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August 13, 2008
a stupendous lack of focus
Ten or eleven years ago in another town in what seems now like another life, I returned home from Pennsic to find the most splendid wrong number message on my answering machine:
(each work delivered slowly, with theatrical emphasis): "After having his fill of Starbucks coffee, Blair has returned from his vacation."
(sung, slowly and seductively, and with great feeling on the last two syllables): "caaaallll meeee, I emm-eye-ess-ess-eee-dee YOUUUU!"
I sort of wish I still had that message saved so I could play it back to myself every time I come home from being away. And I wish I knew this Blair dude.
It's slowly sinking in that August is half over and here I am at home, on my own front porch which is nowhere near Georgia or school. I keep sniffing the air, looking at late-season flowers whose blooms I haven't seen in four years, grinning and sighing. It might be driving Peter crazy, I'm not sure. All I know is that I missed the end of summer trememdously. Late in October when it's cold and miserable here and I remember how lovely and warm it still is in Georgia, where I'm not, I may change my tune. But for right now it feels awfully good to be here. Tonight I will eat my first Southern Ontario sweet corn in four years, and over the next few weeks I'll put up jars of Leamington tomatoes for winter. Forgive me, but I feel another of those contented sighs coming on.
My professional life is not such a picture of contentment. I have plenty of ideas and little motivation. I want to do a design collaboration with a local business, I want to do another performance similar to Study for a Remnant Factory (only with a knitting machine), and I want to organize a fashion show, and for these I actually have to go out and meet people and ask for things and all that hard stuff. As well, a lot of deadlines are coming up in the fall for exhibitions and residencies, but this is the easy part (asking people for things in writing is always easier). I'd like to pick up where I left off with the knitwear design but I feel like I have too many ideas and can't focus. And then there's this job I'm thinking about applying for. And then there are these ten dresses that need their hems hand sewn before I can print on them and put them up for sale in my shop. And then, and then. . .
I did find the time to update the portfolio section of my website and my curriculum vitae (how good it felt to delete the words "candidate for" in the education part!). And I added to my "works in progress" page this collaborative piece that Jessica and I have started:
We've already sent out a proposal to show this work (which is very much still in progress) abroad, and if that doesn't pan out we'll have plenty of time to find somewhere else to show it since we'll be working on it for almost a year. To see a statement about the work in progress, go here. To offer me a job or a publication or a show or some kind words or a date to walk downtown and drink tea, please do so here: jodi(at)jodigreen(dot)ca.
By the way, as it turns out there was very little bad weather at Pennsic this year, and thus very little in the way of hysterical claims of tornadoes and monsoons and what have you (a Pennsic rarely goes by when people with walkie-talkies aren't going around telling us there's some sort of natural disaster on its way). We rarely left our own camp, preferring to laze away the days in the company of our dear friends. There was knitting, whiskey and a cool breeze off the lake flowing right through our kitchen (wilderness camping this is not: we have a large kitchen tent and sitting room, a heated shower, running warm water for the washing up and portojohns within sight of our front gate). The pirates and belly bunnies were so plentiful it was hard to choose which to shiv first. And yes, I did indeed see a man wearing a loincloth, ugg boots and a banana. Truly the vacation that has it all.
July 07, 2008
well, hello there.
For those who only come here for the hot sticks-on-string action who may be about to quit me for lack of a fix, here's proof I do still partake occasionally:
Half a Noro Kureyon knee sock, the product of a lazy Saturday spent with good friends and a few hours of car travel on Sunday. This Noro sock yarn is the last yarn I bought, pre-ordered in early December and delivered to me in February. I didn't ever get around to writing about it in much depth here, but I decided to knit from stash in 2008 and not buy any yarn or spinning fibre at all this year. It's been rather easy, as I've had to take a lot of time off to rest my wrist and recover from the damage I inflicted on myself in the frenzy that was the end of grad school. I think I'm ready to dive back in though. My stash isn't all that extensive compared to some people's and I got rid of a lot before moving back from school, but I've still got more than enough to keep the ol' RSI busy. I haven't attached a bunch of complex conditions or exemptions to my knit-from-stash guideline, I'm just not buying yarn, period. Yesterday I bought a secondhand sweater to unravel (if you ever find yourself in Arlington Heights, Illinois, there's a pretty good Goodwill there) but even that was the first time all year I've done so.
Speaking of the end of grad school, we arrived home from a 4th-of-July trip to visit friends in Illinois to find this in the mailbox:
Here's something funny and frightening that we saw on the weekend, at the Naperville Ribfest. This advertising image is not what it appears to be at first glance:
Do you see it?
Also, I don't know what the "exchange club" is but somehow I always thought exchange club was more about spouses than kids, and that it didn't really get going until after the kids were in bed.
May 12, 2008
May 11, 2008
8 am, lexington kentucky
I'm halfway home. It's a beauty way to go.
Also, because it's no fun to have a post without a picture: I wish the Canada flag was as easy to buttonize.
April 17, 2008
for no reason other than to push that last entry down a bit on the page.
Dublin, Georgia. April 14, 2008.
February 26, 2008
there are two kinds of people in the world: my kind, and assholes.
These people are my kind:
Peter and I just got back from a weekend in Baltimore, where we helped out with a big secret project that Jacey's been working on, a big exciting project that's going to blow big holes in your socks, I promise. We'd never been to Baltimore before and to be honest, I can't tell you much about it because the bulk of our weekend was spent in Jacey's basement, working feverishly, huddling over space heaters, squinting into bright lights, making art and having fun. I can say that although I saw very little of it, Baltimore endeared itself to me right away in the drive from the airport with its abundance of Sears and Roebuck Castleton model mail-order houses, which is the same house we own. I think Jacey may have felt bad that we worked on her project pretty much all weekend and didn't have time to do any fun stuff in Baltimore, but when I got back to the studio on Monday and somebody asked me how my trip was, I said without hesitation, "fucking AWESOME". And it was. Fucking. Awesome. Rock-star awesome, in fact. We met a lot of fantastic people and had a blast, and can't wait to go back.
We did manage to get away for a lunchtime meetup with the always fabulous Mama E at Red Canoe. It was a day off from school due to icy roads, and so I got to meet the Cowboy as well! It was so great to see Erin again, even for a short time, that I completely spaced on my bloggerly duties: there I was in a cool bookstore/cafe in a town I've never before visited with my beloved and blog friends old and new AND the Cowboy, Little Bit and Sweetpea and did I take any photos? Well, yeah, I did. Of my lunch.
Erin had a surprise for me:
Some lovely sock yarn, her end of a swap we arranged back in December (you've gotta love yarn acquisition that doesn't break the rules of your stashbusting programme!); it's a special colour palette inspired by one of my airplane photos. It's gorgeous and soft and enough for knee socks.
Peter and I did take plenty of photos of the secret project, but those can't be revealed until the project is ready for launch. Too bad for you, because did I mention that the project is awesome?
October 26, 2007
a day at saff in ten seconds or less
Bob's stunt double was kind enough to pose with me for the daily thesis documentation photo:
It's legal here for bars to sell you a jug for the road:
October 25, 2007
we can jump in the water, stay drunk all the time
I'm heading up to SAFF in beautiful Asheville, NC this afternoon with Sandy, and am looking forward to the sort of rip-roaring fun weekend that sees you falling asleep in the car coming home on Sunday, beer soaked into the hem of your sweater, wool fibre clinging to your eyelashes and the faint smell of sheep permeating everything. Oh, yeah.
I'm a little stressed out about meeting Jen of Jenla, because I'm the sort of total slob who fantasizes about having a perfectly organized life and so I compensate by being completely obsessive about organizing things that don't really matter, and all of the fibre arts bloggers in my bloglines are organized into Canada, US, abroad and "in the flesh". Where will I file Jenla now when I've met Jen for real but not La? This shit keeps me up at night, I'm telling you. I told Sandy I might just avoid Jen all weekend so as not to have to feel like my filing's all effed* up. Heh.
Because I'm going to Asheville, the jukebox in my head has been playing that song that the Whoreshoes sang about Asheville constantly for the last two days. It's the song that gets lodged in my head every time we're driving down to Athens and I see a sign for Asheville. And yes, I get the Simon and Garfunkel song in my head every time we pass the sign for Saginaw (six or eight times a year) and I get that Harry Chapin song about the bananas in my head every time we pass the sign for Scranton (which, thankfully, happens less often).
*now that job-application time is upon me in the home stretch towards conpleting my thesis, snatching up my hard-earned piece of fancy paper and getting the hell outta Dodge, it's time to curb my tendency to spew swear words across the internet willy-nilly. If I end up slinging coffee next year, or (the gods forbid) blowing up balloons for a living again, the potty mouth will once again run rampant. I suppose I should probably also refrain from joking about getting drunk, but I'm sure y'all know that I'll actually be spending my SAFF Saturday evening cuddled up with a hotel room pillow and my laptop, writing the second draft of my statement of teaching philosophy. Because I party hard like that.
October 10, 2007
pictures from a visit home
Yesterday was my first day back at school after a week spent at home to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, and I got right back into the hectic grind of grad school with a morning meeting, office hours and three back-to-back critiques, ten hours straight with little opportunity for rest or food. Today I tried to take it easy but there was still a good deal of running around to be done, and I'm too wiped out to do more than post a few photos. I should be sewing a dress, as I've got nothing to wear tomorrow, but instead I'm sitting on the couch watching episodes of Sopranos and knitting a sweater I won't need for months. I spent two hours lovingly washing my pretty new bento box, making delicious salads and marinating tofu, then put it all in the fridge and had popcorn, applesauce and beer for supper instead. Not all mixed together.
My visit home, in bullet points:
-Airtran Airways flight 146 Atlanta to Detroit, October 2 07
-being away from home during three consecutive school years makes you lose touch with a lot of what's in your garden. During my visit home in September I got to see my Japanese knotweed flower for the first time since before we moved to Windsor, since it took until I went away to grad school for it to get established enough to flower. This month's flowery surprise was the chocolate boneset, as I planted it without knowing what it was or what its blooms would look like. Turns out it's a mass of lovely white fluff.
-had a nice (albeit short) visit with Kelly at Milk Coffee Bar, a place I dearly miss when I'm not in Windsor. This is one of my daily wardrobe images for my thesis blog, the only photo I took. Kelly metablogged my awkward posing here.
-finally got some photos of the bolero that I sewed up last week, which had been sitting there fully knitted all through August (too hot!). It was far too warm at home to actually wear it. The pattern is from Peony Knits and is super easy and satisfying for those instant-gratification types.
-southwestern Ontario on Thanksgiving weekend may not be as spectacular as some of those gaudier, more tawdry fall displays other places offer, but it's still one of the loveliest and most comforting colour palettes there is. Don't try to deny it.
-my lifelong association with Exeter's white squirrels didn't at all stop me from yanking out the camera and snapping away like some crazy out-of-towner as soon as one presented itself to us.
-this is another photo from my thesis blog (I'll force y'all over there eventually, just watch), included here simply because it's taken at my grandma's house, along the walk where I've had my photo taken so many times before (but not for twenty-five years or so). And look at how I was dressed on Thanksgiving Sunday, and let me tell you I sweated in this getup. Last year it snowed, or so I'm told. I was sweating down in Georgia then.
-the Ausable River, covered in a blanket of algae so thick it resembles those horrible lawns that people try to get looking like Astroturf. My little cousin Riley said in a disgusted voice, "my mom says she used to swim in this river". Those trees across the way to the left there are where the rope swing used to be, where Riley's mom and I swam with high school boys, twenty-three or so years ago.
Riley threw a stick in and the carpet of green opened up to accept it, then closed up again with a burp and a shudder. Just like the quicksand used to do on Gilligan's Island.
-come Monday I was back in Lavender Lullaby again, heading south (Airtran Airways flight 288 Detroit to Atlanta).
July 31, 2007
slowly, and with coffee, we will take over the world
Drive-by blogging from the Best Western in Sweetwater, Tennesee, on our way back to Athens. Today we're going to Rock City. All those barns wouldn't steer us wrong, right?
June 11, 2007
friday x thirteen
On Friday we meandered our way to Port Stanley behind a spectacular storm, managing to stay dry the whole way, toodling through all sorts of little towns we'd never heard of (and some we had), writing down their names. We took our picnic supper and our Tim Hortons beverages (nasty, yes, but we go there because it's a cultural institution, not because the coffee's good) to a little park in downtown Chatham, where Peter took lots of unflattering photos of me eating that I'm sure he'll share with all the internets pretty soon. Leaving town we stumbled across this evidence that two billion people's lord and saviour is really just another lonely schmuck looking to add you to his friends list:
I was all set to tell you about the wonderful visit we had with my old studiomate Ellen in the beachside pub in Port Stanley whose kitchen she manages, and how effective (if ill-advised) one migraine pill + three frozen margaritas is at taking away a three-day mystery malaise, but I just had a little browser crash and that part of my story wasn't saved, and now the pressure's on me to shut down and do the errands that need doing before our dinner date this evening. So I'll leave you with a promise of a finished Orangina (the pictures just need to be fetched off Peter's camera) and another finished cardigan as well (just binding off the final button band right now), and with a few images of some new drawings left over from Saturday's show, now up for sale in my etsy shop:
May 09, 2007
middle of nowhere, usa
We've been on the road since Monday, taking our time getting to Wisconsin to visit our friends on our convoluted trip home. All week I have been overtired and fighting an oncoming cold, falling asleep in the car during the hottest part of the afternoons and feeling sluggish in the evenings. Go over to Peter's if you want to hear anything interesting about our trip; I haven't got the energy for words right now. He's sitting next to me typing up a storm while I have nothing to say (not quite the normal state of affairs in this household).
Don't ask me where this place was; all I remember is the two for one margaritas were thick enough to eat with a fork and the decor was not entirely to my liking.
We spent a few hours in Nashville on Tuesday, marveling at the falseness of it all and taking pictures of tourists:
Yesterday and today we drove down a little highway through the middle of nowhere, hoping to find a thrift store or a Waffle House or something, instead passing dozens of wide-open, rotting trailers with people's belongings still in them, entirely boarded up downtowns, a vast expanse of flatness and bleak tracts of land given up to hellish gray subdivisions. And relentless sun. In Donovan Indiana (pop. 300) we found a building named after our friend Bob:
Tomorrow: Chicago, which we decided at the very last minute not to avoid after all, and then the rest of our trip will be spent in the company of good friends.
October 29, 2006
Shut my mouth
Peter and I went for a little drive in the countryside yesterday afternoon, taking our sweet time on a circuitous route to Hockey Mom's, stopping to browse at Reed's Odds & Ends (we got an old Risk game with all the pieces for 5 bucks!) and counting the Waffle Houses. I have been living in Georgia for nearly a year and a half now, and this was the first time I had ever seen a cotton field. I was pretty excited; Peter was willing to pull over to let me take pictures, but drew the line at allowing me to get out and pick some and look for boll-weevils.
North Georgia is nothing if not ugly. I tried to make it prettier by taking the photo through the windshield in order to give it that Japanese woodcut blue wash at the top, but still. Meh.
August 13, 2006
Here I am. We've been in Athens for a week, spending our afternoons at Little Kings and our nights at the 40 Watt taking in Athens Popfest, sleeping in and trying not to get sucked in to living on Athens time. I've been working too, knitting away on some summer tops for JCA while listening to some fantastic indie bands and also a few downright awful ones; my favourites that I hadn't heard before were How I Became The Bomb (I'm just holding out until payday to get my hands on their record, and y'all know what a total skinflint I am, so that says something) and Baby Calendar (who are a little bit twee, but in that totally awesome and pleasing way instead of that irritating way, and the people in the band are all really cute). Other than that, my favourite performances were two of the headliners, The Mountain Goats (goes without saying) and Apples in Stereo (they're incredibly tight and the music is full of those catchy hooks that suck you in; I wasn't nearly as impressed listening to their recorded work as I was seeing them live). There were lots of other great performances, but I'll let the music people talk about it, since I'm the sort of artsy-crafty-geek whose impression of the band is sometimes skewed by whether I like the shirts they're wearing or if they have a really snazzy looking guitar (for instance, I knew I was going to like How I Became The Bomb because they have such a cool name, and I knew that I was going to like that guy with the flags on his trousers and the baby blue dress shoes, just because. Baby. Blue. Shoes. And lo and behold, that was his band, and they freaking rocked). Had I been willing to haul the laptop down to the bar every night I would have blogged the whole damned festival for you, but I'm too fucking lazy. And also didn't think of it until halfway through the week.
Sorry I haven't been regaling you all with stories of late, but as Peter's leaving to go back home tomorrow I've been feeling somewhat stingy with my time. Rest assured that when I'm left all alone again more than a thousand kilometres from home, loneliness will get the verbal diarrhoea going once again.
For now, here's a fun game:
Who can think of a good collective noun for sorority girls?
July 18, 2006
They're tearing down my house to build a shopping centre, but all you people care about is whether I have a schedule for stroking my pussy
The move went well, thanks to lots of help from Hockey Mom and Bob, who not only moved my stuff but also put me up for three nights, kept me well entertained and drove me to the airport. After my hour-and-a-half nap up in the friendly skies (hey, I had to fly over Ohio, and you know Ohio is French for boring), Peter and I had a lovely dinner in Detroit with Kirsti and Terry before heading back to our hot, damp, non-air-conditioned house. Ugh. The heat was worse here than it was in Atlanta, and we tossed and turned all night in a bed that felt hot to the touch. And just in case you were wondering, it was far too hot to stroke my pussy, and all night I had to keep moving my feet because she kept rolling her fat, furry haunch on top of them.
July 15, 2006
I took a little trip to Athens this weekend just to remind myself why I'm glad that I don't have to go to school in July; Georgia is unbelievably gross right now, sticky and soupy and fucking HOT. At least I got those sweat glands on the backs of my knuckles cleared out, because even living in the hottest part of Canada that's a place you just never, ever get hot enough to sweat from. Ew.
What really brought me here was the thirty days notice to get out of my beloved little shack by August first so that the new owners can raze the compound to put up some godawful shitty shopping centre; since I wasn't planning to return to Athens until after August first, and the party of the year, in honour of a very important person who's turning 80, is happening on July 30th in Canada, clearly I had to take time out of my hectic tea drinking, porch lounging and pussy stroking schedule to come down to Georgia and schlep all of my crap to a new abode. It burns my arse so badly that I only got to live in my awesome new house for one month (and I didn't even upload the new shack pictures yet!).
But! I have a new place to live, in a house that's admittedly not a cool little shack nestled in a forest of bamboo in a cute scout camp-y little compound, but neither is it mouldy and rotting and smelly and full of vermin and slowly falling apart, and I won't have to haul my fat arse up a gigantic hill to get home from campus on my new bike, because the ride from the new place is fairly flat (rare for Athens). And, and! I'll be living with Joey, of the stuff! So now I can find out how he makes it (although the version I developed is pretty damn fine, I must say).
I realized that I haven't posted on Project Spectrum yet this month, so I've put up the one of all my clouds-out-the-plane-window pictures that looks the most like the lavender lullaby; I don't know if you American kids had access to Doctor Snuggles, but it ran for years on TVOntario and I loved it. Now that I look back on it as an adult, I'm pretty sure that show must have been all about (or inspired by) psychedelic drug use. That's probably why I liked it so much, because all I remember about that show now is the totally weird stuff, like going inside the giant diamond where all the faceted rooms were the colours of different precious gems, and the giant mushroom that had stuff falling off it that would turn things into butterflies, the alien dudes who steal water from the ocean by cutting it out in cubes and flying the cubes into outer space, and the lavender sheep. Trippy.
June 05, 2006
Standing on highway 401, looking at our dead van
May 16, 2006
My first year of grad school is over.
We celebrated this fact with a mug of America's finest. Which actually isn't really all that fine, but it wouldn't be the first time I've opted for style over truthfulness (be warned).
Maryland Sheep and Wool was a blast, and a well-needed (if poorly timed) break from the end of the semester scramble. Taking those three days off meant I had to come home and pull an edition of 15 prints and an art history exam out of my arse in one day, and I didn't really do a stellar job on either of them, but it was worth it. I met a whole pile of new people, both total strangers that I've already come to think of as friends through the crazy intimacy of the internet and also some fabulous completely-new-to-me people. The social whirl was completely overwhelming; I'm trying to trace my weekend in order of events so as to come up with the most complete list I can muster of all the people I met. All the weekend's good stories have already been told by others, so I'll just give a boring link-fest of everyone I can remember: Jane, Mouse, Norma, Nipper Jenn, the elusive Rock Chick, Booga J (who showed me a prototype for a new bag design that is really, really cool, Kirsti you're going to love it), the Keyboard Biologist, Claudia, Silvia, Wendy (who I may have offended with a foot-in-mouth comment made with no ill intent but sort of snarky-sounding nonetheless), Cassie, Juno, Cara, Chris, June, this Sarah, that Sarah, Lara (possibly the most gorgeously photogenic person I have ever met), Lauren, Jenna, Frecklegirl Jessica, Jody with a "y", Jen, Kate, Amy, Coleen, Mama E, my countrywoman Rachel H who has no blog, Nanc, Isel of the beautiful Orangina, and probably a lot more that I've missed.
I came away from the weekend completely exhausted, pushed through the last few days of school and then slouched around Athens with Peter for a few days before heading home, where so far I've been a total slackass even though I brought more than three months worth of work with me. Oh, and I got my cheesy 1985 haircut this morning, but you'll have to wait to see a picture of that, I'm using shared internet now and my turn is over. Ciao!
December 12, 2005
Sweet, sweet home
It's so good to be back in the snow and cold. I even got to go out and shovel on my first day home! The novelty of that will no doubt wear off quickly, but for now I'm happy.
The trip was pretty uneventful despite my apprehension. I wasn't afraid of the actual flying, just afraid of the airport; I'm always paranoid and prone to panic in places like that, and convinced that I'm going to get lost or walk into the wrong place and never find my way out again and it will all end in tears and possibly starvation in some janitor's closet or disused stairwell that I went into thinking it was the bathroom and the door locked behind me and when they find my body it will be all dry and crackly and the only way they'll know it's me is because I'm the only dried-up decomposed skeleton with three wisdom teeth. Fortunately Sandy is very tolerant and understanding and she held my hand all the way to the security area, and despite the fact that I almost gave birth to my entire digestive system in the parking lot when I found out I had to actually ride a TRAIN from the airport to the terminal, it wasn't that hard. It helps that they herd you like cattle and there's really no way to get lost. As for the flight itself, it wasn't all that exciting. I sort of expected the plane to be, you know, really big; instead it was the same width as a city bus, and not really anything like the movies (that's right, I'm such a hick that I thought flying in an airplane was going to be just like in the movies). But you know the part when you get up past the clouds and into the sun and then they tell you you're at 35000 feet and it's hot and unbelievably bright and you're looking down at a soft, wet white tundra, way down below? I sort of wanted to stay there. Forever. Except I'd rather not stay there with the actual people who were on that plane with me, especially the cell phone lady.
My plane got in at suppertime so we went straight to my favourite restaurant to gorge ourselves on Ethiopian food.
I really, really missed this. Then Saturday I got to have my grape leaf sandwich, so now my belly is well stuffed with the foods I can't get in Athens. I wonder how well those sandwiches would freeze if I brought ten or so back to Georgia with me?
As promised, here are the finished graduation socks, photographed right here in my own home on my great-great-grandmother's sewing chair, with a fat (and apparently itchy) kitty in the background for a little extra stripeyness (have I mentioned how happy I am to be here?). The specs: Lion Brand Magic Stripes yarn; at first I used the Pom Squad pattern, but my novice attempts at short-row heels came out so holey, messy and weird-fitting that I unraveled the whole lot and did them according to my bog-standard sock formula instead, top-down with a reinforced heel flap. The fit is perfect, with just the right amount of ankle cleavage showing.
Here's my progress on the back of the Patons Urban Aran:
It started out as this cardigan, which I realized later just wasn't going to look good at all, since I'd had to block the ribbing so roughly to fit me. I had originally thought that I didn't have enough of the red to make a whole sweater but then I found an extra stash of it, so I'm pretty sure there's enough for the Urban Aran. I'm going to do the front in two pieces to make it a zip cardigan, and not do the collar so long.
See those lovely centre-pull balls at the top? Wonderful Sandy gave me a ball winder as an early birthday gift. Makes me wish I'd brought more yarn with me so I could wind it all up. Whee!
Today's project is a gift for Someone Very Special, which I hope to have ready to give by Wednesday or so. You can see I have a lot done already.
June 07, 2005
Not a lot to say, but plenty of pictures to make up for it
First things first: when we got back from Athens, my materials for the back-tack swap were in the mailbox.
My back-tack pal sent some great stuff: a very cool vintage fabric that I love, some black duppioni silk and another cute printed fabric to go with; some super-soft white and pink felt; cool old buttons and a pink zipper; and also some gorgeous beaded stitch markers that she said were a gift for me, but since there are ten of them I think I'll keep five and send five along to the next person, because I'm sure she'll love them too. Way to go, back-tack pal! This stuff is going to be fun to work with, and I have some things in my stash that are going to look great with it too.
So. You want to know more about our trip, don't you? The highlight, besides finding a cool roommate and meeting more people at the school and picking my courses and which class to do my teaching practicum in, was Cherokee, North Carolina. We drove there on Friday night after we were finished on campus and had plenty of time to bum around and check things out.
Cherokee is the tourist trap that time forgot. It's just as tacky as Pigeon Forge on the other side of the park, but everything here seems like it hasn't changed since the 1960s. It's full of gift shops where you can get the tackiest fake Indian stuff imaginable, plus anything else people would buy. I kept thinking how much my school chum Jessica would love this place; she was in my graduating class and all of her BFA thesis work dealt with being half native and half white, placing cheap made-in-China fake "Indian" artifacts next to traditional native Canadian artifacts that she had made from modern materials like pens, bullets, plastic bleach bottles and rubber. In fact I'll be interested to hear what Jessica has to say about Cherokee when I show her the pictures. In Pigeon Forge everything is shiny and mall-like; in Cherokee it's all log buildings, the kind of fake trading post places I remember visiting in Northern Ontario as a kid in the 70s.
The town does seem to be suffering somewhat economically, no doubt due to the huge boom that Pigeon Forge has experienced in the last 20 years, since Dollywood opened. We saw lots of places that were closed, boarded up or torn down.
Look, we found a weight-and-fortune machine that still took pennies:
My fortune: change quickly if you find you are headed up the wrong alley.
Where the goth kids stay:
Since we prefer to keep our lives drama-free, we stayed at the Pink instead.
The Pink was not all it was cracked up to be, but we've decided that we think it's being subtly marketed to gays, what with the pink exterior and pink sheets and pink bathrooms, and that fairy. And the fact that the old guy in the office had an earring. If it's all a coincidence don't tell me because it makes me happy to believe that there are gay-friendly places in the American South and that we've found one already.
We went for a walk in the Oconaluftee Islands Park, and found a huge bamboo forest there.
Rob? Is this a native Carolinean bamboo? We just assumed all bamboo was Chinese. But the guy in the next room at the Pink (Rick) told us that a friend of his used to own a bamboo nursery in Florida and that one of the varieties he grew was native to that part of Florida. If this is true then we might need some in our front yard; who cares if it grows taller than our 2.5 storey house?
The craziest thing about this bamboo is that the new shoots were coming up just as fat as the mature parts. That's what caught my attention because it looked like a bunch of small cut-off trees but they all came to a point on top, and then I noticed all the bamboo behind them.
Sadly, they were a little too big to dig up and smuggle home in the car for our garden.
What I just realized now while resizing these photos is that everyone's name on this trip was Sandy: Hockey Mom, the pony ride pictured yesterday, and this old dog, who seemed infinitely worn out from all of the bright and jangly arcade action.
I knew his name was Sandy because it was written in white-out on his collar, along with his phone number. I tried to get him to look at me, wheedling and cajoling and calling him by name, but he was too weary to even lift his head or meet my eye. So I snapped this picture, and he immediately got up and huffed off. Guess I should have asked first.
*Okay, I lied. I always have a lot to say, even when it's about nothing.