Screaming versus Discussion

(I jotted down this blog post immediately after waking from a dream this morning. Apparently my subconscious had a few things to say.)

Amazing how much when I am in a dream and I am screaming, that these are the words that will echo over and over in my head afterwards.

I dreamt I was camping at an SCA event. And people were shouting at each other, discourse and troubling arguments, including political, social, and philosophical arguments. But everything was about the shouting. Finally, I jumped up and interrupted somebody. And my shouting response went as this.

I am SICK and TIRED of all of the SCREAMING discourse in this place. If you had come to me and simply said, “my Lady, I understand that we have a disagreement on these matters but since I value your opinion, could you perhaps spare 10 minutes to spend speaking with me on these things?”

And I would reply to you, “Not only do I have 10 minutes for you, but I have 10 times the respect for you and I have *15* minutes for this matter. But for now, I am going to sit down and STOP SHOUTING because none of these people around us in this campground signed up to hear me screaming and shouting at them, except as a Herald upon the field!”

And there was suddenly applause all throughout the campground, and I went back to my seat and sat down.


This is finally *my* solution to the things I have significant problems with about social media, or some of the various clubs or communities that I am a participant in.

Stop SHOUTING at me when I am trying to relax and enjoy myself. If you have a disagreement, offer me a limited time for us to have regular conversation. But stop the SHOUTING at me in public (literal or figurative).

Shameless Plug: Dance in Oxnard moves to Tue in July

Most of you know that I teach American Tribal Style® (ATS®) bellydance. Just in case someone misses my announcements elsewhere and is just checking in on me at my blog, I thought I might do a bit of cross-promotion.

New Night! 
In July, my Oxnard class at Club NEMA moves to Tuesday nights! (still 7-8 PM)

  • 2018 Session 4: Jul 10, Jul 17, Jul 24, Jul 31, Aug 7, Aug 14, Aug 21, Aug 28 Hafla – 7 weeks
  • Free Intro class to kick off the session on Jul 3!

#ATS #bellydance #ATSbellydance #tribal #CaySwannDance #ClubNEMA #oxnard


Trying to Remember Everything

A couple of months ago, I spent some time reading part of the classic, “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. Now, I’m no stranger to organizing and planning and accomplishing things, and reading books about organization is not for the faint of heart. (I haven’t even finished the book yet, because I wanted to chew on some of the concepts, as well as attempt a few modifications, before reading further. Plus, fiction is more fun to read on my lunch hour.)

On of the themes that jumped off the page at me was the notion of having a way to stop “trying to remember” details and instead, have a trusted system where you record the information. 

I have several ways I record information. I use Evernote for “larger project” or events, especially if I’m collating information from different sources. I can easily copy/paste if I’m on a computer, or add things on the fly from my phone. I use Google Keep if it’s a short shopping list or maybe just one item I need to be able to quickly copy/paste somewhere else. 

A few weeks ago, I decided to make a “Daily Process Flow” list of “all the things I should be checking regularly online” whether that’s actually daily or weekly. Sometimes I get so caught up in whatever the shiny task of the moment is or the latest deadline, that I forget all the OTHER regular tasks I wanted to keep up on. Today was the first time I got past the “things I’ve been doing regularly” and started reading the bottom of the list with the “semi-regular” tasks.

It’s amazing how much easier it is to get to the semi-regular tasks, when I stay up on the daily and frequent tasks. It means when I think to write a blog post, it’s easy to fit that into my morning. Or when I want to schedule time to edit a photo album, I get it done.

The other trick is that I log small reminders on my Google calendar, so that a notification will pop-up on my phone. I hate to swipe away a reminder for a task that I want to complete, and I hate to leave a notification on my phone. Notifications really do make me want to mark them as “Done.” I used to casually say in email or messages, “I’ll do that when I get home.” And invariably, I would forget. Now, I log the reminder on my phone with a day and time for the notification or alarm to go off. And maybe 50-75% of the time I can actually accomplish the task at the time. The other 25-50% of the time, I just reschedule the reminder for a better time.

I’m loving feeling ahead for a change. What a relief.

I finally remembered to take photos of a project for someone else to make things for me–and now that project is happening!

Relaxation Goal Achieved

Potrero War is an event within the middle ages re-enactment group that I participate in. We go camping at a county park east of San Diego, practically near the international border. Weather in May can be variable — hot, humid, dry, cold, breezy, raining — different every year. This year, we had *marvelous* conditions. It was cool, even slightly cold, for the first couple of days. The last day was clear and warm without being too hot. And the nights were perfect for hanging out around the camp fires.

I had joked that this year, “I don’t plan to go do ANYTHING! I want to make coffee in the morning and tend the camp fire at night. I don’t want to have to walk any further than the bathrooms or the showers.” Now, while that turned out to be the case, I didn’t mean to fall down and get hurt on Sunday night to achieve that goal (more on that in a bit).

Most enjoyable was making my own artistic decisions all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I did not sign up to teach any classes. I did not sign up to take any classes. But I wanted to just “do whatever” when I felt like it. Two of our campers bring an RV every year and they usually set up a shaded pop-up at the end of their vehicle where we hang out to do weaving and other textiles crafts. I took advantage of our home “salon” and worked on a variety of projects.

I took some time to try and improve my fledgling skills at spinning from a distaff, which means tying the unspun wool to a stick and drawing from that source to make thread. I still find it awkward to control the distaff (stick) while trying to spin, so I set that aside after a couple of practice attempts. I had some “comfort spinning” with me when I felt like not thinking too hard anymore.

One friend came by each day to have her own relaxation time in our camp. Saturday she brought a few friends with her, and I held an impromptu “what is spinning?” demo. It wasn’t hands-on, but they seemed to really enjoy watching how spinning works, plus the nature of end-to-end plying (2-ply) as well as ply-on-the-fly three-ply technique on a spindle (the “black magic” of spinning and plying).

But the bulk of my time I spent working on my Andean Backstrap Weaving projects and skills. Last year at Ply Away 2, I measured out a warp “of four pairs” but never wove on it. Having finished my “three pairs” project in April this year, the “four pairs” project was the natural next one to learn to weave with. 

I’ve come up with a seating solution for modern conveniences plus proper weaving technique. The “handle” you see clamped on to this portable table is half of a “Better Loom” from The Loomy Bin. It’s designed to be the end closest to the weaver for a warp-weight card weaving setup. But it’s perfect to be the tie-down far end for my Andean weaving setup. The table is just right to keep my weaving sword beaters from dropping, or nearby when I set them down to change the shed while weaving. 

My view while I’m “tied” to my backstrap: I’m sitting in a folding chair, working on my folding table

I spent Friday speaking out loud, talking to my weaving, trying to ensure I knew what I was doing. I was still relying on the diagrams from my classes with Abby Franquemont (her website, her FB Page), but the intention was to understand what I was doing so that I could put the diagrams away and weave like “an intelligent teenager” raised in the weaving technique. We joked that I was an “audio book” that people just listened to in the background. By the end of the weekend, the most common phrase I would say was, “Is this what I want to weave? Yes, it is, so I will!” (I would check my pattern row by row, before committing the weft threads. This helped reduce the mistakes I had to unweave, and there were PLENTY of unwoven rows all weekend.)

Here are the key weaving designs I figured out over the three days.

this pattern is called “Mayo K’enko” – the start of one “cow eye” and a “meandering path”

my very first “kutij” pattern: the “double-ended hoe” farming implement

learning to reverse my “Kutij” pattern (the “double-ended hoe”) either left-facing or right-facing and in either color

this “Kutij” variation has a “double-column” in the handle of the hoe

By the end of the event, I finished my band and felt quite accomplished.

Sunday night, I was getting ready to head over to the enclosed structure we call the “closed ramada” to perform in the Bardic concerts. We’d sent a majority of the extra chairs from our camp down to the ramada, for the performers “backstage.” My friend was using his pickup truck to ferry equipment and performers so we didn’t all have to walk.

Here’s where the mishap happened.

I’m fairly short. Many trucks are not designed for people with short legs. They are most *definitely* not designed for short legs AND slippery-soled shoes.

As I was trying to climb into the cab, the foot I had on the running board slid out from under me. The leg that was in the air came crashing down on the shin and knee against the running board. Immediately, I returned to camp and sent everyone on ahead without me. My camp mates grabbed ice for my elevated leg. And when we needed a way to secure the ice against my leg, I was amused that I could grab my newly completed woven straps, which were hanging on my belt, and tie the ice to my leg.

This is why you weave “jákima” straps: Because you never know when you’ll need them!

My leg is merely bruised and technicolor, and I had a lovely night around the fire with friends as we made certain to ice 20-minutes-on, 20-minutes-off for a while.

The entire weekend was extremely relaxing, and it was nice to come home NOT so exhausted that I couldn’t function.

My Sweetie took many more photos, and I have a reminder on my calendar for tomorrow night to try and edit them into an album that can be shared. More images to come later.

You can see the full album of my Andean Backstrap weaving from Potrero 2018 here:

Grief can be Complicated

As I wrote when I posted some photos on Facebook:

Two days notice. Stupid cancer diagnosis gave us two days notice, then took Meala Caimbeul — on her birthday. I can just hear her rant in my head against the unjust situation. Shock and loss, that’s all I feel. (full album on Google+)

It’s been a tough 48 hours around my world lately. A friend died Saturday. She was diagnosed with acute leukemia on Thursday, and they first scheduled chemo to start Monday. Then she returned to the hospital Saturday, was put on oxygen, was supposed to start chemo that day, and died by evening.

And now we are learning that for weeks she was talking to her doctor about knee pain and exhaustion. As many would not be surprised to hear, they just said, “Lose weight.” She was an active fencer, practicing 2-4 x a week for easily 10-15 years now. But the tests that uncovered her cancer were not administered until too late.


But as much as I want to be angry and tag things #fuckcancer, and I legitimately feel sadness and loss and grief, there’s a heavy layer of complications. She was sometimes a tough friend to love. We had our struggles. We had our distance later. 

No one is universally beloved and adored. All of us make friends, make mistakes, have loss, and make changes in our lives. We fall in with friends, we fall out from friends, we move on. And we can never know who will be gone the next time we turn around.

It is so complicated to process everything about losing her. The suddenness of her death just makes things that much harder. 

I’ll never see the color pink without thinking of her a bit. I’ll never think of the 3 Drunken Celts without remembering her appreciation for, and love of, whisky. She was one of the regulars who used the Google+ group to keep writing new posts, new reviews, new event invitations. She was also in the same professional field as me, technical writing, so even in my business world I think of her on occasion. 

She could be brash and forceful. She could be selfless and caring. She wanted so much to fit in and have a place and have friends who loved her as fiercely as she wanted to love back. She was human. She burnt some bridges. She was unapologetic about what she felt strongly towards. And she was still trying to go full-steam up until the very end. 

So many of us hurt at her loss. And I’m fairly certain she would be shocked at how many people she touched. She really felt so under-appreciated for years.

If you have strong-willed people in your lives, don’t assume they have it all together. 

No matter who it is that you love and appreciate, please try to let them know.