with outgoing packages, which got my hopes up, but what that actually got me was vague directions to a maybe-walking-distance post office. Thanks to local friends who regularly stay at hotels in the area and my smartphone, I was able to determine that there is a FedEx office at the local convention-focused Hilton, and so I shipped my styling tools and wig and box home to myself. I still haven't opened the boxes. I am pretty afraid that I cut the lace badly when I trimmed it (I waited to do it when it was on and was kind of rushed) so I am denying that reality for a little while longer.

But the costume and the wig and the makeup turned out in a stellar fashion, I think, and I would really, really like to style and do a photoshoot in this costume very soon. Brewing in the back brain for now.

The next big challenge is Mom. She is making zero effort (all right, she can't. She just can't do it, she's not mentally able, thanks, depression!) and I am getting really tired of worrying about her and hearing her complain about all the same things (home maintenance, dog, junk mail, being alone) and so I have decided to bite the bullet and make quarterly trips home on weekends this year to give her some assistance, both in large issues like deciding what she wants to do (stay in house/move to condo/assisted living -- that last one is mine, she wants no part in it) or at least give her some tools for it; and in small issues like getting her off of junk mail lists and getting her prepped and ready for a community shredding event, etc.

This was kicked off, sadly, by the suicide of her neighbor. This was the one guy Mom had decided that she was okay with having a key to her house in case of emergency, and it took her FOREVER to come to that decision, and then she never, ever got around to going over there and just fucking asking him to keep a key to her house. I would ask if she needed me to do it, and she would get irritated and say no, and then she'd not do it again for another week. I had to keep reminding her that this was necessary so I wouldn't need to have the fucking cops fucking break into her fucking house again. And then one day she found out that he was crushed by the depression surrounding his wife's untimely death, and then the death of his mother, and took his own life. And for a while there she was regretting not talking to him a little bit, saying maybe she could have helped in some way, and if you think I agreed with her and encouraged a tiny bit of guilt over that, you would be incredibly correct, sir.

This is also spurred by her missing Mass repeatedly over the last few months. Those who have heard me talk about her, or know any old-school Catholics, will know this is a huge thing. Yes, she's 84 and not feeling well, but up until recently she has been able to talk herself into going. Now, she isn't going at least half the time (I think) and so she's not getting out of the house and seeing other people. Only a few weeks ago she had been mentioning trying to rejoin the choir (not to sing at Mass, just to go to rehearsals, because she can't stand for that long...and she wouldn't listen to anyone who told her that the director would probably be happy to make arrangements to accommodate her, as it would throw off the sound mix. Like this is some royal production and not a bunch of seventy-year-olds yelling. Every time she brought that up I would remind her that she was not the director, and that was his decision, wasn't it? And she would grudgingly agree. And then talk herself out of it the next week, again.) and now she is just as often not feeling well enough to get out of her pajamas before noon. Anyway, those who know and love me know my skill to think up every possible reason why something will not work, and this is where I get it from, folks, and it is, once again, hello, depression. Depressives have a gift for assuming how things will play out (never in their favor) and how other people will react (again, not well) and part of why it is so maddening to deal with her is I get angry at myself for indulging in the same habits.

I know I need to keep very, very calm and hold a lot of love in my heart while I am doing this. Otherwise all of my issues will come screaming to the fore and I might kill her with a frying pan. I need to remember to allow her to keep her agency while assisting her, I don't want to just swoop in and get her agitated (okay, more than any iota of change will do); and I need to keep my cool and act like an adult who can manage passive-aggressive people and not let her push my buttons, at least to her face, anyway.

I am making a GoogleDoc of all the things I want to accomplish as well as contact information for people and agencies who will be able to help me. There are a number of things I want to tackle for my first trip, which I would like to happen in January, so this weekend I will be taking some time to review and plan. I also peck at it while at work.

I have no doubt that, when I reveal this plan to her as her Christmas present, she will tell me not to bother, and I will have to hide all the gin. (I did try to set up a nice surprise for her for Thanksgiving: a friend of mine volunteers as a Therapy Animal Team with her dog, and very kindly agreed to take her dog and a pie over to my Mom's for a short visit on the holiday. I thought this would help Mom realize that people do actually give a damn about her (a major gripe) plus get her a little socialization and dog-time. I know her well enough that I called her to make sure this was okay with her, and she angrily and sharply said "oh, I wish you HADN'T." and I got to tell her, fine, (subtext: you crabby old lady) I will call it off.)

Work is being very awesome about this and my manager agreed without so much as a blink to let me flex my hours, to work a week's time in four days so the other person in my department (there are only two of us) won't get the short end when I go flitting off to Arizona. I do realize that four ten-hour days (or a little less, I actually work a 37.5-hour week) plus NONSTOP MOM will mean a long two-week stretch for me, and I am also considering ways to make that less stressful for me as a long-distance caretaker. I think it will help that Mom goes to bed early and so maybe I can have a little recovery while I am in town. Probably not enough time to, say, take a dance class, but maybe time to go sit under the stars.

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superdaintykate

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