A "G-Rated Journal" That Even My Mother Can Read (because she does!)

Effervescence is a state of mind. It's about choosing to bring sunshine to the day.
Every person I meet matters.

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Daddy-do and me, 2010

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Two Camping Weekends in a Row

Hello friends and family! Did you miss me? I missed you! I've lots to catch you up on, and so I'll try to be brief, and yet still entertain you all with the whirlwind that is my day-to-day life.

I cannot remember Wed or Thursday last week at all, so on to:

Fri Mar 31 - We had a lovely work lunch with a client. Afterwards I had a quick appointment, and then it was time to go home to pack and travel to King's Hunt with Caterina. I underestimated my packing time: It actually takes about 90 minutes to pack my car for a big camping trip, not 30. There was some slight rain as I drove her truck, and it was just lightly misting or drizzling on site when we arrived. Rather than set up in the rain, everyone made room for us to bed down for the night. So after a lovely hot dinner it was early to sleep, with plans for early to rise.

Sat Apr 1 - One nice thing about camping is that I rarely need an alarm clock. The merest hint of sunshine on a tent or pavilion wakes me easily. I got up and set up my "Coffee Bar of Splendoor" and helped get everyone ready for the day with the hot beverage of their choice: coffee, tea, chocolate, or spiced cider.

It was also a bright and sunny Saturday morning, so it was easy to begin setting up our pavilions and tents. I had a ton of fun on site, taking photos, working on various fiber arts projects, and just hanging out with friends all day. It was a lazy wonderful day, and one of the nicest camping events around.

In the evening we set up a double-fire camping ring, and before serving dinner, there were a few presentations. Marcos was promoted from being a "Powder Monkey" on the ship, to being a Gunner's Mate, and received an incredibly lovely re-enactment gun as a gift. And Collette came through and finished all the custom shot-glasses I commissioned. So for my first special White Star household camping trip, I was able to present gifts to my household and my sister household. Now everyone has a shot glass of their own, engraved with the symbol of their household (a white star on a blue glass for us, an enameled red spade on clear glass for the Crimson Spade). And the Captain's glass is engraved with "Captain" and is enameled white (not just plainly etched) so his shot nearly glows in the dark.

Then Caterina and I were able to serve up our first joint-effort dinner: Couscous with grilled onions and garlic, Grilled/Stir-fried veggies (carrots, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers), and Spiced/Herbed Chicken (cubed small, and browned with parsley, spices, garlic, etc.). And for dessert, we did baked apples in the Dutch oven. If you've never seen/used a Dutch oven, allow me to explain: It's a cast-iron pot with a heavy cast-iron lid. You start some briquettes of charcoal, and when they're hot and grey, you place equal numbers under and on top of the cast-iron pot with lid. For each briquette, you count 25-degrees in an oven: 12 briquettes is 300 degrees, etc.

So we started the apples first, and they were baking while we chopped veggies, cooked the chicken, held all the presentations, and then served the dinner. I cored the apples, packed the bottom with raisins, packed in brown sugar on top, and sealed the top of the core with more raisins. Then we filled the dutch oven with 10 or 12 apples, poured in a bit of water (to steam them while baking), and set it to cook. They were *melting* and amazing and decadent when we served them.

We had tons of left-overs, so we invited the college kids from Isles (the UC Santa Barbara shire) to join our meal, and they helped us polish off all the food. And the fun we had handing bowls of baked apples to the guys! Remember, it was now pitch dark around a campfire, and very difficult to see what was being served. But young 20-something guys don't turn down hot food... but they're never really certain what they are about to eat. So it was wonderful fun to listen to them exclaim with joy when they tasted our yummy dessert!

(We spoil our friends. We know it. *grin*)

The rest of the evening was spent around the fire, telling stories, singing songs, enjoying a few drinks, and generally enjoying each other's company. I hit the hay pretty early, just out of sheer exhaustion.

One last note: We have a "10,000 Steps a Day Challenge" going on at work, for a raffle drawing to win an iPod. (I know, I already have one....) But it started on April 1st, so I had to put my pedometer on my belt pouch to record my activities for the day. I'm finishing this journal draft at home and my pedometer records are at work, so I'll have to share my numbers with you tomorrow. But I'm happy to report I really have been doing well.

Sun Apr 2 - Sunday morning we shared a leisurely breakfast together and then began clean up and packing to head home. It's always more difficult to do shorter camping trips, but King's Hunt is such an enjoyable event, it's really worth it.

We all caravan'ed down the hill back to Santa Barbara, and stopped for lunch at the Chicken Ranch. I'd only just learned of this place after Black Oak Lodge earlier in March, and I'm glad I remembered how to get there since everyone enjoyed the food so much there for lunch.

Tue Apr 4 - No idea what happened on Monday, other than I know I didn't do one bit of cleaning up from camping. I was going to be camping two weekends in a row, so there was just no motivation for cleaning in between.

Tuesday I spent some time in the studio, as this was our last chance to work the set list for next week's show for Dayle's birthday party.

Wed Apr 5 - I spent my entire night working late on the photos from King's Hunt, link forthcoming (see below!).

Thu Apr 6 - Tonight was the Shire meeting, but I knew I couldn't make it in person. So I managed to send in reports remotely, then went home to prepare for Crown. I also picked up the kitchen pavilion and some other camping equipment from Caterina.

Fri Apr 7 - I spent nearly the whole day at work finishing my Year-end assessment, and then jetted over to Deja's house for Michelle's wedding. She had asked me to sing for her wedding, and specifically to write something for her and her husband-to-be. So I did "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof, by her request. Then I sang "With You" from Pippen, probably my all-time-favorite musical theatre love song. And then I sang her special song, which went over *really* well with everyone there. The lyrics were basically written by Michelle and by JB, although I put together the song entirely myself. Michelle sent me lyric ideas, and JB just babbled non-stop on the phone for me on Thursday morning. Then I took elements from each of them, and wove together the song.

Sat Apr 8 - Then back home Friday night, and up at 4 am to pack my car for Crown Tourney. Wilhelm was fighting in Crown Lists for the first time, and for the honor of possibly making me Queen. I arrived in time for us to sign up on lists, and it was a *lovely day*. It was very sunny AND extremely windy, so there were some issues with everyone's pavilions. I never bothered to set up my day shade since I knew the wind was too strong and the ground too sandy that my tent stakes would have been ripped right up out of the ground.

Wilhelm did a lovely job fighting for the day, and has written a *wonderful* account of the day. Please, enjoy reading it and leave him some encouraging words, will you?

Besides enjoying the lists, I was also feeding several friends for the 2-day event. A bunch of folks from Darachshire got sick or hurt and couldn't attend, so there were actually not enough people to feed (read: lots of leftovers). And I totally should have used sunscreen. Silly me.

After a nice dinner, we sat around chatting with friends and enjoying Inga's Peach/Ginger Honey Mead, which was really sweet and smooth. She promises I can taste the Black Cherry Honey Mead next, one of her premier brews. I like mead, yummmmm.

Sun Apr 9 - We spent a lazy morning packing, with the exception of an adrenaline moment when the gale-force winds ripped a corner of the household kitchen pavilion. So now I have both cleaning AND repairs this week on the equipment. Ah well. I think we took it down before it got much larger than about a 12-inch straight rip on the weave of the fabric, which should be easy to repair.

Then Wilhelm and I had a lovely lunch in town before each driving to our respective homes. When I got home, my darling amazing roomie helped me unpack my car. We walked over to the shopping center (5 min walk around the corner) and got some Chinese food for dinner, and just sat around the kitchen at home, chatting and catching up. I have the best roomie!

Mon Apr 10 - And now for Today's Special Announcement: The Beta Launch of My Photo Albums. Check back any time you like, I'll be adding more photos as I go. Right now, enjoy the photos from King's Hunt (last weekend's camping event).

Okay, now for my last big purchase for a while. You'll remember I bought a 60 GB iPod, which was a really big deal for me. I'm such a late-adopter for technology, and I often take forever to save up money for large purchases. Then again, my car only cost me $1000, so when I buy anything for $500 I think "two of these is a car." Or when I bought my laptop and all its software for $2000, I thought "wow, two cars is a laptop with all the software I use."

Well, today I finally decided to splurge on a large external hard drive. I usually try to keep my common files on my thumbdrive, a cute little 128 MB SanDisk that I have with me everywhere. Then, over Christmas/New Year's I finally backed up all my laptop files on to CD, so I have my older archived files from home just on 3 CDs in my backpack. But every now and then I think I really just need a large external hard drive for backup, and so that all my website work is backed up in one place. I don't really have a backup of all my website work anywhere, and this worries me.

So with a little online comparison shopping, by the end of the week I should have a 40 GB iOmega external hard drive! Now I can have my home files, my external drive backup files, and my CD file backups to put somewhere safe. I keep wondering if I should get a safe-deposit box, for my most important files and backups. My paranoid side is thinking that would be a good idea. Especially since I'm finally getting my photos all organized and accessible.

Oh, I forgot to mention: Sir Sven won Crown, and the honor of crowning Sir Kolfinna as his consort. So, some Photos from Crown, on Kolfinna's site

Finally, upcoming plans for this week: Lots of cleaning, and Seder Wednesday night at Adrienne's place.
* * * * *
Today's Blessing That I'm Thankful For: Hope, for all her help with all my webdesign, even if she's moved halfway across the country. You rock, dearheart.
* * * * *
Exercise week of Mar 27 - Three 30-min sessions in the gym
Exercise week of Apr 3 - Never made it into the gym, but went walking every day of the week

Weight Loss This Week: I wrote it all down, and then forgot to take the list with me, so here's all that I can remember:
Sat 4/8 - 16.8, I left for Crown knowing that I'd returned to my personal best on Saturday morning.
Mon 4/10 - 16.6, Okay, pretty close. *grin*

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