Monday, February 4, 2008

Ski Races and S(o)uper Bowls

Finished! I finally finished the entry on Books (would that count as "B" if I were doing the ABC deal?) Also, I am pleased to report that I finished another toque (boxed and ready to go); I'm about 1/3 done with the next - and I've received payment for the earlier one! Clippin' along, I am. Just a toque-knittin' fool. I had about decided that I was going to finish those in the book and not accept any more commissions - but you know what? (Pay attention here, I may need you to refer me back here if I start whining in the future.) I find that I do get a sort of rhythm going; once I'm increased to the full number I really can knit without looking, as in while watching movies or teevee, attending meetings, reading (for which I have one of those neat book-holder-upper gizmos, about $5 at Barnes & Noble).

This is my super-cool book-holder-upper enjoying lunch with me when Mr Dearling and I ate at Chili's the other day; it works equally well on the kitchen table at home while I'm reading and knitting. Clever device, this.

Having said that, when we go to the annual Trade Faire in Oshkosh at the end of the month, as we do, annually, I may encounter someone who will be requesting a toque. And I'll be taking my little notebook along.....but, if I DO get a request, I will be very forthright in saying that there are a couple of things on the needles that I'll need to complete before beginning anything else.

Last Wednesday we used our Christmas present from Mr Dearling: we went to the Natalie McMasters concert. She's the fabulous Cape Breton fiddler who we try to see whenever she comes to town. I have seen her with my very eyeballs in my very own eyeball holes - play reels and jigs on the fiddle while stepdancing ! Had I NOT seen this I would never have believed it humanly possible to do that. (I mean, I'm feel incredibly posh being able to do simple knitting while reading!)

Natalie played at our very nice Overture Center, a remarkable theatre venue, and for the winter season they have snowflake patterns on the floor in lights.
This is a very dramatic effect, and we couldn't quite figure out how they're projected onto the floor, but it's a very attractive and festive effect.
The Overture Center is somewhat controversial; it's rather stark from the outside, but the seats in the main theatre are arranged in such wise that there are no obstructed views. (Our seat neighbors pointed out, however, that the rows on our level were VERY long - and we were in the middle of the row. The observation was made that, in the event of a fire (for example) we'd be screwed, as there was no middle aisle. one pause to think. Still and all, a very nice evening.

Friday night was the Late Night Knit at the Sow's Ear, and I had the pleasure of visiting with my Lovely Daughter, Chocolate Sheep (Beth), and Molly Bee's Attic (Melinda) among the merry throng of local knitters (might I add, a brilliantly-congenial group). The Lovely Daughter is knitting up a Feather-and-Fan in dreamy mohair in black (looks like a fuzzy mantilla) and I did make some progress on the Next Toque. Beth showed off her Packer hat on the needles (my STARS that girl is clever, knitting in words like that,seriously!) and the book she is working on, which is one Admirable Piece of Work. As we were arranged, Molly Bee and I were on opposite sides of a large column, so even though we could visit, it was largely "around the corner". Beth and I came nigh to closing the place up again, we always seem to do that.

Saturday was the first day of our Winter Festival, and Mr Dearling and I were slated to appear in our Fur Post at the Museum "in garb" - the publicity said "costumed interpreters", that would be us. As it turned out, the weather was PERFECT - not too cold, and with a nice soft steady snowfall.

Saturday we were "on" from about 9:00 until noon, but we stayed a bit later, as there were still some folks coming through. In honor of the Festival the Museum served hot chocolate on the main floor, and we had a little craft project for kids around the corner from our Fur Post; there was a special exhibit of some exceptional wooden fish decoys made by native artists, and we had some cute little wooden jointed fishies that kids could paint and decorate and take along with them.

To my great delight on Saturday, along came Molly Bee and her husband to visit! They hail originally from the lands of the great Abenaki and Passamaquoddy, and I was excited to show them a bit about the Ojibway and Potowatami and Ho-Chunk from hereabouts. I deserted Mr Dearling (aka Paul L'Aventure dit le Promeneur) to explain and display the goods at the Post, to show off some artifacts - we have some perfectly beautiful twined bags made from yarn unwoven from trade blankets alongside some made from the natural fibers, and I find it exciting to see how the patterns were developed so artistically by the native women when the colored wools became available to them. (The same is true from the translation from the gentle geometric designs worked in porcupine quills to the brilliant floral beadwork, for which the Ojibway are internationally known.) All in all, we had quite a few visitors and were very satisfied with the day. Around 2:00, we changed and went outdoors to see some of the festivities of the Winter Festival.

They block off the Capitol Square and set up a track for ski races. Interestingly, there were racers from Australia, Czechoslovakia, Denmark - as well as some from Michigan and Massachusetts (among others). There were both Men's and Women's heats.

Believe me when I say, these lanky, lean guys were doing some MOVING! My camera isn't very fast, and I took a real lot of pictures to catch even these examples. It had stopped snowing but was still really nice out. We didn't get around to check out the snowboarding or ice sculptures, but from our viewpoint the Winter Festival looks like it might start attracting big names!

We ended the day by enjoying a slice of pizza on State Street (we like Casa de Roma; Molly Bee & Scott went to Ian's...there are thousands , well... hundreds -- oh, you know, LOTS of pizza places in Madison.) By then it was around 5:00, and we set out for: THE SOUPER BOWL!!

NOTE: that goofy person in the long coat, waving with the fingerless mitts (made from Reggia Sock Yarn) in the middle of the line? Me.

This is the long line in the hall at West High School, where the annual Souper Bowl takes place. It's always held the day before that other Super Bowl thing - you know, the fabulous commercials interrupted by a bunch o' guys running around in funny clothes chasing a legless, headless pig(skin). OUR Souper Bowl is a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity,and it works like this: you file in along three very long tables, on which there are bowls. HUNDREDS of bowls, made by ceramacists, potters, artists and (primarily) high school students.

You select a bowl. Then you move down the table a little more, and find a better bowl, so you pick it up and put down the first one. Then you continue along - and find the Best Bowl you've Ever you pick it up and put down the other one.

The line is moving slowly, 'cause everyone is doing that. Then - you find a BETTER Best-er Bowl (shut up, it is too a word). Then I find myself with a perfect bowl in each hand, and the whole thing grinds to a stop. Blue one? Green one? Matte glaze? Glossy glaze? By this time, you're near the end and you're holding up the works.

So... you Make the Final Decision, and proceed to the table where you pay the modest amount of $15 - then on to the next table where you get your choice (Oh NO, another #)$@W CHOICE?) of soups, provided by the best restaurants in town. TOUGH CALL! The soup is put, not into your new Bestest-Ever-in-the-World bowl, but a cardboard take-out bowl (so you don't have to take home dirty dishes; you then proceed to the table where you get another cardboard bowl and help yourself to a fresh, cold, crisp salad and some dressing, and move to find spots at the very crowdy lunch tables, where you immediately begin chatting with the gazillion of your best fellow-Madisonian friends. Bread (in the form of bagels) and desserts (in the form of delicious bars and cookies made by someone's grandma the night before) are on the table, and tea, coffee and lemonade are available nearby.

This is Mr Dearling's wonderful bowl, and as you can see, we like to put our paper bowls in our real bowls - that way the bowls can practice, but they still don't get dirty. Mr Dearling is big on decent-sized bowls worthy of a healthy helping of his Most Remarkable Spaghett' (for which he is justifiably famous).

For MY part - I wanted a smaller bowl, good for hot cereal (you know the kind - whole grain with a quarter-pound little pat of butter and a cup small splash of real maple syrup. Because of the paper bowl you can't see it, but this has a deep cobalt-y blue interior, and it's just exactly the right size. Even after all my indecision at the end of the table, I am happy to report, this is MY BOWL!

So we ended the day with a mitzvah - contributing to Habitat for Humanity; I've added to my cherished collection of bowls, and we had a nice social experience with a few (hundred) of our neighbors. THIS is what I look forward on Super Bowl Weekend.

Oh - and in conclusion (what? I'm NOT being paid "by the word"? well, that sucks!) *ahem* I had a roasted red pepper soup and Mr Dearling had a rich, sweet chili. The experience was enhanced by the performance of a very enthusiastic band of high school students with an adorable girl trombone player who, bless her heart, wore a DRESS. The gathering was too raucous for me to catch the name; suffice it to say, they really, truly, ROCKED.


Deb said...

I love your "souper" bowl! What a charming tradition.

Iron Needles said...

The Winter Festival sounds like a full fun day! The souper bowl sounds like a great fundraiser, too. (And a great way to collect an eclectic set of bowls guilt-free.)

Anonymous said...

What a fun thing to do! I love homemade bowls, I wonder who donated them. I'd be hard pressed to just get one. I think I'd have to have 2 or 3. Probably couldn't decide on the soup either, so that'd work out well.

Anonymous said...

I want to live in Madison ::pout::

Jane said...

Winter Festival - what fun! I love the snow as only someone who lives where it doesn't can. And the Souper Bowl event is wonderful. I absolutely love pottery, and would have a very hard time choosing just one bowl! And hey, it was great to see your smiling face.