Saturday, May 31, 2014

The End of all Things

Monday was Memorial Day and our last day in Virginia. We the drove the two hours from CW out to Mt. Vernon and visited that famous estate.

 George Washington's Mansion. Once again, it was hot, we were tired, and it was crowded, but it was still worth the trip. I think that it's pretty clear George Washington was Providence-sent for America's well being.

The gardens were beautiful. There was also a huge museum with several theaters and interesting displays. We even got to see Geo. Washington's famed dentures.

There were a few costumed interpreters at the farm, but otherwise there were hired actors. We "met" Martha Washington.

Tuesday we drove through the Blue Ridge Mountains on our way to Presbytery. It was a long, winding drive with lots of trees and while it was beautiful, I for one am glad to be back in the non-forested midwest. Trees smother people, and whoever said that we need to save the trees was misinformed. Anyway, the most culturally interesting moment of the day came when we stopped just off the latest scenic route(Mom again: We spent an hour on the back roads) and bought local barbecue for lunch.

 We were at Presbytery from Tuesday night through Saturday morning. It wasn't a particularly large camp, which was nice for the parents of small children. And there were lots of small children. Children outnumbered adults seven to one, and when combined together they made a chaotic swarm of screaming miscreants, so it's good we were isolated. The camp was rustic; so rustic that tent camping would have been an improvement. I'll just let you imagine how bad that was.

 Not being a sporting person, I sat in on most of the Presbytery meetings and got a lot of quilting done. I was, however, shanghaied into a canoeing voyage that meant paddling for six miles of river(ohhhh my back) and we saw a whole bunch of cute turtles that looked really good to eat. My fearless skipper and I managed to navigate turbulent waters and our vessel only got turned backwards twice.

So Presbytery is done, vacation is over, and we'll be home by Monday. I'm looking forward to it!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Lord's Day

  Sunday. We went to church at a moderately sized CREC service in the interestingly named town of Newport News. We didn't stay afterward; we had some more sightseeing to do. We drove by Fort Monroe, an old military post that has been fortified on and off since 1609. It was one of Robert E. Lee's first postings, and was used all through WW2. It made for an interesting combination of early American through mid-twentieth century buildings. But we were all tired and hungry, so we didn't stay long.

The goal for the afternoon was Bacon's Castle, recently brought to my attention by this costumed photo shoot. We had a very dramatic elderly tour guide who succeeded in putting Mom to sleep, even though the rest of us enjoyed his style. It's an old house.

The house, of course, has been altered since it's completion in 1669. But you can still see the original hand-cut beams in several rooms, and one of the six original seven-foot wide fireplaces.

Stairs. Really cool stairs.

The one-handed antique clock.
Once we got done with the hour long tour we were all just fried. A week full of touring and sightseeing is just tiring! So we tried headed out to take the ferry back to Williamsburg; only, we ended up waiting for the ferry for almost an hour. But we did get back to our apartment eventually! Tomorrow is our last day of sightseeing before we heard out for Presbytery, and I think we'll all be happy for the change. Seeing all these news things is great, but one can only handle so much walking, touring, reading signs, and eating PB&J for lunch.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Williamsburg, Last Day

 Today was our last day at CW. The weather was perfect. My tourist buddy and I started out at the Gaol, where some of Blackbeard's crew were held while awaiting trial.

 Not a complicated building, but a grim one.

We stopped in at the Cabinet-makers', which had more than cabinets in it.

After the fife and drum parade, we toured the Wythe house. There is a beautiful garden out back, with a vine-covered walkway, trimmed hedges, and a vegetable garden on the side.

Vine covered walkway. I'm generally suspicious of all vines because of my history with poison ivy, but these seemed safe.

Remember what I said about wallpaper? This was one of the more mild versions.

There was a stable, a chicken pen, a dairy, and a pigeon house. We ended the day at the Folk Art museum, which had way more items of antique furniture and household metalware and paintings than our numbed brains and sore feet could handle. So we went home!

Colonial Williamsburg

 Thursday we went to Colonial Williamsburg(CW) with our half-price three day tickets in hand. This first day ended up being pretty much wasted on me. I woke up that morning with congestion that worsened into a headache, that culminated into nausea(extreme nausea, if you know what I mean) and chills. I managed about four hours at CW, but all in all it was a miserable day for me.

Thankfully, the next day I was much better; still weak, but better. I wore my Colonial Grey Gown and Scotland-colored petticoat, along with my new straw hat that I purchased last year at Camden, tied with red silk ribbon. I was very glad to have the hat, because I would have burned without it!

CW is big and it takes a long time just to walk from one place/event to another. Also, the buildings are all open different days at different times, and there are different speakers every day. We visited CW for three days in a row, for four to seven hours each day, and we were always tired at the end of each day.

I think I most enjoyed the tradesmen whom I could talk to about my own reenacting needs or experiences, one the weekdays when there were fewer tourists around. We enjoyed the Capitol building tour and Governor's Mansion; Raleigh Tavern and the Wythe house. As to events, all the speakers were good, and the fife and drum corps was impressive. The gardens were pleasant. Everything in the area was exceedingly expensive, so I only bought one small vase as a souvenir.

Pictures were allowed inside. This was in the Governor's Mansion. The wallpaper and paint colors were fairly different from modern tastes; I like the Colonial blue but frankly find the green a little startling. Another thing different from modern homes is the size of rooms; the Wythe house is 3000 sq feet, which is close to the size of our house, but the amount of rooms in the Wythe house is much less than ours. There were just fewer rooms! Granted, they have a detached kitchen and "bathroom", but still.

There were several sweet little gardens back behind shops and homes that were fun to walk through. The family ended up splitting into groups and touring that way; Mom likes to read everything and some of us don't have a long enough attention span for that. Jonathan and Jeremy were my tourist buddies, and we got along pretty well.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Wednesday: Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center

Wednesday morning we had an obligation. To get half-off Colonial Williamsburg tickets we grudgingly agreed to attend a breakfast and following "one hour" sales talk put on by our friends the Timeshare Resort. The breakfast we ok, but the talk was more like two hours. The boys got put in daycare, which was hilarious, and weren't allowed to leave without an adult, which was also hilarious. But we did finally escape, without spending any more money and with our half-price tickets.

 Then we were on our way to Jamestown and Yorktown. We visited Jamestown Settlement, the re-creation of Jamestown complete with interpreters(but minus Cannibalism). The actual site of Jamestown is an archeological dig.

It was hot out. There were probably about four interpreters in the Fort area and one on each ship; then several more in the Indian village. It was a pretty quiet day, and it was nice that there weren't too many people about.

Jeremy in armor.

It's always fun to see the elements of living in a different time.

There are three ships attached to the Jamestown Settlement. They're not large enough to make me want to ever live on one, but Jonathan wanted to climb to the top of the mast. They had cute little beds and cute little windows.

Trying to look like the face. This was part of the Indian village. We're not usually that "in" to Indians, if only because people today try to make them into a political statement, so we breezed through this area; plus, we were tired.


 After sweating at Jamestown we decided to go sweat at the Yorktown Victory Center, which is a museum with a small American military encampment(with a cannon) and 1780's farm. It's a nice stop and doesn't take too long(unless you're like Mom and want to read and watch display in the museum). And we enjoyed the farm a lot if only because it had cooled down a bit by then. They are also adding a huge building for more displays.


The farm had drying tobacco, a garden, chickens, and all the other farmy things that a farm has.

Which we all had to try out. After Yorktown we were all tired and thirsty, so we went to the Riverwalk to use some ice cream coupons, which may or may not have actually saved us money. It was pretty view, with a big bridge across the water and several ships in the dock.

And that concluded our long warm Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Monday East to Tuesday Eastern

 The Rustic Mansion view from the back deck

We left the Rustic Mansion Monday morning and took the scenic route, ie, a wrong turn out of the backwoods which ended up taking an hour to get off very rural dirt roads until we finally got to the highway. We drove all day and got in to our accommodations around 11pm. For the next week we're staying in what is basically a small apartment, right near Colonial Williamsburg, only because last year Mom and Dad got sucked into a sales scheme and bought points for a timeshare hotel thing.

 Dinner break on Monday, still four hours from Williamsburg and way too much energy.
Tuesday we slept in, mourned the horrible internet service, bought groceries, grilled steak, and watched "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."

Wednesday we went sight-seeing, but that's a post for tomorrow!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Travel, the first weekend

Our first day we drove through various states and ended up in Tennessee. Driving always puts me in a lethargic state and during the twelve hours I only read one novel and watched three episodes of Once Upon A Time Season 3; which was very unmotivated of me when I have a huge book on investing to read and a quilt to finish. Though after my car gets through at the shop this week I may not be investing any time soon.

TN Church- makes me miss living in the country.

As guests we got to stay in the pastor's parents-in-laws' currently vacant but very, very large and fancy house. The boys were thrilled with the heated towel rack and the motorized recliner and the fridge that tells you how many ounces of water it just put into your cup. And that was all before the sun came up and we saw the lake and the pool in the back yard. I got to stay in the Nautical-themed bedroom with a huge four-poster bed that had ten pillows, which took up way more room than I did.

I call it, "Nautical Room With Pillows"

Sunday we had church, lunch, more church, a nap, dinner, and dancing. There were a lot of tired toddlers by the end of that day!

Guys, this is the lookout from the guest house deck. This is the pool..

 ...and there's the lake. Not a bad view!

Monday, May 12, 2014


So one of my projects for the next month is a Rev War redcoat of the 71st Regt. of Foot. The forty Regimental buttons(which are entirely decorative, not functional) and wool trim seriously cost more than $60. I ordered lovely madder red and white wool from Wm. Booth, Draper, which was the lowest price I could find for appropriate fabric where I didn't have to buy wholesale. And they shipped it very promptly, too. This coat has lots of trim, like on Caleb's coatee, and I want to do it better this time. The wool trim tends to fray badly, so this time I'm sealing the edges with bonding glue.

Caleb's coatee collar after a long over-due mending.

I replaced the collar facing on Caleb's coatee, which had sweat stains already, with a navy blue linen. I was told when I made the coatee that the collar facing should be the same wool broadcloth, but it's so thick that it makes the collar very bulky and doesn't look sharp. Plus the linen will be more comfortable. Don't tell me if this is historically allowable or not, because I already changed it.

I also tacked down the trim again (the wool lace seems to jump around easily) and re-plugged the buttons. I was told to plug the buttons underneath using a strip of the wool coating, so that no other color would show through on top, but the wool pulls apart and then the button falls out, and it's a pain to replace. I saw another coat where a sturdy string was used, and I think that's a better way to go.

The outside of the redcoat cuffs. I started out with the cuffs, since I figured I need to practice in the least visible place. Since I'm just going off online images, there's not a lot of detail available to me on exact measurements of the trim and such.

The inside of the redcoat cuffs, with the button shanks showing and a string through the holes. I hope to get the sleeves all done before departure this weekend.

Clothing Shed Woes

My work situation continues to be unsure. I'll likely be offered another job in the company, but the location is up in the air. With no assurance of transfer or promotion, an hour round trip doesn't seem worth it, and I might need to start looking for another job, fast. But there are so many unknowns at this point, I just don't know what will happen. I don't want to go find another job, but I don't want to drive so far for part-time work.

Free entrance day at Lauritzen Gardens

The other day at work I was wrestling the cash register into a form of submission(It's a touch screen. Gets me every time) for some interesting customers. The customers at the counter were black, and my manager is black. No big deal. Then my customer, totally ignoring me, starts talking to my manager about how beautiful my manager is and how she just loves to see black women dressed so well. I had to bite my tongue to keep from asking how she feels when she sees well-dressed white women. It was funny, but it did make me feel very pasty and pallid( too much fun).

In a few days we're leaving on our Grand Tour work-vacation, which is to span sixteen days with stops in four different states. Traveling always makes for interesting blogging, so I hope to update frequently!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Starting out at the Clothing Shed

Last week I worked my final day at O2FS, which I think relived most of my acquaintances. Then this week I started training at the Clothing Shed. It was great. The atmosphere is great; the managers are great(Really great); it was a fifteen minute drive from home and compared to O2FS it was amazingly stress-free. It was a wonderful day until the manager took me aside and told me she had found out(on my first day there) that the company would be closing our location within two months.

My career path seems fraught with doom.

I've only worked two days with the company, but long-term it seems a like good environment with promotion opportunities. I believe the employees at our location will be offered same-level positions at other local stores, the closest one to me being still a thirty minute drive away, but if I get offered a place at that one store near enough to be considered, I'll probably take it. Alas for the fifteen-minute commute. I loved thee well, short was the time we knew eachother.

I'm doing the new trim on my gown(Pleats again. Not terribly creative) and I've mended it for wear. Less than three weeks until departure so I need to get my colonial wardrobe looking sharp. You know, people who only wear fancy historical dress are really missing out. There's a lot to be said for a plain, simple work dress. My ancestors were never wealthy, anyway. If I take my real life position and transplant it back to the 18th century, I come out as a Scots-immigrant Presbyterian pastor's daughter, and dancing teacher, and a needlewoman. I think it makes for a very possible and believable middle-class persona.