stitchwhich: (Default)
I did not know that normal treatment of a broken finger, or even a dislocated wrist, required that the cast or splint be removed within 3 weeks of the injury lest the tendons and muscles around the break 'freeze' and mobility of the digit/wrist be lost permanently. The things we learn by way of living life...

So I am typing this cast-free, with two fingers still swollen and puffy. The break on the little finger is knitting although the skin is still dramatically bruised and swollen. I am guessing I jammed the ring finger but it is becoming easier to use while typing although the tip of each of them is tingly, and thus distracting. I am to daily attempt to bend them and use them, massaging them into easy movement else three weeks from now there will be the dreaded formal PT (as opposed to the at-home informal PT I get to do while the bones knit.)

We hosted an SCA event last weekend. It was our kingdom Crown Tourney. Normally, our Crowns are rather small with less that 300 people onsite. But this is a popular King and Queen, who put out a call to the Baronage and the Chivalry to provide challengers so our List was at 41, and attendance at 407 - record breaking for us.

We lost our contracted event site with cabins about a month ago when the owners decided to put it up for sale. It was a favored camp and a great loss. Churches are finding it harder and harder to afford the matainance. Heck, even our Scouting organizations are finding it difficult. (Holding events at Scout camps is not favored in our lush-filled kingdom. If there isn't alcohol allowed then there is little support for a camping event. This makes me sad.)

A couple who'd once lived in our barony retired across the state to a large estate of land, building their home and outbuildings by themselves pre-retirement. They specifically bought their land with an eye towards hosting SCA events. Their home (Silverleaf Estate) was our new site. Over the years they've built three outdoor showers, an outdoor kitchen (she'll use it for canning, too) and cleared enough space to set up sufficient shelter for over a hundred diners. We had 122 people onboard at Crown under two pavilions, with room for off-board diners.

I organized a Consort's breakfast. That was fairly easy. Mostly I've spent the last four weeks reminding the Autocrat about various things she either didn't think of or let drop. In some ways, I swear, I feel almost like I was the Autocrat! But that isn't fair - she came up with some creative solutions to the problems inherent in going from a full kitchen to a roughed-out one still in the works. And other members of the staff covered the numerous holes she hadn't recruited. So I was proud of my barony and the cooking staff - the Head Cook and his wife had just purchased a new house while their sale of the old one finalized the same day, only a week before the event. He was making sausages as he and she were packing boxes and doing final repairs to their old house.

Ouch. Done typing.
stitchwhich: (Default)
Last Thursday during a fall (I tripped over a low curb) I broke my left pinkie in a really impressive Y-shaped green split fracture and dislocated sundry bones in my wrist and palm. We were only two blocks from a quick-serve medical clinic (Patient First) so in I went. Three X-rays and a splint later, I was out again. The fracture had set itself, thank goodness, but the misaligned bones were unremarked. There was no attempt at actually setting anything, just a splint to stabilize and the advice to visit an orthopedic office to be treated. It took three and a half days before an opening was available - I used a lot of the pain drugs before that happened. But now my left hand and wrist is in a pretty light blue cast and there is only pain when I do something stupid.

My husband thinks my brain flew out the window. I made him drive me to the store to buy socks to go over the cast. Right now it looks like an obscure bondage device. Even though we bought pretty socks. with two holes cut to allow the un-casted fingers and thumb out, the whole thing is covered to mid-forearm. And I can now move my arm, or get dressed, without the rough exterior folds of the cast catching on any clothing it comes in contact with. being a female, you can imagine that my bras are much safer than they'd been.

We went to a noisy restaurant for an SCA event staff meeting this evening. as my broken hand is also my dominate one, I ordered finger food so it was easier for me to keep up with the discussion than it was for most of the attendees. It looks like we'll have a good event, notwithstanding the autocrat's lack of organization and attention to the details that don't affect the Royal guests. Other staff members are (disgustedly) taking note of the things she's unconcerned about to ensure that they get covered. She's overbooked herself with her modern job and her time is fleeting - she's on the road a lot, even leaving the 1900 meeting to make a 3.5-hour drive to another city for a job that starts at 0500 this morning. She is a department head for a very busy Pennsic service. I sure hope this isn't an example of how things will go there!
But those folks are accustomed to punting so I have no major worries about them as long as they have electricity, internet, and plenty of crayolas.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Oh dear. I have lazily avoided blogging since last month. Nah, really - it wasn't laziness, it was a combination of anxiety and lethargy. I still feel it but tonight I also feel like writing in here a bit. Blink your eyes, none of this will be pithy, important, or memorable.

We had a local SCA event on Saturday. I was running the registration table ("Tollner" was my job) with two new volunteers to help me. A couple of weeks ago we had gotten into a discussion about how the job used to be called "Troll", as in the story about paying the troll in order to cross the bridge... but between trying to make our SCA jargon more academically respectable and also make it easier for new attendees to find the registration table, the title 'troll' had been made Officially Discontinued and Undesireable. A few people started calling the job "the Gate", which led to jokes about the movie Ghostbusters (Gatekeeper) so they just referred to themselves as "the Gate" which wounded my ears and bent my mind. So I went looking through sources and finally asked on a Medieval Academic list about alternate terms and lo and behold here was this perfectly useable one from Middle English that even sounded vaguely like our beloved-but-passé "Troll" - Toll(ner).

My two new assistants, though, liked "Troll" and wanted to be called that. I didn't think a whole lot about the silly excuses we invented during the conversation for justifying the use of it until the morning of the event when one of them showed up with three sets of wigs for troll-doll costumes. Human sized, of course. And so there we sat, the three of us, in pink (with a baronial coronet on), purple, and rainbow hair. As I was wearing Viking Norse clothing I was proclaimed 'the most historically accurate' troll. But only because none of us was going to strip down to our skin and stick our hands out to our sides while wearing silly smiles. Many, many photos were taken and posted on various media, which I shall be years living down.

Sunday morning they, and a few more of us, gathered together to watch a showing of Dr. Strange. I liked it. I know that some of my friends did not for feminist reasons but I hold in mind that Marvel and DC comics started being written for the most part for young, young men (okay, boys) in the early 1940-60s and frankly their access to women, or even girls, was in limited and strictly defined venues. So of course we're not going to see any real kick-hinney fabulous women characters. Well, except for Agent Carter, that is. DC/Marvel heroes are going to love without knowing that they do, estimable women who they can never actually have a relationship with. At least until the movies morph away from the script lines of the comic books which birthed them.

Sunday night featured a trip to the local Sentara Hospital System Sleep Clinic where I was wired up for every possible nocturnal behavior excluding sex and left to sleep in a dark room with very loud 'white noise' machine. It was a fairly comfortable room and the bed was a sleep-number type which helped this waterbed-loving person rest but the tech's insistence about sleeping on my back was annoying and then went beyond that into quite irritating. "I've had three vertebrae replaced and cannot lay on my back without extreme pain" didn't seem to have any relevance to her.
"I'll need you to sleep for at least half an hour on your back."
"I cannot lay, much less sleep, on my back."
"I'll need you to try - it is when you are on your back that we can most easily detect a need for a c-pap machine."
"I will be in an escalating amount of pain for each minute I spend on my back. There will be no sleeping. I hope you can understand that - I cannot lay on my back."
"Well try anyway. It is important for our test."
"If I were the sort of person who showed signs of apnea while somehow miraculously sleeping on my back during this evening's test, that would do no medical good towards helping me solve my sleeping issues because I DO NOT AND NEVER HAVE SLEPT ON MY BACK. Solving for a null situation is useless."
"It will only be for half an hour or so."

I did sleep during the night, off and on (NOT on my back and only after taking oxycodone to deal with the pain I developed after trying to follow her instructions) and then came home, showered, slept for 10 whole hours, and showered again. I believe I still have smears of that blasted guck in my hair from the various sensors. No amount of hot water seems to fully eradicate it. I'm considering a dip in a vat of denatured alcohol. And I've been assured that they will be calling me in a few days to schedule more tests before I see the specialist next month.

Sheesh. All this because I'd like to see if there is a way to train me into a regular 6-8 hours of sleep at the same general timeframe each day since I have not been successful attempting it on my own.
stitchwhich: (Cindy-girl)
Yesterday I went to a local library where one of our members had scheduled a sewing session, the June-obligatory "prepping for Pennsic" thing. It was pleasant, at first, with a large brightly-lit conference room that had a HUGE table, big enough for the folks at one end to be cutting out patterns while we at the other end were sewing our own projects. I acutally had a new project for myself, a red hangerroc that I was hand-sewing. It will be so nice to have a new piece of clothing! I didn't go crazy and try a new style (pleated front) but right now I have only two - one linen and one wool - and this one is such a light weight fabric that I know Pennsic is going to be more comfortable.

But then the talk turned to the social climate, and lack of participation, in our barony. The organiser began to talk about her concerns, laying out various points of non-participation and frustration, and I - I broke down into tears. There in public. So embarrassing.

The group is pretty much shattered and has been for a while. We limped along with our past Baron and Baroness being a healthy bandage over the wound but now that they are gone it is getting worse again. Drama and politics, a severe lack of honest communication, a steady decrease in volunteers who care enough to learn how to do the job they've volunteered for. We have a Senechal we only see every other month at the business meetings who doesn't answer emails or phone calls, a MoAS who shows up once a month to schedule the weekly classes and is never seen again, and a herald who only files reports... he doesn't show up for workshops or heralding at events - his two predecessors are handling the job while he is our figurehead.

So, well - folks are frustrated and tired of trying to drum up interest. I understand that. There is a chance that this barony will actually fold. And here I am, backing out. I felt ashamed. And exhausted all at the same time.

Once my tears became noticeable the folks in the sewing room hastened to reassure me that it is not my job to carry the health of the barony on my shoulders. They said that I'd done more than enough for too long and deserved to take a breather. But it is distressing to hear someone enumerate the group's needs and know that I just can't help, just don't have anything left to give to it, even though it may actually end up being dissolved after all these years.
stitchwhich: (shake)
Helped one of my protégées with their sewing yesterday and was glad I was there to do so since she had a technical problem she had no idea for fixing (neck hole was cut wide and shallow, too wide to sit comfortably on her shoulders.) She now has a gown with a contrasting yoke, inside and out, and it encases the wide opening and has a smaller, more flattering one instead. The color combination is not what I would have chosen but these are her heraldic ones so I can't argue with the decision... well, artistically I can. Fashionably I can. But as a Scadian herald I just have to shrug my shoulders and suggested that with the new yoke she might as well add cuffs too. Some of the people reading this will see that gown in a few weeks. :)

I am feeling lighter in spirit already. My resignations had been sent a few days ago so the changes in attitude were already working through before I posted yesterday's scree. I've already caught up on the 1200+ "SCA Heraldry" list messages that I had not yet read, as well as fourteen month's worth of SCA-cooks list messages. And all of my bookkeeping (love that word - oo-kk-ee) is done. So is 'catching up on all the emails for Cultural Affairs'. In fact, I am now cheerfully going back to check on them two or three times a day, out of (gasp!) curiosity and a desire to see if there is anything I need to handle quickly. Because I want to. That's new and I like it.

I am using today to repack the Rubbermaid bins holding all of the loaner clothing and am washing all of the fabric that I'd set aside for crafting new pieces of loaner apparel. We have a couple of spare bins left over from something else we'd been doing and I shall carefully pack all of the ready-to-cut fabrics in there, safe and out of my sight. I am leaning towards passing those on to the new Gold Key deputy. He doesn't sew but he is quite conscientious. It may be that other members of the barony who do sew would be willing to 'check out' a length of fabric and return it as a completed article of garb. It doesn't have to be me.

While the fabric is cycling through the wash I believe I shall build one of my Lego kits.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I have been upending my life. Sort of. It finally came to me in a moment of clarity that I was suffering from a deep burnout with the SCA. Not with 'living history' or my love of what we study, but with the society, or the various personalities, of those I interact with and what they expect of me. And like many volunteers, I'd overloaded myself with jobs and long-term projects to the point that I was not doing anything I enjoyed but merely what duty dictated.

I was angry and resentful towards my friends who were not knocking themselves out on a local level to 'make things go'. Lividly angry, in a couple of cases - and unfairly. Haven't we always preached "Do what makes you happy; if it isn't making you feel happy or fulfilled, stop it!"? But yet I'd ignored that directive in my own case to give in to 'duty'.

One of the odd things about being created a Peer in the SCA is that we have a almost uniformly-accepted mandate to 'continue to work to improve the Society'. We are openly scornful of those who step aside to see to their own pleasure as that is something acceptable in non-Peers but is shameful in us.

I fell into that trap.

Heck, I was so overwhelmed with jobs waiting to be done that when I wasn't sick, sleeping, or doing housework, I was stressing over what I 'should be' doing. I haven't even built my newest Lego buildings - which if anyone knows me, is downright weird.

So I took a deep breath, recentered myself, and resigned. Sent notes to my barony and Heraldic & Chatelaine superiors that I was resigning from various jobs, that I would not be taking on new ones, and was stepping aside to recharge my SCA batteries and recover from burnout. (I am still the drop-dead deputy for our Kingdom Herald but since that only really involves a few email discussions every few months, it was nothing that needed stepping away from. I'd like to keep my hand in a bit.) However, and this is just for my own edification later on when I start to thinking that I can return to volunteering, this is what I am stepping away from: )



It is my hope that in a few months I will re-read this and exclaim in wonder about how grumpy and sour I sound, and be thankful that I don't feel like that any longer. I need to get my mojo back.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Friends of ours are about to be elevated to Court Baron and Baroness - it's a surprise to them (they don't read LJ). It was announced within our group early on so folks who'd normally skip the upcoming event (fighting and archery only) would have a chance to be there and celebrate with them. They once lived in our home group and after they moved we talked the King and Queen into creating a "Marinus Protectorate" for their land. Their home, which they open up to host events and is a full acre or so with a huge open field, woods, and a river beach, is called "Silverleaf Estate" so since we won't be able to be there when the deed is done I embroidered a set of napkins for them with their beloved silver leaf on them. As usual, I got one backwards and the design is embroidered on the back rather than the front. Go figure. But still - while we're hosting the annual Great Dark Horde meeting (Khuraltai) I will know that our friends will feel our joy in their elevation.

Originally I'd meant to fill in the leaves but Bossman talked me out of it. I think he was right, especially since these are just napkins. They're cotton and embroidered with Splendor silk thread. It isn't as glossy as filament thread but it is durable and colorfast.

stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
It has been a tumultuous week & a half. I'm going to bullet-point. Sorry, I know that is not the best journalistic style.

I've been too sick to drive for Uber. I haven't been sleeping well but even though I'm awake during the hours I'd normally be driving, I'm tired and dizzy. I miss it. I also miss the minor extra income it brings in.

We drove to Cooper's Lake a week ago, on a Friday as folks were getting out for lunch, which meant hitting DC rush hour traffic midway through our trip. Luckily for us we always take a route that runs diagonally across the state so our overlap with the dense traffic was short term. And, although I shouldn't have, I had a Dairy Queen banana spilt for dinner. Because I could and we were there. It is at our traditional gas/food stop during that trip.

I was stressed about the meeting for the next day. My lousy health this winter/spring meant that I was not as diligent about getting my Pennsic job done and I had 37 email strings (Gods do I hate gmail and its formatting!) to wade through before the meeting, some of which were letters asking for my help and having been dated a month ago. It was shameful. As it turned out, I was about even for 'doing my job' with the rest of the Deputy Mayors, which is both heartening and embarrassing all at the same time. Guess we all had a lousy few months. Nonetheless the emails were sorted, my departments were updated, and I'm now back in the loop again. Although about $200 poorer because I can't request a refund for my travel costs.

I've decided to take a break from Pennsic staff next year. Sure, I'll do duty - we all should volunteer a few hours - but overall I am going to be a 'tourist' and relax. It is the first time since Pennsic 21 that I will not be on staff. I did schedule a break one year but a friend guilted me into running a Page's School once we got onsite. The autocrats had never bothered to find a staffer for it and there I was, sitting with her on the Cooper store's front porch trying mightily to resist while drinking Pennsic Chocolate Milk (it deserves the capitalization) when a little girl came out of the store with her brother excitedly telling him that "THIS year I'll be eight years old so THIS year I get to go to Page's School too. You don't get to have all the fun this time!"

Well yeah. We were both Boy Scout Commissioners and we could put a one-week school together while standing on our heads and blowing kazoos. So no break for this staffer. (It was a good school and people were absolutely fantastic about stepping up at the last minute with few financial resources. I still remember some of the classes with nostalgia.)

The lumpia fundraiser thing is done. More specifically, I am done pimping the sales. It was a total flop in that we profited only $80 and I have sealed and frozen lumpia filling our freezer to the very top. Over 900 sticks of it, not to mention the 200 or so over at our Baron and Baroness' house. But - done and no longer my headache. Except that my failure haunts me.

I've 'fired' my weight loss dietician, which means I've quit their program since there is only one 'non-surgical' doctor. I've finally learned that 'encouragement' isn't an aspect of their care but pushing more drugs as an answer to the slowing down of loss is. I've not lost any weight in months but neither have I been the least bit diligent about cooking, exercising, or watching my calories during the months of feeling sick as a dog. Twice I asked for a 'pep talk', a group to meet with or anything that may help me regain my perspective when I went in for my follow-ups and each time I was told that they "didn't do that and have I considered this drug or that surgery?" I need to regain my enthusiasm for cooking foods again instead of tiredly reaching for whatever ready-made or easily-grazed item is in our cupboards. Now that the exhaustion from last month's cold has begun to lift the kitchen is starting to look more attractive to me. Next comes motivating myself to the gym.

- Sewing must happen. A lot of it. I had a family and a single guy needing loaner clothing for the event this weekend (the single guy's roommate posted at 10am on Facebook on the day the event opened, asking for 'whoever is in charge of Gold Key". They didn't actually get to my house until after 8:30 at night, long after the event had started. Yes, it was crazy for me to even allow it. But I did so knowing that with such a gross abuse of courtesy on her part (he didn't know any better but she is a Laurel), I could now have a group-supported 'rule' put in place requiring borrowers to contact me at least two days before an event. And the new guy, who'd never met me or anyone else in our group, has a few names and faces to remember. He seemed rather embarrassed about it. I learned later that it may have been because our Chatelaine visits their house two or three times a week to see their other roommate and she'd told the Laurel over and over again during the past month that she should contact me early if she needed to borrow anything.) I was at home because I was sewing a tunic for the son of the first family, who could not find a single thing in our Gold Key that would fit except for one cotton and one thick wool tunic. With an expected high of about 90f, wool wasn't going to do.

I am lividly angry with our country's health care situation. Our (past) baron is dying of a cancer that cannot be cured. That makes me angry in one direction but more importantly to me (given the 'somethings we just can't take care of' situation for cures) is the fact that his wife is killing herself trying to take care of him, their child, their home, and keep an income coming in while the medical community stands by and whistles in the wind as she whittles herself down past the point of exhaustion. Cancer shouldn't cost two lives for every infection.

And a man I respect highly and love dearly is dying of a different kind of cancer because he cannot afford health care. He's too proud, too private, and too, too exhausted with the medical merry-go-round to even consider trying to start a "go fund me" sort of thing so he is going to die while ignorant idiots posture and rant about the 'evil that is Obamacare'. I swear by the Almighty, if one person snarks "Obamacare" to my face I am going to pop them in the kisser. Yes, it is a freaking ugly package - but that sure as shooting wasn't Obama's fault and the politicians who posture and prance while fanning their egos with it have cost, or will cost, many of us the lives of people we care about.

And I don't love that man half as much as his partner, who is the mother of their pre-teen daughters does.

I'm wiped out tired. Think there is a way to change out one's batteries?
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I've spent the last two days rolling lumpia - or more precisely, chopping up all the ingredients to go in the lumpia and finally getting to the point where I could roll a batch up. Beef ones, 115 of them so far. I'd meant to do more today but instead went shopping for more ingredients - tomorrow one of my protégées/apprentices will come over and we'll get started again. I must have all six types done by next weekend so there is a lot of chopped oriental ingredients in my fridge right now, waiting to be mixed in with the rice and soy sauce.

Everything is going slower than I want it to - the elms and oaks are pollinating the entire corner of my world and I happen to be allergic to them. Staying inside is helping - going shopping means that I'll be trying to claw my throat out sometime before I can get back home again. May I say that I am grateful to the inventors of the neti pot, Sudafed, and Zyrtec. Oh yes. And Motrin, unfortunately, as my head aches all the time right now.

So I have not been driving for Uber in the last two weeks - headachy and fuzzy-brained as I am, I don't trust myself behind a wheel. Although the loss of my weekly mad money is hitting me. How quickly we adapt to extra income, eh? I'd not realized what a sense of fulfillment it was giving me, to be able to not stress over an extra bill or a higher-cost item that I'd normally have to scrip and save for. Those trees better find a room - I want my driving evenings back.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I thought I was going to work this evening - but I was wrong.

We had a demo over the weekend, and that involved Bossman and I bringing out our pavilion and filling it with a static display, a 'food challenge',

and a table of medieval/Renn period games. One of my protégées ran the games table each day.

She was a real trooper, as she had not planned on doing that but stepped in when it became obvious that the other members of our local group were really just there to hang out with each other and watch people walk by. She worked her hinny off.

I did the food challenge. Arranged a bunch of fruits and vegetables between two baskets and then challenged passerbys to sort them into "known in Europe before Columbus sailed" and "introduced to Europe after the finding of the New World". No one got it 100% right. In fact, I think the best was about 80%, but oh how decisive some of the wrong answers were! As I unloaded the baskets and put the items back in the middle, I told the players stories about the items - just minor tidbits like "Carob comes from the Locust tree, which has led some scholars to conclude that John the Baptist ate carob & honey, not insects and honey while he wandered the desert. In fact, carob is sometimes called "St. John's bread." or "Bananas are the largest herb in the world and originated in Malaysia, then passed into India, where Alexander the Conqueror found them and ended up transporting them to northern Africa, where they spread like a weed - like kudzu!"

We did the final unloading of the truck this afternoon, after I had spent the earlier day shopping for supplies for the lumpia fundraiser. I am sore and exhausted. The loading/unloading and setting up of our equipment gets more difficult each time, I swear. And driving an hour each day to work from 9-5:30 was no way to rest up between the setting up and the tearing down. Luckily we had wonderful people who helped us with both. But for tonight, after unloading and schlepping all the heavy stuff, I don't trust my judgment for driving unknown routes - my brain is tired and my body aches moving or sitting still. So home I stay. I watched the latest episode of "Call the Midwife" and now I'm going to retire with a new book. Hopefully it will lull me to sleep.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
In spite of not feeling well* I've been fabric shopping. Yes, Ms. "I don't want to stockpile fabric" went out and poured cash into the hands of retailers. Some of it was personal purchases due to Hancock's closing (over 300 dollars spent, although a chunk of that was on tools rather than fabric. I'll be setting aside my plans for buying an adult tricycle for a while until I reimburse our household account for that trip!). Other spending was not my own money. But of our own, one of the things we picked up was 'trim fabric' These ones:

A few yards of each will net me some lovely early-period stripes to turn into trim that is lightweight enough to actually bend and drape as fabric should rather than being thick and rigid as so many hand-made SCA trims end up. One of my goals as I learn how to weave is to make pretty trim that is pliable instead of stiff. I dislike seeing sleeves, for example. bow out in a stiff circle at the biceps because of the trim applied over the seam line.

We got over a hundred yards of various fabrics and one trim in three colours from an upholstery shop that was going out of business. Those are for the barony's Gold Key (newcomer's loaner items) collection. I'll be sewing until Pennsic, most likely, to get all of that converted to clothing. Of the blue there is about 53 yards. Wow! But at a dollar a yard for fabric and 75cents a yard for trim, it will be a real money saver.

*We thought I was struggling with a mean UTI - treated it once, had it return, treated it again, and then the longer test results came back showing no evidence of bacteria, so now a week into the second round of antibiotics and pain meds we've hit a wall. The next step is a specialist. In the meanwhile, I have deep-seated pain at the kidneys and lower abdomen which is sapping all of my energy. We've a weekend demo for the SCA coming up where I'll be doing onstage presentations - and all I really want to do it stay in bed and try to sleep. Somehow we'll make this work. I am not looking forward to loading our tent and equipment up, setting up, demoing, and then tearing down again. The thought exhausts me. But Bossman says we can do it so I believe him.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
All of a sudden my days seem crammed - prepping for War of the Wings has become an over-riding need. And so much was left undone after Pennsic! Which I did not really notice until this morning. I just finished making 46 little pork chawettes and still have filling available, enough to make probably another two dozen. I think instead I'll use up my left over lumpia wrappers to make a pork version of 'rolled thin pancakes'. Staying in the Great Dark Horde camp means I should serve at least one Mongolian dish, right? And it would be dead easy to add the extra ingredients to the leftover pork. Besides, they can be fried in the same way as the chawettes. And more importantly, I won't have to go to the Hispanic store to buy more supplies.

Tomorrow I shall be roasting beef and a turkey in order to have luncheon meats to serve. Maybe a ham, too. We'll see what is available at the Commissary. I'm serving eight people but only on Friday and Saturday. That is making portion-anticipating a bit of a challenge. Especially since three of them are staying at a hotel. The easy and boring route of 'instant oatmeal or fresh muffins or bagels" is going to be breakfast. I'm not going to chain myself to a stove all morning on the off chance that someone from out-of-camp will wander in hungry for breakfast.

This meal plan has its own special challenges. Oh boy, yes. One person sent me her list of forbidden foods (sensitivities, apparently). For your enjoyment, this is it:
Bell/sweet peppers
Lima beans
Raw onion (cooked okay)
Almond flour
Most soups and stews (Brunswick okay)
Oranges/tangerines/clementines/mandarins etc
Most dairy – milk, soft cheeses, ice cream, yogurt, sour cream, whipped cream (hard cheeses okay)
Ground beef is iffy
Most spicy things

In the world of medieval cookery, this is both easy and tough. Cooking without almonds? Tough. Or at least 'weird'. Leaving out New World food products - not a problem. Even the mayo doesn't phase me. I could bring some for mid-day sandwich making but I think I'll just bring two different sort of mustards and people can deal with that. The cheeses are confusing - she just told me that she could have mozzarella... I would have considered that a soft cheese. Still, there are also other folks with food concerns. One is lactose intolerant, one does not eat any veggies except for corn (which I won't serve at an SCA event) and one specified no "guacamole, hummus, or sour cream". The menus were fairly easy to come up with but I was saddened that I must leave out some items I'd been anticipating serving, like "Savoury Toasted Cheese". That would have been lovely once the sun began to set and the chill of the day set in but with two lactose-intolerant folks I will skip that one.

I've been driving for Uber like crazy at night, trying to get as many hours in as I could this week to make up for the days I'll be unable to next week. It finally dawned on me that we have an event the Saturday after we get home from WoW and I've promised two scrolls to our outgoing Baron and Baroness for their final court. They are depending on me for wording. Guess I'd better get on that too, eh?

Okay. Time to get off of the computer and get sewing again. Tomorrow is food prep, then the test feast (we're invited) for the Investiture event. There is a huge pile of laundry to take care of, pavilion curtains and flooring to sew, and packing to do. Before early Wednesday morning. Whew!


Oct. 1st, 2015 02:57 am
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Rain. Yes, we've been getting spitting rain with occasional full-out storms for the last 24 hours. Even though there have been moments of breakthrough sunshine too. Today's forecast is for rain all day; and also tomorrow, and then next day, and then on Sunday or Monday Hurricane Joaquin is likely to brush through (or by). If 'through' as predicted, the eye will pass directly over our city. That should be fun. Luckily for us we are not too worried about flooding on our property. We're just high enough that the water has never reached above our porch, so our car can be backed up to the garage door (what, "in the garage"? You jest. That is Bossman's woodworking shop.) and it will be high enough to only get the tires wet. The street will flood well - I've seen neighbors boating on our street during previous storms, and our wonderful willow tree will continue getting pruned by nature. Last night's winds have already knocked down a lot of vulnerable branches. But willows thrive on annual pruning. They must have been designed for stormy areas.

"French Toast Panic" has already set in. Or so I've been told. I haven't gone to the store to witness it myself, being busy doing other things like sewing, driving Uber (ubering?), and working on the reservation list for Atlantia's Coronation. Which event, by the way, our local group is hosting at a Boy Scout reservation... this Saturday. I expect the decision about cancelling or not to be made on Friday. Until then we likely won't have enough information about which way the storm is going to swing.

Administratively this won't be the burden it would normally be as our Exchequer has been on the road for weeks and all of the reservation cheques and cash are in my hands. Or rather, all but about 6 reservations, those being the ones I was able to pass on to him at the first of this month. So should the event be cancelled, most likely the cheques-writers will be zen about me just ripping up their cheques (I can send photos!) while the cash-givers are thankfully local.

But our feast cook is going to need folks to buy up her supplies. And man, that is going to be a circus since she is NOT local to any of us.

In other news, we may be facing putting down our cat, Humilty. Her behavior has grown increasingly erratic and odd, and she has begun to miss the litter box more often than hit it. Scrubbing the bathroom floor twice a day or more often is becoming habitual. This afternoon we added up years and realized that she is a little over 13 years old, which is pretty ancient for a Manx. And after doing an internet search we are beginning to believe that senility has crept in. Otherwise she seems healthy. Barring her refusal to groom herself which is going to necessitate a furball-clipping tomorrow evening. Neither of us are really looking forward to that chore! Humility does not appreciate our grooming attempts. Or anyone else's either. She is a cantankerous loner who does not need physical contact with anyone or thing and is quite clear about it. But every once in a while she will allow us to pet her head and scratch her ears so we've learned to have one person do that while holding her while the other of us gets busy with the scissors and de-matting tools. We generally only can do one side at a time. The other side has to wait until she's forgiven us and forgotten everything except the ear scritches.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
We are almost done with our baronial fundraiser. I talked to the Baroness last night and she agreed that we could close the effort in the first week of May, in time for us to present the total amount earned to the group at our business meeting that week. I'll be so glad to be done with it. I've enjoyed the days spent with various people at our table, all of us working together and chatting - that has been wonderful. A good portion of the packaging and selling for individual orders has been easy, if time consuming, but another part of it has caused me to want to throw things in a temper tantrum from the hassle of it all. One repeat customer suggested that we bring the last of the batches to an event at the end of May (Ruby Joust) because campers there would be pleased to buy us out and cook it for their dinners... but truthfully, I want to be done.

I don't even know if we'll be attending Ruby. We have only missed one Gem Joust in all the time we've been in the SCA, that being when Bossman had his heart attack two days before the event (and he was the Marshal in Charge! Our current Baron stepped in to take his place, the sweet man, and the Autocrat sent a note to Bossman saying, "you could have just said "no", which made the poor hospitalized man hurt his chest from laughing so hard.) Anyway, Gem Joust (first "Diamond" which were before we joined, then "Emerald", then "Sapphire" and now "Ruby", those being the prizes for the winners of the tournaments) is now held in an area which is sharply divided between trees & lush grass or clay soil with scant grass. Our group camps in the clay area. I've always appreciated that since the place is teeming with ticks - teeming, you can actually watch the grass under the trees and see them crawling there - so I stick to the tourney area and our campsite as they are both in the clay-and-sparse-grass section. But with the weather shifts the event has been on scorching hot days and that clay reflects the heat terribly. Thus the disinclination to attend. It's danged hot and surrounded by trees I am allergic to, and then add in the ticks. I miss our old camp, which was a BSA camp. It had copperheads but few ticks.

This fundraiser had me pulling our our vacuum sealing machine to pack people's orders so they'd be safe from sloshing water & ice in coolers at the end of a day. We had many orders that were to be delivered at various events and they'd not be headed home until after feast or at least until after court before feast. And it hit me early on (but not early enough!) that we were packing the lumpia and Rolled Thin Pancakes in regular zip-lock bags to put in our freezer, but what were we going to do about getting them safely to the event where we'd be cooking them, and storing them during the day - plus getting them home - without any water leaking into the bags? Out came the sealer again, this time to make huge ice packs that wouldn't leak. I nearly filled our chest freezer with them. Most of them were cut up and thrown away when we got home but I'd been messing around with a few of them, thinking that we'd want to keep some for ourselves since they'd be so handy. And to mark them as 'ours', I added colorful beads to the water. They made me smile. Two leaked and had to be reworked and one hasn't come home yet from the house where it ended up with some of the extra lumpia stock. But I'd already found that the scant amount of beads I'd put inside were not enough so today we went out to A. C. Moore's and bought four strands of new beads of various types. Bossman found a package of plastic lizards at Whole Foods on the way home so those are going in our bags too. I should probably post a photo at some point, eh?

If they look cool enough and amuse us enough, we may make a few to give to friends for their day-event coolers. :)

And to top a good day of relaxation (only had to deliver one order of lumpia), Whole Foods had a new stock of Skyr and I got 6 containers of them. Bliss.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I haven't been on LiveJournal for weeks. In fact, I think I've missed some posts because my "previous 20" button led to a blank page before I saw the last post I'd remembered reading. So there's that.

Our SCA Baron and Baroness are stepping down and they'd like new coronets for their successors. And for themselves, if we could get them before Pennsic so they won't be wearing about 5lbs of steel on their heads during that event. This involves fundraising. I volunteered to organise another 'luncheon booth' featuring a modern version of a 14th century Mongol-Chinese meat roll "Thin Rolled Pancakes". The more modern version is lumpia, a Philippine dish. Its wrappers are more consistent with the earlier version than eggroll wrappers are. So for the last two weeks I've been hosting lumpia rolling days at home. We've made a little over 2,000 of them to date with about 300-400 more to do. Then, in two weeks, we shall have a booth up at an event called "Golden Rose Tourney" and sell the cooked meat rolls to the populace. Assuming that the ones folks are pre-ordering (frozen so they can cook them at home) don't deplete our supplies too much. Which, honestly, I don't see happening except for specific types. We have special batches without onions, for example, since we know that many people are allergic to them.

I calculated the amount of carbs, protein, and calories for each roll. Mostly for myself, to be frank, but also for those who I know would feel they needed to skip the lumpia because it was "too fattening / too high in carbs". As it turns out, a regular (as opposed to "heavy fighter's") serving of three to four lumpia is one within the range of permissible for adult diabetics, and is a little under 300 calories but tastes a whole lot better than a sandwich with that many calories.

So, Busy. When not 'rolling', I am shopping for more supplies to prep for the following rolling session. (Oh! And in the process I stopped by Whole Foods to buy pine nuts and picked up some more skyr for myself, and had the happy discovery that a small carton of skyr has 20 grams of protein in it, more than the average protein bar does, and stil has fewer calories. Not to mention it tastes so much better. I was a happy woman until my supply ran out again.) Or delivering finished rolls to various people's houses to store in their freezers. And I talked our webminister into putting up a webpage for it:

I got to take a break during one weekend and spent it acting as a judge for the Jamestown Settlement's "Military Through the Ages" ( ). I really enjoyed myself. Part of that was the chance to spend time with a friend I rarely see (we judged together) and part of it was simply being able to evaluate a group's presentation and to get a chance to truly appreciate all the dedication that goes into creating an interpretation of a slice of history. I hope that I get to do it again.

Pushed myself hard, came down with the flu. I've spent the last two days trying to get my temperature down below 100f and have finally succeeded. All of a sudden food looked marvelous! I couldn't even look at food while I was fevered. Had less than 700 calories on the first day I was sick. Also lost 5 pounds so far but I know I'll find them again now that I'm feeling better.

Oh, and my latest CT scan showed an enlarged lymph node next to my heart. Which may be nothing to worry about or may be a secondary cancer, something fairly common among those of us with GIST. I'll know more next June after my next CT. Yeah - waiting that long. I'm not really digging it. Long ago I told myself that if the GIST returned or if I got some other form of cancer, I was going to take that as my sign from the Almighty that my time card had been punched. That was fine in theory for my hubby but now that we're looking at it as a possibility, he isn't interested in letting me stick to that. He says that as long as there is some form of treatment he wants me to fight. I am torn over this - I understand his grief and fear, but at the same time, I don't want to live the last bit of my life sick and suffering through another round of treatments only to come out in the end more damaged than I was before we started. This ole body has lasted through some awful stuff but I wouldn't mind trading it in for something a little more comfortable and painfree, although I am sure I'd miss those I love dreadfully.
stitchwhich: (Cindy-girl)
It is Wednesday. Why is that important? Because I still have an ear & sinus infection that is sort-of clearing but I have to decide how to handle merchanting at Holiday Faire... it is a fundraiser for our barony, so it wouldn't be me taking a loss, it'd be our group, yet I'm not sure about the wisdom of sitting in an unheated warehouse on a cement slab with the weather prediction being a high of 54 degrees Fahrenheit.

The 'mommy advice' sites all say that it is safe for kids with ear infections to play outside so long as their ears are covered. So if I wear a headrail, that should maybe be enough? I was planning on bringing our little butane stove so I can heat up water for hot beverages and maybe ramen. And I've written the merchant coordinator to ask for permission to bring our indoor/outdoor propane heater.

(I posted this on Facebook but thought there may be people here with advice who I'm not 'friends' with on FB.)
stitchwhich: (Cindy-girl)
I've been curious about the appeal of the TV show "Dexter". It is now on Netflix, so I've watched the first three episodes. I don't understand the gushing fanboi behaviour of the folks who've been watching it. Perhaps, like many of the long running TV series, the characters are not developed enough in the first few shows to actually grow on a person. Since I'm not able to think well (I gave myself until tomorrow to "just be sick"), I'm trying some more and am in the middle of episode number three. But I think I will soon be surfing the "documentary" selections soon.

My general "I've got a cold and I don't feel well at all" week capped itself on Thursday with a sinus & ear infection. My god, I do not remember ever having an ear infection before so I was taken by surprise by the extreme pain involved. Wow. A friend was in labour at the same time and I actually thought that I would be willing to trade positions with her. Yeah, it was that bad. Although it was also oddly fascinating, to be able to hear my breathing from the inside (it sounded like wind rushing in and out of a long dry tube) and my pulse pounded so loudly that I couldn't hear much else. I knew it would pass once the antibiotics took effect but I was a sad whiney woman for a while there.

Finally I caved in and took Tramadol (since I'm not allowed OTC pain drugs, which I would have preferred) and was able to lay down - with my husband's "back pain heating bandage" on my pillow where I could position my ear. That helped and I slept. I'd still be asleep if I didn't have a Rubbermaid tote full of baronial tablecloths to wash, dry, and fold before noon tomorrow. We'd completely forgotten that those came home from the event with us.

It amuses me that the extreme hunger I felt during my cold is now completely gone. I am apathetic, at best, concerning food. I should eat something, I know, since it has been about a day without, but I'm at a loss as to what. Nothing sounds appealing at all. It is so odd to boomerang from "food, I must eat!" to "meh" once the infection was checked.

And I'm nattering. Time to sign off.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Members of the SCA will understand this one - other folks may be a tad bewildered. Or just think "Meh. Weird."

Everyone who has been reading my entries knows that I was working fairly hard on a fundraiser for my barony by making and selling lumpia. Ultimately, this time (we did it last year too) we netted about $1100. Not bad. Altogether our two lumpia-making drives got us roughly $1800 closer to a new baronial pavilion, which we really are needing.

This last Saturday was our baronial birthday event. Our silent auction fundraising coordinator faded into the walls before the event happened so I ended up taking care of that, too... it was no big deal, silent auctions being what they are. Neither was I particularly enthusiastic about it, it not being my idea and I have been rather opposed to 'yet another automatic fundraising thingy for baronial members to spend their money on' event activities. Thus the lumpia - one (needed) lunch at Coronation, and a chance for those who like it but can't make it to order some for themselves outside of our local events.

Anyway. Their Excellencies called the lumpia crew (my 'roller-babes'!) into court to thank them for their/our efforts. I'd forgotten that they'd most likely do that. Then, when I was moving slowly into the background again, his excellency stopped me and said he had something to say to me personally. That caught me a bit flat-footed. He started by saying that they'd appreciated the work I was doing, and that he, personally (being also a cancer-fighter right now) knew how challenging it was to do such a thing while dealing with physical pain and weakness, and that he was astounded by my dedication and hard work while being confined to a chair. He was playing with something in his hands, worrying at it. He told the court that there really wasn't anything that they (Their Excellencies) could give to a person who already had all of the awards that the barony could offer. Then he held up a chain, a circle of steel links. He said that he and his two squire brothers (I knew the now-Sir Colin but don't know the other) went into a Sears store together and bought those chains, 'fence chain number 5' as promises to each other that they would see their way through their training and someday, if they were deemed worthy, they would swear their oath of fealty on their 'brother chains'. It was a physical token of their dedication to chivalry. And one day, he did swear his oath on it, and he wore it for five years before putting it aside for a new one. He said he had always cherished it and that he would have sworn he would never, ever, give it away because there was nothing he could imagine that would cause him to part with it.

And then he gave it to me.

stitchwhich: (making sushi)
I've spent two weeks basically ignoring heraldry. I shall be paying for that this week during the catching-up phase.

It was all due to the lumpia fundraiser, which did well for a first effort and not only reaped a tidy profit (roughly $740 for the day's food booth, to be added to as orders come in for frozen rolls) but was fun enough that the booth workers are cheerfully planning 'next time'. I'm not sure when 'next time' is going to happen. We are looking at next spring... our next Coronation was suggested but since there isn't a bid in for that yet, we'll see.

I learned a lot. One quick (and heavy) lesson was that if we offer "onion free" versions of the lumpia, which we did knowing how many of our friends can't eat onions, we will be overwhelmed with requests for that style. Because while we were thinking 'allergies' customers were thinking 'preferences'. My little 'special order' 4-lumpia pan was not up to the number of orders we got, nor was our supply. I'd made only 60 onion-free rolls out of every 200.

Next time we will definitely serve everything buffet style. We have the heater/serving units with the sterno cans sufficient for what we can serve, and with aluminium half-bins in each of them we can offer meat/no onion meat combos easily as well as different desserts. All of them sold for a dollar a piece so having the cashier just count the rolls on a plate should make things faster and easier.

Experimental flavours are fun to make and all, but they present a serving nightmare when there are too many of them. However, doing a buffet and using the bins means we can just cook up a batch of whatever-it-is and then whisk away the empty bin and replace it with another flavour afterwards. It does mean that if someone is looking for a particular type of dessert (or the pizza rolls, or the pork & pineapple rolls), they'd better keep an eye on the booth.

I think we have whetted the appetite of our kingdom members for lumpia so when we choose to do this again I believe that sales will be at least as good as they were this time. And perhaps we will get pre-orders for delivery of frozen packs also.

There was only one overheard "I refuse to buy any of that because it isn't period" comment. It is unfortunate that I wasn't the one who heard it, and that I was not effective in teaching others that this was a (far less expensive and more modernly common) variation of an actual period recipe. Maybe that unhappy person would have been appeased. Be that as it may, we were flying through the hours of serving, and in no way missed the disgruntled individual - we were too busy cooking and serving others.

So the barony had fun, made money, and ensured a hot lunch for the attendees. Outside of the 'should have done it buffet style' lesson, my only regret was that I wasn't able to get some of the lumpia to the feast cooks while they were working.

stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Yesterday my husband spontaneously mentioned how much he loves the thickness of the limbs/leaves of our willow tree. This storm season, with its dearth of storms (knock wood!) has allowed the willow to just be peerlessly beautiful. I can't believe it is ten years old now. The trunk is fatter than I am.

Over Pennsic, our Youngest transplanted my little violet plant (Viola odorata rosina <-see what they did there?) because it was dying. I had to walk him through the process over the phone, at near midnight when he was at the house. He sheltered the newly-resituated plant against the willow tree's truck, where it would be safe from the winds and get 'just enough' sunlight in the summer heat. It has bounced back beautifully. But I am still somewhat wistful about it - it has never bloomed, ever, in the four years or so I've had it. It now is darkly green and healthy but still... no flowers.

My days (and nights) have been given over to rolling lumpia, washing dishes from rolling lumpia, shopping for more supplies for rolling lumpia, or chopping ingredients for lumpia. We've hosted two 'rolling parties', with another one tonight and two more to come, and then, I swear, I shall be done with that until after Atlantia Coronation (Oct 5th), which is where we shall be serving all of it. I hope. It is a fundraiser lunch for our barony so we can get a new pavilion. Originally, I was only going to serve freshly-fried ones of four different kinds of meat, but after mentioning a remark made in my journal by [ profile] loosecanon, the Sunday Rolling Party started riffing on "other ways we can play with fillings". Since we're not even trying to pretend like this is a medievally correct food, the floodgates opened. We tried bananas (not impressed, too bland), then apples. Oh, the apples were a success, especially with a nice (okay, it was based on a medieval recipe) blend of spices which even included a pinch of white pepper. Those were marvellous! After that we had to try other additives, so now we've got apple & raisin, and apple w/raisins & walnuts, as well as apples with caramel chips - those made two people with wildly differing preferences in desserts actually crossed their eyes as they ate them. And then we took peaches (too bland by themselves) and added walnuts to them, which now tastes as though we used a lokim recipe for the filling. We are planning on trying some frozen (fresh) mixed berries with white chocolate, and one of the RollerBabes bought all the ingredients to attempt 'pizza' lumpia, which idea does not thrill me but what the heck, she'll have fun and someone will surely eat them.

In other news, my leg is healing. It still looks incredibly nasty and feels like I've melting plastic stuck to my shin, but it is obvious from our once-a-day pictures that the wound is beginning to close and the areas around the wound are becoming less and less inflamed. Tomorrow I go in for more prednisone shots. Ugh.

Countdown: 217 days to a Gleevec-free life.
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