8-17-2007 Back from Pennsic

Well, We’re back. I had planned to spend yesterday writing the letter and otherwise catching up, but having gotten in at almost three, I slept until two, and so all I got done was some laundry (lots of laundry), emptying the ice chest, scrubbing the toilets, etc. That sort of thing- which meant I got “nothing” done.
But back to two weeks ago.
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That last week was spent traveling around to lumber yards getting roofing supplies. Rachel came up to help roof one day, then Morgan (John Morgan Kuberry) came up Thursday (I think- it’s kind of a blur). Here’s a picture of Alex and Morgan- the Kuberry boys. I know I’ve been confusing everyone talking about Alex when for the last 20 years when I’ve said Alex I’ve meant Alex Jaruk, but there are other Alexes in the world, and he’s one. (BTW, little Nicholas, born Sunday the 29th at 3 and a half pounds seems to be doing well. Both Alex and Zon got colds which kept them out of the NICU for a while, and of course, she had to recover from the C section, but Alizaunde/Honour got reports all through the war and Nicky didn’t seem to have lost weight and has now gained some, so it looks like he’ll be OK once he gets up to the point where one would like him to have been born. Honour is, understandably quite excited about her first grandchild.

Anyway, Alex Kuberry spent the week on the roof- got the East wing done, then pulled the mossy shingles off the west wing- Morgan hoped to finish the roofing for him in the next couple of days, but Friday (or Saturday?) the skies opened spectacularly, and rain poured down through. All packing was suspended while Willow drove off to buy a bigger tarp (they’d put a tarp over it- but it still leaked) and the rest of us moved stuff out of the closet over the stripped roof, and everywhere else it was coming through. Willow came back and put it up even though she is afraid of heights. I didn’t know she was back until she called on her cell phone for someone to pass something up for her to push around a piece of the plastic she couldn’t reach. She had the unnerving thought of “slip and slide” (which was a toy from the 80s- although most of us just put tarps on a slight slope and wet them with a hose rather than buying the self wetting plastic strips). This is NOT a soothing image when you are trying to negotiate a tarp covered roof in the rain. Still she got it on, and the rain stopped coming through. At least through that part. I haven’t even gone out yet to see if Morgan HAS finished it. The juncture between the two roofs still leaks, as it has since we first decided the roof needs fixing. Apparently there was a lot of rain while we were gone given the number of towels Star used while we were gone- I don’t think he showered twice a day every day.
I suppose I might also mention his crisis- it first hit him as “the computer and microwave won’t work”, but he he was able to track it down to the breaker- and while he could plug the computer into a different circuit, the other breaker still wouldn’t stay on, and that was the one for the freezer and the goat fence. He moved as much of the frozen food as possible to the other freezer, and trimmed the grass from around the goat fence, in case it was shorting out- but it still kept going off. Dan came up to take him to lunch and looked at it. I’m not sure what changed, but while I was still trying to get in touch with our electrician from Pennsylvania, it started working again. I’m thinking maybe it was the heat putting greater requirements on the freezer- maybe in conjunction with the grass on the goat fence. At any rate, I don’t have a pile of rotting meat and irate neighbors. Thank goodness.

So we weathered that crisis (somewhat more literally than I’d like), got the van and trailer packed- actually, Willow did it while I continued to work on the last booklet- Anglo-Saxon Leechcraft. By midafternoon Saturday I gave up, used Kat’s flashdrive to transfer what I had to the laptop (which is for the business, but mostly is Willow’s) and headed out. Saturday was Willow’s 28th birthday, and she opened the presents we’d gotten for her- some manga, Steve gave her a flashdrive of her own, and a used copy of the Rainbow Goblins- a book from her childhood that she’d read until it literally fell apart. No cake, no celebration- we headed out after dark to drive through the night. We stopped at a Denny’s or some similar place, and I told them it was her birthday, but she didn’t have the wait staff come out to sing at her as I’d hoped. We drove all night- by which, of course, I mean Willow drove since I don’t drive after dark these days. I drove once it got light.
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This was a wooden bear outside a rest stop in Pennsylvania that the girls liked.
We’d brought a couple of bundles of clapboards (which they have on hand up here and have to special order down there), and started by fixing the roof section on one side. I’ve chosen to stain the roof clapboards/shingles in blue and red because that’s what the images of houses in the period are shown as- but it may well be simply decorative artistic convention- like the green and purple legs on horses in the Bayeux Tapestry. But we stained them and put them up, then put up the side sections. I’d finished one corner last year, and started to work on assembling the other three- but making lots of parallel cuts with the rotary saw and chiseling them out is so time consuming we gave up and bought a router, so the rest of the construction went MUCH faster.
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Another little adventure happened while putting up the first- a fellow who’s helped us before, Matt, came by and helped me raise the corner piece, but when he stepped off the chest he hit the ground wrong. We called the Chiurgeons who are always paired with EMTs these days, and they said, as they must- we can’t tell from the outside, go get X-rays, will you let us take you in our ambulance. Matt hadn’t any insurance, so he was nervous, but I figure that’s what business insurance is, and so we called our agent, and they set up a adjuster, and it seems to be being covered. Good thing because the only bill he’s seen so far is the ambulance bill and that was $900! Turns out it was just sprained- so he hobbled around the war on crutches, then a cane, and was walking by the end of the war. He said it was OK- he wouldn’t have been able to stay for the first week if he hadn’t hurt himself- but it certainly wouldn’t have been OK if he’d had to pay back thousands of dollars to have the medical community tell him “stay off of it for a week”, and it could have been broken. I figured that insurance was just one of the costs of doing business, and never figured I’d actually use it- so I’m rather glad I’ve got it.

We never raised the roof over the loft this year- I couldn’t face it with the other stuff going on, and after the horrid time we had taking it down last year. When we can get the hydrolic or oil lifts in and can raise it mechanically, fine, but the whole point of the trailer shop was that it should be easier to put up than the old house. Once we’ve got no lumber to load and off-load and build with, it should work. This year we just piled our futons on the bed during the day and put them down at night.
It was SO hot! I’d guess around a hundred most of the first week. We just kept in the shade as much as possible and drank copious amounts of water- and wore linen, no wool this war, even the summer weight wool. NOT a good year for Honour to sell cloaks.
Honour was there on the weekend, and got her house up efficiently, even though Alex wasn’t able to come help with that as he’d planned to do. Amina came with her again, with her two kids. I fear we don’t think as much of Amina as Honour does- she must do something in Michigan we don’t see at the War. Of course since she had a two year old and six year old with her, watching them took a lot of her time, and some of Honours. Amina has really gotten into the belly dancing sub-culture at Pennsic this year, and went to several of the classes, which looked to us like Honour’s support staff deserting her. Perhaps it didn’t look like that from the inside. I was thrilled to see Honour walking around this year (Megan too), when in previous years they’ve been in wheel chairs and on scooters. So some of us are getting healthier.
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There are a LOT of scooters/larks/mobility vehicals these days. I saw two ladies racing along Bow Street which is still gravel rather than paved, and one of them was on one of the ones with four big fat wheels, while the other was on a three wheeler, and complaining that the other had the advantage on gravel (but the three wheelers have it in turning radius!). I also overheard someone talking about scooter jousting which I think is done with those long foam “lances” kids play with in pools. The baby boomers age, but we don’t grow up!

Jane/Arwen sells our herbal products now, and at the point when I would have said they weren’t selling, and it’s time to give up on them, they seem to be taking off. People try them and come back for more. Of course, her shop is still called the Crystal Connection and she spends all day (and has to hire help to keep up with the customers) selling her spice blends. I guess you never know what’s going to sell. (I theorize that my plan to try everything and pursue those things which seem to make money has the flaw that we aren’t putting total energy into any one thing- and maybe they do need more time to take off. We’ll see this year at the CT Renn faire whether people who saw me last year decide to actually stop and get their portrait done this year.) Anyway, we had Jane over for supper one night- we’d taken a frozen rabbit and some kid, and I curried it. Sadly, when I opened the bag of kid, it wasn’t a leg, as we thought we’d grabbed, but ribs- so I had to spend an hour getting the tiny bits of meat from around the ribs. There was enough for the four of us thought, so it worked. Then we got a coffee cake from the Coopers store and lit it up for Willow’s birthday.
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The famous chocolate milk is no longer worth writing home about- I’m not sure what has happened to it, but it’s fairly boring now- not that they don’t still sell a lot of it. Because of the heat I preferred the mocha slushies at the coffee house- even though I couldn’t get through a whole one without getting an ice cream headache. Then I saw them putting in the syrup and discovered that it has high fructose corn syrup in it, so not going to be drinking that any more either. Now it’s mostly lemonade made with lemon juice and honey or tea.
Food-wise, we ate out a lot more than I prefer. For one thing- mid-war the propane stove died. I saw flames coming from inside once, turned it off- took it apart, tried again and was pretty sure there was a leak somewhere, and I’m just not taking any chances with propane. We had that stove back when Ælfwine was alive, so I guess it’s paid it’s way. Also, there’s the time factor- we try to do as much work as we can, and it’s faster (and no wash-up) to buy. The Gyros were good, and during the hot days we developed a tradition of splitting an order of fries mid-day for the salt and potassium. (potatoes contian tice as much potassium as bananas) and of course, we put salt on them. Because we didn’t care to walk over to New Market often we mostly just got from the two local shops, even though we’d bought a tray to help us carry three peoples meals at once. Another big reason we didn’t cook as much is that I can’t convince myself that cooking on a gas stove is a medieval activity. I LOVED camp cooking over a fire, but we can’t have them in the market, so what’s the point. Get some food in you and get on with it.
Selling started on Tuesday, and classes started on Wednesday (the first), although I got mixed up and showed up on the last of July for my first class. As with last years I did a RunValdr class at 8 AM every day. Sometimes Willow got up and walked me down- helping me carry my visual aids, notes, etc. Jane taught rune classes this year, which was good, and she uses a white-board (while I prefer pre-done posters). After the first class where she had to hold it up with one hand while writing with the other, I loaned her my easel to hold her whiteboard up, and left it at her place which was fairly close to the class tents. As a side note on the heat- that time I’d dunked a linen veil in water before leaving our shop, and it was dry by the time I reached the class tent a five minute walk later. It was hot. And rather humid too, sigh.

Most of my Pennsic experience was doing classes. Aside from the morning RunValdrs, I did four other classes (twice each) and I also added two extra evening RunValdr classes because some people just don’t seem able to get up for an 8 am class. By the end of the war, I was really beginning to feel the same way. I did get someone to snap a picture of me teaching once- since that’s pretty much my central focus. It seems to be me at a Leechcraft class. I am still surprised to see pictures of myself and see how old I’ve gotten. Still, that doesn’t seem to have slowed down the “adoration of my fans”. Figuring that most of the people who would come to my workshops were probably Anglo-Saxon-philes, I put together about a dozen notebooks containing all four handouts and all three full length booklets, and had those available for $15 each for anyone who wanted them all- and they all sold out. I’m a bit worried because the first class I offered them I hadn’t yet finished the Leechcraft booklet, and warned people that they’d have to come get them later, and I don’t remember people doing that. Of course, if you look in the picture you’ll see a cylindrical wooden box on the table. Willow made that for me. It has a slot in the top and runes around the side that say “put a donation in the little box” (a line from the movie Labyrinth, which I occasionally quote, and sometimes people recognize it because they mention the next line “It’s so stimulating being your hat.”) People generally just take a handout and make change for themselves from the box, and I don’t worry about it. I think more people put in more than copying cost than less, and I put a “rounded up” number on the front of the booklets- if it costs me about four dollars to make one, I suggest $5, so I figure that covers the free handouts.
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When Willow went to get the first batch made at Staples, which we did down there to avoid having to carry them, the order came out to $225, so I kept pulling out the big bills and we got it all back by the end of classes. Of course, I am not sure how much more the Leechcraft booklet cost when I got it done. That was a frustrating afternoon. I am used to MY computer, and the laptop has a touch pad, not a mouse, and the word processing is a different program so it doesn’t work the same way. Especially not the picture formatting. I know I lost a couple of pictures in there somewhere. I never deleted them, but when I tried to move them from one page to another they disappeared, so they are probably behind some other picture or something. I feel that I ought to be able to figure it out, but considering how hot it was, I’m lucky I could actually speak coherently at all.
I had a free handout for each class: Anglo-Saxon Art, Anglo-Saxon Religion, Anglo-Saxon Leechcraft and Anglo-Saxon Religion. Those were two or three pages- of which one was bibliography- I’ll append them to the letter if case you are interested. Probably not. Very few people are as interested in the Anglo-Saxons as I am. One of the people who came to a class was blind (and did that make me aware of my tendency to jump from thought to thought mid-sentence!) and he asked if I was going to put it on my website so he could get his computer to read it to him, and I said yes, so I guess I’m going to have to actually get the website cleaned up- finally.

On the way home from the war I tried to figure out what pages I’d need to have for the website, and came up with over 40. There are the various kinds of portraits I do, the miniatures, the charcoals, the medieval, and the naif; there are the sculptures, the reproductions and non- reproductions, the parents, the cookie stamps; there are my workshops, and my many classes, and the schedules of places I’m speaking, and I should put up some suggested fee schedules, and I figure a bio/ curriculum vitae, I think my SCA activities would probably fill a page, then there’s the writing- I’m not sure how one puts up the booklets, but I know other people do it. I probably should advertise the books like Divine Cookies and Subtle Pagans that are for sale rather than putting the contents up, and of course Cabochons has all our stuff- the silver should be covered, although I’m not sure how specifically, the herbals should be mentioned, although linked to Arwen’s website for sales, Willow’s masks and Candles, and painted silks, and boxes all should have thier own pages- heck her butterflies should have their own page, and Kat’s developing stuff. What’s up there now is some pictures of dogs and my knitting. Then there are the psychic parties, and we should mention the “silver” parties- I still think it’s a great idea to bring them into lunchrooms so guys who hate to shop can get their mothers and wives presents at lunch time. (but how to promote it?) At any rate- that needs work (just what I need, something else to take up my time).

Usually when I’m writing the letter I can go back to my journal and figure out what I did any given day because I write it down before I go to bed- sadly, I fell asleep in the journal nearly every night, and had to get ready for the first class as soon as I got up, so there isn’t much there this year. The kids caught a picture of me asleep at my desk as I tried to catch up during the day. I’d like to think I was faking, but I don’t think I was- I had no idea they were taking the picture.
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As opposed to this one of Kat, where I’m pretty sure that she did know she was being preserved for posterity. The sign No Bad Garb is one of Clauses. For the first part of the War I wouldn’t hang it up because we worked so hard to make the place look good- but after it started raining, we had to tack plastic sheeting around the edge of the porches or take everything in, so I figured that with the plastic on the sides, why not have the sign up. There is SO much bad garb- or as I prefer to describe it “not-garb” at Pennsic these days. For one thing, because people are always coming in and going out (I met someone who actually came in on Friday night- paid the full week’s fee for one day of Pennsic!), there always seem to be people walking around in shorts and T shirts because they’ve just arrived, or are on their way out (or their garb is wet, or they are working, and don’t like to wear garb to work in). Guys! It’s an EVENT! You are not supposed to leave your camp wearing modern clothing! They just don’t care! Amina constantly wore a pair of shorts with a Harley Davidson logo on the butt which drove me nuts. I can understand wanting to wear an archer’s T shirt (“run all you want, you’ll just die tired”) or other T with a clever SCA or period joke, but I find it hard to understand the people who wear really intrusively modern clothing.
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But then there are the people who don’t seem to even know what garb is. Yes it’s hot. Wearing garb from southern climes makes sense. Look at Kingdom of Heaven or some of the other movies about the Holy Land. But people are walking around in what they call belly dancing outfits which are often just halter tops and relatively short skirts with coin belts on top to justify it. Nope, doesn’t work. And tucking bunny furs into your underwear doesn’t make it garb. As one woman mentioned- people should be rated for bunny furs. If you’ve been rated for 28 furs, you shouldn’t be out wearing three. Cover up! There are things we are not meant to see at any age! If they still have the swimming hole, take it down there! But while guys walk around shirtless with pants tucked into boots- or sandals, a lot of the women are wearing patchwork peasant skirts and flowered blouses. Sorry, I don’t think that would even pass for a 19th century peasant. Sure- I’ll accept the straw hats on just about everyone. Heck I wear one. But I cannot imagine a circumstance when a crown was worn on top of one! Sigh. Claus has suggested that one day next year we actually pretend it’s an SCA event and require garb for everyone. Love the idea, but what’s the enforcement mechanism? Can we fine them? Throw water balloons with food coloring at them.
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This is what our place looks like these days- mostly. This was taken before we got the other three corners up. This is the south face, so the sun pounds down moving right to left (as we look at the computer image) and we have to keep moving to stay in shade. Of course, Kat stays inside and just leans out the window, or sits in the east doorway. She came up with a good idea- people didn’t seem to want to go down the sides, so we hung a “tapestry” across the back, and that showed them where the end was, so they started going back. It’s a fairly large booth. I’m thinking that we should still put the jewels out front in the sun, and just put plastic sheets over them if it starts to rain (which it does every so often), because people just don’t buy many jewels when they aren’t in the sun (getting hot enough to burn the customers).
I think that’s Willow sitting over on the left. For “midnight madness” we brought my desk out to the west corner, and I worked on Joanna and Scott’s portrait (putting in Buddy, their dog) and Willow was in the east corner doing Japanese brush painting. Several people took cards and seemed to think they’d like to have their portraits done. Of course, when I was younger, I thought that meant they’d actually get back to me. Now I know it’s about one in ten that do, so maybe one of them will. If all the people that wanted them got them, I’d be doing well. Of course, if I got all the things I wanted, other people would be doing well too, and I’d need a bigger house.

This is a later picture after we’ve put up the plastic, and hung the painted silks along the east wing. It added shade and color, of course Ælfthryth (Kat)was pretty decorative too, although I really don’t like the girls blocking the stairs by sitting on them. I guess I still think of the inside as the “studio” where I’m supposed to be painting. Doesn’t make a difference if there’s no one to paint.

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I actually found a couple of kind of scary dishes which we hadn’t washed when we left among the ones Star hadn’t gotten to. I understand the sentiment of “I didn’t do it, I shouldn’t have to clean it” but… ick! Next year when I insist on having the house totally clean before we leave there may be objections, but… ick.

Willow is still recovering. Kat and I will be doing Pagan Pride Day in Maine without her.
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Here are a couple of pictures of my lovely daughters on Midnight Madness. Last year Willow did brush painting which really impressed people, so this year she did it again, and Kat got in kimono too. The one sleeve off is how they wear their kimonos to do archery. Of course for Kat, it was just cute (and cooler). Thank goodness it didn’t rain. Still, Midnight Madness is a bitch. Some shops do have deep discounts, so people keep asking what discount you are offering and leave if you don’t have one. Beside that, there are almost no sales the day before, nor the day after, so on balance, it’s a losing proposition. We moved my desk to the other front corner and I painted there, so I’m sure we were very educational, if not remunerative.
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Kat had been very depressed because her best friends weren’t coming, but then Kiaya showed up mid war. Of course, she had a new scheme: she did busking (public performance for tips). She tried it in front of our shop, but we don’t get much traffic- and there’s not much shade (which is why her skin doesn’t look as white as it really did). Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketSo she went down to Busker’s Lane, the strip between Old Market and New Market where the performers hang out. Lots of traffic there, and a shade tree. Apparently she really had some people going. She’d get into a “zone” and be totally motionless. Kids were especially impressed. She even got an apprentice at the end of the war. I didn’t see her- only the picture- and at first thought it was a larger version of one of the dolls (until I saw the feet). What a face. Kiaya’s face looks more human.
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There were more ball jointed dolls in evidence this year- apparently a lot of them don’t like to be left at home. There was a doll fanciers meeting and Willow took a bunch of mini-Pennsic medallions for them, which made them very happy. People like seeing the dolls nearly as much as they enjoy the working animals that are allowed in. We seem to have a need for our companions- furry or resin.
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While looking for pictures to include here I found that we’d saved more pictures of Xander than all of us combined- probably because he doesn’t object to having his picture taken the way the humans do. I’m sure there’s a photo essay of him at the war somewhere on the internet.
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After all my preparing songs in honor of Diccon and Patri, I missed the Ship burning. I’d also had to add Bearengar who was king of the Middle at Pennsic III, and who I’d gotten more closely acquainted with when we went to Drachenwald. He used to call me “Mrs. Golden”, and he died suddenly (diabetes) less than a month before Pennsic. Too many friends passing. The ship burning used to be Friday or Saturday night (about the time everyone is burning up the last of their firewood), but this year it was Thursday. Willow noticed it as she was walking down to the other side of the lake to do fire-spinning, and called me but it was the night after Midnight Madness, and I’d already gone to bed and figured it would be over by the time I’d dressed and gotten down there. The times I rehearsed will have to stand in the ether for the honor I wanted to do my honored dead. It was a disappointing night for Willow too- she’d hoped to win the $100 prize, but when she got there, it turned out that it was a drinking party, so everyone, no matter who, had to be carded to get in, and she hadn’t brought her ID. By the time she got back to the top of the hill, she didn’t have the energy to go back down again and spin and get back up. Once again, modern legal stuff changes the way Pennsic works.
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While trying to be frugal, we still did buy some fun stuff at Pennsic this year. Kat got herself some new shoes because the old ones she got (and wore for the first day of school, so I guess it’s not surprising they were getting a bit small). They are incredibly well made, with thick soles- I wish I could have gotten a pair from those people. I ended up wearing modern shoes for several days because I wore a hole in my heel. First I thought I’d just been “toughing it out” when I had a pebble in my shoe, but when the hole in my heel healed up, and tried on my SCA shoes, while you couldn’t feel anything when you ran your hand over the inside, when I stood up in them, I could still feel whatever had put the hole in me when we first got there. Luckily it occurred to me to look at the sole, and discovered a couple of staples sticking straight up through the sole.
I found a great book on Wooden Castles, and got a glass lamp from Arab Boy. Arab Boy is a glass blower, and he used to be down in New Market, but they moved him up to Bow Street. They put his shop two doors down from us, and across from that (where we could see it pretty well) his demo tent. They had a propane fired furnace and annealing kiln, and a couple of other things I don’t the names for as well as a roped off area with benches for audience and a PA system. He did shows all day from about 11 am until dark. I ordered a replacement for the old glass vessel that Willow loved so much.
I wanted to get another X frame chair- they had some this year with backs and wider seats which looked good, but they ran $150 to $200, so we blew that off- but then while we were packing Willow found one in the trash. Apparently it had gotten swollen in the rain and couldn’t fold up anymore, so they gave up on it. We couldn’t fold it to bring home either- so we left it there, where I expect it will dry out and we’ll be able to use it.
I also found a green-turned cup very typical of Anglo-Saxon treen-wear, and we got some more wrist clips from Raymonds. I overheard Honour talking about the difference between webs and cloth (webs are the woven fabric that isn’t yet fulled) and it’s pretty clear that the piece I was about to make into my new gown is a web, not cloth, so it’s lucky that I hadn’t made it yet. She also told me how to full it, so with a bit of work (“value added”) I should be able to make it. We got the latest Lady Tudor Glitz, and they have a great comic in there this year with the punch line “I think that the only reason there aren’t goats on the moon is because they don’t want to go there.” Someone knows goats.
This year selling stopped at 3 on Saturday which means that we got more packed before Sunday. I felt badly because last year Honour stayed to help us get out, but we left her with a large pile of stuff at 5 (we were all supposed to be out at 3, but that’s when the help evaporated). But we were meeting Arwen at her hotel in Dubois, and didn’t want her waiting for us before getting to eat. We were so dirty we all had to shower before going out to eat. Willow got first dibs because she’d been lying on the ground under the trailer taking out the supports. When she released the jack at the last corner the trailer sunk so far that the jack couldn’t get out. But then Honour thought of lowering the other end of the trailer with the built in jack, so the back (which we think of as the front, because it’s the front of the shop) rose, freeing the jack. But the rest of us were grubby too. First thing in the morning I’d gotten up and stained the clapboards we’re using as shingles. We packed while they dried, then the girls put them up. (My daughters, the roofers).
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Saturday night I’d taken the old roof off, put on more reinforcements and luon (very thin plywood). I’m still peeved because the professional roofer who’d done the previous panels did it his way rather than as I told him to, and it wasted more wood and the side he did is already leaking. I have a policy of not arguing with experts working in their own fields- but I think logic should have given me a hint that what he was doing was wrong this time. Anyway, the side I did is done right, and the corner pieces I made worked beautifully- they supported well, came down easily, stored well. Everything I’d hoped. I suppose in a few years I may re-do the other side (as I’ll eventually re-do the inside stairs), but meanwhile, each time we open it and have less lumber to unload, the happier I am. (our boglin who guards it while we’re gone)
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I have to express my admiration for Willow’s ability to pack- the trailer was flat and the van was only up to the windows so we could see out all around. She is a packing goddess! And we were singing a lot- actually, we were filking a LOT this war- Willow can just take the music and go with it (sure, a little later thought can improve rhymes and scansion) but wow. As she said- another talent that won’t make her any money. If you know the folk song about King Henry’s wooing (check Steeleye Span or Jethro Tull websites for the tune) you’ll like this one:

More bins, more bins,
more bins you bring to me!
Go and get the silver (silk-filled, candle…) bins and bring them here to me!
She’s gone and fetched the plastic bins though it made her back full sore,
And she’s packed them in both bin and bundle leaving not an inch to spare.

(that may not be exact- but it’s close) They were doing that All War Long! (cool)

We did have another packing frustration- did I mention that when we started to pack the trailer to go the license plate had fallen off so we had to go get a new one? Well, Willow wanted to make sure that it wouldn’t fall off again, so she screwed it right to the back of the trailer. When we went to get the trailer from the parking lot- the plate was gone- someone had stolen it. Thank goodness they are easy to get, and only costs $4, but still- how rude!
So we had a lovely supper with Arwen/Jane, (Willow found candy cigarettes at the restaurant!) and headed off first thing in the morning for Philadelphia to see the King Tut exhibit. We’d been trying to figure out some way of getting down to see it all summer, and this seems to be as close as we were getting. Of course, having a trailer in Philly was a huge complication when it came to parking. None of the garages would take us, and we didn’t know where we were, so we just kept going around- finally I called the museum and they directed us to an out-door lot where they couldn’t help us, but took us to another one close by who could. They moved various cars (that had left their keys) and made a two space long place for us- and didn’t even charge us double). We were late getting in, but that didn’t seem to cause any problem.

At first I was a bit disappointed- none of the exhibits seemed to actually be from the Tutanhkamon find, but it turns out that they had simply done the first several rooms in associated materials from Ahknaton and other relative’s tombs- and the last rooms were the ones from the actual Tut find.

We weren’t allowed to take pictures in the exhibit- they even had people turn off their cell phones- like anyone could get a shot that would compete with the postcard prints they have available. The front steps were really cool though- I wish I’d thought to snap them, but didn’t, but found someone else’s shot (not us, so don’t try to figure out who it is). The vendors out front were wearing King Tut heads. Did you ever notice that the whole name: Tutankhamon should result in us pronouncing it King Toot? I guess I can understand why we use the short u instead.
We got postcards and the catalog for the show- I thought about waiting and trying to get it later used in a few years, but it’s got all sorts of good pictures. I’d done some drawings while we were in there. If I’d realized how available they were I probably wouldn’t have taken the time. Boy did my feet hurt by the time we were done! And as long as we were there we took a peek at the rest of the museum- seems to be a kids/science museum (the Franklin Institute). We had a lot of fun in the heart hall- there was a huge heart model you could walk through, and a game like Dance-dance-revolution where you follow the path of blood through the heart with your feet. Another thing was something like an EKG- made your “heart finger-print”. We had fun making each other’s hearts react by projecting thoughts at each other that were designed to make the other person’s heart react.
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Between the museum and the parking was this cool church- Philly is totally full of really cool churches. Sadly, we got really, really lost and saw far too many of them. It took us two hours to get across the river to New Jersey (Where we got gas for under $2.50).
Willow had totally exhausted herself so I ended up driving most of the way home- we got in just before 3 a.m.. I discovered that old music- especially old music from movies we know keeps me awake better than new music. I theorize that it’s because the association with the various movies stimulate different parts of my brain, making me (in mind at least) go to a different section, waking up a different area of the brain- thus taking me to a different mental place.
It occurred to me that one of the most promising openings to a conversation is “I just had a thought…” This, of course, presupposes that the person to whom you are addressing this is open to looking at the new thought you had, and is willing to consider it and add his or her own thoughts.

Since we got back, we’ve been playing catch-up. Star had been deleting the spam for me, but this morning I spent about 20 minutes on the phone with TDS trying to get my filters changed. I’ve been getting real porn spam which gets through, and I’ve never been able to set the filters so that all the things I want to get get to me. Every day I have to spend about a half hour checking through the junk folder to make sure I pull out all the real mail that gets filtered out- meanwhile I’m getting pictures with full frontal nudity that is coming through. Ick again. They showed me how to copy every address that sends me a spam into a filtering window- but my guess is that they are stolen addresses and only used once each, so it probably won’t do much good. I want someone to track them along where they come from and get the jerks that are sending it out. It’s tacky. I don’t have much objection to it going to the people who want it- but sending it to random mail addresses is wrong.
I haven’t really gotten much mail yet (probably because most of my friends knew I was out), but the biggest news is that Nicholas Samuel Kenyon was born Sunday to Brynhild and Wolfric (Heather and Robert Kenyon) on August 12th! Another Nicholas! Ælfwine was so well loved! I rather hope he knows somehow- and maybe a little not, because I think it would embarrass him a little.
What else? Today the notary brought over the papers to close the home loan- they were talking about getting one out to Coopers Lake, but the we had to fax them a copy of the death certificate because I never took Ælfwine’s name off the title, so they needed that, and I didn’t want to try to talk Star through finding it and figuring out the fax machine. Once it’s gone through I can hire people to get the house properly in shape. That will be nice- although finding the craftsmen will be a pain I’m sure it will be nice to have it all together properly again. We have paperwork from the new insurance company. All the usual boring stuff of which modern life is made.
Mark is off to Kentucky for his new job. Megan and Dennis should have made it back from Pennsic by now- (they go a slow relaxed route) and will be gearing up for their cross country anniversary road-trip (in the red convertible). The way they decide what they are going to do and make it happen is such an inspiration for me. On a less happy note, I’m told Charlotte has fallen and hurt herself- I’m still waiting to hear more about that.
Star seems to have come through the two weeks without too much incident (although less dishwashing than I’d have liked). Dan came up to see him once. That’s all I can think of now. I really wish I’d not fallen alsleep before filling out my journal- usually that’s how I remember what happened a week ago.
Next week I’ll try to be more interesting.

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