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Jul. 24th, 2017 10:53 pm
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STILL! HEADACHE! FREE!

Since Thursday! This is a damn miracle, that's what it is.

And today we ordered me a motorized standing desk, because the (antique by now, it belonged to my grandparents) dining table I've been using as a workstation for my laptop and two monitors for the past three years was never a good idea. I'd never found an office chair that was tall enough to be comfortable at that table, and that doesn't take into account that any one that was even close enough to use at that table meant my feet didn't touch the ground.

So! Standing desk, arriving this week. It's a good thing I finished The Great Decluttering: The Workdesk over the weekend. (Well, almost finished. I still have to haul some boxes of things out from underneath the table, but that should be relatively easy. Plus the Stroppy One is going to help me.)

Aaaaaand I've finally FINALLY accepted that I need to carry smaller/lighter purses with less stuff in them. Yes, I've said this before (every couple of years, I think?), but it has been made very clear to me that I absolutely have to do this and stick with it. I'm currently making a shoulder strap for a vintage velvet handbag I have, which should be just large enough for me to carry the essentials:


  • Phone.

  • Wallet.

  • Powder compact and two tubes of lipstick.

  • Tiny pill case of anti-anxiety meds.

  • Keys.

  • Sunglasses.

  • Tiny notebook.

  • Pen.

  • Handkerchief.



And maybe, just maybe, my mini multi-tool and tiny sewing kit. What? I actually end up needing those two things fairly often.

NO HEADACHE. I don't think that will stop being astonishing to me any time soon.

Oh dear

Jul. 22nd, 2017 10:00 pm
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[personal profile] cupcake_goth
I have learned that there is a whole world of DIY kits for steeping/infusing your own bitters, that come with all of the "bitter" herbs and spices in the correct proportions. Just add them to alcohol with whatever fruit, flowers, or spices you want, infuse for a couple of weeks, strain out the solids and simmer them with some water, mix the two liquids together, and bottle.

I am very, VERY tempted by this. Because no one is making rose bitters right now, and I am almost out. HOW AM I TO MAINTAIN MY FANCY EXISTENCE WITHOUT ROSE BITTERS, I ASK YOU?

I know, I know, I don't need any more hobbies. But rose bitters! And it's not like I can enjoy rose syrup any more ...

separate hobbies

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:47 pm
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[personal profile] mizkit

I saw a thing yesterday that said “Buying fabric and sewing fabric are TWO SEPARATE HOBBIES.”

I actually feel that I understand so much more about the world now.

I’m now up to 6 artist’s figurines (I need to write more reviews) and I was unable (or unwilling) to resist a set of 14 archival color pens, plus all the stuff I already own, but do I actually draw? No, hardly ever. (That said, I’ve done more this year than in many years.)

Anyway, point is I’m back to that “I want to draw some silly little story like Questionable Content only about, IDK, fat 40somethings instead of hipster robots” thing. Except I really don’t want to draw a story about fat 40somethings because ugh life. I want to do something cute and funny that I don’t have the skill set for but who cares I’ll do it anyway because it doesn’t matter. Or something. And I want just enough pressure to help me do maybe half an hour of art a day without having any real expectations.

Which of course is not much like my personality at all, because yes, I have met me. :p

Moop.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

This is weird. Good, but weird

Jul. 20th, 2017 09:53 pm
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[personal profile] cupcake_goth
Today was the Botox injections day. A total of six injections, one on each side in the muscles at the base of my skull, temple, and jaw. My headache (which had come back sometime last night) started lessening after the first two injections. Now? Now it is COMPLETELY gone. No trace.

Being completely headache-free is WEIRD. Awesome, absolutely! But weird. It's been a very, very long time since I've had that. (Like, years. I don't actually know how long.)

Nothing in my face feels odd or frozen, and I can move it like normal. (So, like a cartoon character, really.) Dr. Ryan the awesome dentist said that I should give him updates over the next couple of weeks, whenever I feel like it over on FB, and OMG we need to go makeup shopping together.)

(He also correctly identified which bunny I brought with me for emotional support. (Merricat.)) I LOVE DR. RYAN WITH A PURE AND UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

No headache. NO HEADACHE.

The next step is to talk to my doctor and get her help in convincing the insurance company to pay for this treatment every four months. If they won't, then I am seriously considering squeezing the household budget to pay the over-thousand-dollars ourselves, because this feeling is worth it.

---

In Shallow Fashion Craving news, I showed the Stroppy One that skirt from Amazon that I posted here the other night. He Did Not Approve of the graphic design. He liked the idea in theory, but felt the actually quality of the rose print was lacking. This is part of the fun of being married to an artist - they will give you useful feedback when you're looking at fashion.
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Yes? No?

On the one hand: B&W stripes! Giant red roses! Oooh, it's all very Night Circus, isn't it?

On the other hand, I can't tell if this is too busy. Plus, while it's a full skirt, it's also 100% polyester.

But let's be real here, I'll probably end up buying it.
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One problem with this new-ish fascination for vintage floral print full skirts is that so many of the sellers on Etsy and eBay use a slur in their description. I know they're clueless and think it evokes a free-spirited air, but dammit.

With that bit of venting out of the way, these are different ones I'm idly contemplating. (All images hotlinked from the various Etsy listings, because apparently that's an okay thing to do now, especially because places like Etsy are never going to run out of bandwidth.)

I really like this one.



The print is beautiful in this, but I'm not sure about the mix of colors?



This is probably my least favorite, mostly because it's similar to the skirt I have that kicked off this whole fashion tangent.

Recent Reads: A WRINKLE IN TIME

Jul. 19th, 2017 03:09 pm
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Having cried all over the WRINKLE IN TIME trailer, I thought I’d better re-read the book immediately to get a proper feeling for it again. It’d been at least twenty, possibly thirty, years since I’d read it, and…

…it’s kind of equally weirder and more mundane than I remember it.

I was prepared for, although somewhat exasperated by regardless, the Christian allusions; whenever I last re-read L’Engle, I was adult enough to notice her books are really laced with Christianity, so I knew that was going to be there. The story itself is actually a lot more straight-forward than I remember it being; possibly I’ve conflated the other books with it, or maybe it’s just that the weird bits are SO STRANGE that I thought the story structure had to be a lot more complicated than it really is.

It’s not, from a modern storytelling perspective, especially well told. It takes about four chapters to really get going, and it’s only a 12 chapter book. There’s a lot of telling, but not much in the way of showing in terms of…*why*. Meg is not, to the adult modern reader, particularly sympathetic: she doesn’t fit in at school, she’s angry in general and specifically very defensive about her father’s absence, and is apparently some particular kind of dumb that excludes being spectacularly good at math. That dumbness may be meant to indicate she’s socially inept, but although that certainly appears to be true, it doesn’t seem to be what’s really going on.

But that…dumbness…whatever it is…is crucial through the whole book. Meg doesn’t tesseract as well as the others. Meg is more vulnerable to the Darkness than the others. Meg won’t understand if you explain the thing…but I never understood why. (I’m not sure I understood as a kid, either, but it didn’t matter as much to me then.) And it’s apparently not something that came on simply because Mr Murry disappeared, because even he comments on it, and had done so before his disappearance, so you can’t lay her anger/ineptitude at the feet of her father’s disappearance.

And, just as much as Meg’s lack is not explained, neither are Calvin and Charles Wallace’s aptitude. Calvin communicates well; well, okay, that’s fine, but why does it make it easier for him to tesseract? Charles Wallace is, as far as I can tell, not even actually human, and Calvin, who does not come from the Murry family at all, is apparently More Like Charles than Meg is. But I don’t know what they are, or why they are, or why they’re the special ones and our heroine isn’t (well, that last one is institutionalized sexism, but let’s move past that). I remember *loving* Charles Wallace (and crushing terribly on Calvin), but I find him fairly creepy now, and that’s as the parent of an extremely self-assured little kid who, like Charles Wallace, is quite certain he’s able to Do It His Way without listening to the wisdom, or at least the experience, of his elders.

The one thing that maybe felt the most true to me in the whole book was Meg coming around to being the one who can save Charles Wallace. She wanted someone else–her father, specifically, but ANYBODY ELSE–to have to do the hard work. She was terrified and resentful of having to do it herself (and possibly that’s what the aforementioned “dumbness” is, since everybody keeps saying If you’d only apply yourself, Meg,, but that still doesn’t explain why she doesn’t tesseract as well, etc), and that seems very appropriate to a 13 year old to me. To people a lot older than 13, too, for that matter. But it comes in the 11th hourchapter, and her willingness to go on there is the only time in the book that she moves forward of her own volition. I’m not saying that isn’t fairly realistic, maybe, for a young teen, but in terms of making a dynamic book, it…doesn’t, really.

There are parts of the book that remain wonderful. The Mrs W are still splendid; Camazotz (which I always read, name-wise, as being what happens when Camelot goes terribly wrong) is still EXTREMELY CREEPY, and the thrumming presence of IT remains startlingly effective. Aunt Beast is wonderful. (So basically: the aliens work a lot better for me than the humans do.)

It doesn’t feel like a book that could get published now. It would need more depth; it felt shallow to me. A lot of its weirdness seems to me like it came very specifically out of the 50s and early 60s; I don’t think that book would, or perhaps *could*, be written now. It’s very internal in a lot of ways, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the film adapts the weirdness and the internalness and Meg’s basic lack of agency into an accessible story. My *feeling* is that they’re going to do a magnificent job of it, that it’s going to be one of those cases like Frankenstein or Jeckell & Hyde where the book’s conceptual foundation proves more powerful in film than it does on the page. I hope so!

But you know what I really wanted to do when I finished reading A WRINKLE IN TIME? I wanted to re-read Diane Duane’s SO YOU WANT TO BE A WIZARD, because I felt like the Young Wizards books use A WRINKLE IN TIME as a conceptual springboard and dove off into something that worked a lot better as a *story*.

So I guess I know what’s up next (or soon, anyway) on the Catie’s Re-Reads list. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

So that's a thing

Jul. 18th, 2017 07:52 pm
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Today I had a long-overdue dentist appointment, mostly for a cleaning and checkup. It was overdue because I've been busy and incapable of scheduling things, not because of any apprehension. I LOVE my dentist. As in, I have gone out for drinks with him and his hubby, because I adore him so. He's charming, sarcastic, and incredibly good at what he does.

After the checkup part was done, he asked me a bunch of questions about my (usual type of) migraines, then did some pressure tests on my jaw, temples, and the base of my skull. After I winced away from all of them, he said, "So yeah, your migraines? Probably tension headaches, because girl, you are tense".

Then he said he wanted to try something to double-check his theory, but that it would be "Fuck my life painful" for a few minutes on each side. But I trust him, so sure. Then he stuck his thumb into my mouth on one side, gripped the outside of my jaw, and applied what felt like an appalling amount of pressure. The pain rivaled the migraine that sent me to the ER, and then lessened after a few minutes. Then he did the same thing to the other side.

After he did this torture, my migraine went away. No, you don't understand. I have had some level of migraine pain every day for MONTHS. (Yes, I mostly just ignore it, because what other option was there that wasn't medication that left me a zombie?)

It turns out he has the same sort of issues, and after a lot of research, found the treatment that works for him, which is a fuckton of Botox injections in those three muscle groups. Guess what I'm doing on Thursday afternoon?

I won't lie: I'm kind of freaked out by this. Buuuuuuut, if this is able to drop the migraines, it's worth it.
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[personal profile] mizkit

Carrie Fisher. Robin Wright. Gal Gadot. Daisy Ridley. Melissa McCarthy & Leslie Jones & Kate McKinnon & Kristen Wigg.

Jodie Whittaker.

It shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter, but it goddamn well does.

You know why I chose the women I did, up above? You know why I didn’t include Weaver & Hamilton & Theron on that list?

Because Ripley and Connor and Furiosa were given to us. They were put on the table by filmmakers who said either “it doesn’t matter if this character’s a woman or a man,” or who specifically chose a woman as the vehicle for the main story. Alien & Terminator were always ours. We didn’t have to ask, much less plead and beg, for Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor. We weren’t looking for Furiosa, and Theron came out of nowhere the same way Weaver & Hamilton did.

But Carrie Fisher? Robin Wright? Yeah, Princess Leia & the Princess Bride were integral to their stories, but Buttercup was a pretty passive observer in her own story and Leia wasn’t there FOR GIRLS. She was there as the token female. The fact that she had an important role & agency is almost beside the point. I read something recently–maybe in Empire Magazine–where someone said something like “If you think about it, Star Wars is really Leia’s story,” and all I could think was WOULDN’T IT HAVE BEEN AMAZING IF IT HAD BEEN FILMED THAT WAY?

So General Antiope? General Organa? I feel like we *fought* for them. Diana? Rey? I feel like they’re from us saying “we want this so much, we deserve this, we hold up half the fucking sky, people.” An all-women Ghostbusters team? We kept saying “oh god please we want this this would be so awesome.” And so now, a female Doctor? It feels like another one we fought for.

And it shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t have to be pleading for 1/13th of the pie (or less). We shouldn’t have to be THIS HAPPY to get it. And yet I am.

And I’m also SO ANGRY that it takes so little, such a crumb, to make me THIS HAPPY, when it shouldn’t even be a conversation.

And none of that even STARTS to touch on how 8 of the 9 (or 11/12, depending on how you wanna count it) women I’ve talked about are white ladies.

I don’t want white women to be the only ones gaining ground here. I don’t want increments. We don’t NEED increments. The actors are there. Storm Reid proves it. Zendaya proves it. Hannah John-Kamen & Frankie Adams prove it. And I want to see women of color in all these big amazing roles and films too. I don’t want this to just be a moment for white girls and indistinguishable blondes.

I want more, god damn it. I want it all, for all of us. #GirlPower

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Whooo, I would like to stop being exhausted. That can happen any time now, thanks.

But despite being woozy and exhausted, I did manage to get some badly-needed household chores done today. Then I changed back into a ruffled nightgown and flopped on the couch, reading vintage gothic romances. I guess that's my version of self-care now? Sure, why not.

I've also been noodling around more on Pinterest (clicky-link!), because having "witchy fashion", "romantigoth" and "chiffon death shrouds" boards is entertaining to me. Yes, I also created a "Gothic Charm School" board (erm, last night), because Thea read me the riot act about not actually having one. (Thea is the person who regularly busts my chops about my not being proactive about self-promotion. Yes, I know I need to be better about it, but that means I have to get over my fear of being self-aggrandizing? Something like that.) So I am going to try to be good about making sure there are pins for new GCS posts and whatnot, in addition to photos and fan art.

I have a couple more clothing alteration projects I want to do:


  • Fine-tune the alterations I'm doing to one of the batwing-hem jackets to turn it into a sleeveless, lace-up overdress thing. I thought I had it finished, but it turned out that taking it in down the back did something weird to the pull across the shoulders, and the resulting tension gave me a headache when I wore it on Friday night. (Not dissimilar to the types of headaches I would get if I wore a halter dress, and it went away as soon as I took the overdress off.)

  • Thea's mum, who is one of the kindest, magical people I know, has given me a stack of vintage (90s is not vintage, dammit!) floral rayon dresses. The ones that were made by Nostalgia or Starina. Apparently the bodices are worn or damaged, but she knows I'll turn the dresses into skirts. (I've developed a weird fondness for black with pink, red, or white florals from those manufacturers, worn with black lace overdresses and giant sunhats. Victorian Garden Witch*? I dunno.)

  • I need to unearth one of the full tiered black cotton skirts, and use it as the base for petticoat necromancy, wherein old chiffon and organza petticoats are cut apart and sewn onto a cotton skirt. Maximum floof underskirt, but with a lightweight, breathable fabric underlayer!



The problem with these clothing alteration projects is that I don't have anyplace right now to leave the sewing machine set up, so I have to drag it out each time I do something, then put it away. And by drag it out and put it away, I mean ask the Stroppy One to do that for me right now, because I have mom's vintage all-metal construction Elna from the early 70s, that thing is HEAVY, and I'm not supposed to crouch down and lift heavy things right now. Which brings me right back to I WOULD LIKE TO STOP FEELING EXHAUSTED ALL THE TIME, THANKS.





*Which reminds me, I found a brand-new pair of Dr. Marten's Triumph 1914 (clicky-link!) boots at Goodwill a few weeks ago. They're super-cute, I just need the weather to cool down a bit before I wear them.


(Seriously, florals? Even with everything else black? When did this happen? I am perplexed. Delighted, but perplexed. Which reminds me, I am contemplating this crushed velvet floral skirt, by Nostalgia (clicky-link!. But I'm not sure about the mix of colors.)

still toxic

Jul. 16th, 2017 01:23 pm
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[personal profile] mizkit

I’m somewhat better than I’ve been, but I’ve still got a cough and snotty nose. No, I haven’t gone to a doctor, but only because it turns out there’s a shortage of doctors in this town and nobody is taking new patients. We got signed up with a clinic in theory but we still haven’t gotten notification that we’re actually in their system, so…yeah. Anyway. At this point I think I’m going to have healed up before I’m in the system. Whee.

That said, all I want to do today is lie in a lump on the couch and watch Brooklyn Nine Nine all afternoon, but I’d have a 7 year old beside me saying, “What? What?” and fake-laughing at things, which wouldn’t really be much fun.

The Wrinkle in Time trailer dropped yesterday and made me cry. Twice. It looks amazing. (“Mommy,” Indy said incredulously, “are you *crying*?” Yes. Yes I was.) Anyway, I haven’t read the book in at least twenty, possibly thirty, years, and I immediately bought a new copy to read it. I didn’t think it would hold up, honestly, but I’ve read the first chapter and so far it’s still amazing.

I also re-read THE HERO AND THE CROWN a couple days ago and for the first time the acid trip battle with Agsded actually made sense to me. I’ve only read the book about forty times, so it’s nice that I eventually became able to really follow that scene.

Also I don’t remember crying through Talat’s rehabilitation before. *wipes eyes*

I made crabapple jelly with the last of LAST year’s crabapples, some cherry jam, pitted more cherries that Dad brought out, and bought some peaches that I need to process today and see if I’ve got enough for jam. I have frozen strawberries, too, and some many-berry mix frozen berries. Jam, glorious jam. :)

There are TWO kittens in the garden. We’re calling them Topsy and Turvy and are feeding them and their mama. I’m waiting for the local rescue people to have a capture cage available, so hopefully that’ll come through soon.

I turned a grant application in last week. I’ve got a book proposal just about ready to submit. I have copy edits to do and need to email my editor about line edits. And…I’d have to look at my to-do list to see what’s next. That’s plenty to get me through the week, though. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Lessee, last I wrote, I was feeling better from chiropractic adjustments. That night, I was tripped by a certain large black cat, and fell down a couple of stairs. The bruise on my rear is spectacular. Thankfully, the fall didn't throw my back out again.

The doctor's appointment was good, and I have a follow-up on the 26, so we can go over the results of the x-rays of my upper spine and base of my skull, and the results of the mass of blood tests that are being run. But I kept having milder versions of the migraine that sent me to the ER ... and then on Sunday, the Stroppy One made me switch back to my old glasses (I'd gotten new ones in June), and we have determined that I probably gave myself hellacious eye strain over a few weeks. It is interesting to note that now that I've switched back to my previous glasses, the swings of vertigo and light sensitivity have died down.

And then on Monday, I slid down two stairs again and banged my right arm up. (Not Vlad's fault this time, but my own carelessness.) And the rotten cherry on this sundae of nonsense: all of this has left me exhausted, so I'm not able to get as much done as I want, and therefore I am feeling unproductive and guilty.

WHY, BRAIN RACCOONS? WHY?!

But! I got a new Gothic Charm School post written, I did slooooowly manage to get a couple of mending projects done, and the bedroom is still tidy after last month's Great Uncluttering. And I'm sloooowly stepping up my witchy work, because it makes me feel better.

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