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project log   
11:59am 31/12/2014
  It occurred to me it might be interesting to keep a running log of things I've made over the course of this year. So this entry is going to be post-dated (sorry for those of you who read this journal via the main page, rather than through a feeder, since it will always show up on top).

Jewelry and metalworkCollapse )

Scribal stuffCollapse )

Sewing and embroideryCollapse )
02:42pm 08/07/2014
  Before you have kids, one of the iconic images of what it's like to have a baby is to have a swaddled bundle in your arms while you rock and sing him or her to sleep.

Then, you have kids, and find out, not so much. Gwen stopped being swaddled around 5 days old, about the time mom went home, because I never mastered the art myself. Luckily, she slept decently enough without being swaddled.

I rarely sang to her when she was young, because my singing, rather than soothing, tended to result in looks of wide-eyed horror. Gwen to this day does not have a high opinion of my singing. At the parent's party at daycare a few weeks ago, when each kid picked out a song to sing and she picked "Alle meine entchen" (one I know! I could sing too!) she broke off in the middle of the verse to say bossily, "nein mommy sing!"

And dreading having a baby that could only fall asleep with movement, I adhered pretty strongly to the "put them down drowsy but still awake" advice and that too served us very well. But it means I never rocked her to sleep.

Gwen occasionally mishears or mispronounces (I'm not sure if it's both or just the latter) \b\ as \m\ (e.g., daddy goes down into the "masement!" every morning to get the bike). A few months ago, we read a new book of nursery rhymes, which included "rock-a-bye baby", which she has decided is actually "rock-my-baby", and began to randomly insist that I sing it to her, with "Gwennie" replacing "baby" in the second to last line. Now, it's become part of our bed time routine, I sit on the edge of her bed and she lays her head in my lap while I rock her and sing, and it occasionally comes out at other times when she wants a bit of extra encouragement, such as when I dropped her off at daycare this morning.

I love it. I finally get to cuddle my baby in my arms and rock and sing to her.

It only took 2.5 years.
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July resolution review   
01:22pm 07/07/2014
  Rather late, because I spent most of last week in Amsterdam doing other things.




Revision requested


"Logic and Semantic Theory in the High Middle Ages" 11 June 2013 invited book chapter
"Paul of Venice on a Puzzle About Uncertainty" 24 June 2013
"Sit Verum and Counterfactual Reasoning 13 August 2013 10 March 2014 2 April 2014
"The Logic of Categorematic and Syncategorematic Infinity" 14 January 2014 17 April 2014 16 May 2014
"Obligationes" (with Catarina Dutilh Novaes) 27 March 2014 28 March 2014 08 April 2014 15 April 2014
"Reasoning About Obligations in Obligationes: A Formal Approach" 08 April 2014 2 June 2014 19 May 2014
"Code-Switched Occupational and Descriptive Phrases in 15th-Century York: A Study of Medieval Bilingualism" 10 April 2014 10 June 2014
"Review of Marko Malink, Aristotle's Modal Syllogistic" 14 April 2014 11 June 2014
"Intuitionistic Provability and the Structuralist Account of Modal Operators" 21 May 2014 03 June 2014
"Dialectical Self-Refutation and Năgărjuna's Discussion in Six Points (ṣaṭkoṭiko vădaḥ)" (with Birgit Kellner) 26 June 2014

This month's paper only sort of counts. Birgit and I are co-writing it, and I got my part to a point last week where I can't do any more without her. It's close to being finished, but it's not actually finished; we hope to finish it by the end of July.

2014 Publications


Publication info
"A Medieval Epistemic Puzzle" in Z. Christoff, P. Galeazzi, N. Giersimczuck, A. Marcoci, & S. Smets, LIRa Yearbook 2012, vol. 1 (Amsterdam: Institute for Logic, Language & Computation, 2014): 301-316.
"Medieval Destinations: Lumbini" Tournaments Illuminated 190 (2014): 33.

A happy moment this morning came when my copies of the LIRa Yearbook noted above were finally delivered.  Always fun to put your hands on a book(s) in which you are published.

And in other very cool news: late last night -- just as I was about to shut the computer down and go to bed, I got this email:

The ONOMA Editorial Board has had a bit of an e-mail discussion about your proposal, and everyone who has voiced their opinion has agreed that it is an excellent one. The theme of ONOMA 50, nominally 2015, is now set as "Medieval Multiculturalism: The Evidence from Names".

Whooo! Many thanks to badgersandjam , zmiya_san , and Nessa, my partners in crime for this endeavor. Very, very exciting.
home again   
09:21pm 04/07/2014
  Joel met me at the station (yay!), not because he'd missed me so badly over the last 3 days that he couldn't bear to be away from me a minute longer than necessary, but because I'd realized there was no way I was going to be able to manage my rolling suitcase, computer bag, other bag, crate of 24 beers AND Gwen all on my own, so he took the suitcase and the beers off home while I went to pick up Gwen. Her teacher saw me coming up the stairs and told Gwen her mom was here, and I could hear her excitement trip up her ability to speak and she ran out into the hall. She saw me, came to a dead stop, and asked accusingly, "Where's my dad??" Ah well, at least this time she was briefly happy to see me.

I've been gone since Tuesday and again I was struck by how grown-up she's becoming. Agnes had put a barrette in her hair (and she'd left it in, amazing!) and it turned her from a toddler into a right and proper little girl, wearing a cute skirt and a sleeveless shirt, and we were half-way down the first flight of stairs when she realized she'd forgotten her necklace. But most surprising was her fluency in pointing out an important "picture" in her cubby hole, and then telling me all about it being an invitation to go to Nia's house. I am so used to knowing so much of what goes on in her days that I tend to over estimate how much of my understanding comes from knowing the context and how much comes from her telling me things.

It turns out that Nia (another girl in her room) is turning three in a few weeks, and is having a birthday party! Unfortunately, while Gwen grasped the concept of going to Nia's house quite quickly, and knew that it was "over there" and that we'd take the tram to it, she hadn't quite realized that the invitation wasn't for today. So there were some sudden tears on the sidewalk when she thought I was telling her that we weren't going to go to the party, and I had to explain to her that it would be in two weeks.

Is it strange that this birthday party is one of the most daunting things that I have faced as a parent? I have no idea what a toddler's birthday party is like in Germany. Do we bring a gift? (Yes, we will, because even if that's not the Done Thing, it's what we do in America, and Gwen knows birthdays = gifts and has already started talking about Nia's birthday present). Will I stay with her during the party, or are the parents expected to leave their kids and come back? (I expect it will be obvious when I get there, and that most likely I will stay: It's Not Fair to any parent to leave them with 10 2-3 year olds). With pretty much every other thing that we've had to deal with regarding Gwen, I've had some sort of intuition, or previous experience to draw upon. But toddler birthday parties are a whole new realm of experience for me. If I am to stay with her during the party, I'm going to have to brush up on my (virtually non-existent) conversational German. But maybe I'll finally learn the names of some of the other parents!
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European life   
03:36pm 02/07/2014
  It's the afternoon coffee break during the conference, and I've just gotten back from the grocery store, where I purchased 2 jars of creamy peanut butter, 80g of cumin seeds, and 80g of ground cumin.

One of the strangest effects of living in Europe that I've found is our increasing tendency to do routine grocery shopping in other countries. It started when we realized Dutch sausages were uniformly disappointing (even fresh ones from the butcher shop!) and pretty much anything we could get in Germany was better, so every time one of us went to Germany, we'd pick up a package to bring home. Then we discovered how much better German bread was, and often a loaf or two of that would come home.

After Joel spent a month in Paris, we discovered that -- while not quite staples -- French cheese and French dried sausages are totally worth picking up every time we're visiting. Not to mention the fact one of our favorite tea suppliers is based in Paris, and they actually sell bar soap in France (we simply couldn't find bar soap in the Netherlands, and so would bring it back in bulk from the States. Buying it in France was a lot easier when we could.)

When I spent a month in Copenhagen, I discovered Lurpak brand butter, with sea salt flakes: The best butter I've ever had. We've since found Lurpak in other countries, but never that particular variant, so whenever I'm back in Copenhagen, I stock up if I can.

We could get decent brown sugar in the Netherlands, though it's not the same as what you can get in the US. In Germany, however, the selection is pretty mediocre; none of it is dark enough for Joel's tastes, and he puts a spoonful on his oatmeal every morning. When we were in the UK in December, we discovered the joys of Sainsbury's brown sugar, and came back with a ew kilos. Now, we pick up a bag or two whenever we're there and have space in our bags.

And now, recently we discovered that peanut butter is not to be found in Germany, at least, not in the ordinary grocery stores. This isn't too surprising, they don't have the peanut culture that the Netherlands does, but it does make having PBJs difficult. Conveniently, just a few weeks after Joel finished up the jar we'd brought with us when we moved, here I am back in Amsterdam and able to stock up. Cumin, on the other hand, is something we've been looking for since we've moved, as we increasingly used up our stash (one jar of cumin doesn't last long when you use 3 T per batch of chili: And there is no way you can make chili without cumin). "Cumin" in German is "Kreuzkümmel", but just plain "kümmel" is "caraway", a similarity which has resulted in us having enough caraway to last us for a long time, but still no cumin. Even the Asian stores didn't carry it!

I managed to pick up the last two bottles at the particular Albert Heijn I stopped at today,so we should be good for another season of chili-making -- or until we get back to the Netherlands again.
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on the road again   
11:51am 01/07/2014
  I'm headed to Amsterdam, but only for a few days, I'll be back early enough on Friday to pick Gwen up from daycare. And I get to spend three nights with Martijn and Wendy!

Since I firmly believe that it's better for me to tell Gwen in advance when I am going, rather than dropping her off at daycare and then have her find out when, hey, Daddy's come to pick her up, and Mommy's gone! Besides, she, like the cats, knows what the suitcase means, althought she, unlike the cats, doesn't try to sit in it. Last night as I was packing and I told her I was going to go to Amsterdam for a few days, she came up, put her arms around me, and looked up with this enormous eyes and said "Mommy, please stay home, mommy. Please. Nein go to Amsterdam. Please stay home."

Augh. Tug at the heart strings now, why don't you? I know I've been gone quite a lot lately, but this is a short trip and afterwards the only trip we have planned between now and September is one she's coming along on, so I hope a good couple months at home will help make up for how much I've been away.
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one fun thing   
08:50pm 22/06/2014
  Knowing my natural inclination to follow the 2nd law of thermodynamics (that is the one, right? The one where a body at rest tends to stay at rest?), and that if I don't make an effort to get out and DO things, the weekend can pass by in a blissful haze of lounging, reading, and onomastics, I made a pact with myself when Gwen started getting old enough to care to try to do one fun thing each weekend (or holiday) that we were home/not traveling, something that I would normally consider too much work/effort/hassle to do, because otherwise we would just spend our days at home, indoors.

I've done pretty well keeping to this pact, it spurs me on to say "yes" when she wants to go outside and play in the sandpit, even though I know that it means I'll get nothing done all morning except sitting and reading (Note: This is not a bad thing. It's just, some weekends, I wouldn't mind getting something more done than reading); or to pack up all the sand toys AND let her ride her bike out to the park, even though it, again, means I don't get anything done, AND I may face the possibility of having to haul the sand toys, the bike, AND her home under my arm if she doesn't come nicely (I'm getting better at timing the leaving for home so that this doesn't happen). Thursday, I used One Fun Thing (hereafter: OFT) as an excuse to bake a cake. I was having a rough day (I'd only realized it was a holiday around lunch time the day before -- better than the previous Thursday holiday, but it still messes up my mental schedule when I'm trying to get things done during the week), and decided I really wanted cake. But Gwen is often more "help" than help, and so ordinarily I'd've not gone through the effort. But OFT encouraged me to go ahead, and it was definitely a hit. Gwen kept telling us, and has continued to tell us, "We bake a cake!", and singing "Backe Backe Kuchen!", since then. Yesterday, she went so far as to inform me that I helped her bake a cake. Hah!

Today, I decided to swallow my dislike of things that create messes, and in the spirit of OFT offered to her in the morning the opportunity to paint. I got out the glittery water colors that mom gave her for Christmas, and she painted for about 40 minutes this morning. Then again after supper she wanted to paint again -- this time, a picture for Auntie zmiya_san . Since painting is, at this point, still a full-body matter, we simply skip upper body clothes altogether (and since while we were at the park this afternoon she asked if it could be bath night again, we went into the painting with the assumption that there would likely be a bath afterwards). And I got out the camera and took photo after photo of impossible beauty:

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Three out of five   
08:41pm 19/06/2014
  I got home Tuesday afternoon after a (very busy, terribly exhausting, at times awfully frustrating and at times exactly wonderfully what I needed) week in England. That makes three weeks out of the last five that I have been gone. Last Thursday night Benedikt and I went out for supper after the reception at John's, and I got to catch him up on all the interesting numeracy and literacy facts about Gwen, and between that and being gone so much, I've spent quite a bit of time reflecting on those matters and figure now, just past 2.5 years, is a good time to take stock of things again.

Gwen can count to 10 in both English and German, and in English can recite numbers up to 20, though she tends to miss a few in between. She likes to climb up on the ledge next to the sand pit, count to 20, and then jump into the sand.

One time when mom was visiting and the three of us were walking home, we each had one of her hands and were counting a certain number of steps and then swinging. We'd ask Gwen to name a number, and if she cried "1" or "2" or "3", I kept asking her for a bigger number, because walking 1 or 2, or even 3 steps isn't quite enough to get momentum going for a good swing. She kept deflecting the question, and that's when I realized that though she'd developed a concept of ordinal number, and of 1-1 correlation, she hadn't any concept of cardinality, so I had to explain to her that the longer you count, the bigger the number gets. And eventually she started asking for "8" or "9" or "10".

She knows many letter tokens very well -- she can identify every letter in her alphabet puzzle -- but still struggles with letter types; if I present her with a new token that she hasn't seen before, even if she's seen the type, she doesn't always recognize it. And I can't blame her: majuscules vs. miniscules, different fonts, it's actually really hard to extrapolate away from tokens to types. But of the tokens she does know, she has a lot of associations between them and words, particularly the ones in her alphabet puzzle. She also knows which sound goes with which letter when they are spoken, thanks to numerous repetitions of phonics songs on the bike ride to and from daycare. She has one book picture book, of animals, where what she wants me to do is name each letter as she points to it. I noticed it took her awhile to learn that they need to be pointed to in a certain order, or I won't read them, or I'll correct her. I found it even more fascinating when she put a name to the action: She asked me one night, "count, mommy, count!" Which totally makes sense since that's the only other context where you point to things, in succession, and say something.

One early connection that she made was between her name, herself, and written tokens of her name; this is in part because her name always gets put on to pictures that she's drawn. It was around January or February that she started pointing that string out to me, saying "name, name!", and maybe a month later when she would start asking me to put her name on things. Now, she can recognize it in many different modalities, and this morning while coloring she did a very fine, very small grouping of scribbles in one corner, very different from her usual mode of drawing, and then told me "dat's my name!" Only recently, though, has she begun to extrapolate from this. There are three round cylinders outside of daycare that she has to climb up and jump off, each one, once, every afternoon when we leave. The other day, she pointed at the raised letters molded in to one of them, and said "name!"

Her personal pronouns came in in the last three weeks or so. For a long time, she simply referred to herself as "Gwennie" (we never got "you" as a general word for "I"; that switch occured only in very particular contexts, specifically, two-place relations such as "behind you" and "beside you"); then, I suddenly realized that she was saying "Ich". About a week later, it had become "I" when speaking English. We still occasionally get "Gwennie", but now, "Ich" only shows up in the context of two German phrases that she uses to the exclusion of their English counterparts: "Ich muss" ("I must", usually "I muss peepee") and "Ich will" ("I want", used with everything. She confused the waitress at Vetter the other night when she said "Ich will food!" when ordering).

She still doesn't really have any concept of age or how old she is, even though she liberally celebrates birthdays on a near daily basis.

Each of the three weeks away, I came home to a child I hardly recognized; the first week, when we were both gone and she was staying with mom, was the most stark difference. Mom emailed at one point during the week and said "I've figured out what 'stas' means!" I hadn't even realized that that was a phrases Gwen used all the time, because I automatically knew it was a shortening of "Was ist das". But once she pointed that out, a few other phrases fell in to place: "Schwardes" is "Ich hört es" = "I hear it". I knew from context that "Schwardes" was a question "What is that noise?" but for the life of me I hadn't been able to figure out what she was trying to say. And "Willies", or even sometimes "Das willies", was "Ich will es" = "I want it". And funnily, as soon as I noticed that constant use of "Stas", she started moving towards "Was dis called?" instead.

Her ability to distinguish between German and English at the conceptual, rather than vocabularic, level continues. The other day, she came up to me with a flower and asked "Was dis called?" but followed that up with "in English!" and then proceeded to tell me that Renate at daycare had told her what the flower was called in German (though she didn't tell ME what the German name was). I thought that that showed a pretty high-level of reflection about language for a 2.5 year old.

Joel says that she asks every me every night and every morning when I'm away. But her happiness upon my return seems to be dwindling. When we got back from Scotland, it was late at night and she was asleep. She only discovered we were home when she woke up and came into our room and found us, instead of grandma, in bed. She flung herself between us and kept turning from one to the other, putting out a hand and saying "Dis my daddy" or "dis my mommy", as if she was trying to reassure herself that we were there and hers. I got home from Sweden one evening during supper time, and she heard my key in the door and I could hear "mommy, mommy, mommy!" and she raced out to fling herself at me in a hug. Tuesday, though, I went straight to daycare from the train station, arriving about half an hour earlier than I normally pick her up, and I thought I'd get a happy, excited hug, but instead, she barely nodded acknowledgement and continued playing. She eventually left happily enough, but I had to coax a hug out of her. The next day when I picked her up as usual, she saw me coming from across the yard, and shouted "Nein!" Sure makes me glad to come home...

But today was (yet another) holiday, so I was off work and daycare was closed, and we went to the park in the morning and played outside in the sandpit in the afternoon, and then came home and baked a cake. Even though I have lots of work to do, it was nice having a day off to reconnect with her.
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7 Days in Scotland: Day 7   
07:39pm 18/06/2014
  Tuesday, May 13

I have convinced Joel that we will not try to walk the remaining 6 miles to Aviemore. We wake lazily, and do some packing before breakfast. During breakfast, we chat with our hostess, who was a physicist before retiring to Scotland to run a B&B. We commiserate about the academic climate for women, and I must confess to her that in many disciplines, things are not much better than they were in the 60's and 70's.

Our bus is at 10 minutes to 10:00. It's always a gamble guessing which side of the road is the correct side to wait at, but there is someone waiting near the one we think is right, so we ask her if this is the bus to Aviemore. It turns out, she's unsure herself; she and her husband have a summer cottage in Boat of Garten, and she's been up repainting it for the last week and is taking a day off to go to Aviemore. Still, there is safety in numbers, and we're pretty sure we're on the right side of the street.

It is only 6 miles; by bus, it takes barely 10 minutes. Sitting on the bus and watching the scenery whiz by is disorienting: 10 minutes, and we have covered the distance that we would've spent half the day doing otherwise. 10 minutes: How on earth do you have the time to notice anything when you are going so fast?

We have about an hour before our train, so we wander up and down the High Street, ducking into souvenir shops. I want to get something for Gwen; something for mom; something for dad. We inspect whisky selections to see if we can find a bottle of the ones we particularly liked. I find the perfect gift for mom, a cute little plaid hat. We pick out a book with owls in it for Gwen. We hope that the whisky selection will be better at the airport.

We settle into our seats on the train. It's a couple hours to Perth, and then a few more to Glasgow. I alternate between staring out the window, watching the Cairngorms flash past, and looking at a map on my phone, watching the little blue dot that is us hurtle south. We cover more distance in these few hours than we have the entire past week. It is such a strange feeling to be caught up again in the ordinary every day rush of life. I see little whispers of things, echos and hints of places to explore, cute little towns, rippling rivers, the still snow-covered mountains. I feel like we've hardly done the area justice, that we have spent too little time and covered too small an area. I am already thinking of when we can come back, and see more, and spend more time.

The selection of whisky at the airport is not larger but different, and we find a bottle of Joel's preferred; I also pick out a small taster of the one we had in Dufftown, which we both enjoyed, for dad. We have plenty of time, and haven't had lunch, so we find a restaurant, one with outlets so Joel can charge his laptop, and get a bit of work done. We hang out until our gate is announced, and then pack everything back up and head down the hall. We haven't gotten far when someone comes running up to us -- one of the business men who had been sitting at the table next to us for the same period, and who realized that we'd left our duty free bag (all the whisky!) behind. Thank goodness they overheard us saying which gate we were going to, and thus knew which direction to seek us out!

On the plane, we sit and wait at the gate, and eventually our captain comes on to apologize. He begins to tell us that there will be a delay because on the flight over from Amsterdam, our plane had hit another plane -- !!! -- which he then quickly corrects to "hit a bird". A mechanic must come and inspect things before we can take off, and the mechanic has been held up in traffic. We wait. I doze.

The delay is short but it means that again we have a quick run through the airport in Amsterdam to make our connection. It is late when we finally land in Frankfurt; while we wait for our bags, I check the train schedules and realize that we'd have to wait an hour to get one, and then not get home until 1:30am. Instead, we make our way to the shuttle stop, which comes in 20 minutes and will take only an hour to get home.

Walking home from where the shuttle dropped us off, there are so many people. It is nearly midnight, but Haupstrasse is streaming with people. I comment to Joel how we are seeing more people in this short space of time than we'd seen nearly the entire previous week. It is weird to be back in the bustle of society. I am glad to get home, briefly say hello to mom, peak in on Gwen sound asleep in her bed, and go to bed myself.

Our seven days are over. We are home.
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7 Days in Scotland: Day 6   
08:29pm 10/06/2014
  After my nearly perfect meal the night before, I wake up not ravenous. Instead, I avail myself of the same breakfast that I'd had at our hotel in Elgin (the two are owned by the same chain): cinnamon French toast with maple syrup and bacon. Today our walk is leisurely, entirely flat and only 9 miles. We will finally, after nearly a week, be walking right down by the river.

As we head out of town following a slightly different path than we'd come in by, we find the street we should have gone to find supper the night before; it's one block over from the High Street, and seems to be quite the hoppin' place. However, neither of us feel to badly about where (and what) we ended up eating!

We cross the bridge and decend the stairs at the other end to the river side. As we walk, we regularly see fishermen down in the river; and also signs outlining etiquette:


After not too long, we realize that while we are on a path, we are not on the path. We scramble up an embankment and then pick out a path along the edge of what we think is a barley field until we eventually find our way to where we should have been all along. For some long stretch, the path goes through a farm which is quite the Big Do. They have sheep, cows, chickens, plus crop fields, and a number of signs up along the path marking out their status as a conservation farm, and discussing how they rotate their herds, or what they plant in the fields, to make their fields havens for wild birds and small game. It's heart-warming to read about these efforts.

We pass from this farm into another, and looking up see a strange structure in the distance:


We are not sure what it is, but Joel thinks it's a castle, and we decide to go find out. The fences here are not barbed, so it's easy to hop them and head up the hill. We come around at it from the back side and find that the front is full of construction equipment and "do not get too close" signs. We poke our head in the trailor to see if there's anyone who can tell us about it. Joel was right: This is a castle, Castle Roy, to be precise, one of the oldest of its type in the country, dating from the 12th C. The castle is in the process of being partially restored, so that the walls that are in danger of giving way can be supported. When we come around to the front, we see signs telling more about the history of the castle, and find something that first amuses us and then entices us: In a program to help raise funds for the restoration, square yards of ground within and without the castle itself are being sold! Ownership of land in Scotland entitles you to be called a "laird". You cannot do any improvements on the land, but you are allowed free entry to your plot with a guest, and you know what? A square yard is enough to have a picnic. Of course, we assume the costs are far too high. Nevertheless, I snap a picture of the URL.

By now, we are not far from Boat of Garten, where we intend to eat lunch. Boat of Garten appears from the outskirts to be a swanky, expensive, golfing town, and the main hotel downtown is testament to the city's glories:


The pub is offering a soup and salad special for lunch, which sounds fantastic. There are a few other people inside, but no one minds that we take up a large corner, divesting ourselves of gear and shoes. The waiter chats while taking our order, and upon hearing that we've come from Germany, his response is "Well, someone's got to live there". We laugh, because we have gotten such varying response to this fact on our trip!

From Boat of Garten, we walk through ancient pine forests, forests which have never been cut or cultivated in parts. It is amazing how old everything feels, old and still, even though the sun is shining, birds are singing, and there's a fair breeze. We pass through boggy marshes, one of which is like a mirror:


We arrive in town the earliest we've ever made it to a destination; it's not even 5pm. Our bed and breakfast is down what appears to be the main street, and we are welcomed with fresh tea and the most amazing Scottish shortbread with chocolate/caramel topping that I've ever had. Neither of us feel any compunction about eating it all. Internet access is best in the lounge, so we linger there while we drink our tea, Joel catching up on his mail, me poking around on my phone. Out of curiosity, I go to the website for Castle Roy. I am shocked to find how reasonable the prices -- 25GBP for a plot outside the castle, 50 or 70 for one inside; it is only if you want one of the 9 in the tower itself that the price jumps to 1000GBP. That's a bit much; but we're not looking above our stations. We like the idea of being able to contribute to the restoration of the castle, and decide that a square yard within the courtyard is within our means, and would make a lovely anniversary present. Soon, we will be landowners!

We leave to walk around the city to find a place for supper, and find, coming up the walk as we're going out, a face we recognize! The man who was on the same train as us, whom we saw at the bus stop the next morning was not a local to Elgin, to rather another hiker. He'd been making roughly the same treck as us, but without the extra spur to Glenlivet and Tomintoul that we did. He confesses our route may have been better: The part we skipped was so muddy the day he walked it, it was up to his knees. He suggests to us the family restaurant up the street, rather than the hotel down the street, and ultimately that is where we end up. We quickly realize this was an excellent decision: The place is packed and remains so all night long, amazing on a Monday night in a sleepy tiny town.

As we walk back to our lodgings, I stop a moment to savour the beauty.


I have a sneaking suspicion that this will be the last day of our journey. Our plan has been to walk from Boat of Garten to Aviemore on our final day, a walk of a mere 6 miles which should have been easy to do before our 11:30 train. But I calculate the pace we've been going the last few days, and realize that in order not to miss it, we would really need to leave by 7:00am, and neither of us want to get up that early. We look at the schedule at the bus stop; maybe, just maybe, we should wimp out and take the bus for our final leg, so as to ensure we don't miss our train. We are disappointed, but I argue that I would rather end the journey on a pleasant, relaxed note rather than with the stress and rushing of wondering if we'll get there on time.

We have walked around 80 miles. It has been quite, and empty, peaceful and calm. We have walked in silence, we have talked. We have mapped out a new alternative for our future that neither of us would ever have dreamed before doing this. We have walked in the sun, we have walked in the rain. Walking in the rain makes me think of being on a journey, on a quest. It reminds me of SCA events, where the rain is no reason not to continue to do the things you need to do, because they need doing. Poems have wandered through my head, and I look forward to revisiting my favorite book ever when I get home. We have learned to pick out the smell of distilleries on the wind, and to locate them on the map each evening. We have eaten well and slept like the dead. We have seen the heather moorlands that previously existed only in books. We finally know what gorse is.
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Medieval chicken nuggets   
07:40pm 10/06/2014
  After Double Wars, Maggie posted a recipe that she'd made for the Laurel's luncheon, which she described as "medieval chicken nuggets". They sounded easy and tasty, so we made them yesterday for supper. I used 2 chicken breasts, which I cut into strips and then boiled for about 10 min. I then used two forks to shred them, mostly. I broke a ball of fresh mozzarella into pieces with my hands and mixed it in with the chicken. I didn't measure how much parmesan; it was probably slightly more than 1/4 C. I cut down on the sugar and added some pepper, and since we don't really have something quite right for deep frying balls, we rolled them into balls and then flattened them in the frying pan so that we had more like chicken patties instead of chicken balls.

They were tasty! We'd probably not do cinnamon and sugar for spicing in the future, probably salt and pepper instead, or a very strong poudre forte would work.

Pre-frying mixture:
Finished product:

Gwen really liked them!
long summer weekend   
08:06am 09/06/2014
  Today is (um. I don't know the name of the holiday in Germany. It's either eerste or tweede Pinkersdag in Dutch, which is I think...Whitmonday?) a holiday, so it's a three day weekend here -- the first weekend this summer where it's gotten over 30. The last two days were a really lovely classic summer weekend. Once I was able to resign myself to not getting anything done on weekends (and to the fact that Joel will never wake up early enough Saturday mornings for us to go grocery shopping together before lunch, so either Gwen and I will go alone in the morning, or I'll send him out alonein the afternoon), I've found them to be actually really relaxing and enjoyable.

Saturday Gwen and I went out grocery shopping as soon as she'd finished breakfast (oatmal with daddy), stopping along the way to play with Mr. Bunsen. She's getting better at walking part of the way, which means I can put all the groceries in the stroller which makes carrying them a lot easier. She's certainly a charmer when she's out walking down the high street. We stopped at a fruit stand to buy strawberries (planned) and cherries (impulse), and the vendor handed over two cherries for her to eat right away. Her enthusiastic "Mmmm!!!!"s as we walked along while she ate caused lots of smiles. Later on, close to home, she was striding down the street and intersected the path of a man who had a balloon (lots of places given them out as advertising), and he looked thrilled at being able to get rid of it via such an expedient method of giving it to a toddler. It was on a long plastic stick, and she walked the rest of the way home going "Up und down, up und down!", with appropriate movements of the balloon. We past a group of elderly tourists, who of course all got distracted by her, especially when she held it up and announced to them "Balloooooon!"

We had a bit of time before lunch so she played in the sand pit while I sat and read. Then in the afternoon, we'd been invited over to a barbecue at my officemate Andrea's place. She lives about half an hour (by bus) away from Heidelberg just over one of the mountains in a little town in the middle of trees. Her place is amazing; it's huge and gorgeous and has an awesome view, and has cherry and apple trees, four sheep, kiwi vines, grape vines, and enough white peach trees that she said she picked around 100kg last year. We have a standing invitation to come and help pick, come September, in exchange for as many peaches as we want.

The barbecue was well-planned; the other guys were a friend of hers with a 7-year-old son, and then two other people (and one of their's wife) from the cluster with their almost-2 and just-past-2 1/2 sons, Patrick and Noah, both of whom Gwen has met once before. This meant there were kids to play with other kids, and enough parents to patrol the boundaries that some parents could sit and relax and drink beer. Andrea's kids are older, but she had a few toys hanging around, and also brought out a tub and filled it with water. (Gwen, of course, was down to just her underwear in no time.) It's one of the first times I've had gotten to spectacte Gwen with multiple other kids so close to her age, for such a long period, which was quite interesting. Martin, Noah's father, at one point laughed when I told Gwen to do something and she completely ignored me, and said it was very nice to see that that happens to other parents of toddlers too. Later, Joel said that he and Martin and Joachim (Patrick's father) were talking, and that the latter two had been wondering if their kids' behavior was due to them being 2-year-old boys, or if it was because they were 2-year-old _badly behaved_ boys, and that, seeing Gwen, they'd come to the latter conclusion. (Which I don't think is fair at all: All the kids were really good, minding the parents in the important matters, playing well with each other, no fighting or pushing or anything, sharing well -- the only real difference came when we sat down to eat, where Gwen pulled up a little stool next to a tree stump on which I put her plate, where she sat and consumed a health portion of Greek salad, white bean salad, four sausages (the little breakfast sausage size), AND dessert (to be fair, we'd had a really light lunch, and early, and supper was later than we usually eat), while the other kids had to be chased around and begged to eat.) The other nice part about most of the guests being there with young children meant that around 7:00pm we were all ready to pack up and head home, so we weren't the ones leaving early to do with a kid while everyone else stayed.

Yesterday was low key, but really relaxing. After breakfast, I took Gwen outside to the sand pit, and she played there about 2.5 hours while I sat and read. There are two little boys who also live in a place abutting the courtyard (they have a balcony which has full view of the sand pit), one of whom is maybe 5 or 6, and the other perhaps 18 months. The elder one speaks both English and German, which is nice for me. :) They came out to play soon after we did, and while at first they were simply playing adjacent to each other, by the end of the morning they were playing with each other -- jointly filling and then dumping buckets of sand. The two older ones like to climb up on the shelf around the tree by the pit and them jump into the sand. Gwen counts to 19 before she jumps -- though she tends to miss 11, 14, 15, and 16.

Then it was lunch, and then naptime, and during naptime I finished the illumination for my coronation assignment (so, yay! I got somethingdone!). After naptime, we pulled out the little 1/2 pint ice cream maker that mom brought in May as a pass-me-down from Oma & Opa, and tried it. It really was as easy as it seemed, and the result was just delicious, and just the right amount to divide between the three of us as a quick treat. Since we still have cream, we'll probably make another batch today.  (I told Gwen this morning that we might make ice cream after her nap, and she responded, with an evil glint her eye, "It's naptime!", despite it being only about half an hour since she'd woke up.)

Having finished my book in the morning (I'd started re-reading the Harry Potter books a few months ago, and finished The Deathly Hallows), when I took Gwen outside to play some more, I was in need of a new one, so I took with me hrj 's Mystic Marriage, and lounged in the sun for another two hours reading that. Joel vacuumed up the house while we were out from under his feet and then came and joined us with a book of his own and two beers. (At that point I realized that I really should've been hydrating Gwen a bit better, because it was quite a bit hotter in the afternoon than the morning), and when I went up to get her some juice, I brought back down some cherries, too.

Then it was supper, bath, and bed for Gwen, and I made pizza, transferring our usual Saturday night scheme to Sunday. We'd just finished Farscape a few weeks ago, and gotten caught up on Downton Abbey, so it was time to start a new series. We've settled on Stargate, and watched the 1994 movie last night. Wow, was that a hilariously terribly early 90s movie! SO predictable! And the air force men are SO dumb! And the people who made the movie clearly don't know anything about, you know, SCIENCE. But it was perfect to sit and make snarky comments about with Joel.

All in all, a good day. As I posted on a friend's status on FB: "I spent about 5 hours sitting in the sun or shade (as the temp. determined) reading fiction. I made and ate ice cream. And now I'm curling up with a very nice man, with pizza and a movie."

Put like that, I can't really complain about not having gotten anything done this weekend.
     Read 7 - Post
08:07am 07/06/2014
  Gwen is laying one of her blankets out flat on the kitchen floor, putting various cat toys and other small trinkets on it, folding it up very carefully into a nice rectangular package, and then presenting it to me as "a present! what's in dat?" Over and over and over again.

Mom and Andrea will realize just how eery this is.
     Read 7 - Post
Physics and rainbows   
09:14am 06/06/2014
  One thing I've realized, since becoming a parent, is that somewhere along my academic career, I lost the concept of "age-appropriate", at least when it comes to the comprehension of complex ideas. My ability to always tell Gwen the truth would be completely at war with the idea that some things she is "too young" to understand. It's become rather routine for me to tell her interesting things that are relevant to what we are doing without caring whether or not she grasps the concept. So while she may not yet have grasped the concept of death, she knows that the dandelions are all gone because they have all died, and that the crushed snail on the sidewalk one morning was also dead, and not sleeping. She's at least had the concept of ordinal vs. cardinal numbers introducted to her, the notion of a 1-1 correspondence, and the idea that some infinities are bigger than others. This morning, on the way to daycare, there were sprinklers going in the park by the river, and with the sun shining that means we saw rainbows. So I asked her if she knew what rainbows were, and then proceeded to explain how light is made up of many different colors all bent together, and that you can take glass in a certain shape and it will bend the light and cause the colors to separate, and that the same thing happens with the curved surface of a rain drop. (I even did hand motions -- fingers all bunched together, with straight wrist, for ordinary light, and then I bent my wrist and spread my fingers to show bent light which has become a rainbow.) She seemed fascinated: Every time I stopped to catch my breath, she'd say "more!" So I told her about Newton, and then about ether, and then about light sometimes acting as a wave and sometimes acting as a particle, and by the time we arrived I was wrapping up with the conclusion that this is one of the great mysteries of the universe. Who knows how much she understood, but she had fun, and I had fun.

There, though, still a few things that she must wait to experience at an age-appropriate time. She knows full well that she can't try mommy and daddy's beer or wine until she is bigger, and that doesn't seem to exercise her so much: But she also knows that she can't have a motorcycle until she is bigger, and every time she sees one she never neglects to inform me that "Gweni's big, mummy, Gweni's big." (Because, yes, she's grown 6+ cm in the last 6 months, and is regularly outgrowing her clothes...but it will be a long time before she's big enough to get herself a motorcycle.)
     Read 3 - Post
7 Days in Scotland: Day 5   
07:54pm 03/06/2014
  Sunday, May 11

Today is the day that I thought was going to be our longest, but I hope that I am wrong, and that it doesn't live up to Friday. It is Mother's Day, so I remember to send my mom an email. It basically runs: "Thank you for being the sort of mother who will fly across an ocean and spend a week with my kid so I don't have to be a mother." It is also Gwen's 2.5th birthday; but I have left instructions for mom on how to take her birthday photo, and I know the two of them are in good hands.

This is also the day that we are walking wholly off the planned routes, and, unfortunately, this means mostly along the highway. Just as we reach the edge of town, it starts to rain, hard enough that I stop to pull on my rain pants. Not much further along, we find a sign that tells us we are still on the Glenlivet estate, and there are maps with some hiking trails. One of them starts not too far from where we are, and ends at Bridge of Brown, the only town between Tomintoul and Grantown-on-Spey, where googlemaps informs me there is a tearoom which I think sounds like a good place to have lunch. Taking this trek will send us off the highway and into the moors, and cut off some distance (though, given that it's moorland, likely not any time). We have become much braver about venturing off on our own, and find ourselves climbing fences and wandering through dense forests until we end up on the path we were looking for. It continues to rain, not hard, but steadily, and we tramp in silence. I am again overcome with the desire to reread The Lord of the Rings when I get home. Most of our conversation, when we do talk, is concerning practical matters related to finding, picking out, buying, and refurbishing a derelict cottage. The night before, after I fell asleep, Joel found a website listing all derelict buildings in Scotland: A perfect place to start research! It is fun to see a wholly different future than either of us ever considered unfolding before us, and we both remark on how strange it is that it should happen so accidentally.

By the time we are almost at the end of the walking trail, we are pretty wet, though the rain is almost finished. I am looking forward to my pot of tea, and really hope the tearoom has a fireplace and fire, so that I can take off my shoes and dry them. We meet a friendly couple who tell us it's just down the road and around the corner, and offer us a lift -- but we decline. After all, it's just down the road and around the corner!

The tearoom has a roaring fire going when we arrive, and we march straight to it, stripping off wet clothing, then shoes, then socks. We are the only ones there other than the proprieters, a Scottish man and his Indonesian wife, who don't mind at all as we stretch our feet and let them warm up before ordering two pots of tea and some cakes to go with...and then a bit later on, a bowl of soup to split. It is still early in the season; they say later in summer, they are quite busy with bus tour groups and motorcycle tour groups, and that people with fast expensive cars like to drive through this area due to the windy, twisty hills. We certainly see plenty of the latter while we are sitting there. We linger long enough to be thoroughly relaxed, warm, and (mostly) dry, and my feet only complain a little when I shove them back into the shoes.

We walk. The highway is mostly deserted. It is pleasant, but not spectacular. Eventually, Joel is bored of the highway and after inspecting some maps, suggest that we hop a fence and hike up one of the hills; the ridge above us is not very high, and would give a much prettier view. I'm game for anything that doesn't add too much to the distance we need to cover, and this looks like it would cut off some distance, if not time. We stumble through heather, over moss, amongst sheep, into little streams, and finally into a dense enough thicket that we make our way back down to the highway for the remainder, which is only a few miles. Soon we are back at the Spey,


which we haven't seen for days, even though we're ostensibly walking the "Speyside Way!"

We take the back route into town (at this point, I am being treated to a vivid report of the history of Edward VII, whom Joel has been reading about the previous evening), since our hotel is on the outskirts. It's the only proper hotel that we're staying in, after Elgin, and I'm looking forward to it on the basis of the pictures I saw. The outside didn't disappoint:


Inside, we lament the lack of bathtub in our room -- it would be a perfectly fine room for anyone who hadn't been hiking all day! Knowing that hotel food is often overpriced and not as good as it could be, we decline the receptionist's offer to book us a table, and head downtown to find some place to eat.

We are astonished to find that the high street in Grantown on Spey is full of shops that are out of business, many houses for sale, a few take-away places, and only one pub! There is, at the other end of town, another hotel, but their menu doesn't strike our fancy, and if we're going to eat in a hotel, why not go back to ours? Of all the towns we've been in, Grantown on Spey seems to be suffering the most, and we are surprised because it seemed, from the outside, to be a prosperous little village.

Back at the hotel, we peruse the menu and find that the evening's special involves a huge piece of meat, exactly the sort of thing you want after hiking all day, and which I've been hankering for all trip and have never gotten yet. My meal turns out to be exactly what I wanted: a "blade" of beef which is so tender you can eat it with a spoon, in a delicious sauce and with tasty vegetables. I have tucked my shoes under my chair and my feet under my legs, and I eat until I cannot eat any longer, and it is excellent -- but not so excellent that I don't have room for dessert. Joel orders the sticky toffee pudding, which even though it wasn't part of the set menu we'd been chosing from, in the end we are not charged for. He is very happy.

After tea in the lobby we head back to the bar for our Scotch. The bar is empty, so we chat with the barman awhile, and ask after the state of the downtown. It turns out our barman has only been in town a week himself, so he doesn't know much about the story of the city. He is also a self-confessed wine-person rather than a whisky-person, and thus doesn't mind at all when we tell him what we want rather than the other way around. We happily drink our Scotches, and I comment to the barman that the combination of whisky and hiking is perfect: Because after a dram of Scotch, my feet no longer hurt.

Nevertheless, we still squeeze into the miniscule bathroom together, and dowse our feet in the shower before heading to bed.
     Read 2 - Post
May resolution review   
03:38pm 02/06/2014
  Haven't faltered yet! Incredible, given that 14 out of May's 31 days I was traveling, and 11 of those was without internet access.




Revision requested


"Logic and Semantic Theory in the High Middle Ages" 11 June 2013 invited book chapter
"Paul of Venice on a Puzzle About Uncertainty" 24 June 2013
"Sit Verum and Counterfactual Reasoning 13 August 2013 10 March 2014 2 April 2014
"The Logic of Categorematic and Syncategorematic Infinity" 14 January 2014 17 April 2014 16 May 2014
"Obligationes" (with Catarina Dutilh Novaes) 27 March 2014 28 March 2014 08 April 2014 15 April 2014
"Reasoning About Obligations in Obligationes: A Formal Approach" 08 April 2014 19 May 2014
"Code-Switched Occupational and Descriptive Phrases in 15th-Century York: A Study of Medieval Bilingualism" 10 April 2014
"Review of Marko Malink, Aristotle's Modal Syllogistic" 14 April 2014
"Intuitionistic Provability and the Structuralist Account of Modal Operators" 21 May 2014

This month's resolution paper was a short paper for AiML'14; it won't be a real publication, but I'm stuck on my question and can't get forward to a real paper without input from real logicians, so hopefully that'll be the time to do it.

At the conference in Lund, I had someone very interested in one of the papers that has been creeping higher and higher up in my queue (on different grades of possibility); I had thought I could bump it up to the top and have it be my resolution paper for June, but I really need to finish my joint paper with Birgit for the Lumbini proceedings; and when that's done, it'll be time for me to flesh out my Procida/Ratnakirti paper. Well...I could save that one for August and make the possibilities one my July resolution paper, that might work. Anyway, when I told the guy about my resolution, and that I'd met it every month so far, he was duly impressed. I'm beginning to be duly impressed to: It's not exactly more work than I thought it would be, but it has certainly caused me to do more work than I would've otherwise (which was precisely the point); especially because one thing I hadn't realized was that as the papers get accepted, they usually come with revisions, and thus I'm dealing with doing revisions at the same time as working on the new submissions. Ack! Still, it's pretty satisfying looking at my "forthcoming" list and it has on it papers in Synthese, Journal of Philosophical Logic, and Vivarium. This makes me feel better about any future job or grant application writing I might have to do.

2014 Publications


Publication info
"A Medieval Epistemic Puzzle" in Z. Christoff, P. Galeazzi, N. Giersimczuck, A. Marcoci, & S. Smets, LIRa Yearbook 2012, vol. 1 (Amsterdam: Institute for Logic, Language & Computation, 2014): 301-316.
"Medieval Destinations: Lumbini" Tournaments Illuminated 190 (2014): 33.
     Read 2 - Post
Double Wars   
08:31pm 29/05/2014
  After the success of the consultation table at 20 Years last summer, a number of folks said "wouldn't it be nice to have one in Nordmark some time". The natural event to do so would be Double Wars, but I hadn't been planning to go there, and I knew the likelihood of one getting organized and run without me would be slim. Then, I received an invitation to speak at a conference in Lund which ran May 22-25. After confirming with Joel that he didn't mind if I skipped out on our 10th anniversary, I said yes to the invitation and then asked the organizers if they didn't mind if I flew back on Wednesday instead of Saturday. They didn't care -- a flight is a flight -- so I signed myself up for the first half of Double Wars.

I'll admit, I was never terribly enthused about going. My previous experience with Double Wars was my first event after becoming princess, I was there from Tuesday afternoon until Friday morning, and the entire trip was dampened by the fact that I had terrible food poisoning the night before and thus the trip over was pretty miserable and I was not feeling well the entire event; plus, Gwen was 6 months old and she and I were there alone so I couldn't really participate in any of the fun after-bedtime things, nor could I take classes, and I was barely able to teach mine without too much distraction. The rest of the event was filled with peerage meetings and curia, and most of what I remember was feeling cold, intestinally upset, and totally out at sea. Plus, the event is just so big, and I don't normally like being around that many people for so long. However, northernotter was going to be there, and then I found out I'd have a chance to finally meet frualeydis in person, and I signed up to teach three classes, in addition to hosting the consultation table, the Order of the Rose signed on to organize a party Sunday night, and I knew that I'd at least be able to keep myself busy at the event, if not unlonely.

The entire event was so much more fun than I ever imagined it would be. I arrived on site Saturday about half an hour before my shift in the kitchen for supper, so I changed and headed up there, where among other things I got to see lots of friends coming through the dinner line -- including one who burst in through the door so we could hug excitedly and jump up and down at seeing each other again for the first time, really, since we got to know each other. Afterwards we found out that (a) we were in rooms just down the hall from each other, (b) no one else was in her 6-person room, and (c) no one else was scheduled to be in my four-person room at all but me for the entire week. When someone in the room across from me knocked on my door and asked if maybe he and his young daughter could move into our room, so that they could both have bottom bunks, I decided, let's make it a girl's night and moved into northernotter 's room. And about an hour later, we had our first heraldic consultation. :) Two new branch names and devices, a few personal names, and four badges for the principality. Afterwards, Thora and I stayed up way too late talking and sipping port. Fun, day 1: Check.

Sunday I taught my intro illumination course in the morning, which was entirely populated by men -- not usual! But very pleasant. In the afternoon, I sat in the lounge and painted on the Nordmark banner project. It was a wonderfully calming experience. There were three of us painting, and another few people who were sewing, and the room was basically filled with silence, punctuated by random curses when something went wrong. In the evening was the Rose party, the theme of which was Beauty and the Beast -- cross-dressing. It was hilarious to see everyone dressed up in the wrong clothes -- Thorvaldr does an amazing coy woman, I didn't recognize Maggie at all until half-way through the second dance Lady Barbara did, and I kept seeing William from behind and thinking "Who is that? I don't recognize the's not any of the baronesses, I thought I knew all of the viscountess and countess coronets..." and then he'd turn around and I'd realize he wasn't actually a woman! It was also fascinating watching the entire thing turn into both stereotypes and social consciousness raising. I, like many of the other women I think, found I don't really know what men act like. So we fell back on the known activities: drinking beer, catcalling, scratching, grunting, banging mugs together, and walking "like we have bull's balls", as one lord coached us. I heard one lady being coached on how to thrust her pelvis out, stick her fingers in her belt, and stand with her legs apart, wondering "Is this really want it feels like to be a man?" But it went the other way too -- there was one very fetching landsknecht "kampfrau" who was walking by, and a group of us "men" started eyeing him up and down, making rude comments. He stopped, rather shocked, and a bit uncomfortable, and said "Is this really what it's like to be a woman?", to which we all rather soberly said, yes, unfortunately, it can be.

After dark, the Styringheim fire ensemble gave us a fantastic performance down on the list field. You can see why people liken fire to magic. There's no way I could take any pictures of it -- too dark -- and there's no way my words could do justice to what we saw. It was amazing.

We then had the beauty & the beast pageant strut in front of all the Roses so we could decide our winners, and soon after that I went to bed; it was already past midnight. Fun, day 2: Check.

Monday morning I taught intro to calligraphy, which involved both new and old scribes, and me commenting to one of the students (a repeat from the illumination class), "Oh, what lovely curves you have!" completely straightfaced. I've been told this will end up in the (Face)Book of Slander. The consultation table was scheduled from 13:00-16:00, an hour more than we had at 20 Years, which I figured would be just about perfect. Nattfari lent us his access point so we had internet access, and Thora had brought 50 copies of each of the forms. (I laughed when she suggested that much. I figured, no way.)

That consultation table? Was epic. I finally kicked out the last person and said "no more" at a few minutes before 20:00. We took in 22 names, 19 devices, and 9 badges during the table alone; some people took their submissions away to finish them up over the next few days, and Thora has said she's already received another half dozen or so. We were swamped; it was the two of us, with computers, and then Baron Helmut sitting to the side and helping people out with the actual filling out of the forms. Thankfully, we were also well served: About half-way through, someone turned up with beer and chocolate, and later, since dinner ran from 18:00-19:00, someone took our dishes and meal tickets and fetched our food for us so we could wolf it down while continuing to help people. Insane. We had people who have been playing 15+ years finally submit their names and armory, we had people who've been playing 1 week submit their names and armory, I brought one person to tears when I was able to document her name when everyone always said it couldn't be done, and one guy (one of the ones whose first event this was!) ended up corralling someone who'd wandered into the room after the table was supposed to be closed, looking for the brewing class, and sitting down with him with Reaney & Wilson and helped him pick out a name. A herald in the making, that one -- I was sure to grab his contact info.

Once the table finally closed, I packed my things up and brought them back down to my room (in the breakfast building). On the way back up the hill, I hear from the distance: "Aryanhwy! Come have a cosmopolitan!" So I spent the rest of the night getting roaring drunk (in the most literal sense of the phrase) with Astridh and Jovi. At one point, there were four filled glasses all of which were mine; my mug had cider in it, then there was the glass with the aforementioned cosmopolitan, the shot glass with chocolate mintu, and the shot glass with Scotch (Ardbeag). It's been about a decade (my bachelorette party, to be precise) since I've gotten so squiffy, I figured it was about time. I think a number of people were rather shocked to see quiet little Ary arm in arm with Jovi filking "Little Submarine" into a drinking song. I was there until probably 1:00am, and then Astridh helped escort me back down the hill (mostly due to the clogs, which are not exactly the best for slopes) and we ended up sitting and talking until 2:15 or so. Yeah, this whole "child-free" freedom was getting to me. Fun, day 3: Absolutely check.

I didn't sleep much past 9:30 on Tuesday, to my surprise, and though a number of people asked me, in that concerned, amused tone of voice, how I was feeling, I took breakfast slow and then realized I was feeling perfectly fine, just tired. I went to camele0pard 's very amusing and edifying class on monsters and grotesques in the morning, and then dozed in the lounge while others sewed some in the afternoon before court. There was a lot of business for court -- Nordmark, Styringheim, and Drachenwald -- and we only had an hour before supper started, but we had a good crew of heralds and royals: We started on time and finished at 3 minutes shy of an hour.

Tuesday evening northernotter hosted her weavers' tea, which I joined simply because I like tea and cookies, not because I am in any way shape or form a weaver -- though watching Nicole do up a pair of garters on Saturday I was fascinated at how quickly it went. We had another nice talk before bed, managing to hash out some details getting us a few steps closer to electronic submissions in Drachenwald. Fun day, 4: check.

Wednesday morning was merely packing and breakfast, and then Astridh took me to the train station. I had a rather prolonged trip back to the airport (but I'd budgeted enough time so it wasn't ultimately an issue), and a few delayed trains coming back from Frankfurt, but still managed to get home around supper time. It was good to be back -- I'd been gone a week at that point -- but I was actually sad, rather than relieved, to be leaving, which I didn't expect.

But that consultation table? Was awesome. We did around 65 submissions in 7 hours, basically just the two of us. We are good.
     Read 5 - Post
pronoun explosion   
12:39pm 29/05/2014
  The thing about being gone 14 days this month is that twice now I've come back to a child I barely recognize, in part because her language has really exploded. This trip, it's been pronouns. She's always had "mine" and "meine", but since she consistently refers to herself in the 3rd person, there haven't been much others. Then, this morning, I heard "Ich, ich!" when she wanted to ensure that she got to push the button on the laundry, and then a little bit later, "Ich habe shoes!" as she was getting ready to go. Later, she found a large rock outside, and said "Look at me! Gwennie banging ein rock on my hand!"


Joel said her teachers at daycare asked, while I was gone, what our plans were for kindergarten for her. There are kindergarten slots in both the building we're in, and in the main university daycare that we visited before we moved here. Our contract with the daycare goes until her 3rd birthday, and I had been vaguely beginning to wonder if this meant she'd switch to kindergarten then, or if she'd be starting kindergarten fall of next year. I was rather against the latter idea, since her best friend Katharina turned three in April and I know they'd miss each other.
Well, her teachers suggested that given that Gwen is rather advanced in various areas (using the toilet, speech, interest in complex play like puzzles), we might consider transitioning her to kindergarten early. Her other best friend in her room, Batu, who's birthday is within a day or two of hers, is also going to be transitioning early, so it sounds excellent in all respects.
7 Days in Scotland: Day 4   
09:46pm 24/05/2014
  7 days in Scotland: Day 4
May 10: Glenlivet to Tomintoul

I dread waking up because I worry about how my feet will be. I am amazed when I wake up pleasantly refreshed, not stiff or sore, and even my feet are not unhappy. We have a leisurely breakfast in which our hostess tells us some about the history of the house, how they came to occupy it, and the history of her husband’s family; his great-grandfather was bishop of Oxford, and his great-great-grandfather surgeon to Queen Victoria, so there are all sorts of busts and silver candlesticks and immense oil paintings on the walls.

Our plan is to visit the Glenlivet Distillery in the morning, since it is just around the corner, as we can leave our bags at the house and pick them up when they are done. I put my shoes on, and walk about three steps and realize that this will not be happening: The shoes press on parts of my ankles causing pretty tremendous pain. I thank Amy’s recommendation of bringing a second pair of shoes in case one gets wet when I pull out my spares and put them on. They are not, even on ordinary days, the most comfortable, but they are comfortable enough for me to continue on, and after a few stiff-legged steps, my feet start to stretch out and relax.

Comparing the Glenlivet with Glen Moray is interesting; the former is much more industrialized, and, naturally, much more touristy. We don’t learn anything new on the tour, but it is interesting to compare the subtle differences – what temperature the three waters are, how much bigger the Glenlivet storage sheds are (casks piled 7 and 8 high, instead of merely 2). We eat a light lunch in the cafe, and on our way back to the house we make a side tour following signs to Blairfindy Castle. It is my first castle of the trip, and while nowhere near as impressive as Balveny was, it satisfies my desire to see a castle.

Our route for the day is the most wild of any; we will be on walking trails so small that they don’t even appear on googlemaps. The start of the path is just up the road from Glenlivet House and we pass by the site of the old distillery before coming to a derelict cottage that we explore (from the outside) quite thoroughly. It is perched on the side of a hill looking up towards the mountains: From the back side, you cannot see any other sign of civilization.

The path from there goes directly into the hills. We are not on it long when we meet up with a group of hikers coming from the other direction; they turn out to be the ones we’d met at the Highlander Inn in Craigellachie. There is also a bike race/tour going on this day, covering much of the same route that we are though in the opposite direction (we will later meet a number of cyclists as we’re walking down the back of the second mountain; they are weary, muddy, and none too pleased when we tell them how much higher up the top is). At the beginning of the walk there is a sign posted explaining about moorland and heath, how it was formed and how it is maintained. I look down at the plants below the sign, just as a few cyclists are walking their bikes past, and exclaim, “That’s heather!” -- a plant I had never seen before, but which shows up in so many books of my childhood. A passing cyclist laughs and confirms my conclusion.

The moorlands are so empty and so strange. Where there is no heather, there is moss, and we cannot get over how soggy the entire trip is. Here we are, at the top of a mountain, and every footstep squelches. The paths that we are to be walking on turn into little rivers, taking the path of least resistance. The paths themselves are not the easiest to see, but at one point there is a clear sign pointing us to the right, and the path follows a fence. I congratulate myself that as long as we follow the fence, we cannot get lost. At a valley, the fence turns again to the left, and we turn; I begin to have my doubts. Soon, we reach a little shelter house which again has posters on its walls giving more information about the moorland. There is a map; I consult it, googlemaps, and the printed maps I have, and realize we need to back track. We realize that the sign saying “turn right” that we found was placed behind a fence gate on purpose: We should have been on the other side of the fence, and after we are, we find our way again quite quickly; in fact, soon we are hiking up to the top of the mountain. At the top, there is a small cairn, and a man next to a van which is connected to a radio pole; it is his responsibility to keep track of the cyclists and make sure they take the correct turn down the mountain. We end up talking with him for some time.

As we follow the tiny trail back down the mountain, through a muddy forest, and out the other end onto more moorland and eventually sheep pasture, the lines of “The road goes ever on” swing silently through my head. “And many miles to go before I sleep” in particular, though everyone has told us that our walk today was going to be much shorter than our walk the previous day. At the point when my feet are beginning to give up, we exist the pasture land, cross the highway, and follow a bridge to the other side of a stream. From there, it is but half an hour to our B&B, and though the trip has taken more than the 3 hours googlemaps said, it is still not too late, and we have been given a good recommendation for a place to eat, the Clocktower in Tomintoul.

There are not many people there but at the table behind us are two older couples, one of whom seem, from overheard conversation, to be one of the movers and shakers of the town. He is full of colorful expressions, definite opinions, and “Bob’s your uncle”. We are privately amused throughout our entire meal. When Joel picks out our after dinner whisky, we find that the gentleman behind us is the owner of the Whisky Castle in town, and it is too bad we will not be there the next day, for we could have visited it and be told more than we would ever want to know about whisky.

There is no bathtub in our B&B again, but I detach the showerhead, sit down on the floor, and blast my feet with hot water before bed. Again Joel laughs, but again he sits down next to me, and enjoys similar treatment. It is a good way to end the day.
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what a difference a decade makes   
10:40pm 22/05/2014
May 22, 2004

People always talk about their wedding being the best day of their lives. I've always found that suspect: You really mean that your life peaked then? That every day after has been disappointing? That being married doesn't make you as happy as getting married? *puzzled*.

What a decade it's been. 10 years; 4 advanced degrees; 4 moves, 2 international and one overseas; and 1 child later: When I look back on it, it's amazing how much we managed to do in 10 years. Imagine what we can do in the next decade!

I really lucked out. Joel is a far better man than I deserve.
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