Tuesday, May 24, 2016

From Calm To Clamor

Last year I spent searching for engrossments. Ways to connect and feel purposeful, alive. 

Labor day I visited close friends and others in November. I decluttered the house. I went shopping at Kris Kinder, helped with Lonely Tower's 12th Night Event and attended the Clothiers Symposium. I started this blog, took up Tai Chi and found my way through spring. 

Then boom. The last six weeks have been nuts. I've had as many things to do as I did the previous six months.

Since April 1, I traveled to visit family and friends, revamped my craft room, created an award scroll, taught a class and helped with another class. I had good out-of-town friends visit

I still have a poster to make, catch up the Lonely Tower Roll of Arms and prepare for camping at Calontir's Lilies War. All by mid-June.  

Lonely Tower's Roll of Arms
Active Members Heraldic Devices

Of course, neither time period discussed includes daily life things like funerals and family holiday celebrations, taking dogs to the groomer, walking two miles most days, my doctor visits, and occasionally being a Granny-Nanny. Those just happen.

Thankfully, I have learned to pace myself. Barring any major intrusive event, I will survive and thrive.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Lonely Tower's Scribal Gathering

May 8th Lonely held an afternoon of scribal classes. Mistress Aiden came from out of town to present Lord Kahlil his auction winnings, a scribal start up kit. It included books, paints, pens, tools, and other materials. A real haul. 

M. Aiden and Ld. Kahlil

Kahlil spear-headed the scribal afternoon which included the introduction to Kahlil's starter kit, how to use them for calligraphy and illumination.
Mistress Aiden taught calligraphy, Master Rolf, Honorable Lady Astrid, and I taught painting and design skills.

One on one instruction was available for inspiration. 

Sharing and learning new skills, whatever the level of the student, is heartening. As taught in yoga, "Every teacher is a student; every student is a teacher."

7 SCA Peer Mentoring Expectations

I've apprenticed to two different Laurels in the SCA and live more remotely than many in Calontir. It's why I've considered peer mentoring at length. 

When asked, my answers depend on who's asking. Still, I have turned over in my mind the essence and aspects of floating a peer-associate boat . 

Proximity--The closer the better. There should be a possibility to connect more often than at SCA events. You don't have to live in the same town, but I would limit travel to day-tripping, three hours one-way tops. You want to spend more time sharing than driving, to bond and work as mates. 

Respect--Each must know and respect the other to succeed. Without mutual respect, the student won't take the peer's advice seriously. The peer's guidance may seem inconsiderate. Does the student consider the peer's craft, service and deportment appropriate? Does the peer feel the student exudes learning desire and caring? 

Honor--Reputations rub off on close associates and each person's behavior reflects on the other. Do you share compatible moral codes? Who does each visit at events? Even before a formal announcement, repeated connections are noted by others. The relationship should be a blessing for all, and the community too.

Learning Environment--Do both have available time and compatible schedules? Does the teacher know what the student wants to learn or where to find it? How is criticism shared and taken? These considerations float the association boat and make learning possible.

Goals--Mutual goals are important to any relationship. What does each want from the association: skill knowledge, authentic encampment or an event pal? Goals set the boat's direction.

My opinion: I wouldn't take an apprentice if hanging out was their only goal. I would gladly welcome them and offer hospitality.

Length of Commitment--My experience leads me to believe there should be a designated length of time.  Both should re-evaluate renewing the commitment annually or agree to automatically disassociate. Sort of an escape hatch.

Household--My experience is the siblings in the household build a close relationship, sometimes closer than with the peer. For a joyful household, a bond must form for them to become shipmates. How can each of you build that? What consultation is asked and given to take a new member?

These and similar questions take time (perhaps a year) for each and all to consider and test, together and separately, prior to associating. Except for honor, I could make concessions. Sharing and weighing the details sets the boat's direction toward its port.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Nan's Early Days

My daughter Denise has a birthday next week. Just to annoy her I'm posting early pictures of her.

This was taken in 1981. A rare photo of me with her. I'm usually the one behind the camera.

This one was taken on a visit to Omaha with her paternal Grandmother, Gloria. Denise is about 2 years old.

An early birthday party. Denise is in the red shirt up front. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Omaha's Henry Doorley Zoo Senior Day

Monday Montclair Senior Center members took a field trip to Omaha's Henry Doorley Zoo, the best zoo in the USA. Of course, it rained a pleasant pace the whole time we were there. Even so, we enjoyed our free visit and bus ride.

Henry Doorly Zoo Map

Our Three Montclair Center Employee Organizers
The first place we all went was the Desert Dome, itself an Omaha landmark. We saw plants and animals from three different deserts. The southern African Namib, the Australian Red Center, and the American southwest Sonoran Desert. 


The Peccary will not win any beauty prize, but they were available for photos. Many animals were hiding, camouflaged, or too boring to photograph.

Leaving the desert, I went below ground to the Kingdoms of the Night. A very different exhibit about animals living without light in caves and below ground. A whole other world.

Next, I went to the Lied Jungle exhibit. Very humid and more photogenic than either the desert or the dark. 


Jungle Selfie 

After the jungle, I went for lunch, taking a few photos outside as I went. When I got to the Treetops Restaurant I realized there was an inside hall I could have taken to get there from the jungle. (Doh, but I would have missed these photos if I walked the hall.) 

Treetops Restaurant With Rainforest View

After lunch, I walked to the Butterfly and Insect Exhibits, then to the water loving animals. The Scott Aquarium has everything from Artic penguins to warm water fish in beautiful, unique displays.

Penguins On Ice

Here's Nemo

With an hour before I was to meet the bus I walked to the enclosures for the giraffes and the newly acquired elephants. The giraffes were inside because their outside home is being rebuilt. The six new elephants were inside to help them acclimate to their surroundings, after transferring from Africa. Both will soon be in the African Grasslands exhibit when it is done.

African Grasslands Construction


And no zoo trip would be complete without passing through the gift shop to hunt for possible personal trophies or gifts. 

A day's worth of fun even with the rain.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Reconnecting With My Family

I was on the road again. This time, reconnecting with my family living near Minneapolis. I seem to be doing this a lot lately, so check out my other reconnections here and here.

My brother Gene was 84 years old Tuesday. The reason for my visit. I wanted to hang out with him. He walks three miles every day at the Burnsville Center enclosed mall. So I did too. Gene goes at a clip almost too fast for me and I'm 14 years younger. He's done that for years. Now he walks it in two sessions, half in the morning, half in the afternoon. A great role model for me.

Later, we met with his friends who also walk the mall at 7:00 AM. That's me in the patterned shirt.

After a short road trip to a quiet country cemetery to view cherished family's graves, I took him to El Azteca for lunch. It has the best Mexican food I've ever eaten. Their margaritas are tinged with an orange flavor mellowing their taste. I ate up their piquant chile relleno telling Gene, "I so want to come back here the next time I visit. Their food is amazing!"

I've never seen this either. Your waiter prepares guacamole from whole avocados as you like it right at your table. 

Wednesday included another early morning walk at the mall and some errands. Later we stopped by Cub Foods to visit with the friends he's made who frequent the store. I met some of them when I visited four years ago on my last trip here. 

My trip's grand finale was Gene's birthday party, a day late. It was at Casper's...Restaurant. 14 family and friends met for happy hour and shared good food.  

Have a look at a few of my many celebration pictures.

No birthday party ends without eating cake and singing happy birthday. 
Even with Gene's vocal protests.

And Gene's wonderful smile. The one I always remember.

My plan is to return again sooner and more frequently. Four years was four years too long.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Mother's Memories

Last Sunday was Mothers' Day, May 8, 2016. Here are a few relevant pictures. 

Me about April 1980. Very pregnant.
That's my really-you-want-a-picture-of-me-like-this pose.

Looks about 1981. 
Denise now eating baby food.

Denise as a Brownie and me as the 
troop leader, 1987.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Denise with our pet ferret, Pretzel. 
Love that happy beaming face.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Reconnecting With More BFFs

Wow! This has been a year for reconnections and recollections. I recently visited Kansas City to visit long time friends and now Arnoud and Gillian have come to visit me. We were the closest friends before they moved to Texas in 1998.
I can't begin to write about all the many friends' names' recalled, and stories shared, both former and recent. I think we talked non-stop for three days.

One day we met Dolan and Kezia to enjoy Omaha's Old Market.

Returning to my house we shared snacks and drinks, more life histories and listened to Dolan sing his Reign For All Time. (Of course, the YouTube video doesn't do his singing justice.)

Arnoud, Gillian and I also ate out several more times and toured Omaha together. 

One day Arnoud went to see Bellevue, NE, where they lived before they moved away. Gillian and I lazed around my house and talked girl-talk. 
We both missed our long bonding soul-mate talks.

Their last evening here was to attend another friend's wedding. As they left for Miele's wedding we shared how nice it was she got married so we three could deeply share and reconnect.