kareina: (Default)
I stayed up way too late sewing on my cool witch's hat in progress, so slept in till it was time to get ready to go this morning. It was a lovely cool morning (+7 C), so it was lovely to put on my wool folk dance skirt and bodice over the linen underdress. Since the underdress for the local area has sleeves that barely go past the elbow, I made a point of bringing the long fingerless gloves I made special to wear at Midsommer (since it is often cool here for Midsommer) and my viking coat (turned so that the black with red embroidery side is out, since that goes better with the folk costume).

We made it to the Gillestuga early enough for me to eat my breakfast and wash the bowl before time to do the walk through of today's dance performance. Then the 30 of us ate the traditional lunch Midsommer together. This year instead of cooking it ourselves they had it catered, and the caterers made a point of making dishes for those of us who turned in our list of food restrictions. Therefore, instead of eating only potato and boring lettuce salad from the meal, as I have had to do for the past six years (since the traditional Swedish Midsommer consists of a lot of pickled herring and other things I can't/won't eat), I got to eat a lovely vegetable and lentil dish, with a nice spinach and other interesting greens salad, something in the falafel family, and a nice "home-baked" bread with brie. I don't know how the others felt about the catering, but I was surprisingly happy with it. The only place they didn't do better than our tradition was that while they did serve the traditional fresh strawberries (imported from southern Sweden, since up here the strawberries are in flower but don't yet have berries), they had only ice cream as an accompaniment, no fresh whipped cream. This may be a good thing, as it meant that I didn't go back for 4ths on the strawberries and cream (of course I didn't take any of the ice cream, since it wasn't homemade).

After lunch we went over to the open air museum at Hägnan, where, since this year we were a smaller group than usual, with fewer strong, tall people than usual, we skipped the "carry the Midsommarstång in a parade around the grounds" part, and just put it straight into the hole in the ground to stand it up before dancing around it. I really enjoy the silly dances we do around the Midsommarstång. I think my favourite is the one where we stomp around like elephants with one arm stretched out like a trunk and the other wrapped around it and pinching our nose. (yes, this really is a thing in Sweden--the first verse of that song is about little frogs who are fun to see, as they have no ears nor tails. The verses about the horses, pigs, and elephants are more fun).

Then we did our on stage performance of folk dancing, which, as always, was much fun, and seemed to be well received. After dancing I had just time to hug a group of my friends who were in the crowd and talk to a lady who came up to me and asked "I so want to dance with you guys--do you have to be Swedish?", I told her that I am not Swedish, and she would be so welcome to join us. Turns out she is a PhD student at the uni, from India, and I gave her my name so she can look me up on the Uni web page and I can get her more info on Swedish folk dance. Hope that she does, since I didn't have time to talk more, since we had to head off to the other park, in the city center, to do it all again.

As always there was quite a contrast between the two city-sponsored celebrations. The one at Hägnan charges an entrance fee and is really crowded, while the one at Glitzudden is free for all, and has much more open space, so feels much less crowded (I have no idea how the actual numbers compare, but I think Hägnan really does have more people in addition to less space). Because Glitzudden doesn't have a dance stage we modify what dances we perform there--choosing things one can do safely on the grass (we don't want to do the spins of the polskas on the grass). As always, after doing some performance dances we then invited the audiance to join us for a couple of dances--the ones where we play follow the leader and walk in a pattern--one needs lots of people to make these work, and we have both enough people and enough room at this park.

Then we packed up the sound equipment and took it back to the gillestuga before heading home, arriving at around 17:00, so just over seven hours after leaving. Since then David and I spent some time talking about the upcoming plans for yard improvement when his brother arrives with the digger and tractor next week, and the earth cellar work we want to do this week. Then he took the new lawn mower down to the black current patch to create some paths between the bushes, while I had a quick bowl of popcorn for dinner, and then went outside and dismantled the "corral" we made last autumn out of old pallets to provide a semi-sheltered area for my car to park in the winter. There being no blowing snow this time of year it is no longer needed, and we will need to be able to drive the tractor and digger through that space when we create the place for the container (as in one of those big things that are used to ship things internationally--the container that has been living at his dad's property is moving here as an additional storage building), and the road we are going to put in from the area behind the sheds to the field. By the time I got that done and started moving O's winter tires which we store for him (since he lives in an apartment) from behind the recycling shed (where we will be doing some major landscaping) to the other side of the forge shed David had finished his mowing, so he helped me carry the pallets to the other side of the forge shed, too, and we agreed that I would move the pile of scrap wood from behind the shed to beside the house tomorrow.

Then I worked on my witch's hat embroidery while they had their (somewhat late dinner) and then we had a house meeting, catching up on everything we three ought to know about how things have been going and upcoming plans. Tomorrow C. will work, David will go help his little brother empty the last of his stuff out of that container, and I will stay home and accomplish useful things (like the aforesaid moving of scrap wood, and moving the wild strawberries from the area that will be landscaped, and baking with that pack of milk that went sour when we weren't looking). O. is also planning on dropping by so that I can re-braid his hair for him to have it presentable before he takes his driving test next week.
kareina: (me)
Last year I took the hair that my knight sent me when he cut off his pony tail and quickly attached it as two braids to a strip of cloth which could be quickly wrapped around my head and pinned on. When combined with a head scarf, as in this folk dance costume, it worked just fine, and took very little of my time to set it up in the first place, and even less to put on. However, the head scarf is very necessary to cover the brown cloth to which the braids were attached, and the lump at the base of the neck where they attached, and my own hair, which is, sadly, too short to make decent braids anymore (these days they reach only past my collar bones without help).

This year's folk dancing performances we are doing things a bit differently than in past years--we are doing it as a story--two young ladies in Norrbotten have decided to travel and see a bit of Sweden, stopping in various places and learning the local folk dances. Therefore, to give the effect of having arrived somewhere new we are doing quick "costume" changes in between each dance. By "quick", I mean changing from one head scarf to another, or taking off a head scarf and putting on a shawl, or changing from one shawl to another--each new shawl or headscarf in typical colours/patterns for the new area.

Therefore my hasty braid additions simply won't work--taking off and putting on scarves would likely cause the headband to also come off, and it wouldn't look good for the dances where our heads are (scandalously) bare. Therefore I have decided to modify the braids to make them work without a head cover.

The hair had, years ago, been divided into many small clumps, each of which were glued together at one end, and I hand bundled half of them into each braid for the quick extension. Today I unbundled them, divided them into six piles of more or less the same number of clumps of hair (10 to 12 per pile). I carefully trimmed off part of the stiff glued end (taking care to leave enough of the glue to keep the clump holding together, and then begin sewing each clump individually onto a small scrap of dark brown linen, each slightly offset from the one before so that the lumpy bit where the glue is winds up as narrow as possible.

Once the glued end of each batch of 10/12 hair clumps was totally covered with the brown linen and holding together securely I then sewed them to some blue and white hair ribbons, which I had previously sewn together at one end in sets of three.

I had enough time tonight to complete one full set of braids--three strands of the blue and white ribbon, from which three batches of hair hang. Now I can braid this into my hair and I once again have waist length braids, which looks ever so much better with my folk dance costume.

With luck I will get the second braid done tomorrow, so I can test the braids on Sunday's rehearsal, and then our first performance will be on Nationaldag, on Tuesday.

edited to add: I never did remember to get a photo, but one of my friends got one of me dancing, where one can kinda see the braids.

skokurs!

Mar. 12th, 2017 09:57 pm
kareina: (Default)
Today we were out the door just after 08:30, and at the home of the shire's other Laurel by 09:00 for a shoe course he was running. There were at least 17 of us present, all working on shoes. I opted to make a pair of 12th century shoes to go with my bliaut. My inspiration was the photo on page 99 of this paper about silk embroidered leather shoes. The shoe in question was embroidered in Runes, but in Latin, with the phrase "Omnia uincit Amor et.", and I decided that I have to have a pair.

The course ran till 16:00, after which I walked across the street and stitched for two more hours while listening to the musicians of the Luelå Hembygdsgille practice some lovely Swedish Folk music, and then I participated in our normal Sunday folk dance session (which I have missed all too often this winter). I knew that if I had followed D & C home after the class I wouldn't have come back out for dance, and I am so glad that I stayed. Folk dance is so much fun! And that extra two hours of stitching meant that I got one of my shoes stitched all the way around the sole and ready to turn, and the other is more than half way 'round.

shoes in progress
kareina: (me)
Years ago, my boyfriend from when I lived in Oregon (to whom I am still squired in the SCA, never mind that he is inactive, and I haven't seen him in person since I visited on my way to Italy in 2009) sent me his ponytail when he cut it off, since he had only started growing his hair out because I liked it.

These days, probably due to the dry climate here, my hair has gotten so short that my braids are no longer visible when wearing my head scarf from my Swedish folk dance costume.

Therefore, I just got out his hair from the drawer in which it was stored, braided it and sewed it to a band of fabric. Now I can wrap the band around my head and pin it into place, then cover my head with the folk dance costume scarf, and the braids hang out long enough to show.

To make it even more fun, his hair is a fairly typical Swedish dark blond colour. Therefore, when I am getting my Swedish pin on Monday (National Dag) to commemorate my becoming a Swedish Citizen last year, I will look more Swedish than I do without his braids. :-)

Would I rather my hair were still long enough to show under the scarf? Yes, of course I do. But since it isn't, I may as well borrow his, he isn't using it anyway.
kareina: (me)
Today wasn't quite as productive as yesterday. It had snowed in the night, so after my morning workout I shoveled the walk ways and half the driveway, before deciding that my fingers on the hand with a hole in my wool glove were too cold (despite the cotton/leather shell I had on over it). Then we went shopping and replaced the filter for the vacuum cleaner before picking up a few groceries. The first store had a "try me" foot massage machine set up, so, of course I tried it. Want! But since my bank account has a much lower balance than normal from having paid for a year's worth of personal trainer last month in celebration of my birthday, I decided not to get the foot massage machine. Though my feet are telling me that they think that one of those machines under my computer desk would be a grand and wonderful thing.

After shopping I took a nap and then had dinner and helped [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar carry the pieces of the old piano downstairs and move the wooden sofa/bench to where the new piano used to be (next to the stereo) and the recliner couch to where the wooden sofa/bench used to be. By that time it was time to head to Folk Dance, but we realized that we hadn't plugged the car back in after shopping, so I plugged it in, and shoveled the rest of the driveway before heading to dance so as to give it a bit of time to warm up. That made me a bit late, but better late than never.

[livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar wound up staying home from dance. He has a computer that a client gave him to repair before Christmas, but he hasn't gotten to it, and decided that today was finally the time. So he didn't get to meet the two new dancers who joined us. One, A., looks young enough that if she were to tell me she is still in high school I will believe her. The other, K., looks to be around my age or a bit older. She is a midwife at the hospital, and says that she often drives past the Gillestuga where we dance and has seen us here dancing and wished she could join us, and now she has. Since she is a midwife, she of course, knows the other Viscountess in the shire and the Countess, since both are gynecologists at the hospital.

Both of them caught on quickly, and it was much fun dancing, as always. I hope they keep coming back, and both of them seemed to enjoy it enough that I think they will.

Now I should put down the computer, do yoga, and see if I can go to bed at a reasonable hour to go to work in the morning.
kareina: (stitched)
Thursday it was only four of us for the Frostheim meeting, but it was all productive stitching time for three of us (and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar entertained us by playing the violin, which he was bringing along with us to Göteborg for the weekend, since it is *much* easier to travel with than the nyckleharpa). We had to leave after only 40 minutes, since the next stop was the airport, where, it turned out, our flight was delayed, so we could have stitched for longer. But I used the wait to do my yoga, so it was ok with me. We finally landed late enough that rather than bothering with public transit we just took a taxi to C's apartment, and I was asleep not too long after we got there.

Friday morning I woke up around 08:00 when C's alarm went off, and after my situps we three had breakfast together before she needed to head off to a class (which had originally been scheduled for earlier in the week, but had gotten moved at the last minute). After she left [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar worked on the cloak for a bit, but then were both feeling tired, so we laid down for a nap. I think I expected to sleep for perhaps 20 minutes, but it was three hours later that either of us woke up! I think I had been burning the candle at both ends a bit too much in the week before.

After the nap we had time to cook an early dinner and then take the tram out to meet C and head to her folk music session/lesson. Their group is around 12 violins, one flute (C), one guitar, and a banjo. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, of course, joined them with his violin, and I worked on the cloak (not only did I not bring the dulcimer due to being too big to easily fly with, but I don't learn new songs as fast as they were going through them, so I wouldn't have been able to play anyway).

After the music session we went downstairs to the folk dance class and joined them, and then stayed afterwards for the open folk dance session afterwards. I danced some with [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and some with C, but they also wanted to dance with one another, so I asked a random man standing nearby if he wanted to dance, and he said yes. He was a fairly good dancer, so when he made no move to go dance with anyone else I kept dancing with him, for a number of dances in a row as that seemed easier than trying to find another partner (since most people there seem to dance a number in a row with a same person).

In the short pauses between dances he chatted with me (in Swedish) about music and dance, where I came from, and asked why I was in town. When I explained that there was a "medeltids envenmang" that weekend he asked for more information, and then asked for more details about the local SCA group than I could provide. Therefore I brought him over to [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and C, who were taking a break to eat some food, and let her fill him in. In the process he managed to not make a very good impression on [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, when he replied to hearing that one of the SCA activities was armoured combat with a joke about bondage (but I didn't understand his comment, the whole conversation being in Swedish, and I don't have those words in my vocabulary).

After C and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar finished eating we went back in, and I danced with one of them, and then the other, and then they danced with one another again, and since there was no one in the room at that point who wasn't dancing, I danced alone for a few songs, before the same guy asked me to dance again, so, of course, I said yes. Towards the end of the evening he said he needed to leave, and asked me for my phone number, which really surprised me, since nothing about him really caught my interest, and I didn't feel comfortable giving it to him, so I explained (truthfully), that I prefer email to phones since my hearing aids makes it much easier to understand speech when I can see the person, and gave him one of my less used email addresses.

After he left a really good looking man, with lovely long dark hair, with silver highlights, and a pretty dark & silver beard came in, and C pointed him out and strongly recommended that I dance with him, since he is a good dancer. This sounded like a very good idea to me, and much more appealing than the random guy I had danced with earlier. It is funny how, while physical beauty shouldn't be important, it does make a difference. I am certain that some people would find the earlier random guy attractive--he is reasonably tall, and reasonably fit, but his short hair and clean shaven face combined with something I can't define in his manner made him totally uninteresting to me.

I did manage to get in a couple of dances with the pretty long haired man, who does, indeed, dance very well, but we didn't really talk much--my Swedish isn't up to leading a conversation, and he didn't ask questions. Then it was time to head home. On the way home C told me that the pretty long haired man comes from somewhere else, perhaps Ireland or the UK, she couldn't really remember. That could explain the lack of conversation--we were speaking in Swedish--perhaps he also isn't so comfortable driving conversations in that language. And, of course, my ear for dialects isn't good enough to have realized from listening to him that he isn't a native Swedish speaker.

Saturday morning we got up early to head to the SCA event (which actually started Friday night, but had we tried to go out to the site after dance we would have arrived *really* late). We went out to catch the tram, which would have taken us to another tram, and then a bus, which combined would have gotten us to site 1.5 hours after leaving the apartment. However, when we got to the tram stop she checked the phone app that shows the schedule of the recommended buses/trams for the journey, and it announced that the schedule for one or more of those buses/trams had changed since she did the query and now we would need to walk some blocks to another stop, and once there the changes would have us at site nearly half an hour later than planned. We discussed it, and opted to just take a cab, which got us to site in only 30 minutes.

The event itself was very nice and relaxed. I did some work on the cloak, led some dancing, chatted with people, and was really flirted with by a girl who, while caressing the silk of my dress (and the curve of my waist), explained to me how wonderful I am and how beautiful, and how the colours of my gown are perfect for me, etc. I loved and appreciated the attention, though I wouldn't be interested in the girl, since she is a snus user (and I think she smokes, too, though, perhaps, that was just her friend) and has rather more piercings than I find appealing, but it still felt good to be thus showered with compliments.

After the feast we went out to the hot tub for a bit, afterwards I went straight to bed, since I didn't feel inclined to wriggle back into the bliaut (it is *really* comfortable to wear, but not so much fun to put on or take off). As a result I woke up early enough to go for an hour walk in the morning before breakfast, which was really nice. A pretty, misty morning--barely able to see the cute Swedish farm houses and their stone fences as I passed them on my way up the hill.

After breakfast on Sunday we caught the buss and trams back to her apartment, where we had just enough time to change into presentable modern clothing, pack up the SCA stuff properly for travel (and in C's case unpack and put away her SCA stuff), and make and eat some food, before heading into town to the opera house.

It turns out that I still haven't seen an opera--while we had discussed seeing one, the things playing that day led to C choosing the musical, Crazy about You, rather than the opera. The play was done in Swedish, which meant that I couldn't follow the plot as well as one would wish to. While I can understand lots, and do ok when a conversation follows expected patterns, I wasn't able to follow all of the plot twists--just the ones that were really clear from body language and use of archetypes, etc. However, it was a musical, which means I enjoyed listening to it anyway, and was amused by the costuming. (Who dreamed up the cowboys and Indian themed show girl outfits? the girls had long Indian feather headdresses over red and white striped cow-girl skirts and blue sequin tank-tops with a star on each breast, while the boys were dressed in cowboy style outfits which were also heavily embellished with a red, white, and blue sequined ornamentation involving blue with white stars and red and white stripes.)

After the play they had second dinner, I did yoga, and we relaxed and hung out for a while. Eventually I went to sleep, and they chatted for another hour or so. The alarm went off at 04:00 on Monday, which gave me time to do my situps and pack the last minute things (my pillow and phone chargers) before catching a taxi back to the airport. No one else sat in our row, so I got a nap on the flight, and then we went straight to work from the airport.

Monday evening was Finnish class, and tonight was choir, where, of course, I worked on the cloak, bringing the total to 139 hours so far. We are both looking forward to tomorrow evening, when there is nothing at all upon the calendar.
kareina: (stitched)
Last week was Umasmedeltidsdagar, an SCA camping event which ran from Sunday evening through Thursday morning. Since it was happening during the week [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar couldn't attend, since his summer vacation starts this week (his company splits the summer in half such that half of the employees can take their holidays during the first half of the summer, the other half during the second, and the next year they switch, that way there is always someone on duty with the necessary skills to cover everything that has to be done). Therefore, Sunday afternoon saw me doing the not quite two hour drive to site on my own.

I arrived early enough that only the two autocrats and B, the visitor from the West were on site yet. We decided where I should put the pavilion, they stuck around long enough to help me raise the pavilion center pole (the only part of camp set-up I can't manage on my own), and then they all went to the summer house to get more things needed for the event, and I happy moved in to the pavilion. I have always loved camp set up--there is something fun for me in getting everything into place so that it looks nice and is well organized so I can find things quickly. (I also like moving into a new house.)

By the time I was done with moving in they had returned and others had started to arrive. The site for the event is a privately owned Lajv (Larp) village that some friends have built on their family land from old timber houses that other families wanted removed from their property--some houses they were given free because they came and fetched them, others the Ljav organization paid a low price to obtain. The site has no electricity, but there is an old fashioned well full of cool, clear, tasty water, and they brought in a hot tub for the occasion.

Therefor most of the people attending the event were staying in one of the houses--most in the bunk rooms above the main tavern/guest house, others in some of the smaller houses. There was one other pavilion set up on site, and one couple stayed in an RV, parked out of sight down the road a bit.

The weather was pleasantly cool and cloudy, and the ground was a bit wet from several days of rain before the event (which is why I set my pavilion on the highest ground I could find. On Tuesday it started raining, and rained most of the day, but Wednesday dawned clear. Early Wednesday evening I took my phone off of flight mode (batteries last much longer in flight mode) and checked the weather report for the area, which said that it would start raining around 01:00 and keep raining till 13:00 on Thursday. Noting that my pavilion had mostly dried off from Tuesday's rain, I decided to break camp early, and sleep in the loft above the kitchen that night.

This meant that I missed out on the pot-luck feast that the others enjoyed on Wednesday evening, but since I am never hungry in the evenings anyway, that didn't bother me. During the time of the feast I managed to get everything packed down and stashed in the tool shed, save for the pavilion, which we hung from the rafters over the balcony in the main tavern/guest house, so that it could dry a bit more. This meant that I was ready to be social again just on time for the bardic circle, which was so delightfully fun.

Even if we hadn't had a formal bardic circle I would have gone home from the event satisfied with the amount of music, dance and song that we had--there were only somewhere between 15 and 30 people on site (30 had booked, but a number had last-minute things come up so they couldn't make it), but most of us sing, I had my hammer dulcimer, one lady had her violin (she also played for dancing on Tuesday), and another a mandolin. There were three children on site--sisters ranging in age from 7 to 13 who, along with their mother, who directs the choir one of the autocrats sings in, sang, in beautiful harmony, with one another off and on all day every day. But adding in a bardic circle, which encouraged others, who don't normally sing out, to participate, made it even more fun.

Thursday morning I woke to the sound of heavy rain, and smiled for having had the foresight to pack away the pavilion. True to the prediction, it didn't really stop raining all morning, though it varied in intensity levels. I managed to get the car loaded up with my stuff, and the luggage of our Western guest, and she and I hit the road for one last tourist adventure before she returned to California.

First we drove to Storforsen, Europe's largest rapids, and a stunningly beautiful place. She put a video of the rapids on line, if you enjoy seeing the power of huge quantities of water rushing over rocks feel free to check it out.

Luckily we arrived there just as the rain stopped, so we enjoyed 40 minutes of wandering around the various smaller side streams and over the rocks without getting wet. Given how much rain we had had recently, I wasn't that surprised to see how much higher the water was everywhere than when I had been there a few weeks ago for the department meeting for work.

Then we took the road north towards Jokkmokk, stopping at the Arctic Circle for the obligatory tourist photo.

Then we finally wended our way back to my house, unloaded the car, and spent the evening hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar before finally heading to bed rather later than was wise, given that we had to leave the house at 05:00 the next morning to get her to the airport for her trip home.

Friday I managed to get the last of the things unpacked and put away, and the now dry pavilion (left spread out in the shed Thursday evening, then spread on the gravel driveway in the sun Friday evening) has been put away ready for its next use, next summer sometime.

Saturday C arrived from Gothenburg and we had some hours to relax and hang out with her before we drove two hours to Burträsk for a folk dance, held in conjunction with their folk music festival weekend. We arrived at 21:15, thinking we were 15 minutes late for the dance, but it turns out that their schedule had been pushed back, so the dance didn't actually begin till 22:00, which gave them time to buy a quick burger from the stand run by the local folk music group.

The dance went till after 01:00, which meant that it was well after 03:00 before we were home. Needless to say, not much was accomplished Sunday, as I recovered from the SCA event, tourist road trip, and folk dance road trip. Today I went to work in the morning, and we have worked on projects in the afternoon. Tomorrow C has to return south again, and I work every morning for the rest of the week. Then I get two weeks off to work on projects at home--we hope to make good progress on the earth cellar. However, we won't be able to borrow his father's tractor this summer, since he bought the new house/farm, and has many things he needs it for. Therefore moving the large rocks will be a bit more complicated and time consuming. It will be interesting to see if it is still possible to finish it this summer without the tractor. Oh well, if it isn't his dad says that next summer he will be available to help with that project if still needed.

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