Monday, August 14, 2006

Ah, the Delights of August

August is such a restful month. I don't know why. Perhaps it's just that all the craziness of the school year ending is long past and the early summer excitement is over, leaving only the quiet lull between that activity, and the coming hustle and bustle of autumn. Whatever it is, I LIKE it.

We went to another, much larger, Living History Festival here in town, at a huge old filbert orchard. (It's the same park/ranch where I took the pictures of us in the woods, down by the river, and on the old red tractor displayed in earlier blog entries.) At this festival there were union encampments, confederate encampments, and civilian encampments all nestled under the canopies of the venerated nut trees. Horses carried soldiers along the paths amidst foot soldiers and ladies in hoop skirts. Mountain men, French trappers, and green uniformed sniper units co-mingled in the vastness of the park. There were booths and demonstrations. We witnessed another Civil War reenactment. This time there were over 500 participants plus cannons and horses. It was sobering. Very well done.

Rounding out the adventure of the festival were friends we bumped into in our journey to the past. Under the shade of the trees we discussed life in those times, sharing what we knew and pondering what we didn't.

Sadly, idiot that I am, I didn't check the battery level of my camera before I left home. My picture snapping was abruptly stopped after two photos. I D I O T ! Oh well, as I always say, "More time to drink in the day without having to think about taking pictures." Yeah, okay, if it makes me feel better, right.

I did get one of Tom and Cassie riding in the shuttle bus out to the park.

As we walked toward the large field where the battle was raging, we spied this handful of Union soldiers hiding in the oak trees, waiting for action. Right after I took this picture, several of the men looked up at us, smiled, and waved.

Switching gears a little, for another August Adventure, this past weekend Cassie hosted a Halo Party here at our house. Halo is a video game which Cassie and some of her friends like to play in a large group, with two teams, all playing in the same game via X-Boxes, multiple tv's, lots of cables, and a hub. Pretty fun! The picture below shows Nick, Cassie, and Zack helping set up.

The location rotates, alternating from home to home, every few months, when it works out for everyone. This was our turn, and Cassie superbly brought it all about through careful planning and much emailing. She even easily persuaded Tom and me to grill hamburgers and provide veggies, fruit, chips, and of course, OREOS!! What a blast!

Tom and I get a kick out of listening to the kids reactions as they play. "Look out!" "AHHH, who shot me in the foot!!" "Oh MAN! I died." Sounds gruesome, but it's really fun.

You'll notice Caroline in the picture with Zack and Cassie. At eleven, and not having 'played with maps', still she managed to keep up and lasted the entire seven hours. Ten til five, with a lunch break at noon, and an afternnoon break to reconnoiter - and eat Oreos. (Cassie and Zack have Tootsie Pops in their mouths.)

It's nice that our girls are getting to the age where we start having their friends over in droves with activities beyond slumber parties. The boys did that sort of thing often and I realize now that I miss it. I really enjoy the kids' energy. And what a terrific bunch this is!

I call this group, The Couch Potatoes. Experienced players, great people.

The kid on the right, Mitch, should not have settled himself down next to the bowl of Tootsie Pops. In his excitement, he ended up eating TWENTY (count 'em, 20!) and did he have the happy jitters by the end of the day. Hopefully, he doesn't have a ginormous hole in his tooth where he lodged the suckers while he played. (You can see the Tootsie Pop stick protruding from his mouth. He's a cool kid.)