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I am not even sure where to begin with all of the thank yous. So I will
tell you the story of my weekend.

Friday morning I woke up entirely nauseous, I made it into work and sat
here with my head on my knees just waiting to get out. I finally gave in
and went home at noon so that I could nap for a few before it was time to
hit the road. There was no way I was going to allow myself to be sick this
weekend. No Way. I took a 3 hour nap, got up and started to get the last
few items together to pack up into the truck as soon as the man got home. I
could barely even manage that the nausea was making me dizzy with every
move. As soon as the man made it home I tried to get up and start taking
stuff to the truck, my body was not having it, so my wonderful daughter and
man packed up the last of all the things for me. We hit the road. By the
time we made it to Sedalia I was starving. So we ate and all of a sudden I
was feeling immensely better. Thank God!

We arrived on site with just enough time to get the roof of our tent up
before the rain hit. Then we hung out with friends under the Tor pavilion,
which became our living room for the weekend. Every time the rain would let
up for a minute or two we would run out and try to set up some more of our
stuff. Then back under the Tor pavilion we went. Finally around midnight or
1 am, I’m really not sure, the rain let up and my man got the bed put
together and I promptly climbed into it. He went out to the vigil, I was
too exhausted from not feeling well to do much of anything.
Saturday morning we woke up and I got everything straightened out in the
tent so that it would be ready to be the Vigil tent that evening. I
showered and met with Simonetta who braided my hair and hennaed my hands.
Then I waited, I went to court and waited. I watched Gaebbie, Hrefna, Aly
and Cincinatta prepare all the delicious Vigil food and I waited. It
probably wasn’t very long at all, but it felt like forever!

Their Majesties and Highnesses arrived and His Majesty asked if I was
ready, and I responded “Yes! Let’s get this show on the road!” I think I
was just anxious to get everything going .
We walked into the vigil chamber, which was just absolutely perfect. The
Peerage banners hung on all the walls, the oil lamps were full and ready to
be lit, and all the vigil pieces were assembled and ready to be spoken on.
The peers filed in, the faces of the people who have always inspired me to
do everything that makes me happy, they were there to witness this moment,
to share this moment with me. Peers who I have admired since I first joined
this group of wonderful people traveled from near and far to share with me
their words of wisdom and praise. People I have grown with, learned with,
experienced life with, worked with and loved with. They were there to share
this moment with me.
There were moments while I was sitting in my vigil chamber, I would look
around at the pools of simmering light coming off of the mosque lamps, I
would see the people milling about just outside, I could hear their
laughter, and the sounds of their joy, I could hear the drums and recorder,
I could see them dancing. I thought to myself “how could this be anymore
perfect”. Then I heard Fernando Singing the Veil and it was made more
perfect.

The night went by quickly and soon I was alone in my chamber pondering the
words that were spoken to me. I felt entirely loved and cherished by so
many people who I admire, love and cherish. I was removed from vigil and my
wonderful man and I snuggled into a cozy bed of sheepskins and pillows.
Sunday I woke and spent the day under the Tor pavilion with my extended
household and great friends. We ate leftover vigil food and talked the day
away. Many of my friends put the finishing touches on their Andalusian garb
that they had made to be a part of my ceremony. Then a few of us went out
to the creek and cooled our feet in the water. Then it was time to shower
and prepare for court.
I received a white Andalusian Qamisa embroidered with a Laurel wreath by my
Apprentice sister Cecily. Over this I wore the gold Durra’ made from a
replica silk called the Baghdadi fabric. I wrapped my head in a silk veil,
and I donned the white Tabard and walked to the back of court where
everyone who was a part of my ceremony was excitedly awaiting their part.
My Mistress Elianor was called in and everyone took their places to be
ready for the procession. Alessandra begin to play Lamma Badda on her
recorder, Dongal and Anton begin to drum the very complicated 10/8 drum
beat and Giovanna begin to sing the Arabic song with beauty, precision and
clarity beyond comparison. At this point Rahil, Cecilia and Gwendolyn begin
to dance in my procession with such grace and splendor that can never be
rivaled. The populace was captivated by their light steps, graceful turns
and elegant poses. I stood tall and proud of my friends, there is no more
perfect way to be led into court. It was everything I had ever imagined,
everything I have ever dreamed of.

I settled myself in front of Their Majesties, my belt and tabard were
removed and I heard what it is to be a Laurel. The people who spoke to me,
the people who spoke for me, the Peers and friends who attested to my
qualities in front of Their Royal Majesties, Their Royal Highnesses, Their
Excellencies and the Populace. That all of you, who I look to for
inspiration, who I look to and admire your accomplishments, that all of you
could say such things of me, brought tears to my eyes. These were not tears
of sadness; they are tears from the warmth, joy, love, admiration,
excitement. I can only strive to live up to what you have said of me. I can
only hope that I will always continue to be the person you believe me to
be.
I was then presented with my coat. A beautiful red wool coat, lined and
trimmed in blue Indian silk made by my Mistress Elianor. Adorned on the
arms with Tiraz bands designed by Aidan, and embroidered with Monarch
Butterflies and Andalusian inspired Laurel leaves by Gaebbie. This coat is
everything I could have imagined and more. The warmth it will bring me will
be impossible to compare to. The beauty of the design of the Tiraz bands
are more of a blessing than any words could ever convey. The Tiraz (which
means embroidery) is immaculate. The love that was put into the piece of
art that was created is evident.

Next came the mark of my new station, I am now the owner of the most
beautifully handcrafted artisan silver earrings I have ever seen. Earrings
made for me by Master Grimwulf. His craftsmanship is a quality
unchallenged. And my hands shook as I removed my other earrings and put
these in my lobes. My ears have never been so beautifully adorned. With
silver earrings made in the style of 12th century Andalusian earrings, with
Laurel leaves and falcons. I don’t want to take them off. Ever. Seriously.

I lost my memory while giving my oath. I had a special oath memorized, and
it failed me. Then I was presented to the Kingdom as a member of the Order
of the Laurel. The populace erupted in cheers! I didn’t even know how to
stand there when that happen but I did. Then I heard Rhodri begin to read
my scroll. He wrote me a Muwashasha, he incorporated so much of my life and
SCA career into that poem. His words brought tears to my households eyes.
His words lifted my heart, and made me feel like I was soaring with the
Falcons of our Kingdom.
I was directed to turn so that I would see the gorgeous scroll that was
painted for me by Constantia. A painted scene in my image from in the style
of the Hadith of Bayad wa Riyad. My favorite love story of 13th century
al-Andalus. Written in arabesque with a reed pen, on goat skin parchment.
Her delicate hand in the fine details of the work is astounding.
I walked out of court to find my handsome man waiting for me with a kiss.
Than I received all the hugs of congratulations. What a wonderful day! How
could it be any more perfect. We followed court by running out for Thai
food, I got to eat Tiger cry beef with my friends. That made it more
perfect.

We got back to site ready to climb into bed when we heard the graduation
celebration and the songs coming from it. So we grabbed a few beverages and
headed over to Eowyth’s to sing and celebrate. And the day was even more
perfect than it was before.

Mistress Elianor, my mentor, my friend, my inspiration to be as authentic
as possible; not only in my arts and sciences, but also in my life. I can’t
even begin to thank you for all that you did to make this happen. I am
forever in your debt.

*~~~ Catalina*

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