We were lucky enough to get the Paos all to ourselves last Saturday (yes, those Paos), and I must say that a grand time was had by all.
We drove down the Wisconsin side of the Great River Road, on a beautiful, beautiful day. The Paos were nice and exhausted by an exciting day at the Great Minnesota Get Together (the state fair), so they didn't insist on canoeing or swimming down the Mississippi - thank goodness!
We stopped at many historical markers, watched many eagles, introduced the Paos to the joys of both root beer and root beer floats, shopped a couple fun giftie stores, visited kitties who live in a hotel, ate chicken wings at a pub,
drank spring water straight from the source,
and the lovely Mrs. Pao rode on a carousel.
As if that wasn't enough, the generous Paos also gave us a wonderful bag of goodies! You can see some of them (the Canterbury cloth, the knitting magazine and Ewe Row Counter) at Jeanne and Chris' blogs - but here are the things specific to us:
I lost my struggle for patience and turned the beautiful springlike green & yellow skein into a ball, but the other skein (pink! I love pink!!) is still intact - and treacle toffee, beautiful (and much needed) salad servers, and a wonderful Neil Gaiman book for the Vampire (he is more than halfway through, in spite of a very busy schedule, and threatens to bite me if I don't read it once it's done).
Thank you, Paos, for a truly wonderful weekend excursion - we had a blast!
To those of you who are wondering, "Why did she take those photos of her yarn on what looks like a bed of weeds?" I want to offer this reply:
1. Yes, those are weeds.
2. They aren't even MY weeds. They are my parents' weeds.
3. MY yard is brown. Even my sizeable weed collection is brown and sere. I didn't think my weeds would make a nice background for my yarn. After all, I want to distract the eye from the gooberish spinning job. Look!! Pretty green stuff!
4. My parents' front yard, in spite of dutiful watering (beyond their goober-like daughter's ability), is full of carefully weeded brown grass.
5. They have given up on their back yard, which is so shaded by neighbor's structures and so frequented by their dog that deliberately planted things die. Therefore they do not have much grass, but they do have a very verdant crop of weeds. They are beautiful weeds, too, perhaps due to the distinct lack of green in the surrounding area.
6. Do I need to mention that we are experiencing an unusual number of very hot days this summer, and are *also* in the middle of what seems to be an extended drought?
7. The one good thing about this is that it makes my normal attitude about lawncare ("Don't look at me. I'm allergic to the sun.") look like a political/philosophical statement on land and water management. It's very Green to be Brown.
8. It also means that this year our lawn does not differ much from the general appearance of our neighbors' lawns. We won't talk about the back jungle - er, yard.
So that's the explanation. And I just want to add:
Thanks, mom, for letting me make use of your yard. Even your weeds are superior. And happy birthday!
I think I mentioned that I'd gotten a spinning wheel, yes? Well, once I got over feeling intimidated, I went on a spinning jag, and spun up every bit of the roving I got at Shepherd's Harvest - which turned out to be not enough roving at all. But I did learn a bit. Here's what I learned:
Soy Silk sucks. I'm sorry - if you love it, more power to you. But with that teensy little staple and the dusty feeling between the fingers, you can have it. Yuck.
Alpaca isn't easy for a newbie, I got quite a few places where I slubbed, for some reason - but I think if I'd done it after the other ones, I probably would have done better. And it's lovely to the touch!
I like Merino... but boy, there sure is a difference from one fleece/roving to another, isn't there? I have two merino mixes where the merino staple is smooth and long, and both were easy to spin and feel lovely. This one had a relatively short and *very* kinky staple, and was a real bear to try to spin up smoothly... it just stuck to itself and clumped up with the least excuse, even though I prepped this one pretty thoroughly. I think I'd do better now, though, with more experience. The yarn is pretty, though, lovely dye job, and the feel is a real hoot - sort of like very soft sea sponge! (Go ahead, click on the photo so you can see the beautiful color combos and the absolute goober-like job of spinning that was my contribution to the whole thing - you know you want to...)
This was my favorite, a Tencel/Merino mix. It was a dream to spin (so much so, in fact, that I let myself zen out and didn't pay attention to the minor issue of spinning my single to a uniform size - did I mention that I'm a goober?), feels soooo soft, and the yarn is lustrous and silky, has a beautiful drape and color. I just loved it... unfortunately, I only had two ounces to play with. When I can, I'm going to get a nice big order of this!
Yes, we have the book. But no, we haven't finished it yet.
This is because the Vampire is 17 years old. It is, in all likelihood, the last time that such a thing will be possible, and so the two of us are reading the book together, taking it in turns to read each chapter aloud.
My son literally grew up with Harry Potter. He was 11 years old when the first book came out, and he and Harry are entering adulthood together, as well.
The Vampire will, in a mere four weeks, be entering College, a world completely independent of the one in which we've lived and learned and bumbled along together as best we could. Like Harry, he is leaving the safety of a world where most things were knowable, if not known, an environment designed to provide a relatively safe environment in which to explore and experiment, to soar and even to fail. For Harry, that adventure involved going to school; for the Vampire, that meant leaving it. But the result was the same: adventure, friendship, discovery, growth, a gain of confidence and ability.
Where our son goes now, his old folks cannot follow. We will still shelter and feed him for a while, but like Arthur and Molly Weasley, we now have little say in what happens to the child who carries our hopes and dreams for the future and the world - we must simply stand back and wait in hope that he will thrive and see fit to share his adventures with us in retrospect, rather than in fact.
I've done a little bit of just about everything. Fibre Arts, reading, and family seem to be the only things that seem to engage my Persistence of Vision. Not necessarily in that order.
I also have cancer.