Wednesday, September 27, 2006

One More Year

But who’s counting?

Happy birthday, Mom!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

One Pooped Pirate

The end of Pirate weekend almost made up for those two days that I didn’t work. I love it when the day’s bonus is more than the day’s base wage! But that also means I’m really REALLY tired!

No, I didn’t get my shirt done. Of the four patterns I bought, I picked the hardest one to start out on! I did make a little vest from one of my patterns this morning, but I was defeated by the gods of Sears Kenmore, and had to do the important parts by hand and leave the hem unfinished. It looked just fine for a pirate costume, and I have a new, end-of-faire goal for the first shirt (granted we can fix the sewing machine by then!).

By the way, after the first week of October, any references to Adolf the supervisor will indicate a different person. Current Adolf is leaving, and will be replaced by a new one, who I’m not any more excited about having as a supervisor.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Saturday, September 16, 2006

No Va, Again

Once again, the faire suffered a rain-out. I’m not sure why, actually. The sun was shining quite brightly when I got the call that it was raining and they didn’t need me to work, a difference of 20 miles or so.

But it’s alright. I got some sewing patterns and I want to learn how to use them. I don’t sew with patterns, you see, especially when I’m making doll clothes. I’m more of a “lay doll on fabric, visualize, cut, sew, hope it works” kind of sewer. This method does work, and I’ve made costumes without paper patterns before as well. I think for me, though, it would be easier if I knew how to follow a pattern. I’ve picked out a shirt and I hope it will be ready by Pirate weekend next week!

Wish me luck!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years, Just Like Yesterday

I'm sure everyone has a story of where they were and what they were doing as the news unfolded five years ago.

I know exactly where I was, at home in bed. It was my day off, and the only thing I really needed to do was a 4 hour guide shift on EverQuest. It was sometime around 1000 when the phone rang and woke me up. It was my mother, calling from work. This first thing she asked was if my father had left for work yet. There was urgency in her voice. He had already left, and mom told me to turn on the news, she said something about planes crashing and they think it was deliberate and then we lost the cell signal. I obeyed, and saw the source of her urgency. A plume of black smoke rising from the Pentagon. My dad drives by that building on his way to work, and he would have been passing it around the time the guided plane-shaped missile hit. I could not reach dad via his cell phone, so I started my shift and would try again later.

Through the morning, I was watching the news, and trying to focus on my job. Everyone called me that day, I guess everyone knew I would be home; out of state family, friends who were at work, everyone except dad. I even heard from my brother who was on business in Seattle (the one person I didn't expect to hear from, actually, but I really wanted to because I wasn't sure if his return flight was 9/11 or 9/12), and a friend who worked at the State Department telling me they were sending everyone home. The people who were not focused on EverQuest were in the chat room discussing the news.

I watched it all on the news that day, cameras pointing at the Towers as they fell, the shocked disbelief in the voices of the people reporting it, and my heart broke. They said they had grounded all flights, and they had. The sound of planes are pretty common in my area, there are three major airports nearby, and Andrew's Air Force Base is just over the hill. The air was still and eerie, even the birds were not singing.

I got in touch with my dad sometime in the afternoon, oblivious to the fact that people might be worried about him. He was safely at work. My mom came home early, and we decided we had both seen and heard enough of news. Dad turned it back on when he got home, and mom and I spent the evening with tea and Independence Day on the VCR. My poor brother was stuck in Seattle for a week, he had to stay with his client because the hotel needed his room.

I worked at the Maryland Renaissance Festival that weekend. For all the people who called the office and complained that we were even open, there were as many calling to thank us for it. We were ordered to remove anything that would be considered even remotely American patriotic. If you sold costumes, your sales were high. People needed the escape, they needed to get away and to immerse in some place and time that wasn't the Washington DC suburbs in September 2001. It was the same thing at the movie theater where I was working. And EverQuest saw a spike in players online. Maybe it's human nature to deal with something unbelievable by not being there.

I didn't know any of the thousands of people who lost their lives that day in New York, Pennsylvania, and DC. But, in truth, I knew every last one of them. They were neighbors and friends, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, cousins. We passed on the street, and greeted each other like strangers in a drug store. The energy of the world cried that day. It cried like the skies over DC are crying now. We all lost a part of us that day.

I listened to the news on my way to work this morning, as I do every morning as a commute necessity. The top story was the memory of people. Everyone talking about where they were an what they were doing that blue-skyed day when we all lost such a large part of our human family. I cried with the sky on my way in. There is nothing better I can do with this day than to go through it as I normally would. People fought and died, and are fighting still, for my ability to do so.

I have no poetic words of comfort for those who are still wondering why. I have nothing great or remarkable to say about the events going on in the memory of so many voices senselessly silenced. Only the sound of my heart breaking, if a heart can break twice, because I have chosen to not shut out the sadness of memory that is permeating this day. Sometimes, there are things you have to feel. Sometimes you have to let it in, lest you lose touch with what really matters. What really matters to you? I know my answer.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Life’s a Beach

I went to Ocean City Maryland yesterday, for the first time in years! I went with a good friend and coworker, who also needed to spend some time on the beach.

The weather was beautiful. Sunny, no clouds, 77 degrees, nice cool constant breeze. My friend had a little nap on the beach while I stopped all the nasty kids from throwing sand at the poor horseshoe crab. People were bringing it out of the water every time it tried to run back in. I’d had enough and told them to leave it alone and it finally ran back into the ocean. Stupid kids….

Mean kids aside, it was so nice to be there, even if we were only there for about 6 hours. My friend said he hadn’t seen me that relaxed ever (true!). Then the whole way home, we were complaining that we didn’t have enough money to live by the ocean. *sigh*

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Money Time

Yesterday was a far cry from Saturday. It was not rainy, only a little overcast, and decently not too hot or cold. This means people! Which is great, because I was supposed to work on Monday, and so I did!

There's really not much to report about the day, except I think the hornet got me 3 times in that area on my hip, I've got one big spot and two little ones. That thing wasted no time! I'm coating the area with topical Benadryl, that's not doing any more than the homeopathic StingStop, or Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oil. Basically, it itches a lot and is very tender, and nothing helps.

But I managed to get a $2 tip out of it. A bee flew by while I was selling hats to a couple, and I froze, and then we got to talking about our respective most recent sting experience. And then he told me to keep half his change. How nice!

One of the benefits of recent rain is no dust! The RenFaire site is notorious for being very very dusty (given that the roads are dirt and all). You can see it floating through the streets and blanketing people and products sometimes. Not so today! Thankfully. It was only slightly muddy. The happiest of mediums!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Good Call

With the passing through of Ernesto, I thought all the rain and extra run-off would fill up our kayak waters nicely. Some obstacles might be gone or underwater, new ones might appear. I really really wanted to hit that area of the Patuxent River where we have to climb over logs and walk through shallows. I was hoping to get as far as the last log that impeded our progress and see if it was easier to get over.

Dad managed to get sick, so mom (reluctantly) and Fox and I went out. At the landing, there is a floating dock, anchored to a wooden dock on the shore. We can drive right up to the wooden dock and unload our yaks, then park the car up the hill and head out. Usually. Today, the water was so high, the wooden dock and surrounding shore was underwater! The floating dock was floating, and the current in the river was swift. It wasn't exactly as I had expected (I didn't expect to have to launch from the road!) but I was so excited! I knew it was going to be great. We got started just after 1130 or so.

There really wasn't a good place to stop along the way because the current was so swift. We had to go off the current river into the flood planes (which wasn't hard to do right now). I expect what we saw today was some semblance of the rivers former glory, it used to be a mighty force before it silted in considerably. We even had to go off the river to get around a new obstacle. There was a tree in our way, we could paddle under it, but the current was very swift and not worth the effort it would take to get through.

In no time (about an hour, actually), we were at the old Queen Anne Bridge. This bridge has been blocked off to traffic for years and usually stands a good 5 or 6 feet above the water. It should also be noted that we passed the first log we usually had to climb over some way back, unnoticable beneath the high waters. So, the bridge was not 5 or 6 feet above the river. The river rose right up to meet it, so much so that Fox tied off his kayak and got out onto the bridge! This was a little discouraging because it was practically impassable (without a lot of unnecessary exertion), so we didn't make it to the other log today. One day, I will make it to that log, and over it, and to the bridge across Central Avenue. This is my goal! I will do it!

Both of my kayaking companions had a lot of fun today. I'm so glad! I was really looking forward to seeing the river like that. Next time we get a big storm, I'm going to hit Mattaponi Creek to see what that looks like. It took us and hour and 15 or 20 minutes to get up to the bridge (with breaks and all) and only 15-20 minutes to get back to the dock in that swift current. What a ride!

By the way, it looks like that little stinging bastard got me twice on my hip. It itches like crazy today!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Tropical Storm Ernesto hit my area yesterday. It brought some wind and rain, and caused a lot of fallen trees and branches and power lines. This means that RenFaire grounds on Saturday were without power (no food, no credit cards, no telephones, no ATMs, all the modern things hidden within the replica 16th century village). And nothing keeps crowds away from Faire more than rain.

No crowds of people buying things means sales are down. Sales being down means shops can't pay their workers. Shops being unable to pay their workers means those workers don't work. Yup, I was scheduled to work today, but did not because of the lack of people, caused by the abundance of rain. That's alright, I got to wander around the Faire with a friend. Or two.

Sometime during our wanderings, I felt something in my skirt, like a loose string or something. It went away and I didn't think much of it until I felt it again, about an hour later. This time, something was crawling. I thought it might have been a spider or an ant (please, not a bee!!), and I might have gotten it out of my skirt that time. We looked at another shop and then I felt a dull sting sensation on the back of my thigh. I guess that little bug, whatever it was, bites! The more I walked, the more it bothered me. We went back to the shop where my dad works (who was off today) because they have a dressing room with a mirror, and I took a lantern in with me to inspect that spot that hurt. It was red and painful, and then I found the culprit. It was a stripped, flying, stinging vespid of some kind, and it got me again in the hip before I knocked the bugger away.

At least with bees, they have the courtesy of dying after they sting you. This was not a bee, but something else. It crawled away. The manager of the booth I ended up in is allergic to yellow jackets, so she wasted no time dashing off to first aid. I haven't been stung in years, so I didn't know how I would react, but I did know I was allergic to bees. So, I was admittedly in a panic at that point, that little thing hurt! EMTs came, tested me for some kind of reaction, gave me a topical analgesic and an ice pack, and told me to come by if I should start feeling tingly, dizzy, or nauseous. I didn't, the ice pack helped. I couldn't walk for too long, or sit still for too long, and I was nervous about what else might be in my skirt for the rest of the day.

We came back by that booth (it's a common hang out spot for us), and one of the workers announced, "Hey, that thing that got you was a hornet!" "Did it reappear?" asked I. "Look at this!" he said, and showed me a mug with a little bald-faced hornet swimming around the cider at the bottom of the mug. My friend yelled at it, and we let it swim around there for a bit before someone squished him good. And I wasn't sorry for it.

When you think of a sting, you think it's only a little thing. I'm getting shots of pain up my back, down my leg, across the front of my hips. I never want to be stung again! Ouch!!