kareina: (Default)
Still feeling not entirely healthy, though also not really showing much in the way of symptoms, either (slight hint of discomfort in my throat if I swallow, but other than that nothing). With luck I will just get over it without ever feeling worse, but to be certain, I have taken it easy today.

Project #1 was making a template for decorating my hammer dulcimer. I think I have mentioned before that in an attempt to learn to read music I am trying to colour-code it (A=red, B=purple, C=blue, D=green, E=yellow, F=orange, G=brown). At first I was doing the colouring of the music in a drawing program, but it turns out that the uni printers are calibrated way too differently from my monitor, so that the colours which are easy to distinguish on the screen are hard to tell apart when printed (especially the brown-purple-blue-green and the red-orange). Therefore I have given up on that and am instead just using colour pencils to write on printouts of the sheet music. I had had little coloured dots, printed from the computer, that I glued down to the bridges of the dulcimer, but the quality of glue stick is variable, and some dots were coming off, and see above about the difficulties in telling the colours apart. I could mostly manage anyway, since I know the sequence, so the one just above the yellow has to be the orange, but that sequence of several in a row that look nearly the same makes it harder.

Therefore I have decided to invest in some paint and do decorative little swirly bits on the bridges in the colours, and, while I am at it, make the ones that are sharp or flat look different from the ones that are natural. The first step was to order the paint. The other day I checked the Swedish art supply store that David orders from, and noticed they had some sets of acrylic paint, but none of them seemed to contain all of the colours I needed. Therefore I sent them an email explaining what I wanted, and why it was important to be able to tell the colours apart, and could they recommend to me which sets and/or individual colours I should order? I wrote in English, but included a sentence in Swedish at the end saying they were welcome to reply in Swedish if they like, as I have no problems reading it. Not much more than 24 hours later I got a reply, in English (the writer confessed that it is his native language) stating that since none of their sets actually contains purple, I would be better off ordering individual colours, and he gave me the list of product numbers to get the full set I need. As soon as I placed my order I also filled in their contact form thanking them for awesome customer service, and naming the guy who had written.

Since the paint has been ordered, it was time to decide exactly what I will be doing with the paint, so opened up an old drawing of my dulcimer, with strings labeled as to which is which, and added a new layer to actually draw the bridges (which I measured). Then I added another layer to design the swirly bits to paint onto the bridges, and coloured them on screen to see how it would look. I decided to go with making the sharps and flats have only a thin line connecting the top and bottom swirls, but the naturals have a wide bit in the middle, too. Easy to tell them apart, but not distracting, either.

Then I printed a black and white version of the bridges and swirls, coloured them in with my coloured pencils (which I can easily tell apart), and tried sliding them under the strings and onto the bridges. It turns out that my spacing of the bridges wasn't quite right, so I needed to print and colour a couple of times before I managed to have a perfectly sized strip to label the strings (I also had to scrape away the remaining old glued on dots). I have tried playing from sheet music with these swirls under the strings, and it works. It will look much better when I have replaced that paper with the painted swirls, though I am not looking forward to having to loosen all of the strings enough to push them off of the bridges to do the painting and then tightening them again to the correct note. I will need to do them only a few at a time, I think.

Once that was done I spent an hour curled up on the couch reading, took a nap, read some more, and then was inspired to do a long-procrastinated project. Back in about 1989 or so my then-boyfriend, George, had a pair of wool dress trouser that he didn't want any more (shrunk in the wash? wearing out? tired of them? I don't recall why, but he gave them to me). They were much too big in the waist (even in those days, when I was much chubbier than I am today), but with a safety pin to hold them on they did just fine as a layer over silk or wool tights for cross country skiing. I have used them for many years, and over time the fabric in the crotch wore thin and then gone. At some point, years ago, I kinda patched them from the inside with scraps of some other wool, but that wasn't working so well anymore, since the holes had grown. They got stuck into the mending closet some unknown amount of time back, and largely forgotten.

Till late this summer, when I wanted something to wear on my legs while working outside on a cool, rainy day. Then I remembered them, checked my clothes cupboard and couldn't find them, checked the mending cupboard, and there they were. Still too big, still with holes in the crotch, but over wool tights they were just fine for working outside in not so nice weather. This time as I overlapped the waist huge amounts before pinning them on it occurred to me that it might be possible to cut away fabric from the inside of the thighs to get rid of the holes and take them in to actually fit.

Today I remembered that, and thought I would give it a try. Sure enough, looking closely at the legs, the damage was concentrated in the crotch such that a straight line up the back of the leg, from the ankel to the waist would just miss the damaged area, and the part below the holes, but between that line and the original inner leg seam looked wide enough to make some triangle gores for the crotch. So I gave it a try, and three hours later I have a pair of trousers that fit. I might have liked the thighs to be a little looser, but that wasn't possible given the fabric I was starting with, and they aren't exactly tight. Much to my delight I was able to do the entire project on the treadle sewing machine. I had expected that I wouldn't be able to do the second pass of the flat-fled seams on the legs, but I managed it.

Thinking that I couldn't do the finishing of the legs, I decided to try part of it anyway, to reduce the amount of hand-sewing that would be needed, so I first finished the back seam from the waist to the crotch (I didn't do anything to the front seam--it still has the original zipper), then sewed shut both legs, the opened it up and, starting from mid-upper thigh, started finishing that flat-felled seam, expecting that I would be able to manage from there, across the crotch, and down to about the same spot on the other leg.

However when I reached that point I realized that I could managed to crumple up the fabric behind the sewing machine foot and smooth out the fabric in the path of the seam and do another couple of cm more. Then I realized I could smooth out the next 2 cm, and so on, right down to the ankel. Since that worked, I returned to the other leg, and gave it a try from the ankel up, and sure enough managed to smooth out and fold under about 2 cm of seam at a time till I reached the part that I had already done. This won't be at all surprising to those of you who sew by machine regularly, but for so many years I sewed only Medieval costumes, and then only by hand, so I didn't think I would manage.

Now it is 22:25, so I should go to my yoga, take another hot shower, and get some sleep.
kareina: (me)
A week or so ago I learned to play the Swedish Folk song, Ulven, Räven och Haren, by just looking at the sheet music and working out which strings to hit on my hammer dulcimer--I skipped my normal step of writing out the letters so that I could look at the letters while trying to learn it, and it worked quite well, but then, it doesn't have very many notes.

Today I just printed out the sheet music for Bacche, Bene, Venies, and was able to hit the correct strings for that one, too. Not yet in the right timing, of course, but I am managing to go direct from sheet music to hitting the strings if the music isn't complicated. This delights me so much I had to delay yoga long enough to tell someone...

spelaträff

Jun. 7th, 2014 10:16 pm
kareina: (stitched)
Today we went to a gathering of musicians, held at the home of the couple who teach the nyckleharpa course. Theirs is a lovely old farm house on the Luleå river, about half way between the cities of Luleå and Boden (so about 20 or 30 minutes drive from our place). I always love visiting them, since their house and property are so beautiful, and it is even more fun when they host one of these gatherings.

Picture, if you will, a beautiful summer day with one group of five to ten musicians gathered at the porch to the house, all playing, another group of 4 to 8 musician a short way across the yard, under the trellis, also playing, another small group gathered inside the house to play, in the room that is furnished authentically for when the house was built, sometime in the 1800's, and other small groups scattered here and there for conversation or yet more music.

I set my hammer dulcimer up inside, in that beautiful old fashioned room, and spent a the first couple of hours after we arrived with it, either playing or, more often, showing it to others and encouraging them to try playing it. Most people had never seen one before, and it was fun to share it with them. Not everyone was willing to try, but most of them were. I taught one friend, who had come out with us, how to play a simple waltz on it (with the ironic name of Svara valsen). Another guy is one of those confidant musicians who knows he can play anything, and he did--I think he was making up the tune as he went, but he sat down and just started playing with confidence, and it sounded great.

I took a break from demo mode when food was served, and then spent most of the rest of the afternoon relaxing and occasionally chatting with people (and still, sometimes, taking them in to see the dulcimer and try it), and also spent a bit of time reading, and even got in a half an hour nap on a couch listening to the musicians on the porch. All and all a wonderful, relaxing day.

The only people I spoke English with all day was David and the two friends we drove out there with, and only rarely had to ask people to repeat themselves, so, clearly, my Swedish is getting better. However, my accent must still be strong, since pretty much everyone I spoke with asked me where I come from and how long I have been in Sweden. However, by the time we got back in the car to head home I was really ready for English again. I look forward to the time when it is as easy to speak Swedish as English, and wonder when it will happen. No doubt sooner if I keep making the effort.

Next weekend is the big Spelmansstämman event where our folk music group will be performing, and there will be dances in the evening. After that we only have Midsummer's dance performance, and the folk music season will be done and we can focus on the Earth Cellar. (Hopefully [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar will have time to go fetch his dad's tractor sometime between now and then.)
kareina: (me)
The choir that [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I sing, Studentenkör Aurora (Student Choir Aurora), has been talking about getting some of us together to do instrumental stuff for a while, and tonight it finally happened. Five of us gathered in our living room to play, and it was fun.

Keep in mind that I did not learn to play any instrument growing up. I decided in the early 1980's that I wanted a Hammer Dulcimer when Tania Opland returned in Alaska to play at the Renaissance Fair there, and I fell in love with the sound of the instrument, the fact that if one does not know what one is doing and strikes the strings randomly it will make pleasing sounds, and the fact that the strings are in order, so that if only looks at the dots on some sheet music and sees the pattern they make one need only repeat the exact same spatial pattern on the instrument to achieve the tune. This is in direct contrast to instruments like the violin, which my sister tried to learn as a child--on that instrument one can make some very unpleasant noises if one doesn't know what one is doing, and it is necessary to remember weird placement of one's fingers on a string to achieve notes, and while those placements make sense in terms of the laws of physics, they do not easily correlate with the dots on the page.

Sadly I couldn't afford to buy one until just a few years ago, and while I was putting forth effort to learn to play it when it first arrived, more recently life has been more busy than usual; the last time I played it at all was December, and the last time I tuned it was eight months ago.

Therefore, since the plan was to do instrumental stuff this evening I made time to turn the dulcimer (most strings had relaxed enough to show on the tuner as the next letter down from what it should be) and then check to see if I can remember how to play any of the few tunes I had learned. It turns out I can still play the second song I learned to sing in Swedish.

Therefore, when we gathered this evening and the guy organizing things asked "Is there any song one of you want to do?", I promptly mentioned that one. It turns out that not only do I recall which strings I need to hit, in what order, and in what rhythm, I can also do so accurately enough to play with other humans, and it is fun! I hadn't really gotten to play music with others before. Well, I did once play with [livejournal.com profile] mushroom_maiden back in Tasmania--she knew enough about chords that she was able to say "here, hit these two strings at the same time, then these two, then these two. Repeat that, in this rhythm, over and over. Then she played a melody on the guitar, and the two instruments sounded great together. But since then there has only been one or two short attempts to play with [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, until tonight. However, tonight was so much fun I would like to do it again.

We had fun playing with arrangements for Ridom, and finally settled on this pattern, which I am recording here so that I don't forget, so that the next time we meet and they say "what did we do?", I can look it up if I need to )
kareina: (Default)
Back when I had plenty of time to spend at the computer for non-work as well as work stuff I posted here nearly daily. The upside to that was that it gives me a pretty good record of what I was up to then, but the down side is that I wasn't doing much outside of working on my PhD and going for walks. These days there is so much I would like to record about what I am doing, but the only way I can manage it is to take time that I should be doing something else (like, now, for instance).

I have managed a couple of f-locked posts in recent weeks, but they have focused on very narrow topics and haven't included updates on everything else in my life. So, what all is "everything else"?

music )

projects )

uni work )

travel/family )

health/fitness )

There are many more categories of things happening in my life, but it is time to put down LJ and get to them.
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: (stitched)
Since leaving work today I:

* Baked homemade pizza (artichoke heart & spinach)

* walked to choir

* enjoyed the last choir session of the term

* walked home

* looked at Double War photos on line

* played hammer dulcimer

* read aloud to [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar (from The Name of the Wind)

* did yoga

* started nålbinding liners for my cute Swedish folk boots

* wrote this post

Now I really should go to bed, since it is 01:00, and tomorrow is a work day...
kareina: (Default)
Not too long back [livejournal.com profile] vesta_aurelia posted a meme on her journal which said "Comment on this post with "I Love Libraries" and I’ll give you seven things I want you to talk about. They may make sense or they may be totally random. Then post that list to your journal with your commentary. Other people can get lists from you and the meme merrily perpetuates itself."

I was in the right mood when I read that to ask her for an assignment, and she gave me the following words. I had best get around to writing while I still have access to a full computer, since I take only my phone and the tablet with me to Cyprus, and typing is much easier on the notebook.

communicationThis is one of the most essential things in life if one wishes to interact with anyone else. I feel so strongly on this point that, perhaps, I over-share some things, but better to err on the side of caution, which, in my case is more information, not less. It works for me.

dancingOne of my favourite activities; it is such fun to move to music, particularly when lots of spinning is involved. My introduction to dance came in the early 1980's, when I enrolled (thanks mom for doing the paperwork and paying for it!) in a Mid-Eastern Dance class, taught by Josetta of the North Country, in Anchorage, Alaska. I loved that class--prior to that I had never really thought about my body or trying to move specific parts of it just to move them, and to be able to do controlled movements. Not long later I discovered the Medieval/Renaissance dancing in the SCA, and also took to it like a fish to water. I have always had a good memory, and I loved memorizing the patterns of movement and how they relate to the music, and then doing it. More recently I have become addicted to Swedish Folk dancing, which also has patterns of moments to memorize, but instead of matching them to specific tunes and keeping the same pattern to the same tune every time they are associated with types of tunes, and people dance in couples, with the lead deciding which pattern to do at any given moment, so long at it fits the music.

embroideryThis is something I got hooked on soon after I found the SCA (in the early 1980's). I never have sat still well, so having something to do with my hands during lectures and at parties (in meetings, on the bus, whatever), was a good thing. I started with Blackwork, since there was a workshop on it when I was very new to the SCA, and then I expanded to other techniques, with laid-and-couched work being one I have done the most of, I think. Such a fast way to colour with needle and thread. Embroidery was also my gateway drug into hand-sewing. After learning counted thread Blackwork on a very fine even-weave linen I discovered that when sewing straight seams one can make a 1 mm error in where one places one's needle, and it doesn't matter. This makes sewing so fast and easy by comparison that I did ever so much of it. Till I discovered nålbinding, which can be done in the low light conditions that prevail at SCA events in Lochac and Drachenwald, where electric lights tend not to be used at indoor events... I still enjoy embroidery, but don't do nearly as much as when I was younger.

hammer dulcimersmy favourite musical instrument! I first saw them in the early 1980's, and wanted one--they sound so pretty, and unlike violin or guitar, where one has to memorize awkward positions to hold one's hand to get specific notes, a hammer dulcimer is laid out logically, with each string giving a single note if struck on one side of a bridge, and the notes are in alphabetical order, making it easy to find the one needed. For someone like me, who never had music lessons of any sort, this has an appeal. However, despite wanting one that long ago, the cost scared me off, and I didn't actually get one until this year!

monazite u-th-pb chemical dating A fun tool that I kind of miss using since finishing my PhD project. Monazite is a mineral that tends to grow in metamporphic rocks during metamorphic events. Because it contains uranium and thorium, both of which are radioactive elements that decay to lead, it is possible to tell how long has elapsed since the mineral grew (assuming that it had no lead in it to start with) by comparing how much lead it has now with how much uranium and thorium are left. The date calculated in this manner tells us when the metamorphic event was in which it grew, which is terribly useful information when trying to work out the geologic history of an area.

sapiosexualitySuch a useful word! It applies to all of us who find people attractive based on who they are, specifically their brains and how they use them, rather than their bodies/gender/looks. Sure, I enjoy eye-candy; it is nice to see someone with long, beautiful hair walk by, but I fall in love with people when they show me that they have brains and use them--when we have common interests and enjoy time together. Intelligence is an aphrodisiac.

yogaRemember what I said about loving to move? Yoga is, for me, movement. Stretching. Balancing. Balancing while stretching. Head stands. Tree pose. A way to keep my body flexible, strong, a joy to live in. I took my first yoga class in the early 1980's and loved it, but I never remembered to practice outside of class (the same is true for dance). I took occasional yoga classes off and on for decades, but didn't start doing yoga outside of class till I lived in Kotzebue, and made friends with a lady who had a huge library of yoga videos. We would meet every afternoon after school (I was working as a substitute teacher at the time) and do yoga from one of her videos, often repeating ones we'd done before and enjoyed. This helped me really learn many of the poses well enough that when I moved away I could do them on my own. But even so, it wasn't till November of 2004 that I finally started doing yoga every day. Even all these years later I still find my self saying "this feels SOOOOOO good" every day. Why do I do yoga daily? Because it feels so very good that it is its own reward! Yes, sometimes I am really sleepy and should have gone to bed hours ago, but I still make time to do the yoga because it feels good enough to be worth it. That said, the days I get to it early enough that I am not sleepy are even better!

So, there you have it, my writing assignment of the week. If anyone else wants to play feel free to say so, and I will try to give you a list of words in a timely manner, despite my upcoming travel...
kareina: (stitched)
Early this evening I was playing with my new hammer dulcimer, which arrived this week, trying to re-learn the songs I had been working on back when I lived in Tasmania, and had a different hammer dulcimer there. However, either I was doing something wrong back then, or this one has a slightly different arrangement of where the notes are than that one did, because the patterns I had learned no longer, quite, apply. what do I mean by the phrase slightly different arrangement? ) That project wound up eating three hours of my evening, but, not surprisingly, looking at the tune in that sort of graphic presentation makes it much easier to try to go from what I see on the screen to hitting the correct strings. Yes, there will be lots of work required to get my hands to hit the correct string, at the correct time, every time, but the learning what the correct string is part will, I hope, go faster this way

In other news, one of my friends I met at the two European Textile Forums that I attended has published a summary of the last one we attended. Since a number of you are interested in textiles I thought I would share the link here. Do go look, and do consider attending this year's forum, too! It should be lots of fun (not that I can go register until I find out if I will have any teaching commitments that conflict, but if I can go, I shall).

This week's progress report on uni work: Good. Spent Monday-Thursday at the home office of the mining camp, selecting samples for geochemical analysis. Because this is my first contact with drill core one of the geologists there generously gave me her time to work with me, and discuss what sorts of details I should be looking for in the rock when deciding on where to take samples. It was fun and educational.

This morning I didn't get any uni work accomplished, instead I drove out to the hospital for my appointment to get new hearing aids. I didn't really expect to get new ones today, but I did! I explained to the guy that to my mind the most important thing was to get something that could communicate with my phone, and that is exactly what he gave me. I now have a new pair of hearing aids, and a little white box that hangs from a string around my neck that acts as an interpreter between my phone and the hearing aids. If I want to listen to music from the phone I push the music button on the box, and suddenly I can hear music, perfectly clearly. If I get a phone call I simply push the phone button on the box, and I can hear the other person just as clearly as if they were talking to me in the same room. No line noise of any kind. In fact, if the other person doesn't at least say something like "uhhuh" regularly to indicate that they are still listening, I can't tell if they are there at all.

I am not certain that someone who doesn't have a hearing problem can ever appreciate just what a miracle this is. I grew up hard of hearing, and phone calls have always been a challenge for me, since I could not see the other person to read their lips, and the volume on the phone was never loud enough. My first love was so soft spoken it was actually impossible to communicate with him on the phone at all. He would say "mumble, mumble, mumble", and I would say "WHAT?", and he would repeat his unintelligible murmurs, and I would shout "What did you say?".... I suspect that with this new technology it might even be possible to communicate with someone like him over a phone. But, to be fair, I haven't given it that hard of a test, yet.

It is now nearly 01:00, so I had better go do my yoga and get some sleep. We booked the laundry room for 07:00 tomorrow (ok, I suppose that it now counts as today), and it would be nice to get some rest before starting on that project, especially as we have gaming planned for the rest of the day, and it would be nice to be awake for that.
kareina: (me)
I just found out that the house concert that Tania and Mike did in Talkeetna in January is available on line for the enjoyment of those of you who missed it.
kareina: (stitched)
My Hammer Dulcimer has finally been added to the artist's web page!
kareina: (stitched)
But then, it always is!

This morning I made an attempt at doing some uni work--determined that even though my advisor successfully ran this sample over a year ago, today if I use the same data file he used and run it through the program the calculations crash--giving an error message complaining about a negative square root. Sigh. So instead I did my 1000 words a day and then packed stuff to take to the event. The hall opened for set up at 14:00, and we arrived at 14:30. We helped get things set up,and then spent some time playing in the kitchen. There wasn't enough of the pastry for the pies to do covered pies, but there was enough to do decorative bits. They happened to have a cat cookie cutter on site, so we cut out a bunch of cats and then added manes, tufts at the end of the tail, pepper corn noses, rosemary whiskers, and parsley flakes in the eyes. They were so cute! It took three of us as much time to make eight of these as it did some other people to chop the veg and cook the meat/sauce to fill the pies. [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t got some photos, so as soon as he gets a chance to upload them to his Facebook I'll post a link to them. By the time we did that and I washed up some of the cooking dishes which had been used thus far it was closing in on 18:00, which is when the event started, so I went and got changed. The event itslef was much fun. We'd brought my hammer dulcimer and our bodhran, and a very talented musician who recently moved to Launceston was down, bring his shawm, a lute, a harp, and several other instruments. He was joined by a local recorder player, and the two of them plus one or another person doing drum provided us music for dancing all night long. It was great! The food looked to be very well received, and the kitchen was so well organized and enough cleaning happened as they went that the kitchen clean up was just about done by the time of closing court, making it fairly quick work for things to be packed up. Their excellencies announced their Majesties choice for their heirs, L & M, who will be invested as the fifth Baron and Baroness of Ynys Fawr in May. Bookings to my apprentice if you wish to attend (she's listed in the Baronial directory, or ask me if you need her contact details).

We went to the after-revel as well, and enjoyed further socializing there before heading home around 02:00. I was in such a good mood after a fun day that I managed to get the car unloaded tonight, and played my hammer dulcimer a bit (till the dogs, who'd been woken up by it complained) and then thought I'd check in here before sleep. It is now 04:00, so I'd probably best get some rest. I won't be attending the tournament tomorrow (much tough I'd love to), but instead hope to get lots of uni work done.
kareina: (stitched)
Today [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t went to fighter practice. I wanted to go--many of my friends would have been there, and it is always good sewing time. But I was good and stayed home and worked on my thesis. Total hours actual uni work today: 6 hrs, 47 min. Mostly doing edits to chapter five (yah, the one I wanted to be done and sent off to my advisor well before now--I keep finding more that can be done to improve it!), but also creating a totally new sort of figure for this one--I set up a map (using ArcMap) of all of the locations of the samples which have had monazite dating done, and then copied the outline of Tasmania + sample locations into CorelDraw, and am now adding layers with arrows showing the direction one needs to go from one region to the next to get to monazite with increasing amounts of Y or Sr. Other elements will follow, but although *often* Y increases in the direction Sr decreases, sometimes it is opposite. No idea if this figure will wind up in the thesis, or if it is just for me to organize yet more thoughts before typing up something profound, but...

In addition to the uni work, I actually got out my hammer dulcimer today! First time I've touched it in just over a week. Played with it for about two hours, though part of that was typing up the letters for the notes of the Cantigia de Santa Maria #322 into a Word document so that I could see all of them at once, since NoteWorthy has the sheet music hanging off the right hand side of the screen. The program does these jumps as it plays the music, where the score suddenly jumps left enough so that the note currently being played is at the left edge of the screen, then it holds still until the current note is almost to the right hand side, then it does another jump. This is probably well and fine for people who are able to read music--they can probably cope with the jumps. But I, who am only just teaching myself the skill, can't. While I could zoom out so that more of the notes fit on the screen, that results in them being too small to actually see. So instead I created a notational system for myself which communicates as much information as I need to play. see the notation system here )

Sure, I'd learn to read music faster if I tried playing from the dots themselves, but I'm so not ready to cope with the screen jumps!

So, to teach myself this tune ) By the end of the evening I did manage to play the first 16 bars (on my own) without looking at the screen. Next session I'll try to learn the middle bit, but two hours total time elapsed is as much as I was willing to spare today, even if I didn't play at all last week.

I also went for a walk "around the block", and explored a side street (dead end) too. My goodness, the house at the end of the side street has too much money for landscaping. What would possess someone to put such a huge, tall, metal (painted off-white) gate with large stone-work supports on such a short wooden fence? It so doesn't match! I bet it opens automatically, without anyone having to get out of the car.
kareina: (me)
When I went to sleep last night it was with every intention of fist sleeping in (I was up till 02:30), and then spending today day working on uni work. However, we were woken up about 10:30 by a phone call from some friends visiting from Adelaide wanting to meet up with us. They were spending the morning at Salamanca Market, so we agreed to get ready and meet them in that area when they were done shopping. We'd been putting off a trip into town to run some errands, so thought we may as well do that whilst we were in town. And then my computer successfully connected to the internet from the bedroom (a minor miracle), revealing an invitation to a BBQ hosted by some of my fellow geology grad students at 3pm. So we met up with the friends and enjoyed an ice cream, then did our shopping, and then enjoyed the afternoon with the geology crowd & plenty of yummy and (other than the corn chips) all very healthy food (roasted garlic from their garden, yum!). When we got home I put things away, did a few useful chores (like recording how much we'd spent) and then played with my hammer dulcimer for the first time this year. I now have two tunes largely memorized, and can usually hit the note I'm intending to hit. However, the clock says that it is now after midnight, despite it feeling like it should still be *much* earlier in the day, and I've not done any uni work yet. A fun day, but not productive. I guess that tomorrow I can't check e-mail till after I've read over chapter five and am certain that it is ready to send to my advisor (but then I'll have to check, so that I can send it!).
kareina: (Default)
Despite waking up very low energy today and having a hard time focusing on uni work, I still managed just over four hours of uni work today, which is my best time since the Sunday before Christmas. Those four hours resulted in 956 new words for my thesis and three new figures (and much refinement of previously existing figures and a good bit of editing previously existing words to make them reflect the revised figures). Didn't really accomplish much else with my day. I did spend a bit of time playing with my hammer dulcimer, I can now generally hit the notes I'm meant to hit when playing Bransle l'Official, and am starting to learn to play Boateman (even though I have no interest in ever sitting out of a dance if there is dancing happening, and therefore I'm unlikely to ever play for dancers, still it strikes me as easier to start learning to play my first instrument with SCA dance music, as I *know* these tunes from years of dancing to them, though it is odd to think of them in terms of the names of the notes instead of the steps that go with them).
kareina: (me)
And it sounds wonderful!

Got up nice and early this morning, managed to do some laundry and get in a good hour's worth of uni work before heading over to [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's parents' house, where we moved furniture out of the room we will occupy when we move in with them next week. Then I left him there and went another 20 minutes south to the home of the tallented artist who made my hammer dulicmer. I spent nearly two hours there learning as much about it as I could manage in that short time. It is lovely, made in a Medieval Style (but modern tuning). He didn't use blackwood after all, the piece he had turned out to be the wrong size for the project, so the sides and bottom are myrtle, another lovely Tasmanian wood, and the top is something else I've forgotten, but comes from the US and makes a better soundboard. He liked the juxtaposition of using both Americian and Tasmania wood for an instrument for me, who will hold dual citizenship in both countries in only 11 more days. I promise to take photos of it to share with you tomorrow, but I'm too sleepy now. It has a lovely sound. As exected, when someone like me, who has never played an instrument in her life, strikes it with the hammers in a random manner, it makes pleasing sounds. When someone like him, who is used to playing music, strikes it, it makes really, really pretty sounds! Indeed [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's dad was impressed that a new instrument would sound so nice, since, generally, instruments sound better with age and "settling" in to the new stresses the wood is under.

After getting the instrument I picked [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and we came home, where I proceeded to spend another nearly three hours trying to figure out how to play tunes I know. Much fun! But, as expected, I didn't get back to uni work, and it is now late, and I'm sleepy, so I will put the computer down now that I've sent notes to the folk who want to give new homes to the items we are getting rid of, and hope that tomorrow is a much more uni-filled day!
kareina: (stitched)
Time has been zipping along, doing is normal trick of disappearing much faster than I think it ought. On Saturday I was busy all day, but only managed 3.5 hours of uni work. And I can't blame e-mail, because sca.org e-mail addresses were down that day, so I had no new messages needing replies. Went to a "Heritage Bush Dance" on Saturday evening, and had much fun dancing.

Today I managed even less uni work--not quite an hour all up :-(

However, I went for a ride on my trike for the first time in ages, and we've done some packing, and found a number of items we need to be rid of before moving, and I've advertised the stuff for sale to the geology department and local SCA e-mail lists, and have posted a variety of miscellaneous stuff to FreeCycle, many of which have found homes already.

In the evening I was still restless and not working, so I went down the hill to [livejournal.com profile] baronsnorri's new home and got to meet his sweet new kitten, Fleur, and the amazingly friendly young rooster he's gotten (there are advantages to renting a house on 5 acres of land from sensible landlords who approve of animals). He got the rooster because his hens keep going "clucky" and trying to sit on their eggs (and then they quit laying any new ones), and he thinks that if they are that determined to sit the eggs, he may as well arrange things so that there will be a purpose to the exercise. However, this rooster is still too young for that, but he will grow. In the mean time he is friendly enough that he lept out of the pen and into [livejournal.com profile] baronsnorri's arms, and then settled happily down and quit making the sad lonely noises (the hens aren't yet being nice to him).

After that I came home, replied to all of the e-mails asking after the things I'd advertised on FreeCycle, and then did a tiny bit more uni work. Alas, tomorrow isn't looking great for uni work either, as we will be heading to [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's parent's house to clear out the room into which we will be moving at the end of the week, and then from there I'll go pick up my new Hammer Dulicemer from the talented artist who made it. I am *really* excited about that part of my plans! I can't wait to see what he's done with it, and will post photos tomorrow evening...
kareina: (stitched)
I've just heard from the amazingly talented artist, who has been building it, and he says that my hammer dulcimer is almost ready, I should be able to pick it up next week. Talk about a truly wonderful birthday gift! He tells me "I ended up setting yours up with the modern
tuning { still looks medieval } its a 17/16 dulcimer that gives you bass strings and treble strings set out in fourths and fifths it's fairly large hope that's ok, if not I'll keep it!!" Somehow, I doubt that he will need to keep it, I've wanted one of these things since I first saw them back in the mid-1980's, but every time I looked into them, they were out of my price range. With the quality of the work Harry does, I think that it will be more than worth the wait!

And whilst I'm bouncing about my wonderful birthday gift for myself, I also offer really bouncy, happy birthday greetings to the lovely [livejournal.com profile] western_duchess (today my time) and handsome [livejournal.com profile] dd1066 (tomorrow my time). May you both get gifts you will love half as much as I'll love my new toy!

Excuse me, I need to go bounce some more!!!!

Oh--I nearly forgot--progress report: My advisor has gotten a spreadsheet working to calculate temperatures and pressures with yet another technique. I've gotten part of my data entered in, should get it usable to write something tomorrow, I hope...

And did I mention that my hammer dulcimer is nearly ready?

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