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Combat Memories

The following was sent by a fellow Nam Vet. We don't know who wrote this so I can give no credit where it's due but it is the single most moving description of what it was like. I didn't want to lose it so I'm posting it here.

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The Sound that BindsCollapse )

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Pennsic Wrapup

First - This was the finest Pennsic weather EVAR! Second, thank you Alexandra van den Berg! I couldn't have done it without you! Period. An incredible combined beauty and cutesiosity quotient blended with a work ethic that won't quit. Wow! IT's probably a good thing I'm not 40 years younger and single or I'd become a Mormon in a heartbeat. Well more of that as I move along with my story.

Alexandra showed up at my house the Wednesday before Pennsic and loaded the car for me. For those of you who don't know I have a bad (very bad) back, bad feet, and bad hips. So I can't lift, can't bend, and can't stay on my feet for longer than about ten minutes at a pop. We left Danbury early Thursday morning and drove straight through to Cooper's lake arriving around 4 after a stop at the Grove City outlet center to wait out the rain. My tent was in a storage locker west of Cooper's Lake so we put up Alexandra's nylon tent and called it a camp. Then off to Cranberry, PA, and a Japanese hibachi style restaurant. I won't give you the whole story here but if you want to hear it, ask some time. Suffice to say that the 5 young men who shared the table with me kept staring at Alexandra obviously wondering why this beautiful young woman was with the old dude wearing the Vietnam Veteran's baseball cap. The cook asked her if I was her Daddy and she casually said no. Then he tried pouring saki down her throat and I firmly told him that she didn't drink alcohol. He kept asking, "He not your daddy?" I had my arm on the back of her chair and at the end of the meal she leaned back and placed her head on my shoulder saying she was soooo full. I saw the guys staring at us so I gently rubbed her back and she all but purred. I couldn't resist, so I looked at em, grinned and winked. I'm sure they're still wondering. Thursday night was hot, hot, hot, but we managed to sleep somehow.

Friday saw Hedewigis Ockenfussin and Amanda Brizendine arrive and when they heard that we'd had dinner at a Japanese hibachi restaurant the night before I knew where we were eating that night. Again the cook (different one) dubbed me, "Daddy," and was calling Hedewigis, "Mommy." But the food was great!

Saturday Hugh Mannity arrived and then came Joe Grieco (Cormac) along with his wife Cheryl (Aurelia) and daughter (Francesca). Francesca came out of their tent wearing a pair of goggles looking like a Minion from Despicable Me complete with goggles and a necklace with a stylized E that looked like Gru's G.

From this point on things begin to blur. On Monday the rented tents showed up along with a mobility scooter for me that Marlin Sensinig at Tents for Rent delivered for me. I picked up the scooter on the battlefield where they were delivering our tent and got as far as Curry road when the batteries died. I assumed they simply needed a charge so, after Hugh helped me get it to a charging station we charged it enough to get back to Herald Squared (our encampment). To skip ahead in the story, it turns out one of the two batteries was dead, Marlin had two new batteries shipped to me and everything worked fine from that point. That scooter granted me an incredible amount of flexibility and mobility and allowed me to really manage all my duties and get around rather than being anchored to a 50 foot area around my tent. It also made me the fastest runner in the crowd for fetching and delivering messages when needed. Hugh dressed it up with barding and a stick horse's head along with whinny and galloping sounds. It was a hit with kids and adults. I'm hoping someone got pictures of it. I hated leaving Bucephalus at Pennsic.

Bjorn and Morgen (John Slack and Sally Dwyer) showed up early in the week but had to leave on Wednesday as John had a work commitment to teach a class via the web and needed a solid web connection. Besides, the client paid for the hotel room and it meant hot showers!

Arrrrrgh! Showers! We laid out the equipment for the showers and sometime, somehow, in the midst of unloading and setting up EK Royal, our hot water heater, the new one I bought last year, grew legs and disappeared. Fortunately Mistress Eleanor Fitzpatrick (Patricia Cross) had a unit and lent it to us. This means I'll have to buy two new units next year. *sigh* Countess Morgen and Cormac were our resident plumbers and got the unit working. It wasn't as flawless as last year as we suffered some leaks that never got quite fixed but it was workable and a treat after a long, sweaty day.

I picked up Acelia (Alisha Isaacs) at Slippery Rock's answer to a bus "station." She was the third foundation for my triumvirate of "Indentured Servants." Without these three young women the camp would have been in serious trouble. They kept it clean and tidy, did all the daily chores and worked well together. I'm hoping they all became fast friends. I came to know and love all three by working and living in close proximity with them during Pennsic. At no time did we have household fights, squabbles, or even spats. And not just the girls but the whole encampment. All worked together. We worked hard, we played hard, and laughed long, loud and often. I don't recall a Pennsic where I laughed this much. It was great having them all around me. Add Rich Wilson to this mix and you have some serious fun and occasional insanity.

Yes, we even drank some but at no time did anyone seriously over indulge. We had margarooties (made with Da Coach's Supr Sekrit™ ingredient. We had Whookah! Juice, we had JD Godfathers (each on a different night), and all had laughter as a chaser.

We all joined ICOD's meal plan and they went out of their way to take care of Acelia's food allergies. Camping with ICOD was a joy. Mistress Jovonna is a joy and, to top it off, Baron Jibril (Dale Frederick) who was the ICOD Chief of Staff, was knighted later during war week.

The scooter allowed me to do some serious shopping. Proud acquisition time: The only thing I got for myself was a new pouch with my augmented arms painted on it.

I found a lovely garb for my bride and Hedewigis helped me pick out an under-dress for it. I also found some nifty small forks/knives/spoons that so captured me that I bought one for almost my whole Herald Squared family. All except Hedewigis, I found another pilgrim badge for her collection. I love giving presents. Can't explain it, I just love doing it.

I got to see some of my girls, Angelina (Angela Pettengill), Maria (Erika Falle), Alethea (Alison Toscano), Katherine Ashewode (aka Pocket Bard - Julie Golick), Marion (Lynda Brooks), and a new student, Etain (Erin Cabana), at various times, and even got to spend time with them individually. Thursday evening of War Week, Hugh took some photos with me and a few of the girls and that was a special treat for me.

I'm going to skip ahead to Wednesday of War Week and EK Court. Cormac put my chair in a wagon along with some others and had them all taken to the big circus tent on the battlefield where Court was to take place. Of course my chair went to the front row and I had Alexandra (who'd never been to court before) and Acelia next to me so I could explain a bit about what was happening and do a bit of play-by-play as court progressed. To be brutally honest I really miss being a court herald but I don't know how well I could hold up these days.

Earlier in the week Mistress Brid (Lindy Sanford) and Danny Bronson had written a letter to the Queen petitioning her to induct Sir Osgkar Wood (Stephen Straut-Esden) into the Queen's Order of Courtesy. They'd had others sign it but Danny and I decided to do it right so I went out, bought some sealing wax and used his signet ring along with mine to add our arms to the was seal on the petition. I signed my name and for the first time ever used my titles (2nd Tyger of the East, Pelican, etc.) on an "official" SCA document, because I felt that strongly about it. I even offered my glove should she decide to grant our petition. She did it! And he now owns my glove. Earlier in the week he had given me a patch which was a replica of the Award of Merit which was given by George Washington which served as the only combat award given out during the Revolutionary War and is the direct ancestor of today's Purple Heart. When he gave it to me I broke down, had some instant flashbacks, went into my tent and cried quite a lot and tried to collect myself. Giving him my glove felt "right."

Kayleigh McWhyte (Beth Regnier) Received her Pelican and that was another highlight for me. I got to harass her husband throughout the ceremony - that always brings me joy. (I only torment friends. I'm very polite to people I don't know or don't care for.)

Jibril got sent off on vigil. A fine man and well deserved.

But the highlight of court - When Sir Tanaka Raiko (Hank Salvacion) was made the 17th Tyger of the East. The accolade carries no precedence, gains no rank, has no real privileges, and garners no special medallions, signets, or heraldry. Yet it is the single highest honor that can be bestowed upon an individual in the East Kingdom of the SCA. I am honored (and often embarrassed) to be the 2nd Tyger of the East because of the people who came after me who should have so obviously been honored prior to me. And I am so proud to be in such distinguished company. I've known Hank for a long time and am very proud to call him my friend. (His wife, Sophie, is also a GREAT massage therapist!) I got to have a few quiet moments with Tanaka the following morning just after Jibril's knighting ceremony, just to let him know how proud of him I was. Then I taught him some of the Tyger's secrets like our secret name for one another and the secret name for our "club."

Friday was incredibly hectic. We started working as soon as we awoke. We had to get the camp torn down, our own gear put away and carted off to our new Herald Squared storage facility. We want to keep our private camp stuff separate from EK Royal's equipment and supplies so we've taken to marking everything. Then we had to get the wind walls torn down, the front entrance taken down and put away, and the Royal Pavilion had to come down, too. All tables and chairs had to be accounted for as well as all the other rented items. We came up short a few rented chairs, I'm hoping those turn up or we'll have to pay for them.

As I said in a FB post, lots of folks showed up for setting up the encampment but no one showed up for tear down. We even bought paid advertising space to ask for help. Nothing. No one. It was up to the folks from Herald Squared and ICOD to do it all. And without ICOD it would have been all but impossible. Led by Gregor, the King of the East, it all got done and put away in the trailer. ICOD fed us, helped in the heavy work, and did some major lifting and toting with calm, dignity, and good humor. I owe them a lot for all that work. I hope the next Royal Household is as helpful and accommodating or EK Royal could turn into a very serious nightmare. Having Pennsic end early didn't help, either.

Alexandra and I left around 8PM Friday night and drove about two hours then got a room, took hot showers (ladies first) and crashed. At 4:00AM I woke to a pounding heart and feelings of a panic attack. Then realized I'd taken none of my bedtime meds including my long acting insulin and my blood pressure meds. I couldn't remember where the BP meds were but the insulin was in the fridge. So I woke her to tell her I was going downstairs. I got outside the hotel and went to the car but couldn't remember where I'd put my pill box so I yanked out the bag that had all my meds, still in original bottles, and turned to see Alexandra walking toward me. She was worried I might have a problem either finding the meds or getting back to the room. I managed to get the pills dosed out, take my insulin and pills and get back to sleep. Then, promptly at 7:30, I proceeded to get a cramp on the inside of my thigh. I barked like a whipped puppy and shot out of bed to try to walk it off. Of course that woke Alexandra and started our day. A few hours later I started to flake out so I let her take over, moved to the passenger side of the car and passed out. I woke up a couple of hours later feeling much better and then drove the rest of the way. Alexandra has discovered that she's both fascinated by and has formed a love/hate relationship with the peg game they place at the tables in the Cracker Barrel restaurants.

We got to the Pecanderosa around 3:30 and she unloaded the car virtually single handed, moved stuff over to her truck and took off. Again, I owe her so much for taking care of me for two weeks. Between Amanda, Acelia, and Alexandra I've never been so mother-henned in my life. I kinda enjoyed it. None of them my ever become my students or protégés but I will always think of them all as "My Girls," and I love them deeply.

If I've forgotten to thank anyone please don't take it as ignoring you or being ungrateful, chalk it up instead to a poor memory and post-Pennsic tiredness. I only got home today and I'm trying to get this done before I got to my own bed with She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed for the first time in over two weeks. Thanks to everyone who made it one of my best Pennsics ever. Very probably t*h*e best. It was certainly the best weather. Thanks to the guests that made sure we lived up to the highest levels of hospitality. Thanks to the bards who stopped by to entertain. Thanks to the friends, old and new, who took the time to come visit and share with us. Thanks to all who worked with and for us. Thanks to everyone who volunteered to make Pennsic what it is.

And especial thanks to Hugh, Cormac, and Hedewigis for being such stout friends and thanks for my family in Herald Squared for making me feel so loved. As much as I enjoy being home I already miss my family. I love you guys. Let's do it again.

Da Coach
Francesca - Ernst's Minion

Hectic activity leading to Pennsic!

It's been a most interesting couple of weeks and the real activity hasn't started yet.

I went to Warrensburg, NY, over the 4th of July weekend and Hugh Mannity graciously offered me tent space so I didn't have to deal with a camp. The main idea was for me to have talks with Lady Azure Brennan about her becoming my protégé. Just talks, mind you, although we both had pretty much decided she was going to become my protégé at Pennsic. This was also her son's first camping trip. Being not quite 3 years old it looked like it might be an adventure. The problem was when they woke up the first morning he was running a fever and they finally had to pack up and go home. So we postpone the proto-protégé ceremony until the following week in Maine.

My friend and SCA sister Freya was able to get a ride to the event in NY and she came home with me to spend the week with Linda and me and then head up to Maine for the Great Northeastern War known as GNE. It proved to be a quiet week and she suffered through the long drive to Maine. William Ravenhair and his lady graciously put up a tent for Freya and me so once again I didn't have to worry about a tent. I set up my air mattress and had a lovely spot for sleeping away the event when I finally did get to sleep. It's a seriously partying event, you see. Meanwhile one of Azure's uncles had suddenly died and if she and her family went to the funeral they wouldn't be able to go to Pennsic after all. So as soon as they got on site she and I sat down for some long talks. The short story is that we decided to do the protégé ceremony at GNE. It was rather fortuitous in a way because Freya and I were camping in the same spot where I took Adelia Krynn as my 2nd protégé at this very event. It was also Azure's first event when she entered the SCA. So it seemed somehow ordained. I happened to have her protégé belt with me as I'd packed it with my regalia so I was sure it would get to Pennsic with all my stuff and not accidentally be left behind. Add to this the fact that I got to see Alethea get her Pelican and even got to speak on her behalf for the Order of the Pelican and it was a damned near perfect weekend.

After the event we left the site at 9AM and I drove straight to Montreal to drop Freya off. From there I headed home and got here at 10:30PM. A very long and very tiring trip. Especially if you factor in that I only got about 4 hours sleep. Feral von Halstern spent a long, long night talking about damned near everything under the son and zipped past the "Love ya man!" stage sometime shortly after midnight. We talked about some subjects that I've never disclosed before and learned quite a bit about him as well. Subjects covering everything from "How did you feel when you were named Tyger of the East?" to "Did you know that Tennessee whisky is made in a dry county?" and "What do all the Tygers of the East have in common?" I'd had a similar discussion with Duchess Rowan de la Garnisson the week prior as she's a Jewel of Aethelmearc which is comparable to the East Kingdom's Tyger of the East. Quite interesting discussions and I look forward to having similar discussions with others who have received these accolades.

Now I have until Wednesday night to finish everything necessary to get ready for Pennsic. I have a helper coming to help me load and unload the car both going to and coming from Pennsic. She is a blessing in my life and I'm not sure how I'd have made it without her. On the other hand Chef Jaji offered to drive here from New Haven to load the car for me. Friends like that are the true jewels in my life.

So now I have another protégé. That makes 4 active protégés who live in the East Kingdom. Angelina, Cateline, Maria, and now Azure and three of them have children! That certainly makes for a different encampment when we're all together, dunnit?

Oops, gotta get to bed now. Thanks for listening. If you're going to Pennsic, stop by E06, EK Royal, and say hey and get something to drink.

Come to the circus that's my life...

Much as I love them I haven't been to the circus in quite a few years but today I took my granddaughter and her mother to a good, old fashioned, big top circus. It was just like the small circuses that went from town to town on a train. They found a big, vacant lot, got permission from the town fathers, set up, sold tickets and held shows for a few days them moved on. And that's what happened here in Danbury this past weekend. The only things that were different in my memory was that there was no live circus band and they didn't start the show with the performer's parade. But they did have white and Bengal tigers, elephants (4 of them, a large, then the next three were incrementally smaller), a magician, perfor4ming dogs, pretty, scantily clad ladies on ropes doing daring things at dizzying heights, tight rope walkers, but no trapeze artists, darnnit! And, yes, clowns doing corny, time killing routines filled with squirting water and slap stick.

Shelley, my daughter-in-law, had never been to a circus before so this was all new to her. It was fun watching her watch the acts. Dani, my granddaughter, watched it all through a young teenagers eyes and refused to be impressed. Still, for me, this was all of a very special moment and one I never thought I'd enjoy - time spent with a 3rd generation. These are such precious moments for me that I wish I could spend so much time with them. I've fallen in love with both of them and can even allow them to be humans with human frailties, eccentricities, and disagreements…I'm old enough for that now.

Part of me knows I need to back off and tread gently lest I wear out my welcome so I wait for them to contact me mostly. Shouldn't be too much of a problem for the next month or so as I'm really, really busy with the SCA.

Still, I've found something I cherish that sometimes I find it hard to believe as something real and tangible in my life now. Of all my girls I now have two that immediately took two of the top three places of women in my life. And that's special. Makes me kinda weepy just thinking about it.

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So Linda's back at home now and getting back into a routine. She's essentially spent almost two weeks in the hospital if you figure she came home for about 6 hours then went right back in again.

We had started getting the front of our house re-sided as a result of last year's hurricane. The job was to have taken about 3-4 days. It took about 3 months. Seems they found the front of the house had rotted out so most of the front wall and both windows had to be replaced. That meant waiting for the insurance adjusters to come out again and take a look at the new claim and the siding folks had to stop mid stream. Then the guys who were doing the job to fix the rot had to wait till the special order windows came in. Then there were rain delays, sick child delays (the guy doing the carpentry work) and the sheet rock taper had to do his thing and finally the living room had to be repainted. Well, it all finally got done today. Now we have to put all the stuff back on the walls but I decided to get rid of all my video tapes. Freya has first dibs and I promised my friend in Maine, George, that he could have my original Star Wars trilogy (the one where Han shoots first) so he gets that.

Next event is 4th of July in Warrensburg, NY. One of my girls, Alethea, is getting her Pelican there and for those of us in the SCA that's a really big deal. I'm looking forward to that one a lot because not only do I love her so damned much but because she's married to one of the nicest guys and most interesting people I know. (He's also a boatload of fun to tease.)

I'm taking on a new student there with the assumption she'll become a protege at Pennsic. I'm kinda excited about that. I think her husband is neat people, too, so that's always a good thing as I try to take on the family when I get a protege. They all become part of my extended family.

I'm trying to come up with a name for my household and I've been leaning toward either Haus Kitzingen (a town in Germany) or Haus Falterturm which translates to House Crooked Tower. There's a landmark in Kitzingen, it's a tower with a conical top which angles off to one side, or a crooked tower. I'm not sure it would pass the heralds so I guess I should start asking the question. The badge would be easy, too. If you google "Kitzingen leaning tower" you can see pictures of it.

Okay, I'm done for tonight. I just figured I owed the world an update.

TTFN
I went to pick up my granddaughter, Danika, at her house Friday afternoon, then we came back to my place to wait for word from Linda when we could go to the hospital and ransom her and bring her home. She was finally released right around 6 and she just wanted to go home and rest. They'd given her two units of blood because her red cell count was down. Since Linda doesn't like to go to the local hibachi steak house because they use too much sodium for her, and Danika's mom is a vegetarian so she never goes to hibachi places, and because Danika had never been to one but had heard about them, I felt obligated to treat her to a special dinner. So off we went to my favorite local hibachi restaurant, Ichiro. She thoroughly enjoyed her meal!

Then back home and to bed. I set the alarm as the plan was for me to take her out to breakfast after making sure Linda was set for a full day without us. Then, at 2:30 in the morning, Linda wakes me up to tell me there's a crackling in her breathing. This normally indicates the early stages of congestive heart failure. We know because we've been through this several times before. So I grabbed her "I'm going to the hospital again," bag and woke Danika up because I wasn't leaving her alone while Linda and I went to the ER. Danika was a real trooper about it. Bottom line is they immediately decided to keep Linda for at least a day and see if they could get her fluid levels down. They'd established that her heart wasn't involved and she probably simply had more fluid in her system than it could handle. With her it's a balancing act with the fluid levels between over saturation and dehydration. So Danika and I went back home and got back to sleep with only an hour or two of sleep lost.

Up at 7:00AM this morning, pack the car and off to Long Island to the event. It was a challenge between An Dubhaigeainn (a barony on Long Island) and Ostgardr (another barony on Long Island). I had promised a friend quite a long while ago that I'd go to witness his taking on a protégé. They had loaner garb for Danika and she got to watch Fencing, fighting, thrown weapons, archery, and a brewing competition. She even got drafted to help keep score in a Resurrection Battle. That's when the fighters have to walk off the field, once they've "died" in battle, touch a specific object (usually a pole or stake on the ground) and then return to battle. She had to count the number of deaths on one side by counting the number of times the players went to the Rez Point. She really enjoyed watching it and taking part in it. I told her that when she got home, if her mom asked what she dead that she should lower her voice to a whisper and say, "I saw dead people."

After the event we went to a local diner for dinner then popped up to the hospital to visit Linda. Linda quizzed Danika about her day and was told that she got to help during one of the fights.
"Oh? What did you do?"
"I saw dead people."
'Would you care to expound on that a bit, please?"
Danika turned to me and grinned. I said, "See, I told you it would work." I can't wait to hear how her mother responds to this.

So now I have to find real garb for her. She's large for her age, oh, about 5'3" or so, and wears a size 10 her mother says. So if someone happens to have some summer garb I'd appreciate it. She wants to go to another event right away and it may be the 4th of July event at Glen Linn. If that's the case I'm going to have to spring for another tent for us and some gear for her because, if we go, we *will* be camping. I don't think this child will ever understand the meaning of peer fear.

As for Linda we just have to wait until they say she's ready to come home. My only regret of the day is I never got any pictures of us. I need to get that taken care of. TTFN
A couple of weeks ago Linda was in the hospital due to a bout of atrial fibrillation, aka a-fib, which is defined as an irregularity in heartbeat arrhythmia caused by involuntary contractions of small areas of heart-wall muscle. In other words, it's a heartbeat irregularity. To combat the possibility of blood clots leading to stroke they prescribed an anticoagulant called Coumadin. Problem is she was already on a regular dosage of aspirin and another well known drug, I don't remember the name.

Once she got home she began having more incidents of extreme bleeding and easy bruising, more so than ever before. Those of you who know her already know that her arms and hands are already a mass of bruises from easy bleeding due to the drugs she's been on since the kidney transplant back in 2001. Then she began having bleeding problems from injection sites. It has never been this bad before.

Then early this week the drain from her dialysis was filled with blood so I rushed her to the hospital after a couple of phone calls to her heart and kidney doctors where she was admitted so they could figure where the blood was coming from. They took her off all the blood thinners immediately but there's a problem. They have to weigh the balance between the bleeding issues and the possibility of a stroke as she already has a serious cardiac issue. It now appears they have her bleeding under control and will be sending her home today.

Malcolm and I have decided to part ways. We weren't seeing each other often enough to really have the tight bond I prefer with my protégés and we didn't feel he was getting anything from me. No pain, hurt, or animosity, and we're still good friends. We've just ended the formal protégé/peer relationship.

In other news (I'm starting to feel like Chevy Chase in weekend update. I just need to find someone to be Emily Latella) I have another proto-protégé. I'll take her on as a student over the 4th of July weekend. More info as we get closer.

Brighter news here - Danika, my new found granddaughter, is coming for a weekend sleepover tonight. I'm taking her to an SCA event tomorrow. One of my protégés and her 8 year old daughter were to have gone with us but she discovered a broken sewer pipe along with a sink hole in front of her house so she obviously has to take care of that. You remember the rule, "Vera vita maxima!" (Real life comes first!) That's sad because I was looking forward to spending time with them but now it means I'll have Danika all to myself.

The new front windows are in, the rotten parts of the house have been repaired and hopefully we'll have the new siding on the front of the house, and the living room painted within the next week. All in all it's been an exciting Spring her at the Pecanderosa. Time for breakfast then to check with the hospital and see when Herself is being released. If you're going to the event on Long Island tomorrow, come on over and introduce yourself to Danika. And please, please, please, start your conversation off with your name. Ever since the concussion I can't keep names in my head and I already had a problem with that before. At least now I have an excuse. And please don't be insulted if I ask your name even if you're a good friend.

Oh, and if you see anyone famous, tell em Da Coach says, "Hey!"

Here Comes Baron Grandpa!

If you've been playing along at home you'll recall that I just discovered I have a granddaughter named Danika. One of my great fears was that somehow she and her dad had been moving around behind her mom's back and I wanted to make sure that all this was on the up and up. So when Danika called and told me she really wanted to go to an SCA event I told her that we wanted to meet her mom. Either take her out to lunch or dinner, whichever she chose, so she could see we weren't dangers to either them or the community at large. Well, we went to lunch yesterday and I'm here to tell you that is one beautiful woman. She's a nurse (LPN), fiercely bright, and has reasonable but aggressive career ambitions. We had a lovely lunch with my son there as well and got official permission to take Danika with us to the event on Long Island next weekend, June 8.

It seems they used to go to Renn Fairs all the time so maybe I can get both of em to go to an event one day. For right now Danika's mom works long shifts and is also trying to get another business off the ground so she doesn't have a lot of spare time on her hands.

In any event I'm really excited about this. Oh, and she's not yet 13 as I thought. Her birthday is in August. Now to find some garb for her. My protégé Erika thinks she may have garb for her. This is going to be so cool!
Greetings, My Children, it's me…Da Coach! Why, yes, I have been absent from here for a while, thank you for noticing. It's been rather interesting so I plan on rambling. If you're interested, read on. If not…well…o darn.

First, I discovered I have a granddaughter. Our son left home about 20 years ago and we hadn't heard from him. Please don't ask for details because I won't give them. Quite frankly it's none of your business. A few days before Mother's Day he calls and asks if he can bring his daughter by on Mother's Day to give Linda a Mother's Day card. Her name is Danika, she's 13 and adorable. She's everything my son isn't. She reads voraciously, is doing well in school, and seems to have a level head on her. Now she wants to go to an SCA event with us and hopefully she'll be going to Long Island with us for an event on June 8. I'll need to find garb for her but I'm not worried about that just yet. First we need to meet her mother because I made it quite clear to everyone that her mother is going to make all the decisions regarding what Danika can and cannot do. I've offered to take them to lunch or dinner, whichever, so her mom can see that we're rather harmless and only want what's best for Danika. And I really want to get to know both of them. Anyway, until I hear from them again everything is in a holding pattern.
I went to Cooper's Lake with Hugh last weekend for Aethelmearc war practice and had a ball. Mostly we went there to check out the EK trailer as I'm the Major Domo for EK Royal at Pennsic. Got to hang out with old friends from Aethelmearc as well as our own King and Queen, Gregor and Kiena. I even got called on to herald them into AE court.

From a health standpoint I'm still waiting to hear about surgery on my foot. If they decide to do it, which seems quite likely, it'll be sometime after Pennsic and after the baronial investiture in Quebec because I will NOT miss Godfroy and Alienor being invested as Baron and Baroness of Havre des Glaces. My back and hips have degenerated to such a degree that I'm only good for a max of about a half hour of constant movement before I have to stop and rest. My back pain causes my foot pain so for one reason or another I can't really walk for more than about 10-20 minutes at a stretch. This from a guy who used to revel in walking everywhere!
Linda had a bit of a scare and thought she was having another heart problem but it turned out to be acid reflux for which we're quite thankful. A change in meds and she's all better. Her dialysis is going on with no problems or major issues.

So my next events will be June 8th on Long Island (The Test of An Dubhaigeainn and Ostgardr), 4th of July in Glen Linn, the weekend of 7/12 in Maine for GNE, then Pennsic 42 the following two weeks.
I can't think of somthin' else so I'm gonna quit here. Ya'll be good to one another. Remember, if you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong. Oh, and, real life comes first. And if you see anybody famous, tell em Da Coach says, "Hey!"

Siding, gutters, and a traitorous body...

The two hurricanes we had last year caused some damage to the house, mostly the siding and gutters. We finally got the insurance company to settle with us and arranged to have the siding and gutters on the front of the house completely replaced. The siding guys showed up early last week and got as far as the windows when the foreman called me outside. It seems the wood under the windows was completely rotted, to the extent that when you touched it, it turned to dust. So I called the insurance company and had to submit another claim. Now we have to get the lower half of the front of the house completely replaced! Well, we'd been thinking about buying new windows anyway. So I found a local contractor who comes highly rated by Angie's list and he came out to take a look. Now we're waiting for his estimate and the insurance adjuster's estimate as well.

Meanwhile two weeks ago I felt (and heard) a really loud pop in my right foot right around the ball of the little toe, and felt a sharp shooting pain as well. Fortunately I had an appointment with the VA podiatry clinic last Tuesday and they think a ceramic (?) piece the surgeon inserted in there when he removed a bone last year moved out of joint and it pops and causes pain at regular intervals, often 3 or 4 times a day. I finally got the med records from my old podiatrist and have an appointment tomorrow (Tuesday) at the VA for a follow up. I have no idea how they're going to fix this or even if they can. Meanwhile I gimp around and every now and then feel the pop and the accompanying pain so I have to stop, gather myself together and keep moving. But I am *not* missing Balfar's Tourney this weekend, or Brew-U the week after, or Crown Tourney the week after that! Ain't happening!
I just got word that I have to travel to Quebec for a special SCA event in late August so I need to gather a/some travelling companion(s) for that excursion. I am so looking forward to this one. But I need to renew my passport ASAP!

Linda's maintaining and hanging in there. Me, I'm scheduled to attend a pain clinic in May at the West Haven VA for my hips, back, and feet. Nothing new there but maybe they can come up with something I haven't thought of yet cause most drugs don't work a damn for pain. (Yes, I've even tried acupuncture. Oh, and they lie to you. Those little needles do hurt! And who's the genius that came up with the description for a needle poke as a "pinch"? I've been pinched and it never felt like that!)
Let's see…oh, yeah, I saw Jurassic Park in IMAX 3D. The 3D was okay but seeing it on the big screen was great! Speilberg amazes me with the way he frames so many shots as works of art. There is so much care with each shot and the editing and music match so well to the beats of the story. No wonder Spielberg and Williams have worked together so often. Yes, I'm a movie music geek. Have been since I was a child and discovered Alfred Newman's music for How The West Was Won. Ask me about it sometime and I'll bore you to tears about movie music and force you to listen to hours and hours of film scores. Ask any of my girls.

Speaking of my girls I got to spend some quality time with several of my girls at coronation last weekend and it was wonderful. Erika (Maritza), Jennifer (Caitlin), Alison (Alethea), Murray (Malcolm), and one of my unofficial girls, Amanda (Amari). I was in happy land! Hugh was my travelling companion and helped with the loading and unloading from the house to the event and back. Naw, scratch that, he didn't help, he did all the work himself and I'm not sure I would have made it without him. Erika and her husband Zach crashed at our house with their adorable daughter Ally, and helped Hugh was well but it was Hugh who really did the grunt work. Fortunately I've had offers of help from several people for this weekend as well.

That sorta brings you up to date with happenings around the Pecanderosa. Got to get to bed now cause the appointment at the VA is early mañana. TTFN.