A Day in the Life

Homeschooling and Medieval Living

Males Order Brides

Hello everyone!

I know it has been forever since I have posted and I do apologize. Life has just gotten in the way. I am working part time and I have taken up a new hobby – drama. Well, it isn’t new and it is much more than a hobby. It all started with my daughter…

My daughter will be 17 in June. This means a couple of things. Firstly, it is her last year in our homeschool curriculum. Secondly, it means that she must now look at what will come next in her life. These two things have kept the both of us very busy lately. I asked her what she wanted to do with her life. She said she likes to write and build/design things. But she is definitely old school. She would rather work with her hands than on the computer. Now this shocked me to death. This comes from a girl who spends hours on Skype/Minecraft/Mass Effect/Skyrim/etc. She plays with her friends online constantly. At one time, she wanted to work  for Bethesda. She still wants to do that. But, more than that, she wants to build sets for plays/movies/etc. We have been on a “Behind the Scenes Look at…” kick lately. We watched the one for Game of Thrones (even though we both hate the show) the other week. She said “I really want to do that.” OK. So, being the VERY supportive mother that I am, I began to look for local theatres where she could hone that talent and passion.

Through my searching, I found a local theatre that seemed perfect – Azle Arts Popcorn Players. They were holding auditions for their upcoming melodrama. They were in desperate need of technical and backstage crews. When I told Meaghan about it, she said she would do it if I auditioned for a part as well. I love drama and have wanted to be on the stage for as long as I can remember. But, some excuse always kept me from it. So, I said I would.

We showed up at the theatre early. I had arrived with knowledge about the play (“Males Order Brides…or Big Harry Deal’s Scandalous Scheme“) and the part I wished to play (Starr Billings). I auditioned and she volunteered. Turns out our passion was recognized. I got the lead villain and she is now THE tech crew. She will be running the lights and sound. Yay!

There is only one bad part to this – I have to provide my own costumes. The play takes place in 1870. The female villain is an actress/con artist who plays five other roles – a schoolmarm, saloon hostess, grieving aunt, society matron, and a prospector. Meaghan has been helping me with my costumes. Pinterest and Google have become our best friends. We now have a bustle and it looks great. I will be posting our project here soon. So, it looks like the both of us will be very busy. But it is a good kind of busy.

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Eddie Izzard’s Force Majeure Tour: Win Star World Casino (Review)

Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard on his Force Majeure World Tour

“Let’s start with human sacrifice,” Eddie Izzard said as he strode on stage. He was decked out in a gray suit, high heeled boots and painted fingernails. He calls himself an “action transvestite.” He is also a comedian. He performed to a sold out crowd last night at the Win Star World Resort in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
Izzard mentioned at the beginning of his act that he had just flown in from England that day. He said his act sometimes has intermissions but this one would not. He would just plow through. “So if you have to go to the loo, just go. Or if you want to move around a bit, you can do that too,” he said. This brought a series of cheers from the audience. His energy and enthusiasm lasted well throughout the two-hour show. He was never still, bouncing and dancing his way through much of the act. He gleefully acted out bits that should have been included in the London Olympics: namely the Dressage and Burgle event.
The high point of his act was when he retold the saga of Mr. Stevens from Catering. Some call it the Canteen Sketch. He has done versions of this sketch in other tours, with additions and minor changes. It is a well-loved piece. He ended with an Ode to Mr. Stevens. He sung the final stanza to the tune of “America the Beautiful”. This brought on a spontaneous sing-along from the crowd.
Most of his material was new from gold-digging moles to jibes at various languages and accents. He injected his older bits with some new jests and observations. The crowd still roared with laughter at each familiar bit. He then performed bits of his act in both German and French. He was very surprised when the crowd understood and laughed at the appropriate parts. “The Oklahoma-Texas border gets German.” He worked the crowd rather well. He even stopped at one point during his performance to ask the audience “Now where was I?” He then waited until he received the appropriate answer. He is like a hyped-up man with ADHD. He would go off-tangent much of the time. But he always came back around to the subject at hand.
He ended his show with a “happy holidays” sign-off. When the crowd gave him a standing ovation, he returned to the stage as if he never left (almost in mid-sentence). He continued on to talk about The Lord of the Rings for a bit. Then, he signed off for good. All in all, he gave as only Eddie Izzard can – frantic comedy done right. Bravo.

Eddie Izzard will finish his Force Majeure Tour in Australia. His complete touring schedule and other information can be found at eddieizzard.com.

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Writer’s Group

Tuesday night I attended a holiday party thrown by the local writer’s group. I called up the contact person to ask about where and when they met. She invited me to their annual holiday party – even though we had never met. I have been dying for some adult conversation with other writers so I accepted. She said I could bring someone. My husband was my plus one. We had a wonderful time. There were all sorts of interesting people there – published authors and newbies alike. I even found one woman who shares many of my views on life and politics.

While there, I found out the following about the group:
– Every meeting starts with each member reading aloud eight pages of his/her manuscript.
– The members can write/read about anything under the sun (no matter how offensive it may be).
– Any other member reserves the right to leave if they become offended (although, in the last six years, that has never happened).
– All opinions must be constructive and polite. Destructive criticism of any kind is not allowed.

I really love the group I have found. While getting ready for the next meeting, I have managed to finally finish and polish my first chapter. I intend to read it at the next meeting. I am so excited. I just cannot wait. I really look forward to getting reviews and advice from published authors. I think a writer’s group can be really helpful to new authors. They offer the advice and support that so many of us are missing. There are so many famous published authors who really hate writer’s groups (Dean Koontz for one). But I am willing to give this one a chance. I will attend my first actual meeting on January 6, 2015. They meet the first and third Tuesday of every month. So I will write more about this group that week. But at least for now, these people have inspired me to write more and love doing it.

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Apple Blossoms

We think of the harvest as coming when the apples are ripe in the fall, but apple blossoms provide their own kind of harvest, in ephemeral moments of beauty.

What moment of joy or beauty have you harvested recently?

Yesterday, I was able to attend an SCA meeting. I have not attended one in months. Since I have a new closer route, I was able to pull it off. I saw many friends I have missed. I also won a door prize (the movie “Ironclad”). It was an awesome night.  We talked about Gulf Wars and worked on the meal plan. My friend Sybil french braided my hair and I laughed so hard. I have missed being able to be with my friends. I used to go to events and meetings and other activities. Lately, I have not been able to because of lack of funds. I have to borrow the gas money just to get to work. I am hoping this closer route will be better and I will no longer have to borrow money. We will see.

Anyway, to concentrate on the positive…

My friend Aingeal said that she had some garb for us. That is great! Now I won’t have any gaps in my wardrobe.  And my friend Floria offered me some garb in exchange for my working for her at Gulf Wars. I can’t wait until then. We are going to have so much fun! I have such wonderful friends. I love them very much! They invited me to Scribes and Illuminators on Sunday. I am going to try to go. I will also drag my kids along. Meg loves to paint and Iain likes to visit with everyone. We usually sit around and paint scrolls. When someone in the SCA is called into court to receive an award, that person receives a beautiful scroll to go with it. These scrolls are hand-painted, scripted with calligraphy, and tailored for individual people. It is very time consuming but worth it. The last award I received was the Sable Crane. There was a gorgeous scroll that went with it. It was done all in Celtic design. I created a persona I use for the SCA. The SCA re-creates the era between the Fall of Rome and the death of Queen Elizabeth I. When you join, you choose a name and persona of someone who might have lived during that time. I chose Caiterina O’Hara, born 810 AD in Sligo, Ireland. So, when I received a scroll in a Celtic theme, I was overjoyed. Someone took the time to create something so precious just for me. The picture below shows this scroll. I have also included a photo of Their Royal Majesties Aaron and Amelot of Ansteorra. It was such a wonderful event. I have really missed them. For more info on the SCA check out the link in the upper right. Want to know even more? Feel free to contact me or comment here. I love talking about it. It is a passion of mine.:)

Sable Crane scroll and pendant.

Sable Crane scroll and pendant.

I accept a service award from Their Majesties.
I accept a service award from Their Majesties.

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Studying Salvation

From the Daily Compass:

There is no one way to salvation, whatever the manner in which a [person] may proceed. All forms and variations are governed by the eternal intelligence of the Universe that enables a [person] to approach perfection. It may be in the arts of music and painting or it may be in commerce, law, or medicine. It may be in the study of war or the study of peace. Each is as important as any other. Spiritual enlightenment through religious meditation such as Zen or in any other way is as viable and functional as any “Way.”… A person should study as they see fit.”
―Miyamoto Musashi

What practice moves you toward salvation?

OK, so the theme this month is Salvation. But, I feel as if the Daily Compass is a bit repetitive. What do you think? But, I will answer this. I am trying to keep up with the Daily Compass and really think about salvation this month.

I participate in an historical recreation group called the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc (SCA). I have played in the SCA off and on since 1988. I first found it in high school. My friends George and Talyn told me about it. They said there was the really cool place they went to every Wednesday night to hang out. They would sit around, watch knights fight in armor and talk about the middle ages (and other things). I thought I would give it a shot. I really wasn’t doing anything else so why not. I picked them up and we went to the rec center on Fort Monroe (in Hampton, VA). Fort Monroe was open to civilians and it was a beautiful backdrop to the meeting. We arrived at a two story rec center with two gyms and a game room. One gym was full of huge, burly men in various types of armor (leather, steal, etc.). The sounds of rattan weapons hitting steal rang throughout the building. I could hear the grunts of exertion and smell damp leather and sweaty men. The other gym was a little different. It contained men and women in lighter bits of armor. In fact, they looked more like costumes from the Three Musketeers.  They fought with rapiers instead of duck-taped covered rattan. the fighting style seemed more refined and plotted. Instead of heavy bangs, I heard light pings as the blades met. Then, Talyn took me to the game room. In it, there were teens and adults. All were sitting or standing in groups. There was a din of activity. Some were playing pool, some were playing cards, and some were mingling with friends they had not seen in a while. I was introduced to a Chatelain (the person in charge of new comers). She told me all about the organization and what they did. She also told me that if I needed a costume (called garb) or feast gear (medieval-looking bowls, plates, etc) to let her know. Her job was to make sure that all new people had what they needed to have fun and enjoy themselves. She told me about events that would be going on and the various local get-togethers. It was so much fun that I came back the next week, and the week after that. I was given a beautiful dress with bell sleeves, a plate, a bowl, and silverware. I went to my first event (that experience I will save for another blog) and I was hooked.

Later (Spring of 1990), I moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas. I found the group there and got back involved. I have been involved ever since. When I move, I find a new SCA group. The people are amazing.  My parents (and other non-SCA people) just don’t get why I do it. Some think I am nuts. I started out with this group and I have stayed with this group because of the people. I love them and I love the historical study. I have even taken on a Kingdom Youth Officer position (Minister of Children). In this position, I manage the Ministers of Children for all the local groups in Texas and Oklahoma.  It is daunting sometimes, but it is worth it.  I am a workaholic anyway. Since I have no work I can do from home, I do my SCA stuff. I plan youth activities for events, I contact my local officers, write reports, file, create presentations, update our website, write and teach classes online (gotta love Moodle), and write code (for said classes and website). It is a lot of work, but I love it.  Whenever I get stressed or upset, I turn to my SCA work. It is my balm, my cushion, my salvation.

I accept a service award from Their Majesties.

I accept a service award from Their Majesties.

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