kareina: (Default)
This morning I decided to run some errands, including buying some kitchen toys to replace ones that Caroline had brought with her that I liked, but then she took them with her when she moved to the apartment this month. I also needed to replace our broken staff mixer, which broke right after she moved in, so we have just been using hers ever since. We actually have two broken staff mixers, and both came with some accessories. Standing there in the store I was pretty certain that one of them was a Braun, and so I decided I would pick up one of that brand, but without any accessories, since we had some at home. But they had a variety of different ones in that brand, so after deciding what I wanted I decided to double check the display model to be certain that the one sold on its own still fit the attachments that come with the other. It did. Decision made I grabbed the small box containing just one mixer, on the shelf under the several different Braun mixers, paid, and went to the next stop for the day. Some time later, errands accomplished, I first went downstairs and grabbed the bag of broken mixers and accessories, looked inside, and was pleased to discover that my memory was correct, one of them was, in fact a Braun. Sadly, while my memory is functioning fine, my ability to actually read things in front of me or notice details wasn't, as the box I purchased was some other brand entirely, still starting with a B, but that was where the resemblance ended. I looked in the box, and it didn't fit either set of accessories. I didn't really want to head back out to the store, but decided that it was better to get it over with straight away, so I did.

On the homeward trip I decided that I had better get petrol while I was out, as I was down to a 1/4 tank. As I stood there, in the rain, filling the tank and nice looking young man came up to me and asked (in English) if I were by any chance heading south down the highway next, as he and his friend were trying to return to Germany after several weeks of hiking in the area. I explained that I was just heading home a couple of km away, and he asked if I had any suggestions for a better place to try to get a ride, as they weren't having any luck (indeed, mine was the only car at the station). My first reply was that I couldn't think of anything--none of the stations in the Luleå area are near the highway, and he agreed that they hadn't seen anything good on the map, and turned to walk back through the rain to join his friend, who had stayed with the packs under the overhang near the door. I thought about it a second, and then went after him and suggested that if they just wanted to get out of the rain for a bit, they could follow me home and have some food, and then I could take them with me to the station in Gammalstad a bit later when I went out for folk music and dance. They both thought this was a good idea, so they tossed their packs in the car, and off we went.

I had left over soup in the fridge, which I fed them with some home made bread rolls I pulled from the freezer, and then they helped me eat yesterday's nectarine and apple-walnut cobbler, which they liked so much they both had seconds. Then I packed up my dulcimer, dance shoes, and a sewing project and took them to the petrol station in Gammelstad, where I hope they had better luck finding a ride. They were happy as they were out of the rain for a while and got fed yummy, fresh, home made food (after three weeks of freeze-dried), and I got some pleasant (and cute) company and help eating the desert which was really a bit too big for just me to finish in a reasonable amount of time. And I got out the door early enough to actually attend the folk music session, for the first time in a very long time.

My first 1.5 years in Sweden David and I always went to music at 16:00, followed by dance (in the same room) at 18:30, and I loved it. But after we bought the house (and were thus closer to the site for music and dance) we started being so busy with other projects that we didn't make it on time for music, only dance. More recently David hasn't even had the energy for dance, so I am going to that on my own. But now that he is spending more time at Caroline's place than the house (which may change a bit once they finish getting stuff settled in there) I am free to do whatever I want, and I want to go to both music and dance. If I keep not bringing my dulcimer just because I don't know many songs yet then I won't learn more.

Tomorrow is nyckleharpa night, and this week I will bring the Dulcimer--it is already packed, and was in tune today, so it should be ok tomorrow.
kareina: (me)
Since my birthday happened to fall on a Saturday this year I booked the Gillestuga in Gammelstad for a party. The up side to this was a much larger room than we have at home, so it was possible to have both space for dancing and a bunch of tables pushed together in a square big enough for a dozen or so people to sit around and have all the food in the middle.


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

Party #1

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

Party #2

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

Party #3

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


Party #4

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


Party #5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hair ribbons

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

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

In addition to all of these wonderful gifts, I got the gift of some amazing music, the above mentioned fire show, and some contribution's to next year's personal trainer. All in all it was a fabulous day. I strongly recommend turning ten for the fifth time, or, if you prefer to count that way, 50.
kareina: (stitched)
Last night I managed seven hours of sleep, which was more than I might have gotten, but I had forgotten when I lay down that I had switched the dawn light from 05:30 to 06:20 the night before when I had stayed up rather later. So when I finally woke up at 06:15 and looked at the clock I decided that it would be wise to do only part of the morning phone app workout, so I could make it to work on time to meet my friend at the gym at 08:30 as planned.

Then, as I started my morning situps before getting out of bed, I turned wireless on my phone to read LJ, and saw a FB message from her, sent after midnight, saying that she wasn't sleeping due to a headache, and so didn't think she would make it to the gym. My first thought was "ok, I don't have to go". Then I thought again and decided that, no, of course I was going.

Then I got up, got dressed for the phone app workout (bra out the outside of yesterday's shirt, so that should I sweat, it isn't on the bra, and I can still wear it the rest of the day), went to the living room, opened the app, and discovered that it thinks today is a rest day. For all four categories of exercises. This was a bit of a surprise, since for weeks now it has been a rest day for three of the four at once, and the fourth gets a different rest day. However, having gotten dressed to work out, I deiced to do a little anyway, and spent 10 minutes moving. Then I got dressed for work, posted to the Phire FB group that even though the one friend couldn't make it, I would still be going to the gym if anyone wanted to join me, had breakfast, and spent 15 minutes shoveling snow till [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar was ready for work, and then I rode in with him.

As an aside--the downside of yesterday's long day at work and then having fun with friends on campus is that meant that no one was home yesterday to do the shoveling when we got the first decent snowfall of the winter. Not that it was much snow this time, either, but at least it was deep enough that one wouldn't want to wear low shoes in it. To make matters worse, after weeks of lovely temperatures (read: -10 to -30 C, or "cold enough not to melt and get slippery), today it warmed up to 0 C, so after sitting in the warmth the snow was getting a bit heavier than it was when it fell. Needless to say, I didn't get much of the driveway done in the 15 minutes I had before work.

Arriving at work I took my computer to the lab, turned on the plasma on the ICP-MS, and then went to the gym, where I was met by another Phire person I had only seen one time before. We had a nice workout and enjoyed chatting while we did. I did only a short 30 minute session, as I wanted to be certain I was ready when my lab technician arrived at 10:30 or 11:00.

I was, and spent a couple of hours with him, as he looked at the laser and checked a few things, explaining as he went. I now understand why it was that when I asked for the laser to deliver a fluence of 7 J/cm2 it was only giving about 3.5 J/cm2, but if I asked for 50% output I could get 7 J/cm2. It turns out that when the laser was installed the technician opened up the sample chamber, turned off the safety feature that keeps the laser from firing when the door is open, set in a sensor, fired the laser on it, and took notes as to how many J/cm2 it delivers at each % of output. Then the computer looks at my request, compares it with that table, and sets the output level at that given by the table to yield the result I want.

Expect that sometime between installation and when I first noticed the problem something has gone wrong, so that it simply isn't giving as much energy as it did when that table was created, so now when I ask for 7 J/cm2 it uses the 40% output that it thinks ought to be good enough, but really, we need 60% these days.

Eventually the technician had enough information that he was ready to actually open up the machine and get to work, but first he needed lunch. He didn't really want me present for the opening thing up and changing stuff with the optics, saying that I wouldn't be able to help, and he didn't really want someone else in the room when the laser was unshielded. So, it being plenty late enough to do so, I went home for the day, enjoying a nice walk through a forest of snow-covered trees.

That gave me time for a short nap (~20 min), some food (baked a yummy cornbread) and a good book, running a load of laundry, and a bit more snow shoveling, before it was time to head to uni for the Frostheim social/crafts night.

I brought my dulcimer, which seriously needed tuning after the temperature changes this week, and made some progress on my tunic in progress. This week there were four of us for most of the evening, but a friend who can't eat gluten dropped by on his way to his martial arts session to try the cornbread, since I had told him I was bringing it).

We had my senior apprentice working on her wool dress, the friend from Phire who didn't make it to this morning's workout, working on her wool dress, me working on my wool tunic, and a really cute new guy, working on some chain mail project he started working on three years ago (he is so in the right place!) It was a lovely time, and I was quite surprised when the apprentice's husband returned to pick her up, as I didn't think it was that late.

As we were packing up to go I looked at my phone, and saw that my service technician had sent me a text message at 19:30 saying he was finally done for the day, having found the root cause and started the repair, and suggesting that I meet him tomorrow at 10:00. I am glad I didn't stick around till he was done!

From there I went over to the local grocery store to pick up my package, since I had received a text message earlier in the day saying it was in. But we also needed a few things from the store, so I filled a basket first. Then, when I had found everything I wanted, I looked at the line to deal with the one human on duty, and went over to the self-scanning station, and checked myself out. Then I hopped in the car and went home, and it wasn't till I pulled into the driveway that I realized that I hadn't picked up the package. Oops! I have now added it to the calendar for tomorrow, so hopefully I will remember.

However, the self-annoyance at forgetting the package was completely overshadowed by the joy at discovering that [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, who had stayed home from Frostheim to finish up a few things for work, had finished up the shoveling while I was gone.

Now I should do yoga, before [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar puts down that nyckleharpa he just started playing...
kareina: (stitched)
This got long (no surprise there), so: Friday summary )

Saturday summary )

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

Much to my surprise, after spending a weekend at a major feast, I weighed a full kilo less this morning than I had on Friday morning. Today's weight was 55.3 kg (about 121.9 lbs), which is the smallest number I have seen since purchasing the scale. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, while I ate something every round, I told the servers to only give me tiny bits of each item, since I didn't feel that hungry (except for the rice pudding with raisins and lingon berries--I had a normal size serving of that, yum!), and my total intake for each day was noticeably less by volume than I normally eat. I think I may have made up for it today though--it will be interesting to see what the scale says tomorrow.
kareina: (stitched)
Even though I didn't put anything into the rules about needing *written* documentation for the entries for the Norrskensbard competition (coming up on 14 November), I have still prepared a pdf to accompany my entries. Having taken the time to type it up, I though I would share it here, too. )

Höstdansen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have managed to put away some things from the event, but the rest can wait for tomorrow, as it is now time for yoga, a hot shower, and bed...

Gotvik trip

Mar. 9th, 2015 04:18 pm
kareina: (stitched)
Last week was a busy one, with the Nyckleharpa group meeting on Monday (I bring my dulcimer, play along on the two songs I know, and spend the rest of the evening listing to lovely music being learned/practiced while I make progress on my current sewing project), Choir on Tuesday (this year's issues with attendance has continued--we had two sopranos, two altos, two bass, and one tenor. Therefore we have decided that since our recruitment attempts aren't working we will try plan B: bring along musical instruments and when there aren't enough voices to do parts we just sing and play, but when there are we can sing parts), Wednesday was Solar Wind Orchestra (the instrumental spin off group that is formed of (mostly) members of our Choir, Aurora, and which we are hoping will keep the choir alive a bit longer by taking the instruments to Choir), Thursday we flew to Gothenburg (as it is spelled on maps written by English speakers), and Friday we took the bus out to the site for the St. Egon Feast and Normark Coronet Tournament and Investiture.

The busy week schedule meant that I hadn't really properly recovered energy levels after the Australia trip, since I wound up staying up later than I should have on pretty much all of those nights. As a result I was so tired by early Friday evening that I wound up laying down for a two hour nap, and then getting up and being sociable again in the late evening. I think I went to bed again around 01:00, yet still woke up around 07:00 with enough energy to go out for a walk before breakfast (which was scheduled to be served at 08:00).

I wound up taking a side road up a hill past a number of farm and eventually into a forest, where the road ended at a gate next an old farm house that, these days, only grows old cars lying around the field in careless abandon. By the time I got back down the hill to the site it was just after 08:00, and I enjoyed my breakfast.

This was the first time I have made it to a Nordmark Cornet. They happen only once every nine months (give or take). The year that it was held here in Frostheim (in July, that year, which is why I say "give or take, since one can't get to March from July by counting nine months at a time) was the year I had to be in Australia, awaiting my visa to move to Sweden. I did call in and get to listen to the final rounds (one by a Frostheim fighter!), but it is not the same as being there. The subsequent Nordmark Cornet tournaments have been held far enough away during times we didn't have the budget and/or time to travel, so I missed them. We probably wouldn't have gone this time either, since we aren't in a habit of it, but C talked us into coming down for it--she has been up here three times to visit since moving away in October, and it was our turn to visit her.

The tournament was scheduled for 11:00, and there were seven fighters in the list, which was fought round-robin, with each bout being done as a best two out of three (the one time there was a double kill they went to four bouts to decide it). At the end of the day there was one knight who had six victories, and two fighters who had four each. So the two fought one another, and then the victor fought the one who was clean (and by clean I mean his lovely white silk surcoat with a damask fleur-du-lis pattern on it was still lovely and white despite the mud--he had been careful to not actually fall down during the (few) deaths he had had during the sub-round bouts). I was not terribly surprised when the knight won, and was pleased to see it--he and his lady are delightful people, and they like to make spiffy stuff, so will always look the part.

Lunch was scheduled for 13:00, and the tourney was over in plenty of time for us to be back inside (out of the wind, which was surprisingly cold, given that there is no snow at all on the ground that far south) in plenty of time for it, but lunch prep wound up taking more time than expected (or something--I didn't hear the details) so food wasn't served till 13:30. This gave us time to check out the two merchants on site and pick up some more linen thread since we were running low.

After lunch I changed out of my nice warm Viking boy clothes (normal version, not the man/muscles and beard that I use when actually trying to play a man at a Lajv) that I had brought along to wear Friday night and during the tournament (ok, I didn't actually wear the wool trousers or wool over tunic Friday night, they only went on for being outside, and whilst indoors I contented myself with my white undertunic and a black linen tunic I made years ago that used to belong to [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t, which his mum gave me when I was visiting Tassie) and into my blue/brown wool bliaut and added my braid extenders. Then C put on her new braid extenders, which had been inspired by mine. In her case it really is her own hair sticking out the bottom--she saved the hair that got cut off during a tragic misunderstanding of a hair dresser about just exactly what she wanted done. My extenders hang just to my hips, hers rich to mid-thigh. Need to re-do mine to make them longer...

We managed to get dressed up in good time for court, which was both the last court of Sven and Siobhan and the investiture of William and Isabetta. Having grown up in Oertha, where the new Princess have overnight to prepare for their Investiture, at first it sounded kind of fast to do the Investiture just a few hours after the tournament. However, it turns out to have been plenty of time for them to prepare, since, after their investiture and accepting the oaths of fealty from their officers, they actually had business of their own! They called up [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and presented him the scroll from his AoA (and the man who had been the Prince to give him that AoA happened to be the herald for this court, so he got to beam happily from behind the thrones for that). Then, when [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar was ready to return to his seat they told him that he did not have leave to depart, and then presented him with Ljusorden, the Principality award for arts and sciences, in appreciation of the fact that he is playing beautiful music at every event he attends. They apologized for not having a token for him, but said to make it up to him they had not one, but two beautiful scrolls to commemorate it. Therefore, in one event, he managed to go from zero scrolls to one more than I have. Their new Highnesses actually presented several different awards, and each one came with a scroll. Now that is truly being prepared to hit the ground running!

(ok, so they had help from the outgoing royals, who had arranged a few award scrolls to be made for people for whom they would have been happy to be the ones presenting, and the calligraphy carefully didn't state the names of the Prince and Princess, so that either the incoming or the outgoing pair could sign the scrolls and give the awards, but still, it is quite impressive, especially to one like me, who grew up in a Kingdom with a huge backlog and who still doesn't have her AoA scroll, from 1985.)

After court was the banquet. I, of course, was long since done eating for the day, but we still put out a plate and bowl to mark my place next to [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and C. We were seated across the table from a musician with a violin, and adjacent to several other musicians and singers at the next table, so there was much music and singing happening in our end of the hall before the feast, and at random intervals during it. I sensibly did my yoga early in the feast, finishing up as the toasts were called (I like being at an event large enough that I don't need to make one of the toasts--as "just" a viscountess I really am fairly far down the OP, but here in the north I am the third ranked person, since we have only one each count and countess, and this is a Kingdom in which the toasts are made in order of presence).

They held a couple of mini-courts during the feast, mostly to acknowledge and thank people who had worked at the event, presentation of gifts from ambassadors from other branches, and other similar business. They also presented two awards to people on behalf of former royalty (in one case from several years back), that had been officially presented during court at an event in which the recipient hadn't been in attendance, so everyone kept the secret until they could get it at the next event at which both they and the royals were in attendance. There was also a performance of the Drachenwald Theater Guild--a very silly impromptu story, which had been written in advance in the form of a mad-lib: the Queen had been given a list of questions to answer, and those words were slotted into the story (The Princess and the Pea), to make for a very absurd tale, which was acted out by random members of the populace, chosen by guild members on the spur of the moment, while the (guild head? the countess in the jester costume, anyway) read the story aloud. Since the audience was participating the story held everyone's attention, and there was much laughter.

The feast, like lunch before it, was served about a half an hour behind the originally planned schedule, which meant that when it came time to depart to go catch our bus back to the city (at 22:30) desert had not yet been served. It took two buses and one tram to get back to C's apartment, and we arrived just at midnight. This meant that I had re-done the packing for the next day's flight home, and managed to go two sleep by around 1:30 ish, and slept till around 07:00. We had to depart for the airport at 09:40, and were landing at the airport in Luleå around 14:00, since we were lucky enough to get a direct flight home (the flight down involved a change of planes in Stockholm, and then getting off that plane when something in the door broke when they went to close it, so we passengers were re-booked onto the next flight, which meant we took off from Luleå at 18:30, but didn't make it to C's apartment till midnight).

Despite the weekend of adventures down south, we still managed to make it to dance on Sunday evening, which was fun. Today I walked both to and from work, since [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar wasn't able to come home for lunch, and someone needed to be here from noon to accept the piano delivery. Yup. We have a new piano. His sister called him recently to ask him if he wanted a nice walnut wood piano. Never mind that we already had an old school piano in the living room, of course he said yes. It cost about 4000 SEK to ship it up from southern Sweden (almost €430, or $550 USD, or $615 AU at today's exchange rate), but that isn't bad for a nice instrument that sounds so much better than the one we already had. It will need tuning, of course, but even so it already sounds nicer.

As it turned out, they didn't deliver till almost 15:00, so he was able to be here and help the two delivery men get it up the stairs and into the front door.

We have nothing special on tonight's calender, which is a delightful change (and probably why I am finally finding time to post something), but tomorrow is Choir, and Wednesday is Solar Wind...
kareina: (stitched)
This morning we bundled the hammer duclimer, nyckleharpa, a microphone, a trolley and box of cables into the car, drove to Uni, where [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar dropped me and the music stuff off at my office on his way to work. I spent the morning accomplishing stuff (to the point where my in-box was empty!), and at noon I wheeled the music stuff towards the next building, and was met by [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar on the way, so he took the trolley and I had only the dulcimer left to carry.

The Solar Wind Orchestra performed four tunes for the students hanging out in the big room with a stage and some comfy couches, and then I brought the gear back to my office and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar hopped into his work car to do the 45 minute drive to Piteå, where he had a computer to fix (or something). I then spent another few hours doing useful stuff on the computer, and finished up and started walking home around the same time he started driving back from Piteå. I walked briskly, and managed to get home about 5 minutes before he did, but that was enough time to get our car plugged in so that it would be warm for the trip back to campus for choir and start a pot of vegetable soup.

Since we didn't have much time available, I did a really quick soup: I tossed one chunk of frozen mashed pumpkin (which I had cooked and mashed a month or two back and froze in empty yoghurt (actually skyr) containers) into a pot with a little water, and turned the stove on high and put more water into the electric kettle to warm up. I then tossed a handful of frozen cabbage, the last of the bag of frozen mixed corn, broccoli and capsicum, a handful of frozen kale, another of frozen spinach, and some additional frozen broccoli into a bowl to wait a bit before putting into the soup pot. About the time I finished that and got the rest of the frozen veg back into the freezer the kettle was hot, so I added that water to the pot. As soon as the pumpkin had thawed I tossed in the rest of the veg, a "can" (cardboard box) of lentils, and a can of sliced water chestnuts into the pot. Added some pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, a few green herbs, and a dash of soy sauce. As soon as the pot returned to a boil I took it off the heat and sat down to eat, only 21 minutes after completing the walk (and that time included taking off coat and boots).

This gave me 40 minutes to relax with a book before we went out to choir, where the turnout was really low--we started with one each soprano, bass, and tenor, and three altos. A bit later a second bass showed up. However, we had lots of fun. Sung Dona Nobis, a couple of new songs I hadn't seen before, and Spider Pig. However, our director had only three parts for Dona Nobis, so I promised to email her a pdf with all five parts--I hope that she likes the other two parts and we add them to the list.

After choir we picked up the music stuff from my office, unloaded it, finally shoveled away the berm that got plowed over the bottom of the driveway yesterday, I emailed the pdf to the choir director, and spent a full hour paging down my FB feed reading all kinds of good news, and inspirational posts. Eventually I hit a negative post, followed promptly by a political one, and so I decided to close FB and post here instead. I have heard a fair few people lately complain about FB being too negative/argumentative/political, and I am pleased to report that, actually, those posts are in the minority of what I see over there. Perhaps I have used the "I don't want to see" this button often enough, and long enough ago that the computer in charge of deciding what should be important to me learned? Perhaps I just know lots of wonderful people? Either way, I am happy with it.

Ok, time for yoga and bed!
kareina: (stitched)
This weekend was the big Frostheim SCA event, Norrskensfest. The King and Queen came up from Germany, the Prince and Princess came up from Stockholm. Our erstwhile housemate, C, came back up from Götteborg, some people came from Sundsvall (six hours drive), more from Umeå (three hours drive) and others from Skellefteå (two hours drive). There were around 70 people total, which is not bad at all for a little shire on the far northern edge of a rather spread out Kingdom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sadly, our beautiful weather of the weekend didn't last, and Monday morning it warmed up to rain a bit. Then it cooled back off a tiny bit and we got some very wet, heavy snow. This morning it warmed up again, and the snow started melting like crazy, and it rained again. My poor winter--it has barely started, yet it is already suffering from the same health issues that plagued last winter.

Snow!

Nov. 16th, 2014 10:53 am
kareina: (house)
The snow we had had in mid October was long gone, the fault of the +8 C temps we were cursed with the latter part of the month. But then early November greeted us with nice temperatures dropping as cold as -10, giving the ground a chance to get a decent freeze. However, with the lack of snow, the world was looking pretty dark and dismal--grass doesn't hold its green after freezing. Therefore I was delighted to see snowfall this weekend--the world is, once again, looking bright and beautiful with its thin white coat. There still isn't much snow, but it makes such a difference. My phone tells me that this weekend's warm temperatures (high of +2) will go away and we should have decent sub-zero temperatures for the rest of the week. With luck the snow will survive till the cold returns.

I think last winter's pathetic showing may have scared me for life--before last winter it never would have occurred to me to worry about snow being able to last--of course snow stays on the ground all winter and it never rains. But now I worry and look at the forecast--will it stay nice and cold, or will we have another winter of not nice rains destroying the good snow cover?

In other news, we had a great band practice on Thursday--we are ready to perform at the SCA event on the weekend. And last night's choir party was fun. Despite having gotten a slow start to the semester, with a shortage of boys for a while, we still managed to have a total of 10 of us here for the party, and it was five of each gender. I baked two loafs of cardamon bread for it--one with plenty of milk and butter in it, and the other, much smaller loaf with no dairy at all since one of the girls is allergic to milk. I also baked some more pears. I had done a small batch of pears for band night, and it was so good they asked me to do it again for the party. I used fairly large pears, one scant tablespoon of brown sugar for every two pears, and lots of butter--first a thick coating of butter to grease the glass baking pan, and then I used a cheese slicer to make thin slices of butter to cover the top of the pears. I also sifted in a hint of gluten free oat flour (one of the band members can't eat gluten) into the pan to help thicken the sauce, and sprinkled on a bit of water to keep it from drying up before the liquid started cooking out of the pears. I baked them at 150 C, and, once they warmed up and started forming sauce I stirred them occasionally to keep the top layer from drying out or browning. Everyone else brought enough food to the party that there are some pears left over, which is a good thing, because I am getting hungry for them just typing this up.

[livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar has been hard at work making some nice chests that are exactly small enough to fit into the trunk of the car so that packing for events will be easier. The first one is done and the second is coming along nicely. I wish I could be helping with the project, but while he does that I have been working on the edits to my paper for publication, gathering info for a class on the History of the SCA. I also want to put together something in the way of a hand-out for a hand sewing class. In my imagination I make small hand-sewn samplers of all of the stitch types [livejournal.com profile] hrj has accumulated on her web page on Archaeological Sewing. However, the class is next weekend, so that is probably not going to happen, even if it would be totally cool.
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...
kareina: (me)
I have mentioned some of us in our choir (Student Choir Aurora) get together now and then to do instrumental stuff +/- singing. Last spring we recorded some of our songs, and one of the guys has put the results for two of them onto his web page.

The first is the song Ridom, which long time readers might recall from my series of "learn Swedish one song at a time" posts. Since it was one of the first Swedish songs I learned, I posted verse 1 separately from verse 2 and verse 3.

The second song is Nu grönskar det, which I also (much more recently) featured on my "learn Swedish one song at a time" series here.

I know my mother will be amused to listen to these, and there is a chance that one or more of the rest of you will be looking for something amusing to while away a bit of time and thus might click the links as well, so I decided to share here. If we make any recordings this semester I will let you know, so you can see how(if) we have improved over time.
kareina: (stitched)
The weekend has been full of acquiring supplies for working on the walk way and earth cellar in progress, and the walk way is now 3/4 of the way complete (it was only 1/3 of the way done when the snow started falling last autumn and we had to stop work for the winter. I truly enjoy working on these project, and finding good stone cheap and free bricks is happy-making. Would love to elaborate on how things are going, but it is pretty much time to get ready for folk dancing tonight, and tomorrow night is nycklharpa, Tuesday is choir, Wednesday is our traditional spring choir performance for spring, Thursday the choir members who feel for it come here to do instrumental music (+/- singing), and I many not get another chance to post with all that going on.

But I am probably soon done with my Swedish for Immigrants Course--my teacher wants me to take the National Exam to end it on 13 and 14 May. I am looking forward to that, since I love tests, and I would like the extra time I will get not going to school, but, on the other hand, I am enjoying the classes, too...
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: (stitched)
It has been a musical few days it seems.

Sunday morning we were up very early to head into town, in medieval costumes, to help other local SCA members entertain the people who were standing in line waiting to purchase their tickets for the Hobbit. Tickets were to go on sale at 09:00, so the theater asked us to arrive at 08:30. The line wasn't hugely long, but some of the people in it had waited for hours to be certain they got their tickets to attend the primer.

Luckily it wasn't all that cold, about -7 C, but there was a wind. I dressed in a heavy wool tunic with linen underdress over wool tights and nålbinded knee-warmers, leather boots with thick nålbinded, a heavy wool cloak and hood, and still with the wind was starting to notice the cold. Luckily, the local knight showed up just then, and he had a really heavy cloak lined with fake fur, which he let me borrow, and I was fine for the rest of the demo.

After the demo we had time to hurry home, change clothes and have a quick lunch (and cook food for dinner) before heading back into town for a choir performance. The performance seemed to go well. We recognized one of the guys in the audience from our nyckleharpa class, and he said that we sounded fine.

After the performance we had time to head home and grab his violin before heading to Folk Music, followed by folk dance. This is the first time in a few weeks we actually had time/energy to make it to the music session, and it was a joy to be able to sit there and work on my sewing while the musicians made beautiful music. It was also nice to get back to work on my long-neglected fur lined hood--at this point I need only sew on the pieces of the ruff for the hem and attach the wool over hood to the fur.

While sewing the hood I started wondering if I wanted to embroider the hood, but realized that I actually had no idea if there were embroidered hoods in period, let alone what sorts of decorations were used. Sure, I have seen lots of people at events with embroidery on their hoods (and own one myself that I embroidered years ago, but I have never done any research on the subject, and didn't know if the others based theirs on period examples, or just thought it would be a good idea because they could.

Since I was at the Folk Music session and didn't have a computer I posted a quick note to the SCA-Authentic list asking if anyone knew of examples of embroidered hoods in period, and mentioning that I had considered doing something in silver and or white to make the hood in progress more visible during the walk to school. I commented then that I was asking before looking on line myself in part as a reminder to me to look it up later, but also in hopes that someone would have a favorite link they could share to get me started. Only two people replied, and they both replied only to the thought about making the embroidery reflective (one thought I should forget about making the hood visible and just wear a safety vest, the other thought I could button on reflective strips and take it off for events), so when I did a brief search I replied to share the few links I did find.

So far all I have found is late medieval examples, so I have no idea if they did embroidery on hoods in the early middle ages.

After folk music we had the final Folk dance session of the year. This meant that the musicians stayed and we had live music to dance to, and no lessons, just dancing. That, of course, made for a very fun dance session. Sadly, the dancing itself ended after only one hour. Happily, the reason it ended was so that we could sing holiday songs and eat the food that people had brought to share. Since singing and dancing are two of my favourite things I really enjoyed the evening.

Monday morning I made time to practice the nyckleharpa, for the first time since class last Monday (life has been busy!), and Monday lunch I went for a walk in the forest here by the house (I worked from home that day), exploring a new trail, now that we have had enough cold days in a row for the ground, swampy from rains all autumn, to freeze solid and get covered with a dusting of snow. I live in a beautiful area, with far more trees than people in the neighbourhood!

This morning I had planed to walk to Uni, but woke up feeling a bit out of sorts. (Probably related to the fact that an old friend, who has been battling with depression for a couple of years now, has decided that I no longer count among his friends because I am not willing to listen to his complaints about how terrible life is and how nothing ever goes well for him. I miss the companionship and comradeship we used to share, but that has been absent for a while now, replaced only with his need to vent about the drama in his world, and my instance that there are more positive ways he could be viewing the world--a conversation that was repeated all too often, and always led to disagreement.) Since it was the first cold morning of the winter (-20 C, or -4 F) I put on my heavy winter boots and added my down coat over my normal wool coat.

I don't have the fur hood done yet, so I just pulled up the hood of the down over my wool hat, and headed out the door. I didn't get very far before getting annoyed about the fact that the hood on that coat hangs down too far--I could see the ground right in front of my feet, but to see any distance in front of me I needed to tilt my head way up and back to see under the brim of the hood. Add to that the combined weight of my work computer and food for the day in my backpack with my out of sorts mood, and I decided to turn around and head home after only 0.5 km of walking.

I was half tempted to spend another day working from home, but [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar had his work car at home and needed to drive to work anyway, so I rode in with him and spent the day at the office. I am glad that I did, because it let me use the microscope and I had a fun day doing research and by the end of the day was back to my normal, happy self.

After work I met up with [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar for dinner before choir. We went to the local pizza joint and bought him a pizza. I consulted the menu and talked with the guy behind the counter, and determined that they didn't have any toppings I would eat (their vegetarian options are things like mushrooms and olives, both of which I intensely dislike, and pineapple, which I only like raw and never cooked), so I ate the rest of the food I had brought from home, and nibbled on some of his pizza crust for good measure.

Choir tonight was fun. During our warm up exercises they introduced me to a new one, which is surprisingly difficult to pronounce: "kvistfritt kvastskaft", which means "knot-free broomstick". I rather like it. The rest of the evening was spent preparing for next Sunday's performance. We decided that the one medieval style song requires the boys wear cloaks. We have cloaks enough for all three boys in the house, but the dress code for the performance is black, blue, white, and silver, and while two of our cloaks are blue, the third is green. Therefore we have asked on the Shire forum to see if anyone has a blue or black one we can borrow for the performance.

We have three days left to finish the bookshelf in progress before the housewarming party, wish us luck...
kareina: (Default)
I recently posted about one of the new tunes I am learning. However, it turns out to be more complicated than that. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar looked at the tune and said that it isn't quite how they play it locally, and suggested another web page we could look at for sheet music for it. It turns out that the two versions of sheet music are different. So just now I did the same tracing exercise on the new version as I did the first version I found, and then moved the chunks of music to line up with one another so as to compare how they differed. While I was doing that he sat down with the nyckleharpa and played the tune the way he knows it, and jotted down the letters he plays.

Once I had the two versions written side by side we compared his version, and circled the places he agrees with them. It turns out that his version matches the newer version for the first three bars, then the older version for two bars, and then he alternates which version he agrees with for the rest of that half of the tune. Both versions are nearly the same for the other half of the tune (what he and one of the two versions calls part two, but what the other one plays first), but where they do disagree with one another he again takes turns as to which one he agrees with.

Then we compared the hasty notes I had taken at class last week, and they also bounce back and forth as to which one they agree with, but in places I agree with neither, and in other places I am missing whole phrases (but then, I always knew my notes were probably wrong).

So, what version should I learn???

Edit to add:

I decided on a composite--this version mostly agrees with what [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar plays, but for one bar my memory of what I was taught last Monday is the same as the other set of sheet music, so I am going to stick with that version, for now.
our composite version of Lanna Villes Scottis )
kareina: (Default)
Monday evening was our second lesson on playing the nyckelharpa. The other students are all experienced musicians. I am not. This means that I showed the greatest improvement from the previous lesson of two weeks before. However, this does not mean that I could keep up with them. Even with the two tunes we had learned the first week the best I could manage was to sort of hit some of the keys at the correct time, but not the entire tune at once at the speed they were playing them. Therefore soon after we started working on a third tune, which the others started learning the previous session, the second teacher took me upstairs, where she taught me the third tune one-on-one.

It is amazing how much more I enjoy the one on one learning than the group session--I really can't keep up with them--all they are learning is how to apply a skill they are already good at (playing music) to a new instrument. I am trying to learn how to play music in the first place.

The new tune is a lovely one, but more complicated than the two from the first class. As a result I couldn't really hold all of the bits in my head after we went home. I had written down the letters of the notes, but I am not really certain that I got them written correctly.

Last night when I went to practice I could do both of the first two songs I learned, but I was just too tired to actually manage to work out the third. Tonight I gave it a try a bit earlier, and was getting something closer to right on that third tune, but couldn't quite remember it all, and was getting less and less convinced that I had written it down correctly. Therefore I consulted my good friend, Google.

The first thing I found was a person playing the tune on the nyckleharpa. This is useful, because I can watch the fingers and be reasonably certain that yes, he pushes the same keys as my teacher does for this tune, but I am just not yet fast enough to follow what someone else is doing (which is frustrating, since I can learn dances that fast--why is playing music so much harder than dancing?)

Therefore I went looking further, and managed to find a web page that has sheet music (plus a midi file, which sounds right to my ear). However, I can't actually read sheet music, yet, though I know which lines go with which letters. Therefore I took a copy of the sheet music into CorelDraw and wrote the letters over each dot, then printed only that layer to get a lovely decorative series of letters rising and falling in time to the music. This I can play 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: (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)
Today was a very productive day in terms of housework (don't ask about that paper I haven't been writing). I did some cleaning and rearranging in the living room in the morning. Not much was moved, but the stack of boxes awaiting time for [livejournal.com profile] archinonlive to have time to go through them are no longer blocking access to the bookshelf, and the massage table is no longer blocking access to the piano, and I am MUCH happier, as is he. I don't think I want to know how long it had been since last the piano had been moved, but is was so time to vacuum behind there! I also accomplished a couple of loads of laundry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


If any of you are interested in corresponding with her on this topic, or can think of someone I don't know who might be interested, let me know and I will send you her contact details in a personal message.

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