kareina: (Default)
Thursday of Double Wars was another busy day with not much sleep. I managed to get to bed after Ærikr's vigil at about 03:00, and managed to get up on time for the 10:00 Singing in Modes class by Kaarina. It was just she and I, so she gave me theory at my own pace, and we sang Itsy Bitsy Spider in all of the modes (Dorian, Hypodorian, Phrygian, Hypophrygian, Lydian, Hypolydian, Mixolydian, Hypomixolydian). She had sheet music for a variety of period songs that we could have sung in various modes, too, but since she went at the pace of the slowest kid in class, we didn't get there, but I learned ever so much. She promises me that she will record Itsy Bitsy Spider in the various modes and add it to her web page.

We went a little over time, as there wasn't another class in that room, but chose to end when Lady Elisande came in and asked if we would like to participate in the Experimental Cooking Class; apparently none of the students who had signed up in advance had made it, and she didn't want the supplies she bought to go to waste. I had only just finished saying to Kaarina that I had considered attending that class, as I have had fun doing similar things with school kids at SCA demos, but was feeling a bit too tired to bother. However, when asked by the teacher to please come play, suddenly I was full of energy and enthusiasm again, so we both did.


The handout she had prepared gave us a recipe from Das buoch von guoter spise, for Heathen cakes (Heidenische ku:ochen). The English translation she provided says:

"They are called heathen cakes. One should take a dough and has to make it thin and then take a cooked* meat and speck** cut and apples and pepper and eggs into and bake it and give it out but don't over salt."

*the word she translated as "cooked" usually means in water, such as boiled, poached, or simmered
**speck is a type of bacon


As you can see, this is a bit vague. What sort of dough? What kind of meat? What should it look like? What kind of texture are we going for?

She had purchased a variety of options, and we were free to just go for it, and we did, with very, very different results. Since my minion needs gluten free foods, and she had purchased a gluten-free flour option, I decided to play with that one as my dough. Since I really dislike bacon, and only eat wild game and reindeer if I am eating meat at all, I opted to use the pack of Renskav (thinly sliced reindeer meat), and substitute butter for the speck. Everyone else used one or more of the three types of bacon she had purchased, along with some other meat. Since I am a scientist, I kept careful notes of what I did for my version, which came out as a pie:

I cooked the entire 240 g packet of Renskav + 12 g butter in enough water to cover, and about a tablespoon of a Norwegian spice blend that Thora had provided, which contains: crowberries, alpine leek, thyme, black currants, lemon balm, lemon grass, marjoram, and hyssop. As soon as the meat was just brown I took the pot off the stove and left it to sit while I worked on the dough.

For the dough I took 250 grams of buckwheat flour, cut into it 25 g butter, mixed in 1 egg, then added a bit more water than I meant to, so I added the rest of the buckwheat flour (another 250 g) to make the dough workable. Then she mentioned that she also had acorn flour, so I divided my dough in half, and mixed a handful (what she had left--I have small hands) of the acorn flour into one of the batches of dough, plus a tiny bit more water to make it workable.

Then I pressed each batch of dough into its own pie plate, noting that the dough with acorn was a bit better behaved and holds together better. Once both pie plates were covered with dough I drained the meat (reserving the cooking liquid to take back to camp to cook grains in later) and divided it into the pie plates. Then I chopped three apples (keeping the peeling, but discarding the cores) and divided that between the plates, and cut 25 g of butter and added that to both pies as well. This added up to only a rather thin, patchy layer of solid filling across the bottom of the pies (really it might have been smarter to use this much filling for only one pie, but since I had dough for two...). We had more apple available, but not more reindeer, and this looked like a good fruit-meat balance to my eye, so I stopped there and went on to the eggs and pepper that the recipe called for.

Then I beat 4 eggs with 1/4 cup of pink apple juice & 1 teaspoon of pepper and divided that between the pies. They were still looking a bit empty to me, so I beat two more eggs with 1/4 cup of the golden apple juice (she had bought three different apple juice varieties for us to try if we wanted) and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper plus 2 pinches of salt (figuring if we are instructed not to over salt it, that implies that we should add some salt).

This time it looked reasonable, so I stirred the filling a bit to get it mixed and evenly distributed, and baked it. I was really happy with how they came out--they were really tasty. The acorn-buckwheat crust was easier to get out of the pie plates than the plain buckwheat crust. I suspect that given how little butter I put into the crust I probably should have buttered the pie plates.

My version was totally unlike the ones the others made, but so was every version we did. Some were made with a yeast dough, others were more pie like. One she did a more liquid-y batter and put the fillings in that. Some had the eggs beaten in, others, baked in a muffin cup, had a single egg broken onto the top of each of them.

We filled one plate with a sample of everything we had made and delivered that to the Queen, we each tasted as much as we wanted from each, and the rest was sent back to various camps. I, of course, took my pie, and my minion was delighted with his dinner that evening, as was my champion, who doesn't need gluten free, but loves reindeer.

After eating the results of our efforts I wandered by the market day. I had thought that I didn't need any more fabric, but the nice lady at Medeltidsmode proved me wrong with this lovely broken diamond twill unbleached linen, and six meters followed me home. Oops.

I also bought a bit more yarn, mostly to use up the cash I had left. I forgot to mention that earlier in the week, while at Gaita's music class I wanted to buy the songbook that we were using in the course. However, since they are from the UK they don't have Swish (this most wonderful payment method ever is only available in Sweden), and, of course, I had no cash (who needs it when one can just Swish?). So I asked around, and one of our camp members had cash, so she handed me 200 SEK, and I swished her the money, and then I gave the cash to Gaita, who gave me the song book and 50 SEK change. The nice lady selling yarn was offering them for 20 SEK each, or 3 for 50. So I took three, and am once again happily cash-free.

That evening's court begun, of course, with Ærikr's knighting ceremony, which was beautifully done, though I thought it a bit odd that ceremony mentioned only the belt and chain as the symbols of the order, yet after he was dubbed and buffeted and they were putting regalia on him there was, in fact, a set of spurs too, so I don't know why they weren't mentioned earlier. I had to laugh at myself when Sir Peregrine came forward with the belt, explaining that rather than pass on his old belt, which was stained yellow with age, he was instead providing a shiny new white belt with cast tokens for all of the fighting awards that Ærikr has attached to the end. You see, I had seen just that belt, and his old one, sitting on his desk at his place the previous Thursday when I was there, and I commented "a new belt?", and he explained how difficult he had had it trying to find white belt leather of an appropriate weight in Sweden--most places have only the thick heavy leather of his old belt, which he offered up for me to look at, not the thin nice leather of this new belt, which he folded up in his hands so that the decorations didn't show, and didn't hand me. I was easily distracted by his comments, and didn't think anything of it at the time, nor had I thought about that conversation or the belt at all when I made my guesses the day before that perhaps it was time for Ærikr to be knighted. The other odd thing I found with the ceremony was that when it came time to wrap the belt around his waist they didn't call forth his lady, but instead the queen did that service all by her self, and I wondered if that was normal for Drachenwald.

After his ceremony the court went on for a fair bit longer, with a number of deserving awards from the Crown, and from the new Prince and Princess. One of the most amusing awards was a Panache (Kingdom level arts) for a former Baroness of Aarnimetsä, which had been written if in a very long-winded form of medieval bureaucratic language (in this Kindgom the wording of the scrolls is totally left up to the scribe doing the work, and thus no two are ever alike). The text for that scroll was so long that quite a way in the herald paused, said "Page 2", and continued reading for just as long--he spoke of the creation of the order, of the crown giving the award, of the skills required to receive it, etc., etc., etc. When he finally, and at long last, came to the end of the text a second herald stepped forward, and read it all out again, in Finnish this time. I am told that they translated *everything*, even the "Page 2". When he was finally done they presented the scroll itself, which was actually a *scroll* they had to unfurl it to display. At this point someone in the audiance said that he had trouble following the scroll, and could we have it again, in Swedish this time. The Crown politely declined.

Towards the end of court the Crown summoned forward the Kingdom Chronicler, and apologized to her, for it was the 25th of the month, and normally by the 25th they would have already given her words to be included in the next issue of the newsletter, but this time they hadn't yet accomplished this task. As she started to assure them that it was ok the Herald called forth the order of the Pelican, and the very surprised chronicler was sent off to vigil.

Immediately after court the masquerade dance ball started, so, of course, I went straight to the hall for dancing. As the musicians were getting ready I noticed a tall masked slender man in late period garb walk up and chat with them about which dances he would be teaching, and then he went to sit down to await the start of the ball. So, of course, I went up to him and asked for the first dance (I was also wearing a mask). He agreed, and stood up. He had two pilgrams badge sorts of metal pinned to his clothing, so I asked them if they were awards or simply pilgrams badges. He replied that they were personal tokens from a Prince and Princess, and then added "In the West", to which I replied "I thought I recognized you behind that mask", and he had to ask my name, but as soon as I said "Kareina" he blushed with delayed recognition. To be fair, I knew that he was on site and had been teaching a shoe-making class, and I don't think he knew that I would be there, so I had the advantage.

I, of course, danced every dance, till the ball broke up at midnight. At that point I went looking for Jovi's vigil, and found the party over by the sauna (I don't think I mentioned that I enjoyed the sauna and hot tub on one of the first evening--it really helped recover my sore hips from the trip down). However, the line was really long, and I never did manage to find the vigil book, and I was tired, so I opted to just return to my camp and bed, and the next morning I emailed her the words I would have shared.
kareina: (stitched)
The last couple of days, when my friends in Alaska were complaining of -50 it has bee 5 degrees above freezing during the days. It has dropped below 0 Cat nights, so the melting isn't as bad as it could be, but still I wish we could just have a proper winter with snow that stays snow and doesn't melt and re-freeze into a lower harder crust. So far the record number of days in a row of temperatures below freezing this year is six days (in December the record was 11 days). This morning it is a lovely -7 C, but my phone says that it will be above 0 again in a couple of days. This makes several years in a row wherein winter has been replaced by winter-spring melting-winter-spring melting-etc.

But even if the weather isn't living up to my ideal, the rest of life is going well. Work is fun, Frostheim is fun (we had only three of us for this week's social night, but it was a delightful time chatting with them and making progress on the new pair of Thorsbjorg trousers I started at the workshop last weekend), choir is fun, Phire practice is fun, my love life is wonderful, and I am looking forward to dance starting back up on the weekend (it actually started last Sunday, but D & C were too tired after the costume workshop and I didn't want to stop sewing, so we didn't go.
kareina: (me)
Since my birthday happened to fall on a Saturday this year I booked the Gillestuga in Gammelstad for a party. The up side to this was a much larger room than we have at home, so it was possible to have both space for dancing and a bunch of tables pushed together in a square big enough for a dozen or so people to sit around and have all the food in the middle.


Knowing that December tends to be busy for everyone, with most people having multiple invitations to choose from every weekend all month, I opted to do the invite as "drop in whenever you can between 11:00 and midnight".

Party #1

The day's first party began right after I arrived and started baking the bread rolls (from dough that had sat in the fridge over night) and making a pot of soup to share. People kept arriving as I cooked. Some of them lent a hand, while others entertained us with conversation, and by the time the lunch was ready to sit to the table, just after 13:00, we had 13 people present.

Party #2

Then some of the guests had to leave for a choir and a few new people arrived, I unwrapped my presents*, and then some of the musician started playing, so the second party included a mix of dancing, quiet conversation with good music in the background, and more food.

Party #3

Then a few more people left and others arrived, including my acroyoga partner arrived, so after she had a chance to eat a bit she and I started playing. We are getting much better at this trick, and I can report that it is every bit as much fun as it looks. We convinced my dance teacher's grandson to try a bit of the acroyoga, and, to no one's surprise, he was able to do everything he tried on the first go. The kid is a competitive gymnast, and it was his habit of walking on his hands during our weekly dance sessions that first inspired me to start working out and doing the acroyoga etc.


Party #4

After the acroyoga, and the departure of some people and the arrival of others, we spent some time singing, while I worked my way around the circle braiding people's hair. I also ate my dinner somewhere in here, and baked more bread for people, since we had eaten the last of the bread rolls.


Party #5

Later in the evening my friends from Phire arrived and we went outside, across the street to the large parking lot, and they did a little fire show, which was quite nice. Not every birthday party gets its own private fire show. After the fire show most of the jesters ate cake and relaxed, while one of them joined me in a nice long yoga session before everyone pitched in to help clean up and head home.

By the end of the evening a total of 28 guests (not counting me, of course) had spent anywhere between an hour and 12 hours at the party, and I count the day a wonderful success.

*I had said in advance that I didn't really need any presents (though, of course, I would accept contributions to next year's personal trainer so I can continue in my fitness journey. However, a few people opted to ignore this. Several of the people who arrived early in the day came bearing gift-wrapped boxes, but since I was busy shaping breadrolls, with flour covered hands, I had them put them on a table till I got the rolls baked, the soup cooked, and had eaten a bit of lunch.

Even without the cards it was easy to remember which package had come from whom as I unwrapped them:

[livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's brother and sister in law brought me a small useful wooden box in the same size as a stackable set we already have, and in the lid of the box they hid a pair of fabric scissors, as one can never have too many pairs in the house.

[livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and C. presented me with a new air-pop popcorn popper, so that we have a way to pop corn that our nut allergic friends can eat (I often use peanut oil in my old popcorn popper, and the above mentioned sister-in-law is allergic to nuts).

Our Nyckleharpa teacher and his wife gave me a trollkors and some candles.

Then I noticed a small, shiny silver coloured cardboard box I didn't recognize and opened it to see what it contained. There was no card, but there was also no doubt at all about who had made the contents:

hair ribbons

These wonderful silk hair ribbons were tablet-woven by my talented senior apprentice, who managed to weave them together so that there is no seam where the three ends meet in the middle. I have been wanting something like this for quite a while, and these are everything I had been hoping for (but I had no idea that she was going to make them for me). When braided into my hair it gives me lovely blue braids that reach to my hips. It is so nice to have hair back to a decent length again, even if it is only silk.

Later in the day my other apprentice arrived, and she also presented me some weaving--her first attempt at the traditional Swedish rigid heddle band weaving, which came out really well, and I am very pleased with it.

In addition to all of these wonderful gifts, I got the gift of some amazing music, the above mentioned fire show, and some contribution's to next year's personal trainer. All in all it was a fabulous day. I strongly recommend turning ten for the fifth time, or, if you prefer to count that way, 50.
kareina: (me)
A whole lot of days have slipped by during which I thought "no time/energy to post something today, tomorrow is soon enough". Oops. I still don't have the energy, but I made a bit of time by leaving Swedish folk dance early tonight due to being tired, so I will try to say something about what I have been up to, if for no other reason than to let mom know I am still alive.

The weeks have been a busy round of work, working out, choir, Phire practice, and Frostheim social nights. Last weekend was spent at home accomplishing stuff, and this weekend [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, C., and I attended a Middle Eastern Dance workshop, which was quite fun. Friday night was a Persian dance class, and Saturday morning was an Oriental dance class. The teacher had come up from Stockholm for the weekend, and was really good, and delightful personality, too. Saturday afternoon there were more dance classes, but they were aimed at advanced dancers, and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar decided not to attend them because this weekend was his first attempt at any Middle Eastern dance (though he took to the steps in the Persian dance like a fish to water, since it is on a three-count, as is much of Swedish folk dance, so he could trust his feet to do what they were meant to do and focus on the arm movements), and I opted to stay home and help O. finish up his new gorget.

We needed to make that his very first piece of armour, since he as a very short but thick neck, and so neither my gorget nor [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's old gorget (that came with his old helmet when I picked them up from Australia last year) fits O. at all. The rest of my armour works well enough for him for now.

This morning he and I went to fighter training, and I was delighted to see that there were six of us there--I think that after a lull in training Frostheim may actually get a group of fighters going again. I only did slow work and practice against the pell, in part because it has been four years since I have been in armour at all, and in part because I want a new gambeson before I do--we opened up the armpits on my old one to fit O. to get him working armour as fast as possible, and there is no way I am going to borrow it back now that it is open (he doesn't care if he gets hit there--silly fighter). I also brought along my jungle gym and did my workout for the day, just because.

This week at work the Russian scientist I posted about not too long back will be visiting the uni, so that should be interesting. I will try to remember to post about that, even if things are as busy as they have been. Now I had better type up my Chatelaine's report, do yoga, and get to bed so I can enjoy work tomorrow.
kareina: (stitched)
I happened to glance at FB today at the right time to see a post from [livejournal.com profile] northernotter about the talk she will be doing on her hand-woven reproduction of the Skjoldehamn find next weekend. Clicking on the link reveals that the other speaker will be Lise Bender Jørgensen, who has published so many books on archaeological textiles. Of course I have to go!

So I have booked train tickets to Narvik for way too early next Friday morning, and then I will take a bus to Tromsø, spend the weekend there, see the exhibit, attend the talks, and then bus back to Narvik Sunday evening to catch the train home on Monday morning. Since I will be missing work that Monday I can work the following Friday to make up for it, so I don't even need to take a day off. Norway! Mountains! Textiles! I am looking forward to the trip.

This weekend's home improvement project has been prep work to consolidate our beds, in preparation for C moving in. When I first met [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar he was sleeping on a queen sized bed on a simple IKEA frame. It is a fine bed, and we slept on it for several years before deciding to buy the king sized memory foam mattress upon which we now sleep. When we bought the larger mattress we decided to move the old bed to the guest room, and we just put the mattress on the floor, where it has been working just fine. However, when C moves in she will be bringing her bed with her. It is a queen sized IKEA bed with a large amount of storage area under the mattress, which easily lifts up on some sort of spring-loaded pivoting system.

Since this will be more large beds than we have rooms to keep them in, we decided to double up our old and new beds into a single unit. Therefore we built an extension for our old bed frame that is the same height as the old mattress. Now we can put the king sized mattress on top of the old mattress + extension, and it will work just fine. Should we have lots of house guests at once, we can move the large mattress to the living room floor, and that will still leave the queen sized bed in the guest room.

And last, but certainly not least: Snow! Yesterday we finally got something resembling a decent snow fall! Combined with some pretty good winds, so this morning when we woke up we had some lovely snow-dunes stretching across our yard. It took me about 40 minutes to use the shovel to clear the path to the shed where the snow-blower lives, and then another hour for him to use the snowblower to clear the driveways, while I used the shovel to clear out the rest of the walkways, and tidy up some of the narrow little ridges of snow he left behind.

Of course I used the snow I shoveled to build up a little hill in front of the house, and after we were done I got out my sled and played on the hill a bit. So wonderful to finally have decent snow!

Now it is time to head to folk dance for the evening, so even if there were more to say, I have run out of time to say it...
kareina: (me)
The past couple of years our folk dance group has often had only 6 to 8 people in attendance each week, and sometimes even fewer. Therefore it was a delightful surprise to have 13 of us there tonight. :-)
kareina: (stitched)
This got long (no surprise there), so: Friday summary )

Saturday summary )

Sunday summary )
Which meant I had time to go home, take a short nap, unpack most things, and still make it to Swedish folk dance that night.

Much to my surprise, after spending a weekend at a major feast, I weighed a full kilo less this morning than I had on Friday morning. Today's weight was 55.3 kg (about 121.9 lbs), which is the smallest number I have seen since purchasing the scale. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, while I ate something every round, I told the servers to only give me tiny bits of each item, since I didn't feel that hungry (except for the rice pudding with raisins and lingon berries--I had a normal size serving of that, yum!), and my total intake for each day was noticeably less by volume than I normally eat. I think I may have made up for it today though--it will be interesting to see what the scale says tomorrow.

Höstdansen

Sep. 6th, 2015 10:12 pm
kareina: (stitched)
This weekend was one of my favourite events in Norra Nordmark. Höstdansen (Autumn Dance) is an annual event held in the shire of Uma (Umeå), about three hours south of Frostheim (Luleå), and the same north of Gyllengran (Sundsvall). As a result it tends to draw folk from both directions, and there were between 40 and 50 of us on site, ranging from brand new to the SCA to decades of experience.

We got a late start after work on Friday, so didn't reach site till 23:00, by which time the main sleeping room was already full of air mattresses and camping mats ready for people to sleep, so we put our bedding in the downstairs gym, where there were only a few people sleeping, then put on garb and went upstairs to the main social room, where everyone on site who were still awake were sitting on couches around some tables chatting with one another.

It felt really good to have so many of them jump up when we came in to give us hugs. It is nice to be part of this community. After catching up with people for a bit I fetched a sheepskin and did my yoga while listening to the flow of the conversation.

Yoga made me realize that my shoulder and neck were really messed up. (Possibly because of slipping off the bottom step on my way to check laundry earlier that day, which resulted in my landing abruptly, sitting on the third step, with my right arm hooked by the elbow over the railing, which, at that point, was above my head. That hurt, and the inside of the elbow is still bruised and tender. The sideways wrenching that must have gone with that sort of landing could well explain the pain that showed up, hours later, in the other side of my neck, and could well have been further bothered by three hours in the car.)

Therefore I sat down in front of the massage therapist from Sundsvall and he managed to loosen it up enough that I was able to get to sleep later that night. Since I was paying more attention to what he was doing to my neck and shoulders I didn't really follow much of the conversation going on around me, but before yoga I had mostly chatted in Swedish.

Saturday morning the dance classes started directly after breakfast and continued all day, with breaks for lunch and fika. I did set out the Norrskensbard cloak on a table and one of the ladies worked on it for about thirty minutes, but I just danced, ate, and chatted with friends for most of the day.

I did take a break from dancing to get a thirty minute massage, which really helped the neck and shoulders, but it isn't completely better yet. In the evening was the banquet, which was nicely informal, there being no royals on site. The only peers present were me and another viscountess. It amused me that it happened to be her who discovered that the bathroom sink was clogged just as I came in, so, of course, we fixed the problem--she wearing a fancy Tudor dress, and I my silk bliaut, but she held the bucket and I unscrewed the under-sink ick catcher, and used a chopstick to push the blockage through. No costumes were splattered by ick in the process.

I had my duclimer with me, and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar his nyckleharpa, and another lady her violin, so there was a reasonable amount of music happening during the banquet. There was also a performance by a local middle eastern dance troupe, and then more dancing. Late in the evening, after the feast the other two musicians played some Swedish folk music, so a handful of us danced to that too. It may not be period, but it is fun.

Today (Sunday) we stuck around to help out with site cleaning, and left just before noon, when pretty much everything was done. Then we drove north only as far as his parent's new home in Kinnbäck, where we helped celebrate his mother's 65th birthday with a small family dinner & cake. His dad plans on getting up really early tomorrow for a hunting trip, so we didn't stay that late, and were home by 21:30.

I have managed to put away some things from the event, but the rest can wait for tomorrow, as it is now time for yoga, a hot shower, and bed...
kareina: (fresh baked rolls)
I have mentioned before that we are making svartvinbärsylt(black currant jam) by boiling berries with an apple, but no sugar, and how much I love it as a condiment on foods (much like Americans use ketchup). Recently [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's parents moved house, and when they did they gave us one of their freezers, and with it a few bags of lingonberries. Swedes tend to put lingonberry jam on pretty much all food types, but I don't care for it, because store bought jam has so much sugar in it. However, lingonberries are much tarter than black currants, so we decided to try mixing the two berries 50-50. Today's jam consisted of 1 yoghurt bucket of black currants, 1 yogurt bucket of lingonberries, and one small green apple (and no sugar, of course), which I covered with water and boiled till it had condensed down small enough that it fits into two 3/4 L glass jars, with a bit of room to spare in each.

While it was cooking I took last night's rotmos(mashed potatoes + other root vegetables, like turnip, parsnip, rutabaga, and carrot) and turned it into perogies and baked some bread rolls. I just tried some of the perogies with the lingon-svartvinbärsylt on it, and yum! The jam is just tart enough to bite back when eaten on its own, but blends very well with savory foods.

The reason I managed to do all of this is that this morning I will need to work in the afternoon. The department is having a party during which various labs have been asked to do a short presentation of what they do, and I was specifically asked to do a talk on the new laser ablation ICP-MS lab. Since the party starts at 15:30, I am not going to go in till just a bit before then.

This weekend's Spelmansstamän was, as always, ever so much fun. Our dance performance went well, his nyckleharpa group performance sounded great, there were many other wonderful performers, and, as always, the evening dancing was fabulous. Groups of musicians take turns playing for the dancers all evening both Friday and Saturday nights. This was my fifth Spelmansstamän, and I am pleased to report that these days I don't even need to think about what kind of music they are playing, my body just does the correct type of Swedish folk dance to the music.

Then C arrived for a visit yesterday, and it is so wonderful to have her here again. It is looking like either she will come north (usually) or we will head south to see her at least once a month for the rest of the year.
kareina: (stitched)
I finally saw a link to a photo of me in my new dress--a tad blurry, since we were dancing at the time, but it gives the general impression...
kareina: (BSE garnet)
We have confirmation from the supplier that the Argon Gas, which is necessary to run our laser ablation system, will actually be delivered on 17 April, and the installation of the Laser is scheduled for the week of 20 April. So, just over 6.5 months after being hired to run the LA-ICP-MS lab, I will actually have a LA-ICP-MS to run!

It will be an interesting, and hopefully fun, change to my working life.

So, basically, the trip to the Known World Dance event in Germany will be the turning point--I will come back from that on 19 April, and the next day we will start installing the lab.
kareina: (stitched)
Tonight, at our normal Sunday evening folk dance session, I got to fly (like this) for the first time in a long time! That is just so much fun. I was enjoying dance before that moment, but adding that into the mix has me home after dance bouncing and full of energy! There are actually four of us in the group who want to fly, but only two these days with the strength to be the supports, and one of them is shorter than I am, so our dance teacher thinks it looks better if the shorter girls fly instead. We so need more tall, strong, dancers in the group. Know anyone you can send our way?

In other news, today we got the forge out and we made a tool for tuning the piano. I get to say  )

Now he is happily tuning the new piano (did I remember to mention the new piano? His sister called a week or three back to say that one of her colleagues had an old walnut piano they wanted to be rid of, and did we want it, free. Well, plus the cost of shipping it here, but that is close enough to free for such a nice instrument) while I bounce happily to you guys about my day.

The day also started nicely, with delightful -6 C temps, so I went skiing. Not that one actually needs skis just now--the hard packed ice we have left from all the beautiful snow we got at the end of January is more than firm enough to support my weight if I wanted to walk on it, but skiing is better exercise, because it uses arms too, so I should do it as often as I can before that nasty spring weather we have been having ever since I got back from Australia finishes killing off my poor ailing winter. Seriously--it has gotten above zero every single day since I have been home. There was a time when March was one of the the coldest times of the year, but not this year. Not last year either. Oh, wait, no complaining--the day has been too fun for that...
kareina: (stitched)
It has been a delightful weekend. On Friday evening I joined my friends D & C for dinner at their place (which has been beautifully re-done since last I saw it), and then we went to "Danceaholics Anonymous", where much dancing was done. I taught a bit of Swedish Folk Dancing, we did some square dances, some contra dances, and even one SCA dance (taught by another SCA person present). Then I went back to their place, slept in a nice comfy guest bed, and in the morning we took a delightful walk up the side of the mountain to the Newtown Falls and on to the Junction Cabin.

It was very lightly raining, so I borrowed one of their Tasmanian leather hats to keep my glasses dry (otherwise the rain was so gentle as to feel nice after last weekend's heat). I had planned to try to pick up one of those hats for [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, to replace the leather hat he has that is wearing out, but until that walk I hadn't considered getting one for myself. It turns out that when they are not too big for me (like [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's is) they are really quite comfortable and very good at keeping glasses dry in a light rain. Therefore, if I manage to find time to get one before I fly on Friday, I think I will get two...

After the hike I baked a blueberry cake for C to take with her to a workshop she was attending that afternoon, while she got ready to go, and then my friend S picked me up and took me to G's place, where we had several hours of delightful conversation and good food. Then we went back to his place, where I got a not uncomfortable couch for the night, and in the morning [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's mum picked me up and brought me out to their place for lunch, which featured lots of good food from their garden. Their property is just as lovely as ever--I really love the cliff that backs their land and looms over everything, and how lush and green everything is.

After lunch we gathered up the SCA stuff that [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t had left with his parents when he moved to Scotland five and a half years ago. Some of it I will bring back to Sweden with me, and the rest I will hand over to an SCA friend here to either sell or give away as appropriate.

Then she brought me to my hotel room for this week. Not as nice as the dorm room I had last week. The kitchen here has only a tiny fridge, hotplate, and microwave--so no more home-baked bread for the rest of the week, though I can still do stove top pancakes and the like.

Now I really should wrap this up, do yoga, and get to bed--tomorrow starts my week of serious training on the care and feeding of a Laser-ablation ICP-MS laboratory.
kareina: (stitched)
Since I am still a good 15 or more hours out from finishing my bliaut (81 hours of sewing time so far), but I was feeling restless and not wanting to focus on stitching yesterday, we decided to turn on a film to keep me distracted whilst stitching. I know that this works for many people, but it turns out that for me this isn't a good idea if the goal is to actually make progress on the stitching.

On Friday I sat down and stitched for 10 to 40 minutes at a time, many times over the course of the day, during which I only stitched. 1 hour and 46 minutes of that time was needed to do one of the seams of a long skirt gore and finish it (flat-felled seams). On Saturday I stitched in only two sessions, each just under an hour and a half, and in that combined not-quite three hours I managed *one* seam of a long skirt gore. In other words, it takes nearly twice as long to do a seam if I am also watching a film.

Part of the problem must be my need for subtitles to tell what is going on--all too often the actors mumble or the volume isn't quite loud enough, but with the subtitles I normally catch everything and don't have to ask "what did he say" every couple of minutes. However, at the time it didn't feel like the watching was interfering with the sewing progress, it was only later comparing the numbers that it really stood out.

Part of me would like to not try to have this dress done before heading to Australia--I don't care to work on projects to a deadline--the feeling of "must" work on it doesn't make it more fun, and, in fact, makes it less fun. But it is summer in Australia, and the lightweight summer costumes I have left are all old and worn out and I don't really want to wear them to an event, unless it were to work in the kitchen or play in the mud or something like that. So I keep stitching, and not knowing if it will be possible to finish it.

So far I have the sleeves completely done and attached to the body, and one set of side gores is done and attached to the body. The second set of side gores is part way through attaching the third, of seven, triangles to one another. I know from the above that I can do one of those seams in 1.75 hours, if I am focusing on it, which means that in around ten more hours I will have that set of side gores attached to the dress and can, finally, do the fitting of the waist, hem the side openings, and attach the laces. Then I need to finish the last of the smaller inset skirt gores (I think there is about 1.5 seams left of those, and I would guess they are enough shorter than the side gores that 1.5 hours a seam will do it), and then inset all four of them into the body panels of the dress, which will probably take another 12 hours. Then I can finally start attaching the trim to the ~10 meters of hem.

I am confidant that if I manage to do all of the rest of the sewing before the flight that the 20 hour trip to Australia should see the hem done, and I can wear the dress at the event (which is the first Saturday I am there, and I land on a Friday). Some time could be saved if I didn't try to inset all (or any?) of the gores before the event. Since I haven't cut the slits for them yet it would work to just have the side gores. However, the skirt wouldn't be nearly as full and as wonderful, and it would mean cutting the trim on the bottom when I finally added the skirt gores later, and putting new chunks of trim over the hem of the gores, which would translate to at least nine lumpy seams in the trim of the hem, instead of the two I think I can get away with now (since no one piece of the trim is long enough to do the full hem at one go), which isn't a terribly attractive consequence of rushing the project in that manner (or I could take off the trim from the hem and re-do it after the gores are inset, but given how this fabric loves to fray, that isn't appealing, either).

In other news, yesterday's morning dance exchange was much fun. I got some good ideas from how she did the intro to polska (which is not to be confused with polka, which is a different dance) that I will be able to use when I do the session on Swedish Folk dance for folk dance group in Hobart, and everyone seemed to enjoy the Renaissance dance session [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I did. However, he wasn't feeling very well--woke up with a cough and kind of achy, so we went home at noon, rather than staying for lunch and dancing in the afternoon session. We took a nap, which helped some, but by the time evening rolled around neither of us felt up to heading back out for the evening folk dance session, which was a shame to miss, since they don't happen all that often, but neither of us have time to actually be sick, and dancing when one's body is first fighting off the early attempts of virus invasion is a good way to let the virus get enough of a grip to cause some serious discomfort, while taking it easy at that stage is a good way to vanquish the invaders and resume normal life quickly. I feel much better this morning, so perhaps it worked. We will see how energy levels are doing when it comes time for our normal Sunday evening folk dance session.
kareina: (fresh baked rolls)
One of our friends, K, who lives about 45 minutes south of Umeå, and so nearly 4 hours south of us, had decided she wanted to host a sit down dinner for New Year's Eve. She first considered a potluck, so that no one person would be overburdened with cooking. However, reading my friends' reports on their Thanksgiving dinners had me wanting to cook a traditional Turkey dinner just like I grew up with. When I suggested this she was enthusiastic, since she has seen them on TV, but never had a chance to try it. I couldn't do exactly what my family always did, since we normally roasted a twenty pound bird (one at Thanksgiving, and one at Christmas), and the largest I could find in the grocery store here was 5 kg. Therefore I bought two of them.

Since I would be cooking in someone else's kitchen a long way from home I did as much pre-cooking in advance as I could manage. I baked bread for the stuffing on the 27th so that it would have a bit of time to dry out before putting it in the birds, which I moved to the fridge to start thawing that afternoon. On the 29th I started the piecrust dough. This turned out to be the best crust I have made. My grandmother used to make hers with lard and (at least when doing a large batch, like for pasties) she would beat an egg with a spoon full of vinegar and enough water to make one cup of liquid for the dough. However, whilst that results in a good texture, I really don't like the flavour, since I don't like the taste of any pork products and I truly hate the smell and taste of vinegar. Therefor I used butter, as I always do (1 cup butter to 3 cups flour), but this time I used egg, lemon juice and water for the liquid, and it came out perfectly. I also started the refrigerator roll dough, browned up a mixture of ground moose meat, oats, egg and spices to be used for the stuffing, and mixed the spices with sugar for apple pie that day.

The next morning we packed up everything, and got on the road in the early afternoon, arriving at our destination at a good time to start baking the pies. We had brought with us our cool tool for peeling, coring, and slicing apples with an easy crank of a handle, and K. had gotten one for Christmas, so it took pretty much no time at all to get the apple pie ready, with two people slicing, me rolling out the dough, and a fourth nicely arranging the sliced fruit into the shell. I always do my apple pie the way my Aunt taught me—with the sliced apples piled up a good 4 inches higher than the top of the pie plate. This results in a nice domed crust, and the fruit cooks down to level with the rim during baking.

The pumpkin pie filling had been pre-cooked back in October, when the local store actually carried pumpkins (something that doesn’t usually happen in Sweden)—I had cut it up and roasted it then, and mashed the result and froze it. So on the day I needed only combine it with milk, cream, eggs, and spices. I had considered baking the rolls that evening, too. However, when I had consulted Google about turkey roasting times it was convinced that two small birds take way less time than one large one of the same mass. Therefore I decided to do the roll baking in the morning, before putting the turkey in the oven. (Can I just mention here how much I miss living in a house with two full sized ovens, so that one can bake rolls to be done at a similar time to the turkey, instead of hours in advance?)

Since I believed the estimates of timing I had read on line, I opted to sleep in on the 31st—instead of getting up to start the turkey around 06:00, I didn't even finish my morning sit ups till nearly 08:00, which meant I had the rolls out of the oven and the birds in by 09:30. This turned out to be too late for our originally planned eating time of 14:00. However, this also turned out to be a good thing, since the weather had turned crappy—with lots of rain and melting and very icy roads, so some of the guests were later to arrive than they had planned, and our actual meal start time of 15:15 turned out to be perfect for them. Even so, if I ever do two birds at one time again I will do the 06:00 start, as it will be easier to relax during the process.

While the birds baked we did the mashed potatoes and fruit salad (read: a large variety of fruit + whipped cream). I skipped the almonds in the fruit salad this year due to a nut allergic person. However, that person was also a vegetarian, so I left the nuts in the stuffing, which consisted of the above mentioned home baked bread, cooked moose meat etc., some quinoa, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts, and more herbs and more spices. We cooked most of the stuffing inside of the birds, and the overflow got put into the oven with milk poured over it when the turkey came out. This worked out well, since some of the vegetarians present will eat wild game, but not store bought meat, so they could try that version of the stuffing.

In addition to what I cooked a few of the other guests (there were 26 of us for that meal) brought vegetable side dishes. All of my life when guests asked my mother "what can I bring" for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, she would give them the list of what we are making and suggest that they bring a vegetable side dish. I do not remember one time when the vegetable side dish turned out to be something I was interested in eating. This time was no exception, since it had mushrooms in it. Sigh. There are ever so many vegetables I like, yet people seem to think that holidays are a time to combine the few I don't care for in new and interesting ways. It is not easy being fussy.

The nicest thing about doing the turkey dinner was that it meant that we ate early enough that I actually got to eat, too! I get so tired of attending SCA events where the feast isn't served until my weird appetite has turned itself off for the evening and I am just not interested in food at all. It was nice to be able to eat with everyone else for a change. I even tried a small bit of the turkey, even if is store bought meat, and, of course, I ate the gravy. I love making gravy, and think I make a very tasty one.

After that meal we cleaned up a bit and spent an hour or so with people chatting in small groups. Then our hosts passed out pieces of paper to everyone, with a short character description on it, and we had asurprise mini-LARP )

After the game we did some SCA dancing, and then there was another pot-luck meal (but that one was late enough that I didn't eat anything), followed by going outside to shoot off rockets for midnight. I considered going to bed after that, since I was tired, but then they started singing, so I couldn't resist staying away and enjoying the singing, so I didn't actually get to bed till almost 03:00. However, [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and C didn't come in till 05:00—they sat up with a couple of the guests who had arranged a ride home from another friend who was working night shift and could pick them up on the way home from work. Pretty much everyone else stayed the night—the advantage of our hosts having a large house—there is room enough for everyone.

I had started boiling the turkey bones to make a soup the night before, and then turned it off and put it into the cellar to keep cool sometime in the late evening. Then the next morning I warmed it up enough to separate out the bones from the liquid and bagged the stock up to be frozen. Our hosts enjoy cooking, and they said they would happily make use of the stock later, since we wouldn't be heading home for a few more days, and therefore didn't want to bring it with us.

We had planned on heading over to another friend's house to spend the afternoon with him, but we got a late start at leaving K's house, in part because I was still dealing with turkey stuff, but also because [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar was helping them deal with their heating unit, which was having issues. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar grew up with the same sort of pellet-burning heater, so he knew some things one can do with them. Hopefully the repairs they did worked—one does not want the heat in a house to go out in the middle the winter—frozen pipes are a very expensive problem, and best avoided.

We did eventually make it to D's house a bit after 15:00, which didn't leave as much time as I might have liked to hang out with him, but it was long enough for me to try on his re-enactment costume, for he and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar to play violin, and to just hang out and chat for a bit. Then he had to go meet some friends for dinner, so he walked us to a Chinese restaurant (since the Indian one next door, which had been our first choice, was closed), and we three had a lovely dinner and conversation, followed by a nice long walk (the warm weather had, by then, been going on long enough that the ice had completely melted from the sidewalks, so it was, finally, easy walking), and then we went to a grocery store to pick up stuff for breakfast the next morning. This got us to late enough that we could meet our friend LH at the hospital where she works just as she got off of duty, and then we went back to her place, where we cooked some scones and whipped cream to serve with the jam we had bought (I didn't eat any that night, of course, but it made a lovey breakfast the next morning.

We spent both that night and Friday night at her place, just relaxing and hanging out. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar had had a slight cough for weeks, but around this time it got much worse and he wound up with a fever, too, so he was really content to just relax and be social. I went out each day for a walk, because she lives in a pretty area in the countryside north of Umeå. He was still feeling under the weather on Saturday, so C and I did most of the driving back to Luleå, letting him drive only for the last 40 kilometres, when he was feeling rested, and we were tired.

She drove as far as Skellefteå, where stopped by [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's brother's house exactly on time to be invited to dinner (and early enough that I could eat, too!), and I drove from there north.

We got home before 21:00 on Saturday, with enough energy left to put everything away, do yoga and play dulcimer before going to bed. Sunday we spent a good hour shovelling snow. While it warned up so much in Umeå that most of their snow melted from the rain and huge swaths of grass was showing (looked rather like late March), up here it warmed up only enough to put a bit of a crust onto the snow, and there was new snow, too. This meant we had a bit more than a decimetre of snow on the driveway, which had a thin crunchy crust, and it held together very well. This meant we could slide the shovel under, break it up, pick up chunks of it, and then stack them on top of what was already on the shovel, before pushing it over to an appropriate place to pile it. That hour was long enough for C. and I to clear one entry to the driveway and paths to both cars, but it took another 45 minutes the next day to finish the rest of the driveway and parking area. I love winter—it comes with a built-in work out plan.

[livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar had also scheduled Monday to be a vacation day, so he didn't have to go into work, but I hadn't, so I had planned to go in. However, when I started walking in Monday morning I realized that the only reason I was going in was to get some exercise, and that I could just as easily work from home, so instead of walking to work I turned the other direction, to enjoy the pretty moon in the western sky, and did a short loop before heading home and settling into a day with the computer being useful.

Monday evening C started coughing, and I noticed that my lymph nodes were swollen. Not wanting to experience the bad cough that [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar hadn't yet completely gotten over, I decided that the best defence is a good offense, and we turned on the sauna and cooked ourselves for a while. I did my yoga in the sauna as it heated, then relaxed, and went to bed straight after getting out (they sat in the sauna longer, as they hadn't been in there during yoga (it is a small sauna)), and I was asleep by 21:00. I slept under two thick feather doonas, and between their warmth, having pre-heated my body in the sauna, and my immune system doing battle with little invaders, I sweat fairly heavily all night long, which was probably a good thing, since I woke up at 06:00 feeling a fair bit better (if still a bit tender in the lymph nodes). So I got up, tossed my pillow cases and doona cover into the laundry (leaving the other doonas and bottom sheet on the bed since they were still sleeping, not having gone to bed themselves till midnight) and did a bit of sewing and went for a walk. Then I crawled back in bed and took a bit of a nap before we all got up and had breakfast together.

After breakfast he and I were motivated enough to build a stand for the moraharpa, so now both the cello and the moraharpa can stand up on display, ready to use at a moment's notice. We have also worked on sewing projects, and I managed to get caught up on some computer stuff. Now it is time to do yoga and get to bed—I should actually go into the office tomorrow to see if the department head is back from holiday—I need his signature on the form to get reading glasses, and my appointment for that is Thursday.
kareina: (me)
I have been wanting to attend the Known World Dance Symposium since I first heard that it would be in Drachenwald this time. I didn't get to go the year it was in Australia, even though I lived in Tasmania at the time, because I was on a student budget, and that didn't stretch to a trip to the mainland. I debated this one with myself for a while, because, after all, I am only working 50%, so my budget isn't that big. However, this time I am sitting with what still looks like a reasonable number in my personal savings account from having had a decent income for the last couple of years. Therefore I decided that I should just go for it.

[livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar hasn't been totally convinced we should go--work has been really stressful for him lately (too much to do, not enough time to do it, and the dispatcher keeps giving him new assignments, so the paperwork isn't getting done promptly after he fixes something, and, of course, the company can't bill the customer till they have the paperwork, which all translates into him being reluctant to commit to anything, even fun stuff, and we don't really know yet how finances will be looking at my new pay rate. Today I decided that, screw it, I was going to go with or without him. So I called the airlines (there really is only one that flies to Luleå> and asked them if I could buy tickets for he and I, and then if something came up and he couldn't join me let someone else come with me instead? They said that yes, that is possible, they need more than 24 hours notice, and charge a 500 SEK fee (about $68US or €53 at today's exchange rate), but so long as all of the flights are operated by them it will be fine. This was good enough for me, so I went for it.

We now have flights booked leaving here at 06:30 on Wednesday 15 April, and arriving home around midnight on Sunday 19 April, and I have booked and payed for the event site fee and room too. Hopefully he will come with me, but if he decides at the last minute that it is all too much I am fairly certain that I can talk someone else into taking his ticket and coming along (though I would hope that in that case the someone else would be willing to pay the 500SEK in exchange for my having paid for everything else).

I am really looking forward to the event. I know the site, an actual Medieval building that was used for dances back in the day, is lovely, having attended an event there in 2012 (when we flew down for SvartulvR's laureling), one can't go wrong with music and dance classes and more than one dance ball, and the town is interesting--I didn't see much of it last trip, and am looking forward to seeing more of it. I may not be a city girl, but I do like Medieval architecture.

Hopefully some of my friends from other Kingdoms will make it to the event. If any of you are thinking of traveling to Europe for it, I encourage you to also take a detour to northern Sweden to visit me before or afterwards! I wonder though how much advertizing has been done for the event--I asked a friend in An Tir (Calgary, Canada) if he was coming over for it, and he hadn't heard of it! I have been trying to spread the word a bit over on FB.
kareina: (me)
Yesterday was a fun-filled, and busy day. It started with some past-due home maintenance--I cleaned out the drain trap under the bathroom sink, and since I was still feeling motivated, I also pulled the shower stall forward so that I could get to the plastic pipes that run from the shower to the drain the the floor, and I took them apart and cleaned out the accumulated hair and ick from there. Yah, I know, most people wouldn't think to include these sorts of tasks under the category "fun", but, honestly, I like making gross things clean again--there is something so satisfying about it. It is also wonderful to shower without standing in water deep enough to cover my feet, too.

Then we went to [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's office to print some new passport photos for me (the ones I had turned in with my passport application last week were, so they tell me, covered with white dots "like they had been put into an envelope before they dried". So I need to send them some new ones. Luckily, I am sending everything to the Australian Embassy in Stockholm, not needing to send it all the way to Australia. From there we went to the post office and picked up my US passport (which the Australian embassy returned, since having seen it, they no longer need it to process my application for the new passport), and from there to the grocery store, where we bought a couple of turkeys.

Yes, that is right, two of them. Swedish turkeys as so small! We bought the two largest we could find, one 5 kg, the other 4.5 kg. Together they are pretty much the same size as I used to roast for holidays in the states and Australia (where I tended to go for the 20 lb birds). They have been put into the freezer, where they will wait till the New Year's party at our friend K's house in Umeå. She wanted to do a dinner, and had thought about a potluck, and I thought it sounded like a great excuse to do a proper holiday turkey dinner.

Then we went to the housewarming party for our local count and countess. My, did they luck into a nice place! I love the timbered room with the old style fireplace downstairs. Would be perfect place for having a bardic circle. From there we went to a folk dance.

Last night's folk dance, like all of them I go to totally reinforces my desire to keep living in Sweden. Swedish folk dancing is just so much fun! The musicians in the Luleå Hembygdsgille are so talented! The crowd this time was small--five musicians and 10 dancers, but the quality of both was high, and I had ever so much fun. I, of course, danced every dance--sometimes I was the only one dancing. This despite the fact that before we walked in the door I had been ready to take a nap. But dancing always provides energy!

In the middle of the dance we stopped for "fika", and, since I never eat that late in the evening, I got my nålbinding out of my pack and stitched a bit, and managed to finish the project in progress, which took 9.8 hours over the course of 54 days to make (can you tell this has been the "live in the backpack in case I need a project" project?). photo )

This hat is all the fault of a friend of mine in the West, who saw the photo of me dressed as a Viking man and fell in love with the hat. She wondered if she could make one using nålbinding instead of knitting, and I had to try.

I had some nice baby wool on hand in red and black, so I gave it a try. My first attempt, using my favourite Finnish stitch, was just ugly, since every stitch interlaces with at least three on each side of it, so colour transitions get very messy. Therefore I stitched to Dalarna stitch and tried again, and was happier with the results. Since this yarn is thin I worked with a double thread.

This hat fits me better than the knit one I had borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, so he tells me that next time I play Vitbjörn I will look a bit less like a dwarf.

The temps this weekend have been lovely: -5 to -10 C, so we haven't lost any more of that think layer of snow we have, and today I even walked on the ice on the water at the bottom of our property. First time I have been willing to risk that this winter. I am a bit concerned with the forecast though--it says that it should warm up above zero by Wednesday. I hope they are mistaken.
kareina: (stitched)
This weekend was the big Frostheim SCA event, Norrskensfest. The King and Queen came up from Germany, the Prince and Princess came up from Stockholm. Our erstwhile housemate, C, came back up from Götteborg, some people came from Sundsvall (six hours drive), more from Umeå (three hours drive) and others from Skellefteå (two hours drive). There were around 70 people total, which is not bad at all for a little shire on the far northern edge of a rather spread out Kingdom.

On the Friday night I ran a class on the History of the SCA, starting with reading out loud the story of the first SCA event by Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin and then sharing a timeline of which Kingdoms and Principalities formed when (and thus how many of each existed during any given year), which Kingdoms and Principalities are descended from which, and even a graph showing the change in the number of paid members over the years. If anyone actually wants to see the handout I prepared for that class let me know and I can convert the pdf to photos and share in a separate post.

We also did some dancing that evening, and there was a silk banner painting workshop. Now, because of the dancing and my class [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I didn't actually start work on our banner till around midnight. Even so we managed to finish the banner early in the day on Saturday, so it was hanging on the wall to decorate the hall for the feast. We even made time to soak in the shire hot tub (on a trailer in the parking area) before crawling into bed around 02:00.

Even so we managed to get up around 08:00, so we could be part of the musical procession carrying breakfast to their highnesses, who were sleeping in the upstairs room. My beloved minion (who got his AA later in the event!) was kind enough to carry the dulcimer for me, so that I could walk and play. I am so lucky to have a minion!

Saturday during the day there was a tournament outside, but I had agreed to do a hand sewing class inside at the same time, so instead of going outside myself, I made my fur hood and muff available for HRM and HRH if either of them wanted it, since winter hasn't really arrived yet where either of them live, and we were having good weather on the weekend, with temps ranging from around -5 to -10, the snow we had had the week before holding on nicely, and frost crystals decorating the trees.

My "class" was more along the lines of sharing a printout of my favourite sewing web page (created by [livejournal.com profile] hrj), as well as printouts of a few others I found that looked useful on the day I was doing the printing and chatting with the other people sitting around working on their own projects. However, many of us had never seen Eithni's Magic Veil Stitch (the link goes to a .doc file with instructions for the stitch), and C was making a new veil, so she gave the stitch a try, and we were all delighted with how well it works. Thanks [livejournal.com profile] eithni!

After the tourney and before the feast there was more dancing, and then it was time to get ready for the first performance of the Solar Wind Orchestra. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I got permission from the people in charge of decorating the hall for feast to set up instruments just to the side of high table, and we had our place nicely claimed before the hall door re-opened to permit people to set their feast gear out. The other band members arrived in good time, and we got them set up with feast gear and we settled in to enjoy court before the first half of the feast.

A good number of the people I had recommended for awards actually got them, so I was feeling quite pleased with court, when suddenly the King's herald called me up. I so did Not expect that! I already have a good coverage of awards and didn't feel I was lacking in any. (I had even said so over on FB--some weeks back I posted to the local shires' group pages asking everyone to please list their full SCA names plus any awards they had in the comments so that people could recommend them for awards--to be fair I had also listed mine, and said that there was no point in recommending me, I already had them covered.) However, I don't think the King was privy to that conversation (what Crown would have time to read all the group pages for the various branches in their realm?), and so they admitted me to the order of the Lindquistringes ) The photo (behind that cut) shows the scroll, made by the ever so talented Bridget Greywolf, whose name was said for a great many of the award scrolls given, all of which were stunning. One can see that she has actually met me looking at the scroll--it is so pretty I love it.

After court was the feast, and after the first round of servings were done and they had gotten to the first desert our band got up and performed our seven songs, which was much fun, and seemed to go over well. One of the songs is a dance, and the music speeds up with each repeat. The dancers, of course, got up to dance while we sang and played that one, but took part of the song trying to get all the dancers up to speed as to what the steps were, so when we ended the dancers asked us to do it again. We, of course, obliged them. (Though it was hard to sit and play the dulcimer while there was dancing happening!)

After our performance there was lots more food served (since I never eat in the evenings I have no idea what was served, but the people around me seemed to be happy, so I assume it was all good), and there was more court, too. At one point their Highnesses called to their court one of the guys running the event, but he was outside soaking in the hot tub, so we opened the window and called him in. When we said "you are summoned to court" his reply was to stand up, stark naked in the cold night air, and shout back "you have got to be kidding me!". When he realized we were serious he wrapped a towel around his waist and came in. There was much laughter at the banter between the blushing, flushing Princess and the towel-clad man, as their highnesses thanked him for his part in the event and presented him a token of their appreciation.

During the feast one of my friends asked me "So, how many scrolls do you have now?". His eyes really bugged out when I replied "Two. I doubled my collection tonight." Drachenwald is so good about giving scrolls with the awards that he had assumed that "having an award" = "having a scroll". I had to explain to the others about the concept of a backlog...

However, despite having only two scrolls, I do have, as mentioned, quite a number of awards, and this is the third time I have received a Kingdom service award for dance (ironically, I have never gotten a mid-level Kingdom arts award, but skipped straight to the Laurel).

After the feast we settled into a evening of singing, dancing, and merriment. At one point [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar showed one of the guys in the brewer's guild his experiments involving some of our home grown black currants and alcohol, and suddenly there was an impromptu meeting of the brewer's guild, which [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar is now a member of.

All in all it was a lovely event, full of hugs, cuddles, dance, art projects, music--in short everything I could want in an event. I look forward to our pot luck Yule revel next month. I am also resolved to attend the Known World Dance Symposium in Germany in April. There are just a few details that need working out, like how to get there, and can we really afford it. Therefore I have started a FB group to coordinate the travel to that event for those of us who live in northern Nordmark. With luck that will convince some of our friends to head south with us for that event. With more luck I will succeed in talking those of us who could do so to teach a class at the event.

Sadly, our beautiful weather of the weekend didn't last, and Monday morning it warmed up to rain a bit. Then it cooled back off a tiny bit and we got some very wet, heavy snow. This morning it warmed up again, and the snow started melting like crazy, and it rained again. My poor winter--it has barely started, yet it is already suffering from the same health issues that plagued last winter.
kareina: (house)
When I woke up and looked out the window this morning at first I couldn't tell if there had been a heavy frost or a light snow, but then I saw that the snow was still falling from the sky (but couldn't have been doing so for long, given how little had landed--besides, the sky was clear and starry when we got home last night), so I got up and dressed and went out to enjoy it. Beautiful! It kept falling for the 30 minutes I was out enjoying the forest. By the time I got back there wasn't yet 1 full centimeter of accumulation, but it is still coming down, so am hopeful that it might amount to something and stick (it has been -3 to -9 C all week, with no snow yet (other than the brief dusting we got at the beginning of the month on a day it was +3, so didn't last at all), so the ground is cold enough to keep the snow from melting, if we don't get any more bad (read: above zero C) weather. (Ok, so after all of the warm spells of last weather, which meant we never got decent, fun to play in, snow, I am a little paranoid.)

Last night was a folk dance evening--one of those gatherings that are a huge part of the reason I live in Sweden. Picture if you will, an old fashioned one-room school house, filled on one end with musicians playing violin, nyckleharpa, bass, clarinet, and even tuba, and the rest of the hall filled with dancers. We actually had more musicians than dancers for most of the evening, so the sound was fabulous. The occasion this time was a folk music course that had happened during the day (we didn't attend--the course was full before we had time to even ask about it), so the evening dance was scheduled to give the musicians an opportunity to keep playing, and they seemed to really enjoy it. Unlike some of the big folk dances that happen during the summer Spelmannstämman gathering of musicians, this event attracted only people who either wanted to dance or wanted to play--there were no people just standing around watching. However, we had an odd number of dancers. I know this because there were a number of dances where I danced by myself, since everyone else was already dancing with someone or playing a musical instrument. Luckily, I also enjoy dancing by myself, so it was all good.

The fact that I have been getting up early so that I can do the 45 minute walk to work and still be there by 07:30 (and sometimes even earlier) means that I have also generally been going to sleep fairly early. This, not surprisingly caught up with me, and as the clock neared 22:00 last night I was getting pretty sleepy, though, of course, still dancing, if not with quite as much energy as when the night was young. I was contemplating if I should [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and our housemate, C, if we should call it a night and head home so I could get to sleep, but before I got around to asking the musicians did one final number and started packing up. I remember a time when I would have been disappointed to have the dancing end so early in the evening, but, on this occasion I was delighted, as I really was pretty sleepy, but I also didn't want to miss any dances. If they were done playing then I wouldn't miss any.
kareina: (stitched)
This week I have been at the Medeltidsdagar held at Hängnan, the open-air museum located a 7 minute drive from my house. This is a fun event that is an interesting mix between an SCA event and a public demo, and it is put on by both the SCA and LARP groups in the region, who join forces to provide lots of entertainment for the visiting public during the days, followed by our own stuff in the evenings. (Note that the membership lists for the SCA and the LARP groups up here have a very large overlap, so it can be hard to tell that there really are multiple groups involved in this event.)
the four-day event was lots of fun, despite the heat )
While we were sitting at the feasting table Saturday night the conversation somehow turned a direction that caused me to say "I want a minion!", whereupon the 19 year old across the table said something to the effect of "I could do that", and I happily sent him to fetch and carry stuff the rest of the event. Of course, being me, I am not just taking advantage of his youth, energy, and enthusiasm to accomplish stuff, but I am also taking care of him. He had had a minor eye injury some time back that has resulted in his eye getting tired and sore towards the end of the day, so that he has to close his eye (which gives him a somewhat silly resemblance to Odin). This caused me to remember making eye patches for the pirate-themed birthday we attended the first year I was in Sweden, and to further remember that I had tucked mine into my SCA jewelry box.

Since it was right about the time of transition between too hot out to wear wool, to cooler temps and the advent of the evening mosquitoes I went back to the tent to add some more clothes and while there checked the box. Sure enough, I still had the eye patch, so I brought it back to the feast and gave it to my minion. However, making it fit him involved needing to send him back to my tent to get the sewing bag, so that I could use a needle to thread a new, longer, piece of yarn through the wool patch (my head is much smaller than his), and then sending him back to the tent afterwards to put the bag away. He hadn't thought of using an eye patch before, but was pleased to report that his eye felt better fairly quickly after using it, since the eye could truly relax.

Since he is a good minion, and eager to be useful I decided that I need to be a good master and provide him useful SCA stuff too. Luckily he is short and slender, so I was able to provide the next minion perk straight away after the event. I hadn't brought one of my older tunics (seen in this photo) to the event, since I don't wear it often anymore, since it is so loose on me. It is made of a lovely linen twill, and the embroidery (which doesn't really show in that photo) on the neckline is a knot-work Viking style dragon in green split stitch.

I thought it would probably fit my minion, so I asked his driver if he would be willing to do the short detour to my house to see if it would fit. Since they had a three hour drive to get home the driver was perfectly willing to do a 7 minute detour, and they followed us home after the event, where I cooked up a quick pot of soup for everyone (and the driver lay down in the guest bed for a nap while it was cooking). It turns out the tunic fits my minion as though it had been made for him, and I am pleased to give it to him. However, I did attach a catch--if he ever cuts his hair off, he has to give back the tunic.

This is because over the course of the weekend the topic of him contemplating cutting off his hair had come up on a number of occasions, and every time it did everyone present said "No!!" (especially me). The boy has incredibly thick curly beautiful long brown hair that is even thicker and nicer than [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's hair was when I first met him. (I compared--I divided the minion's hair in half, and half again, and it wasn't till it was in sixths that all of my hair combines to a thicker rope than just one section of his.) He is, of course, welcome to do what he wants, but there will be more consequences than just getting short hair (which, in my world, is quite a bit of punishment already) if he does cut it.

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