Wednesday, May 31, 2006
But being top-chick amongst 57 cousins is not that much to crow about when the Top Hen happens to be my Mother. It makes it impossible to be invisble, and invisibility is a trait you really want when you are living on the verge of being pecked to death 24/7.
Okay, enough poultry analogies. What I really came to talk about is the odd incident that occurred yesterday at the bank. I was yet again the target of a NUT, drawn into my magnetic sphere by the Nut Magnet Gravitational Force of Density.
I was pulling into a parking space, when a man dressed as a house painter walked right smack dab across my path, yapping away on his cell phone. Don't get me started about people who cell and walk. I was taught that a lady NEVER smokes while in motion, and I feel that this courtesy should extend to the use of cell phones in public. Either be seated discreetly or hang the damn thing up until you can be.
When the man, mere centimeters away from becoming a scrap of bloody paint-spattered white cloth on the grill of my car bumper, saw that he was in fact making a trajectory across a parking space currently about to be occupied, gave me a big smile and a wave and veered to the side. I caught a glimpse of him in my rear view mirror, meandering out behind my car and still vitally involved in his phone conversation.
I had to wait for him to move before backing up slightly and straightening out in the parking space, at which point he was suddenly beside me at the window, opening my car door! I had this snapshot of his hand, which for some reason had a fist full of cash in it, as he grabbed my door handle.
I said, "What the hell do you think you are doing?" as I threw my car into reverse and jerked the door out of his hand at the same time. I backed up, re-positioned and then shut the car off. I must have already determined from his clothing and happy-idiot grin that he was a harmless elderly gentlemen somewhat befuddled by technology and the concept of parking spaces versus actual walkways, because I wasn't sounding alarm bells, I was merely irritated.
I saw that he had high-tailed it over to his paint truck, and so I exited my car, amidst cries of, "You IDIOT! What were you doing???" from the painter's friend and partner standing by their truck.
As I walked past to the entrance of the bank, the geezer called out, "I was just offering you our full service red carpet treatment!" and I quipped, "I just about red-carpeted your ass, buddy!" and waltzed on past to attend to my banking needs.
Such a feisty and street-savvy girl as this should have no problem scratching her way through the hen-yard next week. We'll see how it goes.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Or perhaps he meant it was a Throbbing community, as in a community made up of Throbbers, that quirky tympanic-based religious sect akin to the Quakers and the Quivering Brethren.
I don't know. After announcing that it is Today a Throbbing Community, he never again made reference to any kind of painful pounding or pulsing. I don't know if I should find a course at the local Adult Ed Center on "Travels to the Land of Throbbers and What You Can Expect" or perhaps see if the Y has classes in Throbbing 101 sandwiched in between Power Yoga and Learn Swahili Now, or just ignore the whole thing and wish it would go away.
Perhaps all I can do is privately practice throbbing so as to avoid finding myself lost in some foreign place and on the brink of total social solecism scandal because I was too lazy to learn the skill.
What I really think is that we should all stand in place and throb a few minutes each day, just to be prepared. Go ahead, Start Now!
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Anyway, this is the big garage sale weekend, right? Who knows what treasures await me out there if I just get up and about early enough before all the hoarders come and get it all?
The problem was, there weren't very many garage sales to be had! I drove and drove! With gasoline at $3.25 and higher per gallon, this is already a losing proposition! Everytime I saw a likely garage sale sign it turned out to be one of those "Vote for Steve for Chairperson" placards. The H street corridor is also rife with signs that say, "MERCY! No more traffic, please!" because of course that tiny little residential tree lined street is one of the few thoroughfares between the freeway and downtown, so it is always clogged with rude commuters in a big hurry and determined to mow down anyone in their way, pedestrians be damned.
So I think those MERCY! signs are a good thing, but there sure were a lot of them today when what I really wanted were some garage sale signs! Finally I spotted a garage sale that apparently didn't bother with signage. I can kind of see why, because they didn't have anything priced, it was still in boxes and, well, the whole thing was lackadaisical. There were some crunched lamp shades, piles of dyke clothing, and several oversized black stereo components the likes of which have not been manufactured since about 1975.
And what is up with people selling their shoes? Do they really think some total stranger is going to come along and, at 4 bucks a pair, relieve them of 20 pairs of size 8 downtrodden, scuffed, down at heel, worn out burnt out crappy shoes? The homeless get a free pair of sneakers at all the shelters, so even THEY would not want these shoes. Even the thrift store sells it's shoes for 2 bucks a pair for the really nice ones with some life left in them. This one stack of shoes had obviously been crushed under the weight of other tons of shoes for at least 25 years judging from the style of them.
THROW THEM OUT, PEOPLE! Do NOT attempt to make a buck off of used-UP stuff. Used is fine. Used is good. Used-UP is ridiculous! You already GOT your money's worth out of those shoes back in 1982 so just toss them in the dumpster, please.
Also, what is up with people selling the kinds of things that you can get BRAND NEW at the 98 cent store for $1.50-$2.00? Like ice cube trays that are dirty, scratched, and started life out as poor imitation Tupperware? These are NOT COLLECTIBLE ITEMS, folks. THROW THEM OUT. They are biodegrading as we speak.
I found and followed some signs for a "Garage Sale Palooza" that was touted to be a neighborhood-wide event!!! with lots of hot-pink exclamation points, only to find that it was just three houses and just three paltry little tables of junk. Like a little stereo boombox missing it's speakers and with one of the tape drives not working for sale for 10 bucks. Boxes of video tapes without labels or covers on them...obviously home-taped jobs...that the guy wanted 4 dollars each for. Okay. I can go to the giant mega-bin at Walmart and get Mexican Movies for 5 bucks still in the wrapper so why would I want your old glitched up jobs?
For that matter, why would anyone? Why would anyone want your polyester muumuus? Your torn and faded and warped to your exact bulbous body shape jeans with designer flower power pockets? Your scary looking guinea pig cage with the stench of death clinging to it and the bag of shavings only half used as part of the deal?
Get rid of this stuff. For FREE. Don't try to make a buck off of it. Just let it go. Throw it away. No one wants it.
Finally, ready to head for home I cut across a small street that would take me back out onto J street and out of the neighborhoods, I happened upon a little garage sale that looked promising. Tons of stuff and run by two grey-haired ladies who told me they were late in getting started but to just rummage through the boxes and help myself.
I got a box of rose stationary, a packet of paper "Roylies"--the Royal Doily for teacups and a wonderful set of old thick soft cotton pillowcases that had never been completed. The lady had been embroidering all her life but when she got Alzheimer's she would sit and pick out all the stitches so her daughters had hidden all her things. I have a real passion for those old pillow case sets. They come to gether in one continuous tube, for those who don't know, and you could leave them that way as a single bolster cover but you are really supposed to finish them and then cut them in half to make two pillowcases. They just don't make cotton that thick and creamy anymore. I snatch those up anytime I find them.
I chatted quite a while with the ladies who were sisters and had lost both their parents to Alzheimer's. It was all I could do to stop myself from asking if there were any teapots or linen things still in the house that might be for sale, but I decided not to push my luck.
I think the key to garage sales is to only go to the ones run by Oldsters. I came away with 3 little treasures for under 2 bucks and had an interesting conversational exchange in the bargain! Let other people flock to the ones with the Pottery Barn half-burnt candle stubs that some young housewife is selling for 5 bucks, I want the old treasures that are worth the hunt.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
The moment the light turned green, though, someone in a hot rod pulled up behind me and started laying on the horn for me to get out of their way. I looked in my rear view mirror and it was this teensy little 80-something Granny with her head barely peeping out over the steering wheel. And she was SHOOING me with her hands! Shoo! Shoo! Get Out of My Way!" I could see her ranting at me.
I shooed her right back and using sign language told her to settle her hash. I also got out of her way pronto because I could tell she meant business. So maybe there is hope for me yet, that I should live so long and still be shooing people in 30 years from now.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Since I am short on storage it was a real struggle to find somewhere to put the toilet paper after that. I mean, the bathroom is the size of a teacup, barely room to turn around in there, no room for shelving or linen cupboards. I was not about to store anything else soluble under the sink, though, as that was just too wasteful! It's not like you can hang out the toilet paper to dry, ya know?
So, I've been using this little tiny cabinet in the living room that kind of butts into the corner. It's not even a foot wide, though, so not much will actually fit in there. Mostly it houses spare water bottles and some of my games and photo boxes. I opted to keep the spare toilet paper on the bottom shelf. Not optimal because if you run out of tissue you have to traipse through the living room to get some more.
Um. Did anybody read that part where I said I keep spare water bottles in this cabinet? Yeah. Hurricane Water like they tell you to keep on hand for emergencies. On the shelf above the toilet paper.
Do I have to spell it out for you? One of the bottles sprung a slow leak. It was no doubt radioactively decomposing in that dark cupboard, slowly particalizing on the molecular level so that just the barest amount of seepage could escape from the seam of the plastic. But of course I wouldn't have noticed it because the 24 pack of toilet tissue on the shelf below it very obligingly absorbed almost the entire gallon of water!
Hurricane Water (bottom shelf storage ONLY)
24 Pack Scott Tissue ( TOP SHELF ONLY)
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Do other people do this, by the way? Take pictures of their food? WE always do that in my family, the Frosting Family. No event would be complete without pictures of the table heaped with food. Anyway, that's homemade mac and cheese, cucumber, onion and black olive marinade, and some roast beast, and Trader Joe's Focacia bread with Lemon Butter Spread. Also, Apple Salad and Green Salad. Rather a healthy meal, wouldn't you say?
I believe my family is home from the Mushroom Hunting Trip, with Aunt Sandrine bedridden after finding out that she didn't just have some kind of gall bladder attack, rather she has some kind of lump obstructing her pancreatic duct. Cousin Deet called and said, "Well, you'll have to be the one to tell Cousin TiVo Jane. You can tell her she doesn't need to fret so much about her Mom getting her gall bladder removed, because she didn't have to, after all. You can just say, 'She has a tumor, instead.' " That ought to comfort her.
I want you all to know that Lazyiness does have it's pay-offs. I decided yesterday morning that I should just put off going to Walmart for laundry detergent until some other day. My reason was that I just didn't feel like going. So I turned the car around and came home, instead. Then I turned on the news and saw that there was a police shoot-out and armed robbers and a stolen vehicle and a car chase and all kinds of High Crime in the Walmart parking lot, JUST EXACTLY AT THE TIME I WOULD HAVE BEEN THERE.
Moral of this story: Crime Does Not Pay, but Lazy Procrastination Could Save Your Life, someday.
Friday, May 19, 2006
This year, two of the male members of the family are down with slight complications. Uncle Ejay* (*not his real name but cleverly disguised facsimile nonetheless) had to have every tooth in his head extracted on Wednesday, but still took the time to arrange with Cousin Deet's* husband Stilts* (*not their real names) to drive up with him on Saturday. Stilts has a double sinus infection and is mortally ill, but he has assured Ejay that come hell or Halifax he will be well enough to drive up to the campsite for the weekend.
I think I've mentioned before that I grew up in a structured Matriarchal Society that more closely resembles a Mind Control Cult than a family. It's true! Various members of my family will regularly 'pronounce a truth' and if that 'truth' is not universally adopted on the spot, weeks of agonized emailing will ensue until all the players are on board. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
The Two-Headed Ruler of the Baker Family Cult
It is one of the tenets of the Baker Family Cult that you must never lie. If, however, a story can be made more dramatical by exaggerating it to the nth degree, then So Be It. Let it be done. Therefore, a hangnail that has festered can quickly turn into a full gangreneous amputation situation merely from the telling.
This year, there was a slight power struggle over some barbecue ribs that my Mom is especially good at fixing, and her sister, Deet's Mom Ignacia, decided that since one member of the family cannot eat ribs due to health problems, then nobody else should be able to eat them ever again. She was therefore forbidden to bring them along on the camping trip.
My Mom, being senior in rank and Cult Leader Stature, simply chose to ignore this edict.
Deet, expecting fireworks or at the very least, her mother's head blowing up when she realizes that my Mom brought those ribs anyway, decided to forgo the annual roonie trip for just this year.
She called me yesterday with an update. It seems that Aunt Flambe`, otherwise known as Aunt Frostie had a full scale gall bladder attack while in the deep North Woods looking for edible fungi. Deet didn't have all the facts, because for some reason, the person who was contacted with this rather alarming news was Aunt Pittypat. Who is otherwise known as the Boo-hoo Queen because she cries at the drop of a hat, but the gist of the story seems to be that Aunt Frostie needed a ride to the hospital so she could get her gall bladder removed real quick like so she could get back to the camp spot and not miss out on all the mushroom hunting.
Deet declined to drive the 5 hours up there to help her out, since she was for certain sure that by the time she got there it would have all been sorted out.
"I know how it will be!" said Deet with a sad shake of her head near the phone, "Whatever happens, it will be done with a lot of drama and will involve the entire camping trip being cancelled because no one can handle the strain and no one should be allowed to have any fun if Aunt Frostie is in the hospital, and my Mom will exit in triumph because she will have been proven to be right about those barbecue ribs being the cause of it all!"
Late last night, the phone rang and it was cousin TiVo Jane, daughter of Aunt Frostie. She was understandably hysterical because her Mom is in the hospital and is refusing to come home afterwards because she says there is no earthly reason she can't just go back to the campsite and sit in her lawn chair for the rest of her post-surgery recuperation period. TiVo Jane said, "I know how it will be! Mom will move that chair out into the deep woods and just keep moving it further and further out and she will be looking for mushrooms the entire time!"
I tried to comfort her by saying that gall bladder surgery was done with a small incision and a laser and it wasn't that bad. But she informed me that actually, her Mom had a gall stone the size of a boiled ostrich egg obstructing her pancreatic duct, and they were going to have to go in with a pair of pliers on a string, down her throat, and pull the stone out that way.
I know how it will be, too. I'll have to listen to each and every detail from each and every person's perspective, and this will go down in the annals of the family as the year my Mom killed Sandrine with her barbecue ribs, before she was saved my a miracle and a pair of pliers on a string.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Then, my cousin Billie Jean* (*not her real name) finally sent the pictures of when my ex-bf met she and her husband in Texas. Check out the Boat they are standing on! How cool is that? I do know some awesome people. Semi-famous in every way!
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Well, I made my arrangements to go home for my niece's graduation in June. This should be fun, in a tortured, scary kind of way. Because I don't really belong to a family, per se; it's more like a Mind Control Cult. My cousin Deet (not her real name) just told me that she is laying low because at 52 she has decided she is tired of our two Mom's telling her how she is supposed to THINK about things. I didn't know how to break it to her that my Mom already decided she was the proper person to pick me up at the airport. Without consulting her or her work schedule.
My Cousin Deet (not her real name) who is famous for such utterances as "That is HIGH-larious" and "He's 83 but you'd swear he wasn't a day over 75" told me that her mother in law was "in a tizzy and thrown for a loop" over a day in which she had too many phone calls or something. I started laughing, I don't know how funny that sounds in print, but it's about the equivalent of saying, "I'll be Goll-Danged AND Gosh-Darned!" NOT BOTH AT ONCE! Good Gracious! Nevertheless, I am thrown for a loop and in a tizzy, as well as fit to be tied at trying to manage all those travel arrangement things. As Head of the Cult of Spinsterhood, this is where I am put on my meddle to figure out things like: How does one get to the airport when there is no one to do it? And, Who will take care of my beloved cat who bites you if he feels you need a lesson in manners.
Fortunately, Eliza at the end of the building has been long wanting to forge a relationship with Mackie, even if she can't ever remember his name, and she has agreed to do it as long as my trip doesn't coincide with her trip to Jamaica.
That just leaves navigating the rocky shoals of flight times, with arrivals and departures taking into account that there is only one connecting flight a day out of O'Hare to the city where my family has to drive for an hour to pick me up. If not careful, I can find myself with an 8 hour layover in Chicago. An Amish buggy would be faster! And then of course I have to make sure that my departure FROM home back to Sacramento also takes into account the fact that nobody in Indiana will do anything that cuts into a potential MEAL time. You know, we'd like to take you to the emergency room to treat that severed head problem, but we were just sitting down to supper.
Because this upcoming visit was part of a Royal Edict (yes, we know you've had a stroke, are blind in one eye, can't remember your own name and could get lost in baggage claim with no one there to rescue you, it's still UP TO YOU to find your way home) I have to knuckle under and work out all these kinks.
But I am Spinster, here me snore, and I will get it all figured out eventually. ESPECIALLY because, upon realizing I have no luggage, no luggage at all, I ran to Ross really quickly and found this:
Sunday, May 14, 2006
See, my Mom has a similar sense of humor to mine.
I would really rather have begotten her this teapot instead:
But that would have been selfish and she would have spotted it right away that really what I was doing was buying MYSELF a teapot under the guise of making it look like I was getting her some pretty rosebuds for Mother's Day. So I opted for the teacup arrangement instead and just sort of MENTIONED that it was part of a set if she was interested, you know, in having a SET.
Since Time Immemorial this is how children manipulate their parents! What can I say? Happy Mother's Day, Mom!
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Well, I want to wedge a complaint about the endless array of marathons and 5K and 10K races that clog up our city streets all summer long.
The person who invented the traffic circle was rumoured to have been KILLED in a traffic circle, and I cherish the hope that the person who decided it was groovy cool to RACE FOR A CURE will be pounded into a gelatinous goo beneath the rhythmical feet of 7000 joggers.
Because whoever it was should DIE! What is the connection between running and charity? It drives me NUTS! Why couldn't someone invent a READ-A-THON or a SLEEP-A-THON and then everyone can just stay HOME and there won't be any more human traffic jams.
Well! Today is the annual Susan G. Komen Race for Breast Cancer and although I am sure it is a wonderful cause, I think they need to come up with a NEW CONCEPT for raising money and STAY OFF MY STREET!!! Every year it is the same thing. I am holed up at home for the entire day, cannot get out, cannot get to the store, cannot cross the street, cannot proceed on with life, because thousands of sweating heaving bodies are making their stunned and half-dead way to the finish line near the Capitol. This is an all day process and so I am just besieged, marooned, entrapped. I hate it!
Here is the view out my window on a normal day:
Here is the view today:
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I did however manage to: buy water at the co-op, still sitting in the trunk of my car because it's too heavy to lift once it's full; go through an entire years worth of utility bills and put them into some kind of order; run to the local Rite Aid and make copies of odds and ends of paperwork I needed copied; drop by my Landlords Office/Hotel to get a signature I needed; (which means driving around the block and around the block and around the block, because it's all one-way streets with blocked alleys and NO PARKING ANYWHERE); pop into the K Street Plaza Mall to pick up my new glasses at Lenscrafters; AND spend 30 minutes on the treadmill down at the 24 Hour Fitness since I was already parked in the mall parking and could just stroll over from there.
Wow! After that, it was just slug-like lolling for the rest of the day.
When I was a young girl, a friend of mine from the Mohawk/Iroquois Indian Reservation in Canada met her husband to be when she walked up to him and said in her nasally Upper New York Twang: "Them Red Sneaks Gotta Go!"
I felt the same way about my slip-on walking shoes which for some inexplicable reason I purchased in the jarring and rather demeaning color of NEON RED!
Which I fixed pronto by spray-painting them pink.
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
I guess you have to be one of those cat lovers or maybe it's a function of being a Spinster Auntie with no one else to love, but I can sit and watch my cat for ages. He just delights me with his many facial expressions. His moods, not so much. I have the moodiest cat for a male. Ask any of my friends with shredded hands who were petting merrily away while he purred when suddenly! Sliced Human!
Mackie has never been afraid of mechanical devices. He ruined my old IBM Selectric typewriter by shoving his paws into the opening and forcing the ball to stop moving and rotating across the platen. He also trashed my old printer by burying his paws deep inside to stop the paper from coming out. My new printer (I say 'new' but I mean 5 years old) still attracts him like flies to butter. I do believe if there was a bird flapping around my apartment and he heard the printer start, he would abandon the bird and come attack the printer.
I even have to time my printer jobs for when I think he is fast asleep or better yet, outdoors.
Here he is just now, sitting on the printer, waiting patiently for me to print something else so he can jam it up some more.
Monday, May 08, 2006
"I am a good walker! Now why is everyone always assuming I am not a good walker?"
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
Invitations to fetes', balls, soirees, and teas fill your platter and you are faced with the daunting task of weeding out the less pleasurable parties to which you must, regrettably, send your regrets.
Here is a template to help you send the most simple and proper R.S.V.P. to a party that you have no intention of attending:
Miss Pink Ponsonby
225 Silverthaw Way
Miss Pink Ponsonby
The very kind invitation
Of Blather Jane Snobbishbutter
To the Naked Old Romans Hot Tub Party
For Saturday, the 10th of May
At 2:00 O'Clock
Thursday, May 04, 2006
Well! I must say I am appalled! These girls look nice in this photo, and that is the last time you see them dressed for the entire series of Texas Ranch House on PBS! I don't know why I should be appalled or even surprised. I have yet to see a single "Travel Back in Time and Live the Life of a Victorian, Pioneer, Rancher, WWII Blitz, Colonial Family" where the ladies kept their CLOTHING ON.
What is WRONG with the producers/writers/historians of these otherwise entertaining and interesting television spectacles? They obviously choose the participants carefully. They obviously train them well in all things historical: appropriate bathroom techniques, how to boil water and fix a fire from scratch, how to plant a garden and cook decent meals from meager supplies. And yet they leave out the entire subject of how to dress correctly without being mistaken for a prostitute!
The Cooke Family, very nice and likeable for the most part, would probably prefer to be nibbled to death by ducks than stand around on their front porch in 2006 in the Bras and panties with their hair disheveled. I can no doubt guarantee they would never sit down to dinner in their underpants! And yet they travel back to 1867 when there was a stricter code of conduct for gentlemen and ladies and proceed to run around in their skivvies!
Mrs. Cooke manages to keep her clothes on, but she can only be bothered to put her hair into a chignon when the wild Comanche Indians show up! Which would have been the one time you could perhaps be excused for flying around with your hair down as you ran for your life! Otherwise--even when it is the 4th of July Party or the United States Army Patrol shows up-- she just stands on the porch with her hair sloppily braided and tied with a rag.
And she doesn't have the sense to tell her daughters, "We've got company coming, girls, run inside and button yourself into your basques!" Let's just suppose that this slack and slovenly attitude towards appearance and decorum is observed when the ladies are alone at home, but even in the most rude establishment, when a gentleman arrived, they would have gotten dressed pronto! Even in today's world, don't most people put on nice clothing for company, or to sit down to dinner?
There is no way they would sit down to dinner with fully dressed, spur-wearing, chap-wearing, kerchief-wearing cowhands in their Chemise and CORSETS!
YES I AM SCREAMING! CORSETS ARE NOT OUTER APPAREL!
I just cannot get over this glaring oversight when you are showcasing a period correct piece like this. They won't even let these people have access to FRUIT, mind you! Fruit was rare and expensive and not a part of the every day diet of Texans in 1867. They can go on and on about that detail of historical trivia, use up 10 minutes of air time showing these folks smelling a bucket of apples as their ricket ridden gums salivate from depravity, but just completely ignore the fact that the Rancher's Daughters line up in their underpinnings for the entire unit of Buffalo Soldiers to ogle and leer at, and then sit down to dinner with them in the same state of undress.
I won't even go into the fact that these people long to go back in time for this experience, have to be interviewed, processed and selected for the opportunity. But the moment they get the job, they throw all that away and spend the rest of the time doing exactly as they please for their own comfort and history be damned!
Much of the plot for the later part of this series is about the feminist mindset of the female participants, and the demands of the maid-of-all-work to become a ranch hand like the boys. The wife of the Rancher thinks she is running a factory and she is the executive director of her husband, and cannot seem to grasp the idea that she could be having a different experience entirely if she'd just mind her own business! It's no wonder they despise her down at the bunk house.
It's rather sad, really. I mean, she could be spending the time with her daughters, attending to their grooming. (snark snark) I really miss the opportunity to see this 1867 experience done well and done with interest. I miss seeing it done without all the whining and sniveling. Cannot they pick people who want to throw themselves into the experience whole-heartedly and leave their 21st century idiosyncrasies at home?
Well, thank you for letting me vent! As a person who dresses in 1860's period clothing on a regular basis and finds it both comfortable and not unsuitable for most work and most weather, I fail to see the need to throw propriety to the winds and run around mostly undressed. I could stay home and just wear a crop-top and jeans if I wanted to do that.
My point is: Why sign up for the experience if you don't intend to have the experience?
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Hmmm, I don't know how I managed to skip taking a single picture of anyone playing bagpipes all this weekend! That does seem odd since I love the look and sound of them when they are far off. Far away and Far off. Upon the craggy heights. In Old Scotland.
At a Scottish Event it is another kettle of haggis entirely! They are everywhere! Like rats in a granary! And they are all the time tuning their pipes! And according to my friends, (who play pipes very well and should know!) they very rarely succeed!
There is a lovely ending to each day at the Scottish Games, though, and we call it "Smash Bands" I think it is actually really called Mixed Bands or Mass Bands or Maxed Out Bands. It is when all the bands that competed get together and play at once on the competition field. It is VERY pretty! One pipe alone is rather awesome, but a hundred or more of them together! It is no wonder these blowbags of sticks and sheeps guts full of air were used to rouse men and call them to fierce battle!
And who could not love a man in a kilt? There is something extremely masculine about them; at these Scottish Events, the men are in their element. (Element: Beer and Bragging). Often a kilted male will be seen swaggering around bragging about his ancestry and lineage. Scots really like to impress each other, I've noticed!
It is quite fun to be sitting in the shade of a tree and having people approach and tell you a bit of their life story as they ask questions about hoop skirts, hair styles, fabric selections for period garments. It always takes a few days to get over an event and get back into the swing of things in the modern age. About as long as it takes to do all that laundry and put all the gear away! And I can't help thinking about that tune:
"Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide"
Monday, May 01, 2006
I belong to a Civil War Reenacting group, who portray a Scottish Regiment, so we go to this kind of Scottish Gathering, as well, and do living history and demonstrations. The area where they park us is off the beaten path, and in a long row of other reenactors from all periods. Some of the reenactors are from some kind of 'fantasy' era! They depict the Renaissance Barbarian. They always draw the biggest crowd! The females walk solemnly around ringing bells with their breasts mostly exposed. You can imagine! Very Jolly!
They pretend to know Old English very well, and can be heard to say "Prithee" and "Anon" and other garbled speech which is fun to misinterpret. One of the demos they gave was a "How to Practice Your Battle Death Technique" display. All their soldiers lined up with their pikestaffs and the head pikestaffer would point at one and say BANG! I kid you not! BANG! And the doomed soldier would totter forward and practice a loud and verbal and thrashing death! This was done in all seriousness and you can imagine the throws of mirth and peals of laughter that this put me through. The dying soldiers usually chose their last words upon this earth to be: "Mother of God!" or it could have been "Son of a Gun!" you couldn't tell because the sound was muffled as their faces would usually be buried in the dirt and hidden by their chain mail.
These soldiers would take turns getting shot BANG! and then dying and then they would all line up and practice their attack maneuvers. As they advanced for the final kill they would shout in unison something that sounded like: IDLE FRUIT! IDLE FRUIT! This was screamingly funny. I have no idea what they were really saying, but that was what it sounded like!
I had fun wandering around and taking some photographs of some of the very stunning garments. Say what you will about the dubious authenticity of some of their habits, these folks really do know how to dress in gaudy plumage! The men look so dashing!
As I was preparing to take a picture of a well-looking couple, I was flanked by two men.
"Is that one of those boxes that captures the image of a man?" I was asked.
"Yes," I replied.
"BURN HER!" he screamed.