Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

Diary Update (long, as usual)

Last Tuesday: This month's Low Company meeting was focused on Traditional Period Board Games. I taught things like Merels, Fox and Geese, Tafl and the like. It was a fun session, livened by a couple of new faces (mindways and ian_gunn, both of whom finally got a chance to attend).

Wednesday: Dance practice was a bit quiet and lethargic -- a number of people couldn't be there for various reasons. ladysprite began her series of sessions on Caroso dances, which went extremely well: she reintroduced Villanella, and that went quite smoothly, with folks getting the hang of it quickly and generally having fun.

Saturday: A fairly slow and lazy day, which was appreciated. We'd been pondering the Earth Day concert, but the rain discouraged us, so we mostly dealt with cooking. I made a batch of ginger snaps, which were very well-received at Cynthia's party; msmemory made seven layer bars, which are always a hit. For Sunday, I tried to make the gingerbread recipe from Hugh Plat, as described in Banquetting Stuffe, but that was a complete failure -- I wound up with slightly moistened nasty-tasting breadcrumbs. I'll need to try that again sometime. Possibly adding the breadcrumbs slowly to the hot wine will work better, or tweaking the proportions.

In the evening, we went over to cvirtue's birthday party. This was a pleasant evening of schmoozing with a bunch of folks I don't see often, including both Shannon and rustmon, neither of whom I've seen in many years. Karen made a simple but excellent dinner of salad and pasta, and the attendees brought dessert. In lieu of presents, the invitation specified bringing a poem (haiku or limerick) instead; I came with:
Puns and hats she makes.
Her birthday, celebrated.
Dessert surrounds us.

Okay, not exactly high art, but I have no experience with haiku.

The party broke up relatively early. We contemplated going over to the Zero de Mayo Party at Wadsworth, but I still needed to make something for the May Day dessert board, so we headed home and I whipped up some 15th century gingerbread and left that to cool overnight.

Sunday: Having slept restlessly, I woke up a bit late and found it still raining. That woke me up fairly quickly, as I realized that it meant that May Day would be indoors and my games were suddenly a lot more important.

Naturally, since I was in a rush, I discovered that the gingerbread had cooled to the consistency of rock. This was an issue, since it was all still in the pot. After concluding that I was noway, nohow going to simply leverage it out, I put it into a water bath to reheat enough to get out, and then nuked it back to warmth again. (Thanks to ladysprite for confirmation that reheating would make it pliable once more.) Rolled it out, cut and dusted it, packaged it and we dashed out the door.

We got to the event around noon, and I set out the games. These seemed to be well-received; it was very encouraging to see that more people are starting to play with the games when I make them available. Particular thanks to laurion, who encouraged and taught a lot of people in the games. I was delighted when Ciana showed up with several comets -- I had asked her to make these less than two weeks ago, and wasn't sure she'd have a chance. As always, they had an almost magical effect on the crowd: when you pull out a comet, everyone just automatically winds up in a circle throwing the thing around. It's a May Day tradition that I missed, and I'm glad we can have it back again.

It was a Very Good Day for ladysprite. She had entered the Baronial Artisan competition with her manuscript translation of Caroso, and won that, getting a spiffy foofy pouch as her badge of office; she was also named Iron Translator Italy for Casa Moomba. I'm very proud of her -- it's a hell of a big project, and she's pulled it off nicely.

The tourneys were fun to watch, even in the cramped indoor space. (We were in Sherman Function Room, which was mostly big enough so long as we spilled out into the hallways a bit.) The people fighting for Armored Champions all seemed to be having a good day -- it was especially neat seeing Kunigunda, who seems to be improving quite steadily and was looking good in the list. And the Fencing Champion finals were especially lovely -- Connor has become an absolute joy to watch, all fluid sword movement and elegant dance.

I spent a fair chunk of time hanging around the Enchanted Moomba semi-circle -- mermaidlady had laid down a bit of gold cord to serve as a small Enchanted Ground space, wherein there was snacking and storytelling. The high point of the snacking was rufinia's Roman Cheese Goo, a flavorful concoction that achieves the rare distinction of having Enough Garlic. The effect is sort of Boursin-ish, but with a powerful and complex flavor. I encouraged her to publish the recipe; it's mondo yummy.

Besides inducting ladysprite as Court Scholar, Court featured several new inductees into the Baronial Orders. claidheamh was invited into the Perseus, along with the new Fencing Champion (who I don't know, but clearly need to meet); dsrtao and evilnicola were added to the Daystars.

Following that, we led a gradual procession of half the Barony down to Cappy's for subs. I'm afraid that we rather overwhelmed them -- they just weren't prepared for that many people hitting them so suddenly on a Sunday. I can't really complain -- they were working frantically to keep up -- but they got pretty swamped.

The evening was the ball. This was smallish, as I'd expected -- the rain kept some people away from the event in general, and the lack of feast meant that a few more went home. Still, we got a reasonable number of folks up on the floor, and all had fun dancing with enough room for a change. I got to dance with lots of different ladies, and dragged in several who don't often get a chance to dance, like mermaidlady and lakshmi_amman. And I got to do a few dances with my lady, always a rare treat.

The dessert board had far too much food, as I suspected it would, and everything was good. Lots of people commented favorably on the gingerbread, so I think that recipe is getting closer to right.

Monday: Eleanor had to run out of state briefly on personal business, so I wound up running Council. This was pretty quick and uncontroversial; the main focus was a discussion of whether the Barony should have an official event-refund policy, and if so what it should be. No decisions made, but it sounded like we were driving towards a rough consensus that autocrats need flexibility, but we should be more organized and explicit about refund policies.

Coming up:

Tonight: Accademia. We're going to review Bassa Toscana, which we haven't done in quite a while. I blew the music into Django last night, so we can now do this when we want.

Monday: Lodge. It's "Member Appreciation Night", which means lots of speeches as medals are given to the 50-year members. I find myself rather unenthused, I'm afraid. I fear that my general sense of burnout has spread to Lodge, and I'm not having much luck eradicating it. I don't have nearly as much latitude to change my approach to Lodge as I do with the SCA, and I'm simply getting a tad jaded. And I've never been as tied into the community as I am with the SCA -- Masonry just isn't part of the Archipelago of Weird, which is my home. I'll probably let them put me in as an officer again next year, but I'm having a lot of trouble summoning up the energy on a regular basis...

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