Shining armor and glass slippers

At Crown Tournament, I took note of the speeches that were given about each combatant and each consort during the procession. Then during court, I noted the scroll texts and some of the flowery speech offered. It all got me thinking. Mind you, not about Our Royal Majesties Ragnarr and Lynette or our newest prince and princess. Just about royalty and rank and ideals. What are the qualities we most want in a king and queen? I started quizzing Rich about this in the car as is our habit for any road trip more than 45 minutes. He argued that the typical Arthurian legend would be of strong, successful knights and fair maidens. But if we're going to be anachronistic about it anyways, shouldn't we broaden the virtues that are praised?

I tried to think of it from the perspective of a child listening to these things (convenient, as we have a child that listens to way more than we think he does). I also wondered how all these things we take for granted might sound to a new member. If I were a child or a new member, would I think that in order to be king I must have prowess above all else? And if I wanted to be queen, would I need to be beautiful in order to earn the praise of scroll text and heralds? I'm probably over thinking this, but I wondered what things I would like to hear during court or on the field.

Rich seemed to think that I wanted these public statements to be more "realistic", but it's not like I want an award scroll to say Given by Our Mighty King Who Wears Sweatpants Under His Tunic*. We don't need to praise promptness or wax poetic about how well Their Majesties can keep track of receipts. That's just silly.

I did, however, spend time in the car (as we thawed out from a very chilly court) wondering what qualities in our monarchs should we all aspire to see and have ourselves. They are, after all, our inspiration.

I want my king to be just, to protect those who cannot protect themselves, to have success but weather adversity with grace. I want my queen to be joyous, patient, kind, and an astute judge of character. Interestingly, these are all things I would also want for my four year old in both the Society and modern life.

It is largely luck that we could have monarchs that perfectly embody all those qualities. But by praising those features we want to see, perhaps that helps make them come true.

* I did note His Majesty's pants on Saturday and found no fault with them. :) Also, I myself would have paid $100 for a pair of sweatpants to have under my dress during evening court once the sun went behind the trees. Don't be hatin'


Going Home

"Mommy, I wanna go home." Ian walked in from our living room where he was snuggled up watching Netflix after dinner to tell us that. He's been saying that a lot lately. He says it in the car when we're heading home. He will say it when we're halfway through a wagon ride with the dogs. He'll say it as he's finishing dinner. I'm realizing it's less about being at this particular address than it is being somewhere you feel comfortable and safe and ready to relax.

So when he says things like this now, I ask him if he's tired. I ask him if he wants to snuggle. I ask him if he wants to share a blanket. Those things seem to mean home to him.

This weekend we went to Crown Tourney but also spent the weekend with our dear friends. Our son disappeared into the basement for hours playing a variety of games with the other two boys. We sat in the floor having three separate conversations all on top of each other while the hockey game was on and Mr. Smith and I noodled over his MacBook. We left in time to go to bed only to wake up Sunday morning to bring breakfast back for everyone to share. We complimented each other, teased each other, encouraged each other, and sympathized with each other.

So while we were three and a half hours from our place of residency, I know exactly what Ian means about going home.

the boys

best friends

*Kevin is conspicuously absent from this photo only because he had to go to a church meeting before we realized we needed a group photo. We will photoshop him in or give him his own photo spread when next we all gather.

War of the Wings VIII

This may be boring for others but it's too long for a Facebook status update. It's my blog and I'll ramble if I want to. If you just want to look at a few random photos, you can browse the set on Flickr. This weekend was War of the Wings in Boonville, NC. We didn't go last year since we were prepping for Rich's surgery so this was our first WoW camping with Marinus. It was also my third event fighting rapier.

We had a rough start getting to site. We expected to get up Thursday morning, pack the car and be on the road by 10. Losing power over and over starting Wednesday night, torrential rain the entire time we packed the van and a hole in one of the tires really slowed us down. We left at 2:30pm and headed to a hotel versus site. My husband should have a giant silk banner that says "I HATE SETTING UP IN THE DARK." French or Latin would make that sound better, I'm sure. Ian was stoked to jump on a hotel bed and I was stoked to finally shower for the day by 9pm.

Friday was my day to fight rapier while Rich braved Walmart and caring for Ian. Since it was my only chance to fight all weekend I was unapologetically pushy about rallying folks for the melee tourney. Everyone seemed content to sit and talk and do an occasional pick up fight and I was all "GO TEAM!!" and "Hooray, Benjamin! Let's do a clinic!" I am pleased that a three man melee bear pit with four teams is enough to raise my heart rate. I think endurance and cardio may be my two finest fighting skills at the moment. It must be hard to kill someone when you're gasping for breath.

After spending the afternoon being that little dog that hops all over the bulldog saying, "c'mon Spike!" I retired to our camp for dinner. Oda had spent the entire day crafting a feast in period fashion. As Kit said walking by, we had a high table set up in our camp which was pretty classy. We were able to invite Adilina and Alexandria to dine with us as they are soon moving to Florida. And as a special treat we had Ross and Shrew (Master Snaeulf and Mistress Rosatrude the Shrew) join us! I stopped by their merchant booth and asked Ross what they were doing for dinner and he said, "enh, we'll probably heat up some hot dogs." Dinner at our place was a much better plan.

Oda made chickens on the spit, beet and cheese pie, turnips with cheese, greens over "sops", meatballs, fresh bread, fresh churned butter (made by Adilina that day!), pears in red wine and applesauce that had a fancier name I can't remember. As the sun set across from us, it cut through the pavilions like a laser but within a few minutes we had a lovely sunset to view.

Saturday was Rich's turn to fight. Ian and I wandered around and went shopping for a bit. He was hilarious in the fabric merchant picking out the fabrics he wanted for his new clothes. He of course grabbed everything remotely orange.

After lunch Ian was getting tired but he said he wanted to shower at the bath house. I should have known better because it was very hard to get him to walk down there. Once we got clean he insisted on putting on the ninja turtle undies he'd already been wearing for two days. I have low parenting standards but I just couldn't do that. So I carried a naked sobbing 52lb child a mile up the hill back to camp. I may have burned more calories than if I had actually fought that day. If any other rapier fighters would like to use my training techniques, I can loan Ian to you around 2pm on the second day of any event. BYO-turtle undies.

He sobbed in the pavilion while his eyes rolled back in fatigue. And then he slept from 3-6:45pm. He slept through evening court (so Rich stayed with him while I went solo). He slept through trick or treating. He almost missed dinner. But Catalina saved the day and took our son out to dinner at the merchants while we attended a grown up state dinner with Their Majesties and our cousins. She also took him back to the fabric merchant and acquired more green linen to make him ninja turtle garb. He is STOKED!

My excitement for the evening was finding a little girl crying because she had lost her mom when she made a wrong turn out of the porta potty. After her initial tears, she was great as we trekked across site looking for a walkie talkie or herald. I asked her what her mom's name was and she said, "I call her Mom but I think her name is Danielle." Haley and I finally found a radio but all the words were worn off so we had no idea how to work it. When we found a radio operator, Gise was describing the girl and said her mom's name is Danielle. The girl whispered in my ear, "She's really skinny too." When I told her we were going to announce over the radio that we had found the best little girl at the event she said, "I don't think that's true. I think you're exaggerating." I reminded her that her mom must think so, so it would help her know we had the right little girl. She then told me, "my mom will probably like that I said she was skinny."

I was happy to reunite with my own clever kid after all that too. After his Nap of Doom that afternoon, I assumed he would be up until 1am but we all happily turned in around 11pm. Sunday was rain (curses!) and packing out. We were able to have a brief visit with my brother Doug on our way home. Ian was convinced Doug's basement was a ninja turtle lair and was very impressed that Doug has a pet turtle named Mr. T. Also, Doug's dog Cider does a circus trick of balancing on the weight bench.

So it's been an incredibly long few days. I'm on the fence as to the work fun ratio but overall I call it a success. I'm looking forward to using Monday to recover.

Ian, Genie and Doug