8-15-17 Bratwurst Day

We’re back, the van and as much of the trailer is unpacked as we don’t store in there all year, I think MOST of the laundry is done, I’ve started going through my email (thrown away over 2000 bits of spam and unsubscribed from dozens of senders),  and some of the two weeks of physical mail. Actually, it turns out that I’ve only gotten back to the third (a recent phone call asking if I got the email sent on the 2nd) so I’ve still got nearly a week to weed through!  We’ve begun the next round of doctor appointments, dropped the van at the mechanics for a check up (why is it so loud?), and banked the money we took in. This morning I advanced our perpetual calendar- the last day now has CTCW on it, and it feels like we have something every weekend until then. (We don’t. there are three free- although part of that is because some events have moved their traditional days so we have to pick one and not do both.) It would be wonderful to rest, but the level of activity makes me want to weep.

Over-all I feel much better; to put it another way: “I feel 60 again!” Sleeping outside and regular exercise is good for me. So is the reduced stress. I am now trying to figure out how to both be politically active and work to heal the current situation, and also not let it stress me out so much. I will cling to one over-riding principle: just because the other side is using violence and being obnoxious, doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to do so. I remind myself that this is just the hidden problems coming to light so we can deal with them, not a new problem. Still, it’s sad that so many people are so worried that they need to scapegoat whole other genders, religions, ethnicities.
It is far too easy to read that “They” threw cans filled with concrete, or excrement, or whatever, and feel that if “They” are doing it, ALL of “Them” are doing it, thus “We” should do it, and it may simply have been one person on the other side who is a total jerk, and we need to not let the situation accellerate. So, I must find a way to participate in politics while not being stressed by every stupid little thing (or big thing) that comes accross news feeds. Also, get outside more and exercise more.
The clockmaker for whom I’m finishing a portrait wants it next week. This means I have to finish it AND get the house clean enough that it doesn’t embarrass me- in a week. Eeps! And I have more paintings I still owe. The gentleman with the double portrait didn’t show up at war this year. I am so worried about him. He hasn’t responded to any of my emails. The lady who wants an extra portrait was who called – to see if I’d gotten the pictures she sent. Sadly, she wants these portraits to be a surprise, and every time her daughter has a camera pointed at her she flashes a dazzling smile- which won’t result in a period looking portrait. Still, it does look like fun.
As soon as I have a minute, I mean to go out and trim back the herbs that have escaped the garden areas: mostly Queen Anne’s Lace, Artimesia, and Goldenrod. The fragrant white Stock has come again (we did cut most of it in the spring for bouquets. I think it would make a lovely bouquet with the queen anne’s lace, but right now I have a few roses on the table. During the trip the rose bush Buddy, got knocked about and one branch broke mostly off, and that’s blooming. He bloomed all through the war and we were able to give our favorite people roses. We also got him a Veteran of Pennsic Wars sticker for his pot, since this was his second war. I’d also like to trim back the garden because Miles is beginning to bloom and we wouldn’t see it. There are blackberries! I want them out of the herb garden, but I want to eat them too! (My current plan is to wait until next month and try to harvest their roots for an anti-diahreal.)  We don’t seem to have any Black eyed Susans (Rudbekia) this year. Oh well.
I should be more systematic in my reporting.
The last time I wrote was the 26th- my anniversary. I did make the traditional blueberry cake for breakfast the next day. I used canned, rather than fresh blueberries, which we used to accept, but now can taste the difference. We also didn’t have the assortment of fresh fruits to go with it, as we’d been using things up. This may not have been nice to John, but when we got home we had to throw out the ingredients for salads we’d left behind, so it was probably prudent. Unsurprisingly, Thursday was spent packing, the chests, the trailer, the car, the flash drive (with my class handouts)…. We did decide to have our traditional “last meal” of Chinese food (although the new China Star is not as good as the old one- we will have to find another for next year). John does get to eat those leftovers. We also left him money to buy anything (like milk) he ran out of- the Village Store is under new management and doesn’t have charging anymore. I accepted my 1000th facebook friend request, which was fairly amazing to me, as I try to at least be aquainted with anyone I “friend”.
Friday was Willow’s birthday- NOT the best way to spend it- packing the bedding, food, and other last-minute items, then driving for most of the day. She opened presents- John got her a selection of patches for her jean jacket which she has gradually been sewing on. These include Spiderman, and With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility, a Hogwarts crest, and a golden snitch (annoyingly larger than the school crest), X Men Xaviers School crest, The Wonder woman logo, Nightcrawler, The Star Wars Rebel Alliance, and Power Rangers. They are not all on yet, as she was busy during the war. People are already beginning to compliment her on her jacket when she goes out. She already had Captain America, (with “No, you move”), Sailor Moon, Assassins Creed, Fluttershy, Applejack, and Groot patches. We also gave her makeup, a good bra, calligraphy pens, and a a video game, and I got her a leather coin container (good for silver dollars or quarters) to go in her pouch, so there wouldn’t be loose change. She’d admired it at GNEW. (Generally, getting her gifts that weren’t on her wishlist is risky.) I also found a stuffed otter, which she brought along. Because of that, this year the animal I embroidered on my Green Shirt was an otter. Her birthday dinner was at Applebees, and in the wee hours we found a hotel with an open room- thank goodness! On the way we listened to music on her MP3 player (as opposed to the CDs we used to use). Since it was a shuffle of ALL the music she has, I heard songs I hadn’t heard in years. It occurred to me that that’s how life happens, we accumulate it one CD, one book, one friend, one experience at a time. It’s sad when these memories get lost in the accumulation. I suspect that’s why so many people my age are reducing and simplifying their lives.
Saturday was packing in. We got to Coopers Lake a bit after 2, and were “trolled in” by 3. Luckily there were only two lines of cars- and Kat had the Knightriders theme on her music. (Tradition!) Our trailer wasn’t placed badly this time- jacking wasn’t a huge issue, Willow had remembered the fluid for the jack, and got it steady and level while Kat and I emptied the van and trailer. (I was really impressed by Willow’s packing, which I hadn’t noticed while she was doing it.) This year everyone seemed to be there at once, so there wasn’t really parking for anyone’s vehicals- that was frustrating. Charles was back as a neighbor, and the other usuals: Arab Boy’s historical Glassworks across from us, with Yosef and then Hobbitronics, Dancing Pig on our other side, and Honour and Galen (Game Gnight) behind us. Megan and Claus were already loading into their houses. It’s reassuring to have everything in the same place.
Sadly, we may not be able to do that next year- the Oddessey Coffeehouse, down at the corner, is a haven for smokers and daily a big enough cloud of tobacco came down the street that Kat had to dash out the back trying to breathe and taking benidryl. I talked to Cindy about it. Apparently while smoking is prohibitted in all public areas, it’s allowed in private tents, so their second hand smoke is an ongoing risk. Whether she can find another place for us in the Oldmarket is going to be a challenge.
After unloading we dropped off the trailer and did our first town run- using money for essentials from our second cashbox. We were better off than Claus- he’d been hit by identity theft. Sunday was also “the usual” checking in with the Pennsic University and Cindy. Disturbingly, there must be an unmailed packet around here- I remember putting it all together- insurance forms, layout map, tax papers, but she had nothing. Since it was the weekend, we put that off until the next morning. We put up the shelves, and hung hooks, and organized the inside and outside of the shop. Kat was sick of going up to the attic to sleep, especially as since the new roof was put on with 2 inch nails (or screws?) going through 1/2 inch plywood, it’s like an Iron Maiden up there. We decided to build a new bed (with available lumber, and rope) and knock out the stairs. Since whoever did it ignored my instructions and it blocked the window anyway, we are thrilled to see the last of them, although we still have left the platform until next year (so it’s partially blocked). They “overbuilt”, using nails, not screws, so it was hard to take out, but so worth it! The end of Honors trailer tounge was less than 12 feet from the end of ours, so we couldn’t put the class tent between us- luckily Charles wasn’t using all the space behind his house (although he was still doing construction/assembly for days). The mice had done a lot of building nests  with feathers from the featherbed (I thought those were hung up where they couldn’t get at them), and furs, and chewed on the clothes wrapped around the tableware. Two were even still in their nests and hopped away- after giving me mournful or accusing looks with those big black field mice eyes. They’d filled up the boxes for collecting the Merchant Appreciation Award ballots with feathers- and one with seeds. They must have felt quite extravagent to have such a multiroom home!
First thing monday we called the Insurance office, and they immediately sent Cindy an email of the form. Then we spent a fairly tearful/stressful hour in the Coopers Lake Internet Cafe (CLIC) talking to many representatives of the PA Department of Revenue. (The guy at the next computer was doing the same.) They may TELL you to go to the website, but it’s fairly useless. Different people told us variously that we were suspended, that we owed $13, that we didn’t owe anything, that had simply expired, and assorted other things. One lady, while sending us to another person advised us to “be persistent”. Eventually we got one guy who gave us his number and told us that if Cindy called him, he’d assure her that our account was fine. As we talked to many other merchants it turns out that when they switched over to the computer system a few years ago the records got all messed up. That’s probably when they had us pay the same taxes twice, then sent them back to us years later. It’s very sad. The people are nice and try to help, but they are working with a messed up computer system. I suppose it’s better than physical files that have to be gone through by hand.
I really love the CLIC people. They were nice, they let people come in and just enjoy the air conditioning. They have a very tolerant cat named Greebo who was often there. They make copies and print stuff off flash drives at fair prices. That’s where most of my flyers were printed this year. And the guy I mostly worked with? If he’s “on something”, I want some, because he was always pleasant and up-beat!
We did NOT go to Staples as much as we usually do. We started there, but because they were harried or something, the guy we dealt with didn’t do the usual thing of bringing copies of what he thought I wanted out for me to check, but told me he’d found them. I was surprised when, after running our other errands, it was $75, but too tired to check. When we got back I discovered that he’d made 20 copies each of the full 22 page booklet, not the 2 sided handout. The reason I was doing the Anglo-Saxon Warriors this year was because we had too many of the booklets (and no handouts)! Luckily, they did take them back, and give us a refund. He also printed 20 copies of ALL the files in the werewolves folder, not just the handouts, but the notes (8 pages because I formated them large so I could see them easily whiel speaking), illustrations, and the outline of the booklet. I asked if they could show it to me on a computer screen, but he didn’t. ARgh! I may go back next year. Or not. I’d really like to edit all my masters and make them into real books on Lulu.
I had intended to finish the one on Æthelflæd and Werewolves in the Middle Ages at the war, but Kat’s laptop, which she’d brought to do it on got wet- we aren’t sure how, because it was inside, but we haven’t been able to get it to work since the storm. (More on that later.) Oh, well, I’m sure as soon as I do finish them, people will buy them. I also need to do the ones on the Wild Hunt and the Evil Eye I didn’t do last year.
Our daily schedual was fairly regular. I woke up around 7 each morning and stayed quiet, not to disturb the girls until they woke up. Most mornings I had a 9 am class and I might miss Kat (Willow usually was up around 8), but if I was there we’d have breakfast together. Willow would go over to the bakery and get a fresh, warm ham (or spinach or pepperoni) roll and milk, and we’d split that, maybe expanded with bread and honey or jam and cream-cheese.  At lunch time I tried to make plates of cold meat or jerky, cheese bits, and vegetable slices and fruit. We drank all day long- there were some lovely bottled teas this year at the Giant Eagle. I also had many six o’clock classes, and after that I’d make supper (earlier if I didn’t). Giant Eagle had small packages of meat 5 for $20 including small steaks, ham cubes, chicken, and sausages- usually combined with sautéd onions and garlic. As well as a bakery, they also had lovely little trays of crudités this year. I’d put the water on to heat while the girls closed up the shop, and I washed the dishes, if it was light enough. We went to bed at around 10 most nights. That worked REALLY well for me. I would love to keep that up now that we’re back home.
This year we noticed that Willow can put up the “flying corners” by herself. Someone then holds them while she screws on the leg and the bracing struts. We also noted that the canvas is aging- it leaks through a bit. During one storm tucked a thin plastic sheet (dropcloth) under the canvas where it wasn’t very visible over my bed. It was effective enough to fill up, which we noticed when it dumped. Luckily Willow had also put a sheet of it over the bed. Most of the time it wasn’t a problem, but during that downpour we we got about 3 inches in an hour or so. It wasn’t as bad as it has been in the past. There’s a low spot in the middle of The Dancing Pig’s set up. I’ve seen her standing up to her knees in water, laughing. What else can you do? Also, she makes pottery, so while boxes might be damaged, the goods wouldn’t be (that may be why she now packs in plastic bins). This year what she’s dubbed Swine Lake “only” went up to her ankles.
There were a couple of brief storms, and one big one. We weathered them pretty well. Mostly they were light enough to not cause more problems than driving the customers out of the market- back to make sure their tents were closed up. The day we were painting the tablecloths, was the worst. We knew it was coming, and had been trying to get the new colorful tableclothes printed with the stamps I’d made the week before. We’d picked up more paint because the plan was to make a line across the front of each tablecloth. As the storm approached we decided that maybe one motif in each corner would be “enough for now”. We were doing the printing on the table in the class tent, and Willow hung up string and we hung the tablecloths to dry. Knowing the storm was coming I decided that this day would be a good one for beef stew. (When I discovered we had no barley in our stores, I looked over in the market, and compromised by buying a large tuber- we joked that it was a foreign turnip. Katheryne quipped that “Being Saxon means you can’t have potatoes, but you can use the word fuck.” Having battened down pretty well, we took the stew and some bread inside and were just starting to eat when we heard the all-too-familiar sound of a pop-up collapsing. Looking out the window, we saw that it was the class tent. Apparently enough rain had accumulated in pockets to be more weight than the aluminum frame could support. We had already changed into dry clothes, so we decided to wait until the rain stopped to see whether there was anything salvagable. (We did have to thank and wave off neighbors who came rushing to help.) So we had a lovely meal, and the rain let up enough that I was able to sleep out under the eves that night.
There was much wet stuff, so we assumed that everyone in camp would be converging on the laundry room in the bath-house, but when we checked, they hadn’t come yet, so Willow took a few big loads down. I stopped to admire the “shrine” to Thaddeus, who died two years ago. He used to share Magic Mirror with Tristan, and he always put up a pool with a fountain, and flowers, sculpture, wind chimes, lighting, etc. It’ was lovely. Tristan put it up this year, and had printed a collage of pictures of Thaddeus to share with friends. I sat down and we probably talked for hours. Master Tristan is another artist,  when Kat came looking for me “If you’re going to go out for that long, take your phone!” (Tristan and I were amused at the role reversal!) Also- “You need to go to bed, you have a 9 o’clock class!”. That was actually pretty convincing. That class was down at the Pennsic University (a ten minute walk), and by the time I got back the next morning, the girls had disposed of the twisted metal and damaged fly. The rest of the war we had to do the classes scheduled for there out in the open (or if it sprinkled, move the dining table and bring them under the wing.)
This year I “only” did 12 classes (I usually go for two a day, one morning, one evening, except for Midnight Madness, and Sunday evening when we go to the concerts. The most popular was the one on Werewolvesin the Middle Ages. As I mentioned before, I did Anglo-Saxon Warriors to reduce the number of booklets I had. I did several RunValdr again (we need as many healers as we can get), and palmistry, which was fairly popular, but not as popular as the Werewolves. I finally did a workshop on   Æthelflaed the Lady of the Mercians, which I’ve been meaning to do for years. Æthelflæd was the daughter of Alfred the Great, and was queen in all but name after her husband died, working with her father, and the council even put her daughter in to replace her after she died. Given that this was the 9th/10th century, and chroniclers were male, the information we have is sparse. As the author of the best book I found mentioned, modern historical fiction writers make much of the lack of information to fill in assorted improbably romances. (I think the clerics of the time would have found opportunities to mention them had there been any.) Sadly, most of the people who came to the classes seem to have been inspired by another fictional account. There’s a current series based on Bernard Cornwall’s last Kingdom in which she appears, and unfortunately, not having seen it, I wasn’t able to address how accurate or (probably) inaccurate it was.
  I was working on a booklet for that class, and the werewolves, but when I picked up Kat’s laptop (on the floor of the house), water ran out of it. We are baffled, as the inside of the house stayed dry, and it didn’t go out. But even after we packed it in rice, it never started up again. We are hoping we’ll be able to get an expert to get the files off the drive, but I’m afraid it, along with the class tent, was a casualty.
Willow had her usual project of making doll medallions. This is always complicated by the total secrecy of what they are going to look like until we arrive. This year they were green (argh! SO easy to lose in the grass) and oval with two extended loops for the string. It looked like a cartoon frog. Since the holes would be in the wrong place anyway, Willow opted agains coloring oval metal pieces green and simply punched out green cardboard rounds, then cut one side down to make the lumps. As usual she numbered them- like real medallions. Doll (and teddy bear) owners all over Pennsic now come looking for her and them. This year she made 100. Late in the war we discovered that there WAS a doll meet for adults (we’d searched the book and not found it, although we found the children’s doll meet). The adult meet was in the morning after midnight-madness (who decided that was a good idea?). The children’s doll meet was that afternoon. She took her last 30 or so to the doll meet, made more and left some with the organizer to distribute to the children, but couldn’t deal with them at that point.
She also made lots of gorgeous necklaces with glass beads, and she got an order for a blanket on her easy store just before we left, so she stopped at Michal’s and got some fleece and made it at the war, and mailed it the day we got back, sliding in under the “two week delivery” line. She also made another one, since she didn’t have one in stock. She calligraphed several blank scrolls for Harold to use at Harpers. What she did not do this year, which was sad, was work at Lost and Found. She tried to. She went the first couple of days but came back in tears. The new head of Lost and Found, Celestia, (who I mentioned last year, I think, made her feel “unwelcome, unsafe, and unappreciated”, and she came home in tears. I told her that if that was so, she shouldn’t go back. Apparently Celestia complained that it was hard to get people to staff Lost and Found. She thought it was because people like the prestigious jobs where they could ride around in carts (as she does). I guess it never occurred to her that speaking politely and showing gratitude to the volunteers might get them to want to come. Last year Joanna had come back temporarily, and Willow loved working there. I’m sorry she missed being able to do something she loved, but she did get a lot of other stuff done.
She also dropped her batch of herbals at Auntie Arwen’s spices, and we pretty much lived off that money for the beginning of the war. She and Kat also went out and got another folding chair for Kat so that she’d have one inside as well as the one in the dining area. (It was easy for me to move my chair from there to the desk in my studio.) I did, however, discover that I didn’t much like being there. I’d go there when someone dropped by to chat, but I don’t like being there alone. I find it discouraging to have people wander in my direction, take a glance or two, dismiss my paintings, scetches, sculpture, etc. then leave. Just in case you think I am so confident and secure! I did one scetch this year- of a gentleman with an impressive curly mustache; and I did one palm reading. The person who won a sketch in the Pirate Quote Game chose Kat’s style of portrait. It was two people, so they got a great deal! I worked a little on Dennis de Dijon’s painting. We found an incredible easle at Michaels while we were getting the paint for printing the new tablecloths. I saw it and went over to drool, then noticed that it was marked down from $279 to $45. (the vertical post has warped- I can live with that.) It is a thing of great beauty- and will be my Christmas present, although I will be using it.
Kat really didn’t get out much this year, unless you count dashing out into the back when a stray wave of second hand smoke blew down from the Oddessy Coffee House. They still have those great Mocha slushies, but perhaps there are more smokers there these days, or perhaps Kat’s more sensitive, but she had to go for the Benadryl several times to get breathing regularly again. Apparently it’s legal for them to do so, and we may have to move to a different location for Kat’s safety. She made a new dress- Roman style with moonstones along the open arms. She also made a new set of napkins- at which point we found the ones we’d packed. Mostly she was “the lady in the window” aka “Shopgirl”.
We got the Arastorm’s Merchant Appreciation Award ballots and boxes distributed a bit late this year- having had to make some new boxes after the mice chewed the old ones. We couldn’t afford to put a notice in the merchant book or the Pennsic Independent this year, and I’m not sure that we lost votes. We didn’t gain any, sadly, and for the first year someone asked us if we’d be doing it again. I tried to put them in new shops this year, although I did repeat a couple. This year Guild Mirandola won. I’d been surprised that they hadn’t won before- there is a constant stream of art classes they do (they sell medieval art supplies). The lady who runs it was speechless, and as she said, she’s Italian, and that usually only happens if you make them sit on their hands. I have a lot of fun chatting with people while delivering the ballot boxes. Talking to Hrimgnar, I discovered that he was the one who suggested medallions to show that folks had bought in. It came from Mountain Men Rendevous where they’d cast a little brass token so they’d know who’d bought in. Admittedly, the stamped steel bits we use are not that attractive, but they are better than stamping people’s hands. I left one with Raymond the Quiet, and Thomas the Lapidary- this year he has a crawling son, Duncan, going under the tables and playing on the floor under the watchful eye of his grandmother. So cute! My Master Arc brooch lost it’s pin and Thomas fixed it for me. It’s so nice to have a jeweler on site! On the other hand, I broke the strap on my elk sandal and fixed it myself- although I couldn’t find any scraps of elk.
I should probably say something about the war itself, although I don’t pay much attention to it. This year apparently it was East and Middle against the known world. One side was the Great Alliance, and the other side was the Allied Armies (I think), and I have no idea which side one. Kat and I made the closing ceremonies, and although the royalty there spoke of it, mostly what they said was that it didn’t matter who won, they all had a good time, so that’s as clear as mud. That ceremony was out on the battlefield in front of the castle. There were about thirty royalty and retainers combined (22 royals) facing into the sun, and about thirty in the audience, most of them I think like Kat and me, who’d come to participate in the count down. Given that there are no chairs, it’s not a “sit down” situation, now they have you hold your hand up if you were at the war (they count backwards from 46 this year to 1), and take it down when you weren’t there. Kat, looking far younger than her thirty years, likes to confuse people who can’t believe that she could have been there for Pennsic 17. She even took off her veil so they could see how young she looks (briefly- it was sunny)! I could stay there until Pennsic 3 with a small handful of others. I know I’d seen Flieg (the first knight made in the SCA) and Cariadoc earlier in the war, but apparently they didn’t feel like going out for that. It was nice to see Signy (there at Pennsic 1), and say hi. I was told that they’ve given up on “Great Court” where all the Royalty (from 20 kingdoms) were crammed on the Dias- and, of course, most people didn’t recognize the people being knighted from other kingdoms. I think Oskgar was in charge of the woods battle this year.
Another funny story is that some royal (he didn’t recognize which) came to Claus to ask if he knew where the “Rat Lady” was, because he wanted to catapult her stuffed “plague rats” into the “town” defended by the Eastern army. Claus didn’t know where she was, and the king said he might go for lepers (which Claus DOES sell) instead. This left Claus in a delima because he’d like to make sales, but did he want to contribute to his king becoming a leper? I don’t know if they ever came back to buy any- or did the rat flinging. Bronwyn (the Rat Lady) “Plague Rats, I’ve got your plague rats! They work on your old lovers, they work on your old lovers new lovers…. etc.” is with Veleda at Moongate designs, and we did pick up the new Lady Tudor Glitz this year (although we forgot to get a copy of Claus’ new Bad Garb game). We really held back on buying stuff this year, a few souvenirs, a bit of fabric, maple honey from the Bee folk, a couple of CDs, and that’s it. I was most enchanted by Claus’ Noah’s arc sets! I think I played with one for 20 minutes! We also got a set of ceramic plates from Dancing Pig because the pressed laminated plates we’ve been using for years had started delaminating. I think we got them when Ælfwine was alive, so they had a good run. We also got a palm cup in the new pattern, and some more saffron from Auntie Arwen’s. And I got a belt loop at Raymonds. Aside from that our purchases were milk, ice, gatorade and the breakfast buns.
I tried the Pennsic chocolate milk with selser water, and it was good, but I noticed that I started getting depressed each time I drank it. Alex explained that one to me as he’d had to quit it himself- it’s made with vanillin. I haven’t used anything. but real vanilla in decades, so I was unaware of the effect on me. I think I only noticed because why would I get depressed when everything was going so well?
Alex had driven his mother to Pennsic and dropped her off, but Kami bought him in for the last week, which was awfully sweet of her. Mostly Honour made due with help from minions she paid in garb. One was named Nicholas and he was there nearly all week. Others were, I think, the children of Lyon, one of Ælfwine’s squires. (“I’m old!”) Honour is still not recovered from her shoulder surgery in May- or possibly she is, but her doctor went on a two month vacation and hasn’t been available to switch her from sling to physical therapy. As in previous years, she had her “seige cooking” contest, in which she provides foods she can safely eat as the “what’s left during this siege” and they try to come up with some way to prepare the odd mixture in a delicious and period way. (Extra points if they can guess what region she’s assembled them from.) The second round included corned beef- which sadly none of them knew needs many hours of cooking and all versions came out like shoe leather. She also gave us one as a gift, but I didn’t make it until the end of the war, and we had no cabbage to go with it, sigh. Kat from Hobbitronics is also gluten intollerant and she stepped up as one of the judges (sometimes a benefit, sometimes not).
Kat had some sort of sugar free gluten free brownies made with sweet potatoes (I think) for “Beer and Cookie” night. This is a Bow Street thing on the Wednesday of the first week. I am not convinced that it enhances sales, but Willow made some sekanjabin syrup, and I made wafers, so we had our cookies and “drink” to offer. Lacking customers, I distributed them among other merchant friends.
Another thing Honour did was to be a pick-up spot for Paladin’s Pantry. These folks collect any unopened food leftover from Pennsic and distribute it to the homeless. Now they are also accepting tents, bedding, and other things that the homeless might need. When they got there on Friday night they looked at the huge pile and could only put a bit in their car, and had to come back. While they were gone more people brought more stuff, and they kept having to come back again. It’s good to know that the stuff you over-bought and don’t want to haul home is reaching people who need it. I was thinking that there should be one of those public service announcements with lots of people who one would never suspect saying “I’m homeless.” or “I was homeless.” and mentioning how people can help. I think people want to help, and groups like Paladin’s Pantry make it easy. Honour was trying to leave on Friday, but they were having car trouble and were still there when we got out.
Backing up, Saturday on my way to class I saw some of the marthon runners as they ran (around and around the camp. There were ladies with clipboards and bells along the route tracking the runners. Most of them, sadly, were in modern running gear, but I did see one lady in a Greek style tunic, good for her! I think the bells were so the runners could find them and check in.
Sunday evening we closed early, as usual, and went to see the Moonwolf and Effenwulf concerts. The kids stayed on to see I Sabastiani, and I went over to 3 Bears camp, where they were having a memorial service for one of Charley and Maria’s good friends, Lyralyn (I think). Maria made candied orchid’s in her honour, and Charlie walked me home. John from Three Bears came over and fixed the broken leg on my bed this year. He likes to help us with carpentry.
On Monday we had a meeting of the East Kingdom Soothsayer’s Guild. Kathrine (another one!) who lives with Lois/Elena brought the Ancient and Honourable Soothsayers Guild Banner (with Crystal balls on the end of the curtain pole it hangs on). I didn’t get it onto the schedule before the book was done, so there might have been more attending if I had.
Tuesday I took my first apprentice as a Laurel. I think it would be a a fun project to help him study medieval magick. Several of his friends came by. We made a contract in which    Weehawk came over and we had a contract in which I promised not to turn him into a toad, and he promised to “keep his hands of the book” if I tell him to (the wisdome of Disney- BTW did you know that the Wizard in the Sorcerors Apprentice was name Yensid- Disney backwards?). I promised him tools when he left my service, and he promised to help spellcheck my writing. His parents gave him his green belt (although I understand Michael made it), and after the crowd all signed the contract (very Anglo-Saxon), we had cookies and sekanjabin and then he and his parents stayed for supper.  Oh yes, I also accidentally made some sesame candy. I was trying to dry out the sugar and sesame seeds on low and turned the oven controls the wrong way. Oops. I made more wafers and Madelines, Weehawk brought some mead he’d made.
Wednesday was  the full moon, and Midnight Madness- we did pretty well this year. After going to bed at 10 most nights, staying up until midnight was hard, and as usual, business was pretty dead the day before and the day after. As a scheme to increase business during the dead part of the week, it’s a bad plan. The next morning most merchants sleep in, which makes it hard to pick up the ballots from the Appreciation Award. I have to get the results to the paper by noon, when they send it off to the printers, to get it in the Friday paper. And this year I forgot and scheduled a class in the morning! Willow counted them up for me. In the afternoon I delivered the ones that had compliments on them. That has become an increasingly important part of this project.
Thursday morningThursday night they burned the Viking ship with the shields of the recent dead on it. I painted one for Arthur of Linden. This is something like 20 years now they’ve been doing this, but I haven’t gotten down to watch since they’ve pushed the leaving time up, and we now have our last supper that night. Also, since we only find out at noon who won the voting, Willow is painting the Merchant of the year plaque, and box in the style of the merchant, and I’m doing the scroll. Only this year Willow got mixed up and put the whole “you are so wonderful” blurb on the plaque for Guild Mirandola.
Friday we made the official presentation to Mirandola, then went down to the Basketman and picked up 10 dozen new pair of stockings. Kat also found a bottle that said poison there. What household doesn’t need a bottle that says poison?  We’d done an inventory of our stocking colors at GNEW, so knew what we needed. I’m excited about getting more colors in the bigger sizes. Sadly we’ll only be doing two Pagan Pride Days this year because they’ve scrambled the schedules around. Sales closed at 7 and we packed up until dark, then had a pot luck supper with the Hobbitronics folk- Rose, Kat and Galen, played a bit of Bards Dispense Profanity (it’s like Cards against Humanity, but is all Shakespere quotes.) We meant to do it earlier, but were generally too tired to stay up to play. Cindy sent round flyers reminding the merchants that sales ended at 7. Since I’d been trying to figure out whether it was 5 or 7 (and you can lose your merchant space if you sell too late), I thought that was nice. Apparently she told us in emails before the war, which is why it wasn’t in the book.
Saturday dawned overcast and looked like rain. Willow went out to the street and addressed the clouds and wind, telling them that we needed our canvas dry, and that they should open up and let the sun through, and BAM, as she said that they opened and a ray of light fell on her. It was very dramatic. After that we just packed our little feet off, finishing up around five. It is not my favorite day. WE wear work garb, because it’s still a freaking SCA event, but most people are wearing jeans and the T shirts they bought. Heck, there’s a lot of it on Friday. (Grrr.) As in unloading, everyone was doing it at once, and there was no place to fit the cars and trailers. This year the rule was everyone off site by 9 am on Sunday- this works better if you are in a modern tent that’s easy to take down quickly (or your neighbors rented a tent that you can sleep in). It’s at least two hours from letting down the side roofs to getting everything inside for us (I’m not sure why), so we (and most people) left Saturday night. On the other hand, having been caught without being able to buy ice for the trip home, I checked and the store was staying open until noon on Sunday, so I suspect they didn’t really expect people to be out by nine.
Other things I remember include Brian carrying my favor in the Lady of the Rose Fencing Tourney. There was a joke going around (reflecting the aging of the SCA). An old member was showing a new member around and explaining the SCA to him. Finally the new member asks. “I think I’ve got it, but why is it that you make all the old fat men wear those white belts?” (this is where SCAers laugh, and I explain to those not in the SCA that the white belt is the badge of a knight. They generally are young and fit when they get them, but keep wearing them as we age, and yes, like the rest of the world, SCA fighters get fat when they get old too.) These days I know I am not the gorgeous damsel I was in my early years. These days all I ask is that my nails are smooth enough to not snag on fabric when I’m working with it, that my chin isn’t hairy, that my clothes don’t have spots of food (and look authentic), and that my hair is pretty much under control. (These days I seem to have Einstein hair more often than I’d like.) Oh how the mighty have fallen! I console myself that there are lots of people who seem to show up for my classes. Other things I will probably remember from this war is the sad tale of a mother who’s 6 year old shot 14 holes through her new pavilion with a bow and arrows. (whenever you think your life is stressed, there’s always someone else’s more impressively crazy.) And the gentleman who’s enhanced our war so much by drawing labyrinths on the pavement around the barn- he even got a Laurel for it. Personally, I have no idea how he constructs them, but he does, and also puts down where that particular labyrinth came from (they’re all from some cathedral or other). Fun and educational! I remember one he made that was big enough for wheelchairs. Anyway, some bozo came up and yelled at him! Told him he wasn’t allowed to do it, and the Coopers asked him not to do it except in the fenced off bit in front of the Internet cafe. They claimed the labyrinths distracted children from the cars driving through (at 5 miles per hour, and presumably with their eyes open!), and put them at risk. In the many years he’s been doing this I’ve never heard of a problem. I suspect that the yeller had some sort of personal bad experience that render him irrational, but it broke my heart. Usually the war is a santuary from the ugliness of the world. I hope it’ll be worked out by next year.
We saw many friends, and had many great conversations, but listing names here wouldn’t be particularly interesting. Mark came to the war to see his old friends, arriving during the rain on Sunday(?); Mor and Oskgar had brought a couple new pieces of garb for him to wear, so he had something dry to change into. He was staying at a local hotel, not camping. Monday he bought us dinner at Pat’s Place (a restaurant next to Pennmart). The girls had an errand, but he got me an ice cream cone. It said one or two scoops. I asked for one, but I tell you that she dug into the ice cream cannister at least 4 times. I shudder to think how huge a 2 scoop cone would have been!
Morgan Kuberry was able to come to the war for a few days because his wife was visiting family in Pittsburgh. He was doing his usual living on salt pork and hard tack. (The man is even more of a do it as they did nut than I am!) Megan was really enjoying doing the war with no selling. Willy shared some Willies avacado chicken salad, and we SO have to try to recreate that recipe. At some point, someone left some bottles of peppermint oil in Tragg’s hands. Mysterious. I got tired of pushing my forelocks back and trimmed them, sadly (I think frequent showering and high humidity did this) I ended up looking like a  dandilion puff- grey rather than white, but it tended to puff straight out.
A lady had made a “SCA 50 year” tapestry in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry for the 50 year anniversary, and she brought it to Pennsic, so we got to see it. One panel for each year- showing founding of Kingdoms, creation of Orders, and other major events in the SCA. Of course now that it’s done, people are telling her things that should have been on it- at the time she was pouring over kingdom archives trying to pick things to put in the years between. We were inspired- we’re talking about making our own- one panel at a time, showing Ælfwine’s exploits- at least a few of them. I didn’t get to the Arts and Sciences display this year. And I hate to admit it, but although there were dozens of wonderful classes I meant to attend, I didn’t get to any of them. I especially regret the ones down at “Bog U”- there’s an encampment dedicated to early period persona and they do that type of class down there. But either I’d walk the half mile each way, or take the bus, and while I would invest an hour in a class, I’m not ready to spend an hour plus perhaps two hours in transit to get to one.
When we arrived at the war we’d noticed that the tires on the trailer were bald, and figured we’d just get new ones on one of our town runs- but with the trailer up in the far lot, we didn’t think of it all war, until we saw them again when we brought it down to load it. Darn! When we left the site we went straight to Walmart’s automotive, where Willow had done and internet search and it said that they said they had the tires we wanted. Sadly, what they meant was that they can special order it for you for the next day. (Grrr!) We tried four other places, then (past 8 on a Saturday night), we just went to the hotel, ordered pizza delivered in, showered, and went to sleep. The girls got pizza, but I ordered a regional sandwich with the unpreposessing name of a “Wedgie”. Both the wedgie and the pizza were fantastic! and so were the bacon and cheese fries.
First thing the next morning, We headed for the next Walmart on our route- 20 miles up the road, but the tire blew- taking the fender almost off. (we pulled it off and brought it home to reattach.)
 I will admit that people stopped to help us, but Oh, my goodness! Why is it that so many men assume that women cannot change a tire? I will admit that Willow was wearing her pretty pink frock with ruffles, but still. It’s not that they want to help, that’s nice. But they don’t listen! You tell them what’s going on, what you’re doing, and they just ignore you! (“No, don’t take the tire off yet, we need to go buy a new one!” They take it off.) Luckily we were only about 20 minutes from a place that had the tires we needed, and as we’d called to make sure, they had them waiting for us up front. (Willow also picked up another tire iron because ours was packed inconveniently deep.) My contribution was calling AAA (who does NOT deal with trailers, but was able to give me the number for the highway patrol), and the police to tell them that we were leaving but not abandoning the trailer. They assured me that they give obviously disabled vehicals 24 hours before they worry about them. But I felt better knowing that.  Luckily it was the one on the guardrail side that blew, once that was changed we drove to the next rest stop and changed the other one- which was also bald, and changed that. We’ll get a spare tire and put it on the rim that didn’t get rolled on, and then we’ll have a spare. Once again, there are so many problems that aren’t serious if you have the money to throw at them.
Mortgage has gone to escrow account. Arg!
So that was a couple of hours dent in our travel plans, and we blew off a side trip for the way home. We had a lovely lunch at Bob Evans. Why don’t they have them in New England? This was the first time I’d tried country fried steak and it was wonderful, but I tasted Willow’s pot roast and it was even better! Wow. So we drove, and drove. I thought Pennsylvania was long, but NY seems to go on forever! We finally got in just past midnight. I think we might have gotten there sooner, but we trusted the GPS, and apparently it mixed up the “quickest” and “shortest” route request again. With a trailer we don’t need to take every dinky little country back road!
Monday we started the “catching up process. I started a conversation on the Soothsayers page about “Sooth U” which is something Arwen mentioned at the guild meeting that they used to do. A soothsaying event once a year or so. We got hit with the reality of modern politics again. NOT good for stress levels. How can this be happening? I’m especiallhy cross because Trump immediately expressed concern and support after the car attack in Spain, but couldn’t bring himself to say the same thing about the American terrorists. He is simply not competent to be President. Willow immediately put the blanket she’d made in the mail, put the cash in the bank, and picked up some fabric for a cosplay for this weekend. (It’s a jelly fish- so cute!) She also picked me and Kat up insulated cups like hers. This cup is so amazing! We put ice in it when we left the hotel Sunday morning, and there was still ice in it when we got home! Once she’d left it in the car and the outside was hot to the touch- but the drink inside was still cold. I’m looking forward to using mine!
I’ll admit, yes, we immediately put away the food, and I did laundry all day Monday (the drought is over or I’d have spaced the loads out.), but I’m so happy to be back in my own water bed, surrounded by my piles of books! I SHOULD be finishing up those booklets I didn’t get done at the war, but I started reading other books by the bed instead. I’ve also been trying to organize the fall schedule. As I said, only two PPDs this year, but there’s a school Renn. faire, and Twilight Covening, Celebrate Samhain, and CTCW is less than three months away. Also the clockmaker wants his painting, and I told him to come next Thursday for the final sitting; so not only do I have to finish the painting, I need to get the house from post Pennsic chaos, to where I’m not embarassed to let a stranger see it. And the lady who got this year’s painting in the public TV auction called, and sent pictures (again, not great reference shots) while we were at Pennsic. I spent hours going through my emails- threw out over 2000, and am still only back to August 3rd. (I’m also un-subbing from as many as I can.) And I’d like to get Dennis’ portrait done too.
Our friend, Daffydd, the Stonemarche herald, died this week. I was pleased to see pictures of him at the demo at Cathedral of the Pines two weekends ago. I guess Ælfwine was at Harpers a week before he died too. It took me a bit to figure out who it was because his sister had changed his fb icon to his service picture which was so much younger than I’m used to thinking of him, and I never used his modern name. That’s a handicap of having friends in the SCA. Sigh. People die, I may accept it, but I don’t have to like it.
Tuesday and today there were doctors appointments, one a “follow up”. Do they not understand that while it may make the doctor feel more secure to see us every so often, the cost is not worth it for us? We dropped Willow’s car at Winkles. It had started being rather loud and she was “afraid she’d done something unkind” to it. We were afraid that we’d overloaded the trailer and the transmission was damaged. To our relief, it was just the exhaust having blown a gasket, and not that expensive to fix. Whew!
Wednesday I started writing the letter, and it’s taken two days- I suppose it does cover over two weeks. Sadly, while I took both my camera and phone, I forgot to take pictures until packing up. I suppose better to experience the event than record it. Next year I think I want to take more pictures of my friends. Daffydd reminds me that they may leave our company too soon. (And, as I tell prospective portrait clients “you’re only going to get older, fatter and grayer, better get your picture done now!”) Kathy Smith was coming on the New Normal, but the studio didn’t respond properly again. I really should find another venue or give it up, It is pure inertia that leeps me with LiveParanormal. Well, as soon as I have a few free hours, right?
If I spend the next week painting, it should be a short letter, but I should have at least one picture!
Until then, I wish you well

All Religions look funny when viewed from the outside