stitchwhich: (Default)
I may be the only person in the USA who was not excited about the solar eclipse travelling through yesterday. I think I burnt up all my excitement a long time back, with my first one, so now it is just another cool thing rather than an exciting one.

I slept all day and into the night tonight. I'm only up right now because of thirst and a finally-realized desire for Sudafed. If my sinuses are clogged, I swear my head clogs too. Most likely I have larger sinus cavities than brain box. Or that is my story.

I've been commissioned to make a bunch of small bags for a friend. 150 of them, in fact, with no real guidelines other than their size and that they should look medieval-ly appropriate. I really am "the bag lady", aren't I? I didn't think of that when I told my friend I'd enjoy doing this for them. It took my husband to point it out on the way home from Pennsic while we were talking about All Things SCA. Oops. I guess my image is going to solidify after this. I doubt that I'll be knitting any of them - that is certainly different. I will be doing embroidery and beadwork on them though, at least on most of them. I'm feeling inspired about them right now, if you can believe that. I decided that I'd limit myself to small batches of them, using "fat quarters" for the most part, so that there will not be many which are identical. And I'll use a mix of lucetted or kimihumo'd cords as well as commercially produced ones. The bags should work out to be about 3x4 inches each and even though that is small, I will make them with two cords for closing rather than just one. For no real reason except that I think it looks better.
stitchwhich: (Default)
My vision is coming back into focus. That is one less worry for me.

My Pennsic staff members have sorted out all their difficulties (so far as they are letting me know) so I am feeling very positive about how this year is going to go. And now we're into the 'fun time' - pre-packing for the event, whittling down, in my case, the things that I've been bringing every year so it won't be such a burden for my husband when it comes to loading up the truck. Besides - I have too much miscellaneous SCA stuff. I have a perfectly good, if somewhat eye straining, pink collapsible basket I could bring for trips to the shower, except it is full to the brim with SCA tchotchke I've been holding on to, meaning to 'find the right place' to pass it on or to use some time in the future. I am determined, this year, that it get emptied out and all that stuff removed from my house or actually used.
stitchwhich: (Default)
For a few months now I've been considering 'quitting' Pennsic staff. Not working while I'm there, but being a recognized staff member. Truth to tell, I'm 60 years old now and camping is becoming more difficult. Or more precisely, it is becoming more tiring.

Staff work there is fun, hard, and wonderful. I've made a lot of friends over the years and not working elbow-to-elbow with them would be a wretched thing. But in every volunteer organization, we end up with people who'd like to be 'key players' but who never get the chance because the old tried-and-true crew are already in those positions. And that is where I am, and maybe now it is time to move over.

I did that years ago as the Head Troll (I should write 'Head Tollner"). Had the job for five years and then moved out of the way so my highly-trained and champing at the bit assistants could have their turn. It was well worth it. Many of them went on to be the Head Troll themselves, and others to continue as a dedicated and trained middle staff, able to step in to the HT position easily if something happened to their department head.

Last year and the year before I was a Deputy Mayor. This year I am taking my first vacation and next year I am stepping back into the Deputy Mayor position. Probably, anyway, although our Mayor-to-be is being coy all of a sudden. He does that. It would not crush me to have him renege on his offer. It was in realizing that that I thought beyond it and wondered if it would crush me to NOT be one of the 'movers and shakers'. I've been on staff, in multiple positions, since Pennsic 21. We're heading into Pennsic 46. That is 24 straight years.

I think I'd enjoy moving back to being a watch-stander, a person signing up to man the desk/cart/counter for a few hours on a schedule I determined. To attend classes. To attend the A&S display without feeling rushed or derelict in my duties.

But giving up that sense of brotherhood with the team is a hurdle I'm not sure I'm ready to jump. This bears contemplation.
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)
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)
We went to an event yesterday and I won a competition. I don't 'do' competitions - in fact I may be the only Laurel of the SCA who did not ever compete (sort of - I did once, early in my SCA life, and the judging was so ridiculous that I had to laugh rather than get mad and that was the end of that.) But this time a friend was sponsoring a "in honor of our neighboring Shire which was just disbanded" A&S competition and I was concerned that there would not be any entries - which would really hurt the feelings of the (probably) two ladies from that Shire who'd be attending the event. So since my first event was hosted by that shire ("Samhain", 1989), I decided to bring their "traditional" dessert to yesterday's event and serve it as my homage. It didn't fit the actual category of the competition since I was not using anything from the Shire's heraldry but I figured that those two (turned out to be three) ladies wouldn't care - they'd just know that their group was remembered with love.

So I back-documented the dessert into the category of "probable", that being the closest we could come to "medieval" (I found one for dates cooked the same way), and was good to go. It turned out that the head cook was also sponsoring a last minute side-board dish competition. So what the heck, I entered that too... again, because he's a good guy and the chances were slim that there would be many entries (there were actually 4 besides mine. I was relieved for his feelings! It sucks to sponsor something and only have 1 or 2 entries.)

I won.

The cooking competition. And got this as a prize:

I was stunned to see the salt/truffle fusion in the prizes. Wow. He spent some money on that. Now - I'm not actually much of an every day cook and don't want to waste his lovely prize so I have decided that I shall do the time-honored thing and save these spices to pass on as an appreciation gift to the Chancellor of Pennsic University this year - he's a kicking good cook and I have not done enough to support his work over the last few months. So this is better than my standard "knitted bag filled with goodies" appreciation thing. But I am going to regret losing the containers. :)

More importantly, a few people liked the dish well enough to take photos of the "documentation" so they could serve it for dessert at feasts they will be preparing in the future or as a dessert for their camp. So Berley Cort's legacy will live on.

The recipe? You're actually interested?

Pears Poached in Cream
heavy cream
canned pears (you can cook them up from raw but why bother?)
assorted spices (I used cinnamon, nutmeg, a tiny smidgen of mace, whole cloves, and chunks of dried ginger)

Combine in a pot and heat over a low temp burner. Spoon up with a slotted spoon.

The cream will last for friggin' ever so be prepared to make this again and again as you try to use up the nummy cream. It microwaves well if you want to just keep opening small cans of pears for a quick 'two person' dessert. Or do as we did yesterday - crumble windmill cookies into the bottom of a bowl and spoon the cream and the remaining pear bits over the top, then eat like a thick pottage. Some of us were thinking about trying it with peaches, though, and spooning the mess over a small spice cake with strawberries on the side.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
We're packed for Pennsic. It's a shorter visit than it has been in the past - usually we'd already be there, working to build it before everyone else arrives, but this year that isn't our gig and it feels.... nice. Relaxing, actually.

The guys (Bossman and a household member who doesn't play in the SCA any longer but keeps meaning to) packed the truck while I worked in the house. This was their way of ensuring that I didn't over-extend myself, which I was grateful for. Even then I joined them in sweating off a few pounds. Man, was it hot today! Too hot for our central cooling to handle well.

I finished Pennsic sewing this afternoon. Nah, it wasn't anything exciting, just privacy curtains for the new pavilion and a cover for the stove/oven so its modernity won't insult my event joy. Da Man does not understand this but he tolerates it. Or maybe he just enjoys laughing at me - especially when I sew, say, a cloth cover for a tower fan so it won't stand out quite so much when we aren't using it. I don't mind its modern glory if I'm sweating to death but otherwise it must look like a musical instrument in a cloth case. Yes.

I don't know if I wrote about it but my diet doctor believes that we have deducted the cause of my lack-of-circulation-when-standing. With luck and physical therapy (and sweating, and sweating, and more sweating), it may be eradicated in my near future. This would mean that I would have to join the hard-working truck-loading guys, but I think I can deal with it. I can even deal with losing the handicapped sticker for the car - sort of. I kinda like that sticker, I do, being the lazy person I am. But still, it'd be nice to leave an empty spot for someone else who'd really need it.

So. Food and drink for the house-sitter has been acquired. Bills have been paid, and bank accounts balanced. Laundry is done, except for those items that will be thrown in as soon as I get ready for bed. Car insurance policy cards have been printed (new policy this month) and Pennsic receipts have been too. The Garmin has been updated. Not for finding our way to Cooper's Lake - that one is committed to memory - but perhaps we'd need to find something in town that we hadn't gone to before. A trip to the farmer's market is eagerly anticipated.

I made (am making, since I have three more to do) sweet bags as appreciation tokens for my department heads. I'll be filling them with Kasugai Japanese Gummy Candy in various flavors, because yum. And because it is also gluten-free and low carb to boot. But mostly because it is absolutely delicious and of the Muscat Grape variety there will be a strict "One for you, and one for you, and one for me" method of filling the bags. Here, btw, are photos of the bags. They are rather rough (larger weight yarn than I expected for the newest ones, which are not natural fiber but feel so soft and silky that I think I shall be forgiven). Except for the smallest and the largest, they should cover a cell phone nicely. The largest could easily act as a travel bag for a person's ceramic mug, and the smallest would do well as a medallion/jewelry holder.

stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
It is the middle of the night and medical thingies have me awake for a while longer*. I had been playing a mind-numbing solitaire game but decided to leave that and go to LJ for some catching up.

I haven't read a thing recent. My hand slipped with the mouse and I ended up opening a 'tag' and reading the entries that were there, and now I am filled with love for my friends all over again, because I have such loving ones. I'm so very lucky.

Vacation time (Pennsic) is coming. I have a big job this time around and it isn't one I know the duties of even after a year of holding it. There is no guidebook, no "standard operating procedure" text. Strange situations come up and others look to me for answers - and I have no clue what the right one is because I have no personal experience with the departments involved.
(Example: "How many radios does Cultural Affairs need this year" "I don't know. There isn't a record anywhere that Cultural Affairs ever used any. We'll take the same number as last year." I guess. As a dodge. And once I get on site I can look at the radio check-out sheets and count up who gets them so I can pass that information on to my successor.)
Luckily, I have resources to turn to and things get hammered out, but wow, am I going to be relieved when this job is concluded. It is a situation where a title, a position, was offered and it was one I'd wanted to try for years, so I took it - and was woefully ignorant. The same title/job in a different division would have been a piece of cake but I got my ego wrapped around 'finally' being given a chance to do 'that job' and jumped when I should have backed away. I don't think my people suffered from my inadequacy but neither did they thrive. I want them to thrive. The sad thing is that I doubt, based on this year's performance, that I will ever be offered such a position again and wouldn't you know it - now I know what's required for it so could do it so much better than I have.

I think I might have a lot more free time this year than I have had in the past. There are daily (? Some mayors have had three-times-a-week ones instead) meetings to go to and multiple departments to check on twice a day, but barring something blowing up in any of them after that I have no duties. And all of my department heads are competent and resourceful so I don't think I'll be seeing much in the way of explosions.

I'm not sure what I'll be doing with myself. Bossman surprised me buy pushing for purchasing the camp stove/oven combo that I'd been lusting over. I'd talked myself out of it, finally, since I'd wanted one for years and had never bought (or was given, as it was on my 'gift lift' for holidays) one... and then he up and surprises me with "I think we should buy it" during our trip to replace the finally-dead propane stove. (Poor stove. We've had it for over 30 years of camping and it just wore out. The newer ones are not nearly as good in quality, for the most part.) Anyway, I am looking forward to playing with my totally-non-period camp oven and producing new things to eat at Pennsic.

And we have a brand-new tent, a 16x16 'single pole' pavilion. It's still in the box. We haven't opened it yet. We probably should do that soon, assuming the rain ever lessens. I'm making hanging oil lamps for it per Master Bedwyr Danwyn's class. The effect should be lovely although I am concerned about the amount of light they will produce at night. Most likely there will be pictures after Pennsic. I suspect that Bossman and I, or mostly "I" will be spending a good amount of time arranging and re-arranging our tent layout until it is pleasing and efficient for our needs. We are going to have a much larger and more comfortable hospitality area.

I should have the time to visit the Herald's Point more often than I have in the past - that would be fabulous - although I don't trust my heraldic ability much right now. I've been slack, I tell you, in keeping up with it, instead working on other things I'd let slide over the last few years, so I'm not sure how useful I could be. But I'm being forced to bring my computer to the event so if nothing else, I could maybe help in the 'names' department. Names are fun. Blazonry still has me scrunching up my forehead a bit.

And classes - since I need to check on Pennsic University and the Dance staff as well as Performing Arts, well then maybe some classes might fall into my lap too. Just since I'm there.

The new walker means that I can stroll the merchant area too. For years I've been rushed, at best, whenever Bossman and I go to the merchant area, since there are few places to sit down and restore circulation to my legs. Now I can sit on the walker's seat any time I want. Any time! And I bought a cup holder for it, too, so the only hassle is going to be running across a merchant's tent that is too packed for me to bring it in there (it is wide). But I'm pretty sure no one would take it if I had to leave it outside while I went it. I can use it as a 'base' to return to and the booths as new frontiers to explore.

Oh - and my two classes at our recent University went over well. They were small but full of excited comments and questions, with the students wanting further information for their own research. That's a win.

So was being there when Ranvieg was given a writ for her Laurelling ceremony at Pennsic. That alone would have made attending University worth the trip.

*Contrast iodine during a CT scan can encourage a barely-there-and-going-away UTI to wake up and roar. Guess how I found that out?
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
My mind is on recipes for Pennsic. Or rather, on changing my view of what is and isn't 'easy' to make for two busy people (or for hosting a small set of friends).

See, after realizing that we were going to have to replace our 35-year-old Coleman camp stove, we dithered a bit and finally, thanks to the Memorial Day sale going on at Bass Pro, plunked down the extra $100 to buy a propane stove-oven rather than just a stove. Yup, I now have a camp oven to mess with. Yes, it is modern and not my beloved Viking-era kitchen stuff but I don't mind at all... I've wanted it for about three years now. Just for the idea of freshly-baked bread and cinnamon rolls to serve my man. Not to mention his idea of the Ultimate Meal - meatloaf. (Yeah, I know.) So those items are easy to consider. But I've 40 years of 'we don't really bake while camping' mindset to overcome, along with my diabetes 'shouldn't eat much grain' daily diet, so what I thought I'd be cooking if I ever got the oven - casseroles, pastries, meat pies - are now not so interesting. And I'm hard-pressed to think of what I should be putting together for this Pennsic, when he's going to be busy as usual and I'm going to be a Deputy Mayor (less busy than as Quartermaster or Head Troll, but more busy than as a general watch stander.)

There is a quick-snack item that I love to make, apple slices rolled up in cinnamon sugar covered croissant wedges, which will be nice to have on hand for guests and quick grabs, and the same concept will work for small meat pies, but beyond that - what is possible? Fast to put together yet not filled with carbs? I am going to have to do some recipe-sleuthing. After all, I must justify to the man that the extra expense and packing hassle is worth it. Although I think meatloaf and cinnamon buns will probably do the trick.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Friday featured a 10-hour drive to Slippery Rock, PA, so we could attend the Pennsic staff meeting on Saturday. It was a long drive. We decided to check out route 68, which is West Virginia's pride - it was a lovely route but not a particularly safe one - the road hugged the hills and featured many three-lane sections specifically designed to handle the slower traffic of 4-cylider cars and laboring 18-wheelers. Of course, even though our little economy vehicle was stressed trying to go up the hills, the 85-mile-an-hour coasting down the other side was nice. We opted for our traditional route (Penn turnpike) on the way back, though, as a severe storm was sweeping through and we (rightly) anticipated flooding roads and rain-squall blindness. Normally the home drive is two hours shorter than the Pennsic drive but the rain squelched that so it was a little over 10 hours each way. That made for a very long weekend. Also a downer was the discussion with our hotel, which charged us for an extra night because we had secured our reservations for "Friday and maybe Saturday" with our credit card, only to find out on Saturday that they do not consider it 'securing' a reservation but rather booking the room. So even though we told them at check in on Friday that we would not be needing the extra day, and stressed it multiple times, we found that we were charged for it anyway, "because we had to turn other people away who wanted to reserve for that night, so you owe us that." A family-run hotel, just getting started, with only 18 rooms and the oddest one we'd ever stayed in. Needless to say, we will not be staying there again. (Not because of the misunderstanding, but because of spotty service and communication, and because the bathroom, while much larger than a regular one, was lit only by one light bulb so showering was done in a dim closet-like environment with no exhaust fan from the room. Bossman was smart enough to grab one of the floor lamps from our suite and place it in the bathroom, which helped with visibility.

The trip actually was a waste of time. I had a three-minute face-to-face with the mayor, and then on Saturday morning we had a less-than-one-hour general meeting, and that was it. It all could have been accomplished just as well over the internet via email. Thankfully this is the last time I'll be called on to make that meeting - I do not anticipate ever being in a key staff position again. Since I have no plans to train as a possible mayor, and have never been one in the past, I am not a candidate for a senior staff position. This year was my one 'shot', which I appreciate but am glad to walk away from. It has been a frustrating year of no training, no SOP, and no idea what was needed from me until a series of public messages announced that I was overdue on deadlines. My comment that an SOP would be useful was met with derision... I can find other ways to meet my 'frustration and humiliation quota".

Although - I am considering checking out the Lost & Found department. There have been some 'lean' years of people doing the job more because they were trying to take care of an empty spot in the staff rather than because they wanted the position. There hasn't been a good fit for a while now. I know I could do it well, and it would give me a niche to fill. Not to mention that the hours are great compared to the hours needed for the other jobs I've done!

This afternoon at the grocery store I picked up a 24-can case of soda to bring home and then stopped, grabbed an additional 12-pack to hold at the same time, and felt good about myself. The combine weight of the two is how much I've lost since mid-February. It was cheering to hold that awkwardly heavy bundle and realize that it was something I'd not be subjecting my bones to ever again. So even though I haven't lost a clothing size yet (that happens when you are as heavy as I am), it feels good to have an awareness of my progress. I do have more of a waist, though, now - my tummy no longer juts out beyond my chest. That is nice.

I'm spending the week sewing two Russian sarafans for a friend. I've only made their pattern so far so actually creating a real one is something I am looking forward to. I don't know much about the style - I'm copying a set of finished ones someone else made for her - but I feel confident these will look good on her. The pattern did, and it was just made of junk fabric. She is paying me to do the sewing so I might be able to afford ordering our new pavilion after the weekend. That would be one worry I could set aside.

And now I should go to google and see if I can learn a little more about sarafans, just to satisfy my own curiosity.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
It's nearly 3am and we're supposed to be leaving for Pennsic War at 9 but I cannot sleep yet. Minor 'packing anxiety' is keeping me awake. Or so I shall maintain since I don't want to whine about the extreme muscle cramping in my legs. Why they are still doing that months after I stopped taking the cancer meds is beyond me.

I feel really good about getting back into sewing these last few weeks. The baby garb was fun to make, as were the two tunics and sleeping gown I created for myself. And I found myself doing what I once did more often - standing in front of my shelves of fabric, absently mulling over what could be made from this or that. It was fun. I got the sewing supplies packed away by mid-afternoon on Saturday, and a couple of hours later friends (two protogees, and a member of our old SCA household) showed up to help us load the truck. I spent the time between sewing and loading 'staging' everything... filling boxes with supplies, locating all the equipment, and then putting everything in the foyer so it could be easily carried to the truck. Wow, was I huffing and puffing! We have a mountain of stuff for SCA camping. Did we really used to camp with 30 pound backpacks for the same amount of time?

My new bed is going to be an adventure, I'm thinking. It is low to the ground since it was designed for a box-spring & mattress combination. I bought 'risers' for the legs. They are ugly brown plastic things but I'll be the only one seeing them and I'm sure I can train myself to avert my eyes. This pavilion we are taking up to sell is going to be so cramped. Which is amusing to me since it seems as though it should be larger in footprint than the one we are planning on buying. This is an oval 13x18' (234 square feet) while our new one is going to be 16x16 (256)... the curved sides really ruin the spaciousness of the interior. That extra 22 in our new one is making a much larger difference than you'd think. That one, we're going to divide in half and have the front 16x8 area be our kitchen and entertaining area. This one we have to divide into thirds with the kitchen and entertaining area in the middle 'corridor'. I'm not sure why my husband thinks that is the best way to do things but I am anticipating dissatisfaction once it is all set up. Luckily, it's only for this year, and on top of that there isn't anything keeping us from changing our curtain arrangements to create a half & half divided area once he gets tired of the 54 inches of corridor width. I've packed extra ecru sheeting to use as additional curtains if needed.

I'm really looking forward to a position-less War. Oh sure, I'll be busy in the staff areas with a few shifts and watches, but I don't have a job on staff beyond being the shadow of a deputy mayor so I can be her successor next year. I don't know much about her department since it is the A&S, Dance, University, and stage management one - the very places I haven't had a chance to visit in about a decade. It will be fun to see all the changes and to learn how much bigger it has all grown.

I'm not taking my computer with me this time. Ah, the freedom! I haven't left it at home in about eight years and it feels very odd to think that I won't have to worry about security for it or storing it in a dry and relatively-dehydrated place. But that also means I may miss out on some entries here. I noticed that LJ didn't let me read further back that approx. 2 weeks when I came home last year and started trying to catch up.
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Well, I had a lot to think about and I'm still at it. You know how it goes, things happen and you react, then consider the circumstances later and try to leech out the negative. There are a few things that I haven't been successful at yet but thank the Gods, time will take care of some of that for me.

Gleek and More )

How we didn't really attend Pennsic )

about being a decent person while camping )
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So I've had some sleep and am feeling better - and thank you for the messages of comfort.

No, Pennsic isn't broken. I have got to lay it to rest in my mind. It is not the fault of the staff that this happened, simply the effect of having an imposed non-staff person take advantage of their unique position to further their own agenda. Trust me, if the Mayor could have done something about it, he would have. And later down the road when this person is no longer in their position, hopefully someone with ideas about cooperation and team-support will take their place and set things back to rights. And it is always possible that they will take what I've started and make it even better. I shouldn't discount that even if I don't have much faith in it - if nothing else, it is possible that they will drive themselves to provide outstanding service just to prove they could do it better than me. And that would be fine all the way around.

In the meantime, I shall take comfort in knowing that I did make a positive difference for the staff and did make their jobs easier.

And a phone call from another lj-person, who wanted to learn the words to a song, has brightened my day - she told me about a young woman who attended her drumming class at Pennsic last year and who had a string of beads that denoted various drumming rhythms (Da'ud's method)... the girl had gotten them at a Page's School class at Pennsic and had kept them all these years. I developed that Page's School that year. The Autocrats had not put a Page's School together and Aurora of Clan Lurkr, Ziggy's mom, talked me into stepping up for it when we got on site and learned that there wouldn't be one. Da'ud and Durr helped me by teaching the kids how to make their own drums out of no.10 cans (Durr) and giving a two-hour class on beginning drumming specifically designed for school-aged children (Da'ud). It was one of my happier moments that Pennsic. I already had fond memories of that Page's School (also a GREAT memory of Sir Fern lecturing kids on chivalry and fighting, then teaching them the various parts of armor by letting them 'dress' her. Again and again. So very, very patient with them). All of the guest teachers were folks already on site who agreed to take the unexpected time out to be a part of the Page's School. And now Kheva tells me that this young girl had kept her beads all these years and attended Khiva's basic drumming class so she could re-learn the rhythyms the bead's colors denoted - because that Pennsic was one of her brightest memories.

That makes me feel so good.
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I had to laugh at myself earlier and shared it with Arn. Figured I'd share it here too so y'all could laugh along with me. I am actually disappointed that my letter of resignation resulted in total silence.

As if there would be any other response... but still, tonight I am feeling decidely anti-climatic. So I made tea and washed dishes.
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About House: At least it is for a really cool reason. (The link will take you to a news article that contains spoilers if you haven't, as I haven't, yet seen the episode.)

In other news, third-degree burns itch as they heal. I'm really glad I'm mostly staying in the house as I fight to keep from scratching. :)

I wrote my letter of resignation after calling this year's Pennsic Mayor. That's done. It doesn't feel good but I am glad I made the decision. Avoiding falling into the guilt-trap is a tad more difficult than I thought it would be.

Someone I really respect in the fibre-community is looking for a class handout I wrote - I was childishly excited to read that. Camy, Patricka, she's looking for your papers too. (I don't konw if those were class handouts or papers.)
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I'm going through all my past reports for what my office spent at Pennsic... what a pain in the patoot! Have to report it in clumps of spent per day/ spent per store for each of the years I was Q-Master. It's not looking good for the office - the new Exchequer rules have pretty much destroyed any chance of the office continuing in service.

Man, I hate that. Oh well - I made some folk's lives a whole lot easier for quite a while. And then again, I haven't had a real pennsic vacation in so long that I'm almost grateful they've tightened the rules to the point a person would have to be independently wealthy in order to be a War Quartermaster. I can relax every day in my camp? I can park my car and just leave it there? I can, oh, read a book or take a class? The horrors!
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I was thinking about how much I like laying on my bed after a shower - (don't visualize, just go with it)... totally relaxed with that clean-skin smell, just boneless. I love that.

about that last entry )
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Do any of you know Mistress Nataliia Anastasiia Evgenova Sviatoslavina vnuchka? (Deputy Rapier Marshal)
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I ticked off a woman because I teasingly called her a 'newbie' in a letter to her referring to her new position in a staff set and have recieved a severe set-down wherein she informed me that she is a Peer in her own right, a Court Baroness, a long-term veteran of Pennsic and a Deputy Kingdom Officer.

I, of course, apologised at once.
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On the way home from Unevent this weekend I was ruminating about my service (actually, I was second-guessing how good/bad/changed I was and whether or not I was morphing into a 'dinosaur' and needed to start stepping back from active work) and it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, I might be on occasion as efficient as I'd like to be. That's because I was thinking about the Pennsic Troll booth and its history. look! History from my view! ) [Edit: and Arn adds, "I've been telling you that for years, you know."

I think I might be proud of that. And I'm not so worried, now, that what I end up setting up for the QuarterMaster's office will be good... it will surely need tweeking, but it won't be disastrous.
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