Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sherwood Forest Faire Opening Day

I would have loved to have been able to gather my thoughts last night, as soon as I got back home and get this post written, however, that just wasn't happening, since I'd been up 19 hours, after less than 4 hours of sleep, so I was in no condition to do anything except fall into bed! We had great intentions of getting to bed early so we could get up at 4:30 (AKA the buttcrack of o'DARKthirty), in order to be on the road by 5:30, since we knew we had a nearly 4 hour drive, and wanted to be there by at least 30 minutes before cannon at 10, but umm, yeah, it was after midnight by the time we finally settled down to go to sleep. It took us right at 4 hours, because, well, we had to stop and get donuts for breakfast, and there was one bathroom stop on the way down due to the fact that when you combine 2 wenches, both of whom are 1. Sleep deprived, 2. Faire deprived, and 3. Sugar powered, courtesy of Dr Pepper & Donuts without sufficient protein to balance out the sugar/carbs, what you get is a serious case of the giggles, and a desperate need for the privy in about 3 hours. We wound up taking a different route than planned, thinking that perhaps it might be faster… it wasn't, but we made it, and before cannon, though barely.
Going into my review, let me say that I've been going to faire regularly (annually, for a weekend a year, at least) for about 8 years or so, and have had a pass of some sort (FOF, Season, or Participant) for the past 4. Relatively speaking, my experience with different faires is limited, though I try to get to a new faire each year. I've done Scarby (HOME), Middlefaire, TRF, Carolina, Four Winds, PARF, MDRF, Sterling, and now Sherwood. After Sherwood, the youngest of those are Middlefaire and Four Winds. Obviously they are all different, with pros and cons of each.
The parking lot is decent enough in size, though it's pretty sandy terrain, and probably could benefit from a layer of gravel, at least in the parking rows… the drives to those rows are pretty well packed down, but a little rain could easily make the exit from the spaces a HUGE issue because they aren't packed down. My only real complaint is that the handicapped parking is NOT the rows nearest the gate, but is on the far side of the entry drive, instead. We didn't take Brunhilda, Doc's scooter because she's broken, but even if we had, the whole site is not fully accessible with a scooter, because of the sandy terrain, and for people who can't walk well, it's truly not a prime parking space.
There was a great crowd out there. Sherwood's been very well publicized, both to the public, and the rennie community, which resulted in a fabulous turn out. There are also no other TX faires on right now, which is great planning, IMHO. We had a mission, to get into the gates and directly to a stage, since our friend Marc was playing at 10:15, and well, we hadn't seen him since Scottish Fest last summer! We made it, easily, and happily, for Marc, there was a decent little crowd at that first show. Of course, many of us are diehard fans, so, yeah, we were pretty loud.
The site is wonderful, to say the least. Most of the vendor booths are permanent structures, as are all of the food booths. Since I've just been back to work for a week, and haven't gotten paid, I didn't do much shopping, other than window shopping, but I saw lovely things, familiar, and new. There are finishing touches to be done on a few things, several vendors weren't fully stocked yet, or booths weren't quite as finished out as they could be, but overall everything was terrific. I honestly didn't get to several places on the shire, but from the looks of what I DID see, this is a fabulous faire, destined for a wonderful future. The owners have been awesome about inviting folks out over the last couple or 3 years that they've been working on the site and getting things going, to see what the plans and progress were, which, while it did get them free labor, it also gave a lot of folks a feeling of being appreciated by faire management, as well as being a part of the building of a fabulous shire. The size of the shire is comparable to Carolina, Scarby, Sterling, PARF & MDRF. TRF is significantly larger, and both Four Winds & Middlefaire are a good bit smaller.
We had a beautiful day, having taken a variety of cloaks (rain & warmth) in order to help make sure we weren't too cool or too warm. By the time that we were getting ready to go, it was cooling down and we were ready to get into the warm car. Overall, plusses, for me, anyway, are
  1. lots of shade and dappled sunshine
  2. a good variety of vendors, with permanent structures
  3. porta-FLUSHIES in addition to standard porta-pots
  4. lots of stages in lots of areas
  5. swings available for many ages
  6. showers & flushies in camping (at least that's what I hear, since I didn't camp)
  1. poor handicapped parking options
  2. sandy parking areas (driving rows were well packed, but the actual parking spaces were not packed & very sandy)
  3. not enough packed pathways in the shire, rendering a lot of areas inaccessible for anyone with mobility issues
  4. not enough seating spots, especially around food areas
  5. not enough trash receptacles throughout the shire
  6. signage was either hard to see, or non-existent, for directions, etc. as far as within the site, all of the shade is wonderful, but it does create a darkness, which means signs need to have more light colors on them.
  7. I would have liked to have seen a few more familiar acts, but in all honesty, I didn't see but 2 acts from start to finish, and bits of a couple of others, however I do realize that it takes $ to draw more well known acts, AND that there are at least 2 other major faires which have claimed a number of the big names, so I am hopeful that in future seasons I will be able to see more of my favorites there
A variety of our friends and acquaintances from Scarby and other faires were there, and we had a great time in general. I'm sore today, and I'm sure that tomorrow will be much worse, but I'll get through it, and am trying to figure out $ and whether or not I can get back down there in a couple of weeks for another visit.
Tomorrow I will hopefully get finished with my post about my new job that started last week…. Oh, and get all my links created in here... brain dead righzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Fresh Start

Tomorrow will be an interesting day. Back in January, I submitted my 1028th resume in response to a posting on the Work in Texas website. The qualifications required generally matched my experience, though the field is not the construction areas I'm specifically experienced in. I didn't hear anything until the first week of February, when I got a phone call to set up an interview. My typical preparation for interviews is to do whatever research I can on the company, in order to have some information going into the process, and to print out some questions that are a combination of general information questions, such as why the position is open and what the timeline to fill the position is, and more in-depth questions, that I believe demonstrate both an interest in the position, but also an ability to think ahead, such as "What are the short and long term goals for the position?" I felt pretty good going into the interview, and that I was as well prepared as I possibly could be for the interview, as well as the abstract reasoning, spelling, and MS Word/Excel testing that I was told to expect. After I finished all of the testing, the interviewer called me back into his office to discuss my salary requirements, as well as let me know that I had scored quite well on the tests. Based on that conversation, I did expect that if I did get an offer, it would be significantly lower than what I'd really like to be making, and certainly not enough to get me back out into my own place before sometime next year. I was fairly confident that I'd interviewed well, with all 3 people who were involved in it, and frankly, was willing to accept a reasonable offer, however I tried not to get my hopes up, or feel too confident. On the 9th, I got the call back, asking me to come in on the 10th, (which, coincidentally, would have been Mom's 71st birthday) and discuss an offer. The money was more than I had hoped for, and one of the best things is that I will be working 4 10-hour days each week, with Fridays off! I am THRILLED with this, I assure you. All was contingent on a clean background check, but since I've not been in trouble, I had no qualms about passing it. On Thursday I got word that the check had come back and I was cleared to start tomorrow. I also received my tentative 11 week training schedule. 1 week in the office, 4 weeks in the field with an inspector, then back to the office to learn the next steps in the process, each building on the previous. I am very excited about the opportunities it is affording me for personal and professional growth, and while I fully expect to take a few days to get back into the swing of a work schedule, I have no doubts about doing it now. I am going to work for a utility engineering firm, and my construction admin background will definitely help, however my understanding is that this is earlier in the process than what I'm accustomed to (as I would assume that by the time construction is actually happening, permits have already been surveyed, applied for, and processed.
My lunch is packed. I've a suitcase packed with an extra day's clothes, just in case the weather turns bad, or is likely to turn bad enough that I wouldn't be able to get up or down the hill safely here at home to get there on Tuesday. Now I'm off to bed for a good night's sleep… it's already not going to be 8 hours, but I'll take 6 or so and be pleased with that!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Look Outside! It’s Snowing!

We have had yet another snow day this winter in North Texas. Now, the 3 inches we got Christmas Eve was a great showing for this part of Texas, for sure, but well, we've zinged right past that now. I was all toasty warm this morning when my phone said "Message Received" at about 6:55 this morning. Now, I'd heard someone come downstairs and fix coffee sometime between 6 & 6:30, but I'd managed to go back to sleep. I opened the phone and found this message: Look outside! J, to which I replied "HELL NO woman I don't care what's outside unless it's Ed McMahon with my Publisher's Clearing House prize I've not entered to win!!" that I was all warm & snug in my bed with all the kitties.

 The texting went back and forth for about 15 minutes until I gave up and agreed to go out into the living room & hang with her to let the man sleep a little longer…

My first look outside saw this:

It was too cold to actually venture out for awhile, but when I did brave the cold for the first time, we had about 2.5 inches at around 9:30 this morning. By 11:15 we were up to 3.75 inches, just under 4.5 at noon, 5.5 at 2:30, 7 at 6 pm, and the last time I went out at 9, we were up to 8 inches, with more falling! I quite suspect that tomorrow morning will be a lovely icy mess on the roads!
Our incarnations of the snowperson…

                          The teens, me, and our SnowWench!

Our Highland Snowman


 Looking at the driveway before anyone went anywhere

I like snow, but I'm pretty sure that by tomorrow afternoon, I'm going to be absolutely OVER IT! I don't do cold, and sure I bitch and moan in the heat of the Texas summers, but I will take those summers over the endless weeks of cold (and snow) that make up winter in points north of the Red River! I have gotten some shots that I absolutely LOVE though!

Our sweet little elf that sits by the driveway!    


We clearly need to have class on how to make a snow angel J

After dark I went back out to check depth, and just HAD to take some shots in the dark… I'm pretty happy with them though.

Poor SnowWench has lost her head, and started passing out!

Tomorrow will probably yield more photo's, we'll see what we end up with!

Stay warm ya'll!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cat Tails

Now, some of you may know that I live in a house FULL of cats. Literally, there are 13 that live here. No, it is NOT a catHOUSE, it is a very small cattery, HoBBiTcaTs and WavorgoNaked Sphynx. My cats you've met previously… Bow, Leo, and Mollie. Also in the house are Bob, The HORN DOG, a Highlander, I believe, who has a bobbed tail and curled ears, aka BTHD; Blondie (who is also a pet, like mine, rather than a breeder) a very sweet sphynx; Tumbles a mostly sweet, albeit Diva-esque Bambino (dwarf sphynx); male kittens Tril & Trin (borne of Tumbles & BTHD) who are Dwelf (dwarf sphynx with curled ears) Tril is standard (hairless) and Trin is non-standard (haired); female kitten Shady who is a Bambino a few weeks younger than T&T; Uno a min-skin (and don't ask me what that is, I'm still not clear on that, all I know is he's short legged and kinda semi-furry), and Geej, Peej, and umm, I can never remember that other girl's name, all 3 of whom are sphynx. BTHD & Trin live in the resident teen's room, and all of the others (besides mine) live in the Master bedroom. Tumbles & Blondie are uncaged, the 2 naked kittens are caged together (as there is an ultimate goal of breeding the next generation of dwelves from them). Uno and the 3 sphynx girls are all caged, though Uno only gets one girl at a time, and the one with him currently is NOT putting out, apparently, so he's still pretty whiny, and she keeps trying to escape whenever they are fed, or cages are cleaned…

Well, Friday Blondie was NOT well at all, and when everybody who was coming home for the night (as it was visitation weekend all 'round for various kiddos so there was a bit of coming/going to get everyone where they needed to be), she'd been in bed for virtually the entire day, wouldn't eat, and was running a temperature. Tumbles, being the diva that she is, was not about to be left out of the attention, and kept climbing into the bed on top of poor Blondie, and was thusly caged with Tril & Shady, which of course, did not make for a happy Tumbles. However, since we had no idea what was causing Blondie's illness, best to keep all the others in the room caged and avoid spreading anything that might be contagious. For the entire weekend, all of the Master BR cats were caged, save for the sick one, and since Trin had been snotty, he'd been put in with the 2 sphynx girls who were also getting some medication via nebulizer. Now, remember, Trin has spent several months running free with his daddy in the other bedroom, so he was quite unhappy at being caged, AND at not being caged with his brudder & his mama since he was caged! Yesterday afternoon before the teen got home, Trin got to go back into his room with BTHD, but everyone else had to stay where they were. By this morning, Blondie's definitely on the mend, but still not totally herself, so still needed the run of the bedroom to herself, but we decided to put the kittens in with Trin & BTHD, to give them time to run for a bit. Tumbles is just SOL, because it's too soon for her to be bred (naked kittens are more fragile than haired, so need to wait & breed her when it's likely to be warmer outside and stay that way when she'll deliver), but the babies were liberated. Aaaand then BTHD was liberated, against his will, for harassing the babies. He is, after all THE HORNDOG, and believes that his sole mission in life is to breed. That has been true in the past, however that mission is likely to change soon. We brought him downstairs into the living room, and he wandered around sniffing things. He did not appreciate ML's cold, wet, shar pei nose in his ass, however. We are hopeful that perhaps he will remember what that's like the next time he starts sniffing a kitten's ass, but well, sweet as he is, we aren't at all sure that the lesson took. He spent a decent bit of time sniffing me, purring… and then he decided he needed to mark me as his… fortunately, I saw it start, and managed to get him off me before it was much of anything and it didn't soak my (favorite) sleepshirt or my Dr Pepper pj pants! Little twerp! I changed my clothes, and later he was all in my lap purring and loving on me till he settled in for a nap, I suspect a wee bit high from the catnip residue that was on my jeans, which I'd set on the bed, on top of my cat's catnip mice.

Yeah, BTHD I think may be next on the list to get neutered, since he's decided to start marking territory. When we told the teen the story, we learned that he has indeed started marking a few spots in their bedroom…

I also need to get written down the story of Leo and the mousie from the weekend, but too tired to do it tonite…

Keep in Mind:
It may be those who do most, dream most.
-- Stephen B. Leacock

Monday, February 1, 2010

Whine whine whine

This is probably going to wind up being one of those bitchy whiny posts, so either please bear with me, or come back tomorrow for something a bit cheerier (I hope).

Back in November, I moved in with friends, in an effort to try and get back on my feet. There have been times that it’s been great, and times when it’s been strained, to say the least. We’ve all had to make adjustments, and while it’s not a perfect situation, it’s the best there is for now. There are 4 adults (1 not yet 20) and a teenager living here now. All 4 adults are unemployed, and not a one of us is collecting unemployment. A couple of weeks ago, we held a “family meeting” and came to a few ground rules.

Each of the 3 oldest adults will cook dinner 2 nights per week, 2 of us will each do a night with one of the kids, and the kids will do one night on their own.

Monday is T & the boy (19)

Tuesday is me & the girl (14)

Wednesday is E

Thursday is the kids

Friday is me

Saturday is E (& T if we are having company)

Sunday is T

Kitchen duty (as of that meeting) consists of preparing and cleaning up after dinner, and it is the responsibility of the cooks to plan ahead to be sure that all necessary ingredients are available. Everybody is to rinse their own plate and put it in the dishwasher.

Monday, Wednesday & Friday the boy is to sweep the living and dining rooms, and on Friday mop them, and help as needed with trash

Tuesday, Thursday, & Sunday the girl is to sweep the kitchen/entry, and on Sunday she is to mop the kitchen and sweep the stairs as well.

I am sweeping the public bathroom downstairs and the girl’s upstairs, and keeping sinks, tubs & toilets swiped clean.

T is in charge of trash and keeping the porch/front yard clean

E is in charge of keeping the kitchen and living/dining rooms generally picked up

So Friday, I had plans with a friend to go with her to find fabric for her new dress, and was also going to try to exchange something for E at Joann’s in Dallas. I did the messy part of prep work for my soup on Thursday, cleaning up behind myself as I went. Friday morning before I headed out in the cold, I put everything in the crockpot, put the trash in the trash, and cleaned up behind myself once again. It was kind of a trying day, and when I got home, I came in to a sink full of dishes! WHAT? I cleaned up the DINNER dishes, which, thanks to crock pot liners, consisted of rinsing the ladle, washing the spoon rest, and washing the lid to the crockpot. I got chewed out a couple of days later for not washing and putting in the dishwasher what I found in the sink. WHAT? SERIOUSLY? I was GONE ALL DAY, I DIDN’T EAT ANYTHING IN THE HOUSE THAT DAY. When did I get elected to clean up other people’s messes?

So tonite there was another family meeting, because E had been on a tear much of the day, over various things. Well, the boy’s chore days have been changed to match the girls, so that all the sweeping/mopping can happen on the same days. Granted I haven’t been up and done the girl’s bathroom, but I DID handle the downstairs bathroom before we had company come over on Sunday.

Now the “dinner” duty has become all day kitchen duty. Which, on the one hand, if we would all get up and clean up after ourselves, wouldn’t be a huge deal, but not everybody does that. I guess we’ll see what shakes out.

I get that I’m living here and haven’t been able to contribute much at all financially, however there have been 3 trips that could not have been made as they were without me here to stay with the girl and the critters, and another that needed someone here with the critters. I am doing all that I can to find work, and get some regular income that will allow me to contribute financially to the household (as well as keep my truck, tyvm), though it seems that I’m the ONLY one who is actively trying to find something, which is quite frustrating. Especially when I start getting “advice” texts from unemployed people about what to do to find work. UGH!

I think it’s time for me to pop into bed with the kitties for a decent night’s sleep before I get up and head into FW to take some clerical tests I need to do in order to apply for some municipal positions.