May 13, 2012
I have just spent the past 3.5 days geeking out at the 47th Annual Medieval Congress. Yes, I’m that kind of nerd. No, wait, it’s not what you’re thinking! This is not a Renaissance fair. For one thing, note that the word in the name is “Medieval”. Definitely not a Renaissance fair. Soooo far from it that all of us in attendance get a kick out of the people who ask us where we’re going.
“Ooo! What are you going to wear?” one of my colleagues asked when I talked to her earlier this week.
“Um, a tank top and yoga pants?” I replied. I tend to dress down for it because it sprawls across WMU’s campus and entails a lot of walking. It’s very rare that the papers I want to hear at the 1:30 session are in the same building as the papers I want to hear at the 3:30 session. That’s right. Papers. Academic papers. Often very esoteric academic papers. And I love every minute of it! I heard discussions of medieval costumes and flax production. There was a fabulous paper on depictions of Joan of Arc in children’s picture books. (Apparently, authors and illustrators have an easier time dealing with her death than with her faith. Who knew?) A fascinating look at how St Augustine’s philosophy relates to the unforgiveable curses in Harry Potter. I learned about what pottery from late antiquity tells us about how meals were taken – individual plates versus communal ones.
Like I said. It was three-and-a-half days of geeking out on medieval minutia. And now I’m home. And it’s Sunday afternoon. Mother’s Day, in fact. (I hung out with my mom before we went to our first sessions and got a ride home. We’ll “celebrate” by going out for coffee some Saturday after hitting the market.) And I still haven’t picked out a donor. And I need to so that I can call the fertility clinic and let them know which profile to order for me.
Wow… I’ve printed them as PDFs into OneNote. (If you haven’t already heard me rave about OneNote, I adore this piece of software! I love the way it tags URLs when you copy something off a website. And I love that I can print things into it instead of having to print them off on paper! I swear I am not employed at all by Microsoft. I just love this piece of software!) This means I can resize them so that I can see the entire page without scrolling. I just keep flipping back and forth. One profile, the next, the next, back to the first. This is harder than I expected. My brain hurts. I think I’ll go try to catch up on my Hulu queue…
P.S. Dear student who was presenting on the role the Lombards might have played in the building of the chapel at Castel Sant’Angelo, stand your ground! I’m with you! It is a modest chapel. It’s not a modest castle, but the chapel within the castle is. You were right! Your detractor who admitted he’d never even been to Rome and only knew of Castel Sant’Angelo from the photo you distributed on your handouts has no clue what he’s talking about! I’m the one whose hand shot up when you said you’d rephrase. I would have stayed to tell you this, but the session was running long and I needed to get across campus for the next one.