About 3:00 this afternoon I came to a startling realization: Today is Thursday.
I haven’t been sleeping particularly well lately, and there have been lots of fun things disrupting my normal schedule. I’m not at my sharpest right now, so the thought of having to blog on the fly sent me into a flurry of productive procrastination. I put away three loads of laundry and changed the sheets on my bed. I organized my husband’s t-shirts by size, putting aside his options for this weekend’s Highland Games. Then I went to inventory the fridge for dinner options. We’re having steaks with tortellini and pickled veggies, if anyone is interested. I still haven’t gotten book words in, so I might have to whip up a red wine reduction to go on the steaks. After all, according to fine dining rules, it’s not a meal without a sauce. Just ask Gordon Ramsey.
If you happen to be in Chicagoland this weekend, we will be at the Aye-tasca Highland Games on Saturday. Gates open at 8:00 a.m. (Heaven help me). You can get advanced tickets here. If you come by, make sure to come by the Clan Campbell tent. If you’re there about noon, you can walk in the tartan parade with me!
I’m going to tell stories this afternoon, and I had someone ask me to post a picture of my costume. (It’s clickable if you want a bigger view.) This is more or less what I wear for all my story sessions, although the hat is new. There’s a closer picture of it on Facebook. You can’t really see the feather in this photo. The rest of the costume is a frilled white shirt (which, believe it or not, I found at Cracker Barrel), the gray bodice, blue petticoat (I also have green and yellow), and the tartan arisaid. You can’t really see the tartan, but it’s Black Watch. The arisaid is the female equivalent of a great kilt, meaning it’s a big piece of fabric. You lay it out on the bed or the floor, pleat the back, lie down on top of it, wrap it around yourself, and belt it on. The airsaid gets pinned on the right shoulder, if the wearer chooses to pin it. It can also be worn entirely over the petticoat or drawn over the head into a hood. (If you’re curious, the great kilt gets pinned over the man’s left shoulder, leaving his (right) sword arm free and unemcumbered.) The bit sticking up over my shoulder is my leaning stick. It’s just a staff to lean on when I’m telling stories if my back gets stiff, but more importantly I’ve never had an audience that didn’t love it and ask questions about it. When it comes down to it, education is a big part of this gig.
So, there you have it. Now I’m off to tell some stories.
Over the weekend I was chatting with Jeff, my bard master, and we got on the subject of accents. I mentioned that, although I have a chameleon accent and pick up what others are speaking around me, I can’t manage a brogue to save my life.
He sat straight up in his chair and said, rather sternly, “How is it you’ve been my apprentice for two years and haven’t discovered I hate that word?”
When I asked which word, he said, “Can’t. As soon as you can’t, you can’t.”
He’s right. I used to tell my kids that years ago when we were homeschooling. It’s more than a matter of semantics. Saying you can’t do something sets up mental barriers. Tell yourself you can’t do something enough, and you’ll prove yourself right, and let me tell you, mental barriers are tough to break. Even worse, the more you think you can’t, the thicker those barriers get until, before you know it, you’ve got a stronghold.
Much better to cut yourself some slack and say, for instance, “I have a hard time with a brogue. I haven’t been able to sustain it for more than a sentence.” We don’t do that, though, because can’t is such a little word. It’s innocuous. Almost harmless, on the surface, until you have a barrier to break and realize where it came from. It makes me wonder how many times I’ve told myself I can’t and internalized it without realizing. Maybe it’s time to say I can.
We spent the weekend in St. Louis’ Tower Grove Park at the Festival of Nations. This year, one of our Highland Societies set up a Celtic Village hoping that some of the Irish and Welsh communities would come out and play, too. They didn’t, so Eric and I set up the Clan Campbell tent and spent the weekend looking up surnames and telling people which clans to investigate further. The weather was darn near perfect. It could have been ten degrees cooler, but the breeze and shade were enough to keep us from melting!
Clan Campbell tent. The piper is a McDonald, but we let him hang around and play anyway.
We had athletes competing behind our tents. This is the caber toss. Yes, that’s more or less a telephone poll.
I have no idea how many thousands of people came through to sample foods and shop at booths representing at least 40 different nations from all over the globe. Yeah, we ate well!
Vicky stopped by to visit. That was the icing on the cake! We’re always happy to see our baby girl, and although you can’t see it in this picture, our kilts all match.