Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Under the weather

Sorry for the lack of posting, but I've been a been experiencing a rare (for me) bout of illness. Most cold and flu seasons pass uneventfully for me; I can run the gauntlet of phlegm-producing family members and co-workers without developing so much as a sniffle. But every few years or some rogue germ manages to lodge itself in my throat and within days I end up with the Trifecta of Misery: hacking cough, stuffy head and worst of all - godawful fever blister.

This one is a bute. And no, I won't post pictures. Suffice it to say it's worse that spiders, rat entrails or other bloody fare you've come to expect in this space. In fact, it's so horrible I've refused to venture out into public until it's gone, lest the other villagers - seeing my deformity as a curse - stone me in the square.

That's not to say I'm not going outdoors. It's been the unfortunate irony that my illness has coincided with the first real cold snap of the winter season. So despite my feverish, weakened state I'm out every morning at 7 a.m., hauling buckets of boiling water to the pony trough to melt the previous night's accumulation of ice. And yes, I know I could ask Larry to do it, but they're my ponies and he's got enough to do.

Then there's hay and feed to deliver and chickens and geese to feed and children to tend. It's time like these that I'm so proud to have resilient self-sufficient children. Alex has taken over fixing lunch for herself and her little brother so I won't give them "germs." As for writing, I'm pretty much putting that off as long as I can. It hurts to think up stuff to write. Even porn, which should tell you how bad I feel.

So bear with me and rest assured I'll be better soon. My lip is slightly less puffy and deformed today and at 1 p.m. I've not felt the need to nap under the electric blanket. I have news from my recent SCA meeting and other stuff to blog about shortly. But first things first. The echinacia and herbal tea beckons. Wish me well.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Must See

Have you ever had a dream that was so disturbingly intense that after you woke up it took some time to convince yourself it wasn't real? That's quite close to how you'll feel after seeing Pan's Labyrinth.

I won't put any spoilers here; I'll only say that all the positive hype surrounding this film is entirely warranted. Pan's Labyrinth is brutally beautiful, heart-wrenching and inspiring. And the real genuis of director Guillermo del Torro is how he created a film that has either a very happy ending or a terrible one, depending on what you want to believe.

After all, what is harder to comprehend - a hidden world of fairies and fauns or the horrors humans visit upon one another?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Dress Up For Grownups

One of my New Year's resolutions for 2007 - well, actually the only resolution - is to join the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Each year I say I'm going to do it, and each year something gets in the way. So this year, to ensure that I'd not allow myself to back out I invested in a wardrobe for the upcoming Rennaissance fairs I plan to attend.

To those of you unfamiliar with the SCA, here is a description from the official Web site:

The SCA is an international organization dedicated to researching and
re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. Our "Known World"
consists of 19 kingdoms, with over 30,000 members residing in countries around
the world. Members, dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance,
attend events which may feature tournaments, arts exhibits, classes, workshops,
dancing, feasts, and more. Our "royalty" hold courts at which they recognize and
honor members for their contributions to the group.

It's Fun for Geeks, if you define Geeks as people who can quote you any line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and/or watch the LOTR triology - Director's Cut - at least once a month just for fun. My other favorite movie: Excalibur. You know you've watched that one too much when you can recite the Charm of Making. Even medieval spoofs delight me; regular readers may remember my Halloween post in which I quoted another favorite, Army of Darkness.

But I digress. Like I was saying, the SCA is a big organization and members run the gamut, from people who are really, really serious about researching and developing characters and creating accurate period garb to those like me - fantasy buffs who just want to wear a lace-up bodice, flirt with knights and drink mead.

My experiences with SCA'ers so far has been limited to a "knight" who used to show up at all my bird of prey presentations and stay afterwards to talk to me about his experiences making chain mail. At one presentation, he picked up my card and after that started calling me at home. Larry wasn't too thrilled about it, but I assured him that the guy seemed harmless. Later, Larry and I ran into the guy at Wal-Mart, where he was working in the auto parts department. Larry actually thought he was kind of nice, but still weird, which is understandable. You don't meet too many knights who moonlight as Wal-Mart employees.

I don't know if he's still in our local chapter of the SCA. I guess I'll find out at the first meeting. From what I understand, you don't dress up for the first meeting. But when the time comes to dress up I am so ready. A lady who sews garb sewed up this wicked bodice for me and ladies, even if you're not in the SCA I highly recommend you purchase a bodice anyway even if it's just to play Naughty Wench with your Significant Other. There's something about cinching a boned bodice up that's just really, really erotic. It draws the waist in and pushes the boobage up in the most fetching way. Larry, who took these pictures today, warned me to beware randy highwaymen on the way back to the house. If the kids hadn't been around I'd probably still be picking hay out of my hair.

Another great garment is a cloak. I made mine and it was quite a project. It took a full eight yards of fabric. I used a washable suede to make this one and just love the results. So it's not the most functional garment in the world, but function isn't everything. You don't enter the room wearing something like this, you sweep into the room. And the hood, when pulled up, gives the wearer a bit of mystery. See?

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*Sigh.* Sometimes I fancy donning my breast-boosting bodice and cloak and just sweeping into the grocery store for a pint of milk or whatever, with no explanation for my outfit. I'd be performing a valuable service; it's a small town, and I'd give the locals something to talk about for weeks.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Purple Mountain Majesties

Oh. My. God.

Drop whatever you're doing and go straight over to Erik's new blog for some absolutely breathtaking photography:

Thanks, Erik, for sharing these pictures with us. On the downside, my little patch of North Carolina seems to suck more than ever now. And here I was thinking that wasn't even possible.

Dude, if you don't find a market for these, well, someone's just not paying attention.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Cat Ordained

I am pleased to announce on this otherwise dreary day that through a higher power known as The Internet, Jingles the Cat is now a certified member of the clergy.

Lest you scoff, please be ascertained that I had valid reasons for
going to the Website of the Universal Life Church and assisting my cat with her ordination. Having a cat that doubles as a minister will make my life a whole lot easier.

For one thing, I can outsource officiating over all those nuptials. I never have liked performing wedding ceremonies and over the past two weeks I've had to perform more than I can count. The fault actually lies with me, for splurging at the fabric store sale on sheer and shimmery fabric for the dress-up box. Somehow, the site of lace and tule triggered a crazed wedding instinct in my 9-year-old daughter, Alex. Each day after school lessons are over she drapes herself in yards of the stuff and drags her 4-year-old brother, Lucas, to the altar.

On Friday, Alex asked me what couples did on their honeymoons. I told her they played Ring-Around-The-Rosy. So after another round of vows in which she and Lucas promised to love, honor and share their toys they retired to the playroom, where Alex was overheard informing him that if she'd better never, ever catch him playing Ring-Around-The-Rosy with any other woman. Or else. Lucas said, "Whatever." Call me cynical, but I sometimes get the feeling those two just aren't ready for marriage. That particular union, for instance, seemed doomed from the beginning.

And I was right. Later that afternoon an evil sorcerer threw Alex in a dungeon and erased all memory of her True Love. Once the enchantment was lifted, she couldn't remember marrying Lucas. That necessitated another wedding ceremony, but not one I was willing to officiate. Hence my decision to ordain the cat. Now, when Alex and Lucas decide to enter into the bonds of holy matrimony they stand in front of the overstuffed chair where Jingles, wearing the little cross I made for her collar, performs the ceremony telepathically.

The other advantage to having an ordained cat? A live-in reverend means we don't have to go to church. We keep late hours on Saturday nights and even if we were churchgoing types the only churches in our neck of the woods are of the Backwards Baptist variety, although come to think of it there really isn't any other kind of Baptist. No, Jingles doesn't actually preach. She prefers to minister by example, and she has been something of an inspiration. We're eating a lot more fish. And taking more naps.

I think Merry the Egregious Farm Cat may be the next of our felines to be ordained. She assures me she'd take her vows seriously. Here she is giving a mouse Last Rites.

I don't think other cat, Piper, is interested. She's a Zen Kitty, and lives in the now and can't be bothered with considering with past sins or future judgement. For Piper, the glory is in the now and there's no higher calling than sitting in the window looking cute. But that's cool; I'm all for embracing religious diversity, be it among humans or cats.

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