luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
Soooo much stuff going on here...

The Known World Dance and Music Symposium (KWDMS) was a SMASHING success!!!!!!! Patches did a fantastic job of organizing the event!!! We had 245 people there; it was the biggest attendance ever in the KWDMS series (and this was the 12th such symposium). My class on Lithuanian polyphonic music went OK, I guess, and I received a couple of compliments afterward. I certainly didn't feel as prepared as I should have, but if the customer is satisfied....

Last night I went with Patches and "weatherman2111" (as he used to be known on LJ) and a couple of other folks to the U2 concert at FedEx Field. I believe this is my fifth U2 concert ever -- 1997, 2005, 2009, and one other time at the Baltimore Ravens' arena. Will write more about it later....
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Star Wars Against Hate)
1. Lately, my LJ layout seems to be completely broken on the Chrome browser, but it looks normal on Firefox. Has anyone else (or, anyone else who still does LJ/DW, that is) experienced this problem?

2. After a year and a half, I finally updated my "Lady Patricia of Trakai" blog. Check it out.

3. Today I spent some time working on my class for next week's Known World Dance and Music Symposium. Teaching a class on a subject on which there is exactly *one* extant English-language book will be ... interesting.

4. Today has also been the 40th anniversary of my high school graduation. I think the boy toy is officially tired of the subject. :-)

5. Little by little, I'm going through my files on both my computer's hard drive and my external hard drive to weed out duplicates. Especially on the external hard drive ... I've found five or six copies of some of the files on the external drive, thanks to various backup efforts. I had been really close to running out of room on both drives. Now I'm a little less close.
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
Great goodness, I keep *meaning* to post here and then I don't. I read more than I post. Honest, I do.

Anyhow.

The last weekend in April was Revenge of the Stitch, a "garb wars" type of SCA event. This was the fourth year and I've been on Johanna's team for three of them. Teams are given 24 hours to create an entire period outfit from the skin out. This year it was her grown daughter's turn to get an outfit, so she chose a woman's outfit from the Tang dynasty of China (Lady Tatsume is interested in both Japan and China). Johanna bought a bunch of silk in the NYC garment district while visiting her son, who lives up there now, so we were well prepared. We made seven different pieces of clothing, and I did a lot of hand-stitching, which, as it turns out, is much more tedious on silk than on linen. Tatsume's girlfriend, who was not on the team, seemed rather bored and petulant until she realized she could get some studying done for her classes. But the finished outfit looked fabulous on Tatsume, and we ended up getting second place out of five teams. The King and Queen were so impressed that they awarded all the competitors a Silver Nautilus.

Tent issues: This was the first time I'd camped in my tent since last year's Revenge of the Stitch, which was rainy. (This year's event was dry, thank goodness!) I got the tent out of the Rubbermaid storage tub and it smelled a little musty and looked a little more stained on the roof (despite the presence of dessicant in the tub -- several handfuls of that crystal-type cat litter). It really, really needs new poles and new ties for the side windows. The metal teeth on the screen-door zipper were just rotting off -- they were literally falling off the cloth part of the zipper. Fortunately, the canvas-door zipper still holds, but for how much longer?

I bought some Flex-Seal stuff on clearance at Target, so I can patch any tiny holes on the vinyl floor. But I really should ask Sonya and Maugorn if I could set the tent up in their backyard for a couple of days and get some serious work done on that poor thing.

*grumble*

Nov. 9th, 2015 11:40 pm
luscious_purple: Ganked from many people (damn not given)
Another day of trying to get this #nablopomo entry in just under the deadline. Well, I am once again trying to get this for-pay article finished. Guess which is more important to me right now.

I've had a decent day and an enjoyable dance practice -- we even had a visitor from the far-off Kingdom of Ansteorra, in town for a conference of systems administrators at the Marriott Wardman Park. That's one thing I love about the SCA -- wherever you go, through the SCA you can always find good people.

Gaah, my writing sucks at the moment. Trying to save my good turns of phrase for the paying article, I guess....
luscious_purple: OMG WTF BBQ (OMG WTF BBQ)
Still waiting for my car to be fixed; the garage is waiting for a part (the new wheel cylinder) to be delivered. The "good" news (for some value of good) is that the repair should cost a bit less than $200 including labor. I was expecting four times that. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut.

So, last night I couldn't get all the way up to Baltimore for Lithuanian dance practice, but tonight I was able to get a ride to Three Left Feet dance practice in College Park (a lot closer). We finally had an excellent turnout: nine dancers, including a woman who used to be a regular until she moved to Colorado some years ago. Thus we could actually do some of the four-couple dances like "Hyde Park" and "Goddesses" that we haven't done in ages. (A word of explanation: most of the dances we do are English country dances that were written for a particular number of couples.)

Anyhow ... If you are new to my journal, here's a link to a short biographical entry that I wrote recently. Please feel free to ask questions in the comments.
luscious_purple: Julia, the Maine Coon Cat (Julia)
In case anybody was wondering: War of the Wings was COLD! Well, not during the day. Daytimes were quite pleasant, actually; sunny except for one cloudy morning, but not a drop of rain. But at night ... the penetrating chill signaling a change of season to which we are not yet accustomed.

The cold made sitting up close to the fire bowl pleasant. But not so much playing in the dance band -- it's hard to play well when your fingers are feeling increasingly stiff. On the last evening of the event, we musicians played until 10 p.m., when the ball was supposed to end, and then when Master Stefan begged for more, we told him that he could use his magic boom box, thank you very much. We also recommended that next year's band should be allowed to use a space heater. (This is never a problem at Pennsic.)

My major purchase at WoW was a Mongolian/Russian/Viking hat from The Amber Lady (a merchant). It was a bit on the expensive side ($55), but wonderfully constructed: double layers of upholstery fabric and fleece, surrounded by a fat brim of maroon-dyed sheepskin, snug around my head. All the other women in my encampment were sporting them, so, yeah, I had to get one too. It is definitely warmer than any of my other SCA hats, even the felted-wool brimmed hat.

Southwind Camp was a bit small at this event: besides me, we were Cameron and her daughter Susan, all the way from the Oregon part of An Tir; Conni and Mel (Roise and Annora); and Deirdre, Llewellyn and whatever their 19-year-old son is calling himself these days. We didn't have a meal plan, but we managed to pool our food supplies and we ate well.

Sorry I haven't yet uploaded pictures to my Flickr account. I have been taking so many lately that I'm way behind. I'm *trying* to organize them properly as I go along....
luscious_purple: "avoid heralds" (avoid heralds)
So many things going around in my head, I hardly know where to begin. I guess I'll just do some free-association.

Got through my second Sunday of Lithuanian dance rehearsal -- had a blast; people there are friendly. Monday the 5th we (the Three Left Feet dance group at Storvik practice) had six dancers, so we were able to dance actually, not like Monday the 28th when we had only two dancers show up. (Most SCA-type dances require at least four participants.)

Funny thing ... on Monday the 5th, after dance practice, I came home and started poking around on Facebook, trying to figure out whether one of the guys I was talking to on Sunday night is married or divorced, and Tall Dancer phoned me to talk. That was ... interesting. We chatted about our respective dance practices and about how he bought a new refrigerator this past weekend, plus his proposal (in Meridies) that local groups consider reimbursing folks who travel from out of town to teach classes.

In other musical news ... the good music news is that I really enjoyed Wolgemut's performance at the New Deal Cafe. Sonya and Maugorn weren't able to attend -- last year, the situation was reversed; they were there and I was in Ohio. Still, I saw Kender, whom I hadn't seen in person in a while, so we had a nice visit together. The bad music news is that, while I was enthusiastically clapping away, my camera had a close encounter with the concrete floor, and now the lens doesn't retract all the way. :-( I should really take a couple of photos in daylight to test the focus.

(If anybody wants to know what Wolgemut is all about, type that word into YouTube. Be prepared for a great blast of sound.)

Yesterday afternoon the boy toy and I went out to run a couple of early-afternoon errands, came home with a couple of bags of groceries, and found ... no electricity in my condo. As it turned out, Pepco had to work on some sort of junction box (or whatever you call it) and needed to turn off the power to two of the buildings in the complex. So I brought my laptop to the New Deal Cafe and had coffee there, and I spotted Jane, the younger sister of my friend Devora, who moved to Iowa City after her husband, Pedro, died. (Pedro and Devora are SCA names, for those of you new to this journal.) So Jane and I had a great conversation. (Why, yes, the New Deal *is* like this town's public "living room.")

So now I have a ton of things to do before leaving for War of the Wings in a week. And I just got a lead on another freelance project -- a referral from my usual editor. SCORE!!
luscious_purple: The scribal demon made me do it! (Titivillius)
Since Pennsic, I've made a couple of updates to my Lady Patricia of Trakai blog. Go have a look at it, sign up for the RSS feed, etc.

July 5

Jul. 5th, 2014 11:17 pm
luscious_purple: The middle class is too big to fail! (middle class)
Yesterday was a low-key day, despite what my cat might have told you. :-) Over yesterday and today, the boy toy and I have watched all the episodes of the HBO series John Adams. We've seen them all before, but somehow it seemed like a good weekend to contemplate the origins of our nation.

Today the boy toy and I went out for a late lunch (our main meal), and then we went for a walk around Lake Artemesia. He'd never been to that park, which has a different vibe from the lake in our neighborhood. It was such a gorgeous day -- moderate heat and humidity, not a cloud in the sky -- much more like a Massachusetts summer day than our usual mid-Atlantic murk! I couldn't let the day go by without spending some of it outdoors. (And, hey, I gotta prep for Pennsic. *smile*)

Speaking of Pennsic, after our walk I pinned together the pattern pieces for my Ottoman coat, minus the sleeves. I would like to make a vest out of the remaining cloth that I didn't use for the coat, so that I can have a Turkish outfit for really hot weather. I'll probably send a photo of the thing to the woman who taught the Ottoman clothing class last fall, and also seek opinions at next Saturday's Storvik sewing party.
luscious_purple: Snagged on LJ (great news)
In which your humble correspondent comes up for air after quite the whirlwind!

The past week was intense, to say the least. It would have been a lot worse if my new editor (editor of the magazine I freelance for, I mean) hadn't given me a little more time to work on the current articles. Whew. So that gave me the freedom to go to the scientific conference for a couple of days, write about it, and then throw myself into finishing up the Ottoman outfit I'd started to make for Kingdom Twelfth Night. I don't think I've done so much sewing, trying on, and re-sewing since ... well, for a long time.

Plus, there was LOTS of Facebook drah-ma over the event. That was all crap, as it turned out, and does NOT need to be repeated.

The event was lovely, several of my friends got unexpected awards, and I got a TON of compliments on my outfit. Even if the bottom of the hem *was* held up by safety pins. :-) That was the first lined garment I have ever made, so I was actually pushing my personal envelope there.

It almost feels weird to be going back to a "normal" week of working on freelance articles that have nothing to do with astronomy. But, hey, gotta pay the bills.
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
I already summarized the weekend on my "Patricia of Trakai" blog, so if you don't already subscribe to its feed, here it is.

Tomorrow, back to my freelance writing work.
luscious_purple: scribal blot (scribal icon)
On Tuesday night I went back to Scriptorium. At first it was a little difficult to get back into the swing of things -- like everything else, practice is important! But Lady Nuala started me on ink this time, and it was SO much easier to make letters with a wide-nib pen -- which is, after all, the main plan -- than to draw giant letters with two regular pencils held together with rubber bands.

The "hand" (or type of lettering) that I am working on is called the "foundational hand." It isn't particularly Celtic or Gothic or Italic, but it is nicely rounded and practically all calligraphy classes teach this as the student's first hand. Some letters are easy and others are ... well, challenging.

By the end of the evening, I had black smudges on the spots on my right hand that usually touch the pen. Nuala sent me home with a dip pen, two nibs, a bottle of black ink and a sheet of grid-lined paper. Now I need to practice....
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
Wow, I'm really getting off my so-called "daily schedule" here. Tsk-tsk-tsk!

I should write more here about the calligraphy class I took Tuesday night (and how yet another SCA-related craft fits into my SCA game), or about the "Occupy [Name of City]" movement and how it gladdens my heart, or about the death of Steve Jobs (so not unexpected, and yet still sad, especially since he apparently lived less than three miles away from some of my friends). I fear we shall not see his likes again.

But it is getting late....
luscious_purple: Lithuanian map and flag -- "Proud to Be Lithuanian" (lithuanian map and flag)
OK, so why was this woman standing in front of the Maryland National Guard armory holding a long string-and-wood thing and with a funny-looking tasseled pouch hanging out from below her jacket? Read on.

Yesterday I decided to go to the Bright Hills Birthday and Investiture. Yeah, I figured that I would get there after the morning court ceremonies, and I knew the feast was already sold out, but at least I would get to spend a nice afternoon with friends, instead of sitting at my keyboard and stewing over missing a fun event. At this point, I probably know more people in Bright Hills than any other barony except my own.

I zigzagged in a general northerly direction to the event site, which looked vaguely familiar, so I probably did attend another event there in the past. It's up near the PA border, in real farm country, and I drove through the hamlet of Boring to get there. The temperature up there was at least 10 degrees colder, with more rotting snow on the ground and a sharp wind. (Thank goodness for indoor events.)

When I first got there, the Kingdom Seneschal was leading a discussion on the "northern principality" issue. It had already started, and I couldn't quite hear everything because there was too much noise from the back of the hall. Oh, well, I'll just have to see what develops on the mailing list.

After that was lunch. Bright Hills can make even a simple lunch tasty. Lady Ingeborg (the wire-weaver) invited me to sit with her and a newcomer (I think her name was May). Then the newcomer and I watched part of the "bardic bear pit" in which Lady Ingeborg was competing. I also started a bit of tablet weaving using a pre-warped loom I bought from Herveus at Darkover.

Next, I decided to check out the merchant area. I asked some questions of Herveus, and then I went to see Fabricdragon, because you can't ever have enough pearls for an Italian Renaissance outfit (see, I was thinking of the upcoming Three Left Feet paid gig on the 26th). I ended up buying two strands of pearls of varying sizes and color tones; I think they'll make a nice necklace.

Right after my purchase, a guy I didn't recognize came up to me and asked if I was the herald of Storvik. When I said yes, he said, "The King would like to see the Storvik baronial herald now." Well, I thought that was rather strange, because there was no shortage of heraldic firepower at this event -- at least four of the heralds in attendance, including the current Clerk of Precedence and former Wreath Sovereign, are much more senior than I. And even though territorial barons and baronesses sometimes allow outside baronage to hold court in their lands, it isn't done often, and then only for unusual circumstances (for example, they want to present an award to someone who's about to go off on military deployment).

When I got to the other end of the hall, Lady Alexandra was just starting King Bryan's court (the Queen was taking a nap). His Majesty was presenting the Opal to a woman whom I think was a past baronial herald, so I figured that's why I was invited to the court, as I am a Companion of the Opal myself. (Storvik's Baron William and Baroness Sorcha were among the onlookers, but not doing anything else active.) King Bryan presented several other Opals and Coral Branches.

Then I heard *my* name called. It almost didn't register with me! (Well, with the background noise...) I knelt before the King on my left knee, which is slightly more accommodating of contact with hard floors than the other one. The King asked me if I could speak Lithuanian, and I said not much, but I knew that "thank you" is "aciu." Then he said that he has heard lots of good things about my Lithuanian studies, and that it was great that I have been studying such a small country -- at which time I said something like, "But it used to be a much bigger country!" I'm sure I was blushing quite a bit and my face was pulling the blood out of my brain or something. Bottom line, the King inducted me into the Order of the Coral Branch for arts and sciences.

I got lots of congratulations afterward; plus, a woman who said she is 77 years old sat me down and said she wants to write a historical novel about Queen Jadwiga. I don't know if anything will come of that, but we exchanged phone numbers, and she said she has a copy of the book Lithuania Ascending, which I have been really eager to read (and which is really expensive to buy).

Tale to be finished tomorrow... I will just note that my Coral Branch came on the same day as Zygmunt's elevation to Laurel in the Midrealm, so it was a really good day for Polish-Lithuanian studies in the SCA!
luscious_purple: Star Wars Against Hate (Default)
So ... after the events of the previous entry, I wandered around the outdoor tents, found Fabric Dragon, and bought a couple of strands of pearls from her.

Then Baron William asked me if I would explain heraldry to his 14-year-old daughter. She has been going by Rachel Williamsdottir during her youth-fighting career, but now she is thinking of something else. Her father explained that she would like something 14th-century English to go with his persona and that she would like to use the cross patonce in her device because that's one of the charges in his arms. Of course, while he was telling me this, Rachel had this look on her face that just read, "Oh, Dad is being so embarrassing again." Then Baroness Bess called him away for something, so I had about half an hour to talk to her. I didn't have any of my books, of course, but I think I managed to go over most of the important principles of names and devices. Certainly it's a lot to absorb all in one shot. Then William came back and suggested that we continue the conversation later, so Rachel whipped out her cell phone and put my number into it. Such a modern teenager, after all. :-)

I also heard something going on behind the sheet wall marking off a portion of the hall for the Queen and the Baronage. Through the doorway I could see that it had something to do with Watkyn of Kent, who is a musician from the Marinus/Tir-y-don area (sorry, I always get those two baronies mixed up). I got to the doorway just in time to see Watkyn made a Court Baron, with Baron Talorgen (one of the senior heralds) giving him the leather coronet off his own head. Vivat!

Back to shopping. I didn't want to spend too much, but I bought a couple of used paperbacks (one on Byzantine women, the other on the modern topic of distraction). I did an awful lot of browsing, too, and salivated over a couple of patterns from Reconstructing History. Eventually I decided on a couple of Italian Renn sleeves. I've been saying for years that I need to make tie-on sleeves for my Italian Renn dresses, but I've never done it, so I figured I might as well buy a pair for $15. Finally, I found a guy who was selling copies of the brand-new Known World Handbook, and I bought the last copy in his stock. Hey, I know I'm going to want it, so why not avoid the shipping charges? [personal profile] pearl might be especially interested to know that the gentleman I bought the book from has the mundane surname Lucas. :-)

Finally, I sat with Baron Watkyn and his lady during evening court (I'd already attended an afternoon court on the archery field). When the winners of the A&S competition were announced, I was delighted to win third prize. House Corvus had made nice, soft blue pouches for the winners, plus I got 50 gold dollar coins in mine. :-) Of course I look forward to putting that money back into circulation among the SCA merchant community. :-)

(Photos of the turkey will be happening soon...)
luscious_purple: i'm in ur fizx lab, testin ur string therry (string therry)
I went to Holiday Faire and came home with a bunch of loot for not much money!

Let me explain. First of all, I didn't go to Philcon this year. Many of you realize my sentimental attachment to that con, dating back to 1987, but this year I didn't want to spend the cash (and I *did* spend a lot of cash on Philcon 2009). Out of the past 30 days I've spent eight nights in hotels, and I've both flown and ridden Amtrak, so I'm not exactly hankering for a getaway the way R. was (he went to Philcon, of course). Actually, R. did offer to subsidize me, but I told him -- graciously, I hope -- that I'd rather he reserve his help for sometime when I really need his help, like a car repair or something. I know that's a lot less fun than a con, but still....

Anyhow, back to Holiday Faire. I didn't post in this journal on Friday because I was busy making a turkey for the A&S competition. Yes, a turkey. The A&S competition had a turkey theme, and since this was part of the year-long House Corvus A&S Decameron, I really wanted to enter it.

Flashback to a few weeks ago, when the boy toy and I were shopping at the local farmers' market, I couldn't help noticing that a lot of the small ornamental gourds that are sold at this time of year are shaped like birds (well, bird heads/bodies/beaks, anyway). So I decided to make one of them into a turkey for the A&S competition. I encased the whole gourd in Viking wire knitting (also called trichinopoly), made some legs with heavier-gauge wire, attached two black glass beads for eyes and stuck a bunch of craft-store feathers into the wire stitches to make the wattle, wings and tail. I was up pretty late on Friday night finishing all this up. Then, on Saturday morning, I had to write some rush documentation, because while documentation wasn't "required," I knew darn well it would be expected.

So I got a slightly later start to my day trip than I had planned. Fortunately, the night before I had programmed "Lady Magellan" with the site address. I was expecting the GPS to lead me over the same route I'd taken to the Metalsmiths' Symposium at the same site two months ago, so I was a bit nonplussed when Lady Magellan told me to get off I-66 about 11 miles before I thought I was supposed to exit. There were times along the way when I couldn't help thinking, "What the hell...? Where is this thing taking me?" But ultimately I trusted the GPS and it got me to the site via a route about nine miles shorter than the route published in the Acorn, but with more stop lights and traffic, so it was only a little bit faster.

Anyhow, I got to the event just in time to enter my cute lil' turkey in the A&S competition. Then I bought a lunch and sat down to eat. First I found three of my Pennsic campmates from Southwind, who had just finished eating, so I got to chat with them a bit. Then I saw Maugie, Patches and Melinda, plus some other Stierbach folks. The local herald was suffering knee pain, so I offered to help him with a few announcements.

More later -- time to go to sleep.

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