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Monday, April 27th, 2015
10:03 am - The Simple Woman's Daybook
FOR TODAY Monday, April 27, 2015

Outside my window ... it's cloudy. I don't know what the temperature is, but it's not as cold as yesterday. Still, after nearly two weeks in North Carolina, the Waterloo weather is chilly to me. My crocuses are blooming in the yard, but I miss the profusion of flower trees in Elizabeth City. I'm planning to replace the dead ornamental tree in our yard with a flower apricot, but apparently you're not supposed to do that until the May 2-4.

I am thinking ... about the modern culture feature. We have pantophobia we don't acknowledge.

I am thankful ... for a loving husband, a smart child, and puppy who is eager to please.

From the kitchen... I made green smoothies this morning for the first time in two weeks -- spinach, banana & strawberry, with a spoonful of almond/hazelnut butter. Then I bought Lex & I muffins on the way to KDC.

I am wearing... my dark skinny jeans, an aqua long-sleeved T-shirt, a dark pink/raspberry cardigan (with the sleeves of both pushed up to my elbows), my usual rings and necklace, and an my worn-out black loafers. My hair is loose and my make-up is minimal.

I am creating... Due to cat sabotage, I'm reworking part of my gift for the Trillium Exchange to be delivered this coming Saturday.

I am going... to Septentrian Baronial Investiture this Saturday.

I am reading... The Hobbit to Alexander at bedtime. He is loving it. Bilbo and Kili just found what they think is the hidden door

I am hoping... I can be a positive influence.

I am hearing... my child fussing because I will not let him watch a movie or eat marshmallow peeps at 9:30 in the morning!

Around the house... it's pretty much a mess (yeah, we could all have heart attacks and die from that surprise). But tomorrow is Tuesday and time for the blitzclean. Hope spring eternal.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Hmmm ... well, Lex is going back to school this afternoon, there's housecleaning and the dog has a vet appointment tomorrow, Lex has a dentist appointment on Thursday. I need to finish the TE project. I need to make sure my Arrochar garb is in order for Saturday (and should probably actually make the belt I bought the materials for at Lilies last year). And I want to get back to my sorely neglected blogs.

~~ Here's the blog it came from:

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Friday, February 6th, 2015
12:38 pm - Blogger Let Down
Is blogger ... or maybe more generally writer ... let-down a thing?

I'm feeling discombobulated today and I finally think it's a reaction to how on fire I felt yesterday. Editing text and watermarking photos took longer than I expected, but it was still purposeful. This morning I found myself checking my stats several times; how arrogant is that?

If any (either?) of my readers are curious as to what I'm going on about, I started a new blog. Actually, it's my 3rd blog, but each of them only has a couple entries. Here's yesterday's work:


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Monday, December 8th, 2014
7:41 am - Since I've been asked ...
I've been asked for some suggestion for those wish to gift me this season. Please forgive this crass "Letter to Santa"

A piano.
A real one. Made of wood. And a place to put it in my living room. And the joy of listening to my son start piano lessons in the new year. He's five. It's the perfect time.

That's really the end of the list.
... but understanding the difficulty that may be involved with that ...

Smartwool socks
- especially "Popcorn Cable in Caramel Heather" or "Snowflake Flurry"

"Pandora" style bracelet charms from Think Geek:
- Latte (He)Art -- this is my absolute favourite that I've seen of these kinds of beads <3
- Knight Bead
- Space Lampwork Bead -- or something similar: deep, deep blue with sparkles
- Celtic Knot Bead -- I've seen these other places than just at Think Geek, for instance, the Irish Shoppe in Niagara-on-the-Lake
(I don't actually have a bracelet yet, but I think the like the copper/rose gold toned ones I've seen locally.)

R2-D2 Yoga pants

A "Warrior Shirt" (from The Tudor Shoppe) (size medium)

An Elven-looking Armstreet quiver (brown leather, brass accents)

A yarn bowl.

So there you go.

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Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
11:12 am - Hrm ...
I'd post a new "to do" list, but I'm afraid it would look an awful lot like the one from the beginning of September.


If anyone sees my focus or my motivation, would you mind sending them home?

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10:58 am - I'm Here!
cortejo asked and it reminded me that I haven't posted in ages. But I'm here! Really I am.
I think not posting is a symptom of how overwhelmed I am these days. I really need a reset. mahault interested in coming over again????

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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
9:24 am - Lex, observer of humans
So the boy is playing with a couple of his Playmobil figures, one dressed as a Samurai, the other a Chinese lady with long braids and a elegant dress. And I overheard this snippet of conversation:

- Husband?

- Yes, Wife?

- Can you put that sword down? You're freaking me out.

- Oh, sorry.

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Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
10:50 am - Things I Need to Just Do (and so procrastinating on)
Sew patches to Alexander's travel blanket
Alter the two T-shirts that are way too big for me (Apprentice & Pirates)
Organize linen closets
Move white dresser into office closet
Re-hang pegs in Alexander's room

Also fixes around the house that have been nagging me:
Refinish drawer fronts on Alexander's dresser
Install light switch at the top of the stairs

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Sunday, August 24th, 2014
4:55 pm - Preserves!
Well, I just made my first ever batch of jam. Conserve, actually, since it has nuts in it.
Now to wait, and hope, and pray that the lids seal.

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Friday, August 22nd, 2014
1:32 pm - Links Dumpy - about Michael Brown, Ferguson, and Race
So, being back on Facebook for the past couple weeks exposed me to a lot of articles. We don't have cable, so we haven't watched the news in years, so haven't been following the story in "real time" ... of course, I'm not sure very many people were since the first couple days were obscured by Robin Williams's suicide. Anyway, I've had these open as tabs in my browser, which is not making my browser happy. Taking a page from shyksa's book, I'm creating a "links dump" entry.

So, in no particular order (although perhaps I should take the time order them ... later):









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Saturday, August 9th, 2014
10:15 am - Progress!
So, I posted 13 things to Kijiji yesterday. So far, I've been contacted by people for the sewing machine cabinet, the car seat, and the baby swim rings. Yay!

On today's To-Do List:

1. Keep working on Thursday & Friday's lists
2. New stuff (as it occurs to me):

- Post all the Pediapeds on Kijiji
- Call Humane Society
- Clean car seat & wash cover
--- figure out how to get melted crayon off
- Wash booster seat cover

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Friday, August 8th, 2014
8:18 am - On Today's Agenda
Bank recs at Iain's office (I'll have to take Lex with me)
Stop for supplies to address cat-smell issue
Treat "Dragonology" book
Continue with yesterday's To-Do list
Read to Lex
Encourage Lex to read to me

--- Space to Add More Things As They Occur To Me Here:
Flatten cardboard
Adjust seat on Lex's bike
Find someone to fix Lex's wagon
Find little green spray bottle

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Thursday, August 7th, 2014
12:17 pm - Argh!
How did it get to be noon already?
Playdate in T minus one hour ... To-do list hardly dented.

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10:32 am - To Do This Morning
Hang up the load of dark clothes to dry
- put away when dry
Wash a load of little boy clothes
- Hang them up to dry
Fold load of coloured clothes
Take photos of stuff for Kijiji
- put everything back in garage when done
Post stuff to Kijij: ... (with the one exception ... must remember to take photo)
- Crib, mattress, & change table (as a set)
- Sewing machine table
- Safety rail (for bed)
- Rotisserie
- Chair
- Yarn
- Winter plates
- Christmas lights
- Mirror & pull bar (Montessori baby set-up) ... oops! Forgot to get a picture of this one
- Swim rings
- Spice rack
- Drying rack
- Car seat
- Office chair
Shorten Jay's pants
Seam on underside arm of Birka coat
Alter "apprentice" and "pirates" T-shirts to fit me
Spread coffee grounds on lawn
Mow backyard
Order Imagine Cinema Groupon -- CAN'T The system won't let me do it again. Must ask Jay
Call James about bookkeeping
Invoice Iain for bookkeeping
Fax banking info to PayWorks -- UGH! Fax doesn't work from home; forgot to send it with Jay

... Also To-Do (not necessarily this morning):
Pull weeds in under-tree garden
Buy new PJs for Lex
Sort out which clothes Lex has outgrown ... well, mostly. There's a couple shirts he's refusing to part with
- Take them to Cream of the Crop/Children's Marketplace
Make arrangements to get small table to Paris
- (and baking dish, and plasticware)
Take egg cartons out to Marianne (probably should have done that this morning when we went to the market ...)
Sort out at least one box of paper ...
Watch tutorial on how to do chainless double crochet ... ahh! So that's how it's done :)
Replace clothesline
Dispose of futon mattress
Return empties
Figure out how to install wind noise reduction thingies around car windows

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9:52 am - Difficult Morning
I have a willful and miserable child this morning. Anything that is not exactly as he wills it is cause for tears, running away, and/or throwing himself on the ground. It's not even 10am and I'm tired.

We're going to the park with Janelle and her boys this afternoon. I hope he's in a better mood by then.

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Monday, August 4th, 2014
1:16 pm - The Simple Woman's Daybook
FOR TODAY, Monday, August 4th, 2014

Outside my window ... it's mostly sunny. The grass needs cutting and that's probably what I'll do after lunch.

I am thinking ... I will replace the dead ornamental tree in the front yard with a flowering apricot and a peony. However, I think I need to scrape all the dead mulch off the mound, and dig some humus or compost into the soil. Nothing seems to grow there. The flowers I planted back in May are all stunted, even the rose moss. I'm really disappointed.

I am thankful ... for a nice day at the beach with Lex on Saturday. We were only there two hours or so, but he had fun. Lake Huron's pretty cold, though.

In the kitchen ... theagentx is making jerk pork for dinner and I made green smoothies for lunch: spinach, apple, & cherries with ginger and hemp seeds.

I am wearing ... my Stargate 'no place like home' TeeFury shirt.

I am creating ... Haven't picked up the Arro-dress again yet; maybe this afternoon. Instead I've been re-teaching myself naalbinding. I've discovered Oslo stitch is much stretchier than Mammen stitch. I thinking (have been for a while, actually) of doing a White Wolf Fian challenge that includes naalbinding.

I am going ... let's see ... I already mentioned mowing the grass after lunch, and picking up the Arrochar dress, right? I don't plan on "going" anywhere today. It's a holiday here in Ontario, "the August holiday" (aka "the Civic holiday" and "Simcoe Day" (Toronto only)), which has been observed since at least the mid-1800s and is usually the same day as the "August Bank Holiday" in both Ireland and Scotland. That, in turn, falls close to the old Celtic (Irish/Manx/Scottish) holiday of Lughnasa (Luanistyn/Lùnastal) which marked the start of the harvest season. Long story short: nothing is open today and theagentx is home from work. We have friends coming over for a BBQ :)

I am wondering ... if our society's nearly complete divorce from the natural world is part of what is contributing to the "out of sight, out of mind" attitude toward "disposable" plastic. A friend in Indiana mentioned last week that is was her son's first day of school. That just strikes me as insane (going back to school in August). However, suburban kids have no reason to be home to help with the August harvest (which today, as mentioned above) is the traditional start of. Not that I really thinking waiting to go back to school until September would magically solves the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but August starts are another brick in the wall (phrase chosen deliberately).

I am reading ... I picked up Behe's Darwin's Black Box to take up to Uncle Ralph's this weekend. I really need to return it to Alex one of these ... decades ...

I am hoping ... to spend more time reading with Lex this month.

I am looking forward to ... being hospitable this evening ... and visiting with Janelle and her kids some time this week.

I am learning ... um ... today I learned a bunch about the development of Disney's "Frozen" (which we watched again last night) and why it's so different from Anderson's "The Snow Queen".

Around the house ... Lex helped me tidy the living room this morning.

I am pondering... the start of World War I.

A favorite quote for today... (from a Calvin & Hobbes cartoon. They're in a cardboard box "time machine")
Hobbes: I have a question. Why don't we get younger as we go back in time and disappear as we pass the day we were born?
Calvin: I'd explain it, but there's a lot of math.

One of my favorite things ... being outside.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Visit Janelle. Do up an event bid. Talk to KerryAnn about where she buys milk. Look up a recipe for cauliflower pizza crust. Work on the Arrochar dress.

A peek into my day ... really low-key today ...

(add your picture here) -- still don't have a photo account anywhere

The blog this comes from: http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

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Sunday, August 3rd, 2014
1:10 pm - 100 Years
One more post for today ...

Today is August 3rd, 2014.
Exactly 100 years ago today, Germany declared war on France.
In response, exactly 100 years ago tomorrow, Britain declared war on Germany.

For us in the former empire, it was the start of World War I

(Austro-Hungary had already declared war on Serbia on July 28th.
Russia had "mobilized" to support Serbia on July 29th.
Germany had declared war on Russia on July 30th.
Italy attempted to stay neutral at first, but finally declared war on Germany in May, 1915
America (along with Greece) would "show up late" in 1917.)

At the end of this morning's church service in Southampton, a man stood up, introduced himself and noted that he and his wife have lived in the US for more than 30 years, regularly returning to visit Canada. One thing he has noticed is that US churches rarely (he actually said "never", but I don't think that's completely true) have something that most Canadian churches, especially rural churches and older urban churches, do: a memorial somewhere in the sanctuary to those who served and fell in "The Great War", be it a stone set in the wall, a commemorative stained glass, or simply a book of names. I'd never thought about that before.

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12:02 pm - Sing, Pray Twice, and Have a Cup of Coffee
Another hymn* at this morning's service, also new to me, also struck me. I'll admit that in part it was due to the tune; it was set to the American/Appalachian trad tune, "Land of Rest" (published in The Sacred Harp (a shape-note compliation) and with (according to hymnary.org) roots in the ballads of northern England Scotland). That musical style really appeals to me.

However, the words were interesting, too, and so upon arriving back at Uncle Ralph's house, I jumped on the computer to look them up. That lead me to reading about the author.

The hymn is entitled, "I Come With Joy". The author is Brian Wren, a United Reformed Church minister (another tangent through early 20th church history led to an interesting connection to my own church heritage, but that's another story). He's also written a couple books, including one with a title that intrigued me, Praying Twice: The Music and Words of Congregational Song (Westminster John Knox Press, 2000). I remember my mom commenting on the importance of good lyrics in church music when I was growing up, saying "You can do a lot of teaching in a song". This sounds like it's a parallel idea, if not the same one.

I found a blog that reviewed this book and included this summary:

Wren considers congregational song to be “in trouble” in North America due to a number of factors: (1) “Social mobility in North America has drastically reduced the number of times a group of people can feel a ‘natural’ or ‘given’ sense of community easily expressed in song.” (2) “Individualism and the quest for privacy make us less inclined to join a group and sing along with it.” (3) “Popular music today is soloistic [not group-oriented].” (4) Live music is no longer the norm [recorded music is], so our role as listeners [not singers] is reinforced. (5) “the [high] quality of recorded sound presuades us that our own voice has little value.” (51-53)

Points 3 and 5 are things I have observed and commented on before. Point 2 had not occurred to me, but it really makes sense. Ironically, it make me think of scene from the movie "Erin Brockovich", which had already been on my mind earlier. For me, coffee time after a church service (which is common in many North American churches these days, but not universal) is important, even if I'm a visitor. A few moments to share (or accept) hospitality and talk to people -- to connect. To my on-going frustration, someone close to me does not share that view. In the movie, there's a scene where Brockovich and the lawyer (played by Albert Finney) have visited a family and having concluded their business, are offered a cup of coffee by the wife. The lawyer declines, but Brockovich, whispers, "Stay and have a *** cup of coffee, Ed." Despite the expletive, the line says it all about empathy and securing relationships with people. But having a cup of coffee with someone you don't (or hardly) know can be hard and flies in the face of America's ever-increasing cult of privacy.

(* previous post)

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11:26 am - Lord of All Hopefulness
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy,
be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
your bliss in our hearts, Lord, at the break of the day.

Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
be there at our labours, and give us, we pray,
your strength in our hearts, Lord, at the noon of the day.

Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
your hands swift to welcome, your arms to embrace,
be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
your love in our hearts, Lord, at the eve of the day.

Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
your peace in our hearts, Lord, at the end of the day.

~ written by Jan Struthers, 1931 ~

This hymn was sung at the Anglican service Alexander & I attended this morning, to the tune of "Be Thou My Vision" (aka "Slane"). I really like it a lot.

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Friday, August 1st, 2014
10:40 am - In defense of ... what?
professormass posted this over on his FB today:

"Something to consider: The defense spending in the U.S. is about $600 billion a year, which is more than the next eight countries' spending combined, four of whom are U.S. allies, two of whom vacillate, and two of whom could certainly be considered a threat.

"My question is this: If the U.S. can't afford basic medical care for all its citizens; can't afford to fund their schools; are worried about the long-term viability of their social security system; and so forth...then what the heck are they defending? The freedom for the majority of their population to give what little money they have to big corporations?

"I think the U.S. is quickly becoming like the U.S.S.R. in the late 70s -- pouring money into a black hole of military spending, and rotting from the inside out with unsupportable debt."

Someone commented with the analogy:

" In micro scale ...It's the equivalent of being a person paranoid over nuclear fall out and spending all you have on a secret underground bunker and enough supplies to live like a groundhog for 50 years....only to have your house foreclose because you can't pay your mortgage and bills."

... which really seems a propos.

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Wednesday, July 30th, 2014
10:20 am - Chlorine Sensitivity
It's important to me that Alexander learn how to swim and I've realized that he progresses better in daily sessions (the kind the city offers in the summer) rather than weekly sessions (the kind the city offers in the winter). Last year he languished in the same level for three cycles. That's just frustrating for him and not worth the money for us.

So I enrolled him in swimming lessons three weeks ago at Moses Springer, the outdoor pool closest to us. Some time ago I had read about chlorine at indoor pools (where it can't dissipate in the air quickly) being an asthma trigger, especially for (but not limited to) those susceptible to it. Since theagentx suffered from asthma as a child/young adult, this is something I worry about. Unfortunately, the weather over these past two weeks did not co-operate, and at least half the classes, Lex climbed out of the pools after 15 minutes or so (basically half the class period) announcing he was cold and refusing to continue. Well, that's not really worth the money either. So for this week, I enrolled him a half session (only 5 classes) at Breihthaupt, which is being held in the exercise pool - a smaller, warmer pool, often used for water therapy for those with handicaps, or older adults with arthritis. I also took an aquafit class there when I was pregnant and it's where I took Lex for infant swim when he was six months old.

On the upside, he is thoroughly enjoying these lessons; so much so that he threw his shoes (Crocs) in the water on Monday in an attempt not to have to leave! On the downside, the exercise pool is in a small room, with a lower ceiling than the main pool (probably helpful in keeping the room warm) and unfortunately, the entire room reeks of chlorine. Monday after dinner, Lex started complaining that his eyes hurt and he developed hives on his left cheek. At first theagentx and I worried that he had had an allergic reaction to something at dinner. However, nothing in dinner was anything we hadn't had before. Then again last night, he developed the same symptoms, only worse. In fact, he voluntarily went to bed early with a cold washcloth over his eyes. We decided that the chlorine sensitivity was the more likely culprit, and theagentx commented on the smell of chlorine that he had on him when he got home.

So I did some Googling (and some pinning), and I have a few ideas for today. More than one website stressed the importance of taking a thorough shower before getting in a chlorinated pool. Apparently it's less the chlorine itself that is problematic than the by-products that are formed when chlorine reacts with bio-matter, including sweat, and we all have some degree of sweat on our skin, even we're not "sweaty". After than, some people have found that rubbing coconut oil on the skin before getting in the chlorinated water helps. Finally, there is a product called "SwimSpray" that is available for people with just such an issue, but closest place I can buy it is in Burlington, and I don't think I'm up to a 2 1/2 hour round trip just for that. However, the key ingredient in SwimSpray is Vitamin C, which apparently interferes with the reaction of chlorine on the skin, essentially counteracting it. Several other websites gave instructions for mixing a Vitamin C solution in a spray bottle, to be used when getting out of the pool, so I'm going to try that.

Most of the websites made some reference to how inexpensive Vitamin C crystals are at Trader Joes. Well, that's in the States. We're in Canada. We don't have Trader Joe's around here, and I didn't think the Vitamin C crystals that I picked up at Healthy Foods & More after I dropped Lex off at VBS this morning were all that cheap ($18 for 250g), but my little boy was miserable last night. I also bought some oatmeal and orange oil soap to use on him when showering after his lesson. Hopefully, we can get all the chlorine off of him today and avoid the issue tonight.

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Monday, July 28th, 2014
11:01 am - The Simple Woman's Daybook
FOR TODAY, Monday, July 28th, 2014

Outside my window ... The amazing sun-every-Monday streak was broken last week with rain, and we have rain again today. Some pretty spectacular rain woke me around quarter to six this morning. I really love hard rain storms -- I love watching them from inside :) However, as I put Lex in the car this morning to go to VBS, I realized how much I actually like being outside -- camping even -- on rainy days, or the day immediately following a good rain. There is something clean and fresh and real in the air.

I am thinking ... I need really need to get back to both my book and my screenplay.

I am thankful ... Rainy days! :)

In the kitchen ... The dishwasher appears not be working again. I guess it's time to call appliance repair.

I am wearing ... a Dr. Who/Brave mash-up TeeFury shirt.

I am creating ... The appliqued smokkr is done! Now I need to take a photo for trimguy (Fiona said he'd like to see it since I adapted the "running dog" pattern from one of his trims). Next up I think needs to be the Arro-dress.

I am going ... to have to do a lot of bookkeeping this afternoon :( I was hoping to drive out to Grobe and look at trees, but theagentx reminded me of a sales tax return due on Wednesday.

I am wondering ... Honestly? Still wondering what can really be done about our plastic-intensive culture. I've been turning it around in my head over the past two weeks and have been really conscious of just how much plastic is used for little things all the time, and some much of single-use. It's horrible. I know some of it is necessary (for sanitary reasons, for instance), but I keeping thinking of places were waxed paper, or even just plain paper wrappings would serve just as well. I have to wonder what the manufacturing cost comparison would be, but really, paper breaks down rather than ending up in the ocean.

I am reading ... Made some progress on The Renegade (the novel about Robert the Bruce). Poked about a bit in the book about C.S. Lewis that theagentx is reading.

I am hoping ... Lex has a good week at VBS. This is his second this summer. I'm also hoping swimming lessons this week go better than last. It's a half session at an indoor warm pool. I feel a bit bad about swimming indoors in the summer, but the number of times he refused to finish his lesson last week because he was cool, made it not worth the fight..

I am looking forward to ... camping with Monika.

I am learning ... I'm struggling with naalbinding. I really want to make a pointy topped cap for Lex and a "stealth baron" cap for theagentx but Oslo stitch is defeating me. I probably need to spend some quality time with YouTube. ... after the bookkeeping, of course.

Around the house ... We've decided to replace the worn carpet in the living room with hardwood. We have some samples; now we have to decide on colour.

I am pondering... Apolgetics.

A favorite quote for today... [I'll come back to this ...]

One of my favorite things ... rainy Mondays honestly don't get me down. I have no roses for raindrops to rest on (might have to remedy that), but you get the idea.

A few plans for the rest of the week: VBS & swimming lessons. Hemming theagentx's pants. Sorting the craft/sewing supplies. I'd love to clear out the utility/laundry/storage room and paint the floor, but I'll be honest: I don't think it's going to happen. Must post the stuff to Kijiji, though!

A peek into my day ... It was funny to see Tammy and Janelle when dropping off our kids at VBS this morning. I haven't seen either of them ages, and really, that's my fault.

(add your picture here) -- still don't have a photo account anywhere

The blog this comes from: http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/

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Thursday, July 24th, 2014
9:54 pm - Viking-era Women's aprons & the loros of the Byzantines?
An addendum to my July 2nd post about Viking clothing and What I Don't Know ...

I came across an interesting idea this week, which originated with Margrethe Watt (Danish archeologist, I believe), that the Lejre Freya/Odin Miniature portrays a dress in imitation of the Byzantine's empress' dress, with the hanging frontal piece. She also mentions other "elite women" such as saints being depicted with it. I believe she's referring to the "loros" or ceremonial "toga" worn by the emperor and empress. The emperor's version until about the 11th century still had a definite, although stiff, wrap to it, while the empress' often does appear as simply a long rectangle hanging down over the dress. That said, the Lejre miniature looks so much like the typical the apron or "forecloth" (the "tea towel" apron, as it has sometimes been disparaged) in Viking-era women's dress and that it is making me wonder ... could the apron/front cloth have been adopted in imitation of Byzantine fashion? Note that I'm talking here about the front panel suspended from the twin brooches, not the so-called "apron dress" (the "smokkr", aka hangerock, traggerock, hanging dress, harness dress, or pinafore dress).

To test the plausibility of that I need to answer a number of questions:

1. What's the dating of the Lejre miniature?
2. When do the forecloths appear in Scandinavian art? (Migration era? Vendal/Merovingian?)
3. How much contact did the Scandinavians have with Byzantium (directly and/or indirectly) prior to that time?
4. What was the nature of the contact? Is it plausible that Norse women would be motivated to copy an element of Byzantine dress?
5. Could it be that the apron/front cloth was only worn by high status women?
6. Which archeological finds are pointed to in support of the separate forecloth (Bau's theories, IIRC)? Any outside of Birka?

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Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
1:57 pm - Another a propos quote
A classroom with too much structure is a terrible place to learn about peace. Why? Because it's a land of missed opportunities. Adults rush in to solve problems or squash conflict. When children learn to rely on rules and adults, they miss the chance to develop direct social skills with peers.
~~ Heather Shumaker

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8:36 am - Online because of the helicopter prison
Something I read this morning really hit me hard:

"In It's Complicated:The Social Lives of Networked Teens, [Danah] Boyd first explains how kids see social networking sites. "Unlike me and the other early adopters who avoided our local community by hanging out in chatrooms and bulletin boards, most teenagers now go online to connect to the people in their community." Most parents probably realize that their teens are not using Facebook or Twitter or Foursquare to escape social interaction. But Boyd takes it a step further and suggests that adults have left teens with few outlets for other kinds of social interaction.

Our helicopter parenting, compulsion to overschedule our children's lives, and deepest fears about "stranger danger" have meant that teens (at least middle- and upper-class ones) do a lot less hanging out than they used to. If they can't go to the mall, they go online."


We complain about kids having too much screen time, but it's really the fault of the adults in their lives. Our society is so afraid of everything, both "immediate" dangers (like possible assault) and more nebulous fears of failure (necessitating the overscheduling). It's just unhealthy. It also ties in directly, I think, with my previous post about children in the SCA. Free-ranging parenting really is an act of cultural rebellion.

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Saturday, July 19th, 2014
4:58 pm - Chivalry and Children in the SCA
On Monday of this week, a lady posted a link to this blog post to our kingdom website:

The Society for Creative Anachronism: I went to an SCA event, it was as dorky as I thought it would be, and I LOVED it

(from the blog, The Amazing, Affordable Adventures of Mama, Bunny, and Pip)

It's a feel-good story of how a single mom got talked into attending an SCA event and despite her "initial snobbery" had a great time. The thing that really makes it a feel-good story is she recites a litany of what came across to her as random acts of kindness from strangers (someone giving the family a ride across site, several someone's helping her daughter find equipment to participate in the archery, etc.), but which I read as basic hospitality on the part of established SCAdians towards a visitor.

Unfortunately, someone on our kingdom E-list got a little wigged out at what I think was a mis-reading of the events. (If you haven't yet read the post, the author's sister offered to take the kids to the event for the day and since the author wasn't really interested, suggested she could wait for them (sister and kids) at a nearby internet café. Then the daughter begged her mother to come along as well.) This set off a discussion about the SCA not being a babysitting service -- weird, of course, since the article suggested nothing of the sort. This developed into a discussion about kids at events in general and I learned that one of the cantons in our kingdom has a pretty strict set of rules in place for events in their canton that basically precludes any family with more than two kids from attending.

Part of the discussion, however, included a woman who hasn't been out to an event in years complaining about the behaviour of a set of parents and a pair of children at a children's event held ten years ago. Her multiple posts to the list, including a rather passible-aggressive 'sorry I upset you' post eventually prompted this post from me:


> ... and I am sure your Son is noble.

You miss my point entirely. My son is a child. I hope and pray that he grows up to be noble. and Kol & I are doing our best to raise him to be so, but he is still a child. Children are, by definition, immature, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. They require guidance. Therefore, like Baldric, I much prefer that if my child steps out line and I don't see it (for whatever reason), or someone has an issue with his behaviour, that that person seek me (or Kol) out immediately so that we can deal with it then - while it's still a "teachable moment".

I, too, have issue with blanket policies (like the one I'll admit I just learned of in this discussion from HH) that seek to prevent "mistakes" from being made, but end up making making people feel unwelcome. There are a couple reasons for this.

Yesterday I was having a discussion with a couple other women who are also parents (the one has teenagers, the other has grown children, but she is also a public school principle) and the issue of the high level of anxiety among modern children came up. One factor in this is that their world is simply too big. They see too much (via television, internet, YouTube) and the level of expectation that they put on themselves is exceedingly high. They see brilliance and learn to feel anything less (including the attempts necessary in the learning process) is unacceptable. They also see that our culture is cruel and more than willing to mock those that fail. Therefore, it doesn't really help when adults around them add to this mountain of expectation. While we may give lip-service to the idea that 'we won't say that children should be seen, not heard', saying that any minor must be accompanied at every second by not only an adult, but a parent or guardian conveys the opposite. It may be most well-intentioned, but it has the unintended consequence of conveying to the child/teen/emerging adult, "We don't trust you. At. All." There is no room in such a model for socialization of the child, which is a critical skill to learn.

Furthermore, such a stance, like complaining about spilt milk (or oil) a decade after the fact, is not the most chivalrous one to take. The SCA was founded as a "protest against the 20th century". It's not just the tech that chains us, but certain modern attitudes, including ones that come across as anti-child. Chivalry requires courage. Hiding behind a policy rather than talking to a child and/or parent directly, one-on-one, displays cowardice, in my opinion, not courage. Putting a blanket policy in place so X never happens (again) displays fear. Declining to deal with matters as they come up also lacks courtesy, and the result is a bristling attitude contrary to the spirit of our game. "Shield of the weak" is a phrase used to describe an ideal knight, but is also something all of us should strive for, and who are weaker than our youngest members? (And yes, my son is a member. He has his own blue card.)

The War of the Lilies (Calontir) website contains something a propos, "The Big Rule [is] Don't make us write a new rule!"

Be adults. Be courteous. Don't automatically assume the worst of someone, adult or child. Be a community. Be good neighbors.

~ Wencenedl ~

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