Sunday, October 26, 2008

Rhinebeck and other AWESOME October happenings

WOW. That word pretty much sums up Rhinebeck (otherwise known as New York Sheep and Wool, one of the biggest fiber festivals in the country). That, and AWESOME. And yes, it deserves all caps. It was a wonderful time, hanging out with some of the people who live in my computer. Mary and I left Friday morning with eleven dozen cupcakes (Pumpkin Spice with cream cheese frosting, Mexican Chocolate with Kahlua glaze and chocolate ganache frosting, Vanilla with just plain vanilla frosting, Ho-Ho filled with vanilla cream and frosted with chocolate buttercream and Nutella, need I say more?) and 2.5 gallons of beer (well, 2 gallons of beer, half a gallon of cider). We arrived around 7, connected with my last-minute roommate Hopi, and figured out where we were going for dinner. Ktb and her mom made reservations at a fabulous place called Gigi Trattatoria. There were supposed to be eleven of us, but Cyd's train was delayed, so Pixisis was anxiously awaiting a phone call to get her. The call came just after dinner. Bowen was there, up from Philadelphia, with a stop on the way to pick up Silver. Also in that car was Monica from Portland (yes, Portland, Oregon), who had flown in a day or so earlier. And we can't forget the wonderful Dan, aka Brewergnome! Definitely an enjoyable meal.

Saturday was the festival! We found Melcentrica in the lobby at breakfast - we ID'd her because she, Mary and I were all wearing the same shirt. (Cyd wore hers, too, but we met her Friday night at the hotel. Our room was party central, as I had the cupcakes and beer.) Then it was off, across the Kingston Bridge, to the Rhinebeck fairgrounds!

We met at Completely Pointless and Arbitrary central - the Tsock Tsarina's booth! She and Jennifer (as well as Glenna and the Tserf) were incredibly busy, but they always had a moment for a hug or a cupcake. Jesh was pricing her gorgeous spindles, and by the afternoon they were nearly gone. (I did get to snag a tasty peanut butter cookie, though!) We also met Franklin on the way there. He is as charming and wonderful as expected, and Mary gave him her well-received Delores creation. Once at the booth, I overheard someone talking about beer (they were pondering and did purchase the Oktoberfest in Chocolate Stout, as did I - Mike will someday have beer socks to wear to festivals), and wouldn't you know that it was Holly! After much squeeing and hugs, she introduced her husband and we made arrangements to hang out at the hotel after that evening's Ravelry party.

Made a few purchases, too - Nine Tailors and Imbas as well as Oktoberfest, and some beautiful Gnomespun yarn, and a Yarn Fairy skein of Holiday Yarns. Wandered off to the Ravelry meetup. Showed up a bit late (that was typical of the weekend), but met Ravelry leadership Jess, Casey and Mary-Heather, as well as a few others of the Rav family. (And shared cupcakes.) I didn't really take many pictures; I let others do that for me. Lots of those pictures can be found here, if you have any interest.

Picked up a bit of other yarn along the way, but really ended up investing in roving. Yes, I don't know how to spin yet, but if all goes well that will be remedied on Wednesday. I could not resist one bit of Corriedale. Oh, the colors! Beautiful blues and purples. I carried it around for something like 2o minutes before deciding that I needed to take it home. Picked up some incredibly soft undyed Merino as well - grabbed a bit for the amazing dyer Jen, then couldn't resist buying one for myself. Snagged 2oz of llama as well, and 8oz of Acacia, one of the lovely Burgis Brooks alpacas. She wasn't there, but Manny and Tito were. Mary brought home some of Manny's yarn, since Tito was only available as a blend. So yes, I have a lot of spinning to do, especially since Kelly sent me some roving from an Alpaca farm open house in North Carolina.

Anyway, Saturday was quite a day. We went to the Ravelry party, and showed up about 30 seconds after they ran out of goodie bags. It's estimated that there were 650 people there. Lots of fun (lots of door prizes - Mary won some beautiful Briar Rose yarn, and Kathe won Small Bob!), although it was quite cold. I was most amused by Hurricane Kitty beer. Because Kitties cause hurricanes all the time, you know. After the party, we congregated back at the room for more cupcakes and beer.

Sunday morning, Mary and I took off after breakfast. We delivered Hopi to her ride home, and followed some back roads to find the Fork in the Road. Then it was off to Kerhonkson to see the World's Largest Garden Gnome! I do have a picture of him, but haven't uploaded it yet. We'd pondered going to Hershey, but after getting stuck in construction in Scranton, I doubted that we'd get to Chocolate World before they closed (although looking now we might have made it). So it was an easy ride home - we just followed I-80, arriving home around 9:30.

Anyway, Rhinebeck was an adventure, and we're already making plans for next year.

It was a busy week before Rhinebeck, though. Gretchen showed up on the 11th, and we spent most of Saturday at the Rock Hall. After that was lunch at Melt, then visiting with Jessica and Mary after the Miss Chickpea knit-out that Gretch and I missed. Sunday we had plans to play in the leaves and maize maze in Peninsula and see Wade Chapel. Since Gretchen is unlike most of our houseguests in that she is ready to go before noon without prodding, I revised our agenda to start in University Circle. After two quick cupcake drops (yes, four dozen cupcakes is a bit much for four people), we were at Wade Chapel. Gretchen has always loved Tiffany, so we spent a decent bit of time admiring his genius and talking to the docent. We wandered up to the Garfield Monument, too, and braved vertigo to walk up and down the steps. Then it was off to the Art museum! Hadn't been since the galleries reopened. Definitely a good setup for their legendary collection. I'd nearly convinced Gretch to stop in at the Natural History museum (she knows how I am, and generally avoids such places with me) to see their wildlife area, but it was still before noon, so we wandered off to find lunch and such.

Mike had just eaten his leftovers, so there was no point in stopping at the Lizard near home. Gretch wanted to investigate an Archivers, and there was one in Montrose, so we stopped by for a pre-lunch visit. I put my blinders on and got out my knitting so as to avoid picking up yet another hobby. Anyway, no Fairlawn Lizard, as I try to avoid unfiltered Akron water. We were inspired to try Vegiterranean, but alas, they were closed on Sunday. On the way to the Peninsula Lizard (sense a theme here?), I got a panicked call from Mike: "Come home now. Zuzu got outside and I can't find her." We won't talk about the how, but he knows he was not a good indoor-cat parent.

Drove home, getting increasingly worried as the "I found her" phone call did not come, and started wandering around looking for our kitty. Mike was back behind the house. I walked around the pond, and asked everyone I saw if they'd seen Zuzu. Set some kids to search as well. No luck. I'd finally nearly given up for the moment, and was heading back towards to house for a blood-sugar boost, when I halfheartedly called for Zuzu. She bolts from her hiding spot in the thick weeds in the empty lot next to us (which is where Mike started looking) and plops down in our mulch. She'd been about 20 feet away, if that. I scooped her up and brought her inside. Whew. After Zuzu was found, we were off to the local Lizard for a late lunch, and then took Gretchen to the airport. Lovely kitty is now curled up on Mike's lap, covered with a sweatshirt, all adventures forgotten.

Monday afternoon my mom showed up. It was time for the North Coast Tour de Stitch yet again! Monday we hit Inn Stitches in Canton, Crafty Ewe in Broadview Heights, and Just Stitching in Strongsville. Tuesday we picked up Megan and visited the shops in Vermilion, Toledo and Findlay. Sadly, the planned yarn shop visits didn't work - one wasn't where we thought it was supposed to be, another was only a mail drop, and the third was going out of business and had been picked over pretty well. It was still a nice day, though. Wednesday brought a trip to the Red Apple in Madison, and we stopped at Wade Chapel on the way home. We spent about an hour soaking it in. Mommie was quite impressed, and thinks my dad should see it as well.

Wednesday night was Frightened Rabbit at Music Saves, which was a fantastic performance. Discovered that the video feature on my camera no longer works, but at least I have the audio to my favorite song of theirs - The Twist.

Thursday was work, then cupcake time! (After a failed trip to get new phones and dinner. Apparently Thursday night is a busy time both at the Independence Lizard and Verizon store.) Woke up around 3am Friday to finish before Mary and I took off to Rhinebeck. And that brings us to the beginning of the story.

Time for the nostalgia bit of this post. (Because it certainly isn't long enough already.) Got to talking to my friend Ed at the Frightened Rabbit show, and found out that the Friday following (Rhinebeck departure day) was his anniversary (Happy anniversary - hope you guys had fun!). Which is near ours. How exactly near? Not sure. He got me thinking about our wedding, and why we don't know the exact date we got married. Yes, we have a piece of paper with the details, but we haven't dragged it out for a while. So here's the story:

Mike and I got together in October 1999. Well, we spent time together before that (college from December 1995-April 1996, then that summer of 1999), but it was decided in October that yes, this could be something serious. My grandmother got sick about the same time (she and I were supposed to go to Hawaii that October but she got sick so my mom and I went), and although she recovered for a while, she went into the hospital on Memorial Day weekend and didn't come home. March 2000 I moved home from Cincinnati, as I could afford either a car payment or rent at my current job, but not both. Since Cincinnati and I didn't get along, I gave up rent and moved home. June 2000, I am grandmotherless, living with my parents, working a temp job, and having nightmares because I was grieving. Figured out that I didn't have nearly as many nightmares when I had a kitty sleeping with me, so I started staying with Mike a lot more. No, we weren't living together, because I still got my mail at my parents' house.

Fast forward to late September 2003. Temp job turned into a permanent position, our friend and Mike's coworker has met and married a woman in Cleveland. Our options are either stay in Pittsburgh and either Mike or Tom finds a new job, or move to the Cleveland area and I am the only one out of work. So that is the plan. We like our life together, and have a committed relationship and a nice family with Zuzu. Mike tells his very religious mother that he and I will get married before we move into a new house together. Well. News to me! Anyway, I can kinda deal with the idea of a piece of paper justifying our relationship, especially if it will end the stress of family visits, so we decide to get married. We're scheduled to move to Cleveland in August 2004, we're partial to October, and we don't want the drama llama visit that seems to happen with any overly planned wedding, so we decide it's a go for October.

My dad was Psycho Penn State Fan at that point, with season tickets and tailgating themes for each home game. (He has since recovered a bit.) We looked at their schedule (which I just pulled up to research the dates), and October 18 was a bye week. So we started planning our party. We got the license, and made an appointment with a magistrate for Friday night, and dinner reservations for afterward. The ceremony was supposed to be small, with just close friends (one each) and family.

Gretchen flew in on Thursday (I think?), Mike had a bachelor party of keggerator cleaning and beer drinking with a few friends, Gretch and I create vast quantities of food. I think we were on the way back from picking up the one storebought cake (from Eadie's Kitchen, definitely recommended!) when I realized that the license needed to be at the magistrate's office before 4:30. We were 20 minutes in the wrong direction, so we called Mike. He and Tom hit the road, Tom in bare feet, with license in hand as well as a phone book and a cell phone, calling the office to say they were on the way. They were repeatedly told, "We close at 4:30." They finally find the place and pull up. 4:31. Tom runs up to the door (having put his shoes on while in the car.) The door is locked. NOOOOO!!!

Being as we did not want the sort of drama that occurred at my sister's wedding (a story in itself, though I will say that I had four people walk up to me and apologize for their behavior), we were upset for just a bit, then stopped at Cold Stone (which was still a new franchise then) for ice cream. That was our drama - and it ended with everyone having ice cream.

We all still went out to dinner, and had the party on the 18th, we just didn't get married. It was the running joke at the party that we missed our wedding, so therefore it was a pre-wedding reception. It was great fun, lots of friends that we rarely see showed up (like Kelly from NC, and Erica from Vegas), there was plenty of food (three pans even went to a women's shelter the next day) and beer.

The next Friday, the 24th, we took the afternoon off, and stopped in at the church next door to where I worked, and got married. Nothing fancy, no rings, no pictures, but we have the piece of paper that caused our car insurance to decrease.

To add to the date confusion, Mike's family had a party/reception for us, too. His parents are very anti-alcohol, so they weren't invited to our party due to all of the beer. His oldest brother's wife, a sweet and generous soul, wanted to have another party for us. It ended up being a weekend in early November, with no easy point of reference to find the date. At any rate, we have a week-long anniversary, with flexible starts and ends, as we have a hard time remembering the actual dates.

So there you have it. The story of our bungled wedding. We're celebrating our anniversary today (the 26th, I think), because we can. Anniversary pirogies and a Steelers game. Good stuff. We're still together, still happy, and still ringless (we still don't have serious ones, though I did get a dragon one with flashing eyes and a pair of adjustable ladybugs that we wore for about 30 minutes until they pinched too much). So thanks, Ed, for reminding me of the subject, and playing one of our songs today. This is why I got confused when talking about the dates.

Hope everyone enjoyed the Rhinebeck visit and nostalgia! Will post pictures of the goodies at some point.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I Aten't Dead

Courtesy to the wonderful Terry Pratchett for the title. Really, I aten't dead, just busy, wondering what happened to the summer.

Yikes. It's been a long time. It was pointed out to me (not even very recently) that my drive-by posting was August 1, and it's now October. I hadn't realized that it had been so long. Anyway, what have I done lately? Should I categorize by month? Maybe.

July: I ended up in the Cooperstown area visiting the lovely and blogless Kathe during the last weekend of July. Very nice drive, wonderful visit. The cupcakes and beer were appreciated. We went to Ommegang, wandered around the nice bits of Oneonta, saw some entertaining signs ("25 years of relatively safe flying" and "KILTS"), and Kathe scored me a ticket to the Glimmerglass Opera where she works summers, so I saw I Capuleti e i Montecchi.

Caught a few performances of the Cleveland Shakespeare Festival over the summer (Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead), as well as a Tri-C performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream. August 2 brought the Weakerthans, which was a lot of fun. Made a metric tonne of cupcakes that day, too, as it was also SAAZ Blues and Brews. Mike went there, cupcakes and beer in tow, and apparently it was a great location (with indoor plumbing - yay!!) and an enjoyable evening. He got home later than I did, even.

Skipped the Stan Hywet Blues and Brews festival this year, too. I was all about skipping the beer parties in August for some reason. But what did I do? I think I dyed yarn. Managed to drag myself out on that Friday night to see A Lion In Winter at Notre Dame College. Was surprised at how entertaining it was. Met a girl who was new to our knitting group, and must have underwhelmed her, as we've never seen her again. Hit up a few Wade Oval Wednesdays, though not as many as planned. Darn work got in the way!

Mike and I saw Great Big Sea in Akron on the 16th. They're always a good show, and were in rare form that night, with random parodies and covers, and Lock 3 Live is a great place to go. We'd never been, but you can't beat free parking and $5 tickets. Will definitely go again next summer, depending on the schedule.

Ended the month with a cookout at Melita's. Very nice time, quiet but enjoyable afternoon. Got to show off the sweater that I'd finally finished!

Had some knitting group drama at Studio-A-Rama. Enjoyed the evening, otherwise, and the person in question is no longer in our group (not like we'd ever met her), so no worries there. Joined the bandwagon and started a clapotis, which my mom promptly claimed shortly after arriving for her visit later that week.

Went to the Vatican exhibit with my mom. Had a very nice visit, saw all sorts of papal clothes and accessories. One robe looked like something Elvis would have worn.

Took a fabulous course called "Horrid Musicals." Watched Xanadu, Can't Stop the Music (the Village People movie), and The Apple (a look at the 90s music scene from the perspective of the 1970s). Best Thursday evenings I've had for a while.

Tried to see Dar Williams in Pittsburgh, but due to Ike causing a power outage the concert was cancelled. Had a nice lunch with my dad anyway. Gotta love Fat Head's!! Ike also blew one of our deck couch cushions into the pond. Luckily it floated the whole way across - Mike was out there with a fishing rod trying to retrieve it, but it swam right to him. Very happy that it floats!

Lecture season at the museum started again, with a talk on the polar regions and changes that have occurred there, with the next lecture on ecological design. Bought more yarn for the Museum Scarf, as it has been promoted to the Museum Set, and will include a hat and possibly mittens. Learned that the yarn gets really soft after washing. The set will be used to decorate a wreath for the Women's Committee mini-fundraiser, and hopefully bring a decent amount. Discussed the idea at an event at Dike 14, received good feedback, so the wreath will be decorated with knitted goods rather than Alejandro's sunflowers. Which is probably good, as the sunflowers didn't seem to dry as well as I'd hoped.

~ picture interlude ~



from Dike 14

Speaking of the Women's Committee, I am now the recording secretary. Or is it corresponding secretary? I'm not exactly sure, but I get to hang out at board meetings and such. Have also been recruited somewhat for a Membership Subcommittee at Kirtlandia, possibly because I am under 40.

Found out that I won't be working weekends this school year. I'm not exactly sure what I'll do with all the extra time, but I am not complaining. Couldn't complain about the job, but can't complain about not working, either.

Spent a Saturday dyeing yarn with the knitting group. Participated in a shop hop of stores throughout Northeast Ohio - explored a few new shops, had a lot of fun. A few of us (Megan, Mary) visited four shops that Saturday before dyeing. I tried to hold back, and did a decent job of sticking mostly to one skein of sock yarn per shop. Took a combination knitting course with Annie Modesitt at River Colors/Stitch Cleveland, and learned some new things.

Other highlights of the month were: seeing Neko Case at the Beachland (she was wonderful!), taking an Angels tour of Lakeview Cemetery, going to a book reading at the Akron library and meeting Chuck Klosterman and other Akron-area authors.

October (nearly done!):
Started the month by going to see Eliot Abrams at the Natural History Museum for an Archaeology night lecture. He was as brilliant as ever, and I wasn't paying tuition this time.

First weekend of the month was our annual October party. We chose the date when I was expecting to work weekends, so it was a bit earlier than we would have preferred, but we'd sent the "save the date" notices by the time I found out weekends were free, so hey, we stuck with it. We had a good crowd, about 30 people (cupcake to guest ratio was 5:1 this time), and I forgot food. Oops. Meant to put out a veggie tray, cheese and crackers, dip, and a few other things. Like chips and salsa. Really. I forgot the easiest bit because I was focused on ho-ho cupcakes. Luckily the beer cheese soup went over well. And that's nearly all of the past excitement - we're on to things that Will Happen!

This weekend, Gretchen is visiting! We'll hit up the Rock Hall, Lakeview Cemetery, and who knows what else. Maybe Melt. If we have time, we'll hang out with the knitters at the Miss Chickpea Knit-In in Hudson.

My mom will be driving in on Monday morning for the North Coast Tour de Stitch. We'll drive all over Northeast Ohio, from Madison to Toledo to Canton. Wednesday night is an in-store performance at Music Saves - my current favorite band, Frightened Rabbit! I am pondering staying for Jennifer O'Connor's show at the Beachland Tavern, but we'll see how awake I am. Thursday is a workday, and Friday Mary and I are off to Rhinebeck!

Seriously debating going to visit Kelly and Carry during the NC State Fair on the last weekend of the month. We'll see what happens. I will do my best to keep y'all informed.

Finally, I was tagged twice for the Six Random Things meme, which is very similar (IMHO) to the Seven Random Things meme that I did several months ago. Erqsome and ktb both tagged me, so I guess I'd better participate, eh?

The Rules:
1) Link to the person who tagged me (see above)
2) Mention the rules
3) Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about myself
4) Tag 6 other bloggers by linking to them
5) Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged

1. My hair changes color on its own. I was born with black hair, that fell out and what grew in was blonde, and it got progressively darker as I got older, with a reddish phase in my high school/college years. During the HS years, I dyed my hair red once and my mom didn't even notice.

2. I am a packrat, and tend to carry lots of unnecessary things with me. My backpack weighs enough to be considered a passenger by my car. (At least it is light enough not to require the airbag.)

3. I am a compulsive list-maker, whether or not anything will ever happen with the lists.

4. I am an overachieving slacker. I want to do everything, but lots of the time sleep wins.

5. I have a fear of having nothing to do. I generally have at least one knitting project (usually two-four) and one (or more) book with me at all times.

6. I have what some people consider an encyclopedic knowledge of 80s music, although I have forgotten a lot of it.

There. I really don't feel like tagging anyone else, so if you want to be tagged, tag yourself for me.

Anyway, I think it's quite funny that it's taken me several months to post, and I keep getting errors saying that Blogger cannot be reached and there may be errors in publishing. Oh well. I will keep trying. Have fun!