It’s been a busy week, what with school and feeling like crap and SCA Friday night, and the Trail of Courage on Sunday. Wednesday night we had Curriculum Night at K’s school where basically we got to listen to her teacher talk about some of the things they are doing in class and some of the things that are coming up. She answered questions that people had and for the most part, it was pretty mundane. I wanted to thwap K for having a messy desk, yet again, though I know that K and a messy desk kind of go hand-in-hand. It was a battle I spent all of first grade and part of second combating and I really would like to not do it anymore. Thankfully it was a lot less messy upon actual situation versus initial observation. Not so thankfully was the realization that she was stuffing things into it that she wasn’t supposed to do at all and that she had a sheet that hadn’t been graded. Rawr. Her teacher did let her bring it home and let her finish it for homework which is what she was supposed to have done in the first place.

Life as a Hornet (aka goings-on with K and school)
As far as other things at Curriculum Night went, it was nice to find out that Rin and I were not the only people slightly perplexed by some of their math homework. It’s nice not to be the only dumbass in the room. 😀

Friday was picture day and I was a mean Momma and made K wear her uniform despite the fact that students did not have to do so. It is her first year in them and it was her first picture day of the year; the kid was wearing her dang uniform! While I expected a bit of a fuss that afternoon I actually didn’t get it. She was amused that people had kept asking her why she was wearing it. K LIKES her uniforms, and Rinda had fixed one of her awesome skirts (you know, the ones she outgrew before the first day of school) so that it fit comfortably, and she got to wear a pair of her knee socks, so that made her happy.

SCA Ramblings
Friday night we went to SCA fighter practice, albeit late. Rin had been at IU working on some school things and got home later than she had expected. We were contemplating going to dinner with George and Mary Chris for George’s birthday, but it was a bit of a last minute thing and we both felt more inclined to go hang out with a low-key crowd instead, particularly since we’d already made plans to do so and we hadn’t actually been able to in a few weeks. It turned out to be a wise choice as we hung out at the Grill at IUSB for a bit before heading to Tradewinds for dinner. It is always quite interesting to hang out with that group, but I think what made the night was the fact that we spent hours talking to Sarah, our Baroness. Her son, A, and K, spent a fair bit of time playing together until they both ended up passing out in the booth by the table where we were sitting. It was almost four before we finally left. What can I say, she’s a fascinating person and she is a helluva lot of fun to talk to. We learned some very interesting things and I started mulling over a few ideas for craft type things since she needs things for the baronial basket for the coronation coming up this weekend. I am still mulling over that one.

Saturday was fairly low-key given that I slept all day. We hung out at home and basically just enjoyed a quiet night.

Trail of Courage Festival
Sunday was kind of hectic. We had gotten up early to go to the Trail of Courage in Rochester which is about an hour away, but getting ready kind of spiraled out of control as we scrambled for the things we needed to find and got things ready. I wasn’t moving well at all and Rin is still a bit sick, so that made things even trickier. We were both a bit disheartened when we didn’t leave the house until 1 since the festival ended at 4; however, we still went and I am very glad that we did.

For one thing, it is living history. The festival is set in the French Fur Trade era and displays artisans, native dancers, and several other elements from when the Potawatami were trading with settlers. It is fun to take K to things like this both because it provides learning experiences and because watching her is exciting. She thoroughly enjoys herself and she bounces with glee when she sees things that are new to her. No one enjoyed the marching fife, drum, and bagpipe players more than she did! We all were costuming a bit and she got tons of compliments on her outfit and we even had one food vendor who mistook us for people who were working the event which was a nice compliment in and of itself.

For my part, I enjoy looking at the different craft pieces and the different styles from that period. Some of the native beadwork was absolutely gorgeous and the leather work kind of made me wish I had a few hundred dollars to spare. We did have one splurge. >_> I sort of fell in love with a hand-crafted blade. I have been trying to be good and not buy new blades of late; however, I believe I can incorporate this one into SCA persona attire and the gentleman who made it was very kind and knocked the price down to $35. I think he was bemused by how over-the-moon I was with his work, to be honest. What surprised me the most was that for a piece of work that is about the length of my forearm, it was lighter than most butter knives. The blade is a bowie and the handle is an incredible dark brown with a silver hilt…and at both ends of the hilt are stealthy little pentagram shaped stars. I sort of did a double take and that since I had already been impressed with the sheath and the handle and when he put it into my hand I was kind of o_O with childish glee. My need to be good as far as money is concerned was heavily at war with my desire to own that blade. His wife was definitely amused by how I kept looking at it even after I had put it back on the table. Rin and I talked about it and when he said he would reduce the price and that he would take checks (we had missed the ATM on the way in), well, the naughty won.

In fairness, the blade is most definitely worth the money spent and even if I cannot successfully tie it into SCA attire, it is certainly going to become an anchor blade for a few things. I already have one working athame that is very strongly keyed with the moon and a couple of other bits and pieces and that tends to act as an extra shield point at places like Dragon*Con, but this one is certainly going to factor into a few things and whether or not I carry it at Con or faire is somewhat irrelevant to the fact that the blade resonated in my hand from the moment he handed it to me. If you know me, you know that I enjoy sharp, pointy objects, but not all of the ones I carry resonate quite like that. Sure, some of them have rather strong significance, but a lot of times that significance comes after purchase, not before. This particular blade was singing my song and I am glad that I resisted its siren’s call despite feeling slightly guilty for the expense.

Other than that, we were actually pretty good. We bought a nice blue bottle that was subsequently filled with homemade root beer that K loved. I was a bit less enamored of the flavor but the bottle is pretty awesome. We also bought caramel corn that they were making on-site which is pretty yummy, too. It was utterly HILARIOUS to see K’s face the first time she was standing near the popcorn booth when they were making it…I suspect mine was pretty good, too. Rin was talking to someone and I was half-paying attention to her and half-keeping an eye on where K was watching. I caught the look on Miss Ma’am’s face about the same time the popcorn started to pop all over the place. They make it in a huge cast iron kettle and it is hand-stirred with a long wooden paddle. The pot throws off a lot of smoke just before the corn starts to pop like crazy. Most of it stays in the kettle, but some escapes which makes for a pretty impressive tableau for a few seconds. K bounced about that and had fun watching for it every time we were nearby.

She was also impressed with the blacksmith who was working on site though she did not entirely understand everything that he was doing. She found several jewelry pieces that she liked as well as a few small blades that she thought looked neat. She also proved to be an example for several kids and impressed on of the Native American gentlemen running a tent. He had a lot of children’s items like cup and ball games, pop guns, spinning tops, and the like, and lots of kids were playing with them, some more carefully than others. We have a general rule that K cannot touch things without first asking one of us and second asking the vendor. She wanted to play with one of the cup and ball toys while we were looking at the other pieces in the tent and Rin told her that she could if she asked first. (I was impressed she remembered given how many other kids were just playing with things.) She walked up to the gentleman who was running the tent and from across the center table I hear this:

K: Can I pick up one of your toys?
Him: I don’t know, can you? (You could hear a bit of teasing in his voice. I was -very- amused. I glanced over and K was looking a bit puzzled. I can’t remember exactly what Rin said but it was to the effect of you know that you have the ability to pick up something, so how are you supposed to ask?)
K: *dawning realization* May I pick up one of your toys?
Him: You certainly can. You’re the first person to ask me that all weekend.

The look on K’s face was pretty epic. The looks on mine and Rin’s faces was a mix of “HAHAH THAT’S OUR KID” and “Holy shit some people have no fucking manners.” Seriously, I know that they look neat and you want to play with them, but you’d think at least -some- people would ask. Apparently not. *headshake* He was quite impressed with her manners and he helped teach her how to use the cup and ball toy. She managed to not hit herself in the head with it like I did the first time I played with one of those and she actually started to get the hang of it, at least a little bit. I have been a proud Mama and have been bragging on her behavior to lots of people because a) I think it is important to reinforce the behaviors that I want to see and b) my kid freaking rocks!

We didn’t buy anything from him right then since he was one of the first places we looked; however, we did stop back by on our way out. He was still impressed with K and answered the questions that she had about a couple of things and he chatted with Rin and I while we browsed through his tent again. He had some wicked awesome little telescopes and compasses but we couldn’t afford them right now (though they were very reasonably priced). We did end up buying K a cup and ball toy, though not the multi-colored one she had been playing with. He was selling a darkly stained one that will actually be SCA event appropriate because it is period accurate, so we picked that one up for her. We also got a couple of other little bits and then headed to buy my popcorn. 🙂

(Yes, I know I’m going in a crazy order, but I’m basically stream-of-conscious writing this one at the moment.)

In our meandering path, we passed a booth that was selling little bird whistles that needed water in them to make them work. I wanted to maul those people with my wooden staff, so much. They were very high pitched and all of the children buying them were annoying. They basically were blowing them as many times as they could, as loudly as they could. There were adults encouraging this behavior…I wanted to smite them. I know that whistles are fun toys for kids, but I also know that they are some of the most annoying things on the planet. I was very glad when we finally got past that section. Amusingly, while a lot of vendors were selling small flutes or whistles, they all had “you blow it, you buy it” policies which is a) smart because of health concerns and b) awesome because it means that you don’t have a ton of extra blowing going on.

We ran into one of the Aztec dancers that recognized Rin from when she had gone last year. He was a bit overly-friendly and made my metaphysical whiskers twitch about sixteen different ways. I think the nicest summation I have is “he walks many paths” and we’ll leave it at that. We managed to extricate ourselves from his presence that time because he had to go somewhere else. When he found us again later, K saved us by having walked a bit further away from us (close enough for her usual acceptable radius but creepy dude didn’t know that) and we of course had to follow her. Thankfully, he didn’t follow us. I really try not to be overly judgmental of people and the paths they choose to walk, I just tend to get a bit tetchy when shaking someone’s hand vaguely feels like an oily substance trying to slide through my personal shields.

My blade purchase was our last vendor stop before heading for the food booths which were amusingly located in the woods. Their location was smart, particularly since it had rained on Saturday (and had also done so the year before), but it also was out of the way of the open areas for the dancers and the other vendor tents. It was wicked fun for K though. The number of times she said something like, “I’ve never eaten in the woods before!!” was certainly amusing. We got ears of corn and incredibly tart lemonade. K and I also got pickles and Rin got to amuse the hell out of a vendor. She had pulled out the Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans bag that she uses to hold change and the pickle guy asked her if she had gold nuggets hiding in there. She laughed and fished out two of the gold $1 coins she had and used those to pay him for our pickles. He was flabbergasted and then he was laughing. She was pretty happy, too, since she’s been holding onto those to use in a situation where it would be amusing to do so. It’s always fun to bring laughter to people, particularly with unexpected situations.

There were a lot of other food options that I might have wanted to try had it not been hot. When we had looked at the weather Saturday evening, it was supposed to be cooler and perhaps raining. We put together outfits based on that forecast…and when we got there, it was about ten degrees hotter than predicted and very sunny. I had to tuck a scarf around my shoulders and into my bodice to cover up the skin that was showing and I spent the first part of the afternoon walking around with my Hello Kitty parasol. I gave up on it when I got tired of people taller than me walking into it. However, it had gotten a bit more cloudy by then so I only got a little bit sunburnt as opposed to completely roasted which is what we had worried about. I did think I was going to melt though because I had on some of our heavier weight costume pieces. I also was dumb and wore a pair of boots that don’t fit properly and was paying for that by the end of the day, but that’s another story entirely. I certainly got a few odd looks given that my outfit was shades of dark blue, burgundy, and black and my HK parasol is bright pink, but I didn’t much care. I’d rather have funny looks than three days of sunsick.

Our meandering through the woods did give us time to hear several of the bagpiper’s songs and a few other instruments that you couldn’t hear in the main field area which was nice. K got to taste some local honey in wildflower and blueberry which she enjoyed. Oh! And toward the front edge of the food vendors there was a woman who uses a pedal loom to weave blankets. She had been on a break when we were near her booth, but she heard us telling K what the loom was and what it was for and she got up and came over and showed her. K was a bit wide-eyed at how it worked because it certainly is not something that she has seen before. She was fascinated by how the loom worked to bring all of the fibers together to make a finished product. She was both excited and gracious that the lady showed her how it worked which I thought was awesome. 🙂 It’s always nice to see lessons paying off.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, but as you might tell, we had an awesome time even with it being a shorter day than originally planned!

Way Down in Kokomo
(Because if I have to suffer the song, you do, too. :P)

After we left, we headed south toward Kokomo, in part because we thought it was a lot closer than it actually was. Turns out Kokomo is an hour south of Richmond…which makes it two hours south of South Bend. *headdesk* We didn’t realize our error until we were halfway there at which point turning around would have been dumb, particularly in light of the fact that neither Rin nor myself wanted fast food. We headed to Cracker Barrel which is a rare treat since the closest ones are either in Kokomo or Fort Wayne, both of which are about two hours away.

Rin tried the Applefest chicken and we both decided that while it was a neat idea in concept, it was disgusting in actual practice. She took about two bites and was rather upset by how it was making her feel. Our server…who was annoying and I’ll leave it at that for the moment…took it back and got Rin soup, but that was also not sitting well last night. She ended up getting a kid’s veggie plate to-go and had biscuits. I had the Homestyle Chicken which is a Sunday only special and it was yummy. I only ate one piece and saved the second so that Tadhg could have it because that is one he really likes. K had grilled chicken tenders and fried okra and she was certainly pleased with her dinner. All in all it was a good decision. I was pleased that the manager actually did his job: this is the second manager at the Kokomo store that I have seen do this, so that says something about the store itself.* We poked around the store a little bit and Rin and I each got a lightweight cardigan that actually felt tolerable on my skin and looked cute to boot. It is versatile in how you can handle the bottom of it which is kind of neat. It was on clearance which is even more neat. 🙂

After we left, I took over driving because Rin was pretty tired. I wanted coffee and had some money left on my Starbucks card, so we stopped at the first one (Kokomo has 2), but their espresso machine was locked up. For the trouble, they gave Rin and K 3 vanilla bean scones for free. While they were inside, I called Mom who had called the day before. She has been staying at my Grandmother’s house helping her recover from shoulder surgery. They had called to talk to K because they had gotten the letters she had mailed them. I talked to her for a few minutes and then called them back on Grandmother’s phone since Mom is getting low on cell minutes. I got to talk to Grandmother for a little bit which was nice. She is doing all right, but is in a lot of pain when the medicines wear off and apparently she is being stubborn about holding off until the last minute before taking them. *sigh* She is too stubborn for her own good sometimes. She had fun hearing stories about where we took Miss Ma’am and she thought it was a very good experience for her. She was also pleased by hearing about K’s big girl manners and she laughed and said that she suspected that K would be teaching those Yankees a thing or two by the end of the year.

K was vibrating in her seat by that point, so I handed the phone back and let her chat with Grandmother and Mom for a little bit while I headed to Starbucks number two. She finished talking about the time we got there because both of those ladies are tired. She and Rin went inside to get my coffee because they are cool like that and I took the opportunity to call Dad who has been staying at the house by himself. We chatted for a little bit and I told him about my new shiny because I knew he would appreciate it. I wanted to talk to him for a few minutes before I let K because I knew that once she knew who I was talking to she’d want the phone! 😀 He and K talked for a bit which made him pleased as punch, though I’ll admit that it makes me happy that he sounds just as thrilled to talk to me, too. 🙂

The drive home was pretty uneventful. We were trying to get K to sleep since it was kind of late, but she couldn’t fall asleep. Rin started to brainstorm with her about the day which turned into an impromptu history lesson. I was a bit startled by some of the things she didn’t know about early American history. I know that she is only in third grade, but it seems like some of the things, like information about the original colonies are things she should have at least heard of before, ya know? We talked a bit about early Indian relations (she actually knows a bit more about Native American culture than early American) and explained a few things, including why the name of the festival was important. When Rin asked her if she would like her to find books on the Potawatami at the library, K was quite excited in her reply which makes me squee just a bit. She loves to learn new things and I think that is totally freaking awesome.

We made a quick grocery store run on the way home because K has been having leg cramps and we suspected that some of that was because she hasn’t been eating bananas regularly, so she and Rin ran in and got some of those and a few other things and then we headed home. We got her put to bed and then Rin started on her homework and some laundry. I was playing around on the computer and reading a book. Poor Rin had to stay up…I’m not sure what my excuse was. I did crash out on her around 6 and she was kind enough to get K ready and on the bus this morning.

Goings on at IUSB
I ended up driving her to class this evening which was kind of fun. K and I went to get a snack while we waited. It started raining shortly before we picked her up which was kind of annoying since she got soaked getting into the car. She had her Illuminations class tonight and she is having some trouble with the professor. I am not amused by said professor’s behavior and I think that she needs a swift kick in the bum. She has no real awareness of what life with a chronic illness is like and her attitude is showing it. She also is not very good at explaining things and despite the fact that 4 other people who were in class misunderstood an assignment, she chalked Rin’s misunderstanding (a misunderstanding that cost her about 20 extra hours of work) up to “you weren’t in class.” Um, no. *headshake* So now, Rin is planning another meeting with Disabled Services to see what, if anything, can be done. *sighs* I -really- hate professors like this and I get very angry by their attitudes. It is very frustrating to watch someone you love crying over the class that she was most looking forward to this semester. Thankfully, her other professor is being much more reasonable and that is helping some, but, yeah, the Illuminations class is proving to be very frustrating which makes me feel for her rather a lot.

Monday Evening Wrap-Up
After Tadhg got home, he made everyone dinner which was neat. He had told Rin about his plan last night because while we were in Rochester, he had gone shopping and bought the chicken to make a Thai dish he had made before that K had really liked. It was a bit too spicy for me the first time around, but this time he made it a little bit differently. It was still pretty spicy and I ate more rice and than chicken and veggies, well that and the bowl of sugar snap peas I had had him set aside for me, but it was still good. Miss Ma’am certainly enjoyed it which is kind of surprising given that she doesn’t always like spicy food. Apparently this combo works for her though.

While we ate, we were watching episodes of The Office. One, I never thought I would like that show, but it definitely has its funny moments. Two, the fact that K is hooked on it is utterly hilarious. Tadhg has seen all of the episodes, so he picks and chooses which ones are K appropriate and which ones he either knows for sure aren’t or the ones he is suspect of, so it’s not like she is watching EVERY episode. It is funny when she picks out behaviors of Michael’s that are either a) ridiculous or b) not okay because it means that she is actually engaging with the show and not just mindlessly laughing when she thinks she should and it also means that she is able to take the lessons she has learned about the world and about behavior and apply them to a setting outside of herself and that is fascinating to watch. Does she understand all of it? Heck no. A lot of the jokes are over her head; however, there are other things that she does get and that makes them even more amusing. After she went to bed, the three grown-ups watched one of the Justice League movies which I hadn’t seen before. It was pretty good…but now I can’t remember the title. Tadhg had to go to bed and Rin and I were up a bit longer. We watched a couple of episodes of Eureka…well, I watched them and she took a nap in the recliner. 🙂 I finally sent her to bed and she is likely going to be a bit rawr at me when she finds out how late I was up. Woops. Between the headache I had and the agitated, not being able to settle sensations, well, it was going to be a bad idea to just lay down…so here I am writing a mini-novel in my blog again, go figure. 😛

Coming Soon
Other than that, the job hunt is still on-going. We finally have information on local Girl Scouts and there are intro meetings next week, so that is exciting. This week K has the Fun Run at school which she already has some sponsors for which is good. I like the Fun Run fundraiser because it lets kids earn money for the school AND do something active instead of having them accomplish the earning money goal by selling crap that nobody wants to buy. This weekend we -might- try to go to the coronation of the new King and Queen, but a lot of that is going to depend on how people are feeling and how much work Rin can catch up on. We shall see what happens.

In the meantime, I think I have written myself out of words again, so I am going to get a little bit of sleep before the alarm goes off.

*Nota Bene: I worked at Cracker Barrel when I was in high school, so I have a fair idea of how things are supposed to work. I always compliment managers who have their shit together because several of the ones I worked under didn’t always. It is nice to see the system working correctly. However, the fact that I used to work at Cracker Barrel can occasionally make me annoying to go to CB with because I do know how things are supposed to work and I tend to get tetchy when they don’t.

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