SCA: Pennsic Dreaming

Hey There!

Guys, I can’t wait until Pennsic. I’m still in crunch-mode – frantically sewing. There are still 7 (Yikes!) garments undone in my sewing room, 3 of which are projects I have only made twice before, and one of those attempts is a mess that I hate to wear, but I can do this. (Right? Right!)

When we start getting this close, I can almost smell the air and hear the drums. My friends on Facebook have started talking about the classes they want to take, parties they want to go to, and the things for which they’re most excited. I thought I would share with you my daydreams of Pennsic that I’m looking forward to!

I want to wake up in a tent to the smell of campfire smoke, stumble out into the dewy grass, and try not to trip into the ditch as I make my way out to the kitchen. No matter how early I get up, I’m never the first one up. Usually, there’s coffee already started (Bless you!).

I usually hang out in the kitchen and chat with the cook and try to be helpful. This year I’ll be the cook, and I love the camp mates who will keep me company and help.

 

We’ll cook and laugh and recount the events of the night before. One by one camp mates will groggily roll out of their tents with hand-thrown pottery bowls, mugs, or wooden trenchers. More often than not, they’ll just stand in the kitchen or shade fly and eat their breakfast by hand instead of from the bowls.

We’ll sit and talk until breakfast is over, and then I’ll be shuffled out of the kitchen as I’m not allowed to wash any dishes, which makes me uncomfortable and I’ll try to sneak back in to help.

In the adjacent common area tent, the rest of camp will be relaxing, discussing their plans for the day – who is getting ice, who is going to market, what classes people are taking, and who is going to just chill in camp.

After breakfast, I’ll get a shower. There’s something amazing about an enclosed shower that looks up at the open sky and trees. The hot water against the cool morning air creates steam, and washing the dirt from the previous night’s wanderings off of your feet is just about the most glorious feeling.

After we get dressed for the day, we usually make our way to market either for an errand, food, or a class. Then we’ll walk to the lower portion of the campground to a friend’s camp where we’ll hang out for a while. I usually nap in one of their chairs while The Fellow plays a board or card game, and then it’s time to meander back up the hill for dinner.

Pennsic food is amazing – hearty meats with rice or potatoes and veggies, and everything tastes better out of feast ware.

We’ll get the water going again for dishes again and hang around camp until it’s time to go out for the night.

Pennsic has bars and parties of all types. You can go to a fancy kingdom party, a pirate party, Mardi Gras, Hafla, or to a quiet corner bar to just sit and chat. We’ll walk paths in the warm summer air guided by nothing but the moon and torchlight with the sounds of drums, laughter, or the trilling of singers surrounding us.

Finally, we’ll make it home exhausted but exhilarated and fade off to sleep to the sound of drums – ready to wake up and do it again the next day.

moonshine in a teacup night camp

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Fitting Room Confessional

Hey There,

I went out last night to an awards dinner for work. I’m weird in that I love watching other people get awards. They’re excited and proud, and their family and friends are proud of their achievements. The whole thing makes me smile like an idiot. Even if I don’t know them, I’m happy for them.

This is a fairly fancy event, and I love an excuse to dress up. I am slowly re-vamping my wardrobe into better quality pieces that fit, make me feel fabulous, and can be worn several different ways.

I don’t have any nice dresses at the moment, so I took this opportunity to go shopping. Shopping is great – trying on clothes – not so much. I think we’ve discussed it here, but in the last few years I lost a lot of weight and got down to a size 10 dress. While not a healthy transition, I felt better about my body than I ever had. Then I had a rough year and gained it all back. (Honestly, probably plus some. I don’t get on the scale anymore.)

When I shop, I spend a lot of time in my decision-making process standing in the fitting room. I check the piece out from every angle and debate how it makes me feel. This dress made me feel fantastic. It’s a Calvin Klein black sheath dress with a geometric neckline and a gold zipper down the back.

little black dress moonshine in a teacup
I’m on the right, belly, smile, and all.

While I was in the fitting room deciding if I really could pull off a fitted dress with my extra weight, I decided something. I’m buying the damn dress. My little bit of stomach roll was going to be no worse than any other woman’s at the event and no one was going to be judging me or looking that closely. The next day no one would be talking about how much weight I gained. They’d be talking about the people who received awards. And if they were talking about my belly, who cared? It doesn’t impact how I do my job or love my family and friends. It would just let me know who those friends really are.

I’m thinking all of these things, staring into a ROSS dimly-lit fitting room mirror, when I heard it. Two rooms over, a mother and her adult daughter were trying on clothes for some type of beach wedding they were invited to.

The daughter would try on clothes, and they would discuss it. For a while it was the typical critique: “I don’t like the cut of this. I wish it was navy. I’m not a fan of where it hits. You’ll need to have that hemmed, and so on.” Then the daughter must’ve tried on something the mother really didn’t like, and the conversation changed. Not about the design of the clothes, or the choice of the designer, but the inadequacies of the daughter. “If you want to wear that, you need to really work out. I keep telling you to work out to get rid of that fat. Or invest in some good Spanx because that highlights your fat. And fat isn’t attractive.” My heart broke when I heard the daughter agree. I walked out of the fitting room as they were standing in the aisle. They were both thin, blonde women. The daughter was tall, lean, and beautiful.

I know we’re harsh on ourselves, but I’m working to love my body as it is. I want to work out and eat better from a place of health and nutrition, not a goal number. We need to shift the narrative. We need to change how we speak about ourselves, to ourselves, and to the women around us. I pray I will be the type of mother who doesn’t teach her child she isn’t enough just as she is.

Old Books Are Old Friends

Hey There!

I was chatting with a friend the other night, discussing things in our lives, and our plans for the future.

During that conversation, we discussed objects and the sentimentality behind them. Something you will hear when researching simplistic/intentional lifestyles or organizational tips is learning to understand why you keep something. The suggestion is that you take a picture of the object so you can remember the memories and then let the object go. My friend was relating how she’s had success with this method, but for some objects, nothing can replace how it feels or smells – like an old book. I completely agree.

Old Books Are Old Friends Moonshine In A Teacup

Old books are old friends. You know the characters, the location, how the spine feels in your hand, and the journey you are about to embark on. You want to refresh every detail in your mind with the re-reading. You know the excitement, chills, or comfort it will bring, and you’re excited to spend your time in the world the author created. A good book is one that I can read myself completely into. You know what I mean? Everything around you melts away, and you are there. You smell the air, hear the sounds and the voices around you. Suddenly, it’s hours later; your tea is cold beside you, and you don’t want to be pulled back into real life. When the story is finished, there’s a small twinge in your heart because the characters are no longer with you. A fantastic book will linger.

When I read a fantastic book, I’ll re-run passages in my head, and for just a short while my internal monologue takes on the cadence of the characters. Then slowly, it fades. I’m on my own again and find other things to fill my time and mind. I read other books . . . but then one day, I pick up that old favorite and read it again.

I read some of my favorite books so long ago that I don’t think I can imagine my life without the knowledge of them. Two that immediately come to mind are Gone with the Wind and Anne of Green Gables. I swear I reference Gone With the Wind more than any modern woman should. What are your favorite old book-friends? Let me know so I can meet them.