The Yearly Review

Dear Readers,

One more year of our trudge is over.  I look out at what lies ahead with a quiet excitement and a smidge of apprehension.  It helps, at times like this, to look back at what you accomplished and learned, and to look forward to what you hope to achieve in the next year.  So, here’s a little pixie’s recap:
In January, I had been working at the Last Drop Coffee Shop (in Shorewood, WI) still, but under new management.  What a whirlwind that was!  The new owner promoted me to Administrative Manager, and I had such high hopes for what would happen to the shop.  For a while, things were looking good.  Sometime in March something snapped, however, and everything went straight downhill.  When stress levels became too high, I quit.  I had done the math, and with upcoming gigs, it was possible for me to be 100% self-employed for at least 6 months.
Odin and I kept going strong, and in March he made the move from Chicago to Milwaukee (while keeping his job in Chicago.  How can I ever doubt that he loves me?)  It was nice having him around so much.  Odin was also the push behind a lot of my reservations in terms of my business.  He offered financial backing when it was necessary, as well as engineering advice (mainly in how to make collapsable wings) and other little tidbits of existing in the professional world, especially the Renaissance Festivals.  With his support I applied for a booth at the Bristol Renaissance Faire, but did not get it.  In the end, I was very grateful I was denied, because I learned a lot about that particular festival as well as had the opportunity to explore elsewhere.  Odin quelled many of my insecurities, albeit by making them ridiculously acute at times. I find myself getting very aggravated at how he can seem insensitive and oblivious most of the time, but in retrospect I must admit that he has been calm, well-tempered, loving, and annoying logical throughout our entire relationship.
I once again worked the Janesville Renaissance Festival, and had a blast!  Kit helped me out with that and I owe her a world of appreciation!  I don’t think I would have been half as calm if it hadn’t been for her upbeat attitude and eagerness to help.  I almost sold out of low end stock, but with her, Odin, and Andy, we managed to replenish wings in a single night.  Kit also helped me throughout the early summer getting ready for different shows.

In the Spring, I was able to find the time to meet Odin in Dallas, where he was attending a wind power conference.  Ellette and I drove the 1200 miles together, and it was an awesome mother-daughter road trip.  Ellette does amazingly on the long trips like that.  Ellette and I toured Dallas while Odin was working.  I found the city confusing and exhausting, but we liked the aquarium.

Then, we drove to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival to visit his mom and some old friends of his. We had this bunny we used for a Flat Stanley project.  It was hilarious, and thank you everyone who played along!!

We drove then to Austin, again to visit friends and see the city.  I got my fix of Cucumber Soda and we went swimming.  A lot of swimming.  Ellette had a little boy fall in love with her, which she found annoying and us adults thought was charming.  She’s going to have fun when she’s a teenager!

I once again worked at the Bristol Renaissance Festival for Brian and Rebecca at the Complete Fool.  It was a hard year though, and mid-season I began to also sell roses.  I loved being a rose girl once I grew into it.  I never thought I would have to be told this, but Odin observed me hawking and told me I wasn’t being flirtatious enough.

In July, I took a week off to attend the Faerieworlds Festival in Eugene, Oregon.  Marisa drove out with me on the (tedious) 2100 mile trip.  I was very grateful to have the company in the car. Now, what to say about Faerieworlds?  In retrospect, I was kicking myself for going out there.  I had a booth, for which I was very excited, but I wish I had known what I was getting myself into.

It is not the festival I had envisioned, and it was a major disillusionment to get out there and, instead of finding artistic, friendly, faery folk I found a bunch of drugged out, candy raving, wannabe hippies.  Not to say, of course, that I didn’t meet some extraordinary people while we were out there.  Our neighbors – facepainter Amy from Arizona and photographer Kyer Wiltshire, were a blast to have around.  Kyer’s friend Azalynne and her 3 boys were fantastic as well.  I met many wonderful artists, and once again met Brian Froud and his family.  So, for the learning experience and those beautiful souls I encountered, it was a great experience.  And Oregon was lovely and the weather was perfect.  It was the fact that I barely broke even on the trip that I was hurting over.  I never quite recovered from that blow.

Over the summer, I was going back and forth as to what was going to happen once we reached Labor Day and my regular source of income ceased.  I wasn’t going to England, as I had been hoping, and I really didn’t want to stay in Milwaukee.  I asked my sister in Seattle if she would take us in, and she agreed, so Ellette and I started looking into a change we could only start to imagine.  But, love got in the way, as it has a wretched habit of doing, and the thought of leaving Odin was too much for us.  After much discussion, a few arguments, and a little research, the 3 of us decided instead to move to Chicago for the time being, until we get our debts paid off at least.  It wouldn’t be too far from Milwaukee, and family, and the 3 of us would still be together.

In September, I was still looking for a job and we were still looking for an apartment, so our friend’s Rose and Brian took us in while we figured things out.  (Thank you so much, guys!) A couple weeks into the search I found a job at a new coffee shop in Evanston, a northern suburb of Chicago.  A couple more weeks into the search and we landed an amazing, spacious 3 bedroom apartment only a half mile from my job.  It took Odin a little getting used to; the commute isn’t any better than the one from Milwaukee.  But, three months into it and we’ve worked out a lot of the kinks.  I have a studio now, which is wonderful.  I’m not getting any more done than I was when I was working on the living room floor in Milwaukee, but maybe things will change come spring.

Over Thanksgiving we drove to West Virginia to visit Odin’s Aunt Holly on her 100 acre farm in the mountains.  It was picturesque.  We stayed in a geo dome thing outside, with a wood burning stove that we kept forgetting to light.  The main house was always bustling with activity – usually the women cooking and cleaning, the kids fighting or playing piano, and grandpa and a group of people playing cards.  I loved it.  Over the Christmas holiday, we once again drove to Virginia to stay with Odin’s mother.  I was happy to be able to take the entire time off, instead of just a few days.

As for the year ahead,

I plan on making a big push with Little Green Pixie.  I have so much knowledge to work off of and there’s inspiration all around.  I am still learning how to harness that inspiration to create the motivation to work consistently.  Making faery wings doesn’t do anyone any good if they sit in my closet collecting dust.

I am going to branch out with knitting.  There are so many things that have been in queue a while that I am actually going to make.  This Klimt sweater I’ve been working on for the past couple months is tribute to that!

I am going to be more regular about my product postings to Etsy.  I have been so sporadic over the past year it has been ridiculous.  There are many things I have to make, photograph, and list.

Happy New Year!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Daniel
    Jan 03, 2011 @ 16:53:51

    Hi Anna! – Happy New Year.
    I used to live right by the Last Drop coffee shop. I loved walking there before classes. I’m living in Arizona right now, working on an indian reservation in the cultural department as an archaeologist. I recommend looking at some American colleges, even though you have already been accepted to U.K. ones. There are plenty of good schools in and around Wisconsin that would give a a much cheaper, and probably better, education. UW-Madison is definately one of them. U-Min is also good, and you might still qualify for in-state tuition.

    Best of luck in the new year!
    Dan Dybowski


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