Not too chicken, after all

Okay, so maybe I didn’t get up and talk to many people. Maybe I stuck to my friends a little too much. Maybe even the few attempts I made at mingling flopped. Still, in the end, I had fun. I even won something!

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That’s right; even though I didn’t “win” the Weird Weapon bar fight, I got an A for effort prize–and a weird weapon of my own for next year. 🙂

I wore that chicken with pride the rest of the night, and I received several compliments and congratulations from people on my prize.

Conclusion: The SCA can be fun even for a major introvert like me. There were several points in the day when I felt left out or out of place, but overall I had a great time. I plan on expanding into needlework and possibly illumination (decorating scrolls for awards), but first thing’s first: Phoenix Comicon.

Now that we’ve had our first SCA event as fighters and we have our protective garb for rapier practice, I have nothing holding me back from powering through the cosplay sewing and getting shit done. I’m going to start on the corset next (to give myself plenty of time to order the boning I’ll need) and then the skirt, shirt, my husband’s coat, and, if I have enough time, some bloomers for myself (because I feel really uncomfortable in skirts when I don’t have something underneath). After designing and finishing two three-layer tunics in less than two weeks (with the initial design being for two layers, which meant quite a bit of finagling to get the third on after I had already started), I’m more confident that I can get it all done.

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Flying by the seat of my tunic

Well, here goes nothing! I’ve started the tunic for my Rus Viking SCA persona. I used some old fabric my mom gave me to kind of mock it up a bit, then I started on the real fabric.

So far, the tunic (what little there is of it just yet) seems to fit okay. A little snug in places, a little big in others. But I don’t need it to be 100% perfect…it just has to hold up against a rapier. I’m starting on the outer linen layer, then I’ll do the inner cotton layer once I’ve got the measurements down pat. Then, bada boom-bada bing, tunic will be ready for the next event (or even the next fight practice, if I can get my husband’s done before then as well).

Even though I’m using rough patterns I found online, since those “patterns” were just vague sketches of what shapes to cut out (with measurements based on someone smaller than I am) I’m pretty much winging this. I mean, I haven’t found any historical patterns for what I’m trying to do that are readily available, so this is like my “make it work” moment here.

I’d post a pic of the tunic as it is currently pinned on the dress form, with one sleeve pinned on, but that just looks silly. No, I’ll wait until I have it basted down and I’m certain that it’l fit. If it doesn’t, I’m kinda screwed, but I think it will. I just need to stay calm and keep on truckin’.

Hopefully this Friday we can order the gear we need for rapier fighting. So far, I need a mask, gorget, hood, and gloves. My husband needs gloves and a codpiece, but he already has a mask and gorget from when he used to fence. We have a friend who is supposedly going to give us gloves (since my husband loaned some to this friend’s daughter and they somehow got lost before he gave my husband’s gear back), but I don’t know if that’ll make the cutoff time for the next event. The guy might actually be at the event, so maybe we’ll get them then, but I worry that we won’t have gloves in time.

I got my first rapier-induced bruise this past weekend. Kinda proud of it, tiny though it is. Why am I proud that I got hit? Well, it’s because I actually was out in the field (well, a field of sorts–we practice at the local park). Even after I got frustrated a couple of weeks ago, I geared up and got back into it. I didn’t cry, I didn’t freak out, I just practiced until I needed a break then practiced some more. I get the feeling that most of my “opponents” are taking it easy on me and just being nice when they say I’m doing well (and I know they’re letting me get hits in sometimes when I otherwise would not have gotten them), but it still does give the ol’ confidence a bit of a boost when you get a hit in or when someone tells you “good job” when it’s only your third time “taking arms,” as it were. So this first bruise is a sign that even after I embarrassed myself I got back up there and toughed it out.

Here’s hoping I don’t embarrass the shit out of myself at the next event!

Home sweet home

Even though I had a fun time at the SCA event this past weekend, I’m glad to be home. I slept great last night–perhaps a little too great. I’m groggy as fuck this morning, even after my usual coffee.

^^Okay, so I was groggier than I thought I was. That was written yesterday morning after much, much thought…then I got distracted by the fact that it was time to leave for work and forgot I was even writing a post. D’oh!

It was fun dressing up in period garb and walking around watching the rapier fighting and kinda sorta meeting people.

It was the annual Mideast Feast, so I wore some loaner garb that was sorta Middle Eastern. I’m grateful to have friends that are willing to loan out clothes for events until I can make my own.

Most of the people were from a different barony, meaning I didn’t know them from the local area, and the majority of the new names I learned kinda zoomed in one ear and out the other. Not that I wasn’t trying to listen, but I just was so overwhelmed (not to mention I am terrible with names to begin with). The protocol of calling everyone m’lord/m’lady or calling people with crowns on “excellency” or learning who was king/queen to call “your grace” or the prince to call “your highness” was hard to figure out. Then there’s the whole regular-name-vs-SCA-name thing. I still don’t quite get it, but hopefully I’ll pick up better as I go.

I’ve pretty much picked my SCA name and some of the detail work I’ll do on my garb once it’s finished properly (I’m going to just make it “good enough” for rapier practice for now), and I have the beginnings of a persona. I’m definitely going for Viking shieldmaiden–partly because fighting women are awesome, partly because I get to wear pants instead of skirts–and I’ve got a name picked out that’s referenced as being a Valkyrie in some period poetry. Valkyries are awesome as well. Plus my name loosely translates to either “protection/luck rune” or “ale rune.” Protection/luck for the battlefield, ale for after. 😉

Next up on the SCA list of things to do is going to our first official SCA meeting. It’s kind of like a “town hall” sort of thing, so no garb required, but in two weeks is “court” so we might have to wear garb for that. Hopefully by then I’ll have our fencing/period garb coats done and we can have something to wear to both rapier practice and SCA events. The pants will probably have to wait because of time constraints on the cosplays, which I really need to get cracking on as soon as the jackets are done. For now, jackets and, like, pajama pants will have to do in a pinch. I have patterns for leggings, but not quite the type that the Vikings wore. It doesn’t look too hard though (famous last words).

Some friends of ours are being gracious enough to loan us some rapiers to practice with at home. We’ll definitely have to be super careful, because I don’t yet have a fencing mask or, well, anything. If we can find the wall space, we might put up an EVA foam “target” to stab at. Protects the apartment walls, provides something other than each other to practice on.

This is going to be a time-consuming (and expensive) hobby, but I’m looking forward to getting more involved in the SCA and meeting new people and learning new things. It’s great having the friends we’ve already met and gotten to know, and hopefully I’ll make even more friends as time goes on.

I’m glad my husband finally talked me into joining the SCA and going to events. I’ll have to admit, the rapier fighting kind of cinched it for me. Even though I get frustrated with it at times because I’m very much a beginner, I enjoy it. Stabby-stab. I’m even interested in cut-and-thrust, which apparently is more risky (as far as potential injuries go), but it looks like it would be really fun.

I’m hoping I meet new people at the meeting tonight and don’t get too confused on the name thing. And I hope I don’t pronounce my own name wrong. Norse names are weird.

The Great Outdoors (kind of)

Well, it’s official: I’m am now a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. (Not a card-carrying member yet; those won’t come in the mail for a bit.)

This weekend is my first official SCA event. A camping event. I am not a “camping person.” I am a “creature of comfort” person. But I’m going to give it a try for my husband. He’s so excited for this weekend and for me to be joining the SCA, so I’m glad I can make him happy with this.

I don’t have any “garb” (medieval-style clothing) of my own, so I’m borrowing some from a friend. I’ll be making us some clothing soon, which will cut into my cosplay time, but some of the garb is fairly simple to make so I think I’ll still be able to finish the cosplays by Phoenix Comicon.

So far I enjoy the rapier fighting practice part of the SCA (although it will be quite some time before I participate in any kind of actual fighting/competition). There are apparently a lot of arts things that are available to try/learn, like calligraphy and scroll making and sewing, so hopefully I’ll find more things to do than just stabby-stab people with tipped swords. Not that that’s not fun, but y’know, gotta keep occupied. Plus I’m not a card-carrying fighter, which I guess is a thing that means I’m cleared to actually do more than just practice as a noob. I don’t know how long/how much experience it takes to get one of those cards, but I don’t mind if I just practice for the time being.

One of the pieces of garb that I need to make (technically two, because I need one for me and one for my husband) is some kind of jacket for fencing/rapier practice. It has to be kind of specific in that the fabric has to be puncture-resistant. And I’d really like to have a jacket that fits better than the loaner gear our friends have. Not that I’m not grateful that they provide loaner gear, but I’d like something that doesn’t restrict my movement due to being a bit tight. I’ve already got a fencing mask thanks to my husband being a former fencer, and we plan on ordering a gorget (neck protection) and gloves and stuff for me soon. Basically, all the things I can’t make myself besides the actual swords. Those are expensive. Or at least to me they seem expensive, but I guess for quality you have to pay for what it’s worth, so I don’t mind. We’ll just have to wait a bit and use the loaner swords until we can afford to get our own.

I suppose I should check out the SCA websites (for the SCA itself, our kingdom, and our barony, etc) to see what options I have for activities. Art is probably the way I’ll go, because sewing can get expensive once you factor in all the fabric. Then again, so is cosplay. So I guess this is kind of cosplay of a different sort.

This weekend will be spent in tents and on cots, with a few people I know (and a ton of people I don’t know), and lots of drinking. Not that I want to turn alcoholic, but I may end up getting lit just to cope with the social aspect of it all. I tend to get physically exhausted from too much social interaction, especially with people I don’t know. Our friends will be there, but they’ve all got things to do at this event, so I’m either going to be a social barnacle to my husband or I’m going to sit awkwardly off to the side by myself and try to become invisible.

I try to keep telling myself I can do this. I can do the camping, the outdoorsy stuff, the social stuff … but I’m not sure I have myself convinced yet.

I just hope my social anxiety/agoraphobia doesn’t get so bad I start crying. If that happens, I’ll probably be hiding in the tent for a while. A hermit in a social club. “Hermits United,” as The Doctor said in the “Utopia” episode:

The Doctor: Bit of a hermit.
The Professor: A hermit? With friends?
The Doctor: Hermits United. We meet up every ten years. Swap stories about caves. It’s good fun. For a hermit.

(Had to incorporate Doctor Who into this … because, c’mon, medieval-era stuff? Definitely timey-wimey.)

Well, it’s time to get ready for work. My last bit of modern day before diving into the past. Well, pseudo-past.

Let’s do this!

No loss of time, but lost time anyway

One good thing about living in Arizona (besides the weather): No daylight savings time adjustment.

One bad thing? My husband works from home for a company based out of California, so he had to “spring forward” in a manner of speaking by starting work an hour earlier (since Cali did do the time change). Which means my little bit of “sleeping in” today was interrupted by his alarm.

Oddly enough, the sleeping in has screwed with my morning productivity. I’ve been doing pretty much nothing but talking with people on Facebook messenger for the past two hours. No writing, no editing, nothing of import. I made an energy drink with our Soda Stream (great invention) and took my morning pills, had a few bites of yogurt for breakfast to get me through til lunch, and that’s about it. Haven’t made my lunch for work yet, haven’t taken my shower and gotten dressed, haven’t done much of anything.

I think my body wanted to sleep off some of the aches and pains from the previous day. Yesterday I was sore all day long (as though I had done a heavy workout, without the physical benefits of working out), which has somewhat carried over to today but not as severe.

Part of that aching may stem from the couple of hours I spent sitting on an awkward but much-appreciated stool while watching SCA fighter practice with some friends yesterday. Well, I watched; my husband and our friends participated. I have never done fencing or rapier fighting and was a little apprehensive about trying it out. Now I’m excited for the chance to do something fun that counts as exercise. Hopefully I’ll be out of my boot next Friday and will be able to join in.

There’s some deciding to do as to what “persona” I’ll take for SCA. I want to do a medieval Viking-type character, but my husband–who wants to do couples’ characters–isn’t too keen on the Viking thing. He wants to do Celtic, but I’m kinda Celtic’d out. I know that technically Vikings are more of a fad now than Celtics (thanks to the History Channel show) but I want to be a shieldmaiden. Yeah, yeah, Celts had warrior women as well…but damnit, I wanna be named after a valkyrie and beat on people with sticks. Or use rapier finesse. Whichever ends up being more suitable for me. I don’t quite understand a Viking using a rapier, but I don’t fully understand how SCA LARPing works yet, either, so I’m going to give it a shot.

Our friends who are in the SCA are nice, and they seem very inclusive. I just hope they stay friends. Our luck with friends the past few years hasn’t been the greatest. But that’s how friendships are: they move and grow and evolve and change and often that change includes a rift that can’t be crossed.

Hopefully I’m back to my early morning schedule tomorrow. I have to get back in the swing of early morning productivity, especially with the boot soon to be off and the sewing back in action. Two and a half months until Phoenix Comicon–gotta get cracking!