Laurel · SCA

Weekend Update – Tournament of Arts

This past Saturday was the Kingdom 12th Night Event (actually close to the actual day of 12th night, even) up in Lansing Michigan. The husband and I took a half day off Friday for travel time, it’s just over a 4 hour drive. We got lunch at our favorite local diner, packed up the car and hit the road a bit later than we’d hoped but still… we were ready for a nice easy drive. Ha! Silly us! We hit major traffic in downtown Cleveland that didn’t let up until we were way on the west side. And it was good that I was driving as I had a pair of sunglasses in the car (suspect the sun glare may have been responsible for the slow down, actually. It was very bright!)

We had a bagel for dinner on the Turnpike and smooth sailing up to Michigan where we hit an inexplicable scary traffic jam on route 23 north (Like… the speed limit is more a gentle suggestion there apparently, folks were zipping past over 80 mph and cutting in and out of the heavy traffic… yeah.) When we got to the hotel I needed a brandy or something! Opted instead for visiting the hotel work-out room, which was nicely apportioned. Wish I’d brought a swim suit because the hotel hot tub would have also afforded much needed relaxation. The exercise did the trick though and I slept like the proverbial baby that night. (Really liked the hotel, the Staybridge Inn, about 12 minute drive from the site. Would totally stay there again!)

Leisurely morning, breakfast, got dressed, headed toward the event site. Slightly miffed at the husband that we did not stop for coffee at the Duncan Donuts near the hotel, but in the end it was good we had the extra time as he’d accidentally written down the address as in Lansing, instead of East Lansing. (There is a 200 Grand River in both cities, by the by.) Oops, thankfully our GPS was being cooperative and got us to the proper address once we’d realized our mistake. There was then the parking adventure… lot of one-way streets around the site and the adjacent parking lot was full. With “Across Grand Avenue” as our only direction, we did eventually find a small parking lot and left our car in it… and when we got to the site again I was relieved to discover it was indeed a legitimate place to park where I was not going to be ticketed or towed. *whew!* (The parking lot they had meant to send us to, it turns out, was another block down.) We got checked in, got the hubby to the Tournament of Arts room and I went back out to get coffee at the Bigby’s coffee shop that was right next door! Ah, my coffee at last. ❤

The Tournament of Arts was a new concept this year, based on the Tournament of Chivlary our SCA Kingdom holds every year where the Knights hold the field and teach and train fighters. This one the artisians would be set up and we Laurels would circulate and dispense wisdom and advice (teach and train :)). Countess Serena organized it and paired us up so that entrants got a Laurel who was at least somewhat familiar with their art.  I was scheduled with a nalbinding entry, a late 15th century costume entry and a soapstone carved ‘scroll’. Sadly the costume entry had dropped out which made me sad because I was very much looking forward to that one!

Before the tournament started there was a brief meeting with the Laurels to talk about how it was going to run, with a lot of us repeating ourselves, heh. And His Majesty asked we take a group picture, which was fun. 🙂 Then it was off to the races!

The Nalbinding entry went well, she was very enthusiastic and actually said she was glad to get me! Like, she knew who I was? woah. Anyway, it was a great philosophical conversation and I hope I helped her. My second slot was actually open because of the 15th century gown not making it, and I was excited for a chance to move around and see the other entries. I spoke to about four different artisans during that period. And I got to play with Conal’s lathe! So cool!!!  Honestly, I think shorter time periods work better for me. Talking to people takes a lot of energy for me and I run out of steam quickly and need to move on. Third period I had a lady with a stone carving and I think we had a great conversation too, though I was starting to fade.  I talked to a few other people after that as I made my way towards food, I hoped but… there was the Laurel meeting. I failed to escape for food before the meeting, alas. The meeting was not bad, as meetings go, and then I was free at last to find food! And I found my husband and we searched the site for food, and food was not to be had, alas. Lunch tavern had closed long ago and the only other food was at the two vigils (and I did not know either Pelican vigilante well enough to go raid their food!) and a small selection of sauces by Baroness Hannah in the display, we ate some of her samples and then went out in search of off-site food. Fortunately there was a “Beer Liquor, Pizza, Subs” type shop across the street where we procured an Italian sub and gobbled it down in time for court (barely!)

Hubby ran off to join Their Majesties so he could march into court with them as A&S Champion and I found a spot in the hall with good lighting to knit while I waited for court to start. I got a start on my new project which pleases me. I did have a moment of self-pity as the hall filled up, but no one wanted to sit by me. I managed to nip it in the bud though, I’m sure they just didn’t see me. So there.

After court we said our goodbyes, I saw people I hadn’t seen all day! it would have been good to stay and chat, but hubby wanted to hit the road before we were exhausted, we didn’t have a second night at the hotel. We made good time going home, with a very nutritious dinner of skittles and coffee drinks, heh.

On Sunday we were both pretty destroyed and so did not do much. We did go out to the mall to do a little walking indoors and check to see if that cute nutcracker at Dillards was now on clearance for 75% off… sadly their Christmas items were 75% off, but the nutcracker and his brothers were all gone. Foo. Shoulda bought it at 50% off. Tant pis.

Laurel · SCA

It’s still work

One of my Laurel friends recently posted how exhausted she is and I have to agree, I get a lot of the same exhaustion. People asking for stuff. It gets to feel like everyone wants a piece of me. People only call, write or message to ask me to do something for them. Teach a class, help me with this project, do my research for me, make something special for our event, etc. etc. etc.  It’s not that I’m unwilling to help, or resent you asking, but it does get so very, very exhausting.

“But you like to sew!”

No, sewing is the necessary evil I must do to get the garb I want!

“But it would be easier for you than for me!”

Yes, because I’ve done it more I suppose. But it would be easier for YOU if you did it more, why not now? 🙂

“But you’re so skilled! I could never do it like you!”

Thanks. But it is STILL WORK. Even things I like doing, like drawing or creating, are still WORK. It’s time I could be spending sitting on my butt watching Star Trek reruns, or making something for me or a project I’m excited about and want to do.

The thing is, that pit of need is endless. I could do it for you, give you this, give you my time, my materials, my expertise, but it will never be enough to fill the void and will leave me with nothing.

So please, respect that my time is limited, my attention is limited and just like you I occasionally like to spend a day NOT accomplishing things. If I do help you, appreciate it as the gift that it is, and don’t ask for more from me than you are willing to give out yourself. (And if you are willing to give everything, stop. Stop now. Re-evaluate. Don’t kill yourself to please others. It is NOT healthy!)


Weekend Update

Saturday the hubby and I headed out to Toledo for Yule Feast.

Alas, I did not check what was in the car. Hubby said “You just need your fencing bag and tunic, right?” I said yes. Only by ‘tunic’ he meant ‘tabbard’. The tabbard, for those uninitiated, is a simple decorative flap worn over top of the tunic, which is absolutely necessary to fence. Yeah, tunic wasn’t in the car. I couldn’t fence. I was sad. Also I had failed to pack anything to work on for down time.

In hindsight husband admitted we did not have to rush out of the house like we did. A few more minutes and I would’ve been a happier camper, if later to the event. Ah well. It was a very quiet event. Hubby and I went for a nice walk around the block, there’s a lovely over-look across the street from the site with a park and a river. I could’ve walked longer but husband was dressed less warmly than I.

I debuted my new wool cyclas which I finally finished hemming. It was VERY comfy and a very practical, and I feel attractive, addition to my medieval wardrobe. Hubby also debuted his new A&S Champion’s cloak he made. 🙂 He looked quite dashing in it, I think.

Sunday we were both EXHAUSTED. And I don’t really know why, except maybe the stress driving home in the snow. The roads were fine (though I didn’t trust them much) but the visibility was horrid. I need new windshield wipers I think.  I invited some people over to work on enameling (something I’ve been wanting to do since I bought that kiln mumblety years ago). Alas, most folks declined. Only Aurellia was there at 1pm, everyone else showed up close to 4pm, which was when I had planed to end things. boo. Still, got some enameling done and Aurellia really wants a kiln now 😉


Book Review – 1492

1492 The Year the World Began by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

ISBN: 978-0-06-113228-5

I picked up this attractive, thick paperback at a book sale for cheap. It looked a bit intimidating but, since the theme for my wedding was 1483 and therefore I am now firmly in the 1490s I figured I should know more about the time.

The premise of the book is that this time (with a little fudging before and after) was a pivotal moment in history where Europe became the future world power instead of China, which should have been everyone’s bet. China had more technology, stability and wealth… why didn’t they find the New World instead of Spain?

The author is up front on the fallacy of looking for single causes or pivotal moments, but does draw together a compelling argument on how this particular time in history marked a watershed moment across several cultures. He does a quick tour of the globe telling us what was happening in the Mediterranean, Africa, the Middle East, around the Indian Ocean and in the far East. The most compelling line to me, is that had things been different, had China sought expansion, the international date line would probably bisect the Atlantic instead of the Pacific.

In all it was a good read, very accessible if a bit dry for entertainment purposes. I’m glad I read it, though much of what was contained in its pages would not have been very common knowledge for my persona of a noblewoman in the north of England. (Woefully little time spent on important things like fabrics and fashion, alas! heh.)

Costuming · Life · SCA

Weekend Update

You know it was a busy week when I write the Weekend Update post on Thursday…

Saturday was a big local demo downtown for the Cleveland Public Library’s Mini-Maker Fair. I got a carpool together with Nadjezda who lives in Euclid too, and had the brilliant idea to meet for breakfast with our husbands which was fun and we must do it again. 🙂 She was a great carpool companion as we figured out where we were going and where to put my car!

The demo was long and grueling, I was tired but hopefully somewhat chipper and pleasant as I talked about the Middle Ages and worked on frantically finishing sewing my dress for the party that night. I did fence so go me. 🙂

Got home around 5 something and sat in a chair for a while staring at the sky going ‘duh’ while I decompressed, heh. Marie came over and we got dressed for the Tavern party. She was wearing my old dress and I wore the new one I just finished sewing! Alas it gaped in the front. I think I need to add a bit of stiffening to the edge and/or more hooks and eyes to prevent that. For the emergency basis Marie whip-stitched me into the thing and we found a bit of lace to use as a fichu and cover the worst spot where the front opening bent over the transition of corset and bust.

By the time we got to the 18th Century Tavern Party my husband was HANGRY, fortunately for us we still arrived before food was served so he could not blame his hangry-ness on how long it took us to get dressed 😉 His move improved dramatically after the salad course.

The party was MUCH FUN as usual. Sunday was spent in recovery and running errands. We went to the mall just to get some walking in as it was cold and wet.

Monday Tuesday and most of Wednesday I was finishing up the Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Leadership Lab which was just wonderful. I’m a bit sad the class is over, honestly. It was a great experience and I’d recommend it to anyone. Weatherhead Executive Education does a bang up job.

I did, however, gain weight over the three days. Three pounds. One each day (so not fair.) Their catering is quite fabulous. Anyway, went fencing last night because dammit, gotta work that off! Am fencing much better, I think. Feels good to be improving!


Weekend Update – Red Dragon

Saturday was Red Dragon in Columbus; it’s an event we regularly attend and this year the husband had volunteered to teach two classes, and I volunteered to teach one too so we were committed… and it’s a good  thing we were because the cold, wet rain/snow of Saturday morning might’ve sent us back to our warm dry house otherwise!

I forgot my period shoes; I wore my hiking boots in the car in case the site was all muddy and I wouldn’t want to wear the turnshoes (Hey, they’re expensive!) down side was I got a blister on my heel from the hiking boots, darnit. I did dress well otherwise though; silk veil and linen cap kept my head pretty toasty (silk is a great insulator!) and I had silk longjohns on under my clothes.

We did see snow on the drive down though. Ugh. But we made it to the site safe and sound and in plenty of time!

We got situated, I walked around a bit and checked out the fighting, chatted with friends until it was time for my MiddleWiki class. The class went great, thanks largely to Brigid of RedSpears who was teaching a webmaster class beforehand and had a laptop and projector, she let me use them for my class, bonus! Much better teaching Wiki while able to look at the Wiki!

Also did an impromptu drop-spindle class 🙂  I was starving and headed to the lunch tavern; they did it in a very clever way. Lunch was included in the site fee and they had a sideboard where they put out cups of soup, slices of pepperoni bread, hard-boiled eggs and some more pepperoni. It was tasty and just what I needed. 🙂

Then I went off to the archery range, where I spent most of the day. I shot the King’s Challenge… did better on my warm up than the actual shoot (naturally) and wasn’t feeling great about it… Mienhardt had hit the apple on the challenge shoot (It was a William Tell target, drawing of a man with an apple on his head, one point for the apple, negative one for the body.) before Mienhardt hit the top score was zero! And I’m glad I got to watch him hit it too. Cadfan was all fired up to hit the apple as well, and that made me want to shoot it, so I started shooting with Cadfan and Mienhardt at this target… and then Cadfan hit it. OK, if no one gets two arrows on the apple, it’s a shoot off between Meinhardt and Cadfan! Well, says I “I gotta hit this apple twice” in a joking, feigned confidence. But then I hit the apple once! and I had two other arrows close to it! (Good grouping!) OMG, I thought, I can do this… so I tried again.. nothing, and again and… I hit the apple.. had a moment of htinking “I should not aim at it at all so I have the one point… don’t want to hit the body and be back to zero” but I aimed at it anyway and… OMG I think I hit it! Then followed the agony of waiting to run up to the target and find otu for sure… yes! I did! Two arrows in the apple! There was about 30 minutes of shooting left for anyone else to get two arrows in… and no one did. I won!

Cadfan said we shouldn’t tell Edward/Mark until it was announced in court so we could all watch him be surprised 🙂 Hee. WOOT! I are the champion! hee. And the prize, get this, a handmade longbow!!! WOW!

Had trouble not-smiling like a fool the rest of the day. 🙂  And the marshals let me keep the target. 🙂 I’m thinking of taking it to the CWRU archery practice tomorrow (sadly our local archery practice on Sunday was rained out.) They also gave me the cool “Laurel” target they came up with; a calendar with the date circled in red “Project Due” and if you hit any of the days the week before you got a point, if you hit the days after you lost a point (for being late) and there was also a box that said “Documentation” and “Teach a class” that were bonus points. So awesome!

Husband insisted I post to Facebook as soon as we got home. hee.

I got back tot he main hall in time for court and chatting with Elwynor ❤ so great to hang with her! Court was very long so we were afraid of traffic and booked out immediately afterward. Fortunately we managed to stay ahead of the worst of the Ohio State game traffic (The game let out around the same time as the event, we knew if we were tardy 71 North would become a parking lot!) *whew!*

Sunday we were both exhausted, but managed to get through most of the errands we had planned; bank, groceries, eyeglasses place, food, etc. I feel somewhat guilty for not going to Pietro’s birthday brunch, but hubby was very crabby about neglected duties.

Life · SCA

Archery Update

Shot Archery last night, scores improved over last week! I think last Thursday I scored a 6, 7, 8, 11, and 14. Last night I had an 11, 15 and 18!

As I quipped to one of the students “It’s like practice helps or something” heh, who knew?

Looking forward to next SCA archery practice to see if these improvements show on that range as well, alas we won’t be able to shoot Sunday because of Wedding Extravaganza.