kareina: (Default)
The best part about working half-time is that I get Fridays off (why work five 4-hour days, when I can work four 5-hour days?). This means that I get an extra day on the weekend to accomplish whatever needs doing. Today I:

*washed my bed sheets and underwear
*cleaned out the gutters on the house (boy, did that need doing)
*put the deck furniture into the shed for the winter (we are into rainy autumn weather now, we probably won't need it again before the snow flies)
*cooked a yummy lunch for myself (kale, broccoli, zucchini, broad beans, carrot, garlic, alfalfa sprouts, almonds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, eggs, butter, and a hint of curry spices)
*made a bread dough to bake tomorrow for the Frostheim picnic
*read an amazing short story (if you haven't read it yet, read the prequil first)
*cooked 7 liters of black currants down to 3.5 liters of jam
*finished the painting on the bridges of my hammer dulcimer
*vacuumed

By the time I was done with that it was 17:00 and David was home from work, so we carried the extra desk downstairs, where it will have its top replaced with Caroline's nice table top before it is taken to the apartment so they will have a pretty table, with raise-lower legs. Then our friends Birger and Siv from the Luleå Hembygdsgille dropped by for a visit, and I showed her some of the wool fabric I have left after having used some for costumes for me, and she liked both the brown/indigo wool and the light blue/grey wool twill enough that she bought both. She plans to make a viking dress before Norrskensfesten to go with the broaches she bought at the Lofotr viking museum in Lofoten this summer. (I really need to go back there!)

After they left and David went to the other house took the time to clean up, package up the jam into plastic containers for the freezer, and then sat down to the computer to tell the world (via FB) how wonderful the story I read today was. Seriously, while I love all of [personal profile] hrj's writing, Hyddwen (and Hoywverch, which I read on Wednesday) were even more my cup of tea than usual. I think it was the delightful blend of very traditional story telling and classic tropes with a powerful loving relationship of a sort which might have been unexpected in such a time period, but instead felt totally natural, normal, and right. I wish I had read this story while still in high school. Sadly, she hadn't gotten around to writing it that long ago.

After that I updated the Norrskensfesten spreadsheet to show the latest registrations, and worried for a bit because we have only 22 people registered so far. Then I checked last year's spreadsheet, and as of 15 September we had only 21 people registered, but by the time the event happened that had grown to 100 people, so perhaps we will yet get enough to cover the cost of the hall (not that it truly matters--Frostheim can afford the site if we don't, but it is nice if an event doesn't lose money). Of course, the fact that this year the event is two weeks earlier than last year means that I can't really compare the same date, but I am trying to let these numbers comfort me anyway, since worry never helps.

Now I should do my yoga, gather a few things to bring to the picnic tomorrow (especially wool, as it is likely to rain, at least some), and get some sleep.
kareina: (Default)
On Thursday evening I asked GoogleMaps how long it would take to get to the event (three hours driving time), and I determined that I could get there by the time site opens at 19:00 if I were to leave by 15:00 (one loses an hour when one crosses the border to Finland). Therefore, if I wanted to stop by and visit my friend Å, who lives about 1/3 of the way to the event, and return his SCA stuff that he left here before heading south for a visit some months back, I should leave by noon, so I would have time to chat a bit before heading on. By that point in the evening I was kinda tired (I didn't look this up till getting home from the Frostheim social night), so I decided that I could just do yoga and go to sleep, and pack in the morning, since I planned to travel kinda light (but not as light as I will need to pack for Crown, to which I will be flying carry-on only).

This was a very good plan. I got up at a reasonable time Friday morning, and gathered what I wanted to bring with me. Right up to the point where it was time to put the food I was bringing into one of the soft-sided "ice chests". Everything else had been packed into period looking containers, but all of the soft ice chests we have look totally modern. No one but me will ever care, but I care. So I decided that it was time to make a wool cover for one of the medium sized ones which have the silvery metallic fabric outer layer. At that point it was 11:00, so I had an hour to spare if I were going to do the stop to visit Å, and, since it is just a cover for a modern item, I figured I could use the treadle sewing machine, and it would go pretty fast. And it did, too, right up to the point where I realized that it would be hard to make the attachment of the wool to the area next to the bag zipper with the sewing machine, so I decided to do that part by hand, and, while I was at it, the second pass of covering the bright red nylon webbing strap, too, so that no machine sewing would be visible.

Since I was putting in the extra time, I also took a sewing break to have some lunch, which meant that I didn't actually finish up, fill the bag with food, load the car, and start driving till 15:30. This meant that I arrived at the ferry about half an hour after site opened, which was still in very decent time.

The site is on an island, to which they are in the process of building a bridge--it is now possible to walk across the bridge to fetch the hand-crank car ferry, but it isn't yet possible to drive upon the bridge. Since I don't read Finnish the autocrat told me in advance that I should just come to the ferry landing, call him, and he would come help me get across the water. I am really glad that he did. While it turned out to be a fairly simple task to put in the lock so that one can drive onto the ferry, then unlock the ferry, and spin the wheel to drag the ferry across the river, then put in the lock on the other side so that the car can drive off the ferry, I wouldn't have wanted to make guesses as to what to do without someone there to show me.

The site was a lovely one--pretty in the same sort of way as our new Norrskensfest site--lovely old red building clustered together on the banks of a lake. This site is smaller--it has only 40 beds, but that was a generous plenty for the 23 of us who attended the event (8 of whom were small children who seemed to spend most of their time smiling). When I arrived the downstairs beds had been claimed, so I explored upstairs, and decided on the top bunk in the gable room at the back of the house that has a balcony in it (who can resist a balcony?). As it turned out, no one claimed the other bunk, so I had a room to myself, though I had to walk through a room with two single beds in it, both of which got claimed.

The event had been advertized and a low-key, relaxed event, and, indeed it was. The only things which were on the published schedule were meals, and the fact that the sauna would be available in the evenings. Everything else was optional "do it when/if you feel for it". I brought my dulcimer, and had it out to play with on four different occasions (once on Friday, and three times on Saturday), including providing tiny hints of music during the lulls in the Baroness'es court (sadly, the Baron, who had been looking forward to heading north for the event, got sick and couldn't come) while waiting for people to come forward). That was more playing than I had done in the past several months, and I feel inspired to do more of it.

I had brought with me a variety of projects, but only took out the nålbinding, which is much closer to done than before I arrived. Since the event was a harvest festival I made a point of doing some harvesting. I noticed that the red currant bush near the kitchen and parking area had berries on it, so I asked the kitchen if they wanted some berries to add to the lunch and/or feast. Of course they said yes, and handed me a large ceramic bowl. That first bush had lots of berries (compared to my poor bird-stripped red currant bushes at home), but they still barely covered the bottom of the bowl. However, I figured that there were plenty more bushes in the area, so I started working my way around the perimeter of the lawn, stopping to eat raspberries at each raspberry bush I passed (the raspberries wouldn't have been worth picking for the kitchen--they were a bit too juicy (too much recent rain) and often had mold or worms, so one had to actually look at them before eating, but the ones that passed inspection still tasted ok. Sure enough, I found another bush or two in that quadrant of the yard, but then, when I worked my way around behind the sauna I discovered the main red currant area--so many bushes that I quit picking berries because I was tired of it, not because I had run out of berries to pick (at that point the bowl was more than half full). The kitchen was pleased--they put berries out for lunch, and still had enough left to use as garnish for some of the feast dishes, which, combined with the fresh salad greens, meant that everything served was really pretty.

I didn't partake of the smithing workshop, nor the archery, but the others seemed to enjoy both activities. The only dancing we did was late in the feast--the children wanted to dance, so a handful of us adults joined them, and we did several bransles before the parents announced that it was bedtime. I let one of the Finnish speakers call the dances (I provided the music from my phone, projected through the CD player the autocrat provided), so that the kids would understand the instructions.

This morning I packed up my stuff and loaded the car, feeling somehow "wrong" to have the car so empty. Then one of the parents asked me if I had extra room. Their family has no car anymore, so they had gotten a ride from the other family, but between the two families there were too many people to all fit in the car at once, so the car had to do two trips. The driver did *not* want to have to go over the ferry two times to get all the people and stuff to the other side. Of course I was happy to help, and not only took the overflow stuff and extra people across the ferry, but all the way to the home of driver, so that her husband and kids could stay home while she took everyone else home. Then I set off north towards the border, while they went south to their home.

Even with that extra delay I was home by 14:30 (gaining that hour back at the border helps), which meant that I had time to unload, relax with a book and some food, take a nap, and put away most of the things I had brought with me before it was time to head out to the first Folk Dance night of the season. That was much fun, and since getting home I have had a chance to check mail, update logs, and write the above. Now I had better get my yoga done and get some sleep, since I work tomorrow.
kareina: (Default)
This evening I heard that there will not be a Höstdansen event in Umeå in October due to scheduling issues. This made me a little sad, as I love that event. Therefore, to cheer myself up, I have booked flights to Helsinki for October Crown. Their web page says that the beds are all reserved already, so I am on a waiting list in case there are cancellations. The page also says that some beds were reserved for fighters and their consorts, so if any of those reserved beds go unclaimed they will open up, so I will probably get a spot. Or, if I am lucky, some fighter will ask to fight for me, and then we would qualify for one of those reserved beds.

I would actually like it if I had a champion, since I grew up in the West, where it is pretty much one's patriotic duty to enter every Crown one is able to attend, so I sort of feel I should enter. However, my fighter authorization isn't current, so that leaves only the possibility of being someone's inspiration. My last champion found himself a girlfriend, which makes me very happy for him, but it means that I am once again without a champion of my own.
kareina: (Default)
We got home from our time working on Gustaf's landscaping project on Wednesday evening, which gave us Thursday to recover. David and I sat down with the internet and looked at some options for a replacement computer (which, if I get one, probably means I won't go to the states to visit my sisters in October due to the costs involved), but rather than ordering one straight away, I instead went to my office and brought home my work computer (which is what I am using at the moment). We have a thing in our Dropbox folder that I can use to log into our server and thus access the files from my computer which are backed up there, so it has been working well enough for now. After the Medieval days at Hägnan event I will figure out what I want to do--if we should just fix the old one (he thinks a new hard drive would solve the issues, but it would still be an old computer with a new hard drive, and I don't actually have disks for the operating system, only the programs), or if I will buy a new one, or what.

Friday we drove down to Skellefteå for their Medieval Days event. This is the first time they have done this--they have a lovely site on a small island in the river, accessible via a foot bridge, and I think it will make a great annual event. I would have loved to have participated the full week, but I was also glad to have the time to work on projects for the house (working at Gustaf's counts as working at our place, since he put in so many hours on our landscaping first, so it is a good trade). It was kinda rainy on Friday, and I spent most of the day working on a nålbindning project while sitting in the pavilion of a cute Norwegian merchant (from whom I purchased some fur that looks good with the grey/black diamond twill wool I bought last year at Visby). Caroline had to work on Saturday, and the others were ready to head home earlier than I had expected. I considered just staying--one of the autocrats tried to convince me that even though I hadn't registered for the event I was very welcome--they have room in the crash space tent, and plenty of vegetarian food available. I considered it, but decided it was wiser to head home and accomplish stuff.

Since heading home we have:

* started painting the south side of the house (it has needed it for quite some time)
* did the hand-smoothing of the dirt on the terrace (which we will probably cover over with some sort of concrete or stone tiles, depending on what we find at a reasonable price) to make a nice outdoor entertainment area that doesn't need to be mowed (it would be bothersome to carry a mower down the steps to the terrace anyway)
* built a base for the support frame for the earth cellar roof (out of some birch trees that he cut down over near the shed on the bottom half of the property as they were in the way of the road that his bother put in)
* cleaned out the container
* bought some shelf support brackets (which he has welded into place inside the container)
* started power-sanding the wooden floor of the container (in hopes of getting the smell of old spilled oil out of it)
* done some baking for Hägnan

Now it is Monday and David has returned to work. I have started packing for the event, and will return to that momentarily. Tomorrow we go set up, and then we spend the rest of the week alternating between educating the public about the middle ages during the day, and enjoying an SCA event in the evening.
kareina: (Default)
Today I went to check out a potential event site, Strömsundshemmet, a beautiful site on a pretty lake, comprised of mostly very old historic buildings that have been relocated to this place to make a nice site for weddings, conferences and church retreats. Between all of the cabins they have 90 beds, and a nice big kitchen (with separate adjoining room for washing up). The dining hall isn't as nice as the big gym at the site we used for last year's Norrskensfest, but in the next building there is a small church with amazing acoustics, and another large room as well. This means we could eat in one hall, then go to the next building for bardic performances and dancing, and then return to the feast hall for the next round of food. Seriously tempted to go with this site. I just need to get her email with the final numbers of what she would charge us, and then the ok from the Seneschal.

I think the site would also be great for a Crown or Coronet tournament or Kingdom University.
kareina: (Default)
Friday I managed to sleep in till after 9:00 (which gave me nearly 7 hours of sleep that night, which was nearly the most I managed the whole event--only Saturday night/Sunday morning saw more rest, and then I was still recovering from the drive south). It also turned out to be the warmest day, and rather sunny, so while many others were spending the day at the all important Knäckebröd War, fighting over which side of the flat bread one should butter, I spent my day in our own camp, enjoying the combination of tree and pavilion shade, and worked on a sprang belt in progress. It was lovely.

at 18:00 I reported to the "Youth Camp" and read out loud from a book that Sir Peregrine provided. I had seen a call on FB before the event for people to read aloud to the kids at the event, and said I would be willing, if I could do it in English (my Swedish pronunciation is still so bad I am not certain that the kids would understand me if I tried reading in Swedish). However, then I got busy with event prep, and never saw if anyone had replied, so it wasn't till I was on site and Beatrix asked me if I was still interested in reading that I thought of it again, and thus didn't have a good story book with me. So I sent a message to Peregrine, who was still in Luleå and would be arriving at the event in another day or two, and asked if he would be willing to bring something suitable, so he did, bringing a copy of Stig of the Dump, a book I had never heard of before. I had rather expected something with a more medieval flavour, but the small audiance of English speakers didn't seem to mind, and it was an interesting story (ok, I read only chapter 1 due to time constraints). I am pretty certain that most evenings the reading was in Swedish, and have no idea if they also had Finnish or German evenings (there were a fair few speakers of each language on site, of course).

After reading I went to evening Court, which started with Jovi's Pelican ceremony, which was another lovely ceremony. As we were waiting for Court I made a comment to Kaarina wondering if the Crown might decide to do yet another Peerage, but thought I was only joking, since two in one event is already quite many for Drachenwald. However, at the end of Court the Crown summoned the Knights, and this time sent them into the crowd to go find the candidate, and they made a good show of wandering back and forth searching before finally grabbing Viscount Torbjörn (who had been the first Prince of Nordmark I ever met). Unlike early in the week, when I heard a hint that there might be a knighting, and I simply knew who it would be (and was correct), for this one I had zero idea which person they were looking for (other than guessing that it wouldn't be Count Morales, who had only just received some other fighting related award just before they called up the knights), but that isn't really surprising, since I haven't really seen Torbjörn fight. He is from Baggeholm, which is almost as far south as one can go and still be in Sweden, and hasn't entered the two Coronet tournaments that Eino and I entered, and while he was in Crown, there were two lists for that tournament, and I really only watched Eino's fights.

Since I had missed Jovi's vigil the night before I went pretty much straight from Court to the vigil area, arriving even before the Knights escorted him into the tent. This meant that I was third on the list after the knights, but there were 24 knights at the event. After getting my name on the list I went back to the hall and did half an hour of yoga, and then wandered back towards the vigil to see how the line was progressing. On the way I stopped at the Fire Show that had just started (and had a huge crowd assembled to watch it). I watched for a short bit, but they were asking for way more audiance participation than I felt interested in (not just vocal responses, but having the audiance stand or sit or wave as people ran past, etc.), so I went back to the vigil tent and chatted with the smaller crowd that was there for a bit. They were still working their way through the knights, some of whom were ignoring the "three minutes" suggestion, I think. I was feeling tired by then, and decided that even though I was early in the list of non-knights, I would rather go get some sleep. Just when I considered taking my name off the list I noticed that Eino had picked up the book to add his name to it, so I suggested that I edit my name to say "and Eino", and then I could go to bed, and he could go in on his own in my stead. The people managing the book were ok with this, so I went to bed "early" (it was 02:00 before I managed to make it back to my own camp, got my teeth brushed and was in bed!).

Six hours later I got up and begin the process of breaking camp. My plan for Saturday had been to pack my stuff, drop the tent, go for a swim, help load the cargo van (or perhaps load the van and then swim, depending on how everyone else was doing), and then report for serving duty for the banquette. However, "it always takes longer than you think", and I didn't actually get any help from Eino in things like taking apart the rope bed and folding ground cloths because by the time I had finished packing most of my stuff into boxes he was only just starting to pack his pile of stuff, which meant that I had to wait to drop the tent. As a result the cargo van had been brought over and they had already started loading it before I finished my tent and started taking down the sunshade.

We had only managed to get the cargo van somewhere around 1/3 to 1/2 full before it was 17:30 and time for me to report to the kitchen, so, with regret, I hurried to my next duty and felt guilty for not being there for the rest of the loading, but also feeling confidant that the Archers had it all under control and it would go well. Serving was fun, and at the end of the feast they gave me a block of left over marzipan to take with us as road food. As soon as I was done serving I did some yoga, and then we hopped into the passenger van and started driving at 22:00 Saturday evening (the cargo van had left some amount of time before that, and the first car of Frostheim folk had left while it was still early in the day, which was probably a factor in how long it took to load the van, since those folk weren't available to help with the loading. However, one of them had a tight deadline for when he needed to be home, and naught could be done about it.

We had three people in the car willing to do all of the driving, which meant that I didn't need to do any of it, so I managed to sleep for a fair bit of the 18.5 hour drive north, 15.75 hours of which was actual driving time (I remembered to write down every start and stop time for the trip home), of which I slept 6 hours, in 15 minute to 1.5 hour chunks. This meant that we not only got home early enough that I managed to get to Folk Dance on Sunday evening, I even had enough energy to dance!
kareina: (Default)
Thursday of Double Wars was another busy day with not much sleep. I managed to get to bed after Ærikr's vigil at about 03:00, and managed to get up on time for the 10:00 Singing in Modes class by Kaarina. It was just she and I, so she gave me theory at my own pace, and we sang Itsy Bitsy Spider in all of the modes (Dorian, Hypodorian, Phrygian, Hypophrygian, Lydian, Hypolydian, Mixolydian, Hypomixolydian). She had sheet music for a variety of period songs that we could have sung in various modes, too, but since she went at the pace of the slowest kid in class, we didn't get there, but I learned ever so much. She promises me that she will record Itsy Bitsy Spider in the various modes and add it to her web page.

We went a little over time, as there wasn't another class in that room, but chose to end when Lady Elisande came in and asked if we would like to participate in the Experimental Cooking Class; apparently none of the students who had signed up in advance had made it, and she didn't want the supplies she bought to go to waste. I had only just finished saying to Kaarina that I had considered attending that class, as I have had fun doing similar things with school kids at SCA demos, but was feeling a bit too tired to bother. However, when asked by the teacher to please come play, suddenly I was full of energy and enthusiasm again, so we both did.


The handout she had prepared gave us a recipe from Das buoch von guoter spise, for Heathen cakes (Heidenische ku:ochen). The English translation she provided says:

"They are called heathen cakes. One should take a dough and has to make it thin and then take a cooked* meat and speck** cut and apples and pepper and eggs into and bake it and give it out but don't over salt."

*the word she translated as "cooked" usually means in water, such as boiled, poached, or simmered
**speck is a type of bacon


As you can see, this is a bit vague. What sort of dough? What kind of meat? What should it look like? What kind of texture are we going for?

She had purchased a variety of options, and we were free to just go for it, and we did, with very, very different results. Since my minion needs gluten free foods, and she had purchased a gluten-free flour option, I decided to play with that one as my dough. Since I really dislike bacon, and only eat wild game and reindeer if I am eating meat at all, I opted to use the pack of Renskav (thinly sliced reindeer meat), and substitute butter for the speck. Everyone else used one or more of the three types of bacon she had purchased, along with some other meat. Since I am a scientist, I kept careful notes of what I did for my version, which came out as a pie:

I cooked the entire 240 g packet of Renskav + 12 g butter in enough water to cover, and about a tablespoon of a Norwegian spice blend that Thora had provided, which contains: crowberries, alpine leek, thyme, black currants, lemon balm, lemon grass, marjoram, and hyssop. As soon as the meat was just brown I took the pot off the stove and left it to sit while I worked on the dough.

For the dough I took 250 grams of buckwheat flour, cut into it 25 g butter, mixed in 1 egg, then added a bit more water than I meant to, so I added the rest of the buckwheat flour (another 250 g) to make the dough workable. Then she mentioned that she also had acorn flour, so I divided my dough in half, and mixed a handful (what she had left--I have small hands) of the acorn flour into one of the batches of dough, plus a tiny bit more water to make it workable.

Then I pressed each batch of dough into its own pie plate, noting that the dough with acorn was a bit better behaved and holds together better. Once both pie plates were covered with dough I drained the meat (reserving the cooking liquid to take back to camp to cook grains in later) and divided it into the pie plates. Then I chopped three apples (keeping the peeling, but discarding the cores) and divided that between the plates, and cut 25 g of butter and added that to both pies as well. This added up to only a rather thin, patchy layer of solid filling across the bottom of the pies (really it might have been smarter to use this much filling for only one pie, but since I had dough for two...). We had more apple available, but not more reindeer, and this looked like a good fruit-meat balance to my eye, so I stopped there and went on to the eggs and pepper that the recipe called for.

Then I beat 4 eggs with 1/4 cup of pink apple juice & 1 teaspoon of pepper and divided that between the pies. They were still looking a bit empty to me, so I beat two more eggs with 1/4 cup of the golden apple juice (she had bought three different apple juice varieties for us to try if we wanted) and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper plus 2 pinches of salt (figuring if we are instructed not to over salt it, that implies that we should add some salt).

This time it looked reasonable, so I stirred the filling a bit to get it mixed and evenly distributed, and baked it. I was really happy with how they came out--they were really tasty. The acorn-buckwheat crust was easier to get out of the pie plates than the plain buckwheat crust. I suspect that given how little butter I put into the crust I probably should have buttered the pie plates.

My version was totally unlike the ones the others made, but so was every version we did. Some were made with a yeast dough, others were more pie like. One she did a more liquid-y batter and put the fillings in that. Some had the eggs beaten in, others, baked in a muffin cup, had a single egg broken onto the top of each of them.

We filled one plate with a sample of everything we had made and delivered that to the Queen, we each tasted as much as we wanted from each, and the rest was sent back to various camps. I, of course, took my pie, and my minion was delighted with his dinner that evening, as was my champion, who doesn't need gluten free, but loves reindeer.

After eating the results of our efforts I wandered by the market day. I had thought that I didn't need any more fabric, but the nice lady at Medeltidsmode proved me wrong with this lovely broken diamond twill unbleached linen, and six meters followed me home. Oops.

I also bought a bit more yarn, mostly to use up the cash I had left. I forgot to mention that earlier in the week, while at Gaita's music class I wanted to buy the songbook that we were using in the course. However, since they are from the UK they don't have Swish (this most wonderful payment method ever is only available in Sweden), and, of course, I had no cash (who needs it when one can just Swish?). So I asked around, and one of our camp members had cash, so she handed me 200 SEK, and I swished her the money, and then I gave the cash to Gaita, who gave me the song book and 50 SEK change. The nice lady selling yarn was offering them for 20 SEK each, or 3 for 50. So I took three, and am once again happily cash-free.

That evening's court begun, of course, with Ærikr's knighting ceremony, which was beautifully done, though I thought it a bit odd that ceremony mentioned only the belt and chain as the symbols of the order, yet after he was dubbed and buffeted and they were putting regalia on him there was, in fact, a set of spurs too, so I don't know why they weren't mentioned earlier. I had to laugh at myself when Sir Peregrine came forward with the belt, explaining that rather than pass on his old belt, which was stained yellow with age, he was instead providing a shiny new white belt with cast tokens for all of the fighting awards that Ærikr has attached to the end. You see, I had seen just that belt, and his old one, sitting on his desk at his place the previous Thursday when I was there, and I commented "a new belt?", and he explained how difficult he had had it trying to find white belt leather of an appropriate weight in Sweden--most places have only the thick heavy leather of his old belt, which he offered up for me to look at, not the thin nice leather of this new belt, which he folded up in his hands so that the decorations didn't show, and didn't hand me. I was easily distracted by his comments, and didn't think anything of it at the time, nor had I thought about that conversation or the belt at all when I made my guesses the day before that perhaps it was time for Ærikr to be knighted. The other odd thing I found with the ceremony was that when it came time to wrap the belt around his waist they didn't call forth his lady, but instead the queen did that service all by her self, and I wondered if that was normal for Drachenwald.

After his ceremony the court went on for a fair bit longer, with a number of deserving awards from the Crown, and from the new Prince and Princess. One of the most amusing awards was a Panache (Kingdom level arts) for a former Baroness of Aarnimetsä, which had been written if in a very long-winded form of medieval bureaucratic language (in this Kindgom the wording of the scrolls is totally left up to the scribe doing the work, and thus no two are ever alike). The text for that scroll was so long that quite a way in the herald paused, said "Page 2", and continued reading for just as long--he spoke of the creation of the order, of the crown giving the award, of the skills required to receive it, etc., etc., etc. When he finally, and at long last, came to the end of the text a second herald stepped forward, and read it all out again, in Finnish this time. I am told that they translated *everything*, even the "Page 2". When he was finally done they presented the scroll itself, which was actually a *scroll* they had to unfurl it to display. At this point someone in the audiance said that he had trouble following the scroll, and could we have it again, in Swedish this time. The Crown politely declined.

Towards the end of court the Crown summoned forward the Kingdom Chronicler, and apologized to her, for it was the 25th of the month, and normally by the 25th they would have already given her words to be included in the next issue of the newsletter, but this time they hadn't yet accomplished this task. As she started to assure them that it was ok the Herald called forth the order of the Pelican, and the very surprised chronicler was sent off to vigil.

Immediately after court the masquerade dance ball started, so, of course, I went straight to the hall for dancing. As the musicians were getting ready I noticed a tall masked slender man in late period garb walk up and chat with them about which dances he would be teaching, and then he went to sit down to await the start of the ball. So, of course, I went up to him and asked for the first dance (I was also wearing a mask). He agreed, and stood up. He had two pilgrams badge sorts of metal pinned to his clothing, so I asked them if they were awards or simply pilgrams badges. He replied that they were personal tokens from a Prince and Princess, and then added "In the West", to which I replied "I thought I recognized you behind that mask", and he had to ask my name, but as soon as I said "Kareina" he blushed with delayed recognition. To be fair, I knew that he was on site and had been teaching a shoe-making class, and I don't think he knew that I would be there, so I had the advantage.

I, of course, danced every dance, till the ball broke up at midnight. At that point I went looking for Jovi's vigil, and found the party over by the sauna (I don't think I mentioned that I enjoyed the sauna and hot tub on one of the first evening--it really helped recover my sore hips from the trip down). However, the line was really long, and I never did manage to find the vigil book, and I was tired, so I opted to just return to my camp and bed, and the next morning I emailed her the words I would have shared.
kareina: (me)
I found out yesterday that Duchess Elina of Beckenham, KSCA, OL, OP, etc. is running for US Congress in Indiana. I normally have zero interest in modern world politics. I start with the assumption that politicians are useless creatures who will say whatever they think will get them elected, and aren't truly capable of making good decisions while in office.

However, Elina is someone I have always admired. She is a talented artist, makes a very charismatic Queen and Princess, she is a talented fighter who is skilled at leading war units to victory, she has written a useful book on SCA fighting explaining how gender differences at the skeleton level can translate to different techniques being effective for different body types. She was one of the people who ran the recent SCA 50 Year anniversary event, held in Indiana. (I didn't go--my budget didn't extend that far, and the heat that happens in that part of the planet at that time of year didn't appeal, but I heard good things of the event from friends who went.)

I think that she would do well in any job she had, even dealing with idiots in Congress. Therefore I did something I have never done before, and contributed to her campaign (only the small amount left in my paypal account, but still, it was something). More importantly, I mentioned doing so on FB, where a number of my friends who also know her (pretty much everyone in the SCA in the states, and quite a few outside of the US at least knows of her, if they haven't met her) expressed surprised delight at the news that she was running, and promptly went to her web page and did their own contributions. When I woke up this morning my friend Samuil sent me a message saying that he didn't know the Becks that well, but I should let them know that he was willing to lend a hand, so, of course, I promptly opened a group conversation between she and he, letting her know of the offer, reminding her that he had been a Seneschal of the College of St. Katherine when I lived in the Mists and that he had moved to York for his Master's, which experience inspired him to become politically active, so that he has served on at least a couple of major campaigns that I know of. They exchanged a few messages and agreed to take the conversation to phone calls, so I am pleased with the outcome of that bit of networking.

I have no idea what sort of goals she has with this campaign--does she just hope to accomplish some good for her adopted home state, or is this a stepping stone to even higher positions? Yet I can't help but daydream of a time some years hence, when she is serving as the first female President of the US, hosting the local SCA fighter practice on her front lawn, leading the other fighters in war maneuvers, whilst the secret service carefully checks every fighter authorization card before letting people in to play...
kareina: (Default)
This time L., from Handcrafted History did a workshop on "riktigt tajta kläder. There were six of us students in the course (at least one other who had planned to attend was sick). L. commented to me "you probably already know this stuff", and I admitted that I have, in fact, helped others fit patterns for Greenland style gowns, but I have never gotten around to making one for myself, and this seemed like a reasonable opportunity. Besides, I am one of the few in the shire with a key to the classroom at the Uni that we were using.

I arrived at 09:30 to let her in, arriving in perfect time, as I saw her pull up to to door and park just as I was about to turn into the parking lot next to the door. By the time she had her supplies set up (and I had eaten my breakfast) the others arrived. She did a short lecture and then we paired up to start fitting patterns. I got the first fitting, then we enjoyed an hour lunch break, and I pinned fabric onto my partner, who, at first glance looks to be about the same size and shape as I, but oh how different her pattern pieces are than mine! Never mind that if we walked into a modern clothing store together we would probably both fit into the same items.

After we got the first draft done we traced them onto fresh fabric, adding measured seam allowances, and markings for waist, under bust line, etc., then stitched them quickly together so that we could start work on the sleeves. We all got a very rough sleeve ready for fitting by 16:00, but we also decided that tomorrow was early enough to finish that part of the process, and went home.

I was feeling tired, having stayed up too late the night before talking with O. (who never did go to sleep--once I quit distracting him with conversation and went to sleep myself he stayed up cutting out leather pieces for his new armour, but the 3 hours I slept wasn't quite long enough for him to have finished them all before I got up). So when I got home I did my yoga and crawled into bed at only 17:00, giving myself permission to sleep all night if it happened.

It didn't. I woke only an hour later, so I got up, ate something, and then got a message from the Shire herald, wondering how many signatures have been obtained on the petition for the registration of the Frostheim Coat of Arms*. I let her know that we are now only missing the signature of the A&S officer, and that we have 15 total signatures of combined officers and members so far, but we have the Smithy Day coming up next weekend, at which we could probably get a few more. She said that she wants to ship the paperwork off to Kingdom this week, so that it can go with the next batch from Kingdom to the Society level. Therefore I suggested that we advertise on FB free cookies to anyone who can stop by the day two of the workshop to sign, and then after the workshop I can take the petition to the A&S officer on my way to Folk Dance (he lives across the street from the dance hall), and he can hand it to her at work tomorrow (they are both doctors at the local hospital). This is much simpler than my handing it to her, since she lives a 30 minute drive south of me, and doesn't pass any where near my neighbourhood on her way to work.

So then I baked cookies and let the shire FB group know. It will be interesting to see how many, if any, stop by to sign tomorrow.

*I am still totally baffled as to how we can possibly be a shire if our arms were never registered (never mind that have been using them anyway for more than 20 years; the last attempt at registering arms for the shire was 1994). I know that back in those days it was a requirement that the group arms be registered before a group could go from "Incipient Shire" to "Shire" (though back then we were a Canton of the Barony of Nordmark--we didn't become a Shire till Nordmark transformed into a Principality). How did we manage to avoid that hurdle?
kareina: (Default)
I had it when I got to the Frostheim crafts/social night tonight, but very soon after I arrived it became hard to reply to questions as my voice was pretty much gone. This is kinda inconvenient. I sure hope that whatever took it isn't contagious, since we had 8 of us there tonight working on silk painted banners for the group (and a variety of personal projects, too). Luckily I don't really have any other symptoms, other than once every three or four hours I kinda want to cough. If I choose to do so (and it is, so far, totally optional) mostly nothing happens, but once this afternoon I managed to cough up a bit of yellow ick. Also luckily, it is a long weekend, so I can rest and, hopefully, avoid getting any sicker.

Yesterday I asked on Facebook for suggestions for leads to possible sites for Norrskensfesten, and one of my folk dance friends suggested Blackis, a place on the other side of town that is often used for dances, that I had never even heard of. The photos I have managed to find on line make it look promising, in that it has a room that looks plenty big enough to do the feast the way I like to run it, but with less crowding. However, I hear that its kitchen is kinda small. I have an appointment to go look at it on Tuesday, and see if we can make it work, or if I need to keep looking, or just decide to stick with the same site we have been using.
kareina: (Default)
This weekend was Drachenwald Spring Crown. I drove down with three students, two of whom had class till 14:30, so we didn't actually get on the road till 15:00. This meant that we arrived at 21:00, just as court was about to start. There were two "party sleeping rooms"--rooms for people who are likely to be up late at night, and will want to sleep as late as their schedules will permit in the morning, but both were already quite full when we arrived, so instead of going with plan A (set up D&C's air mattress right next to my bed so that they had a place already when they finally arrived around midnight (since he had to work a full day Friday)) I wound up moving my friend H's bed a bit to the side and squeezing my bed between his and that of my minion in one of the rooms, and then moved a few other things to the side in the other to make room for D&C's bed in there. Not ideal, but better than sleeping in the room for people who want to go to bed and wake up early, since that is where small children with very loud morning voices sleep. (However, S, who drove down with D&C wound up moving to one of those "quiet" rooms anyway after sleeping in ours the first night, as the only place in our room that had room for her meant that others had to step over her to get to or from their own beds, and they did. Often.)

The site was lovely, with a balcony around the main hall, and both "party" sleeping rooms had doors opening on the balcony, which meant that I was able to set up my bed and get dressed, yet still pop out to the balcony often enough to see which very deserving people were getting awards. After I was all moved in I enjoyed the evening hanging out with people, and didn't get around to doing yoga till around 03:30 (which counts as 27:30 Friday night as far as my exercise log is concerned), yet still managed a full 35 minute session, since both H and T joined me, which made it much more fun to keep going.

Saturday I managed to get up at 08:30, which gave me time for breakfast before helping O into armour. There were 15 couples who had signed up to enter (which we must do at least a month before the event in this Kingdom), but two wound up having to drop out due to illness and injury, leaving 12 couples. Of this group there were 2 dukes, a count, three viscounts and a knight fighting, and my champion was not only the newest authorized fighter, he was the only fighter who didn't already have an AoA (the consorts included 5 countesses, a count, three viscountesses, and a pelican, and all of the others had at least an AoA).

They ran the tournament with first a single round-robin list, during which my champion managed one victory--a lovely shot to the fact of the Knight who went on to finals. After the first round robin list the top four fighters fought a best-two-of-three round robin list, after which the top two went on to the final round. I think that adds up to 20 bouts fought before one makes it to finals, so you can tell that stamina is valued here, and was really needed as all of the semi-final bouts were quite long.

The winner of the tourney managed to do so despite the handicap of not being used to fighting on loose gravel to provide traction despite the slush on the ground--a problem that didn't phase the Swedish entrants at all, since that is normal spring conditions here. (note that spring is MUCH further advanced down there--we still have thigh deep hard crusted snow left here, except for the little patch of bare grass right next to the side of the house where the sun's heat is reflected back, but there they had only a few cm of snow on the ground, all of which was kinda slushy in the warm (read "a couple of degrees above freezing") spring day.

After the tournament I had time for lunch before the Laurel's meeting, and then I finally got to check out merchant's row, where I managed to NOT buy more fabric from Medeltidsmode, even though so much of it is so lovely. I still haven't had time to sew the really beautiful fabric I got from them at Visby! I did however, pick up two small and one large wooden (on was birch bark) boxes that will be useful for keeping food in at camping events, from a "garage sale" merchant.

Then I did a performance of the poem I had entered in the Arts and Sciences competition (the link goes to the pdf of my documentation) to the people who happened to be hanging out in the vicinity of the A&S contest tables (it was this performance which was judged as part of my entry). After that I had time to change clothes into a dress (I had been wearing two layers of wool trousers and wool tunic and coat for the tourney, and when I came in just stripped down to linen tunic and one pair of trousers for a while) before court and evening feast. They had the thrones set up at one end of the hall, and high table at the other. Since I like to be able to hear court I claimed a corner of a table closest to the thrones, and a bunch of people I had never met claimed all the seats near me, which gave me a good excuse to visit with people I didn't know.

During court they called up all of the fighters in the tournament, and His Majesty first thanked them all, said good words of the entire tournament, then especially praised my champion and my minion, who were the two least experienced fighters in the list, yet two of the most enthusiastic. This made me quite proud of my household, but then his Royal Highness also stood up, and further echoed the praise for both of them, and gifted them with rings from his fingers, and I was even more pleased for them. During the same court my champion also received his award of arms, which further brought me joy.

I didn't eat any of the feast, of course, it being served well after my interest in food had turned off for the evening (I had brought some of my own food, to eat between the served breakfast and lunch, and between lunch and when I ceased to feel hungry), which left me free to wander the hall and visit with various friends, stopping occasionally back at my own seat to visit with the one's I hadn't known before. About mid-way through the feast the person running the A&S contest had me perform my poem again, and I got several compliments on it over the rest of the evening.

After the feast ended a bunch of us did dancing to live music, and much later in the evening (just after midnight), I changed back into tunic and trousers so that E and I could do some acroyoga. We were joined by a few others who wanted to give it a try. It was much fun. Then I did my normal yoga, and afterwards T. started massaging my calves for me, which caused me to start drifting off to sleep, so when she stopped I expressed my thanks and went to bed, at around 02:00.

Sunday I didn't get up till around 09:00, which still gave me plenty of time to enjoy breakfast, pack, visit with people, and still get off site at 11:30. This got me home at 17:30, which meant that I had time to make a quick pot of soup, eat some of it, and sill make it to our normal folk dance session only 15 minutes late. It felt great to move after six hours in the car (thanks to the students I needed only drive 1 of those hours myself, which meant good progress on my sewing (new underdress of that really nice white herringbone linen I bought during the Viking costume workshop we had in January) during the trip). However, I got tired and left about half an hour early, which meant only 1 hour of dancing for the day. As a result April's exercise log isn't looking as good as March's, yet (1.22 hrs/day so far this month , as compared to 2.07 hrs/day last), but with luck I will have both the time and energy to bring that total up before the month is over.

Today I managed to get to work this morning (I took the trike in, which means less time accumulated for the exercise than if I walked, but it also meant I got home sooner), and then went home and took a nap. After my nap I read for a bit, and fell asleep again. I must have needed it. Eventually I managed to get up and do the unpacking that I hadn't done last night due to going to dance, and then caught up on finances and other computer stuff. However, I should soon put down the computer and do yoga.

Oh, I realized that when I posted last weekend's event summary from the airport on my way home I forgot to change my log in to the DW account, so it posted only to LJ. Therefore I will copy-paste that here, and those of you who are still reading on LJ can skip the rest of this post as you have already seen it.

the post from the weekend before Crown )
kareina: (Default)
Since Crown tourney is coming up, I thought I should write some awards recommendations. Not wanting to forget anyone, I first opened the spreadsheet in which I keep attendance for our weekly social/crafts nights (and the special weekend crafts days as well). The next thing I knew I had compiled a list of the 35 people who have attended at least one of these sessions since this summer and then, for each of them, specified if they have an AoA, which (if any) of the three events held in Frostheim since this summer they have attended, how many of the crafts meetings they have attended, in which year they joined the Frostheim FB group, plus additional information for some of them if I have it (such as "joined through the local Archery group", or "joined through the local jester group", etc.)

When I was done the list, with bullet point comments for each person, spilled onto five sheets of paper. So I deleted two peers of the realm from the list (so that it fit on only 4 pages), and sent the list to the King and Queen, explaining that since I had compiled the list I wouldn't be sending any specific award recommendations, but that this list might be useful to supplement information from any award recommendations they may have received from other sources.

After sending I realized that nearly three hours had vanished while I was playing with data. Oops.

Now I should do my yoga and go to bed. I had a PhD student using the laser today, and my apprentice is booked for laser time tomorrow, and there are also several deadlines for other work stuff looming.
kareina: (stitched)
The last couple of days, when my friends in Alaska were complaining of -50 it has bee 5 degrees above freezing during the days. It has dropped below 0 Cat nights, so the melting isn't as bad as it could be, but still I wish we could just have a proper winter with snow that stays snow and doesn't melt and re-freeze into a lower harder crust. So far the record number of days in a row of temperatures below freezing this year is six days (in December the record was 11 days). This morning it is a lovely -7 C, but my phone says that it will be above 0 again in a couple of days. This makes several years in a row wherein winter has been replaced by winter-spring melting-winter-spring melting-etc.

But even if the weather isn't living up to my ideal, the rest of life is going well. Work is fun, Frostheim is fun (we had only three of us for this week's social night, but it was a delightful time chatting with them and making progress on the new pair of Thorsbjorg trousers I started at the workshop last weekend), choir is fun, Phire practice is fun, my love life is wonderful, and I am looking forward to dance starting back up on the weekend (it actually started last Sunday, but D & C were too tired after the costume workshop and I didn't want to stop sewing, so we didn't go.
kareina: (stitched)
I think she was just cleaning out her closet...

Some time back my mother mentioned that she had put a package in the mail for me it hopes that it would arrive by my birthday, and to let her know when it got here. It still hadn't arrive by Friday before my birthday, but on Monday there was a letter in my box saying I could pick the package up at the local post office (which is a counter and back room within the local grocery store). I had also forgotten my glasses case at work, and we needed a couple of things from store, so that evening I took the car and drove in, picked up the spare glasses, got some groceries, and found out that the fine print on the letter, which I hadn't actually read, said that I could pick up the package on Wednesday at the earliest, it was in Sweden, but hadn't gotten this far north yet.

Tuesday morning was our Lucia performance, followed by a dermatologist appointment. Back in May, when things were a bit stressful (because in addition to work and many personal projects, I was also busy with tasks for running our Medieval Days event at Hägnan this summer, and O. was dealing with yet more deaths in his family) some odd red spots appeared on my waist. When they were joined shortly thereafter by a bunch of friends I booked an appointment at the local health clinic, and when I told the doc there that I didn't know what they were, but I was certain they weren't psoriasis, as I have had that on my knee since high school, and these are very different, he said that psoriasis can take different forms, and it was the easiest guess as to the problem, so he gave me some sort of corticosteroid creme and sent me on my way. I was skeptical, but dutifully tired if for some weeks, during which it got a bit worse, so I quit using the medicine, contacted the dermatologist's office to get on the waiting list, and continued with my busy life. They said their earliest possible appointment was in December, and I said I would take it.

Luckily, those spots have been clearing up on their own--some have faded, and none of them are red and angry looking anymore. Even so, there were enough of them left that the dermatologist was able to identify it as "Lichen ruber planus" in about 30 seconds. She assured me that it isn't contagious and said that it should continue going away on its own. Then, since I had mentioned the Medieval Days at Hägnan as a factor in stress when the spots appeared, we spent the rest of the appointment talking about her niece, [livejournal.com profile] liadethornegge, whom she correctly guessed I would know, and looking at her flicker album of SCA events. I love living in a small world.

After the appointment I decided I was sleepy, and went home for a nap instead of going to work. I really needed that day off. Could have used another, since I didn't really accomplish much at work on Wednesday, either, and wound up going home after only about half the time I should have been there. But then I remembered the package, so, being curious, off I went to the store. Luckily, the package wasn't heavy, and was small enough to fit into the cloth grocery bag I had with me, so it was easy to carry home.

I was, of course, starving when I got home, so I took time to eat before opening the box. It contained a large blue/black cotton scarf covered in silver skulls, an old leather bracelet with her name (Norma) on it (the note said that it was proof that she used to be skinny, and, indeed, the bracelet fits my tiny wrist, so if it fit her she would have had to have been pretty small), another bracelet made of a bunch of pennies glued together (that I remember from childhood), a little green puff ball toy with a single eye (was it always a cyclops, or had it suffered a tragic accident over the years), a couple of boxes of Q-tips (I still had one left from her last visit--the brands they sell here aren't as soft, but I think I have enough now to last for years), a couple of jars of Carmex (I used to blend it 50-50 with something else as a lotion for the psoriasis on my knee, until I moved to Australia, and found the lotion I have been using on it ever since), a button/pin with a photo of her mother's parents, a couple of antique wooden curtain rod ends, and perhaps a few other odds and ends that I am not remembering just now. I think she must have had fun packing the box, and her closet must be much cleaner now.

Today I made up for how little work I accomplished Tuesday and Wednesday, and didn't get home till 17:00. Luckily, we had planned to do pizza for dinner, and my past self was kind enough to leave a bread sponge on the counter, so I put the pizza stones into the oven, turned it on, started kneading bread dough, and by 17:54 I was enjoying home made pizza with artichoke heart, broccoli, spinach and kale. Yum! And half of that pizza is left to enjoy tomorrow. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and C, of course, put quite a few more ingredients onto theirs that I wouldn't eat (e.g. mussels, mushrooms, store bought meat balls, cheese that melts), but each type of pizza left overs got packed into a different type container so we won't get them confused tomorrow.

Tomorrow I have planned housework, finally washing the tablecloths from Norrskensfesten (before we need them for Frostheims Jullegille on Sunday), and running errands, with Phire practice and "mys" in the evening. Saturday I will do a massage trade with a friend, and on Sunday we drive south for [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's niece's baptism, and then return north again to attend the above mentioned Jul potluck.
kareina: (stitched)
I finally had the time today to sit down and take care of the financial paperwork for Norrskensfesten. We had 100 people registered, of whom 75 were SCA members. The numbers have been sent in to the Shire Exchequer and Seneschal, and I will likely get a refund for the cash I fronted soon.

However, a problem* I have been having with my home computer for a couple of weeks (months?) now did complicate things--it was necessary to use the computer to send the financial report email from my work email to my gmail address, then use my phone to forward (actually copy-paste) that message from my SCA gmail address to the people who needed it.

Part of the reason the event paperwork took till today to finish is that it was a particularly busy week at work. We had a short course on Thursday and Friday for using iolite, which was really useful. This was actually the second time I attended a course on this program--the last time was in Prague. This time, however, we flew the teacher here, and he gave a focused lesson to just those parts of the program that we will need. I learned a number of new things, and my two Master's students, who will be using the laser, were both very happy with what they learned in the course and looking forward to starting their research after Christmas break.

In other news, it has finally snowed! only 10 to 15 cm, but the world looks much better, and I did some shoveling yesterday. Sadly, my phone predicts that it will be warm again in the next few days, so we run the risk of losing this snow, too. I hope it won't be another one of those winters.



*weird computer problem: google products are broken on my home computer. All other web pages work perfectly, but while I can sometimes open my gmail or google calendar on this computer, I can't actually do anything with them. Any attempt to actually read or send a message or add a new item to the calender results in a "something's not right" error message. So I have been resorting to using my phone or my work computer to do things in these web services. Do any of you know how I can solve this?
I already tried (back when the problem first appeared) clearing the cash and re-installing the browser I used to use (Chrome), and it didn't help, and then I tried changing browsers--it fixed it for a couple of hours, but now Opal has the same problem, and I haven't had time to try anything else to fix it.
kareina: (stitched)
This past weekend was Norrskensfesten, Frostheim's annual big event, and it was the second annual Norrskensbard competition. I was the autocrat again this year, and again used the format inspired by the Mists Bardic Competition event, with an all day feast interspersed with bardic competition rounds and other entertainment.

I had originally planned to head to site around mid-day on Friday, so I would have time to do a liesurily set-up and cooking dinner, and then would have time after people arrived to do things like sew the new Norrsken tablet-woven band onto the Norrskensbards cloak. However, the car we bought this summer for carrying stuff to SCA events had been showing a warning light and not sounding quite right, so we have been avoiding moving it till it could be looked at, and we booked an appointment with the shop he has been using for many years. However, the shop has been quite busy, and the earliest appointment we were able to get was for Thursday before the event. Then, during that week they called us to say that some other repairs had gone way over time and offset their schedule, so they had called in a favour with another shop and transferred our booking to them for the same time. This turned out to be a good thing, as the other shop is only a 20 minute walk from my office, so I was able to bring the car in and then just walk to work (the original shop is a 20 minute drive from my office, which means taking two cars and driving one back).

Thursday afternoon they called to say they had found the problem, that they had one of the needed parts in house, but the other wouldn't arrive till the following morning, but they still hoped to be done with the job by noon on Friday. Thursday evening was Frostheim's craft night, during which I helped one of our new guys sew together the costume we had cut out the previous week (he drove the machine, I pinned the pieces together and handed them ready to sew). Then O. and I stayed up later than we should have talking, as we hadn't had a chance to do so earlier in the week, after which I got like four hours of sleep and he went home to do some school work, because he was inspired to do so.

Friday morning I got up and finished the last of the packing and had everything ready to go by the time my friend Å. arrived at mid-day (he picked up O. on the way in, since O. had just missed his bus. Then we took Å's car to the shop, where I picked up my car, returned home, and the three of us loaded everything up into both cars (which meant that I could see out of the back window a bit). Then, after a quick second lunch, I went straight to site, and the boys went to fetch V. and L.

This gave me time to unload all of my stuff, set up my nest in the corner back-stage with a movable shelf to enclose my space and organize my stuff, get the foods out, and start work on dinner before the second car arrived. Then I whipped the cream into butter, used the butter milk to make reiska (a fairly quick flat-baked Finnish bread that, these days, is often done with baking powder in either oat or rye flour, but my grandmother always did it with yeast, and often mixed the oats with wheat flour--I opted for a mix of four grains (wheat, spelt, rye, and oat) for this weekend's version), and put L., R., and A. (who had arrived just after Å.'s car full) to work making the soup. By the time we had people looking for food the soup (veg and bean) was ready, the bread baked and the sausage cut up. It was a bit later than I would have preferred to have eaten (18:30), but everyone else was happy. After I ate I made a second batch of bread, as the first was going fast.

Once I had eaten and gotten the kitchen clean and ready for H. to start his pre-cooking for the feast I had thought to start sewing the trim onto the cloak, but instead I never really got a chance to sit down the rest of the evening, as people kept coming to me with questions. The fencers had a candle lit fencing tournament in the hall, the hot tub was enjoyed by some people, others worked on projects, and/or sang songs. As it got close to midnight a couple of the musicians started playing Swedish folk music, so I, and the girlfriend of one of them, danced for a while, neither of us caring that the music and dance style is a few centuries out of period, it is still fun. Then I did my yoga for the day, followed by some acroyoga practice with E., and managed to get to bed around 01:00. By then I was totally exhausted, yet had problems falling asleep as my legs were aching/cramping up a bit, since I had been on my feet pretty much non stop (other than the yoga and acroyoga poses in which my feet leave the ground) since arriving on site sometime after 15:00. O., on the other hand, opted to stay up late talking with people, and didn't join me in bed till around 04:00, and he reports that he couldn't really sleep either, as he found the bed both too warm and too small.

I got up at 06:30 on Saturday, so I would have time to do my morning situps before getting up and starting breakfast, which involved more fresh-churned butter and reiska, hard-boiled eggs, oatmeal, apples, etc. I managed to get the breakfast mess in the kitchen cleaned up before H. arrived to start the feast cooking. Around that time the fighters went outside to do their morning tournamnet, and we started setting up tables in the hall for the feast. Before the tournament the Crown Prince told me that he intended to keep fighting for as long as he could talk people into playing with him after the tourney, so if he wasn't ready yet when the feast started we should start without him. So we did.

The hall we were using is decent sized, and there was no problems last year just setting the tables in a horse-shoe ring around the edge of the hall leaving an open place in the middle for dancing and performances. However, last year there were only 70 people registered for the event, and this year we were 100. Therefore, in order to keep that open space in the middle I placed three tables on the stage for high table. Their Royal Highnesses and the outgoing Norrskensbard sat in the middle table, and we six competitors sat on the two side tables. My household was well represented at high table. My table included me, my apprentice A., and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, and my minion sat at the other table with the other two entrants (and the small son of one of them, since his wife had charge of their other child at one of the tables on the floor).

The sequence of events went: serve the food, slight pause to give everyone a chance to at least taste their food, then a round of the competition, followed immediately by a long-dance (farendole style), which lead the dancers to the voting station. Each entrant had a glass jar covered with paper and their name written on it, and after each round people would drop one of the beans they had received when they checked in into the jar of their choice (the gold bean was for round 1: period piece, the silver for round 2: piece in a period style, the blue bean for round 3: on the theme of nature, and the white bean for the three words out of a hat). After voting there was a short break before the next round of food. This pattern was for the first, second, fourth, and fifth courses of the banquet. To break the day up after third course we had a performance by the musician of Luleå Nycklehearpa plus all the other musicians on site who were able to join in on the songs, during which I called dancing. We hadn't taken any time to teach, just jumped in, and even though there were a few people who didn't already know the dances, it went really well. After that musical interlude their Royal Highnesses had a short court, where they distributed the scrolls that hadn't made it north when the Crown was up here this summer presenting awards, and they also gave tokens of welcome to the new members. I was grateful for that break, as I actually wound up drifting on the edge of sleep during the court, which gave me enough energy to continue participating in the competition.

I was really happy with the competition--it seemed like all six of us were better prepared than were the four of us who entered last year, and the overall quality of performances was better. I got some good feedback on my poems and presentation, and my wonderful apprentice Astrid won, which made me very proud. (There was an additional proud moment when it was revealed that each of the four rounds had a different winner, and the winners were the four of us in the contest from my household, especially as one of the other entrants has an amazing voice and is able to do Kulning (the distinctive loud, musical, calls women did to call the cows home).

For my period piece I opted to just play Turdion on the dulcimer, since I could do that, and I ran out of time to actually learn the 12th century sestina I had hoped to use. For my piece in a period style I used the Prolouge to the Canturbury tales (my last-year's period piece) as the inspiration for a Prologue to Double Wars poem. This was the round I won, which didn't surprise me, as I had won the period piece the year before. My singing is now passable, after years of singing in choir, but it isn't impressive. On the other hand, compared to the other entrants, I am better at recitation, with good projecting, vocal variety, body language, etc. My piece on the theme of nature was my song "Winter time it has arrived" (to the tune of Summer is acumin in), which would have gone better if I had made more time to learn the new verse I wrote the week before the event, since I forgot a line and needed to pause and start that bit over. My three words out of a hat were ever so much fun. Before we drew our words the Crown Prince had commented to me "none of the words will be shorter than 'trebuchet'". So, of course, I had to use it.

I had planned to do a song for my 3 words piece, and had chosen Bacche, bene, venies as the tune to use. However, I wound up drawing Bacchus as one of my three words, and just couldn't bring myself to use that tune, as it would have felt like cheating. Though, in hind sight, I suppose I could have just written a new verse and used the original chorus, but at the time it seemed unacceptable to do that. So, instead, I wrote a quick, very silly, story in iambic pentameter (these things happen when that is the form one used for one's piece in a period style), using as many odd words as I could toss in (including trebuchet), so that people would have it harder to guess the three words.

Towards the end of the feast E. and I did our acroyoga performance. We opted for only a slight variation on previous acroyoga performances, due to pretty much no time to plan or practice before the event, but stil got some good feedback, and at least two different Phire members commented to me about liking the fact that we added in some new stuff, so, clearly, doing the changes was a good thing.

After the feast there was a workshop in playing the Finnish This past weekend was Norrskensfesten, Frostheim's annual big event, and it was the second annual Norrskensbard competition. I was the autocrat again this year, and again used the format inspired by the Mists Bardic Competition event, with an all day feast interspersed with bardic competition rounds and other entertainment.

I had originally planned to head to site around mid-day on Friday, so I would have time to do a liesurily set-up and cooking dinner, and then would have time after people arrived to do things like sew the new Norrsken tablet-woven band onto the Norrskensbards cloak. However, the car we bought this summer for carrying stuff to SCA events had been showing a warning light and not sounding quite right, so we have been avoiding moving it till it could be looked at, and we booked an appointment with the shop he has been using for many years. However, the shop has been quite busy, and the earliest appointment we were able to get was for Thursday before the event. Then, during that week they called us to say that some other repairs had gone way over time and offset their schedule, so they had called in a favour with another shop and transferred our booking to them for the same time. This turned out to be a good thing, as the other shop is only a 20 minute walk from my office, so I was able to bring the car in and then just walk to work (the original shop is a 20 minute drive from my office, which means taking two cars and driving one back).

Thursday afternoon they called to say they had found the problem, that they had one of the needed parts in house, but the other wouldn't arrive till the following morning, but they still hoped to be done with the job by noon on Friday. Thursday evening was Frostheim's craft night, during which I helped one of our new guys sew together the costume we had cut out the previous week (he drove the machine, I pinned the pieces together and handed them ready to sew). Then O. and I stayed up later than we should have talking, as we hadn't had a chance to do so earlier in the week, after which I got like four hours of sleep and he went home to do some school work, because he was inspired to do so.

Friday morning I got up and finished the last of the packing and had everything ready to go by the time my friend Å. arrived at mid-day (he picked up O. on the way in, since O. had just missed his bus. Then we took Å's car to the shop, where I picked up my car, returned home, and the three of us loaded everything up into both cars (which meant that I could see out of the back window a bit). Then, after a quick second lunch, I went straight to site, and the boys went to fetch V. and L.

This gave me time to unload all of my stuff, set up my nest in the corner back-stage with a movable shelf to enclose my space and organize my stuff, get the foods out, and start work on dinner before the second car arrived. Then I whipped the cream into butter, used the butter milk to make reiska (a fairly quick flat-baked Finnish bread that, these days, is often done with baking powder in either oat or rye flour, but my grandmother always did it with yeast, and often mixed the oats with wheat flour--I opted for a mix of four grains (wheat, spelt, rye, and oat) for this weekend's version), and put L., R., and A. (who had arrived just after Å.'s car full) to work making the soup. By the time we had people looking for food the soup (veg and bean) was ready, the bread baked and the sausage cut up. It was a bit later than I would have preferred to have eaten (18:30), but everyone else was happy. After I ate I made a second batch of bread, as the first was going fast.

Once I had eaten and gotten the kitchen clean and ready for H. to start his pre-cooking for the feast I had thought to start sewing the trim onto the cloak, but instead I never really got a chance to sit down the rest of the evening, as people kept coming to me with questions. The fencers had a candle lit fencing tournament in the hall, the hot tub was enjoyed by some people, others worked on projects, and/or sang songs. As it got close to midnight a couple of the musicians started playing Swedish folk music, so I, and the girlfriend of one of them, danced for a while, neither of us caring that the music and dance style is a few centuries out of period, it is still fun. Then I did my yoga for the day, followed by some acroyoga practice with E., and managed to get to bed around 01:00. By then I was totally exhausted, yet had problems falling asleep as my legs were aching/cramping up a bit, since I had been on my feet pretty much non stop (other than the yoga and acroyoga poses in which my feet leave the ground) since arriving on site sometime after 15:00. O., on the other hand, opted to stay up late talking with people, and didn't join me in bed till around 04:00, and he reports that he couldn't really sleep either, as he found the bed both too warm and too small.

I got up at 06:30 on Saturday, so I would have time to do my morning situps before getting up and starting breakfast, which involved more fresh-churned butter and reiska, hard-boiled eggs, oatmeal, apples, etc. I managed to get the breakfast mess in the kitchen cleaned up before H. arrived to start the feast cooking. Around that time the fighters went outside to do their morning tournamnet, and we started setting up tables in the hall for the feast. Before the tournament the Crown Prince told me that he intended to keep fighting for as long as he could talk people into playing with him after the tourney, so if he wasn't ready yet when the feast started we should start without him. So we did.

The hall we were using is decent sized, and there was no problems last year just setting the tables in a horse-shoe ring around the edge of the hall leaving an open place in the middle for dancing and performances. However, last year there were only 70 people registered for the event, and this year we were 100. Therefore, in order to keep that open space in the middle I placed three tables on the stage for high table. Their Royal Highnesses and the outgoing Norrskensbard sat in the middle table, and we six competitors sat on the two side tables. My household was well represented at high table. My table included me, my apprentice A., and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, and my minion sat at the other table with the other two entrants (and the small son of one of them, since his wife had charge of their other child at one of the tables on the floor).

The sequence of events went: serve the food, slight pause to give everyone a chance to at least taste their food, then a round of the competition, followed immediately by a long-dance (farendole style), which lead the dancers to the voting station. Each entrant had a glass jar covered with paper and their name written on it, and after each round people would drop one of the beans they had received when they checked in into the jar of their choice (the gold bean was for round 1: period piece, the silver for round 2: piece in a period style, the blue bean for round 3: on the theme of nature, and the white bean for the three words out of a hat). After voting there was a short break before the next round of food. This pattern was for the first, second, fourth, and fifth courses of the banquet. To break the day up after third course we had a performance by the musician of Luleå Nycklehearpa plus all the other musicians on site who were able to join in on the songs, during which I called dancing. We hadn't taken any time to teach, just jumped in, and even though there were a few people who didn't already know the dances, it went really well. After that musical interlude their Royal Highnesses had a short court, where they distributed the scrolls that hadn't made it north when the Crown was up here this summer presenting awards, and they also gave tokens of welcome to the new members. I was grateful for that break, as I actually wound up drifting on the edge of sleep during the court, which gave me enough energy to continue participating in the competition.

I was really happy with the competition--it seemed like all six of us were better prepared than were the four of us who entered last year, and the overall quality of performances was better. I got some good feedback on my poems and presentation, and my wonderful apprentice Astrid won, which made me very proud. (There was an additional proud moment when it was revealed that each of the four rounds had a different winner, and the winners were the four of us in the contest from my household, especially as one of the other entrants has an amazing voice and is able to do Kulning (the distinctive loud, musical, calls women did to call the cows home).

For my period piece I opted to just play Turdion on the dulcimer, since I could do that, and I ran out of time to actually learn the 12th century sestina I had hoped to use. For my piece in a period style I used the Prolouge to the Canturbury tales (my last-year's period piece) as the inspiration for a Prologue to Double Wars poem. This was the round I won, which didn't surprise me, as I had won the period piece the year before. My singing is now passable, after years of singing in choir, but it isn't impressive. On the other hand, compared to the other entrants, I am better at recitation, with good projecting, vocal variety, body language, etc. My piece on the theme of nature was my song "Winter time it has arrived" (to the tune of Summer is acumin in), which would have gone better if I had made more time to learn the new verse I wrote the week before the event, since I forgot a line and needed to pause and start that bit over. My three words out of a hat were ever so much fun. Before we drew our words the Crown Prince had commented to me "none of the words will be shorter than 'trebuchet'", so, of course, it was necessary for me to use that word.

I had planned to write a song for my three words, and had selected bacce benne venies as the tune. However, I drew "Baccus" as my first word, and just couldn't bring myself to use that tune. Yes, I could have kept the original chorus and done a new verse, but that would have felt like cheating, so instead I just wrote a poem in the same iambic pentameter I used for the piece in a period style. It was a short, very silly story, into which I squeezed as many odd words as possible to make it harder for the audience to guess which words were compulsory.

Towards the end of the evening E. and I did an acroyoga performance. We opted for only a slight variation on previous acroyoga performances, due to pretty much no time to plan or practice before the event, but stil got some good feedback, and at least two different Phire members commented to me about liking the fact that we added in some new stuff, so, clearly, doing the changes was a good thing. We are now working on yet more variations for a performance at my 50th birthday party next month.

After the feast there was a workshop in playing the Finish Kantele, which seemed to be well attended (I so didn't have the energy to participate), and was mostly full of musicians, so the teacher really enjoyed the class, and I suspect that she will come over from Finland for our events again. After that workshop Master S., who had missed the feast due to staying home with a sick child, and then came out to site after his wife and daughter went home, called people to come listen to some of his stories, and he had quite a circle of people at his feet. I didn't have the energy at that point to concentrate on understanding the Swedish, so I did my yoga in the corner and enjoyed listening to the rhythm of what he was saying. His storytelling continued longer than did my yoga, and I was feeling really sleepy, so I went out to the hot tub to see if a bit of hot water would keep my legs from cramping up when I slept. Sadly, the tub was only about 36 C, which feels pleasantly hot when one gets in, but isn't quite hot enough to make the muscles truly relax, so while it helped, it wasn't a total cure.

After my soak I went to bed (just before midnight), and slept in to 07:30 before getting up to make breakfast (including more fresh churned butter and reiska) for people. Then I started on cleaning and organizing to head home. interspersed with pauses to visit with people coming over to say farewell. Enough people pitched in to help that I managed to leave site sometime between 14:00 and 15:00, and then went home to curl up with a book and a bowl of popcorn before putting away more than half of the stuff. Then I did my yoga and went to bed really early (20:15!).

Monday after work I managed to photograph all of the lost and found, and put away a few more things, but Tuesday was Phire practice and Choir after work, and I went to bed straight after getting home, so today will be the rest of the event recovery.
kareina: (stitched)
I have been quite busy with getting ready for Norrkskensfesten this weekend, getting a new computer at work (which always takes a week or two to get the new one looking right and able to run all the needed programs), helping some of the new members make their first costumes, and even making time for some good conversations about relationships with my loved ones.

Sadly, it warmed up and rained this week, totally melting all of the snow we had had. But there was a bit of snow coming down when the sun was setting this afternoon, so if I am very lucky we will get more and it will cool down enough to keep it. But I am not holding my breath.

The schedule for today and tomorrow is complicated a bit due to the need to take the larger of our two cars to the shop today. They figured out one problem that it has, and say that they can have it fixed by noon tomorrow. If all goes well that problem will turn out to be all that it is wrong with it, and it will be ready to go on time. If it is I will pick up the car, load it full of event stuff and head out to site to set up. If not one of my friends who lives north of here will be driving me and as much as we can load into his car for the first trip to the site. It would have been nice to have the car tonight, too, since I will be attending the Frostheim social night to help a few more people with their first costumes, but [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar needs to use his car to drive the shire hot tub out to the site, which process will take a long time, since the tub can't go faster than 40 kph when being towed. (Site is 20 minutes away if one drives the speed limit, which gets up to 100 kph on the highway.) With luck someone else will be able to drive me and the project supplies home this evening.

Now to go bake those cookies before heading to the project night...
kareina: (BSE garnet)
This week's work is happening in Finland. I flew out of Luleå Monday afternoon (the cab picked me up at home at 14:40, so I had plenty of time in the morning, and cooked some yummy homemade noodles with dried nettles in the noodles, fresh spinach, snowpeas, and butter to take with me) and arrived in Helsinki at 20:35 (including the one hour time change).

I was met at the airport by my cousin Kimmo (he is actually a grandson of my great-grandfather's brother, putting him in the same generation as my mom, but he is younger than I am due to the age difference between those two brothers +/- timing of subsequent generations). He and I relaxed at a coffee shop at the airport for a bit, where he enjoyed a coffee plus one of the cookies I had brought along for the trip, and I worked on a sewing project. Then we took train and bus to the city of Espoo, just across the river from Helsinki, where the Finish Geological Survey (GTK) is located.

I checked into my room, and he stayed long enough for another cup of coffee before heading out. It was good to catch up with him. He is fairly recently single (amicable separation from a long-term partner), so if I know anyone who enjoys participating in sports who might like a nice Finnish man for a partner, let me know and I will introduce you. There is a photo of he and I here, but I suspect that you would need to be friends with him on FB to see it (and mom already has, so this may be kinda useless info).

I woke up this morning early enough to borrow one of the hotel swim suits (one size fits all, but, luckily, I am "one size") for a quick swim before starting the day. I had to borrow one, I have no idea where mine is. Come to think of it, the last time I remember using it was some years back, when I stayed at this hotel while attending a short course in Laser-ablation ICP-MS at GTK. I suppose it is possible it got accidentally left here. But the one I borrowed today, was not my missing suit.

The guys at GTK had told me that I could show up any time after 09:00, and google maps told me that it is a 9 minute walk from my hotel, so, of course, I left my room at 18 minutes before 9:00. Sure enough, I arrived 9 minutes later (I don't know what criteria google uses to calculate time needed to walk somewhere, but I usually walk at exactly that speed). Of course I had no idea where in the building I needed to go, so I asked the woman working at the reception desk. She had no idea what a microprobe is, nor where to find it, and, of course, my colleague wasn't answering his phone so early in the day. But then one of the geologist walked by and was able to give her the name of someone else associated with that lab, and he came and showed me to where they get their coffee in the morning before starting work.

After he had his coffee we went to the lab, and he spend an hour or so doing some testing and calibration of the machine before we started choosing my analysis points. The plan had been to analyze about 100 points on each of the two samples. Both samples had been marked with a set of six squares, and I had printed out large photos of each marked area, so it was easy to make notes as to the exact location of the analysis points. There were 4 different mineral phases we wanted to analyze, which would come to 25 points per sample for each mineral per sample, except for the fact that one mineral (pyrite) is really common in sample A and very rare in sample B, and another (chalocopyrite) doesn't exist at all in sample A, but is really common in sample B, and it turns out that sample B also had a few rare grains of another mineral that A didn't have (phyrotite). So we planned to take extra of the minerals that exist on only one of the two thin sections, but we got a bit enthusiastic, and wound up selecting some extras of everything. By 15:00, when we'd finished marking the last spot the total analysis time was predicted to need 23 hours, which wouldn't have left time tomorrow to run the other samples we want to do. So we counted how many spots we had for each different mineral, and for which locations (by hand, since it turns out not to be possible to copy-paste the list before the analyses have been run) and decided which areas had points we could delete from the list. After deleting lots the new predicted run time was 19 hours, so he told me not to come back till around noon tomorrow and I went back to the hotel room to read for a bit before heading out with the SCA folk.

At 17:00 V. arrived to pick me us, and we first stopped by a cute little iron age replica village, though, of course, we couldn't see much, since setting the clocks back this past weekend means that it is now dark before 17:00, even this far south. Then we went to the pub, which turns out to also be a Czech resturant. Since we were there fairly early I was still hungry. I was also intrigued by the sound of their "Clear garlic soup served in a crispy crusted bread bowl", so I ordered it. Oh, wow, yum! [livejournal.com profile] madbaker, I think this soup was made with you in mind. They totally used "more" garlic, and the bread was excellent, especially with the garlic soup soaking into it. I have previously had soups served in bread rolls. This one was large enough to count as a loaf. There seemed to be some thinly sliced onions in the pot as well as plenty of slices of what must have been some fairly large cloves of garlic, and a bit of cheese as well. There were some croutons in there too, and I wonder if they had been made from what had been cut out of the bread before putting the soup in, since there weren't too many of them. My only complaint was that it simply wasn't possible to finish it, and since everyone else ordered their own things from the menu I couldn't convince anyone else to eat the last of it for me, so it just went to waste.

a loaf of soup
Note that the spoon in the photo is a rather large table spoon, not the tiny delicate tea spoon it would need to be if that loaf of soup had been only a manageable sized roll.

Over the course of the evening we had about half a dozen local SCA people (most of whom I had met at Cudgel War this summer) plus me. It was a lovely evening. Since I don't have to be back at the lab till noon tomorrow, I have taken some time to relax and catch up on what has been happening with my friends while I have been busy, but I am tired, so I had best do my yoga and get some sleep anyway. Tomorrow I hope we have enough time to get the analysis points chosen for the other set of samples before I have to leave for the airport to head home.
kareina: (stitched)
Last year, when I ran Norrskensfesten and the first Norrskensbard competition, we had about 70 people register, a few of whom didn't make it at the last minute, but there were at least 65 people on site. This year we already have 82 people registered and it is still four weeks to the the event (well, technically four weeks till the day the event ends, but close enough). I just played with the drawing program, and if I add some more tables to the ring and put a high table on the stage then we can seat 86 and still have the space in the middle for dancing and the bardic performances. It will work out, I am certain. But part of me wants to say "no more registrations" now, and part of me wants my other friends who haven't registered yet to do so...

Sadly, I really don't know of any sites which have a larger hall, and a decent kitchen. This is one of the biggest I have personally been to up here.

Edited to add: decided on an event cap of 95 and then put people on a waiting list. Said so on FB, and by the time I was ready to put the computer down and get ready for bed the number of people who had tried to register was 99.
kareina: (stitched)
We had a lovely Frostheim social night tonight. Only five of us there, but there was group untangling of yarn (serious team-building exercise!), and making of tablets for tablet weaving, and one of the new ladies learned how to set up a tablet weaving project. We wound down kinda early, which was good, as I was home in plenty of time to see a lovely display of Northern Lights. I so truly love living in the north. Midnight Sun in the summer, and Northern Lights and stars in the winter. The best of both worlds. Totally worth the extra cost to get here from anywhere else.

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