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I updated my website! Three new pages, and a couple blog posts.

Go to the journal for links to each page!
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I've been asked by several people if I'm going to do my customary trip writeup...which, I was considering not doing, but enough people have asked that I think maybe it might actually get read!

Since I was gone a grand total of seven days, I'm going to condense a lot...because nobody needs to hear about that rest stop in Ohio or the fifth time I got us lost looking for Chick-Fil-A. We'll just talk about the fun stuff, shall we? All right! )

Meme time!

Jun. 16th, 2010 04:25 pm
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I like audience interaction; what can I say?

"I think it's inevitable that as we read each other's journals we create mental pictures of each other. Post this on your own journal to find out who your friends see when they read about your life.

"Two Rules:
1) The person must be in the movies or on TV (but doesn't have to be an actor/actress). The person can be specific to a role or character or just the person.
2) Post a picture.
2a) Repost to your own journal."

Modification: Person doesn't have to be in TV/movies, but must be a visual reference--illustration, portrait, animated character, anything like that will work, too.

Have fun! :D
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So. Greenfield Village. Last year, this same event was my first-ever Civil War event and could probably be called the event that launched me full-force into reenacting. I also got horribly ill and only remember portions of the weekend...so as I told my mother, the bar for "rockin'" was set pretty low for this year! "As long as I remember everything, it can't be worse than last year."

I'm happy to report that not only do I remember the whole weekend, I had a great time, and I think everybody else did too. We didn't see too much of [livejournal.com profile] reine_de_coudre and [livejournal.com profile] dandytailor, but Gwendolyn and I got to spend quite a bit of good quality time together, and I got a chance to see the crowd that works at Greenfield--including dear JJ, who looked very well. Actually, he looked damn good and I may have actually told him, "JJ, not gonna lie, I kinda wanna make out with you right now." He didn't go for it, but he laughed and was flattered anyway.

Anyway...you just want pictures, so here we go!

Welcome to our camp!

In roughly chronological order... )
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Hello. My name is Katie. I have depression.

Some days, I feel like that commercial, where people are talking about mental illnesses and they have their own personal demon printed on their tee shirt in neat little text--Bipolar. Depression. Schizophrenia. Or a few weeks ago, when I reunited with an old friend who happens to be a nurse. He asked me, "How are things?" And I shot back, "I'm on antidepressants!" It felt good to throw it out there right at the beginning of the conversation, because...well, this is me. I'm Katie. I have depression.

But in addition to depression, I also have an amazingly wonderful support network of friends and family who, when I was in the throes of an undiagnosed mental illness, did and said everything--everything--right. I spent six months with wildly erratic and sometimes frightening symptoms and never once faced blame, censure, or judgement from anyone. There are people all over the world who cared enough to help me in whatever ways they could...but we were all facing a medical condition that no amount of caring or worrying was going to fix.

There is a history of depression in my mom's side of the family. Three generations have been diagnosed with varying degrees of depression at different times, and have gone or are going through treatment for same. When I started having symptoms (including but not limited to mood swings and sudden, impulsive suicide attempts), my friends and employer bullied me into seeing a counselor. She had a lot of things to say, mostly about how I needed to grow up, set some goals, and start acting like an adult. On the whole, it was less than helpful. It took me several more months to get in to see a doctor. Brave and terrible things were said, but I finally went to see someone who actually went to medical school. The doctor's reaction to my list of symptoms (carefully case-noted like any good human services professional...)?

"You're depressed," she said. And she gave me a prescription. It's low-dose, minimal side effects, and it gave me back myself. That's the simplest way to put it. It gave me back the ability to be me. Within two days, coworkers who saw me every day could tell that something was different. My friends were a little warier, having seen the euphoric end of the mood swings, but they and my family could tell within a week that this was different. Everybody was thrilled.

And then last week one of my coworkers found out. I say "found out," like it's some deep, dark secret--it's not. An article popped up on my homepage: How to help a friend with depression. Being the friend who has depression, I was interested to see what the article recommended. Having read it, I have to say that I highly recommend it. It may as well be a list of things my friends did for me--or maybe one of them read the article. Either way, it's good advice, and it works. But that's not the point. This coworker, he saw me reading the article and plopped a chair down beside me. "Oh, that's rough," he said. "Who is it? Or is it you?"

It's me, I told him. I've been struggling with it for the last six months or so, but I have some medication now and it's really helping.

"Oh," he said, kind of flatly. "You know, I'm really anti-drug on things like that."

Oh, right I thought. This must be that 'social stigma' people talk about when they're talking about mental illness. Sure enough. He started questioning me as to what could have "caused" my depression. I wasn't sure what he meant; evidence strongly suggests that it's a chemical imbalance, probably genetic. He wanted to know about trigger events, things like that. And he started scribbling on a post-it.

I gaped at him. "Are you trying to make a timeline?" He denied it quickly and crumpled the post-it into the recycle bin. (I read it later; it was a timeline.) He then proceeded to tell me that his girlfriend suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her first child...and that he told her to manage it by taking some time to herself, and controlling her own anxiety.

I don't remember what I said after that. He left. I bolted to a deserted hallway and called a friend to vent. Actually, I called a friend who didn't pick up for a second opinion, and then called the other friend to vent when the first one didn't pick up.

Because seriously, folks? You could kill someone that way. I realize that I've been extremely fortunate--lucky--blessed--whatever--in that my friends and family not only accept the fact that I have a mental disorder, but are committed (in many cases by choice alone) to helping me deal with it. I suppose I maybe even ought to be a little surprised that it's been over six months and I haven't faced any sort of stigma until now.

But six months isn't really that long, and I can still remember what some of the darkest moments felt like--how it didn't hurt until afterwards when I cut my arm on purpose, or the absolute terror when I lost control of my limbs during my first panic attack. And if someone had taken one of those opportune moments to tell me, "you don't need drugs, you need to be in better control of yourself," it might have broken me. Because that line of thinking blames the sufferer of the disease, makes it their fault, and that's a self-perpetuating cycle. I had a knife in my hand. If someone had told me right then that this whole thing was my fault and the only way to make it stop was to take some time for myself (all the bad things happened when I was by myself) and control my own anxiety (good luck with that), I might not have gone for just my arm.

I respect the fact that some people don't like drugs. I don't get it, but it's a personal choice. I'm also not going to say that everyone who feels sad ought to take medication for it. But in many cases, medicine can help. In addition to depression, diabetes also runs in my mom's family. Would I ever think of telling my grandpa or my mom that I'm really anti-drug, so they shouldn't take insulin? No. It's the same thing--a chemical imbalance--it's just that one has the source of its problem from the pancreas, and one from the brain.

In the end, this little episode didn't hurt me. I'm not personally wounded by it. But I am scared. Because while it didn't happen to me, this guy told his girlfriend those things. While she was also suffering from depression (postpartum--I've no doubt it was just as real for her as clinical depression is for me.) Maybe she didn't really have it, or maybe she didn't need professional attention--I can't know that. But the fact remains that the potential for drastic and disastrous results is there. It's real. I'm confident enough in myself that I know what works, and the difference between before medication and after was so night-and-day that they can pry my pills out of my cold, dead fingers...but not everyone is that strong, and not everyone is lucky enough to find the right drug and the right dose right away.

So be aware. Depression is out there. It's real, and it can be crippling. And sometimes, "suck it up" isn't enough. Sometimes we need a little more help. It's important to remember that that's okay.
ktlovely: (Default)
New blog post at Theatrical~Historical. If anyone's interested.

Mask preview!
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My good friend [livejournal.com profile] dandytailor is conducting a survey for a class of his (for which I will very possibly end up helping him type the analysis), so he/we would appreciate a moment of your time. The survey is geared towards costumers and/or reenactors, and is just a dozen or so questions. You can answer in comments here at his journal, or click the cut and answer here, and I'll make sure he gets your answers.

Thanks so much!

And sorry to those of you who will see this twice. That's why they made cut tags, right? )
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I took a large break in the middle of the week, for health concerns unrelated to embroidery (my hands are fine, I promise), but I did finish a sleeve last night!

The...right sleeve. Still.

And a closeup! )
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Right sleeve...still

I could probably finish this tonight if I wanted to, but it is half-past twelve and I have work in the morning, so I'm calling it quits. Just half a bullion rose, two big leaves, and whatever that little spray on the right side is, though, and that's one sleeve down.

Also, metallic embroidery thread is every bit as fun as I remember from this project...which is why it's taken me, uh, six years to get to the point where I'm willing to use it again!
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I had a little time tonight that I didn't anticipate, so I did a little writing to give my fingers a break from embroidery. A couple people have asked me over the past few months about directional knife pleating, so I put together a mini how-to on the Theatrical~Historical blog.

Looking Sharp: the Art of Directional Knife Pleating

...Yeah, I called it that. You heard me.
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Right sleeve

Embroidery officially began on February 13, where I worked on it for most of the day at SewFest. I did a little more the next morning, and then brought it to work on Monday, since we had an in-service day. A little more last night, and here's the current state of it. I did not bring it with me to work today, since I'll be going to class and then swing dance after and didn't want to drag it around with me all day. But swing is over at 10, so I'll have an hour or two to spend on it tonight.

My goal is simple. Spend every free moment possible working on embroidery, and see how far I get.


Feb. 11th, 2010 10:55 pm
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[livejournal.com profile] attack_laurel posted this the other day and it reduced me to--literally--a crying mess in my cubicle. Let me tell you, swallowing down a half-dozen sobs when your next-door neighbor is three feet away behind a fabric wall? Awkward.

Obviously, though, her post struck quite a chord with me. I had already been pondering that day, all about my own self-talk. I lead a workshop periodically at work, telling people about self-talk, the power of it, and how important it is that your self-talk be positive, because it really can be a determining factor in your happiness and success.

...And then I go home and rip on myself so badly I don't even want to be alive anymore sometimes. Oh, the irony. Which explains why I cried.

Simply put, my self-talk is toxic. I actively disparage myself in ways that, when I repeat them, are horrifying. I would never say those things about another person. I would be ashamed to even think them. So what am I doing saying them repeatedly to myself? Too fat, too ugly, too unlovable...I've given myself carte blanche to say these things to myself over and over.

And now I'm stopping.

I know I can't be the only person here with self-doubt. We're all our own harshest critics, so I'm passing this on because it did me a lot of good, and I hope it can help you, too.

She said:

So let's talk about our beautiful, wonderful, miraculous selves - in the comments, today, tomorrow, and whenever you read this, tell me something you love about yourself. Don't temper it with any negatives - tell your body and mind and soul that you love them. If you're uncomfortable putting your name to your comment, post it anonymously.

No negatives. No buts. No "on the other hand I hate this". You don't need to hide your wonderful self when you talk to me, I won't think less of you. You're not bragging, you're celebrating.

I invite you to join in here. All of you--lurkers, friends-of-friends, men, women, anybody. Leave a comment; tell me what you love about yourself. I'll go first (and, because I really, really think this such a good thing, they are different good things, in addition to the ones that I left as a comment in the original post. How's that for a bonus!)

I love how strong my body is, and how much it can endure. I love that I have a distinctive laugh. I was able to learn a second language as an adult, and speak it fluently with no trace of an accent. I am a fantastic public speaker and can hold an audience's attention even when I'm just explaining how to properly complete government paperwork. I have cute little feet that can fit cooperatively into a range of sizes, so I can wear all sorts of fun, cute shoes. I have a freckle in the same place on each shoulder, and the symmetry of it absolutely delights me for no other reason than that it's there. I love that I look like my dad, who is one of the people that I love and respect most in the entire world--I love it when people tell me they can tell we're related. I'm a great problem-solver with very logical, linear thinking patterns...and I love that, too.

Ready? Go! Think of it as the most aggressively positive meme ever.

Dear LJ:

Feb. 3rd, 2010 02:50 pm
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Okay, people, plea for research help time!

Dressing gowns/robes appropriate for regency/1812 wear. I know resources for 1860s wrappers, but have not been able to find anything for 1812 so far. Links, pictures, book references, anything--much appreciated!

*flees to orientation*


Jan. 28th, 2010 03:04 pm
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Nearly eight years ago, I established myself as a tiny, insignificant presence on the web. I started a LiveJournal and built my firstwebsite using HTML typed directly into notepad and hosted on Bravepages. I'm pretty sure nobody ever looked at that site, and I know only a few people read my LJ. At that time, I made the executive decision not to have a separate journal for my webpage, because who really needed it?

Now, three-fourths of a decade later, I own KatieJacobs.com and find myself meeting more and more people on the web...mostly through, if not my website, at least my costuming. I find my virtual world shrinking as my site, my Livejournal, and Facebook become more closely related. People find my Facebook through my site, my site through my facebook, and my Livejournal through goodness knows where...and for the most part I'm fine with it.

But then, sometimes, it occurs to me that very little of my life is private anymore, and that maybe I should start organizing things a little better (story of my life, and I don't mean just online.) Plus, I feel badly for all the folks that friend my Livejournal because of my public photo posts, only to find out that approximately 99% of what I actually post here is banal, boring, everyday nonsense about me avoiding sewing, my job, and my friends. For this purpose, I started a blog--a real, honest-to-goodness blog--at Theatrical~Historical, via blogspot.

Eventually, I hope to link the blog into the main site. However, that will have to wait until (at least!) after class tonight!
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So there's the strange phenomenon--I become extremely productive when I'm avoiding a task that I find to be less than desirable. The good news is that it means I updated my website again, with a page for the smoking cap that [livejournal.com profile] dandytailor received for Christmas. The bad news is that I still haven't cut out a bodice for my next 1812 project.

Oops. Ah, well. At least my motivation to type code longhand seems to be fully intact...
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Katiejacobs.com has been updated with a page for the pelisse (redingote...whatever) from this weekend.

There are only two photos, since both Mike (who was taking the pictures) and I (who was in the pictures) were pretty wiped out by the end, but it was a fun event, and I'm pleased with how the pelisse came out. It definitely made the event for me--without it I would have been too miserably cold to function, and with it, I was able to enjoy myself quite a bit!

Next up, a block printed dress, and then the crazy embroidered ballgown. We'll see how this goes!
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A few of the First Regiment Volunteers
January 23, 2010

More, and a a brief event summary. )


Jan. 22nd, 2010 01:49 pm
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The Regency Exhibition ball folks finally broke down and bought their own domain name (though it redirects) at www.regencyexhibitionball.com. The ticket purchase is still done through The Dressmaker's Shop, and tickets will be on sale through March 20.

And if you're reading this, you should go! It's a fun event, and it seems to get better each year. Hope to see you ther!
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I just thought this was kind of cute.

Now and Then )

August 2017

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