Siege Diaries 12/2/2021

It’s a little bit of an odd time right now. On the one hand, we’re barreling forward into December with some semblance of a “normal” holiday season. Saturday is Wassail, and people are travelling there from far and wide to attend an elevation–even though the lady being Laureled is a bard–but we can’t sing. I have a lineup of fun activities for the month: two historic house tours, Shostakovich 15: the sequel on the 18th, the Nutcracker on the 19th, and a quick trip up to Ottawa just before Christmas for museums and a Christmas market–but there is still worry, what with a new variant on the loose and case counts rising–although hospitalizations are stable. The tree is up, and the baking will take place soon, but we’re still doing the Rising Waters dessert revel virtually. (Oh–and I broke one of my three glass magi ornaments from Hallmark that I’ve had for 24 years–but I managed to order a replacement on eBay.) There will be an actual group lunch on the 14th and a massage the day before. And today we found out that booster vaccines will be available for those over 50 starting on the 13th. I hit my six month mark on Christmas Day, but it’s good to know I should be able to get jab #3 fairly quickly.

Queen’s Prize Tourney last weekend was wonderful. One of the guys I sponsored–he joined during the virtual period–won the Queen’s Prize, and was just blown away. The guy who got my attack snail embroidery built an amazing little gusli (Russian stringed instrument) that all the judges decided should be named George (or Gyorgi), because we all wanted to love it and squeeze it and pet it. It was lovely to see creativity on display again. I managed to finish an embroidered mask with the Kingdom arms for heralding purposes. Wassail this coming weekend will not only feature the elevation of my first “grandchild” to be Laureled, but hopefully making some music with others. I’ve tuned up the viola and practiced the pieces a couple of times. My alto clef reading is rusty.

Work is busy. I’m transitioning into another newish project (after being told I am getting a bit of a reputation as a “fixer,” which is a good thing. Performance reviews are running really late this year–apparently the Board has to approve all of the ratings before they can share with us. They’ve switched to one of those systems this year where they rank on a curve, and only certain numbers of people can occupy the highest and lowest rankings. (We’ve already been told that our group, since we had to let some people go back in March, will be exempt from the low end of the curve.)

There was a small in-person board game night this past Tuesday. I won a game of 7 Wonders Architects, and did not win Isle of Cats–but I absolutely loved the latter. We backed the Kickstarter over two years ago, and had not gotten a chance to play it.

Filling my boat with cats

I participated in my evening Toastmasters club Table Topics contest tonight–and won. Although I have a good track record with Table Topics, it is still always a bit of a surprise–and always an honour–to win.

It’s proofing season for the DSCH Journal, and I’m also back at another Shostakovich embroidery project; once again, I’ve tackled the most difficult part first. I’ve also sewn and pearled two new wool Rus’ tunics; I wore the blue one last weekend and will wear the red one this coming one. I also traditionally do a sewing project during the break, and the best candidate for that is likely 30s suit #2, assuming I have the embroidery work done. I also have a PMI update course to take.

The piece of jewellery I commissioned is hopefully happening soon–I’ve seen the wax carving and it provoked a serious muppet flail. On the other hand, the second watch I ordered from August Berg went missing. They’ve shipped a replacement, which was slated to be here today, but it looks like it won’t quite make it. I also have sterling silver wire and findings on order–some garnet stars I ordered in September arrived not long after I returned from Montreal, and I’ve come up with a concept to use them flexibly–each one will be made into an individual “charm,” and I will be making additional “charms” out of pearls. They will then be able to be added to a silver chain, using as many or as few as I’d like to create different effects.

And I am cautiously eyeing the future, but won’t pull the trigger on a possible trip until a couple of months from now: the Metropolitan Opera is mounting Akhnaten again, and were I to attend one of the final performances, I could also see the New York Philharmonic perform the Shostakovich Fifth Symphony. That’s early June. I’m not confident enough at the moment to pull the trigger, but I can look longingly and hope.