top 40 part 2

Birthday quest update; brief recap, I had the flu on my real birthday and all plans were canceled, my birthday is also at a crazy time of year where I am never able to see everyone important in my life so my birthday quest over this year is to have a fun outing  “for my birthday” with 40 friends – I left off with #16, here is the next installment

#17, #18 and #19 (Plus Lars and Vacation Mom but you can’t count twice) all went to an escape room over the weekend and we escaped with time to spare.  I think these rooms are fun and full of clever tricks.  It was great to share the experience with these friends.  It was a little bit of a mixed group.  2 of the guys are close friends from the SCA, we have collaborated on events, talked for a million hours, and you may recognize one of them as my driving partner for quite a few road trips – my life would be less without them.  I’m also counting Vacation Mom’s boyfriend in there.  Sure, he is a new friend and I might be the person who hears the most vented frustration about him but even after all that, he seems to have more pros and we are keeping him (plus he finally got comfortable with us and talked so he counts :).  We went out after for dessert and it was a proper birthday celebration.


Next up is a gear switch, I have not known these friends ‘forever’ but after a few years on school board I would count them as people I would choose to celebrate with.  All three are great individuals who care so much about kids and schools and have interesting lives and experiences I love to hear about; the good the bad and the crazy.  We were semi tossed together by fate/votes but if I’ve learned anything from the board conferences – not all boards are friendly so I am pretty lucky.  Glad to place #20, #21, and #22 on my birthday quest list.  They also flattered me by calling me a baby and complimenting my ‘young skin’.  (they might be my favorites at the moment, my sisters all called me old!).  I’m missing three or four board friends here so I’ll just have to go out another time.


Better than halfway to my goal of 40.  It is never a good time to get together but I think it is important to try and this exercise got me to go out last night instead of coming straight home.  So far my 40’s are doing ok.


When I worked at previous workplaces there was a rhythm to what got done at what time of year like supplier reviews, budgets, audits, for each thing there was a season.  Stay at home life, as we all know, is not all romance novels and bonbons there are distinct seasons of activity in this ‘line of work’ too.  As in all jobs, it depends on where you are and who is on your team as to what projects you will be asked to participate in.  For me, for the past 5 years, the second half of February equals COOKIE TIME!

I ran the cookies for the older girls troop last year and even made notes to myself on how to do it better this year.  A week in and I’m already more confident that this year will be better on the inventory management side.  I have turned my garage into a cookie palace and our pickup of 290 cases went very well thanks to a parent with a very big trailer.


There have been certain changes in personnel, #1 being infected by the hormones of a teen is taking a less active role but #2 is rising to the occasion nicely and #3 is driven by some sort of internal selling machine that wants to go out in -7 weather for MORE door to door sales.  My weekends for the foreseeable 7 weeks will have some cookie-related activity.

#2 and #3 have some big goals; 550 boxes each.  I’m torn between being proud that they are aiming high and telling them that they probably won’t do that many…  I’m landing on helping where I can so I’m doing the online thing and also coaching them through a few different avenues to sales.  If you would like some cookies shipped directly to you here are their websites;


You need cookies yes you do, you need cookies from #2!



If you need cookies look at me, buy some cookies from #3

I have a feeling by the end of the weekend we will have videos…  They don’t tell you that your parental job may include video editing and grassroots sales efforts but all in a days work I guess.

**Local friends, comment or email an order and we will deliver.


Literary costumes

I have lost a week in blog world but it was a productive week in my 3d world.  They had school EVERY day last week!  OMG!  It was also a special dress up every day week for their read a thon and they had fun wearing PJs, Fancy, school spirit but the best is always a book character day.  I refuse to put ‘real’ effort into these so compromises are made but I liked what we had this year and if you need a super-fast idea for a book character costume and you read one of these books; these are pretty easy

#3 Junie B Jones.  This is NOT my favorite series and I think she only reads them because her BFF does.  Misspelling and bad grammar is super annoying in a book, I know it is ‘the character’ but when you are talking 2nd-grade level books you are forming a foundation here…  Anyway, the costume.  Based on covers the defining factor for Junie is her glasses and then a skirt, sweater, and hair bow combo that should not match in any way.  Depending on the book, socks are crazy stripes, or, plain color knee socks.  This is an easy look to pull off with a standard girl wardrobe and we used freebie sunglasses with the lenses popped out for the glasses look. (attitude pose came free)


Bonus; all sass and misspelling in the day is all part of your character.


#2 The Dread Pirate Roberts from Princess Bride.  This is actually a book!  I read it and enjoyed it and I was surprised that it is rated YA/children.  Really, it is quite a clean adventure and #2 enjoyed it as a summer reading book for her friend book club.  Otherwise, everything she read this year featured a Dragon or a Warrior Cat and we couldn’t figure out those costumes.  The man in black is seriously just a back outfit and mask.  The black outfit was in her closet and the addition of a shirt of mine for that ‘loose pirate look’ was an easy foundation.  I had a medium-size piece of scrap black fabric that I put over her head, over her eyes, and pulled tight in the back to make the mask.  I marked the eyes and cut them out and used a safety pin to secure the back.  We used one of my black belts for the waist over the shirts and it looked great.


#1 Annabeth from the Percy Jackson books.  I can’t recommend this series enough, it is YA but good enough for any adult.  There was some push by #1 to wear a blond wig since Annabeth is always described as having a blond ponytail, but, the wig was a bit of a mess so we skipped it in favor of a neat ponytail.  I turned an orange shirt inside out and use a washable marker to write ‘camp halfblood’ and she paired it with jeans, a beaded necklace and there you go, instant Annabeth.  Our school is anti hat so no Yankees hat, but that is another iconic bit of her character.


It was a fun and crazy week with outfits every day.

That is all the time I have today, I’ll be catching up this week with an update on my 40 for 40 and also my organizing kick.


Three things Thursday

The interesting enough things.  If you also do this please add a link in the comments, i would love to read your 3 things too.


  1. I’m reading a book.  Made of paper.  It has been a while but books to come out faster in paper then they do on my library app so I’m reading this book.  It is  #2 in the series and I like it a lot.  This author has a great nack for interesting books and characters that are relatable enough but also different enough.  It is a new series for her and it is a fresh and fun as the beginning of any of her series.  If you can’t have endless episodes from one series, next best thing is a cool new series you can count on the quality of. 51mqa46cgfl
  2. Crazy hair day at school to kick of (ironically) the read a thon.  They have 10 days of fun activities to celebrate reading because February is “I love to read” month8539ae73-95ab-47cc-a7c1-d36c1d2e5b0b
  3. I’ve been plowing through the garage project.  The cookie area is ready for cookies and I’m getting through bins of stuff and even found a pile to donate to a charity auction happening right now.  Since we are on a reading theme, during the garage work I’ve been listening to this stand-alone book written by an author that I also will read anything she writes.  It is good so far!51rkikghqfl._sx303_bo1204203200_

post #10 Sew Happy

I’m running out of good titles for the catchall of my week post, so, this is my 10th post of 2020 and #2711th overall.  I have put a lot of words out there.

This week the kids actually went to school on a Monday and are expected to be there all week. The pace of winter activities is picking up and also this is the season for planning so even though there is snow on the ground I need to start mapping out camps and summer and softball and I’m also running an SCA event in May that has prep work and possibly another so I need to tour some sites.  All these moving parts are like balls of different sizes I’m chasing around a room.  If I was just working on 10 events that would be no problem but its the bran gear shift from project A to project c where I’m nearly a different person to each group gets the brain going loopy.  Occasionally I have to pause and think about how to sign an email because I’m not ‘just Kate’ I’m Kate+role.

(I’ve deleted apologies to you readers about my SCA resume post because it probably made no sense to half of you but welcome to my world~ it is diverse in this brain and I’m not apologizing.  I’m also genuine in each role, it is just a different part of me that gets the front stage, I sure hope I don’t sound schizophrenic now… )

Over the past week or so I’ve been in the happy finishing place for lots of projects.  I love the part when I actually get it done.  This is semi part of my organization quest of the year because by organizing things I find all the parts of the projects and instead of putting them other places to lose them again I am DOING them.  The list will never end but I’ll enjoy this spurt of time while I have it.

First I tackled a pile of ‘stuff’ that has been lurking by a wall long enough that traffic patterns in the house have adjusted to go around it.  In that pile was the end of Christmas, out to the garage it went.  The remainder was a mash-up of sewing to-do’s that I just couldn’t find a place to start so I asked my Facebook list and they helpfully voted.  They were all of roughly equal priority so I was happy for the nudge and once I was in, I could roll through.  Lars was also pleased that putting buttons on his shorts from maybe last year (maybe longer…) and fixing his gym bag made the list and they are all done now.

First I ironed a stack of napkins, like a taste of progress, and since the iron was hot I did every patch on all 3 vests.  Not shown is the collection of patches from last year(s) that never got done on older vests but moving forward they are ready.


then fired up the sewing machine for some curtain action; Niamh needed an extra set of panels in her room and I needed anything in my room.  Done and done with a bonus project of putting up curtain rods in my room that had been getting dusty in the corner of the room.

As I was hanging curtains in my room I was moving award scrolls for probably the 4th time since we moved and decided to quit moving them around and finished that project by finally hanging them all up.  *this project has been in process for months starting with the picture rail, moving on to frame buying, and finally getting it up and looking good.  It is cool enough I might do a how-to because I’m pretty pleased with the resources I found.


Back to the sewing pile, I had a stack of flannel I turned into things to blow your nose on and wash, the button sewing, a trio of seasonal pillowcases (that I am using the fabric from my old seasonal curtains that don’t work in this house as curtains) and finally I turned these three outgrown knit items into useful and custom throw pillows.  I’m glad I know the principals of knitting because I had to unknit the arms to make them work right.


no pets were disturbed with the taking of this picture

It was a busy few days for crafting and I’m very pleased to have focused long enough to turn a giant monster pile into a small basket of future projects.  There is a fine line between scope creep and project hopping and I’m not always sure where I stand but it feels good to do the job.  Now the spot in the hall is back, the corner of my room that was full of scrolls is empty and I can move on.

Next up in both cleaning spaces and getting ready for stuff I MUST make my garage into a functional cookie vault.  This means making the workbench less of a tool jumble sale and rearranging some things.  The weather is decent today and I’ve just downloaded a new audiobook so I’m going out there.  Thanks all for being a place I can both hold myself accountable and be proud of what I got done.  Self-motivation is not the easiest thing but I think I disserve to have that on my resume at this point!

My SCA resume

A few people have asked me what I’ve done over the years in the SCA and encouraged me to make a record of it.  (Here seems like a good enough corner of the internet to make a list).

My first reaction is “oh, you know, just the normal stuff”.  When you are *in* an organization it means you participate.  Sometimes that means running something, sometimes that means sitting with friends and being part of the scenery.  I encourage people to try things, I have a tremendous list in my head of what other people do so I can match make, and I’ve literally driven to peoples houses and picked them up and brought them to events (and home again, I’m not mean).  I like being useful and part of the solution.  Other times I’ve had to focus elsewhere in my life and for me, that is very normal, I’ve been doing the SCA since I was 4 and if I went full throttle I would have burned out long ago. In my mind, I have not done any ‘shining star’ giant project but a few friends have encouraged me to actually list out what I’ve done so here it is

Right now:

Archery Scores clerk for the kingdom. Duties: inputting scores I’m sent and general cheerleading of the archery community. *I also volunteered to do the same for thrown weapons but haven’t heard on that, it is the same computer system so no real trouble to do both.

Assisting the Rapier community to hold a round table discussion to help move forward with the right collective goals and ideals with respect to all gender, rank and ability. So far I created a short survey to get a pulse of what is on people’s minds, collected the data, crunched it to fit into useful categories and then had a meeting on the top two items where I served as moderator.  After the meeting, there were three sets of notes that other people were extremely kind to take and send to me that I smooshed into one document to publish for the community that couldn’t be there.  I’m working on next steps now with the community leaders, it is a long slow process.

Unofficial Rose Reminders – One time the rose ceremony didn’t get done because nobody talked about it and it got lost in the sauce.  It is my personal mission to at least bring it up to every new incoming rose.  There are infinite ‘right ways’ to do the ceremony and I’m glad that each Rose gets the opportunity to receive the award in their own way.


Recent Past (northshield years)

Kingdom Regalia Minister – In charge of the regalia, check-in, check out, maintenance etc.  During my time I did a photoshoot to catalog everything so crowns could look at a gallery and choose.  BTW, we have way more ‘stuff’ than you ever see.  I started a few balls rolling like getting thrones in Canada so crowns don’t need to transport them across the border.  I also took all the regalia to the 12th night and set it up so everyone could view it all, that was a fun bit.  I feel bad I couldn’t do more but I passed on the job when we won crown the 2nd time and didn’t have enough time to do it justice.

Song Book – I created a song booklet at the request of Hroder and Guilia for their coronation.  It was a fun project where I did illuminated borders for their favorite songs and then made copies so everyone at coronation could have a songbook for the day.  I recently found my drafts and maybe I will revisit the project for the next auction.

Family Point 2019 – I was asked this past Pennsic to help run the Northshield day at Pennsic at Family Point.  It was only a half-day and Pennsic has a very nice system for setting up things in advance so most of the prep work was just follow up on details with the staff and day of my partner and I had fun with the 20 or so kids that came through.

Northshield camp fees at Pennsic – Since I’m there early I was asked to help collect camp fees from people there the first week.  This took something off the Camp Leads plate and it was actually pretty fun to go to visit everyone and tell them to “give me their money”.

Unofficial Rose tournament matchmaker– This fell in my lap one year, there is a fabulous tournament at Pennsic sponsored by the Atlantian Roses and it is one of the best places for an unbelt to really meet fighters from other kingdoms.  In reality, they DO NOT turn people away but still, people can be intimidated by a tournament that implies you need an invitation/sponsor so I went about finding roses to sponsor any fighter that wanted to fight.  I got some great smiles from the ‘permission slips’ I created on the fly so our Roses at home could sponsor a fighter at Pennsic.

Service to the crown – I will always believe this is a duty covered by my rank.  Like a Knight should teach as they were taught, I should serve as I was served.  I was head retainer for Guilia, I retain at least once every Pennsic for every crown.  I do my best to make our crown look bright and shiny ~ at one Pennsic that was wrangling and arranging the interkingdom gift, and another it was running to find details about this or that function so our crown looks on top of things.  Behind the screen, I’ve helped here and there,  giving advice or just listening.  The point of this service is to be invisible and to make the kingdom look good.

Royal coordinator for coronation – a variation on the theme of service to the crown, I basically made sure that the royals were in the communication loop and taken care of at the event.  This is a crazy big job sometimes but I was working with very cool people who were zero trouble so all I needed to do was make sure everyone was on the same page and help unload and load up a truck.

Peer Pokemon; A fun little project a few years ago when there was some negative chatter about pokemon taking over the pennsic site because it does actually have a good set of gyms etc there.  I decided to SCA the game and made a ‘catch them all’ form where participants were on a quest to meet a peer of every flavor from every kingdom.  There was a good number of people playing and I heard at least a few positive stories.  It was a formating and photocopy project then toss it out to the world and let people have fun.

Water on the field – I have brought water to thirsty fighters from my earliest memory of the SCA to this Pennsic.  I’ve brought water as a  child, as a young woman, as a girlfriend watching her boyfriend, as the Queen, I’ve brought water pregnant, I’ve brought water with a 5-year-old holding my hand and I’ve seen my daughters take on the job right next to me and now on their own.  Bringing water is both useful and fun, it is the best view and you get to run all over the field.  I am not usually the one organizing the whole thing most of the time but I’m happy to pitch in, I learned ‘how to’ from some really great people and learned tons of tricks from people along the way.

Does making stuff for people count as service?  I have no idea how many tunics I’ve made for a new person or helped in mass sewing/stuff making projects for crowns or baronies or whoever asks for help.  The most recent was helping out with a cooking project where the person needed my hands to work the task but also needed company and a pep talk.  I’ve also made scrolls and white scarfs and whatever else I’ve been asked to help come up with.  I love seeing the projects walking around or on peoples walls in their homes.


Kingdom investment research – Brand new role but enough people believe in my skills in investing that I’m going to help dig up good ways for our Kingdom to do it.

Crown autocrat – Like any autocrat job, I’ll be working on getting the ducks in a row with a great team who all know what they are doing.  It is a details chasing job and I’m pleased to be offered the opportunity.


Ancient History items of note


Pennsic Media relations – When my mom was the autocrat of Pennsic I was a helpful daughter and took on the role of tour guide to the local media people who wanted to see what was going on.  It was fun to show them around.

Group herald – I hardly remember that far back but for a time I was the herald for my local group.  I don’t even remember if I was 18, I don’t think I was, but the job needed to be done and I was willing and able.

Autocrat in the east – I ran our big baronial event once, it was a fun experience and in reality the autocrat is just the person organizing all the people doing the jobs at the event that they like.

Kitchen help – kitchens are really fun places and feasts are usually relatively simple because they are for a large number on a small budget.  Most of the time the day-of work is quite within the skill set of a kid and I learned a lot from my time helping in dozens of kitchens when I was young – I believe this was probably why I got my AoA way back – generally useful kid stuff.


Writing this has taken me nearly 2 months because it is just a list of things that I did because they needed to be done or they are natural/fun for me.  Where do you draw the line on what to put on this ‘resume’?  Do I put talking to new people? Talking to people who look like they need a way to feel more comfortable?  Taking a shift at troll? How about holding someone’s kid so they can go to the bathroom or feeding all the kids running with mine?  Cleaning up chairs? rolling up the fighting mats?  Pitching in; this is all just stuff you do but as I listen to some of the issues in the society about being welcoming and facing burnout – apparently it isn’t as natural.  Personally, I think if everyone did these little things they would all feel like they belong more and have more fun. Anyway, this won’t get better sitting in my draft any longer so publish I will.  Regardless of this positive accounting, I feel obligated to note that I do say no to stuff I can’t commit to or that stresses me out.  I’ve turned down opportunities to serve and I’m sure those people were annoyed but I would rather say no early then just do a bad job or fail them in the end by dropping last minute.  For me, saying “I can’t” sometimes is how you take care of yourself well enough to do more in the future.  I also enjoy helping my mundane community so sometimes the balance tips toward PTO or Girl Scouts or School Board.  It is all about balance and I’ll keep doing stuff I like to do or that need to be done, or making sure I’m doing my share even if nobody ever notices because that isn’t why I do any of it (but Lars is making me publish this).

No good ending is coming to me and I do need to go to bed.  I bet I remember some big thing I did in about 20 minutes just as I’m falling asleep….