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I am feeling a bit ambivient about my upcoming birthday. Not about my age, but more just missing folks.
If I make a chocolate angel food cake, will anyone come to visit?
To hell with it, I am going to make one anyway, I bought the eggs and cake flour tonight. John and I will have to eat it all ourselves.

Vintage with hat

3 am

Ill again.
Fuck. I thought this really was behind me.
The good news is that YES, finally, after two tries, my medical records are at Johns Hopkins. I found out last week. I sent a message to my doctor/not doctor to let her know. And, I explained that I was getting ill, a lot, like last week driving back from lunch (I had grill fish, usually not a problem - not food poisoning - trust me, I know the difference by now) I had to take a tour of truck stops and rest areas on I-95 between Wilmington, DE and home.
So, I guess tomorrow I will be making some calls to find out of my doctor/not doctor has gotten the records. Jesus, just give me the other doctor's name so I can make an appointment.
How the hell am I supposed to find a job if I am spending all my time in the bathroom? Sure, I could move my laptop in the bathroom, but I am not going to vouch for my editing abilities while ill.

I got another "I really like you but we are not going to hire you" rejections today. I had a phone interview, it went ok. While th job wasn't optimal, it would do for now and look good on the resume. The message said that I was a very strong candidate but they decided to go another route, but if something ese came up, he would let me know. Sigh. Well, at least I know I am making a good impression...just not enough, somehow.

Meanwhile, I am doing an online course in genealogy. Maybe I can do that on my own at some point. Get certified...

I am so tired, but I don't think I dare go to bed just yet. If nothing else, I don't want to wake John up by frequently getting up and going back to bed....
  • Current Music
    Atoms for Peace
Vintage with hat

Fetish of Fear

This is just me trying to work some things out in my head...

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night.

It is no surprise that we are a country that tortures as we are also a country of police shooting young black men. It is the same cloth – a nation of fear. The thing is, there has always been something to fear and we have had problems giving in to it in the past. Sometimes we are able to grow out of it, but then something new comes along. But there will always be something to fear. Why must we always over-react to this fear. Why can’t we act like responsible people?
Of course, we have been afraid of “The Black Man” for some time. We took people from African, forciably, and bound them into slavery and beat them. And even though our ancestors said that slavery was good for slave, that we were the paternalistic influence, Christianizing force,  deep down we knew that was wrong, we were still afraid of them. Afraid to educate them. Afraid to give them weapons. Afraid of giving them so much as an inch of freedom. And that fear and knowledge of our injustice against them, individually and as a people, has only fed in this country. When emancipation did come, we were still afraid. They were closer to animals, “like a demon”, and a potential corruption of our white women. (Neither the black man nor the woman was seen as a rational adult) And as they fight for more civil rights that is due them, we still fear that these years of injustice will come back to bite us on the ass. And so it might, the longer we continue react in fear.
And knowing we give in to that fear domestically, is it any wonder we give into fear internationally? We fear the unknown, we fear the new, we fear the different. And that isn’t to say that we haven’t been attacked, but we made a fetish of fear. We have allowed ourselves to become that which we despise. We freak out and then allow the fear to overrule our better judgement and we find our selves being complicite in torture. And when it comes out, without a doubt, we allow those who pushed for this program to defend it! Why the hell are we still listening to these douche-bags?
We used to be better than this. We, as a country, have made mistakes, but we learn and go on. We make laws. We are not perfect, we never have been, but we used to have a trajectory towards a better world. Or was that a delusion?
We emancipated the slaves, we ratified the 15th Amendment. We force feed suffragettes but we ultimately ratified the 19th Amendment. We had Jim Crow laws in our country, but we had the Civil Rights Act of 1964. We didn’t solve the problems, but we made some effort to go toward justice.

We used to be a more optimistic country. We believed in that “Shining City on a Hill”. We believed we strove towards a more perfect union. Lincoln appealed to the “better angels of our nature”. I don't buy into "American Exceptionalism" but I thought the US took pride in justice.

And now we allow young African American men to be shot down in the street and allow the CIA to waterboard.
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    exhausted exhausted
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Backlog scroll

To help give my blog some structure, I thought I would start posting about scrolls as I do them. It might be interested to you, my reader. And it might be helpful for me to look back and see what I have done and maybe WHY I did it that way.
So, I am finishing up on a backlog scroll assignment I recieved, It is an AOA-Level service award called the Order of the Opal. The recipient has previously recieved an AOA, so I do not have to include her device. Her name has been registered in the SCA College of Arms.
I wanted to work more with the shading technique that I recently learned and used for the MS at the Scriptorium event.
I have wanted to try my hand at something like the School of Winchester - Anglo Saxon type illumination that used very ornate leaf and folliage sort of design. It can ber very ornate and a bit over the top. Instead of using a more typical design, I used a simpler scroll, vine and leaf design that was carved in stone and painted in the Winchester way with shading and a little white work. I did the carved design because I like it and it was a bit easier to figure out how to draw and how to paint. True school of Winchester seems to use ornate acanthus leaves - almost to the point of abstraction. So, this is why it is "Creative Anachronism"...I can mix it up a little.
I traced the desing from one of the wonderful Dover Publisher books, Early Medieval Designs from Britain for Artists and Craftspeople by Eva Wilson.
I used Pergamenta paper, Windsor and Newton Calligraphy Ink, with a size 6 nib, and I used Windsor and Newton Gouache in Spectrum Red, Permanent Green Deep, Yellow Ochre, Ultramarine, and another red that I can't find the tube at the moment... I used Holbein Gouache in Aqua Blue and Schmincke Gold pearl.
For calligraphy, I did it in Insular Miniscule and I used the Anglo Saxon letters þ= "th" (thorn), ð = "th" (eth), Rune-Wynn.png= "w" (wynn).  I also used the Insular symbol for "and" which sort of looks like a small "7"

I think the shading worked well. I can try something a bit more challenging next time, maybe even a true school of Winchester design.
I need to figure a way to burnish the gold pearl somehow. I have an agate, but it didn't really work well on my sample piece.
What I really need to do is look at the pictures again in a month or so and then update my thoughts. Right now, I mostly see my mistakes and problems and I cannot really critique it other than to say "eh"...
I posted pictures of this scroll on my Flickr account, if readers want to take a look. I took pictures through-out the process.

UPDATE: UGH, that was a bit of a mistake...I didn't notice til I started erasing the pencil makes. I started the calligraphy up a little high - for some reason I had the paper marked wonky for where to start the calligraphy.
Looks crappy, in my opinion! Shit shit shit!
It is only the first line that it is too high. HOW in the hell did I manage that?
I do my calligraphy with paper covering the illumination so I don't mark it by accident.
Oh damn! Hopefully it won't look too crappy. (Headthunk!)
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Kingdom scroll

So I am doing my first scroll for Atlantia.
They do things a wee different here. For example, you cannot get a scroll if your name has not been passed by the College of Arms. If there is doubt on the name, then you only pencil it in on the scroll.
And for AOAs, GOAs, and Patents of Arms must include the passed device and blazon in the scroll and a place for a herald to certify thay the device is correct and passed.
I don't really agree with this, personally. There are people who may never get a name passed or a they should always get an incomplete scroll? I don't like handing in incomplete scrolls... It just goes against the grain for me. I think all people who deserve an award and get that award so have a complete award - something that they can put up on their wall, if they want, something to frame. It might be the only award they ever get.
So, I am working on an award for this weekend (I got to get used to all new everything...I can't even remember, yet, what they say in isn't "vivant!" or "skol"...) and I have two backlog scrolls to do as well.
The Signet is very nice. We met at a scribal event this summer. The event was to create a manuscript on the history of Atlantia's queens. We were to work on illuminated boarders and devices at home (we were sent the paper with instructions) and the illumination was to be based on a prayer book from Milan in 1430.  (
As some of you might know, that is a wee bit later than I am used to working - as a scribe I stick with early period only (except Russian, which is its own special thing) I DO NOT do gothic calligraphy - because I hate it. I managed to do my borders and I am pleased with them. I owe it to Mistress Gabrielle in Northshield because she taught a very good technique for shading. Feels good to stretch a little out of my comfortable box. No, I will not learn any of the gothic hands, but I could do a few scroll blanks like that again.
The scroll I am working on now started off as a scroll blank over a year ago. I got the design from one of my Dover books but I was having trouble figuring out how to paint it. I figured it out after doing the 15th cent. border...
I am taking a break from practicing my calligraphy. It has been a while, I am a little rusty. I am doing Insular miniscule, something I know well, so it will come back with a little practice. I have to be careful, if I misspell the receipient's name, they will not give her the scroll - all part of that 'must have name passed' policy.

On the non-SCA front, I got a big application out ths week for a job. It is with the Daughters of the American Revolution and the job is a genealogist postion. I had to write a report for the application which was challenging. I haven't writen something like a report since grad school. I had to remember how to organize myself to write. And I had to organize my genealogical research. I started the research for my own amusement so I would go off on tangents. Looking for an obit, I found something else...but what the hell, it was for my own knowledge. Well, I had to organize what I had and make it presentable for someone else to read. (urk!) I had to remember how to footnote and how to write a bibliography. Thankfully, history still uses Chicago Style, so it came back easily enough. Everytime I read the report, I added something to it, I was feeling that it was not enough... It does not go back to the Revolutionary War (yet) though I don't think they would count that against me too much. Finally, I had to put my (metaphorical) foot down and say "ENOUGH". And I was really trying to be careful to make sure I cited everything properly. And as I was finishing it, I came across two facts that I couldn't explain how I knew them. It was the dates for my great-grandparents. Exact birthdates and dates of death. How do I know this???
Then I remembered, my grandmother left notes in the family photos and I wrote it down at one point. I never thought I would have to cite something like that. I am happy I remembered because otherwise, how do I leave that information in? It came to me in a dream.... LOL
So, they have the application and there is nothing more I can do at the moment except to try to get my mind off it. Got another resume out for a different job later that day - nothing really exciting, but what the hell.

Ok, back to practice...

Here is one of the pages I worked on for the Manuscript event
  • Current Music
    Vladimir Horowitz radio on iTunes
Vintage with hat

A bit of a change

I suppose I should start letting folks know...
A big change for me.
First off, let me say, this is not a permanent change. This is temporary.


Why? Well, I am tired of coloring my hair, so I want to grow out my extensive gray. Best way to do that is to cut as much of the artifical color out as possible. This will probably take a couple more cuts (You are still seeing a lot of the color in this picture, but some gray is peeking out) and then, I will grow out my hair back to being long again. I miss long hair...

I don't like it. The cut is a good cut, she did a good job, but it doesn't feel like me. I am in disguise. Hell, I don't even like looking in the mirror at the moment, I don't know who this person is! LOL
Anyway, I finally did it.  Been talking about doing this for a while and it is done.
And I am making a coif to wear to the SCA event on Saturday!
  • Current Music
    Madeleine Peyroux
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(no subject)

I don't want to look on my Facebook page today. It hurts too much today. This has been coming along for a little while now, I am homesick. Facebook becomes painful - seeing the people I miss, the events I miss, the groups that I miss. We missed the 10th anniversary of Northshield. We will miss eithni and whymc's wedding. We will miss a lot.
Part of this is because we didn't get to say good bye to so many of our friends. We were coming off an anti-social period. I had been sort of making noise that I wanted to start going back to SCA events, but John wasn't ready, or, probably too stressed with work and then looking for a new job. And then when the new job came, things moved so quickly that my head still spins thinking abou it.

And part of this is that folks are moving on, and I don't feel like I am...
Don't get me wrong - I am glad we moved and it was the right thing at the right time.
I am doing what I can to change careers and it will take time. I know that.
And making new friends and finding new niches takes time.
And, I even got some good news on a development today that I am working on, so things are really progressing.
But I still feel static. (which is really funny considering we just moved 850 some miles away)
I have moved around a lot growing up. I have now lived in 6 states. When I was a kid, I went to 6 different school districts in three different states (not inlcuding nursery school). I went to three different schools in the 6th grade alone.(and they were three different kinds of schools at that - an elementary school, a middle school, and then, for a month, a 6th grade center. And no, I can't really explain that last one) My parents were not in the military, we moved for better jobs or because, in the case of the Orlando, FL area, we moved to a circle of hell and needed to get out. I moved to grad school and that was a painful expirence for me. So, I know how moving works, how long it takes, how hard it can be. I didn't think things would just happen overnight. But it is still hard and it still hurts.
You can know a blow is coming beforehand but you can't stop that hurt. All you can do is try to brace yourself, but it is still going to hurt a hellava lot.
Seeing caoilfhionn and saraidh when they came out helped. And we are looking forward to seeing arebekah in November.
This too, shall pass, I know. Tomorrow is another day, and I will work on this new development I hinted at.

I miss you guys!

  • Current Music
    Fiona Apple
Vintage with hat

(no subject)

Holy cow, how did it get to be St. Patrick's Day already?? 
This last month has been the longest and the shortest.  I am exhausted.  I have been up to the Capitol Square 7 times since Feb. 15 at one protest rally or another.  I know there is another one tomorrow, but I don't know if I can do it - I am tired, my foot hurts so bad that there are times I have trouble walking, and I am emotionally drained.  The great and interesting thing about the rallies is that they are invigorating.  Most of them have been, well, relaxed.  Folks are pissed as hell, but we are comfortable with each other - we are all in it together.  The only day that was tense was the Thursday after the Senate held their illegal vote.  I got up there around 9:30 am.  The Capitol was closed, despite the recent court order, and even Rep. Parisi and Rev. Jesse Jackson couldn't get in.  And then we hear the State Patrol were  dragging people out of the Assembly...and one guy came out and told us about it (I was standing near the People's Mike that morning) and told us how one person got his face smashed.  A little while later a young woman told us about a confrontation and assult upon her by an off duty DCI officer.  Things were heated and you can tell the mood around wasn't good.  Folks were getting upset with the State Patrol, who were standing in front of the doors right in front of us.  I was a little worried there, but then some off duty Madison cops (Cops for Labor!) stepped up and they calmed folks down a little, reminded us that we were all in this together.  It didn't help much when they did open then doors because they were getting all TSA on us.  I decided not to try to go in since I had my bag with me and that would hold up security.

One of the problems is that we are pulled in all directions at once.  If it isn't the stripping of collective bargaining rights  (and I am an AFSCME member) then it is the STUPID idea of selling our power plants, no bid necessary, then it is the draconian cuts to local governments, draconian cuts to education (essentially privatizing our Public education system!), then it is the draconian cuts to our environmental protection, then it is the HUGE amounts of money going to ROADS!  Roads over Education!!  

Sorry, my head just blew up...

And THEN there is the *fantastic* (heavy sarcasm there) idea to break the UW Madison away from the UW System and make it its own Public Authority..and Chancellor BIDDY (yes, that is her name) Martin loves this idea - the new frigging Badger Partnership. 
Can we say work is tense?  One of the most mellow professors I work with went on a tirade about what is wrong with the US and US economy (and Walker) (hint, goes back to Regan giving those huge tax breaks in the 80s to the richest americans and far more left wing than I ever thought he was...)  There is almost no other topic of conversation...  unless it is about our horrible financial person who hasn't been to work 2 full days since Feb. 14!  (and one of those full days is actually two days where she went home early)  Yes, she will be fired, eventually, but it takes time (why can't we hit a nice middle range - where the Union protects against bosses unfairly firing someone and getting rid of the truly bad worker?).  It is actually better if she is not here - she has been making so many mistakes, that is, when she actually does her job...but it falls to me and the supervisor to cover for her, so that is not helping our stress level.

The rally was interesting this last Saturday.  One of John's co-workers came with us - his first Political Rally!  He got into it, chanting "Shame Shame Shame!".  John and I even made signs! (Can you sense the Powerful & Obnoxious Odor of MENDACITY? is what my sign said)  It is a recharge to go up there...and I love the sense of humor folks have despite the deep anger everyone holds.  Some of the signs show a great deal of humor and thought.  My favorite so far is "I could eat alphabet soup and CRAP a better bill!"  Amen, brother.

There are good things happening - almost spring, we may be going on a trip this fall, my friend in San Francisco keeps sending me great baby pictures that keep me smiling during the stress. 
Yea, I think I want to stay home this weekend and maybe straighten up the house and work on something, which I really haven't the energy to do these days...

  • Current Music
    Gogol Bordello