Medieval Calligraphy On Your Possets Receipt!

In keeping with the Medieval theme for spring, I have been adding some comments on your receipts in a Medieval script! The form I chose is called “Uncial” and is pronounced “un-shal” or “un-see-al”. It is the hand that is used in just about every monk’s manuscript and was developed to be readable and make the best use of the space on precious vellum.

You will notice that the letters are very rounded and there are no capitals, “i’s” are not dotted and the letters are fit up closely together. Some of the letters look like the capital form in regular handwriting, for instance: B, E, F,G, K, M, O, R, S, U, V, W, x, and Z.

The letters which are particular to Uncial script are: A, D, F, G, H, M, Q, T, and the W. They do vary from the modern interpretation of them and are very beautiful. Each has special rules you have to follow. For instance, the F has to have the lower cross stroke sit on the base line; M has to be very rounded, and T starts off like a modern T but quickly rounds its back and turns into that beautiful Medieval letter.

If you want to try your hand at Uncial, it’s easy to start. Get an italic pen (one with a squared off tip), you can usually find those at hobby shops. Of course you need ink and paper. Then all you have to have is patience.

Remember to hold your pen at a 45 degree angle and copy the letters. Practice makes perfect here. Keep the letters closely spaced in a word and use several strokes for each letter. Pretty soon you will be a good calligrapher. Practice by writing out your grocery lists in Uncial so you get familiar with it and can write a bit more quickly, then practice in earnest and slow down. I find that going between letter form and speed is a great exercise toward getting your mind used to a new form of handwriting.

Have fun!

A demonstration of Uncial handwriting.

Time for a Break in the Park

Sneak away from work for just 3 minutes, fill your lungs with fresh air, smell the spring flowers, and get a patch of wisteria to look at.

Head Up For Summer At Possets

As some of you might know, we are going to Egypt for our Summer 2012 Possets Collection. So, in honor of that event, there will be a new blog series (which ties into the Podcasts and YouTubes) on subjects about Egypt. One of everyone’s favorite part of Egypt lore is the kohl rimming of the eyes. Last year I went on a tear and tried to make kohl myself, learn how to put it on, what were the pitfalls, the benefits, the best brands, the best colors, and more. So, get ready for a rocking summer at Possets!

Oh don’t forget, there will be many many more perfumes coming up for summer. This year expect to see that rare thing, the summer oriental with its perfect balance among spice, musk, and resin. Florals of rare dimension, foodies hearkening back to the days of the Pharaohs and more.

Want to get started? Here is an EXCELLENT story of Egypt written by a great author, Norman Mailer. It is called Ancient Evenings and makes that period of Egypt come alive. Highly recommended.

A Great Wife of Bath Cartoon

I found this on YouTube and thought you might like to see it, too. It’s a very well done retelling of the Canterbury Tale The Wife of Bath.

One More Fitness Post

victoryA friend of mine asked me to write a blog about chronic pain and working out, a very common problem. I was working out every day and started to get a dreadful pain on the top of my left foot. It felt like someone was driving a ten penny nail into that bump where several bones come together. It. Really. Hurt. I had to relace my shoes (didn’t help for long), started taking lower impact classes and seriously considered giving up.

I went to a foot doctor. She injected my foot with cortisone and told me it was arthritis. The cortisone was supposed to help for 14-21 days. It didn’t help for 3. I was really sad. It hurt and nothing worked.

I decided to get a 2nd opinion from a sports doc (one with a GOOD reputation who worked on the Cincinnati Red, Bengals, and local college sports). His verdict: no arthritis, my Achilles tendon was shrinking (as is normal after age 30) and so I should stretch it every day and that would end the pain.

I did that, it worked. My foot has not bothered me again.

I learned something. Something VERY important: if you are getting pain from workouts, investigate muscle first as the culprit. It may be something else BUT muscle is often the cause of pain.

Your muscles can shrink and get so tight that they hurt tremendously. All you have to do to reverse that is to stretch them out, and doing it before you exercise is the way to go.

Also, forget heat on your muscles. Icing might help but stretching does help. And you need some good advice about stretching, too.

In order for stretching to be effective, you have to stretch the right muscle the right way for 30 seconds or more, more than once a day. Holding the stretch for 10 seconds will do precisely nothing for you.

You have to be regular about it as well. Do them every day as the part of your warm up you can’t live without. Pretty soon you will be amazed at how that pain vanishes! Oh, and it’s free, too.

I would urge anyone who has pain from exercise to see their internist and discuss that pain and ask about stretches.

I just got a fierce low back pain which popped up after exercise. I saw my internist, who sent me for one session to a physical therapist who gave me a set of stretches, advice on how to do them, proper timing and sent me home with a paper about them. Sure enough, my pain is finished now. The stretches were the answer.

Please don’t think that stretches are the answer to every pain you get, I am sure there are poor souls out there with dreadful problems which should be attended to at the highest levels BUT for a lot of us we need stretching and professionals can help us with that.

And knowing that tight muscles cause severe pain can be great when talking to your internist. He or she will be able to tell if it’s something worse than tight muscles but knowing that tightness is a major contributor to pain will help them help you.

Good luck. You want to stay out on the exercise floor so you can look buff for summer! Stretching isn’t just some weird little athlete’s ritual, it’s necessary.