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26 March 2017 @ 01:48 pm
Though, to be fair, this one was rather special, being advertised as a "music bootcamp". Firday night the first singing workshop started fairly promptly after I was on site, borrowed sheets onto my bed and into costume. The singing continued till just before I went to bed around 01:30 or 02:00. We sang SCA songs, period songs, traditional Finnish call and response songs, and more (those were the themes of some of the workshops that evening).

Saturday morning it was lightly snowing, so after breakfast and before the first workshop of the day I went for a short walk in the forest. I can report that my Thorsbjerg trousers, with their attached sheepskin bottomed feet, do fit fine inside my "näbbskor" (Swedish folk boots with a pointy "beak" like toe), if I take out the thick nålbinded liners I have for them. However, doing so means that the boots aren't so comfortable around the ankles without the padding from the liners. Therefore I did only a short loop walk. I need to decide what to do about that. Perhaps it is time to make new liners for the boots and then cut away the old bottoms of this pair so that I can have the uppers in the boots at the same time as the trouser feet?

Saturday's workshops included many more singing workshops (all of which I attended), some instrument playing workshops (which conflicted with singing, so I didn't get to attend), and some theory classes--mostly in Finnish this time, so I used the time to sew, since I couldn't follow the lecture. However, I should have been sitting over by K. and the one other visitor from Sweden--apparently she kept up a running translation for him.

There was a short Baronial court during dinner, where, much to my surprise, the Baroness conducted the business herself without the help of a herald. I sat next to her at feast, so got to ask her about it. She admits that it is never done that way, but she wanted to try it one time, and a small event with only three pieces of business (tokens of welcome to newcomers, thanks to the autocrats, and one baronial award) seemed like a good opportunity.

It wasn't quite all singing--I got to dance some, too. Some of the Finnish ballads are sung while dancing a basic double bransle, and late in the evening a couple of violin players played some Swedish folk music, so I couldn't resist dancing with a couple of new friends
17 February 2017 @ 10:14 pm
One week and a day ago I cut out a new underdress in the lovely white herringbone twill linen that I bought at the recent Viking costume workshop. The more I sew on this the more I am loving this fabric, it is so nice to touch.

So far I have accomplished 12 hours of work on it:

* Cut most of the pieces
* Finnished the neckline
* Attached the sleeves & finished those seams
* assembled the three triangles for one set of skirt gores and finished 1.25 of those seams.

Still to do:

* Finnish the seam in progress
* Assemble and finish the other set of three skirt gores.
* Attach the skirt gores to the body
* Cut and attach the underarm gores
* Decide if I want gores inset in the middle of the skirt, and if so cut and sew them
* sew shut sleeves and side seams.
* Hem dress and sleeves.
I bought my hammer dulcimer almost five years ago now, and since then I have had to memorize each new tune I have learned, and learned them slowly, by carefully looking at sheet music, writing down the letters of each note, and then using that list of letters to learn which strings I needed to hit for each song. This works, but takes enough effort that I still only have a list of about a dozen songs I can play.

Monday night, while working on a sewing project at Nyckleharpa night and wishing we could have brought the dulcimer (there were four of us in the small car that night--no room for the dulcimer, too), and that I could play more of the songs they play, it suddenly occurred to me that if I were to put coloured dots on the dulcimer to show which string is which, and overlay coloured dots on the sheet music I might be able to learn to play from sheet music, instead of treating it as a translation language.

Today I finally got a chance to sit down with the computer and try applying my colour code:

B purple
A red
G brown
F orange
E yellow
D green
C blue

Note that for this I am not bothering to distinguish between sharps and flats--my dulcimer isn't chromatic, which means that the next string is the next note in the series. In some parts of the instrument the next string is sharp (or flat, depending on one's point of view), in some parts it isn't.

The colours of all the strings on my instrument are:

and one of the songs I have coloured is:

I tried this song (which I have heard the nyckelharpa players play so often that I can sing along with it) today from the coloured sheet music, and I am delighted to report that it is SO much easier to play it this way. I can look back and forth from the music to the instrument when trying to figure out which strings to hit and my eyes just jump to the correct spot. I could never do that when trying to look at all black sheet music. Note that for the dulcimer image that goes with the sheet music I have made it simpler by colouring only those strings that I will actually use while playing.
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
12 February 2017 @ 10:37 pm
I flew south on Friday morning and took the train from the Stockholm-Arlanda airport to Uppsala central station, where I was met by M. and we walked back to the apartment into which M, H, and K moved only one week ago.
After eating a quick lunch (yay, leftovers!) dropping my backpack at the apartment we went back out to the museum at the university that I had visited a couple of years back when in town for a conference. I found it more fun this time as I had a friend to share it with, but, of course, the highlight of this museum, as with last time, is the display of the items from the Vendal age boat grave, including the lovely gold and garnet sword hilt. (The kisses shared in that room were another highlight, but not actually related to the museum.

After the museum we stopped by the store and picked up some real butter and kale and went back to the apartment, where I cooked the kale with sunflower seeds, made dhal of lentils from their pantry and a batch of naan.

By that time K & H were home, so they joined us for dinner, after which we watched an episode of a show in which some people were moving into a farm in the UK to spend a year living ad they did in Eadwardian times. Since I was feeling linda sleepy by then I did my yoga during the last half of the show, and we went to sleep not too long thereafter.

Saturday morning M, K and I played a cooperative card game in which the goal is to make the best fireworks display ever, but one can't see one's own cards, only those of the other players. We take turns either giving the other players hints about the cards they hold, or trying to play an appropriate card based on the hints we receive. This turned out to be both very fun and a little stressful as one wished to give the most useful hints possible, yet it is easy to get confused and forget the facts that one has already learned about one's cards.

After the game M and I went out to Gammal Uppsala, where there is a museum by some old burial mounds and an old stone church. That was a lovely excursion, with a highlight of a nice garnet and gold broach, followed by a Belgian waffle with cream and jam at the restaurant (note to self: next time order it without powered sugar on it (I would have if I had known they would do something so unreasonable to the otherwise yummy food)).

That evening I made more naan to go with the leftover dhal and kale (no surprise that we had eaten all of the nann the day before). After dinner H and K went to the home of one of H's old friends and I did my workout followed by yoga, while M caught up with a computer game. Then it was time to snuggle up to sleep.

This morning M did some laundry while I borrowed M's computer to skype into the Frostheim annual meeting, where I agreed to run Norrskensfesten again (and managed to get the sleeves attached to my new nice herringbone linen underdress). Then a quick lunch and K, M, and I went out for a walk to enjoy the pretty day. We also stopped by the store and I bought them a new Turkish yoghurt to replace the container I had used up making naan and K bought some things to make a lasagna for dinner.

Before dinner we four played another board game I hadn't seen before. This one involved us each getting one of the seven wonders of the Ancient world (I got Stonehenge) and trying to build up the best civilization from cards that are available in a variety of types. I was usually the slowest each round to decide what to do as I had to take time to find out what each card type does. However, despite coming in last place I still really enjoyed the game.

Then we had a bit of time to cuddle up on the couch and watch the first half of a cartoon about the Book of Kells before M walked me back to the train station to head to the airport.

Now the flight has landed so I can turn on internet and post this before heading home.
25 January 2017 @ 12:15 am
While at my birthday party last month my acroyoga partner, E. got to talking with L., one of my folk dance friends whose children are very active in gymnastics locally. (It was her son, E., walking on his hands all the time during our weekly dance sessions that really inspired me to start training to learn to walk on my hands.) In their conversation L. let E. know that the local gymnastics association has classes for adults, so E. sent them an email to get more information. They replied, and it turns out that the class that is appropriate for us is the "Avancerad Motorisk Träning" (AMT) course which meets on Tuesday evenings from 20:00 to 22:00. This is not a good night for me, since I have been in the habit of working late on Tuesdays, then attending Phire practice from 16:30 to 18:30, then choir from 19:00 to 20:30. While it is, in theory possible to attend at least Phire, and possibly the first half of choir before heading to AMT, it doesn't sound sensible to do so much in an evening.

Therefore we decided that this week we would skip Phire and I would skip choir, and we would go give AMT a try. If we didn't like it we could always return to Phire and Choir next week.

As it turned out, Monday was a really tired day for me--despite getting 8 hrs of sleep the night before, I seem to have been burning the candle at both ends enough last week and on the weekend that I woke up tired and stayed tired all day, with the result that I went to bed just before 21:00. This resulted in my waking up at 04:15, and deciding that I may as well get up and do morning workout before leaving for work. However, first, as is my custom, I told the computer to hook up to wireless and looked at email and livejournal while doing my situps before geting out of bed. Much to my delight, my personal training has finally sent me the new workout he promised to send me before Christmas. He gave me one totally new workout for day four, but for days 1 & 3, which have been a circuit training hand-stand focused session with an interval timer of 30 seconds work, 15 seconds rest for three different tasks, four rounds, then switch to three new tasks (same repeat pattern), and again for one more set of three tasks. This has become reasonably easy. Therefore my trainer has made only one change to those days--instead of 30 seconds work, 15 rest, it is now 45 seconds work, but still only 15 seconds rest in between.

When I read that I thought "45 seconds is ever so much longer than 30", but then I thought. "Ok, how hard can it be? Perhaps I had better give it a try." I can report that, yes, indeed, 45 seconds is ever so much longer than 30. "Half again" may be an accurate description in terms of the math, but it feels longer than that. Indeed, the 3rd and 4th times I was meant to just hold a handstand up against the wall (belly to the wall), I wound up giving up with 12 seconds to spare.

Because of the early start to the day I did the workout (54 minutes total, including the warmup and "finisher" sections), then had breakfast and walked to uni (only 42 minutes, since it was cold enough that I opted to run part of the way to generate more heat) early enough to get in an hour of work before meeting my trainer at 08:00. He was delighted to hear that I had found the new workout challenging, and then he went through the new tasks that I will need for the day four workout when I get there.

After the workout I returned to the lab and ran a quick experiment, then returned to my office and started processing the data, until about 13:30, when I was ready to head home. After walking home I plugged in the car as I knew it would be needed this evening, and then went in and baked a broccoli-spinach-carrot egg & cheese pie and some bread rolls. After I put the rolls in the oven I let the phone hook back up to wireless, where I discovered that blamebrampton has written a new Harry Potter fan fic. Since she is one of those writers whose work I so enjoy that I would read her grocery lists if he posted one, I, of course, had to start reading it promptly. Three hours later it was time to head out the door, and I had just managed to finish reading the story (which I strongly recommend reading).

So I grabbed a water bottle and went out and tried to take the tarp off of the car, only to discover that it was frozen to the roof. If I had been wise and tried taking it off when I first got home I would have had time to get it loose, but since I had pushed leaving to the very last possible second so as to finish the story, that wasn't an option. So I went back into the house, got the keys to the other car (which has a carport and so doesn't need a tarp, and hurried out to pick up E. at her place. She was already outside and waiting for me when I arrive (4 minutes late, but we had budgeted plenty of time and still arrived early to the class), so off we went.

The class turned out to be really fun, but oh boy am I grateful that I have been working out with my trainer for the past year--I couldn't have managed the "warm up" part if not for the fact that all of those exercises are ones I have done before. After the warmup they broke us into three groups of ~4 people each and we got to do some basic skills training. Our group's first stop was in front of some extra cushy mats, with a horizontal pole just off the ground in front of them. The task was to do a handstand on the pole, then fall, butt first, into the mat, with bodies held firm in all muscles. This was fun! We also had a set of what look to me like plastic basket-hilts with sword hafts in them, but no sword sticking out, that we could hold and do a handstand on the rounded surface before falling onto the soft mats.

The second station was a horizontal bar around my shoulder height which we were meant to hold onto with our hands, then kick up and roll our legs up and over the bar, coming to a rest with our hands at waist height, arms straight, holding ourselves above the ground. This was also fun, but not so easy.

The third station is a higher horizontal bar from which we practiced swinging motions with correct technique which will, eventually, build up to being able to do summer-salts in the air.

After each group had been to each station they set up lots of stations of strength training activities and sent us around to each of them to do 30 seconds work, some rest, and then another 30 seconds work before moving on to the next station. Again I am grateful that I have been doing a 3 to 7 days a week workout for a year, because I was able to accomplish most of these tasks, too. Though I did find climbing the rope difficult, since I am not used to that. Ropes are not as pleasant to touch and wrap legs and feet around as the aerial silks.

E. and I both enjoyed the evening very much, and plan to return next week. I guess I will have to find some other time in my week for singing, because this AMT stuff is too much fun to miss now that I have tried it.
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31 December 2016 @ 03:30 pm
I am still not really 100% clear why, but it seems that some people are moving from LJ to Dreamwidth. I remember that happening a long time ago, too, and back then I went as far as setting up an account there and importing such journal entries as I had. But then never did anything with it again (last time I imported stuff was 2010). I have just set it to import now, so, perhaps, my entries from here will show up there. If my friends quit using LJ, but are posting there, then I will follow. Therefore I mention it here so that mom can bookmark that link, so that she doesn't miss stuff if I do.
30 December 2016 @ 10:04 pm
...used to be a normal thing in my world. Every day I would turn on the computer, check email, read everything in my main in-box folder and either reply, file, or delete it, and then check the various folders the list emails went to. Only after reading all of that did I start my work for the day.

Then I moved to Sweden, life got busy, and my in-box would start filling up with stuff I didn't have time to answer yet, and, sometimes months later, I would go through it and clean it out again, keep it clean for a while, and then get busy again. But at least it did get cleaned semi-regularly. Then I encountered that weird issue with gmail not working on my home computer, and the inbox got really full again. But not anymore! Gmail works again, and I have managed to go through everything in my inbox and reply, file, or delete as appropriate. All of my folders for various email lists and FB groups have also been emptied. It feels wonderful!

Now, how long will I be able to keep it clean this time? Will I go back to my original tidy email habits?
30 December 2016 @ 06:44 pm
For many weeks now I have had a weird issue with gmail on my home computer--I could open it, but not actually read messages or reply, never mind that it worked just fine on my phone and my office computer. As a result I have been kinda ignoring email unless it was urgent enough to reply from my phone, and many messages have piled up in my inbox. Today, for some reason, without any intervention on my part (though I have been thinking I should try to do something about it for ages), it just started working again. I can even send attachments.

Therefore I am celebrating by going through my inbox and cleaning it up--replying to things that need replies, filing things that should be filed, and deleting stuff that isn't needed. In the process I found an interesting portrait taken by a friend of mine this summer at our Medieval Days at Hägnan event. It turns out that he has also posted it to his photography blog, so go have a look if you like black and white photos (taken on a film camera) containing interesting lights and shadows.

Now to return to cleaning out the in box. I only paused to share the link because I figured that at least Mom would be interested.
27 December 2016 @ 02:27 am
I have been wanting a "pocket" like the ones in the Norrbotten folk costumes from 1912 for a while now. Tonight I realized that I need something semi formal to wear to K&H's wedding in not quite two weeks. Since folk costume counts as semi-formal or formal wear, I am using the excuse to make myself one. However, since I don't actually come from anywhere in Sweden, I am free to do my own style of embroidery, and I used as inspiration an ancient Pictish pattern that my erstwhile apprentice in Tasmania once showed me.

I have chosen colours that go well with the Nederluleå folk dance costume I have, so that I can just dress that one up a little.

This is how far I managed to get in 2.75 hours tonight, I think it will be possible to finish it on time:



The colours are not a decent match--the light at 02:20 isn't really suitable for photography. The blue is bluer than this, and the bit that looks almost yellow in the circle outlines is actually an indigo.