Hi again! July 18, 2019
The weather this week has been hot, mostly sunny with some overcast and scattered Thunder storms which I like because they usually cool things down. The mallow in the garden is the most impressive mass of color, (the roses are fading, but echo the pink). The yellow lilies are impressive, and dwarf the daisies. The bee balm didn’t come back this year- I miss it. I’ve picked a few of each (ones that got knocked over in storms, mostly, and have a lovely bouquet on the table.
This weekend we went to GNEW and I had a great time! I am so grateful for the girls because I certainly couldn’t have done it myself! Frankly, getting the tent up was a bit hard since we’re all so wiped out, but once it was up, and the tent organized we were fine. We’d asked for four tables, but since they were eight feet long, we were able to get all our goods (even with the glass gems) out, which allowed us to have all three beds up in the back area, rather than stacking mine on top of one of theirs during the day. That makes bed-time easier. We have a wonderful tent!
I had forgotten how in the summer when the sun comes up, a white tent becomes a “light box”. Kat wears a sleep mask, but I like to stick my head under one of the tables because it’s hard to sleep in that much light. This is not bad because things start around 9, so getting up at 8, while we’re not used to it, is a good thing, and I’ve continued to do it. The side effect of that is that I’m going to sleep around 10. We are emphatically NOT late night partiers. (There was a bagpiper nearby who seemed to think that quiet hours didn’t start until 11 or a bit later. I still went to sleep, so that tells you how tired I was.)
I’m two weeks into the antibiotics, and recovering enough so that I keep forgetting that I have Lyme disease- until it reminds me. At home I’ve just taken naps, but not being able to do that is no doubt why I could sleep through bagpipes and bright light! I did manage to make one circuit of the vendors, but I was feeling it by the time I made it back. I’d been hoping they had some food merchants, which they didn’t this year- except one stall that had products from their goats- mostly soap, but also some lovely cheeses. But Lorelei’s not baking anymore, and the others who’ve had drinks or home made candies or foods apparently decided it’s not worth the effort. I did enjoy them. Guess I should have spent more.
We headed up on Thursday just after noon. I fear we have eaten far too much fast food lately, but Kat can stomach it, and it’s convenient on the road. This year we were given the end spot on the merchant row- blessedly FLAT, and very close to the class tents.
I sent last week’s letter on Tuesday knowing that we were leaving Thursday, and Wednesday we were also on the road. Since three of us were on antibiotics and clearly had our immune systems shot (and Willow hasn’t had one for decades), we went up to Vermont to see Kirk White, who is a doctor of Chinese Medicine (and acupuncture; you may remember Kat went up there for a while to see if that would help her). All four of us went, and Kirk took all our pulses (In Chinese medicine they compare the pulse on each side, and the surface pulse, and the deep pulse- it’s diagnostic. He also looked at our tongues, and did medical history. He knew Kat’s and Willow’s pretty well, John and I gave ours. The recent crisis is my Lyme recurrence, John’s cellulitis, and Kat’s infected tooth. He’s started us with a combination of herbs: Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan (Kidney Qi Pill from the Golden Cabinet), to restore our flagging Qi (energy). Since Willow and I are ‘cold’ and John and Kat are ‘hot’ they’ll take less of it, but still need rebuilding. He said watch for getting overheated relative to the weather, which is going to be hard to tell for Kat. Well, not so much since she stays cuddled up with her air conditioner. I stay inside as long as I’m on the Doxycycline (and not up for long hikes anyway)!
The herbs got here while we were gone, and I brewed them up yesterday (I’d forgotten how, and had to send for the instructions again- it requires soaking, and simmering, and straining, and adding different things at different times). We’re supposed to take 8 oz a day, although the hot people may take less, two ounces at a time. Willow and Kat toss theirs back, John and I prefer to dilute. This recipe is much nicer tasting than Kat’s, although it’s not as tasty as it smells. Two of the ingredients are cinnamon and cherries, and it’s not bad. Others of the ingredients are hard to identify, since I’m not familiar with asian herbalism. Still, it’s got a good long history, and I am hopeful it can work well with the western medicine. (But that did eat up all Wednesday, so we had to pack our garb and bedding, food, and the van all Thursday morning- and I hadn’t finished printing out the handouts for my classes.
Since we broke down on the way last year (remember that?) and Willow had said that four times was enough, and we were not going to risk trying GNEW again. But this year Stonemarche couldn’t find a site for the midsummer event, so some lovely people thought of having it up at the Great North Eastern War. Since it’s MY event, Willow accepted that I really had to go, and I put in to do the Vampire and Witch-hunts classes I’d not gotten to last year. She got her car inspected a couple of weeks ago, to make sure it would be unlikely to break down on the way again (they’re closed the first week of July, so it had to be while I was up at the Dowsers Con). I will not say that we were not a bit nervous on the way, but we made it. (I’ll say it again- were thrilled with the spot we were given!) By eight we were pretty done in, which is normal. We have sort of a tradition of going to the Denny’s for dinner after setting up- and picking up whatever we had forgotten- batteries, more bread, cheese and fruit. (Did I mention we’d spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings cutting up beef for Jerky? I’d had a sudden vision of Kat at the war without easy protein, and got three roasts (about sixteen pounds @$2.50 lb.) and this time they were SO easy to slice up. Sometimes they are cut from different muscle groups, which need to be separated, but these were all straight meat! Kat helped and we watched Cinderella (we hadn’t noticed how much ‘mouse action’ there was before), and Ever After, which is marvelous. We thought we’d had it all Tuesday, but discovered another tub someone had only been able to fit into the salad drawer, and had to do one more run. But we had a lovely jar to take with us to GNEW, and more set aside for Pennsic!
Back to GNEW- so we dropped off the trailer and headed to Auburn, and Willow noticed that the brakes had gone mushy. We got some brake fluid and added that, but they were still soft on Friday, so we started calling around for some garage who could help us so we could get back down. Willow finally found someone who could take us at 10 am on Saturday. Remember, the event is going on while we’re dealing with this. This is a big event (over a thousand people, and had, not only a program book, but a separate classes book. My Witch Hunts in SCA Period class was at 11 on Friday, just after we’d had breakfast and gotten the shop set up to our satisfaction. I stayed out an extra hour to go to the class Lies the History Channel told you: Viking edition, which was great fun. Lord Johannes von Braunschweig’s friends had told him that if he was going to gripe about misinformation people had about Vikings, he should do a class on it. I think there should be a whole series about it, and may work up an Anglo-Saxon one, if I can figure out what things people get wrong. I’ve been doing it so long, I may not be in touch with ’newbie mistakes’.
We saw a lot of friends- Megan actually made it up. They’d been able to rent an RV for the weekend, which gave them an air conditioned place with necessary amenities to retreat to if necessary. She was in a cart, and showed us how Bella could pick up a piece of dropped paper for her. But to my mind, Bella is still more excitable than a service dog should be. This may be why so many service dogs are of the bigger, quieter breeds. Megan simply loves the small, smart ones who can bring her something up on the bed. I see the logic. I was SO happy to see her out and about! We did not see Claus all weekend, although we did bump into him at the grocery store. His Lyme is really beating him down- no pain meds work (I know that one), but I think he said a shot of steroids did work and he’s enjoying that. Truly, there are few things as exhausting as chronic pain. Ekke and Julia came by- they were able to day-trip this year. She wasn’t out on whatever ship she’s working on this year. (Sad news, a raccoon murdered all but one of their chickens- and it’s traumatized. I use the word advisedly, coons are well known to kill a lot of domestic fowl and then only eat one. They are NOT cute!) I got to speak to Coll and Lib at Auntie Arwens, and Thorri on my circuit of the market, also say hi to Jocelyn, Tearloch, Peter the Red, Deormund, Viz, and Eowyn. Li Kung Lo came by and chatted for about an hour. We decided we were too tired to cook and went back to town- confirming that we really didn’t want to try driving back home with the trailer on. I’d tried to find out where the vigil was going to be, as I’d thought I could find what camp it was in by asking around, but had no luck. That’s OK, I fell asleep early and had to be woken by my alarm to take my 11 pm antibiotic.
Next morning we simply didn’t open the shop. The Golden Sword tourney was at nine. I went to the battlefield and the girls headed out at for the car shop.
There were six fighters this year and they were amazing! Forty years ago I started the tournament for ‘beginners’ so that there’d be a chance to win a tourney if you weren’t in the top rank. Over the years ‘beginner’ has become defined as someone who’s fought for only a year and not yet been to Pennsic. This year both Master Tiberious and Osgkar had sent people that they’d trained, and the other four were pretty good too (one was a bit handicapped by armor that didn’t quite fit- borrowed armor is a real hazard for a new fighter, but once it was on, he could really move!) I hate to admit that I have forgotten most of their names. Connor I didn’t even recognize until he took of his helm at the end! Baroness Dierdre and Baroness Joscelyn were there with me, to help judge. (I think Baron Kzyia was off doing something else that was going on at the same time.) Morning court was at 10, so we ran it as fast as possible in the heat. Tiberius ran it with the help of several other experience fighters, including Mihel, last year’s winner. Deirdre came up with the clever idea, after we’d had each of the six fight each other (three at a time- it was like trying to watch a three ring circus!), Mihel held the field against all of them. This means that the minute one died, the next came right out to fight- no breathing space for the one holding the field. He really showed them what another year of practice can do when you start with the talent we saw last year! He just knocked them down in about 15 seconds!
Tiberius didn’t want to participate in the judging much because one of the contestants was his trainee (not sure if she’s a squire), so basically, this year they left the judging to the ladies, which is unusual over the last forty years. I’ve often had to push in to make my preferences known. It was really hard because they were so good. We chose Sophie, Tiberius’ trainee, but I bought another stave of rattan to give Thor-something, Osgkar’s young man, because he was amazing too. The only reason we didn’t pick him was because he had a half a year of training on Sophia, and as I said, Mihel had shown us what a year of training can do! The runner up use a spear or glaive (or some other long weapon) and I just wished that Ælfwine could have seen it. Another of the young men was doing ‘Patri spins’, or as they called them Ælfwine spins, but since they don’t seem to call them that anymore, I guess 15-20 years is a generation in the SCA. But we did get it done before the morning court started, and I was impressed. (I’m also going to admit, that Sophia was there and armored at 9, whereas the others straggled in over the next 15 minutes, asking permission to start late. Being there when the fighting is supposed to start counts for something.)
I dashed (well, as fast as I could go) back down merchants row, and over to the class tents where the Soothsayer’s Guild meeting was scheduled at 10. There were 20 or 21 people there! ( twice the usual) Also a lady whose SCA name I’ve forgotten, but who’s name is Amy brought down hot water, loose tea, and a dozen tea cups and had a pick-up class on tea leaf reading! I ran out of my hourglass charms, and got a sheet of contacts I haven’t yet transferred to the computer (oops!). It really looks like we’re going to get active again and maybe have the Soothsayers Picnic we’d been talking about! We may have gotten officers for the
If not for the breaks, I’d been planning on staying for the Herbalists Guild meeting at 11, but we could use the and opened the shop. Willow had spent Friday adding the new stock she’d bought to the trays, and we did pretty well- pretty much made back what we spent on the new stock. So sales were good even though we opened late. (We stay open late since we camp in our tent, but no one comes by. Most merchants camp with their friends, and people are going to balls, Bacon-pallosa, the Strangeways Piñata party. They messaged me to let me know that it was the brake line that had broken, and they could fix it for less than $400 (actually $15 less than the estimate). At any rate, The girls got back in time for me to go out and buy the other stave of rattan. My apprentice Jamie came by to talk about runes, and helped me pick it, then stayed to talk runes with Willow. My Vampires class was at 3, and it was also well attended, although I’d given it 90 minutes and ran out of steam after 60. After the class I got a reading from one of the soothsayers- confirming her moving up a rank. My question was the general “what do I need to know?” and it took me a while to figure out what the reading was about, but figured out that it meant that while the chaos of Willow running out to the wedding at the end of Pennsic is going to be hard on her, we will get by.
Court was theoretically at 5:15 and started at 5:30, which isn’t bad. I intentionally skipped the first hour of court- boiling up some chicken and cheese tortellini for supper, which was quite nice. I went to check how they were doing, and caught the “we’re going to take a 10 minute break now” announcement (and went back for a chair). I actually didn’t get much of a chance to use it, since current practice is to call the whole freaking order up to be there when they make a new member. Some send them off to “welcome” the new member (hugging each of around fifty people one at a time) at the back, but they didn’t this time. Jaime got his Silver Crescent- the service award, and highly deserved, but I went back to sit down. (Let me be honest, it was a long day, I was tired, and figured I could find him later.) I then went up with the Maunches, and Laurels, and was pleased to sit while Jocelyn was inducted into the Order of the Pelican (the BIG service award, and also ‘about time’!). At the end of court, around 7:30, someone invited those who wanted to go to Albreda’s vigil to follow a banner on a long pole. Hurray! I followed them out to a lovely pavilion with tables of food out on the edge of the battlefield, and then realized I’d left my chair at the court. Oops. Back I trundled, and retrieved the chair, missing Kat who’d come looking for me, and to carry it for me, when I didn’t show up after they saw the crowds dispersing. We found each other and I headed back to the vigil. I signed up on the long list of well wishers, and waited around, chatting with folks, chatted with Æthylhawk about food- especially the Anglo-Saxon recipes he’s working up for a feast a Pennsic. I think the whole buffet was GF, but might be wrong, that is his specialty. I really wish they’d taken pictures before it got dark- I couldn’t see much since my night vision blows. I had a sliver of the “meat cake”- it looked like a layer cake, but was a savory cream cheese “frosting” over spicy meat (salami?); it looked very cool! There was lots of Æthylhawks signature smoked and spiced meat. Sadly, after about an hour (maybe I should have taken my chair, but frankly I was yawning), I checked with the lady with the list, and was still over an hour out, and went back to bed. I did see Astridr and Dan on the way back (I think). The moon was huge, if not quite full, and the market area was quiet. The girls were already in bed, and it didn’t take me long to fall asleep too (again, alarm woke me for my dose).
We got up in the morning and ate breakfast- fruit, pretzel bread (a new discovery, will get it again) with honey, butter or soft cheese. (We also discovered the little laughing cow wedges of spiced cheese. Nice!), and started packing. Kat and I had remembered to set aside modern clothes for the trip home, and a towel so we could shower before changing, Willow hadn’t, so didn’t bother with the shower. OMG it was SO cold! I think it was good for us because we were really overheated by the time we were packed! In previous years they said everyone had to be out by noon and we worked hard and managed, but this time we slogged along as fast as we could and it took until almost one. Considering how debilitated we were, I think we did pretty well. While Kat and I were showering, Willow drove the car (with brakes, Halleluia!) up to the bath house. What Kat and I had forgotten was fresh undies! They were so sweaty that it was hard getting back into them! Then when we came out we saw the car and trailer, but no Willow. She’d spotted Kiaya taking her tent down and had gone to help. Kiaya told her that Gideon has “leveled up”, and moved to the stage where he actually helps with the packing. No doubt he will keep getting better, but little kids are simply an extra job- watching them, and then suddenly they are putting their own stuff into packages and carrying them to the car! Cool! So Kat headed off to the dumpster with the trash, and a gentleman went by and took it for her. I love SCAdians! The trip home was blessedly uneventful, we got home, emptied the car, put in laundry, and headed for our computers!
(It took me about four hours to go through the junk email for the long weekend, argh!)
The next morning Willow took Kat off to Aspen to get her tooth extracted. Last time it took an extraordinarily long time for her hole to close up, so this time (reminded by Willow making the herbals), Kat’s using comfrey to speed it up. She’s still having a bit of trouble with chewing, but today can chew on the other side of her mouth, so that’s an improvement.
John has finished up his run of antibiotics, and I finished mine, refilled it, and started the third week. John says his foot still hurts, but I think that it’s mostly because he’s been walking with his toe raised so it doesn’t touch the ground, so I bet it’s the muscles that hurt. He has gotten used to the rule of wearing shoes when he takes the compost out, so that’s good.
I’m in a weird not sick/not well space where sometimes I feel fine, and sometimes I am totally wiped. I think this is just recovering from Lyme. I do sometimes feel worse than when I first noticed it, so I suspect it built up some headway before the antibiotics kicked in. I really hope the Chinese herbs help. I would so love to feel as I did when I was 60! (50 would be better, but let’s not wish for the moon!)
Willow is plugging along as she does- I really feel like all of us are leaning on her which seems hard when she’s got Chronic Fatigue. Yesterday she got up early and spent the day making the herbals that we sell to Arwen and she sells retail. Every year they want more as people keep coming back and asking for them. (I wish our insurance would cover it- getting the retail price would be great!) She’s been making the oils and mixing things all month, yesterday she did the straining, and melting in beeswax, and measuring it into bottles and cans. I think she finished up after six. Long hot day! She took the stool in, but had to stand for much of the mixing and ladling.
Oh, and Tuesday I went up to the court building for a hearing on the money I still owe St. Josephs Hospital for the Hernia. I did a breakdown of my income and expenses, and explained that the expense deficit was taken up by the kids SSI, since we all live together. So they figured $100 a month was all I could afford, and the judge OK’d the agreement. When I got home I figured out that there’s about $12K left, so at $1200 a year, I’ll be paid off in ten years. Let’s hope the hernia lasts that long, eh? (Sorry if talking money is not polite. I lose track of these things.)
Anyway, that was this week. One week to get ready for Pennsic (and the wedding). It should be all same-old-same-old, but I haven’t found as many sources on Medieval Ghosts as I’d hoped, and we really need to fix up our pennsic wardrobes. I’m also trying to schedule a blog post a day, and at least a collection of what holidays are happening for Holidays that Might get over looked. That takes time out of Pennsic Prep, and to be honest, my brain isn’t firing on all cylinders. But at least the brakes work.
What else, I haven’t been reading much- mostly re-reading old Marcus Didimus Falco mysteries, We are still working out (and occasionally cutting out) Zoloft’s mats. I should brush her more regularly all winter. We are being overrun by ants and have put out a lot of traps, but so far are not seeing much improvement.
Hope you stay cool, and find some time to play.
The Stormgard Motto:
Fyrst middangeard we gebiergaþ , aefterweardum we abiraþ.
(first, we save the world, then we eat.)
þ 18 Sour Candy Day, Anti-Bigot Day
F 19 Daiquiri Day, Raspberry Cake Day, Stick out Your Tongue Day
S 20 Cake Day Moon Day, Lollipop Day, Nap Day
⨀ 21 ice Cream Day, Junk Food Day
M 22 Penuche Fudge Day, Hammock Day , Spoonerism Day
T 23 Vanilla Ice Cream Day, Gorgeous Grandma Day
W 24 Tequila Day, Cousins Day, Tell an Old Joke Day