06 October 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Travel days are always interesting for me.  Sometimes that's because everything goes right, and sometimes that's because everything seems to go wrong.  Every time it's because the people-watching, especially at airports, can be spectacular.  And because the Atlanta airport is so enormous, people-watching sometimes takes on a whole new level of strange, kinda like the travel version of People of Walmart.  I often feel like the fashion police, sitting in judgment (as if my wardrobe allows me any remote right to judge anyone else's sartorial choices) over the guys with panama hats, cargo shorts and black socks with sandals or the women in skin-tight sweatpants with "Juicy" and other suggestive monikers emblazoned across their ample backsides.   I see young men with diamond stud earrings bigger than my wristwatch and the obligatory pants down around their ankles (because everyone enjoys seeing a half-mile of your underpants, dude...), and I see adorable young children dragging their little mini-me roller suitcases behind them (judiciously decorated with the Disney character or superhero of their choice) while clutching tightly to their favorite doll/woobie/stuffed animal/pillow/etc.  I find the airport the fastest way to observe a very broad cross-section of America.

Anyway, yesterday B and I headed off to the airport to go visit the girlie during her Fall Break, during which we'd be attending one of her SCA events.  We had to leave a little early to drop the dog at the kennel first, then we hit the road for the airport, which is around 90 minutes from our house.  We made it about halfway there when I remembered I'd forgotten my belt and belt pouch to go with my garb.  I guess I was so busy trying to remember all the attire for both myself AND my husband that I completely spaced on grabbing that last couple of items.  Well, crap.  You'd think it wouldn't be a big deal, but it kinda is because even after having taken in my dress, it's still a bit on the blousy side and needed to be taken up by the belt; also, hauling modern purses around an SCA event is just. not. done. so I needed the pouch to hold my membership card, entry fee, and anachronistic cell phone.  Sigh.  Always gotta be something.

We made it to the airport in good time.  I invoked my friend Gwen's inestimable "parking karma" and, sure enough, after a few unsuccessful passes through the front lines of the parking lot I drove to the other side till a very nice gentleman started pointing to where his vehicle was and told me to drive around the other row to take it when he left.  So I did.  We ended up with a spot almost on top of the parking garage (which is the hourly and short-term parking), right at the end of a row in the economy/long-term section.  Five minutes later, we were in the terminal.  Score!

After zipping through the baggage check I made a pit-stop and started to head down the shortcut to the security lines.  Unfortunately, there was some old dude in a vest blocking the path so nothing doing there.  I thought it was weird since that path isn't usually blocked, but figured they were cleaning up over there or something.  We headed back the other way to enter by the food court, which was also blocked off.  That NEVER happens.  Atlanta's airport may be huge, and the security lines can be painfully long, but I've never ever seen it that extreme.  The scale is a little difficult to describe, but I'll try.  You know those black "rope" barriers they make you thread through like rats in a maze at any airport before you get to the actual checkpoint and subsequent scanners?  Triple the length of those.  That's how many there are in Atlanta (though rarely are they all full at any given time--usually you can skip through at least half of them).  So there is something like 50 feet of barrier tape before the first Security checkpoint.  From the edge of the food court to the end of the barriers is another 50-100 feet.  From one edge of the food court to the other is another 50-100 feet.  (Just so you know, estimating distances is something I pretty much suck at, so it could have been much farther.)  We joined the line for security at the far end of the food court where it was starting to wrap around to the farthest baggage carousels. In spite of the incredibly long lines (which I gather were present at all the other airport checkpoints as well--there are three different checkpoints in the Atlanta airport--I've still no idea what was going on to cause the backlog) we moved at a reasonable pace and fairly zipped along once we hit the tape walls of the barrier maze.  Good thing we got to the airport 30 minutes early, since that's about how long it took us to clear security.  Better yet, in order to keep the excessive lines moving, all the metal detectors were open for a change, so I got to go through one of those instead of the Zap-Or-Fondle.

Once thru security, we made our way to the tram for the quick trip to Concourse B then stopped at the food court to grab a bite of lunch there.  After eating, we headed towards our gate, with me stopping off at the restrooms on the way.  When I finished and went to the gate to meet B, I couldn't find him.  Also, the plane at that gate was apparently heading towards Flint, MI.  Wtf?  I waited a minute, but he didn't show up so I looked up my itinerary on my phone's Delta app only to discover that somewhere between the time we checked our bags and got to the concourse, Delta had changed which gate our plane was at.  How thoughtful.  So I walked the two gates down to where I was now supposed to be and asked B why he didn't just text me...then I saw his fingers working the keys on his phone.  If it takes my little nerd boy 10 minutes to eke out a text, then we're gonna have to figure out some way to speed up his typing.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to think I have some form of travel Tourette's, because I seem to lose all concept of "filtering" when I'm in the airport.  I stand around blurting out random (and wildly unrelated) observations because I'm bored or because the people surrounding me are weird and/or interesting or because I'm a word nerd and the words I see on signage or the names I hear over the loudspeaker capture my attention.  For example, in the course of about ten minutes, I went from yelling at B about not texting me the gate change to commenting on the giant alien Big Brother eye suspended from the ceiling (TSA is watching us all, you know) to staring at and sneaking pics of a young Adonis at the gate because I was fascinated by a live Greek statue wearing a polo shirt to playing free word association when someone with the last name "Frolo" was called over the loudspeaker for standby.  Frolo...Frodo...Froyo...  Let's face it--the entire airport is one big "squirrel" for me.

TSA sees you picking your nose and building pipe bombs.

Hello, Hot Guy--wanna be my new Pool Boy?

After my insipid stream-of-consciousness commentary, we were allowed to head down the gangplank to the plane, as usual getting wadded up in a line while waiting for the people in front of us to stow carry-ons and get situated.  While standing there, an airport official suddenly whisked by us shouting "On the left!  Excuse us--please move--on the left!" as he briskly escorted a teenager with a skateboard tucked under his arm.  Um, okay.  Then some dude a few people behind us started going on and on about why that skateboard didn't count as a weapon since it was 2 1/2 feet long and could be used to bat people.  (Same reason my 12" mini-spears eyeball skewers knitting needles can go on  the plane but my nail clippers can't--you're assuming TSA is 100% logical, dude.)  I was having a really hard time not laughing out loud at this guy's apparent concern over a skateboard ("Look out--he's got WHEELS and he's not afraid to use them!!") so I had to keep my mouth covered to contain my snickering.  The people next to me started to giggle too, especially when the dude accosted the Delta agent on his way back up the skyway to demand "in all seriousness" why a 2.5 foot "bat" wasn't considered a weapon by TSA.  The poor agent was completely taken aback...somehow I don't think "death by skateboard" is a concern that has been voiced particularly frequently thus far.

While the man continued his little rant, I squirreled again, telling the lady in front of me that her purse was cute.  A stranger!  Talking to me!  In an AIRPORT!!  What if she's a terrorist?!?!?!?  Seriously, though, while a bit spooked at first, the lady proved to be quite pleasant and told me that it was actually from an outlet store somewhere in Rochester.  Before I was done I had 2-3 other women in on the conversation, all of whom were sharing valuable information about where to buy inexpensive knockoffs, what school our kids were going to and why was it so freakishly hot in Atlanta?  (Because you're from NEW YORK, that's why.  Amateurs.)  Meanwhile, Aspie-boy just stood off to the side shaking his head at my inexplicable need to accost strangers.  (He was probably just afraid he might have to contribute to the conversation.)

At any rate, we boarded the plane and had a reasonably pleasant trip in spite of the brief screaming of a small child behind us and the cracked inner window by our seats (because that's not unnerving at all) which was hidden behind the pulled-down shade.  Turns out the panel was just pushed in and up so B reseated it--after the plane landed in NY.  On the plus side, I asked him if the planes were getting bigger or if it was just that I was getting smaller...it's quite a novel sensation to feel like the limited space around you is suddenly marginally less cramped.  I could get used to that.  Yay, weight loss!

After we deplaned, B went to collect our luggage while I made yet another pit stop (weight loss is great, but all the extra water does have its drawbacks).  Surprisingly, he was already collecting our bags by the time I got to the claim, which is a bit unusual for the Rochester airport because it usually takes freaking forever for the ground crew to unload luggage. Now re-bagged, we went out to the curb to wait for our "chauffeur" to arrive in her limo Saturn and deliver us to the hotel to drop off our suitcases.  Because I am awesome (at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it), I not only scored a free 4-night stay at the hotel with my hotel points, I also got upgraded to a mini-suite with a river-side view!  Yay, me!!  I love this hotel--the Staybridge Suites.  Not only is it conveniently located right next to campus, most of the people on staff here are just really, really nice with the exception of the weird night clerk who sits around all night watching TV in the lobby (not that I blame him...no doubt it's boring at night) and assiduously ignoring the front desk.  Plus he's kinda creepy.  But everyone else is cool. One of the main day clerks remembered my name after my first check-in with her, and now each and every time I come back, she greets me by name as if I were one of her oldest friends.  The lady's got skills.

Once upstairs we deposited our belongings and relaxed for a few minutes before heading out with the girlie to what has become our traditional first-meal stop:  Outback Steakhouse.  The girl does love her Outback...where she gets a chicken Caesar salad every single time.  Because it's a steak house.  I just can't imagine where that girl gets her exaggerated sense of irony.

After an enjoyable meal, we stopped at Wegman's (awesome grocery store of the northeast) for me to load up on fruit and water to have around meals while there, then we headed over to Joann Fabrics so I could procure some garb-like materials to MacGyver a new belt and pouch for the big SCA crown tournament the next day.  I spent 2-3 hours hand-sewing said pouch and finishing a belt, making this my third day in a row of only getting 4.5 hours of sleep.  (The previous two I spent making myself a cloak and a kilt shirt for B.)  But it's all good.  The belt and pouch came out functional, and sleep is for the weak, right?

"This is the way we jury-rig stuff...jury-rig stuff...jury-rig stuff..."
Ah, well.  Who cares if I got enough sleep because I got to hug my girlie for real, instead of just sending cyber hugs over Skype.  That makes anything worthwhile.  Compared to that, navigating the wilds of the airport just seems frivolous.

05 October 2012

The Mystery of the Polka Dots

Did you ever have one of those days when something weird happens and you can't figure out what's going on?  Well, that happened to me a couple nights ago.  I spent the day doing some chores and stuff, then took a shower and started to get ready for choir rehearsal.  I got dressed, did my makeup, then grabbed a bite to eat.

A little while later, my friend came over to catch a ride to practice.  I headed to my bathroom to make a pit stop before we left.  On the way I noticed something orangey on the dining room floor, but just figured my nail polish had flaked off and figured I get it later.

As I walked into my bedroom, I saw a trail of nickel-sized pink dots on my carpet going from the door to where the dog sleeps by the side of the bed.  I had no idea where they came from, and they hadn't been there earlier when I was showering and such.  The ground outside is red clay, so the color wasn't right for the dog to have tracked in mud, much less in near-perfect circles.  And unless she's suddenly developed the ability to work a juice bottle, I couldn't find any explanation for the dots.

My friend heard me muttering in the bedroom and came in to see what was going on.  She, too, was flummoxed.  Then she wandered off to make a pit stop of her own while I grabbed a rag and attempted to clean on of the spots off the carpet.  Unfortunately, I only succeeded in smearing it more.  Oh, well--I needed to get the carpets cleaned this month anyway.

I put the rag away and got ready to leave with my friend when it finally occurred to me what had caused the spots.  Earlier, when I was putting on my makeup, I dropped my blush on the floor.  You know how when your makeup gets worn down in the middle until there's nothing left but in the corners?  Well, at the time I could have sworn one of those corners popped out of the blush, but I never could find it on the floor so I decided I'd just imagined it.  Apparently I couldn't find it because I'd stepped on it and promptly stamped it all over my bedroom carpet and into the dining room.  Go figure.

So now I have my own mini-Twister game on the floor.   Because I'm just special like that.  ::headdesk::

It wasn't me, Mom...I swear.

04 October 2012

Pax Interruptus XXXVI

Tomorrow I get to fly north for the girlie's Fall Break, north to the land of shortened vowels, of brisk and crisp October air and of trees that understand how to do fall foliage properly with their flaming swath of reds, oranges, golds and yellows.  Fall is one of the things I miss most about the Midwest; in both Memphis and Georgia fall seems to last approximately ten minutes and the trees go pretty much from green to dead with  little color change in between.  To be fair, Georgia does display marginally more color than Memphis did, but that's not saying much considering the change still only lasts a few days at best.

Fall in Rochester.

Now that the girlie's SCA knight has been crowned king (and the whole time he was heir too, really), she is at an event almost every weekend.  As a result, this means we'll be going to the Crown Tournament his weekend with her since it's virtually impossible to pry her away from the SCA even to visit with us.  Sometimes I worry that she spends far too much time focusing on her SCA stuff and friends at the cost of giving a full 100% to her studies, particularly since that's what's she's actually there for and it ain't cheap.  The travel back and forth alone costs a small fortune.  Ah well...once a parent, always a parent--the worrying never ends.  Still, she's an adult now and has to make her own decisions as well as live with the consequences of those decisions, both good and bad.  But she's a good kid.  And, near as I can tell, she still manages to do quite well with both things, but then her 80% has always been more akin to everyone else's 100%.  While frustrating, it's hard to argue with someone for not giving it their all when they get those kinds of results without trying.  Sigh.

But I digress.  Anyway, I figured since we'd be in NY for another of her events, I should probably catch up with my delinquent write up of the previous event.  In early July I flew up to visit the girlie during her research internship and spent a couple of days attending Thescorre's Pax Interruptus event.  A couple of days before I flew out I had minor surgery done on my toe; that's when I unknowingly received the staph infection that tortured my poor digit for the next two months.  (After six weeks of antibiotics, it's finally doing much better and once again looks almost normal.  Almost.)  So you can imagine what I looked like trucking through the Atlanta airport with a giant Q-tip for a toe and while carrying 7 dozen snickerdoodles for the girlie and her SCA peeps.  I fully expected to have the cookies confiscated on some trumped-up charge by hungry TSA agents, but I was miraculously passed through security without incident.


When I arrived Thursday night, the girlie picked me up at the airport (nothing like a little surreal role-reversal to liven up the weekend) and we headed to the hotel to drop my things, after which we grabbed some dinner at Outback then went to her fighter practice so I could see her in action.  Afterwards we went back to the hotel to chill.   I purchased some drinks for the evening's TV watching and the girlie picked out a snack.   She inexplicably chose to get chocolate chip cookies, in spite of the fact that there were DOZENS of snickerdoodles sitting upstairs in my room.  Silly child.

Because everyone should be able to do the Worm in armor at practice.

Friday I occupied myself in the hotel while the girlie was at work, after which we "suited up" in our garb to head to the event's Friday night festivities.  I know she does this in part to save time, but also because she likes to see the looks on everyone's faces as we walk by all decked out like refugees from a Ren faire.  I have to admit, some of it's entertaining, like when a little girl gaped at us and asked her mommy if we were real princesses. Priceless.

Once at Pax, we hung out with Arsalan's (the girlie's SCA name) household and I learned all about the "chili chair," which was apparently a fold-up camping chair on which Sir Khalek's young daughter Siri had spilled some of the evening meal.  As I looked around, I could totally see where the whole "anachronism" thing comes in.  On one end of the campground was Khalek's ger (which is more or less a Mongolian yurt), while on the other end were assorted pavilions and period tents intermingled with LL Bean and Coleman's finest.  I took great pride in contributing to the anachronisms of the weekend by gifting Khalek's older daughter Talia with one of those drawstring backpacks made out of Doctor Who fabric (she's apparently a big Who fan too).  Inside was a small Lego-like figurine of the 11th Doctor, which Arsalan later told me Talia kept taking apart and putting back together, squealing with glee because the "Doctor comes apart!" and because she could "Decapitate the Doctor!!"  Talia wandered around all weekend with that backpack slung over her Medieval garb.  It made me giggle every time I saw her.  Anachronism indeed.  And yet, it seemed somehow appropriate, not the least because some of the port-o-johns were blue and looked suspiciously like Tardises.

Anachronisms FTW.

Later that evening, we went down to a Torchlight Tournament marshalled by Khalek.  All of the fighters had to battle each other in an area set off by torches, with the fighting to continue till all the lights had extinguished or till all the fighters wandered off, whichever came first.  Khalek's wife Branwyn was press-ganged into service as the MOL (Mistress of the Lists); you can only imagine how difficult it was to keep up with who was winning when you could barely see the fighters.  I sat beside her and helped.  And by "helped," I mean "frequently told her the wrong person because several of them looked alike in the dark, using vaguely descriptive terms like 'the skinny dude won.'"  She was very patient and gracious with my ineptitude, however, and we had a pretty good time.  I really like her; she's quiet, but very sharp and very funny, and she patently ignores the fact that I'm incapable of remembering to bow and say things like, "Hello, your Highness."  I also particularly enjoy the bemused but knowing look I've often seen on her face when people are getting silly around her.  As for Khalek, I've gotta give him major props for taking his chivalry seriously; I would have been content to sit on the ground beside Branwyn since there was not enough room for us both at her little camp table, but after a whispered word to Arsalan, my girlie went scampering mysteriously back through the dark, returning with a camp chair for me.  Score!

Arsalan, Fabulous daughter and Squire Exraordinaire

Armored up and ready to fight.

Arsalan fought till the bitter end of the tournament (because she's wildly and weirdly enthusiastic like that), even winning several matches.  The ultimate winner, however was Thorsall (which I am probably misspelling), an epically polite and gracious fighter who won by easily 60 points over his nearest competitor.  After the fighting, we cleared up and headed back to hang out at camp, where I got to watch my girlie act all punch drunk on Dr. Pepper and her fighting high.  We were also treated to rousing frat choruses of "My camp is louder than yours!" by the drunken household next to us, which escalated shortly afterwards when the campers started bellowing "My dick is bigger than yours...my dick is bigger than yours--hey, camp next door--tell us about your dick!!"  Randall (Dave) handily replied, "It likes poetry and long walks on the beach!"  Raucous laughter ensued.  At some point that evening I made a comment about something, though I can't remember entirely what.  It had to do with the me teasing the others about using some modern conveniences or something, to which Khalek promptly asked (speaking of anachronisms), "Am I harshing your medieval mellow??"  Yup.  The guy's quick, I'll give him that.

Eventually I went back to the hotel, since it's rather hard to pack a tent in one's plane carry-on.   The girlie opted to spend the night at the camp since she had the first shift of retainer duty the next day.  She didn't plan ahead very well, however, and had not packed clothes, a blanket, a sleeping bag, toiletries or anything else and so she spent the rest of the evening bumming the required items from others.

The next morning was it was pouring down rain, so I admit I took my sweet time getting ready to head back over to the event site.  I even planned ahead by asking the breakfast lady if I could get a small piece of saran wrap.  She looked at me like I'd grown two heads, so clearly this is not a request she hears often.  I told her I wanted it to wrap around my toe to protect it from the rain since I couldn't yet wear regular shoes.  She was horrified that I might suffocate my toe and that it would fall off from lack of oxygen as though it were a dog in a box or something.  I assured her I would leave an opening for it to breathe and she finally complied.  Garbed and armed with my toe's cling-wrap condom, I headed back to the campground for the days festivities, though not before flipping out that I'd lost my phone (I needed it for the GPS), only to discover I'd shoved it in my bra while carrying everything else since I lacked pockets.  Smooth move, Ex-lax.

I pulled into a parking spot on-site and watched in amusement as another garbed lady zipped by in a little Smart car.  ("One of these things is NOT like the other...one of these things just doesn't belong...")  It took a little while for the fighting to begin, so I coated myself in sunscreen since the sun had come out and headed over to the field with the chili chair to find a good spot from which to watch the action.  As I sat there in my shades holding a drink, I had a sudden flashback to doing the same thing while hanging out at the girlie's sporting events and thought how bizarre it would be to sit in my modern chair with my modern sunglasses and wearing medieval garb while sporting one of those beer hats with the straws that go down to your mouth, only swapping out the requisite beer cans for goblets of ale.  Rabid fans partying SCA-style...with my ale hat and a pot of woad with which to paint myself, I'd be all set.  Yeah.  These are the weird sorts of things that pop unbidden into my head on a regular basis. 

Obviously I'm gonna be needing this.

Most of the fighting that day was practice for the Pennsic wars so I got to see several different types of battle instead of just the one-on-one bear pit sort of fighting I've seen thus far.  It was most educational, both on and off the field.  First I got to see guys dropping trou right and left as they armored up, but that wasn't a big deal...I used to do a lot of theater and after watching 12 guys in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" bent over in their tighty whiteys to pull up their pants, nothing much fazes me anymore.  Incidentally?  Tighty whiteys??  LEAST sexy garment on the planet, especially if paired with black socks.  I'm just sayin'.  I also saw an unfortunate amount of side boob as women with slightly too loose garb wandered around braless as per the custom of the times.  Sorry, I'm not yet quite that dedicated to the dream.  I'm sewing loose armholes shut and hoisting these suckers up with steel and hydraulics and you can't stop me, garb or not, at least not till I find someone who can teach me how to properly fit medieval garments. 

While sitting on the sidelines, I got to watch some "mundane" campers wander in with cameras to take pictures of the action.  I also got to see some guy walking around with silver duct tape on his crotch which, while no doubt handy, made for a rather shiny and flagrantly obvious wardrobe malfunction repair.  I  saw a lady in garb that reminded me of Charlie Brown's shirt, as well as someone with a giant wooden spoon who looked like an aging Miss Muffet.  At one point the guy next to me asked for my assistance in duct taping his armor on because one of his clasps had broken.  Sure, buddy, I'll strap you in.  I'm not doing anything...just chillin' in the middle ages with my anachronistic camera and my water bottle.    But nothing topped this one chick decked out in a gambeson made in the back to look like a naked woman wearing nothing but a red thong up her butt.  Long yellow braids streamed down her back and she had metal Madonna cones on her chest.  My first thought was "Wow.  Okay then."  But after a couple minutes I thought to myself, "Good on you, lady--wear your fighter femininity loud and proud!"  Then I found out that Madonna was really a GUY who likes to wear his alter-ego "Helga's" attire to make some sort of point about things he doesn't like.  Or something.  Okaaaaay.  Suddenly I was a whole lot less impressed.  But hey--whatever rocks your world, Helga.  I'm in no position to judge someone else's quirks when I have enough of my own to fill up Montana.


In spite of some of the more unusual sights, everyone I talked to seemed really nice and I really enjoyed looking at all the bright colors of everyone's clothing and/or armor, as well as all the flags and pennants wafting aloft in the breeze over the period pavilions.  I could see how people get caught up in the pageantry of it all, especially after watching Khalek himself on the field.  I must say, he looked very impressive and striking as he strode across the field with purpose, all tall and straight and carrying himself as if he really were royal.  I've seen him do the same thing off the field.  There's just something about the way he holds himself that seems to draw people to him.  But then I don't suppose it hurts that he's also pretty easy on the eyes; apparently one of his nicknames is "Sir Hottie."  Nor does it hurt that he always looks very put-together.  He clearly looks after his armor and has been doing this long enough to have amassed a good bit of spiffy garb some of which is presumably from his previous stint on the throne, so he never appears as tattered as some of those forced to create garb or armor out of a mixture of mundane clothes and plastic or whatever else they can cobble together with the funds available to them.  Not that I can talk, mind you, considering I wore trumped-up bedsheets to my first event.  I can see why Khalek's so well-respected...he doesn't just look the part, he is the part.    Admittedly, it's sometimes difficult not to get jealous that he and his wife get to spend so much time with my girlie every week while I have to be satisfied with maybe 2-3 hours every Sunday on a grainy Skype screen and not seeing her in person for months at a time.  Still, I can't really be upset about it because Khalek and his wife are awesome people both in and out of the SCA and they have become a second family for my daughter.  Knowing that she has good people to whom she can turn if she ever has any difficulties while so far from home is an amazing gift, and almost as good as if I could be there myself to help her when she needs it.  Almost.  But they love my girl and they look after her and encourage her, and for that I will be forever grateful.  What mom could ask for more?

Khalek observes the battle.

Anyway, while I watched the battles I got to see people waling on each other in melee battles, on bridges and in little skirmishes elsewhere.  I saw "maces" flying through the air like Olympic hammers and weird projectiles that looked not unlike juggling pins shooting all about for some unknown reason.  I later discovered that these were "arrows" shot by the combat archers.  It was all very fascinating until some dude in red and with a peeling imperial eagle on his shield started yelling at some other guy to "step it up and hit harder."  Two or three of the guys started acting very childishly and began baiting each other, causing tension to escalate rapidly.  Drama!  Eventually it all got sorted out, but I remember thinking at the time how appropriate an event name like "Pax Interruptus" was considering all chaos caused by the testosterone poisoning of those 2-3 guys during the battles that afternoon.

Melee battle.

When the fighting was mostly over, or at least devolving into conflict, I wandered back to the camp.  It's highly entertaining to sit around listening to people randomly spouting bits of history, and very accurate history at that, in much the same way other people might chat about brands of coffee or the school board.  And that's pretty awesome when you think about it.  I still feel kind of awkward sitting around hanging out without doing anything to help, though, but every time I asked everyone said they were good.  It kinda made me feel like a guest, like when everyone is really nice and polite but not entirely sure what to do with you.  Funny--my kid turns 20 and is off at college and still I'm "Arsalan's Mom" instead of Ginger, instead of a person in my own right.  Heck, it happens down here, too.  Like I said, once a parent, always a parent.  I sometimes think you surrender your identity with your placenta during childbirth.  Par for the course, I suppose.  Don't get me wrong--everyone was perfectly nice, it's just that they just don't really know me as anything other than Arsalan's mom yet.

Not long after I went back to camp, court started.  I made sure to get a seat up front (on the ground, since I had no chair of my own) so I could actually see and hear what was going on since I couldn't the last time.  By the time court stated, the blazing sun had gone down just enough to cool things a little, aided by a lovely breeze.  In spite of slicing open yet another toe on some bit of twig on the ground, I was quite comfortable sitting there and proceeded to work on the hem of one of the girlie's garments while court continued.  Court lasted quite a while, though, and eventually my back started to hurt from hunching over my hemming while sitting there on the hard ground.

Court was very interesting, though.  I got to watch the local Baron and Baroness conduct their business, then the King and Queen conducted theirs.  Khalek and Branwyn, as the heirs still at that time, mostly just sat around and looked important (or bored).  Meanwhile, I watched as different retainers kept popping up behind them like there was a revolving door behind their thrones.  It was almost as amusing as watching the off-duty retainers loll about in the grass behind the royal pavilion like a bunch of drunken Romans while awaiting their next turn at retaining.  I also got to see three people elevated to the peerage.  While long, it was an intriguing process.  Someone from each of the orders had to speak up on their behalf, as well as someone royal.  I think there was a fifth person as well, but I can't remember.  The last guy to go did a whole lawyer-up schtick, saying he'd been accused of acting like a peer when he really hadn't been, so they ended up elevating him to solve the problem.  Ba dum bum.  It was pretty funny at first, but he had more than the normal number of people to speak for him, so it did drag on a bit.  It was still interesting, though.

HRH Khalek

HRH Branwyn

After court Arsalan and I went back to camp and got to eat Dave's delicious KC-rubbed steak.  Seriously--it was amazing.  (I snuck a second piece.)  Khalek and Branwyn were detained by business relating to the afternoon's drama but eventually made it back to camp and their dinner.  Later that night, we sat out under the stars listening to the sounds of a racetrack in the distance and guns and fireworks nearby.  Slowly people started pulling out assorted instruments, including assorted drums and bodhrans, an Irish flute, an Irish harp, and Khalek's oud, which is a lute-like stringed instrument.  He's quite good, actually.  Eventually a couple of other drummers from another camp stopped by and joined in the music.  It made me really wish I knew some appropriate medieval (or even Mongolian) songs to sing, since I can't really play any instruments.  Sadly, since I didn't know any songs, I couldn't share the one thing I can do.  Perhaps another time.

During the music, one member of the household started belly dancing (she was also quite good) and we even had a few passersby take turns jumping over our firepit.  Jokes and stories were told, and at one point I laughed so hard that my tears almost ran down my leg.  While court was perhaps the most interesting and educational part of the weekend for me, sitting out under the stars surrounded by laughter and music was by far the best part.  Since I had no songs to contribute, I sat gazing skyward much of the evening, or into the dancing flames and thinking to myself, "I get it...THIS is why they do this."  And you've gotta love a Society that fosters such tolerance and diversity among its members.  So maybe my "medieval mellow" wasn't entirely harshed after all.

Arsalan and I left later that night, somewhere between midnight and 1 am.  Back at the hotel I discovered I'd gotten more sunburned than I thought; in fact, one of the disadvantages to wearing modern undergarments under one's medieval garb became readily apparent when I was changing into my pajamas.  As soon as I peeled off my bra and gravity reasserted itself, I discovered that the red "V" down my neck and cleavage, courtesy of my dress' neckline, turned into a forked red snake tongue trailing down my chest.  Awkward.

I spent the rest of the night trying to think up interesting SCA names for myself, but the best I could come up with at the time were "Ginger the Red-Necked" (no way I'm going with "Ginger the Snake Tongue-Breasted") or "Gingaire the Woefully Uncoordinated."  (It's more medieval spelled that way, doncha know.) Clearly I'm gonna have to work on that some more.

That was all in July, and this Saturday I get to do it all over again, though we'll all be day-tripping instead of camping so no music by starlight.  Boo.  And I'll also have the anti-social Aspie boy in tow, so that should make things more interesting.  On the other hand, I'll get to feel like a queen because he'll be perpetually following some three steps behind us, waiting to see what we tell him to do.  I think I'd rather have a real pointy hat instead of Prince Phillip.  But whatever.  In preparation for our visit, I made B a shirt to go with his kilt, since the polo shirt he normally uses might be rather pushing it.  And I'd hoped to make myself some new garb today as well since I'm getting a little tired of wearing the same dress up up to New York all the time.  I doubt I'll have time, though, because I've been dutifully writing all day instead and I have a few chores to finish before we leave.  (And the Procrastination Express once again rears its tardy head.)  Oh, well.  I don't really want to make lots of garb anyway till I figure out who I'm gonna be so I don't have stuff from several different eras and besides, while I'm losing weight it would be a pain to make new stuff only to take it all back up again.  Maybe I'll just spiff up the old dress with some new trim instead.  We'll see.

Regardless of my clothing issues, I'm looking forward to seeing all the girlie's peeps again and hanging out with them and with their adorable toddler, who reminds me very much of my own girlie at the same age.  (They have my sympathies...heh.)  Now, off to sew for what's left of today, then tomorrow I get to hug my girlie in person!  And after that, I get to see a future king crowned.  Not a bad way to blow a couple of days.

03 October 2012

Ancestry and Adoption

In February of this year, Ancestry.com was featuring a 2-week trial to encourage people to get hooked try out their services.  After thinking about it, I decided "what the heck" and signed up to give it a whirl, figuring I could always cancel two weeks later.  After all, two weeks should be plenty of time to suss out a family ancestry, right?   I spent probably 3 days straight staying up till 4 am filling in little links in my husband's and daughter's family trees.  I stayed up late several other nights as well, though perhaps not quite till the wee hours.  A week and a half in, I looked at B and told him point-blank that we would be needing to continue the membership because there was absolutely no way that I would ever be done in time because his family never ended.

Eight months or so later, I'm still not done.  Granted, I haven't exactly been working around the clock on it because my in-laws' line goes on freaking forever--and that's just on the one thread I've followed through so far.  Heaven only knows where the other threads will lead once I've sifted through them all and clicked on every little green leaf waving wildly at me with yet another "ancestry hint."  The damn things are like kudzu; just when you think you've knocked them all out you find them swarming somewhere else.


So far it's been an interesting journey; turns out my lovely girlie and my spouse are related to any number of European royalty (assuming of course that Ancestry.com is at all accurate), including but not limited to several Plantagenets (including the king who signed the Magna Carta), Robert the Bruce--High King of Scotland, Brian Boru--High King of Ireland, Llewellyn the Great of Wales, William the Conquerer, Eleanor of Aquitaine (think "Lion in Winter"), not to mention assorted other nobles and a few Crusaders as well.  That's the funny thing about genealogy; once you get far enough to connect with one royal, suddenly you're connected with metric crap-ton of royals because they were forever intermingling families for political reasons.  Also--bonus--there is a heck of a lot more recorded information about them.

My grandmother-in-law was big into genealogy and spent years tracing her husband's (B's grandfather's) family history long before the magic Google and interwebs came into being.  She even journeyed to England to look at old records and eventually wrote a book of family history going back several generations.  This record has proved invaluable in my own research efforts.  For example, she insisted that there was a family story that Bonnie Prince Charlie was, in fact, one of her husband's relatives.  The problem was that she could never find any proof.  Years ago I looked into it, but it never seemed entirely plausible because the timelines didn't jive.  There was essentially a generation off between where she'd traced back and where Charlie's line came forward, making it extremely unlikely that the family is directly descended from him (never mind the fact that he was far too busy begetting illegitimate children while in exile in Rome to be taking ship to Virginia where the hubby's relatives first came over).

Interestingly enough, I solved this mystery just the other night, some 20 plus years after I'd first heard the legend.  Turns out there was a relevant Charles in the family tree, just not that Charlie.  Still, good old Chuck was fairly important after all, because he largely bridges that generation gap between documented family history and royal descendents rather nicely.  Good to know that my husband is apparently the 20 gabillionth in line to the throne of England.  (I'd better start packing my pointy hats...)

Pointy Hat of Scotland

This history is fascinating and exciting and intriguing and even a little depressing, at least for me.  When I start with the girlie on the family tree, I can see her dad's name and his family line shooting off across the room on a genetic rocket and back into the middle ages.  It's impressive, really.  Meanwhile, I look down at my name on her tree and see the great, white nothingness that follows it because I was adopted when I was only five weeks old (yay, me!).  I've never had any complaints about being adopted; I always figured I probably came out ahead in the bargain and could only imagine how torturous the decision to give me up must have been for my birth mom even if she was a knocked-up college student as seems to have been the case.   Because I knew I was adopted before I was old enough to really comprehend what that meant, I didn't grow up with any random identity crises or anything like some kids do.  Sure, I sometimes wondered where my various attributes originated--like who in my family had blue eyes or red hair or liked to draw or sing or read.  I also wondered what my ethnicity was, though given my pale complexion it was easy enough to rule out most countries.  But that still didn't stop me from making up nationalities as the mood suited me.  Sometimes I was Irish (hello, red hair and freckles!) if for no other reason than that I was born on St. Patrick's Day.  Sometimes I was French, because I liked the language and because "LaRue" is French.  Being French somehow seemed exotic, at least until some kids at school asked one day what "LaRue" meant.  When I told them it was French for "the street," my darling classmates promptly decided what I'd actually said was "the streak."  Lovely.  I was "Mary the Streak(er)" for the rest of that year.  Kids.  Sigh.

For the most part, though, I never really thought much about finding my birth family.  As far as I was concerned, I already had a family so I didn't seem to be missing anything, nor did I have any great desire to upend either my life or that of my birth parents.  Besides, it's hard to miss what you've never known, and I'm pretty used to the anonymity of my past.  When my girlie was born, I thought more about digging into my past because  a family medical history suddenly seemed infinitely more relevant.  It was one thing for doctors to scrawl "ADOPTED" and slash lines through the family medical history section in all my medical charts, but I didn't want them doing that to my daughter.  Unfortunately, all I could ever uncover was "non-identifying" information, most of which I already knew from the records my mom gave me when I was in my 30s.  These records helped me fill in a very few blanks, such as the height and hair/eye color of my birth mother and "putative" father (it feels so special to know someone was "alleged" to have sired you...as though your existence were somehow a crime).  Because Indiana law does not allow for open adoption records at the time of my birth and because I wasn't in a position to hire someone to pry open the records back then, I filed the new bits of information away and went on about my life in relative peace, at least till I had to keep staring at that giant abyss of blankness behind my name on Ancestry.com while hearing the voice of Duncan MacLeod (of the Clan MacLeod) on a loop as he repeatedly demanded of his adoptive father "Where do I come from?  WHERE DO I COME FROM????" from one of the Highlander episodes.

Who cares where you come from, so long as you come over here.

Perhaps part of my renewed interest is because my adoptive mom passed away in April and I am now (sort of) orphaned.  Suddenly I find myself wanting to know more about who I am and, like the hot Scot above, where I come from.  Everyone deserves to know who they are and what their history is.  Not only do I want to fill in the pieces and thus satisfy my own curiosity, I also the information for my girlie who likewise has a right to know the half of her history she's missing.  So recently, when Ancestry.com started offering limited invitations to DNA testing, I jumped at the chance.  I realized that for a paltrey $100 their testing is not likely to be as thorough or complete as I might like, nor exactly was it gonna turn me into the next Alex Haley.  And that's okay.  But I figured any information about me at this point is far better than the none I currently have.

Eventually the test packet arrived; instead of being provided with cotton swabs with which to scrape my cheek, I was given the dubious pleasure of hocking up a nice juicy loogey into a little plastic test tube, after which I was required to dump in a stabilizing agent, seal it in the provided envelope, and send it off.  Once I'd closed the package I started to get paranoid because I realized belatedly that I wasn't supposed to eat or drink anything for 30 minutes before performing my spit-take, which was suspiciously tinged pink.  Hello, Crystal Light!  I feared that I'd screwed up the test and that the scientists over at Spit Genes backward R Us would be sitting around wondering why I'd felt the need to bleed fruit punch into my sample and would ultimately charge me for another one.  Whoops.

Afterwards, I checked the Ancestry.com site every couple of weeks to see if any results had been posted, which they never were.  Watched pot, and all.  I was supposed to get an email when they were ready, which I also never received.  Then one day I happened to be playing around with the family trees and I happened to look over at the testing section on a whim. I was stunned to see their little pie chart all colored in and with percentage numbers emblazoned on the page, informing me that 60% of my DNA was genetically tied to the British Isles and 34% to Northern Europe.  Probably not surprisingly, there was also listed a  6% of "unknown."  Heh.  As if I needed confirmation that I've always been an "unknown quantity."

Is it just me or does that pie chart look a little like a blue Pokemon?

On the one hand, this information is not in the least surprising.  As I've already mentioned, my physical appearance fairly screams Irish or Scottish, and I've had several people over the years comment that my coloring and build also resembles someone from Northern Germany.  Maybe Boris Becker is my long-lost cousin.  So yeah, DNA peeps, good call on those percentages.  On the other hand, even though this information was not exactly earth-shattering news, I was still not prepared at all for the wave of emotions which hit me the moment I saw those results.  It's one thing to make up crap over the years about where you're from, but another thing entirely to have it confirmed in reality.  And it's yet another thing to see the names and faces of people who are genetically tied to you.  I have 4th and fifth and sixth cousins--blood relatives.  Who knew?  Obviously I knew I had relatives somewhere, but before it was always too abstract to take seriously.  Now it's real, and that kinda blows me away.  Mind you, I can't exactly run over to their profiles and start comparing branches on the family tree because I still don't have birth names to share.  Until I do, contacting any of these people to hunt down members of my family tree is largely pointless.  But I'm not gonna lie...just knowing there are actual people out there in the world with my DNA blew me away.  I cried.  I did.  I felt a little like a fool doing so, but I still did.

Now I want even more to pursue my history.  I want more than just a vague "you were here" red dot on a map.  At 47, I don't necessarily have a burning desire to meet or start up a relationship with my birth parents, even assuming they could be found (I'll cross that bridge if and when I ever come to it), but I do want information.  I would like to find out their names and backgrounds so I can plug it all in at Ancestry.com and maybe have a prayer at long last of making all those connections for my own line.  I want to build my own history as a gift both to myself and to my daughter.  I want to be able to stop hiding behind all the masks I've made for myself over the years and discover instead those bits of myself I've been missing all this time.  What would it be like to see my face on someone else for the very first time in my life?  I've never looked like anyone before, not really, even though I'm constantly hearing from strangers that I look like their ex-wife's cousin's brother's mailman or whatever.  But that's not the same.  What must it be like to exchange a lifetime of pseudo-anonymity for a better understanding of one's own history?  Likely nothing will come of it all, but who knows?  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?  Chances are I won't be related to royalty like the girlie and hubs; more likely I'll descend from a McDonald's fry cook or from a long line of people who spent time in the stockade for being a wise-ass.  Wouldn't that be poetic justice?  Still, I'd take it all in a heartbeat, just for the luxury of knowing one way or the other.  Perhaps someday.

In the meantime, the following is a poem I found a long time ago and have always loved; it's dedicated to all my fellow adoptees out there.

02 October 2012

Blog Awards for Delinquent Writers

Last winter, three other bloggers graciously presented me with blogging awards under the highly flattering (if perhaps misguided) assumption that I am awesome (which I am, though clearly not when it comes to following up on said awards in a timely fashion).  While I tremendously appreciated the nods from all three bodacious bloggers, my problem was that I was expected to identify 15 other awesome blogs/bloggers in the course of accepting the awards.  At the time, I didn't know fifteen other bloggers.  Truth is, I probably still don't, considering that I can't list the bloggers I read most often, since they're among the ones who gave me the awards in the first place.  Little paradoxes like this feed directly into the Procrastination Express; now here I am, some 9-10 months later, belatedly trying to accept these honors while hanging my head in shame for taking so long to do so.  If it's true that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, then the gates would now be in my backyard and Cerberus would be scratching at my door.  Sigh.

Anyway, abject apologies aside, let's get on with the actual awards, because they're way more fun.    I'm consolidating them here because that's likely the only way I'll get them done and because there's a fair bit of overlap.  The first award, the "Tell Me About Yourself Award," was presented to me last December by both the lovely Lizanne52 over at Words All Day Thru and the truly awesome Naked Mommy over at Naked Mommy Diaries.  How can you possibly NOT love someone who ODs on books or who makes disturbing things out of excess hair and is a Sports Bra Aerobics soul sister?  Go read their blogs. Right now.  Because they rock.

The Tell Me About Yourself Award requires the recipient to:
1.  Thank the person who gave the award.
2.  List 7 things that people may not know about you.
3.  Pass the award to 15 other bloggers and notify them.
4.  Post the badge on your blog.

So then--7 things about me you may not know (and probably will regret asking about):

1.  I can simulate playing "Scotland the Brave" on bagpipes by holding my nose shut with one hand to make a sound like a kazoo and then whacking myself in the throat with the edge of my other hand at appropriate intervals.  I learned this disturbingly awesome trick by watching the comedian Bill Kirchenbauer do it on his show "Just the Ten of Us."

2.  All the money in my wallet has to be facing forward, right side up, with the bills all in denominational order, increasing from smallest to largest.  If someone's head is pointing down or a $1 is swapped with a $10, it makes me twitch.

3.  I have been to England, Scotland, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Canada, Hungary (for like half an hour), and the Netherlands (if you count walking through the marijuana-scented corridors of the Schipol Airport).  It's not enough--I want to see it ALL now.

4.  I have freckles everywhere, even on my feet.  And when I was a kid, my dad used to "pick" them off of my arms and put them in his lunchbox for dessert on his way to work.

5.  I don't drink coffee (never have) and I don't generally like seafood.  I also don't drink because I could never understand the concept of something being an "acquired taste."  If something is so bad that I have to "acquire" a taste for it, then what's the point?  I'm not gonna waste weeks of my life chugging down bitter coffee till it suddenly tastes good any more than I'm gonna quaff wine by the barrel until it either becomes enjoyable or until I wake up one morning to wonder why I'm naked and my clothes are hanging from the chandelier, stuffed in the microwave, and/or arranged in an artful collage across the trees in my front yard.  Frankly, I'm weird enough sober...the thought what I might do if inebriated scares the hell out of me.  You can drink all you want...I'll get high on my sugary fruit punch and virgin daiquiris and party with you then shove you into my car and drive you home.  Everybody wins.

6.  My mother's married name was Lorraine LaRue.  I used to tell everyone that was her stripper name.

7.  When I was a kid I was obsessed with horses.  I wanted to be a jockey.  I outgrew it...literally.

The second award I received last December was the "Versatility" award, which I received from the lovely Social Lilac over at Papa is a Preacher, who loves the Peanuts and is therefore very cool.

Just like the previous award, the Versatility Award requires the recipient to:
1.  Thank the person who gave the award.
2.  List 7 things that people may not know about you.
3.  Pass the award to 15 other bloggers and notify them.
4.  Post the badge on your blog.

Since I've been so horrifically late in posting these awards, I'm giving you a bonus 7 things people don't know about me.  Aren't you the lucky ones??  You can thank me later.

1.  I carry a fold-up seam ripper in my purse at all times (pocket knives are so passé), because I am just that much of a sewing nerd.  Comes in surprisingly handy sometimes, and so far TSA has never blown the whistle on me for forgetting to take it out of my purse.  Nail file?  Check.  Incredibly long and pointy/stabby knitting needles?  Check.  Mini-seam ripper?  Check.  Nail Clippers or a 4 oz bottle of shampoo?  "OMG you might be a TERRORIST!!!"  Isn't illogical bureaucracy fun, boys and girls?

2.  My real first name is Mary and I despise it when people shorten it to "Mar."  Like 4 whole letters is so long and unwieldy.  Yes, I know it's often reminiscent of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.  I don't care.  Every.single.time. I can only hear "mare" and who wants to be called a female horse?  Better than being called a female dog, I suppose, but still.

3.  I once sacrificed a Smurf.  When I was a kid, I was a bit of a closet pyromaniac and was fascinated by watching flames on candles or in the fireplace.  Notice I said "pyro" and not "arsonist."  Anyway, I hated the Smurfs on TV because they were stupid and because Smurfette was a bimbette.  So one day I found a little plastic Smurf figurine like you might get on a birthday cake from a bakery, took it in the back yard and made a little bonfire out of leaves then stuck the Smurf in the middle.  Not long after, my mother informed me that "those who play with matches pee in bed."  Um, what??  Apparently my mother thought that lighting candles led to a life of nocturnal urinary dysfunction.  Also, if you cross your eyes, they'll get stuck like that.  Just thought you should know.

4.  Though I've had a few voice lessons here and there and am considered a decent singer now, when I was a kid my father used to turn up the volume on the radio in our car to drown me out and the choir director at my high school once told me to "mouth the words" for a musical I was in.  So naturally I did--during rehearsals.  For the performances, when there was nothing he could do about it, I sang out (off-key) loudly and with gleeful abandon just because he told me not to.  Big mistake, dude...big mistake.  Never tell me I "can't" do something, because I will do it just to prove you wrong.  I'm contrary that way.

5.  Most of the time, I'd rather be in my pajamas.  But then who wouldn't?

6.  I am an accomplished seamstress.  Over the years I have made prom dresses, graduation dresses, children's costumes, elaborate Madrigal/medieval costumes, bridesmaid's dresses, curtains, bedding, and altered clothing, including wedding dresses.  I also used to do alterations on the band uniforms for the University of Memphis.  (Yay, stinky, sweaty feet!)  I once made a Celtic knot wall hanging to enter in the arts portion of my daughter's Irish Dance competitions.  It did quite well.  Heck, I even re-upholstered a chair for my mother-in-law once...It was interesting, but not something I'd like to make a habit of doing.  I'm even considering going back to grad school for a new degree in Historical Costuming.

7.  I love British television, whether dramas or Masterpiece Theater or Doctor Who or comedies such as Blackadder and Are You Being Served.  I love. them. ALL.

And now onto the bloggers I would like to award.  I'm gonna be hard-pressed to find 15 who haven't already received these awards, much less 30, so my list is gonna be shorter than it should be.  Doesn't matter.  Go read these blogs, because they ROCK.

  1.  Words All Day Thru--she may have awarded me the "Tell Me About Yourself Award, but she just as easily deserves the Versatility Award because she not only blogs about books but other interesting things as well, in addition to helping host multiple podcasts of awesomeness.

  2.  Professor Dave's Ark In Space.  A terribly entertaining group of people presents thoughtful (and occasionally frivolous) commentary on a wide variety of programs and pop culture phenomena on both sides of the Pond.

  3.  Scandalous Katie is spectacularly cool because she can make people's noses bleed from a distance when sufficiently angered, and because she has a talented iPhone which autocorrects words into works of extreme entertainment value.  Also, her kid is obsessed with Doctor Who, so she's clearly doing something right.

  4.  The Adventures of Not Supermom is a very versatile blogger.  At last count, she hosts at least 5 blogs that I know about, in addition to being a new host of Doctor Whocast.  She writes scathing letters faster than a speeding bullet, has a kid who loves locomotives and can bake more bread than a tall building's worth in a single bound.  What's not to love?

  5.  Diary of a Renaissance Seamstress  Someone who creates both Renaissance clothing AND Doctor Who costumes?  Yes, please!

  6.  Crafty Thoughts from Pixie Lynx--Follow my SCA buddy as she writes about her crafty medieval experiments!

  7.  Been Gardening...Bin Gardening:  Follow Dr. K as she writes about her experiments in gardening.  I'm not a big gardener myself, but she has some great ideas and she is an outstanding photographer.  You should look at her blog just for the amazing pictures, if nothing else.

  8.  Winnie's Inky Fingers:  For all you crafty people out there, check out Winnie's fabulous stamped card pictures for all sorts of ideas.

  9.  Red Dirt Kelly  Recipes and ruminations and other forms of fabulosity.

10.  Four Hens and a Rooster  I just found this blog, and I can't wait to read more of it.

Okay, maybe this isn't 15/30 blogs, but it's a start.  Look around, and enjoy them.  And thanks for the awards!!

01 October 2012

Procrastination Express

A few weeks ago, not long after the Summer Olympics ended, I was hanging out with the cast of my choral society's summer show.  While we waited in the Green Room between numbers, someone mentioned procrastination.  I commented that if procrastination were an Olympic event, I would be the Michael Phelps of it.  Everyone laughed.  Sadly, however, this is far truer than I am really inclined to admit.

I've always had a tendency to procrastinate, whether with finishing papers in college or sewing projects or whatever.  And I always get things done on time, or at least enough done as makes no difference.  For example, I spent most of two days cleaning my house before hosting a small gathering.  And by "cleaning," I mean "de-toxifying" and "picking up piles of crap from every available flat surface and relocating them to a more appropriate location."  But I still didn't get completely done.  I still had a couple of rooms to dust (that they would never be in) and floors to steam and bits of soldered-on cheesy chicken casserole to finish scraping off the ceiling, none of which ever happened.  It seems that years of living with slobs has caused my tidying skills to seriously decline.  I mean, why fight a losing battle?  If you can't clean them, join them, right?

When we moved here, the new caveat was that the main floor, which people might actually see on occasion, would remained picked up.  In fairness, the hubs (or B as he shall now be known) has done reasonably well about maintaining this stricture.  Meanwhile, I had all sorts of junk piled on the dining room table:  stuff to go downstairs, stuff to go upstairs, pictures still to be hung when I got around to it, stuff to be put away, etc.  Heck, I still had the table cloth from last Christmas covering part of the table, conveniently rolled down to the end so it was out of the way.  Because I, you know, procrastinate.  Currently that table is still tidy, but who knows how long they will stay that way.

Meanwhile, procrastination has also been the main theme of my blog lately, considering I haven't written a post since August and even then I only posted once or twice.  Well, that's not entirely true--I've "written" several blog posts.  In my head.  To which people do not have consistent internet access. This is a bit of a problem.  So now I have a whole backlog of potential and half-composed posts queued up in my brain awaiting freedom.  The problem is that unless I sit down and start writing shortly after something interesting happens, that something rarely makes it to the page.  First I don't want to try typing it up on my phone because while it's great for texting and FB mobile, it's honestly kind of a pain to do long posts on it.  Then I get distracted by other things, not the least of which is spending a crap-ton of time on FB because the majority of my friends are apparently trapped in a 27" iMac.

"WMD" sounds like it ought to be a birth control device.  I'm just sayin'.

Excuse after excuse piles up until the next thing I know, it's nearly 6 months later and I still haven't eulogized my mother.  Or I still have pictures and a catchy tagline for my daughter's birthday post all lined up and going nowhere, even though her birthday was over four months ago.  Or it's almost a year later and I still haven't written about the blog awards I received.  Or I get stuck in a holding pattern because I am just obsessive enough that in my mind, I have to do things in the order in which they occurred to me, so it makes no logical sense for me to write about the dude with the zipper earrings I saw last week when I haven't even done those other things yet.  I know, I know--get a life.  (Working on that.)

So here I am, with a whole stack of incomplete posts that I now have to find a way to commit to writing out, knowing full-well that they will likely never turn out as awesomely as if I'd written them when they first occurred to me.  The zippy phrases and wild metaphors will have slipped away and I'll be left with inane crap like:  "I saw this dude.  At a restaurant.  With zippers.  Weird." instead of what I pretend would have been far more witty and mellifluous in scope.  But such is life, I suppose.

If the Avengers say so, it must be true.

My hope is to spend this month both catching up on all those "lost" posts (like "Lost Boys" but less filling) before they reach their sell-by date, as well as creating new ones and generally being just as frivolous as I usually am.  As a result, I've re-committed to blogging every day and will be cross-posting at Blogher (not that this is particularly meaningful, considering I've now signed up for daily blogging for three months running and have failed miserably thus far) and on Ginger Doodle's Facebook page.  So feel free to stop by and poke me if it's 11 pm EST and I still haven't thrown up a post.  Or make requests for things you'd like me to consider writing, though I make no promises.  And don't ask me to write about politics, because I won't.  People get pissed off enough about politics without my equal-opportunity lampooning involved.  So just don't.  (Besides, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert do it about 1,000 times better than I ever could anyway.)  I'll just stick to my random and quirky observations about life if it's all the same to you.

Speaking of random and quirky, have some "yellow curved fruit."   You're welcome.

Time to disembark the Procrastination Express.  See you all again soon.  Or not.  (Start a pool.)