Sunday, November 28, 2010


<---- This of course should be self-explanatory, with the Civil War coming up and all. The Ducks are undefeated and if they beat the Beavers (AND THEY CAN!) they go to the BCS championship. And Eternal Glory and all that. ;-)

I didn't watch/listen to the game Friday. When I do, they lose. Not worth the risk.

I spent the week with David and Lydia and her Amazing Expanding Belly. The twins are getting pretty big and she is getting tired of being pregnant. She's into week 33 though, and getting close. And except for the fact that at the moment they're presenting breech, everything's cool. We keep telling them to turn over...

Their @%^&$@ roommate finally started moving his crap out. He left about a month ago but didn't start getting his stuff out until Saturday. David showed me... The walls are absolutely filthy. But we have to get it clean so the baby stuff can be moved in there. Big job ahead though.

Dinner was nice- James was up and Stephen came over (something about 'Mom Food') and after dinner we played Dominoes. Stephen is Evil at board games. That is all I'll say about that. :-P

Last week I went to the 12:01 showing of the new Harry Potter film, and Wednesday I took David and Lydia (probably the last time they get out before the babies are here). I thought it was really good. The scenes right at the beginning were powerful- I was in tears before the title board came up. And I sobbed through the ending. Harry burying Dobby was too much. I knew it was going to happen (who didn't?) but it was still hard.

People watching is great though- there was a group of kids who came as the Potter Puppet Pals, in costumes made of craft felt. They were really well done. There was the usual assortment of kids in school uniforms, a girl who wanted a picture of herself with me (several, actually) and at the last moment pulled up her sleeve to expose her Dark Mark- I jumped back and whipped out my wand before I realized what I was doing. The resulting picture was great- I wish I'd had the presence of mind to ask them to send me a copy! There was also a girl in black leather with a mound of black hair who ran through the halls screaming "I killed Sirius Black! I killed Sirius Black! EEEEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEEE!" just like Bellatrix. It was pretty cool. :-)

And the last film isn't out until July. ARRRGGGHHH!!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

A couple of notes on the economy-

I just read a very interesting blog post by David Friedman on the current economy and the differing approaches of the US and the UK ( I haven't decided how much I agree or disagree with, but I thought it would be interesting to post my remarks here:

An interesting observation. However, something I think we seem to be overlooking here (and which was not an issue during the Roosevelt Administration), is the vast increase in outsourcing. How does that affect (or not) the GDP? Also, the outsourcing and automation of many jobs that formerly supported a significant portion of the working population has changed not just the employment rate, but the nature of consumption. Why pay an American a decent wage when you can buy cheap crap from China? Something that I have noticed in the past decade is that we all want jobs that will support an upper middle income (or higher) lifestyle, but we don't want to pay the costs of goods and services that support the jobs that support that lifestyle. It becomes a downward spiral- the more we demand low prices, the more goods are imported and jobs are sent overseas. No jobs or lower-wage jobs increase the demand for lower prices of goods... I think it's the economic version of the saying "Everyone wants to get to heaven, but nobody wants to die".

Of course, I don't have any brilliant ideas for stopping that spiral, or reversing it. And it appears that no one in the Treasury Department or the Federal Reserve has any bright ideas either.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

And soggy Autumn is upon us...

We had about two weeks of lovely weather, with sun and impossibly blue skies. and the leaves beginning to turn. Ainsworth Blvd was especially lovely- so many trees there were brilliant yellow or an orange-red. There is one that grows around a streetlight, so at night the whole tree is lit up. An oak down the street from there always has multi-colored leaves, mostly a brilliant red- it makes me think of an aging bawd, throwing open her clothes to show the ancient glories in all of their decay...

And now the rains are here in earnest. The leaves are about halfway down, and the streets and sidewalks are slick with their slime. I have to be careful even crossing the sidewalk between the car and the house. We've been having a lot of thunderstorms, and the sky is always dark grey. The sort of skies that make you think of depressing poetry. Dylan Thomas maybe, or Sylvia Plath.

I've had some good times though. I went down to Lydia's and spent a few days. Mostly cleaning, but we did go to her doctor appointment, and to the shower that the ladies at her dad's church threw for her. She got some very nice things, much of it with monkeys on them. I think we have a theme. :-) I found some cute fabric with monkeys on it several weeks back, and we made some buntings out of it. We also made some out of some polar fleece- it was striped like tiger stripes, only in two tones of pink. They came out really cute. I also have some flannel with tiny purple and pink flowers on it that will be made into several different things. We're kind of having fun making tiny clothes.

She's due January 15, but I suspect that we'll have little girls by Christmas. Lydia is very big already- at least as big as I was when he sister was born, and put together, the babies weigh as much as Annie did. Lydia is at about 29 weeks and we have a ways to go yet.

David doesn't have a job yet, but there is a good prospect, and we are all holding our collective breath.

Also in the news- I am no longer speaking to my father. Things have been rocky for some time- I was the last of the kids to be in contact with him, and I had been holding on mostly out of a sense of duty. I'm the oldest and all, the 'good girl', so this has been hard. He'd been rather nasty for some time, mostly about my political leanings. Condescending even. But a few weeks back, he said something on my Facebook page- in public- that went beyond condescending and into contempt. I'd been out for a few hours and came back to find that my page had sort of exploded. My siblings came out in my defense- even the brother who is quiet and never says anything to anyone. All of us kids had a Private Message conversation, and I 'unfriended' and blocked my dad. It was very hard, but I'd just come to the realization that I'm 45 years old, and I don't have to take this. He made my childhood a nightmare, and I don't have to let him do that to me as an adult.

Strangely, I feel really free.

In other news, I have become more active at church (St. Matthew's Episcopal)- I've been the lector twice, been helping in the kitchen and with potlucks, and have been going to the sewing circle on Tuesday morning. I'm getting to know other people a little better, and that is kind of cool. The parish is really small right now, but it's beginning to grow a bit- we ran out of bulletins last Sunday, which was a good thing.

I think it is time to go back to bed. I have to be up at 7:30 to get out the door for an event. I have a new gown to wear, and I'm taking my friend Judy with me. It should be a good time. :-)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My letter to the President.

Yes, I haven't posted for awhile. Been sick, been busy, been sucked into Facebook. Anyway, I wrote a letter to President Obama today. It's going in the mail tomorrow. And it's one of my better efforts, I think.

Dear Mr. President,

I come to you today to tell you the stories of some of the people who voted for you two years ago.

My son-in-law is a 99er. His job went to India. The job market in Eugene is worse than it is here in Portland, but they can’t afford to move. My daughter is in the middle of an unplanned pregnancy- and carrying twins. They have gone through their savings and have nothing left. They are facing eviction, and I cannot help them. What have you done for them?

My roommate and I have a young couple living in our basement (if not, David and Lydia would be there) who came out here from Indianapolis. Dan managed to get a job after about four months. He is an engineer and physicist and had been out of work for about a year. His wife Ellen is doing temp work. She is a librarian, and due to funding cuts all over, the libraries are cutting staff, not adding it. What have you done for them?

My son is hanging on desperately to a minimum-wage job because it is all he can find. He’d like to go back to school, but student aid packages are really slim these days, and he can’t figure out how to make up the difference from his current paycheck. What have you done for him?

My fiancĂ© is an Instructional Aide in a middle school. Budget cuts there have cut his hours back to half time. He lives in a college town and at 46 cannot hope to compete in the market for part-time jobs. He had been working on a teaching certificate, and has one term left to go– the student teaching. But he has run out of money. He can’t take out more student loans due to current outstanding ones. He can’t find the money for the tuition, much less the living expenses for a semester while he teaches. At the moment, he is lurching from month-to-month scarcely keeping the rent paid and the lights on. What have you done for him?

My oldest daughter ran from her second job and stood in line for two hours, dirty and smelly from work, to vote for you. She’s a college graduate, bright, skilled, and juggling two, three, sometimes four part-time jobs so she can keep her apartment in Brooklyn. She would like to go back to school for her Master’s, but as she says, she has this filthy habit of eating, and she just can’t give it up. She’s the hardest working human I know, and she’s still skating on the thin edge of ruin. What have you done for her?

My roommate works for the federal government, and she’s 63 and nearing retirement. She crossed party lines to vote for you. She’s scrimped and saved and made careful investments and in the past two years she’s seen her retirement money cut in half. She owns her house, but thanks to the housing market, it is worth more than she can sell it for, and she must pay taxes on the higher value. She is facing the future with no small amount of fear and trepidation. What have you done for her?

I have friends who unemployed, underemployed, or hanging on to jobs they hate because there’s nothing else out there. Friends are losing their homes, have lost their homes, have gone from nice family-sized homes to seedy apartments in an attempt to stay afloat financially. I can think of three people who would be living in our basement were it not already occupied. We don’t have room for any more. I have friends who are hard workers, skilled, conscientious, who are on food stamps because they can’t pick up enough contracts.

Mr. President, what are you doing for us?

We’re out here, struggling, meanwhile the top 2% have the unmitigated gall to demand more tax cuts. People are homeless, and hungry, and yet the rich have the audacity to demand more. How dare they! Mr. President, we thought that you were there in Washington to change the world– for us. Right now we aren’t seeing any change. Making speeches about fighting for the middle class does nothing if you don’t take that fight to Capitol Hill. The Republicans have made it clear that they care for no one but those who can line their pockets. They don’t care about my daughter, who wonders if her babies will have a home to live in. They don’t care about her husband, who they’ve labeled a deadbeat though he lost his job through not fault of his own. They don’t care about anyone, so long as they can get fat checks for their re-election efforts.

Mr President, it is time– no, *past time*– for you to stand up for the people who put their faith, the money, their time into you and what you said you would do. It is time to you to tell the Party of No that you say Yes. It is time to walk up the hill and tell them you are there for the people, not for the corporations. It is time for you to tell them that you have a responsibility to protect the interests of the 98%.

Mr. President, it is time that you started doing– for us.


Laura Minnick

Friday, August 6, 2010

Why do I do this to myself?

So I need to make a new dress for the SLUG Queen Coronation next Friday (the 13th!), because nothing I have fits. Not even sorta. I got this pattern last year (, thinking that the Flamenco Dance Dress would suit Queen Carmen Slugana.


I spent more than three hours just cutting it out. My hand hurts. And this is the most complicated pattern I've ever used. I'm really feeling intimidated by it. I sure hope I can get it done on time.

In other news, Wanda is in New Orleans this week, and I am on kitty duty. I finished putting the ermines on Sumayya's blue and violet wool brocade gown, and she picked it up. The two polka-dotted bliauts are painted- I just have to heat-set the dots and sew up the gowns. And I got a couple of patterns for wee babies, and some fleece and fake fur to make Thing 1 and Thing 2 outfits. Heh.

And now I think sleep would be good...

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Alright, I know it's been six weeks. I've been busy. So there.

First there was the BIG NEWS! Lydia and David are expecting! And not only that- there's two of the little buggers! Twins! Oy! So there is much fussing to be done. They are getting married on Monday, at the courthouse. Here's to hoping things look up for them soon. They sure need it. She hasn't told her dad yet about the babies. Not sure how he's going to take the news.

So I've been busy this last week making a wedding dress for her. She came up with me on my way home from spending the 4thof July weekend with James, and spent about a week while we goofed off and sewed. Then I took her home and we spent a day cleaning at her house (it needs it). I still have to put the hem in her dress, but that shouldn't take long. Dunno what I'm going to wear though...

Also been busy (still) with making clothes for Gabriel and Sumayya. I'm behind where I wanted to be, but the wedding dress kinda shifted the schedule. Life happens. Bethany knows what is happening so we're all cool. I've been up there busting my rear for weeks, and I really need a few days off. My body kinda decided to shut down for the past couple of days- I guess I needed it.

I actually bought myself some new makeup the other day- some lip stain. Stays on better than lipstick and isn't sticky. I can add a bit of lipstick over to gloss it up again if I want, but I don't have to. I kinda like it.

Aaaand the SLUG Queen Coronation is in a couple of weeks- I'm hoping to make it this year. Maybe I'll even get my dress done!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Oohhh... I'm in love...

The concert was... oh my god. I already had an incredibly high opinion of Sting, but I confess I spent a fair amount of the first set with tears running down my face. Here's a bunch of music I love, and a musician I adore, there in the flesh, and he wrote and arranged all of the orchestral parts to go with his music. It was jaw-dropping. The man is a genius. We were in the upper nosebleed seats and I couldn't see as well as I'd have liked, and the sound was probably better farther down, but I was there. It was something I'll never forget.

And he's funny! You would have laughed- he did 'Wild About You', which was based on the story of David and Bathsheba. He gave a brief rundown of the story, with the reference from Samuel, and then turned the page on his score and said "Thus endeth the lesson" just before launching into the song. The lady in front of me turned around- she clearly didn't know why I was laughing and I couldn't stop laughing to tell her... (He's RC, BTW.)

In other news- Egils was lovely, the dinners went off very well, the fitting of Gabriel for hose went off well with a bit of harrumph!Manlyman! stuff. It was very amusing. And Annie has one of Gabriel and Sumayya's guards in love with her, I think. And the rain held off until... packup, naturally. So the back of the car is still wet. :-P

Still sewing, sewing, and sewing. I have two weeks. Oy.

Think I'll go upstairs, listen to Sting, and get some work done...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Some thoughts on persona development–

Since I’ve been in the SCA (21 years next month. I’m getting old!) I’ve been interested in persona development. And since I’ve recently created a new persona to fit with new interests, I thought that others might be interested in some basic guidelines for building one. So here goes...

Place, Time, and Clothes

First off, look at places and times that you might be interested in. Don’t hesitate to look at something off the beaten path, like Eastern Europe, the Iberian peninsula, or the Crusader States, or time period a bit out of the ordinary, such as 10th century France or Germany, or 15th century Spain. You can also go for something more common, like 14th century England– there’s a wealth of information there, and you can go in depth quite easily.

But before you go further, take a basic look at the clothes. Don’t put your persona in a time and place where the clothes would be difficult to wear. Don’t choose a persona in 16th c England if you are not comfortable in a corset and hoops and would rather wear t-tunics! And if you are allergic to wool, Viking-era Scandinavia is not a good idea! So look for a place and time that you can be comfortable in physically as well as socially.

Your Name

A name can be rather tricky, or it might be easy. Will the Potter would be good for a 12th century Englishman who is a potter by trade. But a long Gaelic name that no one can pronounce might not be best for him. And Will Potter doesn’t really suit a Polish nobleman.

The Heralds can actually be a good resource to start looking for a suitable name. They can tell you the rules of submission and what will or will not work for registering a name in the SCA. They also have a great many historical resources for names, including books, articles, and computer resources. There are all sorts of sources for names– more than history books. There are names on charters and cartularies. There are names on inventories and wills. There are names in tax records and chronicles. Don’t be afraid to explore!

There may or may not be an “Aha!” moment. You may find a name quickly, or your may be “John For-now” for awhile. And both are good.

Test your name out. Say it out loud, see if you like the sound. Read it and try to imagine every way that a herald could possibly mangle it (because they will). Think about how someone might shorten it or make a nickname from it. Are they ok or will they irritate you? If you don’t like Beth or Bess or Liz, the name Elizabeth may not be for you.

If there are already two or three or more Svens in your area, choosing Sven may not be the best idea. You run the risk of someone saying “You know Sven, tall guy with a beard, wears glasses...” and there are three of you that answer to that description. Sigurd might be a better choice.

Class and Social Life

Think about what sort of life you would like to lead in the SCA. Are you interested in the life of a working-class Englishman in the 14th century? Or do you think that the life of a Frankish noble is for you? Again, take a look at the clothes you would be wearing. Could you live in them for a long weekend camping event? What would your camp look like? How might you react to being called in court? Would an 5th century Irishman kneel to the Crown?

Your own interests may influence your choices. Do you enjoy making Viking-era glass beads? 9th century Denmark might be a good place for you. Do you enjoy calligraphy and are particularly adept at Blackletter hands? A 15th century German persona might be a good fit. Are you really interested in medieval Medicine? A persona based in Palermo, Sicily could be just the thing. Or do you really want to bash some Saracen heads? A Frenchman on Crusade could give you that opportunity! If you are very interested in higher learning or theology, you could have a religious person– a monk, or perhaps a canon at one of the cathedrals, or a member of one of the teaching orders.

And what would you like to accomplish in the SCA? If you are interested in fighting and really want to be a knight someday, a 16th century Anabaptist in Germany will not be a good fit for your persona. But a Landsknecht would be! If gentler arts are your thing, and you really want to perfect your blackwork embroidery, a English Tudor persona would give you a good setting for your work. If you really want to get into administration and you have a knack for organizing things, the persona of an English civil servant in the 14th or 15th century would give you unfussy clothes a great deal of opportunities for research into medieval civil administration. For instance, did you know that Chaucer was in civil service? He worked for the Royal customs, and was even sent on a number of diplomatic missions. This could be just the life for you!

All of these are just suggestion– there are many avenues open, and many different lives you can pursue. Don’t be afraid to try on different hats (perhaps literally!) Before you settle into something you are comfortable in.

As to comfort, think about who you are now, in the modern world. It may be easier for you to form your persona around a medieval version of your modern self. Suppose you work in retail- there’s no reason why you couldn’t be a shopkeeper for your person. You don’t have to actually merchant (though you could!) in the SCA, but you could dress as one, accumulate the objects a shopkeeper might have in his home. Your own temperament matters too. If you are very shy, being a Herald might be uncomfortable. (Or it might not be- many shy people are fine in public when they have a script.) On the other hand, some people want to be something very different from their modern lives. A computer programmer might find that being a blacksmith on weekends is fun. Or a grad student might have fun being the king’s Fool.

Wearing your persona in the SCA
Once you have figured out who you are, the next step is to figure out how to use your persona. Some people don’t- they simply construct the framework, and leave it at that. And that’s perfectly ok. Others want to submerge themselves a bit more. And this is the tricky part.

Usually the first thing people do when trying to be ‘in persona’ is to affect ‘forsooth’ speech. I recommend against it. For one thing, it usually ends us as a bad imitation of Shakespearean-era speech– unless your persona is actually Elizabethan English, and you actually have a grasp of the grammar and vocabulary. Otherwise it is generally just irritating. Don’t do it.

If you’re interested in talking more like you would if you were in your time and place, here’s some pointers:

Formalize your speech a bit. Do not use contractions. Drop the slang. (For me, the difficult one is dropping the Daffy Duck “Whoo-hoo!”)

Don’t try to use another language, perhaps beyond a greeting. Wishing someone good morning in your persona’s language can be a nice touch. But more than that can be problematic, particularly if the person you’re speaking to is not fluent in your language. (For instance, the only time I’ve ever heard Anglo-Saxon used conversationally was in the elevator at the Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo. I thought it was quite funny, frankly.)

Learn some of your persona’s oaths, even swear words. A Crusader might use “God’s teeth!” or “God’s Blood!” (All of God’s body parts seen to be fair game here.) An Elizabethan version of this sort of oath is “‘Zwounds!”, which is a shortened version of “God’s wounds!”, referring to the wounds Christ received at the Crucifixion. A 15th century Frenchman might say “Jesu Maria!” when swearing. A “Viking” might swear by Odin’s hand, a 14th century Englishman by Heaven. In general, basic histories or biographies will give you some clues.

It may take a little getting used to. On the other hand, if you are feeling really self conscious doing it, it’s not working. Speak as you would normally and don’t worry about it.

Inter-cultural relations

And here comes the hard part: being ‘in persona’ around others.

When someone is acting as though their ‘personal space’ is 15th century Italy, it can be very difficult for an 8th century Saxon to chat with them as they work on redacting a 14th century English recipe. And sometimes this can be quite annoying.
The most elegant solution I have found for this is to remember that you are currently in An Tir (or Atlantia or Meridies or wherever). You can say “At home in Verona they like to cook pork like this–“ or “I have a wonderful recipe from the King Richard’s cooks in London. Would you like to see it?” Everyone is a visitor for immigrant from Somewhere Else, and currently living in Myrtleholt, or Corvaria, or Three Mountains. You might be a scholar in Louis VII of France’s court, and a Baron to the Court of An Tir.

Talking about “current events” can be dicey, but it can be done. You might say something like “When last I heard from my brother in London, he said that Master Chaucer died recently. I was quite saddened by the news. Have you read any of his poetry?” It could be a nice way to introduce a topic of conversation. But political talk about an ongoing Crusade might not be a good topic in front of a Persian Prince. But you might ask if he has read the work of Omar Khayyam.

A lot of “accidental learning” can happen while you’re developing a persona. When I was working on a late 14th- early 15Th century persona, I learned a great deal about literature, particularly women’s literature, about religious practice and affective piety, and about the Hundred Years’ War. Now that I am working on a late 8th century Frankish persona, I’m learning a lot about the development of governmental structures, about the beginnings of courtliness, laws from several cultures, literacy and calligraphic changes, even what was in Charlemagne’s gardens.

The Point of all of this...

Relax. Be yourself. Be your medieval self. Remember that you’re supposed to enjoy yourself. Learn, but be sure to have fun along the way.


the former Elaine de Montgris is now know as Liutgard of Luxeuil. Liutgard is a late 8th century noblewoman of Alemannic and Austrasian ancestry, who is a scholar and teacher in the court of Charles the Great. She spends a good deal of time arguing with Alcuin, mostly about St Augustine.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Carolingian 4-H Club!

Ok, not necessarily 4-H, but not far from it! I've been working from this text-, the Capitulare de Villis. It is an inventory and basic instructions for how the various estates belonging to the Emperor (e.g. Charlemagne) are to be managed. Animal husbandry, field and vineyard supervision, etc, with a long list of what things are to be planted in the gardens and orchards. Completely fascinating document- I've been busy with it now for a couple of weeks.

Other than that, mostly I've either been sleeping (not feeling so good), or sewing. So far I have two very formal black gowns done for Gabriel and Sumayya. They're modeled on German style from the 12th century, with heavy contrasting bands across the chest, upper arm, sleeve and hem. We found some silk with a patterned embroidery and knots, in an olive green taffeta with gold embroidery. It worked perfectly. I'm working on the undergowns now. His black one is done, and I'm busy hemming hers. Next I think is their chemises/undershirts. And I have some stuff to get done before Egils, so I can do some fitting, etc there. Also looking for a couple of clear days so I can re-waterproof the pavilion roof, but no luck so far. :-(

James is supposed to be coming up this weekend, and we're planning to go to the little event out in the Gorge (Hauksgaard). They have nice events, small and low-key. I just have to remember to bring the dayshade in case of rain!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I see... dead people...

He's really in pretty good shape, seeing as how he was buried 1200, 1250 years ago, eh?

Been looking at lots of pictures of sarcophagai, reading records, etc etc etc . Even sat down with Morwyn for an afternoon and evening and read through portions of the Capitulare de Villis (a document Charlemagne had put out with instructions for how his estates should be run). Big long list of plants that were supposed to be planted. (I'm trying to figure out what the Franks were eating, among other things.)

Also decided that yes, I'm changing my name. As on May 1st (SCA New Year) I will be Liutgard of Luxeuil. I have already encountered a fair amount of resistance, and people who don't like the name, how I pronounce it, how I spell it, the construction, the period, yadda yadda yadda. Do they think I would do this sort of thing without doing the research? I am very annoyed. And then there's the people who just can't cope with me being anything but 'Lainie. 'Know what? Deal. Really, folks. Just deal.

Also very busy- I'm making clothes for the incoming Summits royals, so there's a huge pile of fabric in the sewing room. I cut a bunch of stuff out last night, and this evening I started piecing together a gown for Gabriel. So far it is turning out really nice. I think they're going to be happy with their clothes....

Also went to Eugene last weekend, and saw the installation of the new Episcopalian bishop here in Oregon. It was really quite amazing, and I came away from it realizing that the SCA knows NOTHING about ceremony. Or spiffy clothes. Wow.

Tax Day is almost over. Sheesh, maybe the Tea Party gang (bankrolled by Fox) will shut up for awhile. We can hope.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Franks but no beans.

(The picture is of a 7th century Duke of Alsace, named Aldaric. Nice, nice clothes...)

So I've been really pretty busy lately, partly good, partly bad...

Sweet meat after sour sauce, they say, so here's the sour sauce:

The CAT scan in September showed a tumor about 5mm across. The scan in January showed it at a little more than 9mm, which is a significant increase. So they did a PET scan. The tumor was just a little too small to get a conclusive result, so they'll be doing another scan in June. They may decide to take a biopsy then, or maybe simply do surgery and get it out. It's not interefereing with my breathing at all- it's in the lower lobe of my left lung, and toward the outside. Hopefully will be fairly easy to get it out. What happens from them will depend on lab results. Very anxiety-making, but nothing I can do until June.


Think it's too early to lay my sleeping bag out front of the Schnitz? My tickets are for June 4th. Maybe a little early. :-)

I also have a ticket to see the formal installation of the new Episcopalian Bishop of Oregon. It should be interesting- I've never seen anything like it before, and they know how to put on a good show!

And I've been working some more on Frankish stuff. To the extent that I'm seriously considering changing my SCA name. Liutgard or Liutberga. From Luxeuil, which as it turns out, has a number of ties to the monastery at Corbie. Corbie... just can't seem to get away from that place...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

School and children...

I have become convinced that college is like having a baby: after a few years, you think about going back, and you've forgotten what a pain it was...

So this last weekend I went to Eugene. Unlike usual trips, I wasn't there for an event. This was (mostly) a fun trip. Well, I have to qualify the 'mostly' part. Get to that later.

Friday afternoon I drove down, checked into a little motel on 7th ave (not the absolute cheapest, but reasonable, and a lot less impersonal than the ordinary chain outfit. (In fact, the maid chased me down on my way out Sunday with something I forgot- how often does Motel 6 do that?)

Got down to the University in time to meet my all-time favorite professor for tea (Dr Louise Bishop). Oh, it was so good to see her! She was as warm and funny as usual (not that I expected that to have changed), was interested in what the kids and I have been up to, and best of all, I could 'talk shop' about some of the research I've been doing and not have to explain myself every other sentence! Oh, that alone is worth gold...

She had another appointment later or I could have talked for hours and hours. But after she left I turned to my second purpose for being on campus. I headed for the library. (No! I am NOT Hermione! Don't even think it!) And that is the 'mostly' part of the trip, because while it was rewarding, it was also work. But I ended up with three and a half pages of bibliographic notes, which gives me more opportunities to find the info I am looking for. Or maybe simply another turn down this rabbit hole. (Go ask Alice- she's the only one who knows for sure...)

James got in later that evening. He brought some of his reallyreally yummy red lentil soup, and we had soup and some beer and chatted (like we usually do on a Friday night that we're together). And watched the Olympics until much too late. I have a crush on Apolo Ohno. :-) Too cute for words. Watched some skiing too. Scary stuff.

Saturday James went off to his meeting (Diocese stuff) and I slept in. A lot- I had an incredible headache. (And no, two beers with a meal does not a headache make. I think it was unfamiliar pillows and driving. Most of the pain was in my neck and the back of my head.) After he got back we hung out for a bit and then did some thrift-shopping. I found some movies and some music and drooled over some antiques. I forget what he found. Then we picked up David and Lydia and met Stephen for dinner at the High Street Cafe. Was quite an experience to have dinner with adult children, sit there and have beer with them and chat. It was cool, really. And we made the waiter work for his tip. :-) Also have to say that the Black and Tan Brownie is just as good there as up here. Pretty amazing stuff.

And then we watched some more skiing, some skating exhibitions, and the American bobsled team 1 in the Night Train WIN THE GOLD!!! WOO-HOO!!!

James left early. (He had stuff in Ashland at 9.) I slept for a bit longer, checked out, and went back to the library for awhile. And then I drove home. Got lost in Salem trying to get back to the freeway after I stopped for a burger. Otherwise uneventful.

I really am suffering a bit from a jones to go back to school. But as I told Louise, there's no money, and even if there was, I don't think my health could take it. But I really miss being in classes, the discussion, the bit of a push to stretch myself. And checkout privileges (at the grad student level, especially) would be completely awesome. :-) Hmm. If only I could figure out some way to go to school (or teach even) and get them to pay me... yeah, and while I'm at it, I want a pony, and... *sigh*

This week: another ILL has arrived! I will pick it up in the morning (or what passes for morning for me). And maybe later in the week I will go upstairs and get some sewing done. The queue is still way too long.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Happy New Year!

"May you live in interesting times" is said to be an old Chinese curse; I'm not sure I believe it is Chinese, but it does seem to be a curse.

So anyway, this month we celebrated Chinese New Year (ask Annie about New Year at Phil and Susan's! The FOOD!!!), or at least some of us celebrated it. I was busy throwing up that day, so there ya go...

Started out the month with Groundhog Day- two of my dearest friends had birthdays that day. It's always fun to give them a hard time about that. Apparently the groundhog did see his shadow back east, but here on the west coast he did not. Which may explain why we just have rain out here but my friends back east are still wondering if the mailman is under that pile of snow on the sidewalk... James' brother Geoff offered to let me shovel his driveway! He said he wouldn't make this offer to just anyone, but since I'm practically family... Riiight Geoff. I'm not falling for that one, family or no. Somehow there's a scent of whitewashed fence to that one!

A few days later I was sick again. (Still, yeah.) Was having chest pain that was oozing into my shoulders and upper arms, and short of breath too. But I didn't have the sense that the obvious was happening. So I called and got a same-day appointment with my dr, but didn't tell the nurse the whole story for fear she'd just tell me to hang up and call 911. We've been there, done that.

So I spent the week in and out of the clinic, while they poked and prodded and tested. EKG, was iffy but it was my normal iffy (stuff with the a-fib off and on), they sent it to my cardiologist but he said it was within my normal range, but to check all of my bloodwork. Potassium fine, sugars fine, the enzyme that would have said I was having a heart attack- negative. Thyroid was fine. Well, let's take more blood and test for other stuff. They put an oxygenation monitor on me and made me trot around the nurses' station (it's laid out in a giant donut, with exam rooms all around) with a nurse holding the monitor. Well, on my second turn around I sort of slid onto and slumped down the wall- not really passing out but not far from it. About eight people picked me up and walked me back in and onto the table. Was basically ok, just... sliding down a wall.

So about 6:30 that Friday evening, I get a call from Dr Becher's co-worker who was working that afternoon, she'd just gotten some of my labwork back, and did I know that my nortriptyline level was roughly four times what it should be? No, I was not aware of that! Turns out that some of the symptoms of approaching toxicity are... chest pains, shortness of breath, lightheadedness. Talking with her we determined that the best course would be to drop the nortriptyline I was on- NOW. None of the usual tapering it off over a month or so. So I dropped it. Felt not really good but ok Saturday, which was nice as James and I went for a long walk (there's a gazillion restaurants on Alberta!) and then out for Lebanese food. (Dolmas and lamb. Yummy!) Came home and had chocolate fondue with strawberries and pears and some Chilean red wine. Very tasty.

Sunday my body realized that something was wrong. James went to the early service at church, and I stayed in bed because I had a Very Bad Feeling. Very Bad got Worse an hour or so later, and I managed to get to my wastebasket before I lost it.

Dolmas and lamb and chocolate and red wine are tasty going down- separately- but not so tasty coming up together. It was pretty horrible.

Eventually I figured I was empty, and staggered into the bathroom to clean the wastebasket. And I slipped. So suddenly there I was, naked, upside-down in the bathtub, with the wastebasket upside-down on my chest. Yes kiddies, that was even more horrible.

By the time James got back I was in a pile of towels on the bed, sobbing and laughing at the same time.

I spent most of that week sleeping while I finished getting through withdrawal, felt better enough toward the end of the week that I finished Wanda's new Frankish outfit, and then dragged her off to a potluck that the new canton up the Gorge was throwing. Nice little event, quite enjoyable, decent potluck, and I met a young fellow who's also interested in Frankish stuff, so I had someone to talk at for a bit. This week is sleeping, more dr visits (and lab work- I think they should stop stabbing me and just install a tap), and some reading. I finally got through ILL several books, one of which has a LOT of the info I need on the abbey at Corbie.

This weekend I'm heading to Eugene- James has some meetings for the Diocese there, so I'm going to meet him there, spend some time with him and with the kids. And I'm also meeting with my all-time favorite prof for tea Friday. I'm so looking forward to seeing her- I haven't see her in years! And it will be nice to talk 'shop'.

Oh, and there will be a trip to the library. But don't you dare call me Hermione! I'm cuter. :-)

Monday, January 25, 2010

I think that this must be a month for stooopid drivers. Well, a little more than that, since it was on the 31st that we got rear-ended. But since then it's like Zippy the Wonder Volvo has a target painted on her. I drove from here down the the Barley Mill pub the other night- maybe 4 miles?- and had to slam on my brakes at least three times. And no, it wasn't me- it was idiots changing lanes in front of me with just inches to spare, making left turns in front of me, etc. Sheesh. Maybe they should take the bus? (Not me though- getting anywhere but downtown from here is a pain- no matter where you want to go, you have to go downtown and the change buses, adding huge amounts of time to your trip...)

Not much in the news otherwise. Wanda is out of town this week, to Louisville, Kentucky. Shadow continues to be a dumbass. I still have sewing to do (probably head upstairs after a nap). And the Republicans continue to think that Republicans are the only ones who rate meaningful health coverage- the rest of us can go hang, apparently. Grr.

But the good news is- John Kitzhaber is running for Governor again! w00T! If he gets the nomination, I might have to volunteer again. :-)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting a CAT scan...

So I get to go in for a CAT scan tomorrow- to see if the stuff in my lungs and liver has changed any. But I don't actually see the doctor for results until March. Grr. Y'all know how much I love waiting...

We finally got Zippy the Wonder Volvo home! She is back on the road with a replacement hatch and right-hand lights. The hatch is hunter green, but as the car is a dark brown it isn't really obvious. I'm slowly re-assembling the sticker collection. Bunch of Potterverse stickers, a Laurel wreath, a sticker that says Hwaet!, the SCA Emergency Roadside Assistance Program stickers (the SCA and An Tir stickers) and a new U of O sticker. Sadly, the ORYGUN sticker is out of print. I got a plain yellow and green Oregon sticker, and despite my efforts, it is off-centered which bugs me. (I don't know if I can take it off and re-center it- may have to buy another one.) I still have to replace my godless-baby-eating-granola liberal stickers. ;-) Think I'll start with 'What Would Jefferson Do'.

Went to Adiantum Midwinter's Feast. It was a nice time. I managed to sit next to Bera for the evening and neither of us got arrested! This may be a first. ;-) Lots of cool A&S displays, and the KEWL thing- Miriam won Adiantum A&S! Yes, our little Mermee! w00T! Ok y'all, she's setting the standard... :-)

I have stuff to sew for Rustam, and then the belated Christmas presents for Alannas and Wanda, and then some stuff for Malcolm, and then I need to make new chemises (I have a fitting problem with the ones I have, as in my middle-aged arms no longer fit in the upper-arm/armseye area) for myself. And Amalric wants into the queue too. I may surface sometime in May...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I've got my money on the guy with the pig-faced bascinet...

Doesn't that just look like a lot of fun?

We're kind of spinning our wheels lately. Finding a hatch for Zippy proved a lot hard to do than one would think. Apparently getting any parts for Volvo 240 series is hard- people keep them and fix them rather than get rid of them. Parts are at a premium, and they aren't making any more of them. But we finally managed to get the hatch for Zippy, and she's down at Adam's being fixed (crossing my fingers that it will go smoothly and be done before Saturday). The hatch we got is hunter green. I think it will look nice with my stickers. I got online the other night and ordered replacements for most of them. Still have to get a new Obama sticker. And make the Jefferson and the '0 to 60 in 8 minutes' stickers again. But it appears that the 'ORYGUN' sticker is out-of-print. :-( I'm thinking to stop off at the UO bookstore when I'm in Eugene this Saturday and see what they've got these days.

The aftermath of the accident has been... interesting. The guy who hit us had let his insurance expire- which it did, the day before the accident. The phone number he gave us was no good, and Wanda has found that he has addresses in at least two states. Apparently he's an ER physician. Where we aren't sure. Wanda wants a piece of his posterior. She's been dealing with the various reports and all and it's been weird.

In other news... there ain't much other news. I've been either sleeping or trying to deal with car fu. Got some reading done (more on Frankish women and then a book on more general women's stuff). Pulled the ornaments off of the tree, took down the swag, which is getting kinda ratty. Need to do something different next year. I still need to pack up the nutcrackers and haul everything up to the attic. I'm thinking about getting some of the good Rubbermaid totes and getting stuff out of the misc boxes, which are also getting ratty.

Miss my Sweetie, miss my kids. :-( Miss my Zippy. :-((