Thursday, August 25, 2011

Oh, my achin' body...

As good as I felt last week, imagine my surprise when I realized it was just temporary. Well, sort of...

Last Saturday, Ceej and I decided to stay after the faire for an event. It was a rally for a charitable organization called the RESCU Foundation. They help ren faire performers/merchants with medical expenses. We stayed after for this rally, which included entertainment, food, and an auction. (note to self- bring more money next time). We didn't really know what was going to happen there as this was our first time. And it was fun and really cool to see our faire friends in regular clothes and out of character (because some of them never break character!).

Saturday morning, shortly before the front gates opened, it started to rain. And by "rain" I mean "apocalyptic amounts of rain". It rained buckets for a good half hour or more. Ceej and I were soaked so badly it was as if we had jumped into a pool. I was literally soaked through three layers of garb down to my modern undergarments. (yeah, I can't get that into a character to not wear my undergarments). We eventually dried out (the heat and sun helped). My older daughter and her boyfriend came to faire that day as it was Kat's 22nd birthday.

So, we take all that rain, changing weather, the cold (I actually got chilled) and then the humid warmth. Add that to the fact we stayed after- which was surreal, to be at the faire in the dark- and we didn't get home till almost midnight. I had to wash our garb because mine was muddy at the bottom. As soon as it was out of the washer, I hung it up to dry and hit the bed.

I had about four hours of sleep. On Sunday, we had a two-hour class with Jane the Phoole on character development. It was fun and I learned some stuff. But, along with some talky-note-taking stuff, we had to do physical stuff. And it was a blast. We were in the Friends Garden and patrons were watching us. About halfway through the physical part, my hip started to ache. My right hip is a "hot spot". I don't know the actual meaning of "fibro hot spot" and my definition may be dead-on. Basically, when my hip starts to ache, that means I'm overdoing it and need to rest. It also means I'm going to hurt like a motherfucker the next day.

The class was fun and even the physical stuff- despite that ache- was hilarious and awesome. I got to giggling so much that I had to hit my asthma inhaler (the humidity and physical activity sort of made me wheezy). The class ended at 4 PM- I missed a joust! I survived, but I missed a joust!- and I had to dart up the hill to a stage for the Maxx and Mauldron Show. Oh, I've seen the show a dozen times (I think I've only missed it twice). But, I ran. Well, I ran like a woman in the renaissance, holding up my skirts. It was by no means a sprint, but I was moving a whole hell of a lot quicker than I usually do. I only missed five to ten minutes of the whole thing. (hey, I gotta support my friends. If you don't get the Maxx and Mauldron Show at your faire, but you get them as jousters, you should ask your faire about it).

Monday morning- that old feeling of being the Tinman after a rainstorm hit. I could barely move out of bed. All day was just awful. I felt awful. I hurt, my skin itched and my muscles burned. I'd have said, "oh, welcome back, my old nemesis..." except it isn't welcome here. I took it easy on Monday. I have a temporary online job and I spent most of the day catching up on the work that I missed on Saturday and Sunday (the powers that be are aware that I'm not online much on the weekends).

Here it is, Thursday morning as I type this. I still have some achy bits, but I'm feeling better. Not quite 630 AM and I'm not blindingly exhausted like I was all week. So it's a start. And it's a day early. Previously, I didn't feel quite right till Friday morning.

This weekend, I'll be at faire solo. Ceej left for college yesterday. She'll be back next weekend, but this weekend, with the freshman move-in, she has too much stuff to do. There's an itinerary.

On Saturday, during one of my rambling times with the jousters (they're so nice to me, putting up with my nonstop blathering, I appreciate that and I try not to go on for too long), I asked "Amadeo" if he'd like me to start a character fan page for him. (I'd asked him earlier in the season why he didn't have one and he said it was because he hadn't started one yet). He told me to go for it. We had a discussion about some of the details on Sunday. See, this was his last weekend before he had to go to another faire (his home faire, so he's actually going home). He claims- and I'll believe it when I see it- that he'll be online more there. Yeah, we'll see, Amadeo... we'll see.

Now that he's gone and there are two weeks left, I'll be spared my weekly blooding. A few weeks ago, Maxmillian accidentally got blood on my chemise. The following weekend, Amadeo did it on purpose. Then it became a game- a fun game where I got to hug handsome men in armor. So yeah, I'm not fighting it all that much. (although I'm sure all the laundering is killing my blouses).

I think I've finally caught up on what sleep I've lost. My hip stopped aching earlier in the week and now I'm just left with that residual tiredness. And that's not so bad, really. Mostly because to get that sore, I get to have two awesome days. I'll leave you with some photos... and Amadeo's final bloodings of me.

On Saturday- Kat was there, like I said. And she got to give Maxx his "favor" before the Joust to the Death. He asked her name (even though he knows it) and said, "is today your birthday?" She said it was (of course, he already knew it was) and told her meet him after the joust for the "best thirty seconds of her life". Also, one of the vendors we see at almost every joust gave her a metal rose. That was nice of him. (faire people are amazing and awesome, seriously).

And yes, you're seeing that right, Kat doesn't wear garb to faire. She has garb, but doesn't wear it because she only comes to faire once or twice a year.

Amadeo rubbed his sweaty, dirty face all over my cheek. And I thought my reaction was funny, so I used this as my 365days submission. (Have I mentioned his girlfriend yet? Because she's pretty awesome too- although she doesn't take part in these shenanigans).

And this is me with Ceej after the faire, in the Friends Garden, before the RESCU Rally. I was into my Vicodin and muscle relaxers by then (on an empty stomach because we didn't eat till we were at the rally).

And this is Sunday. He decided to hug me from all sides to get as much blood as he could on me. It was nice. If you're into that sort of thing. By the time he got through his fans, his blood had started to dry and my blouse kept sticking to him.

One good thing has happened from his leaving- well, aside from the fact that he gets to go home for the first time in months- Sir Mauldron will be jousting in his place. And the Mistress of Arms who is replacing him will be stunning. I can't wait for that. My loyalties are torn, though. I want to cheer for Mauldron, but Maxx's section is where the best photos happen. (this just means I'll have to get up and move around, so finally my jousting photos will look different).

This weekend is "Steampunk Invasion" and some online friends have gifted me with some Steampunk accessories so I can dress for it. That'll be fun.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Well, here it is, Tuesday. And I'm not dead on my feet

This summer, if you all remember, has been spent dressing up in an Irish overdress and a skirt (which varies- the color of my skirt, the overdress is always the same though). And I spend about ten hours each weekend day on my feet, walking around, running up and down the same hill several times a day and talking with an atrocious accent that's supposed to be English.

And as I started out, it would seem that Mondays were okay and Tuesdays the effects of the weekend would hit me like the proverbial Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the back of my face. Tuesdays hurt. A lot. And would linger through Friday. Exhaustion and pain, but I found that the weekends at the Bristol Ren Faire were worth it.

Well, here we are. Tuesday. And I feel fine. And by "fine", I mean, I feel good. Don't worry, I'm not going to break into song. Nobody needs that torture. I'll leave the breaking-into-song stuff up to Maxx and Mauldron because they're so much better at it than I am.

But I do- feel good, that is. I didn't wear shoes yesterday- because following the two days at faire, the arches of my feet are usually sore. The whole not-wearing-shoes day usually leads to feeling gawd-awful the next day, but not today.

My "usual" days- I could function at a 5 to 7 on that ridiculous pain scale. I could just barely function. I'd drag myself to the store or I'd cook dinner, but it hurt. A lot. On the really bad days, I'd fight the stinging tears in an effort not to let it get the best of me. More often than not, I'd end up in the bathroom (the one place I can have a moment of solitude) and just cry for a few minutes. I'd spend most every night letting the pain meds pull me into sleep while tears would fall. I never told anyone that before. I don't think I've even mentioned it here. But yeah, the pain was so bad that I would cry. Going to the grocery store would take me three times longer than it should and when I would get back to my truck, I'd sit there for several long minutes and battle those tears till I could get home.

But today... today I'd label my pain a 1... maybe a 2. Sure, my feet were sore, but they're always sore (its called tendinitis- which is weird, because "tendon" is "tendOn" not "tendIn", but hey, I didn't invent the word). Where was I? Oh, that's right. I didn't hurt today. Well, I did, but for people like me, a one or a two on that stupid pain scale, that's fucking paradise.

And here's the funny part... I didn't notice how good I felt till later in the afternoon. I didn't notice it. Are you joining me in this journey? I didn't notice how good I felt because I've felt good for several days in a row.

I'm weepy right now, but for different reasons. I'd forgotten this is how I'm supposed to feel. I'm supposed to be happy and feel good and be able to stand up without cringing and I'm supposed to be able to cook dinner and pick up a laundry basket and stand up for long stretches and take photos and walk around for hours and talk to people and laugh and hug friends and carry things and walk uphill and even half-jog uphill when I have to make it to a stage for a show and I'm supposed to write long, half-delirious run-on sentences that jump around in topic!

I'm supposed to feel this way because this... this is how a normal person feels. I'm supposed to notice that my clothes are looser. I'm supposed to forget to take my pain medicine because I'm not in pain.

My status updates even just a short six months ago were things like: "Two hours till Vicodin time". For the next three weekends, its "x-many days till Bristol". Because Bristol makes me feel better. It hasn't just been good to me physically- because I know that's what it is, the walking around and getting that exercise- Bristol has been good to me mentally. I spend two days talking to people, some are friends and some are strangers. I'm doing what I do best and I am enjoying every minute of it.

This weekend was great because not only was I at Bristol, I got to meet some fantastic people (most notably, Sam and Aiyanna) and I was recognized for my efforts by people on Facebook (it has to do with fan pages and groups and my photos) except they were there in person, recognizing me by name. That was a good feeling. (as you know, I don't get feedback around the house).

Sunday's weather was absolutely beautiful and I didn't die of heat exhaustion at the faire. It was breezy and cool. And crowded! Odorferious Thunderbottom says that at last count there were "eight million six hundred thirty-seven thousand nine hundred fifty-six and one third people" at Bristol on Sunday. It sure seemed like it. The jousts were standing room only (or, sitting on the grass only, actually) and I had to get there early to get a seat. We took Ceej's friend with us because he'd never been to a faire before and I was on my own for most of the day.

I did my usual routine- jousts, Maxx and Maul, Friends Garden, Dark Cloud... walking around. And I learned something. When you lose weight, your skirts get longer. I usually have to hold up my skirts as I'm walking uphill and on Sunday, with everyone and their scout troop at the faire (it was scouts weekend), I had to pretty much hold my skirts up most of the time. People were stepping on it as well as me. That is, I was stepping on my own skirt, not being stepped on. And on two occasions, I jogged up the hill from the tilt yard. I used both hands to lift my skirts, and just darted uphill. Like it was nothing.

I haven't used my emergency inhaler since the third weekend of faire (so, three weeks ago) and I haven't taken any daytime Vicodin since the start of faire (so, six weeks ago).

So, with this fantastic update, I leave you with these photos.

William, Ceej and me- outside the gates of Bristol before they opened. Photo by "Duchess with Camera" (her screen name).

Me with Amadeo after he hugged me to get his blood on me. Its a game now. "Let's get blood on Patty"... but hey, if it means I get to hug this guy, then I'm all for it.

Me with Greg (who uses "Sir Gregory" as his jouster name). I wanted my 365days photo with him on Saturday, but he disappeared before I got it, so I asked Amadeo to be in my photo... then Greg came back. So I did a diptych of both photos.

And, Sunday. It isn't a great weekend at faire if it doesn't end with getting photobombed by "Sir Maxmillian".

182 of 365/2- Sir Amadeo loves me.

I have over six hundred photos in my Bristol Ren Faire 2011 album on Flickr. But, I have at least twice that many that I haven't uploaded. I average 400 photos a weekend. One weekend I had 650. Another I had 300 total. This weekend is Pride Weekend at faire and the next one is the Steampunk Invasion. For that one, some deliciously wonderful friends are making sure I'm decked out for it. (I'm lookin' at you- Bo, Amy, and Ellen!). Steampunk Invasion combined with Sir Mauldron jousting again will result in a high volume of photos.

Friday, August 12, 2011

I have no title for this...

We're on the downhill side of the ren faire now. This weekend is the sixth and that leaves us with only three to go. I'll be sad. I'll miss my friends (old and new). Sure, there's Facebook, but that won't replace moments like this-

161 of 365/2- Sir Maxmillian, the Jousting Earl of Braden!

Or this...

168 of 365/2- Guess what? Yeah, today at the faire was even better!

Or even this-

175 of 365/2- Sir Amadeo, the Red Count of Manchua!

Or the countless conversations and the other people and the people who think we work there... I found out through Jane the Phoole that I could very well become a volunteer street cast member. Apparently, you have to have good people skills and the ability to talk to anyone.

Gee... me? Talk to anyone? Ha!

I'm down twenty pounds, by the way. My next follow-up with the fibro doc will be a good one. I expect to lose at least another ten pounds before faire is done. And hopefully, I'll be able to start walking for exercise instead of just all day Saturday and Sunday at the faire.

I'm still having random days that feel awful. Sore or itchy, but a random day here or there is a lot better than every-single-day for weeks at a time. Knowing I can get up on Saturday and Sunday and enjoy myself all day long improves my mood. And the good time I have at faire on Saturday and Sunday carries me through my week.

This Sunday, we're taking a friend of Ceej's who has never been to faire. Next Saturday is Kat's 22nd birthday and she'll be meeting us at the faire with her boyfriend. (for those not in the know, that's my oldest kid). She won't be in garb, though, but she'll still have fun.

So, there's my update. The doctor was right. I DO feel better overall. I did some yoga moves last night and I didn't collapse on myself. So there's that too.