kareina: (me)
The plan for Friday had been to head down to Umefolk with [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and C. as soon as he got off of work, which would have put us there around 20:00 or so. Then dance till they close at 02:00, return home, and have the rest of the weekend (after sleeping) to start unpacking and organizing her stuff into the house. However, he wound up staying up really late Thursday night fixing a computer for a work client, and she stayed up too, accomplishing something else, while I went to sleep early.

Therefore I wasn't surprised when, in late afternoon, he called home and the two of them agreed that they were too tired to go after all, but I could go if I like. I am not very fond of driving, and certainly didn't want to drive alone, so my first thought was that I would just stay home. I have plenty to do here, after all. But O. was over, and when I mentioned that it would have been nice to see some of my loved ones who live in Umeå, he begun pondering the possibility of heading down with me and meeting friends I care very much about (I had, of course, invited him to join us for the trip when we first decided to go, but he doesn't have so much experience with Swedish Folk Dance, and so wasn't so interested in going to dance, which was one of the big attractions of the event for the rest of us).

About the time that [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar got home from work O. decided that, yes, let's do it. So [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, who was about to use the car to return the trailer we had rented to get C's stuff here, gave O. a ride home, so he could shower, get changed and pack a bag, and drop some stuff off at Phire practice, and I stayed home to shower, get changed, pack food and an overnight bag, and do my yoga for the day, by which time the car was back from dropping off the trailer, so I went and picked O. up and we drove south together.

I think of the drive to Umeå as three hours, but it was closer to 4 hours after we stopped in Skellefteå for petrol, toilet break, and he bought him self a hot dog. This got us to the folk music festival at around 22:30. Pretty much the first person I saw was a friend from our folk dance group at home, and right after I got my coat and boots checked in to the coat room and put on my dancing shoes I found my friend H., whom I had been particularly looking forward to seeing. He, O., and I walked into the dance room, and I asked the boys which one would like the first dance. O. suggested that H. take it, so that he could watch a bit before giving it a try, so off we went. About then my friend L. found me and gave me a hug, so I sent her over to introduce herself to O. and they danced.

These folk music festivals tend to have a bunch of different bands playing music for the dancers, usually in half an hour sets. I danced the first set with H., the second set with O., the third set with a very talented dancer from Göteborg (with a really pretty silver pony tail) I recognized from the folkmusic cafe we had attended a couple of months back when we were down visiting C. Then H. returned and I danced the next set with him, and then O. talked me into joining him in the next room, where a large pirate band from Germany were playing. Then it was time for the final set of the evening, during which my friends H. and L. were playing with the band, and O. and I danced. I have heard L. play often, but this is the first time I had seen H. playing, since he hasn't brought his clarinet to SCA events that I have been at.

After that set O. saw one of the pirates, and stopped to thank him for playing, and wound up exchanging contact details, so that they can arrange for the pirates to play music for Phire's fire shows at Medieval Week in Visby this summer.

By that time I was getting really tired, and security was herding everyone out, so we went to the home of another L. and her partner, R., where she woke up enough to show us to the couch so that we could get some sleep. This morning we joined them for a leisurely breakfast, and then did the drive home, where we had the energy to start cutting out a pair of poofy viking trousers for O., while [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and C. made some progress on organizing stuff.

Now I am really tired, and my yoga has already been done, so I think I will call it an early night, and see how much I can accomplish tomorrow.
kareina: (me)
This weekend was the Sorselse Folk Music and Dance week 25 year Jubliee. Sorsele is a small town two river valleys south and far enough inland that one can actually see some small mountains in the distance. One of our good friends, L, from both SCA and Lajv grew up there and now lives in the city of Umeå. She and our friend D, who also lives in Umeå, had come up to Luleå this summer for our Spelmansstämma (gathering of folk musicians) and stayed with us that weekend. We has so much fun hanging out together that weekend doing music and dance that we agreed to do it again when her home town did their music and dance weekend this autumn, and I am so glad we did. The whole weekend was a delight.

Friday was a rainy, blustery day, so I was not surprised to get a text message from her that afternoon saying that there were storm warnings for drivers heading to the mountains, and we should drive carefully. However, as luck would have it, [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar wasn't done with work and other responsibilities before 18:00, so we weren't on the road till 18:30, which meant we missed the bad weather. Sure, it was still raining a bit when we left the house, but it ended a half an hour into the trip, and the roads were clear and nice (though occasionally still damp) for the rest of the trip. The storm had brought with it warmer weather--it has been dropping just under freezing at night the last week or two, but this weekend it stayed just above zero, so we didn't even see places where the roads were icy.

We did, however, pass a place where the storm had caused a problem for someone else earlier in the day. In an area where the land to either side of the road is quite open and not forest, and rather prone to high winds in the best of weather we passed a semi-truck on its side and lots of emergency vehicles dealing with the problem. I hope the driver wasn't hurt.

We had hoped to go the folk singing workshop on Friday evening, but given our late start we weren't able to get there before it started (it is a 3 hour drive), so instead we just drove straight to L's parent's house to meet her and D. After a short visit there with her folks we drove on into the forest to the family's summer cabin, where we would be staying for the weekend. We wound up needing to take two cars to the cabin, since we had brought his nyckleharpa, and violin and my dulcimer, and had packed all three instruments into the back seat (filling the trunk with folk dance costumes, change of modern clothes, and jackets and boots in case it got cold), so there wasn't really room for two more people in our car (and it wouldn't have been worth trying to move everything into hers).

Friday evening we were all tired, so the boys played violin and nyckleharpa whist I did yoga, and we all went to sleep before midnight. Saturday we slept in till after nine, which makes this the longest I have slept at one go in ages. I have been having an issue with minor pain in my back in the muscles along the right side of my spine in the area between my waist and the bottom of my shoulder blade. This issue only comes up when I sleep, and, when it first started coming up it only happened if I slept for more than 7 hours--then I would wake up with that area hurting a bit, but as soon as I got up and started moving around it would go away.

However, over the months since this first came up it has been happening during shorter and shorter sleep sessions, and now sometimes only four hours of sleep is enough to have the (still minor, yet annoying) back pain wake me up. I haven't been able to figure out what was causing it, since I hadn't changed anything in my sleeping position. Some time back [livejournal.com profile] lifeofglamour complained that she had been having back pain when sleeping, and that the solution for her seemed to be sleeping on her back instead of her side. I did try that, but, really, I can't sleep on my back. I may get tired enough to drift a little bit into sleep in that position, but it isn't real rest, and soon I need to turn onto my stomach/side for proper sleep, so that solution wasn't going to work for me.

Somehow, a couple of days ago, I suddenly wondered if the problem was the position of my arm. I have always slept with the downside arm up, over my head, tucked under the pillow my head is on, but on top of the pillow half under/half behind that pillow. It is a nice, comfortable, warm nest to keep that arm in, but the muscles that have been complaining if I sleep to long are, in fact, engaged to lift the arm to that position. Thursday evening I tried instead having that arm down, along side my ribs, and woke up Friday morning with no back pain at all. It wasn't the best test of the theory, mind you, as it was only 5.5 hours of sleep, but since that much sleep had been causing the issue recently, I still took it as a win.

Therefore I tried that again on Friday night, and, indeed, as of my 04:00 trip to the outhouse to pee there was no hint of back pain. Sadly, I then fell deeply enough asleep that autopilot came into play and I rolled over into a normal sleeping position, so that when I woke up at 07:00 my arm was up over my head between the pillows, and my back hurt. No one else was stirring, and I was still tired myself, so I moved my arm back along side my ribs and went back to sleep. Much to my delight, unlike so many nights in the recent past I was able to go back to sleep, and by 09:00 the pain in my back was noticeably less than it had been at 07:00 (Note for people who experience real pain in their lives: this isn't it. It is enough to notice that my muscles are sending a "something is wrong" message, but it isn't anywhere near bad enough to cause me to even consider taking an aspirin for it.)

Saturday's program had one workshop in the morning that we weren't interested in, so we had a leisurely breakfast and relaxed a bit, then took both cars to her parent's house and dropped hers off, since her dad wanted to do something with it, and we took only one car to town, along with one violin for each boy, and only one nyckleharpa--we left D's nyckleharpa and my dulcimer at the cabin. We got to town in plenty of time before the "allspel" (everyone plays), so we were able to hang out a bit, greet friends from Luleå and Umeå who had also come out for the event, and get introduced to a variety of L's friends and family members who were there. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar joined the "allspel", but D, who is on the shy side, choose to sit with us girls in the audience instead, which I thought a shame, since he is so talented a musician. The stage was totally covered with people playing, and a fair few standing on the floor in front of the stage with their instruments, and there was lots of room in the audience, so I counted. From where I sat I could see 46 people playing instruments during the "allspel", and another 46 of us in the audience.

Before we arrived on site L had told us of her high school Spanish teacher, who was one of the few people living in Sorsele who didn't grow up there or move there because of work or due to marrying a local. Instead he decided that he wanted to move to the mountains and left Spain to settle in northern Sweden just because it seemed like a good idea (I can relate to this interest!). Because life is full of little coincidences it did not surprise me that pretty much the first person L introduced me to was said Spanish teacher, who was at the event with his 7th grade students, who were doing a bake sale to raise funds for their upcoming trip to Spain. None of the four of us had cash on us, so after the "allspel" we walked over t the bank so that we could all get cash so as to buy snacks from the kids to support their cause. (Never mind that I had baked and brought more than enough food for all four of us for the weekend.)

The rest of the afternoon we four spent in one of the side rooms of the hall, the boys playing music, we girls took a nap (I got so rested this weekend!), and I worked on nålbinding projects. Then we ate dinner in a local pizza place (I wound up having only fresh tomato and the tomato sauce on mine--Swedish pizza places have NO other toppings I am willing to put into my mouth. Where is the spinach? broccoli? artichoke heart? Anything else I put on home made pizzas? "shinka"!, yuck! Ok, I do eat pineapple and banana, both of which appeared on [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's pizza, but I don't like them cooked, and I don't want them on pizza.

After dinner we went to the concert by Alberg, Ek och Roswall. Oh, wow, are they GOOD! These three musicians (Emma Ahlberg, who plays fiddle, Daniel Ek, who plays harpguitar, and Niklas Roswall, who plays both moraharpa and nyckelharpa) did some amazing things with their instruments. Their sound blends so well, and they so clearly play together really, really often, so that they are perfectly in sync with the changes in dynamics. It isn't often I feel like it makes sense for those of us in the audience to be paying for the privilege of listening to something, but this time, it so did. We also bought both of the CD's they had with them for sale.

This was the first time I have seen a Swedish moraharpa in use. It looks so tiny and delicate compared to the huge one I bought from Harry Wass in Tasmania. I kind of want one--it is so cute, and Niklas Roswall makes it look so easy to play. However, there is no point in my getting any other instruments until I get good enough with my dulcimer and have a large enough repertoire that I can bring it along to the Sunday afternoon folk music sessions in Luleå and actually play along with most, if not all, of the songs.

After the concert was the dance, which, lets face it, was why I was there. L and I had both put on our folk dance costumes before the concert, and so were wearing them when we arrived at the dance hall. The band started playing as I changed into my dance shoes, and no sooner than I had them on and a cute little lady with silver hair asked me if I waltz (what they were playing). Of course I said yes, and we started dancing. We were the only couple on the floor, which is really no surprise--often [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I are the only people dancing for the first few dances of an evening. Why would the others come on time to a dance only to stand (or sit) out the first few dances?

I, of course, danced every dance that evening. Often with the silver haired lady, who comes from Finland, but has been living in Soresle since 1965, often with [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, L, D, and also with L's mother and her friend. I occasionally tried asking someone else, but only one other stranger said yes all evening. Silly people to miss out on dancing. I understand all of the musicians who were ensconced in one of the rooms in the buildings across the field doing music--they have an excuse to miss dancing, but the ones in the room who just sat there while a few of us danced, that I can't understand.

The dance ended just after 23:00, so I only danced for 2 hours, and 15 minutes, but it seemed like enough--while I could have kept dancing, I was also satisfied. So we four went across the field to the building where the musicians were and the others ate sausages, since they were feeling hungry (I, of course wasn't--I don't recall ever feeling hungry at night), while we enjoyed listening to the music there, and then we returned to the cabin, where, again, they boys played for me while I did yoga. However, this time the boys took turns playing while the other did some stretching too, since they had also been dancing.

Sunday we didn't have anyplace to be before dinner, so when I woke up I went for a half a hour walk, enjoying the forest, and then we spent a lazy day relaxing, cuddling, and doing music (yes, I even played the dulcimer). Then we went to L's parent's house for dinner. They had asked us the day before if we eat lamb, and I explained that I don't eat store-bought meat. They said that the lamb wasn't store-bought, so I said it would be fine, and oh, was it!

On the drive L explained that her mother loves to cook, and that she had never had better food at a restaurant than she could get home at her mother's house. When we arrived her mother had just finished adding cream to the gravy, and I begun to understand why L felt that way about the cooking. My family always used milk in gravy, and it never occurred to me to use cream instead. My, does that do lovely things to the texture and flavour. Sadly, her mother likes salt more than I do, so the gravy wasn't exactly to my taste, but the next time I get my hands on a piece of meat that would benefit from roasting that came from an animal I am willing to eat I am so going to try making my own gravy with cream in it. Her lamb roast, on the other hand, was perfect--the meat was tender and falling off the bones, and she served it with a plate of roasted root vegetables, and the mix of red (beet), orange (carrot), with the potato (+/- other white roots?) was pretty. She also had tomatoes and capsicum from her garden, home made lingonberry jam, home made pickles (I, of course, didn't try those, since I don't do anything pickled or containing wine or vinegar), and a few other things.

After dinner we said farewell, and we drove back north and east, while L & D drove south and east. We, as expected, got home too late for folk dance here, but still plenty early enough to do yoga and get to sleep at a reasonable hour.

This morning we had a home inspection. We have decided to switch insurance companies, and the new company wants an initial house inspection. Ours did just fine, of course. The inspection was by the same company who inspected the house before we bought it, and they did't find any new problems with it, and we were able to report having solved the mold under the floor in the one room in the cellar issue.

Tonight is nyckleharpa night, Tuesday is choir, Wednesday some friends are coming over for dinner (in part to thank them for loaning me so much nice Viking stuff for the larp earlier this summer, and in part because it has just been too long since we have seen them), Thursday is a meeting of the folk music and dance society, and Friday our choir band meets here at the house. In addition I start my new job on Wednesday, so it looks like it will be a busy week.


Sep. 26th, 2014 12:40 pm
kareina: (fresh baked rolls)
This weekend we are heading to Sorsele (about three or four hour drive: inland and one river valley south) to attend their Folk Music and Dance Week 25 Year Jubelie We went a couple of years ago as part of a group from the local folk music and dance group, a bunch of us in a rented van, and had a great time. This time we will be staying with one of our favourite people from SCA and Larp. This is her home town, and we will be staying at her parent's cabin.

Since we have a road trip and a weekend with lots of stuff on I decided that I would convert leftovers into easy road food.

saffron/rice/almond oven pancake recipe )
leftover soup lasagna )Yum! I was really happy with how both of them came out, and both will be good eaten cold out of the ice box whenever we get hungry.

Now I need to do some packing so that we are ready to go when he gets home from work. Tonight's program has an interesting thing on at 21:00, so if we can get an early enough start we can attend that.
kareina: (me)
Just like every other holiday in Sweden, Midsummer is celebrated on Midsummer Eve, not the day itself. However, in our case the day started the day before that. On Thursday one of our (exchange student) friends from choir, came over for dinner for one last visit before he returns to Germany next week, and then we took him with us to the park in town where the Luleå Hembygdsgille (folk music and dance group) runs a Midsummer celebration, where we helped to wrap leaf covered branches around the midsummer pole thingie for the next day (I try not to think of it as a cross, so as not to be uncomfortable participating in someone else's religious ceremony).

Friday we got up early enough to unload the huge lathe he dad is lending us from the giant trailer (which we hauled here with the tractor on Wednesday, after having loaded it onto the tractor on Tuesday--remind me to post photos of the loading at some point if you are interested in seeing it). It now sits in the car port, awaiting our creating a concrete platform in the shed with a window for it to live upon.

Then we went to the Gillestuget (the little old school building in Gammelstad where the Hembygdsgille does folk dancing, meetings, etc.), and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar loaded up a trailer of stuff to take to the park in town to set up the sound system for the stage there, and I practiced the day's dance program with the others. ([livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar used to do the dance performances on Midsummer too, but in recent years (and for as long as I have lived here), he runs the sound instead, saying it is a nice change from the dancing, and he thinks it is fun, too.)

After the trailer was loaded and the dancers were happy that we all know what we are doing, everyone sat down to a lunch of traditional Swedish food. As is usual when that is what is being served, there was not much on offer that I eat, since I don't care for fish and don't eat meat (other than the occasional wild game, which doesn't cause the same issues with my digestion as store-bought meat does), so all I took was a couple of tiny boiled potatoes, a couple of thin slices of cheese, a little bit of salad (lettuce, tomato, cucumber), and half a hard boiled egg. The tiny amount of food on my plate got comments from the others at our table, since they each took two to three times as many different items as I had taken. However, I rarely eat much at one sitting, since I prefer to spread my food intake more evenly across the day time hours, and I had food in by back pack for later, so it didn't worry me to have only a little. I did, of course, take plenty of strawberries for desert, with cream, when that was put out.

After lunch [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar departed with the trailer for town to set things up there, and our group, in our folk costume finery, gathered at the entrance to the open air museum at Hängnan (not far from the Gillestuget) and paraded in to the stage, musicians playing. We dancers left our baskets and bags on the stage behind the musicians and then we went out into the dense crowds (literally thousands of people gather in this park for Midsummer; some years it has exceeded 10,000) to do the traditional raising of the leaf and flower covered pole, which includes carrying it in a loop around the area and then standing it up in a hole in the ground, followed by dancing around it.

I am told that everyone in Sweden who is old enough to dance at all has participated in these dances--all families make certain that their kids get a chance to do the dances around the midsummer pole, whether at a large celebration like this one, or at a private one at someone's summer cottage, and everyone knows the songs well enough to sing along. At our celebration the musicians play the traditional songs and a group of us join them on stage to sing the words into microphones, while the rest of us lead the dances around the pole (I, of course, was with the dancers). The dances all fall into the category of "mimed dances", which is to say there are hand motions. For one we play the part of bunnies, horses, and elephants, and use our hands to show the relative size of each creatures ears, tails (and trunk!), for another we mime playing musical instruments, and a third involves leaning one way and another ("hit" and "dit"). The sequence of dances takes a good 10 to 20 minutes all told, and is fun, and the part of the crowd closest to the pole, which contains lots and lots of children, and a few adults, all dance with us, and everyone sings.

Then we moved over to the stage for a folk dance performance, and as soon as that was done we went to town and did it all again at the park there, for the much more reasonably sized crowd there (probably still more than 1000 people, but the people density was better).

For the second performance, since there was more room to move in town, we added in a promenade dance involving as many people from the audience as we could persuade to join us, doing all of the traditional patterns of couples splitting up, coming back together, reversing the line to walk under the arch of joined hands of the couples following, splitting the line into two by alternating couples going either left or right around the dance area, and then joining back together in groups of four, and again in groups of eight (I have done this with the dance group in Australia, and at the end, when everyone is lined up in groups of eight across the room, they followed it with a pattern dance that needs dancers to be in groups of eight--a great way to start an evening of dance).

However, on this occasion, the groups of eight was the last set in the figure, and marked the end of the dancing for the day. Therefore, we all helped [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar load all of the sound equipment and other items back into the trailer, and he and I took it back to the Gillestuget to unload. Then we returned to our house, where his parents (who had joined us at the park in town for the performance) joined us for coffee and to see what all we have accomplished in the way of home improvements since their last visit.

Then we were both tired, and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar wasn't feeling so good, so we went to bed early (21:30!), which meant that I was awake and doing my morning situps at 04:30 today. This is good, because it gives me plenty of time to accomplish a few things before I fly to Copenhagen later this morning, where I will participate as one of the panelists in the session "New concepts of mobility to foster career development and gender balance in Europe" at the Euroscience Open Forum. This session is sponsored by the Marie Curie Fellowship Association. They asked me to participate in it since I had done so much work for the booklet of role models for mobility of women scientists that we put together a coupld of years back.

I never really liked the idea of traveling to a city at midsummer, when I could be home in my nearly country setting working on the earth cellar, but they managed to talk me into participating anyway, since they cover the travel costs to get there. So I fly down today, and will arrive around 15:00. My cousins, who live in Denmark, will pick me up at the airport, we will drop my stuff at their place and relax a bit, then I will head to the conference venue for a meeting with the other panelists at 17:00, then back to my cousin's house to hang out with them for the evening. Tomorrow morning we have the conference session, and then in the evening I fly home again. I am looking forward to seeing what [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar does with the tractor while I am gone, now that we finally have it here.
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)
As one might expect for a country which extends so far to the north, midsummer is a rather important holiday. The holiday itself was Friday, the 21st, Midsommarafton. We spent it, as we have every year since I arrived in Sweden (this is my third midsummer here!) with the folk music/dance community. The day started with a gathering at the gillestuga in Gammelstad at 10:00 for a quick dance rehearsal, followed by lunch for all the musicians and dancers. Lunch ended just on time to head over to the open air museum in Gammelstad and raise the leaf-and flowered covered cross and lead the children (both large and small) in the traditional dances around the cross, followed by our dance performance. The crowd there to enjoy the beautiful day and the traditional activities was quite large (the number 7000 was mentioned by one of the other dancers, but I am not certain where she got it), yet I saw a few people I know in the crowd. However, I didn't have a chance to speak to any of them, since it was time to hurry over to a park near city center, and do it all again.

The crowd in town was noticeably smaller than the one in Gammelstad, so there was much more room for dancing, which was fun. As he does every year at midsummer [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar didn't dance with us, but instead ran the sound system for the music at the park in town, which he rather enjoys doing. I can't complain about losing my favourite dance partner for the day, since the man I wound up dancing with instead is one who has been a very good dancer since well before either [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar or I were born, and is always a pleasure to dance with.

After the second dance performance ended we took the sound equipment back to Gammelstad, and joined some of the other dancers and musicians for a dinner of leftovers from lunch (I had, of course, brought some food with me to eat between the provided lunch and dinner) and then we finally returned home some eight hours after leaving the house.

Soon after we arrived home [livejournal.com profile] liadethornegge arrived. She had spend the day in the area, and was going to spend the night at our place, to save having to drive back and forth two days in a row. It was lovely getting a chance to visit with her--we both tend to be too busy at events to slow down and talk much.

Our event started around mid-day on Saturday. I got up early enough to bake a large loaf of garlic bread (of the sort where one puts in many whole (or half, depending on how big they are) cloves of garlic into the bread so that they roast and become soft pockets of yumminess within the bread) that came out of the oven around the time the first of the other guests started arriving.

It was a lovely, low-key SCA event. We danced a little, sang some songs, worked on handicrafts, chatted, ate yummy food, and in the evening soaked in the shire hot tub (which we had fetched last week so that it would be available). We had around a dozen people, and a good mix of long time SCA people, people new to the SCA, and some friends from choir and folk music, too. Some are local, and some drove from as far away as Skellefteå (two hours south of here). One of the guys who came up from Piteå is merchant, from whom I had purchased some yarn at an event sometime in the last year or so. I am currently using that yarn to nålbind some socks, and they are about half as tall as I want them to be, but I am running low of yarn. So I emailed him this week and asked if he could bring me more. He did, and the price was so reasonable I bought another six skeins--so I should be able to make a few more things from it when this project ends. I love not needing to actually go shopping, but just have what I need show up when I need it, ready to purchase with no effort on my part.

We did wind up spending the day inside (except for hottubbing and using the bbq to cook), since it was a rainy & blustery day, but we had enough fun that I don't think anyone minded (well, save for the one friend who couldn't stay due to an allergy to the visiting dog. I had told another friend last week that he could bring his old, small, and well behaved dog with him to the event, since we had planned to be outside all day, and his dog is too old to be left home alone all day. However, when I woke up to the rain I had forgotten that the dog was coming too, and when they arrived I didn't feel I could ask him to leave the dog outside in the rain and wind, so I let him in (but insisted that the dog stay on the floor, which is easily cleaned later, and not the nice wool rug I use for a yoga mat). The dog was quiet and well behaved, so I didn't mind having him there, until a friend arrived who couldn't risk staying, since she is allergic to dogs. Sigh. I would have loved to have had her company, too, but she said she was content to go visit her grandchildren instead.

People wandered home early enough that we had the kitchen cleaned back up by midnight, and got to sleep at a reasonable hour. Today we started the part of the yard work we have been putting off till after the event--the root cellar! The area we want to build the root cellar happened to already have some of the lovely, tiny, strawberries that the Swedes call smultron growing on it, so I moved them (and the dirt they were growing on) over to the area next to the shed, while [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar used the tractor to do a bit more work on the lower part of our field. Once I had rescued most of the berries he brought the tractor up and started the digging, which involved alternating between using the forklift point to loosen and carry away single large rocks, and using the large scoop to carry away bunches of small stones and earth. I helped for part of this by using the huge steel rod to loosen up some of the medium sized stones to make them easier for the tractor to scoop up. Other bits of the project I was inside the house working on organizing stuff there. His dad's tractor isn't a huge one, so this process takes rather longer to do than it does to describe, so I had plenty of time to be useful in both ways.

We managed to do what is likely to be about half of the digging for the root cellar, and after that was done we also made time to bring in the ladder and finally hang the light above the stairs that has been sitting on the floor under the kitchen shelves for six months waiting for us to put it up. Granted, we still need to actually run electricity to that light, but that is progress, nonetheless.

Now I am curled up at my computer--first time I have touched it all weekend, and he is watching the Lord of the Rings on his, which, I must point, is somewhat distracting. I started typing at the opening prologue began, and now Frodo is waking up in Rivendel after his near death experience at Weathertop. Somehow I doubt that it would have taken me so long to type if he had chosen a less interesting way to relax....
kareina: (house)
I have enjoyed reading year end summaries/holiday letters from some of my friends and family this week, and it has inspired me to try to see if I can summarize my 2012.

January = traveling )
Total for the month: 19 of 31 days sleeping away from home.

February = less traveling )
Total for the month: 9 of 29 days sleeping away from home.
March = working on a bus )

Total for the month: 17 of 31 days sleeping away from home.

April = dancing and gaming, and more working on a bus )

Total for the month: 12 of 30 days sleeping away from home.

May = Cyprus and Double Wars )

Total for the month: 14 of 31 days sleeping away from home.

June = Folk Music! )

Total for the month: only 1 out of 30 days sleeping away from home!

July = Hängnan Medieval Days! )

Total for the month: 7 days out of 31 days sleeping away from home, but five of them were in my own pavilion, only a 20 minute drive from home, so it kind of felt like being at home anyway.

August = mostly at home )

Total for the month: 4 days out of 31 days sleeping away from home.

September = mom visits! )

Total for the month: 4 days out of 30 days sleeping away from home.

October = waiting )

Total for the month: 4 days out of 31 days sleeping away from home.

November = House! )

Total for the month: 4 days out of 30 days sleeping away from home.

December = All moved in! )
There are still a few days left of the year, but we have no plans to go anywhere else, so I feel safe to say: Total for the month 3 days of 31 sleeping away from home.

That makes the total for the year 102 days sleeping away from home, or 28%. I hope that 2013 has more time at home; I like home, and like it even better now that "home" is a house of our own with a view that is naught more than fields and trees and lots of beautiful snow!
kareina: (me)
This weekend was the annual Spelmansstämma event. "spelmans" in this context means musician's and "stämma" is "meeting", though the word can also mean tune or voice/pitch/part,which is somehow appropriate. For me the weekend started a bit after mid-day on Friday, when [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I went out to Gammelstad to help out with the set up. We had signed up for the shift of prepping the hamburger stand for evening food sales. We had time to chop a huge bowl of onions and lettuce and get the tables and grill set up before it was time to head to town to pick up our friend L from the bus station.

Friday evening was a social dance, and we had much fun. Groups of musicians did half an hour sets each, and the next group usually started straight away, so the only breaks I took from dancing was when I needed to run to the toilet. We danced till well after 01:00, and then finally decided that it would be smart to go get some sleep before heading back in the morning.

Saturday we arrived on site at 09:00, and enjoyed breakfast there with others in the Luleå Hembygdsgille(the local guild of folk musicians and dancers). Then we went over to an old barn and helped [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar set up a sound system there. (This was one of several venues on site which had performers over the course of the weekend). We finished that on time to head to the final rehearsal for our dance performance, and then had time to claim a nice bit of hill near the stage for our blanket. L was willing to sit with our lunch bag, backpacks, instrument cases, and water, while we did our performance, and then we had the rest of the afternoon to relax and enjoy ourselves.

We watched some performances (and I worked on nålbinding while we did), we occasionally got up and danced when there were musicians playing on the big stage but no one using the dance stage. On those occasions we just hopped onto the dancing stage and had fun. Not surprisingly, whenever we did other people also got up and danced, too, but nearly always our group was the first ones to get up and dance. We also went to the folk singing workshop, which was lots of fun (and gave me more time for nålbinding). This year the workshop was held in an old house a bit further away from the other activities. As a result the group was only people who meant to be there. A smaller crowd than last year's session (which was in a building in the middle of everything), but a more focused one. My quest to learn Swedish one song at a time is continuing.

The weather on Saturday was sunny and warmish (hot while dancing, but when sitting still I was glad I had the nålbinded shawl to wear over my costume). This gave good crowds over and above the musicians and guild members (all musicians get in free, even if they aren't part of the guild--I recommend to all of my friends to come to this another year, and bring an instrument!).

In addition to a very good local turn out this year we also had a large buss full of musicians and dancers from Bodo, Norway, and others from there came by train. Apparently there were 70 of them in total. This meant that there were a fair few good dancers on site that I didn't already recognize.

There was about two hours between the last performance of the day and the start of the social dance in the evening, so we three went home and cooked dinner and even had time for shower and short nap before heading out to dance. This was a good thing, because it refreshed our batteries for dancing. I managed to dance till after 1:00 before getting to tired to keep going. The mosquitoes were also much more viscous on Saturday evening than they had been on Friday--on Friday I got one or two bites all evening, on Saturday I had many more, even while dancing. Part of the problem was that we had far more dancers on Saturday, so it became necessary to open more windows for air, and when it was late enough that the mosquitoes were getting thicker we couldn't close the windows, because there were so many dancers and it would have been too warm. So both because I was tired, and to escape the bugs I went to the car and took an hour's nap. When I woke up it was raining, so thinking the mosquitoes would be less, I went back to the hall to dance some more. Sadly, while there were no more mosquitoes outside, there were plenty of them inside. There were also no many folk still dancing, so I did a few dances, and we called it a night and went home to sleep.

Sunday we had no work shifts in the morning, so we didn't have to be on site before 11:45 for the 12:00 parade to officially start the afternoon's activities. It was nice to get a bit of sleep! It didn't really rain all afternoon, but since it had been raining last night and in the morning the crowds were much smaller. However, there were still plenty of opportunities to fill the dance stage with impromptu dancing in between dance performances, and we had much fun. I also made good progress with my nålbinding in between dancing.

The last performance in the old barn where [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar was in charge of sound finished at 14:30, so we was nearly done packing up the equipment by the time the guy in charge stopped in a bit later. This earned him much praise. After we had finished up that bit of work we went and did more dancing while he joined the rest of the musicians of the guild for the final session on the main stage and then we helped tear down some of the other things that had been set up for the weekend. We were home by 18:00, and have had some time to eat and relax before I fell into my computer to check in with the world.
kareina: (Default)
I have, since starting my current job, made an effort to actually work at my office. This is in contrast to having done most of the work for my PhD at home, and most of that in the evenings and at night. Yet, somehow, it seems appropriate that when working a "real job" that comes with a "real paycheck" to make an effort to be in the building and to even try to attend one of the two "fika" gatherings a day in the coffee/tea room (never mind that I don't drink coffee, nor tea containing caffeine--they don't care if it is plain water in my cup). But now we are into summer--mid summer will soon be here, and many of my colleagues are on holiday, and others have notes on their door saying that they are working from home. I will wait and take my holiday after Mid-Summer, when [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar takes his, but in the mean time I have decided to revert to student mode and start working from home, with quite pleasing results.

Of course this required a minor re-arrangement of furniture to make it comfortable. I used to have my computer set up at the cheap recliner we bought from a second hand store when I moved in. Sadly, that chair reclines, but doesn't have a built in foot stool. Therefore if one wants to use a computer while sitting in that chair one needs to bend one's legs and put one's feet onto a free-standing foot stool, which creates enough of a lap to hold the computer. The down side to that is that it puts extra pressure on one's sit-bones, and one's but beings to hurt after not so much time working.

This was all well and fine when I was only using a computer at home for leisure time, especially as such a tiny percentage of my life has included leisure time on the computer, but it won't do for work. Therefore we took the monitor arm which holds my spare monitor and attached it to the huge speaker by the couch. So now I sit here, in comfort, kicked back on the good recliner couch, with my work computer in my lap, and a spare monitor at my side.

From this delightful nest I have managed to accomplish a fair bit this week )
This weekend is Spelmansstamman, a large folk music and dance festival. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I will take off work early to head out to Gammalstad to help with set up, then we will head into Luleå to the bus station to pick up our friend who is coming up for the event, then return to Gammalstad for an evening of open dancing to live music. On Saturday morning we will return to Gammalstad to do the performance for our folk dance group and enjoy the other day time festivities before returning to the hall for another evening of dancing for fun.

I think we are busy with more of the festival on Sunday, too, so no fighter practice for me this week. Therefore it is a good thing that I got into armour on Tuesday. One of the fighters who lives near us was heading to Gothenberg for a Metal concert this weekend, so he wasn't going to be able to do Sunday's practice either, so instead we met up on Tuesday after work and got in a good half of hour of practice before he left on Wednesday. He is looking forward to [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar getting his armour together, because that will make three of us with armour within walking distance, and increase the odds of us doing training on extra days during the week.

In other news, I am also making progress on learning to play my hammer dulcimer--I now know four tunes fairly solidly, and am making good progress learning another two. No doubt there is other news that has accumulated since last I typed, but it is after 01:00, and I do need to work in the morning. Luckily I had the sense to do my yoga before sitting back down to type this, so I can go straight to sleep after I crawl out from under the computer...
kareina: (Default)
As has become usual for me, I am a bit behind on posting to LJ, let me see if I can remember all of my recent adventures...

When I left off I was anticipating actually attending the shire fighter practice, for the first time since returning from Australia. The first batch of practices after I got back either we were out of town that weekend, or there were posts to the shire forum saying no heavy practice that week. Eventually we settled into the habit of enjoying the chance to catch up on sleep on Sunday mornings, and then spend the rest of the morning working on projects until time to head to the Folk music session, and so we got into the habit of not even checking the forum to see if practice was on. However, [livejournal.com profile] aelfgyfu brought her armour all the way from An Tir, so it would have been a shame for her not to attend FP, and if we were driving her out there we should bring my armour, too, so we did.

It was fun! The local practice actually has a "training" component to it, every time, which I really appreciate (and need!). It turns out that so much time of not even doing slow work has (unsurprisingly) had the effect of my not using my body properly, so most of my blows were light. I also quit earlier than the others because my forearms were not happy with the weight of my sword and shield in conjunction with the unusual movements. Sigh. Must do something about that. On Sunday I told myself that I would go to the gym a couple of times during the week, and do some slow work to get my arms used to moving my sword and shield around again. Did I achieve this goal? Nope. Didn't make it to the gym at all, and only did slow work with [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar once, and we used invisible shields then, so my body hasn't had the chance to make any progress towards thinking that swinging a stick and blocking blows is easy.

Today is Sunday once again, and we will totally go to practice, but I am thinking I shouldn't armour up. Thursday evening I managed to do something wrong to my shoulder at the end of yoga. I normally do a head-stand at the end of my yoga session, and sometimes, if [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar is around I get his help on my "learn to do hand-stands" quest: I go into my head stand in front of him (back towards him once I am upside down), he grabs my ankles and pulls, which, combined with some pushing from my arms, gets me up into a hand-stand. So far it is mostly me standing on my hands with the upper part of my legs leaning against him, but on a few occasions I have managed to hold my self up for a second or three before having to lower my legs.

Thursday was different. He was in the next room on the computer, but as I started to go up into the headstand I called out to him asking if he happens to be free for hand-stand help. Once I got into the headstand I could see him coming, so I stayed there, waiting for him to come over. Instead of walking around to my back side (where he normally is for this), he grabbed my ankles from the front, and lifted. This changes everything in terms of how it feels--I couldn't find the balance point with my shins towards his shoulders instead of my calves, and I felt like I was going to fall over backwards. I panicked, tried desperately to hold on to something, anything, and let him know I felt like I was going to fall the wrong way, so he stepped back so he could lower my legs towards the floor. However, in that tiny amount of time something I did really messed up my left shoulder. In precisely the same way it got messed up when I jumped off the cliff in Cyprus.

On that occasion it took several days before the pain and discomfort went completely away, though by the second day I could move mostly normally again. This time I am feeling much better already, but there is some residual stiffness, and I am not certain that putting on a helm and swinging a stick (it is the sword arm side that bothers me) is a good idea.

However, we made a cake to bring to practice, so we have to go, even if I don't suit up. I will post photos of it (it is cute!) after people there have had a chance to see it.

In other news, Wednesday was Sweden's National Day, so it was a holiday from work, and our Folk Dance group had a performance at the celebrations in Gammelstad. It was much fun, despite the rain, and there were a reasonable number of folk in the crowd given the weather. We perform again next weekend for the big weekend of folk music activities, and again at Midsummer.

I didn't accomplish as much this week at work as I would have liked--the four day adventure-filled weekend I took while [livejournal.com profile] aelfgyfu was here left me rather tired and slow on Monday and Tuesday, but by Wednesday, when I had the day off for dancing, I was feeling pretty good, so on Thursday I actually spend the day playing with my data, and on Friday I finally got around to deciding which of the samples I have collected I actually want thin sections cut from, and got them ready to ship off to the company (in Canada!!!) that does that for us. I would have shipped them, too, but there was no one on duty in the uni shipping office when I checked, so it will have to wait till Monday.
kareina: (Default)
Yesterday was the final exam for the Swedish class I have been taking. I was not as prepared for it as I might have been, since I wound up missing a fair few class meetings due to travel this term, but it mostly went ok anyway. I did have problems with one section, which was meant to be testing us on our abilities to use the correct reflexive or possessive pronoun, but I didn't recognize some of the verbs they were paired with, making it hard to work out which of the list should be slotted into which sentence--I swear I never saw those particular words in the textbook. A good measure of how little I am stressed about the exam though--I never even bothered to look at the number of points each section was worth, so I have no idea if messing up that section (the other sections felt reasonably easy) is a minor or major difference in my total score.

The most amusing part of the exam was the essay section. )

In the evening the Thursday folk dance session we have been attending lately was canceled due to the annual general meeting of the folk federation, in the same location as we normally dance. So we went along to it. The meeting started with a long presentation on a historic photo project one of the guys is doing--he has lots of old photographs from the 1800's that he is cataloging and archiving. I couldn't understand most of the talk, but it was interesting looking at the photos and the styles of clothing. After his talk they did the business meeting. I may be able to follow written Swedish, but can still only catch random words out of context when they are at full speed in the spoken language. The only reason I know that some things must have been put to a vote is because at random intervals everyone in the room chorused "Ja", but I never caught whatever clues there may have been to indicate that they were about to.

Fortunately, I was not relying on understanding the meeting to provide me entertainment. I brought along a long-neglected embroidery project to work on. That neckline was started in August of 2010, and while it is further along now there is still a long way to go (there were 4 leaves done then, now there are 12, out of 24 total to go all the way round the neck). This is the neck line for the new bliaut I have been working on off an on since December of 2010. The fabric for that dress is inclined to fray, so I have taken the approach of hemming each piece, and then sewing them together. At this piece nearly all of the pieces are hemmed (there are lots of them--the skirt has a total of 12 triangles which assemble to 4 sets of inset gores), so I had better finish the neck line, so that I can finish the dress.

Why haven't I been working on the embroidery all these months it has sat neglected? (I mean other than having gotten addicted to nålbinding and wanting to do that instead of other forms of stitching.) I think the reason is that zig.zag pattern around the edge of the design. The pattern comes from one of the statues in the Chartres cathedral--I did a simpler version of this (outline only) on my blue and red bliaut years ago. I decided to resurrect the design and do it differently for this one in part because I was teaching a class in laid and couched work embroidery at the last European Textile Forum I made it to, and wanted a design that was appropriate, and I had already done the work tracing the pattern from a photograph of the statue.

However, back when I did this for the other dress the photo I had made it look like there were parallel lines running around the outside of the leaves. More recently I saw a better photo someone else has of the statue, and it turns out that instead of parallel lines there is some sort of zig-zag thing happening. So I decided to give it a try. I like how it looks, but I do not like working it. The big advantage of laid-and-couched embroidery is that it is a fast way to fill in large areas. If I were trying to fill in parallel lines with this technique that part would be done already as it would take very few stitches to cover huge areas. Sadly, the zig-zags mean that there is no one area where the lines reach any length for that part, so it is slow and tedious. Slow and tedious enough that the project went back into its bag and got forgotten for months.

Needless to say, last night I made no attempt at the zig-zag bits, but only focused on the leaves. Part of me wishes that I had opted for straight lines instead of zig-zags this time, too, but I think there are now too many of them to make me feel good about ripping them out. So instead I will finish up everything else, and then decide what to do with the outer boarder...

One other nice feature of the annual general meeting is that people sell off old folk dancing accessories they have and don't use anymore. We managed to pick up two pairs of boots (one in his size, one in mine), an apron, a scarf, and a knitted cap for only 1750 SEK (less than €200). Buying these things new one could't get one pair of boots for that, and I don't even want to know how many hours went into that cap.
kareina: (Default)
This weekend, while many of my friends across the Known World attended 12th Night Coronations in one Kingdom or another I attended a very different sort of event: Trettonhelgskurser (which Google Translate says means "Twelfth Night Courses", even though "tretton" is 13), a weekend of classes sponsored by the Svenska Folkdansringen (Swedish Folk Dance Ring). Unlike many SCA events which are based around attending many different classes in many different subjects, these courses were each designed to run the full weekend. One could either take the class in dance, or in singing folk songs, or in playing music, or in woodworking, or in costumes for folk dance. However, even though most of us would have been interested in more than one class, each class ran for the full weekend, so we could only take one.

[livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I decided to go with the folk song class, in part because I need more help with singing than with dance, and in part because of my quest to learn Swedish, one song at a time. I think this class helped with that.

Two full days of class time was enough for us to learn eight songs. Now, when I say "learn eight songs", I mean that for each song we learned the words and melody plus one, or more often several, alternate tunes for the song. Not like in a choir, where people are grouped according to which range they sing in, and each group learns a tune that combine nicely. Nope, in Swedish folk singing *everyone* learns each tune for a given song, and then we divide up and sing multiple parts at once, and then we may switch which groups sing which version of the tune, or, perhaps, some individuals will switch groups.

With luck I will make time to translate each of these songs and share them here, since it has been quite a while since I did an entry for the "learn Swedish one song at a time" series.

I will share one of them now, because the translation is easy:

Vi ska dansa med Sara )
Hopefully I will have a link to the tune up soon--when that happens I will edit it. If you want to hear it before that happens poke me.

How else was this event different from the SCA events I have attended? Well, the best way to answer that is with a description. )
Oops, I just looked at the clock, it is later than I had hoped--I still need to read my 1000 and do my yoga, and I have to drive to Boliden for work in the morning (1.5 hour drive). I will be there till Thursday evening, when I return home so that I can attend my exam to get new hearing aids on Friday. Then next week I will head back there for the first half of the week, then home to pack and get ready for the Scotland trip.
kareina: (me)
As I type this it is New Year's Eve—there are occasional sounds from outside of people's fireworks being shot off, and I am contentedly curled up at home with my sweetie, who is at the next computer, within easy reach.

One year ago today I was visiting a friend in Geneva, on my way to Sweden from Italy. One year ago tomorrow I landed in Stockholm, took a train to Tierp to the home of some friends I had first met in Alaska the winter before, and visited with them while [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar drove south to meet me there for the start of our first "date"—a 10 day road-trip which included a trip to Gotland to introduce him to my Queen, visits to the homes of three out of four of his siblings (and the chance to meet his parents, too, when they also visited one on them whilst we were there), attendance at a play put on in southern Sweden by one of his friends who lives up here in the north, and attendance at the SCA 12th night event, where the above mentioned Queen stepped down and became a countess. Then we did the long drive north to Luleå, and I moved in with him. At that point I had only one suitcase full of stuff with me, and the rest was in storage with a friend in Scotland.

The rest of January )

February )

March ).

Slight pause in typing, while we went to enjoy watching fireworks out our windows. The widow at the front of the apartment gives a good view of the big display being put on at the University, while the window at the back of the apartment gives a nice view of the (much further away) fireworks display happening somewhere over near the city center.

April )

May )

June )

July )

August )

September )

October )

November )

December )

One year after moving to Sweden for love, and I am still head over heels in love. This is the most togetherness relationship I have ever had—we work together on so many projects, we enjoy so many of the same activities. We "click" in ways that make I, who have always been lucky in love and always led a charmed life, go "wow, this is wonderful". I have a good job, a happy relationship, enjoy good health, and have an active social life in addition to having a loving partner. Life is truly wonderful.

I wish all of my friends a Happy New Year, and hope that 2012 brings you all much joy.
kareina: (me)
This week was midsummer. I forgot to check sunrise and sunset times for solstice itself, but for today the sun rose here in Luleå at 01:02, and the sun will set tonight at three minutes after midnight; we are around 65.5 degrees north, so still south of the Arctic Circle, so the sun does set, but, as you can see, not for long.

Midsummer is a major holiday here, everyone has that Friday off of work--grocery stores close early (if they open at all), and the Saturday counts as a Sunday for determining if and when shops open. Our local Folk Music and Dance group is Very active in the celebrations. We all gathered in Gammelstead, at the old schoolhouse where we meet for music and dance sessions early Friday morning, all in our costumes appropriate to the area in the late 1800's. I have been borrowing one from one of the other dancers that she can no longer wear, but we managed to get [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive's wool shirt finished on time for the weekend's festivities (or, rather, finished enough--a couple of the seams could still use covering inside so that the zig-zagged edges don't rub unpleasantly.

In some ways the morning felt much like an SCA event--friends gathered in costume, some music, dance (practice for the afternoon's shows) followed by a shared lunch (traditional Swedish food appropriate to the era--desert was a jelly-roll style cake served with fresh strawberries and whipped cream, I could not resist!). We had around 40 people in the group, ranging from about 10 years old to probably 70--all of us musicians or dancers (or family members thereof?). The morning weather was lovely and sunny, with plenty of pretty clouds decorating the sky, and we were mostly outside, talking and practicing.

However, while we were inside enjoying lunch the rain that had been promised arrived (we had been checking its approach on the radar images on line on his phone off and on all morning). So as it came time to process over to the stage for the mid day performances the musicians put their instruments into cases and drove over (normally they play them for the procession) and we dancers covered up our costumes either with plastic rain cloaks, or (in my case) a wool cloak, and umbrellas and walked over there with a minimum of fan fare. On arrival we erected the summer pole (wood which had been covered with fresh branches of leaves wrapped around it, some flowers, and blue and yellow ribbons--shaped like a cross, but with big wreaths of more leaves and ribbons and flowers depending from the side arms) with due ceremony and music from the musicians (who, being on a covered stage, were happily dry while the rest of us were in the rain.

Due to the rain the crowds of the public there to watch numbered only in the hundreds--I am told that most years (when the sun shines) there are more like 7,000 or 8,000 people present. Since it was raining and the stage is not covered and the wood thereof would be slippery, it was first decided that we would skip the performance dancing this year, and do only the traditional children's dancing around the pole. So we dancers joined the musicians on the stage to sing the songs to which the children would dance, and the kids from our group were joined by all of the children present for the dancing.

Luckily, the rain stopped during that part of the program, so as the kid's dances finished some of our dancers got out some large squeegee things and dried off the wooden stage, and we did our performance as planned. I danced with our dance teacher, since [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive had committed to run sound at the other park this year, and was already there, and her husband is one of the musicians, and so didn't dance. Just before we danced some of the local SCA folk I know got up on stage, in costume, and announced the upcoming Medieval Week that will be held on that site in a few weeks. I would have loved to have joined them, but my costume for the day was centuries too late.

As soon as we finished dancing at the first park we all piled into cars and drove to a park in the city center, where we repeated the performance (including erecting another leaf, flower, and ribbon covered pole for the children to dance around) again there. (We had helped make that one on Thursday, before doing a practice session of the dances--I don't know who made the one for Gammelstad.) After that performance we helped pack down the sound equipment, musician tent, and booths, drove them back to storage in Gammelstad, and were home again by 17:30.

We then spent a bit of time relaxing with popcorn (me) and a beer (him--not that he is in the habit of drinking them--the few beers we purchased at the store that day were the first I have seen in the apartment in the nearly six months of living here) curled up on the couch together watching a video. As you may recall I am not a big watcher of movies, and I pretty much quit watching TV back in the 1980's when I joined the SCA and discovered that I would rather do things than sit around staring at a box watching people do things. I have not owned a TV since, and rarely lived in a house wherein there was a TV. [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive doesn't own an old fashioned TV, but he does have a projection system hooked up to his computer and stereo system, so he can watch movies when he wishes to.

Sometime recently he talked me into watching Stargate with him--I had never really heard of it hitherto, so we saw first the movie, and are now slowly working our way through the series--this weekend we saw episode 5. In general I would still far prefer to read a story than watch one, but curling up in his lap to share a story isn't a bad thing, so we will likely work our way through his video library over time, though at the rate I am willing to watch it will take years.

After watching the show we then proceeded with the fun part of the evening--starting the stitching on my winter coat. I had originally started this coat while I was in Tassie, made out of a nice sturdy black wool that we got free from a friend who knows someone in the business of providing theaters with fire retardant curtains--he regards any length that is too short to fall from ceiling to floor in a theater as "scrap", and so many SCA folk who know him have garb made of this stuff. When I cut out the coat then I didn't have a suitable lining, so I cut up an old raw silk dress with which I lined the skirt, and used some nice sturdy black silk I had to line the sleeves and upper body (which makes it easy to put the coat on over a wool sweater when it is really cold out).

Sadly, the old dress had been washed in detergent too many times, and it quickly wore out under the hard use that a winter coat gets, and so the lining was starting to hang in ribbons. I had also not been all that happy with the cut of the coat--the execution and the initial vision didn't mesh as well as I would have liked. So I took it apart and cut new lining for it out of a blue and white wool I picked up in Italy (keeping the nice silk for the upper part of the body, but over the second wool, so the top will be three layers thick), and changed the cut of the pieces so that the waist of the coat better aligns with my own waist--I wound up changing the cut of some of the pieces quite dramatically, and added two new panels that are simple rectangles at the front center to make up for narrowing all of the other pieces. It has been sitting in that state for days now, waiting for us to finish his Folk Dance shirt for this weekend so that we could then start on the coat.

Last night and today we have been making progress on the coat in small bits. Today, after visiting with his brother and sister-in-law in the morning the progress has been going like this: He stitches a seam while I read to him out of the Swedish version of Harry Potter (I have been listening to it in audio book, and am a chapter ahead of what I am reading to him, so that helps, but he still has to correct my pronunciation of a number of oddly spelled words. Who ever heard of silent L's anyway?). Then he takes a break with his computer game in progress while I trim the excess of the parts of the seam that need to be folded inside the flat felled seam. Then he does the second pass with the sewing machine, stitching the seam shut, and returns to his game while I pin the next piece onto the coat. We are more than half way done assembling it now, but it is getting lateish, so I don't know how far we will get tonight. But I am hopeful that we will have it done before I fly to Winter on Thursday.

That will be something of a shock to the system--the temp isn't THAT different--it is 16 C here (at nearly 23:00), and it is 9C in Hobart just now (where it is almost 07:00 tomorrow morning), but the change in number of hours of daylight is going to be really noteworthy. At least there won't be any mosquitoes down there this time of the year--they are quite plentiful here, and one must dress to keep covered unless one wishes lots of bites.

My plan for Australia is: Land in Sydney on the evening of Friday the 1st (ash clouds permitting), train to Canberra the morning of the 2nd, turn in my visa application at the Embassy the morning of Monday, 4 July, then head on to the Melbourne area a day or three later (depending on if the Embassy wants to see me again straight away--they have already seen pdf files of my application packet, but it must be filed officially in person, with proper payment of fees) to visit my step sister and her family, and my mother who is also visiting them. I will fly to Tassie the morning of 10 July (again, ash clouds permitting--mom has had her flight there from Melbourne delayed once already), where I will await word on my visa, staying with [livejournal.com profile] mushroom_maiden, whose normal housemate will be in Iceland.

How long will I need to wait? That simply cannot be predicted. Duke Elfin told me at Double Wars that when he submitted this sort of visa application to the Embassy in Canberra back in 1996 it was approved only one week after he applied! However, their web page warns that the process can take up to 7 or 8 months. The cover letter accompanying my application lists my top three dates by which I would wish to return to Sweden and why (before 13 July, so I can teach classes at the local Medieval week and then spend all of [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive's vacation with him, or before early August so that we can use the ferry tickets we purchased to attend the Medieval week in Gotland, or before September, so that we can teach the beginning Swedish Folk Dance class we agreed to teach). I hope that they like my application well enough to reach the decision and approve my visa on time for one or all of them.
kareina: (Default)
We had lots of fun at Spelmansstamman last weekend! Friday and Saturday nights they had dancing. The habit I learned at contra dances, to never, ever sit out a dance, is, perhaps, not nearly as appropriate at a Swedish Folk Dance.

Why? Because at a contra dance the individual dances are rather long (10 to 15 min?), but there is a short break between every dance--enough time to drink water, find a new partner, and form up new lines, and then they teach the dance (the teaching often also counts as a break). There is also an actual break at the mid point of the evening. Here, on the other hand, the dances are faster (1 to 5 min?), but they come one right after the other in quick succession. Since the dances are couples dances without chirography or anything to teach it is just dancing, all of the time. At an event like this one there are a bunch of bands, each of whom follows the other promptly, with no real break at all. As a result the three hours straight I danced both nights all went onto the exercise as dancing. By the end of the evening my feet and legs were a bit sore from all of the dancing, and even my neck was a bit tight, from looking up at my partner all evening. He would have been content to sit out some of the dances and talk to people, but it has always been against my religion to sit out a dance...

Saturday during the day we had the performance of our folk dance group, which was much fun, and we worked one shift each day to help out with the event, setting things up, selling hamburgers, and sitting gate. The weather for the event was perfect--reasonably cool, yet warm enough, mostly sunny, and no rain (unless you count a very light sprinkle of a shower one afternoon for a couple of minutes). The following two days were constant rain (the first I have really seen since moving here, since it doesn't rain in the winter). I enjoyed the rain (and the fact that it washed away all that pollen--our blue car had turned yellow with pollen!), but am glad that we didn't have it for the music event.

Monday and Tuesday we had practice for this coming weekend's folk dance performance in conjunction with the local MidSummer celebrations. The last couple of performances was just our folk dance group doing choreographed dances, the one this coming weekend is a combination of our group and another, doing a different set of dances, so I was glad to have a couple of days to learn the new dances. We have one more practice tonight, after the work session where, if I understand it correctly, we will be attaching leaves to something for the midsummer celebration.

I got a very good demonstration at Tuesday's rehearsal showing how much better my reading comprehension is as compared to understanding spoken Swedish. In between each dance set the guy in charge read aloud the text he will share with the audience this weekend, and I understood none of it. After we did the dances I picked up the paper and read it. Yup, I was able to understand about 90% of it in the written form, even though none of it made sense in the spoken form. I will be so glad when my ability to understand the spoken language catches up with my reading!

I have one week left before I fly to Australia. I hope that the ash clouds that have been disrupting air travel don't interfere with the trip. It would be sad to be stuck in Hong Kong unable to complete the journey!

I took apart my winter coat last week, got rid of the old, shredded lining (don't re-use raw silk from an old dress that had been often washed in detergent--it isn't worth the effort and will need replacing far too soon), modified the fit so that it is more comfortable and more flattering, cut new lining in wool, and now it is ready for [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive to sew back together as soon as he finishes the Swedish Folk music/dance shirt that he needs this weekend. I hope we get it reassembled before I head to winter...

Time to head out for the evening, I hope that all is well with all of you!
kareina: (Default)
The plan for the trip home: depart site by 05:00 at the latest, in hopes of arriving home by midnight.

The reality of the trip home: departed site at 04:55, arrived home at 23:59; had everything unloaded at two different locations, the two rental cars filed with petrol or diesel (one of each) and returned by 01:20. There were seven us for the drive home, five of whom did the full trip, the others were dropped off in cities 6 and 3 hours south of here. The trip went so smoothly I would cheerfully travel with these folk on future road trips. Yes, it is a very long drive, but it was still a nice trip!

Double Wars was a nice, relaxing, event for me. But then, I usually just relax at SCA wars--they tend to happen when it is hot, so I spend my days in the shade waiting for sunset, and then enjoy evening socializing. However, hot days in southern Sweden, while still hot, are no where near as brutal as hot days in California or Australia, or Arizona. We only had a couple of days that got hot enough to really keep me hiding in the shade, and on both of them the heat broke around 17:00, giving us nice, comfortable evenings to enjoy for hours more. My, but the sun sets early that far south! It got nearly dark around midnight, but lightened back up again after 02:00...

The first couple of days it was cool and comfortable (read: was cold enough to wear two wool tunics, wool socks under my boots, nålbinded fingerless gloves, and a wool hat over my underdress) and it rained. I am totally ok with rain on the first couple of days on a long event, so long as I get to pack a dry pavilion at the end of it, and I did. However, the nice cool start to the day did make the hot days seem even hotter.

Projects accomplished or in progress at the event:

*under dress: white linen, 12th Century style with really long sleeves that runch up on the forearms. I completed it on the drive and wore it several days at the event. I really, really love the fact that it is totally self-supporting. The body rectangle is exactly the same size as my ribs just below my breasts, so that when I wear it they are supported and cannot fall down, as there is no where for them to go. So comfortable! I made this one long enough to puddle on the ground, but since the event started out damp I decided on a way to shorten it at need. I took a heavy thread and ran it in a quick basting stitch around the skirt at hip level, in three different lines, spaced about 7 mm apart. I then drew the threads in and tied them shut around my waist. This was very effective to shorten the skirts, but the strings are not as comfortable as I would like. The plan is to replace them with loops sewn onto the seams at that height, and then thread in a nice soft, woven band that can be used to cinch that part to my waist when I want to, or removed when I want the skirt at full length. No, I have no idea if this was ever done in period, but it is way easier than making two dresses, one of each length!

*take in old underdress: blue linen, made just before I left the West for Lochac back in 2003--at the time I made it loose for maximum air flow in hot weather, and I have lost weight since then. I so loved the way the above dress feels to wear I took off the sleeves and took them in to fit (a necessary step to getting the self supporting effect--the underarm square gusset needs to actually sit in the armpit, not down by the waist!) and got [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive's help pinning them into place on the body such that this one is also self supporting. It took an entire day to do this and sew the sleeves back on, but then I wore the dress several days because it was so comfortable this way.

*take in laurel tunic: black linen with embroidered knot-work laurel wreath, made shortly after I moved to Tasmania. This one was tighter in the body than the above mentioned blue underdress, but I had made the sleeves, which are short, very loose, and the underarm square gussets were larger than they needed to be. As a result the under arm gussets reached fully to the top of the waist gores! This made for a loose, brezzy tunic, but it wasn't that flattering. So I took off the sleeves, cut off a wide enough strip from each of them that I was able to cut one of them in half to make two new underarm gussets the correct size (and save the old ones for some future project like a belt pouch or something). Again, it took all day to do the modifications, but the result is comfortable and flattering. I did make it deliberately a little looser than the underdresses, so it is not self-supporting on its own (over a loose underdress), but I am still happy with the changes(I don't think it would have been a good idea to make an over tunic as fitted as the underdresses).

*progress on the bliaut in progress: blueish black/brown wool in a wavy twill weave. This is one I started before I left Italy, with fabric purchased in Austria. The fabric frays enough that I am hemming each piece and will then stitch them together once they are hemmed (so when it is finally assembled all of the seams, including the bottom hem, will already be finished). I worked on this in between the other projects. I am doing my usual trick of using lots of narrow triangles for the skirt gores, which means that I could fit two of them into my belt pouch to take with me, and stitch whenever the mood struck. I managed to hem a bunch of them, and even stitched one set of three gores together to see how they would look. But it will be ages before this project is done. However, that is a good thing, since my main motivation for stitching is that I want something to do with my hands at the moment!

*bells: good quality large bells, that had been purchased from a music store--they came mounted on a stick and have a really good sound. But we were looking for something we could put on my ankle so that I can play music while I keep stitching. Therefore we took the bells off of the stick. It turns out that they were attached by rivets to a black strip of plastic that looks at first glance like leather. Removing the staples that held the plastic to the stick gives one long strip of 13 bells and two short strips of 6 bells each. So far I have attached the long strip to some scrap heavy linen fabric--one strip in back of the plastic, and small strips in between each bell and attached to the backing linen. The next step will be to attach strings to the corners to tie them on to an ankle, or hips, or whatever, and then cover the linen with some blue velvet I have. I worked on this during the instrumental jam session on the event, and managed to shake the bells in time with the music while stitching, save for when it was time to start a new thread.

*embroidery: indigo and white wool on linen in bayeux stitch which will go on the above mentioned black/brown linen. I brought this along to the event, but didn't take it out till the drive home, where I manged to colour in another couple of inches of the pattern. Will need to work on this more often if I want it done when the dress is ready to assemble.

In addition to my projects, in between sessions of music and archery [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive managed to finish the embroidered dragon (well, appliquéd, really) for his musical instrument bag we made some time back, and got it attached. It looks great! Will look really good with the matching tunic that is still in progress, but we can't find the spool of linen thread with which we were stitching it (it was there one day, gone the next).

We made it to a number of dance sessions, and had much fun with them. We met many delightful people (and so far I have eight new FB friends from the event) and got better acquainted with ones we had met previously. Saw many good furniture ideas and did a couple of pavilion tours. It was so nice to have my pavilion again! Two years of not camping it in was really quite long enough. We need camp furniture! A bed would be nice. More wooden boxes that serve as benches on site and ways to transport stuff to and from the event. The goal is to store everything in boxes so that there is no "packing" before or after an event, just load up the boxes and go. Sadly, his car is only large enough to hold the three boxes we already have + the pavilion, so some other arrangements will be needed once we reach this goal.

The trip down was also very pleasant--a bit more sleeping than the trip home, because we got on the road at 11:40 on Friday and arrived on site around 07:00 on Saturday. I was amused to note that when it was my turn to drive on the trip down I was a bit nervous, since I haven't really done any driving to speak of in so long, but on the return trip I wasn't nervous at all, despite winding up with the shift that went through Stockholm (the only traffic of the trip) around noon on a Sunday afternoon.

On the drive down I did my yoga for the day in short (five minute) sessions on several different stops, but on the return trip, while I did stretch a bit when we stopped, I didn't do so in as focused of a manner, but instead did my yoga after we finished returning the cars. Damn, it feels GOOD to stretch every day, especially after such a long road trip! I also managed to remember to do my situps every morning (something I used to forget at camping events before Mari challenged everyone to do their abs daily), even on the day I woke at 03:45 so as to be done with them and ready to depart at 05:00. I am so glad I do them--I remember a time when my back hurt at events from standing around talking to people while having bad posture. Those days are long past! Between the strengthening of the situps, crunches, leg lifts, etc that I do every morning and the yoga/stretching I do every evening my back rarely hurts, and then only if I do something really stupid, and as soon as I stop and stretch it feels better.

I am enjoying being part of an active shire. Frostheim is a really good group of people. We are hosting the Nordmark Coronet tourney up here this summer (18 days after I have to depart for Australia to apply for my visa application, so I don't expect to be back for it, but one can hope), so to encourage folk to come up for the event we brought down some large bbq grills and we cooked up a couple of wild boars which we fed to everyone who wandered past, and we took a huge platter of it to court to present to the Crown, who then bade us to serve it to the populace. Since we had the fire going all day we also mixed up a flour/water/salt dough and cooked some bread on sticks. Yum! When the Prince and Princess called forth SvartulvR (click on his name on this page, since there isn't a way to link to it directly) to present him with a thank you token for being one of the people who, to their mind, made the event more fun (by roasting the boars), he then called out "Frostheim" and was answered with the same call from all of us present.

Interesting observation of the event: I counted one dozen laurels present for the laurel ceremony, and 15 knights for the knighting. I am so used to places where the laurels outnumber the knights, and the pelicans way outnumber the laurels that it was a surprise to see that there were more knights. I should remember to check the OP to see what the proportion of knights to laurels to pels is in the kingdom--was this only an artifact of the event being a War? (which would surprise me, as there was a VERY full arts and sciences calender at this event).

The war itself is fought over the question of which side one should butter the local flat bread--the flat side, or the holey side. I still haven't tried that bread (since I eat home-baked breads instead of store bought bread), but to my mind the answer should be "both--that way one gets more butter!". They did a very fun presentation in court, showing the history of how it came to be that there was a war on this subject, and everyone got up and choose their side. Near as I can tell, the split is roughly 50-50 (indeed the King favours one side, and his queen the other, ditto for the Prince and Princess). After sides were declared the King stepped into the space between the sides and declared that there remained only one thing left to do before the war could be fought, and he summoned his Knights to his side and they brought forth a new candidate, who was sent off on vigil to contemplate becoming a knight the next day. I rather enjoyed the way they did that. I am told that doing a vigil is standard operating procedure here in Drachenwald. I never had one, but went straight from the surprise offer to swearing fealty as a Laurel. Hearing the language in which they send the candidate off to think about the offer, it actually sounds like a good idea. I gather that people nearly always accept after their vigil, but it is quite possibly a good idea to make them think long and hard about it first, anyway.

The war was held off site, at a local "castle" (not like a traditional castle with all stone walls and embattlments etc, but still a period building, built with lots of stone), where they had a Medieval market open to the public. some of the SCA people were selling stuff, and some of the merchants (I gather) do Medieval markets all the time and are not (necessarily) SCA folk. We picked up a nice straw hat and some lovely wool for over tunics in a blue/grey herringbone twill. The fabric merchant had already sold out of the really, really nice very, very light weight white wool that so many ladies I spoke to bought for making veils, and which [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive wants to make himself a hood. However, she is happy to do business mail order, and tells me that she has some of that same fabric in black at home, which I think would make a very good bliaut. However, it will likely be a while before I buy it, since that stuff is expensive, so I should wait till I have an income (and finish some of the projects in progress). We also bought a nice ceramic water pitcher from the castle gift shop, because we failed to bring one with us to the event, and they are nice to have.

This morning we didn't get to sleep in, but instead got up early so we could head out to Gamelstead and practice for our dance performance this afternoon. I gather that today is a National day for Sweden, and there was a very full program of folk dances and music and other entertainments out there. We did our rehearsal, then joined the procession from the church to the stage, where we had time for a picnic lunch before our performance (which was fun, and went well). I borrowed a costume from one of our fellow dancers, and was told that it looks good on me. I would like to make one of my own that fits me a bit better. While it was easy to overlap the bodice to fit, that puts the seams in the wrong place (not that the audience noticed, but I do!). We then relaxed and visited with friends for a bit longer till his performance with the other folk musicians, followed by more visiting with people, a much needed trip to the grocery store, and an evening spent doing a little unpacking, a little baking (yum, baking powder biscuits!), and a fair bit of reading of LJ and email. It will take ages before I catch up, though!

My plan for tomorrow includes the rest of the unpacking, work on my visa application, work on my paper, and go for a trike ride.
kareina: (me)
This has been yet another busy week full of progress on projects in addition to the normal round of social activities.

We have nearly finished a new wooden ice chest to take with us to Double Wars (we leave on Friday)--my old wooden ice chest is in quite bad shape from years of heavy use and several intercontinental shipping experiences, so it is time to replace it.

I finished nålbinding my sun hat, felted it, and have sewn it to a frame to dry in the shape I wish it to be. Sadly, I forgot to get photos of "before"--it was huge, floppy, and the brim was very, very ruffled--it covered my entire head with folds hanging loosely to my shoulders. After felting the brim was still ruffled, and was floppier than I want it to be, so I dipped it in water containing cornstarch, ran it through the centrifuge in the laundry room, and sewed it to the frame, where it sits yet. The sewing process got the brim to flatten out and become large--it now looks very much like the straw hat I had to leave behind when I left Italy because I didn't have space to bring it on the plane, and couldn't pack it safely into boxes to be shipped. Hopefully it will still look like that when I take it off the frame.

I have managed to accomplish some armour repair that needed doing, and even cleaned off some sword marks from the front of my shield. I had to, really. One of the black sword marks just happened to be positioned over the closed eye of the sleeping cat, exactly perpendicular to and centered upon the eye, so that it looked like the cat had and X instead of an eye--just like a cartoon dead creature. Very funny looking, but so not acceptable! (again, I didn't think to take a photo--somehow I never do. Then again, do I really want photographic evidence of a dead cat on my shield?).

We got the last of the fitting done for my 12th Century underdress done--there is just a bit of seam finishing left to do on that one. I did this one with the really, really long sleeves that runch up on the forearms. The upper arm is only just exactly wide enough to put my arm in it, which puts the square underarm gusset exactly in my underarm, giving me a good fit *and* full range of motion. We got the body to be exactly the same diameter as my ribs just under my breasts, which means that the gown is fully supporting--I can jump while wearing it and my breasts don't go anywhere. Yay to not needing to wear a bra! When I take in my bliaut so that it, too, fits properly across the shoulders and ribs this outfit is going to be so comfortable. Granted, it will then be very important to neither loose or gain weight in such a way as my diameter over ribs or upper arms changes, but since I am quite happy with my current shape this should be easy enough to manage (not losing any mass shouldn't be an issue--there isn't a whole lot available to loose over my ribs, anyway).

On Thursday we went to a sewing workshop with the local Folk Music and Dance group. The project of the evening was a traditional man's shirt, so that [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive and the other musicians will have appropriate costume for upcoming performances. I was very delighted to see that fashions in Northern Sweden never really changed. While the shirt cuffs are late period in design, with the full sleeve gathered to a buttoned cuff, the torso and sleeves are a straight rectangles, with a square underarm gusset--the same style they have been using for many centuries! We did take photos of some of the completed shirts that were available as models, and of the cutting pattern we settled on--used every scrap of that bit of wool--it was necessary to take one of the underarm gussets from the neck hole, because the end of the fabric wasn't cut straight at the store. I might make time to post those photos another day.

Friday we had a couple of people over for a gaming night as part of a mini gaming convention that a friend of ours runs. Sadly, our weekend was so booked we got to play in only the one game, but it was quite fun. We played While the World Ends, which was written by the guy who organized this mini con. This is the game we played at Gothcon early this month that I so enjoyed. It was fun this time, too )

This makes twice now that I have played this game, and I really enjoy it. It is much more like reading a book (or even watching a movie) than traditional role playing adventure games, but it is a shared activity with friends. Even though I think of myself as a reader not a writer, with the formal structure of the game it is easy to come up with things my character might do towards achieving his goals, and so it is easy to set the scene. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys gaming, story telling, reading, and just spending time with friends

Saturday morning was an SCA bbq and fighter practice. After practice the local knight authorized me, so if he has done whatever paperwork goes with that I am good to fight at Double War next week. In the evening we had a party for the choir. Not many of us could make it, which made it a fun night, as we were able to play games )

Sunday we didn't have fighter practice, since it was on Saturday this week, so we used the time for projects, and also skipped the folk music session in favour of project time. However, we did attend folk dancing in the evening. This is the last practice before our performance, the day after we return from double war, so we had live music and everything, and we ran through the performance set three full times, working out last minute details to make it all flow smoothly and prettily. I also picked up the costume I will borrow for the show, which will need slight modification to get the vest to fit me properly.

My goal to pedal at least 10 km a day, five days a week is progressing nicely. I didn't actually manage a ride a week ago Friday because [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive had the day off of work and I spend the time with him instead, but the week before that I did an extra 10 km, so it has all averaged out. I did manage this Friday, but only barely--I got distracted actually working on that paper from my research, and suddenly it was 16:00 and I hadn't gone yet, and it was necessary to start some soup to feed myself and the gamers. Luckily, about the time I went to the kitchen to start cooking [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive came home from work, so I left him to cook the soup, and I went for a quick lap around the lake (which is not quite 10 km, but I had done a bit more than 10 the day before), getting back just as the food was ready.

In other news, I have booked my tickets back to Australia--I will be flying on 30 June, the day my visitor visa expires here (assuming that there are no volcanically caused flight cancellations then, of course). I land in Sydney on 1 July, which is a Friday. I still need to book travel for within Australia, but the tentative plan is to head straight to Canberra to head that Monday to the Swedish Embassy there to submit my visa application to move to Sweden to live permanently with [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive (which paperwork *must* be submitted in one's home country--one may not apply for such a visa from within Sweden). Once the paperwork is filed with the Embassy I plan to visit Melbourne to see my mother and step-sister and her family (mom will be visiting Australia for around a month, so that timing is nice). Then I will go to Tassie to await the visa approval. While there I plan to meet with my PhD advisor and finish up paper(s) for publication. I have no idea yet when I shall be able to return to Sweden--the paperwork processing on their end could take a couple of weeks, or many months. I will be renting a room from [livejournal.com profile] mushroom_maiden while her usual housemate is in Iceland. With luck the timing will work out for me to head back to Sweden before the housemate returns from Iceland.
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)

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