Monday, July 30, 2007

Resolution: Catch UP (and stay there)

This is the famous Kid Tree on our Capitol Square. We have a (truly) wonderful Farmers' Market every Saturday morning in the summer; I didn't actually need any kids, but you can see that the ripe ones have already fallen off. We did get a block of this amazing cheese that you can toast --it doesn't melt really, just sort of softens. They had samples and it's DELISH! I think it wants fruit with it, grapes maybe. Farmers' Market: another reason for living in Madison (I should do one of those "Lists of 100" thingies some time; there are way more than 100 reasons why it's great here.)
However! I promised the Tale of the Tears in Macy's, so I'll start with that.
I have long been a champion of our sisters who, for size reasons, cannot find clothing "on the rack". I'm sure that, in 500 years, ladies will read about this with total disbelief. (Optimistic to the end.) However, it was always something of an issue with me, because I'm short. The only people shorter than I am are either actual Little People or under 8 years old.
Well, thanks to the Wonder of Dentures (and the process of obtaining them) I actually lost the weight I've been wanting off for ages. I'm not suggesting this as a diet, but it worked for me. While going through the whole business I really didn't have much appetite, and it was assisted by the fact that really all I could eat was Instant Mashed Potatoes...I really LIKE those, but honestly, that was about it. (Did I mention dreaming about barbecued ribs and corn on the cob?) OK, so at the end of it all, I have normal-looking teeth and I weigh what I should for someone 4'11" tall, i.e., about 94. I don't look particularly thin, remember, I'm SHORT.
So I found that what I really needed was some underpants. I go for the "cotton brief" style. I don't "get" thongs, but that's for another time. So I went to Shopko to get a package of cheap undies. Well! I found that they didn't have ANY in my size! (The size is listed on the back of the package, and seemed to go by hip size, sometimes hip and waist.)
OK, I headed for Wally World. Along about the Home and Office aisle at Wally World (I ADORE office supplies and couldn't resist fondling the new notebooks and 3x5 cards and stuff, long as I was there anyway) it hit me: I'm going to have to buy my underpants in "GIRLS". So I went to Girls. And I found underwear. And I found packages of 8 or 12 pairs of cotton briefs with my hip and waist size....admittedly, they were "large".
Then I started looking for plain white ones. WELL! Ladies (and gentlemen, if any are reading this....) GUESS WHAT?? My choices were: underpants with Power Puff Girls on them. Or underpants with Disney Princesses on them. Or underpants with ::koff koff:: BARBIE on them.
I went to Target. Started in "Ladies"....nothing. The smallest were for hips 36"-38", and remember, I'm 4'11". So I went to Girls there. And you know what? Barbie. Power Puff Girls. Disney Princesses. About this time I was feeling a little down. A stroll through the ring binders and pens and mechanical pencils restored me somewhat, but I figured OK, it must be that I'm going to have to spend a little more than I'd intended -- but you know? When you're 64 you can figure purchases really MIGHT last you all the rest of your life, so it's worth it spending a bit more.
So I went to Macy's. I don't shop in Macy's. I wear ankle-length calico dresses with full pinafores over. (I have a passion for Tasha Tudor and a Serious Need for pockets; they don't carry "me" in Macy's.) But you know -- underpants is underpants.
I found the Ladies' Department. And I asked a young clerk I encountered where I might find underlinens. She looked at me like I'd said "horseshit" and sort of gawped with her mouth open. I clarified: "Underpants". "OH" said she, obviously relieved, (?) and pointed. I found them. And guess what? NOPE! Not even the soft, lovely, elegant (read "expensive") undies came in smaller sizes. The Kindly Elegant Older Clerk came over and asked if I was finding everything -- and friends? That was when I started to cry. CRY! in MACY'S! Surrounded by all those lovely soft elegant underlinens. She looked a little panicked, so I explained....I mean, it was sort of a teary kind of cry, not the ugly sobby kind. Yet.
In elegant genteel tones she suggested....Girls. So I went, and there IS a .... well, maybe not a happy ending, but an ending. I found a package of three pair of underpants. One pair is lavender, one pair is lavender-and-lime-green stripes, and one pair is *cute* lime-green-and-lavender little flowers, like you might find on A CHILD'S UNDERWEAR. But I bought them, brought them home, and can report that the size L does fit.
Now...if I'm wearing the flowered ones...I am VERY careful crossing the street. I remember Mom telling me to be sure my underwear was clean "so when you get hit by a car you won't be embarrassed." (WHEN??) I'm taking great care to not get hit by a car. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In which I return to the world....

Look! It's a cat, with sticks and books! That would be Evangeline, that would be a scarf (started at the Harry Potter party at Border's, July 20-21) and...well yeah, some of the earlier books.

OK - so I went to the party at Border's Friday night with my friend Ginny, and we were both in costume. I wore a black gown and my Halloween lovely pointy witch hat bedecked with velvety autumn leaves and a couple of sparkly spiders. Someone asked who I was - and I said "I teach an elective on the Worship and Reverence of Bears." "Oh, I'd take that" said she. She was maybe 17, there with a few (hundred?) of her school chums. Last time I went to the party at Barnes & Noble, and I think it was a better party, but that may be because a) it's a bigger store; b) their chairs for sitting in are first-rate; and c) they had more stuff to do and going on. They also had lots of things at their cafe for the occasion (they'd invented a Butter Beer - non-alcoholic - in fact. Tasty).

That being said - I go all over teary when surrounded by bazillions of kids approximately eight and up (and an equal number of grown-ups) who are THAT excited and enthusiastic about a BOOK. Not an e-book, not an electronic game book, not a "uses AAA batteries not included" type book. An old-fashioned hard-cover lots-of-pages-with-words-on-them book. Restores my faith in humanity and childhood and Imagination. NOTE: rant on my terror of the loss of Imagination among Children and Adults will be saved for a later time.

I wasn't even going to buy my book there! I ordered it from Amazon a long time ago, and they guaranteed delivery Saturday (for standard book rate). We did run into other old friends there, so after taking Ginny home (around 10:30; she's not a night owl) I went back and stayed until the count-down. I spent the time chatting and knitting (see above). It's Patons SWS yarn, "Natural Earth", and it's yet another muffler but uncomplicated and I love the yarn. Ginny pointed out (no pun intended) that my Brittany needles made mighty fine wands.....

I determined to just plain stay home Saturday until The Book came, in case I had to sign for it. The mail came at about 1:00, no book. I continued my knitting and fretting, and then at 3:15 pm the mail-lady came BACK, and when I answered the door said "Gee, I found this among my other packages, sorry I didn't see it when I delivered the regular mail." AAAAAaaaaarrrrgh!

However, THERE IT WAS! I jotted a quick note here and then turned OFF Daisy, the television and the radio to eliminate any chance of encountering a Spoiler. I poured me a new iced tea and started reading....

Sunday morning I decided to treat myself, so I took Mr. Potter out to The Sow's Ear, my favoritest yarn/coffee shop; there was only one other patron there at the time. And he ALMOST dropped a spoiler! He made a comment to the Nice Young Clerk!! I clapped my hands over my ears and shouted "NO NO NO!!" She was horrified, apologetic, and said she was going to make signs declaring the shop a Spoiler-Free Zone....the guy, however, said nothing. It may have been just my frame of mind over the near-hazard, but I was frosted. I mean, there was no one else in there, I CLEARLY had my copy of the book and was reading. Grumblemutterpfooey. Probably inadvertent, but I was frosted just the same. (The spoiler he dropped turned out to be a truth, but it didn't do any real harm. Still, "Grrrr."

I had to quit for a while Sunday afternoon to attend a send-off party for a friend of Mr. Dearling's (he's going to Vermont to continue school, I'm jealous); began reading immediately upon getting home, read through supper, did the dishes and settled down for some Serious Reading. At 5:00 a.m. Monday I realized my eyes were watering and I'd read the same sentence six times so I admitted defeat and went to bed. Got up about 10:00 a.m (whoooah, when was the last time I slept THAT late?) and continued reading, finishing the book about 7:30 p.m. Again, I will say no more, for a while at least. The book's been handed over to Lovely Daughter. I will say only: I was infinitely satisfied.

Now then - a few days BEFORE *the day*, Mr. Dearling himself suggested taking in the new HP movie - at the iMax! Needless to say, I was agreeable. We don't see movies in the theatre too often, just seems awfully pricey, but this was clearly one that warranted not only the big screen but the iMax. As we went in, we were handed "special glasses" and learned that, at the end, there was a bit - the beginning of which was signalled by the appearance of flashing little green glasses icons at the bottom of the screen - which was 3-D!! Seemed a tad hokey, but I discovered when we got to that point that the image went slightly double-image such as the 3-D movies in days of yore did so I put on my weird glasses. (They did fit over anyone's regular spectacles, by the way.) Well...Mr. Dearling said the effect was quite stunning; unfortunately my left eye, the Store-Bought, isn't 100% so I didn't get the full effect, but no loss. I think the whole iMax thing is pretty outrageous. NOTE: the eye isn't really store-bought, I had a corneal transplant some years back and the vision is somewhat limited in it, although not enough to completely affect regular depth perception. I was glad to have seen the movie, from a "refresh-the-memory" point of view, before reading "Deathly Hallows". Man, when I was a kid I would have SO gone to Hogwart's, given the chance.

Before this whole Harry Potter immersion experience in Anticipation and Delight occurred I had a Traumatic Incident which resulted in my crying in Macy's. Not traumatic in the really dreadful sense, but enough that I cried in Macy's. I'll leave that story for the next couple of days; I'm still basking in the HarryPotterness of it all.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Do Not Disturb - Until Later!

Resolution: keep up better with the blog. That being said...I'm working through the tutorial on my Photobucket program; I'm an old dawg, these are some mighty new tricks, but I'm determined.

My copy of Harry Potter just came, and I'm about to crawl inside; I will emerge to write again either a) when I've finished it, or b) when I come up for air. Incidentally, do NOT look here for any commentary. I mean to keep my thoughts about it to myself until such time as local friends and relatives have all read it. I *will* say that the "Spoilers"....those folks who, on line or in newspapers or radio/TV commentaries made references ahead of time -- those folks are like our cherished Ms. Rowling's Death Eaters. They're of that weird, mean-spirited sort who really do take pleasure in sucking the joy out of others' lives. You won't find references, clues or even opinions here.

Also (I figured this out, but thanks to Mrs. SABLE for explaining it, too): I realize that if I hold this copy and return to it later, it'll appear according to date even if I write other things after this. Now case I need it, where DID I put that bookmark? (Deep breath, hold nose, dive in headfirst!)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Old Friends, Never Met....

I wouldn't have started blogging if I didn't read some that are spectacular, who have inspired me. One that I really love is Crazy Aunt Purl (you can click on her name over in my sidebar (thanks, Elizabeth, at least I did that right!).

She's funny, clever, honest, an amazing knitter and has the most delicious cats and shares pictures of them. I'm letting you know that, if you like kitties and like blogs, you should read her entry today. It's an example of wonderful reading. You won't regret it.


Apologies - somehow my most recent post turned up below the one before. I'm not sure I dare post again until I can get to my Kind and Noble Mentor....

I apologize for the wrong order; I apologize for that hugely-long run-on unending paragraph problem. Besides which, I'm not sure it makes sense. {sigh} Well, be kind, check back, I'll get the hang of this.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Horrors of the Wilderness! (gross-out warning)

OK, this is a small plastic bottle, formerly home to little rainbow sprinkles. It is now the crypt, the coffin, the bier (and oh, could I use a beer) for the LOATHSOME AND RANCID DEMON OF THE WOODLANDS!

This, my friends, is a Tick, a common wood tick. NO, not the nasty and foul deer tick, purveyor of dreaded Lyme Disease. This is the common tick, purveyor of yucchy icky nightmares &c.

Its appearance has delayed my writing of the wonders of my wilderness experience with the Noble and Impressive Bicyclists because....last night, when I got home from a delightful evening babysitting with my adorable little punky grandsons, I was getting ready for bed and I glanced down and thought "Hmmm, those brown moles are......." But no, my friends. MOLES do not have LEGS. (All right, for the smartypantses among you, the fuzzy little moles who live in fairytales books and stuff ... and under have legs, but cut me some slack here!)

These things are small. What they do is, they attach on to a warm host (now, up until now I always felt complimented if someone said I was a warm host) and they suck blood. And then they do all manner if truly ishy things like burrow their head into the skin and then, depending on whom you ask, lay eggs through their tongues and you fill up with them until you give birth to a Comic Book Super Hero or something.

The truth is less dramatic. Seems they DO burrow their heads in, and if not removed it can become infected and the worse that can happen is, your legs fall off or your toes bloom or some such thing. The deal is, you want tol remove them entirely, head and all. This calls for calm care in getting them to detach themselves. I had heard (from Donna, my traveling companion) that if you put a cotton ball soaked in dish detergent they pull their little heads out and wander off going "blechcc bleecchcch" and blowing bubbles out of their little proboscisesseses.

However - see where I said "calm care"? That does NOT include shrieking, scaring two cats out of their wits, grabbing a tissue and pouring half a bottle of Dawn on it, applying it to said tick for .4 seconds and then just grabbing it with the tissue and PULLING! {eeeeeeeeeewwww-shudder} Well, I got it off and made poor Mr. Dearling (roused from a deep sleep) charge down the basement in search of a "LITTLE CLEAR BOTTLE!". Our usual teamwork worked - he found an empty little flat spice container, I found a little clear plastic bottle of sprinkles - a quick transfer of sprinkles to flat container and tick to bottle (on his Dawn-soaked tissue) was achieved.

Then followed a quick read online which suggested application of alcohol (and some kind of warning about being SURE to get the head out of the skin) and I rushed back into the bathroom and slathered detergent and alcohol all over it. It looked like a red blotch the size of a quarter with a wicked little black thing sticking out of it. Mr. Dearling said it was "reddish" and he didnt' see anything in it.

I eventually got to sleep; upon waking I rubbed it again with alcohol and Mr. Dearling called the doctor - the upshot is that, while I would love to continue expounding, I'm going over to Urgent Care. "Just a precaution", the crisp cool voice of the nurse said on the phone. I told Mr. Dearling I don't care if they have to get it out with a melon baller, I'm for it.

So the Beelzebub Demon (in his plastic sprinkles bottle) and I are going to Urgent Care. When I get home I'll tell you about the wonderful Adventure I had with the cyclists. {{shudder}}

Friday, July 6, 2007

Drums Along the.....Wisconsin!

Tent City! Home, sweet Home. Doesn't it look like a little village somewhere nice? It IS. These are the digs provided for some of the cyclists on the "GRABAAWR" - "Great Annual Bicycle Adventure Along the Wisconsin River". Ours is the third-from-the-left...maybe. Or sixth. You get the picture.

I bought a nice little notebook before going - one of those Moleskin ones from Barnes & Noble; I got the small model with graph paper in. And I wrote something like "For the Blogosphere" on the first page. I determined to keep notes each day so that I could remember the details to write about. I did take my laptop along (Daisy, remember?) in case the schools we were camping at each night might have wireless access, and I could write on the road.

All of that notwithstanding - I realize that a play-by-play isn't what's called for, from either of our viewpoints. Therefore: permit me to synopsize.

Saturday morning, June 23, I had the car packed with what I hoped was everything I'd want. I had our small tent, my sleeping bag and pad and a small suitcase. I also had my large knitting basket with yarns, needles and a couple of projects; I had my laptop-case-on-wheels (the advantage of that thing is, where the businessmen put their shirts and ties and speedos I can put extra yarn, books, headlamps; where the businessmen put their charts and graphs I can put get the picture). I had my bookbag and I had my small knitting basket with the current project, my toolbox (knitting tools, you know -tape measure, scissors, bone thread winder, one lace bobbin...the necessities) AND my directions, map, camera, the new cell phone (!) and my tin of those sour Life-Savers to which I am totally addicted and partly because they come in the cleverest little snap-top tin which has to be useful for myriads of other stuff. (I hope they are, I'm developing quite a collection.)
And so I departed, with loving smooches, from Home and Hearth.

First stop: Target. I had to get my prescriptions. And you know, while I was there I wandered through the Dollar Bin area. Quick-like. I found a little bottle hand sanitizer (it was on the cyclists' list of Good Stuff to Have); a packet of citronella bracelets; (you never know); a little rubber bleating sheep (clearly a must-have for any knitter, even if it does sound more like it's eaten too many potato chips) Dave Barry says, "I am NOT making this up" -- BOSCO! Yes, in the Dollar Bins!! For those of you sadly too young to remember, "I love Bosco, it's the drink for meeeeee...." You add it to milk. It used to be divine. (I don't know if it's changed or just I have a more discerning palate {or less discerning} but it's not precisely the way I remember it.) STILL, Bosco! So I got four bottles. It's not routinely available out this way.

NOTE: have you noticed a marked tendency for digression? Nevermind.

Mind you, I was only going to Donna's at this point, in her town about 40 minutes from home. Between my getting to her house I witnessed an Incident which delayed me considerably (it involved someone else and a deer, don't ask). But I finally did get to her house. When I did, I realized that the peculiar beeping I'd been hearing was my cell phone, which had messages on it from Donna, from Mr. I learned how you get to listen to voice mail. And delete it.

FINALLY! Our gas tanks were full, and we were off for Eagle River, Donna leading as she drives up to the Upper Peninsula (of Michigan) fairly often to visit family and so knew the way. NOTE: up to this trip I was notorious for my complete ignorance of maps and directions. "Up to this trip." I'm better now.

Eagle River is a small northern-Wisconsin town, one I like a lot. We've been through on OUR way to the UP and at other times. We found the high school and Donna located her ham boss. The school is STUNNING! For a small midwestern town, -- in fact, for a large town, anywhere, this is one beautiful school. The commons area is large, high-ceilinged and open with chairs and tables - and wireless accessibility! That night I put up my little tent but the evenings afterward we were given one of the tour tents (see above) which were put up for us before we got to our night stop and taken down the next morning. They were also nice large tents. We brought our laptops in and spent a happy couple of hours on line before packing up and packing in. We established a routine: I'd lay out my pad and throw out my sleeping bag on the right; Donna threw out her pad and bag on the left; we hung my little battery-lantern from the convenient hook, crawled in - and I was GONE. I do a few things well, a couple of things very well - and I sleep like a champ. I'm an Olympic-level sleeper. I was worried about waking up in time, but I can tell you - the sound of 30 or 40 zippers at 5:00 a.m. does the trick.
This was pretty much our routine: we got up early, folded up our bedding and put it in our cars. Then Donna ran in to have breakfast so she could get to her Ham Operators' meeting and get our daily assignment. When I had my stuff put away I grabbed my little basket containing knitting, cell phone and blogging notebook and had my breakfast. NOTE: in case I hadn't mentioned it before, we were given our breakfasts and suppers and the use of the tent (and reimbursement for our gas, which reminds me, I'd best send that in!).
After breakfast Donna and the hams would emerge and we'd head out for our daily locations. Mind you, some of the cyclists left before 5:00 a.m. and the rest left throughout the morning until 9:00, but I think the whole 600+ were out of there by 7:30 every day.
Once Donna and I got to our location (after the first day we were led out to our site - Donna's not better at maps than I am, I was glad we had guides). We set up our big orange barrels of water, arranged our box of gloves, our bottles of sanitizer and arranged the cars. Donna's had to be right there, with the door open so she could hear her radio which ran on auxiliary batteries. Then we set up our chairs (those neat ones that come in a tube - mine has a cupholder on each arm) and got out our knitting/crocheting. Our duty was to wait for the cyclists and if they wanted it, put on a glove, have them hold their bottle under the spigot, and pour the water for them. (There was apparently an outbreak of a virus at a bike tour last year; these little precautions were sufficient and very worthwhile.)
At the end of the day we waited until the Net Control guys radioed that we could go on to the school for the night. The radio connection permitted us all to keep a good idea of how many bikes were still out there so that there was water support for everyone as long as they were out. We would then pack up our things, wait for one of the ham radio trucks to collect our big barrels (neither of us had enough room in our cars for them) and then we'd go on to the school in the next town.
So went each day. Up about 5, packing up, out to our site, sitting for the day and then going on to the school. But you know what they say about "routine" - there is no such thing! Each day was unique. The first day I wandered out to look at some wonderful straw flowers and try calling home with my amazing new cell phone. The flowers were stunning and I thought about collecting a bunch. Also, I called Mr. Dearling and there he was, as though I were home and he was at the Museum! In fact I was way the heck out in the middle of somewhere in the woods of northern Wisconsin! What a great century! Uhm....but then I happened to lift up my hems to see if I got any stickers on my petticoat and found
TICKS! Wood ticks. LOTS of them. Gerzillions. Millions. Thousands. Hundreds. I grabbed my Ever-Present roll of masking tape and began collecting them, Donna agreed that there were at least 50-60 of them, for real. They stuck to the tape, I folded them up and that was that. (Needless to say, that night we showered and I had Donna help me check to be sure I didn't have any more...and she did find a bunch and pick them off.) There were some at the base of my hairline, one or two on my leg - and it's very icky when they've begun attaching. You can still pull them off, but the ratio of YUCCKH and BLEECCHCK factor shoots up exponentially with each one. "Horrendous" doesn't approach it. I've just looked through my treasured Roget's Thesaurus and I'm sorry, ladies and gennulmen, there isn't an adequate word. (See previous post if you have a strong stomach.) I can still see, my legs haven't fallen off or frozen up, so I may have managed to avoid disease.
As a rule we spent 6-7 hours at our water stop. The weather was beautiful - the first two days were fiercely hot (I spent a bit of time sitting in the running car in the A/C now and then) but the rest of the time it was really nice. There was often a breeze which we appreciated and the cyclists did NOT, particularly as a head wind.
By Monday a number of the riders were recognizing me by my apparel. (Long cotton dresses.) And I was beginning to recognize some of them. As a rule all you see is a blur of spokes and a set of biking clothes topped by a helmet. There were the peculiar bikes (tandems, recumbents) but unless the same folks stopped for water each day out our specific water stop we didn't have a lot of interaction. In the evenings everyone ate in the school cafeterias, but seemed to either hang with their group or eat alone. Mind you, the average distance these folks were pedalling each day was something between 50-70 miles. Daily. How they managed to drag themselves into the school was a wonder to me.
One of our stops was on the road near a farmhouse with a tiny shop attached: "Grandma's Cookies." "Grandma's" daughter and granddaughter set up a little lemonade stand there too, and a number of cyclists did buy a glass. We took turns going into the shop and had a very nice chat with Grandma (not to mention enjoying some capital chocolate chip cookies and carrot muffins with sour cream frosting). Grandma enjoys a brisk local business and we were not surprised to hear that. A number of cyclists took advantage of her wares also (no worries, they burned off the calories before getting to the top of next hill).
We were also armed with some first aid supplies (only got them out once, for a mild case of road rash) and a good pump, which we used a few times for folks replacing flats.
Tuesday afternoon, when we closed up shop, I actually headed back to Madison, and slept in my own bed Tuesday night. (I didn't have any ruby slippers, but it's true: There's NO place like Home!) Wednesday we had a Museum program and, as we weren't far at that point on the tour, it was convenient for me to go home. We were to tell Fishing Stories and help with a craft project consisting of the tykes painting on canvas totes with fabric crayons. What do *I* know from fishing?? I made up a story about an Indian girl who marries "the best fisherman" - in spite of the fact that he's a bear. I have a passion for Indians and an equal or greater passion for bears. Mr. Dearling looks like a bear. Doesn't go fishing, though.
When we were done at the Museum I headed back to the Wednesday night site, found Donna and settled back in. There was an added advantage to my coming home for the night - a former colleague of mine was on the ride, and her husband had been unable to go along for the start. So he came back with me to join her on the tour. Nice company in the car, and I was happy that he was able to have a chance to participate with his wife.
That was another nice school, and we'd realized that some of these nicer, larger schools were wired for Internet. No surprise, I guess - it IS the 21st century. (I must remind myself of that...often.) Well, that night we took our laptops in and Donna prepared to plug hers in while I visited the 'loo. When I came back, I discovered that: when she plugged in her computer, (the cord was already in the back of the laptop), sparks flew!! Worse than that, when she quickly pulled the plug back out -- her laptop went black. Totally. Nothing. I was HORRIFIED!
NOTE: Someone suggested that, when she get home, she take out the battery, hold the "on" button down for ten seconds, and replace the battery. I report here, with weeping relief, IT WORKED! {major WHEW}
However, I tried to log on (need I say "without plugging in"?) and we found that there were a lot of filters in place. No surprise. But we could get to Yahoo so she was able to retrieve her e-mail anyway. We didn't even take the laptops in after that, being shy of plugging in.
And so the tour moved apace. The last day (Saturday) we wound up arriving at the end zone fairly late, having stopped to pick up directional arrows on the way; there were no cycles behind us. Most of the riders had already left, but we wound up being taken to dinner (at a real eatery) by the hosts of the tour -- Donna and I, the two hosts, and three or four other hams. It was a sort of unwinding-and-thank-you dinner and was a very nice time. Having survived, I'll put together my final thoughts tomorrow. I learned a LOT from this experience (not the least of which is, the blogging thing isn't so easy at it looks!) From now on, back to my cats, my sticks and my books. But I really DID knit at our water stops. I finished four cotton dishcloths and made some progress on my Lion's Homespun "Granny's Favorite Shawl." I'm pooped, see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Independence Day....&c &c!

Happy Fourth of July! (Imagine sparklers and shimmering chrysanthemums in the night sky here). I'm off to a friends' home for a celebratory meal, after which I'll come back and begin sharing my last week's adventure. Suffice it to say that there were NO cats, NO books...but in spite of it all, I really did knit!

(This is Castor canadensis, the American Beaver, whose work ethic I greatly admire...and besides, they're so CUTE!)

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Happy Fifth of July! I hope you had an inspiring and moving holiday. I admit it, I have a real patriotism. Now, I've never been anywhere outside of North America, although we've gone to Canada and, in 1999, to Nova Scotia. Love them both...but they ARE in North America. I'll admit it here, I'm a Canada-o-phile (tip of the DPN to the Yarn Harlot). As a Living History Reenactor who portrays woman of the Fur Trade, circa 1750-1815, we spend weekends whenever possible pretending to be French-Canadians. Mr. Dearling is un voyageur, and I portray his wife...either as an Ojibway or as an Acadian widow now married to the voyageur. 'nough said on that (for now) but back to the original idea, I consider that one of my multitudinous, 800 berzillion blessings is that I live in America. As an Unrepentant Hippie I have some serious questions about the current Administration, but it is not lost on me that I can SAY that, here or on the phone or in public, and I have no fear of being dragged out of my bed and taken into the night. By the government. Yet. I like the flag and it swells my heart. I love a good Souza march, and the "1812 Overture" invariably brings me to tears. (They played it last year at our Concert on the Square, which we attended, and they fired the cannon off the top of a tall bank building and it was so excited I could hardly stand it.) So I like Independence Day, and most years (this was a slight exception) we go to the fancy golf course where there's a steep hill and they have fireworks at about 6:00 p.m. I take a basket with a couple of my American Girl dolls and some teddy bears....they love fireworks, although we take mylar pinwheels instead of sparklers, because you know. Fur - sparks - no. At the behest of Miss Iris von Heliotrope (a Steiff bear who is a naturalized citizen and therefore very passionate about the 4th of July) we always take tiny cream-cheese-and-black-olive tea sandwiches, lemonade and cookies for dessert. Sometimes there are other things - veggies and dip, for example, but usually just the basics. Sometimes there are cream-cheese-and-GREEN-olive sandwiches, and sometimes there are sunflower seeds in the black-olive ones. (Those are some mighty good sandwiches, btw.) We always dawdle afterwards and take a book and/or knitting, and at the end we sit in the car and just chill ("did you just say 'chill'"?) until the traffic thins out.

This year we went to the aforementioned friends' home and had lovely hamburgers, potato salad - and of course our finger sandwiches. No fireworks, but a totally enjoyable evening just the same, and I got a few rows done on my current Homespun Tasha-Tudor shawl. By the time I got home I was pretty pooped (still recovering from the Adventure) and so went to bed. Very satisfying day; now on to the Adventure!