Legionary Priestess Costume

So much is happening I can't keep up!  But let's talk about my most recent costume.

This isn't the first time I've shown this costume!  It was created for the Wastelander's Ball which I wrote about back in March.  However I never got any good, detailed photos of the costume and I never talked about the creation process, so that's where we'll start today.  Before we get into my costume, I just want to point out my girlish excitement that the official Blood Drive Instagram noticed and re-grammed Allyn's Julian Slink costume.  Talk about a COOL FREAKING MOMENT.

Enough about him let's talk about me.  So, one thing a lot of people don't know is that I dressed up as a female Caesar with my own special flair, for Salt Lake Comic Con back in 2014.  It was a last minute pipe dream that I somehow slobbed together and it wasn't a great fantastic getup, but I really just wanted to dress up and meet some Fallout fans.  I don't think anyone knew who I was and I had just moved back from Sweden so I was very much a loner and didn't talk to anyone or meet up.  The costume was held together with glue and hope, as my skill level was really poor, but I still enjoyed it.  So I guess we can say this costume was the precursor to my Priestess.  When I look back on it, it had so much potential, but my poorness+lack of skill+throwing it together last minute to the Benny Hill theme is what made me stop any further progress or development for years.

I started thinking about an elaborate Legion costume when I knew I was going to take Allyn to the Wastelander's Ball.  It's "formal apocalypse" wear, and I knew I wanted a huge sweeping dramatic skirt and a big headdress.  The Legion is the only faction that can really pull off something like that in New Vegas, so I started making some ideas.  The game mentions priestesses of the Legion and I suppose all of my Nordic/Celtic/Germanic medieval pagan vibes worked their way into this look.  A few drawings later and I had everything in mind.  We bought the supplies and began work in February.

The biggest challenge was honestly, my post partum body.  I spent months fluctuating weight, being a bigger weight than I ever have been in my life, hating my body, and on top of that searching for a fluffy ballgown dress.  That was the second biggest challenge, ha! The dress.  I found what I needed at the thrift store, but it was white and needed to be dyed red.  Like, bloody Legion red.  As you can see above, this fabric did NOT take well to the idea of red.  We had a good laugh, a mild panic, and hesitantly decided to try spray paint.

It worked like a charm.  It even gave the dress a weirder, firmer texture that just suits the apocalypse so well, almost like the dress is an old relic that's been burned or charred.  The other big project was the headdress and we played around with ideas of what to put on it; I wanted some type of animal skull but most of the ones in the desert are so dry rotted they crumble when you do anything with them.  We were toying with other ideas when Allyn took out an old creepy metal mask he'd put together long before we met.

It was like the missing gemstone in a temple lock or something, it fit so well.  I was stunned at how I instantly looked very "Legion" with the headdress.  Once the headdress and the main dress were finished, it was smooth sailing.  I painted the cape, we weathered the clothing, and while I slept feverishly in a hotel in Primm, Nevada, Allyn put together the remainder of my codpiece.

It looks amazing and I think it might be my favorite part of the costume.  I do intend to embellish it more in the days to come, but this is a great starting point.  There's a bit of lore here, and the codpiece design was all my idea.  In the older, scrapped Fallout stories, there exists a tribe called the 80's who roam the remains of Interstate 80 through Salt Lake City, sometimes on motorcycles.  They're described as vicious and identify their rank based on the signs they wear--of course, the prized blue and red interstate 80 denotes a special member.  I live right next to 80, so it was only fitting that my priestess kept a bit of her home tribe with her after assimilating into the Legion!

From here it's just adding more details and finding a makeup routine I like! But I'm pleased so far, and not only is this bad boy going to be entered into Fanx's cosplay contest this year, but I have a special "version" of it planned for Zombie Prom.......stick around!

As usual...Allyn was instrumental in making this costume happen and he's the reason for all the awesome stuff we do together.  It's the best feeling in the world to have someone so talented and creative in your life, and even better when they encourage your own creativity and theirs compliments yours.  His enthusiasm and problem solving skills are infectious and if he were in game, I'd keep him as a companion for the whole main quest! 


Correcting Tongue and Lip Ties

I've thought about writing this since Ender was small.  I wondered if anyone would care, if it was worth sharing, and so on, even though when I was researching this myself there is precious little information out there about it, so by default I should have thought about sharing to raise awareness.  Anyway, I was going through Ender's old pictures and found a pre-lip-tie-fix photo and it just took me right back to those really hard days, and I thought, what the hell, it's time to share.

Tongue Tie 

So I actually got kind of "lucky" on this.  Allyn was an adult with a tongue tie.  Before I met him, I thought "tongue-tied" was a colorful expression.  But nope, it just means that your tongue doesn't lift properly and is "tied" via skin to your lower jaw.  In the case of a mild lip tie, maybe nothing changes.  In an extreme tongue tie, which Allyn had, things like touching one's tongue to the back of one's teeth is impossible.  This meant no ice cream cone licking for Allyn, for most of his life.  He had the tie corrected in his 20's, and it was painful and a long healing process.

It's interesting that breastfeeding is the new FRENZY CULT and yet not a lot of education is out there about tongue ties and how it affects breastfeeding.  I'd done all my duties and read up on proper latch and blah blah blah boring who cares god I don't miss ANY OF THIS, but when Ender first tried to breastfeed I told the nurse that it hurt really bad and her response was "yep. it hurts. that's life."  I'M NOT EVEN JOKING.  She was awful.  

But I pushed and asked the lactation consultant, who had no clue what I was talking about until I explained it and then said "oh yeah! I knew a woman who had that once and she had to have her tongue cut when she was an adult! Supposedly it's really painful!" UGH THANKS.  The worst part? "You know what helps bruised nipples? Rub a little breastmilk on it!"  I'm sorry, but breast milk is literally fat and sugar.  Do you want me to put cookies on 'em too? Butter them up maybe?  What other bodily fluids should I apply to my contusions? So dumb.  I absolutely hate that breastfeeding is this new pseudo-science-mystic-healing-powers bullshit.  So over it.  Anyway, that was also a bust and I'm getting off track.  She was no help is my point.    

Sooooooooo I pushed again and went to the hospital pediatrician, who I have mixed feelings about.  I'll explain why in a minute.  She was the first person who actually had experience with tongue ties, and after hearing my suspicion, she poked Ender to get him crying (keep in mind he was like 2 days old and I was very sad to see him cry like that.)  The minute he opened his mouth she said he had a severe tongue tie.  I was happy I stood up for myself and my son, but annoyed that I had to ask three separate people and it was me asking instead of the medical professionals during whatever checkups they do, but whatever.  

I didn't know what to expect since Allyn's experience had been so painful and traumatizing.  I guess it isn't so when done on a baby, because Ender didn't bleed, he didn't scream, he was just annoyed at having a little spatula in his mouth to lift his tongue up.  Unlike circumcision, which is a completely unnecessary cosmetic procedure, this was a cut on an infant (haha) that I feel like really truly helped him.  Allyn was a little jealous that Ender would get to go through childhood without the trauma of not being able to speak or eat properly.  I was just relieved and thought we'd fixed the problem.

Lip Tie

But Ender was still having problems.  I noticed that he had what I called a "turtle lip" and I suspected it was the cause of his bad latching issues.  When he was only a week or two old I took him back to the pediatrician with again, suspicions that he had a lip tie.  A lip tie is bad because it also prevents a good latch, which whether the baby is sucking down from a boob or a bottle, they get extra air, they have reflux, and so on.  They can contribute to later problems as well, although since that was the "survival mode" of motherhood all I was worried about was the eating and latching.  The pediatrician looked and said yes, he had a severe lip tie, BUT (and this is why I have a mixed opinion of her) she was very haughty about correction of lip ties and stated that "maybe a dentist would do it, but would they be doing it for the right reasons?"  Implying that money was the only reason you'd want to remove such a feature.  She urged me to wait it out and see if things "got better" WHICH IS THE WORRRRRRRRST ADVICE to a new mother with severe PPD but whatever lady, I'm sorry the dentist hurt you.

Poor old Ender was having a rough go of it and I got so mad about the doctor visit that I switched pediatricians which is the best choice I could have made.  Ender's new doctor took everything I said seriously, checked his mouth and was stunned at how "glued down" his lip was, and he called in another doctor who had extensive practice with the procedure.  They asked if another pair of doctors could witness the procedure and I said sure, have at it.  It was just the same as the tongue tie; took a few seconds, shed a few tears, and bam, a HUGE problem was fixed.  And almost like he was reading my mind about the gall of the other pediatrician, the doctor said "We'll see if we can look up some codes for this to bill it as cheap as possible since this was medically necessary, at this point."  Guess not every lip tie fixer is in it for the money EH LADY?  I was and am, very, very grateful for these compassionate and understanding men and wish they would have been around for my traumatizing birth and first three weeks, ha!

I don't know how well I have helped Ender medically speaking; I know that he could eat better but still had reflux most of his early days.  I know that we only breastfed for a month and I attribute a lot of that failure to the lip and tongue ties and the idiocy of the medical team "on my side" or whatever, and I know that according to Allyn, growing up with a tongue tie was completely miserable and I've spared Ender years of pain and strife.  I also think it's likely he could have had speech problems with the combination of a "severe" tongue and "severe" lip tie, and now that's one less thing he has to worry about maybe?  When we got home and I saw how full and luscious his lips were without the frenulum holding his lip down I cried because he has my lips and I had no idea before that.  Just have a look at the before and after. (The before is the photo that prompted me to write this entry) 


Summer in Progress

I can't believe the last update I made was in May.  That's absurd.  Summer just kind of steam-rolled me and I'm still feeling the effects of it as we're maybe halfway through, but I had to give at least a small update and recap.

I had a huge Midsommar party and it was a blast.  I keep meaning to upload photos, but it just hasn't happened.  I'm bummed because I didn't take a ton of photos in the first place, but it's really hard to be an event planner, host, participant and photographer.  It was everything I dreamed it'd be, though! We had all the classics including jordgubbstĂ„rta and the symbolic opening of surströmming (which I thought was going to make Allyn divorce me).

I don't even know what happened all of June.  It just blurred by, and July has been even worse.  I can't go into too much personal detail but something completely unexpected happened--good, but stressful, and when I say stressful I mean the kind of shit that most people don't survive without some kind of mental breakdown.  Luckily, I was already mentally broken down so I have cruised through everything and seemingly FINGERS CROSSED, August looks to be less...intense.

The above photos are from probably my favorite day all summer...I went to Butterfield Canyon with Allyn and Ender.  Our plans to go down the other side were washed away in the rain, so we turned around and came home, but it was so amazing to get out of the city and be in the rain and dirt and trees.  Why don't I do this more often?  It's a form of self-care and it just doesn't happen nearly enough.

I decided in May that I was going to try handwriting in a journal, mostly for Ender, because there are things I want him to know that I just don't care to put on a public blog, and also because that will be something he can continue to keep track of when the nuclear apocalypse inevitably happens.  But I can't seem to find the right journal to do it with.  They're all so small and obnoxious.  Or they're not lined.  Or they're not pretty enough.

I did buy a small journaling pad and though it's been nice and I've gotten a few good sketches out of it, I've decided I need something bigger.

Follow my instagram art page!   @haifisch_art

Haha, I just noticed these two are both skellyton-ish....well anyway.  The purple haired girl actually comes from a "game" I'm obsessed with...it's called Choices, and it's an app where you do a choose-your-story IT SOUNDS SO LAME! and the stories are definitely geared toward more young-adult fiction, but they had a "scary" book that was just so moody and haunting it reminded me of those days playing Silent Hill 4 or reading Goosebumps and Spooksville...yeah I was super obsessed with scary young adult books, so much so that I'd love to write a few myself.  

The best were these three-story collections called "Fright Time" that I would get from the dollar store....I've always intended to rebuild my collection via the wonder of Amazon.  Another great series was "Shivers" which had SO many great tales, my favorite of which was titled "Night of the Goat Boy."  You laugh now but that thing was terrifying!!! Come to think of it, I think it's time for another Amazon books buy.  A random sidenote is that way back in the early, early days of Facebook I happened to track down M.D. Spenser, the author of the Shivers series and I gushed to him about how much I loved his work and how the books ignited my imagination as a younger kid, and that he was one of my author inspirations.  He was very gracious and encouraged me to write.  Pretty cool. 

Anyway, a bunch of other stuff has happened, I went to two pinup contests, and joined the Battlin' Betties, which seems promising.  Also not documented anywhere on my instagram or Facebook is the fact that since April, I've been doing on and off keto--I LOVE IT.  The "off" part has been mostly due to unfixable circumstances and heavy stress, but goddammit I'm committed, again, and can't wait to get back in ketosis.  To sound cultish for a minute, my aches and pains pretty much disappeared, I had energy in a way I've never had energy before, I had stunning clarity and better moods...and obviously a lot of weight came off.  I'm ready to get back into those feels please! 

In August, we have:

-My birthday
-Hot Air Balloon Festival
-Zombie prom and walk (and I have an AWESOME makeup unveiling!)
-......my birthday
-Salt Flats racing!

For real, I'm trying to keep the "doing" to a minimum because I'm just exhausted.  I've "done" enough in the month of July and I'd just love to sit around for my birth month and enjoy my family.

Here's a Currently:

reading:  A whole lot of Reddit.  Now that I wrote this post I'm getting into buying more young adult horror to traumatize Ender with, and it's going to be amazing.  I still have my two books to read to Allyn on my kindle but that hasn't happened yet :( 

watching After the third person compared me to Lagertha (I still am not sure why) I finally started watching Vikings.  The funny thing is that I listened to Wadruna, who does a lot of their music, yeaaaaaaaaars ago.  It's weird watching a show that has all this weird folky Scandinavian music in it that you've heard a lot.  Anyway, the show really fizzled out after the first two seasons, but those two seasons were phenomenal.  Very artful, incredible acting, and lots of ancient languages including my absolute favorite--Anglo Saxon!  Well done History Channel good job 10/10 in the beginning there.

Other than that?  Just a lot of murder and crime TV.  What else is new? 

thinking about my health.  I'm 30 and I feel 90.  There are so many things I want to do but these changes last if they're implemented slowly and the best place to start is my diet.  I WAS on track there for awhile and then life punched me.  I still am thinking a lot about my health these days.

wondering how to make more money.  Wondering WHY I have to make money.  Hating society.  Feeling stressed.  Wondering if I can make it by digging out a nuclear shelter and just eating platain for the next twenty years until I die.  I really, really hate modern society and I don't care how cynical I sound.  I'm so over it.  I'm so over both Allyn and I having to break our necks with this work-obsessed culture where wealth is something the average American will never achieve.  I'm just sick of it.  Wow this got dark huh?  Always on my mind though, lol.

enjoying Ender.  He is such a good baby.  He's so smart and strong and wonderful.  He hasn't quite gotten attached to me in the way where he loves on me, but he does scream blood-curdling monstrous screams if I walk away from him, so there's that.  I've been going a little nuts on the pinning of baby birthday stuff, so that'll be our next big party for sure.  


2018 Rat Fink Reunion

I had a random trade day at the beginning of June and decided it would be a fun "small" getaway for the family.  I was looking into car shows and found out that the Rat Fink Reunion was taking place that same weekend!


Rat Fink is the above grotesque, ugly character created by Ed Roth.  Rat Fink and a bunch of other equally disturbing illustrations (haha I really do not like how they look) are kind of synonymous with kustom kulture--special and unique vehicles, artwork, hairstyle, fashion..the whole nine--from the 50's and onward.  Ed Roth was a great artist and made some pretty famous vehicles, including custom motorcycle builds, and as it turns out he traded his partying ways for Mormonism before he passed.  He moved to Manti, Utah and that's where the reunion is held.  There's also a museum dedicated to Ed in the town.

Grungy and not-so-normal is the vibe, and that's exactly Allyn's jam when it comes to cars.  He and I have different tastes but that's one aesthetic we agree on, and we knew there would be cool stuff to see.  I was also eager to get the EEFFFFFF out of the city for a night and enjoy small towns again.  What's with me, right? I'm so old, haha.  I remember being 22 and saying "I LOVE living in the city!!11!1" NO MORE.

We spent the night in Gunnison, an adjacent sleepy town. I considered the one motel in Manti, but the motel sign literally said "CTR"on the sign! and I am so not into that.  (The motel in Gunnison had a big huge picture of Jesus from the Book of Mormon in the lobby, but still...it's better than on the actual outside of the motel, right?)  The "town" of Gunnison is so small and quaint, it almost felt like being back in Goodsprings, except the prison was literally a stone's throw away.  I love the strangeness of small towns in the west--they're their own enigmas. 

The next morning we got all doody'd up and went to Manti, a short drive away.  On the way to the "town" is this ridiculous, obscene-looking temple.  It was actually pretty cool and I enjoyed looking at it.  Don't get me wrong, I despise religion and have no love for LDS history, but I can appreciate fine architecture, and it will be quite the hideout in the desert once the apocalypse comes.  It's odd but none of the photos online do this ominous, towering structure any real justice.  Here's the best I could find.  But have no fear, when the aforementioned apocalypse comes and we take over, I'll be sure to take a lot of photos.  I do have some pretty severe megalophobia and this building had me pretty uncomfortable.  I dig it!

Onto the reunion, though--Allyn had been saving this awesome steel-bodied "Beetle" for his hypothetical child whom now exists.  I say "Beetle" because this company made toy cars in the 70s and never approved their design through Volkswagen, so Volkswagen put a stop to it and now these rare, illegal cars are pretty valuable.  They're push cars, but Allyn took it a step further and made it into a moving RV car.  He controlled the remote, and we sat Ender in it so he could drive around!!

Now I will say, at first I was terrified of this thing.  Ender is only nine months, this was a push toy made for older kids, and never meant to be a remote controlled vehicle.  But I got over the jitters quickly.  Ender was a natural.  I don't even think he cared.  In fact, he fell asleep a few times, LOL!  But he was one cool dude.  We were driving him around and parking him by the cool cars for photo ops.  The funniest moment was when we drove him under this HUGGGE monster car and heard the people on the other side laughing when a kid just popped out from under the vehicle with no warning!

As expected there were a ton of cool cars.  Allyn got an awesome printed tin sign with a rat rod on it and I got a rat fink hairbow.  I do think the characters look atrocious but I wanted something to help me remember the event, and it did the trick.  I almost wish we could've spent two or three days there because we got so tired, so fast, that we didn't get to see everything, including the museum.

But it was a great family outing, and our first time away from home with Ender since we went to Tennessee last year.  Whole different ballgame with a moving, crawling baby--I much prefer the lumpy newborn stage!! Travel is going to be different from now on, but that's okay.