Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The age of adulthood.

It's not been widely spoken of but Marcus's 83 year of dad has been in the hospital for the last month or so due to complications with his heart.It's not been a particularly easy time especially since his mum isn't really mobile. It's been pretty difficult all around for a variety of reasons none of which need to be written about in a blog. Just before we were due to leave for DW and then Fedcon and things had not been going as planned though whose plan exactly is still a mystery to me, I was asked my his mum how long my dad was in hospital for. The question threw me for a loop because really aside from the week or so he was there for the diagnosis of terminal cancer his last hospital stay was until he died. I didn't know how to answer her question because my 1st impulse was to say well he never came out of it which given the current state of her being would not have been a good thing to utter. And the question made me sad, it was a stupid and thoughtless question from a person who right now is very wrapped up in her own drama ( in the true sense of that word not the queenly sense of that word). Both Marcus and I have been pretty stoic about this whole thing because until something terrible happens there's not much else to do. There are good days and not so good days but for a guy who is 83 and had heart valve replacement he seems to be doing okay.

I've been through this before. Going to the hospital makes me sad, it dredges up a billion horrible memories which I try to keep choked down so that at least 2 people are somewhat calm and not utterly freaked out by everything but it's hard especially for Marcus who is the rock for his mum right now.

So we're stressed and trying not to show it or let it get to either of us but it's a shitty time all around right now with pockets of fun and light in between. And somehow this time it feels as though this is the benchmark of being an adult, taking care of one's parents, being the care giver instead of the one needing taking care of. In the last month I've felt old and Marcus has more grey hair, he looks tired and he's put on weight and I wonder when this happened because it seems like only yesterday we were all young and carefree.

People get ill and they die and it's horribly sad. Deaths of those we love leave huge holes in our hearts. I hope that we don't have to cope with this for a while yet. I rather love my father in law and dearly want to keep him around for a while.

Monday, April 21, 2014

being handy

For as long as I can recall I've been pretty good at making stuff. My mum tells me I was drawing before I could walk and that when she first showed me how to draw a stick man from across the table and I then proceeded to draw all my stick men upside down she was worried till she figured it out. I love drawing, painting, being an artist and above all, making stuff.

One of the things that has happened recently is I rather unwillingly or maybe that should read unwittingly stepped into the SCA work of textile crafts. My very good friend, Marie, taught me how to tablet weave. A basic pattern but it didn't matter once I saw the initial this is how it works, I was off and running. Not to be held back by lack of materials I raided EBAY and now have a delightful stash of wool, linen and silk to use.

So I've been practicing. 








The latest thing I learned was naalbinding from Ava and now I have almost completed a shawl for my friend Marie. No pictures yet though here are some initial shots...






of course this is much larger now, goes nicely around my shoulders and when it's done I hope to have also incorporated Marie's SCA device colours.

We'll see.... stay tuned.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

we are of the age

My father died at the age of 54 from pancreatic cancer. It was devastating and difficult and while he took his last breath his family stood at his bedside holding his hands. He was not alone and he died surrounded by love. It was a beautiful September day, bright blue skies and sunny. Unusual for Newfoundland. This moment in time is seared into my being like a brand on the skin. He was young and so were we, it was an unexpected death, he went before his time, or so I was told over and over at his memorial service.

Since that moment my families, both of them, have more or less remained intact. As though the gods, having decided that this particular trauma was enough for the time being, had left us alone. Now the past few weeks that has changed. And once again I found myself in a hospital with all the familiarity and uncertainty it brings when a loved one is in need of medical attention, a looming heart surgery and the possibility of not being on the planet in corporeal form anymore.

We are of the age when parents start to get sick, become frail, break down. When unexpected phone calls mean holding one's breath, when the waiting begins for that terrible what if, because it's no longer a what if but a when?.

We are of the age when we need to learn, if we have not already done so, how to let go, how to prepare, how to cope with the knowledge that the table may very well be set for one less. It's the moment when everything changes, as it always does.

we are of the age....


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

apprentices are not servants



I have three apprentices. They are all remarkable, wonderful women. We have a fun relationship because I am not a demanding laurel. I think that firstly, it's a hobby so it should be fun and secondly they will go at their own pace and learn as they go. We check in with each other to make sure things are okay and they have all been told that I am the person they should come to if they have problems within the SCA ( or even outside of it) especially if they have problems with other people no matter what because talking about it before reacting about it is the better choice. The general sentence goes " IF you feel something has gotten out of hand, or you feel uncomfortable about it and you want back up or whatever come to me and I will deal with it." And mostly they deal with stuff on their own because they are all smart, grown women who know their own minds but it's nice to have backup and I think it helps them to know that if shit goes sideways I've got their backs. We have a fun relationship because this is a hobby. And while my job is to teach, to foster, to protect and be an all-around den mum we all know that ultimately for us it's about friendship first.

They are known as the Dark Side minions. This started long before the Despicable me movies because I'm a huge star wars fan and I also play in the 501st which is the Imperial side of things, the tag line for that club is "Bad guys doing good" so the nickname of minion was theirs from the get go. Now with the cute little yellow minions running around the big screen stealing people's hearts it's taken on a larger than life sort of meaning but ultimately it is still a personal thing, an in joke, a term of deep affection between us and we've talked about it so that they know if they don't like it, if they don't want to be called that they can just say and it will end. They are minions in the most fun sense of the word. What they are not is my band of personal servants or slaves.

The latest incident of someone saying to one of my girls "You're a minion so you can do this!" really pissed me off. Firstly ... just no. This whole attitude is wrong. An apprentice no matter what cute name they get labled with, is NOT now not ever anyone's servant and if anyone would like my apprentices to do something for them then they should ask politely. Ailitha, Gunhild and Saraswati are people and should be respected as such. They do things for me because THEY want to not because I have told them to or demand them to or because it is expected because that is not now nor ever the case. So if other people see Ailitha doing my feast gear for me it is because she has asked if she could, we have discussed that she does not have to, and she has reiterated many times she likes to do this and I have told her how grateful I am for it but I DO NOT EXPECT HER TO DO THIS. I expect her and her sisters to be brilliant, to shine at their respective arts and crafts and above all to have fun.
So this is my message to the SCA universe. Apprentices and all of their counterparts are not servants they are people who have a special placement within the hierarchy of the SCA.  As for my apprentices, well they have all been told they have the right to say no if they do not want to do something, respect that answer no matter how much it annoys you, if they tell you you have crossed a line then back off, they have all been told they should stand up for themselves because that is part of the learning process. In short they are not to be mistreated, abused or made to feel as though they are under anyone's thumb especially not because we use the term minion. If I ever catch or hear of anyone doing that to any of my girls again I assure you I will come after you like an angry mother wolf.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Coronation

As soon as we knew that our most awesome of friends Prothall and Cecilia had won crown we also knew we'd be heading up to Sweden in January for the coronation. It booked out fast. We managed to get my apprentice, Ailitha to come and the decision was to all drive up together. She arrived the day before and then on Friday, after manic packing on my part for 2 days straight Marcus can home from work and at 3pm we packed the car and got on the go.

Usually I take pictures of this but I stuffed the camera in a different bag. Oops.
We drove up to Puttgarten and got on the ferry to Rödby right away so that meant no break in the journey then drove through Denmark up to Copenhagen and over the massive bridge. In difference to the last time we drove up the Sweden for a coronation it was mild and mostly just a bit drizzley not a raging blizzard. We still managed to get lost.

We arrived on site sometime after 9pm and after the 1st round of hugs found our respective rooms and started the unpacking process.  Our awesome room mates rearranged  their bedding so that I could have a bottom bunk and Marcus could sleep on the top one over me. ( thank you) Once dressed in Garb it was off to another time and space.

Friday was about presents. The first one was the tablet weaving starter kit from Mervi ( who is co author on a fantastic book about it applesies-and-fox-noses) and to my delight and surprise this included a copy of this very book which is awesome and then Mistress Katheryn gave me her tablet weaving loom. The generosity of my friends is always astonishing to me, I don't ever expect presents but it's wonderful when that happens.

Later on Sir Gilliam brought me a bottle of his amazing mead ( Dark Side mead complete with the appropriate pictures on the lable) and I told him I'd have to get him back, he said that's okay because I was doing his scroll, bwahahahaha I just smiled and said yeah some time... knowing full well that I had finished his long awaited knighting scroll and that he'd get it at the event but he did not know this. The mead will come with us to Feast of fools. He also introduced me to my evil twin. He regrets this. We sat in a delightful round with people we'd never met before and some we don't get to see very often and had a great chat until we decided it was time to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

Marcus in his new viking garb


Saturday's highlights were breakfast, court at which we had great seats so I could take photos of the Knighting ceremony and stuff! becoming Queen's Companion and being given a key to the "royal room". lunch, Hanging out with great people, getting an amazing lesson in tablet weaving from Katheryn, the realisation that I understand a HELL of a lot of Swedish even if I can't speak it. The duchy party, conversations about cats, then sitting with the best people at feast and laughing so hard through almost all of it that people thought we were "on something".  SALMON...don't touch the salmon. Chocolate mintu, conversations about everything, meeting more new to me people. Eventually I ended up quietly slinking off to sit with HRM and make tea in the lateness and chat until we were so tired neither of us could do more than yawn. I slept very well.



Sunday I was up early so toddled down to sit in the breakfast room and munch on yummy pancakes and drink coffee and chat with Mary which was lovely. As more people awoke and came in the conversation expanded and was awesome...eventually the husband and minion joined us. After that it was time to pack and slowly make our goodbyes. 

On the way down to the bridge we decided to eat on the way maybe stopping in Malmö and I remembered that Cecilia and Prothall had planned to meet up with some folks there and have lunch so a quick phone cal later we had lunch plans in Malmö. After much confusion with the parking ticket thingy we found everyone in the train station and had a fantastic lunch  which sort of extended the event, after watching Russia score the 1st goal in the bronze game of the juniors we hit the road for home. Caught the ferry with plenty of time, purchased chocolate mintu and then made it home where we proceeded to flop on the couch and watch Alias.



Today we had an easy start, ate a big brunch and watched Despicable Me 2 with minion#1 and then she also hit the road to go home. Soon it will be back to reality with a bump.

 It was a brilliant event and I really want to say THANK YOU to all the people who worked their asses off to make it so wonderful.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September....

is a melancholy month for me. It's the month my dad died and it's also the month I always feel I should be starting something new, like school. I was a student for so long  ( 9 years of post secondary) that it's kind of ingrained into me September = school. I get restless and kind of peevish and above all melancholy. I must admit if I still lived in Canada ( and had the dosh) I'd probably be working on another degree and probably linguistics but here I'm not sure what I want to do so we've kind of left it alone. Now we can't do that any more, I can't do that any more. I've reached that "I'm bored out of my mind." stage. Let's face it house work isn't that big of a challenge and being on my own almost all the time, as much as I enjoy my quiet, is not always the healthiest thing. The recent week long visit from my minion and surrogate kid showed me what I'm missing. That contact to another bright spark who helps stir imagination and gets me off the couch. So himself and i talked about this last  night because it's showing now, that sadness, that restlessness to do something more, to be something more and the solution is pretty simple. A bicycle and language courses.

A bicycle so I'm more mobile than I am now. We live in the back of beyond as far as German public transportation standards go and while I love to walk 6km to the nearest bus stop is too much even for me. But I could easily cycle to the local train station and from there go anywhere. ( that has rails). So maybe this weekend we will go bicycle shopping and see what's available and sign up for a Japanese language course because right now that's at the top of my list and it has a bit of a time limit. There's a Japanese artist coming to Fedcon next year and I'd really like to be able to say at least the very basic to him without a translator. After that on my list is Swedish, and then to get my French and Italian up to speed and after that who knows tho Russian is also on that list. So this is my small list of things and even just planning helps to alleviate some of the stagnation I currently feel.  

The bottom line is I really miss university and in my heart I'm a forever student.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Dark Side

In a discussion I have been having with a dear friend of mine, to answer a question or rather a comment he made about a comment I made on why I don't enjoy the SCA that much any more this was my reply.  I had spoken about the fact that I seem to spend more time avoiding the SCA and many people in it than enjoying events for what they were.






It's not the closest Scadians that make it unpleasant but rather the general message that gets spread around through the social media's comment sections etc.... Read the comments on facebook and you see that often one of the things that gets said is "I wish we could banish all modern things" and then the argument goes on from there. Usually citing cameras and photography as one of the big no nos. Well I have a big issue with this particular pet peeve because this is also my hobby and my time away from home with friends. I like to have photos of the events to remember them by but, now, every time I pull out my camera I wonder who I will be offending. If I have conversations with my friends about modern day things I wonder the same thing. I've been doing a lot of thinking about this over the last few years, especially now that we are a part of the 501st, and I have something to compare to.

The level of "Spoils my dream" statements have gone through the roof in the last few years and I get fed up of this. Whose dream are we talking about? I don't run around complaining about the people who push for correct 14th C or complain about the fact that some of these people who whinge also smoke, drink coke, wear glasses...etc... we live in the modern world and some things will just be a part of this. It's called the Society for CREATIVE ANACHRONISM for a reason. There are plenty of far more accurate and period re-enactment groups out there to satisfy people's needs. If the SCA doesn't fit these needs then why not branch out instead of complaining or worse trying to conform the group to the individual.  Except the issue is when people do branch out, join other medieval groups they get shit on for doing so because their time is not longer 100% given to the SCA. Personally I think being a part of more than one costume / re-enactment group is healthy. It gives you multiple perspectives and more options to learn, see things from a different point of view, but other people don't seem to get this and they bitch about this as well.  Really right now there's no pleasing people.

The SCA was never a "dream" for me it was a place I met great people and relaxed while wearing a costume. Somewhere along the line it stopped being a costume and became a little bit more which was nice but now I no longer feel as comfortable in the SCA as I once did.  I feel marginalized because mainly this is a weekend hobby for me and mostly what I want to do is relax and spend time with my friends that I don't get to see all that often in a setting that is often gorgeous. Instead, now, I find myself having to defend my point of view, or trying to tip toe around people who get insulted because I talk about my normal life with friends I have not seen in ages, or because I brought out my camera. It's become a lot of work to try and fit in which is a little ironic since it used to be the place were misfits and outsiders were welcome.
If I hear the sentences "because it's not period", or "it's spoiling my dream" one more time I think I will just explode.

I also find that lately I am surrounded by certain people who bring out the absolute worst in me because their behaviour, lack of manners, the tendency to make everything about themselves and go overboard on the one-upmanship just pisses me off. I find myself looking at who will be attending events to see if I actually want to be in the same space or not. I realise this is my problem and not theirs but the root cause is friction brought on primarily by the reasons stated above. I don't play SCA to win. It's not a game with a score card to tick off how many awards you have or how much your pointy hat weighs. I'm not part of the in crowd or the out crowd but I have a circle of close friends and the option to gain new ones. There is no level up power button, no hacks no cheat codes, there is participation and fun. Lately it's felt like fucking highschool all over again. It's become mean and judgey and I'm in there too, which I hate, because on a normal day I don't give a rat's ass about any of this shit and I certainly don't want to be "that" mean, stuck up bitch who only talks to certain people. Some people, however, seem bring out that side of me even if it's not always visible. I know how I'm feeling and I don't like it. We joke about the dark side but this is really it, the SCA definitely does have a dark side and right now it's pretty rampant.

Of course the other side of this coin is people complaining about the fact that standards have gone up and that this is unfair. That they don't have the ability or the money to dress the best like the rest. I have to scratch my head at this. It's not hard to get a period look and feel inexpensively. So this jealousy is poisoning so many things we do. Instead of being happy for those who have the abilities and the wherewithal to create gorgeous, seriously accurate garb, scrolls, armour etc... we have people whining about how unfair it all is that they can't keep up. Since when did we as a group become so concerned with keeping up with the joneses? For me it's not what you wear or how blingy your garb is it's how you act, how you treat other people and the respect you give to those around you no matter what. Somewhere along the line looks, awards and possessions became more important than thoughts, actions or deeds. Instead of whining about how unfair it all is that you don't have X why not ask someone to help you? People will surprise you by how much they want to share and most people I know in the SCA LOVE to help where they can me included. ( though I often need reminding because my brain if full of holes and I forget)

It used to be the various facets of the SCA worked together and the various factions could at least get by without being so openly mean to each other but this has changed a lot mostly thanks to the openness of social media. The expectations have risen and so have the standards which I find perfectly okay as long as the extremists don't ram their version down my throat. This is all make believe and it's not really relevant to the everyday real world. A king/queen/peer in the SCA has no royal / peer significance in the day to day world. The abuse of power when one is in a position of power is ridiculous. There's a certain level of meanness that has risen over time, especially when one starts holding an office or getting more involved. Also the converse is true, as a peer I'm not infallible, and I don't know everything about everything. I don't always want to work at an event and if I don't have my scribal stuff with me this is not the end of the universe. I've spent my fair share of events tucked away doing scroll work or kitchen work, or cleaning or something and while I enjoy doing that at times sometimes I don't want to. I don't bring my kit when I want to just do other things. It's not a crime and it doesn't make me a lazy laurel but I have heard just those words pointed at me. There is no check list of what anyone SHOULD do at events instead why not just pitch in and ask if you can help rather than bitching about the stuff that's not getting done. The "I'm on holiday so I don't have to work" line is probably about the most selfish thing I've ever heard at an event. Dude...we're ALL on holiday.

For me, ever since I joined the SCA, it is mostly about being with similar people in a culture that was more open and friendly, the learning of unique skills and the extras were icing on the cake. Now these have become the requirement and the simple there to have fun part has been marginalized. Mostly I feel as though I no longer have a place in this club and going to events is stressful. Far too many people spend far too much time focusing on getting awards, being important ( whatever that means) and amassing power. ( all perceived) I can't tell you how many times I've heard people wish they were "important" or had award X, or get insulted when person Y isn't made a peer or doesn't award X. It's ridiculous. None of these things make a person important anyway.


I think the people who desire to immerse themselves in the absolute medieval are to be lauded but not when they try to enforce this on others who are not necessarily interested in this aspect of the SCA. Some people have a very clear idea of their SCA persona and that's great but others don't and nor should they have to. There is no rule that says you must have a perfectly honed persona at all. And then within these factions is the snobbery about what type of persona you are. Because persona is not like persona. You see that in the people who try for something different ( east Indian, Japanese, Middle eastern) They are also marginalized because what they do is not conforming to the medieval "norm". See...Highschool.

So essentially I've had enough because mostly when I go to events or read through the SCA facebook groups and forums it's like being drawn and quartered by all the various people who want the SCA to go their way. I think when that happens it's good to step back and get some perspective, some breathing room and maybe do the smaller side of thing to enjoy the hobby. It's not about awards or the shiny it's about the people and the fun. I wish more people would remember this including myself.


CEII Saturday

Normally when we are away from home getting me up and out of bed and ready for breakfast is a rough process. Not this time and  M asked on more than one occasion "who are you and what have you done with my wife?" I was up and ready to go before he had even opened his eyes.


what to wear what to wear.....

Saturday Morning the Deathstar appeared.

breakfasts were awesome fun events all by themselves

Once we had done the breakfast thing it was time to get to the event and be in costume. Saturday was the main photshoot day so I wore my tusken. There were 4 female tuskens there which tells you how rare this particular costume is. As you can see we had a lot of fun. Especially at the big 501st photo shoot.







Meanwhile in the other hall......



Saturday saw me step in and take on stand duty to fill in when someone didn't show up. It was awesome! I cannot recall the last time I laughed quite that much. I generally don't volunteer for stuff in advance because sometimes I get ill from migraines and then can't fulfill my obligation so this was a nice moment. It was the last hour of the day before the big dinner and one of the major speakers was also on the main stage so my stepping in gave someone else a reprieve. We had fun!




After the stand was closed down for the night it was do a quick change to get into our unofficial Squad uniforms and off to the 501st dinner. This was probably one of the highlights of the event. So many 501st members and honourary members in one place from all over the world making it pretty amazing. I got the surprise chance to spend a little pocket of time chatting with Steve Sansweet and his partner Bob who was very nice ( and politely ignored my inane babble because I was all hyper. ). The food was good, the drinks flowed freely and even though it was hotter than hell it was a pretty fun event.



Coastal Hammer squad with honourary member Steve Sansweet


Temura Morrison  ( Jango Fett) singing

Jeremy Bulloch ( Boba Fett) watching Temura ( Jango) !

 







All in all it was a very crazy, hot, wonderful busy day.....

but wait...there's more to come...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

CEII day one

It's Friday...day 1 of Star Wars Celebration Europe. I got up early, I usually am awake early so this is not unusual. No headache - check, no massive abdominal pain- check, looking forward to the day check. So I got up, stole wifi from Marcus and browsed facebook then after that I was bouncing about like a mad thing.

We had arranged for breakfast for around 8 so we showered and made our way down to the nice breakfast room. It was surprisingly empty except for our friends Claus and Andrea. On the tables were printed out Imperial and Rebel cogs and the excitement went up a little more. I always love hotels that serve fresh fruit as well as the usual cereals and the coffee was hot and good. Breakfasts with a bunch of people all going to the same event are so much fun. An hour later we were back in our room getting ready for the 1st big day.




We went with no costumes on Friday because it's good to get the lay of the land without being stopped for photos and also learn where everything is without the disability of trying to peer through a mask. While lining up for our tickets we met up with friends, chatted about the 501st and generally got excited ( more so if that was even possible). At 10 am the doors opened and the line moved, we waited around a bit since, in difference to London the lines here moves very quickly. And then we stepped through the magic doors into the wonderful land of Starwars....





There were a lot of people though not as many as would be there on Saturday and it was pretty amazing what we saw.




 Many of the props were fan made, in fact most of them were and it was astonishing to see the detail and love that went into them. We spent a lot of time, like kids in a toy shop, just staring longingly at things....






There were a lot of merchants, though not as many as I had expected still more than enough to satisfy the hard core buyers ( which we are not). I saw some things I would loved to have bought but really just cannot justify spending 300 euros on. So it was enough to look and smile at everything starwarsy and iconic.




We tended to spend a lot of time near the 501st area. It's where most of the people we know were hanging out and it felt like a safe haven.




We have taken our time with the whole integration thing I think. We both feel a bit burned out by our other costume hobby so the 501st was a hobby to get away from our other hobby.  But that's changed. Right from our very first official troop until now slowly we have been getting to know people, especially people in our own squad. I like to hang out with people, period I don't much care where they come from but I notice a gravitation towards the Nordic Garrison mainly because we always go to Legoland in Denmark and have a lot of fun, and we hang out with the Swiss garrison because really without them we would probably have never gotten off our asses to get the 1st costume done to join up. What took us both a long time was to get to know our own squad within the German Garrison. Partially because we didn't go to a lot of local troops and partially because the troops were limited to certain costumes or bad timing for us.  But slowly that changed too and we've found ourselves part of the group in a small way so it was especially nice to see so many all in one place and really get to talk a bit more as well as put faces a to forum names.








What I remember about this day was being overwhelmed. So many people and so many things to look at it sort of blew a fuse in my brain. One of the highlights of the day though was when we swung by the artists row and stopped to say hullo to one of my favourite artists ever, Tsuneo Sanda. His work is stunning and his use of colours never ceases to amaze me. We met at Fedcon a few years ago and since then we've kept in touch. I wish I could speak Japanese so that we could just talk about art which we tend to do when we meet but it's always through a translator. At CEII his translator was a wonderful woman who did a great job putting my rapid fire babble into Japanese sense. He was genuinely happy to see me which I didn't expect at all, he sees so many people all the time that I didn't expect to receive such a lovely warm welcome.





I look kinda teary eyed because he has just given me an incredibly lovely present. Totally unexpected and then he asked for pictures. After this moment I wandered about in a daze because I was a bit shell shocked. Marcus thought it was all terribly funny and sweet that his wife got all fan girl and speechless.

The rest of the day just sort of happened but it's a bit of a blur. In the evening we ended up back at the pub to meet friends for supper which eventually led to us meeting up with them at a pretty sweet sushi bar. We stayed until late but eventually headed back to the hotel because Saturday promised to be even more....



Sunday, August 4, 2013

what I meant to say was...

I had a big post done about CEII but it turned into something else I didn't want to get into right now.

So...here we go again.
CEII was amazing. It was, in fact, probably one of the best experiences of my life. I rode a 5 day high of delight and excitement that I swear I have not experienced since I was a whole lot younger than my current jaded old self. Trying to figure out why this was exactly I go off on all sorts of tangents and really it's like trying to explain the meaning of life to a rock...or something.

I think the combination of meeting extraordinary people who all share the common love of Star Wars and geeky stuff along with the fact that it was a HUGE event plus some rather extraordinarily unexpected wonders that happened which made it special. I'm going to leave it at that.

packed and ready to go!
Day 1 Thursday:

Having spent the day before packing and sewing I wanted to get on the go early. This did not happen as we had last minute shopping stuff to do and Himself needed a hair cut. We left the house around 1 ish and off we went to Essen. I grumbled a bit because I wanted to be there a bit earlier but no matter. The trip down was easy. We missed all the staus and the bad weather. It was fun getting Facebook pms as updates from our friend Claus and before we knew it we were at our hotel. The Ruhr Hotel Essen.


almost there...not quite...
 
This is a smallish ( around 40 rooms) family run hotel around 15 minutes walk from the convention centre. Checking in was funny because the first thing that was commented on was that we were the people who couldn't decide how long we wanted to stay for. Ha ha. 1st we'd only booked  Friday Saturday, the weekend, then we added Sunday night then realized on Wednesday that we'd forgotten about staying on Thursday, luckily for us they had room still open for Thursday night. They made sure we got the same room all the way through in spite of the 3 x we booked. Super friendly doesn't begin to cover it. The room we had was spacious and in the back of the hotel. #23. All the while this is going on people we know are also showing up. It was a huge reunion in the hotel lobby much to the amusement of the staff.

After all the back and forth, the walking to find the convention centre we headed out, wearing the appropriate t-shirts ( a must) to the brauerei pub where the meet and greet was to take place. This pub, as a nice as it was, needed serious lessons from a Munich beer garden. The service was pretty abysmal, they were totally under staffed and they, even though they had been warned,  had no idea how to cope with the mass of people that showed up. Dudes, the 501st and the Rebel Legion + friends are huge. But this was the case, it turned out, for pretty well the whole area around the Messe. No one expected the 501st, the RL the droid builders etc... we are legion and far too many for all the local eateries.

The meet and greet was great. So many familiar faces and a lot of new ones. I stepped way out of my shy zone and bounced about like Tigger on uppers. I was so hyper and excited. It was fun and silly and I got to talk to new people, meet new people and probably scared new people who were wondering who was the crazy red head and why is she talking to me....But really it was cool to actually get up the nerve to openly say Hi I'm Fiona who are you... and start from there. I saw people who really didn't know many people and they looked a bit lost. I know and remember what that feels like. For me, at least, this was a great way to meet new friends. You can usually tell after a few seconds if people don't want to engage and then you say nice to meet you and move along.


the meet and greet!


The pub just couldn't handle people standing around and not sitting at the table. They stopped giving bar service because ..well I don't know why actually.... and would only serve you if you were attached to a table.  We managed to get 1 beer order in and then given the state of the service added a second one which much to Marcus' chagrin came fairly quickly so he was left holding two beers as I still had not finished my first one. This was okay tho because it meant when our friend Jasmine arrived and was sad-panda-face because she wanted a cold drink and it was impossible I could gladly give her the beer meant for me. We rescued her with beer...this is a good German tradition I think. Anything for a squad mate! After a few hours of non-existent service and only1 beer we skipped across the street to a very nice Italian place and ate with our Swiss Garrison Friends. This was one of the only places ( also the sushi place) that did not run out of food and still managed to serve it in a decent time frame.) After food we went back to the pub and just mingled.

All 4 of my Tusken husbands were there so we took a silly picture.


Tusken husbands #1,#2,#3,and #4


Cards were traded, patches were swapped, stories were told and the excitement ramped up a notch for the big day tomorrow.  I think we wandered off at around midnight-ish, because it was very warm and we were kind of tired and tomorrow was going to be pretty busy.

Back at the hotel we settled in to sleep but not before I set up the fan we'd brought with us...a trick we had stolen from the people sleeping in the room across from us at DW20 and boy were we glad I had done this. Essen was in full on heat wave and the lovely hotel did not have A/C.


Aaahhhhhhhhhhh!

Day 2: TBC....