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Our calendar is kinda full.

Mondays are nyckleharpa--one week at a friend's house doing Swedish folk music, the next at our house doing medieval music.

Tuesdays are choir (but C. doesn't join lord_kjar and I for that, as choir singing isn't her thing, so she is using the time to go to exercise classes at the gym, as she is an extrovert who is getting way more alone time than she needs just now while she is looking for work, and I am working more hours than normal)

Wednesdays have been unscheduled

Thursdays are Frostheim

Fridays we have had a "husmöte" scheduled

Saturdays don't have anything regular scheduled, but they tend to fill up

Sundays are folk dance.

After today's meeting (since we didn't actually manage Friday's "husmöte" last week, since he didn't get home from work till quite late, and then there was no energy left for such things) we took up the topic of finding a balance between quality one-on-one time for each pair in the relationship, and quality time for all three together and quality time alone, and quality time doing stuff with people outside the house. After tossing around ideas, we decided to keep the basic schedule, but add in some specific date times, on a rotating basis. Since he is still craving more time with her than with I (due, in a large part, to having been long distance for so long) we decided that we will alternate Wednesdays, one week they have a date night, the next he and I have a date night. On the weeks that they have a Wednesday date we will still have a meeting on Friday, which is really mostly just some quality time curled up on the couch together talking all three of us. On the weeks he and I have a date on Wednesday they will have a date on Friday. That gives them specific date time every week, and he and I every other week, but also gives me an every week opportunity to spend time with O., if he wants it (without obliging him to do so if he doesn't).

In the short term she and I will do our date time together during one afternoon in a week after I am home from work and before he comes home, but once she finds work we will have to adjust accordingly, depending on her work schedule.

Those "date nights" might wind up being time to work together on projects, or time for cuddles, or music, or dance, or whatever we happen to feel for, but putting them on the calendar increases the odds that we make time for one another and nurturing all of the relationships in the house.
18 September 2016 @ 04:10 pm
With three of us living here these days, two of whom love to cook, the fridge which came with the house has been much too small. I, of course, have been of the opinion that if we were to get rid of everything I would never eat (e.g. pickles, olives, pickled fish, other fish, metal tubes full of processed cheese and other random stuff) that lives in the fridge there would be plenty of room, but since they are both very of all of those things we decided to just invest in a second fridge.

It arrived Wednesday, so we did a bit of re-arranging down stairs. The linen closet that used to be at the bottom of the stairs next to the two extra freezers we have is now in the corner of the guest room (which required that many of his boxes of stuff find other homes). On Friday, since the new fridge had achieved a nice cool temp, we took the opportunity to move everything from the upstairs fridge and freezer into the down stairs fridge and freezers and defrost the upstairs one. Since we were at the SCA event most of Saturday we waited till today to move stuff back, and, while at it organize stuff. So now the upstairs fridge has only stuff I eat, plus those things I don't eat that they particularly like for breakfast, and the downstairs fridge has duplicates of stuff (especially butter, which we use a rather lot of), and lots more jars and tubes of things I don't recognize as food. The plan is that leftovers will go upstairs if it is something that I can eat, and downstairs if it contains vinegar, fish, or any of the other things I don't eat, so that I don't have to ask if something is safe.

Then we dealt with the freezers, and now there is one drawer for each category of stuff, and a map of which drawer is which on the outside of the freezers. It turns out that we have pretty much eaten all of the ready-to-eat meals (e.g. pasties, lasagne, beetloaf, etc.) that had been in the freezer, so it is time to start cooking for the freezer again. We are also pretty much out of bread rolls, so I need to bake them, too. I have started the freezer re-filling process by baking some oven pancake with thinly sliced reindeer meat in it. Yum! I am not certain how much, if any, will actually make it to the freezer.

C. has a lead on a possible local job. One of her friends in the local Middle Eastern dance group says they need someone where she works, so C. will be meeting the manager there tomorrow. It isn't in her field, but if she takes that job she would be free to keep looking for work as a biologist, without being obliged to apply for lots of jobs she doesn't want in order to keep getting unemployment payments.
17 September 2016 @ 07:36 pm
Last spring, when we were discussing whether or not Frostheim would host the Medieval Days at Hägnan this summer, I agreed to be on the organization team, on the condition that we also have some sort of Newcomer's event within a couple of months after the event, and Norrskensfest both on the calender before Hägnan, so that we would have places to invite the new people, and, perhaps, actually gain as members some of the people who show interest at Hägnan.

The date we wound up choosing for the Newcomers event was this weekend--reasonably soon after the start of the new school year so that students aren't yet worried about exams, but after the initial start of the year welcome to uni party weeks orientation weeks. We decided on a nice, easy, low key afternoon picnic in a grassy area on campus, with Frostheim providing some food, and participants encouraged to bring their own food as well. We had also offered the fighters the opportunity to have a tournament, but only one of the local fighters was able to make it, so that didn't happen. There were a couple of fencers who put on armour and played a bit, which was nice. The local archery club that had so much fun helping out with the archery for the public at Hägnan showed up again today, in their lovely costumes, and were a wonderful addition to the event. They helped out with setting up my pavilion and sunshade (brought as much as a "look, medieval stuff here" sign as anything else), brought more food that they put out on the common table, brought a period board game (which was in use all afternoon), and participated in the dancing. There were a variety of students who came without costumes, and some of them borrowed from the Frostheim loaner costumes, but there wasn't enough of that for everyone, so we just made them welcome anyway. I am not certain how many of them joined us because they walked past and we looked interesting, and how many had seen the flyers or announcements on FB and came on purpose. But there must have been at least 30 people present. (My apprentice had a book in which she got everyone to write down their names and email addresses, but she took it home with her, so I can't look it up yet.)

In addition to the live music and dancing, my friend E. and I did some acroyoga. I am pleased to report that I can now manage to get into the shoulder stand on her upraised feet on my own, though the process of getting there feel like (and probably looks like) it was drawn by Warner Brothers. First she lays on her back, with her legs straight up in the air, and I stand by her head. I bend forward and put my shoulders onto her toes, and hold her upraised hands. Then I jump up and roll forward a bit so that my weight is on my shoulders on her upraised feet, and on my hands holding her hands. I scramble frantically with my feet, trying to them them high enough that I can stand on her fingers. Once I manage that I can force my butt higher into the air, so that my upper body is truly upside down, and then I can manage to roll my legs up till I am fully upright. I tried, and failed, to find a photo of someone on line doing this pose, but the closest I can come is this one, which isn't quite the same because 1) I am so not ready to let go of her hands in this position, and 2) I actually lift my legs upright and point my toes to the sky. However, we do cross through, more or less, this pose on the way down--I bend with my legs out like that, then shift my weight onto one shoulder plus both hands, and he takes one foot off of one of my shoulders, bends the other leg and lowers me till she can tuck her foot into the hollow between my outstretched leg and hip. Then I shift my weight to that side, and she moves the other leg to my hip before we go on to the star pose.
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Spent today running back and forth between my office and the lab. The service technicians did regular preventive maintenance yesterday, changing o-rings, filters, etc. Today was supposed to be just a quick recalibration and check that it passes performance reports.

But it had some weird issues with mass calibration that he hadn't seen before, especially coupled with such otherwise good sensitivity.

In between checking in with them I got feedback from first one and then another of my colleagues with minor improvements to the grant application.by 15:00 I had re-uploadef all three documents at least once each, and re-submitted the packet yet again.

But then I had heard back from everyone, and the application was as complete as it will ever be. So I returned to the lab, where our technicians were still perplexed. Their flight isn't till tomorrow, so they were resolved to stay as late as needed to solve it, and we agreed I should pedal home, and they could call when ready to come back and hook the laser back up

They finally called at 19:45, so I drove back in and we got the laser and ICP-MS playing nicely together. It turns out that a major factor was that he didn't realise we use the high sensitivity insert in our cones, and so had programed the settings for the normal inserts. He says he won't make that mistake ever again.
12 September 2016 @ 08:44 pm
This remains one of my favourite SCA events. Plenty of dancing, plenty of singing, and lots of good company.

We got a rather late start leaving home, for many reasons. My contribution to the delay was being low energy after having pushed so hard all week to get that grant proposal done enough to submit, with the result that I hadn't finished my own packing before lord_kjar got home from work. But since none of the rest of us were ready either, I wasn't worried about it.

We finally started driving at 21:00, and didn't arrive on site till after 01:00, by which time the upstairs crash room (for those who like to stay up late) was already full. There was still a bit of space in the quiet crash space room downstairs, but there were small children sleeping in there, so the autocrat suggested we just spread our bedding on the floor of the dance/feast room and move stuff in the morning.

Beds set up I went down to the dining room, where people were still singing, did my yoga, and then stayed up singing till 04:15. There is a couple in the shire of Uma who have been in the SCA for almost as long as I have, and spent many of their early years collecting SCA songs from news groups and bulletin boards. As a result we know a rather lot of old SCA filks in common. She even has "Seneschals are Blameless" (to the tune of Suicide is Painless/MASH theme song, written by students in the College of St. Katherine) memorized. It surprised us both that the other could sing it and knew all the words--neither of us had heard it in some 20 years.

Saturday morning I got up at 9:00, which gave me time for breakfast and tidying away our beds before first dance class (Playford) at 10:30, which, of course, I joined, never mind that I could just as easily have taught it, it is always fun to dance, and the beginners learn quicker when there are some experienced dancers in the group.

We danced till noon, then had lunch, after which I helped Eino into his (my) armour for the tournament. Then I went inside and listened to parts of the workshops in progress (illumination and a cord-making technique made by crocheting together two yarns, which I learned a year or two ago from a folk dancing friend to make a bottom edge for my folk dancing dress).

There was a tiny market board at the event. A few people selling things they had made. One lady had some lovely tablet woven bands, and I couldn't resist buying the red and white one. Perhaps it will look nice on the light weight blue twill I bought at Visby. Or on any number of other pretty fabrics in the stash.

Then I helped H. with the last bit of fitting for his pretty red silk bliaut in progress and started sewing down a ribbon to make lacing holes. Then it was time for the dance class I was teaching.

With the autocrat's permission I hadn't actually planned a set list of dances, but just played it by ear. For my class we had D. on his violin for music. This is the first time I have seen him in years, and it was so good to have him back (and delightful that his hair had grown back out in the meantime). We danced all the period dances he has memorized, and part way through the class lord_kjar came in with his Nyckelharpa. He knows a couple tunes that D. didn't, so he played them, and, of course, D. had learned them by the time he'd played through a few repeats.

After class H. and I tried sewing down all of the lacing loops for his bliuat before feast, but didn't manage it, but it is far enough along that he should have it done by Norrskensfest.

But both C. and I had our bliuats on. She has finally finished with the embroidery to remake my old blue one. I took off the red embroidered neck and sleeve embroidery long since to put it onto my new darker blue silk bliaut. Then I gave her the dress body, and she started embroidery in some green fabric to finish the dress again.

The feast was fun, with an obligatory mid meal break for dancing, with more live music from D. and lord_kjar, with C. joining them with finger cymbals when she wasn't dancing. One of the little girls joined us, and she had no problems doing even those dances we hadn't practiced during the day, she is so quick to catch on. I hope her parents keep bringing her to events.

During the second half of the feast the Norrskensbard, who was running the kitchen, finally got free long enough to come upstairs to be cheered for a job well done and perform a song for us. But, of course, many of us had been singing the locally popular songs off and on all meal.

After the feast the boys started playing Swedish folk music, after they had gone through their period repertoire, so H. and I did some Swedish folk dancing. So not period, but fun enough that I don't care.

Then people settled into quiet conversation for the evening. I got sleepy not to long after midnight, so I set my bed back up in the feast hall and went to sleep to the sound of violin and Nyckelharpa and laughter and happy voices, and slept happily till just after 05:00, when O., who was the last to go to bed for the night, crawled in to join me, and I woke up and we talked till almost 08:00 at which point I decided to get a short nap before breakfast, and then slept deeply till 10:00, and was surprised to discover there were people awake and talking not five meters from me and I hadn't noticed.

Luckily, breakfast was still happening, so I ate before packing up and saying goodbye to those that hadn't left yet. We managed to get off site just after noon, though I felt vaguely guilty for not helping with clean up. But most of us four were just talking to people after loading the car, so it was betting to take us away and quit distracting folk who have their own packing and/or cleaning to do.

That got us home around 16:00, and as soon as we had unloaded the car I made up a quick pot of soup with homemade noodles, canned tomato and lentils, frozen veg, and butter. It went well with the left over carrot bread we had brought home from the event. Then I ran O. home and finished putting stuff away.

While we had pretty much managed to get everything put away on time that we could have gone to folk dance at 18:30, we didn't really have energy left, so we three stayed home and cuddled on the couch for a bit before yoga.

I was in bed by 21:00, which meant that I had the energy to do my workout before work this morning and was still in the office before 07:30. I had comments from my colleague on that grant application, so I made the edits and uploaded the new version. Then I revised the CV of the researcher we want to hire with this grant to have the same layout and page numbering pattern as the rest of the application and wrote a draft of the "capicities of the institution" section, which was the last thing I was still missing. I uploaded the draft to the system before heading home for the day, but it will need revision tomorrow, as one of collegues had already replied with comments (funny how much faster turn around time is as the deadline draws near).

Now I am happily listening to five Nyckelharpas and a recorder practice Swedish folk music and alternating between typing this and mending my favourite undertunic (a lovely soft herringbone white linen), whose side gores are wider than I normally do and so the hem had sagged, so I have trimmed it straight again an am re-hemming.

Tomorrow is choir, and Wednesday lord_kjar's little brother will come up to show us how to use the tractor that we are buying from him (he bought himself a bigger, and doesn't need two). Their oldest brother dropped it off here for us this weekend while we were gone, since he had driven his large truck up from southern Sweden to bring up something else, and while it was here it was easy to also do the extra 45 minutes north with the tractor.

It is a cute little old fashioned tractor with no front end attachments, so the shovel is on the back end. I will try to learn to drive it, but am a little hesitant about having to backwards to do anything. But it will be handy to keep the driveway snow free this winter, so I should try to learn, and C. is looking forward to it. If any of us can use it then the plowing should always be done promptly.
08 September 2016 @ 10:45 pm
There, the grant application that has been taking so much of my time has been submitted. We can re-open it and edit as many times as we like between now and next Wednesday's deadline, but in the worst case, they at least have the current draft. This means I am free to spend tomorrow packing for the weekend's SCA event, and can enjoy the SCA event this weekend. (however, if any of my colleagues sends me comments tomorrow during the day, I will, of course pause from packing to deal with them straight away, but it also won't surprise me if I hear nothing more till Monday)

This has been a fun grant proposal to work on--I have learned a fair bit on how to do them, especially from the comments from Grants Office. I am quite happy with some of the paragraphs I wrote today. But then, it is fairly low stakes for me--if they say yes then there is another post-doc in the department with whom I will work closely, but nothing else changes for me (ok, it gets us one step closer to having the budget for me to go full time, but I don't know that this one alone would be enough for that), and if we don't get it my employment situation doesn't change at all. On the other hand, it would make a huge difference for our potential post doc. But she knows that there is only an 11% success rate, so she isn't holding her breath.
07 September 2016 @ 09:52 pm
In theory I work 20 hours a week. In practice that number tends to vary with the season. I started the summer totally caught up on hours, but went home early often enough over summer, when there was little that needed doing at work, and much to do at home, that I got rather behind again. However, I knew that wouldn't be a problem this autumn, as there would be more that needs doing than 20 hours a week would cover.

Sure enough, I put in 8 hours today and seven yesterday, and well more than five hours most days recently. This pattern will continue till we finish and upload the grant application in progress.

I am pleased with how it is coming along, the feedback I got from Grants Office was really helpful. We may not get funded (this type of grant usually has a 11% success rate), but I am learning a lot in the process, and much of what we have written will be usable in other applications if this one fails.

When not working I have been busy with typical distractions. On the weekend we did some home improvement projects. Monday we had some friends over to play Nyckelharpa (and I played Dulcimer). Tuesday was choir. Tomorrow night is Frostheim, and Friday we head south for the Uma XXV Höstdansen Delux SCA event. (I may be bringing the computer to keep working if it isn't done yet.)
02 September 2016 @ 10:10 pm
Last night I had planned to go to bed pretty much promptly after getting home from the Frostheim social night and doing yoga, but then O. suggested that he visit, so instead of early to sleep we stayed up talking till nearly 05:00, and then got up at 8:30 so he could make it to class this morning.

As expected, Grants Office hadn't gotten back to me yet with feedback on the proposal draft I had given them, so I spent a lovely day catching up on laundry, cooking some pumpkin/artichoke risotto (starting from fresh butternut pumpkin, of course), taking a nap, playing hammer dulcimer, and baking pumpkin rolls. lord_kjar and C. got home around 18:30, and we had our house meeting soon thereafter. I am please to report that after last week's nine hour meeting, this week's was done in under an hour. Since then I have accomplished yoga and spent a little time seeing what is happening in FB. He has been playing nyckleharpa, and it is wonderful. Now I think I will go get some sleep. We have another lovely day of nothing planned, but plenty that needs doing tomorrow, and, of course, Sunday is the first folk dance session of the autumn.
01 September 2016 @ 09:59 pm
Today started with a meeting with one of my SCA apprentices, who will also be my Master's student this year. She has been trying to decide if she wants to do a master's degree with the same mining company for which her grandfather worked, or if she wants to instead build upon her summer job giving tours of the Medieval Church in Gammelstad by doing a "geologic map" of the building stones used to make it. We decided that she would write up a project proposal for the mining company, and, if they say yes to funding her lab work, she can do that project, but if they say no, she can study the church walls using our portable XRF to determine the composition of the minerals.

Then I had a variety of new and reasonable urgent emails to deal with before doing a few things in the lab, before meeting with my other Master's student to discuss her project ideas. Then it was time to meet my personal trainer for the latest upgrade to my workout. After that I had planned to just head home, but there were a few new emails that came in that were worth replying to today (including "how much does it cost to use the lab?"), and as I finished that yet another student dropped by to chat (this one only to chat--he is a PhD student with a project of his own), but I did suggest that he drop by the Frostheim meeting tonight, and mentioned that choir is looking for more people on Tuesdays.

Much to my delight, he did drop by the Frostheim meeting for a bit on his way to an evening class, which brought us to a total of nine people tonight, though not all at the same time, since some left early, and another arrived late.

In other news, I have been delighting in a daily optical illusion. The bike path I take to and from work was built fairly recently, and the forest hasn't grown up to it yet, so there is a couple of meter wide swath next to the path that has only low plants (5 to 10 cm) scattered across bare dirt and a few fallen leaves. Lately, as I pedal down the path lots of small birds suddenly take to the air from that swath, yet none of the birds was at all visible to me before leaving the ground. I know that they are small and ground-coloured because it was hard for predators to see their ancestors, but it is still fun to watch the illusion of them suddenly telaporting into existence just at the ground-air interface and taking to the sky. Every day I see the first couple take off, and I start looking at the ground, trying to spot more birds, but I never see them til the next set takes off, and then the next, and the next, and the next. It is amazing how many of them can hide in plain sight like that.

Tomorrow is Friday, and I normally don't work on Fridays. However, if I get that feedback back from Grants office on that grant application I sent them yesterday, then I will work on that. (I am not holding my breath that they will have it done this quick, but it is possible.) I also need to head in to campus to pick up the second kettleball I am buying from my personal trainer, since my workout upgrade includes a couple of things that need two kettleballs instead of just one.