Monday, May 21, 2012

Priorities Part 3

In previous posts, I've asked myself why I belong to the Society for Creative Anachronism, what I want from the group and from my participation, and where the SCA falls on my list of life's priorities.  The first two questions were easy.  For the third, there are no easy answers jumping out at me.  Each situation requires careful consideration. 

I know that being part of the SCA has given me good friends, many of whom have become part of my family.  There is much I have to offer the SCA in the way of experience and, according to a dear friend, tenacity. 

I want to be able to enjoy myself, give freely of the time I have available, and continue to learn.  So, that answers my last question.  The SCA might not be first on my priorities at this point in my life, but it is near the top.  The time that I'm not committed to family and work will certainly continue to be filled by the Soceity and my friends there.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

SCA-desires, wants, and priorities (part 2)

A quick the last post, I had called for us "old-times" to ask ourselves the questions I ask of newcomers.  What it is that we think of when we bring to mind the Middle Ages, what it is we want from the Society for Creative Anachronism, and where the SCA lies in our priorities.

When I think of the Middle Ages, I still picture castles and knights and ladies wearing pointy hats, that I now know are called hennins.  I think of cathedrals and abbeys, fields of grain and fields for tourneys.  And under it all is still a little of old Hollywood with Camelot and Danny Kaye and Errol Flynn.

For what I want from the SCA?  That's a harder question.  I want to feel that initial awe I felt at that first event.  To breathe in the experience.  How amazing is it that these people pull together to create a taste of the Middle Ages and Renaissance?  I want to make sure I go to events and be the persona so many people helped me to develop over the years.  Lady Elizabeth is a delightful flirt, a hardworking laborer who sets up and clears away decorations for the tournament, a cook that wants to make sure the people are well fed and enjoyed the food, an artisan who might not be a major talent but is willing to share what she knows in hopes that those gentles she taught will go on to out stripe her abilities.  I want to improve the skills I have and continue to dabble in new experiences.

But where to find the time and what to focus on?  Unlike that time back in college when we had weekly gatherings to plan and hold workshops and nearly daily fencing practices, I am responsible for more than just getting to class and getting good grades.  I have a full time job and since marrying, two families that live 60 miles apart.  How do I balance the commitment to the SCA with my modern responsibilities.  How do you  decide which is more important....a business meeting or your husband's grandfather's 85th birthday party that was planned at the last minute so he wouldn't raise a fuss about a fuss being raised over him?  Which is more important to a parent, fighter practice or their child's school play?  You have a bad cold but committed to teaching a workshop?  You are supposed to help out with court, but your company is behind on filling orders or got a new account that needs immediate attention?

Monday, May 7, 2012

SCA-desires, wants, and priorities (two parts)

I would challenge those who have been in the SCA for more than five year, twenty years or even facing a golden anniversary of participation to aks ourselves those questions once more. What do I want from the SCA and where does the SCA sit on the list of my life's priorities.

Frequently, when meeting newcomers to the SCA, I ask them to describe their picture of the Middle Ages and what they hope to "get out of" and expierence in the SCA.  The viewpoints are varied, but all have carried a common theme.  The romanticism of Chivalric Ideal.  Bright banners and horns calling to announce the arrival or Royalty or to signal the start of battles.  Food of great variety to temp the palate.  The question, "What do you want from the SCA," is so much harder to answer.  Are you here to learn, to find frienship or even romance, recognition of your skills, to "live the dream," or some combination of it all.

Another question we should ask them is, "How involved do you want to be?"  This hobby of ours has the potential to become all consuming if we let it.  Should we be looking at newcomers and assuming they want to dive in and hold offices and help run events, or should we instead be giving them time to discover the SCA at their own pace. 

I asked myself why I joined the SCA in the first place.  The answer was easy.  I loved fairy tales and gowns and movies with castles and princesses. 

My first exposure to the SCA was a demo on my college campus.  I didn't get to go to the demo because of classes, but I heard there were people wearing amour and beatiful clothes, they danced and fought and sang!  I wanted to know more.  The next year I met this boy with beautiful eyes and we started dating.  He belonged to that group.  I fell in love...with the boy with the beautiful eyes and the SCA.   I wanted to do everything!  Okay, except the heavy armoured combat.  My first event was over in the Barony Marche of Debatable Lands...I think the theme was Eros vs. Agape, the different kinds of love.  It was a fairy tale day of fighting, feasting, and theater with dinner.  I was introduced to ladies working needlepoint and knitting, met knights and great fencers, and had brandied pears.

 I've been a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) for over two decades. In that time, I've have held the offices of Herald, Seneschal, and A&S officer. I have been a fencer, autocrat, feast-o-crat, and seamstress. I have dabbled in calligraphy, illumination, tablet weaving, knitting, fingerloop braiding, brewing and more.  Recognition and awards have come my way over the years, too.  It's a wonderful feeling when your peer acknowledge the work you've been doing, but mostly a simple, "Thanks!" warms my heart the most.

But were do I go from here? be continued in a couple days

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Spring Thing

Have you ever been called a deluder, equivocator, fabler, fabricator of tales, fibber or trickster? Surely there are those among us who've been labeled a bag of wind, blatherskite, boaster, gasbag, know-it-all or hotshot? What about a bandit, kleptomaniac, pilferer, porch climber, spider or swindler? If you, or someone you know, fall into these categories, we request that you attend our annual Spring Thing event hosted by the Canton of Westland Mor on June 2, 2012. We will build our thieves den at Twin Lakes Park; no street address, Pavilion #5, in Greensburg, Pa 15601. Nary will a dull moment be had by those wanting to participate in heavy weapons fighting and fencing. The prize? Why, bragging rights for the day, of course! Or, show-off your skills with axes and knives at our thrown weapons range. But, don't be too much of a windbag, or you might miss out on our brewing competition. This year's theme? Tea! Beg, borrow or steal your best mix of teas and show them off to our contemptible crew of judges. Keep a close eye on your secret recipe, however, or it might just walk off in someone's pocket!
A boastful day board and feast will be prepared by our Feastocrat THLady Caitilin and her hijacking helpers Lady Rosheen and Lord Gunther. They filched from many nobles to bring you plenty of mouthwatering treats befitting a pack of thieves.
The site opens at 10am and closes at 8pm. Anyone left onsite at that time will be conscripted to the clean up crew. The autocrats for this event are: Lord Garith Craig ( and Lady Elizabeth Thorne ( 724-850-7404. Please send any dietary concerns to our co-Feastocrat Lady Rosheen ( Feast is limited to 50 gentles! Adults (16 and older), on-board $15 and off-board $8; Younger folk (6-15), on-board $8 and off-board $4; Children under age 6 are free. A family cap of $50 shall exist. The $5 non-member surcharge will be collected at check-in for those without proof of current SCA membership (please do not include this in your pre-registration fee). Our Reservations Clerk is Lady Cainder ingen Chonchobair (mka Glenna Connor - 106 Connor Lane, Loyalhanna, PA 15661, 724-539-1531 and Make checks payable to “SCA, Inc. - Westland Mor”.
Directions:From Points East and West: Take Rt. 30 towards Greensburg. Turn onto Donohoe Rd. at the traffic light in front of Westmoreland Mall. From the east, this is a right turn. From the west, it is a left turn. Follow the road to the right towards the Toys R Us store. Continue straight through a traffic light and two stop signs. Turn left after the second stop sign and follow the signs to Twin Lakes Park and Pavilion #5.
From Points North and South: Take Rt. 119 to Greensburg and turn onto Rt. 30 East. Follow Rt. 30 East and turn left onto Donohoe Rd. at the traffic light in front of Westmoreland Mall. Follow the road to the right towards the Toys R Us store. Continue straight through a traffic light and two stop signs. Turn left after the second stop sign and follow the signs to Twin Lakes Park and Pavilion #5.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Literary Moment...

If it please you, I should happily share these words from a favored play:

A Midsummer-Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
Act V, Scene I

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, (and all is mended,)
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yeilding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend ; 
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long :
Else the Puck a liar call,
So, good night unto you all !
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.

"A Literary Moment... " is something new that I would like to add to our blog. Literature plays an important role in society and has done so from the first words penned to paper and the first story orally passed along.  It is through stories that we often best express and share our ideas and beliefs. Literature has the power to inspire... the power to expand our minds... the power to move us... the power to free us.  Through literature we can learn compassion and chivalry.  And sometimes, should we be quite fortunate, literature can simply make us smile and laugh! As hopefully the quote above does for those familiar with the antics that take place within A Midsummer-Night's Dream.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

For the Baronial Champions

We are Bog
These three words are tiny but together they evoke a spirit of family, strength born of adversity, courage to be not afraid, and a joy of life, the likes of which are found nowhere else in the Known World. These tiny words bind us together tighter than any rope.
We are BOG, the family, and the friend; the Barony, the Canton, and the People.
WE are Bog! Called out in unison to be heard across the field of battle and our foes quake in fear.
We ARE Bog, The song in every raven's heart as battle is joined and let no foe go undefeated
WE ARE BOG! Let all know, together we are invincible, undivided, we are passionate, and we are strong.
To you, Our champions, We say, "We are Bog".
As you represent the Barony, remember who we are.
When you stand for us remember what we symbolize.
WE ARE BOG! Be proud of what you have done this day.

-- Mistress AElfra Long

Monday, September 5, 2011

New Known World Handbook

Garith and I just got our new copy of the Known World Handbook.

The handbook has been given a complete overhaul from the last edition. The cover is shiny and a quick flip through showed detailed illustrations for drafting garb patterns and actual pictures of different fighting stances. A closer look reveals careful organization and thought.

The new cartoons are cute, but I really miss the old ones. You know you've been in the SCA a long time if you hear "Carthagenian war elephant" and automatically respond "needs more duct tape."

The costuming section is very detailed. There are a number of different illustrations for making the trusty t-tunic and circle cloaks. The editors also included directions on how to make different styles of neckline (and how to finish those) as well as viking dresses and Irish style dresses. One of the best features is the section on how to take your measurements to ensure a proper fit. Attention was even paid to head wear in this edition.

The other chapters with lots of great new info is armouring, fight preparation, and chivalric arts. Descriptions of how to get started include not just concepts like "buy ye some armor and go to fighter practice," but better recommendations like "The one thing you don't want to do is buy armor without trying it on first" and "Your helm is your best friend...PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, do not skimp here." There are directions on how to make a gorget, demi-gauntlets, lamellar, shields of different shapes, and more. The chivalric arts section describes techniques and includes pictures of a gentle taking different stances and follow through positions.

What I found lacking is the arts & sciences chapter. There first five pages are dedicated to research, documentation, and why you should want to enter your creations into competitions and exhibitions. You even find out about how work is judged and how to get involved in judging. There isn't much to inspire creativity. A couple pages on dance are provided. Other activities are skimmed over in just a few paragraphs like singing, poetry, storytelling, music and jest. There are directions for a couple games. The descriptions are dry and there aren't any instructions to get started in any of the crafts.

Those types of articles have apparently been replaced with brief descriptions of "additional past times" in that new chapter. I was reminded that we have activities like hound coursing, equestrian games,and jousting. Thrown weapons and archery are given attention in this edition of the handbook.

The SCA does need to promote the educational opportunities available to us. However, I would have preferred to be given projects that don't need much guidance to get excited about learning, instead of the somewhat daunting need to get involved in displaying my work that I don't know how to do yet. Overall, the new Known World Handbook does what it needs to do for newcomers. The history, descriptions of clothing and chivalry give a wonderful glimpse into the dream.