Back to the faire…sort of…

This is me and my girl – well, okay mostly my girl Bryn, with what appears to be a Mommy growing out of her head. This photo was taken by a patron (at one of the renaissance faires where I work as director of the Hounds of East Fairhaven) in November of 2013, when she was just 5 months old and had been mine for about 24-36 hours.

We bring period appropriate hounds (mostly Western European, 1500-mid 1600s, but we also include some Asiatic and Eastern European breeds as well) out to meet patrons and we talk about their place in history. We also wear period-appropriate garb (or as appropriate as possible when the threat of a Clobberpaw on one’s skirt is a real possibility) and tell the patrons about how these hounds (sight mostly but a few scent hounds as well) lived and worked with people in this time period.

I used to work much more than I do now. We started with a small group (four members) and we were attached to the Lord Mayor’s Court at the Carolina Renaissance Festival near Charlotte, NC. We grew in numbers and ended up with our own tent the next year, then our numbers dwindled down to almost nothing and we have gone up and down ever since. We also added more appearances to our schedule – we now appear in the spring with the Royal Court at the Georgia Renaissance Festival and in September at the Enchanted Chalice Renaissance Festival in Greenville, SC.

I can remember the early days of CRF when I had three greyhounds (out of my five) that did faire with me, often sleeping in my Honda in the parking lot with me so that I didn’t have to drive the 2.5 hours (one way) on Saturday nights to just have to get up and drive back on Sunday mornings. Thankfully I moved about 45 minutes up the highway since that time, so it only takes me just under 2 hours to get there now, and I only work on Saturdays because I simply cannot physically do my job on Mondays after being at faire and in the car all day Sunday.

CRF opened this past weekend for it’s 25th year, and it was the first opening weekend that I haven’t worked since the two years that I was forced into behind the scenes work due to living abroad. After the year that 2018 has been for me so far, I decided that it was in the best interest of my health, both physical and mental, if I took some time off from faire this fall. Bryn doesn’t like the setup there anyway – she is afraid of the booth that we have after some bad playtime-gone-wrong experiences with some of our other dogs, and as a result I have to stand out in front of the booth with her for the whole day. Both of us are ready for the car after closing cannon! We will see how Ciaragh does up there – she was a star at GARF this spring until she got tired, but she’s almost two and growing up more every day, so hopefully she will be able to manage being in close communion with other dogs better than her big sister does.

All that said, y’all go to the faire! The Hounds of East Fairhaven will be in their normal booth at CRF across from the DaVinci flying machine. We have greyhounds, Irish wolfhounds, borzoi, Ibizan hounds, and Afghan hounds in any combination on any given weekend, and we have fantastic human cast members that can tell you anything you want to know about their canine companions. The faire runs from 29 September to 18 November, Saturdays and Sundays. My girls and I will be there on the 21st of October and 10th of November, and I will be there with an Ibizan friend on the 6th of October and dogless to interpret on Deaf Awareness Day, 27 October. Hope to see you there!

Huzzah!

Lights at the Ends of Various Tunnels

Me and my girl at GARF,
photo courtesy of the Southern Travel Guide

Yeah, the last post was pretty grim, and if I’m honest, the work situation (that I still can’t talk about) hasn’t gotten any better, but there have been bright spots and that’s what we are going to focus on in THIS post.

One of them is featured in the photo: The Georgia Renaissance Festival. Now, this is not a new thing, not by a longshot, but apparently, the fourteenth year is the charm, hoopskirt issue notwithstanding. I have made friends at GARF in the past, cast members and vendors and directors and the like, but this year just feels different. I feel at home in “Newcastle” in a way I have yet to feel at home in “Fairhaven” after fifteen years in what we refer to as the Northern Kingdom.

What has changed? Me? Having Bryn? I don’t know. But this past weekend, I was able to play, really play, with both the cast and with my partner in crime, Lucy to my Ethel, and the only other member of HOEF that does more than one or two weekends at GARF, Anne. Perhaps it is the beautiful friendship that has formed between her Bo and my Bryn. Perhaps it is Anne’s extrovert that brings my introvert along, often kicking and screaming, to get to know the cast.

Whatever it is, I am profoundly sad on days that I have to miss attending GARF, even though it means a 5 am start every Saturday and a late afternoon arrival back home, dirty and sweaty and hot every Sunday between the middle of April and the first weekend in June. I long to be in the lanes, even though that means pulling turkey tendons out of Bryn’s mouth and replacing steak sandwiches that she snatches in the blink of an eye. I dream of the joust, and of watching with pride as Bryn thumps her tail when her favorite princess rides by, upside down in her saddle, even though I’m fighting the reflection of the sun off the light colored sand which is swirling about in my eyes and nose.

I’m hoping that this feeling of Rennie family will continue into the fall when I am again with my HOEF family in the dog barn on the eastern side of Fairhaven, and that we can project the kind of skilled performance that we are learning at GARF into our wonderfully laid back home at the Enchanted Chalice in Greenville, SC. Vikings ahoy!

I did say tunnels in the title, didn’t I? While GARF is the light at the end of one tunnel, the fact that I only have four days left until my summer break is certainly another. But that tunnel is not quite as bright because I will have several months of empty coffee meetings to look forward to without Daisy. While it hasn’t been easy without her, it has been easier because I’ve had work to distract me. Without my daily commute to Clemson, I am going to have to face what our reality looks like now; no queen on the end of my bed, huffing because I’ve rearranged my legs and accidentally knocked her about. No beautiful blonde/red fawn fur glimmering in the green grass of the back yard as she sunbathes. No teeth chattering in my ear.

But you see that muppet in the picture with me? She is a light of her own, and she and Willow are there to distract me when they can and snuggle with me when they can’t. Their light comes to find me in my tunnel and shines into the darkness to remind me to keep moving forward.

Finally, there is light at the end of the Superginormous Manuscript tunnel…book one in the three book series that it has become is almost ready to go to Amazon, and that is both exciting and horrifying. I took the first Camp Nanowrimo to edit the second book, and am not working on editing/fleshing out the third in between expense reports and mad garb sewing/laundering. So all in all, my life has far more light than dark. I just need to be able to remember that and hang on to it…and keep moving.

Corsets and moving vans and nephews and Nano…oh myyyy…

Random acts of Silly doth abound in Fairhaven…

(You should absolutely read that Oh My in the way that George Takei says it.  In fact, every time anyone says Oh My it should be using his voice.  Every. Time.)

So it’s been awhile and I’ve promised time and again to blog about the honeymoon, the European extravaganza that was the months of May and June for me and The Mister.  This isn’t going to be that post either, so if you’ve been waiting for that, you might as well keep surfing.

It’s currently the end of October which means the Carolina Renaissance Festival has been in full swing for four weekends now, leaving only three to go before we sadly pack up the Dog Barn for another year and start madly plotting our garb for our trip to the “Southern Kingdom” of Newcastle in Georgia in the spring of next year.  But wait, that’s not all that’s going on…I’m still working on getting my soon to be former roommates decked out in garb of their own (a court gown to be done by this coming Saturday as well as a doublet!  I must be MAD.), moving into a new house, and starting a NaNoWriMo on Thursday.  Mad indeed!

We thought that it would be easy to do when we started this sewing project back in August (nevermind that I was doing a Camp NaNo then as well).  We planned to do the parts of the gowns at the same time and finish them both before Opening Weekend so that we didn’t have to worry.  Ah, the best laid plans…

My gown is mostly done, as you can see in the photo above.  There are some bits that need finishing and WHO KNEW that thing would be as HEAVY as it is, but there you are.  Beauty is pain.  I had a little girl curtsy to me yesterday because she thought I was royalty (“your dress looks like the queen’s!”) so I guess it’s all worth it.  Out of the mouths of babes…if ONLY my garb looked like Bettina’s work!

Anyway, so mine is almost done and will have to be re-done before next year.  The sleeves are the heaviest part and will have to be grommetted in so that I can removed them before performing mundane tasks such as going to the privy or picking up poop or…amazingly enough…putting on my cloak!  It was like I was holding two persian cats under there.  Not good.

We’ve almost completed our move into the new house.  As I type, The Mister is wrestling with putting up blinds and unwrapping/setting up IKEA bookshelves.  It never ceases to amaze me the size difference in our furniture in our American house as opposed to our English one.  Where are my “huge” leather sofas?

Over the weekend my brother in law Andrew and his…partner?  Girlfriend?  I’m not sure the appropriate term, but they had a little boy, the first grandson/nephew for the Dunnes.  I’m hoping to see photos soon, and I need to get on the ball and email my niece, the new kid’s big sister, to check in on her.  Being a big sister is not always as glamorous as it looks, and I want her to know that Auntie Nancy has been there/done that and would love to listen if she needs to discuss the finer points of siblings.

Finally…Nano starts on Thursday and I think it’s going to be EQ fanfic for me again.  My hope is that all of this writing I grind out in November (as well as the past Nanos that have been on the same theme) can one day be edited to remove anything that the EQ head honchos may think is actually their property and made into a fantasy novel that can be published and read by people other than me and my sometimes muse, Mike (who brought one of the main characters to virtual life in game for years).

Yeah, so…that’s what’s going on here.  Not much, really, in the grand scheme of starvation and war and Hurricane Sandy, I suppose.  But enough.  You hear me universe?  I’ve got enough for now.

Oh myyyy indeed.

It’s more exciting than all that, honest!

Snores of a Clown by Nancy Dunne
Snores of a Clown, a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.

Well, the 2011 CRF season has almost come to an end. We have two more weekends to go, and I have a day and a half left to work.

Speaking of, if you’re in the area before about 1pm on Sunday, 13 November or any time on Saturday, 19 November come see me and Clown in the doghouse!  And while you’re at it, you can follow us on Twitter, like our page on FB using the box on the right hand side (make sure you’re following the official HOEF page for the most up to date info), and join our FB group.

Right, shameless promotion done. This season has been so much better than I think any of us could have imagined back at the beginning of October. Just before the season started (and I do mean JUST BEFORE, like A WEEK BEFORE) we had a major change up of leadership and basically how we operate as a group. Rather than one director as has been the way in the past, we now have an advisory board made up of one member from each adoption group that is represented. So much more democratic as well as taking the burden off just one person.

Sadly, in the change up we did lose some members but we have gained about seven new members in the process. Almost every day we’ve been at CRF this season the dog house has been full to overflowing with dogs! We’ve had such a good time. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun again like it was in the early days when we had nothing but a tiny wet tent and a few hay bales on which to sit. It’s been a good thing overall, and will ensure the continued success of the group and the growth of membership. Win-Win!

As you can see, my new boy Clown has taken to life at the festival like he’s always been there…I think he might be channeling a bit of Hunky there as well.

So Huzzah and Well Met! Two more weekends and then we’re planning for GARF in the spring!

A new day, another template…

I love orange. by Nancy Dunne
I love orange., a photo by Nancy Dunne on Flickr.

I was telling my fabulous friend Goddess Lynne (who writes the marvelous blog, The Way of the Moth) that I’d looked over my blog with its new template and decided that it was screaming SPRING at me.  In fact, that’s not what it was screaming at all, but instead it was yelling at me FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY COULD YOU HAVE PICKED A MORE GIRLY TEMPLATE? I HAVE A REP TO PROTECT, YOU KNOW. So, because I do not appreciate being yelled at in that manner, I found a new template.  Autumnal.  Ridiculous.  GIRLY.  That’ll show…uh…did I just admit to having a conversation with my blog?

Anyway!  I’ll try this one on for size.  I promise, too, that there will soon be a write up and pictures of our first weekend and kids day at the Carolina Renaissance Festival.  I just haven’t gotten my head wrapped around it enough to write about it due to all the other stuff floating around in there at the moment.  And the YELLING FROM THE BLOG.  Did I mention the yelling?  In the meantime, though, please feel free to join our new facebook group for the Hounds of East Fairhaven if you have a facebook account.  You might also visit Goddess Lynne’s blog and check out her fab poem, “Autoharp.”  Genuine genius, that.  Talented friends, I have.  Talk like Yoda today, I might!

On second thought, just go join the group and read the poem.  Ta, y’all.