Tuesday, May 29, 2007

High rolling to high climbing

Our trip has been varied so far -- we started out in Atlantic City, where I had the best roll of my life in craps (and it wasn't even that good) -- and I managed to win a little money. The secret to winning at craps is to find a table where a little old man, preferably with really thick glasses, has the dice and just bet your heart out -- he'll make the point! Dave had fun too, but ended up in the red so not quite as much fun as me! When we left our cushy AC room in Caeser's, we headed towards Gettysburg, via Pennsylvania Dutch Country. It was so pretty out there, and in the Amish Town of Bird in Hand, we randomly spotted a wonderful spinning and yarn shop called Labadie Looms, which was completely stocked with hand-dyed, hand spun local fibers. I bought some multi-colored locally grown roving to play with, and almost left with some hand cards but managed to resist.

Dave is obsessed with history, and so we had to stop in Gettysburg. We found a monument to Fair Catch Corby, and also stopped at The Gettysburg National Cemetery. It was amazingly peaceful, with tall, wonderful trees (Gingo Biloba, Sassafras, Magnolia, Cypress, Maple, etc., etc.) and birds and just a very respectful place. The battlefield there is huge and within sight of the town, but I was even more moved by the battlefield at Antietam, site of the bloodiest day in US History. It was beautiful -- fields and farms and sheep (yes, sheep!) but spooky for it's pastoral simplicity when you think about what happened there less than 200 years ago. It was so well restored to the time of the battle, it was just too easy to picture the bodies piled in the fields, and the men shooting at each other at close range.

We moved on to Charlottesville, VA, home of TJ's Monticello and UVA -- one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever seen (yes it gives ND a run for its money). Then onto the roughing it part of the trip, when we camped in the Smoky Mountains. We saw a bear sleeping! Not in our campground though...It's amazing to camp out in the middle of a national park, where birds wake you up with the sunrise. So different than the city! The diversity of bird calls is really cool -- you can count the different birds just lying in your tent, listening to their voices -- starting with the owl just before the sun comes up, followed by one after another variety of call.

Next on to New Orleans -- I'm not sure who's more excited about that part of our trip, Dave and I, or Becca and Ryan, who are at this moment excitedly and generously preparing a list for us of what to do, where to eat, drink, etc. in the Big Easy.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Back home again!

I've been a really negligent blogger, but I wanted to post a quick update. Dave & I arrived safely back in CT last Saturday. We were all set for our big 1 month "Out West" adventure, when I had a little mishap -- on the train to NYC on Tuesday, I sliced open my toe and had to go to the ER and get stitches and part of my nail removed. That is exactly as gross as it sounds. So we postponed the trip a bit, and are leaving today -- changing the theme from "Out West" to "Down South". Atlantic City is our first stop, and I'll try to post some updates as we go.

I miss all the Frog Ponders!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Farewell to friends, part 1

Tonight 8 Frog Ponders got together at Fiesta Tapatia for a little goodbye dinner. I can't believe I'm leaving South Bend next weekend. I am really going to miss these women. And I was totally and happily surprised by presents! Janet (the spinning wheel goddess) gave me a home-made dying kit. Carol gifted me with Broad Ripple socks, in a color that made her think of me because it reminded her of avocados. I love that avocados make people think of me! I need to spread that association around a little bit more. Sandy (who is rapidly falling into the spinning vortex with the rest of us -- she was playing with my wheel tonight and I bet she'll have one of her own before the summer's over) gave me a most elegant and classy gift -- a sheep that poops brown jelly beans. Yeah!

I also meant to take a pic of the spinning wheel charm that E! brought me back from Israel, but it, along with the orifice hook that Vicki made me, is attached to my spinning wheel now and I'm having a hard time getting good shots of these. Check out Vicki's blog entry for good pics of the orifice hooks, and get one for yourself, too! Mine has my name on it in beads, it's very cool.

Tomorrow night is the last Bella Vita meet-up I'll be able to attend. So it's goodbye part 2. Really sad. I am completely excited about moving back east and being near my family, but I didn't think it would be so hard to say goodbye. Once again, fiber people rock -- they are an international clan, and you can pretty much find a family member anywhere in the world you look. I'm sure I'll find some black sheep of the family in CT, too -- and they'll be great. But not the same as the friends I'm leaving here, or the ones I left in NYC last year. Anyway, I'm already working on convincing Vicki, E! and Jess to come to Rhinebeck with me -- and I bet a few other froggies could be convinced. And I think the Guru may be talked into it, too. That would be a true convergence of my worlds -- the Guru, the Frog Pond and the NYC SnB ladies, all at the same wonderful fleecey place. I think the planet might temporarily tilt out of orbit or something if that happened...