For Thomas


  AT this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
  On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.2
  One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."3
  With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Someone Forward This to Max, Please (and Happy Poetry Month, everyone else!)

Aedh wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

William Butler Yeats, 1899

What Big Cat Are You?

You Are a Jaguar
You have a knack for reforming, balancing, and even healing people.
You see the good in everyone, and you help bad people learn to be better.

Even though you connect to people, you can't help but feel separate from everyone else.
You often feel like you are on the outside looking in, even with your closest family members and friends.

O Hai

Haven't meant to be incommunicado for nearly three months, honest. Life has been busy and varied, and has given me much to think about. Will try to catch up on everything.

For corvus_imbrifer: Our Mutual Friend is Paracelsus: start here. And that other thing I mentioned. When do you want to go to dinner? I'm serious. It's years before another one of the kids has a significant birthday.

For everyone else:

Weight: When I started the OptiFast, I made a mental deal with myself to quit if Thomas ever allowed as how he thought I'd lost enough weight, and on January 28th, when I was at 152.8, he did. I went on Maintenance the next week, and it's just been kicking my ass. It's too easy to eat too much, or eat the wrong things because I know I can probably get away with it, and there was this whole world of stuff I hadn't eaten in six months. Maintenance is technically an 8-week program, although I can continue in it for the rest of my life if I want, and I can keep purchasing up to two servings a day of the OptiFast, too. I'd been thinking purely in terms of getting it behind me, and about two weeks ago I began to panic because I wasn't doing it right and I was running out of time. (I had a really bad week at Mardi Gras and put on 3.9 pounds--and wasn't that a shock, that I could put it on that fast.) So I went back on shakes for a couple of days to reset, and I gave myself permission to do Maintenance over again entirely if that's what it took, and to stay in it as long as I needed, and I relaxed almost immediately. I lost two of the pounds I put on, and I weighed 152.6 at last week's meeting.

I'm late to bed--more tomorrow.


Well, it's been exciting so far...

Spent a hunk of yesterday in the ER--acquired a urinary tract infection on Friday, thought I had it under control but unintentionally exacerbated it with soda on Sunday, and had intermittent but really severe abdominal cramps from Monday on. The advice nurse suggested the ER on Tuesday morning, so I went. They gave me Cipro for the infection and AZO for the pain, tested me for pregnancy (yeah, we were amused too, but apparently the urinalysis was ambiguous), and I went home and took a nap.

Then I got up, went to Mela’s and work and JoAnn’s and weight class. The stuff for the pain worked a treat.

Weight: 3.8 pounds this week (missed a few meals with being sick), for a total of 59.1 and 18.2 to go. Seems like a very small number. Took grief about my jeans (they’re not falling off, but I can pull them off and put them on without unfastening them), and I’ve been saying one more week for about the last three, so I went out during lunch today and bought two new pair—the 12 petites fit just fine, which was even better than I was expecting. Have decided to combine my exercising and Clean Keep goals and shoot for 1 hour of cleaning five times a week—did okay with that last night.

Sewing: Searched the fabric boxes in the garage again, met with Mela on Friday, and put together an acceptable group of fabrics for the 12th Night dress. I said I’d do the sleeves, so took home fabric and piping for that, and a strip of silk for the sash. Intended to dig out some taffeta for interlining, but couldn’t find it—between that and the illness, got nothing done till last night, when I gave up and bought taffeta at JoAnn’s, cut a sleeve muslin and drafted the pieces for the cuff mounting. Shooting for more progress tonight.

House: Haven’t finished the painting, but I’m trying to make inroads inside. Progress seems glacial: unearthed sewing machine so I can start sewing again. Moved boxes, projects and books to garage; have stuff from garage in back of car to go to storage space; started a box of books to be stored; eliminated two boxes of stuff permanently. V. responsibly took down all Christmas decorations, repacked them and returned them to garage. Does not yet look like that much progress.

SCA: Missed council meeting, behind on 12th Night. About usual for this time of year.


Geeky New Year

Thomas skyped Phillip and Marion to two New Year's parties--he showed them around JonThomme and Eva's place (formerly their place), and they showed us around the (large!) house in Wisconsin, and alarmed us with the snow in the driveway and piled up on the car. It was nice to see them.

Both parties were great--it's good to see the Reams settled in, and it's good to be with lots of friends.

This year I realized that one of the interesting side-effects to having your wedding anniversary on New Year's Eve is that you're likely to be with a number of people who were at your wedding, which is kind of nifty.

So New Year's Day I dragged out of bed at 11:30 and watched the Rose Parade (which seemed unusually long this year). Made a second attempt at fabric for 12th Night (first attempt not happy-making in good light), and worked on cleaning up the sewing room a bit. Which would be easier if the places I needed to put things weren't buried in the garage. Nevertheless, cleared the way between the filing cabinet and the stack of filing, so the next step is obvious.

No New Year resolutions per se, but I'm starting over on the 101 things in 1001 days (signed onto the community for 15 minutes, but was overwhelmed by the entries), and I'm going to get my A&S 50 list going, too. There will undoubtedly be overlap....

On the fifth day of Christmas

...Angelina finally updated her blog.

I hope everyone's Christmas, Hanukkah, and/or Solstice was lovely. Mine was, although it did involve too much food. We had a lovely goose dinner with Tighearnan, Siobhan, David and Max on the 23rd, and most of the household went to Astridhr's on the 25th. I finally sucked it up and went to St. Luke's on Christmas Eve--it's the downtown Long Beach church, and I was afraid it would be terribly crowded and I just felt unaccountably shy. The late service was well attended, but it wasn't a terrible crush and the sermon was pretty interesting--I liked it very well, and will try to go again.

Weight: Lost a pound this week, despite said food, for a total of 55.3, leaving 22 to go. It's amazing just how easy it is to get back into munching. (Will not be taking another break before Maintenance.)

Needlework: Didn't get Jacob's stocking finished. Severely bummed. I was so close. Good news: found the red satin I'd used to back and line the other stockings when I was digging through the garage for 12th Night dress fabric last night. (Had forgotten I'd removed it from the roll at some point, so was I little panicked when I first went looking for it a few weeks ago.) Have decided to push through till it's done, with luck in January.

Class: Finished class but not the loose gown. Got the initial construction done (wheel pieces on, sleeves and lining together), then spent the last two sessions (and Baronial sewing day last Sunday) padstitching the interlining to the top and collar of the gown. (The universal class reaction was either "What are you doing?" and/or "You are insane, you know.") Justina could not get more of the trim I'd selected, so sent me samples of possible replacements. One will do--I expect I'll sort it out with her at 12th Night. Showed the embroidery on the partlet to Eowyn at A & S Night--I had part of it figured, but the rest was killing me--and she immediately knew what it was. (Yay for expert help!) Need to start working on the partlet (Pentathlon entry), but insist on finishing stocking first.

SCA: Lyondemere Yule was a little on the small side, but a really wonderful event. The Lyonbard competition was really impressive, there was a farce and much frivolling, the feast was lovely and there was more frivolling by way of the dancing. Clair Ce Buidhe got up to sing Wassail, and in the course of the song pulled up everyone who was willing to be pulled to sing with them. It was a nice family party for a really extended family.

Movies: Saw the new X Files.  Wasn't impressed. Also a really terrific documentary about Pete Seeger. (Made Thomas watch it, too.)

House: Thomas not only brought me a Christmas tree, he did the bulk of the work clearing out the living room corner where it traditionally goes. Astra's old cedar chest is now under the window in the dining room, which has shoved our miniscule dining table into the corner but doesn't look bad, really. We put blankets on the top and the cats love to sleep there.

More significantly, Thomas (and I and several very good friends) spent much of last weekend scraping and painting the house. It's about half done--we'll be back at it on New Year's. The white part is still white, but the aqua is becoming grey--a vast improvement. Eventually, I'm doing the window trim in red. Eventually.


Survived Thanksgiving

...with only an extra bite here and there. Wasn't easy, especially since Mela made chestnut stuffing. But I weigh tonight and expect an average (2-2.5 pound) loss. Currently standing at 173 pounds: having lost 44.3, with 33 to go. I got my original wedding ring back on last week. The jeans are loose again, but not yet falling off.

The holiday weekend was social and WoW-intensive: we had Thanksgiving at Mela's, saw Willhelm and Flidais for dinner and coffee on Friday (we shut down the Starbucks), had Company of Clothiers and household Thanksgiving on Sunday. Leveled the hunter to 69. Got next to nothing done otherwise. Gotta knock that off.

On other fronts:

Needlework--Albra taught metal thread embroidery Turkish Slippers at the C of C meeting, so I have a new UFO. Fortunately, it's not a large project, I got a good start on it in class, and it could be said to have a deadline, as we'll be doing the second half of the class in January. The more important deadline is for Jacob's stocking, which I'd hoped to have done by the 1st--not so much, but I'm down to the last third of the backstitching, and then the assembly. Will be working on it daily till done. Need to find the red satin for the backing and lining.

Class--Decided to do a loose gown based on the famous picture of Katherine Parr. Patterned the partlet, repatterned the partlet, repatterned the partlet. Much fitting assistance from Mela and Louise. Patterned the gown and the hat. Got half the trim from Justina at Calafia; need to bug her for the rest. Got the gown, lining and interlining cut at the last class except for the wheel pieces. Haven't gotten a thing done since. Need to dig out sewing room so I can actually work in it.

SCA--Calafia Anniversary and Queen's Champion Archery were both a little strange and disconnect-y for me, although I had good company at both events, and they were great for making progress on the stocking. Calafia, being Thomas's birthday, was guaranteed to be a disaster, but this year it wasn't the restaurant, it was the trailer getting a flat as we were leaving, and discovering that our spare (which we'd been lugging with us faithfully for 10 months) was the wrong size. So we spent Sunday replacing the tire and driving back down to San Diego to retrieve the trailer. Also good for work on the stocking, but not what we'd had in mind for the day. Conversely, having been predisastered, Thomas's birthday dinner went fine.

This Saturday is Lyondemere Yule, which is a lovely event and should be very much like Baroness's Birthday last month. It's a little tchotchke-intensive, but I'm in fairly good shape: I have the populace gifts and the Lyonbard stuff; need to see if what I have planned for Court/Officers/Staff will work or I'll need to punt. (Have a decent idea for punting, but need to be about it.) Would be nice to finish the loose gown to wear, but that's dreaming....

Movies--we saw the HBO John Adams and liked it a bunch; then we saw The Golden Compass and thought it was a trainwreck. We hadn't read the books, so we were probably more lost than average. Fans must have been pretty upset.

Books--read The Lingerie Handbook, currently reading Sewing Lingerie that Fits. Looking forward to having to replace everything....


Catching Up: SCA

The barony autocratted Crown back in August and did a very nice job.

The InterKingdom Intensive Needlework Seminar at Collegium in September was amazing. Very geeky, intensive, obsessively researched classes for exactly the right, incredibly appreciative audience. The needlework display was beyond amazing: the very best examples from two kingdoms. (There are photos up on the IKINS Yahoo!group if you're interested.)

Great Western War in October: weather near perfect. Brought the dog, so I spent a lot of time with him. He was a sweet creature, and very well-behaved for the duration. Snagged some good books at Pastiche. Our big news, rather old now: we announced that we were stepping down as Baron and Baroness at next Anniversary, and appointed Jon Thomme and Eva Reeve and Reevess. People were gratifyingly sad that we would be stepping down, and Jon Thomme and Eva were a popular choice to succeed us (barring some grumping that we hadn't asked anyone's opinion first).

We will have served as Baron and Baroness for three years, which is a bit short by Caidan standards, but we were beginning to get tired, the house is suffering from neglect, and we wanted to quit while we still had the energy to remain active in the barony. I really love being Baroness: it's very strange to think that there's now a limited number of times I will put the coronet on again. But I'm looking forward to really getting back into costuming, too.

November 1st was Baroness's Bardic and Birthday Banquet: I, being the Baroness in question, was pretty much guaranteed a wonderful time. Which it was, not least because Cliar Cu Buidhe sang my favorite songs and acted a very funny song in Italian. Kythera made me a beautiful picture of the merlion done as a Venetian mask, Rosalie made me a fabulous rosary (exactly right for my period), and Grainne crocheted lovely snowflake ornaments for me. And I got to eat Cristal's wonderful feast! (My only full meal since I started the diet--I enjoyed every bite, and I wasn't hungry for the next 24 hours.) The subtlety was a sugar plate shell with truffle pearls. Thomas and Eilidh sang for me, and we even got the dancing in! It was a lovely event.

Then we looked at our calendar and realized that if we went to Coronation, we'd be doing events five weekends in a row. So last week, we stayed home, although it felt very weird to do so.

Voted, Pt. II

I am absolutely thrilled, excited and hopeful about Obama's win and the margins.

And I'm completely devastated about Prop 8. Even I am suprised at how drepressed I am.

Yes, I know why it passed. Yes, I know the courts will throw it out. Yes, I know we came much closer and in 10 years this will all seem as archaic as Jim Crow.

That's not helping right now.

At least I got to see the acceptance speech in unalloyed happiness.

(Resisting the temptation to drop my head to my desk and hit one key over and over, slowly.)