Monday, March 29, 2004
Divers and sundry things
Or, Packing can be so disorienting

First: I have a job interview (for the one I really want) in Madison on April 8. I'll be one of the last few of 10 interviewing. (This is what it means to search for library jobs in Madison: you will never be up against just two other people.) Wish me luck. Oh, and if you're a librarian and have current experience with high-level general reference ("backup" reference at a main library, multitype organization, or state library agency), e-mail me with any advice you might have for someone going for this type of job. I've done general reference, of course, and even at a state library agency, but that was a few years ago.

My friend Mikey has a small meme on his livejournal that I have nabbed for mine: leave me one word that you would use to describe me. I normally don't go for Internet memes, nor do I often use my livejournal, but it was too simple and fun to pass up. Go to my LJ page and participate, if you think of it. If you post anonymously as a guest, please leave your name in the body of the message. No, you aren't obligated to use it in your 'blog/LJ just by posting on mine, but why not?

Just found a nice photo (7th one down on the right) of me and my friend Bronwen, taken by someone I don't know named Generys, at 12th Night in Nordskogen this past January. Bronwen is wearing her black Italian with all the beading, which she began after she visited me when I was working on the red silk beaded Italian with all the pearl clusters on the underskirt. (You can barely see them in that photo. Trust me, they're there.) I'm wearing the Florentine day dress I got from Peacock Designs. It's a candid photo of us talking, and the person must have been following one of us all day to get it, because I think I talked with Bronwen for about 30 seconds that day. I'm glad it was documented...!

BTW, I still have the Pyramus and Thisbe reproduction gown hanging on my laundry closet door, waiting for me to make it smaller. This is the one pictured on Peacock's main page under "Gown Gallery", in dark red with a taupe skirt. I feel really lucky to have it (and got it for an amazing price from the original buyer off of eBay) but am still intimidated by the idea of removing all those cartridge pleats to take in the side seams, then putting them back on. I'm hoping to have it ready for First Crown/Investiture but it's iffy, depending on how the move goes and whether I'm working or not at that point.

This past weekend was the Northshield Althing. It turned out the event was in garb; I'm not sure why I thought it wasn't, but the autocrat came on the Northshield Hall last week to remind everyone that though this was a business meeting, Darkstone would be in garb and they hoped everyone else would be too. No big deal; I would have brought garb for feast/dancing anyway.

The event itself: impressive. Definitely my first event inside a hockey rink. (No ice though...!) Christian did a beautiful job of running the discussions, almost single-handedly. I never heard anyone get angry or upset, except for one moment when the person running the A&S discussion appeared ready to explode over one commenter who would not stop talking. (She didn't explode, for which I give her due credit.) Lunch was delicious, feast was yummy (best catered feast I've ever had...I wonder if I can get the recipe for the roasted root veggies?), there was a wishing well and fountain, and though the acoustics weren't wonderful, everyone had something to contribute and most could talk loud enough to be heard.

A Lady I didn't know got up and sang "Greensleeves" and "The Scotsman" at feast. Some people know my rule about the three songs for which I will get up and go to the restroom: "The Moose Song", "The Scotsman", and "Greensleeves". That last is negotiable; when it's done by a new bard, who is obviously nervous and needs all the encouragement she can get, I am fine with sitting through it. But then she grinned mischievously and said, "This one is a great favorite with our Shire, I hope everyone loves it as much as I do, please sing along" and started in on "The Scotsman". Having said just a moment before to Bronislava that if she did "The Scotsman" I would go visit the privies, I did indeed follow through on it. I am a woman of my word.

Afterwards, it was the opinion of one of my friends (who had noticed several people either following me out of the room, or complaining, when "The Scotsman" began) that someone should tell the young Lady why people were discontented with the song. "If you were a new bard, wouldn't you be upset when people get up to leave as you start singing? Wouldn't you worry that it was your voice offending people?" I thought about it, then said, "You can tell her what you want, but she's too new for me to discourage at this point. I heard the song from the restroom; the locals obviously adore it and she has fun singing it. At this point, our inclusivity of her fledgling bardic activity is more important than making her fully aware of why three people got up and left when she began the song."

That having been said, I was prepared to talk to her pretty frankly if she showed up at the bardic post-revel and was about to sing "The Scotsman". Luckily she didn't show. Owen was recording some performances and I already had to do enough shooshing of locals who were standing off to the side and murmuring, so I'm sure many of them felt unwelcomed. I wouldn't have wanted to be the negative, "you can't sing that" voice heard by these folks who should have gotten a more positive introduction to the Northshield bardic community.

On the bardic-positive side, a very talented fellow named Bruce of Boar Thicket did a neat thing at feast: he took parodies of Beowulf and a Chaucer tale (the first two from this page), and invited people from the audience to come up and help act them out. Fun for kids, many opportunities for humor for the adults! Prince Aubrey got to be Beocat, which gave him many opportunities for mugging and making cool cat noises. He makes a very fun Prince, I must say. And the chance to be able to refer to him henceforth as "boasted Beocat, noble battle kitten" is priceless.

Sunday Mysie, me, and several others went to the Black Cat Coffeehouse for breakfast. The kitchen was closed, but we got pain-au-chocolat at the bakery across the street, then went back to the Coffeehouse to get drinks and sit. (Remind me in the future that I really, really like blackberry French sodas.) I asked if they had a new t-shirt, since the one I got on my last trip to Ashland while working for NAHEC has been through a lot. Turns out they are going to debut a new design soon! Well, I'll have to pick that up on my next trip to Ashland.

The weather prediction is for clouds this afternoon, so while it's still sunny out, I'm going to go take a walk. To-do list for the rest of today: 1. Get a local phone number in Madison, 2. Call moving companies, 3. Start cleaning out clothes closet, 4. Bring up more boxes and continue packing books. Oh yes, and 5. Finish watching World Figure Skating Competition on tape.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Springtime creeps in
Or, Home is where your stuff is

This will be another post where I don't go into tremendous detail on my activities of the last three weeks. I mean, just because I don't write for three weeks, does that mean I have to rack my brain for the tiniest transitory impressions of everything I've done, and vomit it all up to you here?

Yeah, I guess I probably should, but I won't.

Some stuff:

I went to New York with Mom and my sister, accompanying Mom who had a quarterly meeting of the presidents of the religious organization of which she's currently a regional president. She was in meetings a lot; hence I had a lot of free time. During most of my spare time I walked. No, really. You might not think of me as an athlete, but I can seriously walk. Saturday afternoon I walked to the garment district. Monday afternoon I walked to the garment district and back. Give me good shoes, an umbrella, an itty-bitty purse (turned out to be the best purchase I'd made in ages!), and a bottle of Tazo Brambleberry tea, and I'm on my way.

It was definitely a foodie trip. Mom and I went to a train station that has been recently re-invented as a mall/food court/gourmet food market. My eyes got big as frisbees in the food market. There were only maybe 15 stalls but each one was packed with incredible sights: hundreds of kinds of cheeses, every vegetable you can think of (with a separate stand for the baby vegetables), Italian deli dishes, spices, Provencal stoneware, German sausages, and every kind of bakery you can think of. I even saw a type of food I've never seen or heard of before (which is unusual for me): sea beans. Still haven't tasted them--being on vacation isn't exactly conducive to cooking with fresh ingredients. This site tells me just enough to know that I will probably not seek them out in the future. Still, it was neat to see.

We also spent a wonderful few hours at Chelsea Market, where we put together a filling meal out of various foods in the small deli display outside the big Italian food store. The frittata, which was basically pasta and eggs and cheese and veggies all baked up and sliced into pie-piece slices, was incredible. The Market itself (an old building, the first floor of which has been turned into a gourmet food mall) is hard to navigate, as the narrow hallway winds around and you can never see what's ahead of you for more than 20 or 30 feet. But there was a reward at the end: we (Mom, my sister and I) unanimously agreed that the best store was Chelsea Market Baskets, with its incredible assortment of small gifty-type things and gourmet candies.

I also went to a flea market with my sister and her friend Rachel. (Don't tell anyone, but I think it's the same one that the cast of The Apprentice had to sell stuff at about six episodes ago.) I found a booth selling incredibly cheap silver jewelry with real stones, and got some bardic rings of a caliber much nicer than I usually would buy to give away, and a silver bracelet with onyx cabochons, each carved with a rough eight-pointed star. That one goes to the clothing/accessories raffle at Northshield First Crown Tourney/Investiture.

I like New York, and had fun, but by the end of the trip I was definitely ready to be back in Wisconsin. (I hate riding in taxis.) The next task was to spend a couple of days looking for an apartment in my hometown of Madison. This was way more fun and easier than I thought it would be, probably because I actually know Madison and had some good ideas about where I would like to live. The fifth one I saw turned out to be The One.

Yeeee! I'm ridiculously excited! Listen to this. Sleepy Hollow. About a block and a half off of University, between Hilldale and Middleton. Easy access to downtown, quick maneuver down to the Beltline on Whitney. Free underground parking, 1020 square feet, outdoor pool, balcony, 2 big bedrooms, in the back corner of the back building of a clean, 20-year-old complex. Good light, clean apartment, tile floors in the bathroom and kitchen. Anything I can think of that I might need is within a ten-minute drive. In fact I've been playing a little mental game of trying to think of something I might need that I couldn't get to in ten minutes. Thus far the only thing I can think of is if I got a job on the far east side of town. Even then, I'd deal with it.

Moving date is tentatively April 21; I will keep this page updated with new information as I have it. They haven't sent the lease yet because someone is out sick at the property management office. (They only have one person who can draw up leases? What if she gets hit by a blimp?) Once I've signed the lease I'll post my new address.

Since I got back, I've been trying to pack a box or two every day. The result is that the pile of boxes in the middle of my apartment is getting steadily bigger while the rest of the apartment looks, well, slightly disheveled, but not appreciably different. Major projects I'll need to tackle: going through all my clothes, going through foodstuffs in the cabinets (and eventually the fridge), and finding places to put the assorted stuff that's accumulated on various surfaces (my kitchen table, for example, and my computer table). I'm also trying to get rid of some of my unneeded books; check eBay for things being sold by user eliane-of-rokeclif. (Oh. I've just realized I'll need to change that too.)

This past weekend I convinced Sarra to go with me to Bardic Buddies, an annual bardic party in the Twin Cities. Colin and Charissa hosted it in the acoustically-perfect third floor attic of their St. Paul home. Besides some great bardic moments with fun people, I also had a good conversation with Colin (hi Colin!), who had some insights about our relationship as teacher and student. We still need to talk more. In fact we should probably talk often.

Christian and Owen did some recording for the upcoming CD of Northshield music. I got to listen-and-be-quiet for awhile while a pair of young folks from Castel Rouge did a lovely recording of "Scarborough Fair" with guitar and mandolin accompaniment. Wasn't that hard to sit still when I had only gotten 5 hours of sleep Saturday night. In fact it's a lucky thing I didn't start snoring. Then I did "Notte a Palermo" since Chris wanted me to do a song for the recording that isn't all Northshield-y. Then I asked Colin to play the doumbek on "Three Words" so we could do a better recording of it. We had prevously recorded it with Flori playing my tambourine for accompaniment, in Chris' apartment. Not exactly stellar acoustics.

After that, Chris wanted us to do "Shield My Kinsmen", which I was sort of against since there were only about 8 of us around to sing, but it ended up sounding okay. I do still think it would be better to get a recording of Wyndreth doing "Shield My Kinsmen" on the CD than the impromptu Bardic Buddies Morning After Choir, but hey, at least we have it in case Chris can't get her to record it.

Overall I feel pretty good recently. Weird dreams, but nothing I can't handle. Sarra did say I was breathing weird Saturday night, as though I were in a dream situation I really didn't like. I vaguely remember the situation, but it was gross and irritating rather than truly disturbing. You know, I've rarely had actual nightmares, but most of my dreams are on the surreal side. I often wish I would simply have a nice logical fantasy dream about singing in a terrific concert, spending time with a wonderful man, or finding really cheap Swiss chocolate at the mall.

This weekend: the Northshield Althing, where a bunch of people who care about the Principality and the budding Kingdom will gather in mundane clothes and talk endlessly about Northshield. I've been to two of these and, surprisingly, they're not bad. They're a lot like the Northshield Hall listserv, come vividly to life and including some food, a bunch of embroidery and other quiet hobbies, and a chance to see your SCA friends' choice of clothes. (This is sometimes fun and sometimes slightly dismaying, as you see your favorite garb-horse, who can tell you the story of their persona's clothing down to the smallest stitch and who spends outrageous amounts on fabric, wearing some schmatte knit shirt and pants they got at St. Vinnie's. Does...not...compute!)

I'm rooming with Mysie. Much bardic goodness is foreseen.

Monday, March 01, 2004
When a girl needs a cuddle...
Or, The singinest post-revel in town

Got back this afternoon from "A Day of Dance" in Caer Anterth. We left in a leisurely manner Saturday morning (I picked up Sarra; a trip with her was sorely overdue) and got there at about 2:15, with much of the day's curriculum already over. That's okay--both of us agreed we were there to see friends and hang out at the Bardic Barracks, not strictly to dance.

For a little while I hung out with the musicians, who were sightreading some stuff that actually had words (the Kyrie from Machaut's "Messe de Notre Dame"--easy words, hard notes!--and a French piece). The musicians are amazingly tolerant of my la-la-la-ing when they must be trying to concentrate on their recorder fingerings. Like at Musician's Day last year, Master Robyyan was playing the soprano part, so I just stood near him and shamelessly followed him--which didn't save me on the Machaut, but it helped.

When the musicians began practicing for the evening's dance ball, I went upstairs where Dunstan, Arriene and Brigitte were relaxing and doing kumihimo. Dunstan is the guy who made my new maru dai (the wooden stand on which I do the kumihimo braids). I had brought all my books and supplies, including the maru dai, in case I was still tired out from last week's illness and couldn't dance much/needed a sit-down project. So I brought everything out and this circle of people gathered around the two maru dais with Dunstan and I braiding. I introduced kumihimo to four people. Much fun ensued.

The samples I've been making as royal tokens got passed around a lot. A lady from Platteville fell in love with this piece, the first one I did on the maru dai, and looked so happy fondling it that I gave it to her. Once I'd done that, it didn't seem like I should be stingy if I saw an opportunity to give one to someone who would like it, so I gave a blue/yellow/silver one to Baroness Eithni, for her to give away to someone worthy in Jararvellir.

I totally embarrassed myself at the dance ball by playing Robyyan's snare drum during a processional piece that they do without percussion. He had mentioned it, but said it in such a way that I thought he was just musing over the possibility of doing it without percussion. After the piece I asked if it was okay that I used his drum, and he said he didn't mind if I used it and wasn't going to condemn me for picking it up, but pointed out the note next to the title of the sheet music saying: "No percussion!!!!". Oops. That'll teach me to be all "natural musician" and bliss out playing the drum without even looking over at the sheet music.

The post-revel was lovely, as usual. Robina and two of her Riverwatch friends came all the way from an event they had been at during the day in the Quad Cities--a 4 hour drive just for a good bardic circle. These are dedicated bards! We all got some good singing in, some good giggles (some of it due to tickling) and were up until 3, telling stories and talking about the new Kingdom.

I felt like I needed something approximating a snuggle, so I installed myself near Chandler--the only person I felt mildly comfortable doing that with--and reclined against him for much of the evening. I have got to watch that flirting. At the event itself I think I was going a bit overboard with Grimmy (not that that's hard to do with him) and it was encouraging Eithni to launch into her shtick where she flirts outrageously with me, which was not what I was going for. But it's good shtick so I played along and got all cutely flustered.

I dunno, I think it's possible for SCA flirting to go too far even if you're not, say, finding yourself drunk in a tent with a stranger at a camping event, or having to tell a friend that you really didn't mean to encourage him to fall deeply in love with you (though you're very flattered). I think in order to feel better about myself, I need to tone it down. It's one thing to be body-conscious, and of course historical costume (if it's any good) does encourage you to think about the way you're moving and what parts of your body are being accentuated. Cleavage isn't bad, swirly skirts aren't bad, etc. But it's another thing to find yourself in mundane clothes at a post-revel cuddling up to someone you aren't interested in (but who is single and could get the wrong idea), simply because you want some simple human contact. Maybe next time I do that I'll talk to the person first and ascertain that it's okay and that they understand that I'm only cuddling for cuddling's sake.

It was a shortish trip (since we left at 10 Saturday morning and got back about 30 hours later), but worth every ounce of gasoline for all the friends we saw & hung out with, for some nice meals, and for our time at the Barracks. I would never miss one of those.

I'm starting to think about Pennsic. After the sub-par time I had last year, I am not 100% convinced I should go, but there are things I wouldn't want to miss: bardic, camping with Northshield, shopping, seeing friends from elsewhere, etc. And now that Anne has the Known World Choir webpage up, I'm very much looking forward to that. I like her a lot as a conductor, and looking at the program, I can't imagine staying away. I know all the pieces except one, and love 'em too. The Exultate Deo is the very first Renaissance motet I learned, back in junior year of high school. And I learned the des Prez Ave Maria at Pennsic--I can't remember which year, either XX or XXI.

Last night I got the traditional Bardic Barracks amount of sleep: minimal (about 4 hours). So I think I'm toddling off to bed now.

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