Friday, December 6, 2013


So, I've been busy...

August had Sport of Kings, a four-day SCA event with lots of classes for fighters. I mostly went to host a dinner. It went over very well, and I was pleased with how it went. And Phil and Annie unexpectedly showed up, which was delightful. They ended up talking stick and drilling a little with Amalric, which was fun to watch. I came home exhausted however, which was not so fun.

In September I went down to Myrtleholt for Summits Coronet. The weather was pretty ghastly. I spent my time sitting under Bera and Alail's dayshade, drinking tea. I was not particularly thrilled with the Laurel meeting. (Can't say any more than that.) After the tournament was over I drove to Ashland and spent the rest of the weekend with James. It was nice to be warm and comfy while the rain was coming down.

Went to visit my granddaughters on the way home, but had a difficult trip home- just north of the Coburg exit my wipers died. It was something in the link between teh motor and the arms that broke, after 32 years of service. But I had to drive the rest of the way home with no wipers. At night. With copious amounts of rain coming down. I'd prefer to never do that again.

In October I taught the second section of the Survey of the Middle Ages series, covering the time from the death of Charlemagne to the Magna Carta. It was utterly exhausting, but rewarding. I have a new map- Europe, modern borders but laminated, so I can draw on it. It's fabulous and was very useful. And hitting the Burgerville before going home was very nice.

November was bust with the Diocese Convention, held in Eugene. I was a delegate this year, which was interesting. There were a lot of votes on various positions, which was somewhat boring, as I don't know a lot of the people yet. But the two votes I was interested in were good ones. We passed a resolution to work on divesting our Diocese investment portfolio from fossil fuels. It will not be easy, and the financial committee will have quite a task to do it, but I think it is a step in the right direction. The other important measure was a resolution to support the advancement of marriage equality. This even made the Portland news, which was interesting. (I didn't know they cared about church matters.)

Now to the bang...

Saturday morning of Convention, James and I were going from the motel to the convention center, through the one-way grid downtown. I couldn't remember which direction which streets went, so I was looking up on the pole for the one-way sign.

And ran a red light.

James yelled, and that split second I saw a car coming from my left, and I turned the wheel as hard as I could, to get out of the way. Didn't make it. There was a very loud BANG!

I managed to turn around and pull over. The car was still going ok, so I figured that was good. Damage was... less than I'd thought, but still bad.

(Not all of my pictures would upload from my phone.)

The light panel on the driver's rear was crushed. The bumper was pulled completely out on the left, and it didn't bend or twist- it punched in the right side. And it had pushed back hard enough that it went up and over the trailer hitch.

The other driver was fine. No one was hurt. There was some damage to her front end, but her car was also drivable. Whew!

We took Zippy to a body shop for an estimate, and they said that they didn't think it could be repaired, and if it could, it would be $4300. Not likely! But James managed to pull the bumper back up and over, and pushed it on, though it is still missing some bolts. The light panel we're not sure what to do with. So she is going down to see out usual mechanic next week, and we'll see what he can do. In the meantime, I am without wheels, unless I borrow Wanda's truck, which I don't like to do.

Wanda and I went to see the 50th Anniversary episode of Doctor Who. It was interesting. Sure was nice to see David Tennant in the pinstripes again. :-D

But Thanksgiving was terrific! All of my kids were here, with their significant others, and of course two 3-year-old girls, to make things exciting. Turkey Day was rough, as the oven decided it was not a good day to cook, and the 4 hour turkey became a 7 hour turkey. But it was eventually done, and the rest of the dinner was very nice. And the rest of the weekedn was fun- the kids played games, I had some time with the girls, and I had time with James, which is always nice. Saturday we had a birthday party for the girls, complete with balloons, dinosaur cupcakes, dinosaur candles, a box of plastic dinosaurs, and new dresses. It was a lot of fun, having cake, and watching them chase each other with dinosaurs.

The rest of December is sort of up in the air, partly because of Zippy, and partly because of finances, and the holidays. And I have no idea what to get James, which is a bummer. My kids will get some small things, and the twins will get some new clothes, I think. It's fun to sew for them.

And I am hoping that I have something more to say soon!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Documentation Basics for SCA Artisans

This is from a handout I made a couple of years ago for a class on documentation. I thought it might be useful for others, especially with fall and winter events and A&S competitions coming ahead...

Documentation Basics for SCA Artisans

*The first thing to remember: DOCUMENTATION IS NOT RETROACTIVE!*

    There are three parts to documentation:
                    Before the project– research
                    During the project– process
                    After the project– synthesis


Start with a question–
    i.e. “I want to make a Thing. What was the Thing like in the Middle Ages?

Look at your sources–

A primary source is an extant object (or photo for SCA purposes).

A secondary source is writing about the object. (Inbetween primary and secondary is sort of a half-step– archeological dig records and notes.)

A tertiary source is writing about the writing, such as a review article, annotated bibliography, etc.

WIKIPEDIA IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE SOURCE! It is at best a tertiary source. You can use it to point you towards sources, but combing through their citations. But don’t rely on any of the information you see there.

Take careful notes as you go– including dead ends, things that didn’t fit your vision, or opposed your basic theory. Particularly note: What did you find? What didn’t you find? From there you can narrow your research into some more specific questions.

So what do you want to know? The basic five questions that a journalist asks are a good place to start.

    *WHO made the Thing? (This would be People or Ethnicity.)
    *WHAT is it? What does it do?
    *WHERE was it made?
    *WHY was it made? What was it for, why was it needed?
    *WHEN was it made? (Rough time period, at least to start.)
    *HOW was it made? What tools, techniques, and materials were used?

If at all possible, come up with at least three sources. If you have one that is very primary (such as extensive photos and the records from the dig where it was found), two might do. The more sources, the better.

Take notes of all of this, make photocopies, take photographs, etc.

Note any conclusions you might make– i.e. “The Thing was made in France and England, but I was not able to find evidence of it in Italy. It shows up in the mid 15th century, and faded out with the introduction of the Whatsit. The Thing was made of calfskin and pickled herring, occasionally with lutefisk.”



Basically, this entails taking notes as you make your Thing. Costumers often do this as a ‘dress diary’. Take notes, draw diagrams, and snap photographs as you go, including parts, the interior, the underside, etc.

Assemble your tools and materials– refer to your research notes, and cite them: “I used Persian calfskin because examples 3 and 4 in the museum at Bayeux were made of it.”

Not any variations or deviations you make, and why: “I used canned pickled herring because my wife threatened to divorce me if I made my own in her kitchen.” Also note expected or possible differences that might arise in your project if you make changes.


Keep notes of your techniques, any problems with tools or materials or the process of construction: “The calfskin fell apart if the herring was spread too thickly.” A fair amount of this will involve trial and error. Record your findings: “½" was too much, 1/8" was too thin, 1/4" was just right.”
    Note how it is or isn’t like a period Thing. Does it work? If not, do you know why?


Writing your documentation for an Arts & Sciences competition entry:

Documentation is the synthesis and writing of Research and Process: info that you already have!

Summarize your research notes. If you have drawings or photos, add them. Be sure to cover your Who, What, Why, When, and How questions and their respective answers.

Summarize your process notes– and be sure to detail your choices and the differences from the period Thing, and your reasons for those differences.


*Books and articles: The format (MLA, APA, CHICAGO, etc) doesn’t matter so much as being consistent with it. The information you need to record is: the author, title, publisher and place of publication, and the date of publication. If it is from a journal or magazine, note the issue and page numbers.

*Websites: the URL and title of the website, and the page, if it is a multi-page site.

*Illuminations: Illuminations have specific systems– i.e. if the picture is captioned with something like “BN 1179, 4v”, it is from the Bibliotheque Nationale, document number 1179, page 4, verso (front). These citations will vary some from museum to museum.

If you personally took photos such as at a museum, note where you took them, the information on the exhibit card (provenance), and if possible, the light level.

Personal interviews should note the interviewer, the person being interviewed, and the place and time it took place.

If this documentation is being assembled for a competition, there may be specific rules. Be sure to read them, and assemble your information accordingly.

If this isn’t for a competition, write it up anyway! It will come in handy when you go to make another one, or to share with another artisan, to write an article, or simply to add to the knowledge base of the re-creation community.

    So that is the basics of Documentation: Research, Process, and Synthesis!

You now have the basics of arts and sciences research and documentation and are ready to research, make stuff, and share your learning with others! Go forth and create!

copyright Laura C. Minnick, 2011

Monday, June 24, 2013

Coronation Dinner De-brief

Ok, this is something I posted on Facebook last summer, and I'm moving it over here so that people who have not succumbed to Zuckerberg's empire can see it. Cheers!

The Coronation Dinner de-brief

First off: We did it! I am still alive!

There had been much planning, research, buying of serving dishes. Re-construction of notes (lost my notebook on the way to Investiture- disastrous!) and cross-checking on stuff happened.

And then I cut part of my finger off.

Only a little- the tip of the pad on my left index, WHERE ALL THE NERVE ENDINGS ARE. We couldn't get it to stop bleeding, and ended up in ER. This was of course the weekend before the big dinner. This was the beginning of prep week, of course.

Also had interesting challenges: two of the diners were both lactose and gluten intolerant. That cut down my options significantly. I dealt with it.

Sources and research:

Well, there aren't any extant Carolingian cookbooks. So I've had to work from a number of things, and sort of triangulate from there.

We do have Anthimus, a diplomat and doctor who wrote his little book on food about two centuries before my time. (I'm shooting for 780-800.) He doesn't really offer recipes per se, but somewhat oblique instructions on how he thinks food should be cooked. But he's a bit odd. He says that the Franks are very healthy because they eat their bacon raw, but then turns around and says it's not good to eat.

We have archeological soureces, which have accounts on what is found in the middens, etc. If there's fish bones in the trash, you can be sure someone ate the fish. Bonnie Effros in particular has some good information.

We also have the Capitularies- documents that Charlemagne sent out to the managers of his various estates. He detailed what cereals were to be grown in the fields, what vegetables were to be grown in the gardens, what animals to raise, even what sort of bedding should be there when he visited. These documents give us detailed information on what foods were available- very solid info for determining their diet.

We also have the later Roman cookbooks. The Franks weren't a whole lot later than teh Romans, and much of France in particular was heavily Romanized. The Roman cookbooks were still in circulation (the doctors in Charles' court were known to have some) but we don't know how much they might have used them.

The foods I tried to keep to things we know were grown on Frankish lands, or readily accessible by trade. I also tried to keep to what was available seasonally, or kept in storage in a cold cellar.

Diners were:

TRMs Vik and Astrid
TAH Telisia, of the Summits
THs Gemma and Steinn of Tir Righ
THs Ogedei and Ifatayo of Avacal

Staff were:

Serving and some kitchen help- Malcolm and Yseult, with a little help from the young Gryphon.
Kitchen help- Idonia, Ursel, Katrine, Ulric, Diedre.
Cleanup- Ulric and Diedre, Gerard, Idonia.
Comic relief- Amalric.

And my staff got noshes too.


We were pretty sure that court would be late, so we planned for the first course to be things that could probably wait, and the second course to be cooked while the first was being served.

First off, there was formal hand-washing. I seated the diners all on one side of the table, and we did the handwashing from the front (as well as the service). First the sanap was laid over the dishes, then the water and towel were offered, and the sanap removed. This proceeded according to precedence, with TRMs first, TAH Summits next, the Avacal and Tir Righ.

The hors d'oeuvres were trays of fruits, nuts, cheese and olives. Fresh apricots, cherries, salted almonds, an assortment of kalamata and green olives, some Dubliner and havarti with dill. I almost hated to send them out, they were so pretty.

And we served a cabbage soup made with beer, beef broth, and caraway. I found a gluten-free beer, thanks to a tip from Malcolm. We also served this beer with dinner, as well as a sparkling white wine. I didn't get to the red we had for the second course, and I completely forgot about the pear cider.

The First Course:

Pork roast, marinaded with vinegar and wine, a little olive oil, lots of garlic, salt and pepper. The leftover marinade was boiled, and with a little more wine, turned into a sauce to drizzle over the pork.

Plum sauce, made of plums from our tree out back, red wine, and powder fort.

Rainbow trout, roasted with lemon slices stuffed in the cavity, and served with a drizzle of lemon and some capers.

Black-eyed peas, boiled with a little chicken broth and some smoked pork neck bones.

Carrots and parsnips cooked with a little chicken broth, white wine, drained, and tossed with white wine vinegar and a little honey.


Salad, dressed with vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper, and a few raspberries tossed in with the greens.

Roasted pears, cut in eighths, half of which had the centers filled with goat cheese and drizzled with a raspberry goo, the other half filled with an almond paste and topped with candied ginger. (I wanted one of the raspberry ones and I'm still peeved that there were none left!)

The Second Course:

Chicken with fennel (very tasty!).

Sweet and Sour Beef (sort of borked off of Anthimus, but much simpler), the sauce was more subtle than I'd planned, mostly because I ran out of vinegar and honey, but it was very nice that way.

Lentils with cumin (always a real hit- I had to squirrel some away so I could have it later!).

Leeks simmered in chicken broth and white wine, salt, and pepper.

I know I used a bunch of parsley, but can't remember on what.

Dessert: Tarts- one filled with almond paste and Morello cherries, the other with mascarpone and peaches. I made gluten-free crusts by making basically graham-cracker crusts, using almond meal in place of the crumbs. I'm not entirely happy with how these worked- in particular the cheese didn't work- the combination was too fatty, and the crust burned on the bottom. The almond and cherry one was very tasty but was gummy. I'd worked on the crust earlier in the week, but hadn't tried it with the filling. Note for next time- try the whole thing.Wrap-up:

I was REALLY happy with it on the overall. The diners were happy and went away stuffed. The staff was happy and got noshes, I was happy. We worked hard, but I felt prepared and didn't feel rushed or anxious. The only disaster was dropping a bowl of leeks I'd reserved for the beef. I managed to not hurt myself, we had enough food, and the leftovers are not vast.

Have I learned anything? Yup! For one thing, I'm learning to ask for and accept help. And I'm learning who I can rely on. And I've learned just how much I can do when I'm prepared.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. Well, after my bank account recovers. Ow.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chasing Frankish geese...

So here's the deal. I've had this picture in my files for awhile now, and I have no idea where I got it. The little strip at the bottom says "The Australian National University", but a search of this university's website, including their art collection, has turned up nothing. I have no citation for the damn thing.

It's ivory, and from the style of the carving, the drapes, clothes, etc, I suspect 8th or 9th century.

The scene, confirmed by the inscription, is of what we call the Visitation, when Mary, newly pregnant with Jesus, visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. The scripture says that upon meeting, the fetal John leapt for joy and the presence of the embryonic Savior.

My problem is that I want to use the image in a class, and have no citation, so I really can't. Going through my pictures, I'm finding that this is true of a lot of them.


And my usually mighty Google-fu is not so mighty.

I has a sad.

In other news, I talked to my doctor about the sleep problems that I've been having, and happily she actually had help for me! Yay! But it is more drugs! Not so yay!. On the other hand, IT IS WORKING. Like a charm. No more dementors trying to kill me in my sleep. I had one nightmare, but it was an ordinary, garden-variety nightmare, and I'm ok with that.

Also, my granddaughters are cuter than ever:
 Ilyana, looking mischievous...
Anastasia, sweet and shy.

The best of friends.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

To sleep, perchance to dream...

There's a reason I'm starting this blog post at ten to 5 am.

I'm afraid to sleep.

There's an interesting phenomenon we call 'Sleep Paralysis'. Some people call it lucid dreaming. Basically we go through several cycles as we sleep, from deep sleep to lighter sleep and back again, several times. REM is the deep sleep, and we do most of our dreaming then. To keep us from flailing around and acting out our dreams, our bodies put us into an atonia, or paralysis. The problem is that sometimes the REM and the semi-wakefulness get out of sync, and we're semi-awake but paralyzed.

People going through this report things such as hearing noises in the house or in the room, an intense feeling that someone is in the room, usually a malevolent presence. Often they can feel someone touch them or climb on the bed, and it is VERY common to feel that the being is choking or smothering them. Attempts to cry out or defend themselves are futile. The terror is unlike anything else. And this phenomenon is known in nearly every culture around the world. Sometimes it is known as 'The Hag' and often the malevolent beings have names. Sometimes they are vaguely human/demonic, sometimes animals or other creature such as aliens. Sometimes they appear to be ghosts, reanimated dead, vampires, succubi or incubi, or demonic religious beings. Often they are hooded.

Frequently the victims are aware that they are not quite awake but are dreaming- but the being is still there, and the threat and terror are still present. Thinking 'This will end if I can just wake up' leads to increased struggles to move or shout, and sometimes it works. And sometimes it doesn't.

I've had the episodes off and on as long as I can remember. Things would come out of my closet and climb on the bed. I would try to scream but couldn't. Vampires were frequent visitors. As I got into adolescence and deeper into the pentecostal religious frame, the beings were demons of various forms. The most memorable episode (until of late) happened when I was staying over in Sutherlin, with James. I was in that partially awake state when I hear something come into the room. James was asleep but I couldn't move to wake him. A hooded figure appeared at the end of the bed, and it leaned over, and with long, bony hands, it grabbed my feet and dug its thumbs into my soles. I woke abruptly, screamed, and tunneled my way under James (who was very confused).

I looked at my feet in the morning, and couldn't see any marks, but they still hurt incredibly.

(Odd things is, a couple of years later I saw Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and when the Dementor first appeared I was so shocked I couldn't move, there in my theater seat. It was the being that had grabbed my feet. I could swear to it.)

So, what is this all about? Well, I've been having these episodes again. A LOT. Like, several times a week. Sometimes I'll get into a series, where I'll have the dream, manage to wake myself up, but as soon as I drift off again it happens again. And again. And again. I end up sitting up in bed, heart racing, terrified to go back to sleep. One night last week the being crawled up on my bed and over me, and held me down by the wrists. At first I thought I was going to be raped, and then suddenly I thought "No, I'm going to die." The thing put the sheet over my face and tried to smother me. Fighting for my life, I finally moved enough to wake myself. Terrifying thing was that the sheet was over my face. And I never sleep with the covers over my face- because I can't breathe.

Needless to say, I'm not getting much sleep. I'm sleeping at weird times, sometimes not able to sleep at night, but ok with napping. It's wearing on me, making the fibromyalgia worse, making me feel thin-skinned and sharp, making it difficult to deal with stress or conflict.

Yes, I have an appointment with the doctor. And I know what they'll say first "Maybe we need to adjust your meds." Drugs. Always with the drugs. They'll talk about sleep hygiene and relaxation techniques. They'll make suggestions about sleep position, etc. And it will make me want to yell. I'm doing all these things (except adjusting meds) already, and they haven't helped. Don't you think I haven't tried to fix this without going to the doctor?

So that's what I'm dealing with these days. I go to sleep and meet Mr Hoodie and I try to wake myself up because he'll kill me if I don't. And I'm not interested in dying right now.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's a rough job, but someone's got to do it...

So last Saturday I taught a class on Carolingian Life and Culture. I had a good time- I love teaching, and it's a subject that I (*cough*) know fairly well. Started with a bit of history, the movement of the barbarian tribes through Europe, and rise of the Franks, the Merovingians, Charles Martel, Pepin, and of course, Charlemagne. His expansions, and the basics of his reign. Then we looked at pretty pictures of architecture, an bunch of pictures of clothes, and then of Frankish 'bling'. Lots of bling.

My handouts weren't as nice as I would have liked, as I need to learn some different software- Word Perfect and Word don't really make photo-heavy handouts well. I ended up doing a lot of manual cut-and-paste. And I had the help of two two-year-olds. But they served the purpose.

I'm usually happy about my teaching- I love being up at the blackboard, and I think I'm good at it. And I generally think that my students get something out of it.

The University of Ithra (The Kingdom of An Tir's internal university system) has students fill out evaluation forms at the end of the class- there's several categories to rate in, and space for comments. The rating goes from Inadequate (basically a D), to Adequate (C), Good (B) and Excellent (A). I usually receive Excellents, with the occasional Good. And that is what I got Saturday... except for one. I got my first Adequate. All the way across. And the comments were rather sharp. The person clearly expected something that they did not get (mostly technical stuff about the clothing) and it left me wondering if they had actually read the class description.

So I got a bunch of good rating, and one not-so-good. And which one am I obsessing over? Yeah- the not good one. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and that someone doesn't think highly of my teaching really bothers me. It's like telling Daniel Day-Lewis that his acting is 'meh'

So I have this to work through. I'm judging at the Arts and Sciences Championship this Saturday, and I'm teaching another Ithra class in April- part one of the Survey of the Middle Ages series. Hopefully I'll have my confidence back, and feel good about teaching again.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


So cars and I have a... complicated relationship. I'm not especially mechanically inclined. I consider myself to be a fairly informed driver, but if you told me that the hydraulics on the catalytic conversion belt fuse motors needed to be polarized, I *might* believe you. Except that I'm pretty sure that Zippy the Wonder Volvo doesn't have them...

The first car that was really mine was a '73 Ford Club Wagon van. It looked pretty much like this, minus the bumper stickers and kid smudges in the windows:

I loved that van. It was a hard-working beastie, and even though it had no name, it was a fine, fine member of the family. I hauled kids in it, laundry, furniture, camping gear, groceries... I once packed 8 actors, out overnight gear, sets, props, and costumes in it, drove 300 miles, performed, and drove 300 miles back, and no one died. We lost the gas cap on that trip, but it was easily replaced. Pretty much anything was easily replaced. And I once did an emergency repair on the way to an event, with a pair of tweezers from my makeup kit. The only major  un-tire-related incident was when a radiator hose that ran under the dash on the passenger side broke, spraying a then-8-year-old Annie with hot radiator fluid. (I could happily go the rest of my life without hearing screams like that. And that was when I found out just how fast I could run a quarter mile, for help. And what the inside of an ambulance looked like.) That was beyond horrible.

She was a tank, and I really wasn't afraid in traffic. Once I was out with a friend, and I had to back the van up, and hit a light pole. It was lined up exactly where the center of the back doors was, and though I could see the light, I could not see the pole. So it was a surprise when I heard the SLAM! My friend turned to me and said "I think you hit something." I was tempted to make that two somethings. We got out to check the damage. There was a huge chunk out of the pole, with lots of splintering left behind. Looked at the bumper... a smear of creosote, and that was it. Van 1, PGE 0.

The major drawback? 10 mph, rain or shine, empty or full. It burned regular, leaded gas. It started to get hard to find leaded gas about the same time that it began to be difficult to keep her up. At 350,000 miles I finally conceded defeat and put an ad in the paper. I was very honest about her, but I got a call, and a couple came over, with their teenaged son. They were Russian immigrants, and had 8 kids and needed a big rig. Their son was in mechanic school, and was pretty sure he could keep it running. It had fairly new retreads. I got $300 for it. Considering we'd paid $800 for it when we got it, I thought it was a fair price, and my mechanic agreed.

Funny thing was, about a year, maybe two later, my then-boyfriend were out and about, when he suddenly whistled and said "Look in the rear view mirror." It was a Ford Club Wagon... with a certain dent in the front right corner, above the grill. She was still on the road! I felt warm and happy to see that. Someone else was giving her love...

My next van wasn't so great. '72 Chevy van, also blue.  I spent a lot of money keeping her running, including two transmission rebuilds. She got better mileage, 15 mpg on unleaded. She had her weirdnesses; there was a hole in the floor between the front seats, there was a chunk of plywood over it. The sliding side door fell OFF one day when I was leaving the grocery. I managed to wrestle it back on (by myself) but I never trusted it after. The driver's door lock was temperamental- sometimes it would freeze closed, sometimes open. I had to carry a length of rope just in case. The muffler fell off one day. There was water that leaked into the dash inexplicably, and the windshield was often wet inside. And one day I 'ran out of gas' with a full tank; it turned out that the switch to the auxiliary tank had been somehow moved, and there wasn't any gas in that tank.

This is the van that managed to hit three cars in our parking lot- and I wasn't even in it! I was on my way to a meeting, realized I'd forgotten some materials, went back for them. I pulled into my parking spot, slammed it in park, jumped out and ran into the house, with the motor still running. I was rummaging in my stuff when I heard a couple of loud bangs. I went out to see what was going on, only to see the van on the far side of the parking lot. Apparently I'd not gotten the gearshift all the way into Park, it had popped into Reverse, and backed it's way through the parking lot, hitting three cars on the way, with varying degrees of damage. Took me hours to track down all of the owners and get them my insurance information. (I missed my meeting.) And the look on my insurance agent's face when I told him what happened was priceless.

But it was that van that carried me and a pile of girls to many SCA events. The radio didn't work, so they sang to amuse themselves. They got really good, and were popular at bardics. It was that van that has a flat on the way to an event, at something like 1 in the morning. We limped into a rest area, dug the spare out from under our gear, and the girls learned how to change a tire, with Kelly doing the heavy stuff. The spare was really low, and we had to find a gas station and get air, which wasn't easy from the Santiam rest area. We got there, and got to site about 3 am...

The van finally got too mercurial to drive, and I sold it to an ex-boyfriend with mixed feelings. He in turn sold it to someone else. Sort of. A couple of years later I got a nasty letter from the City of Concord, California. I had to look it up. It was in the Bay Area. They said that my van had been abandoned there and I had to pay umpty-gazillion fines. Apparently the couple who bought it never got around to transferring the title and registration.Well, I didn't own it anymore, so I got Oregon DMV to write a letter from , saying just that, and I added in my letter to them that frankly, I was astounded that it had made through the mountains and that far south. And that was the last I heard of Ol' Blue.

Wanda and I then found a Subaru wagon, silver, that I named Gringolet. I'd only just put the SCA stickers (the 'emergency roadside assistance', as SCAdians have a habit of stopping to help each other) when it developed a problem with the rings. Sold it, and bought Zippy.

Zippy is an '82 Volvo 245 Diesel wagon, an odd color somewhere between brown and black. She is wonderful and I love her very much. I've been driving her for about 12 years, and we know each other well. She has her quirks. We had to re-route the switch to the glow-plugs, so now she has a push button. The latch to the glove compartment gave up the ghost a couple of years ago; she would occasionally say Hi! to passengers, smacking their knees if they were tall. I glued a velcro strip on it so now it stays shut. Once in awhile the wipers are sentient, and they'll swipe once and then stop, and awhile later swipe again- erratically, not like they're on the intermittent (which doesn't work anymore). The A/C doesn't work. The overdrive doesn't work. The radio doesn't work. We got rear-ended in front of Powell's a few years back- took forever to find a replacement, and then it took three men, two hours, and a crowbar and lots of cursing to get the smashed one off.

She has seatbelt for 5, but that requires #5 to be really skinny, and very close and personal with #3 and 4. With the back seat folded down, she can hold an AMAZING amount to stuff. (Apparently Hermione used the Undetectable Extension charm on it.) We added ski racks on top, and a fair amount of my tourney gear goes on them. With my tetris packing skills, I can haul about as much as Amalric with his huge van.

Zippy has a broad array of stickers on her back hatch. UO stickers, of course, liberal Democrat stickers, including Obama stickers. There's lots of SCA and related stickers (even a Hwaet! sticker!) There's some liberal religious stickers. And there's a bunch of Harry Potter stickers; my favorite is "Constant Vigilance!" I can tell people which car is mine by saying "the dark Volvo wagon with all the stickers". And they know exactly which one it is.

And while others have a hula girl on the dash, or a plastic Jesus or Mary, I have a Harry Potter action figure on the dash, sitting between the dried roses (left over from Gabriel's vigil). Passengers have a thing for playing with Harry, and when we got rear-ended, after asking Wanda if she was alright, I looked over at Harry, and he was sitting there as pretty as you please, as though he wanted to reassure me that we were ok. And we were, except for the hatch, and the bogus info that the guy that hit us gave Wanda.

I like old cars. They need fixing more, but they can be fixed, and without resorting to computers. And they are friendly and affectionate. Could you imagine naming one of those new boxes Zippy? Ain't gonna happen.

And there's not enough room for stickers.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hooray for holidays! (Maybe not...)

Yes, I put up a tree this year. And the nutcrackers.

Confession: They are still up.


Tree. My phone doesn't do so good, but there it is. Fruit, misc family ornaments, and a bunch of nutcrackers.

Nutcrackers 1.

Nutcrackers 2.

Nutcrackers 3. I seem to remember that I now have 52.

Grendel, marshaling his troops.

There was also this little event called Twelfth Night...

It was here in Portland, so we got some cool photos.

Here's some that I did not take and I don't remember who did:

 Our new King and Queen, UlfR Blodfotur Fallgrson and Caoimhe (Keeva) ingen Domnaille,

Bringing back the Emblems of State,
 The Chivalry swearing fealty,
 Crowning the King (Vik had fantastic step-down clothes!).
King and Queen of the West, our Guests, coming into Court.

I made a new outfit, since I hadn't made anything really nice for awhile. Here's some process:

The colors here aren't quite true, but I had silk shantung in a vibrant red-orange, and orange-gold, and teal. Unlikely, but they *worked*.

There was also banding on the sleeves, and hem.

Before banding on sleeves and hem.

 After banding on sleeves and hem.
Eh. Hanging in hallway.

And me at the event? Only two pics, both not-so-great:

Me, presenting a Laurel candidate. You can only see a little of the gown. I look so OLD. And Luciano looks sooo bored...

Iurii caught me, and I was telling him "No you don't!" He snapped it anyway. I look very orange. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Next event- Adiantum Midwinter's, teaching a class on Frankish Culture. Heh. After that, Kingdom A&S, presenting at Laurel meeting again. And Phil and Annie are hoping to be there too!

That's it for now!

And the girlieez are TWO!

I am finding it hard to believe they are two, maybe because I missed so much of their early days (Grrr... that woman!), but they are home and I get to see more of them. So some pictures!

This was taken Tuesday, 1-22. They LOVE their books and love to have them read! They are constantly pulling them all down too- you can't keep them on the shelf. I guess there are worse things.

They also love their butterfly wings, and wear them a lot. they are absolutely darling in them!

At Phil and Annie's wedding-Anastasia, wearing her usual sweet and winsome expression.

 And Ilyana, in her default mischievous face.

Ilyana, probably thinking up trouble...

Anastasia, finding it (she was putting sticks and pinecones through a knot hole in the fence).

One of my favorite pics. Out on a family picnic with Grandpa.

From the same picnic.

A tree-hugger already!

Driving Grandpa's car!

I has a stick, Sis! (They call each other Sis.)

Anastasia knows her name- she will tell you it is Ana. Neither of them can say Ilyana's name yet- L's are hard. But this week Anastasia called me Gam-ma! That made me feel SO GOOD!

They're good little girls. And except for that they don't like my casserole (barbarians!) they eat yummy things that are good for them, love their baths, and like to go to church with Grandpa. I think we will try the eventing again this May.

More pictures in the next post!

And just when you thought I was gone...

All right, I've been busy. And sucked majorly into Facebook. Which is the same thing, right?

We had a wedding! Phil and Annie had a lovely wedding here in Portland. We had an election. (THANK *GOD* THAT IS OVER!) I had a birthday. (meh.) There were Holidays. And then Twelfth Night. Joy. And now there will be a short period of rest before the next round hits. Ready? Ok. Well, that was a nice little rest, wasn't it?

I baked a lot of brownies this fall, for Jefferson Smith (that really is his name, and he ran for Portland Mayor) and for some guy in Washington DC with a weird name and a decent jump shot. Jeff lost, sadly. (Next time, dude!) And the President got another four years. I guess the time off for good behavior gets to happen in 2017.

Some pictures:

Wedding- 9-29-12
Phil and Annie. So sweet!

Tangoing at the reception... they'd been practicing for some time!
The girls got in on the dancing too!

Phil's origami bride and groom, and the fantabulous cake!

My sister was there (dancing with Annie), and my mom flew out too. And Phil's brother (in blue shirt) and his mom came from NYC.

And James drove up. (Where did I find this fabulous guy?)

More news and more pictures in next post!