Sunday, August 31, 2008

sad and tired puppy

So I just called Kizzy's foster mom and told him that he wasn't going to work out here. A serious case of "it's not him, it's me." We went for a long walk this morning, through the beautifully hilly forests of William & Mary College. Then when we got home I had to slip out for two minutes to put his blanket in the washer because he had an accident last night--my fault for not taking him out one last time. But when I went to open the door he was out in a heartbeat, down the stairs and poking around in the bushes...I was momentarily grateful for the college student that had thrown up in the mulch on Friday night, because that was the only thing that stopped him. I picked him up and put him in his crate and headed back out the door, blanket and vinegar in hand. He barked. And barked, and barked and barked, barked like he's never barked before. Coming back I could hear him in the parking lot. I think he's figured out that when he's in his crate, I'm gone--and he's alone.

And that was the moment when I knew Kizzy isn't the dog for me. He's a wonderful, sweet, generous dog, but he needs a family, kids, other dogs, he doesn't need a single mom who's turning into a workaholic and who has not been feeling the best lately. I feel terrible for having put him through the ordeal of coming to live with me and my roommates, and now he'll have to adjust to a whole new place and a new family--but I know that that's the best for him. Sure, I could keep him, crate him all day and totally break his spirit, but that's not what I want, and that's not what he deserves. He deserves better than me, basically.

So that was unfun. Thank you everyone for your kind words of encouragement and the gifts...I don't know when he'll be leaving, but it will probably be next weekend.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tough Decisions

When I was in high school, I had a dream that I turned into a three-part story. The first part was about a woman walking down a dusty road. She saw a box that had a dead dog and a litter of puppies inside--only one had survived, so she took it with her (against her better judgement) and named it Folly. The second part happened years later. Bad things were happening. The woman and her dog were traveling through a small village where soldiers were taking away children. They were luring them into brightly coloured circus wagons--the children were laughing and excited to go, but the old people in the village were crying and upset to see them leave. The third part happened a few years after that--the woman and her dog were walking through a pine forest, and they passed a large open barn. Then they came upon a green retention pond--the woman knew that it contained poison and wasn't safe to drink, but the dog was so thirsty it ran up and drank before the woman could stop it.

It wasn't a pleasant dream, but it was really vivid, obviously, and the images have stuck with me through the years. I was reminded of it tonight when I was walking Kizzy--there's actually a lot of greenward around here, but it tends to be mixed in with industrial and office buildings. So after you traipse through the lovely landscaping, there's tons of trees and wildlife all around. We were trekking behind a local bank when the sun went behind some dark clouds, and then we passed by a retention pond made green with algae. It was a little spooky--all of a sudden the lovely normal day disappeared. We got it back pretty quickly, but for a second it was eerieness.

I'm feeling bad today. Kizzy was in his crate for ten hours because I stayed late to play militia--he has no problem with accidents, but he shouldn't be left alone for so long. We're starting to get along with one another, and have fun, but I'm already worried about what happens when I start working the night programs.

So I looked into doggy daycare. It's expensive, but it'll be worth it. Not to keep Kizzy occupied, but just to assuage some of this crippling guilt I feel leaving him alone for so much. So he can go to doggy daycare during the day, and some of my friends have offered to babysit in the evening if necessary, but I didn't get a dog to have other people look after him. I'm trying not to regret getting a dog--or resent him for infringing on my swingin' singles lifestyle. I love my dog, but I love CW too. I frickin' love working where I do, being involved in all the programs, from the tailor shop (woot for sexy Lafayette!) to the militia to the storytelling programs.

Then there's the fact that I don't have reliable transportation for myself. I can get myself around, but not quickly, and not after Labor Day when the buses stop running at seven. I seriously need to look at getting a car.

But I can't really afford a car if the dog is in daycare.

I know, I know, I should have thought about all this before I got Kizzy. And I did. I just didn't reckon on how difficult it would be to be a single parent. I'm trying not to worry too much about the future. Kizzy's working so hard to be good for me, the least I can do is work hard for him.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How to Get a 35" Waist

Now that I'm signed up to do the evening programs, I get an allotment of girl clothes. So today I had my fitting. At one point the fitter had me in hoops and a gown that made me resemble nothing so much as a sofa, prompting me to ask "Where do I put my arms?" She replied "You pretty much rest them on your hoops." I grumbled at first when she pulled out a set of stays, but when she got them on me and cinched them up good and tight, I had a thirty-five inch waist. I couldn't breathe, and I'm not sure how I'm supposed to tell stories, but damme I looked good, even if my hips were about three inches higher than I'm used to. I'll be getting a green and gold jacket and a cream-coloured petticoat eventually...more pictures coming soon, I hope.

In other news, Barack Obama has been officially nominated to be the Democratic presidential candidate. I didn't actually get to see the historic event, because I was out walking Kizmo, but I did get a replay on YouTube. But that's what happens when you become a new mom, I guess, your priorities change...ah. Seems so recently I was a young and fancy-free singleton...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Behold the Perfect Baby!

(with apologeez to baby gaboda...)

NICKI: (thrusting pictures into coworker's faces) Have you seen how gorgeous my niece is?!
COWORKERS: Yes, Nicki, I have...
NICKI: Yes, but have you seen her RECENTLY?!

Finally got some photos...I had to tranquilize my dog to get enough time to post them, but behold! the most beautiful baby in the world:

This is officially my new favourite picture...I love the expression of shellshock on Peter's face. :)

Mom and Dad and baby Lily...awww. What a happy family.

Grandma and baby Lily--this time showin' off those Lemery lungs. O SOLO MIO...

nope, that's not a's my beautiful niece!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Separation Anxiety

"He's fine." Is the refrain I constantly heard today. I felt so bad about taking Kismet out and then crating him again so I could go to work that I felt physically sick to my stomach for the duration of the morning. I know he's fine. He's in his safe place with his toys and water, with his brand new Kong stuffed full of organic, good for you with flaxseed peanut butter that his mommy can't afford to feed herself.

He's fine.

But I still feel stressed and worried and guilty. When I came home we went for a long walk, then he had a bath and ran around the house like a crazy person, and now he's cheerfully chewing his frisbee to bits.

He's fine.

He's such a good dog. I just hope he doesn't hate me for keeping him in an apartment and relying on strangers to take care of him while I work late and gallivant around with a musket--which are so scary!!!


woops. That was kizwiz Ó WITH A PAW ON THE....caps lock key. snort. damme dog.

Okay. This has to get easier, right? The--for me, I mean. Someday I won't feel like a horrible person for leaving him alone, right?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bringing home baby

I knew that adopting a dog was going to be hard, but oh my word, I never realised how difficult it would be. I'd never say that getting Kismet was like having a baby, but last night was definitely like having a newborn in the house. Every time he snuffled in his crate I would bolt upright from sleep to make sure he was okay, which means that today I am exhausted. Ex-hau-sted. I woke up at six-thirty to walk him before church, and then again afterward, and then I went out for lunch with Nicole and Erin, and then we picked him up and they walked him around the historical area while mommy played militia. And now he's back in his crate. I feel really, REALLY guilty about crating him so much--he's used to having a bigger house, with a yard and other doggy playmates--but I'm so tired right now that I can't discipline him properly when he jumps up or licks my face.

Part of the problem is, I think, that we packed a lot into one weekend. Usually I'm sitting around watching "Animal Planet" but for some reason I felt the need to entertain him by taking him to Lowe's (so we could buy some netting for the porch so now he can't get through the railings) and scare him half to death by exposing him to cannons, fife & drummers and cats--all in one day. Tomorrow he's in for a shock, while I'm gone to work. I'm hoping that he'll adjust to my schedule instead of becoming a neurotic puppy.

He's a sweet boy. And when he's being sweet, he's really sweet. But when he's being a boy and making friends with your leg (oh yes--now THERE'S a problem I've never dealt with before) he drives mommy crazy.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Meet the New Man In My Life

For all of you out there going, "oh no, Nicki, you didn't..."

Yes, yes, I did.

Meet Kismet. This is another reason I've been so quiet lately. The stress of work and trying to keep my roommates organised has been compounded by the fact that I've been busy adopting a beagle this week. Kizzy was found wandering next to a highway down in North Carolina, just about the time I was getting serious about finding a dog, and through a network of dog rescuers, we were introduced and I decided to make him mine.

I had to jump through a million hoops: the adoption agency wanted to make sure I was serious and capable of taking care of a dog, and the landlord had a dozen requirements as well. I wasn't sure if I was going to bring him home this weekend or not, but in the end it all worked out. Erin, Nicole and I drove about an hour to meet up with a willing volunteer who had brought him from North Carolina, and an hour after that, he was here in Williamsburg.

Kizzy's pretty young, probably less than a year, but he's housebroken and fantastically good with people. He has an incredible amount of energy though, so we're both going to be signing up for obedience classes, as well as getting him trained not to jump up and lick people in the face. I never thought I'd love a little dog, but he's only eighteen pounds and thirteen inches high at the shoulder--but he's about as much personality as a dog four times his size. I'm so happy to have Puppy in my life again. I just hope I'm up for the task.

Kizzy entertains me and Erin

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Friends, I Am Dying

Weep not for me, but gather 'round and smile sadly upon this visage that was once the proud and noble house of Nicki. For I am dying. Yea, I shall pass away unto the earth and lie down with my ancestors and feel no pain, nor happiness, nor any mortal emotion save that of relief that I am dead, for only in death will I find relief from such pain.

Oh yes. It's that time of the month. I managed to make it through two hours of work today before I finally broke down, crying and nauseous, and went home. Agony, such as poets can only dream of, splitting the heavens, causing my heart to pound, my limbs to shake, my eyes to start from their head, and thoughts of self-harm to flit through my mind. I'm so unfocussed that I can't even fall asleep.

The worst part is I'm missing militia. Although, since my medicine of choice is all-natural Beer, it's probably a good thing I'm not shooting off a weapon tonight.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Funny Story

I was going to be really mean and petty and selfish and post a picture of a newborn up here and then say that I had to put a random picture up because I don't have any of Lily yet, but then I decided that would be mean. So I didn't. I know people are busy, I'm not complaining. Newborn baby and all. But I still don't have any photos to share with my rabid readership, and I'm starting to feel like a total narcissist (more than usual, I mean) because the wallpaper on my computer is a picture of me in the ranks. Soon though. Soon.

In the meantime. My roommate and I get along quite well. She's a flighty theatre type, I've been known to have fits of drama myself. Like today when I threw down the frock coat I was altering and declared in a fit of hysteria, "I've ruined it! It was perfect until I touched it with these hands of ineptitude!"

Which is not entirely true: Granted, the sleeves still aren't sitting right, but at least I didn't put the pleats in backwards.

But back to the story. So my roommate and I understand one another. When I told Am about my ambition to Start Recycling, she said, "okay" and then (two weeks later) when I mentioned that the recycling center for Williamsburg was right down the road, she only hesitated a minute before volunteering to take us there, along with two week's worth of recyclables. The problem was though, the drop-off center closed at four, and it was now eight pm. What to do. Picture it: two young women, sitting on a darkened county road, in a black car with the vanity plate "HAM1ET", staring forlornly at their goal which is securely locked behind a ten-foot tall chain link fence.

"What should we do?"

"We could leave it here and they could pick it up tomorrow."

"No, we can't."

"No, I suppose not."

"It's okay. I'll get it on Saturday."

"Or I could come tomorrow. I have tomorrow off."

"I feel bad making you do it. It was my idea."

"It's okay."

"You know what? Let's just leave it. It's not like we're littering."

"Yeah. It's not a crime to recycle."

"Or is it? 'Sorry officer, we just wanted to recycle!'"


"Maybe we should throw it over the fence so the critters don't get it."

"Okay. I feel so naughty!"

"They've probably got cameras posted. They're going to come knocking on our door tomorrow."

"They probably can track your car."

"Ohmygosh, you're right!"

"Oh well, too late now!"

"This is totally the naughtiest thing I've done all week."

"hee, hee, hee..."

"You totally have to blog about this."

"Oh, absolutely."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Whether bright or melancholy...rough and ready, finely spun...

Ye gods I am tired. Who thought it would be a good idea to go on a Ghosts, Myths and Mysteries tour on a Monday night? Stupid free CW pass... Okay, the vampire story was really creepy, and the loving daughter coming back from the dead was sweet and sad, and the wronged lover assuming the identity of another was pretty cool, even if poorly told, but I have a feeling that come tomorrow, when I'm falling asleep into my pin grabbit, I may have a few regrets. snooooore...

It was ironic that my friend Erin suggested we go on a walking tour tonight, because this afternoon I was offered a position as a storyteller with the evening programs. So come September I'll be the one scaring the children and causing a tear to dangle on the fringe of an eyelash. The director said I had a "very good" audition, hee, and the thought of actually performing after all these years is only a little frightening. Just like riding a bicycle, right? Right.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

In the Meantime...

While we're waiting for baby pictures, I thought I'd talk briefly about the forum that Obama and McCain participated in. I know some of you probably haven't seen it, after all, there was a Packer game on last night, but I watched it and found it interesting.

The forum was hosted by Pastor Rick of the Saddleback Church. Which is, from what I can tell, a biggish church heavy on the conservative Christian ideology of bad music and pro-family values. What gets me most about this is not the idea of having forums, debates and town halls with the two candidates (bring 'em on, I say, the more the merrier), but the fact that a nation which professes to keep the idea of Church and State separate allowed a forum to be mediated by an ordained pastor and broadcast live on a national television channel. I know that Americans have never accepted the idea of keeping church out of politics (Geo. Washington went so far as to say he hoped it "never happened") but I prefer to keep my religious identity far, far away from my politics. Naturally I want good moral people leading our country. But I do not believe that morality has to be backed up by a Christian identity and a little white chapel in the hills somewhere. Yes, "Love thy neighbor as thyself" just happens to be sound advice if you're trying to govern a nation, but that's a double edged sword: how can anyone professing to be a Christian declare war as Commander in Chief?

So I was uncomfortable with that. The actual forum itself was interesting--Barack Obama spoke openly about his faith and his feelings about various issues, although I think he played the politician a little too much some times, choosing to reword questions to suit answers he's memorized long ago. John McCain played to the crowd, using short, punchy answers full of buzzwords. He talked about being a POW of course, and also told the story of how his wife brought home an orphaned baby without telling him until she got off the plane and handed him a newborn. Obama quoted the Bible, McCain promised to follow Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell, etc, etc, etc.

The whole thing was very interesting. I felt bad for the Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, Jews, et al who are not personally going to be included in this little discussion on religious views--they are certainly not interested in how Christian views influence the candidates. It was a good chance to get to know the candidates personally, what their individual views were. I guess I'd rather have McCain over to a BBQ, even though you know at some point he's going to be telling that damme POW story again. And I'd rather have Obama at my Thanksgiving dinner, where he's probably be really boring until after pie when everyone is feeling sleepy and he leans back and tells some story about having Thanksgiving dinner in Hawai'i with pineapples for dessert. That's the kind of conclusions I could draw from this forum.

But I don't want to know those sorts of things, I want to know what they'll do if the phone rings at three in the morning. I want to know if the rest of the world is going to respect them or laugh at them. I want to know if they'll be capable of leading--and willing to change direction if they're leading America down the wrong path. But most of all, I want to know if they'll be willing to make the tough decisions without justifying it because of their Christian faith, but saying "This is the humanitarian thing to do--the right thing to do." And being okay with leaving it at that. That is, after all, what our Constitution asks us to do. We read a passage in Galatians in Sunday school that talked about this specifically--if you follow the law of Jesus, you will follow the laws of man naturally, there will be no discrepancy.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Whoa, Baby!

Nicki got woken up this morning at 2:30 AM by a text message from brother Pete--or should I say Daddy? Yup, Baby Lem is finally here. Lily Anne Lemery, seven pounds, seven ounces, nineteen inches, ten fingers, ten toes. Perfection, basically. Still waiting for photos--you'll have them as soon as I have them.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fat & Happy Puppy

It's great having people visit, because I get to be a tourist at CW without feeling like an interloper. Tonight Peter G. and I ate at the King's Arms, which is a high-class joint specialising in dishes that are inspired by the eighteenth century. We could have sat inside and listened to the violin player, but instead we chose to sit out under the grapevines. It was a cool mid-eighties today, perfect for dining al fresco. I had veggie ravioli, not very period but so good I nearly expired from the deliciousness.

Afterward we went to the Governor's Palace for another concert, this time a quartet. A German flute (wooden, forerunner of the modern orchestral flute), an English flute (basically a big fat recorder), a viol de gamba (sixteenth century instrument that was slowly going out of style due to the fact it was very quiet), and a harpsichord. From 1758. Yup--an actual period instrument, what was around when Geo. Washington was dancing the minuet.

It's okay. Have a moment. I did.

The concert was lit by candlelight and it was lovely, apart from the small child who couldn't seem to stay on her chair and spent most of it rolling around on the carpet. Afterward we caught the bus home, where Nicki found her "congratulations you got promoted" present she gave to herself waiting for her. Huzzah. I've been lusting after this book for three years, ever since I saw the Nelson & Napoleon exhibit at the NMM. And now it's mine.

Happily, my carpooling friend is back today, so I can sleep later since I don't have to catch the bus to work. It takes a lot out of you, eating and concerting your way through CW.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Long Day

Peter G. has arrived in Williamsburg to spend a week here. I'll be working most of the time, so today we spent the day together. The first stop was a nine am service at Bruton Parish, the historical Episcopal church on the edge of the historical area. I'd attended concerts there before, but never an actual service, and it was quite refreshing. The sermon was lovely, even if they changed the words to the doxology and totally tripped me up.

Then we headed over to Yorktown for some crabcake sandwiches and beach time. Now, it hasn't rained here in over a month. July 4th (I remember, because I was standing out in it). But when we got out of the trolley at the beach, there was a giant thunderhead looming on the horizon. The weather here is so weird and unpredictable, I didn't worry about it--and sure enough, apart from a spatter of rain, we got nothing. Nothing, that is, except a massive sunburn for yours truly. Arg. "I don't need sunscreen!" she said. "I haven't burned all summer" she said. "It's not that sunny today, anyway!" she said. Famous last words. The only saving grace is the fact that my swimsuit straps covered the area where my bra straps go, so I won't have to freeball it tomorrow at work. Other than that--lobster city.

We had to come back to Williamsburg so Nicki could march in the militia. I still love being in the militia--especially now that I'm getting better, so that I'm more confident in my movements. It's also easier to march in step as well. When you first start marching, it's hard to trust the person next to you, but you really have to. You have to trust that your searjeant will call out the commands in a loud and timely manner. And you can't anticipate. Otherwise you'll be out of line--or worse, firing before everyong else, and getting yelled at. Historically accurate, fun for the guests, embarassing as hell for the person in question. Peter G. had his new 12.1 pixel camera pointed at me the entire time, and he has promised me (poke) to send me some photos (poke, poke) so I can post them here. Poke.

Then we grabbed a sandwich and headed up to the Capitol for a harpsichord concert. I was sort of tired and cranky by this point, but the concert was really entertaining. The interpreter was portraying an actual 18th-century man, Peter Pellam, who was the organist at Bruton from 1751-1802. Before the concert he gave a little speech, but then he gave the whole concert in character, telling stories and cracking genteel little jokes. And the music was brilliant.

By the time the show was getting over, I could see little flickers of lightening out of the window. We walked out into major wind and lightening, coming down the peninsula fast. I had called a taxi to meet us after the concert, so we decided to wait on the porch of Christiana Campbell's was lucky we did, because a few minutes later, it started bucketing down. I mean just--sheets of rain, all the rain we haven't gotten in the last five weeks. And thunder. And lightening. We got home to find the roommate tucked up on the couch, flashlight in hand just in case the power went out.

I had a lot of fun playing tourist today, despite the tiredness and the sunburn. It was really interesting to start the day at Bruton Parish and end it at the Capitol--only a mile apart, but it makes you think about the men who would have been familiar faces at both. I've read a lot of material about how religious the Founding Fathers were/weren't, or how much religion should factor into modern politics, but going from one to the other today, I guess some things will just be endlessly debated.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I'm not a number

Now more than ever I'm aware of the uniqueness of the human body, the one of a kindness that makes every individual a different shape. Where I work, sizes are merely numbers so you know where to hang the clothing in stock. Then they come to me, and I tailor it into a perfectly fitted garment. So I was slightly embarrassed at how excited I was to discover I'd dropped two waist sizes. I figured that Old Navy would be running small, but their size sixteen fits me. That's the first time I've gotten into a sixteen in, oh, fifteen years. It's brilliant. I celebrated by having pizza.

Yesterday was slightly frustrating though. I have been having these odd pains in my side, so I finally went to see a doctor about it. He examined me and told me he thought it might be kidney stones. I was actually slightly relieved at that diagnosis--it's better than the horrifying images of ovarian cancer I had dancing through my head--although, of course, it's far from a walk in the park. The way to find out for sure was to have an x-ray taken. To do this, I needed to trot down to another building, about a block away. When I got there, however, I discovered that they wouldn't take my insurance. The place I had to go to to get x-rays taken was all the way across town. ("Over by Wal-Mart," were her exact words, actually) By this point, however, it was about twenty after eleven, and I had told my boss I'd be in by noon. So I decided against medical attention and called a taxi to come get me. An hour arrived. I was so mad at the taxi company for misleading me (they had originally said half an hour) that I forgot to put a tapestry needle under my first two buttons on my waistcoat. I'm trying to focus on the positive things about my experience, like a good doctor who listened to my thoughts, being able to get off of work and oh, how about HAVING insurance and only having to pay $15 for the whole experience.

Williamsburg is not designed for people without cars. It's just not. Things are spread out, stores are clustered into little mini-malls that all seem to have their own parking lot, divided by roads and trees. Most of the time (like this morning, when I had all the time in the world) it's fine. When I'm in my regular routine of working and coming home, I get along fine. But every time I have to do something out of my routine or I'm doing something for the first time, it seems to take three times as long as it should, and that's frustrating.

I'm not meaning to bitch about my situation here. Whining about it doesn't help anything. And besides, if it weren't for my bike, I probably wouldn't have a size sixteen waist and calf muscles that would make any fop jealous.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

This shouldn't be this much fun...what's wrong?

Actual conversations today:

Scene: Contemplating a half-finished waistcoat:

Me: Seriously, you can't say "three-sixteenths of an inch" because that's just a number that does not exist in my universe.
Erin: Well, I could say six thirty-secondth, but that's just...well, I can't say it anyway, because apparently I can't pronounce it.
Me: Thirty-two.
Erin: Right, six thirty-twos.
Me: The only time I use my thirty-twos is when I'm...fighting the French.
Erin: ...
Me: Thirty-two pounder guns. Big guns. Throws a lot of lead. Imagine the wreckage.
Erin: Okay, back to buttonholes...

Scene: Contemplating the industrial buttonholer
Erin: So the pedal on the left will lift up the presser foot, and the pedal on the right will make it go. Think gas-go, brake-presser foot. Okay?
Me: Okay, so at this point it's been so long since I've driven, that I'm seriously confused--which one in the gas pedal?
Erin: The one on the right.
Me: Right.

Scene: Figuring which side to put buttons on
Erin: Think of it this way. If you're wearing this can slide your right hand into the openings. So the buttons go on the right, the buttonholes go on the left, if you're wearing it.
Me: Or, buttons on stage left, buttonholes on stage right, if you're looking at it on the table.
Erin: Well, now you're just confusing yourself...
Me: OR, think about if Nelson still had his right hand, it would be slid into his coat all the time. (demonstrates) Okay, got it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Early Night

The reason I'm blogging at six-thirty instead of sitting on a bus, coming home from militia, is because I forgot a key component of my wardrobe. I was halfway into my stockings, hunched over in the small bathroom in the Roscoe Cole House, when I suddenly realised I'd left my shoes at the costume center. Bugger. There was no possible way I could get over there, retrieve my shoes, and still have time to dress and be at the military headquarters in time for the review. So, no marching for me today.

Ironically, I had all the time in the world this afternoon. We had our departmental picnic, so the CDC shut down at noon (no fresh costumes for the interpreters, haha), and we ate our way through the next two hours. Salads and burgers and chips and dips and enough brownies to go sledding down. Oh, it was bliss. Afterward, we were free to go wandering through the historical area, so that's just what I did. Another coworker and I wandered over the magazine and practised our grenadoe throwing before going into the magazine and listening to my searjeant give his speech on the weaponry stored therein. I was even cheeky and said "so...what time is the military review today?" while he sort of glowered at me. Me in my shorts and lightweight tee, he in his shirt, weskit and gaiter trowsers, me not realising the tragedy that was about to befall.

Stupid shoes. I dearly love marching.

But it's a hundred degrees out today, and, between you, me and the binnacle, maybe I'm not so sorry to have missed the review. A hundred degrees of temperature on a full stomach...maybe not such a good idea.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I'm not sayin', I'm just saying...

The tailoring job is going well. Basically, the cutter/fitter will take the interpreter into the dressing room, try a bunch of clothes on them, and pin up anything that needs fitting. Then I get the garments, and I have to turn the pins into neat seams and corners, keeping in mind period details and the possibility of ripping it all out when the spotty junior interpreters hit their growth spurt. Right now I'm working on the "small clothes" for a new Fife & Drum Corps member. Small clothes are anything that's not hugely fancy or expensive. Breeches, shirt, waistcoats, etc. All these fife & drummer kids are incredibly skinny, which leads to seam allowances the size of bedsheets. And I tell you what, nothing will cure your tendency to pull threads with your teeth like a faceful of spotty fife & drummer armpit odour.

Ooooh! Oooh! That reminds me--the Fife & Drum Corps are marching in the Macy's Day Parade on Thanksgiving Day!! Put it down on your calendars: you can see them marching in the shiny coats I helped make! They are shiny!


Being from Green Bay, I am sort of filially obligated to have an interest in the Green Bay Packers. But I have to tell you, loyal readers, I'm sort of perplexed by the news that's coming out of there right now. A few months ago, Brett Favre announced he was retiring, amid tears and gasps of "the end of an era." Seriously. It was bad. Grown men were crying in broad daylight, propped up only by their frosty beer mugs. Favre swore he didn't want to do "anything" for a year, but perhaps sit atop a mountain and contemplate his existence. Okay. I can understand. Seventeen years is a long time to do anything--no doubt the man has earned a bit of a rest. I was kind of struck at the time by the overly dramatic tone of his announcement, a sort of high choler that's usually evinced by high schoolers breaking up with their BFFs. But, whatever. It's football. I don't pretend to understand it.

Then recently Favre has announced he'd like to come back to the Packers. But as the starting quarterback. The Packers say no. Suddenly the entire world (fine, the United States) is caught up in the drama of will he or won't he--until the NFL Commissioner deus ex machina'd from on high and said he could go back to GB. But now I read today (yes, dad, I read the Packers news occasionally...especially when it's the featured story on Yahoo!) that he did not join the team practise today, but instead spent six hours talking with head coach Mike McCarthy.

McCarthy had a lot of non-things to say about their conversation, apart from "Brett's got a lot of hard decisions to make" and "we had a really good conversation" and he also mentioned they're meeting again tomorrow. Seriously? A six hour conversation--and yet still the organisation hasn't made up it's mind? It's a good thing I'm not a stockholder. I don't particularly care about football (except I like when they win, because then dad is in a good mood), but this seems a little, well, drama-queeny to me. There. I said it. Brett Favre is a huge drama queen. And there's no place in football for drama. I can't believe that the Packers organisation is tolerating this kind of behaviour...I guess it's true that the game isn't what it once was. Oh, fifty years ago now, if someone tried to pull this stunt, they'd get a curt "You're out. Man up and get over it." Now they "have conversations" and "make decisions." What decisions? It's a game--some you win, some you lose.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about that. I've been following it down here with some interest, partially because Brett Favre is practically family, partly because anything to do with the Packers makes me homesick (up to and including when I wear my green breeches with my yellow stockings), and partly because some of the women at work will poke me and say "didja hear the latest?!" Urgh, yes. And did you know that Wisconsin's exports include more than football--including some particularly fine beer and cheeses?

Monday, August 04, 2008

so much for Less TV

Spent all afternoon watching telly and nursing a headache which turned out to be from wearing my hair up in a ponytail--it's getting heavy again because I'm growing it out in the eighteenth century fashion. But, I did write a follow-up email to the person who has my portfolio...which is a writerly thing, and therefore totally counts.

"Dear Sir. Polite noises masking a desperate query: namely: DIDJA READ IT YET? More polite noises, some flattery, gentle enthusiasm, a dignified Sincerely, Me."

Doesn't exactly cancel out two hours of Animal Cops, least it's something.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Good Steward, also, Less TV

My Day Off yesterday was a rousing success...I got through several movies and cut out the pattern for my suit of clothes. Today when I came home from church, I contemplated the long hours ahead of me before militia, thinking about how I was going to resume my TV watching, maybe, ya know, surf the Internet...

Then I realised that I would be totally wasting three or four uninterrupted hours of potential writing time and felt embarassed. My writing time has gone down to nothing and my TV-watching time has gone up exponentially for some reason. I come home hot and exhausted no matter what, and instantly collapse into the sofa with a glass of water. And don't move for several hours. This is bad. This is a habit that needs breaking.

So instead of watching telly today I'm writing. First I'm blogging, then I'm writing. Then there will be cheese.

As I wandered through Blogland, I stumbled across a blog about a man who lives in NYC, and who's gone green: No Impact Man. Some of the things he talks about is difficult for an apartment dweller, but some of the ideas he has for going green hit home. Prime example: there's no recycling at our apartment. Nothing. This contributes to the riches that the dumpster continues to yield, but it makes for very, very bad earth-stewardship. At the base level, the very beginning level, the easiest damme thing you can do is recycle. I know there are people out there who say it doesn't work well--it doesn't work if you don't participate. In Chicago, the city reported an 80% increase in the number of people who recycled once they instituted bin collection.

And I go out of my way to use recyclables: before "The Dark Knight" there was an advertisment for a Bertolli product that comes in a plastic pouch. "How lazy," I said, "do you have to be to use one of these pouches? They're so bad for the environment! Hello--glass jar?! Which you can recycle?" (That question, btw, was quickly answered when my companion turned, glared, and said to me--"hey, I use the Bertolli pouches, they're good!" Oops.) My point is. Recycling is second nature to me, and it kills me that there's no recycling here at my apartment.

I'm trying to be a better steward of the earth. I had an idea for a book that was about a group of people who went digging through old landfills for materials they could sell to companies. And that could be our planet. The amount of stuff I throw away--just me, myself--is embarassing. Do I really need to put tomatoes in a plastic bag so I can put them in another plastic bag and carry them home?

So my goal for next week--my "no impact" goal for next week--is to call the landlord, call the recycling center here in Williamsburg, and see if I can get something set up. I'm sure if there was a recycling bin at my apartment, the spotty college students would be more than willing to fill it up with their malt-beverages and their Admiral Nelson's Rum bottles.

And if that won't work, I'll just have to surreptiously toss my recyclables into someone's green bin on a Wednesday, when they're not looking.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Saturday Morning Blogfest

I think I'm turning into my father...I got woken up this morning at eleven AM by the deep, throbbing bass that is the mating call of every American male ages 18-22, and the first thing that popped into my head was "They get ten minutes. After that, I'm going down there." Even though my colleagues warned me against banging on odd doors, I'm not afraid. Most of the people who live in my building are spotty college students who haven't gotten over the novelty of underage drinking in the parking lot. All I can say is--don't make it too easy for me to call the police.

Happily, they stopped. And I am somewhat mollified by a cup of sweet, sweet PG Tips tea. This was the longest week ever. In addition to getting promoted at work, I went to see two plays and "The Dark Knight" last night. I won't officially start as a tailor until Monday, but my boss has had me working on special repairs, which have been challenging. Yesterday I listened to four Sondheim musicals. Now I dream in internal rhyme. Also, on Thursday the laundry team went out for lunch for two hours, and then Wednesday and Friday I was defending liberty in ninety degree heat. Yesterday was the first time I actually worried about fainting though.

So all I want to do today is lie around...sleep a some on my new sewing project. It's so hard living in Virginia where every day is beautiful. In Wisconsin, if a beautiful day like this comes along, you feel obligated to "go outside and play." But here, where gorgeous day follows gorgeous day, I have to just stop and say "No, I will not go play outside today, today I am staying in and watching TV."

I got back from watching "The Dark Knight" at one o'clock in the morning, but I couldn't sleep right those of you who've seen the movie will understand. Honestly, for me, the most distracting thing about the film was that it was filmed in Chicago, so there would be super-intense chase scenes happening, and I'd be thinking "I don't remember Lower Wacker being that long..." And the whole movie was just so dark. There were lots of moments where I was screaming internally--"Batman, what are you doing?!" And it didn't end. It just went on and on and on, getting darker and darker, until it didn't really matter who won or lost because the whole world had been destroyed in the process. The film made me feel really jumped-up inside, really unsettled.

It was really hard to watch Heath Ledger...I wanted to savour every scene he was in, but it was difficult to like his process, because his character was so inaccessible. Everytime you think you got a handle on what was motivating him, the next sentence out of his mouth would totally negate his prior statements. It was hard to watch him--it was more than a performance. The moment where the Joker put a gun to his head, I thought "wow, that looked a little too easy."

I can't say I enjoyed the movie, because it was hard to totally enter the world. It was dark, violent and upsetting. But it was definitely worth the price of admission, and I'd like to see it again. I can see why this movie has gotten so much press--it definitely kept me up last night, thinking.

Sweet dreams.