I have little patience with most "green" folks nowadays: they seem to miss the mark in so many ways, I can't begin to talk about it. It's not a life sentence, it's not work, it's not shaming or blaming.

Part of this is that being "green" has become one of the New Status Symbols: while my grandparents Maybelle and George lavished their spare funds on silver, china and fine glass, as well as other objects d'art and virtu in the '30's through the 60's, Jason and Jenny boast that their flooring comes from renewable bamboo and they not only recycle, but compost. They contribute to Greenpeace, are passionate orthorexics, and have a stunning display of Amsel Adams posters in their artfully spare great room. Their home has solar heating, and is powered by that wind farm...we don't know where, while we use what we have to put our precious genetic investments through college....

A nature lover, when I was growing up, was someone who could tell you what bird that was and knew where black birches (with their tasty twigs) were to be found. Their eyes could spot crusts of coral on the drab rocks, and could tell you what the drab rocks were, too. Their hearts were uplifted by double rainbows, not on unicorn posters, but in Summer skies, of rings round the moon, and the austere beauty of a former factory yard become a home to thickets of eglantines on a Winter afternoon. They could kill if necessary, but never hurt for pleasure. They knew the Conservation List by heart, but felt free to eat blackberries and pickle milkweed buds without fear. They could spend hours, just doing nothing.

Part of it was being raised by a hunter and several Garden Club ladies, all of whom were registered Republicans. Another was being landed on a borderline-sprawl suburban house near a small market garden, several substantial woodlots, and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, without many female friends of my age around, and a mother whose general directive was "Go out and play, and leave me alone." I read Rabbit Hill, and fed wildlife. At Grandmom's (Mayme's) I tended a perennial border, and got in close and personal with several trees. (Great trees, in New England, aren't sprouted, but actively pruned, fertilized, and, if you want them to survive a harsh winter or a hurricane season, as pampered as pets.) I raised a racoon, and several cats. I ate a Jack-in-the-Pulpit root, and lived (spiniest mouth in my life, for a few hours). I got chummy with several snakes of the garter, black, python and garden varieties, and still think of them, not as Satan, but as friends.
Mr. Stripes (a cat) may have had the mind of an eighteen-month-old child, but he had at least five years experience doing it, when I first encountered him, and he taught me manners, if nothing else (I remember showing off my scratches every night...and the only childhood scar I have is from chicken pox). A raccoon, to a seven year old, is a pal: you like swimming, she likes swimming. You sleep, she sleeps. (My mother treasured the memory she had, with me lying on my back, posed like a mummy -- I had an Egyptian fetish-- and Robin--as in Batman-- lying next to me, doing much the same.) Hearing the winds singing in the windbreak: that's just something you get from someone else...

Look, you don't have to do much to reach a Thoreauesque state of mind: simplicity isn't something you buy from Pottery Barn, it's loving what you own already. I know, easy for me to say, my relatives bequeathed me (or were supposed to) stuff most other people would want to have. But you don't have to sell it to get what you love, start loving it. Explain to your kids what it means to have a toy you played with: tell it her name, what her past is, and what stories you told about her. I remember hearing a woman talk about the kids' books I owned: "Hey, you could sell them, and get a lot of money!"
I said "And to buy?"
"Anything you want!"
"I want those books I grew up with."
"So, great, with that money you can buy it!"
Anyone understand the irony?

Turn off the Discovery Channel. And the Animal Channel. If I can find wild spinach growing in a planter on Houston St. and chide the keepers of Washington Square for killing off the violets (now feral) that were planted to commemorate the Civil War, you can find wild food. Stop thinking of "weeds and vermin" and set your own limits: maybe you don't like mice, but love 'coons and 'possums. (I long to raise a baby possum, just once!) Feed them. Think of raising quail in your greenhouse. If you can't do a garden, raise flowers in pots, and if you can't do that, sprout! If you have a yard, or access to a park, take your shoes off and chase yourself around it, some fine late Spring morn.

Lord, I may transgress a thousand times, but why do I love it so?
--attributed to George Patton.

I went medieval this weekend.

My girlfriend is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, and last summer took me to the Pennsic Wars. I had a lot of fun, but missed all the battles because they took place midweek and summer is the busy time of year in the office. No vacations allowed. Period. But this weekend was The Blackstone Raids a much smaller event than Pennsic, but that would hardly be difficult as Pennsic can top 15,000. Because the battles were on Saturday, I could watch. Maybe find out.

And Nancy wanted me to drive. That led to another surprise, Stasi and Ogre, were getting married. Probably none of you know Stasi and Ogre, as I barely know them, but I know them well enough to entrust with getting the Mother of the Bride to the event for the wedding. Clearly they have never seen me drive a set of curves. I looked at the map, and saw what looked like a bunch of twisty bits, and began salivating. My SVT Focus was built for such roads. Tire pressures? Check! Oil level? Check! Wheelbase? Check! We were ready to roll. Unfortunately the mother of the bride is a self-confessed 'nervous nellie' so it would be best if she slept through the twisty bits. Or at least I should drive them at night so she can't see the edge of the cliff.

Still, it was cool. The Great Dark Horde (Nancy's House) had a brother cater the event, so for $20 I got fed four tasty squares. There was much laughter and debauchery. And I got to watch the warriors suiting up and preparing for battle. I had the camera of one of them, a small woman with a spear, desperate for pictures she could show her co-workers who don't believe she could go out there and fight.

Well, she does. I thought I had a good picture of her spearing an Atlantean fighter. Unfortunately her camera let us down so she will continue to endure the catcalls from her fellow workers. If she gets downsized, perhaps she can bring her halberd to work and level a couple of them. It was a bridge battle, a narrow front for a few hundred fighters. It also proved Clausewitz's maxim that "no plan survives contact with the enemy." It seemed like you wanted the sheildmen to get a bit of room for a charge then they would occupy the defenders so the spears would get a good shot at them. I also saw how demoralizing it can be when you're waiting in line to fight and have a ballista bolt clang off your shield, particularly when embossed with labels saying, "Pardon me, but you are so dead."

Actually, it looked like fun. In fact, it looked like a lot of fun. I wonder how much it would cost to put together a decent suit of armor? Probably too much in the short run, but even an old guy like me saw how I could have a good time in there, and get really, really tired, really really quickly. In a way, fighting is a lot like ice hockey. You go hard for a very short shift, are killed and stumble your way back to resurrection to start all over again.

Still we left the field early as we had a wedding to prepare for. I took a nap to make up for lost sleep, but was soon ordered to shower quickly and clear out as our room (which Nancy and I shared with the aforementioned Mother of the Bride) was needed for secret female pre-nuptial rituals, to which no man is expected or wants to understand. The Brides family slid in, turned from mundane to medieval, while I consoled myself sipping whiskey with a few of the brothers. Then we went down to the chapel, the hitching was performed in a quick and surprisingly appropriate ceremony, performed by another Horde brother (who got herself licensed as pastor in West Virginia just for the ceremony. Then we headed back for music, cake and drunken debauchery. All in all a fine time was had by all.

And so ended my second SCA event, much as the first, tired as hell from too much fun and too little sleep, driving home with sleeping women in my car, and generally happy. It was a good time. And I'm beginning to think I'd look good in armor.

Everything is harder to tolerate when you have a cold. For the past couple days I haven't felt well. I'd come home from work and sit around instead of doing something constructive. My roommate is hardly ever around so I have the place to myself which is nice except there's no one to wake me up when I fall asleep on the couch at nine at night. Since no one could get together on my birthday my family decided to celebrate by getting together over the weekend. My dad had taken me out to a basketball game earlier. Part of his game pack included dinner for four at Applebee's. My older sister had to work but my little sister and her husband came with their two kids. The food was decent but I had a hard time concentrating on what people were saying because I was so out of it.

Sunday was the MS walk. I woke up early, looked out at the pouring rain and prayed that the walk would be cancelled. One of the women my older sister works with has MS which is part of the reason we were doing the walk. I had to loan my mom ten bucks because she wanted a t-shirt. All the proceeds go to support MS research so it was for a good cause. One of my nieces came on the walk with us. She made it most of the way which I thought was pretty good for a seven year old kid.

After the walk it started raining again. My mom asked if I wanted to go to the art museum but I told her I'd rather go home and take a nap. I ended up sleeping on her couch for a couple hours before I went back home. My roommate had some friends over. I said hi and hung out in my room. I wasn't in the mood to be dealing with other people when my whole body was achy. I must have fallen asleep again because the next thing I knew it was almost an hour later and my ex-girlfriend was on the phone. My ex-girlfriend is a massage therapist, my roommate hurt his shoulder and he wanted her to give him a backrub. I know what people think of women in massage therapy. All I'm going to say regarding that is it can be that but it doesn't have to be.

I talked to my ex for a few minutes before I handed her over to my roommate. His friends were watching American Beauty. I watched it for a while but couldn't get into it. My roommate gave my phone back to me so I went back in my room to see what my ex had to say. I listened to her for a while and a funny thing happened while I was talking to her. I couldn't remember why we were no longer a couple. I haven't talked to her recently so she had to fill me in on her life and what was going on with all of her friends. One of her friends is getting married this summer. She's already married but they did a courthouse wedding and this year was going to be the year they did the big party thing but now she’s pregnant so that's off.

My ex-girlfriend was supposed to be in the wedding. She's pissed because she put a deposit on a dress and now she's not going to be able to get her money back. Listening to her talk about her money problems brought back some of the fights we had. She doesn't manage her money well and since I am in finance you'd think she would listen to me and my advice but no. She'd rather spend her money now and bitch about it later. I didn't want to start a new fight so I told her I had to get going. My roommate’s friends were still over so I had a hard time getting to sleep at a reasonable hour.

I woke up feeling like shit. I almost fell asleep driving to my first appointment and I was in the middle of a meeting at work when I got a text message telling me my roommate's dad had just been rushed to the hospital because they thought he was having a heart attack. I asked my roommate if he wanted me to go with him to Madison where his dad is but thankfully he said no. It turns out his dad needs a new battery for his pacemaker. He's going to be okay but he's going to have to have surgery again which is a bummer. My dad has Parkinson's and his dad died of a heart attack before he was sixty. I have high cholesterol but I have low blood pressure so I'm not as high of a risk as I could be. I had a crappy day and I'm still lying around but it could have been worse. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Malls balls
Passing faces
Misty rain, we shelter
in the shade of books. A bright smile.

Tub chairs.
Noder names, furry friends, writing.
shoes and gowns for dancing,
masks for poets

Adelaide Nodermeet

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