Saturday, August 15, 2009

Slow month for posting

Work is slammed beyond belief, so I won't be posting much during the week. We've been spending the weekend cleaning, so there's not really much to talk about there. I might bake something yummy tomorrow, the jury's still out.

I did finish another knitted sweater tonight, but I couldn't get it over my head to take a picture. I'm attempting to stretch it out as we speak, so maybe I'll have a photo by tomorrow.

Happy August!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Car update

We took the car into the shop yesterday. The guy told us that it might be totaled, since the damage was extensive and might cost more than the car was worth. I spent some time on the Kelley Blue Book website finding out how much our little car was worth.

J e-mailed me later in the day that our car is apparently worth more than anyone thought, and that it was not even close to totaled. The shop will start ordering parts ASAP, and our little Subaru should be back to us by the end of the month.

Hurray for only one car payment at a time!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Final Pennsic Post

I didn't get to post yesterday. We did a lot of running around, and packing was in full swing, plus we were sending Mike off with some of our stuff. Oh, and there was some fighting as well. So I'm making up for it now.

This is what a typical day was like at Pennsic this year (at least for Week 2, or so we heard)

There was a final castle battle today, which was obviously well-attended

There were young fighters

...and some a little more mature

The fencers were still out and about

...and there was still shopping to be done

And finally, the boys completed the final battle

All in all, it was a pretty good War. OK, we had the car accident, and J wanted to do better in his novice fencing tournament. But we had a good time, the weather was great, J got a lot of fencing in, and we got home safely. We're already talking about next year.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesday at War

Ahh, lazy Wednesdays at War. The boys didn't have anything on the fighting schedule until at least 1, so we slept in, had a lazy breakfast, and I even blow-dried my hair (I think that's a first for Pennsic). We wandered onsite around noon and spent the rest of the day pretty low key. I watched J fence in the novice tournament.

He made it to the second round before he was eliminated :( Pretty good for a guy who was only authorized to fence a few months ago, if that.

I spent the rest of the day picking up some odds and ends at the vendor tents and hanging out at our shady spot. Our friend Mike volunteered for an hour or so, then came over to entertain me.

Our shady spot is over near the heavy fighting, and all the bigwigs (knights and such) were practicing. They're pretty impressive, and some of them have quite the regalia:

After a quick stop at home and Chinese buffet for dinner (yum!), it was time to head back in for Midnight Madness, the night when all the merchants stay open and have sales to draw the crowds in. We usually get a little dressed up for this, and Mike took our picture for the occasion. This is my new favorite picure of J and me:

For some reason, I look at this and think I look like Maria von Trappe!

The night was perfect. Upper 50s, clear, full moon.

Before we knew it, it was midnight and time to pull J away from the swords that were tempting him. We got some presents for ourselves and some very special people, and went to bed knowing that Thursday was a day to play in the woods.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Busy day, lots of pictures

Today was a busy day. The boys had the field battle, and it's one battle I don't like to miss. This is the classic "seen it on TV/in the movies" battle, where they all get to rush at each other, sticks flying.

It usually takes a while for the armies to muster and the royalty to decide how the fight is going to go down. In the meantime, the fighters settle in and wait for the word to get ready.

Finally it was time to get on the field, so the boys got their gear on and posed for my camera

I headed up to the top of the hill to see part of the battle from a different perspective. You can get a good idea of the camping going on here as well.

On the way back down, I got some good action shots

During one of the major breaks, we got to witness someone getting knighted in the middle of the field. I learned a lot about royalty and chivalry in the SCA just by watching that ceremony and asking J a few questions. He's a smart guy :)

As with most battles, after the field battles were over, some of the fighters hung out and played "pick-ups", where they just fought each other for the heck of it, and to keep their skills sharp.

In the meantime, J headed over to the fencing area to test his newfound skills

Once he was done, we headed back home and grabbed some dinner.

Tomorrow will be much quieter. No fights or classes until at least noon, so we're sleeping in!!!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Visiting Day, and car update

Sunday was a good day. J had no battles or tournaments scheduled, so he could devote his time to getting me to classes and visiting people at various camps around Pennsic.

I had my first Pennsic class, and can now say I can knit with double-pointed needles. Our teacher was very nice, extremely helpful, and made it a great class. I met a lovely gal from Arizona while I was there, and I'm hoping our car and war situation settles down enough that I can catch up with her to sit and knit while I am here.

I also took a battlefield orientation class, which was a little disappointing. I was hoping the gal would take us around to see the different areas where different fighters do their thing, but it seemed more just a big ad to get people to volunteer to carry water during battles. I did learn a thing or 2 though, so it wasn't all bad.

After that, it was off to the merchants. We picked up a few things here and there, but didn't go too overboard. We visited a friend of ours who runs a shop at Pennsic--it was nice to catch up.

This was J at the leather goods shop, posing in front of a giant leather pouch. Kinda matches the one on his belt, doesn't it?

We visited some other folks too, checking out some campsites along the way. I know I talked about it last year, but the various households at Pennsic (and I'm sure at other large events) set up sheet walls to delineate their campsites. I love checking out the new, novel, and interesting.

This was the "guard" at a campsite on the way back from my battlefield orientation.

One of the many particularly well-done Celtic knot sheet designs at a campsite.

I thought this was cute.

I saw this several times over the course of the day, but even J noticed it on our last trip to the car for the day. I wonder how it handles in wind...

We enjoyed visiting friends and acquaintances at various campsites. The spirit of comraderie here is amazing. People were offering us food and drink everywhere we went, and almost everyone is willing to give you a hand no matter what. A gal in my battlefield class was looking for someone in a royal camp, so our teacher volunteered to get her to the right place. We've had multiple offers of transportation with our car situation, and we couldn't be more grateful.

So you might be wondering, "How does one get around Pennsic without getting lost?" There are of course some major points of interest to get you oriented, like the battlefield, the castle and the central hill behind it, and the food court. And there are some well-known areas of the site, like the Serengeti (a rather large, flat, and generally hot/dry area where a good chunk of the campsites are). But there are also road signs, most with a history I'm still learning to decipher. There's the Low Road, and the High Road, and some with more fanciful names:

We saw this on a truck on the way back to our car. It pretty much sums it up.

Oh yeah, before I forget, a car update. While the boys went off to fight (our friend Mike came in this morning--yay for a secure vehicle to use!), I took the car over to the local repair shop to see what we could do. The guys walked around it and consulted, then said there's no way they could get anything done by Friday. Even if they got a new hatchback, the panel it latches to is so bent in, they doubt they could make it secure. And they'd have to tear the whole thing apart just to see how much damage there really is.
So they vacuumed all the glass out of the back, put on some new see-through plastic on the window, and wished us luck. I'll be chatting with the insurance co. today to see where we can take it once we get home.
I'm hanging out at the B&B while the boys do their thing. J just called and said the first battle was fun, the weather is gorgeous, and he's having a good time. I can't ask for much better.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Prettier Pennsic Pictures

I didn't spend much time on site today. J only had one tournament, and someone had to babysit the car. Instead, I relaxed at the B&B--reading, knitting, napping, and taking some pictures.

This is where I started the morning; reading the paper in the gazebo on the property. So peaceful.

Clematis growing along the gazebo. I wish I could be this successful with clematis.

Daylilies, with a touch of lavender in the background

Black eyed susans by the front door

I'm hoping to catch some butterfly shots this week.

I also went to church in town today. I love this place--it's so medieval looking, which fits in with why we're here, right? I never get time to get good pictures, because J is usually waiting for me and I don't want to disturb people who are trying to pray. But I got this shot which I think gives you a good idea of how the church looks.

Tomorrow I have a knitting class, and we're going a-visiting on site. Maybe doing some shopping too!

Our adventures on the way to War

As most of you know (since I know how few strangers make their way to this blog), it's time for Pennsic (which I talked about in this post and more last year). J wanted to go a day early this year, for a few reasons: there is more fighting scheduled and he wanted more stick time, and he took up fencing last fall, so he wanted in on some of that action. I was all for it. One more day to take classes, shop, and enjoy myself.

Our route consists of one long drive across Interstate 80. It's rather pretty--lots of rolling hills, farmland, trees, you get the picture. We've had a ton of rain, so it's very green. Yesterday was yet another day of rain.

Now, I think J is a nervous driver. He got t-boned back in his college years, and is always worrying out loud about an accident happening. We were slowing down (in the rain) for an somewhere ahead of us, and he wanted to make sure he didn't get too close to the 2 motorcycles in front of us. As I was teasing him yet again about how nervous he was, we got hit by something from behind. I saw cars behind us in a field, and at least one mangled vehicle. I took off running to see if everyone was OK, and J called 911. Several people in the area had emergency experience, so once they had everyone accounted for, I came back to see what happened to our car:

Yeah, that would be no window any more. And a pretty badly damaged hatchback. Yet strangely enough, all the lights work (including that brake light at the top of the window).

So what hit us, you ask?

Yep, nothing like getting rammed from behind by a semi. Doesn't look too bad from this angle, does it? Except that most of the glass from our window is embedded in their grille, and they immediately started leaking antifreeze. Their radiator is shot. Their back bumper was displaced halfway across the truck, and both back doors were damaged beyond belief.

What hit them, do you ask?

Yeah, that's the semi that started it all. Completely jack-knifed, front hood displaced from the vehicle, trailer shredded. Apparently he didn't notice that everyone had slowed down (we were just starting to pick up speed after sitting for a minute or 2), so he hit the semi behind us full force. There are 2 other cars in that picture--a sedan that looked totaled and an SUV that looked like it swerved to miss the whole thing and ended up in the field.

Miraculously, it looked like there were few, if any, injuries. We were fine, and all the guys in the semis were fine. The guy in the mangled sedan was treated at the scene.

There were a few more cars involved in the other lane (I'm not sure how, and I don't think the police do yet either), and at least 2 ambulances came to help them out.

After patching up the back with a piece of tarp and LOTS of duct tape, we went a half a mile, only to stop for this (notice the weather cleared):

Another semi had jack-knifed (which caused our backup) and they had to Life Flight the driver. Poor guy--I hope he's OK.

The volunteer firefighter we talked to said this particular stretch of I-80 gets 300 accidents a year. J and I have never had a problem on this road, which we travel once or twice a year. I guess we were due, and we'll be OK for a couple more decades ::fingers crossed::

We called our insurance company (kudos to USAA and their amazing customer service), who found us a car repair shop in the town near Pennsic. I'm taking it in to see if they can fix it while we're here. In the meantime, J got some clear plastic sheeting and sealed up the back window so we can at least get back and forth to Pennsic for his events. We have a friend coming out on Monday, so we'll use his vehicle while ours is in the shop.

After 9 hours, we finally got to see our first signs of Pennsic:

We got checked in, got settled into our B&B, grabbed a quick bite, and called it a night.

I've had my fill of adventure so far. Cross your fingers that the rest of this trip is very uneventful.