Sunday, August 26, 2007

Rennaissance Festival 2007 - Day Two

Renaissance Festival Pictures

I arrived at Ren Fest at 10:05, just in time to hear the King order the gates of Revel Grove open. I just wandered and window shopped for about forty-five minutes. I got a couple of good pictures of King Henry and the dancers but nothing else much happened until I got to Unicorn Strings. There I bought a new book, Big and Easy Songbook, and spent some time chatting with Gene about Harley and dogs in general. Ashley, the new girl, asked me to teach her to play Amazing Grace, which is the only song I play reasonably well on the psaltery. I did, but she's having trouble with playing three notes as one. She'll get it soon, I'm sure. Gene is a great teacher. I hope they don't mind me hanging out there. It keeps me from getting lonely or bored when I'm there all alone for nine hours a day.

Gene told me about a book he recommends, Pattern Recognition by William Gibson, so I pulled out my Blackberry and ordered it from Amazon. I would have gotten the other one he recommended, but it was too expensive, so I just emailed the name to myself and put a hold on it at the library when I got home tonight.

While I was there, I got out my psaltery and played until my hips started to hurt. Then I sat down on the bench across from them and Princess Anne, King Henry's new prospective wife, stopped to listen to me! I get really fumblefingered when someone is listening but I managed to make it through Amazing Grace with only a couple of mistakes. She was very gracious and it was fun to be part of the show for just a few minutes. It's funny, I know these guys and gals are just normal people playing parts, but (maybe it's my history in that online roleplaying game) but I can't treat royalty like commoners. I have even met King Henry out of character and know his real name, but to me, at Ren Fest at least, he is the king. It wouldn't be nearly as much fun if he weren't.

After a while I packed up my psaltery and walked down to get chicken on a stick for lunch and watched the Rat Man show while I ate. He is so corny and funny and shameless. I wandered toward the Globe Theatre, picking up a couple of pewter trinkets and then chatting about writing with the guy at the chair store. I sat outside of Bullseye and played for a few minutes before making my way to the Globe Theatre. I watched lots of shows today, and my back is hurting from the backless benches, but the shows were all good. I was glad to see that the regular "Other Guy" from Bloody Drama Comedy Show is back. I like him a lot, not as much as Bob, but that's a given. Shakespeare Skum was in rare form today, something about the heat probably. Then, I hadn't planned on watching the Washington Revels, but they sort of guilted us into staying after Shakespeare Skum, and I'm glad because they were good.

I have been tempted to cheat on my diet this weekend, but have not done so. I had a few too many almonds today, but nothing else that I shouldn't have. I was tempted a few times, either by smells or by habits from last year, but I resisted and I am so proud of myself. I really hope to lose weight this fest, rather than gaining like I did last year.

I ended my day at Unicorn Strings, picking up my new book which I hadn't wanted to carry. Gene tells me that he is designing a new version of his psaltery, using CAD and computers to do the cutting. I don't understand it all, but I can't wait to see the results.

Unfortunately, I realized as I was talking to Gene that somewhere after the Globe Theatre and before Unicorn Strings I had managed to lose my purple and green flogger. I went to lost and found, but it wasn't there. I am losing way too much this year, which is odd because I didn't lose much of anything last year, just a pin and a pendant. I can't really replace this thing, because Leather Rose doesn't make those anymore. It's not like I NEED a whip, it's just a prop for my garb, but it was one of my favorite parts of my look. Bummer.

Tomorrow I leave on a corporate jet to visit the Xerox offices with my boss. Ooer! Don't I feel important. I guess I'd better get some sleep. Only five more days until I can go back to Fest!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Rennaissance Festival 2007 - Day One

Becky is ready for Ren Fest!Rennaissance Festival Pictures
I arrived at Ren Fest at 9:45, just in time for the opening banter and arrival of the king. This year they have a special entrance for season (fairever) pass holders. It was funny how many of those are the Rennies in garb. There were very few folks on our side of the wall in mundane clothing. The same guy who has been here for the last two years as deputy is playing the sheriff this year while the cute deputy, Roper, is gone. :( King Henry arrived on horseback and in we went.

The first couple of hours were all about replacing and repairing so it went like this...

  1. Leather Rose: New hair slide and hair stick. Thanks, Big Rob for putting in my new purple slide. Hair slides are lengths of leather lacing strung with beads and they hold your hair into a kind of braid, keeping it neat and off of your neck.
  2. Hope's Journals: New pen with leather and copper wire wrapping with a green feather at the end.
  3. Milestonne: 3 leather laces, one for my bodice, one for tying my chainmail balls to my belt and one for extra.
  4. Somewear Beyond: Replacement for my dragonfly/jester coin that was lost last year.
  5. Tideline Salvage: One titmouse (which I later lost), one bodice rat with pirate hat (hat lost almost immediately) and one shoulder rat. I have no luck with these guys. The pirate one I had last year got eaten by Harley! I've got to figure out how to keep one alive for more than a day or two.
  6. Catskill Mocassins: Just mooning over custom made, custom fitted boots. They start at $429 with design elements starting at about $200 and up. Guess who is NOT getting a pair of these boots! Thanks, Linda, for letting me try them on and dream. Maybe if I win the lottery...

I finally finished shopping around 11 or 11:30 and wandered down to the Globe Theatre to see what was playing. I decided to skip the Pirates Royale and kept going. I stopped by to say Hi to Heather at the juggling school. She said I'm doing better, but I'm still lifting my hands too high in the air. I played for a bit and then got on the move again.

I stopped by Unicorn Strings to see Gene and meet his new employee. I've forgotten her name and I didn't think to write it down. I'll ask her next time I see her. Gene was busy selling, but he waved when he saw me and told me that Mary and John didn't come back this year, which is a bummer, but Sarah will be back, she's just sick today. It turns out that the new gal is Big Rob's (Leather Rose) girlfriend. We chatted for a bit and she's from Last Vegas, too. I didn't stay long, though, because I didn't want to interfere with Gene's sales.

I went looking for the laser woodcutter who makes those great pins. He has had a guest booth the last two years, but he's not there this weekend. I need to replace my chaos symbol pin, the one that fell off of my psaltery case last year. That reminds me, I need to solder the other pins closed this year so that I don't lose any more.

I ran into the "hippie" couple from church and we chatted about the heat, which was considerable... high nineties and it felt at least ten degrees warmer thanks to humidity. I also ran into Jack Sparrow and his lady and I got a picture!

About 12:45 I found myself at Bullseye, which is the clothing store that has the great wooden shelf that is always so shady and comfortable but has a great view of three corners. I sat and rested with the new fan I had gotten and juggled a bit. A russian family sat down around me and their three young boys had lots of questions about my chainmail juggling balls, my unicorn shoulder pet and the bird that perches on my staff. I thoroughly enjoyed their company and was sorry to see them go. I sat there and rested as I wrote in my notebook. My new pen ran out of ink, though, so I had to go replace it.

After doing that, I headed to the Globe Theatre. I got there just in time for As You Like It to end and got a great seat for the first Shakespeare Skum show of the year. They did Richard III and it was fun, not as good as Romeo and Juliet, but better than King Henry the V from last year. The actors kept forgetting their lines, but they're so good at what they do that it just made it funnier. After them was the Bloody Drama Comedy Show. They did the soothsayer bit and one person in the audience asked, "Who would win in a fight, Picard or Kirk?" The soothsayer (the two new guys in one robe) said Kirk. About half the people booed and half cheered. Bob (everybody's favorite guy) said, "No fighting, we're all geeks here!" Which, of course, got a big laugh and a cheer, because indeed, we ARE all geeks, and proud of it.

The final show I saw was this year's King show, which was infinitely better than last year. It's still a little unsatisfying, because it's only part of a whole, but King Henry gave a funny and warm performance in a very short period of time. The young girls next to me kept saying, "Poor King... I want to hug him and make him feel better" I wonder what Fred, the video editor our company uses on our videos who also happens to play King Henry, would say to that.

Suddenly at 3:00 I realized I was lightheaded from the heat and humidity and decided to come home early. I stopped to get a bubble wand for Harley and headed for the TinkTerra. It was a good day, but I was no longer having fun. Besides we're celebrating my Dad's birthday today, so there was a good reason to come home early.

I had a great day today and I'm glad it's just day one and I still have 18 more to go!

Ren Fest Begins

Renn Fest Countdown
It's here!

I leave for Ren Fest in less than an hour. (I guess I'd better get dressed, huh?) I'll have my mom take a picture and maybe, if it turns out ok and I don't look too froglike, I'll post it.

I have no real plan for today. I have a couple of things I want to do when I first get there, things I need to get. I want to replace my jester/dragonfly coin that I lost last year. I want to get a new leather braid thingie and I want a new titmouse. Harley ate my last one. I'll probably watch a few of the Globe Theatre shows... Bloody Drama Comedy Show and Shakespeare Skum. I will wait to see As You Like It until Maria gets here, because I'm sure she'll want to see it. It's supposed to be hot today, so I may just find a quiet corner and play my psaltery. Although, I may not even take it today. I hate carrying a lot of stuff when it's hot. I need a little wheeled cart for all of the stuff I want to take in with me. I wonder where I can buy one of those.

More later!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Out of the Blue

I was driving home from work today and out of the blue I decided to call my cousin, Maria. Maria used to live with me until about 20 months ago when she went to Estonia on a mission for our church (LDS/Mormon). I haven't spoken to her by email for months and by phone since she left. We kinda kept in touch by email until I got mad at her this spring and stopped talking to her. Suddenly, maybe because she likes Ren Fest almost as much as I do, I got the urge to call her and I did.

She seemed happy to hear from me and one thing led to another and guess who is coming to visit for three weeks in August/September. She'll be here for seven days of Ren Fest, so I'm ordering her a Fairever pass so we can spend as much time there as possible. It was great to talk to her again and I'm ashamed of myself for the estrangement. I think I need anger management classes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Dad and I went on another walk tonight, but on the way to the B&A trail we got in an argument. He insisted that we had walked north yesterday while I had spent most of my lunch hour looking at maps of the trail and knew for a fact that we had gone south. The trail runs from Annapolis to Baltimore and we walked south from the Marley Station Mall to Jumpers Hole road. However, the simple, hand drawn map I had printed showed the mall south of Jumpers Hole road and Dad kept insisting I had to be wrong. I finally blew up at him after explaining less and less patiently that the map was wrong... that I had looked at three official maps for an hour that proved I was right... that logically it was impossible for us to have gone North... etc, etc, etc. I was really rude finally, and I am sorry about that, but I think I know why I overreacted.

Everyone who knows me, knows that I will NOT argue about facts unless I am 100% sure I am right. I have had too many unpleasant experiences with siblings who love to make me feel stupid if I'm wrong, to ever take a chance arguing about stuff I can't prove. But my own father doesn't know that about me? That bothered me. I don't care about the map or the facts, I knew I was right all along, but that's not the point. If he knew me half as well as my most casual acquaintance at work he would know to trust me if I state an absolute fact. He could have trusted me over the crappy map, but he didn't.

Sometimes I don't think we have a good relationship at all. I love him and I know he loves me, but we don't seem to connect like Mom and I do. I wish we did, he means a lot to me. It's not just because he's a guy that we don't connect. Most of my best friends are men and I never have a problem connecting with them. While I was growing up my dad was a fabulous listener. Whenever I would be really upset my dad would be the one to listen to my problems and offer advice or comfort or both. But now he just tunes me out. Can you love someone and still not care about them? I wonder.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Walking with Dad

With Ren Fest only 11 days away, I have got to get serious about getting ready. I dropped off my Ren Gear at the cleaners (I couldn't face all of that ironing) and I'll pick everything up next Thursday. They might as well store them instead of me, right? I have my Fairever pass and I psaltery all ready to go. I need to practice the psaltery and juggling, but it's not the end of the world if I don't.

Mostly I'm worried about all of that walking, up and down hills, for 18 hours a weekend. I have been sedentary for the last year and I'm not sure I'm up to it. So Dad and I and Harley went walking on the B&A trail tonight. We did almost 3 miles and I didn't get tired at all until the last half mile. That's not a bad start. I'd like to go every day this week and next so I'm as ready as possible for the 25th. Then I'd like to keep doing it almost every day until my birthday because Harley needs the exposure to strangers, bikes and other dogs before his new obedience class starts. Isn't it great that his class starts on my birthday? Tomorrow I'm going to carry a water bottle and a spray bottle. A water bottle for drinking and a spray bottle for Harley. I can't seem to get his attention off of the bikes and other dogs, but I am sure the spray bottle will do the trick. Besides, he got a little overheated tonight, so it won't hurt him to get a little wet. Not that he'll see it that way...

Friday, August 10, 2007

Harley's Profile

This is what I wrote in on the Student and Dog Profile for Harley's application to the Dog Owner's Training Club of Maryland beginning obedience class. Do I sound like a wacky doggy mama?

Harley is an extremely bright dog and knows lots of tricks because he's so much fun to train. Unfortunately he is not obedient, being too spoiled for his own good. His sit/stays are solid, his recalls are not. He walks well on a leash but doesn't heel. He likes people once he knows them but he is hand shy and prefers not to be touched by strangers. He is dominant by nature but knows I am the boss, although he runs roughshod over my parents. He did well in the Petsmart class we just finished. I only put him in that to accustom him to other dogs while I waited for your classes to start this Fall. We can't wait!

So, what do you think?

Two weeks and counting

Ren Fest starts in two weeks and a few hours. You can check the counter to the right, if you need to know the exact number of hours, minutes and seconds. I paid for my Fairever pass today and should get it back in plenty of time. I had to email them my information and then call to pay over the phone. I know this is all about history and times of old, but c'mon people, get Paypal! I worked it out, by using the Fairever pass and going every day, of course, I am only paying $4.21 per day. That's an unbeatable bargain, isn't it?

With Ren Fest so close I pulled out my Unicorn Strings bowed psaltery so I can start practicing. I am so rusty it's scary. Not that it matters much, because I overtightened a string I was tuning and broke it and now I can't get it replaced. No one I have talked to has strings small enough and even if they did, none of them will even try to replace it. I tried, but I broke the string I had both times I tried and now I have no string left and can't replace it. I know I can get John to fix it at Ren Fest, but I didn't want to have to wait that long. He's going to be so disgusted with me for not practicing. Well, maybe not disgusted, but definitely disappointed.

This weekend I'm going to pull out all of my Ren gear and try it all on. I've lost some weight, so the stuff that was getting tight should fit again and I have new pieces to mix in. At last count I had something like five skirts, four or five chemises and two bodices. I also have a couple of gypsy hip scarves. With all of that, I should be able to do some really creative mixes. Maybe by the end of Ren Fest I will have lost some weight and the smaller of my two bodices will fit again, but in the meantime there's the one with the steel boning. I like the smaller one because it doesn't flatten out may top, but both of them are nice. I show a LOT more cleavage in Ren gear than I ever would otherwise, but that's not a bad thing, right?

My sister and her youngest son, Josh, were here for a couple of weeks and just left Monday. Harley and Josh became best friends and Harley has been moping around since he left. I know Josh hated to leave him behind, but there is no way on this earth I would let Harley leave me.

Speaking of Harley, he has his obedience class graduation tonight. I gave him a bath this morning so he would look his best in his pictures. It's all a little silly, but will make a great scrapbooking opportunity. It reminded me that I wanted to sign him up for the Dog Owner's Training Club of Maryland beginning class. I downloaded the dog profile and sign up sheet and sent them off with my check today. I probably sounded like a crazed doggy mama with my long notes about him but I wanted to be sure they knew what he is like. Maybe I'll type that up in another post and you can tell me if I sound nuts. I know I AM nuts, but that doesn't mean I want to sound that way.

Sorry it's been so long between posts. Look for more about Ren Fest in the next few months.