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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Crown and my new Alternator (plus pics from Yule)

Crown Tourney - So once again, I was off camping for the weekend with the SCA. Sometimes I think I only come home on weekdays, and even then I sometimes don't come home. I need to look more closely at how I forget that I never come home. It's not always the choice I want to be making. But, that aside, I was quite pleased to spend my time at Crown this past weekend.

First: The Car - I got much of my prep done on Thursday, much to my surprise. In fact, I'd actually been spending all week washing and repacking things, staging them in the living room. There was actually less to do on Thursday than my normal weekend packing. Friday morning I packed the car to the gills, and headed to work. A few times I got that sinking feeling that something wasn't quite right with my car, but I'm hyper observant to every hum in that engine. I never know what the differences *mean,* but I notice them all!

Got to work, got plenty done, and got out of there at a fairly decent hour. Managed to avoid quite a bit of the freeway traffic with one of the major thoroughfares in town (Sepulveda Blvd, for those with local knowledge). I didn't bother with the pass and the worst intersection in the entire country (the 101-405 interchange), but took the path to the coast and enjoyed driving through Santa Monica and Malibu. Ahhh.... have I mentioned I love living here? *grin*

Got to Santa Barbara, did my last grocery shopping, and poof! my car wouldn't start. I'd noticed some power issues while driving, and the worst was on the final approach to the grocery store when the windshield wipers were in slow-motion. Ah. The battery had gone bad... and it was not only because it was over 120,000 miles old, but the alternator had never been replaced in 400,000 miles. My goodness! I get the most out of car parts!!

So, Triple A sent a tow-truck who jump-started (and partially charged) my battery for me. Svetlana had arrived in the final 2 minutes of the charging, so she hurried across the street to Sears to ask them to stay open so I could buy a new battery. I arrived, I bought the battery, they installed it, and verified the alternator was providing zero charge. So Svetlana followed me the 18 miles to site, and we unloaded at the camp site. I kept my fingers-crossed that the new battery would start me until I could go back to Santa Barbara on Sunday for an alternator.

Second: The Event - I had slept in my car on Friday night, because it was easier and warmer, plus I really was using the dayshade as a kitchen. I made a lovely chicken and broccoli dinner in the dark on Friday, and shared it with bread and the company of Svetlana, Sabas, and Jimena. Then Meala arrived in caravan with Diego, Elisheva, and Raphael. Many hands helped put up Meala's bell-wedge on one side of me, while I was wrapping up the dinner dishes and other site prep. I wasn't the only one sleeping in a vehicle, since Eli and D also crashed out in Raph's truck.

Saturday morning dawned beautiful, clear, and not at all as cold as the week before. I accidentally set up my dayshade too close to the Crimson Spade space, so on Saturday morning, we had to pull the stakes and move it over about 7 feet. Once it was shifted, I started the coffee and some breakfast for all comers. Everyone else in the Kingdom arrived in the next several hours, putting up pavilions and getting set for the day. This site has wonderful outdoor showers with nice hot water, so I got cleaned up and dressed in fresh clothing. Once coffee was cleaned up and put away, I could start visiting and getting set up for opening court.

Once again, the King asked me to sing the Caidan Fight Song for the end of court, setting the tone for everyone that we fight for the glory of our combined community, not just for ourselves. And I was just bowled over by the compliments and commentary I got from respected peers and friends alike, all day. A vocal music peer complimented my composition (and I have TONS of love and respect for Master Sean!), plus the Kingdom Arts and Sciences minister sought me out, to thank me for getting fighters to sing. Wow, gentlemen, thank you. Later a dear friend challenged me to write a song for the Artisans and Scientists of the Kingdom, and I've got some ideas percolating now!

But back to a description of the day. For the first time in a very long time, I really wasn't spending my day watching the Crown lists. A young man was hosting a "Deed of Arms" in memory of his sister, and I'd agreed to be his personal herald for the day. This was a formal challenge field with fighting done "over a barrier" (picture a wooden gate like jousting might ride past, and instead take 2 swordsmen fighting each other directly with the gate between them). If you've ever seen a Pas d'Armes, it was that type of barrier. The formal Deed that Dauid (yes, I spelled that correctly) was hosting including counted-attempted-blows, so each fighter threw 8 sword blows at their opponent. Each battle then had 16 blows, in memory of the 16 years that his sister has been gone. She would have been 40 years old this year, so Dauid wanted to take 40 challenges. The day ended with 24 fights total, which I pointed out 16 plus 24 equals 40. And he was willing to do the full set, but the day and the number of available fighters simply ran out. But he had some *wonderful* challenges, including knights, dukes, squires, new fighters, men, women, all comers. The Queen of the West (the kingdom just north of us) is a heavy weapons fighter too, and she was in armor all day for the Bye Fights (when the list is uneven and one fighter doesn't have a challenger in that round). She came to the Deed of Arms, and gave Dauid a wonderful battle in Lisa's memory. It was a huge honor for me, too, to serve as Dauid's herald for the day, and I enjoyed every moment.

Of course, being on Dauid's challenge field, I missed most of the Lysts and the socializing with the rest of the kingdom. But I briefly saw many of my friends, and thoroughly enjoyed what I could see of the Finals. Sir Sven and Sir Edward the Sinister met in Finals, and Edward emerged rightful Prince of our Realm. And Sven emerged a man of great honor and chivalry, and my respect for him went up exponentially. His conduct on the field is impeccable, and I adore him.

Third: The Evening - While Elisheva had made stew, it was beef, so I couldn't join them for potluck / stone-soup plans of pooling our main food resources. Instead, I made a pot of Israeli couscous (which was a much larger grain than your typical couscous), and a pan of veggies (onions, garlic, carrots, zucchini from Elisheva, and spinach). A couple of the ladies enjoyed my greens and grains with me, and we settled in around the fire. Arye and I each had drums with us, and we spent about a half-an-hour or more experimenting with Saaidi and anything we could invent. We played around in 5, in 7, slow patterns like Chitatelli, back to fast 2s and 4 patterns, trilling and triplets and other ornaments. It was like mathematics meets art at the fire with two drummers. It was beyond exhilarating and wonderful! Now I want to go learn more patterns, and the ability to experiment with them. One of these days, I'd really love some formal doumbek training. *sigh, happy sigh*

When I was tuckered out, I wandered next door and visiting with my Baron for a bit, wandered back for some community time with friends over Havdalah, and then wandered back and forth between the fire at my Barony and the fire at the Inn. We weren't nearly as musical as last week, and there was very little singing or storytelling this time around the fire. Perhaps we were all exhausted? Oh! And I visited with Kelebek, Rashid, their kitty cat Keegan, Don Alexander, and Baroness Morgana for a bit, too. I used to house-sit and kitty-sit for Keegan years ago, and so I got lots of extra overdue kitty snuggling. (Kelebek is the person who challenged me for an A&S-based composition.)

Currently, I'm also working on a recitation slash epic prose slash song for the History of the Royalty of Caid. I found some tester audiences with several friends, as I taught them the little chorus that goes with the presentation (which was well liked), and test the call-and-response or audience participation ideas, as well as work on my ability to remember the first 50% of the Kings and Queens. Wilhelm helped me refine the audience portion, and helped me practice my memorization for a while at the Deed of Arms. I'm really only solid for the 8 sets of Princes/Princesses, and the first 20 sets of Kings/Queens. I'm rough on the next 10 sets, and at 30 sets we're exactly half-way through the names. It's quite a task, and it has daunted other, better bards than me. But I'm determined to make this happen some how. It won't be your typical song that can be performed in any court (it's much too long!), but I think as the Kingdom Bard, I should be able to recite the lineage of our History and all our Royalty. It's tough, but it'll be worth it. And I'm thankful for all the input I got from all my tester audiences this weekend! You've really helped improve my project!

Fourth: The Car Recovery - After a lovely breakfast of challah french toast, garlic and onion potatoes, and coffee, a nice shower and fresh clothes, and an easy pack-down, we charged up my battery as much as possible from Dylan's truck, and I headed down the hill again. I found the Ford dealership, amazed a few salesmen with my 400,000+ miles, and they were able to point me to a service garage open on a Sunday. The Firestone store was just 3 blocks away, and they found a parts store that had my alternator in stock! There were enough hours still in the day for all the installation, and a McDonald's next door with nice A/C to wait around.

So, several hours later, I had a working car, a relaxing wait, and I headed over to Todde and Mora's house to hang out with other SCA friends who'd come down the hill from Crown. Santa Barbara traffic on a Sunday is usually pretty heavy, so many of us wait out the hot sunny afternoons, and don't attempt the final drive until it's dark and cool.

Mora and I sat in her hottub for hours (ahhh.....), Amy joined us, and nearly everyone drove home while a few folks went for dinner. When we three ladies had cooked ourselves completely in the spa, we got out and pooled our event foods for a dinner of 6 or 7 kinds of cheese, toast, and fresh summer salad with strawberries. Ah. That was lovely. The others came back with leftover Japanese food, we hung out a bit more, than everyone headed home and I crashed on their couch. It was much easier to sleep there than drive home tired. So I was up at 4:30 Monday morning, and headed home in the cool of the morning.

Since Then - I've been working late all week (into the wee hours) getting my Training Materials project done, and trying to leave early on Friday (today). With Adrienne & Jeff having their first child so close to Passover, she's not playing Hostess for all her friends like usual. I volunteered to be Hostess for Passover, since I'd never done it before but I enjoy attending Passover and hosting parties. Right now there are almost a dozen people coming to Saturday night and a different dozen coming to Sunday night, which is exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. But it'll work out just fine, I'm sure. I'm quite excited about the whole weekend, and then next week on Friday night, I'll go to a Passover Seder (at the end of Passover) at another friend's house. For that one, I'll be able to just sit back and relax and enjoy the presentation, and see some more friends who are coming in from out of town for it.

More Bamboo Updates - Ugh... I finally finished plying the 2-ounces that I spun so easily on my wheel: Massive tangling issues when I was trying to work with the singles and make a center-pull ball for plying. My mistake was trying to ply in the wheel and try using my ball winder -- neither of which are things I'm comfortable with. But a week's worth of heart-ache and nearly crying over the tangles (not really, but it felt like it!), I got everything de-tangled, and plied. So I went to pull the yarn off the wheel and found there was NOT even enough twist in the plies. So all that work, and still have to further ply the entire bobbin on my drop spindle. *giggle* Good thing there was a marathon of Battlestar Galactica leading up to the new episodes... I had lots of TV to watch/listen to all week while solving the plying issues!

So, now I know, it's not worth it to ply on the wheel *or* use the ball winder: Back to my tried-and-true favorites. I'll pull the singles off to my hand/wrist like I always do, and ply on a drop spindle like I always do. I'm fast at both, and I don't tangle my singles. Wow, what a lesson learned! But now I have: Approx. 65 yards, 14 wpi, 2 ply, 2 ounces of just the red and teal spun together. It's really pretty, and it's amazing to feel a big skein of the bamboo all at once! Such heft! Such shimmer!

On to the next couple of ounces, and some photography after this weekend. Lots of laundry, housecleaning, and shopping to do, and it's about time I wrap things up here at my desk.

Just Some Tiny Car Joy - And just an aside: This is the first week I've paid over $30 for a tank of gas - I finally had a tank that cost me $30.02. Okay, so I have a 9 gallon tank, and I usually fill up somewhere in the 7 or 8 gallon range. But I still get almost 38 mpg. And some people want me to get a new car?? You're insane. Not yet. I'm still getting so much from my Festiva!!! (Don't worry, I plan to car shop "for real," one of these days. Right now, I'm leaning towards a Toyota Yaris or a Chevy Aveo or a Honda Fit, or some other tiny, compact, 4-door hatchback. You know -- basically another Festiva, but built for the 21st Century.)

Today's Photo Portion - (1) The latest updates on the Bamboo Project (spinning on the wheel) [start at photo # 51]; (2) Lyondemere Yule 2007 (Dec 07); (3) Rapier Practice (Nov 07)

Bamboo Updates Lyondemere Yule 2007 Rapier Practice Nov 07

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Today's Blessing That I'm Thankful For: Sean and Guiseppe

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