UPON TURNING THRITY-TWO

As is my habit, I am composing a post to commentate my birthday and to reflect upon the last year of my life and making plans for the coming year. Once upon a time, I did a similar thing in my paper journals for my eyes only, but as spiral notebooks have given way to WordPress, I publish the results for the world to read if it chooses. I have skipped years under both methods and, with the exception of last year, my words are gone, but here I am having lived one more year.

And a what a wonderful year it has been. Never have I been so busy. Just a few days ago, I told Chris how I often wish I could move up time from all those years I didn’t have much going on to now when every moment of every day seems packed to the gills.

We went from my birthday last year to Dragon*Con Labor Day weekend in the blink of an eye, then on to the holiday season. It was my second in a row working retail and hopefully my last for the rest of my days. Going from sixteen or twenty hours to thirty or more for the holiday season was rough on my body more than the rest of me. In large part, my recent return to working in a call center was based on the need to stop abusing my feet, knees and hips on those concrete floors. But I am getting ahead of myself as I didn’t start the new job until June. In fact, only a few weeks came between my decision to find something and accepting the new position.

The New Year brought one thing and one thing only: sewing. We thought we planned plenty of time for the work we’d committed to in preparation to be the Klingon wedding at Trex Trax Atlanta in late April. We spent almost as many hours telling friends and co-workers it would not be a legal and binding wedding, or at least not on this planet.

In March, I took Chris to Seattle to meet my family and George Takei at Emerald City Comic Con. I cannot speak for Mr. Takei, but my family was very impressed with Chris and thrilled he chose to propose at the convention while they could be a part of it. I was surprised at the timing, not the question itself, as it should be. The setting was perfectly us and couldn’t have been more geek-romantic including a video of the moment I innocently thought was to tease our con-going friends who couldn’t be with us.

Being engaged leads to the inevitable question: “When are you getting married?”

We put off those questions for a while with the urgency over getting every detail ready for our Klingon ceremony. Outfitting ourselves from head to (in my case) toe was no small undertaking. I was at the sewing machine until 2 AM the night before the convention and stitched a detail or two on the car ride to Atlanta, not to mention a few missed seams I didn’t find until ironing everything in the hours before the big event. Don’t let me fool you, though, it was better to be busy than to worry about the performance itself.

For better or worse, too, I’d agreed to compete in the Miss Klingon pageant that weekend. And I did. I was awful, but I entered to round out the number of contestants to a robust three Klingon ladies. I certainly hope enough warriors step up next time that I will not be needed next year. I’ve made it clear I never, ever want to see video of the event, but I’m glad I had the guts to do it.

I am far more proud of the costume I tossed together in the last 48 hours before the convention than I am my time on the stage, but admittedly, I am extremely proud to have fulfilled the dream I’d had as a little kid to learn to sew. Chris was instrumental in teaching me how to use a sewing machine and encouraging both my costuming projects and general craftiness. While there aren’t enough hours in the day for all the ideas in my head, for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m allowed to have hobbies even if they require the twin resources of time and money. It doesn’t sound like a big deal for most people, but it’s huge for me.

About that wedding stuff: While it’s very important to us to have a marriage legal here on Earth, not just in the Klingon Empire, I’m not concerned in the least about the details of a wedding. It’s just not something that ever mattered to me for a variety of reasons. We do intend to figure out a time when, at the very least, my parents will be able to fly out for the event. Early next year seems likely, but at present other factors keep us from setting a firm date. Truth be told, the main thing I’m looking forward to is changing my name. It will be the main practical change marriage will bring as it is with so many couples who live together beforehand, but it is of special concern to me. I elected to keep my married name when I got divorced, both because it did not seem worth the effort in paperwork to change twice within a couple years knowing Chris and I were intending to marry eventually and because my ties to my maiden name never went as deep as most since I’d used my step-dad’s name growing up. While I don’t regret that choice, I think it’s understandable I’m ready to shed the last day-to-day reminder of my previous relationship. It’s weird sometimes to think nearly everyone I interact with on a daily basis doesn’t consider the association and after nearly eleven years, I don’t think about it every day either.

As mentioned above, I took a new job in a call center. Chris and I managed to end up in the same training class and we are both working a weird late night shift. It is my personal policy not to discuss work on the interwebs, except to say, work is work and it pays the bills.
I’m grateful to have always been extremely employable. I still, and likely always will, consider the possibility of college, but this fall is not in the cards and likely not spring either, and I’m not sold on my desire to do it like I was a few years ago.

Worth mentioning is the one frustration I can’t seem to get past: Despite efforts – my own and others – I’ve reached yet another birthday without a driver’s license. I was 18 or 19 when I first got a learner’s permit in Washington State, but never actually drove there. Sometime after I moved to Western New York in 2001, I again got a permit and this time actually drove, but I hadn’t driven at all since I left there in 2005. I’ve had more than a few road blocks since I’ve moved here, too. First, my eyesight is now bad enough I couldn’t pass the DMV’s vision test without glasses like I could when I was younger. Now, I have a permit, but I seldom have access to a car I can drive as I’m limited by my height. Plenty of short people are going to see that and claim they can drive anything, but I assure you, the difference between being 5’0 or 5’2 tall and 4’9 makes that not the case for me. Our friend Alex has taken me out driving a few times. I can drive his van, but our schedules, the restriction on permits to driving between 6 am and midnight, plus various other responsibilities on both sides make it tricky to rack up the necessary amount of practice time. It was, however, a relief to find I hadn’t lost the knack entirely in all the years since I was last behind the wheel, but I am not even close to ready to pass a driver’s exam. We are, slowly but surely, saving for another car and hoping Chris’ car (which I can’t drive) will remain on the road long enough to allow us to have two cars while saving for it’s replacement.

Truth be told, I feel defeated by the whole situation and I don’t really see myself ever having the independence nearly every adult in our country takes for granted. Most adults who aren’t licensed drivers have done something to be striped of the privilege, but that is not my situation. No one thought to make it a priority when I was a teenager and, as an adult, it’s been one struggle after another and I just haven’t been able to make it work. It would be one thing to live in an area with mass transit, but living where I do, I am effectively trapped and totally dependent on other people to get around. My choices are limited in so many ways. I can’t take just any job. I can’t make a doctor’s appointment without figuring out who is going to take me. I can’t go to the store by myself unless I want to spend an hour, round trip, walking route with no sidewalks or street lights which only gets me to the closest places. If I really need something, of course, I have more than I few people who would be willing to come get me and I am thankful for that, but the difference between needing something and being able to go somewhere because I feel like going is a large gap. I try really hard not to let it get me down, but it’s hard not to dwell on it when I’m stuck at home on my days off.

Not to leave my post on a downer, though I’ve past my midnight Eastern standard time birthday deadline for publication, I should share my more hopeful plans for the coming year. It is good to remember I have control in a handful of areas of my life when I don’t always feel like I do.

After a too long period of slacking off on proper eating and fitness, I’ve been back on track the last month or so. I bought myself a Wii Fit and while my goal of logging an hour of workout time every single day has proved a bit lofty, I have at least stepped on the balance board every single day. I try to divide my time primarily between yoga and aerobic games. Food-wise, it’s as simple as keeping the house free of problem foods. My big one is bread. I would eat toast all day and often would when I was stuck home alone. Sticking with simple to cook proteins, veggies and fruits and limiting meals out to a few times a week is easy enough, really. I don’t think of it as a “diet” and it only takes a few weeks to remember how much better I feel when I’m taking care of myself. I’ve also started (as of today) a joint supplement which comes highly recommended and I hope to get relief from the aches which keep me from working out as hard and as much as I’d like.

The other area I am looking to make some headway in is various creative pursuits. As always, I’m going to maintain a blog in some form or fashion. You’ll notice, I’ve been more regular lately than I have been in the life of this site. As I always say, blog hosting is cheaper than therapy. I may or may not make an effort to monetize. Certainly, it’s not my main goal with being here or I would worry about SEO and the like.

I’ve toyed with the idea of participating in National Novel Writing Month and even read No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days. I don’t know if November is the best month for me to make the attempt and the idea of joining the big group of people who make the attempt every year doesn’t appeal to me. I am too much an individualist to desire that sort of thing. Now, a few well placed friends would be another matter. I still don’t know if fiction is something I’m suited to write, but I do feel I ought to try if for no other reason than to prove to myself I don’t want to pursue it further.

One thing I know for sure having spent many, many hours over the cutting table (okay, actually, the bed with a cardboard cutting mat on it) and the sewing machine is that writing alone is not enough creative outlet. I need pleasure of making something with my hands. Inspiration and gathering supplies followed by the frustrations and triumphs of developing new skills or the calming tedium of tasks like cutting patterns or sewing straight lines all contribute to a sense of accomplishment like I’ve not found in other tasks. I think it is having something concrete to show for my labor, something both attractive and practical, which not just anyone can recreate without some level of skill. I also find a certain pleasure in a project which can be accomplished in a few hours, especially between more time intensive projects. To that end, and because I am a cold blooded capitalist, I’ve decided to open an Etsy store with some small projects. My inventory is still under development, but I’ve had good feedback so far on the items I’ve been working on. You’ll be able to search me under “Nerdbliss” and once I have everything set up, I’ll have a widget on the blog and will bore my few but precious readers with pictures and links. I have no illusions about quitting my day (night?) job, but I wouldn’t mind if it paid for the additions to my stash. I’ve carefully compared prices on supplies so even if my sales are modest, my profit margins will make it possible to invest in more variety of materials with the goal of a modest but steady income.

Before, I write past midnight on the West coast, I should call it a year. It’s been an overwhelmingly good one. Even on the hardest days, I am content with the most important parts of my life. I am happy, but still driven to make my life and the lives of those I care for a little better as we go along. I have opportunities to express myself and be productive. I am well loved and cared for by a diverse network of family and friends. I am both lucky and blessed.

Author: Tina Louise

Nerd. Geek. Dork.

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