Monday, April 30, 2001
It was as I predicted, the event this Saturday: great event, even better post-revel. You can ALWAYS rely on post-revels at the Bardic Barracks to be fabulous experiences. We were up until 4:30 Saturday night (this time by choice, though I did ask for people to vacate the couch--my official bed--around 4 so I could lie down). When we got there it was in full swing, Cerian was doing "This Song Is From Calontir", and it was already crowded enough that we were all getting cozy with each other, on the floor and on any other surface. (Disclaimer: the double meaning engendered above was unintended. Bardic postrevels are just that, bardic, and do not usually incorporate other features, such as heavy drinking, heavy weapons practices, dancing, or sexual activity--darn it. ;) )

I got to sing "Stella Splendens" with Peregrine, who it turns out is not as forbidding a person as he originally seemed to me, but every bit as good of a musician (or better). (And, YAY, he and his lady will be singing with the Northshield Choir at WW this year!) I'm not the only one who has a yen to sing harmony to other people's songs--with me on one note and him on another, and everyone else on melody, we could get a three-part chord going on anything.

Including "Row, Men, Row", which Owen started during a lull in the party. I have never heard anything like what happened next--it was surely bardic magic. Each chorus got progressively more complex, louder, and more luscious. I did the third of the chord, Peregrine did the lower fifth, then this guy named Kristoff whom I've never seen at a postrevel before brought out a beautiful middle eastern drum and did amazing things, then someone else had a bodhran, then the nice lady with the pennywhistle did a descant, then her lord was singing a drone, and we were all getting into it and even the raw newbies were learning the chorus by heart even though me and Owen pretty much did the verses alone (there are a lot of them, and even he forgot the words once; lucky thing I had my copy along). People who had gone upstairs to talk were coming down with their mouths open.

When we finished there was much amazed rejoicing. And Owen said, "Raise your hand if you're going to be at Pennsic. All right. You who raised your hands, I want THAT done on the battlefield as the Northshield Army is presented." Hey! No problem! I'll be there!

Whoops, I didn't say anything about the event. Excellent educational event. I took mostly SCA-related classes, not period-related--they cancelled the class I wanted to go to on Middle English and Middle French lyrics, darn it. So I went to one on SCA history, one on media relations in the SCA, and one on preparing for Pennsic. There was a simple feast, a sort of interesting lecture by a man who was at the very first SCA tournament in 1966, dancing which was mostly over by the time the lecture went out (but not before I got tossed by Prince Saeric in the Official Bransle, aka "Toss the Wench", which is an experience not to be missed--His Adorable Highness lifts every lady about a foot high, vertically, before swinging her to the other side. People just do not pick me up regularly. You--you out there, about to make a nasty crack about that statement--keep your nasty cracks to yourself, bucko. ;) ). Absolutely worth the trip, though honestly, I would have driven the 4 hours just for the post-revel.

Friday, April 27, 2001
This week I've been nagged by some extremely odd dreams. Last night, for example, I dreamed I had returned to B'nai B'rith Beber Camp, the summer camp I went to for 5 years as a camper and 2 years as a staff member (office assistant), in 1983-1987 and 1989-1990. Although I have some warm memories of 'living in nature' (so to speak; we lived in weatherized cabins), of Jewish experiences, and of a few friends, overall, I consider Beber to be largely important in my life for the discomfort I went through while I was there. I hated being hot, I got eaten by mosquitoes, I had few friends, I had strong crushes on boys who wouldn't speak to me, I swam in a lake where you felt that any minute the seaweed would catch hold of your ankle and pull you under, and I read a lot of books. I listened to a lot of pop music too, sang as much as possible, learned to write letters, and learned to enjoy the Wisconsin State Fair. Oh, and I understand more about kosher rules than I would have otherwise. And as a staff person, I began to enjoy being in charge of something, even if that something was only disbursement of mail and use of the PA system. ("Your attention please, your attention please...")

All right, so I did get some valuable things from camp. I remember being utterly shocked, however, when I discovered at college that being part of a large group of people did not ALWAYS mean a) you have to constantly worry about what you're wearing and feel fat, b) you never quite feel like you belong, and c) most members of the group will pretend not to see you when you enter a room. The SCA kind of completes that learning cycle. In college, after all, you had to worry about some of the above things, depending on who you were with (I did have a sort of rocky first trimester while I got settled and figured out who I wanted to hang out with). In the SCA, the very IDEA that any of the above would be a problem is simply irrational. Don'tcha love it?

My dream was about returning there and being upset by the fact that all the buildings have been replaced; even the layout of the camp looked different. The scary thing is that this may be true. I gather from photos on the website that there are some new buildings, and some substantial improvements to the grounds. This may stem from the fact that there is a new director (wonder when Lenny retired? Whenever it was, it was about ten years too late).

I see that my old boss, Cheryl, and her husband and oldest daughter (Kym, who used to be named Kim, and who was in my sister's bunk during our first summer there) will be returning for their 20th year. Cheryl was always a fabulous boss. She was friendly, informative, patient, and generous with my off-time (hey, when the office needs to be covered from 8 am to 11 pm, I better darn well get some significant hours off each day!). Being a relatively quiet person, yet not at all nervous or uptight, she didn't engage in a lot of conversation, but kind of soothed with her presence. In a way she is kind of my mental model of what a boss should be. Someone who, when you see her coming down the path to help cover the desk during the lunch mail rush, you are glad, not just to have the help, but because somehow it seems nothing can go wrong when she's there. She was the best.

I'm not going to apply to be on the Alumni Board, which, oddly enough, is filled with people I remember from only my very first couple of years at camp: the Gewurzes, the Holtzes, the Carneys (Marla was my counselor my second year. I remember her Kentucky accent: "I'm Morrrla Corrrney...") and Mike Wax, the ultimate Beber Boy, who had already been a camper for a year when I got there, and was still going strong as a counselor when I left. He's the president of the board. I might have known. I just hope they serve enough pizza at board meetings to satisfy him. (I have vivid memories of when we were Madison for a college tour as Counsellors-in-Training, and when our food was late in coming at Gino's on State St., he wandered over to befriend some strangers at another table and eat some of their pizza!)

Monday, April 23, 2001
I'm taking this week to relax a little--not at work, where I have plenty to do, as usual. But at home, this is my post-event respite. Tonight I made an award scroll in the style of a page from the Life of St. Edmund, from England in 1130. Yes, I admit, I chose it because it's in a rather primitive style that looked easy to paint. The border's got little purple circles on a red background flanked by gold, with some adorable fish in stylized waves at the bottom of the enclosed area. I like the way it turned out. One of these days I'm going to get those scrolls up on my webpage. I do have to scan them before I mail them later this week, in any case. I want to do one more before sending them out. Five scrolls is a nice contribution, from one person who has never made ANY scrolls before, I think. ;)

I am also doing the ultimate lazy thing: playing mindless strategy games on the Internet, mostly Bejeweled, which I find addictive and charmingly nonviolent. It's a cute little game. I think everyone deserves a little mindless entertainment every so often.

Sunday, April 22, 2001

The event is over, and I have to say that in total, I think it went really well. Only two or three of the classes were poorly attended, we sold out feast (admittedly only planned for 40), we had half-a-dozen people in the fashion show and three bards to share garbic bardic material, a small crowd of 7 or so kids between 7 and 14, a lovely lunch from our neighbors in Coille Stormeil, and a small but dedicated bunch stuck around for the dancing. I didn't find out what the tally of attendees was, but the take was about enough to break even on the fee we paid for the site, so it was probably around 110 or so. We lost money on feast. If we decide to do these springtime events every year, they will not be money-makers. But, we don't pay for our Autumn Rose site, so I think that's where we are going to make our money as a Shire. What a spring event is for is to a) add a little something needed to the Principality event calendar, b) provide a good educational/A&S outlet, and c) increase our visibility in the Principality.

I really do believe this event was needed. First thing, after running around to get signs up/flyers unpacked/etc. in the morning, I made sure we had coverage at Troll, then took one of the radios and went to Kudrun's slide show on using period art/illumination to research costuming. It was FASCINATING. Her selection of art went WAY earlier than most resources out there (I came in half an hour late and she was only up to the year 1000) and she selected pieces for their appeal as art, as well as historical costuming documentation, and had interesting comments about each piece.

She made the important point that what artists painted was not always what existed; artists copied from other artists, edited out unflattering details, and put people in symbolic clothing that they would never have really worn, to make the point of who they were. Realism was not yet a concept to be slavishly followed. So, we need to have skepticism about some of the paintings, the same way we instinctively feel we must be skeptical of Simplicity renaissance patterns...! People in the room were pointing out details, asking questions, or sharing what their own research had taught them. We were suddenly immersed in the kind of active, questioning research that SHOULD go on in the SCA more than it does. The rest of the day provided more of the same, and I felt that a lot of people with cloudy ideas of what we know about what people wore, solidified them quite a bit--while pleasantly dreaming of what they might make next.

Toki left at around 8:30 pm and I told him I'd secure the cafeteria and see that it got cleaned and re-organized. So, we did a lot of pushing chairs and tables around, cleaning up messes, etc. Then more than an hour of dancing, then putting out minor fires: what to do with the large wooden partition Toki forgot? Who's taken the car of the nice lady from Calontir (it turned out she was totally turned around and it was in a similarly-situated parking lot on the other side of the building)? Who's taking the rest of the cake we bought for Ed the Tall from Jarvellir's birthday (I'm nibbling on the last of it right now)? Etc., etc. Security was very helpful to us and even came by to kibitz about the SCA, though Toki claims he saw the security guard snitching some food. Well. With what we paid for the site, you'd think they could keep their hands to themselves...but no one went hungry, so I'm not too bothered.

8 or so came over afterwards for the postrevel. Anje brought a slew of wonderful CDs of exactly the same type of music I shop for rabidly when in Madison: true medieval music, with a bit of Renaissance thrown in. Between her and I, we swiped CDs in and out of the stereo every other minute: "You gotta hear this." "Oh! I've never heard that version!" "Do you hear the little polyphonic sweeps in the tenor? La-da-da-da-dee?" "I know, isn't it great with the drums?" "That reminds me of the version of such-and-such I have, oh, here, put on track 5." "Wow, who wrote this?" etc., etc., etc. In fact I thought it was a bit much in spots; I was enjoying myself, but wondered if the guests might be a little bored. The party lasted until 4 am, with Anje not slowing down a bit (she's a real night person), and we (Anje, Hieronymus, and me) slept in until 12:30 pm! I'm even still a little sleepy.

I'm glad it's over, and I'm doubly glad it went so well. I would do it again. Several people said they wanted to see a costuming event become an annual thing, something with which I heartily agree, but I don't think we're the people to do it every year. My vote is to put in a bid for Bardic Madness for next year; I would co-autocrat with someone maybe, or offer to be feastocrat, or something like that. Or, I could just help. Right now I'm a little too fatigued to commit to more 'crat duties!

Friday, April 20, 2001
It's after my bedtime, night before the event. This whole week has been somewhat surreal. In the evenings, I combined healthy strides in getting things done for the event with frantic wondering about what I was forgetting. Right now, there's nothing left to do, so I'm mired in the frantic wondering.

Also waiting for my houseguests. Bronwen and her friends decided not to come, so I am hosting Anje and Hieronymus. I think. They wrote to ask if they could stay here, I wrote to say sure and offer the floor; Bronwen wrote to cancel, I wrote A & H to say double yes and offer the sofa bed; and that's all anyone wrote. I never got a yes or no, number of evenings staying, or time of arrival from them. I'm sure it was just a miscommunication, but now I feel like I ought to expect the doorbell at any minute. In fact I probably shouldn't be on the phone line right now, but I was good and left it open most of the evening; during times when no polite people should call, I feel justified in tying up the line. Even the night before the event. Even when I'm waiting for possible houseguests.

I'm almost afraid to go to sleep. The night before I travel or move someplace or start something big, I often have a dream about going somewhere important and forgetting everything but some random object, like beginning high school but forgetting to bring anything in my backpack except a light bulb and an old paperback book. Last night I had a sub-category of that dream, whose cause I have yet to discover, but that I've had several times in the last couple of years: I have decided to go back to school at Lawrence to get some other degree. But after laboriously moving everything I own into a dorm room during a weekend (funny, I can never place the dorm; maybe Sage?) in Appleton, buying groceries, putting up posters, and agonizing over which three classes I should take with the exorbitant amount of tuition I'm paying, I remember that I still work in La Crosse and need to be at work 8-4:30 Monday through Friday. Across the state. And I haven't discussed any of this with my boss. And I don't know what other degree I'm going for in the first place, and of course all my classes are between 8 and 4:30 Monday through Friday, because LU does not cater to the evening degree crowd.

I've also had two dreams where I introduce my dad to the members of an SCA group north of here: once it was Mare Amethystinum (Thunder Bay, ONT), then I took him to Inner Sea (Duluth, MN). I can't wait to see where we go next. (<--- sarcasm. I have very little patience with dreams that make enough sense to remember them in the morning, but not enough to figure out why the heck I had them.)

All right. I'm going to sleep. Everything is all completely set up, so that my guests can come in, and be in bed and sleeping 15 minutes later; all I have to do is let them in, hug them, point out the bedclothes and the sofa bed, and answer any questions. So there. I'm off to bed.

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

I am the queen of site tokens. So far I've made 63 of our non-feast site tokens for the event: thin green cord, passed through several holes punched in small yellow cardstock rulers with the event/location/date on them, with green and gold beads strung between the holes. They're quick to make (I got help cutting out the rulers at the populace meeting last month).

Main problem: the 29 I made a few weeks ago had wormed their way into each other until they were in a hopeless tangle. Solution: put whole mess on floor and begin untying each knot I see, pull cords apart, re-knot. Prevention of recurrence: put each individual site token in a Baggie and stack the pile of Baggies in a box, to be labeled and sealed when I reach 80 tokens. Let no one say I don't package my site tokens with utmost care! Now we just have to remember to put a trash can near Troll so people don't dump the Baggies on the floor after receiving their tokens...!

While sitting cross-legged on the floor making tokens, it occurred to me that I could make a pretty penny creating and producing site tokens for events all over the Known World. Then it occurred to me that I have no skill with wood/leather/metal, and would have to contract those out, which could get complex, what with being the middle-woman and all...and of course, places outside the Northshield routinely have events of 900-1000 people. No way I'm taking that kind of event on by myself. I think I might stay a librarian. ;)

From a Daily Bleat from several days ago:

The best documentary would simply be someone driving around up and down the streets, shooting anything and everything. Put the tape aside for twenty years. History will provide your story; time will supply the plot.

And the best blogs are those that point out things you should have realized, that tickle all your sensibilities, but that you would never have thought of in a lifetime of thinking. Can I be the librarian to store those videotapes?

I know I keep plugging and all the incredible stuff James Lileks has there. What can I say? I'm really good at being a fan. If you want to laugh until you pee and think about time in whole new ways, go there.

Well, it's happened: Blogger has been licensed to another company, called Trellix. While we all believed (and believe) in Pyra, even when it went down to one person, after reading Evan's lengthy description of how the deal went down and what his considerations have been, I must say I am not unhappy. Anything that helps this very likable, still idealistic guy stay likable and idealistic (and solvent), while still providing a needed free service (on which this page is generated, BTW), is okay with me. For now. If I am bombarded by irritating pop-ups and ads and my information is sold to offshore casino e-mail spammers, it will no longer be okay with me. But I hope that isn't what's in store for Blogger. I guess time will tell.

Countdown three days to the event. It hit me Sunday that this event is going to happen, there's no way around it (unless the river crests about 20 feet higher than estimated, and swamps the entire downtown all the way to WWTC!). If anything goes badly or anyone feels slighted, wronged, or inconvenienced at the event, it's going to reflect badly on me and Toki personally, as well as a Shire whose reputation hasn't always been stellar to begin with. I guess I'm just not used to being an autocrat yet. I still have tons of work to do, and I just heard from my houseguests saying that they will indeed be staying two nights with me, so I need to clean the apartment too. I know it'll be a wonderful event, but I'm still scared of forgetting little things, and I must admit I am looking forward much more to RUM next weekend. No pressure there: show up, go to classes, have a fabulous time, stay at the Bardic Barracks with Sarra, and go home. It'll be a welcome rest.

Sunday, April 15, 2001

From a rather slapdash article by Brian McGinty discussing the technology of blogging, but (as you can see) going off on other tangents, in ChipCenter:

Older techniques such as matching keywords are now quaint. Keyword matching often fails due to synonymy (many ways of referring to the same concept) and polysemy (a word can have many meanings). Software using latent semantic indexing, term frequency rating, and Bayesian modeling of relevance distribution will spread instantly through the network if successful. As will the generation of software after that, and the generation of software after that.

I always have to laugh at the technocrat's yearning to find automated solutions to every problem. 99% of the time the human, non-automated solution is cheaper, faster, less prone to mistakes, and more able to solve problems creatively. But no, EVERYTHING can be solved by machines, that's part of the technocrat's credo.

When Google isn't able to find me a copy of the SNL sketch showing the talking dismembered chicken, just because I entered the keywords 'fried chicken ad', it would be just plain geeky to admit technologic failure. Instead the technocrat applies large words, calculated to make the masses feel stupid, positing the need for a new kind of technology to solve the problem. Never admit that there might be a simpler way for someone with an immediate information need to get it satisfied. That would be insufficiently technophilic.

What's really frustrating is to see that someone who understands the problem with keyword searching (most people don't), and can state it in rather astute philological terms, is still too hard-headed to see the obvious solution: call a librarian, who can get you dozens of information sources in all media (including computerized) within a short time. I only cost $34,000 a year; how much does your favorite computer programmer cost? (More than that, I'll wager.)

I slept in today, then nibbled on some Indian nuts (bought at Nuts On Clark under the poetic, and heretofore not heard by me, name of "Monkey Nuts") while reading an Isthmus from last weekend in bed. The personals page still had that ad from the bald 35-year-old guy with the goatee (though I think it's gone by this week). I am tempted. I am always tempted. But then I think, who's going to want to correspond with someone who isn't even in Madison...


Counted two new ways to say "I only want a thin woman": asking for someone who's 'slimmish', or 'Ht/wt proportional'. If you're going to be bigoted about larger women, it's so important to be creatively bigoted. (To Isthmus Personals' credit, this week there are several ads asking for larger women. I love it. Only in Madison. Then I start wondering, is this someone's fetish? At 5' 1" and 165#, am I large ENOUGH? I may be over-thinking this...[you think? ;) ])

Getting stuff done today, and getting the apartment cleaned. I have re-instituted the cleaning day rule that whenever I get up to move around my apartment, I have to take something with me that needs to be put, or thrown, away. Since I've been hanging out at the computer and laundry areas, those areas are now pretty tidy. Now I just need to spend some time on the couch, by the TV, in the kitchen, near my table, and in the bathroom. I don't think the bedroom is going to get any cleaner in this lifetime. (I can close the door during the All in Motley Garbed post-revel, after all.)

I'm back, I'm sleepy, and I'm not going to try and remember everything about my vacation, but here were some highlights:

  • Two Second City performances, each excellent.
  • Finding a music mall next door to DePaul University, and helping a cute guy find a Palestrina recording he was looking for in Crow's Nest Music.
  • Lunch at Russian Tea Time, one of my favorite restaurants in the world.
  • Being tired in a cab between ComedySportz and Second City and having the cab driver turn the radio to a classical station playing the very Palestrina recording for which the cute guy had been looking.
  • Finding gorgeous dark red 100% linen for $2.99 a yard at Vogue Fabrics...and buying 11 yards, plus spending half an hour pawing through their $2-a-scoop metal buttons basket.
  • Watching Comedy Central and relaxing at the end of a long day of walking.
  • Being recognized by the guy at Chicago Fabrics, even though it's been three years since I was there.

I did NOT enjoy discovering, on arriving at the boarding gate at Union Station, that the Empire Builder started/ended at Minneapolis Saturday due to flooding on the tracks, where, I'm not sure. So, they put us on buses and drove us along the Empire Builder line. We were only about 1/2 hour late, but it was still 5 hours of my life I wish I had back. I LIKE the train. I DON'T like buses. I couldn't read because I get carsick (but not trainsick!), so I just dozed, stared out the window, and nibbled. In the seats behind me was an elderly couple, both mostly deaf, who spent the entire ride talking loudly at each other and asking "What?" after every statement. Sample conversation:

"That's a pretty house."
"I say, that's pretty."
"Oh, yup. We're in Portage I guess."
"Portage, I think this is Portage." (We were in Columbus.)
"Portage, I've been here before. Looks about the same."
"This is where Ho-Chunk is."
"I say, Ho-Chunk."
"No, Jim, Ho-Chunk is in the Dells. That's not on the train line." (The Dells was two stops down on the train line.)
"Awww, you don't know what you're talking about."
"I tell you, Jim, I been there too, it's in the Dells."
"The Dells, isn't that the next stop?"
"The what?"
"The next stop. It's the next stop."
"No. Look at this schedule. It says Wisconsin Dells is the next stop."
"It's the same thing."

...and so on. I put my earplugs in after about half an hour of this, only to discover that they were shrill enough that I could still hear everything they said. As we turned off of I-90 onto 151 to go north to Columbus and Portage, they had a lengthy discussion about whether the bus driver realized he had left the Interstate, whether we were going to get lost, and where we would actually end up. I got so frustrated that I removed the earplugs, turned around, and explained to them that this was the only way to get to Portage unless we took the two-lane back road. Confusion obviously still reigned, so I chose that moment to visit the restroom, then ostentatiously put the earplugs back in and leaned against the window to sleep when I returned. It worked. Thank goodness.

Thursday, April 12, 2001
Greetings from the Harold Washington Library Center, the big new ( was brand new when I was here for ALA in 1995) public library building here in Chicago. You might have known I would seek out a place to check e-mail and update my blog. (No, actually I'm here to admire the architecture...I swear! ;) )

My vacation started out a little oddly: my train from La Crosse, which was supposed to arrive/leave at 10:45 am, didn't arrive/leave until about 3:15 pm, leaving me to my own devices in La Crosse for several hours. So, technically I began my vacation in La Crosse. Fine with me...I hung out at Jules' Coffee. Train ride was fine, it just got in late. My hotel is lovely and comfy. I could make this an annual thing and always stay there. (I'm not going to go find a link on this slow connection, but it's the Hotel Allegro, in the Loop.)

Today: walking around. Bought 6 yards of gorgeous silk at Chicago Fabrics. Bought two sets of 55 silver buttons from a woman who was selling them in her gift shop for a pittance...when they would have been between 50 cents and $1 each elsewhere. Two sets of cotehardie buttons for $10! Woo, can I shop or what? Had an amazing lunch at Russian Tea Time, fast becoming one of my favorite restaurants in the world. This is my third time there and the first time I have been at a point in my cycle when I could hazard some of that fragrant berry-flavored russian tea. It was delicious but I discovered black tea does other things to me besides cause menstrual cramps...specifically, it does things to my bowels. So, I have been hanging out in places that have public restrooms as much as possible this afternoon.

Oh well. Otherwise I'm well and happy--and dry, despite the cloud cover and wind. It's because I'm carrying my umbrella. I just know it. ;) Tonight, Second City main stage show (bought for a nice discount at Hot Tix, and I'm thinking of going to their other stage tomorrow night. This can be my comedy vacation.

Wednesday, April 11, 2001

Like a total idiot, I dropped off the remainder of my medicine bottles to be refilled this morning, then forgot to pick them up. I can get them tomorrow on the way to the station, but tonight, I'll be allergic and with reflux. Not like the drugs get rid of that, but they do ameliorate the situation.

I really haven't made a lot of decisions about what to do while I'm in Chicago! I think I should do some winging-it. I know I want to take the Newbery Library tour, and probably go to Second City, and maybe some places in a directory of SCA-interest stores (you know, leather places, fabric places, calligraphy & painting supply places, etc.) I got off the 'net. Sofi's Stitches sells their costumes through a store in Chicago (among other places) and I thought I'd go try something on, just to see what looks good on me. Then I can save up and order a custom gown.

I feel trivial this week, like I don't have it in me to produce an original idea or an emotional reaction. PMS may be unpleasant, but at least it doesn't make me feel boring, like I do AFTER my period. That's it: I'll have to take estrogen when I get to that point in my life, or I'll feel trivial ALL the time.

Monday, April 09, 2001

Had a nice weekend in Madison. Somehow I managed to get everything done I wanted to: hang out with Mom & Dad, two seders, shopping on State St. plus some other spots, a Borders run, and brunch with my friend Barb. I always have such a nice time talking with Barb. Talk about a born medical librarian. She is a surgery librarian at the UW-Madison, just about as close to 'pure' biomedical sciences as you can get without totally abandoning the clinical side. And yet she doesn't pigeonhole herself; she can talk consumer health with the best of them, and we spent some time discussing the architectural problems of the Madison Public Library. (Neither of us can believe such a drab and workaday main library can exist in a town like Madison.)

I bought a gorgeous beaded collar, in black and gold, at the small African gift shop on Monroe St. It reminds me of the necklace in one of my favorite high medieval Flemish portraits of a young girl in Burgundian dress, complete with hennin and veils. I'm thinking I'll get my Burgundian gown cleaned and wear it to the costuming event with the new necklace. I mean, it's a costuming-themed event...would anyone really want to see the co-autocrat running around in an old ren faire bodice and threadbare skirt? ;)

All right. Back to work. I must have had a relaxing enough weekend because I feel ready to tackle the amount of work I need to get done today and tomorrow. Then Wednesday, VACATION!

Saturday, April 07, 2001

Greetings from Madison! I'm staying with my parents this weekend for Passover festivities. Also this is a shopping chance. I did pretty well today--got little jars of ginger and cinnamon sticks at Penzey's for the teachers at the event in 2 weeks. And I stopped at the African gift shop on Monroe St. and bought a gorgeous beaded collar that just screamed Italian Ren, or maybe Burgundian, to me. Then, on to Whole Foods for $25 worth of olives for feast at the event, plus some spray-dried cheese. (Spray-dried cheese? Yes. It's all part of my strange-food hobby. See above.)

Saturday Night Live at home with Mom. True fun. It almost makes up for sleeping on the sofa bed with a spring sticking in my back.

Thursday, April 05, 2001
What an interesting application for a blog: Roma's Reference Roundup at the University of Saskatchewan.

Katie e-mailed me today (again, I just LOVE having a primary care provider named Katie, especially one who does e-mail) to say that the upper GI tests came out fine. No hernia, no strictures, no lesions or ulcers. When I asked what our next step should be, she said I could come by anytime for an H. pylori test. One more thing to read up on. Back to the source of all good information, right? ;)

Been busy this week: I did another scroll for the Schattentor scroll drive for the Kingdom of the Outlands. It was in the style of a Flemish manuscript from the late 1400's and turned out okay, I think. Scans of all the scrolls I do will be in my Photo Album later this month. I finished the chemise for Sarra, made in a nice drapey cotton/tencel fabric, awaiting her decision on hem height. And I began the Russian tunic for Giles. Currently it's a just a sloper made of 3/4 pink bedsheet and 1/4 cream batiste left over from a chemise. (It's identical back to front/side to side, so I can throw out all the pink stuff once he's okayed the design!)

Wednesday, April 04, 2001

I have a new favorite beverage: Barium. Smooth, creamy, white...uh, chalky...okay, maybe I didn't like it that much. It wasn't terrible though. It was very much like it looked in Curious George Goes to the Hospital (and I beg to differ with the dodo who claims in his review that "no one has a cup of barium before an xray anymore"!). The tasty chalky treat aside, it was quite interesting to watch the fluoroscope while the barium moved around in there. The radiologist didn't make any interpretations right there, though he did say he hadn't seen any reflux (I don't care what he says, I was feeling it). Now, I wait for Katie--may I just say, I love having a primary care provider whose name is Katie--to call with the results.

Today my meringue cookies from Miss Meringue came, and were delivered (as usual) to the guy downstairs, a retired man who is always nice about accepting my packages and then being bothered by me in the evening when I want to pick them up. I had six tubs of cookies--two coconut, one lemon, one strawberry, one mint chocolate, and one vanilla. I was unpacking them when this urge came over me. I owed my neighbor some cookies. Thinking through which ones I'd intended to eat and which to give, I could only come to the obvious conclusion: Two coconuts, so one must go to him. So, I went downstairs and gave it to him. I hope he likes coconut as much as I do.

By the way, I don't recommend the natural lemon flavor (they're coming to work with me tomorrow, to be given away in the break area). Mint chocolate chip is pretty good. I'm saving the other package of coconut, which I already know is heavenly.

May I make a plea to my readers, if there are any out there? I'm feeling a little lonely this week. Could you e-mail me?

I was just browsing the Yahoo personals from my area, and despairing of finding anyone who seems remotely interesting. When I was in grad school I would wait with bated breath for the Isthmus personals...I had no idea how good I had it back then. Take a look--they're usually good, but back then they were some of the best reading you could get: creativity in every ad, unusual and romantic people, confident in their uniqueness, taking a chance and looking for someone with whom to enjoy the bizarreness and bounty of life. Sometimes there was poetry. (And it didn't rhyme, either.) Things have gone downhill since then, but it's still some of the best personals reading you can find.

Contrast even the current Isthmus fare with some of the junk on Yahoo. Over and over, on Yahoo you find guys into hunting, fishing, watching TV, long walks on the beach, looking for women who like to be treated like [a queen/a princess/or the ever-popular lady] and are [slim/fit/in shape/athletic/not overweight/not obese/other slam against any woman not looking like something out of a magazine ad], claiming to be honest and normal (normal never attracted ME, bub...), and signing off with something lame like "Well, see ya soon!" or "Take care!". (And that's just in my age range. Let's not even discuss the wide range of spelling-disabled 19-year-old unemployed skateboarders I could write to...)

It's not that I think these men should not be this way. Everyone's allowed to be the way they are, and if this is truly how uninteresting, average, intolerant, and cliche-ridden these men are, well, then it's nice that they're being honest about it. Certainly nothing is forcing me to contact them (thank goodness). What I wonder is why there are no personals that sound like they belong to interesting, unique individuals with original thoughts in their heads. I'm sure some of these men are actually very unusual and fascinating people, but damned if I can tell from their ads. What does it say about them that they are convinced that the best way to be happy in life is to seem as much like other people as they possibly can (and, of course, to find a skinny woman)?

Rant over. Sorry. I'm just feeling a little depressed about the futile search for someone.

Tomorrow: I get to be a patient for a little while. I'm having an upper GI, one of the first medical tests I remember learning about as a kid (remember Curious George at the hospital, drinking barium?). No needles either, hallelujah. It's very reassuring to feel like I'm finally going to DO something about the reflux problem. I just want to know what's wrong.

p.s.: What do you think of this? "DWM, 35, 5'9", 195 NS/ND Shaved head, goatee, with a variety of interests. Seeks S/DWF 30-45 NS, 5'6" or shorter. Full figured a plus. No children please unless over 12 years." --from Isthmus online pesonals. Yowza. Now if he had just put a bit about those interests of his...

Monday, April 02, 2001
Woo, do I wish I had written this list of library science terms that sound like they might have something to do with sex. (Although I must say, knowing what these things mean takes away some of the entertaining mystery.)

Sunday, April 01, 2001

What an interesting weekend. The choir rehearsal and concert were the most normal part: both went well and I think everyone enjoyed the performance. In the middle, there was Hare Affaire (will you look at that, guess they ended up with an event webpage after all).

I knocked my whole day off-kilter by arriving at the event about 3pm. Basically I went into my normal event mode (scouting to see who's there, talking to about five people at once, looking desperately for a singing opportunity) and stayed there until Feast. At feast the tiredness started to kick in (sleeping too much + waking up at odd hour + standing in bright lights for 2 hours + driving in sleety rain for 3 hours, all this BEFORE the event). This was unfortunate since I had volunteered to sing. (Who's surprised?) I did Honor and Joy, which always makes me nervous because it was my first Bardic performance. Then I took a chance and did Mose Salio de Misrayim (abridged version--I cut out 2 of the 7 verses), in Ladino. People seemed to be listening fairly well until along about the end of the 4th verse, when some giggling broke out at one of the tables. Flatteringly, Mistress Wyndreth listened with rapt attention and even directed a glare at the giggling folks. Afterwards she came and gave me a gorgeous amber ring (!), and said that she liked the melody a lot and thought it took guts to do something in a foreign language at a feast. I was probably blushing up a storm. Praise from Wyndreth means a LOT. Especially since by the end of the piece, what with nervousness left over from Honor & Joy, the giggling people, and my own tiredness, I was just about giving out--trembling and not managing breath well. I hope it didn't show. (Thank goodness I was already warmed up from the rehearsal that morning!)

After the event I made a mistake: I went over to a postrevel at someone's house. Now I had heard about his postrevels, but decided it was time I experienced one for myself. College postrevels--let's qualify that, college postrevels in Wisconsin--are apparently a bit different than the fun, cozy, and mostly dry/discreetly damp bardic postrevels I'm used to. This one got wetter as time wore on. Two guys I barely recognized showed up about midnight, hamming it up, partially drunk already, and instituted some kind of drinking game: they mixed a dozen kinds of alcohol in a Gatorade bottle and presented it as a pink 'suicide punch', forbidding us to leave the room until it was emptied. Then they sent around some cranberry vodka in the other direction and dictated that when the vodka met the punch, the person holding both had to drink for five counts. By the time I left in disgust, the whole living room was chanting "Ooooooone....twwwwwwoooo...threeeeeee..." at some unfortunate soul, and one of the mostly-drunk hams was studiously pouring a green mixture into a second Gatorade bottle in the kitchen.

I don't believe it was just that I am too old for such antics. I was never young enough for such antics. I am 500% more comfortable now with this junk then I would have been ten years ago, and I took a self-congratulatory moment in the car after leaving to tell myself so. (If I had stumbled on a party like this as a sophomore in college ten years ago, I would have cried myself to sleep afterwards. What am I saying? I DID stumble on these, and I DID cry myself to sleep.) Fact is, I'm old enough to think logically in this kind of situation, and say to myself, "Things are happening here that are making me uncomfortable. I am worried for my friends. I feel pity for the two dodos who decided it was time to dump this much alcohol on the group, because obviously this is how they keep their self-esteem propped up. I recognize that this type of party has happened before and will happen again. I plan for it to happen without me. And now, I am sleepy and will get on with my weekend." I drove off to the motel, slept soundly, and bought ice cream for breakfast this morning. Here's me patting myself on the back: pat, pat, pat. Turning 30 gave me at least one skill: rising above the situation. And it's already come in handy. YAY!

On a completely unrelated note, it was probably about ten years and a month or so ago that I met my first boyfriend (who did not become my boyfriend for another two years after that, but it was a memorable meeting, among friends in a suite in Sage Hall where we were gathered to watch the Simpsons). Random memories. Someday I'll get in contact with him again. I'm waiting for my soulmate to appear (also my excuse for not buying a house, for not going to Europe, for not having children, etc....)

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