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June 21st, 2013

Midsummer Eve

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Again... the pictures would not copy over. You can read the original version at www.glaedenfeld.org. The music staff picture can be found at http://www.fisheaters.com/customstimeafterpentecost3.html.

Journey… Holidays Throughout the year.
           June… Midsummer Eve
THL Celeste Alienor Courtenay De Montmorency       

Midsummer eve has been celebrated since ancient times.  One thing that I did not know and found out is that Midsummer Eve and St. John’s Eve are the same holiday. This holiday (apparent from it’s name) is celebrated the night before the summer solstice. Since this date can vary from year to year, the date of the holiday does also.  This holiday is surrounded with tales of magic and fairies, and the reenactments  of the story of  St. George and the Dragon. There were parades and parties, dancing and feasting! There were also many rituals that took place on this day.  Young people pick wildflowers and sleep with them under their pillows. They are hoping to dream of their future spouse.  If you wanted to see the fairies, you would gather fern seed at the stroke of midnight and rub it on your eyelids.  It seems that jumping through fires is not just the prerogative of the drunk person.  Jumping through the fire on Midsummer eve is believed to bring you good luck.  The streets were lined with fires. The bonfires were lit after dark and people held vigil a the fires until morning. The fires were thought to ward off evil spirits.  Parades of people would carry lanterns and wander from fire to fire. Many times they were accompanied by “morris dancers and traditional players” (Carlson,  2004).
Some people held parties on Midsummer eve and the parties went all night long. The people were determined that they would stay awake through the entire night.
As with any day associated with merry making, there were decorations. Some sources say that people decorated their houses with St. John’s wort over their doors and other sources simply say that houses were decorated with greenery. The decorations were supposed to bring good luck to the people and to the livestock.
There are many more superstitions and myths associated with this day. You will be able to see them all if you want to look at the sources at the end of the article.

I found one source that would be of particular interest to the musicians. It appears that the current scale names of Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, were derived from the Breviary’s hymn sung on Midsummer eve- or St. John’s Eve.  To avoid  any errors, I have copied the words as they appear on the page . http://www.fisheaters.com/customstimeafterpentecost3.html
Ut queant laxis
Resonare fibris
Mira gestorum
Famuli tuorum
Solve polluti
Labii reatum, Sanc
Te Ioannes

 The source  notes that “Ut” was later changed to “Do” for easier pronunciation.  They did also include the tune. I again must copy this. I do not have the ability to recreate it otherwise.
It says:
So that these your servants may, with all their voice, resound your marvelous exploits, clean the guilt from our stained lips, O Saint John.
There is mention of St. John’s Carols being sung on Midsummer eve, but I was not able to locate any.
I have mentioned but a few of the superstitions and celebrations for this holiday. There is so much more to this holiday and if you are interested, I hope you will review some of the sources I have listed.  We are but a few days from this holiday, so I do hope that you will enjoy it! “How to” guides are included in some of the sources.

Sources:


http://birka732.com/Traditions-Midsummer.htm
http://www.cassandraeason.com/wheel_of_the_year/june.htm
http://www.thebookofdays.com/months/june/24.htm
http://www.anglosaxonanglicans.org/feasts/quarter.htm
http://fountainofelias.blogspot.com/2010/06/midsummers-eve.html
http://www.fisheaters.com/customstimeafterpentecost3.html

Lemuria

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I hope these don't turn out to weird. I tried doing the newsletter in publisher and in power point. I should have done them in Word and then flowed them into the other two programs for posting. This entry will be for May's holiday Lemuria. The next entry will have June's holiday. I couldn't get the pictures to come through. If you want to see them, you can read the newsletter itself at www.glaedenfeld.org.

Journey… Holidays Throughout the Year.
    May… Lemuria       

THL Celeste Alienor Courtenay De Montmorency

As I looked at the ancient calendars, I ran across a holiday that I certainly thought was interesting! Samhain… in May? It is quite true! The Ancient Romans celebrated a holiday called Lemuria. First, I must tell you the story of Romulus and Remus! I copied this story from
http://www.myread.org/romulus_remus.htm and there is more information available on their website.  The children’s version will be in Children’s Corner. Lemuria is celebrated on three nights, May 9, 11 and 13.
The kingdom of Alba Longa was ruled by the wicked king, Amulius. Amulius fought his brother, Numitor, and sent him into exile. Amulius forced Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia, to become a Vestal Virgin. Vestal Virgins were not allowed to marry and have children.
One day Mars, the god of war, saw Rhea Silvia and fell in love with her. Some time later she gave birth to twin boys. Amulius ordered his slave to throw the two twins into the River Tiber. But the slave left the twins in their cradle to give them a chance. They floated down the river. A she-wolf rescued the two babies and looked after them.
A shepherd called Faustulus saw the she-wolf with the baby boys. He took them home to his wife and they called them Romulus and Remus. When they grew up the boys became shepherds like Faustulus. One day they had a fight with some shepherds who looked after Numitor's sheep. Remus was arrested and sent to Numitor as a prisoner. When Numitor heard the story he realized that Remus was his grandson! He told Romulus and Remus what had happened to him and their Mother.
Romulus and Remus attacked their Great Uncle Amulius and killed him. Now Romulus and Remus lived with their grandfather in Alba Longa, but they got bored and missed the countryside where they grew up. They decided to move back to the place where Faustulus had found them and build their own city on the banks of the River Tiber.
But the twins argued over where the city should be built. Romulus wanted to build it on the Palatine Hill and Remus wanted to build it on the Capitoline Hill. In the end they built two cities! The arguing didn't stop. Remus teased his brother about the height of his city walls, saying they were too low. The brothers had a fight and Romulus killed Remus. Romulus became King of the new city, which was called Rome in his honour.
It was necessary that you know the story, because the holiday is based on Remus. This holiday differs from Samhain, which will be covered in October because on this holiday, citizens are trying to vanquish the ghosts– not invite them in for dinner as with Samhain. Lemuria is celebrated only on the odd number days because the even number days were considered to be unlucky. Legend says that Lemuria was originally called Remuria and was established by Romulus to appease the spirit of Remus.  I did not find a specific date when the name of the holiday was changed to Lemuria. However, it is called Lemuria because the ancient Romans considered the Lemures the vindictive spirits of the dead who died untimely or violent deaths. They didn’t want these vindictive spirits in their homes so they performed rituals that were designed to satisfy them. The most common ritual  that I was able to find says that before midnight, the head of the household  would make the sign of the “mano fico” which was made by placing his thumb between his index and middle fingers and then wash his hands with pure water. He would  then go and walk through the house 9 times backward . Since the clothing is described, I think it’s important to let you know that when he went to walk through the house, he was to wear clothing that was nonrestrictive. No belts, no knots, no shoes.  As he is walking, he would throw 9 black beans over his shoulders and say “With these beans I redeem me and mine”!  He was not to look back over his shoulders because that was considered bad luck. The rest of the members of the household got in on the act too. They didn’t have to walk around the house, but they did have to get up! They would clang bronze pots and yell “Ghosts of my fathers and  ancestors be gone”!
The first day of the holiday, prior to the ceremony, was observed in silence. On the second day, there were games at the circus in honor of Mars. On the third day, images of the thirty Argei (forms of men made of rushes) were  thrown from the pons sublicius into the Tiber by the Vestal virgins. There was also a festival of merchants on this last day of the Lemuria. There was also a festival of merchants on this last day of the Lemuria. The merchants burned incense, and using a laurel-branch  they sprinkled themselves and their goods with water from the well of Mercury at the Porta Capena, hoping to make their business prosper.

Intrigued? I hope so! There doesn’t seem to be much more information available, but these are the sources I used.

http://engarian.livejournal.com/153274.html
http://www.novaroma.org/calendar/maius2.html
http://romanhistorybooks.typepad.com/roman_history_books_and_m/2007/05/lemuria_lemural.html

April 12th, 2013

Journey... Holidays Throughout the Year.

April......... Ludi Florae

THL Celeste Alienor Courtenay De Montmorency

primavera
Primavera”: Sandro Botticelli, 1482

Ludi Florae, also called Floralia, is the Roman Celebration dedicated to the goddess Flora. Flora is one of the ancient Roman Goddesses of vegetation and fertility. I have also seen her referred to as the goddess of Spring, Plants and Youthful Pleasures. This celebration runs from April 28th to May 3rd and involves a series of games and theater called the Ludi Florales. The final day of the celebration was devoted to circus games. Although the holiday starts in April, a few sources have referred to it as an Ancient May Day celebration. The festival is noted to have started in Rome around 241 or 240 BC but was discontinued in 238 BC because the celebrations were considered to be disruptive and lewd. However in 173 BC there was extensive damage to the crops and plants due to high winds and hail. The senate, like a bunch of bad children hoping to appease their mother and avoid punishment- ordered the reinstatement of Ludi Florae and it has continued to be celebrated every year since, though the modern celebration is not quite what it was in ancient times.

Politicians back in Ancient Rome were just as savvy as modern day politicians. The games were run by magistrates called Aediles. Aediles were elected officials in Ancient Rome and it was a part of their job to run the ludi. Incidentally, they were also the officials in charge of public works, the police and grain supply. The money for the games was raised from fines for encroachments on public land. They used the games as an opportunity to garner public support. Just as minor politicians today sometimes have aspirations for higher office, the Aediles usually did too. It was in the interest of the Aediles to make sure the games and other celebrations went well.

The theatrical performances that composed part of the ludi florales were bawdy and were often performed in the nude. If they didn't start nude, they still often finished in the nude. The women involved in the plays were often actresses but some were prostitutes. Some of the plays involved strip-teases. Prostitutes in Ancient Rome considered Ludi Florae to be their festival. The Romans had more sexual freedom during the celebrations of Ludi Florae and the prostitutes took full advantage of that. Noble women and women of good virtue did not take participate in the plays because of the shame associated with performing nude.

During Ludi Florae, Roman citizens wore brightly colored tunics and wore garlands of flowers in their heads and around their necks. They paraded down the streets of Rome dancing and singing and having a great time! The parade involved prostitutes (of course), actors and actresses, musicians and even temple servants. Goats and Hares were carried in the parade. They were to be released during the circus maximus at the end of the celebration because they were animals who were known for their fertility. Women who were childless followed behind the servants who were carrying the animals in the hopes that they would be allowed to release them. The hope was that by releasing one of the goats or hares, they would prove themselves fertile in the coming year. The populace was showered with vetches and beans as the parade went by. They were offered milk and honey to use in their prayers to Flora. The games played were traditional games of Ancient Rome and some are still played in modern times. There were chariot races, gladiatorial games and hunting.

There is so much more information available on this holiday. There is even a specific account here: http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Post/1134546&authorid=32854. I am uncertain of the author's sources since most of these festivals were not written down. However, the article is a very interesting read. I have only given a few basics about the holiday, but I hope that what I have presented is enough that you have an idea what it was like to be in Ancient Rome during Ludi Florae. It looks like they had one heck of a good time!

Sources

http://www.adf.org/rituals/roman/roman-holidays1.html
http://www.novaroma.org/nr/Flora
http://www.musesrealm.net/rome/festivalsinfo.html http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Article/797220 http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Post/1134546&authorid=32854 http://ancienthistory.about.com/cs/rome/a/ludiflorales.htm
http://www.rainsnow.org/wod_roman_games_part_one.htm#The Ludi and the Munera: Public and Private Games

March 25th, 2013

St. Joseph's Day

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Same issue of the newsletter as Candlemas. Same issue with graphics, but here is the text. I got a little smarter and copied the text out of the text box, put it into the main body of the article and then copied and pasted. It worked. The only thing mising is the picture. I think I'll go back and edit the other one for this too.

Journey... Holidays Throughout the Year.

March... Saint Joseph's Day

THL Celeste Alienor Courtenay de Montmorency

I'd never heard of Saint Joseph's day until I came across it while looking for a March holiday (Other than Saint Patrick's day) to write about. I often wondered why there was no celebration for this man who, because of his faith in God, accepted a pregnant woman who was supposed to be a virgin as his bride. It turns out that there is a holiday dedicated to Joseph. It took some digging, but since Wikipedia said that the holiday was celebrated during the Middle Ages, I knew there

had to be something somewhere that had and “as early as” date. I did finally find it on this website: http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/questions/faq/faq25.html. The article says that the feast of St. Joseph is first mentioned in a Coptic liturgical Calendar in the fifth century and appears on March 19th (the day the holiday is traditionally celebrated) in a French Calendar around the year 800. The most interesting information I have found about this holiday centers around the Sicilian celebrations. One of the roles associated with Saint Joseph is that he is the protector of the holy family. Legend states that there was a long draught in Sicily during the Middle Ages. Many people starved and died during the drought. The people prayed to Saint Joseph and asked that he bring rain to end the drought, They promised that they would honor him with a feast if he would bring the rains. Their prayers were answered and the rains came. Their crops were replenished. The people celebrated by preparing a large feast to honor him and thank him for answering their prayers.

All of the information I can find on this holiday as celebrated in the Middle Ages and Renaissance centers around food. This does make sense because of the legend that he ended the drought.

Here is a recipe that I found for St. Joseph's Zeppoles. It is long and involved and I haven't tried it, but maybe someday I will get the energy to try it. I did not alter this recipe (except to change the font). This recipe is at http://www.mangiabenepasta.com/stjoseph.html

Pastry:
1 cup water
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs



Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup whole milk
2 egg yolks
1/2 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped

Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Maraschino cherries


To make the pastry:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, sugar, and salt.
Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat.
With a wooden spoon, beat in flour all at once.
Return to low heat.
Continue beating until mixture forms a ball and leaves side of pan.
Remove from heat.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating hard after each addition until smooth.
Continue beating until dough is satiny and breaks in strands.
Allow the mixture to cool.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a large star tip.
For each pastry, pipe a 2-1/2 -inch spiral with a raised outer wall on the baking sheet.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
Remove and allow to cool before filling.

To make the filling:
Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan.
In a bowl, whisk together milk and egg yolks
Whisk milk mixture into sugar mixture.
Place the saucepan over medium heat.
Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly.
Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat.
Stir in rum, orange zest, and vanilla.
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl.
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface.
Allow to cool for 30 minutes and then refrigerate until cold.
Fold in the whipped cream.

To assemble the zeppole:
Cut the pastries in half horizontally.
Transfer the filling mixture to a pastry bag with a star tip.
Pipe some of the filling onto the cut side of the bottom half of each pastry.
Place the top half of the pastry on the filling.
Pipe a small amount of the filling into the hole in the center of each pastry.
Place a maraschino cherry in the middle.
Dust the pastries with confectioners' sugar.

I really hope you enjoyed this article. Online Information about this holiday and how it was celebrated in the Middle Ages was scarce other than the information about food.

Reerences:

http://catholicism.org/saint-joseph-altars.html

http://www.planetblacksburg.com/entertainment/acdc-031807-stjoseph.php

http://www.calendar-updates.com/info/holidays/us/stjoseph.aspx

http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/questions/faq/faq25.html

Candlemas

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I dropped the ball in February, but I did still do the article. It is in the March issue of Good Keep Keeping. Aaaand just as I couldn't get this newsletter to load correctly for e-mailing, I also can't get it to copy/ paste here. So it's not as pretty as the original. Sorry. :-( The picture won't load either.

Journey.... Holidays Throughout the Year.

February......... Candlemas

THL Celeste Alienor Courtenay de Montmorency

Candlemas is celebrated on February 2nd, In modern times in the United States, this is the day that Groundhog day is celebrated. The Tradition of Groundhog day sprang forth from some of the Candlemas traditions.

Candlemas is the celebration of the presentation of the Christ Child at the temple and also the celebration of the Purification of the Virgin Mary. Candlemas is exactly 40 days after Christmas, which is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that when Mary presented Jesus at the temple, Simeon held the baby in his arms and announced that he would be a “Light to lighten the Gentiles”. (Luke 2:32).

Candlemas is celebrated with processions of candles. One theory is that Candlemas is thus celebrated because of Simeon's declaration that Jesus would be a light. Another theory is that the tradition of using candles is a Christianization of the torchlight parade held during the ancient holiday Lupercalia in honor of the Corn Goddess Ceres and her daughter Proserpine. In almost every source, I have found the information that the celebration of Candlemas dates back to the 4th century and that the custom of using candles dates to the 5th Century.

Tradition actually ties Twelfth night into Candlemas. The person who finds the bean or amulet in the King Cake at Twelfth night is supposed to bring food to a Candlemas celebration. There is also a tradition in which people bring beeswax candles to the church to be blessed on Candlemas. These candles are then used in the home throughout the year. Here's a familiar tradition: Candlemas is around the time when bears and wolves come out of hibernation to inspect the weather. If they went back into their lairs, then winter was expected to last another 40 days. If they stayed out then Spring was expected to be early. How did this evolve into Groundhog Day? I have found only one explanation. The Groundhog winter's underground and was considered to be a wise and sensible animal by the Native Americans. I have found this poem in a few different sources. It is said to be an ancient Scottish poem.

If Candlemass day be dry and fair,
The half o' winter to come and mair
If Candlemass day be wet and foul.
The half o' winter gane at Yule.

There are a few more versions of the poem from different cultures. You can find them on this website: http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/happy_groundhog-history.htm. It's kind of mean isn't it. If Candlemas is a beautiful Spring like day, then Winter will continue for 40 more days. If Candlemas day is nasty and Winter like, then the weather will soon improve. Ready for another bad superstition? How many people do you know who leave their Christmas decorations up for half the year? I've been guilty of it before, but I think I will be taking them down by Candlemas from now on! The superstition is that if all of the holly and berries aren't removed from homes or churches by Candlemas day, then someone close to you would die before the year was out. Sailors! Don't set out on a journey on Candlemas. Superstition says that a journey begun on Candlemas will end in disaster! I did find a good superstition associated with Candlemas! It involves food. The French eat a lot of Crepes on Candlemas. While you are making a Crepe, you are to hold a coin in your dominant hand and a Crepe pan in the other. Flip the crepe into the air. If you catch the crepe in the pan, your family will be prosperous for the rest of the year!

Candlemas is still celebrated mainly by the Catholic Church. However, you will see Groundhog's Day celebrated more. There are more traditions associated with different Saints and religions that are held on the same day. I hope this article has peaked your interest enough that you will want to find out more.

References:

Festivals and Holidays; Macmillan Library Reference, USA, 1999. New York, NY.

Thompson, Sue Ellen, Holiday Symbols and Customs, Third Edition; Omnigraphics, Inc, 2003. Detroit Michigan.

Griffin, Robert H. and Ann H. Shurgin. The Folklore of World Holidays, Second Edition; Gale Research, Farmington Hills, MI. 1999.

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/common/candlemas

http://www.learnenglish.de/Temp/February/candlemass.htm

http://www.dltk-kids.com/crafts/happy_groundhog-history.htm

http://french.about.com/od/culture/a/chandeleur.htm

Twelfth Night

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This is the article I wrote for the January issue of Good Keep Keeping.

Journey... Holidays Throughout the Year.

January.......... Twelfth Night

THL Celeste Alienor Courtenay De Montmorency

Christmas as we celebrate it in the United States is only celebrated for one day, though retail stores and other commercial interests start advertising and selling Christmas merchandise long before the start of the holiday season.

In Europe during the Middle Ages, Christmas was celebrated over twelve days. Though some of the traditions have been lost, Twelfth Night is still celebrated around the world.

Twelfth Night is considered to be the last of the twelve days of Christmas and is the night before the Epiphany. Twelfth night celebrations consisted of feasts (of course!), games, plays, and lots of singing and dancing.

The games, plays and other parts of the celebration were based around three main themes. One of course was the birth of Christ. One was the battle between good and evil. The other was the rebirth of the land.

Actors presented dramas based on the different themes. Only plays about the Three Wise Men following the Star to the Holy child and plays about St. George and the Dragon were mentioned in the sources I was able to find.

I was only able to find mention of two specific games while doing research. Oranges and Lemons and a mock tug of war between groups representing Winter ans Spring. Oranges and Lemons is described in “Children's Corner”. The tug of war was really just a fun demonstration since Spring was always triumphant since it was the upcoming season and representative of the rebirth of the land.

The one tradition that seems to be linked to the rebirth theme- other than the tug of war- appears to be the Wassailing toasts. Dancers circled around “Wassailing Trees” singing songs, stomping their feet and offering some of their ale to the tree. One source (MacMillan) describes the dancers as wearing Ox-horned headdresses and wearing bells on their feet.

One tradition that I found that could represent the multiple themes was the tradition of the fire. It is described as twelve small fires arranged around one big central fire. If it was indoors, then the fires would be represented by candles.

There was a King and Queen of the Bean chosen at Twelfth night festivals. Sometimes, they were referred to as the Lord and Lady of Misrule. Sources differ as to whether both were chosen or just one. How were they chosen you ask? Well... luckily, I planned on telling you all along! A bean or an amulet is baked into a cake. The cake is called a “Galette des Rois”. The person who gets the bean or amulet in their slice becomes the King or Queen of the Bean! My guess is that if they were choosing both a King and a Queen, there would be one cake for the men and one for the ladies. However, one source does say that whoever got the bean would then be crowned King or Queen and then would choose his or her own consort for the evening.

I found a recipe at http://frenchfood.about.com/od/desserts/r/Galette-des-Rois-Recipe.htm. The recipe is fairly long and I don't wish to take up that much space so I'm not going to print it here. If you don't have web access and wish me to get you a copy of it, just let me know.

All in all, most of the traditions of Twelfth night are no longer practiced for various reasons. I do believe that I for one, would have loved going to these festivals!

References:

Festivals and Holidays; Macmillan Library Reference, USA, 1999. New York, NY.

Thompson, Sue Ellen, Holiday Symbols and Customs, Third Edition; Omnigraphics, Inc, 2003. Detroit Michigan.

Photo: Jan Steen, 1668.

June 8th, 2011

 So my Middle Eastern Dance Class was last night. It went pretty well. I had to move it to Tina's place so that I'd have room to teach people to walk. I'm pretty comfortable with the 3 students I have right now. They progressed pretty quickly and are better in the 3 months I've been teaching them than some people who have been dancing for years. I think there's more interest in the class, but I simply don't have the space to add more students. My shire has a demo coming up on July 2nd. It will be in the Mall. Since we want to show every aspect of the SCA we can in the 3 hours we're going to be there, I will be teaching some European Dance classes. I don't know where yet. We'll figure it out. I also think we are going to do a ME dance demonstration. The 4 of us have decided to wear different color outfits and I will write a routine. I think we can do it. It doesn't have to be hard to look good. As I said though, my students are already pretty good.

I'd been thinking about doing some of the more modern tribal dancing lately. Time is an issue with me because I do so much with the SCA and with my church. Mundane ME dance classes tend to be on Monday and Wednesday nights. Most Monday nights, I have free. One Monday night a month is newcomer's meet. Really though, the only reason Monday nights are free is because I can't find anywhere to teach the European Dance Classes. We may be able to just go to a park over the summer time. That's what we used to do in Ansteorra when we couldn't use the library or community centers. Unfortunately for us, the library and the community centers here are booked solid. If I had the money, I'd build a meeting hall. I'd build an area into the hall that would be exclusively for the SCA. Like an SCA suite that would include a meeting room, an armory, a space large enough for dancing and with built in sound system, and a sewing room. SCA would have free use of course. There would be other meeting rooms and things outside of the SCA suite. Other organizations would be able to rent space for meetings and events. Non- profits would have a discount rate. There are so many groups around here that have such a hard time finding places to do things.

So anyway... I got sidetracked. One of my friends here is a professional ME dancer. I like to watch her dance and she heads one of the troupes here in Clarksville. I'd like to dance with her troupe, but that would cost time that I don't have and also money that I don't have. So... she posted on Facebook that she needs a voice coach. I can do that. I didn't quite finish my music minor, but only because I didn't take the conducting classes. I've had all of the rest and I don't need to be able to conduct to teach one person to control her voice. She wanted an even trade. So Sunday afternoons after church, I will coach her for 45 minutes in voice and she will teach me for 45 minutes in dance. I'm okay at it. I've been doing it for years and years. I'm good at isolation. I need to learn sword and candle techniques though. I also never learned to work with a veil. It should be fun.

David still isn't back in town. I am soooo not a happy camper. I feel more alone now than I did while he was overseas. The fact that he's been home since the beginning of May and I've only seen him twice is really getting to me. :-( I thought he was coming back last weekend. It turns out he was just headed somewhere else.

My car "Service Vehicle" light is still on. I'm hoping it's just because I have a headlight out. I'm going to have to use my brights tomorrow night coming home from Arts and Sciences. I'll have to buy a new bulb next Wednesday. It's only $14.00. I know this because I went by Advanced Auto to try to find out why the light was on. No codes showed up so that's a good thing. Right? I hope so.

I have a psych appointment on the 15th also. Well... at least I didn't miss it. I really need to go. :-(

Work is going okay. My case load is down. I'm getting through my referrals. People still don't want to get me on the phone. So yesterday a claimant missed an appointment because his sister took him to the wrong place. I was on break when she called. A little background on this claim. The guy moved in from out of state. He hadn't been to any doctors in Tennessee. The only time I had talked to this man or his sister prior to yesterday was to ask if he'd had any treatment here in Tennessee and to let him know that his ADL forms were being sent to him and that he needed to fill them out and return them as soon as possible. At no point in the processing of this particular claim had I EVER been mean to these people. So I was on break. When I came back from break, there was a message on my phone from this man's sister explaining that she took the claimant to the wrong place. That in itself was no problem. The problem came while the lady was hanging up. Before she managed to actually hang up the phone she said: "Now I have to wait for her to call back because the bitch wasn't at her fucking desk." I was like.... what?! Wow. Okay. So now I'm pissed. I called and rescheduled the guy's examination... because it wasn't his fault he missed and he wasn't the one doing the name calling. THEN I called her back. I gave her a reason to think I am a bitch! I asked to speak with her and then, without giving her a chance to do anything other than confirm who she was, said: "First of all, you need to make sure your phone is on the hook before you start name calling. Second of all, I am NOT tied to my desk and I can take a break WHENEVER I want to. Now, I have rescheduled your brother's examination"... she interrupted at this point trying to explain why she needed to reschedule. I talked right over her and told her that I got her message and that I didn't need her explanation and that I had rescheduled the examination and when it was. Then she asked if she could ask one question before I hang up. My response was "What?". She asked if the offices were close together. I said "I don't know. I don't live there. Call the number on the paper. Bye." **CLICK!!**  NOW she can call me a bitch... but not without looking in her own direction first. She's lucky I didn't just schedule the exam and send a letter without calling back. Really, I just called her back to cover my butt. I KNOW they have the information for the new examination and I won't have to reschedule if they miss again.

Today was better. I got my development out. I got a lot of my examiner designated follow ups done. I got some medical evidence read. It was a pretty calm day even with me being on the very border of rude on the phone. I have to be. If I'm nice to people they want to talk all day. Then I don't get stuff done because I'm talking to one claimant too long. Oh well.

I'd better start researching ME dance garb to make sure we have it right for the demo.

June 6th, 2011

So today has gone pretty well so far. I cleared 24 claims last week and then 4 more by the time I left this afternoon with 2 more sitting on the clearance queue.

I came home and cooked a new concoction. I really should come up with something other than "a new concoction" to call it. It's cabbage, hamburger meat, bacon, peppers, onions, mushrooms, garlic, soy sauce, seasoned rice vinegar,  garlic salt, salt, pepper, and red pepper wrapped in a tortilla, fried and served with Thai Peanut Sauce. It's kind of spicy... but it's good. I did just realize that I meant to put carrots in and forgot to though.

I just finished watching "The Singing Bee." It's absolutely hilarious! It was a celebrity edition with guys from former boy bands. Drew Lachey from 98 degrees did the best, but he lost the chorus showdown because he passed the tie breaker song to Bobby Brown- who did the second best. Just to give you an idea, Drew had 31 points and Bobby had 5 points. Drew messed up two words on the chorus he was doing. Anyway, it went to a tie breaker and the song was "Every Breath You take". How many people don't know that song? All Bobby had to do was sing one line... "I'll be watching you." So he gets to the final countdown and totally screws it up because he didn't know most of the songs. They did do one song that wasn't a Country song and he got the phrase on that one. So he had $500 by the end of the show. They went ahead and gave him the $10,000 fir his charity though.  The thing I don't understand is that you would think musicians should want to explore other genres to keep up with what is going on, new developments, etc. You would think that the guys that knew they were going on the show would at least listen to the recent country music since the show is mainly a country music lyrics show. I'm sure they would have done well on "Don't Forget The Lyrics" but this isn't that show. The Singing Bee is the same type of show but it has a different format and is predominantly country music. It's actually a lot more entertaining because it's a competition between 6, then 4 and then 2. When it goes from 6 to 4, you just have to be one of the first 4 to fill in the correct lyrics to finish the phrase that has been sung. The second round is random shuffle. They sing and play the song and when they stop, you have to unshuffle the words on the board and sing the lyrics correctly. It's worth 5 points. The next round is "Singing with the enemy" and it's you and another person and you fill in random lines that the band just drops off on. Each person gets 3 of those and they're worth 5 points each. Then the last round before the chorus showdown is Karaoke challenge. They play a song just like they would at a karaoke bar and the words are up on the screen. 15 of the words are missing and each one you sing is worth 2 points. (That's the round where Drew Lachey made the majority of his points.)  The Chorus showdown is pretty difficult because you have to sing the entire chorus word  for word without any mistakes. Then whoever wins the chorus showdown gets to play for $10,000. They give you up to 7 songs. You get $500 for each phrase you sing correctly. You get a strike when you sing it incorrectly. Three strikes and you're out. If you get 5 right, of course you win the $10,000. If you strike out, you win whatever money you earned before you struck out. It's awesome and I really love it. (Obviously). The fact that these guys screwed it up so badly leads me to believe that they didn't even bother to at least watch the show before they went on it.

Anyway, that's been my day so far. I have games in progress on Facebook that I really should tend to - crops, stoves, etc. but I don't feel like it. They're probably withered or spoiled anyway. I guess I'll at least check Cityville.

June 5th, 2011

The last few days have been okay. I eventually got over my bad temper- I think it was about the time I was getting ready for the SCA meeting on Thursday evening. My car still isn't working, but my daddy said that he will buy the battery for me if I can find one for under $40. David still isn't back. I'm still not happy about that. I thought he was coming back yesterday. It turns out he was just leaving Massachusetts to go visit yet more friends in different states. :-(

Populace went well. We had a lot to cover. I have a really talkative bunch of folks so it did get to a point a few times where I just had to talk over them and tell them I was moving on to a different subject. We have our staff in place for Black Rose- though apparently Mordan being the event steward again came as a shock to his wife. She was not happy. I didn't say he had to do it. I asked him if he wanted to do it. At first he said only if we couldn't find someone else. I told him that he didn't have to do it and that we could find someone else if he didn't want to do it this year. Then he said he wanted to do it. I really think he wants to do it. He brought up some ideas last year that I believe he wants to follow through with.  There aren't many experienced event stewards in our group. I believe there are maybe 3. Mordan, Andreit (now that she did Border Raids), and me. I wouldn't mind training someone else to do it. It isn't too hard. It's just very time consuming. At any rate- the information has been sent for publication, has probably already been set up in Pop Chiv and we're not changing the staff unless something drastic happens. Since we're not opposite Dragon Con this year, we will have our Arts and Sciences office there. I believe we will actually have a pretty decent A and S competition. The event is going to be themed around period living. I'm pretty sure that Mistress Gwenith is teaching a pottery class and Jessica will be teaching a class on either churning butter or making cheese. I don't remember which one. I think we're going to talk to Z about maybe doing a sheep or goat shearing class and we'll need someone to teach a class about carding wool and spinning. Mordan would also like there to be a class about food preservation. I think it will be an interesting event this year if we can get the people with the "know how" to teach the classes.

I was working on a jumpsuit for a friend and I got the entire bottom of it sewn together and realized that I left off an essential design element. I'm going to have to take them back apart, and completely redo it. Yay.  I made several little design element mistakes, so, I can't just take part of it apart. I have to redo the whole thing. Luckily. The only pieces that will have to be re-cut are the front and front side pieces. I think there's enough fabric left over for that. I also put the zipper in incorrectly. Yay me. **Sigh** Oh well. It won't be as hard to take apart as the original because it doesn't have those freaking metal pins holding everything together.

So now, I'm reading this master's thesis on transgressive women in old Icelandic literature. It's pretty interesting. The paper is titled "Peace Unwoven" and it was written in 2009 by Naomi Bennett. I haven't gotten very far with it but what I have read so far is really interesting. I really need to hook up my printer and print it out. It's almost 200 pages long and the chair I'm sitting in is not comfortable. Anyway, the first person spoken about is Signy Volsungsdottir who was married unwillingly to King Siggeirr. It kind of skims over how she dishonored herself in order to get revenge on her husband who killed her father and all but one of her brothers. I'd like to read more about her. She sounds like a really interesting woman. Signy is not the only person being talked about in the article. There are several others whom I have just not gotten to yet. However, this promises to be really good reading. :-)

So... it's storming outside. Every time it storms, I lose electricity at least for a few minutes. I'd better end this entry. More another time.
 
 

June 1st, 2011

 Sooooo... Today, I was not the nice pleasant person that I normally am. I've just had a bad week in general. This month's visit from Aunt Flow has been no joke. The pain isn't even responding to Aleve. Last night at my friends Tom and Angie's house, I took two aleve, a prescription pain pill that Angie had AND a muscle relaxer, used a heating pad and was STILL doubled over in pain.

Going to fix the car at midnight and then finding out the hard way that the part that was replaced was NOT the part that needed to be replaced did not help AT ALL.

So, I texted David and told him it didn't work and asked him what he wants me to do. He wants me to take the new part back and try to exchange it for a battery- which is what is actually wrong with the freaking car. Apparently, the battery is so dead that the cells are crackling. So he tells me that he is going to go buy his friends some groceries because they don't have any there. That is fine with me. He can do what he wants. It's HIS money, not OUR money. We don't live together. So tell me why then he felt the need to justify himself to me? WTF?! I don't care! He can do what he wants with his money. Honestly, even if we lived together and I was married to him, I wouldn't have a problem with that kind of help as long as the friends involved aren't trying to use him.

Then again- maybe that's why he was justifying himself. We did decide, as a couple, that we were going to be more careful about who we decided to help. I'm still dealing with the fall out from letting Kristine stay with me. 

I guess my little rants do help me sometimes. :-)

I'm off my meds. Yes, I have refills available, but what's the point. I can't afford to go see my doctor anyway. I owe him too much and while I can probably afford the co-pay for one visit- out of my next paycheck- I can't afford to pay all I owe. So... why keep racking up bills?

Then this morning, my alarm didn't go off. I was awakened by Silke calling to tell me she was turning onto my street.

So I ended the evening depressed and I woke up this morning depressed and in a hurry.

The pain got worse throughout the day. I'm having major cramps. I feel like someone filled my skin with water until it threatened to burst. Every little movement makes me feel like a water balloon about to burst. I've had a headache all day on top of that.

The claim that I was working on yesterday because the idiot doctor I consulted with doesn't know what he's talking about is still not done because I have questions. I REFUSE to go ask that doctor the questions, because he doesn't appear to know any more than I do. I can dig through the freaking records by myself better than wasting my time watching him dig through labs and not knowing what to look for.

Then at lunch time, Summer didn't show up for lunch. When I called her cell, it turned out that she had gone to have lunch with some other people and just didn't bother to let me know. So, I blew up. I told her that I don't want to have lunch with her anymore. She e-mailed me and told me that I was rude for blowing up at her and hanging up. I e-mailed her back and told her that if it was the first time, it wouldn't have been a big deal but since this is the 4th time in two weeks that she "Forgot" to tell me she wasn't eating with me, then I just want to forget about it. She says I'm overreacting. Maybe. I don't care. The thing was, I got invited to go to lunch with other friends today, but I didn't because I had plans with her. So... yes I'm pissed. I'm STILL pissed!

My landlord called at lunch time and my car company called after work. I was/ am in a pissy mood, so the conversations did NOT go well. Especially since I'd talked to BOTH of them in the last couple of days and they KNOW my car is not working and I can't run all over town. I have NEVER not paid them. I don't know why they seem to think I'm going to suddenly forget that I owe them. I HAVE the money I owe them- which is why I don't have enough left in this paycheck to go to the doctor- but I haven't been able to go to my banks yet. It isn't going anywhere. I don't have any checks out and my automatic loan payments have already come out as far as I know. They appear to have anyway.
So yeah... Temper, temper. I'm going to blow a gasket. The headache has NOT gone away. I'm in a slightly better mood because I am at home. I hope I calm down in time for populace tomorrow. I tend to hold on to my bad/ angry/ pissed off moods when I finally DO lose my temper- which isn't often. This is the first time in I think about 8 years that I've actually lost my temper. I've gotten angry. I've been upset. I've come close. But actually losing my temper doesn't happen often.
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