She Knows Me Well!

Woaaahhhh, something totally weird just happened!

I’ve been thinking on and off all afternoon about going to get a coffee at the Starbucks on campus. I had pretty much decided against it, when one of my coworkers told me she was thinking of going, and asked if I wanted to go. So then I decided that yes, I would go. But then we remembered that the Starbucks closes at 2, and it was like 2:02. Bummer. So, obviously, we decided not to go.

Well, literally about 5 minutes later, someone came back to my cubicle to tell me I had a visitor who had brought me coffee!!! It was my friend M, who goes to grad school at the private college that’s just down the road from my office. She’d brought me an iced mocha!!  Soooo sweet, and total strange coincidence! And I love that she knows what my Starbucks beverage of choice is.

Fest 2010: Second Weekend

Well, second Saturday, I should say. This weekend I was not able to be out today (Sunday) at all, because my husband ran/biked a duathlon today, and of course I wanted to watch him.  Also it was suuuuuper hot today (again!!) so it probably wouldn’t have been very pleasant to be at Fest today. It was hot enough yesterday, but still way better than last weekend.

My parents came out at about 2pm on Saturday, so they got the chance to watch our 2:45 show, and took a few pics for me. Then I walked around with them for a bit, and we listened to a group called Orkestar Bez Ime and then a little tiny bit of Four Pints Shy before I had to call for our 5:00 show. Four Pints Shy is my favorite Fest band. We even hired them to play at our wedding reception.  So I like to listen to them whenever I get a chance…. unfortunately, they only have one showtime a day that doesn’t overlap with our showtimes at all. I’ll have to catch them on a couple of Sundays, when I am not committed to any shows.

House Projects Wish List

There are several projects I really want to do to our house, ranging from small to big. From smallest to largest, they are:

1. Install 3-prong outlets where we still have 2-prong ones, fix some outlets that are currently inactive, and install an outlet in the bathroom (old houses and their outlet-less bathrooms…. how am I supposed to dry my hair?? Luckily, I rarely do that in the summer, but in the winter it’s a different story!)

2. Wall off the basement “bathroom.” Right now it’s not really even a bath “room”…. it’s basically a toilet and shower in the basement. That should be easy enough… all we’d need to do would be frame a wall and drywall.

3. Touch up paint in our bedroom, the “baby’s” room and the kitchen. This requires getting paint mixed to match the pre-existing colors in the bedrooms, since we left those rooms the colors they were when we moved in. I also want to repaint all the trim/baseboards/doors/window frames.

4. Paint the exterior of the house. It reeeeally needs it and we should have done it this summer, but the unexpected furnace and AC replacement ate up all our funds. It will have to wait until next year.

5. Refinish hardwood floors in living room, dining room and possibly the kitchen. (Not the “baby’s” room because there’s a huge armoire in it that I don’t think we could move to finish under! And our bedroom is upstairs and carpeted.)

6. Tile the main floor bathroom wall around the shower, so we don’t have to have 2 shower curtains. Also paint the walls a different color.

7. Convert some unfinished attic space (part of the attic is already converted into our bedroom) into a walk-in closet. Right now we have NO built-in closets in our entire house, and basically right now we use the “baby’s” room as a big walk-in closet. That is fine, as long as we don’t actually HAVE a baby… but our plan is to begin to have a baby next summer, so sometime within the next 2 years, we NEED to do this project so we can move our closet upstairs into an actual closet and free up the “baby’s” room for the baby!

8. Pie in the sky: I’d love to replace our windows. That’s not going to happen, though.

Number 7 is the most urgent. I think we’ll try to get that done before next summer. My husband has a buddy who is really handy and could help us out, and he works pest control, which there’s not a lot of demand for in the winter in MN, so his winters are pretty open. I think we can hire him for relatively cheap to be our guide and help us out, so we can do most of the work ourselves but not be totally clueless.  The buddy already said he’d install an outlet in our bathroom for us, so I’m sure he can help us knock out number 1, and possibly 2, as well.

Number 3 we can obviously do on our own…. we just need TIME! We’ll paint the exterior next summer for sure. 5 and 6 may never get done, but I can still dream…. I definitely think at least doing the shower would raise our house value, but it would be complicated, because currently our shower’s only against the wall on 2 sides, so we’d have to build a glass-block wall or something on the 3rd, plus one of the walls has a window, so we might even have to glass-block that in. Just tiling the wall wouldn’t be too difficult or expensive, but adding those to pieces would be a pain. Also, the faucet is currently on plain wall, not tile, so we’d have to tile the area where the faucet is, which would man cutting holes in tiles, and that sounds complicated. But having 2 shower curtains is a huge pain, and there’s no where to put shampoo and stuff. We have a shower curtain with pockets on it right now, and it works fine, but doesn’t look all that nice, and I’m really afraid the weight is going to pull the rod out of the wall one of these days…

Oh, that reminds me, the curtain rod in our bedroom is coming out of the wall, and so are the coathooks in the entryway. Those are minor repairs, but they need to be done. And our front door doesn’t open in the summer when it’s humid… probably should get that fixed one of these days….

Le sigh… the joys of homeownership…….

Fest 2010: Opening Day!

Wow, today was a great day! It was HOT and I am exhausted, but I had a ton of fun. I relate so much better to musicians than I do to people who sell beer or chocolate. And the easier I can make it for myself to relate to someone, the better.

I stayed at my folks’ last night because I live over an hour from the Fest site and they live about 15 minutes from it. My parents’ neighbors’ grandson (he’s 16, I think) works out at Fest too, and he stays at their place, so I gave him a lift in. Nice kid. It was fun to chat with him a bit, and carpooling is good. He might have to be my Saturday morning carpool buddy.  Parking was a bit of a cluster-F, as is typical on opening day… but oh well. It all worked out.

Our morning shows went really well (especially first show), and morning court dance went well too, except that the court no longer participates in court dance… so morning and evening court are basically our 5th and 6th shows. Ick! Oh well, at least we get to play different music for that.

After our 11:00 show, I went over to Mac’s pub and talked to the Bloodwake pirates for awhile, then met up with a couple of R/Fers I hadn’t seen in person in awhile. Drank some coffee (found out that Tillie’s isn’t there this year…. WTF? They had really yummy coffee!). Then went to see a Four Pints Shy show and saw my friend C there, so chatted with him for awhile. Had great fun at Four Pints Shy’s show…. they’re so great. They played at our wedding reception so they’ll always have a special place in my heart!

Then we had our 2:45 show, and after that I visited some more R/Fers who work at one of the shoe merchants. Then back for part of Four Pints Shy’s last show and then our last show, evening court, and closing gate. A very busy but fun day.

So tired now. I might go out tomorrow just for a couple of shows, but then again, I might just stay home and have some alone time. Might depend on the heat….

A few pics:

White Privilege, Hard Borders, and other Controversial Things I Sometimes Talk About

I fear I may have made some enemies in the last couple of days. I’ve been trying to keep my metaphorical mouth shut on some of these issues in order to minimize conflict (very INFJ), but I really have a hard time not voicing my opinion on things about which I care deeply and passionately (also very INFJ….alas).

I don’t mean to judge anyone here. I don’t know you in real life, so unless you post some pretty blatant remarks, I have no basis on which to judge you. That’s not my place, anyway. But I can’t just let some of the things go unchallenged.

Here are the main issues I tend to rail on about, and my basic position on them, if anyone cares.

White Privilege
In his book, The Racial Contract, Charles Mills challenges the idea that modern society is founded on the basis of the “social contract” (as described by Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau), wherein human beings in the “state of nature” decide, by mutual consent, to relinquish individual autonomy in favor of civilization. Instead, Mills demonstrates, the world we live in today is based on a different contract, discriminatory where the other is (or is supposed to be) equitable. Mills calls this the Racial Contract. The main points of Mills’s book are state that white supremacy originated in the colonial era and continues to pervade global society today; that this white supremacy should be understood as a political system; and that white supremacy can be conceptualized as being based on a contract between whites (the Racial Contract). Mills emphasizes that although all whites benefit from the contract (to varying degrees – certainly a rich man would benefit more than a poor man, and men typically benefit more than women), this does not mean that we are all signatories to the contract – in other words, we are not to blame for the situation, but morally and ethically we should do our best to move our world toward a more equitable system.

Hard Borders
As defined by Loren Lomansky, hard boundaries are “demarcation[s] not easily traversable at will which function to confer substantial benefits or impose substantial costs on individuals by virtue of which side of the line they happen to find themselves on”(1). The division of the world’s landmasses according to hard boundaries, then, creates a situation where some people are born into poverty and others into wealth. Those born into poverty have very little chance of overcoming this system to make a good life for themselves and their families. Hard international boundaries are maintained for political and economic reasons that fail to address the inequality created by such boundaries. I believe such hard boundaries, institutions that serve to restrict the movement of people between geographical or political areas, are morally indefensible, for the reason that hard boundaries violate human rights and perpetuate white privilege

(1) Scarpellino, Martha. “‘Corriendo’: Hard Boundaries, Human Rights and the Undocumented Immigrant.” Geopolitics 12 (2007): 330-349. Web. 15 August 2008.

I believe that all of the problems that restrictionists blame on undocumented immigration can be traced to capitalism, corporate greed and globalization, and their colonial and imperial roots. These forces have led to a constricting job market in the United States, a decrease in wages in relation to prices and profit, anti-American sentiment abroad that threatens our national security, and the overtaxing of the Earth’s resources. Furthermore, globalization has arranged the world’s wealth so that developed nations control the vast majority of, and the disparity between the global rich and poor is astronomical. Until the system based on the accumulation of material wealth is torn down and replaced with a system based on respect, integrity and compassion, our world will never be at peace.

These are the main issues, anyway. I also tend to go on about marriage rights and other GLBT issues, but not to the extent of the topics above.

New Garb

For the past several years (6, to be exact), I’ve worked at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in August and September. I adore it!! My parents took us there every year when we were growing up (so I’ve attended every year since 1986), and it was always my favorite time of year, so when my brother got a job out there through a friend of his, I followed suit. I sold chocolate for the first 5 years, and last year I was a beer wench at Mac’s, the pirate pub.

My character for the last few years has been a pirate (my first couple of years I was just a merchant-class maiden) named Charlotte Rowan. I have a whole character backstory and everything. This year, however, I’m actually on cast, playing flute in the ensemble for the courtly dance troupe. Since a pirate doesn’t exactly fit in with that theme, I have to go back to wearing merchant-class garb again. That’s fine, no big deal – skirts aren’t difficult to make, and that’s really the only thing I HAD to make. Same bodice and chemises will work, and although my tricorn is not appropriate, I already had a straw hat that will work for Fest. But I wanted to keep my same character, so I just modified her backstory a little to give a pirate a reason to be at court:

Charlotte Rowan, half sister of the famous Irish pirate Grace O’Malley, usually roams the seven seas with her sister, but she frequently visits the court where she earns her keep as a musician. Although she is a most fierce and scurvy pirate, she is given amnesty at the court due the fact that she is married to one of the Queen’s favorite knights.

I wanted to make my merchant-class garb reflect this mixture of worlds, so I will still wear my piratical jewelry, and I bought a small dagger to wear instead of my pirate cutlass, and I am also making a bag in which to carry my flute and other things. The bag is made out of burlap (lined for structure) and I’m sewing seashells and other piratical trinkets onto it to add another little touch of pirate.

Here’s a picture of me in my new “hint of pirate” garb.  (Sans bag, since it’s not done yet.)