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.....It's been a handful of days since I updated Live Journal last. Lots of things to think about these days. You wouldn't necessarily think of Holloween as a thoughtful day, but it has become so. :-)

.....Today is [livejournal.com profile] aelianora's birthday. I hope it was a good day for her. I probably should have called, but I didn't think about doing that until just a few minutes ago and don't necessarily want to interrupt her evening.

.....Today is also Catelin Spenser's birthday. It's been over a year now since her death. I miss her quite a bit. I'm still curious as to what she would be saying to me now that I'm about to wear the Coronet as Baron of Dragon's Laire. I'm sure she would have had a great deal of interesting advice for me. :-)

.....Starting to get my brain wrapped around the step-up, in less than two weeks now. The 'to-do' list is still daunting, but the actual ceremony should happen more-or-less with at least a reasonable amount of dignity. Something that was more difficult to achieve than I would have thought. TBT has been knocking herself out with the step-up clothing. I think I'll be wearing better clothes for that one ceremony than I've ever worn to date, either in the 'real world' or the SCA. :-)

.....Tomorrow I have to be in Tacoma at 0800 to check in for Jury Duty at the Federal Courthouse. Not necessarily the best timing as there was a Port Gamble June Faire meeting scheduled for the same day. Ack! And I still need to go in early and get the Monday morning reports out the door as there is no one else available to put them together. Sigh! It could be a long day.

.....Being the Federal Court though there might be the chance that I may actually sit on a Trial. Every time in the past I was called into Jury Duty I was summarily booted out of the room due to my affiliations with Bill Bogan, who takes care of the breathalizer machines on the Olympic Peninsula. I've been kicked off of trials at least three times now because of that. I'm kinda hoping that it doesn't happen this time. Although it could be problematic if the trial runs through November Crown Council. I'm sure Their Majesties would be cranky with me if I had to miss my own ceremony. I wonder if Their Current Excellencies would be cranky with me if they had to hold on to the Coronets a few weeks (month? years?) longer than expected. :-)

.....Speaking of cranky people, I think we're finally going to get The Crier bank account out of my hair. Master Pyotr has volunteered to make the drive over here so that he and I can sit out at U.S. Bank and wait through the entire process of moving the account over to his name. Wow! What a headache that has been. Every time I've gone into U.S. Bank to start the process they've come up with some new rule or process they neglected to tell me about the time before. Although being the Chronicler's Exchequer isn't exactly a difficult job I think that I'll miss it some.

.....The step-up ceremony has been interesting to write. I immersed myself in Anglo-Saxon writings and then made an attempt to write a ceremony in the same style, using a framework set up by Her Excellency Brighid. I'm finally getting to the point where I'm, almost, satisfied with the results. Although the culling process has been tough. Anyone who knows me knows that I use ten words to describe something that should only take two. So learning brevity along with style, has been quite the learning experience.

.....I think that the Chaucerian verse I've been writing for scroll texts will be more interesting, except for the fact that everything I've written so far sounds more like Dr. Suess than Chaucer. :-) Sigh! I used to think I had the potential to be a writer. Now I think that maybe I'd better consider going back to school and learn how to write! :-)

.....Work has been really interesting. One would think that the Big Boss moving on to 'other things' would make me the happiest person on the planet. And on some levels it has been an incredible relief. He is not altogether 'gone' yet and still spreads terror in liberal amounts. But I don't see him nearly as often as I used to. And it has been a hard thing to learn to 'move on without him' and learn how to think again.

.....I've been working for this guy for almost four year. In that time something I learned to do, but never really noticed, was to not put a whole lot of effort into anything I did directly for him. It was understood on some level that no matter what product I put together, he would hate it, relay to you how stupid you were, and then procede to explain in minute detail what he wanted. Over and over and over and over again. So, the usual 'thing to do' was to throw together whatever reports, charts, writing, etc. that he wanted, without putting a whole lot of effort into it. With the full knowledge that he would hate it and then tell you what he really wanted.

.....But now, I no longer have to produce for him. It is his successor now, my former mid-level boss. And he is so overwhelmed at the moment that he is basically allowing us to run our own show. Ack! We have to think for ourselves, and produce reports that we have to defend ourselves. With no one telling us what to do. From one extreme to the other. I much prefer the current thought process to the former. But it is going to be a little bit before I feel completely comfortable walking on my own again.

.....It's almost 9PM and we've had no trick-or-treaters at all. I guess that the Rhys Monster is going to make out on chocolate this year. All of the candy that neither TBT or myself can't eat will have to be consumed by 'someone'. :-)

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....It was very much a surprise to me this morning when Ross called and let me know that Catelin passed away at around 8:30 AM. I was thoroughly convinced last night that Catelin was going to fight it out for many more days. But TBT reminded me of something that I hadn't taken into account. Catelin is one of those people who is incredibly stubborn, true, but she is also one of those people, whom having decided that she was DONE, would be DONE. And in thinking back I would have to agree that this is probably what happened.

.....Strangely enough the overriding feeling after having listened to Ross was one of relief. I've visited Catelin a number of times over the past several weeks and the common theme was that she HATED being cooped up in a hospital bed with nothing to do but contemplate what was happening and what little she could actually do about it. Catelin was an incredibly bright, intelligent, person. If she didn't have her mind fully engaged in something, she was incredibly bored. She was constantly mentioning how much she wanted to be doing something, anything, even to the point where she was calling into the office for things to do.

.....Ross went into coping mode today and is still working to his list of things to be done. I called him a short time ago and he seemed to be doing O.K. I think it helped that many people paid him visits today to talk about things. He still has days and days of things to be done and arrangements to be made. I keep forgetting to ask when exactly the funeral will be. I should do that the next time I call him.

.....I am very grateful that I followed whatever impulse it was that pushed me into visiting the hospital last night. It had been a long day yesterday at the A&S Gathering in Silverdale. A good day, just long. I was ready to go to bed and kept telling myself that it wouldn't be a big deal to wait until Sunday morning to make a run to the hospital. But something kept niggling at the back of my mind and I made the drive over. I spent some time talking with Ross and gave Catelin a squeeze before leaving. I'm glad I had the chance to do that.

.....It will be hard later, I'm sure. Especially as the funeral date is announced and all of her friends actually gather and speak of our times with Catelin. Especially as the realization hits of what was actually lost. I have many, many memories of her. Many powerful ones that shaped aspects of my life and who I am. I am grateful for her presence in my life and will carry fond memories of her forever. But, wow, once we start talking about all those memories and their impact, it's going to be tough to to maintain.

.....Ross mentioned last night how strange life is. If Catelin and I had met first, things might very well be much different. In reality I wouldn't change what I have now for anything, but there is truth in what he said. Catelin and I had some strong bonds. I will miss her a lot.

.....But for the time being I will concentrate on the fact that she is no longer suffering. That she can go on her next great journey. That Ross can start living life again. Having done practically nothing for the last month and a half or so but tend to her needs, he'll need a little time to re-adjust to living in the regular world again.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....After today's festivities at the A&S Geekfest, I went over to Harrison to pay a visit to Ross and Catelin. I was a little anxious after the news of a day or so ago that Catelin had only one to three days left.

.....I am really thinking that the doctors involved need to take into account Catelin's true depths of stubbornness. She's not ready to go on that final journey just yet, and nothing is going to speed that process any faster than Catelin will allow through true grit and will power.

.....Catelin is under heavy duty drugs at the moment. Her kidneys have basically stopped functioning. But she is not yet on a ventilator and is taking strong, deep breaths. That was a good sign to me. A nurse came in at one point to check her vitals and condition. She was adjusting some of the instrumentation actually connected to Catelin and Catelin basically took a swat at her. It surprised the nurse, and almost made me want to laugh at her discomfiture. Catelin is going to be ornery to the end, whether conscious or not.

.....Ross is more the worrisome at the moment. He's pretty wrung out. But still going on sure and steady. He's actually set up a daily schedule on Outlook on his laptop. He has everything scheduled, from daily hygiene (brushing his teeth, taking a shower, etc.) all the way to running home to take care of the critters. The alarm on there is constantly sounding with the next chore to be done. I'm sure that it has become a mindless thing, more ritual than life. But rituals can be good to the soul, even those as mundane as daily activities. So I think that this is a good thing.

.....I don't think that the outcome is going to be determined tonight, or even tomorrow. So I'll go to sleep and hope for her to have as restful a sleep as possible as well.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Ludya called me today and told me that I really ought to stop in and visit Catelin at the hospital. From the tone of her voice it was pretty evident that this was something that should not be put off.

.....After work I went immediately there and met Ross. He is hanging in there as best he can. I gave him a hug and spoke to him all the usual statements that everyone in my situation would as far as offers of support and whatever assistance I could. It is the only thing that those of us who feel pretty helpless really can do. Ross accepted it all with good grace though. I gave him a hug and tried to distract him a while with small talk.

.....Then I went into the room to say hello to Catelin. I was rather shocked. I saw Catelin on Monday. The difference between then and now was the difference between summer and winter. Her face was ashen and she looked at least a dozen years older.

.....The doctors are giving her between one and three days. Catelin is a fighter though, and an extremely stubborn one at that. I bet the she'll continue to kick and scream and fight off that crossing until the last breath is taken from her.

.....They've been increasing the pain medication at a pretty steady pace though. I've seen this scenario a couple of times now. I knew enough not to ask any more questions because I did not want to hear the answers, even though I already knew what they would be. It is amazing how much you can fool yourself into acceptance by just not hearing something you dread, like being a little kid who protects himself from the monsters of the night by pulling the covers over your head.

.....I stayed with Catelin for a while and gave her a small hug. I told myself that I should say my good-byes while I could. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. I lasted maybe ten minutes before I had to leave the room. I remember being with Diane during her last few days and I just couldn't bear to go through anything like that again. Is it considered cowardice to think that way?

.....I wandered around the hospital for a little bit to see if I could shake some of the emotions away before going home. I don't even remember the drive. I read e-mail and took care of small, meaningless chores, and then TBT took me out for dinner. She can read me pretty well actually and knew that I needed a distraction and to get away for a while.

.....When I first heard of Catelin going into the hospital back in September, I made TBT promise me that she would not go away before me. It does sound a little over-dramatic, and maybe a little selfish, as I type it. But I mean what I say and don't really care what it sounds like to others.

.....With much love to Catelin and hope for whatever brings her peace and comfort.

.....Aaron / Arontius.

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.....Well, I was determined this morning to put on my big boy underoos and pay Catelin a visit. Harrison Hospital, while normally a place of healing, is a big place of haunting memories for me. A place that is never comfortable to visit. But sometimes you just have to put that aside and keep your eyes on the task at hand.

.....But thankfully, I had help this time. Ludya had an appointment in Bremerton and actually met me at the Parking Garage at Harrison and walked with me up to Catelin's room. She sat with me for about half an hour before making some excuse about having to meet with her daughter somewhere. Ludya is a real angel, that's for sure.

.....I was dreading what I would find when finally making it to Catelin's room. But was rather pleasantly surprised. Catelin was coherent and looked pretty good, at least a lot better than I expected. She had good color to her face. She was on some pretty good drugs for pain, but could easily engage in conversation. A few times she drifted off a little, but she still had her wit and sharp mind on track. It was rather nice to see that.

.....As Ross mentioned she was done with Chemo and Radiation treatments. She is going to be in the hospital for a while as her body heals some. But there is still hope for her to be going home sometime in the near future. Nobody is talking timeframes at this time. It really is a one-day-at-a-time thing. But she does not look at death's door to me, and there was plenty of discussion of healing work ahead. So things are looking at least hopeful.

.....We talked about her kids at first. Tristan went back to Arizona about a week ago. Jon started back to his unit in Afghanistan just this morning. Waited until the very last minute before hopping into his ride to the airport. It is going to take him between three to five days before he actually makes it back to his unit as he goes through Dulles on his way to Dubai, with the final leg going on to Afghanistan itself. Looks like he is there until probably February. There was talk of his unit coming back home and then on to Iraq, but there was talk of his going to Korea, so lots of unknowns at this time.

.....We traveled over the usual small talk. Caught up on most of the friends and family. Then we spent at least an hour or so talking about her Chamber of Commerce job. She was so bored last week that she succumbed and started calling her office looking for things to do. She started setting up for future functions and working with the incoming Chamber council. She has lots of opinions and insight on Kitsap County politics. Kitsap County really is a political machine, a la Chicago, in its approach. Which is surprising considering how close we are to the liberal bastian of Seattle we reside. But I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised as we are such a conservative place with all the military installations surrounding us.

.....Then we debated the merits of the incorporation of Silverdale. A conversation full of surprises. :-) Catelin may be on pain medications and doing a lot of healing, but she hasn't lost a bit of that intelligence that makes her such a force of nature.

.....Here's hoping that we have access to that formidable force for many years to come!

.....Get well soon, Catelin.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....From Ross:

"No more chemo due to organ challenges, no more radiation due to max dosages already given - unless said organs come fully back online, we're down to "keep her comfortable." - I suppose I should be grateful they can still do that."

.....The world already feels like a colder and emptier place. If three Queens gathered Arthur in their arms and took him into their boat upon the waves to Avalon, then surely three Kings must be standing by in honor guard to escort Catelin Spenser.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Otherwise known in the 'Real World' as Darla Murker is battling hard against the evil monster known as Cancer. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers this evening. She could use a little extra strength, love and hope.

.....A.
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.....I was leafing through the Kitsap Herald on Saturday and came across a regular feature entitled, 'Chamber Chat'. It had a picture attached to it of the contributor, Darla Murker. We all know that person in Dragon's Laire by the name of THL Catelin Spenser of Newmarket. Apparently the column is a weekly feature in the Herald. Usually, the Herald goes into the loose paper stack to be used as packing material for circlets. But maybe I'll start actually reading it first. :-) It's not the New York Times, but the writing is a shade better than the Kitsap Sun, which I stopped reading years ago because the editor seems to have left school sometime before graduating elementary school, which is reflected in his editing style and capability. :-)

.....I wish that Catelin would come back and play with us. I miss her. She was quite the dynamic force in the Barony.

.....I received an e-mail from another family member of Dragon's Laire who also hasn't played in a while, Lady Ellainyia Dane. Seems as her divorce is wrapping up this month. Both of her children are out of the house and she is looking to reconnect with the Barony again. I warned her that she will not recognize the group at all, but she seems excited about the possibilities. She will definitely be a good re-edition to the group. She was a lot of fun the last time she played with us.

.....Ellainyia dropped out during the midst of the 'Reign of Terror' (TM) of 'She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named'. Ellainyia was one of her Ladies in Waiting and had a tough time maintaining a sense of neutrality towards the end. It was actually a wonder that she didn't run screaming into the night, never to be heard of again. :-)

.....When she was active last time, Ellainyia put out this booklet, 'A Gentleman's Guide on Dealing With A Lady'. It was actually a pretty good read. :-) I think that I still have my copy somewhere in my files. Inga sold a number of them in her booth, especially at 3YC.

.....I'm looking forward to playing with her again.

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....It always strikes me as auspicious that the two of you were born on All Hollows Evening. :-)

.....May the Birthday Clause bring you everything your heart desires! :-)

.....Happy Birthday Aelianora!

.....Happy Birthday Catelin!

.....Aaron / Arontius.
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.....Who knew that Hallowe'en was the day when such incredibly good looking women were born. :-)

.....Happy Brithday [livejournal.com profile] aelianora !

.....Happy Birthday Catelin Spenser!

.....May the Brithday Clause bring all that you desire! :-)

.....Arontius.
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.....I don't know how many of you know or remember THL Catelin Spenser of Newmarket (Darla Murker). She was the Kingdom Equestrian Officer for a while, Seneschale of Dragon's Laire, and most notably, the Captain of the Spenser-Longfellow Trading Company. :-)

.....But this is way freakin' cool!

.....Snipped from The Sun newspaper:

"New Chamber Director Named
Silverdale
Darla Murker is the new executive director for the Silverdale Chamber of Commerce.
The appointment was announced Thursday. Murker has acted as the interim director since Sam Granato retired in April. She has been with the chamber since October 2001, originally hired as the communications coordinator. Murker previously worked in public relations for the Department of Defense and in finance for a nonprofit organization."

.....I give Catelin five years or less before she is holding public office. :-)

.....Arontius / Aaron.
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.....Huzzah! The July issue of The Crier is complete! Finished late last night and created all the required .pdf files. Going to hold out until tomorrow before I send it in, just in case His Majesty has a missive he would like submitted. This was my 22nd issue as Crier Editor, just (14) more issues to go until I step down. :-)

.....The good thing is that I can now concentrate on getting the house cleaned. It is still a disaster area from June Faire. Ugh! Piles of stuff everywhere, I haven't let it go to this extreme in a long time.

.....Had a very good July Coronation meeting yesterday. Resolved a lot of issues concerning placement of activities. I'm in a much happier frame of mind. Resolved the placement of road signs as well. Still working out the bugs of traffic control on site, but we've got some good ideas on it. The next meeting will be sometime over the week of July 17th, with the big 'public' meeting with the populace on July 24th. That almost seems anti-climatic as Team Haggis has over 45 people on it. Most of the bloody populace is already on the team in some sort of official capacity. :-)

.....Gotta write a sonnet too. I'm starting to feel spiritually constipated. Lots of thoughts running in my brain. It's not a big space either. So if I don't get my thoughts out on paper it is difficult to give thought to important things. :-)

.....Heard from Catelin Spenset yesterday. I miss having her around. She's still working for the Chamber of Commerce. She is a dynamic and very intelligent person and is working her way towards becoming a major force within the community. She really ought to give thought to running for public office. I think that she has the contacts, the presence and the wit to take it on. I don't think that I'm going to persuade her to come back into the SCA. She was severely scarred by it, scars that I don't think will ever go away.

.....But we were talking about an outing for our weird discussion group; Catelin, myself, Mary Fischer (Xian), DeDe (Elsbeth) and Baron Sir Richard. It's always a lively discussion and a lot of fun. Last time we got together we played the Middle Earth version of Risk, drank lots of Don Julio, then started a discussion on the merits of Pelicans having Proteges. Baron Sir Richard is of the mindset that Laurels and Knights have a historical precedent for 'apprentices' and 'squires' but since Pelicans are administrators, a 'protege' is un-necessary. Catelin and I vociferously argued against that. It was fun. And the viewpoints expressed after tequila are always unique.

.....Someone told me that they saw Maria (former Baroness Maria) at June Faire last weekend. I'm actually glad that I didn't. I'm still not sure how we even survived as a branch through those times. She did us some major damage that can still be seen today in how we react to certain things. Whenever we write official documents or react to crisis we seem to always do it with the mindset of '...putting protections in place in the event of another Maria coming into Dragon's Laire.' It's rather sad. Definitely a sign of aging. :-)

.....Still don't think of myself as an old timer in Dragon's Laire, but am rapidly turning into one whether I want it or not. :-)

.....The front yard looks like a jungle! My neighbors are starting to give me 'the look'. I'll have to see if I can schedule some time after work a couple of nights this week to tackle at the very least the lawn. Then the hedge. That I have to do before the county does it for me. If I wait for that it'll look like a hack job.

.....Well, off to get dressed and start cleaning.

.....Arontius / Aaron.

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