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First Word

Despite several weeks having gone by since I got home from Pennsic, I still haven't managed to write individual thank you cards to everyone in House Corvus who worked so hard to make this year’s War so special. Having a House Corvus presence at Pennsic takes a lot of planning and work prior to our arrival there. And, of course, it takes even more effort once we arrive on site. It’s important to me that you know how much I appreciate all of that effort and, while I’d prefer to write you all a note, I didn't want to wait any longer. So, hopefully, the gratitude I express here in the Raven Roundtable still counts!

When House Corvus took its years long Pennsic hiatus, I thought it was a necessary lull. Years of dogged effort creating our extraordinary encampments had worn everyone out. And, with the often capricious and seemingly arbitrary way that various Pennsic land agents handled the annual allotments, all of our efforts seemed to be perpetually undermined. After all, you can only plan so much ahead of time. But when you arrive on site and the land is nothing like that for which you’ve prepared and then there’s no water for three days, you go home feeling a bit defeated. Pennsic has always been my first, best SCA recharge-my-batteries event. But, for a while there, I was often asking myself, “Why am I doing this again?”

Like so many things in life, it took stepping back to regain my perspective. It also took letting go of some of that Pennsic doggedness and letting someone else share some of that burden. After a decade of planning Pennsic camps, it was so nice to turn those responsibilities over to Rhiannon, and Oshi, and Sine. While I often felt hugely guilty over Oshi and Sine going up for land grab and getting the encampment started, it was also a huge relief. Of course, I started to enjoy Pennsic more and more, but at the expense of Oshi and Sine’s enjoyment. And that’s no fun, especially for them! I think, by the time we took our break, it came as a relief to everyone.

The problem though, when you take a break from anything, but especially in the SCA is that, so often, you never come back after your supposed break. Fortunately, Victoria and Griffith got us off our collective asses by busting theirs (and Caelan’s too!). For the past few years, they’ve worked very hard to reestablish not only House Corvus’ presence at the War, but also to make it fun again. It’s taken us a while to get back into our groove, but that’s to be expected. Slowly, steadily, I’ve been reminded why I enjoy Pennsic and, by extension, the SCA so much.

Of course, I’ve had the easiest Pennsic experiences for the past three years with my flying into War after it’s all set up. Between Julianna’s hotel-like atmosphere my first year back, up through this last War, I’ve had a wonderful time being grabbed at the airport and simply transported to a Pennsic fully in progress and an encampment set-up and running.

Sure, I try to help when and where I can, but I know that showing up one weekend in South Carolina isn’t making all that much of a difference in the build up to the War. Still, I also know that even just showing up does have value. I often find that, even when someone is with me and not actually helping me, I still am grateful for their company while I work. It’s not just that they’re alleviating the loneliness of what would normally be solitary labor. But it also makes me feel that they’re committing the same time that I am towards a project -- that, just by their presence, they’re saying what we’re doing is worthwhile -- that, they may not have the specific skills to contribute, but they will sacrifice the time just to be there and, through their camaraderie, help make it come to pass. I like that. So, I also like being a part of it. Lord knows, I’d probably do myself an injury in a woodshop with either Eldred or Griffith. But I’m happy to keep them company and express my joy at watching them create something astonishing.

The fact is, all of our Pennsic pleasure is purchased at the expense of someone else’s hard labor. That goes for any and every event actually. And, while I cannot necessarily know or acknowledge a lot of the unseen work that goes on, I sure as hell can recognize the efforts of so many people in our own Household.

Victoria, Griffith, and Caelan... Thank you so much for all of your prep work. Getting land, toting stuff, and managing Atlantian Royal this year all make for huge feathers in House Corvus' cap. Splitting your efforts makes things that much harder, but fulfilling your commitment to TRM Sinclair and Kari was very important. It's a keen reminder to everyone in House Corvus that all of our actions reflect on the entire Household. As usual, the reflections you cast are good ones! (And I very much appreciated TRM's public thanks to House Corvus).

Deirdre and Rhiannon also did a lot of prep work and kept the camp sugar frenzy going with their "intriguing" choice of snack foods! Juggling Triton obligations with camp always makes for a challenge, but I appreciate the heraldic presence in camp. It helps keep us on the map.

Thank you, Peter, for taking over my turn at the Heraldic Walking Tour. Since the hairy cretin wouldn't switch with me, but preferred to do the Monday tour poorly, unplanned, and with a hangover... Well, thanks for subbing for me. I'm bummed that I didn't get to do it (I was really looking forward to it), but I'm glad it was taken over by you. It totally blows that you took the injury that all responsible fighters always dread. For those of us with real lives and responsibilities, SCA fighting can only go so far. I’ve never understood how some people can jeopardize their livelihoods and/or family obligations with SCA activities. But, that’s their pathology, not yours.

I’m not sure just how I’m ever going to get the Corvus fighting force I’ve always imagined, but I certainly won’t do it at the expense of anyone’s health or well-being. Much like everything we’ve achieved in the SCA though, I’m sure it will be through lots of hard work and vision. No shortage of those things around here though, eh?

Of course, the time, effort, and expense that Eldred and Ealdthryth put forward making this year’s encampment happen were a Godsend. I'm so very grateful for all of your effort. And, you know what? I *loved* our pergola! :-)

Setting up the Corvus camp has always taken a lot of work but it's so much fun to see that effort yield such wonderful fruit. So many of us have taken on that task, but it's always fun to see what someone else brings to it. My favorite thing this year: solar tikis! Woohoo! Torch maintenance has always been my least favorite camp chore. I'm looking forward to converting the blue lanterns to solar for next year.

Of course, that's why I enjoy and value Pennsic so very much! Attending always recharges my SCA batteries and fills me with ideas and projects -- enough to fill an entire year. If anything, I find I'm always racing to implement the previous year's ideas by the next Pennsic deadline. I know that’s certainly the case this year. I hope everyone who went is similarly inspired! And I hope that everyone who didn’t go will consider (re)introducing Pennsic into their event calendar for next summer.

As so much Pennsic prep really does take all year, I’ll be introducing a new column in the Raven Roundtable called “The Road to Pennsic.” In it, we can track on-going progress for various War-related projects. We can bring up things we’d like to add, to change, to do away with -- whatever. Also, feel free to post these ideas, comments, etc. on the House Corvus e-List. Simply title them with TRTP or some such in the subject line and we can discuss them there and I can add the ideas we commit to here in the newsletter. I’d like to be much more involved with the camp planning for next year. That is, unless the E’s have an overwhelming desire to take it on again! Far be it for me to say no! But I’d also still like Griffith to handle the land aspects. I’m so confident in his abilities to keep us on track (and on the Serengeti), that I don’t want to risk my mucking it up.

Along the lines of TRTP, I'd like to thank Oshi and Sine for their help in getting one of next year's projects off the ground. As Sine can attest, I was pulling out what few hairs I have remaining trying to get a new House Corvus banner idea silk-screened. With just one phone call, she said, “Send it here.” She took control and even when our old printer couldn’t do it, Oshi set about finding us a new guy. Between them, they made it happen and got the banner templates back to me last week so I can set about sewing them for next year’s Pennsic encampment road front. We will soon have a dozen, double-sided banners for the House Corvus encampment (which goes with my new road frontage set-up plan)!

I’d still really like to set up a Corvus Work Weekend dedicated to the service and maintenance of all of our many pavilions. Along with the pavilions we regularly use in the Corvus Pennsic camp, we also use lots of pavilions throughout the year at different events. And then, some of us have pavilions we pull out once a year specifically for Pennsic. Regardless of when and where we use them, I think it’d be fun to take a weekend, set them all up and do a general cleaning, some decorating (I have ideas for those dags), check the extinguishers, etc.

I’d suggested Oshi and Sine’s place in Winston-Salem since they have a very large and flat, fenced in backyard that seems ideally suited for this type of thing. But I need to know when we can do it (we need nice weather) and if Oshi and Sine are willing to host. Please think about this some and then post your ideas to the e-List for discussion. Our pavilions represent probably our largest SCA investment. Some TLC is a good idea! --BRAN

The Road to Pennsic

I’ll dive right in here and list a few things I’d like to do for next year with your help! We’ve talked about a few of these things but not really gotten past the planning stages so far.

- Finish etching the House Corvus badge onto all of the large, blue lanterns. Complete a general servicing of the lanterns and convert them all to solar powered illumination.

- Create at least one massive House Corvus silk war banner. Though a few smaller pennons for pavilion tops would also be nice. This is Medb Renata’s bailiwick and I’ll try to work on these while still in Caid.

- Work with Victoria to create Corvus “walls,” (more like a fence of silk-screened panels to surround the encampment). I’ve created a large enough positive for the screening. Victoria has the fabric for the walls. We just have to pull it all together.

- Ealdthryth has taken on the completion of the Corvus chapel for next year. We’re finally going to make this happen! Yay!

- Sew the dozen double-sided roadside banners. Maybe make a new set of individual banners (or silk pennons). The new lamp/banner configuration will require a servicing/replacement of the current street side banner poles.

Corvus Calendar

1st - LABOR DAY!
2nd - Griffith’s Birthday
4th - Deirdre’s Birthday
6th - Atlantia: Fall Coronation in Raven’s Cove (Swansboro, NC) ~ CANCELLED ~
13th - Atlantia: Chalice of the Sun God V: Persephone's Story in Ponte Alto (Montclair, VA)
13th - Atlantia: Tourney of Diamonds in Iles des Diamants (Yemassee, SC)
13th - Caid: Anniversary and Investiture in Barony of the Angels (Monrovia, CA)
18th - Eldred’s Birthday
19th - Peter’s Birthday
20th - Ealdthryth & Eldred’s Anniversary
20th - Caid: Collegium Caidis in Lyondemere (Torrance, CA)
21st - Victoria & Griffith’s Anniversary
22nd - First Day of Autumn/Autumnal Equinox

6th - Alrekr’s Birthday
8th - 13th Caid: Great Western War XI in Buena Vista Aquatic Recreation Area (Bakersfield, CA)
11th - Siobhan’s Birthday
11th - Atlantia: War of the Wings III in Sacred Stone (Booneville, NC)
12th - Caelen’s Birthday
16th - Isabella’s Birthday
23rd - Signy’s Birthday
25th - Michael O’s Birthday
25th - Atlantia: Return of the Hawkwood Howl in Hawkwood (Arden, NC)
25th - Trimaris: Baronial Bash in Wyvernwoode (Brandon, FL)
26th - Medb ingen Gillai-Brigte’s Birthday
27th - Rhiannon’s Birthday

Corvus Quiz!

Instead of a crossword puzzle, I thought it might be fun to play with the Rose Window! So, here it is: a House Corvus pop quiz! How many can you identify?

House Corvus Rose Window created by Master Eldred.

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D. _____________________

Last modified on Wednesday, July 8, 2009
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