Tuesday, September 30, 2003
Roasted pumpkin seed heaven
Or, How to make your house seem (and smell) more like a home

I've spent part of this evening toasting pumpkin seeds from three little pie pumpkins I'd purchased awhile back at the Cameron St. Market. That's really the only reason I buy pumpkins, for the seeds. I used to carve them all, but lost track of my special pumpkin carving knives...actually I think at least some of them broke; they were not well made. Pity too, because one of the little pie pumpkins was clean and perfectly-formed and might have looked nice in the window. Until it got all moldy and gross, that is.

Other things that seem homey, besides the aroma of roasting pumpkin seeds: I'm doing laundry, notably linens that haven't been cleaned in longer than I care to think about. Meaning that I had to clean off my bed. Since I live alone, yet have a queen-sized bed, I have a nasty habit of leaving clothes lying on the corner of the side I don't sleep in. They don't usually fall off in the course of the night (unless I've let the pile get too high), but they do contribute to my general feeling of living in a pig sty.

Tonight I cleaned off the bed, changed all the linens, flipped the mattress, laundered the comforter, spread the pretty quilt over the bed, and situated Colleen and Aflac Duck leaning their little beaks on the pillow. Nothing could be homier. My bed looks like broad flat heaven.

Couple this with my new rule that absolutely nothing besides pillows and my chenille throw get left on my couch, you can actually see some of my furniture for the first time in awhile...!

I'm also finally attacking the mound of dishes I left last week. And the mound of laundry. This means my overflowing hamper has been tamed for the time being, making my bedroom look slightly cleaner. Only slightly. I need to attack the bedroom floor sometime this week, before my just-pre-pre-menstrual hormonal energy rush goes away.

In career news, I managed to drop by the Midwest Chapter/MLA website recently and see the article I contributed to issue 92 of the MIDLINE. I knew it was there but hadn't taken the time to go see. They put me right after the President's Message, yay for being above the fold! I called it "Using HIPAA as a wake-up call: Twelve confidentiality tips for consumer health libraries". It's a shortened version of my article which will be in the "Charting Consumer Health" column of Journal of Hospital Librarianship in the spring.

For those not up on the specifics, HIPAA is this federal legislation that covers how medical centers handle information about patients. The main point is to protect patients' privacy while making it easy for health care providers to get access to the patient's chart quickly when it's important. If, last time you went to the doctor's or dentist's, you had to read this long packet telling you how your medical center is and isn't going to handle inquiries about your medical records, and then they made you sign something that basically meant "Yes, I've seen this even though I don't understand it", then you've run into HIPAA.

A big question is whether hospital libraries, esp. those who serve patients (consumer health libraries), are covered under HIPAA. We're not actually treating the patients; we're just giving them health information.

But we do handle their personal contact info (name, address, phone number, occasionally more) and we know what they are asking about, which can be a very private matter. Next time you need information about sexual dysfunction, hemorrhoids, or chronic flatulence, YOU see how easy it is to trust a stranger at a library desk with your question. By simple human decency, we owe it to our patrons to keep their business to ourselves. But are we legally required to have confidentiality practices in place?

My conclusion in the article is that I couldn't find libraries under the entities technically covered under HIPAA. But seeing as how each code of ethics from every single professional association that we as library folk could possibly belong to has a very firm statement on confidentiality of patron info, well, we'd better be following HIPAA in letter AND spirit, or we're not being good professionals. Then I give a series of practical tips for things library staff need to look at, when trying to beef up their libraries' privacy practices. That part is largely what made it into the MIDLINE article.

Oh. I just realized. Although JHL is too new to be indexed in MEDLINE, it's in several other indexes including CINAHL, the nursing/allied health index. I might not have my own MEDLINE record like my mom, but I'll have the next best thing. *pleased sigh*

This weekend was tiring but nice in spots. Stress levels were up there, but the food was great. That's all I'll say. L'shana tovah (happy new year) to those of my friends who celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

Friday, September 26, 2003
I'm awake (grumble) and alive (yes!), pulling out of a bit of an illness, and busy besides: I'm finishing up the White Birch, which I should have started earlier in the evening, but that's neither here nor there. This one is going to be a doozy: full-size (20 pages) with tons of info for newbies about the SCA. Funny, no matter what office I take, somehow I manage to be a Chatelaine too.

To those who haven't heard from me in a couple of weeks, my apologies. Know that I've been dealing with yucky stuff and am just now feeling like I'm approaching normalcy.

This weekend: off to Madison for Rosh Hashanah. I think this'll be fun. I hope to sing with the Temple Choir and have some nice conversations with old pals. My main concern tonight, during breaks from feverishly typing the Birch, was to pick out long enough skirts that I don't have to shave my legs for this weekend. No, I'm not having a 60's moment. I had a couple of little infected sores on my legs and would really prefer not to risk re-infecting anything by shaving. So I picked out two loooong skirts.

Remember when we were little (if indeed you were also little in the early 70's) and there were three skirt lengths: mini, swooshy gauchos, and floor length formal? The last, the "long dress", was my favorite thing to wear, because it was the fanciest. No one wore long dresses unless they were off to some sort of formal occasion. My parents' photo albums have several pictures of my mom and/or myself from, say, 1972-75; whenever either/both of us is in a long dress, I have this look of wow on my face, like I'm anticipating the adventure of a lifetime, and I'm convinced I look smashing.

Of course the skirt length rules of 1972 are no longer the least bit true. I have at least four touches-the-foot-length skirts, ho-hum affairs in rayon or tencel, that I wear to work. But putting together my wardrobe for this weekend, out of necessity rather than style, I had a twinge of "this is just too fancy for this occasion". They're not--they're just my work clothes. It's funny how your perceptions of 30 years ago come and perch in your head for a moment when you aren't looking.

Now: off to sleep. No more updates until the Birch is mailed.

Friday, September 12, 2003
They say you have to teach
Or, Eliane goes for a war point

I was just noticing that some of the classes at Armorgeddon have been cancelled. There are only three left and I'm teaching two of them. Whoah. I think I've just won Northshield a war point. First and last time that will ever happen...!

I'm teaching my Beginning Kumihimo class, the one that works off of this handout. I'm looking forward to that one. People seem to really like it. As a "thing person", I enjoy giving people a kit that they can produce a tangible creative product with. It's not even an expensive proposition: each person gets 16 plastic bobbins (~30 cents), four skeins' worth of cotton embroidery floss ($1), and a homemade cardboard loom (free; I use the liner cardboard from the boxes in which my Amazon book orders arrive at work). I challenge anyone to find a cheaper hobby, except maybe luceting on your fingers. ;)

I'm also teaching my Building a Bardic Book class, which has been changed by the class coordinator to "Building Your Bardic Book". Actually I like that better. It implies that my audience is smart enough to already have a binder going, and they just want to beef it up with more pieces they can perform at bardic circles. "Building a Bardic Book" smacks of "you should sit down with all these sources and a three-hole-punch and when you're done, you'll have a Bardic Book with two capital B's!" Which is not really what I'm going for. It's all about the process, folks. Your bardic book will never be finished. If it is, you need to retire as a bard.

Is it wrong to be in love with an ice cream flavor? If it is, I don't want to be right. Last night, after hanging out with work folk at Doc Powell's after work, I stopped by The Pearl Ice Cream Parlor and had a small cone of their Cotton Candy flavor. It's nothing whatsoever like actual cotton candy--it's smooth and light and milky and not overwhelmingly sweet, and it does amazing things on the tongue, going from sugary to slightly savory to a little eggy to creeeeeeeeamy over the course of one lick. It reminds me of the Cotton Candy flavor at Michael's Frozen Custard in Madison, which I had on the way to Pennsic last year, except Michael's is creamy in that way only custard can be. That is to say, it's creamy like milk fat accumulating on the roof of your mouth. That's one way to be creamy, but it also involves guilt. Pearl's Cotton Candy is ice cream, but the texture is so light and the flavor so delicate that you forget fat grams. (Not that I ever count fat grams. But you know what I mean. Custard just feels heavy.)

If you know me, you know that I consider ice cream a completely appropriate breakfast food. This attitude developed when I lived in Marshfield and I used to take Oak St. from my apartment on the south side near the zoo (yes, Marshfield has a zoo; this is a strange state) to the Marshfield Clinic on the north side every morning. The drive took a grand total of about 4.5 minutes because, let's face it, Marshfield is tiny, small, little, itty-bitty, in fact, it's just WEE.

Because it was such a simple commute, and because I am so bad at getting food into myself in the morning (I'm never hungry until about 9:30), and because I was not required to be at a reference desk at 8am on the dot, I often stopped at Melody Gardens Skateland, a roller rink on Oak which also had a restaurant with ice cream. They had wonderful chocolate peanut butter ice cream; in fact, that's where that flavor became my favorite (cotton candy is just an infatuation, I admit it).

Side thought: The Pearl also has a lovely chocolate peanut butter ice cream; I brought home a pint last night and may have some for breakfast tomorrow...

Anyway, I would often show up at work munching on the last bits of my wafer cone full of the last drips of chocolate ice cream, ribboned with peanut butter. I'm sure my co-workers thought I was nuts. I'm also reasonably sure at least some of them were jealous. ;)

Tomorrow: I'm off work so I can travel to Armorgeddon at my leisure. I'm really looking forward to the drive. There were a couple people who wanted rides or to caravan with me, but they didn't work out for various reasons and I'm glad. Not that I want to be anti-social, but in my mad rush to immerse myself in SCA friendships over the last 3-4 years, I think I've forgotten what it's like to take long solitary drives, just me and Nuggie III (my car) and Colleen de Loon and WPR and the road. My trip to Pennsic this year showed me that I need to rediscover that. It is such a treat.

Speaking of Colleen, here's a photo of her in her relatively new garb: a blue wool twill hood that I designed and made from the method on this page. It worked so well, I made hoods for everyone else I know who has the same stuffed animal (four others), with Colleen as the dress dummy. (She was NOT pleased with this role.) This is a nice photo of Colleen, highlighting her angelic side; she and I have the same tiger-eye-golden-brown eyes, too, unlike the typical portrayal of loons with hot pink eyes. Eeew.

And speaking of nice photos, here is perhaps the nicest picture of me that I've seen in 20 years. I'm at W&W this past July, standing in front of my tent and Alissende's, in the pink Flemish gown that Wren made me, with the pin-on sleeves she made to go with it. (There's also a pair of darker pink brocade ones that I think I like better, but they aren't finished yet. Have to admit though, the green ones match my apprentice belt.) She took the photo, too, which explains why I'm in it, and also why it's a halfway-decent photo--I have no photography skills whatsoever. (The picture of Colleen was so blurry I had to apply the sharpening filter in my Adobe PhotoDeluxe program.) Wren did a lovely job with the gown, which I wore to Coronet last fall when it was in Windhaven.

And with those two little gifts to my readers, humble thought they be, I'll sign off and go to sleep. Tomorrow: driving to Beresford, SD for Armorgeddon.

Friday, September 05, 2003
You might wonder if I've:

  • Fallen down a well
  • Moved to Chad
  • Been taken prisoner by militant mineral water activists
  • Decided to simply move into the waiting room at work, since I'm there all the time anyway
  • Locked myself in my apartment to begin working on a lucrative kumihimo token business
  • Gotten stuck in my bathtub (darn that new sticky brand of soap)
  • Run away to Madison

Most are pretty unlikely. (Okay, the last one looks more likely during certain times.) I'm just having a life. I'm still here. I'm not going anywhere.

Autumn Rose went exceptionally well this year. The weather was nice (reminiscent of W&W in July, with not-hot days and cool nights) and there were both lots of SCA attendees and mundanes at the demo. Sarra and Bronislava got their Belly Dancing troupe to do two performances, which means a double whammy: they did a great performance for all attendees, and the troupe members hung out at the demo between shows, hopefully soaking up some SCA fun.

I spent much of my time at the raffle table, which was fine with me. The great things about sitting near the raffle and arts/sciences items are a) you're out of the sun, and b) people keep coming to visit you...! I had assistance from several able friends and even got to stay in the raffle/A&S building, in a little corner that Kudrun labeled "Eliane's Castle". Main problem with this: I'm apparently allergic to the building. My nose started running the first evening and didn't stop until I got home. Could be regular seasonal allergies, but it hasn't been as bad since I came home.

Sarra's feast was phenomenal: candied orange peels, individual dessert bundles tied in ribbon, cheese pastry castles filled with beef and pork bukenade, roasted root vegetables, egg noodles, and tender yummy chicken breasts better than most restaurants manage. Plus terrific entertainment by six talented entrants in the Bard of Rokeclif contest. (Brilliana won, with a homemade legend that made Princess Astrid cry.)

Leif and Astrid, and Aubrey too, were in fine form. I was so glad we arranged a populace court like they did at Poor Man's a few months ago. There weren't too many mundanes left by that time, but those that did stay seemed to enjoy the pageantry. Aubrey took a moment at the end of court to greet the non-members and explain a little of what was going on, and let them know that we're always looking for new members and they are welcome to contact us. We didn't do enough recruiting at this event; I haven't been contacted by anyone, no one new has signed up for our listserv, etc. But it wasn't for Aubrey's lack of trying.

Okay...I'm ready to start my relatively quiet weekend, with just a couple work things to attend (they're dedicating the new building) and a gathering with friends. I deserve it--I've been really productive this week (did the Birch, got lots done at work, cleaned off my computer desk, finished laundry, did dishes, etc.) despite being unreasonably tired.

The good news: I get to sleep in tomorrow!

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