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Archive for August, 2004

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Saturday, August 14th, 2004

Happy Birthday to my mother, Elizabeth Bakken Troldahl. She is 70 years young today. She can out-dance me!!! Mom had a real rough time almost 8 years ago, a bout with cancer… so we celebrate every day she’s got. (She’s doing great.) Congrats, Mom!

The Final Chicago Experience

Friday, August 13th, 2004

We had to wake up far too early on Thursday to be happy about it, but we got checked out by 9:30 as planned. Sara got a bagel from the Hostel for the first time, and I ate a soy protein bar so we wouldn’t have to go to a restaurant for breakfast.

We went to a coffeehouse Sara had spotted the day before, named Three Professors. It was a place I could hook up my computer and we both could get a special drink. We spent about a half hour there. A couple of you wonderful blog readers wrote me with places I could go. We first tried Arcadia Knitting but they were closed. Then we went to Knitters Niche and they were open, and I found three balls of yarn to take home. One is Aria by Lang, a fine acrylic/wool tube construction in subtle multi-turquoise shades, and two were Karabella Aurora 8 solid berry merino, which seems like a DK weight yarn (98 yards in 50gm) but somehow is recommended at 4.5st/inch. It looks like sportweight, actually… it’s very dense and shaped a bit like a tube, very smooth. I’m already playing with a sock pattern for this merino, it will be wonderful on the foot.

Although Sara is not a knitter, she knows how to knit and does well with it when she gives it her focus. She really liked a few of the yarns there, especially those handpaints which looked like rainbows. I told her I would make her a poncho for Christmas (she has already requested footie socks for her birthday in November) so she started noticing which styles of poncho she likes best.

After the yarn experience we headed back to Devon Avenue, where the Indian and Pakistani shops are. We had lunch at Udupi Palace again… a sweet concession from Sara, who does not like spicy food. What they call mild on Devon Ave., is still more spicy than she likes. I loved my meal, and she ate enough to not be hungry for a while.

We stopped at a pastry shop to get me a cup of tea, and there we asked for the name of a place for Sara to get Henna designs on her hands. We were directed to the Dilshad Hair Salon another block or two West, and we headed over there. I figured it would take a while, so I had my tea and my new yarn to knit while waiting.

We did have some confusion… they price the henna by “site.” In other words, it is $10 “each” which means each hand… total of $20 plus tip. So Sara had pulled out $12 for the woman before she had the work done and then was short and had henna all over her hands and couldn’t get out her wallet. Good old Godmother Lynnie paid for the second hand… glad she’s not the mom but OK with the little splurge of the moment.

The woman who did the work, Sonya, suggested we take a picture outside next to the poster that shows the hands and feet with a lot of henna designs on them. It’s hard to see here in the small photo but you can see the legs behind her on the right. The final photo I took of her hands when we got home and the henna had dried and come off, so that just the brown stain remained. It is a beautiful design, isn’t it? I can’t help but wish it didn’t come in just brown… that just is not my color, but I really do appreciate the designs themselves.

After the henna, we were ready to get back home. Sara slept most of the way home. Traffic was really bad on the highway 90/94 going south through downtown and getting on the Skyway. The Skyway, although under construction, was really clear and fine. But it seemed to me that much of the trip I was going about 20 miles an hour through more construction than not. It was frustrating, and took a lot longer than expected.

We got home late, it was twilight when we got home and we had expected to get there at dinnertime. Sara’s mom made her some good comfort food for her first dinner back home. Brian took me to Gourmet Village for Chinese food (they have great garlic sauce). My feet were very happy to be resting finally!!!

I had a wonderful time. Sara is great company, and I will miss her when she goes to college in just a few weeks. It turns out she will be living in the same smallish dorm I lived in, from August 1976 to December 1977. I really liked the dorm… it is on the quieter older side of campus and I found it very friendly. I’ll have to go visit her soon after she gets settled in. Meanwhile, we have memories we can never forget. I’m thankful we had a chance for another summer trip.

(If you haven’t read it and are interested, Sara and I went on a trip to Vermont and Montreal in August of 2001, a trip I called Marvelous Montreal which I chronicled in its own travelogue.)

By the way, the hostel where we stayed was so unique and so interesting, that I took a lot of photos there. I don’t have time to detail it well enough now, so I will delay that story for another day.

Day 3 in Chicago

Thursday, August 12th, 2004

Wednesday morning promised rain. We dressed for that possibility and set out on the subway for the aquarium, a place Sara had pre-planned into the schedule before we had left home. I had only been in the lobby once, but never further inside (it is an incredible building architecturally, every element of the building is related to water life in some way… gratings with starfish and turtles and shells, ceiling tiles, doorways, every tiny bit attended to with ultimate care). I really enjoy the Tampa aquarium in Florida and expected I’d like this, as well.

We got off at the Roosevelt station for the Red Line. We had planned to walk to the aquarium but that is many, many blocks and my feet were still hurting from the day before. We walked to the top of a bridge, hoping to see how far it might be to walk, and could not see far enough to make a judgement. The view was impressive from the bridge so I took this photo while we were up there.

We considered a taxi and then noticed that there was an old-fashioned bus that said “Free Trolley to Museum Campus” right outside the transit station. We checked it out and, almost too good to be true, found it would take us almost directly to the aquarium… free, but we did tip the driver. When we got to the aquarium I found another nice skyline view so took another picture. Can you tell I am just in love with big cities and skylines, subways, museums, you name it? I was very, very happy to be there.

The aquarium was wonderful. I love turtles, and there were many of those, from small ones to an incredibly large sea turtle in a huge tank where we could walk all the way around it. We watched a diver go into that large circular tank and feed fish while answering questions from the crowd (she was hard to understand, but it was fun anyway). We then went in further, and saw the dolphins, (beluga?) whales and penguins. Here are photos of a trainer with a whale, and a whole lot of penguins of two different species. I thought the ones on their bellies looked a bit silly, if comfortable. I’ve seen penguins slide on their bellies before, but not just rest that way. Too fun!

Then came Sara’s favorite part of the trip: we went shopping! She wanted to go to H&M which was a place I’d not heard of before. Actually, the day before we had already shopped at Filene’s Basement and she got some funky polkadot rubber boots. This day we went to H&M and she got a pair of pants, and I got matching necklace and earrings that I can wear when I’m dancing (they are silver with turquoise, I’m sure I’ll wear them a lot). I also got some rhinestone earrings. Remember… this was Sara’s shopping trip and I got more than she did at this place!!!

We then went to Bloomingdales. I remember back in my big credit-card shopping days (I gave up the cards close to 15 years ago) I used to buy cotton hose at Bloomies’ hose/sock department. We went there. The ladies working there were very elegant and we were not at all dressed like them. I think they didn’t know if we were OK, but I said hello with a smile, and looked at all the lovely things.

There were wonderful variations on fishnet hose in pink and turquoise, but over $20 a piece and I couldn’t do that for a frivolous thing I would not wear much. We found a sale table in the very back corner and I found some beaded foot decorations (sort of sandals without soles) in turquoise that I can wear to dance in, for a few dollars. I was pleased. By the time we left, those ladies had warmed right up to us and were as friendly as can be. I tell you, a smile can melt a heart sometimes…

We shopped a few more places, including Lord and Taylor. I can’t remember if that was where Sara got this very cute green skirt and a hot pink top she loved to go with it. I didn’t take any photos of the shopping experience, we were so involved with the moment.

That night we tried to find a place to eat where I could find food I wasn’t allergic to, and where Sara would also be happy. We found one small Italian place on Rush but I wanted to feel as though we had more than one choice. We walked several more blocks (feet hurting a lot at that point) and lucked on a large flashy Italian place on a corner, Buca. It worked for both of us. Sara enjoyed the tour of the kitchen we got automatically when they found we had not been there before. She enjoyed all the pictures on the walls and the funny fake Italian talk show that was piped into the ladies bathroom speakers. We both enjoyed the food.

It is a family-style restaurant. With all the schtick and flair we found on the way in, I expected the prices to be high but the portions were big and the prices very reasonable. We got spaghetti with marinara (meatless tomato sauce) and we each chose a side dish. Sara got roasted vegetables which looked wonderful. I chose garlic escarole (a leafy green something like spinach). Ooohhh, that was very fine indeed! An added touch was the large thermos of truly hot water for my tea, which did not taste as though it had first been used for coffee. I’m a fanatical tea drinker and on this trip I only got a few really good cups of tea. I was pleased to have refills without having to flag the waitress down.

We got a LOT of food and had a wonderful relaxed time… and the price was quite excellent. I would definitely return, even though I’m not big on touristy places in general.

On the way back to the Red Line, we stopped at a McDonald’s, for a drink of soda pop and a bathroom break. I realized that I was missing one of my polymer clay star earrings I had been wearing all weekend. I love these earrings, I made them 10 years ago and though they are not technically fancy they are extremely wearable and seem to go with everything I own. I was really upset to lose them, more than I would have expected. I called the restaurant and they didn’t have the earring. I shook my clothing and nothing fell. We prepared to go back and look at the sidewalk (since the earrings are pretty big they might have been noticeable in the twilight). Then just as we prepared to leave, I noticed the star on the floor right by Sara’s feet. Whew! We were both relieved. My feet were also happy they didn’t have to go back and walk any more!!!

We were pretty tired and we knew we had to check out at 9:30am. We attempted to go to bed early. The other girls in our room came back right as we were getting ready to tuck in, and we talked with them for a while. Finally, we turned off the light just after midnight our time (11pm their time).

We both tossed and turned, because we are not good at going to bed that early. We did not get a great night’s sleep but we did get up in time and checked out properly. But that is a story for another day…

Day 2 in Chicago

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

On Tuesday, Sara and I decided to take advantage of the free museum day in Chicago. The Art Institute and a few other places have free admisison on Tuesdays (Regina told me about that, too).

We got up too late to have the bagels offered by the hostel… I got a cup of tea at Standees deli (the place with the cool sign) and ate some food I brought with me, Sara waited until we got to downtown.

Once downtown, we went to Starbucks and she got a Strawberries and Cream (whatever that is) for a sort of unconventional breakfast while I connected to the internet and downloaded my email. I’m so spoiled… in Lansing we can use the internet for free at Beaners, but at Starbucks the wireless connection is provided by a second business and therefore I had to pay $6 for up to an hour. It was worth it to not fall behind too much on my business of selling yarn, but I just am used to the small-city price of nothing that we pay here in Lansing. One more reason to love Beaners!!!

Actually, we went to three Starbucks before we found one that had an internet connection. It was much more hassle to do this than I expected… but it was better than no connection at all.

After the geeky delay, we went to the Art Institute of Chicago and spent some time. The gardens outside the Institute are almost as beautiful as some of the things inside. Here are two photos, one of Sara in the garden just to the north of the building, and one of several planter/containers on the northwest corner. Notice that the closest container to the camera has swiss chard (it’s a vegetable like spinach only much larger) as the main plant in the center of the pot. There were edible plants in many of the plantings I saw throughout the city.

I love the architectural exhibit at the Institute, which specifically talks about the architecture of Chicago and its architects. I love Louis Sullivan, who was very instrumental in many buildings during the rebuilding of Chicago after the big fire. I particularly love the Carson, Pirie Scott building (this is a retail store which still exists). This building has a lot of metal ornament/gratings, but even though it is metal, it is plantlike and organic in its shapes. Another big name of course, is Frank Lloyd Wright, who lived in the Chicago area for a lot of his life.

After we checked out the architecture area, we went to the contemporary area which has, among other things, a huge Mao Tse Tung portrait by Andy Warhol. There were many things there, by many different artists, and some really “got to us” where some did not reach us at all. This is as it should be, and I loved it.

Then Sara decided she wanted to see the Thorne Miniature Rooms. I had never heard of this, although I’ve been in the building many times. On the lower level in the back of the building, there is a large exhibit of period-accurate miniature rooms on a scale of one inch to one foot. These were magnificent. Each room peeked out both left and right as well as in the back. There might be a living room with a hall to the right that had a staircase, and in the back a bedroom and on the left a complete landscaped garden.

What really struck me about these was the textiles. There were sometimes three rugs, all period-specific and clearly woven specifically for the space. Incredible. The european ones were woven, some looked rughooked and bumpy in texture, and the shaker ones were braided. I loved the rugs.

A woman working the information booth was very happy to explain to us about the rooms. She said that some of the upholstery material came from a purchase of a collection of old purses. It sure worked! For example, some of the velvet furniture actually showed wear, and I am guessing that was from a purse that had been used heavily.

The woman who was responsible for putting the rooms together, started collecting miniatures when she was a child. She had an uncle(?) who would travel all over and bring her back miniatures. Then she married into the Montgomery Ward fortune and so she didn’t have to work a job, so she set about making miniature rooms to order. She was able to buy pre-made furniture for historical periods of European history but when she got to the USA, she couldn’t find things such as Shaker style furniture. She started hiring people to make them. She had a group of people employed building these rooms for her, during the depression.

We really enjoyed the rooms. Then we went on to the hallway outside where there were framed collages which had been put together as illustrations for the children’s book “To Be a Drum (Author: Evelyn Coleman, Illustrator/Artist: Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson.) They were wonderful… a combination of paint, drawing, fabric scraps and buttons, and sometimes stitchwork/embroidery. Very inspiring. The book included some African-American history but also brought the experience into a personal light, very well done. I bought the book in the Museum Store on the way out.

After the Institute, we headed over to the Chicago Cultural Center. This building is a gem, and I am surprised it took me so many years to discover it (I’ve been there twice before). The building was built on land dedicated to honoring war veterans if I have it right, and was the first Chicago Public Library. It’s only a few blocks north of the Art Institute, and across the street. The building embellishments were designed by the Tiffany studio in New York City. There are marble walls with mosaics of abalone shells, mirrored glass, semi-precious stones, and colored glass, everywhere on every surface. It is just wondrous to see, the way they got the different materials to have such depth and light. There are quotations in the mosaics throughout the building, particularly the top floor which has a dome of glass (there is a protective glass “tent” structure invisible but outside that now, to keep the rain out and the elements from damaging the decorative glass). The photo here was taken without enough light, but notice especially the color and detail on the right side, with the circle in the center. This is a special green marble from one place in Ireland. The building used so much of this stone that it exhausted the entire quarry.

The cultural center has an art gallery there, and last time I visited there was a photography exhibit of Chicago in the Year 2000. I really enjoyed that. This time there was a very exhibit of a talented group of comic book artists. Unfortunately, the subject matter was quite upsetting and Sara and I chose not to stay there long.

On the way out of the building we found the Visitor Information Center (where you can get multiple-day passes to ride public transit, and get maps, etc.). Outside that door we found an Art-O-Mat machine. I’d heard of these during my mailart days. It’s a converted old cigarette dispensing machine. Each slot is filled with little boxes filled with artwork, each by a different artist. You buy a $5.00 token at the Cultural Center and put the token in, and pull the knob for the package/artist of your choice. Accessible art, art for almost anyone’s budget! I love this idea a lot. Sara didn’t get it at all. I now regret not buying a token, but I would have had a very hard time choosing which package to buy and so I wimped out and didn’t buy any.

After the Cultural Center, we first went across the street to what is called Millennium Park. This is a new park since I’ve been away from Chicago. It’s huge and beautiful and full of people! It had the exhibit of families I talked about yesterday and also some large sculptures. One (the Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa) is two large boxes made of glass block, which look like small skyscrapers (they are both 50 feet high) that change colors and sometimes display faces (1000 Chicago residents alternate), and sometimes water cascades down their walls from the top. That sculpture can be seen here on the back right, looking very small because of distance.

Another (Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate), one that is very popular, is a large shiny object sort of like a donut without a hole (from what I could see… I did not go close so maybe it does in fact have a hole). It is a wonderful thing.. people can walk under it, touch it, see the skyline reflected in it. It’s universally appealing.

After resting in the park for a little while, we went to dinner in the touristy area of town. Sara wanted to have a “Fun” dinner, a “Good” dinner. For her, this meant being entertained. There is much entertainment to be had in the tourist area of town (Erie, Ohio and Ontario Streets near State and Rush if I remember right). We found Hard Rock Cafe next door to Rainforest Cafe, both good options for Sara. She chose Hard Rock Cafe.

We were escorted to our table upstairs by a young man we both deemed cute. Later during our meal, they were playing Y.M.C.A and the cute guy jumped up on the bar and started dancing to the song. You can see him making the shape of a “C” in the photo, although it’s not a great shot because the room was so dark when I took it.

Finally, we went to the John Hancock building to see the lights of the city after dark. There is a little place they have set up so you can pose as if you are the window cleaner on the 94th floor of the building. Doesn’t Sara look great cleaning those windows???

We took a Red Line train back to our neighborhood, but it didn’t feel late enough to go to bed just yet. We decided to stop at Standees deli (they are 24 hours, how cool is that?) just to delay the return home. I got a cup of tea and Sara got a piece of apple pie. The place was laid out as many 1960s diners were in cities like this (there used to be a lot of them in Toronto in the mid-1970s). There was a row of booths on one wall and a long counter/bar with stools on the other. This one also had a booth or two in the front of the place. It had a jukebox, though it was modern and had CDs rather than records. There were two waitresses there and I think a cook as well, though we didn’t get any food that needed cooking. The waitresses seemed to be having a bit of a struggle for boundaries in that tiny space, but our waitress was friendly and helpful to us.

It was hard to make the day end, but we did go back eventually. We headed to bed a little early for us (we are both night owls) and we had a very good night’s sleep, thank goodness!!! We were not done with Chicago yet.

Chicago, I Love it!!!

Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

Well, I lucked out. It was too bad we could not visit my friend Elizabeth in Vermont this week. But if I have to miss out on my friend, I would definitely choose a city vacation if at all possible. I left the choice up to Sara, and she came up with Chicago as our new destination. Our funds would not go as far in a city, as we had planned for a drive-to-a-friend’s-house sort of budget, but we sat down on Sunday and figured out how far we could stretch the resources and in what directions.

Sara wanted as many days as we could get. We decided to go with a Youth Hostel as our lodging, which meant we could go for 3 days and buy a few souvenirs while we were there. My friend Regina had told me she had good luck at hostels in Chicago when she would visit art museums there, so we found one that seemed a good price with free parking. We chose a dorm room, which meant we would share a room with other women.

It turned out just fine. We had 4 other roommates and they all came together. It was two young women from England, one from Scotland and one from New Zeeland. They were in the US this summer to work as camp counselors in Wisconsin, and now they were taking the tour of the US on their way home. They were good company. (When I stayed at a hostel in New York City a few years ago, the room had 14 beds and it was co-ed, both men and women in the same room. This was definitely more cozy in Chicago.)

We had crummy construction traffic all the way to Chicago. In fact, Sara only drove maybe a half hour or less the whole trip. It normally takes less than 4 hours to get there, but this time it took us closer to 5.5 hours or so. We even had traffic delays within an hour from home. I have never had this much trouble on the road to Chicago before. I’ve had trouble *in* Chicago traffic but not on the way. Sara tried to sleep as much as possible on the way there. It went OK, I just let it be, and we got there safely.

The hostel was near Loyola University on the northeast side of Chicago. It was very close to Devon Avenue, not that far from the Indian and Pakistani part of town, which is my favorite part of Chicago. We got checked in to the hostel and headed down Devon for dinner.

We had a nice meal at Udupi Palace, where I had a uttapam (a large unsweet pancake made with cream of wheat, with veggies) and Sara had a dosai (a thin crepe filled with a potato filling). She was amazed at the size of the dosai (please forgive if I don’t spell these foods exactly right, I swear I’ve seen more than one spelling of this word). It was huge next to other very large ones I’ve seen. She ate a good portion of it but said that it was a little greasy (it’s fried) and the filling was more spicy than she wanted.

My uttapam was very good… it had tomatoes, onion, green peas and carrots. I put a sauce on the top of it, which is also sometimes served more like a soup. I’m going blank on the name of that sauce/soup right now but it’s a little spicy and based on veggies, perhaps mostly tomato? I was very happy with this meal, and Sara was OK about it not being her first choice.

That night after we got back to the hostel, we got a good parking spot (whew!) and decided to head into downtown. We had great help from a very friendly subway worker who helped me understand how their fares/fare cards worked (I’ve been on a lot of public transit systems, but they all are a little different). We hopped our way to downtown. It was about 30 minutes by El (otherwise spelled “L” for Elevated train, although part of it is indeed submerged rather than elevated).

We got to downtown and tried to find a place I’d been to a few years back. No luck, unfortunately. I thought we’d get dessert there. We just had fun walking around. We did find a Starbucks coffeehouse. I had a tea and Sara had a strawberries and cream (smoothie? I’m not sure what it really is).

We did discover a really cool outdoor art exhibit near the Chicago Cultural Center. It was a lot of very large photographs of families all over the world, and little blurbs on the families and where they were from. I noticed that none of the families were two people… apparently the photographer defines family in a more traditional way than I do. I definitely consider Brian and I to be a family, but maybe that doesn’t make a good photograph, who knows? In any case, the photos were wonderful, with apparel native to each area of the world. I loved the clothing.

On the way back I took pictures of a wonderful neon sign near the subway. What was interesting on this trip is that so many good neon signs were for so many fairly ordinary businesses. This was a little hole in the wall diner. There was one for a bakery, too.

In my area, you see good old neon signs mostly at bowling alleys, drug stores, and liquor stores. In Jackson there is a great shoe store with a good sign, but that is the exception. In a larger city you find great signs for businesses that would never have one in Lansing. For example, in Jacksonville, Florida they have a two-story tall Krispy Kreme Donut sign with a zillion blinking bits, a truly fantastic sign… for donuts. Not in Lansing! So many times in Chicago we went too fast past something for me to take a photo, but it makes me almost want to take a trip there again with the primary purpose of taking photos of neon. It would be a wonderful and busy trip!!!

Thank you, Sharon P!

Monday, August 9th, 2004

LynnH by Sharon PMy friend, Sharon P., took a good picture of me when we were at Beaners a couple of weeks ago. I finally asked her if I could use that photo instead of the one I had (and didn’t like much) on my sidebar, the tiny little face welcoming people to my site. She said I could use it as I wished. What a nice friend she is! I really think this one looks like me more of the time than others.

I think I’ll probably need to lighten it up some or make it slightly bigger, but for now I’m just plain delighted to have the pic on my sidebar looking mostly like I look, most of the time.

Thanks, Sharon!

A Detour to Chicago

Monday, August 9th, 2004

Have you ever noticed, that we as humans are *NOT* in charge of our lives? We can do our part, do the footwork, get where we think we should go. But in the end, things change and things are not certain, and that is as it should be, like it or not.

In my case, I have been planning since November for a trip to Vermont with my beloved Goddaughter Sara. We were going to visit our friend, Elizabeth. However, things changed and we had to make new plans… so now instead of a week in Vermont, we will be taking a handful of days in the Windy City of Chicago.

I am very sorry to lose out on seeing Elizabeth. I’m not sorry to lose a long trip (Chicago is only 4 hours or less, Vermont is at least 12). And honestly, I adore big cities and have not been to one in about a year and a half (when Brian and I went to Toronto). I used to go to Chicago about every 6 weeks. I was very, very close to buying a condo apartment on Sheridan Road near where Lakeshore Drive ends… in 1991. Very very close. And if I had done it, I would have loved it and I never would have looked back. But for some reason I stayed here, and I met Brian and I am living happily ever after. Another unexpected life detour that is not a problem.

I’m taking the laptop to Chicago. I expect I will be able to get online at the numerous Starbucks coffee places there are out there. I may not be able to return emails but I will surely be able to surf and receive my emails anyway. I’m not a great fan of Starbucks, because I’m a tea snob and they only have flavored teas for non-tea-drinkers, in my biased opinion. However, they offer wireless surfing to customers… and my beloved Sara loves some sort of fruit concoction they have. So we’ll take advantage of that and I’ll deal with unremarkable tea.

I’ll do my best to get some good photos of my beloved windy city and my beloved Godchild. Poor Brian, he has to stay home alone. Except he’s starting to record a new solo album, so he’ll probably just dive headfirst into that and not even miss me. Well, not much.

Wish I knew *what* I was doing *when,* in Chicago. If any Chicago bloggers or blog readers are out there reading this, and want to get together in the next few days or so, write me an email with a phone number where you can be reached and maybe we can work it out. This trip is primarily for the kid… she goes to college in just a few more weeks… so too many detours are not particularly good, but one or two might work out. Let’s hope for the best!

Photos of Aladdin’s

Sunday, August 8th, 2004

Brian took some excellent photos of the scene at New Aladdin’s restaurant on Friday, and he is sharing them with us today. Thank you, Brian.

First and foremost, is my friend April and her delightful baby, Isabel. Isabel loved the shiny clothing and the music while we were performing. Her little feet just kept on dancing right along with us, and she smiled a lot. What a sweet baby she is.
Next, is me as Eudora, flirting with the camera as I dance with a cane. On a good day I balance the cane on my head, but Friday was not a good day for that… oh, well! It was fun to dance with it in other ways, and the other photos Brian got with me and the cane show that I looked good anyway, balance or no!
Next is Donna/Maya dancing with a veil. I don’t do much veilwork and maybe am a little afraid to try it in a restaurant, but it was a little slow because it is summer and she did a great job. Doesn’t she look pretty?
Next is a crowd shot. Maya is still dancing with her veil, my mom is at bottom left corner with her gorgeous hair. Somewhere in the blur is Sally/Sara’s very very new baby (born around July 14) whose name I believe is Beatrice… and yes, Sally holding the baby on her arm. I can’t tell, but I think that is Sally standing up behind Donna. It’s definitely Sally’s husband on the left of Donna’s left hand, at any rate. I love this shot, it sort of is the feel of the place on dance night, you know? Action, movement, and music everywhere.
Next is me dancing with my finger cymbals moving a mile a minute, and more movement behind me. I love playing these, not everyone does. I always figured it was the love of rhythm (I play bass, too, which is a rhythm instrument) that made me like it. They are hard to learn at first but I’m glad I got through that hard part, because they are so joyful!
The last photo is a pic of me smiling at the crowd. I was standing right next to a table with six friends/family members sitting at it. I was really enjoying myself. Lucky me, that Kristi/Hyjara could not dance at the last minute. I was a very happy girl to be able to substitute for her!!!

More Catching Up, and Thanks

Saturday, August 7th, 2004

Well, Friday was a fun day. Regina, Barbara, Larry, Mom, Mom’s friend Barb, and Brian all came out to see me dance. There were also a good number of Habibi Dancers as spectators, as well. April brought little Isabel and Sally brought her very, very new baby whose name I think is Beatrice. Sally’s baby was born around July 14 if I remember right, so she slept through almost everything which was just fine for everyone. Isabel seemed as if she were dancing right along with us. She really enjoyed the shiny clothing!!!

Thanks to everyone who came out. And those who didn’t come, I understand there are a zillion things in a day you might want to do, including just relaxing at home. I get tired, though, of telling someone after I do something, that I had done it… and then of course they say they would have gone if only they knew! So I’m the queen of over-promotion, perhaps, but at least my friends can come out if they know in time (this one was short notice) and if they feel like doing so.

In other news… back to knitting! While Mom and I drove to the wedding, I sometimes knit in the car. When I did, I was working on this lovely and much-belated ColorJoy stole for Heritage Spinning in Lake Orion. I had received a box of yarn in late April, from Joan Sheridan Hoover at Heritage, full of gorgeous choices for this stole.

It took me a while to decide what combination of these yarns to use, and then I ran out of some ribbon, so Joan sent me some more. Now I’m plugging away at it again (got distracted by a publication deadline and some dyeiing). This thing is going to be breathtakingly beautiful! It has rainbow colors throughout (thanks to some Squiggle and some multicolor Fizz eyelash) but is primarily hot fuschia with a bit of teal and purple for variety. Very nice, and very very LynnH!

Tonight, Friday, I’m Dancing at Aladdin’s!

Friday, August 6th, 2004

I found out on Tuesday that I am substituting for someone else at New Aladdin’s restaurant in Frandor. That means I’m dancing as Eudora tonight! I sent out an email to the local folks I have email addresses for, but it just occurred to me that I should have posted the show here as well. I hope it’s not too late for those of you who would actually want to be there.

New Aladdin’s restaurant is in Frandor, across from MotoPhoto and Paneras, between Apple Jade and Sparty’s restaurants.

Aladdin’s is one of my favorite restaurants in Lansing. The food is just fabulous… both meat and vegetarian Lebanese food, and a few American-style meals such as a wonderful salmon with vegetables and a salad with grilled chicken. If you are just in the mood for dessert, they have a wonderful rice pudding and many pastries such as baklava, and they also have fresh fruit smoothies of all sorts. They have a sort of “turkish” coffee with cardamom in it, that people rave about, and they have anise tea as well as regular tea and coffee. You can make this your dinner or your dessert/show on the town!

Shows are at 6:30 and 8:00 for about a half hour. I’m dancing with my friend Donna/Maya, someone I’ve danced with since my very first mideast dancing classes. She has been a performer of ballroom dance and salsa, in different troupes over the years, as well as mideast dance. It should be a very fun show.

Photos here are me as Eudora dancing at New Aladdin’s last year (notice the tips in my belt, it was a good night!); and a photo of Maya (with me as Eudora and my mother in the background) at the 5th element show in Grand ledge last fall.

Catching Up: Irene’s Garden

Thursday, August 5th, 2004

When I joined the Mid-Michigan Knitting Guild, I was told that they don’t have regular meetings at the church basement during the summer. (They do have knit in’s regularly every Tuesday night, but no formal meeting.) It was explained to me that there were so many of the knitters who were avid gardeners that this just seemed to work out well.

I know that Evelyn, a woman who has helped me with the kids at Foster Center, is a gardener. Well, so is Irene. And I got to see her garden at her new home, on July 28.

tell you, she has the touch. I know she spends much of her non-working daylight hours out there in these gardens. She has all sorts of colors, all different areas with flowers, she has tall plants and short, plants for spring and plants for summer… and I’m sure plants for autumn as well. It is just plain gorgeous!!!

I was so glad that I got there in time, before the sun had gone entirely. These photos were taken in somewhat dim light but I’ve brightened them up a little using PhotoShop and its miraculous features.

Doesn’t she do a great job? This is true art. Irene, you go, grrrl!!!

I hope that all these photos display well on your screen. There are so many more photographs than words today, and that sometimes doesn’t display right… But there are no more words to say… the flowers speak for themselves.

Catching Up: Knit-in, July 28

Wednesday, August 4th, 2004

Wow, I have been so busy with my lengthy travelogue that I have not shared some photos with you. Two Tuesdays ago, I went to a Mid-Michigan Knitting Guild knit in, at Irene’s house. I showed you one picture of Irene’s garden back then and will share more in my next entry. However, there was more than a garden going on that night.

For one, our Knitknacks friend, Sharon P, was there. She had finished her Soy Silk sunburst purse, and we all oohed and aahed over that appropriately. It was good to see her, as always. I swear Sarah Peasley was there, but I don’t have a picture to prove it…

And my anonymous friend was also there. I showed you a photo of her previous sock from my LynnH ColorSport yarn here previously (my In the Garden colorway). Well, she is a busy socknitter these days, because she had a sock completed in a second of my colorways, this time Cool Summer Breeze. Here is Anonymous’ foot showing off the sock ready to kitchener the toe. Stylish, don’t you think?

I got to Irene’s just as it was getting dark, and there was still quite a crowd at that point. It was good to see everyone… but my favorite time is when it gets so small that we can all pretty much be in one area and I can hear the single conversation going on in that area.

Rob and Matt, the Boyz of Threadbear Fiberarts, came in toward the end of the night. Matt and I sat on the floor knitting and talking color (he’s quite the master of color and I love talking with him). The rest of the remaining crowd sat around the dining room table. I loved it. I am grateful Irene opened her home to us all, it was a very nice time indeed.

Vote in Your Primary Today

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2004

Today is Primary Elections Day. I could have missed it, with all my confusion being out of town. Today feels like a Monday since it’s my first workday this week. However, my Mom is an elections worker in her area, and so I was reminded by her to get out and vote.

If you don’t know who is running in your area, and you’d like to be informed before you go to the polls, check out DNet (democracy net). It is a nonpartisan project put on by the League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan, wonderful, information-providing organization.

The Journey Home: Michigamme

Monday, August 2nd, 2004

The day after the wedding (Sunday), my relatives all met for breakfast. We were staying at the hotel at a casino (on the property of the LCO Reservation) and they had a very nice breakfast buffet. Mom and I were a little late after rushing to check out and move our luggage to the car… but we still got to talk to everyone and give them all a goodbye hug. We stayed later than anyone else. I was really interested in the photographs on the walls.

The photographs were historical prints of folks on the LCO Reservation, as far as I could tell. People in the pictures were wearing the most amazing beaded and/or embroidered garb! I was most interested in the clothing, which included a lot of geometric patterns that looked flowerlike or starlike, and an amazing assortment of leaf motifs. I had never seen anything like these leaf patterns before, they were lovely. It’s too bad that the photos were in black and white, I bet the colors were wonderful.

There were also pictures of people tanning hides, and grinding corn, and weaving. There were pictures of birchbark canoes, and at least three different types of indigenous housing… made from what looked like either hides and/or birch bark. and a few of them also at the bottom edge looked like they were made of twigs or thick grass woven together into thick mats. Most were shaped like a mound shape, some were almost rectangular, and there were a couple that were that cone-shaped home that we called a teepee (tipi?) when I was growing up. Mom, who was a first grade teacher for years, knew a little bit more about the housing types and knew the names of a few of them. Mind you, this is a very cold part of the country. It made me very glad I didn’t have to try to stay warm in that sort of housing… very very glad for my central heating system and solid walls!!! I just am not rugged. Perhaps they got stronger from this sort of outdoor living, but I know I could not do it.

Viewing all the photographs made it feel as if we were in a museum. Fortunately, we were there at the end of the breakfast shift and we were some of the last customers. That meant we got to look very closely at the photos. I was really happy we were able to do that. I’ll hope to find some time to look up more of their beadwork somehow. Maybe I’ll write and ask Kateri (the bride) if she knows any resources that are better than any others for that sort of casual research. I looked on the web and found the LCO Community College plus the US EPA site linked above. There must be more somewhere! I wish I had photos to show you for this part of the trip!!!

We hit the road at around 1:30 our time. It is really slow going in that part of the country. The best roads are two lanes, and you need to slow down to 35 miles per hour in every settled area. We were winding around near the Lake Superior shoreline so there were a good number of settled areas, although none of them were very populated. Often towns of this type really depend on income from speeding tickets to fund their police department, so you need to really go the speed limit or you will pay some steep fines and take even longer to get home!!!

On the way, we found ourselves at Michigamme again, my friend Marie’s hometown. I tried to reach Marie by phone but we could connect long enough to say hello and then we would lose the cell connection. I did tell her we were having lunch at the Moose Cafe in Michigamme but couldn’t ask her where to go to find her parents. We had a nice lunch and we did a little driving tour of the town. It’s quite a pretty place, I can see why people like it there. I guess there is a herd of moose that wander through from time to time and that attracts some tourist traffic, which surely helps the community.

We made our way slowly through the U.P. and crossed the Mackinac bridge just after midnight. We found another little mom-and-pop motel, not as wonderful as Sandpiper but just fine, a little way off the main road (which we figured would be quieter).

Monday morning I slept till about 9:30 and then mom got me up since we really needed to get me home and working again. This last motel did not have a phone in the room so I was not able to get my emails downloaded onto my laptop. Since I had just put up some sale items, I really wanted to be sure my customers were not waiting too long to hear from me.

Fortunately, as soon as we got to the lower peninsula, we had limited-access highways with a speed limit of 70. (In the U.P., the fastest we found was 55mph). When we woke up, we heard thunder several times and it was clear that the car had been rained on overnight… but we did not get any rain driving at all. In fact, the drive was wonderfully sunny and clear. It is clear it’s vacation time in Michigan… on Monday we found a lot of RVs driving south, probably folks who took long weekends to vacation up north. Several vehicles had license plates from other states, as far away as Florida.

We got home at 3:30pm, just in time for me to prepare my shipments for the post office. I was so glad to be home!!!

Photos (all taken in Michigamme): House with purple trim, quilt shop with garden, view of historic log cabin and town from side of hill, view of water, Moose Cafe from the outside, Fiesta tea set at Moose Cafe, classic car (Bellaire?) in parking lot at Moose Cafe.