Wednesday, July 30, 2008

seven at one blow

Good news everyone! The giant waiting game has paid off. I've been promoted at work. I didn't want to talk about it too much, in case it didn't happen, but it did. Yay, me. From now on I'll be working as a tailor, so I'll actually be constructing clothes instead of merely repairing them. I'll be starting out on the men's team...yup, that means breechy goodness by the yard.

I applied for this job nearly a month ago. My boss asked me to apply, but I had to go through the entire application process again. I didn't realise how stressful it was--probably because the first time I did it I was still working in Chicago--but this time, waiting to hear back about my sewing test was slightly agonising. And I had to go to a job interview this morning. A proper interview, with questions and darting glances at my resume. I even dressed up--and I must say, it's harder to pull together a "business casual" outfit that it once was. Not only did I misplace my bronze lipgloss somewhere, but my H&M jacket has finally reached the point of "take in or toss."

But never mind that. It's a relief to know that I'll be making slightly more money--not to mention learning some valuable skillz about how to actually take a pile of fabric and turn it into a garment.

Huzzah. And now. Bed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The ox is slow, but the earth is patient

So now for the unfun part: waiting to hear back from all the exciting things I applied/auditioned/porfolio'd for. Patience is not one of my virtues, but I am learning it here at CW, where everything happens when they are ready. Good and.

I have to keep reminding myself that even if nothing comes through--even if I don't get that position of "writer in residence" that I was fantasising about the other day--I am still Fully Employed at a job I look forward to, and I occasionally get paid to swallow black powder and shout huzzah in a lusty manner.

(That reminds me--I want a t-shirt that says "I'd Rather Be Eating Black Powder." hee.)

And I love Virginia. I can see how George Washington could never shut up about it in his letters back home. It's constantly hot and humid and languid and I've never appreciated shade so much in my life, but the smell here is incredible: nine parts dead pine needles and one part growing green things. I took myself off for a bike ride this afternoon because I was feeling frustrated, and by the time I came back, I was singing "Hearts of Oak" at the top of my lungs.

(That also reminds me--I need to learn some American military songs...somehow singing British naval songs while marching onto the field just seems...odd.)

Virginia has a lot of insects though, including the famed Wolf Spider (ask dear brother about that one) and two kinds of roaches, and crickets that will keep you up at night with their string quartets. I'm covered in bites after rolling around in the grass on Saturday while babysitting, and when I was out bike riding tonight I must have swallowed half a cloud of gnats. (You're still a vegetarian if you accidentally get your protein from biking through an insect cloud.) I'm not used to living in an area that's so vibrantly, unashamedly alive. While returning home tonight I was startled to see an animal cross the road--at first I thought it was a greyhound (what can I say, they're on my mind lately)--but then I realised it was a deer. In the middle of the day, in a middle of a suburb. Granted, heavily wooded suburb, but still.

So I'm focused on counting my blessings and being content with what I have. It's not so long, after all, since I was miserable and had nothing good. Steady job, good. Mad sewing skillz, good. Black powder, good. Five more pages of a new play, good. Men in breeches...very good.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Bringin' tha sexay

I know some of you have been wanting to see me in my historical clothes. Today I corralled my roommate and had her snap a photo of me out on our porch. Pretty sexay, huh? Men's breeches have a lot of gathering in the back, so you get a bubble-butt effect, but they're so comfortable I could wear them all day long. Stockings--not so much. What you don't see is the elastic "garters" I'm wearing to hold them up. The hat is definitely my favourite part: a black felt hat cocked up on one side with a black cockade...and it actually fits my huge head. My shoes are also pretty comfortable, except there's no arch support. They are made on period designs, but the shoes are soled with a thin layer of recycled do I know it's recycled? It says "Goodyear" on my right foot.

The reason for getting into these clothes (it only takes me about ten minutes now--used to take me more than fifteen) was because I had militia again today. The bus doesn't run on Sundays, however, so I decided to take my bike. I live about four miles from CW--four hilly miles. But I feel guilty using my friends as my personal taxi service, and I wanted to start biking in earnest again, so I suited up and biked over. It was about 85 degrees when I set out, with humidity hovering around ninety percent--the storms that had been heading right towards us split it two and spared Williamsburg, but at least it was overcast with a steady breeze. It's amazing how quickly one learns to appreciate a heavy breeze. Not only does it cool, it also blows the smoke away.

My gun misfired twice because of the humidity, but I still had fun. And the ride home, while arduous, wasn't agonising. My legs are a little cranky though. I feel like saying "remember this?" I selfishly admit part of the reason I want to bike more is to keep my legs in shape...after all, breeches are designed to show off those sexay calves, and while mine are pretty sexay, they could be sexayier.

I did not, however, bike to church this morning. Arriving at militia hot and panting for breath is acceptable when you're surrounded by sweaty, dirty military guys. Not so much when you're going to a genteel Southern Methodist church. But I hate asking people to go out of their way to pick me up and give me rides. I want to be more self-reliant. Maybe the time has come for me to finally go over totally into militant bike-rider. Salon had an interesting article this morning about a man who has a "SUB"--a sports utility bike, a heavy-duty road bike he uses to take his kids to school and go grocery shopping. My bike is pretty reliable, it's just the woman-power that's a little lacking. But it only takes me twenty minutes to get to work, ten minutes to get to the grocery store. That's doable.

Church was a lot of fun this morning...the choir is done now until September, so we had "family choir" instead of just the sanctuary choir. The kids were pretty well-behaved, except for the two boys in front of me who were talking loudly during the was kinda hard to discipline them though, since they were reading from the Bible. After babysitting yesterday, and now seeing the kids running around in church, I feel like I've been poked repeatedly in my biological clock.

Although, watching some of the screaming kids in the historical area will cure that pretty quick. Let's just hit "snooze" shall we?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Slow News Day

Yet another reason why you should vote for Barack Obama: the rest of the world loves him. Including the French. And the Israelis.

I saw a t-shirt a few months ago that said "This Time, I Want a Smart President" which is true. I also want a president I don't have to apologise for or explain away when I travel abroad. A president who will, in turn, make Americans not appear to be imperialistic, oil-hungry hogs, so that when I introduce myself as "le American" I don't get that momentary sniff of "Oh. Huh." Even though 90% of Americans who manage to make it out of the country are open-minded thinkers, we still have to deal with the image of Fearless Leader.

This time I want a smart president AND someone who I am proud to have represent the face of our nation.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Basically, I enjoy the attention

Like all great shows, the second time I went out to perform Militia! The Review I totally screwed it up. Forgot commands, failed to wheel correctly, started on the wrong foot, you name it. For example "make ready!" means to fully cock your gun and take the hammerstall off the frizzen...not attempt to aim in in preparation for firing. Which is what I did. Oops. Sometimes the yelling at the raw recruits bit is not actually playacting.

This was the first time that most of my coworkers saw my outfit. Somehow, I don't know exactly how, I've gained a reputation as a Fan of Breeches, so the sight of me going through my laundry chores clad in eighteenth century garb garnered more than a few snickers and playful jabs. I get dressed on my break, since I don't have enough time to change and get over to the magazine after work. Naturally, everyone also gives me the once-over to make sure I'm picture-perfect. Luckily, I'm man enough to wear my buckles all the time. Not everyone in CW is. My hair-tie (a bit of selvage from some period fabric) did not pass muster, however, causing the accessories ladies to fuss a bit until I had a proper black ribbon. When my captain came in to get his laundry he heard about this momentary lapse, and made sure to poke fun at me when I arrived at the guardhouse. Since everyone knows I'm with the costume dept, I have an extra duty to make sure that my clothes are accurate and correctly worn.

Well, duty, yes, but also the fact that the clothes are just so much more fun if you get picky about little things like buckles and ribbons. Hee.

After my spectacular performance, I was walking back to turn in my musket when I noticed a pair of young boys following the militia group. One of them was cooing over my gun. I stopped to chat for a second, and their mother came up and asked if we could have a picture. Well, sure! Why not. I let the kids pat my gun afterward. Believe me, I know a thing or two about geeking out about historical goodness.

Then I had to trot on up to Merchant Square to catch the bus. It was sort of sprinkling by this point, so I tucked my hat down low and walked quickly. As I went past a school group, huddled under an awning for protection, I could hear some of the girls whispering and pointing--then one of them exclaimed: "Look at that guy! Look at his clothes! Do you think I should go talk to him?!"

It took me a minute before I realised they were talking about me. I wanted to stop and tell them about being a woman in the militia and show them my black powder marks, but I was afraid I was going to miss the bus, so I kept walking. I should have stopped though, because I was waiting for ten minutes. But it was still kind of a kick to hear that I could "pass" for "Nick" even if it was because I was on the move with a low slung hat and man-clothes.

Oh, I do like the militia. I love marching around and having my picture taken. And you don't have to talk to people if you don't want to...I think I might have to mingle a little more on Friday. Get in a couple more photo albums...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

happy anniversary

I realised late last night that the 20th was an important anniversary...a milestone of sorts, if you will.

I'm talking, of course, about the last Harry Potter book being released. Book Seven. The end. No more. How am I doing? One year in? Well, so far I've read it three times, and the utter despair of knowing there will be no more HP hasn't set in. After all--we usually had to wait two years (or more--remember book five?!) for the next installment. But there will be no more, and that fact becomes more real with each passing day. Ah, me. I think that's part of the reason I'm spacing out the Aubrey/Maturin chronicles. Apart from the reason that they are crack and too much of a good thing might very well kill me.

I kid, of course...the 20th is also the one year anniversary of my brother and sister-in-law's marriage. Happy one year, kids. Here's to many more.

Last year at this time I was happily frolicking on a beach, desperately glad to be away from a job which I would grow to abhor and eventually be fired from. My one regret? Not quitting sooner. I'm so much happier down here in Williamsburg, despite the fact that I make about half what I did in Chicago. The people are friendlier and more relaxed, and the atmosphere is less tense. It's hard to take yourself too seriously if you're wearing breeches and talking on a cell phone at the same time.

But tonight, dear readers, I have a touch of the hypo. Fear not--this is the kind that comes with long days at work and lack of sleep (owing to the fact I've been chasin' the white whale afore bedtime), not the soul-crushing kind that forces Nicki to take to her bed and weep. My audition went very well last night, and I have high hopes for getting involved in the evening programs. Although, I doubt they'll cast me as the govenor's wife, Lady Dunmore, though I surely had fun reading the part. And now that I've passed on musketry, the militia will become a regular excursion. And my portfolio is getting attention...possibly writing projects will follow?

So I really can't put a finger on why I should feel, well, blue this evening. Perhaps it's just because I'm not used to so much happiness. Ah, but I suspect it's the auld familiar complaint of being without Love, for, now that I have all my needs and wants taken care of, I have time to sit back and ponder on when the heavens will see fit to send me someone to love.

Although, with my luck lately, that could be any second now...

Monday, July 21, 2008

take care

Yesterday I got to participate in my first militia review. It was super-fun! Teehee! I tried not to giggle like a schoolgirl when I was dressed down by the captain because I had neglected to shave, but it was hard because the person next to me was tee-heeing like mad.

This is a picture I lovingly stole off of's a couple years old, but it should give you an idea of the uniforms we wear. Yesterday, in 93 degree I had on: silk/linen breeches, a linen/cotton shirt, cotton waistcoat, a stock (around the neck), a purple hunting frock, cotton stockings, leather shoes and black felt hat. The hat is cocked up on the left side so it doesn't hit the musket barrel...unless you're me and you have to carry your gun slightly tilted back because of a little thing called "hips."

The program I participate in is called "Days in History" and it's really sort of the grand finale of the two-day Revolutionary City program. We assemble on the village green, then form up to the sound of the Fife & Drum Corps and fix bayonets. We get inspected and then General Washington gives a speech (or sometimes General Lafayette, who is adorable with his adorable French accent). During the speech, we try not to pass out from the heat. Afterward, we go through the manouvers: loading, firing, marching, pushing bayonets, shouting "huzzah!" in a lusty manner. Then we break for artillery...since I'm not trained on the cannon I got to stand in the "rest" position while the rest of the platoon loaded and fired. Afterward, we broke into two platoons and marched off the field, back to the military "headquarters."

I did everything perfectly, except the marching down the street bit: I forgot the movements for "support arms" which is where you cross your arms over your musket. If you were really marching, this would be a different position to give your arms a bit of a break. Those muskets are really bloody heavy, actually. And there was one point where the ramrod refused to come out of the thimbles, so instead of a careful, safety-oriented slide, I was forced to give it an undignified yank. I don't think that I was the worst person though. The first time we were ordered to "cast about" and continue loading, the woman next to me set her musket butt right on my foot.

Your Continental Army, ladies and and gentlemen!

The program is only about a half-hour long, which is about as much as we can take in our uniforms, but I wish I had more of an excuse to run around and play militiaman, because it's so much fun. Maybe after tonight that will happen--I'm auditioning for the walking tours. Could you see me telling ghost stories? Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Scariest And Funnest Day in Wmsbrg

A couple of women I work with--Other Nicole and Erin--and I decided to have a Sewing Day yesterday, just to do something different. We all wanted to make period clothes, in a period manner, as well as hang out and chat. I'm working on a suit of clothes--right now I have the linen for the shirt, and I'm slowly putting it together. Sewing period is a little different from modern sewing, as I'm learning. Even the stitches are different, and the seam allowances are smaller. The good part about it is that it's harder to screw up, since you're making garments without a pattern and you can ease and fudge the fabric until it works. The bad part is...there's no pattern. (BTW, I ordered my linen from Wm Booth, Draper, a website that is based in Wisconsin--lots of pretty period stuff and they are really prompt with the shipping.)

Erin was driving up from Hampton, so Nicole and I said we'd meet her at Panera for lunch. On the way there, driving through the parking lot, we were saw a car suddenly screech up and stop. A woman jumped out of the driver's door, and when I rolled down my window, she said "Call 911, my mother's having a seizure!" Suddenly our average, boring Saturday disappeared. I could feel Nicole fumbling for her cell, and since she knew better than I where we were, I leapt out of the car to see if I could help. I've taken CPR classes from the Red Cross, but it's been awhile. But I remembered that a seizure victim should be kept from banging their head around, and--once the seizure passed--to make sure she wasn't choking. I was totally unprepared though, for the sight of a woman in the throes of a grande le mal seizure. When I opened the back door on the passenger side of the car, my heart nearly stopped. The woman there was clenching her teeth and shuddering, and her face was going slightly white-blue. I think my mind must have clicked into super-hyper-memorisation mode, because everything I saw from that point on is etched pretty well into my memory, but I'll spare you the details. I felt for a pulse on her neck and then held her head, trying to decide if the seizure had passed. I could see she wasn't breathing, so I tried to open her mouth. I was ready to do rescutative breathing, but at that point she started breathing on her own again. Not normal breathing, but gaggedy, half-breaths, like someone was pumping on her lungs. I could hear her daughter on the phone explaining her medical history to the paramedics. Meanwhile, I'm patting the woman's head and telling her that we've called 911 and to try to hang on. It was very frightening, but I was trying to be calm and helpful. The woman who stopped us turned out to be a nurse, so she was also calm and collected in this situation, taking her mother's pulse and relaying information on Nicole's cell.

Somewhere in the middle of all this Erin showed up, and then a few minutes later the paramedics arrived. They loaded the unconscious woman into the ambulance, and shut the door. It got very quiet all of a sudden, and I wasn't really sure what to say to the daughter. She thanked us profusely for stopping and so we finally just left. When I got back into the car to go to the restaurant, the trauma of what had happened hit me, and I had to cry for a minute or two. It felt very weird to be going into a restaurant and ordering sandwiches...I remember thinking "I have to go wash my hands, they were in someone's mouth." But we stayed at Panara for nearly two hours, just talking about theatre, and families and CW, and gradually Saturday resumed some of its normalcy. I'm glad that I wasn't a useless wreck in a situation like that but...I think I'm going to sign up for a CPR refresher course.

The rest of the afternoon we spent sewing. Well, Nicole and Erin cut and draped and discussed trimmings, I mostly sat on the sofa practising my handstiches, nursing Midol and wailing about my continued state of spinsterhood (yes, on top of everything else, I got my Friend yesterday too). I did get most of my shirt cut out though, so maybe this afternoon I'll put P&P on and practise my mantua maker's stitch. We ordered calzones the size of footballs for dinner, along with tiramisu, and then watched "Marie Antoinette" until it was time to go to the movie theatre.

Unlike the rest of the world, we had decided to go see "Mama Mia!" opting for light, fluffy, musical, instead of dark, brooding, angst. I'm glad we saw it. I knew it was going to be cheesy and possibly horrible, but instead it was cheesy and incredibly fun and funny. The story takes places on a Greek island, so right away I was in love with it--especially the "Greek chorus" of peasants who popped up in random places to provide backup singers to the main characters. And of course, Meryl Streep was a joy to watch. Even when she was singing cheesy ABBA songs and dancing around in spandex, she can still out-act anyone on screen. By the end of the movie, the jokes and the music had gotten so good that there was literally a ten-minute period where I did not stop laughing. Although part of that might have been various associations that we made on our own, including Colin Firth's "have you ever tried...not being a mutant?" scene on the boat and Pierce Brosnan's wholehearted attempt to rock out. I also appreciated all the beach scenes with the young, hot Greek men dancing around in swimming gear, and Julie Water's use of the word "epharisto" before she bites off the cap of a Mythos beer and chugs it. Ah, Greece.

So yesterday was a very weird day. Alternately terrifying and incredibly entertaining. And also just a lot of fun. It was great to hang out with people who are near to me in age and share my theatrical passions and who don't mind if I get out my soapbox once in a while. Next time though, we may have to be sewing on ABBA costumes...Hallowe'en is coming up, after all...

Friday, July 18, 2008


[got this off a spanish blog...I think it says "the frog princess...]
A long time ago I heard a rumor about a Disney movie that was going to feature a black princess, mercenarily because Disney had no African-American doll in its arsenal of "Princesses." Now I'm finding out that, yes Virginia, this movie is being made, but it's already starting to pick up a lot of controversy, because the story might be considered somewhat racist. Me, I'm waiting until it comes out in theatres, but if you want to read more, here's an excellent article about it. Basically, the story takes place in New Orleans in the 1920s and revolves around a black chambermaid and a white debutante, some voodoo, jazz music (of course) and apparently a prince of Middle-Eastern origin. Sounds interesting.

My biggest problem with the movie is not any of the ideas outlined in the articles I've read, but the whole idea that Disney is creating another "princess." I was madd as hell when they started marketing their heroines in a bunch, making Cinderella and Mulan hang out at the Princess Beach House and give each other pedicures. To me, the heroines of the Disney movies are unique, individual people, but Disney has, well, Disnefied them--actually, Barbified them might be a better term--so that they have zero individuality. A girl's favourite doll might be chosen simply because of the color of her hair.

Okay, full disclosure, part of the reason I liked Belle so much growing up was because she had brown hair--but also because she was smart, liked to read and walked around singing. Kind of like me. And brown hair influenced a lot of my decisions when I was younger, that's how I picked out my dog. Besides, Belle isn't even a princess. She's a commoner, one of us, who clearly is not going to let a royal marriage go to her head. My other favourite Disney princess, Ariel, is the same way--her royal birthright is hardly a factor in the movie. She certainly doesn't act like a princess, and the only time it comes in handy is when her father uses his kingly magic to give her legs. Both women were strong and independent and didn't spend their whole lives waiting around for prince charming.

My point is--I wish that Disney would stop turning their amazing heroines into mass-marketed junk. Even the dolls they sell today are wide-eyed, vapid shadows of their former selves. Don't believe me? Scan your nearest toy shelf the next time you're in Target. I don't remember Belle having doe-eyes. Disney should stick to what it did best and make good movies, great, strong female characters, and leave the rest of it alone. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go get my dinglehopper and sort out this mess on my head...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

That was easy...a little too easy.

I stopped working at the Toymakers: now that I've passed on musketry, the additional hours will pay about the same that I made there. And I'm hoping to have other opportunities to work for CW, so I feel pretty good about leaving.

Just to give myself a reality check though, I went to my banks' websites (banks=plural) and took a look at my account balances. I was surprised to see a $6 monthly fee for my Chase account...the account I created when I was making $500 a week that required steady direct deposits, or else it would start charging me money to, I don't know, be there. There are no Chase banks in the area, so I haven't been using that money--I'd rather have it sit there in case of emergency, but $6 every month is a little too much. All my funds would have disappeared by the time there was a true emergency. So I decided to call Chase and see if there was anyway I could close the account down over the phone. I hunkered down with a margarita and a looong book (I've dealt with financial institutions via phone before) and prepared to do battle. To my surprise, not only was I able to close the account over the phone, but the entire conversation only took thirteen minutes. And the people were very helpful, just like the people in their brick and mortar stores. So that's a relief. The checks are in the mail, as they say...I'll probably buy a CD with the money and try not to think about it.

But a small part of me can't help but think that closing a bank account shouldn't be this easy. There are some things you want to be able to do in person. Granted, since the nearest Chase bank is about an hour away, this is a good option for me, but I'm glad that it was actually me closing the account and not some me-imposter.

Tonight I am very tired. I had a long day at work--lots of different things going on. CW is a major contributor to United Way, which is an organisation that gives money to lots of different charities. Today was a kickoff lunch, where you could come meet the organisations, get free t-shirts, sign up for door prizes and also free lunch. I won a "Country Cookbook" with lots of helpful receipies (like corndogs!) but I also had beef tacos so now my tummy is angry. It was nice to get out of the CDC though, and I got to meet some new people. I pledged $2 out of every paycheck for United Way, figuring I can afford that. It's only $52 a year, painless really. And the organisations that were there were all so cool and interesting. Although the ones about fostering kids and adoption poked me right in the biological clock...huh, must be nearing that time of the month. Or maybe I'm just getting anxious for some baby pictures...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

If Music Be The Food of Love

One of the best things about my job is the fact that I can listen to music all day, but that makes for some crazy playlists. Today, for example, I listened to Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Original B'way version, in case you were wondering), Roast Beef of Old England and Spring Awakening, a new-ish musical. I think the show is cool and important, but the music is sort of pop/boy-bandish and a little annoying to listen to via headphones.

Roast Beef is the CD I bought to reward myself for having apartment, it's a collection of Navy chanties from Nelson's navy. Some of the songs get stuck in your head, but I haven't quiiite learned all the lyrics yet. That hasn't stopped me from singing as I trot back and forth between the racks though:

Farewell and adieu to you Spanish Ladies,
Farewell and adieu, to you ladies of Spain
For we are commanded to sail for Gibralter
We hope we may shortly see you again.

We'll rant and we'll rave like true British sailors
We'll rant and we'll rave, all on the salt sea.
Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England.
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty-five leagues.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Huh. Wow.

Or: Better Than I Remembered.

Or: Why I Now Own a Laser Printer.

My boss's boss asked me to come into her office today...nervously, I complied, only to find that she had a copy of my resume open on her computer. She asked me to sit down and then said, "You have a master's degree in playwrighting?" in a somewhat incredulous tone. "I'm sorry, I didn't realise, but--you have a master's degree? In playwrighting?"

Um. Yes, I was aware of that fact, but really it's....

"You do realise you're grossly overqualified for this position, don't you?"

Weeeell...actually, yes.

I tried to explain that I knew when I came to Williamsburg that this was going to be my "day job" not the sum total of my career, that this was merely a way to see a new part of the world and pay the bills, until Broadway came a'knockin'... In the back of my mind I'm desperately trying to quell the part of my brain that's shouting "Aha, and how much have you written lately? Really written? I mean--written down on PAPER?!"

Then my boss's boss started talking about other departments. Departments where they write things down. Things which get said in front of other people--sometimes even memorized!--and occasionally these other people applaud. She mentioned several areas where the words which had been written down might need a titch of improvement. She wondered if I could bring in samples of my work.

Could I!!!

First though, I had to buy a printer. And even though I was hoping to find a version of my old faithful HP, what I electrocuted in London, in the end I went with a low-end version of a laser printer. No color, no picture capabilities, no, this baby is all about black and white and pages and pages and pages of glorious text.

Kinda like a professional writer might have.

The next step was wading through all of the scripts I have. Half-finished scripts. Scripts which are not appropriate for mixed company. Scripts that have two stories haphazardly sewn together. I pulled out six scenes, a couple of my favourites and some new ones, a few essays (I swear, I've gotten more real estate out of that Assassins essay...) and finally I decide to "sacrifice" one of my Goldsmith's books. The printed, bound "professional" books they gave each of us a stack of at graduation. I have four left--one is going to CW. The scenes and essays got three hole-punched and stuck into a binder, the book was carefully bookmarked with a London postcard. Prayers are currently on the wing.

But before I finish my "portfolio," I read Unexpected City for the first time in, oh, at least a year and a half. And I surprised myself. It's good. I mean, it's really freaking good. I can't believe how good it is. I'm SHOCKED at how good it is. I'm actually tearing up slightly, disbelieving. Could it be? After years of shrugging off heartfelt praise from other people, I suddenly Believe that I'm just as damme good as everyone says I am. Better, even. This ain't ego talking, this is...the proof is in the print, people.

I'm amazing!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A: "The Colour of French Blood"

Q: "So, what color are you looking for, anyway?"

Other Nicole asked me that as we innocently wandered into Hancock Fabrics five minutes before they closed. I was determined to find a sheerish fabric to hang over the uglay lighting fixture in my bathroom. I want to decorate my bathroom in a Nile theme, as in "Battle of the" so in addition to Egyptian-inspired fabrics and paintings (and a crocodile in the bathtub), there will also be pictures of 'splody battleships. I only wish I could paint the walls. Sigh.

Nicole and I went to see Wall-E today, which was pretty good. I have to admit I was quite engrossed, although not for the reason the filmmakers wanted. Spoiler alert! Within the first couple minutes of the movie you realise that Wall-E is alone on Earth, which is covered with garbage and junk from the wasteful human beings who are...where? Ah, well, I won't give that part away, but let's just say it definitely hit home, especially coming hot on the heels of my successful dumpster expedition. The amount of stuff we throw away every year is staggering. I'm as bad as most people, but I'm trying to mend my ways.

More spoilers! The movie was focussed a lot on the robots, of course, so it was easy to overlook the plight of the humans. When they did appear, their cheerfulness and determination to start over was laudable, but it was hard to believe they were actually going to survive, because we in the audience had SEEN what awaited them. I was glad that the robots of the future were so durable, because I honestly do not give the humans of this movie much of a chance. Also, one of the "themes" running through the movie was a song from "Hello, Dolly!" Slightly incongruous, especially when Wall-E starts watching the same part of the video over and over...Michael Crawford dancing around in tighty-pants was extra weird when superimposed on a backdrop of total desolation. I guess "Sweeney Todd" would have been too obvious...

The other bit of Wall-E I enjoyed was the credits, which moved through different styles of paintings, starting with cave-drawings, then Egyptian hiroglyphics, etc, until a Turner-inspired page scrolled past. Very cool, Pixar.

In other news, I'm not feeling well. I don't know what's wrong with me. I have a pain all over my right side that comes and goes and moves around, and a sore throat and sometimes my balance feels a little off, which could explain all the needle pricks last Friday. Or maybe I'm just tired. Today was my first day off in a couple weeks--literally, the first day I had nothing on the schedule. Tomorrow I'm going to make a doctor's appointment, since my insurance kicked in, huzzah, finally, but I wish I could perk up a little bit.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dumpster Diving: Varsity Team

My roommate and I were having a discussion the other night about the Single Woman’s Dilemma, which goes something like this: Should I buy nice things now, because I have no current marriage prospects and therefore no hopes of getting Nice Things via a wedding shower OR do I buy cheap things and hold out hope that I’ll be able to replace them soon when I get a man and a wedding shower?

It’s mercenary, I know, but at least I’m not the only one who’s thought that way.

For the record, if I ever get married, the only thing I want is a Kitchen Aid mixer, in eggplant. Oh, and love everlasting. Thank you.

I have no problem with cheap, if it’s good quality, which usually means that I buy stuff secondhand, and that’s fine. I have been moving a lot recently, which means that things come into my life and quickly go—by my count I’ve bought several irons, various dishes, linens, glasses, hangers, etc. Lately I’ve become more conscious of trying to stay out of the consumer culture, which means I try not to throw stuff away. This also means that recently I’ve been buying the Nice Things (like a new bed!) knowing that I’m going to hang onto it for a loooong time.

Sometimes though, you have to go cheap, like my $30 Target bookcase which still reeks of woodglue and formadahyde a week after I’ve unpacked it. I was feeling guilty as I went to throw the box away—it’s cardboard! It should be recycled!—because we have no recycling facilities onsite, but imagine my horror when I looked into the Dumpster and saw an entire set of frying pans, barely scratched, that someone had thrown away.

The horror. The horror.

Now, we have pans. We have enough frying pans that—should we choose, we could fry an entire carton of eggs, with each egg in its own special pan. We do not, however, have saucepans. But as my eyes traveled over the pile of white garbage bags and the various other items, I saw a gleaming pile of saucepans just out of reach. I could not believe it. I went back into the house and quickly made up a fishing pole, using the handle from our broom, a wire coathanger and one of my grosgrain ribbon belts, and proceeded to fish the saucepans out of the Dumpster. The first try bent the hook on the hanger straight, but with patience I managed to extract a stock pot, a medium-sized saucepan, a larger, flatter saucepan, a small saucepan, and (miracle of miracles) a vegetable steamer! Which is something I’ve been lusting for lately. Huzzah!

The reason why the hook was bent straight was made abundantly clear when I flipped over the small saucepan—these aren’t your cheap, Dollar Tree aluminum saucepans, oh no. They are heavy duty, Faberware Millenium stainless steel cookware, with the copper bottoms, heavy enough to commit murder with. They are wedding-registry worthy Nice Things. And they are all mine.

What’s a little dumpster diving and some heavy duty scrubbing?

Friday, July 11, 2008

What I'm Mad As Hell About Today

Sometimes things happen and I remember that I'm a feminist and that apparently, I'm the only feminist around here. So it's up to me to get excited about things which are sexist and offensive, if only because some of the people I know think it's just adorable.

Anyway. I watch a lot of Comedy Central, and right now they have some Domino's Pizza ads in heavy rotation. The first one is of a perky Domino's delivery girl driving through Gotham city, being chased by baddies before finally makin' that delivery (one presumes, in under 30 minutes), and telling the scary clowns who answer the door that "the Joker owes me a car." Okay, fine. Apart from feeling a pang of "but...but the Joker's dead! Wahhh!" everytime I see this commercial, mostly it only brings out feelings of immense irritation. Like I said, heavy rotation.

The second commercial is similar, only this time they're promoting a Domino's sweepstake where some lucky schmuck will get ten thousand dollars delivered to them along with their pizza. Another perky Domino's girl (not the same one as in the first commercial, but definitely in the same mold) is explaining the terms of the contest while a gruff-looking dude stands next to her, holding a metal briefcase with $10,000 in it.

Let me just pause here and say, for the record, that if I ever won ten thousand dollars, I would take it in stacks of new ten dollar bills, and then I would spread them around on my nice new bed and roll around on them for awhile. Yeah.

Anyway, so the Domino's girl finishes explaining and she turns to Mr. Tuff Guy and says "Ready?" and he says "Ready, cupcake."

And...Nicki spits out her brownie in a blur of indignation.

Really? Really Dominos?! For starters--you have your perky delivery girls braving the back alleyways of Gotham in your commercials, I'm sure they're more than qualified to take an unassuming briefcase along with them. Why bother to introduce a random gruff dude? Surely that negates the whole "ooooh, Gotham is so tough and scary, but we are Domino's--our people can deliver anywhere, even our cute perky girls!" shtick. Secondly--cupcake?! How degrading can you get? Cupcake is used on little girls, not on grown women who are working hard and who are suddenly forced to tolerate the intrusion of some condescending jerk with his muscles.

The commercials don't make sense--I don't like using this Batman to shill for pizza anyway--and they are really frustrating. I know, I know--Peter--that "it's just a commercial" and I'm reading too much into it, but everytime the second one comes on, I am filled with an uncontrollable rage. Luckily that's only happened twice, but honestly--haven't we moved past "cupcake?" Surely if you're paying an advertising company billions of dollars to sell your pizza, they can come up with something a little less offensive.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quite a Good Day, Actually

Today was crazy, but it was a good day--I passed musket training, so now I am qualified to march in the military review on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. I only swallowed about half a cartridge's worth of black powder. Then I had choir practise--first time in two weeks. I didn't realise how much I missed it. And now I have a delicious brownie to end the day on. I probably shouldn't eat the whole thing, but, eh. If I don't it'll only get stale, right?

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Crack, boom!

Wmsbrg was rent asunder this afternoon by a thunderstorm of truly epic proportions. I am skittish around thunder at the best of times, but being in a large metal barn while lightning is striking the church just over yonder almost caused me to crawl under my work station. Only the thought of a bolt of lightning traveling down the needle on my machine and hitting me in the head prevented me. Well, that, and finally losing what little dignity I have left.

I assumed that because of the lightning, militia practise would be cancelled, so I didn't go. One of my coworkers made fun of me for being a sissy about the rain, which sort of rankled. I stood out in the rain for three hours last Friday--it's the "walking around in the thundery weather with a LIGHTNING ROD resting on your shoulder" that got me. Adult that I am, however, I assumed a Zen position and allowed the comments to roll off me. Ommm....

I really like being in the militia. For the past couple weeks I've been "drilling"--which basically means learning the commands so I can execute them in front of a crowd of people without a) looking like an idiot and b) hurting anyone. I have to pass on musketry and artillery (yea, cannon!) before I can get assigned a uniform and a spot in the military review, but I'm hoping it will happen soon. Being a part of a pretend militia is very weird. As most of you probably suspect, I'm a fairly huge liberal, and I like to think I'm a pacifist, but I have seen the appeal of guns. They go BOOM. Actually, flintlock muskets go "click--ssst---BANG!" and they spit black powder in your face. I'm trying to work up a "character" not so I can be a jerk and walk around pretending like it's the 18th century, but so I can react to things how my character would. So far I have it that my husband has been pressed into the British Navy (what can I say, some things never change, even in the 18th century) and since we lost our farm I decided to take up arms and fight to get him back. So I've disguised myself as a man and joined the 2nd Virginia Regiment. Of course, it's hard to stay in character when your searjeant is teasing you for forgetting which is your right and which is your left.

It's easy to forget that the guns we use are actually weapons. They can kill people. We load them with black powder and a bit of cartridge paper, but if a ball was rammed down the barrel, it would kill someone. Even powder and paper has the potential to burn--I wasn't kidding when I said that it will spit in your face occasionally. And after each review we have to go around and pick up bits of burned paper. I've been so focussed on getting the techniques and the movements right that sometimes I forget that this is the same training a soldier would have received 200 years ago. Only their aim would be at a human being.

The weirdest part of the training has to be fixing bayonets. A bayonet is a bit of metal that screws onto the end of your musket. If the enemy is advancing quickly, or you're running after them, or there's no time to reload, you can take your musket and stab people to death with the bayonet. There is nothing theatrical about a bayonet, even when it's not sharpened, like CW's. They are bits of metal designed to stick into people until they die. End of story. I try not to get distracted by the murderous intentions of my weapons, but everytime I get a little too geeked out about the black powder bangs, I remind myself that this is not a toy.

Still--it's a re-enactment. Our militia has more in common with a theatrical event than an actual fighting corps. And it's enjoyable. Especially the part where we present bayonets and shout "HUZZAH!" I can hardly wait for my first review...I hear General Washington is going to be there...

Monday, July 07, 2008


Most of you know I blog, some of you know I journal, a few of you have read my plays and only rarely have I inflicted poetry or art on people I love. Last night I had a nightmare that the books and notebooks I journal in were filling the rooms of my house, spilling out of boxes, off of shelves and pushing out the windows. That my whole life, neatly writ down in black and white was taking over my REAL life, lived in vivid technicolor. It was quite alarming.

I woke up thinking I must write the play that's been knocking around in my head for awhile. I want to write what I know, namely, a play about Me. How to stop it from being narcissistic I have no idea, but that seems to be the story that wants to come out. Everyone has a past, and mine is better documented than most. So why not a play about my life, my thoughts, my fears and dreams?

The history of me is a history of Me in Love, of being Hurt and making myself Strong again. Maybe I'm afraid that if I write the script people who love me will look at me askance, will worry and ask if that's what I really think. That they'll get upset or angry or even refuse to love me anymore, a fate I could not bear. But then again, the idea of finally opening up--of truly freewriting, a freewheeling historic sprawl across super-sized paper--is sort of liberating. I have the outline here and ready, the characters in the wing, I just have to see if I'm brave enough to write it down.

And if I am, if I'm brave enough to let anyone read it. A life recorded and locked away for Posterity is safe, but a life uponstage feels more dangerous than a thin cord stretched across Niagara.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Moste Fun Fourth

Apart from the fact that I’m limping on both legs and my feet are so cut up I can’t wear shoes, the Fourth of July was a total success! I never had so much fun in my life.

I’ve finally started my militia training, and even though I haven’t passed on musketry, my captain asked if I’d like to work with the military program guys on the Fourth. They’re in charge of setting up the barricades around the firework display—in addition to putting on all their military programs for the day. That included a military review at ten in the morning, with most of the militia present. I couldn’t drill, but I did stand by one of the gates and direct guests around by the street. (“Why?” “Because, sir, the cannons are pointed this way and they’re about to be fired.”) Then I helped pound wooden stakes into the ground, which was slightly softer than concrete—one moment when I wished that CW wasn’t quite so bent on periodness. Plastic CAUTION tape would have suited me just fine. By this point the thermometer was hovering around ninety degrees and the humidity was rising. Keep in mind I’m wearing cotton stockings, silk and cotton breeches, a linen shirt, a cotton weskit and a straw hat. And period shoes. I learned that period clothes get sweaty very quickly, but they also dry out very quickly, which was good. And after about the first hour of sweatyness, you don’t really care anymore. Everyone is sweaty and dirty. It happens.

The militia had been asked to supply a color guard for the reading of the Declaration of Independence. Most of the part-timers had already scattered, and the regular guys were busy, so the captain sent a squad of newbies down to the Capitol. Including me. I borrowed a purple hunting frock and a black cocked hat, grabbed the yellow flag and followed our lieutenant down the street. We ducked through the back alleys as much as possible, but we did attract quite a bit of attention—five women, four of whom are armed with muskets, one carrying a bright yellow flag—as we got into position behind the bakery. The Fife & Drum boys were already there, beating out a VERY modern tattoo on their drums—that is, until their drum major arrived and stopped it short like. THAT. We walked out onto the street, “formed up” and waited for the order to forward. MARCH!

Now, keep in mind that Duke of Gloucester Street is only a mile long total. And we were only marching, oh, maybe a hundred and fifty yards of that. But historical armies marched slowly. A slow, steady beat that they could keep up for hours and hours. And they march literally shoulder to shoulder so that you can sense what is happening by the person standing to the right of you. As we got the order I remember thinking “This is going to take all day!” but in truth it went a lot more quickly…several of the interpreters took off their hats to us and shouted “Huzza, boys!” before realizing that, uh, we were all women. That’s okay. Historically, we probably would have been impostors, so cheering us on as men is totally okay by me. People were clapping, tourists were taking pictures, I was hard pressed not to keep from grinning like an idiot.

We marched down to the Capitol and stood at rest while the Declaration was read—actually a dramatic performance by six or so interpreters—and then shouldered arms for the walk back up. When we turned around, I swear, I’ve never seen so many people, and I had a moment of stage fright. Thousands of people taking pictures and cheering, it was quite overwhelming. But I thought about General Washington and doing my duty and the carnage I’d soon be seeing and managed to keep a straight face. We marched back up the street, and then disbursed for chow. The military guys provide a BBQ for their own people, since they are there all day, so I had an all-American hamburger, chips and apple pie for lunch, washed down with two quarts of water and a Diet Coke.

In the afternoon I helped out with a kid’s program: tomahawk training. They set up a canvas target with a hat on top and handed out wooden sticks with leather “blades” nailed on, and let kids practise trying to knock the head off the Enemy. It was a blast to watch the kids being allowed to throw their toys for a change, and occasionally parents jumping in to be part of the fun.

After that we finished the barricades and broke for dinner. I had about a two-hour break before I was supposed to report back to the office, so I crashed at one of the interpreter break rooms, took my shoes off and attended to my wounds. Period shoes don’t have arch support, so I had added my own insoles. That made my feet and knees feel fine, but it lifted the backs of my heels so they were rubbing against my shoes, resulting in giant blisters. I had gotten some band-aids from somewhere, but they needed changing. Also, it was eating time again. My colleague from work, Other Nicole, who had also signed up for the fireworks, showed up with a salad for me, just enough to keep me going. I kept drinkin’ the water…I reckon I downed about two gallons just in the afternoon. I don’t know why I was so thirsty, because I kept going to the loo instead of sweating it out like I thought I would. Without being too obvious: breeches are not designed for female anatomy. The fall-front is a genius design if you don’t need to sit down, but they are a challenge if you are in fact trying for a larger range of movement.

Speaking of the loo, brb.

Okay, that’s better.

So finally, to the fireworks. We had been setting up the barricades all day, and the firework people had been setting up their equipment all day, but once the fireworks were “armed” about seven PM, it was necessary to keep people out of the safety zone. That’s where we came in. I was stationed near a tied-off gate across from Bruton parish, ostensibly to keep people safe, but also to answer questions about where things were located. It started raining about seven thirty, not a heavy rain, but steady and warm. After that people were asking if the show would go on—“Yes, ma’am, nine-fifteen.” It was a lot of fun to be actually talking to people and interacting with them, instead of being sequestered away as I usually am. One woman, who I’m guessing from her accent was from Eastern Europe, asked me if women would really wear this type of clothing in the 18th century. I had to answer in the negative, “Nope, I’m just wearing this because it’s easier to move around in.” But I was also getting really tired. Wearing shoes with no support on a brick pathway was incredibly wearing, and I could feel the ache moving up from my feet to my knees and into my back.

The show went off without a hitch exactly at nine-fifteen, in spite of the rain, which was still falling, steadily, warmly, straight down. Most of the crowd was in good spirits, having come armed with umbrellas or ponchos. I had to take off my hat so I could see the fireworks, and—holding it there against my weskitted heart—it occurred to me that the Fourth of July was more than just eating and drinking and making merry, that we were commemorating an anniversary, that we were celebrating a birthday. That even though this country is crazy and sometimes screwed up and sometimes embarrassing, today we could look at the events of 232 years ago and say “aw, Happy Birthday, America. Today you’re number one!” I felt like Williamsburg was the perfect place to celebrate the beginning of the country. Without any subsequent history, it’s easy to be excited about the declaration of independence, about the birth of a new nation. But I also saw people from other countries, heard people speaking Spanish and women wearing hijabs walking around, carrying American flags and small children in red, white and blue. I’m also grateful that our founders put enough stretching room into the Constitution to make room for everyone.

After the crowds cleared I quickly helped cut down the barricades (with my Leatherman—still useful!), and then signed out. Thank God Other Nicole had offered me a ride home, so I didn’t have to worry about taxis or buses at that time of night. I hobbled home, stripped off my breeches and jumped into the shower where I made use of the odd little seat that is part of the surround because my legs were a liiiitle shaky. Yesterday I had to work at the Toymaker’s, and I’ll be back there again today. In total defiance of the dress code I wore my sneakers, but I’m still sore. I’m so glad that I got to play in the 18th century all day on Friday, but it’s good to be back in the land of sneakers and indoor plumbing.

Huzzah, America!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Breeches: Not as Sexy As I'd Hoped

I can't believe that it's Thursday already. This week has flown by and there are so many things I want to tell everyone about! Like militia training--I didn't make anyone cry this week, but I did get into some more photo albums. March, march, march down the street, wheel about and boom: a dozen tourists interestedly watching me put through my paces. honestly, doesn't anyone have anything better to do?! I'm only shooting a black-powder Brown Bess!

Meanwhile: We had fire alarm yesterday, and all I could think about as we watched the firetrucks pull up was "I wish I'd grabbed Captain Cooke's coat!"

Meanwhile: My bed was delivered today. YAY! When I first started fantasising about a bed, I thought "I want my bed to be so new that the last person who touched it was some burly hard-hat wearing foreman named Dick at the factory." And today my bed came and it was so new I got to rip the plastic off! YAY! Finally, I get to be the first and only body in a bed!

Meanwhile: Tomorrow is the Fourth. I'll be working "security" which basically means I'll be standing around the barricades explaining where the toilets are and why people can't go on the green. ("Because there are cannon out there. And while they are not loaded with shot, they are still very 'splody. Please stand back.") I had gotten a set of girl clothes to wear in the evening, but I also managed to score a set of boy clothes to wear during the day. What can I say, it helps to know people in the CDC. So yes, dear readers, Nicki has finally finagled her way into a pair of breeches.

And I have to say...they are not quite as sexy as I'd hoped. Perhaps it's the bubble-butt effect, or the fact that a fall-front was, er, not designed for the female shape. They are damme comfortable, but you have to be absolutely okay with your body shape because they leave nothing to the imagination.

I'll try to post some pictures soon and update a little more cognitively next time...I'm not doing anything tonight and the pizza should be here in ten minutes. The shock of free time is overwhelming. Just enough time to practise putting my stock on.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

You Are In The Prefence of a Hoftile Army...

During the Revolution the British army, under the command of General Cornwallis, briefly took over Williamsburg in 1781. They abandoned it a few days later when they headed to Yorktown, where they expected to be met by the Navy, who would pick them up so they could live to fight another day. Instead, they were greeted by the French Navy--and coming down the road right behind them was General Washington. The British were surrounded and they surrendered. Ta-da.

Last weekend CW hosted a re-enactment of the British taking over Williamsburg. They hired several professional interpreters to play Cornwallis and his men, but they also had camping for "amateurs," meaning groups of people who interpret various battalions and troops of soldiers, along with civilians or camp followers. These are not your weekend interpreters, oh no--a lot of them wear clothes more accurate than CW's allotments, handsewn and so on, and they know their history frontwards, backwards and sidewards. Friday afternoon I saw people "hiding" their cars in the employee parking lot so they could walk to the historical area in full dress, carrying period camping equipment. There were even toddlers running around in little gowns. Aw.

It was bloody hot on Saturday, so I didn't dress up originally, but Dad and I ran into a couple of colleagues who convinced me to slip on the ol' red stockings and dive into the fray. It was sort of like being at a renaissance festival--it was more fun if you were dressed up. The British (along with a troop of Hessians, boo, hiss) had set up checkpoints at either end of the main drag, and you had to either show a pass or tell them the password on demand. They handed out little pamphlets containing "The Rules:" Anyone in period dress was subject to questioning and search. If you weren't okay with that, you should change into 21st century clothing.

About a half hour after I returned petticoated and capped, a soldier asked for my pass. Indignantly I told him that I had lived in Williamsburg all my life and that I didn't need a pass to get around. People started looking at us. The soldier called over a corporal to arrest me and escort me to the magazine, where a small tent had been set up for dissenters. As we were walking I tried to get some of the modern tourists involved by telling them about the indignity of being arrested, but they mostly goggled.

When we got to the magazine I was put in front of the local authority--I never did get his title or his name, but apparently he was the one in charge of deciding whether or not you were a royalist or a traitor to the crown. He was handing out passes that showed the bearer had sworn an oath to the king. I refused to swear the oath, so he made me stand off to the side in the sun. Meanwhile, Dad was hanging around in the background, taking pictures. Now, my colleagues had also followed us, and since they too were in period dress they were also subject to questioning--but they quickly assured their loyalty and were issued with passes. I entertained the crowd by shouting out "traitors! cowards!" as they left. Then I was brought in front of the magistrate again. He made me take off my straw hat and my cap and then my shoes--I felt dumb because my hair was being held up by very not-period bobby pins and an elastic tie--but it was quite exhilarating because it was a little bit like improvising. I said I lived in the Lightfoot Laundry when asked, and he said "oh, are you a laundress?" and I said yes, thinking that would be a good job for a woman in my type of clothes to do. And if anyone asked, I could say that my husband had been pressed into the British Navy and that was why I was so all-fired uppity against the British.

We parried a bit more--he told me the light of King George's benevolence could shine upon me, I said thanks but no thanks--and then he ordered me put into shackles. When the soldier attempted to shackle me I tried stabbing him with my hat pins. No good--I couldn't get much leverage and he was wearing a wool coat. Like I said--total authenticity. Well...okay, mostly it was all in good fun, but I think they appreciated actually having someone resisting taking the oath for a change. Finally someone suggested putting me in the stocks, and my interrogator threatened to have me take my stockings off. Well, I wouldn't have minded agitating from the stocks for awhile, but the stockings were no go since a unicorn tattoo would DEFINITELY have been non-period. Also, I was getting hot, and hungry, and I had to work in a couple hours. So, broken, defeated, I allowed myself to take their stupid oath. I got the last word in though--when the questioner said that he would be sure to send some of his shirts my way I said "Oh sir, I shall give them such a scrubbing--you will not recognise them!"

The whole time this was going on we were surrounded by a couple of touristy families. I quite enjoyed the attention, actually, apart from thinking at one moment "what the hell am I doing?! I don't know anything about 1781!" When I was being shackled (shackles are heavy, btw), a soldier turned to a little girl and asked her if she would take the oath, or if she would like to be chained up with me. She quickly shook her head, even though I encouraged her by saying "Courage, friend, we must stand up to these tyrants!"

Even after I got my pass I refused to be Dad and I were walking to the car (parked, luckily, right behind the Magazine) I shouted over the stockade "God save General Washington and General Lafayette!"

Oh man, it was a blast. I could have gotten arrested all afternoon--I would have too, if I had not had to work. Or if I had planned a little better I could have printed up some revolutionary pamphlets and had them be "found" on my person when I was "searched." Or at least done a little more reading about that year and that moment in history. I had an awesome time being part of the action for once instead of being backstage...I definitely need to get out in costume more.

Apparently, the Americans are coming in September, a reenactment of Washington's march on Yorktown. Some of the same regiments of people will be back--this time though, they'll be the Continental Army. Someone suggested I too should flip sides and become a rampant Royalist. Not a bad idea, actually, that way I get the best of both worlds. God save General Washington! Long live King George!