February 11th, 2001

self portrait

Home again, home again

I have returned from my sojourn to the wilderness with my wargaming friends. We had, as expected, a delightful time. The worst weather was on the drive up; we saw a few accidents (one quite severe) that were probably due to the freezing drizzle and rain that began about an hour's drive north. But once at the cabin, the precipitation had turned to snow and the scene was idyllic. Light, fluffy snow falling steadily; straight down between the bare trees. We were practically giddy with the sight and the thought of spending the weekend in this paradise.

We settled in, set up our game and went through three bottles of good port between the five of us the first night. While our reenactment of the Napoleonic wars played itself out on the board, we watched flickering images of various films courtesy of my player and Bob's DVDs. With titles from Conan to A Bridge Too Far, we were mightily entertained long into the evening.

Through the course of the weekend, my portrayal of Napoleon did little to bolster his reputation. (The Prussians became the dominant power in Europe. How different would the world be if was known as the Blucherian period?) But win or lose, we had a grand time. In the journal the family keeps at the cabin, Bob recorded the events of the game for posterity; including such notable events as the seven rolls of a 1 by the Ottoman player and the year-and-a-half long siege of Venice by the Austrian empire.

And food! We had eggs and sausage every morning. Fine roast beef and turkey for sandwiches at lunch, accompanied by fresh fruit to keep our significant others happy. I prepared the first main dinner on Friday serving grilled, stuffed tuna steaks, fennel gratin, and grilled bread salad. All recipes were taken from The Minimalist Cooks at Home. Saturday, we had a roast ham. Our friend Chris makes this every year and it is always a highlight of the trip. He bakes a whole ham, glazing it with a mixture of honey, molasses, mustard and magic. It never fails to be tender, juicy, and flavorful. Unlike most hams it is also never too salty. We gorge ourselves and fight over the left-overs.

The time away from the hustle and bustle of my normal life was ideal and well-needed. I am, as you might gather, refreshed in spirit. Also, a muse visited me early this morning and my next task will be to commit to longer storage the vision she left in my brain.