I’m so excited: I am now officially enrolled in two classes for Fall Semester at The Ohio State University. Classes start August 22nd. Before then I need to buy my books and my parking permit. Getting the permit as a Program 60 auditor is an annoying hassle, because we’re not allowed to enroll until August 1st, which doesn’t leave enough time to apply for the permit by mail. Instead I have to go to a private office that is off of South Campus, park in an expensive garage, and stand in line forever in order to shell out what I consider to be a lot of money for a permit that only gives me access to West Campus, where I’ll have to wait for a campus bus to take me to Main Campus where my classes will be.

OK, enough complaining! πŸ˜‰ Here’s are some views of the gorgeous Main Campus last spring, where the Oval is:

The classes I’ll be taking are The Icelandic Saga (sound familiar?) and Medieval Russia. Β I am really stoked about both classes. In fact, I was only going to take one, but I couldn’t make up my mind which one to sacrifice, so I’m doing both! Β I’ll be on campus four days a week, meaning I’ll be commuting into the city that often, and two of those days will be during rush hour. Yikes! But I’m going to take the back route, so hopefully it won’t be too bad… I can only hope! πŸ™‚

In preparation for turning over a new leaf with school, I got my hair cut and colored a kind of light reddish brown. I think I like it, although it still surprises me to see it in the mirror. I also got a few new clothes, a partial lifestyle change from my regular fleece, jeans, and hiking boots, like this:

me Franklin Park 2.7.2017 (2)
the “old” me


But I expect that as winter closes in, I’ll be back to fleece and hiking boots in order to get around the huge OSU campus. Meanwhile, here’s what I looked like today after my counseling psychology class, in a photo taken by my fellow classmate and friend, Deanna:

me outside Changes Aug 4, 2017

When I got home, I took yet another selfie (yes, I’m an addict! πŸ˜› ). I wish my arms were longer, or that I could figure out the timer on my camera! I used to know how it worked, but now I’ve forgotten.

me Aug 4, 2017

Did I tell you that I finished my first Viking apron dress? Here it is, in part, with my new brown Dutch braid, to match my new brown hair:

me new green apron dress and blue scarf

My SCA character, Unn Olafsdottir, is the 10th century widow of a transplanted Norwegian-Icelandic chieftain who raids (thus he goes Viking), trades and farms. He was especially successful at all three, which is why I’m wearing so much ‘bling.’ πŸ™‚

My widowhood also allows my to show some hair, which I wouldn’t have been allowed to do while I was married. We think of Vikings as being dirty and lawless, when actually they were the cleanest Europeans during the Middle Ages. They set aside Saturday as a bathing day, during which everyone had to take a thorough bath.

And the number of laws in the Viking culture was really amazing, considering that, except for runes, they had no written language until about the 13th century. Instead, all their laws were memorized, and each year at the Law Rock in Iceland, the Law Speaker spent three entire days reciting all the laws, one-third each day. What memories these men had! And what arguments came up over the accuracy of the recitations!

The laws were also extremely complex. (Just take my word for it! LOL.) And if you think that dodgy lawyers are a modern creation, think again. Most of the Icelandic lawyers were self-styled or were requested to represent their neighbors or friends, and these lawyers were major tricksters. It is worth reading the Icelandic Sagas just to get a grasp of what the wily advocates did.

The most famous Icelandic lawyer, and saga, was called Burnt Njall’s Saga. But Njall’s fame and slippery tactics did not prevent him from being burned alive in his home, hence his name. House burnings were a specialty of revenge-taking in these Nordic cultures. Pretty grim.

I was given an award by the Society for Creative Anachronism’s Baron Talymar and Baroness Melisande, Their Excellencies for the Barony of the Middle Marches in the Kingdom of the Midrealm, for my Viking costuming, studies, and teaching. The award is called the Gilded Reed, and it looks, in part, like this:

gilded reed award

It was a great honor to receive this, a major award for accomplishment in the arts and sciences, before I have even been a member of the SCA for a year (that will happen in September). Here I am teaching a class on Viking Age Women:

Viking Women class pointing

As you may remember, I had planned a trip to Iceland in May to look at some of the Saga sites that were most interesting to me from my reading and studies. Alas, in March I climbed on top of my dining room table to change a light bulb in the ceiling and promptly fell off, injuring myself so badly that I had to cancel the trip (without insurance, no less). I’m still not completely recovered.

But the really sad updates concern my kitties Kiwi and Black Bean. They have both passed away, first Kiwi and then, not much later, Black Bean. 😦 I really, really miss them. Here they are, in their prime:

Ophelia and Sissy are still with me, but they seem a little lost without the “boys.”

I think that’s about it from here. Till next time, take care and remember to put some joy in every day! ❀