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20 May 2016 @ 11:48 pm
Last week I received a snail-mail (in Swedish) addressed to those of us who became Swedish Citizens in 2015, inviting us to come to the Nationaldag celebration in the Luleå city center or in another town about a half hour drive north. Apperley those of us who can make it to one of these celebrations will receive a Sweden Pin at a ceremony there.

This sounded cool, but I always spend Nationaldag performing Swedish folk dance at the celebration in Gammelstad, and the times conflict, so there is no way I could be in the city center without missing our dancing.

Therefore I sent a letter (in Swedish) to the address at which we were meant to register if we could attend, and let her know where I would be and what I would be doing. Then I commented that if it is possible to get my pin at the celebration in Gammelstad instead that would be great, but if not I wouldn't be able to make it.

After sending the letter I wondered if there was anything I could do to make it possible. So I emailed our Nyckelharpa teacher, who is one of the organizers of Spelmanstämman, the huge folk music festival in Gammelstad the weekend before midsummer (at which we also perform folk dance), and asked him (in Swedish) if he knew who is in charge of the National Day celebration in Gammelstad. He replied with a name, and I found her email address and sent her a letter (in Swedish), letting her know of my letter (quoting it) and asking if she thought it would be fun to present me that Pin on stage, since I would be wearing Swedish folk costume. She replied (in Swedish) that it would be an honour, and there were a few practicalities to work out. So I sent another email (in Swedish) to both women, asking if they could work out the details between them.

Tonight I received an email from the lady at the city to whom I'd sent the first registration or regrets letter saying that I will be getting my pin in Gammelstad. :-)
20 May 2016 @ 09:51 am
I just replied to a post looking for "Drachenwald Songs" for a songbook. I sent her the pfd I did for my entries in the Norrskensbard competition last November. Of course, before doing so I looked in the document, and was surprised to discover that I still like my "Three Words out of a Hat" entry. I don't recall if I ever shared it here, but since I like the translation I just did for her, too, I thought I would post it now.

The words I drew were:

Gemenskap (companionship)
Attenmark (the name of the SCA Shire in Skåne, the southern most region of Sweden)
Myrskog (a type of forest: I think that we are talking the dense scary sort of forest like Tolkien's Mirkwood, but don't quote me on that, I am not a real Swedish speaker)

to the tune of Turdion:
Genom Myrskog

Genom myrskog ska de gå Från Attenmark till Frostheim
Genom myrskog ska de gå till Frostheim
Långt är den vag, de kommer för vår gemenskap
Långt är den vag för vår gemenskap

Given that I am still not very good at Swedish, it surprised me when I wrote it in Swedish,
rather than using the English versions of the words. I didn't even ask anyone for help.

The translation (after removing repetitive phrases):

They shall walk through the forest from Attenmark to Frostheim; the journey is long;
they come for our companionship.
20 May 2016 @ 08:32 am
One of my loved ones recently sent me a link to an article he found interesting. The article's premise was that we shouldn't ask ourselves what we want, but rather what we are willing to suffer to get. That all of the classic goals come with a price. (e.g. Being able to afford a yacht tends to come with some pretty long hours at a high-stress job, having a bikini body tends to come with either starving yourself or long hours at the gym (or both), etc.)

I found this amusing, because, for me, the things I achieve tend not to come with a price of suffering, but because I honestly enjoy the process of getting there--my lifestyle choices include lots of things I enjoy doing, and doing them gets me some cool goals/benefits/rewards.

How did I wind up with a PhD? I was having fun doing research.

Why is my house cleaner than many other people's homes? because I actually like the process of making things clean--watching the transition from icky to shiny is fun, and being the one to make it happen is joyful.

Why do I have only hand-sewn costumes in my closet, because I like the part about sliding the threaded needle through the fabric.

Why am I getting a fitter better body now than I have ever had before? Because I am actually enjoying my workouts.

So, one could take the approach of the author in that article, and ask yourself what goals are worth working for. Or, one could take my approach--what things that are fun to do lead to goals worth having?
16 May 2016 @ 10:04 am
On Thursday I noticed that vague feeling in the back of the throat that can signal that one might be getting sick, so I took a hot shower and made a point of sleeping in on Friday, when I had enough energy in the morning to do my workout, and still had energy in the early evening for acroyoga at Phire practice, but still felt kinda like I was on the edge of being sick, and after Phire my energy levels dropped, my nose started really dripping, and I took a hot shower (which helped) and went to bed early, waking up in the middle of the night for another hot shower (which also helped), and then back to bed, and then, at 04:00, I had enough energy that I got up and did my workout early, then went back to bed.

When I finally got up a bit after 08:00 I was feeling ok, but not totally healthy, but manged to accomplish useful stuff (including bringing more dirt from the field and manure from the pile at the far end of the field to the new raised beds for spinach and silverbeet that we are putting in in front of the office window), but by late afternoon my nose was drippy, my eyes hurt, and all I had energy for was reading (I finished the book I was reading), and I again went to bed early, after yet another hot shower (which helped), and again got up in the middle of the night for another hot shower (which helped).

Once again, I woke up with energy and did my workout at 04:00, took another hot shower, and went back to bed for another three hours or so of sleep. After breakfast lord_kjar and I did some work on the earth cellar. We found and brought up a rock that perfectly fills the space between the wall and the beginning of the alleyway, that should make a perfect base for the really big rock we plan to put at the corner of the wall by the door, then we split the pointy bit off of the top of said really big rock (by using the concrete drill to drill holes in the rock, then setting steel rods into the holes and hammering them with a sledge hammer). We then tried to stand it upright to see if that was enough, or we need to make any further changes. However, this is a really big rock, which means that the process involves him using all of his strength/mass to use the steel rod to lift a corner a little bit, while I shove a rock into the gap, then switch to the other side and lift it a bit while I stick in another rock. Repeat, with successively larger rocks. We manged to get it lifted about 20 degrees, give or take a bit, but by then we were tired and hungry and needed lunch, so we will have to finish that job another day. That rock is so going to take a tractor to move into place--if it is this hard to lift, I don't want to try moving it.

That three hour session outside used up all of my energy, and my nose and eyes were worse, so I just took it easy till time for dance. I considered not going to dance, thinking that it was a cold, and not wanting to share a virus, but since we are now doing the rehearsals for our upcoming dance performances, and we have only as many dancers as we need for the dances, we opted to go in. When I told our teacher I was sick, and complained that the worst was the way it made my eyes hurt and sensitive to light, she wondered if I were also reacting to pollen.

By bedtime I was really miserable, so I took another hot shower, which helped while I was in it, but my eyes hurt again pretty much as soon as I was out of the shower. Therefore I started this morning by trying to find an open drug store. The first two I tired don't open till 09:00, but the one attached to the big grocery store out in the big-box store neighbourhood opens at 8:00 (I was there at 08:08). The lady there sold me a once-a-day allergy tablet, and now, a bit more than an hour after taking one, my eyes aren't nearly so red.
When I woke up this morning I had that vague feeling in the back of the throat that says "take it easy, or you might get sick". While pedaling to work it occurred to me that rather than staying at work till my 13:00 appointment with my personal trainer, I could just grab my computer, head home, get a nap, and then drive to the meeting, which would make it easier to bring home the kettleballs he promised to bring me.

change of plans #1, I actually sat down and worked for a couple of hours before heading home (but I did bring the computer with me when I did go).

change of plans #2, instead of taking a nap after I got home I loaded the recycling into the car to take to the recycle station across the street from the gym when I head back, changed the water filter, washed a load of laundry, cleaned the toilet, washed up the dishes he'd left in the sink, and read for a half an hour.

So the revised plan became "drop of the recycling after the meeting, bring home the kettleballs, spray paint them black (instead of the horrid shade of pink that size comes in) and take a nap before the Frostheim meeting, getting up on time to do the vacuuming I should have done earlier.

change of plans #3, he brought only one kettle ball to sell me--he will sell me the other later, when I get far enough into the program to actually be able to handle one in each hand.

change of plans #4, I stopped at the grocery store after getting rid of the recycling, where I bought some creme fraiche and some kvarg (a cross between cheese and yoghurt) and also bought some spinach and silverbeet seeds.

change of plans #5, I used the dairy products to make a variant of some vanilla bars a friend fed us at nyckleharpa on Monday. The version she made had 4 dl of powdered sugar + 4T of vanilla sugar in the crust/topping (which is otherwise 10 dl flour, 500 g butter & 1 T baking powder), plus another 3 dl powdered sugar + 1 T vanilla sugar in the filling (which is otherwise 4 eggs, 5 dl creme fraiche and 2 dl kvarg). Since I don't have a sweet tooth, I decided to try it without any of the powdered sugar, but only the vanilla sugar. That made it sweet enough for me, but, now I want to experiment with it as a savory dish--no sugar at all, but add some vegetables to it--something moist enough to cut down on the crumbliness of the crust (which is probably not so crumbly if one uses all of the sugar of the original, since sugar tends to stick to itself).

change of plans #6, when I got on line to post to Frostheim that I was baking and hoped that people would come over and help me eat it my friend V. sent a message saying that he had passed the exam he was worried about, and that he wouldn't be able to make it to Frostheim. So I offered to bring him some of the bars to celebrate, and he said I should come on over. So, instead of napping or vacuuming, when the bars were out of the oven I hopped back on my trike and brought him some.

change of plans #7, when I arrived at his place he wasn't home; neither was he answering his phone. So I climbed over his balcony railing, set the plastic box with the vanilla bars on his table next to his balcony door, and sent him a text message saying it was there, and not to forget it when he leaves this evening for the theater group tour adventure they are about to take, and put my helmet back on and went to unlock my trike for the trip home.

change of plans #8, at which point, of course, he arrived back home, so I took off the helmet again, and went in to chat a bit. During which time he offered me the bag of potatoes that he had bought weeks ago, but forgot that he had, so they are starting to grow roots in hopes of finding dirt out there somewhere. So I called lord_kjar and asked if we want to try planting some potatoes this year, since these clearly want to grow. He said "why not?", so I went back home, thinking that I still had time for that vacuuming, at least, before the meeting was due to start.

change of plans #9, instead of vacuuming, I curled up on the couch with yet more food (I have been eating way more than usual lately, but my weight is holding fairly stable, at a nice low number, so other than rolling my eyes a the total in my food log, I am not doing too much about it, since the increased amount of exercise is probably directly related to the change in habit) and a book, knowing I had about a half an hour before anyone was expected to arrive at 18:00, and none of them would care if I vacuumed or not.

change of plans #10, lord_kjar got home from work a short time later, and I kept reading while he grabbed some food for himself, but then I fell asleep on the couch, only to be woken up at 18:15 by my phone buzzing with a text message from my apprentice, saying she has a fever and wouldn't be coming over.

change of plans #11, no one else showed up, either, so I chatted with lord_kjar a short bit, and we decided that we should start work on the creating a home for the spinach and silverbeet seeds I had bought. I checked the shed, and we still had two folding pallet frame things we could use to contain the dirt, and there was an old tarp out there, so we set the frames in front of the house, between the walkway and the office window, lined the bottom of one of them with a corner of the tarp, and took the wheel barrow down to the far side of the field, where we dug up some manure from the hill of manure we gathered the first two summers we lived here (the previous owners had horses--year one we gathered up what had been left on the field, and year two we finally mucked out the shed that the horses had for shelter and added that mix of straw and manure to the pile, which made it a hill slightly taller than I am) and brought it to the frame. Then we dug up some ordinary soil from the corner of the field, and added it to the frame. Then he went into the house to take a nap and I broke up the clumps of dirt etc. and mixed it all together. Then I fetched another half wheelbarrow each of more manure and more dirt and mixed that in, too. Now the first frame is full and ready for seeds. The new plan is to fill the second frame in the morning and then the seeds can be planted in both. If all goes well I will have plenty of silverbeet and spinach to supplement the nettles that the yard is already producing on its own with no effort on our part.
11 May 2016 @ 10:49 pm
Now that the snow is gone and we have had a full week with temperatures above freezing the plants are waking up, among them the nettles. Therefore, today when I got home I harvested the first of the nettles--cute little things still too small to bite back, so I was able to pick them with my bare hands without feeling any sting (well, ok, a couple growing on old stems had a hint of sting, but not enough to complain about). Even though they are so tiny, we have enough that I was able to pick a decent sized bag full to turn into a yummy soup with potato, carrot, leek, and garlic (and butter, of course).

I have spent the evening trying to do stuff for our Medieval Days event in Hägnan. Our event in-box is now empty, and I managed to send out one, count them one, event registration confirmation (there are 41 registered so far). But then I realized that the workers and group leaders are supposed to get log in information so they can access the web page, and asking about how that is supposed to work got me an invite to head out to visit the web page creator to learn how to use it this weekend, so those emails will need to wait till after that. Sigh. This event is having a few issues, hopefully overcome-able, due to the fact that all of us running it are new to running an event of this size and type.

I will certainly do what I can to make it work anyway.
10 May 2016 @ 12:31 am
I have been trying to convince my apprentice, E. and my acroyoga partner (also an) E. that they want to come with us to Nyckleharpa night for many weeks now. Or rather, I managed to convince them weeks ago that they wanted to, but since it only happens every other week, and they have both managed to be sick or have conflicts, tonight is the first time it actually happened. They are both musicians with a city orchestra, one on the clarinet, the other cello, and both did well with picking up nyckelharpa (the cello player), and our huge base moraharpa (the clarinet player) and playing along. Since we took the new car we also had room for my dulcimer in the car, which is the first time in ages that I brought that along. It was fun to join them for the few songs I knew, though, with five nyckelharpas and a moraharpa playing I couldn't really hear my own instrument.

In between playing along I made some good progress finally turning the scrap wool from the veil I made quite a while ago into a small coif for me. It is nice to pick back up a long unfinished UFO. Granted, the only reason I did on this occasion is that the time before heading out that I would have spent getting my gambeson in progress to a state that was portable (I finished quilting the back at the weekend's gaming con demo, and haven't had a chance to cut out the next pieces yet) was instead finishing up E's letter of reference for her application to head to Japan this summer for a student research experience. I hope that she gets it. However, I also hope that she stays here this summer, since she plans to be my (unpaid) lab assistant if she doesn't, so that she can learn to use the LA-ICP-MS in prep for doing a Master's degree with it next autumn. In other words, it looks like my apprentice in the SCA will become my student in real life, too. Not so surprising, since we first met on a geology field trip to Cyprus in 2012, when she was one of the students, and I was one of the teachers. She has been referring to me as "her professor" ever since.

Today was fun at work--I got to spend the day helping the PhD student in the next office (who is 99% done with her degree--she has defended and everything, but still has a few weeks left to do stuff till her funding runs out) set up a laser experiment. It took 6.5 hours to set it up, let it run (1 hour), do a preliminary glance at the data and agree to actually do stuff with it in the morning, and chat briefly with my boss.

Since I need to meet her at 08:30 I really should have been in bed a while ago, but there is still yoga to do, so perhaps I had better put down the computer and get to it.
07 May 2016 @ 11:19 pm
I am just back from the Norsken Gaming Con in Skellefteå. This was a spur of the moment trip on my part. I vaguely recall some of my SCA friends in the shire of Rengaarda (not quite two hours south of here) mentioning in a FB group weeks ago that they were planing on doing an SCA display at that event, but at the time I just saw the name "Norsken", and didn't notice what it was, and didn't have the energy to look it up, and kinda forgot. More recently O. said that he was thinking of heading down for it, but I still didn't really pay much attention to what it was or why he wanted to go (other than knowing that one factor was that he would get to spend time with P., his girlfriend there).

Wednesday evening was Frostheim social night, the first one that lord_kjar has managed to attend all this calendar year (he gets home from work about the time to go, and lately he would rather stay home and have time to relax after work and get some dinner, than rush right out the door). But this week he has just finished carving a bow for archery out of an ash-wood broomstick handel, and he wanted to make the string. Twining a bow string is a perfect sort of hand-work to take to the meeting, so he joined us. Sadly, none of the students made it this week, so there were only four of us in attendance for most of the evening, and O. arrived late in the evening, but just on time to get a quick lesson from my senior apprentice on the tablet weaving project that she helped him thread on cards last week, and for which she has worked the first few repeats of the project and written up a "recipe" for him.

After the meeting he followed us home, and he and I wound up talking till 02:00 before going to sleep (but never mentioned the Norsken con during all of that time). I got up early the next morning, Thursday, which was a holiday in Sweden, and did my "day 3" workout from my personal trainer before breakfast. It felt good to do it, since I was rather low energy much of the last week, and didn't manage to do the program workouts every day, and on one day I did start it, but quit after only a few minutes and went home for a nap instead.

After the workout and a shower I went back downstairs and asked O. what his play for the day was, and he replied that he wanted to catch the bus down to Skellefteå in about an hour to attend Norsken. He wound up not catching that bus, but started working on his Viking trousers in progress instead, thinking that perhaps the 13:00 bus would be better. When it was nearly 13:00 we decided that instead of his taking the bus, I would go with him, and we would take my new car. However, that car hasn't had its tires changed yet (and we haven't been driving it as a result). Since C. was coming home this weekend I couldn't just take the blue car, since that would leave lord_kjar nothing to drive to pick her up from the train station on Friday.

Therefore the boys changed from winter to summer tires on Styx (the car's licence plate number starts out with the letter STX, so the name for the car was kind of obvious), even though the plan is to take the car in for service on Monday morning and purchase new summer tires for it, since the old ones are getting very worn down, and, as they noticed when they changed them, one of them has obviously had a puncture repaired by injection of (something rubbery) at some point. That took long enough for me to pack SCA costumes and other things for the weekend, and we finally hit the road at 16:00.

This got us to the event a bit before 18:00, which is when the open to the public part of the con ends, but we still spent about an hour and a half on site checking it out and visiting with friends of mine from the SCA, larp, and gaming circles, and friends of his from the SCA (same folk as above) and theater and other university friends. Then we headed over to P.'s place, where our friend A. and her two kids were also staying. They were in the middle of baking some bread for when we arrived, and I happily ate some of the rolls hot out of the oven, despite the fact that it was later in the day than I am normally hungry.

We chatted for a while, but we were all kind of tired, and I went to bed at 21:00 that night, and the others weren't up much later. We returned to the con about 10:00 the next morning, after enjoying a leisurely breakfast. The event turned out to be much fun--we got to talk up our Medieval Days at Hägnan event to many people, including a geologist from the Swedish Geological Survey who worked on the "better geology" mod for Minecraft. He had a booth where people could test the mod, and he also had a bunch of rocks and some label cards with Minecraft photos of rocks that people could match. Even though the labels were written in Swedish I managed to match 100% of the rocks and names on my first try (though it is lucky that "pimpsten" was the only Swedish rock name he had on the list that I hadn't seen before, so I could get that one by the process of elimination). I have him convinced to ask his boss if the Geological Survey can do a "mining through the ages" display at our Medieval Days event. I hope the boss says yes.

We did fighting demos both days (O. participated, wearing my armour), and I was the MC one of the days. I don't know if it works to past a link to a video on FB in here the same way one would do any other url link, but if it does, here is the film one of our members did of that first demo.

Other event highlights include R2D2 running around on his own (never mind the other StarWars guy following him while holding a remote-control sort of contraption), meeting the lovely British gentleman who played BobbaFet (or however one would spell that), borrowing a huge (~2 meter long cos-play sword for use as a straight edge to mark the quilting lines on my gambeson in progress, seeing Tinkerbell adjusting the scarf on one of those green aliens with the pair of large snake like things growing out of the back of her head (what are they called, and where have I seen them? I know I have seen them often over the years, which kinda points to either star wars or star trek)--both the alien's skin and Tinkerbell's tunic were the exact same shade of green. It was also lovely to see so many friends I haven't seen in a long time and to meet new people.

However, attending that event meant that I haven't had time to do the computer-related Hägnan tasks I had intended to do on Thursday-Saturday. Therefore O. and I have decided not to attend fighter practice tomorrow morning, which gives him time to complete the last of the paperwork that he needs to do before handing over the economy for Phire to the person who is taking over that job, and I will be able to start the Hägnan computer tasks that got bumped on account of the trip. In theory, I will not have any problems continuing with progress on that stuff over the next few weeks, now that I finally have access to, and know the existence of, the email address for the event.
25 April 2016 @ 04:41 pm
I know full well that one of the most useful things I can say to someone after reading (or hearing) something that provokes a strong emotional response in me is something along the lines of "Give me a minute--I am having a strong emotional respons to what I heard(read). Let me process this a bit, and then we can talk about it and try to determine if what you thought you said and what I thought I heard have anything to do with one another".

Yet even so, I was foolish enough to let my fingers start typing some of the free-associated thoughts that spilled forth along with the emotions. Not in a nice, safe Word document that only I would see, no--I typed them in a FB chat window, with the "press enter to send" button activated.

This foolishness on my part resulted in unedited, unconsidered, raw-emotion bearing thoughts getting abruptly, and unexpectedly, sent, mid-sentence, to another human being, for which I am deeply apologetic.

I share the fact that I made this mistake today publicly as a reminder to myself that I know better, and to be more courteous the next time I feel such a reaction to something I hear. If any who reads these words happen to learn from my mistake without the bother of making it yourself, then that is a bonus side effect.