Monthly Archives: December 2014

Setting things in motion (SCA edition)

I realized that one of the reasons I feel unsatisfied with 2014 is – I did so little long-view work. Everything I did was just-in-time, short-term work – from cooking to gifting to art to professional development. I did almost no brewing, fermenting, charcuterie, little in the way of ongoing research or home projects, no gardening, threw no parties except my elevation (okay, that was a big deal). I did spend the summer putting up the winter’s veg supply, and that is AWESOME. But that’s about all.

One of the projects I really wanted to tackle this year was the building up of a gifting pantry. I thought I could putter at it all year, build up a supply from whatever was in season. But I didn’t really start hitting it until August and September, and by then, everything was gone. And there are things that can be done when nothing is in season – cosmetics, spice blends, thrift shopping to stock up on supplies of pretty jars and tins. I’m going to take another swing at it.

I’m doing this in parallel at my other blog, focusing more on food, sustainability, and lifestyle stuff; this will focus specifically on the SCA. There’s certainly some overlap. As it turns out, a lot of January is about TALKING and PLANNING. Note to self: schedule a couple of times for me and Juan to do just that, uninterrupted, with notetaking implements.

Big projects (that won’t be finished this year but will be worked on this year)

I have four big, ongoing, long-view projects that I would like to at least dust off and poke with a stick every month this year: the Great Baltic Mapping Project, the Motino translation, the Stibbert doublet reproduction, and Calligraphy Bootcamp. I can find a little time for the first two in breaks from the Corazon social media campaign and website work. I have a scroll due for Twelfth Night and a scribal afternoon planned for tomorrow, so I’ll plan to start by deciding which of the three hands we’ve worked on will go onto this scroll, and practice for an hour or so before blocking out the design. The Stibbert – I really don’t want to pick up another handwork project at the moment (see below) but I might just pull the supplies together and figure out what I need to do to get started. Maybe poke at the pattern drafting a little. We’ll see.

January

My main big project for January is garb for Viking Vintr Vunderlandt, an event (in January! In a place called Colorado Mountain Park! Partially outdoors! Use your imagination!) at the end of the month. I am working on coats for Their Majesties, and a coat, hat, and pants for Juan. All of these things are in some degree of progress, and everything except for His Majesty’s coat are over halfway done. (That coat is patterned, and will get cut and assembly started this weekend.) At this point it’s really just keeping on pace.

February

February is All Corazon, All The Time.  Which means that January is recipe testing, social media campaign, hall decoration projects, charcuterie and pickle dishes. Maybe start the scrolls? I owe a back scroll to last year’s champion, it just absolutely fell through the cracks, and I do not want that to happen again this year, so aim for an early start. We have a winter ale beer kit just sitting around, and if we start it in the next week or so some of it can be Corazon thank-you gifts.

KAOS is due the end of February. Most of it is travel-friendly handwork, but there’s one component that requires tabletop equipment. I have not more than five or six hours left on that stage. In breaks from the VVV garb.

I’ve decided I am starting NO more SCA handwork projects until after Corazon, and probably for a few weeks after. Once the VVV garb and KAOS are done, I’m going to take some time to do some non-SCA studio textile work.

March

I’m trying to keep March fairly free, partly to recover from Corazon, partly to keep some work time open for starting camping season projects. Heralds and Scribes is smack in the middle of the month, but I don’t have to prepare anything for that. It’s a daytrip in Denver, which makes a good hook for a longer getaway weekend. Maybe the main thing to do now is just talk to Juan about what else we might want to do while we’re up north.

April

April is ArtSci Collegium. Caelainn and I put our heads together over dinner at the beginning of this month and hatched an excellent (and currently super sekrit) plot, but haven’t had a chance to talk and develop it any further. Get that conversation started, with an eye toward having something to present at the collegium. I also think I’d like to teach – I can develop a class concept in March, but I need to have an outline to submit sooner than that.

May

Spring Coronation! First Camping! There’s absolutely no actually starting camping projects until after Corazon, but we really should sit down and TALK about our focus for this year. See: June, July, August. I may want new Coronation garb, but as I’m pretty steadily losing weight right now, I don’t want to try to start anything. Maybe some Pinterest research/virtual window shopping in breaks from Corazon work.

June and July

There is some talk – and it is just talk at this point – about the possibility of Lilies War. It’s really going to depend on what events are happening over Fourth of July weekend; Juan and I both have birthdays in July, and both of us have worked over our birthdays the last two years. This year, we’re staking a claim and doing SOMETHING big, and it will be either Lilies or the holiday weekend itself. Watch the kingdom calendar for developments. Discuss. Consider finances and scheduling. Can we do two wars in one summer? What infrastructure would we have to build to make that happen?

Start cordials and bitters and plan the Booze Production Line for the rest of the year.

August

The end of August is Battlemoor! I usually spend most of the summer sewing like mad, working on projects at an increasingly frenetic pace, falling down dead at the front gate. I did better last year, but still fell short. (Pre-warping looms for a tablet weaving class: not a thing you can say “fuck it, it can get done in camp” about and throw in the back of the truck. It will not get done in camp. Pretty much nothing gets done in camp except maintaining camp. “Fuck it, it can get done in camp” is actually a terrible thing to say ever.) Instead of outlining plans in April, outline plans NOW so that the actual WORK can start in March and April. And start mead!

September

September is the DOWN MONTH after Battlemoor. My goal for September: absolute freedom from major commitments. Keep an eye on the ball as the year develops.

October

October is mainly a leadup to fall Coronation, and there’s nothing to plan until we know who’s big day we’re celebrating, or even where it is. I am blissfully free of the need to actually put anything in motion this far in advance!

November and December

This is basically the same as what I said on the other post, about handcrafted gifts and building the Magic Pantry. Start NOW to organize and inventory my craft supplies, toss the damaged and unwanted stuff, think about what stash I want to restock over the course of the year. Start a list of gift inspirations. I made the in-town portion of the annual Outlands pilgrimage to the dollar store 75% off racks for anything green, gold, or stag-decorated this morning; I’ll hit Denver and Pueblo on the way home from New Years’ Eve. Sometime in the next few weeks, a morning combing the antique mall for interesting jars and tins. Buy totes and baskets to keep stuff organized.

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Gratitude

The weeks between Battlemoor and Coronation were a rush and a flurry, a headlong dash down a to-do list of terrifying proportions. I didn’t have time to think, and if I had, I might have frozen up and not gotten through.

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Since I came home, I’ve had nothing but time to think. I’m working on a couple of small projects, when I feel like it. Reading and sleeping a lot. Putting my house back in order. I took two weeks just to completely unload the truck.

Looking back, I realize I’ve had a lot of conversations this year that led directly to this place. What does it mean to be a Peer? What does it mean to be elevated? The always-fraught Why do you want to be a Peer?

I despise the “never say you want the cookie” framing, I think it breeds disingenuity and resentment, but this question always made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to seem insincere by disavowing the desire, but it was never about desire for me.

I always knew that elevation was a possibility, and that I have things to bring to the circle; but I also knew that it not happening was a possibility, and I was comfortable in my knowledge that I have things to bring to the game outside the circle too. Really, I just didn’t actually think about it that much.

What I thought about, much more, was living in the game, in this community of people. The opportunity to practice my art and do my research and form these relationships and have these conversations. How I could leverage whatever rank and social power I already posessed at any given moment to make the game better, more inclusive, more joyful.

It has always been about gratitude. Gratitude for a place where I felt I belonged. For people who understand me. For inspiration. For discovery. For celebration. For the wine and the firelight. For the companions on the journey, and the warm welcome at the destination.

Nothing has ever, ever come easy for me. I have never taken the well-lit path, I’ve always been the odd one out, even within the countercultures and geek communities where I’ve always made my home. The SCA – the particular intersection of research geekery, artisanship, volunteerism, creative play, storytelling, athletics, and extended found family – is the only thing I’ve ever encountered that not just made sense to me, but made sense of me. The SCA gets me. It’s the only place in my life I don’t feel like I’m fighting the current all the time.

When I ask myself, as I have over and over again in these weeks, why they made me a Laurel, I come back to this – this feeling of rightness, of being in the place I belong, doing the work I’m supposed to be doing, communicating that work to people who appreciate it, not just accepted but embraced for who I am.

Every day is paying forward that blessing.

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