Thursday, June 23, 2005
We're coming up on the SCA camping season. I was browsing the March 05 section of SodaZoo and the third one in the middle row, dadadadadadadada, reminds me SO much of me trying to put up my tent. Oh lord. I have to put up my tent this summer. Repeatedly. At least I again have a garage, like I did in La Crosse, where it can live while it's drying and shedding dried dirt...

Last night I started a water aerobics class through Madison School-Community Recreation, just as something new and different to do. It turns out to be a pretty informal thing: we gave our names to the teacher so she could check us off her list, grabbed a pair of water barbells (similar to the ones pictured), and went right in. She had us do a lot of jogging-type exercises, some stretching, and lots of arm movements in and out of the water. I did discover that the deep end of the shallow end, so to speak, is 5 feet deep, and I am only a little deeper than that (5'2" on a good day)! So I try to stay towards the 3.5-4 feet deep end of that area.

The pool at the relatively new Goodman Campus in rural Verona, where Camp Shalom now lives, is absolutely gorgeous. Whatever city official had the foresight to bargain for MSCR class time there, is to be blessed. I'm sure it provides valuable income and additional publicity for a very neat Jewish community asset. When you're in the pool, all you see all around you is rolling hillsides dotted with trees and bushes; class is 7:45-8:45, so you see the sky segue from blue to purply-pink to dusky. The pool closes to the public at 8 so there are no crowds of kids getting in your way or staring at you. Overall it's just lovely.

And I don't hurt as much as I thought I would this morning. I think I can say with honesty that I haven't participated in an organized fitness activity (except SCA dancing) since I was in high school, but this was not bad. My calves hurt a little when I flex them, since the main leg movement in water aerobics seems to be jogging on the balls of your feet; my shoulders are a little tired from the arm activities we did above the water, which are a whole lot harder than the ones underwater. And I'm a little tired, despite getting 8 1/2 hours of sleep last night. But all in all, I feel pretty good about it.

Last Friday I went to the wedding of a woman from SCA choir, a brand-newbie who has so far only done choir and May Day. (She's already planning on going to Pennsic. We are all going "whoa dude, why don't you tackle W&W first and see if you like it", but she seems very gung-ho; I have no one to travel with this year, so I offered to travel with her. I mean, even if she already knows how to camp, she needs someone to prepare her psychologically, right? We'll see whether she takes me up on it.) Anyway, her wedding was a small affair; her mom came to town, her fiance brought his brother and his brother's girlfriend, and there were choir folks. She had the County Commissioner come down to a law office on the Capitol Square and we stood around a conference table, and he married them. The form-signing took longer than the ceremony! But you could tell it was special to both of them. They plan on having a larger wedding when they can afford one, but wanted to do this one quickly, I assume for a combination of moral and practical/financial reasons. I'm surprised more couples aren't doing this sort of thing to take quicker advantage of medical benefits, tax benefits, housing opportunities, etc.

Afterwards we went to Frida's, a Mexican restaurant, and had a late-afternoon meal and celebration. Her mom is from Spain and was a real hoot to talk to, sort of a svelte-er, more party-loving version of Dahrien's Mami, with a slightly different accent but just as many opinions. Mostly for me, it was a chance to hang out with choir people outside the context of choir, which was nice. Plus Chandler brought Sarra, and it was good to see her.

Saturday I went shopping at Bead & Button, on their mammoth vendors' floor. I didn't spend more than last year, but I think I got more for my buck; it helped that I wasn't a first-timer anymore, and that I started on the other end of the exhibit hall so I got to see a lot of the booths I had missed last year. Still confused by the fact that some booths sell precious stone bead strands at 50% off marked price, while others mark them with a discounted price and offer volume discounts. I think the confusion is on purpose, to keep customers from always knowing for sure if we're getting the best price, esp. when we've seen 15 of the 50% booths and twice as many of the marked-with-a-discount ones. It becomes hard to keep track of. And the quality varies wildly from booth to booth, but at least the selection is not terribly different; you can keep looking for the same strand of teardrop-shaped labradorite until you find the right combination of price and quality. This must be tough for people with bigger shopping lists than mine, though.

I bought fixings to re-create this necklace for Mom, who said casually in an e-mail that she rather liked it. Mostly I wanted to prove that I could do it, and at a smaller cost than buying it from QVC. Indeed, it only took an hour to find maybe $45 worth of supplies, and Sunday night I spent all of 15 minutes putting it together. It looks nearly identical; my silver rondelles have more and smaller dots on them, so they don't alternate like the ones on the QVC necklace, but other than that, it's pretty much the same. Not bad savings on an $85 necklace!

Also, I was shopping for coral beads to wear in the SCA. I know they were used in the medieval period in Western Europe for rosaries and for delicate necklaces for ladies and girls. So I'd like to make myself the kind of simple necklace of coral beads that a woman might have received from her husband (yes, I know pearls are traditional as a wife's gift in Judaism, but Eliane's family was Sephardic and Mediterranean; also her deceased husband and her father had both spent time in Italy, which was the main center of coral production. So I choose to think she might have gotten coral rather than pearls. Eehhhh...she has pearls too. Maybe she got both. One from Dad and one from the husband?)

At 5:58 (the vendor floor closed at 6) I found $3/strand 6mm coral beads, very uniform; the vendor said they were dyed, which I think is probably as common now as it was then--perhaps even more dyefast now than then! So, yay. I have my necklace. Now I just need to determine period practice in stringing/clasping. Anyone have any tips?

This week I've been having trouble sleeping--waking up every hour, then having trouble waking up when the alarm goes off (and the resulting tiredness during the morning). It's the time of the month where this happens. I hate it and I wish I could be more productive. If I went off my medication, in all likelihood the sleep problems would disappear (I never noticed them before I went on meds), but the problems I'm medicating for would resurface. Not a beneficial trade-off. My temporary solution is to get to bed by 11 every night, which mostly means I wake up more because I'm getting too much sleep, and I'm still tired in the morning. But not as tired.

This weekend: staying at home. Rabbi Crystal's last service is this Friday night, so I'll probably go to Temple with Mom/Dad. Saturday I may or may not make it to the Farmer's Market, but I'd like to. Sunday is Jararvellir bardic 4-6 and business meeting 6-8. I've got to spend some time unpacking books; the problem of knowing I have a book, but not knowing which box it's in, is starting to occur. Also I want to finally see the true dimensions of my new living room, which means finally unpacking my stereo system into the entertainment center (did I mention I finally got my entertainment center/headboard from A-1 Furniture? Only ten weeks after ordering.) so I can put the box in the basement and get it out of my living room.

I am running out of Ramune candy again. That's depressing.

Sunday, June 12, 2005
Preface to this entry, which is mostly just an aside, but I have to say it: I'm getting sick of finding nice men who seem interesting and interested, and discovering things about them that I can't deal with. We are not talking Seinfeld-esque "He was a low talker...she had man-hands..." nit-picky stuff. It's way more than that. And it's only recently that this has been a problem--say, in the last year or two.

Is it so horrible in this swingin' day and age to wish for a nice guy with a cute smile to turn out to be into cuddling, monogamy, straight sex, and occasional cunnilingus?

I now return you to your regularly-scheduled non-sexually-explicit blog.

Woodland Romp this weekend (near Marquette, MI) was nice, if a little soggy in spots, and humid all the way through. You really can't beat that site; it's gorgeous in any kind of weather. Alissende and I got there mid-morning yesterday, after having spent the night in Escanaba. Alissende and I did some singing/playing (she harp, me psaltery) mid-day. During the rain in the afternoon I holed up on the porch of one of the cabins, doing some musical stuff with my friend Morgana, passing around some cookies, watching the gaming contest, and working on embroidery. (The first motif on the embroidered hood is done! Now there's only...uh...15 or so to go...and 14 of the larger ones that I haven't even designed yet...well. This isn't going to be finished by Pennsic, is it?)

Part of feast was a pair of goats, roasted over the fire since dawn, near the cabin where everyone was congregating; you would not believe how much my garb smelled like smoked goat when I took it out of the tote this evening. Thank heavens for my in-apartment washer/dryer. Much washing ensued.

Was the goat tasty, you ask? Yes, tasty, smoky, smelled and looked good, but tough enough to be inedible. I only got a few bites out of it before I gave up. The rest of feast was excellent, though (the roasted veggies were like something out of a dream...)

The second rain interrupted the post-Court bardic circle, unfortunately, and it never did get started again. People hung out under two shade flys for the rest of the evening, drinking, relaxing, talking, etc. I had some nice conversations, but they tended to deteriorate after several people I already knew left for the evening, and the remaining people got drunker and drunker, so I went to bed at 12:30. Alissende didn't wake me up until 8:15 this morning. That's easily the most sleep I've ever gotten at one time at a camping event...though admittedly I did wake up when someone started vomiting near the camping area at around 5 am. Briefly. (It takes more than that to keep me awake at that hour.)

This was maybe my least favorite Woodland Romp thus far, but one of the most thought-provoking, in several ways. One is that I felt old compared to most of the people there. And not just old, but too old to enjoy the evening. I joined the SCA at 26, which was not particularly old for Falcon's Keep (even if you factored in the college group at the UW-Stevens Point), but here I am 34 and still attempting to hang out with 23-year-olds who spend the evenings at a camping event drinking to get drunk, gossipping about who's doing who, and laughing raucously at jokes that aren't, as far as I can tell, at all funny. And these are people who were perfectly nice to be with during the day. At Pennsic you can choose from 11,000 possible ways to spend your evening; you can stay away from parties completely if you choose, or you can do nothing but. At a 33-person event, there's no choice: you hang out with the bunch, or you go to sleep.

I always used to like small events. I still do--I loved Novices' Day, and I'm hoping to go to Stromfels' anniversary event in a couple of weeks. But this one just sort of rubbed me the wrong way. Don't get me wrong--I enjoyed the laid-back daytime activities, and I have a lot of affection for Skerrjastrond in general. But I might be too old to carouse with them at night.

I do have to say, Alissende is still my favorite long-distance-drive buddy. We had a really good time, as usual. I wanted her to choose where we ate dinner Friday night, since I insisted on going to the International Stirfry Restaurant in Bismarck on the trip to Coronation, and last year I dragged her to Mongo's in Appleton on the way to Romp. What did she choose? A Chinese buffet in Marinette with a Mongolian barbecue. We're three for three on the Mongolian barbecue thing, folks. You wouldn't think there were so many in one Kingdom. Next time, maybe we can find a Denny's.

Trying to think of other things to say. I'm not coming up with much. I'm glad to be home and I'm nursing disappointment. And I kind of smell like smoked goat. I think it's time to go to bed.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005
I am too tired for bold-faced type. That's how tired I am. Going up and down stairs carrying bins of miscellaneous stuff that won't fit into boxes is not my idea of a fun evening.

I've already taken two carloads to the new apartment. I love the new apartment, did I mention that? It's big and it's well-lit and it's got cozy bits and the kitchen is massive and my bedroom is large and the apartment's easy to get to, no more "my building is the last one on the right before you go into the loop, or if you went around the loop, now it's on your left...". Ed, one of the managers, took me down to let me into my garage and storage locker after giving me my keys this afternoon.

This is the storage locker that ate the Boston Symphony Orchestra, folks. It's got to be about 12' by 14'. It is bigger than my first apartment, I'm serious. Ed mentioned that one couple who lives in the building rented the apartment mainly for the storage locker, since she had a home business and the locker was great for storing her inventory. Inventory nothing, I could put a home office down there if it had a phone jack!

Having now seen this behemoth of a storage locker, I plan on taking a slightly different tack in storing boxes this time around: all empty boxes, and all boxes full of stuff I don't need to get at in a year's time, go in the locker. It should free up quite a bit of closet space that, in previous apartments, has housed boxes (I know I did a lot of that in this apartment), and leave the garage free for the odd camping item that I have been toting around in my trunk...which will hopefully improve my gas mileage. A person can hope.

Last night I registered four books I didn't want on Bookcrossing, and released them today at various places up and down University Ave.: a bus stop, Whole Foods, Panera, and Video Station, where I simply returned them with my videos. No journal entries yet from anyone that's found them, but I did notice in the late afternoon when I went out to bring my second carload of stuff to the new apartment, that the one in the bus shelter was gone. They are all copiously labeled with Bookcrossing info, encouraging the person to go to the website and comment. I imagine people want to read the books first, so they have something to say. Ah, optimism springs eternal...what'll probably happen is that no one will take the trouble to register them.

Whoomph. Everything except the computer, and some stuff in the kitchen I can do tomorrow, is packed. I am sweaty in the extreme and will probably hurt tomorrow. It feels good just to sit. I just drank an entire bottle of pink lemonade. I do NOT want to know what this is going to do to my esophagus at 1 am. Wait, it's 1 am already. And the movers are coming at 8. All right. I can pack the computer first thing tomorrow. Off to bed with me.

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