Gentle Readers,

A little over 3 years ago we adopted an 8 year old Great Pyrenees named Shadow. He was a charming fellow who was going to be put down because of age and depression. His previous owner had to give him up because she was living on a fixed income and was having trouble feeding both of them. His coming medical bills were what finally convinced them.

Last Friday it became clear that he was no longer going to be able to move around unassisted and there was no way to keep up his quality of life. We had a vet come and put him down. That sentence was incredibly hard to write. It just doesn't seem to capture the magnitude of what we did. Of what happened. We stayed with him while he fought to keep watch as he always did for us. Until he finally relaxed and let go and the thing that made him Shadow was gone.

He was so strong and so brave and so tough and so irreplaceable.

I'll always remember his patience, his gravitas and his sense of humour. His stubborn insistence that when you told him something, it was just a request to be considered. His guilty face when he had managed to steal some food (even if he hadn't gotten caught). His love, in particular, for peanut butter.

Hrm. Maybe writing this at work wasn't the best plan. Thank goodness it's allergy season.

Lydia was also very brave and stayed with us until the very end. I think it's the hardest thing she's ever had to do.

I would be very happy if we could go at least a few months without someone I care about losing someone who was special to them.
Gentle Readers,

It's been a very full week this week. For starters Cortejo and I have started watching Fringe. Normally this wouldn't be an issue, but after yesterday's 14 hour day I decided that I needed to play a bit of catch up and then it was 2 am and so now I'm a little tired.

The bad parts of the week have mostly to do with work stuff. There have been a bunch of bugs that were just no fun to try and fix and due to the fact that the worst one involved Windows Locale stuff (and thus Registry fuckery) where just awful to work on. The second worst one had to do with handling importing corrupted input files and fixing data formats that we didn't notice didn't work 6 months ago when we implemented the database.

On the plus side Lydia's been fantastic and so have things with Ottawa Swordplay.

We've had a bunch of people not only come out to do classes but actually sign up and give us money. It's awesome. We've sold 3 subscriptions as well as multiple class packs. There's even a new Warrior Princess (making for 4) and she lives in our neighborhood so that could make for a new friend for Lydia.

This weekend I've got another fencing lesson to do and I think I will be spending the rest of my time doing some sewing, and doing some work and probably watching some fringe.
Gentle Readers,

It's been a long day today. Just like yesterday I was up and out the door just after 7 to try an get to work early enough that I wouldn't feel too bad about leaving at 4. Things have been switched around and I've had to pick up lydia from her afterschool program the last couple of days. Unfortunately we had no students yesterday. Fortunately today Craig canceled the classes so we could both go to his brother's 40th birthday.

It was a lovely gathering. Lydia had to come with me and she was pretty meh about the whole thing until the band fronted by one of Glen's (the brother) employees started. It was a treo of women with stringed instruments and they were lovely. Just beautiful voices. The Muesettes.

Now, time for sleep. Tomorrow's another early morning.
Gentle Readers,

Another weekend has passed. Three more to go before the fourth which is the Prize. In other words just a month left of me nattering on about my fencing practice to the exclusion of all else. And then I will likely continue with said nattering, but a bit more of other stuff will creep in.

For example, this weekend Lydia did her test for her Junior Green Belt. She was extremely anxious about this, cumulating with multiple meltdowns on Friday. Saturday morning at her test, however, not only did she know everything, but she was the only person who knew the Kimura. Even the kid with the green belt didn't know it. Her front rolls flowed like water. She looked awesome. I'm very proud.

After that, my Saturday didn't do so well. Apparently the Cliff Builder Bars are no longer on my safe to eat list. Something I didn't confirm until late last night. On the bright side I did get most of the taxes done for this year and last year. All we need are the child care/fitness expenses for Lydia and I can send them off. Sadly, no e-filing for me this year (since we didn't get last year done in time) but thankfully the return will cover the property taxes.

Anyway, in fencing news, I was playing with Meyer's lunge during my Friday morning practice and I had a revelation. For Meyer's lunge, you start in Right Ox (Similar to Prime) you lunge to target, turn your hand on contact and follow through with a slashing cut from right to left at the bottom of the lunge and then cut back up to Right Ox as you recover. Right Ox is one of the 4 Hangen. The others are Right Plow (Secunde in Tierce), Left Plow (Tierce in Quatro) and Left Ox (prime on the left? not sure how best to describe this).

So the revelation was that you can do the lunge to cut to recovering cut from all of these positions. And, if you play with it, you can do most cuts (some just take longer). And, because of the cut to thrust transitions that Meyer uses, you can also do this from all of your cutting guards like Vom Tage (Guardia Alta I think or maybe de Testa).

Nifty stuff and also means I know what I'm teaching tomorrow.

Because a class full of lunges never hurt anyone.

Mwa ha ha ha ha.
Gentle Readers,

Lydia and I went to see the Lorax this evening. It's sad to see that particular character shilling for Mazda and a disposable diaper companies. However, the overall movie wasn't awful. It was funny and enjoyable and Lydia, who fell in love with the story last week was happy with it, especially because she got to see the Barbalutes and other animals come back to a reforested land.

However, I think they should have been a bit more explicit with the message about what was causing the problem. It's not the planting of trees that solves the problem. It's the consumption. In particular the consumption of worthless shit like Thneeds and Bottled Air.

That being said, the basic message:

Unless someone like you
cares a whole awful lot.
Nothing is going to get better.
It's not.

Is true for everything. Be it concerns about health care, robocalling, human rights, feminism or whatever.

Anyway, at least there was something slightly more upbeat, instead of thinking of how I'm failing the coming generations, sent my way.

Many many years ago, Skud brought back a book for Lydia from Australia called "Possum Magic" which is about a possum who was turned invisible for her own protection and who now wants to be visible again. In order to become visible, she must eat a varieity of australian foods. (as a side note, Australian possums are way more cute than north american ones).

Today Skud posted retweeted about a possum who got into a bakery and stuffed itself so full of pastriess it couldn't move. There was also a picture.

Sarah Hoppy Hopkins ‏ @Hoppy_Jnr
1) Possum broke into the local bakery and ate so many pastries he couldnt move! This is how the bakery owners found him!! http://pic.twitter.com/7fqhZzCg
2) Ok everyone I just found out WIRES was called and they picked the little guy up and took him to a vet! All good! pic.twitter.com/4XLrchhE


and with that adorable cuteness, I leave you to your evening. As I'm ready for sleep and I have to get off the internet before I start looking up how I should be citing Tweets.
Gentle Readers,

This has been a week filled with so much downer news from friends. One who was laid off, one going in for surgery, one diagnosed with angina and one diagnosed with prostate cancer. It's also been a really rough week with Lydia and her anxiety which drains everyone's reserves. I had my own issues with what seemed to be a migraine on monday afternoon bad enough that I missed my kick-boxing and went home.

Work has been tiring too and I got to finish the day with customer support (which I find really stressful) and it was clearly their fault. "We're still seeing the problem you said you fixed." "Yeah? maybe that's because you haven't installed the new software." It's actually been a pretty busy week for support and I missed another of Kick-boxing class because of getting pulled into a call.

These downbeat haven't kept it from being a productive week as I managed to add and fix a bunch of features. Most were small but it was satisfying to have them finished. It also looks like our build automation is progressing nicely and the unit tests that we do have are actually pretty darn good.

Martially, it's been pretty good, except for the two missed classes. I did both the BJJ classes (and feel more like a wildebeest who has been around for a half hour instead of a newly born one). My class (the one I teach) was cancelled because of the weather, we also did some great development work with our PoleAxe interpretation, which is always awesome. We still haven't managed to do much with the stick fighting we are trying to develop but I think that will come. Both myself and the main instructor are thinking on it.

The other big news is that our Swordplay club is going to have its own dedicated space come the first of March. This is pretty fantastic because it means that we will be able to run whatever classes we want whenever we want. I volunteered to run an early morning sword fitness class. We'll see how that goes.

Right now, however, it is time for the sleeping.

Good night.
Gentle Readers,

It's been such a whirlwind here this weekend, that all of us are exhausted and in bed even though it's not even 9pm yet, even Reyl. He spent the weekend working. The rest of us had a much less mundane weekend.

Originally we were supposed to go to Kingston Friday night for Saturday's Baronial 12th night, but even though it broke Lydia's heart, we decided that it was the smarter plan to not go. The storm that was ploughing through had knocked out power with our hosts and with that also taken out their heat. Given that there was also the remaining dregs of the blizzard to drive through, we decided to recognise that the Friday the 13th had won and sleep in our own beds.

We managed to get ourselves moving fairly early and made it to the event site by 10, just as they were setting up. We settled ourselves in and I spent much of the day sitting and sewing with Ilanikan. There were a couple of important points in the day.

The first was our early court. We managed some business and delivered some presents (which were hopefuly funny enough to make the court time worthwhile). The big thing was declaring the taxes for our forth year. Following our tradition of one word tax declarations (previously Supplies, Song and Presen[ts.
|ce]) our taxes this year is Pilgrimage. We want our people to head out into the bigger pond of sca and share a taste of Scrael. We also expect Hospitality i.e. providing for visitors to our barony) to also be part of this taxation.

The other cool thing was taking a more active role in one of our Skrael traditions. To elaborate, in Skraeling Althing, we have the dubious privileged of being visited by Black Peter to help purge us of our sins each year. I'm sure this is one of the reasons that Skrael is so pure. This year he was unable to make it and sent one of his peers, a monster known as the Krampus. For a Krampus, Moira took an old Gorilla stuffy and added tusks, a long forked tongue, evil eyebrows, terrible claws and horns and opened up a hole in him to turn him into a puppet. The thing about a puppet, is that they need an operator. That operator was me. So, for a basket full of sins, I was The Krampus. With a voice halfway between Cookie Monster and Rodante Kapor I scared the sin out of the populace. Well the voice and a big stick.

Even better was I got Lydia to help me. She read the sins out loud to the audience!

I think I got it right as lots of people complimented my performance.

We headed back to Moira's were Cortejo "learned" tablero and I had a lovely time socialising with some new friends. Eventually people managed to leave or fall asleep and I did the same. Unfortunately, shortly after I fell asleep, Lydia came in asking to sleep with us. We made some space for her bed and she slept fitfully all night. At one point I woke up to find her cuddling my left foot.

Sunday we got woken up early by a min-pin puppy who seemed to think that doggy french kisses are the best thing to wake someone up with. We managed to get out the door to get home by 11 (an hour after my proposed time (just as I planned)). We got home in time for Cortejo to have a nap before we Zoomed off to the Ottawa Classical Swordplay demo.

The demo went amazingly well, even if none of the people I invited showed up. There were still about 75 people there which was awesome. I didn't do so good with the Longsword freeplay but won the Rapier freeplay which is as it should be since I am the instructor. I did talk a bit too much for my section, but I should have been paying more attention to time.

After that, we were originally intending on going skating, but some forgotten equipment complicated that. We tried checking out dow's lake, but the ice wasn't ready there and the only open part of the Canal was in poor condition. So instead we went to the local rink and Lydia and I skated for a half hour or so.

Such a busy weekend I can't keep my eyes open any longer to type.

Good night.
Gentle Readers,

Regular readers should be aware of the fact that we are working with my daughter with regard to some learning challenges she has. One of these issues is the possibility of ADD (without the hyperactivity). I've been wondering if maybe this is something that is coming to her from my contribution to her genetic code and if perhaps I have this issue myself.

The fact that I was wondering this in the middle of holding pads for my kickboxing partner and kept forgetting the pattern I was supposed to be holding for might be a bit of a giveaway.
Gentle Readers,

I'm not going to make a long post, but I am going to post something because [personal profile] andrewducker is right: The more you post, the more likely it is that other people will post too. Unfortunately for you lot, I'm super tired and really need to go to sleep so you're not getting much.

I saw the movie theater broadcast nutcracker today with lydia.
She loved it.

And so, to bed. Good night.

Gentle Readers,

This weekend sees us hosting 3 little girls. The original plan was to send them all off to "Night of the Ninja" at OAMA while the grown-ups would be off to a party. Unfortunately Lydia's sore throat which had she and I home on Friday decided to gift her with a 102.7 degree fever. With much tears she was convinced to stay home and she and I passed a lovely evening watching the new Karate Kid and eating sugar free ice cream and candy. I have to say, I've pretty much lost my taste for the stuff. One of the sweeteners they use has a terrible after taste and is just makes me feel queasy.

Not nearly as satisfying as a mejool date or quality figs.

The movie was great. There were some lovely homages to the original but it managed to add so new flair to the story.

Lydia is now snuggled in her sleeping bag under a heavy blanket on top of the tatami mat I've got in my room (just like her friends at the dojo) and we are listeneing to Photon Wave Orchestra as we watch the snow falling in the back yard.

Didn't I mention that?

Yeah, it's October 30th and there's at least 5cm of snow on the ground.
Gentle Readers,

Happy Thanksgiving. Sure, you may not be celebrating it, but I can still wish it to you.

Once again, as is frequently the case at my house during the daylight hours, I am the only person awake. Not a bad thing, but it can be a little lonely. Less so when one of the sleepyheads is curled up beside me. Aparenly my room is the household Thanksgiving napping destination, much to my surprise when I walk in to discover people asleep on my bed.

Among the many things running through my head, I'm thinking what I can enter in Kingdom A&S (at least partly because I have to have the entries submitted by the 13th). I've got the Landsknect and Lydia's kirtle. I need to pad and strap a helmet so that would count. I could do a brief presentation on Gros Messer. I could do a small bit of calligraphy, as I have been practicing my letters.

I think, given all that, I can (and should) enter Pent.

In other news, I'm getting rid of stuff at a good clip. I cleaned out my closet and was able to get a dresser out of my room (speaking of which, anyone want a nice drawer unit, formerly from our kitchen and of late used for clothes? Free). I've got slightly more floor space now and plently of light. I've got a couple more piles to deal with this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Still it was great to get rid of a full car load of stuff. It's remarkable what I still have trouble letting go of. So many little pieces of personal history that have an emotional resonance but no practical purpose in my life.

I need to take William Morris' advice more consistently.

In other news we spent last night stuffing ourselves with the piles of food that Reyl spent the day making. Today we will spend the night stuffing our selves with the food that ClinkerFiasco has spent a couple of days making without the benefit of an oven. She's a brave woman.

OK. lets see if I can deal with another pile without waking up snori.
Gentle Readers,

I finally made it back to Aikido today. What with Pennsic and preparations for the same I haven't been for about a month. Imagine my surprise when Sensei R calls me up for the first sequence. Then the further surprise when he tells me to get on my hands and knees perpendicular to him. Anyway, we were practicing forward rolls off someone's back. I was actually pretty pleased with mine. I exhaled at the right point and managed not too put too much weight on the kneeling person as well as not slamming too hard into the mats.

This changed with some of the later ukemi but overall I feel like I had a pretty good class. It was really positive reinforcement for coming back and I'm looking forward to Friday.

Tonight We've got a birthday party to attend for someone we haven't seen in a few years. It will be lovely to visit I think, but I'm still not sure what to bring.

In other news, I'm really enjoying all of the In Detail posts that people are making. Perhaps I'll try it later, but right now, I'm just trying to get back into posting regularly. Speaking of daily posting, I forgot to mention that we finally managed to have Kira-Lynn over for dinner (for Lydia's birthday to boot). It's always so good to hang out with her.

Tomorrow: more martial arts.
Friday: time with clinkerfiacio.
Saturday: more Birthday Parties.
Sunday: possibly some sewing. I've promised Lydia some clothes for her and a doll of her choice. She picked one of her barbies. They are getting some Early-Mid 15th century Italian clothing I think. I'll have to double check with her.

Full week, no?
Gentle Readers,

Today is my daughter's 7th birthday. How amazing is that?

I'm back at work after 2 marvelous weeks of vacation. Still feeling relaxed but that might be related to the sleep dep from last night. Not sure what caused it but I just couldn't sleep and so that killed my intention to go to aikido as I really don't feel safe driving when I'm feeling so exhausted, especially when I'm alone in the car.

In other news, an important life tip: always check apples for rotten spots before polishing them on your shirt.
Gentle Readers,

Last night I didn't want to cook, so I invited a few people over for a pot luck. This worked even better than planned as one of them (blinkus2000) decided he wanted to try his new experimental baked salmon recipe on us.

Today we are sitting around listening to the rain and the close lightning strikes and being very glad we are not in a tent. It's Cortejo's Birthday today and we are thinking about the things we could do, but don't really seem all that motivated to do any of them. I suspect that once I finish procrastinating with this, I'll go and do some cleaning/purging/tidying down stairs while C&L go out to do something fun.

Tomorrow is Lydia's birthday. She's going to be 7. She makes me feel so very very blessed.

If I can get her away from the toys that she missed, I am going to try and get her to look at some paintings with me to see if we can find a dress she likes for me to make for her and at least 1 of her dolls so that she and they can be dressed the same.
Gentle Readers,

My Daughter, Lydia. Aged Almost 7.

spear-maid

photo by Clinker Fiasco.
Gentle Readers,

Firstly my daughter is amazing. After being disappointed with her report card (because she didn't have straight A's) we explained to her that the teacher can't tell the difference between not doing something because you can't and not doing something because you don't want to. So this week we got a note back telling us that she has improved significantly in her participation in class activities since then and Lydia was thrilled that she got to pick the sticker. In addition she got her 8th stripe at BJJ and will be invited to test for her junior yellow belt shortly. I'm very pleased and proud.

For me, I'm getting ready for a crazy week next week by having a crazy week this week. I got the body block for his highness to try on done last night and booked a few minutes of his time on Saturday (his coronation) to get him to try it on. I guess he either likes the idea of the garb or likes me or both.

In other news I wore out my skipping rope today. I'd like to try and <a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Durable-Jump-Rope/>make one</a> but I'll probably end up buying one instead. On Sunday I have to be at the airport by noon to fly out to Las Vegas for my first trade show and my first time in Vegas. I'm a little anxious but I'm sure it will be interesting.
Gentle Readers,

I have to say it's a little disturbing to get an email that starts out: "To Whom it May Concern; I know about your involvement with orphans..." Really, if they knew about my involvement with orphans, wouldn't they also know my name? Or is it something more sinister.

I keep reading about the veil issue in Quebec. On one hand, I can't help but want more cultural assimilation. However, it's not these ladies fault that our society has evolved under the assumption that faces will always be visible. Really the government has no place telling me that I'm not allowed to cover up various parts of my body. The precedent would be there for them to force me to wear ass-less chaps.

My daughter is currently obsessed with her Skip-it. This morning she had a melt down because she had to wear rubber boots and she can't get it to work with rubber boots. She cried all the way to the bus stop and when a coincidence of timing had me meeting up with her bus at Carling as I walked to the bus station, she was still crying. Poor thing. I hope she feels better once she gets to school. April is being a rough month for her for stresses and mood swings.

This will be the last lazy weekend in a little while as the SCA summer season begins next weekend at coronation. Should be fun, but tiring. On a related note, I'm trading off some swords that I don't use for some new armour. Gauntlets and arms in particular. I'm really excited.

Oh, and equating left-wing nutjobs with right-wing nutjobs is not a fair comparison. Not because the lefties are any less crazy, but because unlike the right-wing wackos they have no power. The right wing nut-jobs are in charge.

Skyr Fail

Oct. 25th, 2009 04:01 pm
Gentle Readers,

So far it's been an exciting week end. Friday I had a second interview with a company I was really hoping would give me a call back. In many ways it really was an audition. They gave me a problem they wanted a solution for and gave me a white board and said Go To. They emailed me an offer later that afternoon so I'm assuming they liked what I gave them. I start tomorrow and I'll post the details of who and where and what after the paperwork is signed. I won't believe it's real until that's done.

This is why you didn't get any Friday fiction this week. I plumb forgot.

Yesterday I fought through much frustration and managed to get Lydia's costume started. She almost changed her mind as she had told some class mates she was going to be a Devil because she didn't think they would know who Harley Quinn was. Thankfully even if she changes it back again, Devil's are easy costumes.

I'm hoping that it will be as warm as last year.

Anyway, I spent Saturday evening gaming with some friends to celebrate Polymathematic's 30th birthday. I managed to get home around 2. Getting up for fencing this morning was a little rough but it was our first beginner class with the new curriculum and we had a dozen new students showing up. It was awesome to have so many people there.

So far I've spent the afternoon fixing my armour, cleaning, and attempting to make Skyr. It was mostly successful except for the Skyr which was utter fail. For starters I tried heating it with a double boiler to avoid scalding it but couldn't get the temperature above 75 (when I needed to get it to 95). Finally I gave up and heated it in the microwave. Finally heated, I had to let it cool which took another hour. Or rather after an hour I noticed that I had somehow broken the thermometer and there was now broken glass in the milk and I threw it out. Thank goodness I didn't use all of the milk.

I think I'll relax with some sewing.
Gentle Readers,

This morning, my daughter was telling her visiting friend how great it was to be a feminist.

"G, do you want to be a Feminist? You get to do what you want."
"I want to go outside."

Also, they were playing "Mommy". Lydia was the mommy and G was the 6 year old teenager.

Curls

Jun. 17th, 2009 02:19 pm
Gentle Readers,

Lydia's Curls:

With curls.

curls from the side.

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