Saturday, 30 August 2008

Bragging Older Sister

I just wanted to brag about my younger brother Ethan since my older sister Megan kindly posted this video of his great interception and two touchdowns. He's number 3.

Also, since this is about Ethan, here's a picture of his girlfriend Kourtney. I thought the commentary from our family website was pretty amusing. Mostly just Ethan's response though. (She's in a dance outfit.)

Wyatt and Lindsay Ann - Aug 8, 2008

Wow Ethan!! Shes cute!

Ethan Rasmsussen - Aug 8, 2008

psh, you think i'd be datin her for the past year if she wasnt

Megan Barney - Aug 8, 2008

Very pretty.

Kayli Bell - Aug 8, 2008

what does she look like in real life?

Ethan Rasmsussen - Aug 8, 2008

that is what she looks like.

Amy Austin - Aug 10, 2008

thats what i was going to say....thats exactly what she looks like in real life.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Leonardo de Latorre

Pray, be he not the most fair lad to look upon?

Monday, 25 August 2008

The Videos

I tweeked the videos I posted earlier. They may work this time. Please let me know if not.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

A Concert at a Park

Saturaday night we went to a free concert over in Schaumberg of the Chicago Symphonic Pops Orchestra. I loved it!!! I do wish they would have done more numbers without singing though, and Leo completely agrees. But it was fun, and free, which is the best part of it really. Anyway, they did songs from High School Musical, West Side Story, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and a bunch of patriotic ones, including Battle Hymn of the Republic--which I loved!! (Although it wasn't as good as my mom's choir singing it!! I LOVE that arrangement!) Leo's favorite was the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme. Ana's favorite was playing on the rock sculpture and that Elena connived cookies off some ladies near us that she got to eat too. Elena and Isabel had no comments.
I decided to try uploading my own videos here too. Please be patient with their quality until I get the hang of it.

And just for another random story, Leo was talking to the nursery leaders at our ward today (the guys in charge of watching the kids ages 18 months to 3 yrs old at church ) and they were gushing that Elena is such a doll. Hmmm... I find her cute a lot of the time, but once you hear her shriek, the whole doll thing goes out the window. They said that she was really sweet and if any other kid was crying, she would come over and try to give them a toy to make them happy. They also told him about another little boy that bullies most of the other children, and while he makes most of the kids cry, Elena just gets mad. Today they had to be seperated when fighting over a toy, and they said Elena was holding her own and "shaking" with anger. Kind of not so amusing to me as I see her that way a lot, but fairly impressive because literally, he is twice her size.

Also I found out that my background and header are not uploading on my blog because I've exceeded the bandwidth. Errr.... I have to find a new site that allows url linking for free, so until I do, sorry my blog is so bland.

Friday, 22 August 2008

What I've Learned About Ossetia

I decided to write on this topic because I was highly chagrined this week twice. (This is why writing is so nice. I could never pronounce the word "chagrined" in real life, so I can never use it. It's a neat word too. And writing it is simple.) The reason I was so chagrined is that TWO people asked me about what was going on with Russia and Georgia and I had to admit that I had no idea. And both replied similarly, "Oh, I thought you'd know." Sigh. I had been a bit preoccupied with sewing last week. So to make amends for my lack of knowledge, I'm sharing what I've learned since then with everyone. So are you ready for a short history lesson?

Georgia became independent in 1991 from the Soviet Union. South Ossestia, however, has pretty much been under Russian control since 1992. And that's by their own choice as they share common ethnicity and religion (Islamic) with North Ossestia in Russia. Georgia is backed by most western countries and NATO and was hoping to be soon admitted to the NATO, although their application hasn't been given a timetable yet. Georgia has also been in turmoil this year as many believe the elections were rigged. On August 7th, Georgia escalated an ill-advised offense against rebel groups in South Ossesstia and the next day Russia stepped in to "stop" the violence, claiming that no less than a thousand civilians had been killed and it was genocide. (The number has since been revealed to be 133.) In the days following Russia used the excuse to advance troops to outside of the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, while bombing airports and military units, and blocking ships from entering Georgia's ports. Also Abkhasia, a region of Georgia that has wanted independence from Georgia since it's conception, has taken the chance to align itself with Russia. So the Russian army swept into Georgia from that end too. Meanwhile, the Russian government talks of a ceasefire every day. It kind of follows this pattern: "Okay, we agree to this one", then the next day, "oh well, we can't do that it wouldn't be safe, or it wouldn't be fair to those people we're "protecting" so we're modifying it", then the next day, "well we don't want that ceasefire agreement at all anymore, let's draft a new one" etc. etc. Basically stalling while their military takes out more of the Georgian military. Once they finally do cease fire, they start playing the same game with withdrawing. Originally, they were supposed to withdraw to pre-conflict positions, then it became they would stay in just those regions seeking independence. Now they're insisted on a buffer zone (into Georgian territory of course) around those regions as well. On a different note, pro-independence rallies in both territories are attended by thousands of people.
Other previous, Soviet satellite countries rally around Georgia (who knows? they could be next), as does Western European countries and the U.S. However, Russia guessed correctly that the other European countries really wouldn't step in and that the U.S. is too busy elsewhere and doesn't want to butt heads with Russia that directly, so no real military intercession is forthcoming. Many believe that this is Russia's loud message that the don't want NATO advancing any further. Kind of like their loud message to the Czech Republic when that country agreed to allow the U.S. to put up a missiles there. Russia cut Czech's oil supplies by half claiming they were running low, although none of their neighbors' oil supplies were cut.
I was going to ask the lady that works in the office at our apartment complex her opinions of it all (since she's from Georgia) but she was extremely busy today when we went to the rental office and so I didn't bother. Lo siento.
So that's what I could make of it. Hoped you all enjoyed my week of "What I've Learned About...."

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Our Day Today

Today I read a book and then a second one. I did still manage to make a triple batch of granola. Yum.
Then tonight we were invited to a party for Viviana, who just turned one. Latinos like big birthday celebrations I've noticed. Anyhow, her mother came to invite me, which was a process in itself as she doesn't speak English. However, we've always managed to say a few sentences to each other down in the basement while doing laundry. Anyway, I really like her, despite our conversations being so short.

This is Viviana.

We ate cake and the girls had a blast with the piñatas. Viviana's mother is the one in the animal print dress by the way.

Ana loved hitting at the piñata.

Elena wouldn't hit at it, but she sure went after the candy.

Ana had no difficulty getting her fair share too.

It's really interesting to try to hold conversations with people that don't speak the same language as you. I smile encouragingly a lot, I gesture a lot, I laugh at jokes when I have no idea what they were about (okay, so that's not abnormal for me), and I have difficulty remembering the simplest phases such as "mucho gusto" when under pressure. Errr... I actually have been reading the Book of Mormon in Spanish lately and I can understand a ton more this attempt. Unfortunately that hasn't helped me to understand what other people are saying or my speaking skills. I really need to practice Spanish more. Sigh. Marisol was very kind though and so was her husband Santos, who luckily did speak some English. I also met Magdalena and Christian, and oh, I was trying to write their names down so I'd remember but I've already forgotten all the rest. Drat.

Well, on to this amusing photo of Leo and Isabel. Leo thinks it's so funny to wrap her up like a burrito and carry her in one hand. She's literally as stiff as a board. She has really good neck control too, way better than most babies her age. My theory is that since Elena and her were both breech for so long, they developed more neck muscles because they weren't jammed down in the pelvis with only their legs to kick. It's a thought anyway.

And here's Isabel sticking her tongue out at all of you!!! Hee. Hee.

What I've Learned About Adopting A Child

To preface this a bit, we weren't looking to adopt a child. Think of it as the proverbial baby in a basket left on your doorstep, only with a seven year old. The very first thing I learned was to call around a lot. I really had no clue as to where to start when we decided to take in Ana. Luckily, my sister Amy used to work for CPS in Arizona and had some contacts there. Through her recommendation we found a lawyer there who told us what we needed initially to take Ana back home with us to Chicago. Basically, he told me to get a POA and have it notarized. So I looked online at a bunch of different (and free) POA's and finely found one that suited me, printed it off, flew to AZ, had Ana's mom sign it and then flew home with Ana. We met with the lawyer there too and signed the contract with him. He later drafted the parental rights relinquishment document and Ana's mom went in to sign that the next weekend. This was all the easy part.Our lawyer in AZ told us we'd have to find a lawyer in Illinois as well. So when I returned home, I tried a lawyer that was a friend of a lawyer in our ward, but that didn't work out. I also had contacted the state office to see what was required because the lawyer in AZ really didn't know that much about inter-state adoptions. In fact, he didn't know that inter-state adoptions was regulated by a whole mass of laws requiring a bunch of extra paperwork, etc (he had never done one before). I found that out myself bit by bit. Anyway the state office wasn't much help except in confirming that we really needed another lawyer here in IL and that it was against the law to move a child across state lines without a homestudy and placement being approved first. Oops. However, they said it was okay as this was a rather unique case in that she was a relative. Eventually, while looking online for information, I came across some adoption websites for IL, found a list of lawyers specializing in adoptions, and after calling several that were nearby, I picked the one I liked the best and was the least expensive. Basically, by saying I liked her the best, it was according to the criteria that she actually returned my message promptly, seemed knowledgeable about the inter-state adoption process and gave me more information about it than any person to date, and seemed really nice. She also charged $1500 plus court costs, which is wonderful. (I had been quoted $35,000 by one office I called.) This is, by the way, what's called a private adoption, which are much more inexpensive than most adoptions. And in case anyone is interested, my lawyer here is Sheila Maloney and here's a link to her website. I highly recommend her. I'll withhold the name of my lawyer in AZ because frankly, I wasn't very impressed by him. Quite the opposite actually. However, it was his first inter-state adoption and he kindly reduced some of his usual charges for me so I don't really want to give him bad publicity either.

Anyhow, after talking to Sheila and signing a contract with her, she told me to contact Lutheran Child and Family Services for a homestudy. The social worker we worked with there, Leni, was awesome!!! She walked us through the whole rest of the process. This involved several things: we (meaning Leo and I) had to go in and meet with her, we signed a ton of paperwork, she talked to each of us individually, etc. We then had to complete some of the requirements: Leo had to get CPR certified (I already was), we had to be fingerprinted, get FBI background checks done, and do some adoption training--we did ours online. Then we met with Leni again in person, answered some more questions, and then she came one day and visited our apartment and met with Ana. I think Leo and I met with her three times total, and we answered questions regarding everything from how our marriage was and how we solved our problems (that was funny because I had slept on the couch the night before after one of the worst fights in our entire marriage--it was the only time I'd ever done that--and we had barely begun speaking to each other again on the drive over there in the car) to how many siblings we had, their ages and occupations to how our own parents disciplined and what our own childhood was like. We also had to have three written recommendations from people who were not related to us. After all that, Leni sent the homestudy packet to our AZ lawyer for him to submit the interstate documents to the state of AZ. This was a whole mess, because he kept being obtuse and not taking my hints on what he was required to do, and finally our lawyer here talked to him and flat out told him it had to come from the AZ side of things since that's where the mother resided. Months later, he finally got around to submitting it. Meanwhile he did get the father's parental rights relinquishment translated to Spanish which we sent to Leo's Uncle Eduardo, who is a lawyer as well, in Colombia. Eduardo tracked down Ana's father for us and had him sign the relinquishment. All that was processed by both AZ and IL and finally approved, so we should have been able to set a court date and be done with it all, only Sheila informed us we needed documentation from Colombia saying we followed all their laws. Ruff. The silly part of that is had I known that before we could have had it already done, and I had had this niggling worry in the back of my brain that we'd need something like this, but instead of asking, I hoped we'd slide by without it. Errr.... So that's what we're waiting for now. Just FYI, Leo called the governmental department in charge of that down there and they said we were okay, only to get it in writing it would take at best 45 days. Leni's already been out to do the postplacement study. The court hearing is basically ceremonial from what Leni told me and then the judge may decide to have a "testing time" of Ana living with us for a few months before it's completely finalized,but we're hoping not since she's already been living with us so long. And that's what I've learned of adopting a child in a nutshell. Good luck if you're adopting a child. I wish you as little paperwork as possible!

What I've Learned About Becoming A U.S. Citizen

So I don't know who all knows this but I'm actually a naturalized citizen of the United States. Yep, I was born in Canada, a good 90 miles (that is 145 kilometers) north of the border. I became a U.S. citizen in 1998 when I was 17 yrs. old. That's a good thing because then I didn't have to take the test they require for citizenship. My little sister Kayli, my little brother Wyatt and I all took the oath in this little office in the Minot North Dakota International Airport. And to tell you the truth we were all trying not to giggle throughout the whole thing. (Okay, I should state right here that I don't mean to offend anyone by this post, and I do try to be a little entertaining so I do take some of this stuff a little lighthearted.) Really though, if you've never heard this oath, it's a bit funny to think of it in context with Canada (because Canada is such a subversive country). Please stop humming "Blame Canada" in your head now. Here it is in all its entirety for anyone interested. Or you can just skip over it.

"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."

So anyway, when I naturalized my dear fat old geyser of a father (he signs all his emails FOG for short) did all the paperwork and paid all the fees. I just showed up to take the oath. However, when I married Leo, he was a Colombian citizen, born and raised. Which led to me learning a lot about the immigration process.Let me enter another little clause here, just because I'm mentioning something here doesn't mean it directly applies to Leo. I've lived in New Mexico, Arizona, and Florida; all big immigration states and I think because of being married to Leo, people open up to me and tell me a little more of their own immigration stories that they might not have otherwise. Also, my mom asked me when she came to visit, "Are you the only white girl living in this apartment complex?" Which by the way, I'm not, but mostly the others are Polish. I also hear a lot from Leo who hears even more because, well, he is Latino.
Here's what I've learned now that I could practically be an immigration lawyer. First of all, you don't need an immigration lawyer if you can read English and are halfways intelligent. Yep, the U.S. Immigration website pretty much has all the information you could possibly need. It might take a while to find it, but it's there. And they have "how to" files for every form pretty much. My brothers-in-law who don't have wonderful and talented wives like me, pay big dollars for an immigration lawyer every time they have to send something in, and the lawyers have messed it up a couple times anyway. I've never messed up any of Leo's paperwork. I do have to admit though, that the first time we sent in the initial paperwork for Leo's greencard we did go to Fuente Mission, a low cost immigration service center. They only charged $300 or $400 for preparing most of the initial documents. Which I have to say is extremely good. Some people have told me they were charged upwards $3000-4000 by immigration lawyers. After that, I've done all of Leo's paperwork. Recently I filled out his parents' paperwork too, based on Leo's citizenship. My tips include: keep very good records, you'll have to send in copies of taxes, housing leases, bank statements, marriage license, childrens' birth certificates, etc. over and over again; and if you're a male, age 18-25 register for the Selective Service whether you're legal or not. You have to send in proof of that over and over as well.

So how does the process go? Well, first you have to either marry a U.S. citizen, win a lottery from your country, join the military, or have your work sponsor you, etc. I know several people that have made "arrangements" for marriage (One Filipino nurse I knew lived with her "husband" and paid all his housing expenses plus a stipend each month until she became a citizen.) I don't recommend that. Basically I don't recommend doing anything illegal actually (imagine that). However, I do empathize and probably would try to come to the United States legally or otherwise if I was in some of the situations I've heard from people. Moving on...

Marriage is how Leo applied, and also my two brothers' wives who are both from our neck of the woods up in Canada. (My dad's work sponsored him for the curious.) Anyway, then you file a whole mass of paperwork. You have a medical done too. If you entered the States legally but stayed after your visa expired you have to pay an extra fine. If you entered illegally, then you're in too deep of water for me and you probably should get an immigration lawyer and pray immigration reform passes. Then after they process all of that and we paid large amounts of money, we had to go in to "prove" that we really were married and it wasn't just an arrangement. My little brother's daughter won the day for them. I brought in my wedding scrapbook which impressed the immigration officer enough that she called in another worker to come look at it and joked about keeping my name to hire me to make hers. YES! Scrapbooking IS good for something!! With that you eventually get a conditional "Resident Alien" card. Three years later you can apply to be a standard alien and remove the condition. At this point you can apply for citizenship or you can divorce your wife and then wait two more years and then apply for citizenship. Oh, each time you send anything in, you have to have your biometrics taken, in case your fingerprints have somehow morphed. Once your citizenship application has been processed, you take a civics test which includes questions like, "Who is the President of the United States?" and you have to prove you can read and speak English. Leo was a little worried, but he managed to read the sentence, "The President lives in the White House" just fine. Then it's just a matter of taking the oath. Leo takes it on August 27th!!! YEAH!!!!! I'll have to do a modified version of this for Ana too in a couple of years. (A child has to be adopted for two years before their citizenship can be processed.)

I also plan on getting my kids' Canadian citizenship as well. Technically, I renounced my Canadian citizenship when I became American. But Canada doesn't recognize that so as soon as I'm on Canadian soil--or if I was traveling on a Canadian passport--I'd be considered Canadian. This leads to the fun game of driving across the border with my cousin on his quad going "Now you're Canadian, now you're American." (I also like to tell my Mexican friends that I've canoed across thee border.) Basically, I think it's cool that my kids could be three nationalities, although traveling on a Colombian passport might slow them down a bit at airports.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

What I've Learned About Making Renaissance Period Clothing

" Whatever the approach, we must not overlook the fact that for many people in sophisticated societies, dressing in fashion has been and still is a delightful, if not frivolous, occupation pursued with great enthusiasm in spite of satirical comment on all sides." - Janet Arnold, A Handbook of Costume

As I stated before, I wasn't historically accurate. Cost and time were big factors in that, as was, well, desire. I did not desire to handsew anything. That's just me. I did though, try to be as accurate as possible despite hemming everything on my machine. I didn't use any patterns per se, but I did use a bunch of tutorials on different websites. So here's the low-down in case you ever get an incredible urge to make Renaissance period costumes like I did. And I don't necessarily not recommend it. I had a lot of fun, actually.
First of all, kids during the Renaissance dressed exactly like the adults. Pretty much a chemise and then an overdress or gown. What you see Ana wearing here. The main thing I did differently in my dresses, is that I didn't use boning. The fact that I would have to do something called "make casings" for the boning just scared me completely. Now that I'm a little more seasoned, I would definitely go for the boning next time. I found a site that showed how to do it perfectly, but I didn't bookmark it since I wasn't doing that. Silly me. No boning is why Ana's bodice is so wrinkly. And like I said, I didn't have a pattern, so I basically cut it out by pinning it on her. She was actually pretty patient. I found out the cheapest and easiest way to do boning is using electrical cables bought from a hardware store. Random Fact: the term "blue-collar" came into usage because back then, blue was an easy and cheap dye to make so most of the servants and apprentices used it for their clothing. Ana's been indentured to be a milk maid, as you can tell by her choice in colors. Leo and I are of course, pocketing the income.
This is the dress I copied to make Ana's and Elena's dresses from the Featured Attyre website. Elena's was the second dress I made and it turned out much better. It doesn't suffer as much from the lack of boning. Also I used one of her Sunday dresses to kind of trace out a pattern. That helped a lot as she was not patient at all with pinning. (I used chocolate for bribery). I also added interfacing to all our bodices, by the way. Random Fact: Girls over the age of 13 were required by law to wear a hat. Elena's okay that she took her hat off since she's only one.
On to my dress or as it's actually called, a kirtle. I used this dress diary to make my dress. It turned out fairly decent I think. The material was off the dollar a yard bin at Walmart, and I think it's twill, but I'm not sure as it was listed as "assorted material". I am also very wrinkly from lack of boning and the lacings here are all askew because, well, it's difficult to lace yourself up after breastfeeding in a public place. These are the dresses I was inspired (read copied) from.
I almost hate to post them, because then you can see how much nicer looking theirs are. But oh well, it was my first time sewing anything more difficult than an apron, so a lot comes with experience I imagine. Besides adding boning, I wish I would have made my muffin cap a little fuller. The tutorial I used for making mine and the girls caps are from this excellent website. Oh, and I used this one too. I used that first site to make our chemises and Leo's shirt as well. Wonderful, wonderful site!!! And completely historically accurate.

It was rather difficult to make my dress. Remember how I didn't use any patterns? Well, for my bodice I traced a fitted shirt to get a round about size and then imagine me pinning the bodice on myself and trying to check if it looks right in front of the bathroom mirror. I would have taken a picture, I looked so silly, but I wasn't quite modest. Also the skirt, which according to many sites I read, is the easiest part took me forever. Mostly because of something called cartridge pleating.

This is how cartridge pleating is supposed to look. It makes the dress fuller, so if you don't have many petticoats you still get the in vogue silhouette. I tried to cartridge pleat my skirt. I should have not bothered. Why? It has to be completely hand sewn. I really wanted that silhouette. Hmm... Also this is the number one thing I learned about sewing these last two weeks, nothing turns out right once it's past 1:30 AM. I did the first part of hand sewing three running stitches through my skirt late, late at night. Or early morning if that suites you better. Next morning I discovered I had turned the edge the wrong way so the fabric which had a definite right side and wrong side was wrong side out. Oops. So I pulled that out. I sewed the three running threads again. And then discovered that no matter how I gathered the skirt, the thread was going to show. This mattered extremely because I used white thread and my skirt is green. I chose white thread because it was my most heavy duty thread, which they said was needed also. So after all that hand sewing I ended up machine sewing my skirt on. This is the tutorial for that though, in case you're insane like me and want to try cartridge pleating. Random Fact: Wool doesn't burn, but blends using wool and other material does burn quite magnificently. So if I was wearing a wool dress while tending the stew boiling over the fire and a spark flew on me, it wouldn't matter much.And now on to Leo's costume. First of all, I never made his breeches because I ran out of time. But I think I still will just because I'd like to practice making pants of some sort. Not with a codpiece however. (You can look that one up yourselves.) I absolutely love his hat. I think it turned out the best of everything I made. I used this tutorial. I'll probably use that site for the breeches too. It's hard to find sites with men's clothing, by the way.

I sewed one of Leo's cuffs on his sleeve on inside out (it just looked nicer on one side than the other) and when I told my mom that, she was horrified that I didn't unpick it and redo it. My mom is definitely a perfectionist. I am not.

The jerkin I made from this site. Fairly easy you would think.

Wrong!! This is what happens when you sew the lining on, including the sleeves and then turn it right side out. On the right you see how the sleeve should look (that's after I unpicked it) and on the left you see how it is before I unpicked it. Notice the sleeve goes inward. Umm, I'm still not sure why this happens this way. I guess I'm not very good at spatial orientation. After that it was pretty easy going though. The jerkin is completely reversible by the way, it can be worn grey side out or black side out. The black cloth is cotton duck cloth to give it some stiffness and the grey is twill. Leo used the heaviness as one of his excuses not to wear it, claiming he was hot. (Like I wasn't in three yards of heavy fabric?!?!) Random Fact: Black was a color only the wealthy could afford because a true black would require many dyeings. Hence the handsome peasant you see pictured here is wearing his jerkin grey side out.

Anyway, here's another link that has a whole list of links about Elizabethean costume making. It was very useful. And I wish I would have found this link earlier in my costume making as well.
So I'm certainly not ready to make this yet. But at the Renaissance fair the innkeeper and his wife at the Dead Duck Inn did give me their email address and wrote down mine because they were very impressed with how historically accurate I did manage to be and they wanted to know if I would be interested in joining their history club of some sorts. I'm not by the way, but I was still faltered they asked. They talked completely in character with the prithee and grammercy etc, it was a bit disconcerting to talk to them actually (was I supposed to talk back like that as well???) so now I'm mad that I didn't ask to see a bit more of their costumes and how they made them. I've read enough now that I could tell they were exact in their accuracy (all made of real linen and wool, wife had blackwork embroidered on her collar, etc), and a few things I just couldn't pick up from the websites I found. Well, anyway, off to bed for me. Aren't you excited for my next episode of "What I've Learned About..."?

Monday, 18 August 2008

What I've Learned About Renaissance Faires

Yes, the Faire was fun. Yes, we all enjoyed it. Would I go again? No. Let me explain.

#1 thing I loved about the Faire: the costumes.

#1 thing I hated about the Faire: the costumes.

No, it wasn't the wench-with-bosums-hanging-out costumes that really got to me (of which there was plenty. Oh, and just for the record, if your over, say, 75 or extremely obese, that look probably is not what you should go for. Just FYI). But apparently, a lot of the people who come to Renaissance Faires and really get into it, have their own "character" and many come and kind of play a live version of Dungeons and Dragons, or something of that sort--Renquest is what it's called actually. Well, that's all fine and good if they stuck with Renaissance era clothing. However, it actually is more of a fantasy LOTR's type of a thing, mixed with mythical characters, and for some unknown reason belly dancers. How does belly dancers get looped into all of this? Maybe because they're a little exotic? However, I didn't see any males dressed as nomadic herdsmen or Turks or anything of the sort, which also would be exotic, so I don't know. Anyway, if they wore costumes like that back in the real Renaissance they would have been thrown in jail, I'm sure. Also the only place they should wear costumes like that in public nowadays is if they really are "exotic" dancers.

Second, I found it annoying that despite the high cost of admission, all the rides for the kids (and there were many) were all two dollars, three dollars, six dollars, etc. So every five seconds I was hearing, "Can I go on the pony ride?" "Can I go on that ride?" "Can I go in the fake battle?" etc. etc. All of which I had to answer with, "No, I don't have the money." We did pay for Ana and Elena to go on one ride, but Elena started crying and they stopped the ride so Elena could get off. We paid for Ana on another one and then she helped with a third.

Also, we left two shows (not the rated PG-13 one either) because they were so lewd. Umm, that wasn't what I was expecting in Robin Hood show. Errr....

Lastly, they had a rule of no outside food or drinks. I have to admit that I smuggled in our lunch and water in our stroller. It's handy for things like that. Haven't they ever heard of people on a budget??!?!

So there you have it, all of what I've learned about Renaissance Faires.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Good morrow, good sirs.

Prithee, attend me for I will tell astounding tales of our day well spent at olde Bristol Faire.

Okay, well, that was enough of that for me, but here is our day in pictures. Later this week I intend to write several "What I've Learned About....." posts regarding various things, including making Tudor Renaissance clothing. So forgive me for not posting clearer pictures yet of our costumes but I'm saving those for that post.

Our little family, just arrived at the faire. Do you like Leo's sunglasses? They give it a nice period look. Leo was so umm. . . contrary. He agreed right away to wear a costume, which actually surprised me. But he said that he has to "pick his battles" and that I'd probably make him feel guilty till he wore it anyway. (What me?) So then when we got there and people were obviously not all dressed in costume, he spent five minutes at the car absolutely refusing to wear his costume, which he already had on. Errr... We compromised though and he kept his jerkin and hat on for a couple pictures and then wore the shirt the rest of the day. After all the work I put in. :(
A little scenery around town. The place was huge! I don't think we even walked around all of it in the five hours we were there.
A few of the many troubadours, minstrels, bards, and jesters.
Ana was the clever and pretty assistant for Geoff the Jack of All Trades. When she finally sat down after helping him for a while, some one called out in the audience for her again, so Geoff pulled her back on stage where she stayed for almost the entire show.
Here she is holding his assortment of weaponery that he later juggled. Ana said her shoulder was tired after a while. However, Geoff payed her five dollars for her help which he made another little boy in the audience come up and give her. Then he told the boy to get used to it for that's what he'd be doing the rest of his life. Hee. Hee. He also said he would make her any balloon animal she wanted behind his back, but surprisingly enough, that monkey pretty much looked like a dog. Which Geoff pointed out was amazing that he could make a monkey look like a dog.Ana was feeling quite fierce and rather resembles Joan of Arc here. Elena, small but dangerous, with her battle axe. She was crying for a shield too.Around Bristol--everyone kept telling us how cute Elena was in her dress. I do think Ana and Elena had the cutest costumes of any kids there, but maybe that would be a little too boastful of me? Oh well. :) Here is Queen Elizabeth during the parade through towne.
And some of her court on parade with her. Of course, you can't have the royal court without a knight.

Kayli, this picture is for you. Ahoy, matey!!! Other entertainment abounded, as here you can see the falconer, dancers, and others.
We even saw some fairy folk. I have to say that I should have set out a tips jar, whenever I was holding Isabel, I had people constantly asking how old she was. One person walked by and Leo heard him ask his companion if Isabel was "real". Umm, yeah. I've found that not uncommon here; at least five people have come up to me in the last four weeks and said they thought I was carrying a doll. My question is: who carries a doll around??!?!

But best of all was the jousting, which was theatrical to say the least.
A brave knight on his stead.
Ana enjoyed it all.

But her most favorite part was doing this. (Bungee cords and trampoline.) I'm not sure if that's entirely period appropriate. :)
And so, I bid ado. Fare thee well, I must away!