Friday, February 23, 2018

Archiving the Blogroll

I like to add new blogs to the "Blogroll" whenever I find them. However, some of them seem to be, shall we say, quite abandoned. Many of them still contain interesting information, so I don't want to lose track of them completely.

Therefore, I'm going to make a list of blogs that have not been updated in at least one year and take them off the active Blogroll on the side of the page. Here they are, in no particular order:

One year is an arbitrary choice, I'll admit. If any of these blogs reactivate, I'll add them back.

Friday, February 16, 2018


As I've said before on this blog, Lithuania is the little country with two independence days. Well, today is the first of those two holidays, and it's a big one: One hundred years ago today, the Republic of Lithuania got its independence back!

If you remember your Lithuanian history ... Lithuania was the biggest country in Europe circa 1400, but during the 1700s the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was carved up, with Russia ruling the land during the 19th century, to the point where Lithuanian cultural expression was driven underground, to the point where book smugglers helped to keep the language alive.

My grandfather came to America as a young man in 1911 to escape being forced into the Russian army. Seven years later, Lithuania regained its independence, so young men no longer had to worry about the Russian army. By then, though, my grandfather had married my grandmother and they had a baby boy (my father), so they just stayed in Massachusetts for the rest of their lives.

I'm very happy that Lithuania is celebrating its statehood today and I plan to join my friends at the Baltimore Lithuanian Hall in celebration. Valio!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Really Soon Now...

I want to get back to the tale of the 2016 Lithuanian dance festival, but in the meantime, I just will say: I will get the handout and class notes for my sutartines class up on this website as soon as I can. I have *not* forgotten! Thanks for your patience!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Back again, finally!

Yes, I know it has been a year and a half since I updated this blog.  You probably thought that this humble site had fallen by the wayside like hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of similarly abandoned blogs. But I'm bringing it back from the dead!

First, let me explain what I've been doing over this time gap.

In 2016, I attended only six SCA events. Technically, that was the same number I attended in 2015. At least in 2015, however, I managed to go to War of the Wings X (also known as WoW) down in North Carolina. I'd been to WoW once before just for the weekend, but for the 10th annual event I was able to stay for the whole thing. Those October nights got COLD. I was playing in the dance band for the Saturday night ball in the unheated castle, and as the night dragged on I was making more and more mistakes on my recorder because my fingers were stiffening. The band quit playing at the exact moment we said we would stop -- 10 p.m., if I recall correctly -- and we made it clear that the dancers would have to provide their own Bard in a Box from that time forward. We also suggested that space heaters might be nice for future wars.

Last year, I went to only weekend events ... no Pennsic, no WoW, not even Ruby Joust on Memorial Day weekend (the Joust typically attracts about 850 attendees). Instead, I spent a lot of my energy in late 2015 and the first half of 2016 preparing for something else entirely: Šokių Šventė 2016, the huge international Lithuanian folk-dance festival.

I'd heard of the quadrennial Šokiu Šventė before -- it was in Boston in 2012 -- but circumstances did not allow me to travel all the way up there just to watch an afternoon of dance. Watching the energetic young dancers at the annual Baltimore Lithuanian festival each spring for the last 10 years or so got me interested in the subject of Lithuanian folk dance. When I first heard that Malūnas, the Baltimore-based dance group, was starting a second group for "senior" (i.e., over age 35!) dancers, I was busy (that was in the fall of 2014). But in the fall of 2015, with the prospect of participating in the Baltimore Šventė looming, I took the plunge.

To be continued....

Monday, November 2, 2015

Still more link parking!

Yes, I really, really want to update this blog, but in the meantime, my browser is about to crash under the weight of all these open tabs. Let me relieve my browser of this burden. -- Ukrainian/Rus costume research and other stuff -- this appears to be the website of the author of the most recent Compleat Anachronist titled "Decorated Eggs and Pysanky" -- Finnish garb -- a compendium of stuff from the Finnish Iron Age group on Facebook -- a really interesting page on women's open hoods, with period illustrations (the rest of the blog has good stuff, too) -- why don't I have this one on my blogroll already? -- might not be completely within the SCA's purview, but still interesting -- blog of a Laurel from the West Coast -- a woman's merchant-class outfit for circa 1400 CE -- another good blog to add to the blogroll -- a lot of this blog is post-period for the SCA, but these are still some good thoughts

I promise I'll have a real update soon, but this will have to be it for now....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Quick link parking

Once again: Long time, no post! I'd like to write a longer description of the things I've been able to do in the SCA this year, despite my lack of funds. However, that will have to wait for another day.

In the meantime, I just want to park a few links suggested by a friend who recently taught a class on "How to Be a Veiled Threat in the SCA." I wasn't able to attend her class on veils and wimples, but I definitely want to look these websites up!

After all, I've been in the SCA more than a decade now, so it's definitely time to "up my game."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Happy 25th Anniversary, Lithuania!

I often tell people that Lithuania is "the little country with two Independence Days." Well, there's a good reason for that.

Twenty-five years ago today, Lithuania became the first of the so-called Soviet Socialist Republics to declare itself free of the Soviet Union. This was a huge deal. It came only about four months after the Berlin Wall had fallen. During those heady weeks, new ideas swept through Eastern Europe, but the big cheese, the USSR, managed to stay intact. Suddenly, a giant ax smashed through the foundation of the central Soviet nation itself.

Vytautas Landsbergis, a music professor with the same first name as one of Lithuania's great historic figures, was the leader of the Supreme Council of Lithuania when it passed the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, and his signature is right there at the top where Soviet authorities wouldn't miss it. (That says "re-establishment" because Lithuania was an independent nation between 1918 and 1940, and, of course, the Lithuanian nation goes back many more centuries than that.)

In May 2011, as I noted on this blog, I got a chance to meet Dr. Landsbergis in person and shake his hand at the Baltimore Lithuanian Festival. I'm still thrilled that I was able to meet him once. After all, how many people on this Earth can say that they broke an evil empire?

Happy Rebirth-Day, Lithuania!

(And, yes, I'll post again soon so that I can describe my recent adventures in the SCA.)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Links and more links!

Recently I have been exchanging Facebook messages about medieval Baltic topics with a couple of my Slavic Interest Group (SIG) friends, Mistress ffride (Kingdom of Lochac) and Lady Magdalena (Kingdom of Aethelmearc). As a result, I have lots and lots of browser tabs open. Before my computer's memory gets tied up in knots, I really ought to save those links somewhere and close those tabs. What better place to save such links than right here?

Without further ado:

Link that mentions the Gediminas Sceptre in the context of Baltic cosmology. I really wish this page provided some sources. page for a Lithuanian graduate student in archaeology. Her name is Augustina Kuriliene.

A Vilnius museum's exhibit on Grand Duke Alexander.

History of the palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.

Some tiles from a cathedral (in Lithuanian). One of those medieval tiles shows a woman wearing what may be a very tall, flat-topped hat. In another tile, two rabbits seem to be consulting a recipe book while cooking a stew. In a third tile, two rabbits appear to be roasting a human chef over a spit. (Revenge of the bunnies!!)

PDF of a 2003 article on Lithuanian archaeology by Daiva Steponaviciene.

Website of some Lithuanian group called Vita Antiqua (I believe Daiva S. is involved with it).

This page seems to list all the commemorations of Lithuanian historical events that will take place in 2015.

Evidence of Lithuanian platform shoes. (Somebody wanted to look taller!)

Another 16th-century tile, this one showing rabbits fending off the hounds. (Somebody really, really liked bunnies!)

Finally, here are a few links that are not specific to the Baltic and Slavic regions but that I find interesting anyway:

The Tudor Tailor website is a companion to the series of books on 16th-century clothing.

Free, downloadable monographs on various topics pertaining to English archaeology.

A Web page on inkle weaving.

Beautiful clothing that one of my friends made for the Baron and Baroness of Dun Carraig (a nearby SCA branch).

And, finally, did you know that there's an authentic butterbeer recipe from the Tudor era? Now you can combine your SCA brewing with your Harry Potter fandom! :-)

As far as the rest of my SCA life goes, well, things are always quieter this time of year. Earlier this fall I skipped a couple of SCA events that I really would have liked to attend because of cash-flow issues. At least I had great fun participating in a "medieval maker faire" demo that Storvik was invited to organize as part of the University of Maryland at College Park's celebration of the 60th anniversary of the publication of Lord of the Rings. This fall Storvik has been welcoming a number of newcomers, both from the university and the region at large. And our barony is planning a performing-arts event in January 2015. And I'm still knitting socks for Lady Sonya's sock classes. So things are quiet but good.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dresses to go with the cap?

Now that I have a St. Birgitta's cap of my own, what shall I wear it with? This morning I happened to see a relevant post in the SCA Garb group on Facebook. So, right now I'm just parking the links that the comments to that post contained -- various tutorials on fitted kirtles.

I have no idea whether the "gothic fitted dress" would look good on me or not, but it might be interesting to try it sometime in the future. If it turns out to be not the most flattering thing, I don't have to make any more, and I can still wear the cap with other things -- apparently, it makes a great anchor for a veil.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Battle on the Bay

(Adapted from a private LiveJournal post written last week.)

For the third year, the baronies of Storvik and Lochmere held an event called "Battle on the Bay." The tradition came about because the two baronies were holding their baronial birthdays one week apart, and the Kingdom officers were gently leaning on their branches to plan fewer but better events. (Storvik became a Barony of the East Kingdom on September 15, 1979; back then, Atlantia was a Principality of the East. Lochmere became a Barony of Atlantia on August 20, 1988, but that anniversary falls just a little too close to Pennsic and the beginning of the public school year in Maryland.)

For the first Battle on the Bay, Storvik was the primary organizer of the event, with Lochmere helping. Last year, Lochmere was the primary organizer, even though it was a Storvik baronial investiture. This year, it was again Storvik's turn to host and Lochmere's turn to get new Baronage.

This year I decided not to camp overnight at Battle on the Bay for two reasons. First, I wanted to get up to Baltimore and see the "Star-Spangled Spectacular" events surrounding the 200th anniversary of the "Star-Spangled Banner." Second, the chance of rain on Saturday the 13th was 40 to 60 percent, and I didn't want to spend half of Sunday wrestling with wet tent canvas in my crowded condo.

So I got up on Saturday in reasonable time to get to the event. I'd been told I might be needed to herald the last court of Their Outgoing Excellencies of Lochmere, but at the last minute that barony's herald was able to show up after all. Thus I announced Their Excellencies of Storvik when they processed into court and watched the Lochmere investiture ceremony from behind the thrones. It rained off and on during the afternoon, but it was not windy, so we didn't have to worry about tree limbs falling and tents collapsing.

Herveus and Megan, who had their fiber-arts merchant business tent set up, were also selling books that had belonged to Pedro and Devora. When she moved to Iowa City this summer, Devora didn't want to take them with her, so they had languished in her storage unit. I bought four books: three on heraldry and one on medieval technology. Many of the books that Herveus and Megan were selling last weekend were about medieval Spain and Portugal and the Judaism that was practiced there; while those are worthy topics, I simply don't have the space on my shelves to accommodate them, and I have other interests within the SCA. I do hope all those volumes find good homes.

Also during the afternoon, I entered a "Viking plunder" competition in which the winner would receive as a prize all the "booty" that was submitted. I dragged out my wire-weaving supplies and did a modest chain out of gold-toned craft wire. Not my best, but I hadn't picked up the wire in a couple of years (I think). I can't remember who ended up winning, but I hope he or she makes the chain into something.

The rain had stopped by the time afternoon baronial court rolled around. Afterward, Their Excellencies of Storvik invited me and Lady Tatsume to join them at high table, just because they think everyone should be invited to do so at least once. So that was extremely cool. No King -- he had left the site in mid-afternoon -- just the two sets of B&Bs and their guests. I did a little dancing after feast and before going home.