Love Your Body (Warning: Contains Adult Content)

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Another step in my weight loss was learning to love my body.  When starting out, find something that you like about yourself.  Even something that might seem silly like your hands, hair, anything.  Look at yourself in the mirror every day.  Most of us who are larger have developed the habit of only giving ourselves a cursory glance to ensure we are ready to go out in public.  Stop and admire your body.  Stop and move on before you begin to focus on the flaws, real or imagined.  Over time you will begin to like what you see more as you change.  Even at my heaviest I had strong, muscular legs with decent definition and focused on those.  Then I began to admire the same attributes in my arms.  Now I'm noticing that my tomach is shrinking, too, although it will never be as muscly as my limbs.  No one will ever love their entire body 100% of the time, but the point is to develop your working relationship into a more intimate one.

It is ok to like yourself.  Really, you have my permission.  Without devolving into a diatribe, let's just summarize with mainstream media and various industries make more money if you hate yourself.  Add a female gender to the mix, and you've got a wonderful barrel of monkeys of image issues.  Listen to the little voice in your head that says, "Damn, I look good."  (It's even quieter than the one pointing out the not so fine points of your physical being).  Don't worry that you'll come off as arrogant because what you are really developing is confidence, and there is a difference.  As a friend once put it, confidence is "I'm pretty good."  Arrogance is, "I'm better than everyone else."  So don't worry about your self-esteem being too strong until it crosses that line.

Sex counts as exercise!  Unfortunately, you aren't likely to find it listed on myfitnesspal, sparkpeople, or Fitocracy.  Even masturbation burns calories.  Obviously I haven't found any scientific studies to give a more definite idea of the math involved, but sexual activities that result in sweat, heavy breathing, and lethargy obviously counts as physical exercise.  If you're wanting numbers to plug into your calorie counter, then use your best judgment.

The mental battle is harder and has to be won before the physical will follow suit.  The more you like your body, the more confidence you will have which means you'll be perceived as being sexier, thus leading to more sex.  Make the Psycho Hamster Wheel of Doom work for you in a positive way.

Healthy Weight Loss vs. Diets, or How to Lose the Baggage

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Several of my friends have asked me how I managed to lose 30 pounds.  The quick answer is: I cheated.  I went from a sedentary lifestyle to working as a CNA on my feet all day with heavy lifting.  Now I actually have to work at it by learning how to cook, unable to go to the gym, and deal with stress eating and a junk food addiction.  One of my ex-girlfriends loves to tease me about when we were together because I'd habitually eat two cheddarwurst dogs and a pomegranate Rockstar energy drink for breakfast.  So I've got some major hurdles to overcome.

I started with little changes, and am working my way up.  If you have anxiety issues and an addictive personality, you will become too disheartened and overwhelmed by everything and fall off the bandwagon.  So don't look at my advice and go whole-hog, you want to make lifestyle changes.  If you want to lose weight quickly and then go back to the life you were living before, I can tell you now that it's not going to work.  You have to change your whole self.

Most "experts" will tell you to ask yourself why you want to lose weight.  Being the woman I am, I sure as hell knew my reasons.  I did not feel good in my own body.  I didn't like the way I felt, looked, or moved.  I would constantly refer to myself as a "hideous, fat cowbeast."  It started out as a joke about when I was emo and tried to laugh off my depression and body issues with exaggeration.  The problem was, was I had brainwashed myself into believing it.  I wanted to get into SCA heavy fighting, but knew that I couldn't physically do it until I lost some weight.  My body simply wouldn't be able to handle it.  I wanted to make later period garb, but didn't want to put forth the time, money, and effort until I was where I felt I would look good in the dresses.  So I have some very personal, practical reasons.  You need to assess your motivational factors to ensure that this is something to which you want to commit.

The very first thing I told myself is, "You are not on a diet."  Say it with me: "I am not on a diet."  Again.  "I am not on a diet!"  Doesn't that feel good?  There is so much stigma, marketing, and general insanity in American culture regarding the word "diet" that I refused to burden myself with that.  Hell, I had 75 extra pounds to lug around as it was along with the baggage that society associated with my weight.  Not to mention that diets are seen as something temporary or something that can be ruined by one piece of chocolate.

Don't set yourself up for failure and accept now that you will make bad choices.  You will make excuses for your bad choices.  Acknowledge your mistakes, figure out what to do next time, and stop before you slide even further.  Ok, so you had an entire pint of Ben and Jerry's.  Not the best choice of lunches in the world, but deal with it and move on.  No, it doesn't mean you should go ahead and eat out at the all-you-can-eat buffet.  Nor does it mean you can only have celery and carrot sticks for dinner (unless you like that, in which case you are either insane or a were-rabbit).  It means you should have a well-rounded dinner that's especially low in fat.  Don't beat yourself up, and don't keep backsliding just because of a mistake or three.

Drink water.  I know, I hate water and am very picky.  Yes, I know that living off of soda, juice, and tea is not good for me, but I'm addicted to the caffeine.  Water will help make you feel fuller, flush toxins and other crap from your body, yadda yadda yadda.  I will only drink purified water, preferably with tons of ice.  There are flavoured waters, packets to add to your water, and other products on the market.  The possible chemical content of those scares me, so I haven't looked at them yet.

Good fats are good.  I'm not an expert, but natural occuring fats are fine in moderation, such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts.  Just don't go deep-frying an avocado stuffed with walnuts.

Speaking of moderation: stop when you're full.  That's one of my biggest problems.  If it's yummy then I just want to om nom nom nom nom and some more nom.  It's so good I don't want to stop.  No, I don't have impulse control problems at all.  Luckily I'm also easily distracted.  For lunch today I threw some hummus, salsa, and lettuce on a tortilla and wandered off to play on the computer while drinking some water from my Brita pitcher that's kept in the fridge.  After checking my email, my stomach informed me I was still hungry.  Rinse and repeat.  Also, don't eat straight from the container, that's kind of a no-brainer.

Buy fruits and vegetables that you like.  I hate celery so much I used to have disturbing dreams where I'd go to the grocery store and all I would buy was celery.  I had some anxiety issues when I first lived on my own and had no idea how to grocery shop or cook.

More to follow as it percolates through my un-caffeinated brain.  By the way, quitting soda cold turkey sucks.

You know you're kinky in the SCA when...

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You know you're kinky and in the SCA when...

you get hit with a rapier and not in armour and as you're yelling at the person you have to stop yourself from saying, "It was NOT sane, safe, or consensual!"

a friend threatens to tie you up under your garb, and your first thought is, "Is the rope period?"

you know that you have a future as a Pelican because you're a masochist.

you know that you have a future as a Knight because you're a sadomasochist.

you know that you have a future as a Laurel because you're a sadist.

you use heraldic postures for training your sub instead of Gorean ones.

you have used "Light" and "Hold" instead of "Green" and "Red."

you weave and dye your own rope.

you refer to the SCA as your pro-domme since you pay for the abuse.

you think of Royalty as the Dungeon Monitors.

you're stoked about wearing leather and corsets in broad daylight and NOT getting stares.

you make your own candles for wax play.

no one bats an eye when you refer to your master or mistress as "Lord" or "Lady."

you have to be careful NOT to refer to your dominant as "Sir" or "Master/Mistress."

31 Things Brendar is no Longer Allowed to do in the SCA

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1. When meeting newcomers, I am not to cry out, "Fresh meat!"

2. The Prince and Princess are not to be addressed as "Your Pretty Goodness."

3. I will not feed the drunks lutefisk.

4. Wet chemise contests are to be held only after dark.

5. Medieval torture devices and Pied Piper do not mix.

6. I will not tell newcomers to "wave to the pretty, pretty princess!"

7. Whilst acting as a chirurgeon, I will not use any period medical techniques, including but not limited to: bleeding, maggots, or trepanning.

8. No matter how long and beautiful a person's hair is, they are not to be called "Lady Lovelilocks." Especially if the person in question is a gentleman.

9. At no point am I to cackle maniacally to myself within earshot of newcomers, media, or moderns.

10. Royalty is not to be referred to as pointy hats, muckety mucks, nor grand high poo-bah.

11. When drawing my weapon I will not announce, "By [For] the power [honour] of Grayskull!"

12. While wearing woad and nothing else was period, it is NOT appropriate.

13. When traveling to Canada, I will not sing, hum, nor quote any of the lyrics to "Blame Canada."

14. Telling a pun so bad it makes a WOAW groan is NOT something of which to be proud.

15. I will not call animal control to round up rabbit-skin bikini clad young women.

16. I will not douse the goths with holy water.

17. I will not shout "I don't believe in faeries!" to women in faerie wings just to see if they keel over dead.

18. If it's well-received at the Bawdy Bardic, it is not acceptable for Pied Piper.

19. Psychological warfare is allowed. Fashioning your helm to resemble a gimp mask is not.

20. I will not name my persona "Bigus Dickus."

21. While fighting at war, I will not dismember nor mutilate the bodies.

22. While watching at war, I will not loot the bodies.

23. I will not cup-check the young men to see who stuffs their codpieces and who does not.

24. When acting as a royal guard in court, I will not demand that a gentle perform the Truffle Shuffle before entering.

25. I will not refer to newbie fighters at war as any of the following: redshirts, meatshields, nor cannon fodder.

26. While serving as a chirurgeon, I will not dress Repo Man from Repo! The Genetic Opera.

27. No matter how innocent and polite I am, I will not ask the good Landsknecht gentle if they were set upon by a pack of rabid squirrels.

28. I will not yell "Freebird!" at the Bardic Circle.

29. I will not hide whoopy cushions on the thrones.

30. It is never appropriate to refer to your friends as Slappy, Happy, and Jappy. Even if their respective personas are fighter, jester, and Asian.

31. I will not command any modern-clad male royal to "Dance, nakie-boy, dance!"

Chiton Pins

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I am privileged to attend Knowne World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium, which will be held in a far warmer and more humid Kingdom than An Tir. Since I detest the heat as well as wanted something a bit more flashy than a plain, unlayered t-tunic, I looked at what I had around my house and made a chiton (post to follow).

The only problem was, was that I needed pins for it and had already attended one event this month. So whatever garb I make has to be from what I already have on hand due to finances, and I have no experience in metalworking whatsoever. I ventured out into the garage and found a small coil of wiring.

I stripped off the plastic insulation to get to the copper beneath, getting these three lengths.

Using two pairs of pliers wrapped with bits of scrap leather to prevent the ridges from scoring the soft metal, I twisted one end into a coil.
Then I hammered the straight ends flat and thin enough so I could clip the ends into a point with a pair of old, crappy scissors.

They do rip little holes in the close-woven cotton broadcloth, but once I get them position where I want I intend to reinforce the placement with buttonhole stitch.

Why Norse Garb is so Popular in An Tir

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First of all: layers. Layers lend adaptability to An Tir's weather, which is only predictable in that one should always be prepared for cold and rain. But on the chance that we are blessed with clear, warm weather, heavier outer layers can be shed in favour of linen underlayers.

It's comfortable! Who wants to fuss with dragging trains, multiple skirts, and trailing sleeves while camping?

Wool was the predominant fiber choice, and we all know wool's wonderful qualities, namely it's absorbency and water-repelling abilities. Very helpful if you are facing the prospect of hypothermia on Independence Day.

Durability. This month marks my one year anniversary of playing, and I have made it through the year with only my Norse gear and a spare gown. My infamous green tunic (so named because Máel Brigte is difficult for people to pronounce and they always recognize me by my garb) only has a small grease stain. My original apron dress was recycled a few months ago for many reasons, none of which were related to questions of durability. Keep in mind that these have withstood grease, sweat, mud, dust, sun, wind, and rain.

There are many methods and styles of decoration: beads, woven trim, and embroidery. As well as the accessories.

The Norse were famous for their martial prowess, and it's not difficult to make a fighter's kit (at least not in comparison to, say, Gothic plate).

In short, it's fun, practical, and an easy persona to slip into for an entire weekend.

Tapestry of Doom

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Lady Jadwiga Wlodzislawska has taken on the A&S 50 Challenge in an insane way. She is depicting all 50 years of the Society's history in a Bayeux-inspired tapestry.

Armour for Female Fighters

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Last Wednesday, at the Mid-Willamette Valley Fighter's Practice, I suited up in armour for the first time. Granted, it was loaner gear and was therefore one-size-fits-nobody, but afterwards I had a definite opinion as to what I want in my own gear.

Luckily I hadn't planned on actually fighting, or else I would have been dismayed to find that I simply could not do so safely nor effectively in the loaner kit. For one thing, it was sized to fit large men. While I am not thin, I fall just short of 5 feet 4 inches in shoes. The kidney plates hung around my hips, breastplates pinched my nipples in a decidedly non-sexy fashion, and the heater-shield was not only too large, but poorly balanced for me. The knight who was teaching me how to throw a shot laughed at me because the helm sank so low that eventually all he could see was the bottoms of my eyes.

One of the most important things I learned is, is that I require rigid armour for my vast tracts of land. The splint's (using Dungeons and Dragons terminology as I do not know the SCAdian) flexion was exacerbated by its poor fit, yet even without the force of a hit behind it, tender flesh caught between metal plates is far from enjoyable.

At least I won't have problems with hurdle number three.

Links both useful and fun.

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Extant textiles

Create your own online Bayeux Tapestry

Graz Armory photos