Monday, April 28, 2008

Rennie Adoption: A Manual

Congratulations on your decision to adopt a Rennie! Many of these fascinating creatures are in need of good homes where they will be loved and cared for. While keeping a Rennie can be expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes confusing, the results can be well worth all the effort. A well turned out Rennie who is happy and healthy is amazing to watch in action. The guidelines below will help you care for your new charge, but they are only guidelines. Every Rennie is quite unique and you should get to know your Rennie's personal quirks, preferences and skills.

The most important step in caring for your Rennie is selecting the right one. Rennies come in many varieties. You will find them of both sexes, and in every imaginable size, color, age, health and plumage. But, far more important than their physical differences are the differences in their personalities. Every Rennie has a very unique set of skills, preferences and attitudes, and you need to take these into consideration as you make your choice.

If you have a nervous condition, a Daredevil Rennie is not for you. Likewise, do not adopt a Fighter Rennie unless you have a large yard in which he or she can chase around other Rennies with a sword. If you have small children in the house, you might prefer to adopt a Rennie other than the Arms Collector, and if you like your nights silent, keep in mind that Stitching Rennies are known to stay up quite late, whirring away at their machines, punctuated by occasional loud bouts of cursing.

Food & Drink

Once you have selected a Rennie and brought him or her home, your first concern may be, "What do I feed this strange creature?" Luckily, most Rennies are not picky about what they eat, and indeed, will consume with relish most anything you offer them. Do not be afraid to offer your Rennie exotic or strange foods. They have a highly developed sense of adventure and will likely at least try whatever it is. Keep in mind, that through some strange quirk, your Rennie will enjoy almost any food more if it is presented on a stick.

Your Rennie requires large quantities of water. Your Rennie will want large quantities of liquor. There is a very fine balance between the two that you must find to keep your Rennie (and in cases of more belligerent Rennies, yourself) happy and healthy.

Rennies are very affectionate creatures, and will often cuddle and love on you for treats. Favorite treats tend towards chocolate or nice liquor, though your Rennie may have different favorites. Recently, several varieties of Rennie have devolved a taste for Sushi, so you may wish to try that as well.

While your Rennie may seem to have inexhaustible supplies of energy, they need a good nights sleep like any other creature. When they are having fun, but are exhausted, usually at the end of a faire day, they may behave much like a 4-year-old, insisting on staying up and playing, "just a few more minutes." It is advised that you be firm with your Rennie and insist that they come home and go to bed. It is also advised that this will almost never work, and when it does, Rennie goodbyes have been know to take upwards to two hours at a large gathering. Sit down near the door and have another drink.

Rennies take great joy in grooming both themselves and others and can take hours to prepare in the morning. Rennie females, in particular will often need the help of others in preparing for the day. While they may seem inconsequential or frivolous to you, each pin, knot, and accessory is very important to your Rennie. When your Rennie is being slow in the morning, exhortations of "Hurry up!" will not speed matters along. "What can I hold/tie/pin/pull/lace?" will work much more efficiently.

That being said, by the end of that self-same day, your Rennie may be unrecognizably dirty, disheveled and grungy, though likely quite happy. While Rennies appreciate and enjoy a shower or bath every day, like sleep, this is not always something they feel is required. If your Rennie shows no inclination to bathe after a long day, helping them undress and drawing a bath or starting the shower for them may encourage them to get clean.

Please note that your Rennie will take great joy in all their clothing and accessories, and will constantly want to be adding to the horde. Every once in a while, please go through all your Rennies "garb" with them and help them to let go of pieces they no longer wear. Promising to donate the pieces to another Rennie will help ease the pain of separation, as will offering to replace it with something the Rennie likes better. New garb can work as a treat even better than chocolate or liquor.

Under no circumstances get rid of anything from a Rennies garb without their knowledge and permission unless you want your sweet happy Rennie to instantly transform into Furious Rabid Fighter Rennie and attempt to take of your head.

Communicating with Your Rennie

Rennies are extremely intelligent, and will likely understand everything you say, possibly in several languages. It is far more likely that you will not understand your Rennie when they are speaking in BFA, Gaelic, Romany or some other obscure or not so obscure language. Also, they can get quite animated when speaking about their favorite hobbies or most history. The correct response to almost anything from, "I can't do French seams in the gussets in that camica because the twill is too thick to turn twice," to "Henry VIII and Cardinal Richelieu weren't even alive at the same time, and France and England were at war in 1620! They can't put the Musketeers in England!!!!" is a nodding of the head and saying, "Yes, yes, of course."

There are two terms your Rennie may use frequently that you will need to be familiar with right off. The first is a loud exclamation of "HUZZAH!" This is a Rennie sound of joy and excitement, something you wish to hear often. The second is "privy." Your Rennie is asking where the bathroom is, and you'd best show them quickly unless you want to be cleaning up Rennie messes. Eliminating in garb can be a difficult and time consuming process.

All other terms can usually be picked up with familiarity.

Your Rennie and Play
Rennies have a highly developed sense of play and will often play any opportunity they get. The idea of what is play varies greatly from one Rennie to the next, though they will almost always be happier to play in groups. Some may enjoy contact juggling, some fencing, some equestrian pursuits, some computer games. However nearly all Rennies, whether or not they are skilled, thoroughly enjoy the arts of Music and Flirting. Given a good tune and the opportunity to sing, stomp or clap along, most Rennies will be quite happy. Likewise, what may seem to the untrained observer as heavy duty sexual harassment is usually two Rennies who have missed each other's company greeting one another. Unless your Rennie looks truly upset, it is better to leave him or her alone in these situations. See more under the Breeding section.

Your Rennie also loves toys. Amongst Rennies, favored toys may be sharp, shiny, pointy, sparkly, made of wood, leather, metal, pottery or fur. Get to know your Rennie to discover his or her particular preferences.

Illness, Injury, and Keeping Your Rennie Healthy

For some reason not yet determined by modern science, Rennies seem to have a slightly greater concentration of conditions, which range from irritating to debilitating, than those not of the breed. Common ailments can include hypoglycemia, fibromyalgia, MS, diabetes, osteoporosis and a range of bum knees, trick elbows and the like. These will likely only slow your Rennie down, not stop them completely. Your Rennie and others around him or her are usually well advised on the maladies in the group and will band together to take care of one of their number that is ill or injured, so that they can all return to the fun as soon as possible.

An injured Rennie is for some reason fairly happy. They do like to show off gruesome scars and talk about their gory wounds. Should your Rennie become injured, your best course of action is to simply dress the wound, give them a drink of water and then your Rennie will go back to whatever it was doing. Except in the cases of extreme injury, they tend to be a hardy breed.

To keep your Rennie as healthy as possible, make sure that he or she drinks plenty of water, gets lots of rest and exercise and limit their consumption of fried food on a stick. Keep the supplies for dealing with heat stroke, sunburn, dehydration and hypothermia on hand, as these are the most frequent complaints. Make your Rennie wear sunscreen. He or she will protest this. Make them do it anyway. Make them reapply frequently and when they get burned anyway, make them put on Aloe gel. They will protest this as well. Insist. While Rennies are often extremely intelligent, sometimes they're not very smart.

Breeding your Rennie

Nearly all Rennies love children, whether or not they have one of their own. They like to play with children, talk to children and show children things that interest them as adults. The adult Rennies overdeveloped sense of play makes them perfect companions for children, barring a tendency amongst the entire breed to curse. A Rennie child very nearly is raised by a village and may have dozens of Aunties and Uncles not related to them by blood scattered all over the continent.

Despite decades of observation by many interested parties, no one has yet determined a successful program for breeding Rennies. Their sense of high drama, passionate natures, and overly affectionate friendships have clouded the issue so deeply that it is still a mystery how they manage to breed at all. So, should you wish to breed your Rennie, it is suggested that you adopt an already mated pair. Even that is no guarantee of success.

You Rennie may have its own ideas about breeding. The best course of action to take should this happen is to stand back and observe your Rennie closely. In the event of a heartbreak step in and feed your Rennie his or her favorite treats. While this will probably not heal your Rennie, it will make them more pleasant to be around until they find another potential mate.

While the above may make adopting a Rennie seem daunting, it is an enterprise with great rewards. They are attractive, affectionate creatures, who will brighten your life for many years to come. Thank you for your interest.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Reflections on a Rainy Monday

Monday experience. I haven't attended an unusual amount funerals in my life. But this was the first time I've ever been asked to participate in one. For those few of you who read my blogs and don't know, a friend and fellow cast member(if former) of CRF was hit by a drunk-driver earlier this month. Lisa Smith was certainly dedicated to our "little" faire as well as being a devoted officer of the law and veteran. We held her funeral yesterday in an appropriate miserable afternoon at the National Cemetary in Salisbury for the graveside service. Our friend (my roommate) Doug is a Reverend in the Universal Light Church and led a very moving and respectful service. I was given the task of the opening prayer. I struggled to come up with something. It may come to some shock to you, but rennies are not typically whitebread Christians. I, too, was caught completely unawares by this discovery. I am, however, a Christian. So I knew my prayer would be a true prayer to the God I believe to be the One and True variety, but I also knew that I was being asked to open not for myself, but for everyone there celebrating the life and mourning the loss of our friend. I picked "Sgt. Mackenzie" as the "bulk" of my prayer. "Sgt. Mackenzie" is a song written and sung in a true Scots dialect made famous most recently as part of the movie We Were Soldiers(why does Blogger lack underlines?!). I was more than a little nervous. I love to sing. Really. But I've grown very comfortable as a harmonic singer, rather than melodic. To the musically untermed, I mean I'm used to singing as part of a group, adding to someone else's lead. My vocal talents aren't unimpressive, but it's been almost two decades since I had any real training and many years since I did any regular singing. But I spent two days memorizing the song as best I could. I would have still preferred to have a headphone in an ear playing the song in my head as I sang along, but everyone says I did a good job with it. The funeral was recorded, so I'll have to watch to see.

And before anyone freaks about it, Lisa made a great number of friends in a great number of places. Many of these dear friends weren't able to attend because of distance and time. They are no less deserving of the chance to witness our send of than anyone who was able to attend.

I finished with a few words of my own, asking that God would hold us close to His heart and allow us to weep in His comforting arms and then move us to live and revel in the joy of our memories and the wonder of our world that we still remain in. I also quoted a verse from Revelations talking about how in the end, when God's Kingdom comes down from Heaven, there will be no more tears or pain. Our friend Jeff sang "Parting Glass" to tears. Doug quoted a few passages of scripture and spoke a touching eulogy. Lani sang and cried her way through "Merry Meet, Merry Part" on behalf of our dear friend and former queen Lolly Foy, who also loved Lisa.

To close it all off, Chris pull out all the stops for the veterans honors. He called two live buglers to play "Echo Taps," which was gorgeous. And the "big finish" was a six man flag fold with a three flag presentation. Performed with nearly perfect grace by the Royal Guard cadets. In Chris' words, "they learned in three hours what I went to school for two weeks to learn." The six man flag folding is a carefully coreographed fold with very precisely timed and executed movements. And the kids pulled it off beautifully. Even Wes put away his usual attire to dress in the red, black, and gold of the Royal Guard Company "E." I opted for my kilt with my black dress shirt and jacket and black tie. Black leather boots, belts, pouches and my grey fedora. I felt it an appropriate combination. Several people told me that Lisa would have been pleased to see me so "cleaned up" and that touched me.

Afterwards we all convened at Phil's for a much needed unwind and remembrance. There was a little drinking and a little eating, but mostly it was just a much needed and unspoken need to just be there with each other. To remember, to laugh, to joke. To affirm that we still live, and that while we still can, we must make our lives as full and rich as we can. And one of the best ways to do that is to enjoy the company of our friends and (man, I'm getting old) encourage the Next generation to do the same. "Our" kids did a fantastic job. From start to finish, they kept their composure. And afterwards, they thanked and were thanked by the other attendees of the funeral service and then just Lived like only youth can. It was a very moving day, all around.

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