kareina: (stitched)
The Known World Dance event was long enough that we established a "routine" schedule--up early, attend a class or two, skip a couple of classes around lunch time to eat good food, chat with people, and then go out for ice cream and/or yummy stuff from the bakery, attend more classes, practice singing for the choir performance on the last night of the event, grab a quick bite to eat, change into fancy clothes for the evening ball, and dance till around midnight, give or take an hour, depending on the night, head back up the hill to the hostel, and repeat for four days, with slight variations. One day I was sensible enough to do yoga before changing into my pretty new dress for the ball (which I wore every night, in hopes that it would increase the odds of getting a decent photo of it posted to FB, but I haven't seen one yet...), the other nights I had to do it after we got back to the room and I had changed (I just wasn't going to lay down on a stone floor in a silk dress when I could do it on a folded blanket in my room wearing tights and a t-shirt).

Such a fun event, I totally recommend them to everyone--especially when they are held in a 13th Century town hall, which has been used for balls ever since it was first built. Both [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I came home very inspired to do more Medieval music!

After the event we had time to visit two castles on our way to the airport. One in Miltenburg, the town the event was in (nice red sandstone tower, but the "fine art museum" contains nothing of interest), and one not so far away, built on top of some lovely basalt columns, in Otzburg. The latter has a much nicer museum, with displays from various times in the castle history, and lots of Hobbit stuff, too. apparently the German Tolkein society hosts regular Hobbit days at that site to entertain the tourists.

Now that we are back we need to focus on building a cover for the trailer so that we can take stuff to Double Wars (which is looming really soon now), and at work they are finally installing our laser ablation system. The tech who is doing the work is one of those people who really doesn't talk much--he will answer a direct question, but he volunteers no information, so it is a bit frustrating being there, unable to help or participate. But it is going to be my responsibility to care for it, so I will head back and keep watching tomorrow, even if I would rather be doing than watching.
kareina: (stitched)
The SCA shire of Reengarda (Skellefteå area in northern Sweden) held its annual spring event this weekend. We went, of course, and once again found it to be a delightful event. The site they use is a small old school building. Downstairs there is a kitchen and small dining area/public place, some showers and a sauna. Up stairs there are a couple of rooms with bunk beds in them, and on another floor half way up from the upstairs floor is a small gym.

This year, as usual, site opened on Friday evening, and they had a simple dinner available from 19:00. We got there about thirty minutes thereafter, and unloaded the car and claimed our bunks before heading to the hall to be sociable with people (and let [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar eat something. I, of course, wasn't hungry that late in the evening). I did my yoga and was considering heading to sleep, when some of us started singing, so I stayed up for a while. But then the singing broke up as some wanted to go to bed and others wanted to head outside to the hot tub, so I opted to get some sleep, crawling into bed before 23:00.

However, after only a bit more than an hour's nap I woke up again, so I wandered downstairs to find a few people sitting around a table alternating between singing songs and conversation, so, of course, I joined them. This broke up a bit after 02:00, so I went back to sleep.

Saturday morning was a leisurely breakfast and conversation, after which several of us went for a walk, enjoying the lovely weather--it was around -13 C--the first decent weather since I got back from Australia, weeks ago. So nice not to have above zero temps and melting. Sadly, the lull was brief, and by the time the weekend was over we were back up to the temps flitting back and forth across 0.

After the walk, since I was dressed warmly in wool tunic, coat, and trousers + fur hood and muff, I opted to stay outside and join the workshop in how to throw basic sword blows. There was quite a large group of interested new people, plus a couple who, like me, have done this before, but haven't been in armour in ages. It was fun to do again--seeing the Nordmark Coronet the other weekend reminded me that I actually enjoy SCA combat, and swinging a stick again reminds me that it is fun. It will be interesting to see if those of us who talked about getting some regular unarmoured SCA fighting practice going in Luleå actually pull it off. If I am doing unarmoured training regularly I will be more interested in also putting on armour...

The class ended when it was time for the tournament to begin, and when they asked for someone to keep the records for the tourney I said yes. They said I needed to find pen and paper, and I started to walk to the hall, and then realized that I didn't need any such thing--I have a phone! The tournament was one of the North of Nordmark 500 series of tournaments. These are done in a bear pit style, with the fighters standing in a line waiting their turn. The first two in line begin the tourney, and as soon as one of them is defeated he or she leaves the field, reports to the person keeping track who it was who killed them, and gets in line at the end. Meanwhile the next person in line has moved onto the field to face the one who survived the last bout. Injuries are kept until death, but go away as soon as the fighter gets back in line. The tournament runs till one of the fighter gets 25 victories.

It was fun being the record keeper. We had seven fighters in the list, and one was clearly having a better day than the others. I saw him only four times, and each time he had fought quite a few fights before being killed and having to get back in line. Twice he managed to hold the field through all six other fighters before one managed to take him out. Needless to say, he was the one to reach 25 first. After him were three fighters who all were doing about the same--one had 9 wins, one 10, and the other 11. The remaining three fighters had 0, 1 and 2 wins. All I had time to record was the name of the victor (simple roman numeral tally marks next to the names), but in hindsight it would have been interesting to keep a record of who was matched for each fight, to see if there were patterns to the wins and losses each fighter tallied. One of them said the simplest way to do that would be to video tape the match and then work it out after wards.

After the tourney there was a yummy lunch, followed by a calligraphy workshop. I watched the first bit, a slide show showing some of the various hands devised over the SCA time period, when and where they came from and what features marked them as unique. But when it came time for the hands-on part of the class I was sleepy, and went to take a nap. I woke up just on time for afternoon fika, so I enjoyed a snack and spent time catching up with my minion, whom I don't see near often enough. My minion had previously mentioned to me that he should learn to sew, and when the embroidery class was called after fika he confessed that he was interested, but didn't think he would be able to do it successfully. I pointed out that wielding a needle wasn't any harder than wielding a sword, and helped him to choose some yarn for his first attempt.

Since he had learned to write his name (Wilhelm) during the calligraphy class, and he said that he had no idea what to embroidery, I decided that his first attempt would be to embroider a W, and we choose a period shape for that letter that had nice full strokes, so that there would be something to colour. I had him draw the outline in chalk, then showed him the outline stitch, which he worked in red on the brown fabric provided. Then he took some light blue yarn and I showed him how to do the laid-and-couched work fill. He had time to do the entire outline and completely fill in and finish the first segment of the W before it was time to clear stuff off of the tables so they could set up for the banquet.

The actual class teacher worked with a handful of students at the other end of the table, while I gave my minion one on one attention, replying with encouraging noises every time he asked something like "and this next stitch should go here?". I think he was rather surprised to see how well the project was coming out. Hopefully he will finish it on his own in the near future. The woman who taught the class lives in the same town as he does, if he should have any questions.

I changed from my Viking boy clothes (which were perfect for keeping warm while watching the tourney, and, after a few layers were shed, had been comfortable for the classes) into my brown bliaut for the feast. My new blue silk bliaut didn't see any progress at the event, as I put it on the display table for the A&S contest, since it is far enough along to look like something--it needed only a bit more finishing of one seam (done on the drive home), the lacing, adding the trim to the bottom hem, and adding the garnet beads before it will be done!

The banquet was fun--I played a bit of dulcimer in the corner for some of it, and was rather surprised when people applauded--I had thought of it as background noise. Some of us did some singing, I visited with a bunch of people, including a group of people who were at their first SCA event--I had fun telling them stories of how the SCA got started, and I did my yoga. The food looked fablous, and the spinach and pine nuts looked so good I put some in my ceramic mug and into the fridge so that I could have it for breakfast. This turned out to have been brilliant on my part, since it was really yummy. During a break in the feast a bunch of us went to the gym, where we taught the new people some medieval dances to live music.

After the banquet I joined some folk in the hot tub for a while, but then went to bed around 23:00, since I was, once again, really tired.

Sunday morning I took a walk before breakfast, then enjoyed waffles (with cream and jam) for breakfast (in addition to the above mentioned spinach) and some left over ice cream from the feast. Ok, I had thirds on the ice cream.

Then we packed up and left site early enough to visit [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's brother on the way home and still got home early enough to take a nap before putting everything away before going to folk dancing.

I enjoy this sort of low-key event, where there is only one thing at a time scheduled, so that one doesn't miss anything, unless one chooses to take a nap.
kareina: (stitched)
I already mentioned that I was up late at the SCA event on the weekend because I was having so much fun. Well, that pattern has continued into the week, too--I haven't made it to bed before 01:00 all week, but am still getting up early enough to do the 45 minute walk to work in the morning. Mind you, I am not arriving at the office at 07:00 or 07:15 as I often do, but instead more like 07:30 or 07:45, but I am still the first one in my corridor. However, I have still be going home at 11:00 or 12:00 when [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar goes home for lunch, so I may want to work a few hours on Friday to make up for it.

So far this work week has been spent researching travel and accommodation for the conference in Australia in February, reading my student's thesis drafts, and compiling information as to what standards are available, from where, and for how much, so that we can decide which ones to get now, to have ready when the Laser Ablation-ICP-MS arrives, and which ones we will wait on till the lab is generating a bit of income from fees paid by the users. (It is farily obvious that if the department doesn't have the budget to cover a full time salary for me, they don't have a huge budget for buying standards, either. (not that it is broke or anything, just that, like at most unis, the cash available in the department is mostly tied to specific research grants, and can't be used for things not directly related to those projects)).

At home I have been focusing on projects. I want a new bliaut--my first one is getting worn out. We have some lovely dark blue silk that I want to use, and have been wondering if I want to do it with or without the tummy gathers that was fashionable in the 12th century. I haven't been all that happy with the gathers on brown wool bliaut, but that has more to do with the fact that they don't always sit right, and often need adjusting. Somehow I don't think I would have that problem with the lighter weight silk. However, another issue with the brown is that the skirt is heavy enough that even though when I first lace the dress the hem is all one length and up off the ground, over the course of the day it droops on the sides and people start to step on it while I am dancing, which isn't an issue with the older blue bliaut, since it is only just long enough for me, even unlaced (the brown is longer than I am tall when it is unlaced).

But what has really and truly decided me on skipping the gathering this time around was the hours I have spent doing two different cutting diagrams--one if I make it extra long and gather it up, and the other if I don't. The latter option lets me get another set of skirt gores out of the fabric, transforming the skirt from just under 3/4 circle to just about a full circle skirt. Can you say "dancing skirt"? I apologize to people who care about 12 Century fashion and think that this style is better with the tummy gathers--I am going to go for the fuller skirt instead...
kareina: (stitched)
This weekend we were at an SCA event held in an old village school house not far south of the city of Umeå. It was ever so much fun, and reminds me why, even though I now have many other hobbies to fill in the time between SCA events within a reasonable commute, the SCA really is the hobby of my heart. Höstdansen (The Autumn Dance) is a delightful event, that I have enjoyed every time I have attended (I missed one since moving to Sweden, nearly 4 years ago, the year it had last minute scheduling issues and got moved to the same weekend as the Frostheim Fencing Weekend, at which I had already promised to teach dancing). However, I think this year was even more fun than the other years.

We had a surprisingly balanced group--for all of the day time classes we had the same number of men as women dancing. It was not until the dance set after the feast that we started getting pairs of women dancing with one another as a few of the men were no longer feeling well. We ran one set of dance classes in the morning, with Dis and I taking calling dances from Arbeau to everyone, and then for the next set we split into two groups--she took the beginners downstairs to work with some Playford dances, and she left me the experienced dancers upstairs, where we did lots of Playford dances--just doing the ones we alrady knew, and I introduced them to some of the more complicated ones that they haven't done before, and I hadn't done since moving to Sweden because we hadn't had enough dancers (we had eight, including me, in our group).

In the afternoon we reviewed the morning's dances and tossed in Black Alaman and Saltero as well. And, of course, after the first course of the Banquet in the evening we did more dancing, during which we had live music for a while, before we ran out of songs he knew and we switched back to playing stuff from my phone. (I love today's world--it is lovely to have so much dance music with me at all times, ready to play at a moment's notice. However, Dis and I agree we should set a date to get together, consolidate our music libraries, listen to all of the different versions of the various dances we have and decide which ones we like best and label them, so that when we actually want to dance we don't have to play all four versions of a song before deciding which one we want to use. Pity we didn't think of this while they were still living in Luleå. Oh well, it will give us an excuse to visit Umeå (like we need one, given how many of our close friends live there), or them an excuse to visit Luleå.)

After the second course of the banquet a bunch of us started singing, and I wound up staying up hours later than I would other wise have because it was so much fun. There were a few people who have been in the SCA nearly as long as I have, and they knew songs I haven't heard in years, so we mixed in a fair few SCA traditional songs in English to the standard SCA Swedish song collection. So much fun!

flying!

Jun. 18th, 2014 08:10 am
kareina: (me)
flying

Ok, it isn't me flying in this photo, but he can, and has done this with me, too. However, our dance teacher wanted the smallest girl in the group for this, since it is prettier the higher she spins, and since I am several inches taller my feet wind up closer to the ground. Just linking to the photo here because I made an attempt to describe this in my post the other day, and this is so much better than a verbal description.
kareina: (me)
This weekend was Spelmansstämman, the big gathering of folk musicians and dancers from all over northern Sweden and further away (including a buss of 20 from Norway, a couple of guys from Germany, one of whom comes every year). It is always a fun event, but this time it was even more fun than usual. A couple of our SCA friends from out of town came up for it and stayed with us. She arrived on Thursday evening early enough to join us for dinner and we spent a delightful evening hanging out with her.

Friday morning [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar had to work, but since I have finally finished my report and can't do more with the paper until my colleagues at the mine get back to me, I had Friday off, so she and I used the time to make her a pattern for a Viking apron dress for the Viking themed larp we are doing in August (the one where I will be playing a (male) warrior chief). She will also be able to wear the dress for SCA events, of course, which is part of why the organizers, who are also SCA, decided to do one set in this time period.

Friday afternoon the other house guest arrived, with his violin. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar picked him up at the bus stop and we all enjoyed lunch together, then spent the afternoon hanging out and doing lessons for them in Swedish Folk Dancing, since they had little experience with that (she had also had a lesson the night before). We also baked a pound cake, since the next day was his birthday. Then we went to the opening concert for Spelmansstämman, followed by the first night of folk dancing.

I have loved these dances since [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar brought me to my first one (this is my fourth year!), and this time was even more fun than the previous years. In part because we had a couple of friends with us, and also because I have gotten to know more people in the local Folk Dance group, so there were lots of people I was comfortable asking to dance, which also meant that I also asked people I didn't recognize to dance as well. Sure, some of those declined, but I managed to dance nearly every dance that happened between 20:00 and 22:00 (only missed the ones that happened when I needed to go use a toilet--the short breaks where they change musicians aren't long enough to accomplish that errand, especially as there is usually a line, since the old school house we dance in has only the two toilets).

Then it was our shift to go outside and work the hamburger stand (most people in the folk music and dance group wind up working a few shifts over the weekend to ensure the event happens), so I missed an hour of dancing, but we danced more from 23:00 to nearly midnight, when we went home, everyone did some yoga/stretching, then I took a hot shower and went to bed, since we had to get up in the morning to make it back in for the final rehearsal before our dance performance. I am glad they all joined me for the yoga, since the company meant that it was easier to do enough stretching to keep my legs from hurting after all the dancing.

Saturday morning we were back on site by 11:00, our rehearsal was at 11:15, and then we spread the ground cloth in the shade near the stage and settled in to enjoy the performances that happened before our dance performance (well, our guests did a fair bit of wandering around, since he had never been to Hängnan before, but I mostly stayed at our spot with the musical instruments and lunch bag). The music was wonderful, as it always is, especially when the Luleå Hembygdsgillet (our folk music group) played, and our dance performance was fun. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar got mid-dance applause when he did the flying trick with the smallest girl in our group (he can, and has, done it with me, too, but it looks more impressive with the smaller girl, since she will float higher than I do). This trick involves the girl placing her hands on the man's hip bones as he wraps his hands around her upper back, then then start spinning around one another, and once they are going fast enough she picks her feet up and flies. It is lots of fun!

After the performance we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on site listening to music, chatting with one another, and with a variety of other friends who made it to the event (including one of the exchange students from our choir), and passing out flyers for the Medieval days we have, at the same location, next month. We also found a birthday present for one of our guests: the booth that sells folk costumes and accessories happened to have one men's cap which was in exactly the correct size and the perfect colour to go with the beautiful blue-black herringbone twill wool vest he was wearing. The hat looked so good on him we bought it for him.

Then we went home, ate dinner and the pound cake with berries and cream to properly celebrate our guest's birthday, took a 20 minute nap, and then went back for the second night of folk dancing. This time I didn't have a shift at the hamburger stand, but [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar did, so I just kept dancing all night. I did not, however, manage to dance all morning too--around midnight (after about four hours of nearly non stop dancing) my legs were getting sore, and the others were also feeling like they could be done, so we went back to the house, enjoyed more yoga and conversation, followed by the boys playing violin and nyckleharpa for us (neither had touched their instruments during the dance and were both itching to play) and then I took another hot shower to finish making the legs feel better before going to sleep around 03:40 (note that this far north and this time of the year the sun is not just on the way back up, it has long since cleared the trees at that hour).

Sunday we went back to site on time to participate in the parade from the old stone church to the stage over at the open air museum, we girls just wearing our folk costumes, which we had been wearing all weekend (hers was her mother's wedding dress and is very pretty) and the boys playing their violins with the other musicians. Then we settled down in the same shady spot as Saturday to enjoy the day's "allspel" (everyone plays) (which [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar participated in, but our guest decided that the stage was too crowded and he would just as soon sit and listen with us).

[livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar had played his nyckleharpa for Saturday's "allspel", but had his violin on Sunday, and said that it was easier for one big reason: with the violin he could hear his own instrument over everyone else's playing (since it is so close to his ear) and so had the feedback to let him know he was playing correctly. However, the nyckleharpa is played holding it down at waist level, so is harder to hear one's own instrument.

After the "allspel" it was 13:00, time for our last duty shift--sitting the gate this time. Since there were not so many people coming in our gate (which is over by the back parking lot that is used by those of us who are on duty, and we were all already on site) we took the opportunity to enjoy some lunch while we worked, and then at 14:00 we closed the gate for the weekend--anyone who wanted to show up for the final hour of the event needn't pay.

Then we walked back up to the church so that our guest could do some photography, and then we popped by the home of the other laurel in the shire, since he lives between the church and the open air museum. He had just finished taking a break from some yard work, and offered us Popsicles, which we happily accepted. Even me--yes, it is just sugar water, and I don't normally like or eat such things, but with all of the dancing and walking I had been doing all weekend, on short sleep, I think my body actually appreciated the energy boost. While there we asked him about the Viking themed larp, since I had asked him some weeks ago if he would be able to participate. It turns out he isn't available, but will happily loan me some of his costumes, armour, and accessories for that weekend, which will make it so much easier to appear to be a high-status warrior chief.

His wife got home just as we were about to leave, so we got to say hello to her too, and see how much their daughter has grown since I saw them last in December. That little girl has the biggest eyes! (Which will, no doubt, come in very handy many times in her life.)

We returned to the event, but the final act of the day had ended, and they had already closed down the fika stand, so we went home and enjoyed more cake, cream and berries there and a bit more relaxing and conversation (and copying some of [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's anime collection onto a hard drive for our guest to take home with her for later viewing before she had to start driving. His bus was a bit later, so we took him into town and did a stroll there--he hadn't ever been to Luleå before, and then dropped him at his bus at 20:00.

After dropping him off we went home and spent some time snuggling with one another before concluding the evening hanging out on skype with [livejournal.com profile] linda_linsefors. Yoga was done while we talked on skype, which meant that I got to bed before 02:00.

Today I spent the morning doing vacuuming, several loads of laundry (all of the guest bedding and our own bedding), tidying, and minor home improvement projects, followed by an afternoon on the computer, where I started putting together slides for the conference talk I am doing on the weekend (in Copenhagen) and replied to emails from a colleague at the mine (who will defer the decision as to if my paper is sufficiently vague about the details of the 3D model I created to be published as is, or if they are going to have to censor anything), and my Master's student (who returned the books he had borrowed from me by leaving them in the cabinet in the microscope room before he departed for his summer job, so I will need to go pick them up later and return them to my office).

This evening we had rehearsal for the Midsummer dance performance. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar won't be joining us for that performance (he never does these days--for Midsummer instead of dancing he runs the sound equipment for the performances at the park over near the city center, as it is a fun change for him after so many years of doing that dance performance), but he came along tonight so that he could stand in for the people who couldn't make it tonight, but will be dancing with us on Friday. So he spent part of the night as a 12 year old boy, and the other part as the boy's mother.

That took only about 30 minutes, which gave him time to check some of the sound equipment he will need on Friday (yes, the item that had been broken last summer has, in fact, been repaired in the mean time) before we went home, where we finally got around to measuring the two sheds we have, and all of the items in them, so that I could then sit down and draw them up in CorelDraw. Now we have a better idea of where/how we would be able to fit in his dad's lathe, which we may be picking up later this week when we go get the tractor.
kareina: (stitched)
We had a couple of delightful couch surfers the first part of this week. They arrived Tuesday afternoon and stayed through to Friday morning. She is from California (grew up in Santa Cruz, went to UC Berkeley for undergrad, and is now at UCLA for a PhD studying butterflys), and her boyfriend/traveling companion is from Portugal--they met because he wrote some code to make a camera follow a butterfly in a wind tunnel). We brought them with us to Choir on Tuesday, which turned out to be a very good thing, since she since soprano, and if she hadn't been there we would have had only one soprano, and they both had fun. Wednesday they cooked us dinner and we stayed up too late chatting, and Thursday we took them to the Frostheim arts and science night, which they also enjoyed. (He had never heard of the SCA--she had heard of us, but never been to any SCA activities--if any of you know people in her area that might be a good SCA contact let me know and I can forward details to her.)

They left Friday during the day, and Friday night we finally got around to starting dealing with the one major issue with the house that we have known about since the inspection before we bought the place. One of the rooms downstairs has a raised floor, which had mold growing under it. The rest of the basement has painted concrete floors, and no problems. We are fairly certain that the mold under the raised floor didn't start growing till the previous owners switched out the old wood stove heating system for the down hole heat exchange system (which is what wikipedia says is the English term for "bergvärme")--wood stoves dry out the air much better than the mix of electric and geothermal heating we now have. We have been meaning to take out that floor since moving in, but hadn’t gotten to it till now, since there were plenty of other things higher on the priority list.

Friday [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar took off the top layer of that floor—a not too bad looking fake wood floor that is actually only a few millimetres thick, and came off with ease. Under that there is a red fake tile layer that looks like it may well date to 1966, when the house was built. It is harder to pull off, and below that is a layer of plywood held up by boards which have layers of insulation between them. That is where the mold is growing. He got the top layer off and did a bit of removing a corner of the rest, to see how tough it is going to be. It will be doable, but not easy, and it was getting late, so we shut the door to that room and went to sleep. Even with the door shut the rest of downstairs was smelling of mold the next morning, so we opened the window in there (on this occasion it may be a good thing that the winter has been so darned mild—with the temps above zero, again, this week, it isn’t a hardship to leave that window open) and covered the under-door crack with cloth from the rag bag. With luck we will get a chance to finish removing the rest of that stuff and clean the underlying concrete with bleach to get rid of the last of the mold before we paint it.

Saturday morning we went into the city center for the Frostheim annual meeting, where I was disappointed to discover that just because I can understand everything in Swedish at my SFI course does not mean that I can follow everything said in a Shire business meeting. Ah well, I did catch more of it than last year, which was more than the year before. Eventually it will all make sense.

After the meeting we met up with some of the folk from our Choir for some random drive-by performances. We went into one of the malls, found a nice spot near the escalators, and sang a song, then quickly left, went into another mall, found a nice spot and sang a song, and then again at a third mall before deciding we were done for the day. While most people passing through the malls paid us no attention, we were pleased to note that at each stop there were at least a couple of people who paused to listen.

After the performance a number of us went back to our house, where we baked home-made pizza and cookies. Yum! The good news is that the six of us were enough to finish all of the cookies straight away, so I am not tempted to eat left over cookies. The better news is that there was left over pizza, so I didn’t need to cook today.

Saturday evening our next set of couch surfers arrived. These two live in Uppsala, where they are PhD students. She comes from Solvania, and he is French. They have a conference in town this week, and wanted to come early to do some sight-seeing and ice skating. They actually flew in Saturday morning, but wanted to have time for adventures, so they walked from the airport to the city, stopping to play on the ice along the way. Sadly for them, spring is seriously early this year, so the ice was kind of went and not so good for skating, but they did find the kick-sleds the city provides, and enjoyed those.

This morning I got up early and walked into uni to do some photocopying. Our couch surfers slept in a bit later, such that they were walking to uni, with the plan to visit Teknikins Hus (the cool science museum on campus) as I was walking home, so we stopped and chatted a bit before heading our separate ways. We met up again in the evening at the Folk Music session in Gammelstad—they enjoyed listening to the music as much as I always do, and they also enjoyed watching a bit of our folk dance class, but they went out and explored Gammelstad for the second half of class and then rode home with us, where they gave us some gifts for hosting them--a photocopy of a book on nålbindning for Uppsala (part of the reason she sent us the request is that she also likes nålbindning) and a wooden needle she had made.

Tomorrow it is back to class and back to work. We don't have any any more couch surfers scheduled--after getting three requests in a row so quickly I have set my status back to "no" so that we can focus on project and work for a bit. But they were all such nice people hopefully I will remember to turn the status back to "maybe" in a few weeks or so.
kareina: (me)
On Saturday one of our friends (our folk dance teacher) had a 60th birthday party. Since she was born in the 1950's she decided on a 50's theme for the party, and nearly everyone went dressed in period-appropriate clothing, and a number of people went to the effort of doing their hair in 50's style too. I made a new skirt for the occasion. I have wanted a circle skirt for years, so I couldn't resist the excuse to actually do it. Monday evening I dug into our fabric stash and found a nice blue cotton fabric that looked useful. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar also had some blue and white fabric trim in two widths that looked nice with it, so I opted to use that, too. Monday evening I cut the fabric (four large wedges with one straight edge the selvage, the other straight edge 90 degree from there, with a curve cut for the waist, and another curve for the hem), sewed the wedges together, gathered them onto the waist band, and finished the waist band with two bits of the wider trim (one at the top of the waist, the other covering the seam between the waist and the skirt). That took about 2 hours and 40 minutes, and I wisely decided to put it down for the night, since it was already 23:00.

I didn't get another chance to touch it during the week. Tuesday evening was Choir, Wednesday evening we went to iaido and jodo practice. This is a martial art that he used to do very actively, but had gotten out of the habit of attending some time before I moved here, and he has been interested in getting back into it. I was the only new student, so while the others used most of the gym to practice the more advances stuff one of our friends pulled me aside to teach me the basics. He taught only in Swedish, but he is always careful to speak slowly and clearly, and I did just fine following him, and enjoyed the session enough that I want to return again this week (in fact, afterwards I even looked up the name of the 12 basic movements and the 12 katas used in jodo and set up a form in the logging app I use on my phone, so that when I go I need only tic the ones I did on a given week, rather than having to type in a list and thus remember the spelling). Thursday and Friday I did uni work well into the evening, so I didn't get another chance to sew till Saturday morning.

Therefore I got up fairly early on Saturday and cut out some nice large pockets (big enough to hold a paperback novel) and inset them into the side seams of the skirt. That took around two hours, by which time [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I could get him to mark the hem for me. Then I pinned the trim to that line and turned the sewing over to him to sew it to the fabric, while I baked some gluten free cookies to bring to the party. He also cut off the excess fabric and did the sewing of the bottom side of the trim to the bottom of the skirt, but I helped by sitting by him as he sewed and folding the cut edge of the fabric to the inside under the edge of the trim. That all took about 3 hours and 20 minutes, so total time elapsed for the skirt was six hours.

During the party there was, of course, dancing--first to 50's music on the stereo, and later in the evening to Swedish Folk music, since the birthday girl's husband and many of their friends are musicians who bring their violins and guitars to parties. I was very happy with my skirt for dancing--it is full enough that when I spin It gets out to completely horizontal (perhaps even a bit higher, it is tough to tell while being the one wearing it). I did, of course, wear a smaller skirt as a "petticoat", so I don't think my legs showed completely during the spins, but it was really fun to get that much movement from the skirt.

Sunday [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar drove down to the Skellefteå area so that he could help out his brother fix some stuff with the wiring in his new house. I brought along my work computer and got in several more hours of work while the boys did wiring and his wife kept their small son entertained. It was nice to see them, and to see how well they have managed to settle in since moving. They have a much nicer house than we to--I envy them the spacious kitchen. Granted, my current kitchen is so much bigger and nicer than the one I had when we were in the apartment that I shouldn't complain.

This will be another very busy week--things to do most evening, and way too much to do for work, and I need to prepare a presentation the following week for the group trip down to Boliden to present to the folk at the mine headquarters what I have accomplished during my research. The others at LTU who have also done collaboration with Boliden will also be presenting their work. It will be fun, but that is one day lost in writing a paper. (but the presentation will nicely form the basis of the one I need to do for a conference in January, so that will be nice).
kareina: (fresh baked rolls)
This has been one of those delightful weekends where I get to enjoy being at home, in the house I love. We did go out, briefly, Friday night--our Choir, which is a university student choir (one need not actually be a student to participate, one need only love to sing), has been about half exchange students this year. Therefore we agreed to be part of the entertainments for the exchange student formal farewell dinner. It was a tough, but enthusiastic crowd. The noise level in the room was high, so it took lots of effort to get their attention and get them to quiet down a bit when we sung, yet, after every song they clapped and cheered with enthusiasm. However, while it was a fun diversion, it was only a short chunk of the evening, and we spent the rest of it at home, working far late into the evening. Ok, so this time of the year it FEELS late in the evening, because we went to bed around 02:00, by which time the sky, which never really got dark, was starting to brighten again as the sun was getting close to ready to crawl back above the horizon. I love living this close to the Arctic Circle--I was chatting on line with a friend from Scotland just before I went to bed, and he was surprised that we were already getting light--Edinburgh doesn't get light until 04:00 this time of year.

Saturday was a project day. Months ago I built myself a leather baldric with pockets to carry my phone, the bluetooth adapter which lets my phone talk to my hearing aids, and my car keys. I wanted that to be black, but we didn't have any black leather dye, so I left if plain, and hand-sewed the pieces together with linen thread. I thought at the time that I should either line it or reinforce the edges, but ran out of time and just started using it. Eventually I added another pocket, and intended to add a flap with a snap so that it would stay closed, but hadn't gotten around to it. Recently I noticed that some of my seams were coming apart--the linen thread was wearing out. Therefore I decided that it was time to do the complete overhaul, making all of the corrections that I have been thinking of.

So I took it apart, cleaned it, and dyed it. Since I never found a local source of black leather dye and we never bothered to order any, I decided to just use the little bit of dye that I have left from what I inherited from my step dad. I was down to three partial bottles of varying shades of red (mahogany, ox blood, and red), so I opted to combine what was left in the two darker bottles, and used those to dye the smooth side of the leather, and the plain red to dye the back side. This gave me exactly enough dye to colour all of the pieces of the baldric, but not the new strips I cut to made edging. Therefore I now have a red baldric with natural colour borders. Once the leather was dry and I had mink oiled it to soften it up again [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar sewed it together for me using a sewing machine. the end result is much more professional looking than what I have been using for months.

This project took most of the day, but we also managed to take away our recycling, for the first time since we moved in! We had been putting it off because we weren't certain where to take it. It turns out that there is a small station only a few km from here, in the next small village to the north. Now that we know how simple it is to get rid of it we are likely to take it away more often than once every six months. The good news is that we generate a small enough amount of trash that can be recycled that six months worth of it will all fit in our car at once.

In addition to that he got to spend some time out in the yard, gathering up bits of trees/bushes that had been cut down and left there by the previous owner. We now have a nice pile of wood that can be burned later. It was such a pretty day that he enjoyed every minute of it. I joined him for the end of that, after the dying was complete, and before we took away the recycling.

That evening I also went to bed around 02:00, but [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, who was having fun writing a script to help me with my uni work, didn't go to bed till 06:00! Needless to say, I made no attempt to wake him when I got up around 09:00. He got up around 11:00 and we enjoyed a pleasant afternoon alternating between being lazy, chopping up and fetching some of that wood up the hill (so we can have a fire for Tuesday's choir party, which we are hosting here), doing music (him) and hand-sewing (me), and remembering to eat something before Folk Dancing this evening.

Dancing was fun, as usual. I am still bummed that I will miss the performance for Sweden's National Day on the 6th of June, but I am fairly certain I will enjoy the class I will be at. yoga is done, this is updated, I think I should go get some sleep, as I have lots I need to do at work this week before I fly south for that class.
kareina: (me)
Ever since we bought the house last November we have wanted to host some sort of SCA gathering here (larger than dance practice), and, at long last, one has been scheduled. On Tuesday we missed choir practice (since [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar came home from Double Wars with a bit of a sore throat, and so probably shouldn't be singing). Therefore we suddenly had a free evening, so we decided to head to the Frostheim sewing night instead. We have been wanting to attend this local SCA sewing night since it started up last autumn, but it meets every other Tuesday, and we are normally at choir on Tuesdays. Somehow spending a week at Double Wars helped me to be even more keen to show up--one week of hanging out with SCA folk and working on sewing projects wasn't enough--I wanted more.

While at sewing night we all discussed plans for a summer SCA gathering & potluck, at which we could dance, sew, do archery, fighter practice, soak in the shire hot tub, or whatever else we feel for on the day. A couple of dates were suggested, and the one that worked for most of us present was Mid-Summer itself: 22 June. This is in direct conflict with the Drachenwald 20-year Anniversary event, but there are a number of us in the shire who would have liked to have attended that, but can't, so having our own revel on that day sounds like a very good thing to do.

If any of you have been contemplating a visit to Northern Sweden, this would make a grand excuse. The midnight sun is delightful--we are just far enough south that we do have a sunset at mid-Summer, but it never gets dark. So come join us!
kareina: (stitched)
My last few posts have focused on that grant application I turned in on Wednesday, but some of you might wonder, what else has been happening in my life? Well, we had a house guest last week, which was fun. A geologist I met last year when she spent a few months working at LTU in collaboration with some of my colleagues. I introduced her to some of my gaming friends, and she quickly became part of our circle. It was a delight having her back up here. She arrived a week ago, on Sunday afternoon. That was a busy day for us--we went to an SCA friend's birthday party in the early afternoon, then picked up A. from the airport, went home, and cooked dinner. Then she and I walked to Gammelstad, enjoying a beautiful walk through the forest--it takes about 50 minutes to get there, and that proved to be a wonderful warm-up for our folk dance session.

Monday she and I walked in to uni together, and she enjoyed the beautiful views of my lake-walk as much as I do. The first half of the week the weather stayed good--freezing solidly at night, and still as cold as -10 C each morning, so I continued to walk to and from Uni on the lake. But Thursday and Friday I drove down to Öjebyn to do sample collecting, and the days were warmer. I noticed on the drives that the rivers in this area have some exposed water, so I knew that my days of walking on the lake were limited. This morning when I got up it was already +3 C at 07:00, and when I tried going for a walk I discovered that, sadly, the snow on the forest path is now soft enough that even where the snow machines had packed it firmly it is now squishy and easily broken through. I turned back after only five minutes, and instead got out my trike and went for a ride along the road and paved bike path, instead. I am so not going to head back out onto the lake again till next winter. Sigh. I miss that short-cut already. Why is winter so bloody short?

We had several folk dancing sessions in this past week--rehearsed for next weekend's "Dans Fyrverkeri", which is a series of performances by all of the different dance groups that exist in Luleå (or at least all that wanted to come out and play)--in addition to our folk dance group there will also be Balkan dancing, Salsa, street dancing, and several more. I love these rehearsals, since they are done with live music, so that the musicians can practice, too.

On Friday night we hosted a party for our choir, which was much fun. The first half of the evening we just hung out and visited. One of the girls expressed interest in my costumes, so we played dress up. My brown bliaut looks even better on her than it does on me! But even more fun than that was the latter half of the evening--singing! I love singing in a group of people, and it was a delight to have my living room full of people, all singing together.

Saturday's highlight was furniture re-arranging. I have always loved that activity. This time we moved the loom from the upstairs craft room/library/office to the downstairs movie room, and then we moved my computer station to next to his, so that now we can sit mostly side-by side and within reach of one another while on the computer. This is much nicer!

Today's dance class was much fun, since it was just going over the dances for next Saturday's performances--I love practice more than learning, because the dance to talk ratio tends to be high.

This will be a busy week at work--I got some new data back from the analysis of new samples on Friday, and, since I was collecting new samples that day, haven't yet had a chance to look at it. I am looking forward to doing science again, after a couple of weeks devoted to writing the grant proposal (e.g. talking about doing science, instead of doing it).
kareina: (stitched)
When last I checked in here I had just enjoyed a lovely weekend at home, and was getting ready to travel for work in a couple of days.

That trip went well, if a bit full-on and tiring )

Unsurprisingly, I didn't accomplish all that much that Friday as I recovered my energy levels from the week.

The next day we drove two hours inland to attend the Jokkmokksvintermarknad, an annual winter market that has been happening since the early 1600's. During the drive I finally managed to finish the nice, warm, fur lined hood that I started last winter--the perfect thing to wear when attending an outdoor market north of the Arctic Circle.

We spent a couple of hours wandering in the market, and then drove 30 minutes back this way to a village where a friend of [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar works at the hotel. We stopped in to visit her at work, and a large group of people he knows were having dinner in the restaurant, so he got hugs all around and I got to meet a bunch of new people.

When she got off of work the three of us drove back out to Jokkmokk, where we attended the Folk Music and Dance session, arriving just as things began at 21:00 The hall where the dance was held is a very old timber building, with only a fireplace in the corner to provide heat. The temperature outside was -30 C (-22 F), and they were just starting the fire in the fireplace as we got there. There was no thermometer in the room, but I am fairly certain the room was below zero when we arrived. Certainly it was cold enough that I left on my fur lined hood for the first three dances. After that there were enough people in the room, and I had moved enough I could take off the hood, but I never did need to take off the wool tights or wool trousers I had on under the dancing skirt, nor did I need to take off the wool sweater. I don't think I have ever danced in such a cold room, but it was so much fun!

We danced till midnight, drove the friend back to her village, and then did the long drive home--managed to get to bed that night at 03:45 that morning!

It isn't really a surprise that we didn't go anywhere that Sunday--not even to our normal folk music and dance sessions. Oops.

This week was a normal level of busy at work--with too much to do, and not enough time to do everything I want to accomplish each day, but I didn't have to go anywhere to do it (worked from home some days--skied to the office on others). Monday was Dance practice at our place, Tuesday was Choir, Wednesday and Thursday evenings were spent on errands and projects, and Friday was an extra choir practice to prep for an upcoming performance, so the week slipped by so quickly that I somehow never did sit down to update LJ.

Today was a mini-gaming convention, and we had signed up for the morning and afternoon games. This morning we played Kagematsu, and this afternoon we played Sagas of the Icelanders.

In the morning session we were villagers on a small island which used to depend on pearl exports for cash money, but trading hasn't gone so well since the pirates started coming around demanding bribes to go a way and not plunder us after all of our men folk went off to the wars. We thought things would go better when a samurai got shipwrecked on our shores, and we managed to convince him to stay and be our protector, but then the pirates attacked in greater numbers than we could handle, and the village was destroyed. A tragedy, but a fun game to play nonetheless.

In the afternoon we had to deal with a potential blood feud sparked by the death of one man at the hands of the shield maiden on the next farm. Lots of dealing with honour, valour, tabbos, revenge, gods, witchcraft, etc. An all around fun day.

Tomorrow [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar flies to Stockholm for two weeks of work. I am hoping that I can use the opportunity to make great progress on my research for work, without too many distractions. Wish me luck.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
I spent last week in Stockholm for a short course on Thermocalc. If anyone had told the undergraduate version of me that I would one day voluntarily spend from 10:00 to 19:30 several days in a row for one class, instead of the 30 to 60 minutes at at time I was used to back then, she would have told them that they were mad. Yet I was so grateful for the chance. This program uses thermodynamic data to calculate which mineral phases will be stable at any given temperature or pressure based on the input parameters. Unlike the program Perple_X, which I used during my PhD research, Thermocalc requires a LOT more user input at every step of the way to draw the diagrams. Perple_X takes your input data, thinks about it for some time (minutes or hours, depending on what data you start with), and spits out a diagram showing which groups of minerals will be stable at which temps and pressures for the bulk composition in question. Thermocalc instead does the calculation for each boundary between regions of different mineral assemblages for you, but you have to tell it one at a time which calculations you want to do. This means you are effectively drawing the diagram yourself, the program is just there to work out the exact orientation and position of the lines, you choose which lines are drawn. The disadvantage is that it takes much more user time. The advantage is that when you are done you UNDERSTAND why each and every line is there. Totally worth the class to truly understand how and why these diagrams work. So very grateful I didn't try to teach myself how to use this program--one really does need a teacher. At least if one is me...

The downside of having to go away for the course was that I was gone for [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's birthday. So I celebrated that evening by baking shortbread cookies for him, and chatting on the phone with him, and I brought most of the cookies home for him the next day when class ended. I did leave some of the cookies with my host. She is a geologist I met when she was up visiting LTU to do some collaboration with one of the people at our uni. She was here for a month or three, so I introduced her to my gaming group and she really enjoyed hanging out with the lot of us. It was nice to see her again in her own home. It was also nice to discover that a series of books I have really enjoyed has been translated to Swedish, since she has them all on her bookshelf. Sadly, the science fiction book shop in Stockholm didn't have the Swedish version in stock, so I contented myself with picking up a copy of Hobbiten (note: in Swedish the word "the" is added to the end of word with either the suffix "en" or "et", depending on the word. apparently "Hobbit" is an -"en" word.)

Tomorrow marks a full week since I got home from Stockholm, yet today was the first chance I have had to sit down and write up a post. Well, I could have done it last night, since Choir doesn't start back up again till next week, but when I sat down to check LJ [livejournal.com profile] blamebrampton mentioned that she had written a new story, and I lost the evening reading it. She says that the story is 66,000 words, and it took me just over three and a half hours to read it, so I my reading speed turns out to be about 300 words/minute. I bet it is no where near that fast in Swedish! Technically, reading this breaks my "no fiction in Swedish unless it is reading outloud to someone else" rule, but reading LJ doesn't count, right? Sadly, she never has found me someone writing fan fic in Swedish, but then again, I am still happier reading stories I already know, so that I don't have to look up the words.

Monday we hosted the first ever dance practice in our living room. A couple of people said they plan to come next time, but couldn't make it this time, but we still had four dancers total (including us), which is enough for lots of dances, and we had fun doing them. One of the two dancers who joined us is from the folk dance organization, and the other is an SCA dancer who recently moved here from Umeå. After dancing I posted to both the folk dance email list and the SCA forum saying which dances we did and reminding everyone that they are welcome to join us for the next one, in two weeks time. That evening I got a reply from a musician who wants to come play music for us next time if the others in her group are interested. I, of course, replied with an enthusiastic yes, they are welcome.

On Saturday the folk dance group is having a dance-share day--all of the different dance groups will gather and show the others what they do, so I will go and try the ones new to me, and share the Medieval stuff with them. Perhaps someone will like it enough to come along.

Next week I head down to Boliden for more sample collecting. I would love to just stay home, I like home, but the samples need collecting, and sooner is better than later, since it can take months before the results get back once we send them away for analysis.
kareina: (Default)
What have I been up to?

Today was an SCA demo at a Scout Camp. The entire camp has a Medieval theme, so we fit right in. Some of the leaders of the Scout group have participated with Frostheim before, and they really appreciated the fact that we could come out. We had the whole afternoon available, so the plan had been to do perhaps half an hour of intro, then a good 40 minutes each of dancing, fencing, and heavy fighting. I liked that plan as I would have time to change out of dancing clothes and into armour while the fencers played. However, plans don't always go according to schedule. My first clue was the morning phone call from the guy who organized the day--he couldn't make it, he needed to take his kid to the doc (it turns out to be Scarlet Fever), but he assured me that the local Count and Countess would still be coming. My first thought was "great--that was our one native Swedish speaker", since my Swedish is still poor, and he comes from England and she is from Finland. However, despite not being a native Swedish speaker, she is fluent in Swedish.

Therefore she did the intro talk, and then I started the kids dancing. We had time to do a farandole and I started to teach them the Maltese Bransle before the rain started. Since it was a decently heavy rain we decided to take a break, and the kids scattered to various places under cover. We stood on the porch for a bit, chatting with some of the Scout leaders, and then decided that since it didn't look like it was going to stop raining anytime soon, perhaps we could move the dancing into the hall. It was a bit crowded, but by having an inner and an outer ring for the bransle we were able to make us all fit. We did several more dances before switching to showing the kids the armour and talking about what we do.

With the organizer of the demo out that left only one person who could have done fencing, so we skipped that part, and instead the knight did a talk (in English, translated by one of the Scout leaders, which I appreciated, as it helped reinforce my slowly growing vocabulary) about fighting, passed around his armour to look at, and then put it on and let me hit him a bit. We decided not to fight in the rain--not only is it not so pleasant for the audience, slippery grass increases the odds of injury, especially for knees and ankles. The room's ceiling was far too low to consider actual combat inside, so we didn't bother to put me in armour at all. After showing them the basic blows the rain stopped, so he took the kids outside and let them take turns hitting him. Everyone seemed to enjoy the day.

This week's two biggest work accomplishments have been filling in paperwork to apply for a visa to visit Russia and resubmitting a paper. The visa paperwork took a while. They wanted to know every country I have visited in the last decade (I opted to list only the most recent visit to countries I have visited more than once), every university I have attended, and all civil, professional, and/or charitable organizations I have ever been a member of. These questions did not exist on the form for my collegues, who have Swedish passports. It was because I am using an Australian passport that I had the extra questions. I am curious as to if I would have had even more questions had I used my US passport, but not curious enough as to actually try it.

Resubmitting the paper was nice and easy. Both reviewers suggested that it be accepted, with minor revisions, and I was able to do most of the revisions on my own (I am extremely grateful for the reviewer who took the time to go through the text and highlight typos--no matter what I typed the first time, rocks are not "wildly" distributed across Tasmania!). There were only four points which I felt necessary to consult with my PhD supervisor, so I emailed him straight away, and the next morning I had a reply. His reply included an offer to write a tricky paragraph if I wanted. My first impulse was to say "yes, please", but then I realized that given the time change and the fact that he would be asleep by the time I saw his message, I had plenty of time to try to write that bit myself and then ask him what he thinks--he would still be free to write it himself if my version didn't make him happy. So I did, and he approved, so I submitted the paper in less than 50 hours from first seeing the letter from the editor giving me the reviewer's comments. With luck the editor will be happy, and I am finally well and truly done with my PhD project, and it (or, rather, a short, sweet, distillation from it) will soon be published.

Last week, and the first part of this week, we had a house guest, which was much fun. She joined me for yoga daily, and we got out and practiced silly people tricks. She didn't make it this far north all that often, but I will still miss her when she moves to France to start her PhD.

Speaking of house guests, we have done some major preparation for my mother's visit next month. Mom won't be able to sleep on a mattress on the floor when she is here, so we have created a space in the office to set up the massage table (legs lowered to the lowest setting) to give her a bed. In order to do this it was necessary to take the project off of the big floor loom which had dominated the office floor and take the loom apart. In order to have someplace to store the loom bits it was necessary to block off the corner of the room that lead to our walk-in closet. However that meant we needed to move the furniture in the hallway which had been blocking off the other entrance to that closet. It took all evening, but we managed to do the moving, and now we have many of the boxes and set of drawers that had been in the hallway stacked (in a very different configuration) in the corner of the office, and the hallway is much emptier, with only the treadle sewing machine and a single chest of drawers (upon which now sits the electric keyboard) flanking the newly unburied door to the closet.

I know that other people think I am mad for it, but that that was a truly fun evening. I really do love rearranging furniture, finding a new, improved, place for everything, and cleaning underneath and behind stuff in the process.

In other news, summer has progressed to the state of fireweed being in flower--a very pretty time of the year, but, to my mind, even better because once the fireweed blooms winter can't be so very far off, and winter is even prettier.

Next week I need to make more progress with my data (see last week's entry for how that is going) in hopes of having something to say when I start to put together a talk about my research for the upcoming departmental "kick off" retreat. We should also hear if our visa is approved, and if all of the ore deposit folk in our department are heading to Russia to see some of the geology of the Kola Peninsula the following week.
kareina: (Default)
This weekend was the Hostdans (Autumn Dance) hosted by the SCA group in Umeå. Umeå is about a three hour drive south from Luleå (where I live), and the trip down was made even longer by hitting the one city in between at 4pm on a Friday that also has major road construction happening on the highway in the middle of town. It took a full 25 minutes to get from the place where the signs announced that the two south bound lanes needed to merge into a single lane to the point past the merge wherein traffic was actually moving again. It might have been possible to exit there and go around, but I am told that the other bridge over the river there is far enough away that it would have taken longer (though, perhaps, been less frustrating than just sitting in stopped traffic). It is funny how spoiled I am by normal traffic conditions in northern Sweden--the population density up here is low enough that there are rarely any traffic delays. As a result I really notice them when they come up. How different this is from when I lived in the Bay Area, where I would have considered a 25 minute delay to be a quick one (though still annoying).

We arrived on site early enough on Friday evening to participate in dancing, socializing, and listening to a talk about dancing in the Middle Ages before they served the evening meal (I, of course, was not hungry by that hour, so I simply took one of the bread rolls filled with vegetables and saved it to eat during the day on Saturday--it turned out to be quite tasty). The talk was a good chance for me to practice listening to Swedish--because I have a reasonable background knowledge on the subject I was actually able to understand some of what she said.

Saturday was full of classes--both on dancing and one on the SCA, how it works, and what to expect at court that evening (what the awards are etc.). I had done most of the dances before, so the classes were primarily useful for me to learn how the steps are described in Swedish, and to pick up the local variations of the dances (nothing too surprising, though I love the fact that up here Bransle l'Official has a chain hay passing six people before the ladies leap to the next place. Much fun, though easy for it to go wrong if someone gets confused and tries to go the wrong way). I was able to follow the SCA 101 lecture enough that I was able to contribute a bit of detail once (though I kept my part in English--I may be learning to follow words when I know the subject well, but I am so not yet able to say anything of substance).

Sunday was breakfast and an early pack up. We drove a friend home to her apartment in Umeå, and then spent the afternoon hanging out with her and enjoying a meal before starting the drive north. This meant that we missed our normal Sunday evening Swedish Folk Dance class, but I think I got in enough dancing on Friday and Saturday to make up for it.

We didn't get home till after 22:30, so while we unloaded the car we didn't actually put things away before doing yoga and going to bed. I was low energy all day Monday (which I will blame on the fact that I did the driving on Sunday), but woke up feeling refreshed this morning.

Much to my delight I woke up to an email from my PhD adviser with comments on the paper draft I gave him before leaving Australia at the end of July, so now I need to act on those comments as quickly as possible. I would love to get the draft back to him before my job interview next week. I have already incorporated his edits into my copy of the document, and have a stack of other things I need to do.

This coming weekend is a local SCA craft day, and the following weekend I drive to Tromsø, Norway (about 10 hours from here) for a workshop on rock textures the following week. I am looking forward to that trip because it is a pretty town (they have mountains!) and the course sounds quite interesting. However I am not looking forward to doing the drive--if three hours with a passenger to keep me company wore me out this much this weekend what will a ten hour drive on my own feel like? My plan for that trip is to go during the day and stop often to enjoy the view, rather than waiting till evening and pushing mostly straight through (other than one stop for petrol and toilet).
kareina: (me)
Today was a very productive day in terms of housework (don't ask about that paper I haven't been writing). I did some cleaning and rearranging in the living room in the morning. Not much was moved, but the stack of boxes awaiting time for [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive to have time to go through them are no longer blocking access to the bookshelf, and the massage table is no longer blocking access to the piano, and I am MUCH happier, as is he. I don't think I want to know how long it had been since last the piano had been moved, but is was so time to vacuum behind there! I also accomplished a couple of loads of laundry.

This afternoon was spent in the kitchen. First I made a nice, very lightly sweetened bread dough made with milk, butter, and egg and left it to rise while I made up a big batch of pie crust dough and chopped veggies for pasties. By then the dough had risen nicely, so I shaped it into one pan of sticky buns, one tray of cinnamon rolls, and two trays of crescent rolls that were spread with a combination of ground almonds, blackberry marmalade, and frozen blueberries. The berries were exactly what the filling needed to cut the tart of the marmalade, and the resultant rolls are heavenly!

While the rolls were rising I filled and baked the pasties, and finally pulled the last of the baked goods out of the oven 4.5 hours after starting the project. I was not terribly surprised when I had done and typed up all of the things I had tasted in the process to discover that I have eaten rather more today than is typical for me. Luckily, I won't be tempted to over eat tomorrow, too, since other than what we tasted straight away when they baked the rest has been put into the freezer. We both like the convenience of pulling out a single roll and giving it 30 seconds in the microwave to thaw out, or take a small bag full on road trips (where they thaw on their own before we eat them), but after the Double War's road trip we were completely out of home baked rolls in the freezer. We even finished off all of the many bags of cinnamon rolls his dad had given us.

Since we will be out of the house all day Saturday for the music festival we needed to have things like pasties and rolls ready to go, so that I will have food available.

In other news I have heard from a friend in Canada who is looking for people to corresponding with on the topic of tapestry weaving. I sent out email and FB messages to the people I can think of who do textiles, but in case I missed anyone, I repeat here what she says of her research interests:

"On the principle that more information is always better while you're asking around; my current project is focusing on the techniques of the Överhogdal tapestries. I'm not recreating the tapestries themselves but experimenting with the techniques in my own original pieces, both in a recreation/re-enactment setting and in modern art. I'm planning to eventually move on to the more complex Oseberg tapestries once I feel comfortable with my knowledge and skill level. (And once I can afford the new book published a few years ago on the textiles from that find!)

Though, I'd be delighted if there happens to be anyone working on the Oseberg tapestries in academia or re-enactment who is willing to discuss them with me! :)

What I'm hoping to accomplish from this research is to provide English-speakers with detailed information from the research that has been done on these tapestries, especially in the technical aspects, as there is already some available research in English on the symbolic aspects; as well as additional information based on my own experiments."


If any of you are interested in corresponding with her on this topic, or can think of someone I don't know who might be interested, let me know and I will send you her contact details in a personal message.
kareina: (me)
Since moving to Sweden in January I have been trying to learn Swedish. I am taking classes (we are up to chapter 14 in the text book), reading children's books, learning songs, and sometimes listening to conversations in Swedish and trying to catch words I know. Sometimes [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive and I speak a little Swedish at home, but rarely more than a minute or two, before we decide that my vocabulary is too limited to actually communicate and we switch to English.

Last night, however, we actually had a conversation in Swedish! We spoke for more than 30 minutes, discussing the many things that we need to accomplish before departing for Double War on the 27th, I told him the story behind a song that happened to be playing on the stereo, I described the steps to an SCA dance, and several other topics before we picked up the children's book I have been reading aloud to him. This is one of those books that was written in the 1920's and starts out with very easy reading--only one sentence on the first page, and then gradually progresses to more and more text. We are up to the section where there are several paragraphs per page, and it takes more than one page for a section. I am finding it ever so much easier to read and understand these days, and my pronunciation is much better than it has been (though I still have problems with ö, y, ä, sk, sj, and a few of the other odd things that happen when s is involved). I am also about 3/4 of the way through reading the Swedish version of Anne of Green Gables, and I am finding that to be much easier going, too. In this case I am not stopping to translate the words I don't know, but as simply reading the text as is, and using my memory of the English book combined with the words I do know to keep track of the story plot and the overall meaning.

Yesterday was also a good day on several other counts:

Had a nice time visiting with SCA folk at fighter practice in the morning (though I didn't armour up, having stayed up till 03:00 on Saturday night working on projects I wasn't able to wake up early enough to get to practice on time to fight, so we didn't even bring armour, but just went to discuss details on the road trip to Double War).

At the afternoon folk music session I managed to get the underdress in progress finally assembled--all pieces are now attached to one another, and most seams have been finished--I just need to finish the side seams and the dress will, at long last, be done.

The evening Folk dance session went well-- I now know all of the dances that we will be performing the Monday after we return from Double War, and am starting to get down the details that transform them from "sort of right" to "pretty".

This morning has been spent sending emails. I learned on Friday that I will need to return to Australia to apply for a permanent resident visa, so I am starting to work out details of when and how to accomplish that. My deadline to leave is 30 June, which, sadly, is before the local Medieval Days. I had been looking forward to helping out with that event and running dancing there, but now I can't. However, I will hope that it is possible to get my visa application processed on time to return here before the beginning class in Swedish Folk Dancing that I had agreed to teach (it starts in August). Please keep your fingers crossed for that one.
kareina: (me)
On Friday we went sightseeing because we could. [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive was on call last weekend, so this weekend they gave him Friday off. We drove to Storforsen, the largest rapids in all of Europe. The ice on the river is only just starting to break up, so the rapids aren't all that rapid, yet, but one can still tell there is an awful lot of water flowing in that river. Then we drove past Hemmingsmark, where he grew up, on our way to his parent's house in Piteå. We spent the evening visiting with his mother (his dad is out of town visiting grandkids in southern Sweden) and stayed the night there. She had to work on Saturday, so we simply enjoyed a morning of peace and quiet. His parent's house is much quieter than ours, not only because it is out in the country, but also because it doesn't have the subtle noises from the computer server in the closet here. I rather enjoyed having the time away from my computer, too.

Saturday afternoon we returned home and that evening we finally tackled the pile of his boxes that we'd taken out of the server closet before my things arrived. It took all evening but we now have a huge pile of empty boxes, several boxes of potentially useful computer parts that he says he will never use and so we will pass them on to someone else, and only a few boxes of useful computer parts that he thinks we should actually keep. I had the easy job for this project--he handed me stuff and told me into which pile to put it, he actually had to make the decisions about what to keep, what to get rid of to a new owner, and what to toss (there was surprisingly little in that category).

Today was a busy one, even by Sunday standards. We went to fighter practice this morning, and I got into armour for the first time in over a year! This is the 163rd time I have ever been in armour in just over 19 years of "fighting". This means I average around 9 times a year. However, most of those times was back when I still lived in Summits, and I left there in 1994, so that average is very misleading.

This was one of the more delightful times in armour. Not because I did well, but because I had a consort to fuss over me. The first thing we did when we got there was to sew the padding into the knees of my new fighting trousers--that alone would have earned him praise for helping me. But then when they were ready and I went to get into my gear he followed me and assisted me with buckles and straps and just generally made himself actually useful, never mind that he has never seen this armour before today. He also helped me pack it all up afterwards, correctly anticipating where things go. After so many years of my being the consort who does such things it is an amazing joy to be the one receiving the attention and fuss!

Much to my delight, my armour actually passed inspection--19 years old, hasn't been touched in over a year, had been in someone else's possession for a big chunk of time shortly before I left Tasmania, and it was still usable! I even got a couple of compliments on the armour from a couple of the fighters (one of whom has really amazingly pretty armour himself, which made the compliment feel even nicer). My fighting will need work, of course, but it was fun to play a bit, especially as I hadn't really expected to be able to after so long of neglecting the gear.

After fighting most of us trooped over to the shop of one of our fighters and helped him move a nice looking huge kiln he just acquired onto a stand and into the appropriate position in the shop. This was the first time I'd seen his shop, and I have a bit of shop envy...

Then we had just time to head home, grab a quick shower and some food before heading to Uni to preform with the Choir at the big Swap for Change event. After we sang we then took our tokens we'd gotten by cleaning out the clothes he never wears from the closet a couple of weeks back, and went shopping with them. We found a few shirts for him, and far more things that fit me, and we gave away a bunch of tokens to another choir member. Quite a nice deal, really--for every item of clothing one donates one can walk away with an item of clothing. We even got them to throw in some hangers, which is good because we don't have enough. I wish I had had enough time when packing things in Milan to have put some hangers in my boxes instead of abandoning them all.

By the time we were done with that it was already time for the Folk Music session we normally attend on Sundays to have started, so we decided to not worry about that and just enjoy some food at a relaxed pace and show up on time for the folk dance session instead. Dance was, as always, much fun. When we got there we were asked if we might be willing to teach the beginning folk dance class next semester--the person who normally does it will be out of town, and the other people who could do it are already over committed. I really like the idea--I have a pretty good handle on the basics now, and teaching it would truly cement the skill for me, and [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive has a good decade experience at these dances and speaks Swedish, so he could do the bulk of the teaching. We have a week to decide if we are going to do it or not. I am, of course, voting "yes" on this one, but since he will have the greater responsibility during teaching, he also gets a larger vote.
kareina: (Default)
I had another delightful weekend mostly spent away from the computer. I managed to read LJ over breakfast, but actually posting takes time. Saturday was gaming in the afternoon, and projects before and after. Sunday was SCA fighter practice, followed by a birthday party for the exchequer, which was quite fun. I got to meet more people in the shire, and was introduced to a Swedish birthday party tradition (normally only for kid's parties, but we are all kids at heart). I had been talking to someone (in English) and suddenly most of the people who had been sitting around stood up and started heading up stairs. I asked and apparently the Swedish announcement I hadn't noticed (since I didn't understand it) summoned us upstairs for fishing. "Excuse me?" I asked, thinking I had misheard. I hadn't. Fishing it was. We stood in line on the stairs, and when we reached the top we were faced with a sheet, to which a variety of paper fish had been attached, mostly blocking the entrance to a room. Handed a fishing rod we each cast our line over the sheet in turn, and when we felt the tug on the line drew it back to discover a bag full of candy + a box of raisins attached. I can see why this is a popular activity. I happily ate my raisins and gave my lollies to [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive, who was kind enough to give me his raisins, too (he would have enjoyed eating them himself, but since the raisins were all I wanted from the loot he was happy to share).

Sunday evening was our normal folk music session (he plays violin with the other musicians, I happily enjoy the entertainment while working on sewing projects, or, as in this week, take a short nap as well as sewing) followed by folk dancing.

Monday I should have been doing uni work, but all I really managed was three loads of laundry during the day, and folk dancing in the evening. The Sunday class is an advanced class, but Monday is the "continuing beginning" class (I skipped the beginning beginning class, since I have a partner with over 10 years experience at this style of dance, and am a quick learn). As with many dance classes we change partners after every dance. When the class begun it was almost painful to dance with some of the other students they were having such difficulty managing to coordinate the steps with the music. However, now that the class is nearly over they have all got the hang of the basics. Now it is fun to dance with all of them, and not just the ones who started the class knowing what they are doing.

Today, on the other hand, I did manage to get uni work accomplished, and even sent my erstwhile boss the draft of the paper in progress (which still needs quite a bit more information added) so that he has a chance to give me feedback and suggest directions before I write too much of it. I also gathered together the figures which have been mentioned thus far, added captions, and put them into a single pdf.

I tried stopping into the geology dept to talk to someone there about local rocks, but he wasn't in his office just then, so I e-mailed him instead to ask when would be a good time. But mostly it was an excuse to get out and enjoy some fresh air. It is so very much spring out there--deep slush and puddles everywhere. Walking requires either waterproof shoes, being very careful, or not minding getting your feet cold and wet. Have I mentioned I don't really care for spring? All of my beautiful snow melting and turning into slush, and then refreezing at night to so that it is good and slippery the next day when it starts to melt again. Ick. In an ideal world spring is when I would go on holiday somewhere else, so that when I left the world was beautiful and snowy, and when I returned the snow had been replaced by green grass. But that isn't happening this year. Oh well, I can't really complain--I am having much too much fun living here!
kareina: (Default)
Friday night's choir party was canceled at the last minute due to scheduling issues, but that turned out to be a good thing, as we were able to make time to get to the big grocery store and restock on frozen veg and stuff. We also stopped at another store while out and picked up an immersion blender. I really like the fact that these days one doesn't have to decide between an immersion blender and a food processor--we bought both in one box. A single motor which runs either the food processor or the blender. After shopping we went home and I baked some veggie pasties (using non-frozen veg, which we also purchased while out) and then cooked up a yummy green sauce using fresh spinach, silver beet, avocado, and yogurt. I ran out of pie crust dough before I ran out of filling (I used only one leek, one turnip, two small carrots, some garlic, one zucchini, and some broccoli, but it adds up fast), so I put the rest in the fridge and started a bread sponge. In the morning I kneaded bread dough and baked calazones with the rest of the filling (and added green sauce to some of them). That gave us food to go to take with us to Saturday's and Sunday's entertainment.

This weekend the local SCA group had time booked at the forge in Gammelstad; project time for whatever people wanted to work on. Since I had never worked with hot metal before I just did a bit of a learning piece. Took a rod of iron and heated and hammered it through some shapes that got sort of spoon like before ceasing to be spoon like and eventually ended up as more of a small s-hook. Nothing worth keeping, but interesting to see how the metal reacts. By the time I finished with that my holding arm was getting tired so I took a break, and watched what the others were doing. A couple of them were working on candle holders, and another made some really pretty twisted metal belt buckles for his late period (Crusader era) armour (he already has a good Viking kit that he made). Then the conversation turned to nålbinding, and I realized that I could make an iron nålbinding needle, so I did. I dug in the scrap bin and found a chunk that was already mostly the right shape and only did the hot working on it enough to round the corners a bit and flatten the part where the eye goes. [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive, on the other hand, took a bit of square rod and spent enough time hammering it to make a needle of that. Much harder work, but it made a prettier needle. Mine is the one on the left in text ) Mine is a joy to work with, but it is flatter, so not as nice to look upon (not that you can really tell how thick they are from this top view).

After getting home from the forge we made up a batch of ice cream )
After enjoying the ice cream we polished up the iron needles and decided that since Sunday was planned for casting that we'd see if we could cast some bronze ones, too. We opted to use his as the casting model, since it is thicker (and so would be better for casting, and because its eye wound up closer to center (the clamp for holding things at the drill press at the forge is not really suitable for things as tiny as my needle; it probably would have been smarter to wait to do that drilling till we got home and just used the hand-held drill).

This morning the casting of the needles went well. The buttons we tried, on the other hand, not so well. We tried the buttons twice, and then gave up, but we did one needle in each of those attempts, and both worked perfectly, so we cleaned them up, and on the final cast of the day we did Read more... )
I am happy with how they all came out, though, of course, they will all need to be polished. However, these will be much harder to break than the wooden ones I have been using.

I made time for a nap after casting and before heading out to the afternoon folk music session, which was followed by a session at a restaurant in town. This is the same monthly session we went to my first week in town that I loved so much. It was just as much fun this time. Perhaps even more so, since I recognized many faces from the weekly folk music and folk dance things we do. This time there was a band there playing when we arrived, so [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive and I danced till they ended and the floor opened up for any musicians who wanted to play to do so, and he picked up his violin and joined them. I, of course, continued to dance on my own, it is against my religion to sit out when there is dancing to be had.

After a nice long set the random mix of musicians yielded the floor to the band again, and so I danced with [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive again till the next break, when the random mix took over, but many of the band members stayed and kept playing with them. I danced on my own for a bit, and then [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive came out, still holding his violin in one hand and waltzed with me. Then, at the end of the set, while the others were packing away their instruments he wrapped his arms around me and played the violin while we danced. It was much fun!

The only uni work progress I have to report for the weekend was submitting the answers to the questions which were due tomorrow. I also managed to pay for my stuff to be shipped here from Scotland. However, I expect to get lots done this week...

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