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.

If it's written down, I know it (If it's not written down, I don't know it)
If it's color-coded, I understand it (If it's not color-coded, I don't understand it)

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Daddy-do and me, 2010

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So Much To Tell You!

So Much To Tell You! - Let's see how quickly and succinctly I can tell my tales. Three VERY FULL weeks have gone by, so here's some highlights and a few detailed stories. Enjoy!

Sun Apr 5: Ren Faire - My roomie is performing with a musical troupe at the Southern CA Renaissane Faire, her second season with the Faire, and so opening weekend I spent Sunday wandering from stage to stage, just watching her shows and taking lots of photos. Her troupe also recorded a CD and just released it this weekend, so it's been a big deal for them. They're really good, and I highly recommend you try to see them if you can: "Commedia Volante"

Passover at Adrienne's this year included a full house on night one, and a small intimate set of friends on night two. Last year, I played hostess since little Benji was about one month old. This year, he's just gotten his feet under him, and he can run around the house without holding onto things now. So on night one, I kept him entertained while Adrienne finished everything in the kitchen. We practicially "ran laps" through the house, the hallways, the outside porch, all over the place. I make him smile and giggle (and get hiccups), and he makes me so happy! On night two, I arrived a little late but he actually launched himself out of mom's arms into my arms, to my great surprise. Ah, contented Auntie!

B'nei Caid is a loose affliation of people who are Jewish or interested in Jewish things, who are also part of our SCA region. On the few times that we throw a dinner or party or celebration, it's usually in garb (SCA costuming). So this year's Passover dinner was hosted by Meala, and we had a good dozen folks able to be there, including two friends who drove up to LA from San Diego. I finally met one of the guys who's been coming to some of the fighter practices recently, nice guy who's headed towards rabbinical studies soon. And one of the gals was able to drive down from my old shire, so it was a fantastic dinner.

And the rest of that week was rounded out by Baronial council and the finishing of the April newsletter.

Sun Apr 12: Easter - At my Mom's, to see my Mom, step-Dad, sister, nieces, nephew, step-siblings, more nieces, Cousins, cousins' children, friends of the family and children... It was a full house, for certain! Unfortunately I was running a little late, so I didn't get to see my older nieces, but I did get to spend some more time with my little nephew, and watch the boy cousins go spinning around the house. It's really interesting to experience my Mom as the Grandma with a house full of grandkids, especially after growing up with a gaggle of cousins running around my Grandma's house for the holidays. After a nice afternoon meal, back home to keep working on projects.

During that week, however, a small health scare with my Mom. She went to the hospital with high-blood pressure, and was kept overnight for observation that Monday evening. So Tuesday night, I went back to my Mom's to hang out for a bit to see her, tease her a little bit about not calling me when she was in the hospital, and generally just feel better that she was probably okay. I don't think there's been a diagnosis about WHY she needs to be on blood pressure meds now, but currently my understanding is she's doing better.

Sat Apr 18: A Night at the Inn - So some of my friends have a household within the SCA, and their household's persona is an Inn. ("Persona" is sort of like saying "my character is a ____" although the SCA isn't a dramatic group, unlike the Ren Faire which *is* a theatrical presentation. There's a joke that someone was playing a banjo, and said "but my banjo's persona is a lute!" My persona is roughly set in late 1300's England, before the turn of the century at 1400 when dags come into fashion... but that's another story). So, their household's persona is an Inn. And within that setting, they threw a house party (with SCA costuming as a theme) as a private fundraiser (not an SCA event). That make sense?

Anyways, it was a house party that was all about celebrating the Bardic Arts in the SCA. It was a fantastic line-up of performers: Sir Charles of Dublin did a lengthy set of songs from the earliest days of Caid. It was fantastic to get some of the best of the early history, and to see that the bardic history is NOT lost, and is still being shared and passed on. After Charles, Elisheva did a featured belly-dance for us, with her father Leonidas playing lute and me on doubek. She really did a beautiful job, and it was a treat since many people there have never seen her dance. On a personal note, I need to add "practice good drumming patterns" to my regular artistic endeavors.

Quick intermission, then a single song from Lord Gideon, the Stage Manager of the Crimson Spade (and probably you could say Patriarch of the household). It was a fantastically humorous "filk" (or popular song with re-written lyrics, usually to reference history or SCA-specific themes) taking "House of the Rising Sun" and making it about their Inn of the Crimson Spade. Totally cute!

Then me! Yup, I was one of the performers, and it was bizarre to work on a "set list" for a stage performance. I so rarely perform a set of songs all in a row, and so for this event I sang: (a) Widow and the Devil (by Mick Ryan), (b) First You Take A Sheep (c) Mara's Song, (d)The Swordsman's Honor, (e) Back As I Remember (the Darachshire Song), partially because it references the Inn, (f) I Love Caid, I Am Caid -- with an extra new verse, written just for the Inn:

I've friends to stand with me to face every fight
I have a place where I sing every night
I run the games where your fortunes are made
At the Inn of the Crimson Spade

And after my performance, a full and wonderful set by Baron Thomas. Now, Thomas has been doing music composition, guitar, and vocal performance for years. He truly has the artful polished, and spent years as a wandering bard in the SCA, even surviving on exchanging music for his keep. And I'm so glad that he finished out the evening -- he did a *Masterful* job. If I were to set my sights on learning to be like someone else, there's so much in what Thomas does with performing that I can learn from. My only reservation is that I'm really not that much of a guitarist. I'll have to ponder that issue, since it's not that I haven't played many instruments along the way in life, I've just never been primarily a performer who can do singing and instrumental accompaniment at the same time.

The whole evening was fantastic, and I got to spend some extra time hanging out with my friends Kim and Kevin. They came to my house to crash for the night, and we had a fantastic time and lingered over breakfast in the morning.

The only other side story is that my car looked like it was losing coolant and water, but it was likely the AC condensation on Saturday, since they couldn't find any problems with the coolant system on Sunday. But Jon Thomme and Eva gave me a ride to the Inn, and Kim and Kevin gave me a ride home, and then JT & E came to pick me up again on Sunday morning... because...

Sat Apr 25 and Sun Apr 26: Pentathlon - ...Every extra moment on the weekends and in the evenings after work, I was doing nothing by final preparation for Pentathlon. Our team was made up of Tonwen, Medb Renata, and their assorted apprentices: Me and Conchobhar (pronounced "connor"), Jon Thomme and Eva.

The only sad part of my Pentathlon preparation was that I just didn't get my White Star team contribution done, which when Mariam didn't finish her mosaic, the two of us together dropped the total under the team minimum. And with my roomie's conflict with the Ren Faire, she dropped her performance piece and went to the Faire and her troupe's CD release party instead. I felt like I really let my household down, but it did mean a silver lining for my roomie, that she didn't have to sit around Pentathlon all day, waiting to play a music piece, when she could spend the day with her Ren Faire troupe instead. In some small part, I'm glad she got to go to the Faire.

Back to the "Whole Hog of Damocles" -- our team. (Yes, a combination of "Going Whole Hog" and "the Sword of Damocles.") Our grand entry to stun everyone was THE BOG. We grew a bog! And then, we presented it as a "Model" of a bog burial, complete with: A bog body, ritually sacrificed and staked down in the bog, with a leader garrot around his neck, linen undershirt, linen pants, wool over-tunic, wool patterned woven shawl, wool leg wraps, leather turn shoes, metal torc (necklace), hair tied in a swabian knot (just like an actual bog find), and other artifacts found in the bog with him included a metal cauldron with stamped coins, a ritually sacrificed (destroyed) sword, hand-made glass beads, amber beads, a carved bone comb, a drop spindle... and the bog itself, complete with the peat and carnivorous plants.

Edited Addendum: I closed the computer and remembered I forgot to mention the tiny naalbinding stitched hat and socks, made by Medb Renata... and assurances for Enid and Beabhinn that yes, this was in miniature!

For my part of the rest of the team entries, I spun linen threads--one skein of singles, at 35 wraps per inch and one skein of 2-ply, at 25 wraps per inch. And then I performed a dramatic reading of an original composition (based on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight), called The Court of Caid and the Blue Knight, with our Queen Kolfinna as the Hero in the story. I wanted to have the whole piece memorized for the performance, but I wrote 15 stanzas... and only had 5 of them memorized by the time I got to the hotel on Friday night. Tonwen is a Smart Laurel, and commented to me, "We entered you in the category of 'Dramatic Reading' -- You could *READ* it!" This had me falling apart in laughter, and very relieved.

The rest of the team included naalbinding socks by Medb Renata, a Research paper by Tonwen, leather turn shoes by Conchobar, a bone comb by Jon Thomme, a castle made from pastry and sugars (that you can set on fire) by Eva, and I could be forgetting something... Plus of course, the gigantic documentation and research that went into the bog itself. We were hoping (a) maybe we could win as a team, and at least (b) the Bog would be the talk of the event.

We achieved both! The bog won the "People's Choice" in voting by secret ballot on Sunday, and our Team won the Team competition! *squee*

I still need to process all my photos from the events on Saturday and Sunday, and then I need to unlock the photo album of all the bog artifacts (since the project was secret). But there will be many photos yet to come.

"What Can I Do With My Life for Two Years In Twentry-Four Easy-to-Manage Monthly Portions - My grand philosophy and project. What can I do for 24-months? It started as the long-range plan for Pentathlon 2011, and has blossomed into a grand adventure.

These are some rough sketches of areas I want to focus on, and patterns of how I want to see things develop over 24 months. You'll be hearing much about my "24-month plan" but those are the graphic representation of my brain-storming yesterday. But now I need to head to the office, so I'll sign-off and tell you more later.

* * * * *

Today's Blessing That I'm Thankful For: The Whole Hog of Damocles

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