19 Sep

Hyrule Light World Project Progress: September

Oh, hey guys! Remember when I said in January that my goal was to blog more this year? Hahahahahaha! That was really funny. Oops.

Well, now that it’s September, I guess it’s a great time to do a little update! I could pretend to say that the reason I haven’t blogged was because I’m so busy. It’s not. Those of you that talk to me regularly know that I’m on a crusade to be one of the un-busiest people in the world.

April Ludgate-Dwyer, my hero.

In all of my un-busyness, I’ve carved out quite a bit of time to plug away at my never-ending Legend of Zelda cross-stitch that I’ve had for about two years. I tend to get frustrated with it and want to throw it across the room every few days, so I’ve tried to pace myself. At this rate, Fernando will be lucky to have it done by his 50th birthday.

The finished corner!

 

Current working area- I’m pretty sure these are mountains. One of the most amusing parts of this project is that because I’ve never played this game, I have no idea what I’m even stitching. I can make some educated guesses, but I would estimate my accuracy at about 70%.

Big picture… oh brother, look at all that white space. And, oh brother, look at how badly it needs to be ironed.

All the colors of this project! 40 colors! Sheesh!

Out of twelve pages, I’m currently on page 3. Maybe in a couple of weeks I’ll have more to update. Oh, who are we kidding?! See you next year!

02 Jan

Hyrule Light World Project Progress

Oh, hey! Welcome to 2016! (I just typed 2015! Yikes!)

One of my goals for this bright and shiny new year is to blog more often, especially about my cross-stitch projects. They take up enough of my time to merit a mention here and there! I mostly like to stitch these little cityscapes from Satsuma Street on Etsy, but am currently tackling a bigger project.

I thought it would be funny to print off a cross-stitch pattern for Fernando on our first wedding anniversary, as paper is apparently the ‘traditional’ gift for a first anniversary (who made that up?!). He loves the video game Legend of Zelda, so I found this ginormous Hyrule Light World map used in the game.

Hyrule Light World map

It’s a good thing that he loves it, because the pattern is TWELVE PAGES!!!!!!!!!!! TWELVE!!!! What was I thinking?!?!?!

I gave it to him a little over a year ago, and finished a small section. Then, I stained the fabric in a horrible way and decided to start over with new fabric just in case. I restarted the same small section and promptly threw the project into my I Don’t Want to Deal with This bin for about eight months. I recently pulled it out to work on when meeting friends at the coffee shop for a crafternoon, and started to seriously chip away, and I’ve finished the first page!! Awwwwww, yeah!!! Only eleven more to go. Sigh.

Progress shot #1- Christmas Day

Progress shot #1- Christmas Day. I should have taken a progress shot sooner to show where I left off eight months ago. Only the gray section and dark green at the top were previously completed.

Big picture- see how much is left?

Big picture- see how much is left?

Progress shot #2- New Year's Day

Progress shot #2- New Year’s Day

Hopefully next month I’ll have even more progress to show off!

19 Oct

Nerd-cation

If you haven’t already heard me blabbing about it to everyone and their mothers, I’m going on the nerdiest trip of my life in a few weeks! Early this year, a dear nerdly friend asked me if I’d be interested in accompanying her to the UK to visit some Harry Potter and Doctor Who sights (and sites). 🙂

While I find traveling thrilling, I almost enjoy the art of planning it even more: who wants to return home only to realize that there may have been something super cool that you missed?! A bunch of people have asked about our itinerary, so I’m plunking some of the major pieces here in this blog post for my fellow travelers, Potterheads, and Whovians in case you’ll find it helpful.

Edinburgh

We’re swinging up north to Scotland for a few days to:

  1. visit the birthplace of Harry Potter (ok, so it’s one of the cafés in which J.K. Rowling first started to pen the series, but I’ll still take it),
  2. hopefully meet one of my favorite bloggers that loves the Potter journey as much as I do,
  3. take a bus tour through the Scottish highlands (mostly so we can pretend we’re on the Hogwarts Express). I generally don’t like bus tours, but I’ll make an exception for one that will take me through the Highlands! (Plus, this one is FREE!!!)
I don't care if it's 'just' a tea room. There's something very magical about knowing this is one of the places where Harry was written into existence.

I don’t care if it’s ‘just’ a tea room. There’s something very magical about knowing this is one of the places where Harry was written into existence.

Cardiff

I would describe myself as a casual Doctor Who and Torchwood fan. My friend Sole definitely has me beat in this category. In fact, she has a TARDIS in her front lawn! However, I’ve taken on the very difficult task of watching most episodes of Doctor Who in order to have a better understanding of the characters and storylines.

  1. The Doctor Who Experience without walking around in a confused state. This will give us the chance to see the sets, props, and costumes used when filming the series. In addition, there’s a chance some of the cast may be there!
  2. Torchwood is a spin-off series from Doctor Who filmed primarily in and around Cardiff. The Hub, or headquarters, is ‘secretly’ located just under the Millennium Centre in the heart of downtown. There’s not an actual exhibit to go see, but we’re going to run around town seeing a bunch of filming locations. And, um, that’s about all I know about that… Better go watch some more TV.

On a non-TV note, also in Cardiff is Roald Dahls Plass, a plaza named in honor of my favorite children’s author (and who just happened to be born in Cardiff). My Matilda tattoo will feel so at home!

London

By some kind of Muggle magic, we happen to be in town while the first-ever Doctor Who Festival is taking place, so we’re going there!

No trip to London would be complete without a stop at Platform 9 3/4, King’s Cross station, where all the young witches and wizards hop on the Hogwarts Express!

Also on the London docket is the Muggle Tour. Unlike the Studio Tour, this tour covers the real life ‘Muggle London’ locations that inspired certain set designs and were even included in certain scenes. I’m most looking forward to seeing the visitors’ entrance to the Ministry of Magic and the pub that inspired the fictional Leaky Cauldron!

A new addition to the Potterhead dream is the Wizard Chambers at the Georgian House Hotel. Ever wanted to sleep in a Hogwarts dormitory? This is the next best thing! We’re staying in hostels every other night on this trip, but splurged for one night on this beauty. Rumor has it that it’s haunted- I will be spooning Sole all night in fear, just in case!!

Staying in a Gryffindor dormitory? Yes, please! Hold the ghosts, though.

The impetus of this trip is the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, where much of the eight Harry Potter films were made. While I admittedly prefer the books to the movies, I cannot resist the ability to step into the Potter ‘verse and live it, touch it, breathe it. I was lucky to be here in 2012 and nearly broke down in tears from excitement when entering the Great Hall- and that was just the first stop on the tour! You get to walk around and see a ginormous number of sets, props, costumes, and more! Bonus: this time around, we’re going while everything is decorated for Christmas!!! It’s fitting that this will be the last stop on our trip, as I’m not sure anything could possibly beat this.

The Great Hall set at Warner Brothers Studio Tour London

And there you have it! Nerd-cation, here we come!!!

05 Oct

Three Decades.

I’m 30! I’m 30?? I can’t wait until Taylor Swift turns 30 and writes a song about how this is supposed to feel. What will she rhyme with thirty? Dirty? Flirty? Qwerty?

I don’t really know how this is supposed to feel. I’m definitely not devastated, but I’m also not exactly ecstatic. I mean, how can I be allowed to be 30? I swear, I’m only 15! (And my face currently has the zits to prove it!) Some days I feel like a mature adult, and other days I feel like Rachel Green receiving her very first paycheck:

rachel

Being an adult is really hard sometimes- and I’m not just talking about having to make my own dentist appointments! There’s all this stuff I have to do ALL THE TIME: pay bills, buy relatively healthy groceries, prepare relatively healthy meals with a husband that has oddly high standards, ensure that I not blow my entire paycheck before I get paid, work a full-time job when sometimes I just want to stay in bed reading all day…  Not to mention all the dumb medical crud that’s swirling around my life these days- doctor appointments and specialists and physical therapy to stave off the knee replacement I may need within the next few years. UGH!

himym

 

But you know what? There’s a lot of really great stuff, too! In the last year, in the last decade, in the last three decades, for that matter, I’ve been very lucky. I feel like writing about 468 pages right now detailing all the experiences that have shaped me over the last ten years, but I’ll spare you the snooze-fest and save the long version for another day and for the memoir that I’ll never actually write.

If you’ll humor me, I’m going to list a few of them- not necessarily the most significant and not in any kind of order, but there are a quite a few things that deserve to be revisited.

Seven Great Things That Happened in my Twenties (In No Particular Order)

  1. I spent three exceptional months living in Segovia, Spain. We spent little to no time (on purpose) doing homework and instead had time to simply live. Prior to that semester, I was very much a homebody that was too nervous to explore much on my own- and some of my high school friends loved to point it out. Because of that semester, traveling no longer scares me; in fact, traveling is now the #1 reason my bank account isn’t so happy with Adult Holly.
  2. I became an auntie. I quite enjoy it. I don’t want my own kids (blah blah blah, you’ve all heard me say that enough), but it’s remarkable to watch these two boys grow up and grow into their own quirky but delightful personalities. I love their enthusiasm for Hot Wheels, good books, and Scooby Snacks- and the fact that my apartment is their Happy Netflix Zone. My heart grows three sizes every time they draw me a new picture.
  3. I went to grad school. While graduate school for librarianship is not exactly as strenuous as getting a medical or law degree, it has its own challenges- and yes, you do have to have a master’s to do it! I met some rad people and learned a lot about my craft. Talking information literacy makes me feel alive like few things can. Mostly, I’m happy that I found something that helps me feel more me. 
  4. I moved to a new state for a good, long while. Most of you that see me on a regular basis know that I still love to dream about the years in which I lived in Colorado. AmeriCorps changes you, just like having 13 roommates in a should-probably-be-condemned house changes you. I did a lot of growing up in those years, and not just because I had to make my own doctor appointments and schedule my own oil changes. I also learned that I better figure out some hobbies, because living in a new state where you know no one is kind of lonely.
  5. I made stellar new friends. Throughout my strange college experience and beyond, I’ve made a number of strong, life-giving friendships- the kind in which you can simply look at your friend and you’ll both burst out laughing because you’re both thinking the same thing without even having to say it. No matter their age or how we met, my friends are the best.
    • Case in point: one of my BFFs and I bonded over the fact that we seem to be the only humans on this Earth that read books by Lurlene McDaniel, which feature a protagonist with some kind of chronic or terminal illness (often leukemia), thus leading us both down a life path of hypochondria and fear of inexplicable bruises. It’s so weird, and yet so wholly good to know that I’ve got a friend that gets it. (Also? Don’t read those books.)
  6. I discovered cross-stitching. I’m not a super crafty person. If you’re looking for crafty, please kindly introduce yourself to my BFF, Senja, because she can devise just about anything you could ever possibly need. I was not born with that level of skill. One day while perusing the Internet (my favorite hobby), I found a silly little cross-stitch pattern that made me loudly cackle for approximately 18 minutes. I’ll never quite know why this particular pattern caught my attention, but I’m so grateful. A few days after finding that pattern, I embarked on a stitching journey and have not looked back. There’s something about seeing the pattern take shape over time- I love being able to see progress. Plus, the beauty of cross stitch is that you mostly only have to know how to move a needle up and down while following directions!
  7. I traveled with my dad. My dad and I haven’t always been super close: he likes cars, sports, and hunting, and I like none of those things. A few years ago I made a flippant comment that he and I should travel together because we at least share the same interest in travel locations, and a few months later we found ourselves boarding a flight. It’s not always perfect (he wouldn’t let me leave the hotel after dark [6:00 pm] because it made him ‘too anxious’), but it sure makes for some good laughs and wonderful memories. Also, I will never stop laughing about the way he can’t understand Scottish English.

After that fond trip down memory lane, I think it’s time I get started working on some plans for what the next decade will bring- maybe a 40 By 40 list?

30 Jun

On Anxiety.

Oh hey. My name is Holly, and I have anxiety.

 

now-im-a-superhero

 

You probably all know that I do, and you probably aren’t that surprised. I appreciate that.

I think I’ve always had anxiety, but I think it manifests itself most strongly in two ways:

  1. Sweating. I’m not talking a few sweaty, sticky palms once in a while.  I’m talking uncontrollable, outrageously embarrassing sweat. I sweat so profusely it looks like I’m currently showering in my own sweat. (Want proof? Here’s a pic of me sweating on commencement day. Nothing was even going wrong at that moment.) And it’s not limited to commencement. I sweat when driving (even on back roads), going to meetings, going out for lunch for friends, even when trying on clothes! My life is lived like a woman going through menopause- I have to wear clothes that will hide as much sweat as possible, and I carry a towel in my purse to wipe off my face. I have to drive to work in a tank top (and pants, of course) and then finish getting dressed before I get out of the car. It’s not fun living life through one continuous hot flash.
  2. Sleeping (or rather, not sleeping). I toss and turn all night, thinking of everything that could and will go wrong. I often punch Fernando (lovingly) because he’s one of those people that can take a deep breath as soon as they hit the hay and BOOM! One-way ticket to Sleepytown. He has since started letting me fall asleep before he even comes to bed, poor guy. I didn’t sleep more than two hours a night for three weeks when I coordinated commencement for the very first time. I was sick, exhausted, and overwhelmed.

I made the decision a while ago to try taking medication to see if it would help; I would love to live a less sweaty life full of regular sleep cycles and the ability to merge onto the freeway without feeling like this. Friends of mine that also struggle with anxiety have had positively life-altering results when going on medication, so I figured I’d see if it would do the same for me. It didn’t.

  • Medication #1 made me so tired all the time I fell asleep as soon as I got home from work almost every day. My mom witnessed an unfortunate incident in which I attempted to talk to her on the phone while out of it and I slurred as if I had been drinking all day. (I hadn’t.) I switched to a new kind.
  • Medication #2 made me so nauseous that I could only eat saltine crackers for six weeks, leaving some of my coworkers to jokingly ask if I was pregnant. (No.) I switched to a new kind after two months.
  • Medication #3 created similar effects to #1, making it nearly impossible for me to stay awake at work. I lost interest in doing most of my activities and ended up hanging out on the couch mindlessly watching TV and snoozing for hours instead of crafting, reading, exercising and cooking. When I’m too tired to cross-stitch, I know something is off.

A few weeks ago, I was so fed up with living this frustrating life, watching my life pass me by, that I decided to stop taking it. While all three medications solved my sleeping issue, none of them did a thing to curb the nasty sweating; if anything, it worsened. Yesterday I took my last dose- huzzah! I’m bummed that I can’t just magically drive on the freeway, and gutted that I still sweat like there’s no tomorrow. But I’d rather live with those issues than spend my life on the couch watching Netflix for lack of energy to do anything else! (Though Netflix is a wonderful thing.)

I’ve made it a goal to try to get 10,000 steps in every day (thanks to my handy step tracker on my dorky smartwatch), because I know exercise is 1) good for everyone and 2) especially good at reducing anxiety. I’m also (gulp) considering trying yoga, even though I’m pretty terrible at it (how in the world does anyone do downward dog?!?!?!). I’m also trying to cut down on sugar (especially chocolate 🙁 ) and trying to turn off my computer and phone well before I turn in to reduce screen time (I even installed f.lux to mimic outside light and reduce blue light when it’s late).

Does anyone else have any great remedies for anxiety they’d like to share?