Sunday, January 26, 2003

I have gotten frightening amounts of sleep this weekend--don't know whether I'm getting sick, or what. I slept from 3-6 am Sat. morning, about 2:30-6 Sat. night, and from maybe 1 to 8 am this morning. Through a lot of the important, lightly staffed moments. I kind of felt bad. But of course we never died, and I would even say we did better through the light times than we have in the past--never fewer than 4 or 5 people awake to staff computers and phones.

Since then I really haven't slept, and don't plan to until we're all packed up. I say "all packed up" and not "back from the awards ceremony" because we are losing the race for 3rd place. We are maybe 35 points behind 3rd with not a lot of possibility to catch up in the next 2-3 hours of 5-point questions, even if the current 3rd place group were to spontaneously combust. (And they won't. I played with them once. We did not expect them to be serious competitors. They are not a cozily-installed team; when I was with them, they were in a propane-heated garage with card tables and folding chairs. You'd think the lack of cuddliness would keep people from falling asleep. Not really. They just got up with much ceremony and went home to sleep. I wonder what kind of pharmaceuticals they're on this year...)

Anyway, we're still remarkably cheerful. It's been a good year. We worked hard, had a good technological setup, and had enough people not to have to badly overtax anyone's ability to stay up. I made all my landmarks: kept a phone answerer on through two questions in a row, had a phone answerer request me when talking to my fellow teammates, and came up with an answer right out of my own head (a simple one, but even so). I also had a fluke guess that turned out to be right on the first try. I was pretty proud of myself. If I hadn't slept so much, I could have done more, I think.

But let's not dwell on what might have been, or count any chickens before they have decided to fly the coop. (That's me, Cliche Central. A cliche for any season or reason.) We could still get a garruda or, dare we hope, a super garruda, the higher-point-value questions that start around 10. It's one of the canonical Trivia rules that you NEVER pin your hopes on getting a garruda. You might do the math, to figure out whether one would help or not, but you don't count on it--you work hard and assume that your placement going into the garrudas will be the same as your placement coming out at the end of the contest. We'll see.

I will probably update Monday night with a final placement, but don't expect it to change. For now, back to Trivia!

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Here I am at Trivia. I surprised myself last night by being tired enough to sleep at 3:30 am (normally I'd be up to see the dawn) and slept off-and-on until 9 this morning. Hey, I do need to get sleep--when I get it isn't really a big issue. Early on is okay too.

We seem to be doing okay. We've had a good streak this morning just due to most of the guys still being relatively energetic and doing some good web searching. Last night around 1 we even got our first answer that only WE got. I explained to a newbie that that's a very cool happening, because all our competition hears only our name announced and begins to get concerned: how many phones do we have? How many people? How could we have gotten that? What happened? It really started things off well.

It doesn't hurt that Kevin, the owner of the home where we play, was profiled (along with our team) in the Appleton Post-Crescent yesterday. Good publicity is good for morale. They even mis-quoted Kev as saying that we had come in first in 1997, which is incorrect (it was 2nd, our best finish ever, and before I came along to this team) but kind of sweet of them.

Totally unrelated to Trivia, I recently found something that warms my heart: Library Book, a website from the State Library of California where libraries can list their books for sale: donated items, duplicates, de-acquisitioned items. All the proceeds go to the library selling the item. Pretty neat, and good for libraries! I'm impressed. There's even some good stuff--I did a search on "medieval" and one on "illuminated" and came up with a few things I wouldn't mind investing in, esp. if I knew the money was going to libraries. To top it off, the prices are very fair. Go shop and enjoy.

There'll be more updates this weekend--but now, on to the next question.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Did you ever get an e-mail from a friend, look at the time it was sent, and realize that at that moment, you were having a difficult time/were depressed/were sad/were feeling ill/etc.? And you realize that just when you were feeling at your lowest, that was when your friend, possibly many miles away, was industriously typing away at that e-mail, thinking kind and cheerful thoughts about you.

Your friend couldn't have known you were feeling down. That e-mail would have been sent whether you were sad, or passing a lovely hour in some favorite pursuit. And yet, it means a lot just to know that even when you're in pain, odds are someone, somewhere is thinking something kind, curious, loving, concerned, friendly, or generous about you. Or maybe they're just thinking about you--remembering they were going to answer a question for you, asking you if you know someone else, what the weather's like where you are, anything. It doesn't matter. It's a sweet feeling no matter what. Even sweeter if you realize that your friend probably only sends you an e-mail maybe 10% of the times they have been thinking about you.

Your task: e-mail someone you know and like (not even necessarily a loved one), just to say "Hi, remember when..." or "Hi, didn't you say we should do..." or even, "Hi, I was thinking of you a minute ago when..." I guarantee you'll make their day.

Remember: your time and attention is the most valuable thing you can give to anyone.

That bit of philosophical rambling over, let me say that I had a lovely weekend at Robina's in Dubuque. She had set up a "Bardic Muster" for her Shire in Calontir, Riverwatch, and had them all come over for the day along with me and Owen. Last minute surprise: pretty much the entire Canton of Wolfhome came over too. (Some of those Wolfhome folk can sing.) We had been planning to tone down the Northshield stuff for the day, but while Riverwatch is in Calontir, Wolfhome is a canton of Jararvellir--the Madison group, most definitely in Northshield. So we had to do a real multicultural mix of pieces, so to speak.

In the end, strangely enough, two of the most successful pieces we taught were from Ealdormere (way to be non-partisan, huh?): "The Wolves' Song" for Wolfhome and "River" for Riverwatch. Master Hector was a big star at this Muster! I did make everyone laugh, though, by telling about when we were singing with Ealdormere at Pennsic this summer, doing some singing before Ealdormere court in the Barn. We were raising the roof in eight-part harmony--such inspiring sound, I was crying. But then I realized I had just sung:

"So come, come, ye wolves of the breed,
Come from the Northlands, come down to...breed."

The correct word is "feed"! I started laughing at myself while still crying, made some odd hiccuping sounds, and attempted (with only partial success) to keep singing, because I didn't want to miss a second of that bardic moment. I'm sure the rest of the Known World bardic community decided right then and there that I was an odd duck. (If only they knew. ;) ) The attendees at the Muster got a kick out of that story, and everyone in the room had to admit (s)he'd said the wrong word at some point during the singing. Aha, so it's not just me!

Last night, after singing into the evening, those who were staying over at Robina's had a nice little middle-school sleepover going, complete with giggling (though I told Robina in the morning, dear, I love you like a sister, but after how you rolled over and pinned me under my own chemise fabric at two in the morning, I'm NOT sleeping on a mattress with you ever again). In the morning, Robina made us aebleskivers (little round pancakes--they were yummy) and we hung out until 11:30, then drove back to La Crosse where we went to the Shire populace meeting.

This week: preparing for WLFM Trivia in Appleton, WI, run off of the campus of my alma mater. I won't go into my Trivia spiel here on the webpage. Yes, I love talking about it (as I told Owen, after a good hour and a half of holding forth about Trivia: talking about Trivia can make me forget about just about everything else--it's sort of a topical anesthetic, to make a bad and not-very-funny pun). But it's a world unto itself; none of the details really make sense to an outsider unless they come live the 50+ hours of Trivia themselves--or unless they have the patience to listen to me talk about it for extended periods of time, which only a couple of people so far have. Suffice to say: the SCA wasn't my first esoteric obsession. This will be my 14th year playing Trivia. Wish the Iowans luck!

Thursday, January 16, 2003

I had an odd dream last night. I had been invited to a really ritzy fundraising get-together in a large, elegant old house somewhere in La Crosse (reminded me a bit of the Hixon House down by WWTC, but not set up the same way). The premise of the affair was that there were chocolates and cakes and various unusual candy, of the type that I shop for in imported-food shops, available for sampling on the countertops throughout the main room; if you liked something, you had a small shopping bag and you could reach under the counter and put a box of that same type of candy/cake into your bag. No prices were shown (it was an "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" situation). You then checked out when you were ready to leave, and the ridiculously inflated prices included a hefty donation to the organization. (What organization? Sorry, no clear idea on that one. Some important detail always seems to get left out in dreams, doesn't it?)

People were sitting on window seats and around small tables throughout the room. Once I had filled my bag, I found some people I knew (don't remember who) and sat down with them. When I looked up towards the front of the room, I saw a guy I used to know from--well, from WAY back: Dan, who went to preschool with me, was in my Sunday School classes all the way through, and then was in some of my high school French and other classes.

I was startled to see Dan, because I'd heard for the last maybe ten years that he had moved to Israel and was now a general in the Israeli Army. (That part's true, not part of the dream--I have heard that about him.) I wanted to go up to him and find out how he had fared since moving overseas, but I was nervous because I had had kind of a crush on him in high school. He was always this really intense, vital, scary-smart person (we had a lot of those at West--most of them were children of UW-Madison professors) and intimidated me quite a bit.

Then I remembered that I have something on him: when we were 4-year-olds in preschool together, he had a crush on me. (This is also all true, BTW, not part of the dream.) When I was little I guess I had kind of a spark--I was this tiny skinny kid with a mop of black curls, a ton of energy, really advanced language skills, and I was sort of a little wiseass; adults used to coo over me and say I was destined for great things ("But isn't she a little skinny?"). Wonder what happened. Anyway, Dan used to follow me around the preschool classroom and hug me from behind at odd moments, usually when I was doing something else, saying, "Nice, very nice," in this weird voice. I used to shake him off and ignore him, until one day I'd had enough, and I yelled, "If you don't stop that, I'm going to KILL YOU DEAD!".

Yes, I know. Mommy's little pacifist. I don't think I was yet a confirmed peacenik back then...! I also don't think we ever had an actual conversation after that, except when the French teacher paired us up to practice dialogues, and it doesn't count if you're reading the conversation out of your French textbook.

In the dream, I was standing in the middle of the party trying to decide whether to go up to him and tell him this, when my alarm went off. I remember dropping my bag, candy boxes rolling out, worrying that the meringue crunch cake I'd wanted to buy would be crushed, and then I thought, "Awww, no fighting the alarm clock..." and woke up.

What was strange about this dream was how vivid it was. I remember the delicate texture of the meringue crunch cake, the color scheme of a particular display of foil-wrapped chocolates, the quality of light by the window seat in the back before the party filled up with people (it was definitely springtime), and the set of Dan's eyebrows as I tried to decide if he'd seen me, or if indeed he would recognize me if he had. (He always had cool eyebrows.)

I don't really know what it means. Before going to sleep last night, I do remember thinking about all the chocolates I got at Twelfth Night--Kinder Eggs from Tatiana's booth, and a box of wrapped chocolates from Philippe and Jordana--so maybe that influenced the dream. But I hadn't thought about Dan since the High Holydays (I always sort of wonder about him when I see his family in services, but I never think to ask them how he's doing), and haven't been to Hixon House in over a year, or any gourmet candy store since I was in Atlanta over Thanksgiving. So, no meaning that I can think of, except that it was rather pleasant to attend an "Unusual Candy and Cakes" fundraiser. I'd go to another one!

Monday, January 13, 2003

I'm starting to feel the strain of too many weekends in a row spent out-of-town--which is okay, because I'm having fun at the out-of-town events, and anyway, I had entirely too much time to myself in my apartment over the holidays. (Lie. I loved every minute. It was so peaceful. But maybe it was a bit too quiet in spots.) Tonight, I'm doing laundry, dishes, tidying, answering e-mail that's been waiting for days for an answer, and updating the Northshield Choir webpage for the first time in far too long.

I wrote a friend some advice about someone we both find irritating. The gist: take the high road. As soon as I had typed it out, I realized that this is the kind of thing only the SCA has done for me. I would never have been able to deal with such a situation eight or ten years ago. Someone verbally attacking me would have sent me into dream-sequence deja-vu back to elementary and middle school, where people did gratuitously pick on me, and they often succeeded in making me feel pretty bad about myself. The SCA has made it possible to put irritations in perspective, see that there are better reactions that a) striking back or b) going into my shell, and find other heroes to emulate besides just Mom & Dad and a couple of mentor-types I've worked with over the years. It's also (heaven forfend) made me aware for the first time that there are people looking up to me. I am still trying to get used to this. It means I have to think not twice, but three times before I react negatively to something, and four times if I am about to react negatively to someone else's enthusiasm. I'm getting better at this. I expect to learn a lot more over time.

Twelfth Night was, as usual, a lot of people in a relatively small space, trying to get at least a little quality time with fifty other people they had their heart set on meeting up with at the event. I believe I can say with some pride that I got virtually everything done that I wanted to get done. I delivered all my gifts, talked to the people I had to talk to (except I never did get to talk to Dahrien about his Bardic Madness challenge or teach him the tune to "Quant je voi yver"). Got some neat gifts--a glass friendship ball from Caoilfhionn, a gorgeous iolite ring from Sarra (and it fits perfectly!!), a book of kumihimo from Mistress Cassandra, a box of chocolates from Philippe and Jordana, a string of iolite chips from Alissende, a hand-beaded flower from Brigid O'Connor, and a whole host of tokens and trinkets ranging from a small goldstone fish bead to a clove sachet to a square of Sephardic Jewish toffee to a super ball to a snowflake ornament to a large fuzzy blue snowflake (got to love those Nordskogenites) to a duct-tape rose to duck-shaped cookies to a tumbled amethyst. Not that I normally dwell on the material benefits of being in the SCA, but those who know me, know I'm kind of a "thing person", and I like, well, stuff.

I was musical/bardic all afternoon (shades of Boar's Head): Choir rehearsed at 1:30, the Bard of Nordskogen contest was at 2:30 (then-soon-to-be-Baroness Khadijah asked me to be a judge, which I found highly ironic but kind of fun), then the Choir concert. We had a somewhat large audience in the auditorium, since it was just before Court. (Why doesn't that work at W&W?) I thought we sounded good.

We even had a few people sitting in on the rehearsal, which is always nice because you need someone to sing to, right? Countess Tamara sat in, then came up to me after the rehearsal and was talking choir stuff. I always like discovering that some person you only know because of their hat, also happens to share some random interest with you. At the end of the conversation she asked my name, and I told her, and she responded with, "And I'm Tamara", and I laughed and said, "Yes, I know, we sang at your Coronation!" (I realize it's not polite to point out to incognito peers that they are peers, but I couldn't help it. I also bowed to Lady Heir Astrid when we saw her at S.R. Harris on Sunday. I then immediately laughed and apologized. What can I say? It's automatic.)

The post-revel at Colin & Charissa's was wildly successful, if you can judge success on the number of people crowded into a small space together and smiling almost constantly, without involving alcohol, cannabis or group sex. Call it the Bardic-Barracks-O-Meter. People who had never been to a Northshield bardic circle were having a great time, and old hands were sticking around later than they normally would, not wanting to leave. Robina says a newbie friend of hers from the Twin Cities, who stayed for almost the whole bardic circle, asked her afterwards, "Where do I sign up for this SCA thing? I'm there!" Stuff that got (probably appropriately) left out: I managed not to sing "Three Words" which is perhaps getting a little overplayed, and Owen managed not to sing "Row, Men, Row", which is perhaps getting a little long for casual bardic circle singing.

But I got Lorenza from Skerrstrand to sing the piece I'd heard she'd done at Wassail--she has a wonderful voice, I hope she does a lot more singing in the SCA! And Kudrun, Rosanore and I were finally all in the same place to do "The SCA Librarians Song", with Nezhka joining in since she works in a library too. Best of all, I got to sing "A Lady of the Northshield" to Robina, who got her Award of Arms earlier in the day, after a good many more years than I've been in the SCA. (Another 'everyone thought she had it' story.). I didn't think of it, Owen did--I take no credit. But it was the right thing to sing.

I am proud to report I only spent $50 at S.R. Harris yesterday, on 8 yards of nice light yet substantial red linen for a Pennsic dress (and matching thread; Harris has finally gotten wise and stuck a Gutermann display right by the cutting tables). Nothing else really stuck out at me, and the place was packed with people--SCA and otherwise--making it tough to navigate and tougher to get fabric cut. So I was rather pleased to be out of the place after only about an hour and ten minutes. I'll look forward to seeing the garb that comes from the fabric I saw my friends buying! (Karoline from Falcon's Keep got the prize: $40/yd white silk douppioni embroidered with small gold and pearl beads, of course 1/2 off with the coupon. She says she's pairing it with some blue velvet she got last year. I can't wait to see that gown.)

Okay--got a lot done today/tonight. On to the rest of the week.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Sometimes, in the midst of the day-to-day bustle, a project comes up that you can't resist tackling RIGHT NOW. In response to a fellow Shire member's comments that the Middle Kingdom awards structure is way too confusing, I sat down and put all the awards (well, okay, I summarized in a few areas) in a graphic and put it on the web. So, if you ever found the Midrealm awards structure confusing, well...I can't guarantee you'll be any less confused, after viewing my graphic. But if you are one of those deliberating about how the future Kingdom of the Northshield awards structure should look, it behooves you to get familiar with the larger system which the current Northshield awards are supposed to complement and augment. (The as-official-as-it-gets listing of Midrealm awards is at

And of course, now that I do this by request of a Shire member, can I post to the listserv to let people know I've finished? Noooo. PressEnter's e-mail server is down, or having a snit of some sort. Of course there is no way to report problems at this hour of the night, so I'll have to just let the message sit in the queue in Eudora and try again to send it tomorrow night. (If anyone is getting error messages Wednesday night or Thursday when they try to e-mail me, this is probably why. It's not that I've moved or changed my e-mail, it's an ISP problem. Try again soon.)

Tonight: doing some more beading, listening to music, plus selecting garb for Twelfth Night in Nordskogen this weekend (I'm going for cleavage--got to get a good cleavage photo of myself to send to the Zoo Book Reprise for my 10th college reunion at LU this summer!). I updated the calendar on the Rokeclif webpage, wrote back to some e-mail before the server went down, and began making a list of gifts to give to people at 12th Night.

In all likelihood, knowing how things go at large busy events, some gifts won't get given. You really can't count on running into everyone you need to at 12th Night, not with limited time to do so. It's time-consuming just for me to hand out my 12th Night tokens, but also fun because people light up when you hand them a present for no good reason, even if it's something tiny like beads on a string. If I were smart I'd put all the presents in my kumihimo basket, wrapped and ready to be given, and carry it around all day so I can try to run into everyone. We'll see whether I'm that coordinated or not. I'll be lucky if I get everything wrapped. That's tomorrow night's project (packing is Friday night's, since Vettoria doesn't get off work until 7 so we will be leaving fairly late).

Signing off now. For some reason I feel like snuggling in blankets with my stuffed loons.

Monday, January 06, 2003

I'm still alive, feeling mellow and more-or-less happy, and arrived back safe from 12th Night in Lonely Tower, Calontir (mundanely: Omaha, Nebraska). The second visit to a group is so much more comfortable than the first, especially when you know more people and it's even in the same reassuring site (the large Scottish Rite Masonic Temple downtown, where my first Calontir event was about a year and a half ago). All in all, a very good event, and a very Calontir event, and thus a very big learning experience for me. Learning what? Cultural things, bardic things, people things. Mostly people things.

And a couple things about myself. One example: why yes, I can still go into abject panic mode bardically, just the same way I did before my very first bardic performance in early 1999. The trigger this time: Owen and I were asked to perform 20 minutes'-worth of music during the intermission at Calontir Royal Court. By Their Majesties' chamberlain. I commenced quiet, inner freaking-out almost immediately. We sat down and worked out a playlist, we started practicing, we discovered we are constitutionally incapable of singing "The Agincourt Carol" in the same key, and the inner freaking became outer freaking as I started to hyperventilate. Luckily, at that point the Chamberlain stopped over to say that intermission would be only ten minutes instead of twenty. I took this as a reprieve and made a conscious decision to stop hyperventilating and enjoy it, as Owen took out the pen again and began whittling the playlist.

And in the end, it wasn't difficult at all, as most people in the hall were schmoozing and taking bathroom breaks rather than listening, and those few who were listening were rapt and appreciative. This type of audience, I can deal with. (Been there, done that, sung over the sound of folding chairs being stacked.) We sang three Ealdormere songs that no one in the hall would ever have recognized as such, I sang "Veni, veni Emmanuel" with the lovely inscrutable harmony part with Simonetta, and that was that. No problem. We didn't even have to ascend the stage steps (performing on a platform or stage always makes me more nervous).

I don't have adequate time right now to detail all the things I saw/ate/heard/bought that pleased me. I'll just say it was a very worthwhile trip. And Owen, if you're reading this, thank you again for being a fabulous travel companion and co-bard, and you'd better check your answering machine, it sounded a little ill (very slowed-down message) when I tried to call you last night when I got in. Suddenly you were a deep bass. ;)

Somebody posted a link to this abomination on a bardic list that I'm on. Do NOT say I didn't warn you. Apparently there are contests in which this piece is read aloud, and the reader who gets the furthest without laughing out loud wins. Good luck! I made it about three paragraphs.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Up until tonight, this was as close to a content-free week as I have had recently. With many people gone on vacation, even work has been largely quiet--busy yesterday, but I'm going to look at that as a fluke. Mostly I've been either getting stuff done that needed doing, or enjoying some solitude in my clean (not spotless, but as clean as it gets) apartment.

I've been learning the chain of hearts stitch for seed beads from Bead & Button's website, which is pretty and way sturdier than the stitches I've been learning out of the Gerdany book I got at Bobby Bead a couple of weekends ago in the Minneapolis. (The book I got is Assorted styles: Lesson #1, listed on the book page of Maria Rypan's website. I like it, but should probably have started with her Gerdany overview book, even at $12.95. Though I do like the pace of learning stitches on bracelets; necklaces would be overkill.) My general thought at this point: although I have tons of seed beads from back when I used to use them for elastic bracelets at camp, I need more Nymo thread, and in various colors, if I'm going to be needleweaving seed beads...

I was looking at my various packages of seed beads. I have all my seed beads in a purple transparent Rubbermaid case about the size of a shoe box, coincidentally the exact same case that I keep promotional items in at work. I have been acquiring seed beads since my first summer working in the office at camp, which would have been 1989. Each small container can, if my memory kicks in right, be dated to the place/time/circumstances under which I bought it.

For example, on my first project from the Gerdany book, I used red and pearl-colored beads from two small plastic vials with red caps. I stared at them for a moment, and then a vision popped into my head of the toy store on the corner of the main street in Stratford, Ontario, where I bought them one day during my first trip to Stratford, with a group from college to see the theater festival. I remember I was a little rushed, and I had been to pretty much every store in town because the idea of free-time shopping on a college-sponsored trip just seemed too wonderful to me, and also reminded me of France (during which I did a LOT of shopping on a college-sponsored trip). Maybe I was nearly late to meet my fellow students at the Festival Cafe, which was their favorite place to eat--cheap and quick. (It's gone now--I looked for it when my mom and I were on vacation there three years ago.) There was a rack of bead vials on the counter and I felt dangerous buying even the two I bought--I did not have a lot of pocket money. But somehow I knew I'd use them.

Then there are five or six clear plastic boxes, square, full of odd colors of poorly-made seed beads: opaque lime green, clear violet, garish red, frosted white that look almost, but not quite, completely unlike pearls. I bought those for 50 cents apiece at the Tru-Value hardware store on the south side of Bismarck--almost, but not quite, completely unlike the teeming, well-stocked craft and bead stores I was used to in Madison. (Same place where I bought the "Bismarck, North Dakota" spoon rest I use to this day, which I told myself would be the only recognizable artifact I would bring with me when I left.) They actually had an okay crafts section in terms of what items you could get, but it seemed that everything they sold was the cheap version, or the less-well-made brand. It was like they felt they had to have a crafts section, but weren't going to waste even one penny on quality. Yet I'm using those beads, too. As I left Bismarck, I told myself: nothing is wasted. This will all mean something someday. I like to think that even in small ways, that's true.

Beads, like any collected item, carry with them the stories of how/where/when they were acquired. Dozens of nostalgic articles on the last pages of bead magazines can attest to this--seems like everyone wants to write about why such-and-such a bead means so much to them, grandma's button collection is such a treasure, etc. I don't think I'm on my way to writing one of those pieces, but it is sort of fun to open up my purple seed bead box again, for the first time in five years or so, and see what I've got--and put some of it to use, if only as teaching materials for a new skill that I may or may not ever use. Handwork, as I've said to friends, is good for the soul. In the case of seed beads, it stirs up memories, then gives you time to enjoy them.

Last night I went up to Kudrun's in Ettrick again, as I have for the last couple of years. Every year it seems we bring in a new person to this celebration: last year it was Sarra, this year Vettoria, who instantly endeared herself to D.T. by being willing to talk about early computer models, cell phone reception, and 911 service with him for an hour at a stretch. The more people there, the more separate conversations we can carry on at any given time, and we were gabbing up a storm for most of the evening. The chili, as usual, was excellent, and the look on Cybele's face when we played her Master Efenwealt Wystle's Nasty Booger Song was priceless. I got to footle around on Kudrun's plucked psaltery, since mine is currently missing a string. Colleen de Loon relaxed with her new friends, Kudrun's large griffin puppet, Hejhough, and Sarra's new leopard, Oliver. I didn't even react as badly as usual to Kudrun's cat. It was a lovely New Year's Eve.

This morning I slept until I was awakened by a phone call at 10:30, then stayed in bed reading and dozing until...well, until a time that I'm not going to publish on the Internet because it makes me look like a slovenly layabout. Evening saw me out to dinner with Kristen, then on to a movie that really made me think (Bowling for Columbine), and now, since I have way too much sleep under my belt today, I can't seem to get excited about going to sleep. Maybe I'll try to find something boring on TV.

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