Finding The Dream

I was cleaning out a folder today and ran across this. Since we are all dealing with social distancing because of Covid-19 and events have been canceled for safety I thought that others might want to see it.

Finding The Dream

by Colin of Tighan

One fine Saturday morning, MiLord woke up and realized he was missing something, something very important to him. Saddened, he suited up in his armor and went out to be inspected.

Sir Knight walked up to him and said, “Good morrow, MiLord! How fare you this day?”

MiLord was dejected. “Sir Knight, I’ve lost The Dream.”

Sir Knight nodded sagely, having seen this before. “Indeed? Well, try a few bouts with my new squire. He needs a few pointers, and I think a few good fights will take your mind off it.” And so it was that for a time MiLord worked with Sir Knight and his squire, and each gave the other something new and useful. When it was done, however, MiLord’s feelings of loss returned to him. Lost in his thoughts, he wandered the camp until he came across Mistress Laurel.

“Poor lad! Such a long face you bear! Whatever can be wrong?”

MiLord told his tale, and Mistress Laurel clucked sympathetically. “Perhaps a new song will lighten your heart! And you can help me with this tunic I am making for a new person in our group.” They sang and made merry, even when he had to hold still while she used him as a model for the tunic, and for a time his search was forgotten. When ’twas done, however, his mind returned once more to his problems. Seeing this, Mistress Laurel laid a hand on his arm and said, “Perhaps Master Pelican can help you find what you seek.” And so he did seek out that worthy.

Master Pelican listened gravely to MiLord’s question. “Where to find The Dream? Oh, my, Well, now, I believe I saw it at Pennsic, could you have lost it there? Or perhaps it was at dance practice, I know I saw you with it then. Oh forsooth, MiLord, I grieve that you have lost The Dream!” MiLord nodded soberly, for by now all his joy had fled. Master Pelican spoke on. “MiLord, I tell you, I think it can be found … but for now, I see someone who needs your Service. Why not ask her?” Master Pelican smiled, and gestured toward a tear-streaked Little Girl who stood helplessly watching them both.

This was not where MiLord expected to find The Dream, but a damsel in distress still deserved his help. He knelt before her and said, “Little Girl, I have lost The Dream. Have you seen it?” Little Girl looked up at him and sniffed back a tear. “I’ve lost my Mommy.”

MiLord saw that his plight was as nothing compared to hers, and with a flourish he swore a great oath that he would no rest until Little Girl was reunited with Mommy. Delighted, Little Girl forgot her tears, and together they sojourned forth in quest of her, and soon enough they found her, likewise distressed at the loss of Little Girl. Bowing, he placed Little Girl in Mommy’s arms, and turned to go. Before he took two steps, Little Girl’s voice stopped him. “You outghta ask the King where your Dream is. He knows *everything*.”

MiLord considered this, and turned his steps toward the King. Soon he knelt before the Throne, and having given proper obeisance, asked, “My Liege – I have lost The Dream! What am I to do?”

The King smiled down at MiLord, and said, “Have you now? Look behind you.”

MiLord turned, and behind him stood New Person. New Person was wearing that same tunic he had patiently been the model for. In his hand was a copy of the song that he had sung. His expression was bright, but a little uncertain.

“MiLord… MiLord, I don’t know what to say. I watched you fight with Chivalry and Honor, and tried to learn from what you showed that squire. I want to be like that, too! I loved the song, and I thank you so much for the tunic! Master Pelican told me how much you have done for everyone, and that Little Girl…you treated that Little Girl like a great Lady. I wept to see it. Please, MiLord, how can I be like you?”

MiLord was shocked. Was this, then, The Dream? Was it right here, all along? How could be have missed it? He heard the King’s voice, soft and wise. “Do you see now, MiLord? The Dream is not something you have. It is something you *do*.”

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Weekend on the Water – Girl Scout Demo 2019

This past weekend the Shire of Sterlynge Vayle hosted a very intense demo for 65 Girl Scouts and their leaders.  The scouts invited us their Weekend on the Water, and we did a mini event for them.  There were demonstrations of both heavy fighting and fencing. Every time I went down to check on the fighters and fencers there was a small group – or sometimes a rather large group of girls there watching.  We also had an archery range with 3D targets thanks to our marshal of the day who brought them so they could shoot at something besides standard targets.  The camp has also recently put in some wood butts for use with thrown weapons – such as axes and knives. This was probably one of the biggest hits for the day, as so many girls seemed to really enjoy throwing things.

We also ran a mini schola with several make-and-take activities such as designing and painting your own heraldry, making Viking tokens, creating a draw string pouch, and learning to use a drop spindle that you have made yourself. The basics of Japanese calligraphy were also taught, and a mini bardic circle ran all day. Additionally, there was a quest for the Golden Snail which ran all day with the girls hunting for riddles and then working to solve them.  Girls were also able to head in to the kitchen and help prepare both lunch and feast. The camp volunteers opened the waterfront for the girls to swim or head out in a canoe.

All reports were that everyone had a great time.  There was one girl that I sat with at dinner who had to show us all the Viking “bling” she made. I am pretty sure she had at least ten tokens made. She was so excited about it.  I heard about many girls who tried everything that came out of the kitchen all weekend – and found a lot of new and different foods they liked.

Feedback from the scouts has been really positive, but I can only see what could go better.  Planning something like this always has it’s pitfalls since so much is not in the purview of the defacto SCA “autocrat”.   To that end, here are my comments on doing a demo of this sort.

Planning has to start earlier. There is so much more that could be done with better planning.  A lot of things were coming down to last minute things.  This part goes hand in hand with communication – which honestly, I could have done much better.  To break it down to specifics:

  • Start the planning earlier, allow for a full year if at all possible. This will allow you to set up a staff, and find those make and take items that will be really awesome.
  • See if you can theme the event and have a variety of items to go with the theme.  Even if the theme is just “medieval madness”.
  • Maybe plan the event so that on Friday night you have two big activities start – making a t-tunic and embroidery.  (Time intensive, large groups.  could embroider on tunics or embroider on fabric for a further make and take of a draw string pouch.) This would give participants a longer period of time to work on these projects.
  • Scheduling – have firm class times.  Need commitment from instructors on when they will be there to teach classes.  “Drop in classes” in blocks of time. eg: there was a huge number of people up to Throw at the same time. Split it into smaller blocks and have sign ups.
  • Locations – put similar things in the same area.  fiber-y stuff in one area. Messy things (ink/paints) in a separate area.  (move kids in blocks (pods?)
  • Site book —  include a map of where things are located. List the schedule for the day.  List lunch/dinner menu. List main SCA persons names and contacts, basic info on the SCA.
  • Demo box ideas for quick make and take items: games such as 9 man morris, embroidery floss and patterns for tracing on to fabrics, mini song books, etc.
  • If handling food for the demo – try to get allergy and dietary restrictions as early as possible.
  • Create some sort of feedback form for the participants to fill out for us with specifics to the SCA program .
  • Large site communications – if phones work – great, check for usable other things like walkie-talkies.
  • Water avail at the fields.

Do not try to do it all alone. Delegate things.  For the love of your own sanity – delegate.

Keep good notes and have them in one place. I used my bullet journal for this and it worked out really well.

I’m not sure when or even if I will run another demo similar to this, but I feel like I have a good idea of how to really improve the experience for both the girls, and the participants.

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Pennsic 48

After 18 years I went back to Pennsic.

My hiatus was not something that I wanted at all, but life and finances kept me from going.  This year it is only by the grace of my love that I was able to attend. My health has gotten worse over the years and I now require a CPAP machine – cause breathing is a good thing. Chris was an absolute love and got a battery and solar charging set up that would handle the CPAP and keep our cell phones charged – as well as my Fitbit.  I admit, I was a bit concerned, but then I am exceptionally gifted at worrying.  I come from a long line of worriers. It is what we do, and I’ve taken the masterclass in it.  That said – it worked out beautifully for all of Pennsic.  I will try to get the info on the battery and solar charger that he got to share with everyone. It really worked out stunningly well.

I had some movement issues as well to work though as I had pulled my back muscles pretty substantially about a week before I was leaving. The first couple of days were rough – getting used to walking more, and sleeping on an air mattress. After a bit though, while my back was still cranky, it was more manageable with the judicious application of two Aleve with my morning medications.

I really was not sure how well I was going to handle the walking and moving. I did okay – but not as well as I would have liked. C’est la vie. I listened to my body, even if it did mean missing classes that I wanted to go to.

The things I did get to do though — oh my goodness!

I volunteered at Newcomer Point a couple of days during Peace Week.  It was awesome to help new people to Pennsic and some to the SCA find all the fun things going on.  AEthelmearc had Bingo and a “Find the Queen/Princess” game going on. There was the Camino (which I want to do next year). There was Pennsic Rocks and AEthelmearc Rocks with painted stones around site.  One gentle made over 250 chainmail pendants and hid those around site as well to be found by lucky campers.  We provided information to folks on where things were, what group was camped where, and how to get involved.

I finally learned how to use a loom I was gifted awhile back too. It was not a style that I was familiar with, luckily I know people who are, and managed to finally catch up to Mahin.  We had a delightful time together with her showing me how the blasted thing works, and how to figure patterns out with card weaving. I have a much better understanding of it now, and managed to get a copy of the book she was telling me about.  She also had me in tears with a story about how I was ‘responsible’ for her getting a Laurel in her art.  While it is not truly my story to tell, so I won’t, I will say this much — be kind. Be courteous. Be Generous with your time and praise.  You do not know how far the ripples you send out in this world will reach.

I took a class on Favors and Tokens – which was interesting but very focused on CIS Het, and had no room for those like myself whom are Poly. I know that it was at least somewhat based on how favors were given during the time periods we study, but it would have been nice to have a bit of discussion on how it could be adapted to more modern ideology.  For example – per the class you are to only have one favor bestowed on someone.  Right now I have 3 given to others, and am in process of making a fourth.  One is held by Chris, the one in progress will go to Jinx when it is completed.  One of my best friends holds one – Perote, and the other is held by Her Highness Signy Heri of the Kingdom of Atlantia, who wore it several years ago on the fighting fields of Pennsic when I was unable to attend (she felt that I was an inspiration with some of the personal growth work I had been doing, and it is very cherished memory for me to see images of her in armor wearing my favor).

I also got to take a three day class on bobbin lace. I felt rather under the weather for the third day and so did not attend, but the first two days were excellent. I have something new and pretty to learn. It moved very quickly class time wise, and I was not always able to work more on the project outside of class, which I found somewhat frustrating. I may work on all of it during the next 50 weeks, and then pop in on the day three class next year if I can. But I have the very basics down so it makes considerably more sense to me now.

There were little moments all around that were amazing – walking at night under the moon and stars, past torch lit camps where singing or drumming could be heard while holding my love’s hand; seeing loved ones that I haven’t seen in months, seeing dear friends receive well deserved awards and recognition. Moments that filled my heart with joy were those all too brief ones.

I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.

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Seven Deadly Sins – 2019

I really do enjoy this event.  It has a bit of everything that makes a great event – especially in the winter months.  There was fencing – which I always find enjoyable to watch.  So many folks taking up the blade to go out and have fun stabbing each other.

There was a vigil for a new member for the Order of the Pelican – so of course I had to be there!  Elyse is so well deserving of being made a member that it makes my heart glad. She is a fellow Chatelaine, and has done a great deal for the kingdom – and chatelaines – with her work and handouts, website, etc.  Getting to talk to her was wonderful, and I hope that my ‘advice’ (such as it was), helped her be more comfortable.  Her ceremony was lovely, and I teared up at some of the words said.  I don’t often get emotional, but wow – it was marvelous.

There was, of course, the Sin Den — cause really – what would an event called Feast of the Seven Deadly Sins be without one!? It was lovely and decadent (chocolate fountain for the win!) with just the right level of ‘naughty’ and irreverent.

I got to talk to a number of people who I get to speak to very seldom as we are usually running in different directions.  One of those involved a great discussion with a Knight – who had most excellent libations (Bea, I really need to get that info on the Scotch from you.)

I met more people who I knew of – but had not actually met.  Huzzah for enlarging my circle of people to include more good folks!

The only downside to the event — that I left with the plague.  I’ve been fighting the ickies since the event.   Must remember to do more to boost my immune system before winter events.

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Shoot in the Wildwood

I recently attended Shoot in the Wildwood up in Delftwood.  This is a yearly event for me, and I try never to miss it.  One of the things I really like about this event is that I am often able to bring new people to it as their first event, and this year was no different.

My friends arrived just in time for morning court where Master Fergus was being sent off to vigil to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Pelican. I must say, it never gets old standing up with the rest of the Order to welcome someone new to the order. I still have moments of looking around and wondering what on earth I am doing here with all these Important People.

They were shortly introduced to a friend of mine, Baron Cormacc who took them around to play with a siege weapon and then up to the Throwing range. We met up for a bit and had some food, and then they had to take off to go home.

I stayed and spoke to a lot of people that I do not get to see nearly often enough, and spoke to one young lady about the possibility of becoming my Page at a later date — after much contemplation on her part, and approval of her parents.

I got to see many awards given to well deserving people, and of course, the elevation of my friend to the Order of the Pelican.  It was utterly Epic.

There was hilarity everywhere – from a retaliatory Rick Roll, to a large number of song lyrics being quoted. Bon Jovi, Journey… Her Majesty and the Jewel Herald got involved as well. It was funny and emotional – and suited the inductee well.

It was a long drive home, and I was admittedly tired about halfway back, but powered through.

 

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Things got a bit busy, or Nest was given the bird….

I was holding pretty steady with things and had planned to update last year. Then I went to the AEthelmearc and East Kingdom War – aka The Corn Maze on November 11th. I spent the day more than a bit chilly – cause well – it was outdoors, with little shelter and it was COLD. I actually wore several layers of clothing, including mundanes and my wool cloak. I was asked to help at court by handing out scroll cases to those who were honored by Their Majesties. Traditionally, this person is right up front to catch the persons before they run away with their award and the delicate artwork. So, there I was, right up front. All the scrolls were given out, and I had the great joy of seeing several friends get well deserved awards.

Then the herald, Arias, called me before Their Majesties Gareth and Juliana.
Umm… okay. So, up I go. They spoke about how they have heard of things I have been doing.

Then Arias called in the Order of the Pelican.

As Arias tells it, he was waiting for a reaction from me. According to him, it was a good 10 seconds or more before what was happening actually perked through my brain and I understood that I was being given a Writ to join the Order.

My thoughts, “OH MY… oh… don’t collapse, you’ll knock yourself out on the edge of the stage, and it’s muddy, and you won’t be able to get up, and it will be embarrassing…. and getting that much mud out of the wool will be a pain…”

So, yes. That happened.

My elevation was at College of Three Ravens on February 24th.

The day was a bit of a whirlwind to be honest. There were so many people there to help make things happen. I had new garb, a banner, my household kept me grounded and fed. My boyfriend kept me sane – and made sure I showed up – cause dang did I have proverbial cold feet. I had a very difficult time accepting that I was worthy of such an accolade. I still have trouble accepting it.

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In looking back, it seems that a vigil is very much a validation for the prospective Peer just for that very reason.  I have to admit it was an amazing experience. I got to talk to so many people that I have admired for years – a bit of a who’s who if you will – and they were telling me (!) how much I deserved this, how inspiring I was, etc.  I went in to it very much wondering “oh my goodness, why me. I’m not ready for this. I haven’t done enough.”  It was exceptionally validating in that regard, and I left feeling as though this was a good thing.

 

28576685_10155223440111714_3856045548431736832_oI had exceptional speakers and even now – months later — words still fail me to adequately describe how I feel about it.  I wish I could remember what every one said.  Baroness Ekat was kind enough to send me a copy of the brag –

“Your Majesties, Your Excellency, My lords and ladies all, The good and noble Nest verch Rys, keeper of the reliquary thighbone of St Ignatius, the puppy wrangler, and all around awesome lady comes forth.

She who has autocrated events beyond counting – INCLUDING HER OWN FUNERAL, she who has organized the great court bingo debacle, she who does not share her Outlandish adventures with just anyone now comes before you to answer the call of the royalty. For she knows that service is love made visible and service to crown and kingdom is the ultimate expression of the love she holds.”

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Duke Tindal, spoke as my Royal Peer.

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Mistress Cori, speaking as a member of the Pelican.

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Baron Fergus the stunt MOD for Duchess Dorinda

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Sir Bea – speaking words sent by THLord Gwydeon as a populace member.

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Baroness Ekat – speaking as a Jewel of AEthelmearc

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Duchess Rowan, speaking as a Laurel.

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Sir Murdoch, speaking as a member of the Chivalry

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Duchess Rowan presenting me with her Pelican cape.

It was an utterly amazing day, and one that I will treasure as the love was something that you could almost touch.

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Apologies

I’ve been having a bit of an attack of real life lately. With any luck things will settle down a bit soon and I can get back to doing fun things in my ‘spare’ time.

I completely missed the mark on the 100 days of A&S. I’ll be restarting that.  I hit my goal of 10 volunteer hours. That seems to be really easy to do.

I am unlikely to complete the Guard Quest – since this coming weekend Queen Gabrielle steps down – and I’ve not managed to throw a single Royal Round for score yet this year.  I refuse to score myself and submit it.

I have a lot more that I would like to say, but I think those will end up being their own posts over the next few weeks.

That said – I should be posting more after this weekend. At least – that is the plan.

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General SCA Update

There are a lot of things going on SCA wise for me right now, so much so that I haven’t been posting about them.

Local Group – The shire is still around, but it is currently only barely functional.  It seems that a good portion of our populace is taking a bit of a break from things.  It is both understandable and frustrating. I understand wanting and needing to take a break.  It is frustrating as I would love to have more new people coming out to see what we do, but having so few people there makes it hard as it presents a terrible image. I’m not entirely sure how to excite people to come out either.  That makes me so frustrated.

Queen’s Guard – I am a member of the Queen’s Guard for Her Majesty Gabrielle.  This is a position that I have not held before, and so far, it has been interesting. I am not in the best of shape, and this is definitely pushing my abilities.  It is also pushing me to do better with my own health so I can better able to act as a guard. That is a plus.

Queen’s Guard Quest – As part of the Guard, our Chivalry Advisor issued a Quest to all of us.  I am not sure if I will be able to complete it, but I will be trying to for sure.  I think my sticking point is going to be finding members of the White Horn that I can challenge.  While there are many, being in the same place as they are may be a bit of a problem.  If I had been able to make it to War Practice, or if I were likely to make Pennsic I don’t think I would have much of a concern with it.  I have a plan, I just have to hope the people are available to make it work.

100 Days of A&S – A challenge was issued to undertake 100 days of A&S. I am in the middle of it.  I am working with Duolingo to learn Welsh, and working on a couple of string projects that I have. I also have a couple of books that I am working through.

The Spark Challenge – This was issued at Coronation by Their Majesties. Information on it can be found here:  Spark Challenge .  I need to get some pearls to pass out for this.  I would like to earn some as well, but I don’t know that I need to have the physical representation of having done something ‘new’.

10 hours of Service in 100 Days – This is another challenge that I have undertaken, which with what I am already scheduled for – should be pretty easy to do – I tend to have a bit of a ‘helium hand’.  As of this writing, I estimate I have around 3 hours in already.

 

So, there it is. Some of the stuff going on for me in the SCA right now. Too bad work interferes with my fun.

 

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Still here

I know that I’ve been absent lately. Things here in Sterlynge Vayle got rather – interesting – for a bit.  Sunday, May 22, 2016 our Seneschal, Baron Malcolm fitz William passed away unexpectedly from complications of pneumonia.  Since then I had been acting as the seneschal until an election could be held.  At the election in July, I was confirmed as the Seneschal to complete Baron Malcolm’s term of office until the regular meeting scheduled in March 2017.

I feel like I have been playing catch up on a number of levels.  Figuring out what Malcolm had done or started and continuing forward with those – or not – as the shire decides. It is now after Pennsic, and I think I have a much better handle on things.  I really could not have done it without the support of the other officers and shire members.  We really came together after this tragedy to not just support each other, but to work as a group to push the shire forward – to make it better – in honor of Malcolm.

This is not to say that at least once a meeting one of us doesn’t look up at the sky and speak to Malcolm and tell him to stop laughing, or some iteration thereof. He had a wicked sense of humor and I’m sure is looking at us and giggling as he watches our antics.

One of the things that I have requested everyone do is to find deputies and cross train as many people for as many positions as we can. We need to have a larger number of members, and the more people who are able to do different jobs, the more people we will have to act as teachers for those job — to help foster that sense of service in new members. This is going to be critical.  Several people have two positions within the shire – currently I hold three. I really want to get to a point where everyone has one position and a different person is a deputy – without the overlap we have right now.  I could try to draw a diagram of it – but it would be absurd with lines running all over the place. I’m sure it would look much like the Borgia’s relationship map.

I have goals for the shire with regards to number of members and numbers of active members.  I would love to be able to have a polling in two years – or at least the possibility of having a polling in two years.  It is definitely ambitious considering where we are right now, but we have a great group of people and I believe that if we all work together we can do amazing things.  I fully believe that this is an attainable goal for us.

We have a lot going on right now, but we can do it.  Malcolm said on an Officer’s report that “We’re survivors” now is when we prove him correct.  Now is when we show that we do not just survive – we thrive.

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Crown Tourney

I’ve been going back and forth for days now about how to describe this event.  There is so very much to say, but words are not nearly enough, really, to tell about it. Pictures say a great deal, but I took very few, and it isn’t right for me to share the images of others by cherry picking them to post here.

I will say that Spring Crown was amazing. There was amazing pageantry. While I missed the bragging competition due to other obligations, I heard it was awesome. I did get to watch a good bit of the fighting. All I can say is “Wow”.  Some of the best of the best took the field to challenge each other for the right to wear the crowns.  In the end it came down to two combatants.  Duke Timothy and Duke Marcus.  The level of joy these two men had facing each other was darned near infectious. They chatted and joked.  Thru their helms we could see the smiles they wore.  They were there fighting for the crown – and having fun. They both showed such grace and honor, such courtesy and humility.  This was not a fight about one person ‘winning’ and one ‘losing’.  This was about both of them embodying the ideals of chivalry – those knightly virtues we often speak about.  This was about joy and companionship.  There really was no loser in that regard. This post from the Gazette put it all so very much better than I ever possibly could hope to do. AEthelmearc Gazette – Crown Tournament

The day was wonderful.  The kitchen crew was hard at work to keep everyone fed – and having people coming around with food throughout the day was a lot of fun. It certainly added to the festiveness of the day.  There is nothing quite so fun as people coming around with pretzels, and stuffed breads, and many other delights.  I had a couple of friends with me who were attending their first crown tournament. They enjoyed themselves (even if where our pop up was located was a bit on the muddy side).

Court was delightful.  I word-smithed my first scroll – and it was given at Court to someone I love dearly who was being honored with the Fleur d’Æthelmearc.  Shortly afterwards another person I greatly admire was given a writ to join the Order of the Pelican. So many other wonderful awards were given out – I can’t possibly name them all – but there were well deserved Keystones, Millrinds, Fleurs…  just – wonderful all around. I love seeing my friends honored for doing good things and being the talented and wonderful people that they are.

Shortly after court my friends and I headed home due to family obligations. We had wonderful discussion on the way home, and I got to answer any questions on things they did not understand.  They both said they wanted to go to another event as this was so much fun.

I do love sharing this hobby with others. It really has something for just about everyone.

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