Friday, August 17, 2012

Back From The Middle Ages

So the last 2 weeks I have been mostly out of here, visiting the Middle Ages with my family via the Pennsic War in PA. We made it back mostly safe and sound, if a bit soggy, as Mother Nature decided that week 2 was a great time to relive some of the drought issues in western PA. The only casualty was myself, who went down with a nasty case of food poisoning/flu shortly after arriving home. Not getting sick till I got back did at least allow me to be sick in my own (flush) toilet....ah the comforts of home.

When one goes off for 2 weeks like we do, with no connection to the rest of the world except cell phones,  return is a total immersion into the information age. There were 3 weeks of Time and Sports Illustrated on the table, a pile of bills and junk mail to go thru, and a fully loaded DVR of Olympic events I had missed while in the wilderness (Plus all those back episodes of Dance Moms and Project Runway). Then there is the job. We arrived home on Saturday and I was back to work on Tuesday. Should have been Monday, but I still hadn't resumed eating on Monday morning, so I took a sick day, something I hate to do cause you know darn well no one believes you were sick on the first day you are due back to work. (I wish to state for the record that if I had wanted to extend my vacation I would have chosen a far more comfortable, not to mention relaxing way of going about it.)

Largely due to the efforts of my not deathly sick husband, all the laundry and dishes were washed up, the camping gear mostly stowed away, and other post vacation errands attended to. Yesterday we even located the floor of the living room, after navigating around plastic tubs for most of the week.

But an awesome time was had by all. Everybody got some much needed down time My son spent lots of time on the archery range and even more time building some seriously elaborate campfires

. My daughter ran with a "gang" of similarly garbed teen aged Commedia dell Arte performers, and also discovered the fine art of busking for slushie money.

My husband prefers to spend much of his time socializing with all the wonderful friends we see once a year, while I relieved of having to monitor children's activities for the entire war  got to sit in on a lot of classes, everything from a class on Eleanor of Aquitaine to what the well dressed Viking woman was wearing in the year 1000 to the history of the Witchcraft Persecutions.

 Evidence of the weird ways that past and future can collide is that I also attended classes on how to take better pictures at Pennsic, and all but one of the people in the class was using a digital camera (I leave it to the reader to judge if it helped)

I also came home with a large pile of new books...many courtesy of a vendor having a huge clearance sale. One was a book I had sought for a long time, William Manchester's A World Lit Only By Fire.  There were novels and anthologies and a book on the use of the thunderbolt in world mythology, the last signed by its author who happened to teach one of my classes.

When you go to the same vacation spot over and over again, often in the company of the same persons, it changes how on feels about the place. Not only is there feelings for the location  or event, there are also feelings about the persons one spends time with.We have dear friends we only see for these two weeks each year, some of who we have no contact with the rest of the year. And yet when we see them again we are right where we were before. 

The running joke at Pennsic is that we don't really go home at the end of the war, rather we  are  just on 50 week beer run. Next year, due to a scheduling conflict, Pennsic is a week earlier, so its only a 49 week beer run. As I type this  I say to myself "only 48 weeks to go".


  1. Sounds awesome Meg! Did you shoot the photo of yourself? Such wonderful light. Where's the hubby? No paparazzi for him? The kids look great. It looks like you had a great time, though I'm sorry you were so sick. What a drag. Hope you're feeling much better. I love the beer run joke! HA!

    1. There's more pictures coming, and I think I have at least the back of his head in one of them...but he is pretty camera shy. My daughter took the picture of me, because I wanted to show off the new VIking hat a friend embroidered for me. It was great light. We had either total sunshine or armagedden thunderstorms, nothing in between.

  2. Hi Meg. Love the costumes and photos! That was quite an event and looks like you and your family had a great time! So sorry you got sick with flu/food poisoning but at least it held off until you got back home. Oh yes, the comfort of being able to be sick in your own bathroom is pretty important. Many years ago I got food poisoning vacationing with friends at Rosarito Beach, Mexico (I lived in So. CA back then so it wasn’t that far). I was so careful not to drink the local water but had some dairy products there and that did it. Barely made it back home and was never so glad to see my own! Btw, that Viking hat suits you perfectly! I think coming home with a pile of new books is fantastic. How wonderful that you do this every year.

  3. The sad thing is I don't even know what made me sick, though I cast a suspicious eye at the Mcdonalds we grabbed lunch at as we hit the road, partly because they were so darn incompetent in other areas. no one else in the family got sick.
    Being able to come home with new books is absolutely the best. There are several booksellers who load up all their books that relate to the period so it allows for a lot of specialized shopping, and books I would normally aquire only on line.There is also a honey company that we always shop from (Killer bee honey is awesome, but this year I am also trying out the echinacea honey for cold season), and an herbalist with lots of cool stuff.