Tuesday, May 02, 2006
An entire month between postings. I ought to be ashamed, hey? Eh. Deal with it.

I've been playing a lot of Cake Mania, which I downloaded from Yahoo in a slightly buggy version. (Buy it directly from Sandlot if you buy it.) Addictive, in a Diner Dash sort of way. I am risking carpal tunnel by playing for too long every night. Discovered that if you save your game diligently as you reach the highest level on each number of lives, you can maintain three different levels to work on, and push forward, over time. Another tip: if you're visually quick like me, invest in the quickest pair of shoes--they'll be the single biggest factor in getting ahead.

My Flickr account is finally getting some attention from me, since I cleared off my camera in preparation for the trip. (We leave on the 11th.) Go see! So far, there's only a couple of Colleen photos, and my knitting projects. The only knitted stuff missing are the things of which I don't have photos: my Lorna's Laces Lorikeet socks, the Magic Stripes socks I gave my sister, and the truly awful felted Brown Sheep Worsted slippers, which (I'm sorry, Sarra) I gave to Sarra. It feels good to have some sort of record of my knitting projects, right from the beginning. I bought a cute knitting journal a couple of months ago, with spots to paste in yarn labels and everything, but am I doing anything with it? Nope. So the Flickr account is going to be where I put knitting photos.

I'm considering springing for a paid account so I can create as many sets as I want (hence becoming free to post garb photos, San Francisco photos, Provence photos, etc.) but I'm hemming and hawing on that. I mean, I already pay for a lot of online services, some of which I don't use to their fullest. $24.95 a year is not bad though, for a system that I like. I'll continue pondering.

I'm reading Fast food nation: the dark side of the all-American meal, which is depressing me no end. Now is actually a good time to read it: it gives an interesting perspective on the illegal immigration controversy by discussing what, exactly, many of those illegal immigrants are doing for a living once they risk their lives to get here--and the attitude their employers have towards them. It makes me mad enough that I don't think I want to go into it here (this is a place of sweetness and light, right?). Suffice to say that no discussion of the controversy is complete without acknowledging that corporations have absolutely no, zero, zilch incentive to give up a workforce that will work in disgusting and dangerous conditions for illegally low wages. You can ask, "Why don't they all just start down the road to citizenship?", or even "Why don't we just deport them?" all you want. Corporate America will never let it happen. They need illegal immigrants in order to continue making their obscene profits.

*sigh* I'm ready to move on to some frou-frou novel.

My friend Chiere Nicole from the Jara Choir has started a ceramics guild in the Barony. Excellent idea--I'm surprised no one's come up with it before! She got us time and guidance at Fired Up in Cottage Grove, a paint-your-own pottery place that also has a wet clay studio. The owner, Kim, is this wonderful mellow person who's been doing ceramics all her life. She doesn't seem to have a whole lot of historical pottery knowledge, but really, who does? We've only had one session; most people either picked out a greenware piece to get used to painting, or disappeared into the back room for a wheel throwing lesson. (Pottery wheel, not some sort of new thrown weapon!)

That week I had printed out some period designs I found online, and I decided to try painting this design on a greenware plate. (Little more info on this plate here, notably that it's from the early 16th c. and is currently available for $1425.00. Not too bad, considering mine cost exactly $14.25!) The painting took me about two hours, and today I went over to pick it up, only to find out that Chiere Nicole had just picked it up! Me and my timing. So I haven't seen it yet; I'll get it Thursday night at choir. The woman staffing the store when I dropped by, whom I hadn't met before, said "Oh! You're the woman who did the gorgeous star plate!", and Nicole says it turned out beautifully. Can't wait to see how it turned out. If I love it, I might make a set...after all, it's dishwasher/microwave safe. The set of plates in my kitchen is still the stuff I picked up at the dollar store before grad school. It might be time for a change.

I'd like to do a bit more research on period designs, but I'm finding that my limited amount of research (Madison PL, R&L's collection, 15 minutes frowning at WISCAT) is pointing to one inevitable fact: I am going to have to renew my community borrower's card at the UW-Madison. All the good stuff--more to the point, all the stuff in color--is at the Art Library on campus. Half of it is probably in their special "does not circulate" cage, but then, I have a digital camera now, don't I?

This past weekend I had two weirdly conflicting committments: I'd offered to teach kumihimo at Baronial May Day, but then Debbie called from Temple and wanted me to sing in the Temple Choir's concert. She sounded desperate and said she didn't know if even one of the regular sopranos was going to be able to sing in the concert. So I agreed.

My schedule that day was: Get up, dress in garb with nylons, arrive at site at 10:45, teach kumihimo 11-12, schmooze briefly as I clean up my stuff, leave at 12:15, go home and change into blue and white outfit, arrive at Temple at 1 for rehearsal, discover that everyone decided on black and white at the Thursday rehearsal (which I could not attend), go home when rehearsal is over and change into black and white outfit, realize I didn't have lunch and stuff a piece of bread in my mouth, go back to Temple and have a cookie or two at the pre-reception, sing in the concert (of course 3/4 of the visiting Cantors were sopranos, so they didn't need me after all, but it was nice to have the choir larger than usual), consider going home again to change into garb again, decide to throw my cloak over my clothes and drive back to site, discover at 5:45 that the potluck meal scheduled for 6pm has been mostly eaten, scrounge a few things to eat, sit through Baronial Meeting in 55 degree weather, and go home. I tried to read for a bit in the evening, but fell asleep lying on my tummy on my bed with my arms tucked under me and leaning my forehead on the mattress. Turns out that's not a comfortable way to sleep. I woke up with neck/back cramps and screaming sinuses, and couldn't get back to sleep at bedtime.

It seems like it should have been a nice Sunday, with all I got accomplished. But it wasn't. I'm not used to scrambling around like that. There was a time when I didn't think I was getting anything done, if my life wasn't scheduled down to the minute like it was on Sunday. I decidedly, definitively do NOT feel that way anymore.

Colleen and I are rejoicing: our friend Peregrine the Illuminator, formerly of Nordleigh/Nordskogen but currently living in Boston (Carolingia, in the East Kingdom), was put on vigil for the Order of the Laurel this weekend. Thereby proving that someone with diverse interests (instrumental/choral music, mapmaking, weaving, woodwork, to name a few) can be Laureled. I was about to say "Laureled for something other than research", but then I realized, I actually don't know what he's being Laureled for. It could be research. Personally I think it would be odd to Laurel a librarian (yup, Peregrine's "one of us") for research, though I do know professional theatrical costumers who have been Laureled for costuming, for example. Lord knows no one will ever do such to me; I think I'm stronger in performance, community-building, and teaching than research, though of course I read a bunch and I can write documentation/articles when needed.

At any rate, I am pleased as punch for Peregrine. I haven't seen him since Northshield First Coronation (Arianna's and his son Nicholas is just over a year old now, I believe, so they didn't make Pennsic last year). The ceremony will take place at Pennsic; I understand East Kingdom Court is usually Wednesday night. (I will bring my knitting.) Hopefully we can hang out a little bit, maybe after the wigginess of the vigil and the ceremony are done. It's been far too long since I've sung with him.

Next task: I promised Mom I'd put together a master schedule for our Provence trip, complete with bus/train/flight times and all that. This was two weeks ago and I haven't started it. Maybe I can convince myself to work on it tomorrow evening.

Then: the packing period shall commence. I've been putting aside pieces of clothing for a few days now, actually, as they come out of the dryer, and tweaking the mix as I walk by it. There appears to be some tension between my wanting to bring stuff I don't mind leaving behind (things with little stains, things that are wearing out) and my wanting to actually look nice on the trip. Why I should look nice, traveling with my Mom and a few strangers on a tour in a country where no one knows me, I'm not sure. I'm no clotheshorse, as is obvious to those who know me, and I am definitely into comfortable clothes/natural fibers in situations where it might be warm out and I might be walking a lot. Yet I find that I picture myself in a long-sleeved t-shirt with a tiny oil stain on the right breast, hiking up a hill in Gordes, and I think, "Eeeew, how is THAT cosmopolitan? They ought to throw me right out of the country."

Ah, France, France...how I've missed you and your oppressive fashion sense.

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