arontius: (Justin's Device)
.....It's just about time to head off to the August Business Meeting at the VFW Hall. I'm dragging my feet a little as I'd rather stay at home and catch up on chores that have been accumulating. Or maybe I'm just a little bit peopled out at the moment. Or maybe it is because TBT is headed out for the first meeting of the new Laurel Regional Meeting in Tacoma. I'll be by myself at the Business Meeting. It may actually be a noticeably smaller Business Meeting with all the Laurel in absentia.

.....If nothing else I have to go and get a couple of signatures from Ralg to finish off a few An Tir / West War checks. Envelopes are made out, checks and Request Forms are complete. Once Ralg signs them off they will go into the mail tonight. Which means that I will be able to finalize the reports and journal for An Tir / West War this weekend and put it away for the next year and a half or so. Nothing came in for printing from Baron Finn, so I'm going to call that one a wash for the moment. We may end up with a little bit of refund from the Biffy and / or Trash People. But that is pretty standard. I'll also get a good handle on exactly how much profit the event made though and it'll be on the agenda at September Crown to discuss how much of it to move over to the Kingdom Coffers.

.....I need to start pestering Etiennette for the agenda for the September Crown Financial Committee Meeting. I'm not entirely sure if it'll be myself or her running the show. Etiennette has the knowledge base at the moment and knows what is happening with the accounts and the Kingdom. She is also coordinating the completion of the second quarter branch reports. So she may end up chairing the meeting whether she likes it or not. :-) I should probably warn her, I suppose.

.....After a couple of weeks of relative peace, issues started popping up this week in rapid succession. A number of check requisitions to be processed were near the top of the list. Review of the updated Kingdom Financial Policy is gaining priority rapidly. However, the biggest surprise dropped in from Society. In preparation for PayPal, Society is pushing at a clean-up of the accounts across all the Kingdoms accounts. This includes clearing out all the NMS back-log. Every Kingdom has a listing of events Society feels should have paid NMS, but for some reason did not. An Tir has its own list. Elonda has been working diligently to whittle our list down to nothing. To be honest, I've been incredibly impressed with her diligence and tenacity at dealing with the branches who owe forms, funds, or both. She's managed to do it all professionally, and with no snarkiness or condescending attitude at all.

.....The biggest test of this came in the form of an e-mail from the Society Treasurer. Using extreme 'Corporate Speak' with a great deal of bombastic language, a note arrived in my e-mail describing how the Kingdom was in arrears and needed to 'take action and not sit on a dire situation'. This was in regards to the NMS funds that the Society Offices feel haven't been paid by An Tir to them that should have been. The implications ran deep to the affect that An Tir was deliberately avoiding payment of something owed to Corporate and that we had until early October to make good 'or else'.

.....I understand completely that when dealing with legalities and money we want to get away from the 'club' and treat the administrivia as a 'Business'. You have to do that in today's Corporate and litigious environment. I'm not opposed to that at all. It's when you end up treating your own membership like a tenant you feel is trying to cheat you out of a payment that I object. We're all here for the same thing, to support the concept of the SCA. Treat me professionally and like an adult. Don't treat me like a bad debt. You don't even know me or know all the details. Sigh.

.....After a little back-and-forth, and some excellent communication from Elonda, the SCA Treasurer stepped back a little from the Corporate mindset and started treating us a little better. The tension dropped rapidly after that and we're getting things answered and solved quickly. Right now we're trying to come to consensus as to what exactly defines NMS in terms of an event, which will determine just what events in An Tir owe funds to Corporate. I suspect that An Tir will end up owing money to the Corporate Entity. Exactly how much we shall see.

.....My 'to-do' list for the Exchequer's Office is growing rapidly! It is its own list already as a matter of fact. I need to get hopping to get a group of Deputies on board and working. We have a possible / probable replacement for Elonda when she starts working the Corporate Job full-time. Etiennette is working to get her Transfers Deputy on board and working. I'm hoping to get Deputies lined up to support Bank Accounts (monitoring and set-up); Reporting; and Federal I.D. Number Verification (in preparation for the setup of State Subsidiaries). I'd also like to get a Training Deputy set-up on rolling, but still hoping I can sit down and persuade Etiennette to take on that particular tasking.

.....As soon as I'm starting to feel comfortable in my position, the push and focus will be to put together a comprehensive training program and get it implemented. I would like the branch exchequers to start building internal networks to help each other locally to review their own records and reporting and help each other learn and grow. There is too much learning by trial-and-error. Too much isolation as well. I would very much like the exchequerate to network much more than they are. It is a goal of mine.

.....Another surprise has been the Kingdom Records themselves. I found out recently that starting with Elonda, the Kingdom Financial Records had to be re-built almost from scratch. She could not get her predecessor to give them up. I'm hearing various stories as to why that is. The most widely used one being that he wanted to get them organized before turning them over. But apparently when Etiennette tried to get to these files to look for information in regards to a couple of past issues, she could not actually get to the files themselves and had to go to other sources to get her information. This will become a priority on my list of things to get done. These files are located in Tacoma. Not that far away. I need to start sending out the e-mails and phone calls and see if I can convince him to let me have the files sooner rather than later. Although, enough time has now passed to where these files may not be of much use.

.....Need to get an Exchequer's Meeting on the docket for September Crown. Which means I should probably check in with Julia and make sure I have use of the Seneschale's pavilion during the time frame I want on Saturday of the weekend. The agenda is already being built, with NMS and reporting being at the top of that list. Networking and communications following closely behind.

.....His Excellency let me know on Tuesday that I was one of the people on the June Faire Advisory Panel. Since then I've learned that Madrun and Diomedes are also members. That's three of us. We'll probably learn who the other six are at the Business Meeting tonight. Hopefully we'll learn also when we will meet and the exact purpose of the Panel. Does His Excellency want something specific for June Faire? Or is this first year going to be a concentration of finding out what will work best for the Barony and then working towards some tenable compromise. I have no idea really what to expect. From that standpoint alone I find the concept to be interesting. The clock is ticking though. A June Faire Board is generally put together by September and starts on the tasking list by November. Whatever plan we implement has to move along fairly quickly. I'm hoping that we're not going to be expected to run June Faire 2016? I would have to bow out at that point. But with nine people on the panel I don't think that is the direction we're headed.

.....Gwen posted a note to a group of us speaking to the Artisans Holiday Craft Faire she wants to do again this year. She wants to hit the SCA hard with advertising, which is why she thinks my circlets might be a draw for sales. I'm not so sure, but I thought it would be interesting to be part of the group. So I told Gwen that I was 'in' and would pay whatever share was needed from me for space rental and advertising costs.

.....I have a number of raw designs in the garage and could probably put together twenty or thirty for a sale at the VFW Hall, depending upon which date is agreed upon. It was sounding like October, but TBT and I kept thinking it was a November sale. Like the weekend after Thanksgiving. I would prefer that weekend actually as it would give me a little more time to put together some merchandise. I'll have to dig up the display stand and all the other accoutrements that go along with circlet sales. I haven't actually done a booth in a number of years, but I never did get rid of the gear. Just have to find it all and pull it together.

.....I was putting together a list of everything I would need to support a booth and was reminded of the stash of pendants I have in storage as well. At least 60 - 80 pendants with Ingasbo designs on them. After the years they've been in storage I'm sure they'll need some polishing and clean-up. But other than that they could be ready to go fairly quickly. I think the only problem at that point is what to charge for them. Which has always been a problem with Ingasbo 'stuff'. A lot of hours go into making a circlet or etched design. More than most are willing to pay, especially in a world where China can mass produce this stuff for pennies on the item. I have a suspicion that people are not going to want to pay for circlets and pendants that pay me even minimum wage! But I suppose that I do not need the funds to make a living, so I do not want to give this stuff away either. And, I suppose I could be surprised. We may get all set up and find out that people really will pay decent prices.

.....The water was removed from the nettle bath the other day and the nettle stalks are now drying. Countess Elisabeth took a look at them and thought them not worth the effort. She thinks that I waited too long to pull the stalks last year and am ending up with more woody debris rather than workable fiber. Which means that when these stalks finish drying out and I take a hammer to them I'll end up with a pile of dust rather than some woody dust and a bundle of fiber. I'm not quite ready to give up though, so I'm going to let this stack of nettle stalks finish drying out and see what happens. Even if I end up with just a little bit of usable fiber it will have made the experimentation worth the effort we went through over the past year.

.....I'm also going to make plans to start nettle harvesting in June next year though. The Spring rush should be done, but the nettle will not have started flowering and going to seed yet. I think that is where my basic mistake originates. When I went out harvesting this last time, I should have concentrated on nettle that did not yet have flowers on it. It would have taken some more time, but I might have ended up with a higher quality crop. Hopefully, a 'lesson learned' for next year.

.....When the Recorder Guild went on temporary hiatus this last Spring, a small part of my mind thought it was a dead thing again until I had the time and energy to drive it forward. But I was surprised this last week when I was suddenly included on an e-mail chain from RedBow essentially organizing a Recorder Guild to play locally. It invited both SCA members and members from other local Early Music groups, and wasn't just limited to recorders. She actually gained some interest from a couple of people who play as part of the Early Music group in Seattle. They might play at SCA events, but were already talking about concerts in other venues and situations. Their music selection also went beyond the Renaissance and firmly into the Baroque, with some rather nice pieces as part of their regular repertoire.

.....I asked RedBow if she accidently put my name on the e-mail traffic and she said no and that she was hoping that once things had settled out a little bit for me that I might want to come and play with them. RedBow had heard about Mom and sent her condolences as well. The whole conversation, while a little strange coming from RedBow, was very pleasant and thoughtful on her part. I'm really digging their music selection as well. So I'm thinking that maybe I'll see about whether I can block out the time to attend their practices. I think it would be fun.

.....Just have to be careful about over-commitment. I can feel myself playing that game and would rather avoid it. So I need to practice being thoughtful with what I do with my time over the next year. Practice! Practice! Practice!

.....We'll see how it goes.

.....Aaron / Arontius.


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