It has been too long since my last update. I’ve done things, I’ve stalled on others, and I’ve of course taken on new projects. Today I need to work on prioritizing the new projects with the old.
Pennsic was…a lot. Now that I’ve been once, I can see how to do it better so that I can enjoy myself more. I met wonderful people and had a lovely time teaching my Pilgrimage and Power class during war week and having it fully click for me. Unfortunately, this was a magic working of having the right amount of people in the class, as it relies on Q&A. I’ve taught it again since, and it was not the same experience. There must be a way to capture some of that magic. Unfortunately I didn’t record that session. I did record both of my classes during peace week, but the sound is garbage.
I also have news. I have asked Mistress Albreda Aylese to be my Laurel, and she has welcomed me into her household. I now have two new belt sisters and a house brother to share joy and sorrow with, to learn from and to support and receive support. My Gleann Abhann Laurel, Maitresse Alysia, fully supports this new relationship. I think I heard Albreda mention something on the day of the belting about me not taking on so much. It was one of those aside comments that I may have even misheard, but it stuck with me and I’ve been wrestling with how to move forward with projects as I am still or again stuck. I also have the new project of embroidering a new obi with a scallop shell on one end to represent me and where I’m coming from, and my previous guidance, and a feather on the other end to represent my new Laurel.
Let’s get to task. It’s time to prioritize. And frankly, writing my projects out like this really helps. Like reshelving books (this will make sense later).
My Genji Project is sitting idly, waiting for me to do more work. I’m currently in the midst of Chapter 14. The translations are read, the summary written, notes streamlined. I just need to focus in on the analysis part of the script. I will have the next episode written, recorded, edited and uploaded no later than this Sunday, October 1st. That will mean an almost two month hiatus of not posting. I had slowed it to one chapter per month, and have missed that date. And I feel guilty about that.
Samurai training. I did manage to authorize sword and board, left handed. But I didn’t fight or scout at Pennsic. I had a panic attack instead and wasn’t able to contribute. I haven’t been back in armor since. My wrist injury is relatively well healed, but I do have PT to do for the rest of my life. I think it’s time to make weekly practice a habit. at very minimum for the socializing part. I also have plans for training myself up physically so that I am a better fighter and so that I’m healthier in general. This includes a core workout combined with some footwork drills and the 100 day pell challenge. 100 days, 100 blows. Running a 1-6 (7) drill satisfies the strike requirement. By the end of the 100 days, I should be able to generate some power, and my body shape should start to change a bit. For the big goal, my body shape will have to change more than a little. I’ll need to be in better shape than I was as a college athlete (I was a pole vaulter at Uni). So it looks like I’ve cooked up a nifty little 100 day challenge for myself to get started again…October 8th is 100 days until my birthday…But it would be nice to finish before then…
Poetry. The great thing about having this blog and laying out my projects as I so often do, is that I don’t lose project ideas. Rereading my last post, I see my Kokinshu idea, and I find that I need it. I’ve still been struggling with my poetry. Maybe that’s not accurate. I’m not writing daily. I do occasionally write poetry. Frequently even, in the right circumstances. I attended the peerage ceremonies of two of my dearest friends. It was not difficult to write a tanka for each of them. I tend to write with ease while camping and travelling. And especially when feeling a large emotion. But I want a challenge. I want to grow. So I’m going to start up my Kokinshu challenge. Probably October 1? I’d like to lump this in and make another 100 day challenge to go with the pell challenge, but there are so many more poems than that in the Kokinshu… It wouldn’t be unlike me to continue a poetry challenge past it’s date.
Those are my always projects. Research. Combat. Poetry.
Let’s turn to deadline driven projects.
Backdrop. I have been asked me to create a backdrop that can be used at Coronation and create/reinforce The reign theming for Their Highnesses with the intention that it can be used at multiple events. This one has to be finished in 2 weeks. I’ve gotten approval on the concept art and have purchased the paint. Tomorrow I’m sewing the canvas to size. Next weekend it gets painted, and gets grommets and tie line. I’m nervous about this one as I won’t be at Coronation to see it installed and used for the first time.
Auction Ensemble. I hate that this is still on my plate. I feel horrible at having taken so long. This is the project I am focusing on finishing ASAP. The recipient has been beyond flexible and kind. No more excuses. She gets top priority. This means I need to clear my studio (dining room) from all of the event stuff I haven’t put away since AUGUST so that I can sew. You heard that right. I have yet to recover from Pennsic in August, and I’ve been to two events since then, one in a different Kingdom, and had a regular camping trip. Sometimes I don’t realize what exactly I’ve done until I write it out. Regardless, time to sew.
Letting things go.
I can’t be an active scribe for a while. My Deputy Seneschal responsibilities are ramping up. I already have a lot on my plate that is or should be maintenance tasks, and those take up a lot of time; 3 to 4 hours a day is a lot when 19 hours of most of your days is otherwise spoken for. And I can rarely fit a scroll/award document in without feeling entirely overwhelmed. So I think I need to step back. I’ve been able to discuss this with one of my Laurels and I’m sure the other would agree with her on me stepping back from something. I know that the Kingdom has a backlog of about 100 award documents. As these are low stakes when it comes to deadlines, I’m thinking of becoming a backlog scribe until I step down as Seneschal, about 4 years. I plan to ask for my first assignment in late February. Maybe I can make it a mission to clear the backlog. No, not on my own…but I do have an idea for a scribal event…
This doesn’t quite sound like letting things go…
I’ve worked on a concept with my therapist. I don’t really get overwhelmed by my ever increasing to be read list. The book gets a place on a shelf, and I know that one day I’ll get to it. And I frequently pull these not read books and flip through to find a reference, so they do get used. The concept is to think of my projects like I do my precious books, something I can lovingly put away for later. Thinking of my project list in that way took a weight from me. Now I’m looking forward to occasionally picking one up, and have no guilt about setting it back down. Eventually, I’ll get to pull it out and finish it, but until then, it gets shelved. And I also know I can build more shelves if the ones I have get crowded.
Annotated Bibliography. I want to make an annotated bibliography so that others can more easily find a source to help them. This includes using all the bibliographies in my papers and documentation and class notes as well as books literally on my shelves and the online resources I regularly use. It seems a little funny to put a bibliography project on the shelf.
Netsuke/Inro. His Excellency Master Aquel gifted me a netsuke charm/bead in the shape of a tiger on the day I was inducted into the Order of the Moon. I was charged with the task of making the proper inro to go with the netsuke. About a year later, I had the idea to carve the panels of the inro with a tiger. Aquel was delighted with the idea when I got to tell him. At Pennsic I met a friend at the moon viewing party I hosted who had made an inro to contain his phone! I also bought two books on netsuke. This gives me a potential direction for the tiger inro. But for now, this project is on the shelf.
Classes. I’ve taught my GRWM and Pilgrimage and Power classes many times now. And will again if asked. I’m quite satisfied with the Get Ready With Me. That continues to develop organically as I learn more and acquire period correct cosmetics. I still need a better handout for the Pilgrimage and Power class. I’m just not satisfied with it. I’m also developing classes based on my Genji Project research. And I’m increasingly asked to teach tanka classes. I’ve done tanka basics as a private workshop, and I think I’d like to teach a class that covers the various forms of syllabic Japanese poetry. An intro to waka class, maybe? But none of this is active. All shelved and ready for use when needed.
Hiogi – I had a good discussion with someone who has tried his hand at making one. My supplies still sit, literally on a shelf, waiting.
Karaginu mo. This one is harder. I have a karaginu and mo that were gifted to me. I still want to line the karaginu. But I also want to make full karaginu mo. Handsewn, silk… I think I’d like to make it in the kobai no nioi kasane (pink plum layering combination) as this combination can be worn year round, but is best in the late winter/early spring (New Year). The weight of the silk I plan on using (taffeta) means this should really be worn in the late fall through spring. This project will require a large number of garments. Kosode, nagabakama, reworking of my hitoe – I need to fix the sleeves, and I’d love to print the appropriate design on it faking a damask, 5 uchiki/ginu each in a different shade of pink, an uwagi, a karaginu and a mo. It’s a lot of silk. And though everything above the hitoe should be lined, I only plan to line the uwagi and karaginu, leaving the uchiki/ginu unlined.
Wardrobe Organization. I’ve made progress on this front! I now have a spreadsheet with all of my garb and my partner’s, minus what we bought at Pennsic. I still need to mend or amend several garments, specifically the sleeves on several kosode. And I only made it through Pennsic with the use of modern cotton juban in the place of asetori and kosode. I need to remedy that and make lots of underwear.
Things coming up, getting picked back up…
Language. I stopped studying. And I need to pick this back up. I don’t want to be a bad guest in 2025/26 when I visit Japan for the first time. And I have bigger goals. This will probably get rolled into my 100 days of challenge coming up.
New Project! Kosode Workshop. I would like to see more attempts at pre-17th century Japanese clothing and less use of modern kimono in the SCA. Many people have expressed interest in a hands on workshop to learn how to make kosode. I have offered to facilitate this. I have the ability to host maybe 4 people in a hands on workshop at my home. If we can manage some of the work in a hybrid form, that would help, and I could host maybe 6 people, knowing that no one would likely have a finished product at the end. Unless it was over 2 days? Grr. This one’s harder, but I want to facilitate something this winter.
Events. Coming up I plan to attend Crown List and Birka. Possibly Bhakail Yule. Maybe 12th Night? I also have an idea to hold a scribal event centered on the Kingdom’s backlog of award documents. Probably in the second quarter of next year, but anytime before I step up as Seneschal as I can not autocrat once in that position.
One complication. My birthday party.
My birthday party is a big thing. I had a lot of disappointing birthdays as a child, so I’m making up for it as an adult. With lots of theater. Fun decorations. Heavily themed. I haven’t held one since 2020. 2024 will be my first party since the pandemic. I’m turning a chandelier into a jellyfish to celebrate! This will require a lot of prep that will eat into the final half of my 100 days of challenge.
Working on this blog and website is the last thing I’ll add to the list. The bibliography is one part of that, better class handouts is actually another, but I also want to revamp my travelling outfit page to show how my impression has changed over time, and hopefully help someone else skip the early steps when they attempt that ensemble.
Maybe I should list what the 100 Days of Challenge entails. Pell work. Core workout. Footwork. Pushups. PT. Kokinshu Challenge. Language studies. (Let’s not forget that I do something toward my Genji project everyday already.) Those are the things I want to accomplish every day for 100 days. And then I’ll have my birthday party and take a break. Why do all this? Because one of my words for this year was challenge. Because I want to end the year strong physically and emotionally. Because I feel the need to prove to myself I can. Because I want to celebrate my birthday with a big feeling of accomplishment. And because I’ve put some of these things off for too long.
Laying everything out helps. As usual, it’s a whole lot. But I feel less overwhelmed, and a little more capable. And I’ve already adjusted when I’m going to do things as I realized some things have deadlines and dates that cannot change.
Time to get the studio prepped. I start sewing again on Tuesday.
100 Days of Challenge start this weekend.