Aug. 10th, 2016

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Okay it has been way too long since I posted but I'll just start again like nothing happened.

I've been having trouble unvacationing and getting back into the rhythm of normal life--or as normal as it gets before college starts up again.

I had a wonderful cross-country trip, driving with Kip to see his parents in Oklahoma, then detouring to see the Devil's Tower in Wyoming (very striking--we walked all the way around it and I have many shots from all sides) then spending a bit over a week with my dad and my brother in Oregon, then taking another detour to see Mesa Verde and the cliff dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblans, stopping another night with Kip's parents and driving back home.

While we were in Oregon we picked up a stained glass window that we had commissioned. It is currently residing in a carefully padded box but I intend to hang it in the window in the next few days.

I also bought a new, larger iPad, which is just great for displaying sheet music. I can show two pages side by side and they are a bit smaller than they would be printed out, but only a bit. That is going to make it so much easier to work from sheet music. And yet the iPad is only a bit larger than a standard sheet of paper. I'm very pleased about this.

I also made a cool steampunk bag to carry my music stuff--the new iPad but also things like the instrument stands and so on. Amazon had let me know that I was getting a $35 credit for some e-book settlement thing, and I happened to notice a leather briefcase/satchel type bag for $50 and thought--that was almost exactly what I was thinking about making myself as a base for my airship passenger's bag, and I couldn't lay hands on the leather to make that for $50, and then I'd have to put a whole lot of work in it to get it to that stage. So I bought it. When I got it home I laid out the instruments on it (thermometer, hygrometer and barometer, and a plasma disc--excuse me, I meant my ectoplasmic interference detector) and figured out where they could go. To help hold them in place I made molded leather rings (if you get vegetable tanned leather thoroughly wet and then clamp it over a form you can get it to take on some fairly impressive molded shapes). Making the form for that was a bit of a pain, but worth the time. I cut holes in the bag to put the body of the instruments through, then sewed the molded leather rings over the rims of the instrument faces. It came out pretty well. If I do say so myself, which I seem to be doing. It holds my new big iPad and both instrument stands and a bottle of water, and while it won't hold the yellow sheet music stand, I can slip the handles of the sheet music stand's bag over the strap of the steampunk bag and carry them both in one go. So I'm psyched about that.

I am feeling a bit odd about whether the rest of my outfit will properly live up to the steampunk bag. We will see if I have time to do anything about that, though.

I haven't done Dutch in over a month, because I couldn't while I was on the trip and now I am back Dad has been having guests over (from the Netherlands, as it happens) and has been too busy to skype. But that will probably change any day now.

I did actually speak Dutch with a couple that I met at Mesa Verde, Caroline and Hans, who were from the Netherlands. Caroline kindly let me practice my Dutch on her and said very nice things about how well I did.

But it isn't quite the same as skyping three hours a week.

I'm also practicing a lot the last week or so trying to get my set list practiced up for my WorldCon concert and the songs I would like to do in circles there. I promised to anchor an Old Time / Celtic circle, so I've been running through all the pieces I know, working on remembering how they go. :-). And I'm working up my four cat songs for the Cat circle.

In addition I promised to make music happen for the Rural Clinic's fundraising dinner the Friday after WorldCon; they want 45 minutes of instrumental music, so the Celtic/Old Time stuff does double duty.

But I really need to get back to work on the guitar case!

So that's what is up with me. How about you?

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