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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

To animal lovers everywhere

There is nothing else in the world like the bond you can experience with a animal. In my experience, that would be dogs! Loss is the price you pay at the end of the day. Each time a death occurs, I say I think this is just too, too much. Then I think of each silly, fun, and sweet thing I enjoyed and I realize I would not, could not, have it any other way.The loss is just part of the love.

Lou was extra special. OK, I say that about all our dogs,  but those of you who knew him know that that it is true. First of all, he was the best cuddle-er of all time. He has been my sleeping and napping partner for the past four years. Spooning in hot weather and cold weather, every single night. A comfort when I am sad or happy or just sleepy. Any spot would do. Couch or bed or the floor.
Secondly, he was a great ball of fire with Kate. Those two could rip around the yard at full steam and then hit the couch for a nap of epic proportions. I would never have expected those two to be best buddies, but they were absolutely were true blue.
Thirdly, Louie was very cooperative. Wear a silly hat? Sure, Hang out on the chair in my dressing room while I put on my makeup, of course. Head to the Library and schmooze everyone? You bet! Take a walk in the rain, love it! Be nice to the new kitty, yep.

Share bones and toys and treats and walks and beds and anything and everything with Kate, of course!

So, I'll miss you, Louie, more than you can imagine. And my next walk will be with you in my mind. Thanks for being such a beautiful being in my life.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Kent State memories

On Saturday, Ron and I made our annual sojourn to Kent State. Famous for many things, including black squirrels, many don't know that it was also the scene of our first date. In 1986, while I was working at the Library and Ron was visiting as a patron, Molly Carver introduced us mentioning that she knew we both were KSU Alumni. Boom. On the spot, we agreed to visit the campus together to pursue our separate memories of what turned out to be the exact same years. I was there from 1972-1977. Ron, though 8 years older than I am, was there from 1970-1975. Three years of intersection, passing on the same trails-we compared notes and were fascinated to note that we might have seen each other many times!

On this visit, we stopped to see where Ron lived in Hudson at that time. Being fresh out of the Navy at age 22, living off campus was an option for him and the GI bill made it possible.
It is now for sale, although, as most things are, it is diminished from its days of a farm with several acres and now sits alone cut by a freeway.Still, the Baker house was fun to see again.

I, on the other hand, was required to live in a dorm (see photo above). It did bear the distinction of being 3 towers of single rooms, however, and I was thrilled to score my 8X8 room on the 4th floor of Leebrick Hall. The coed dorm, on my floor, consisted of all senior nursing students who were gone all day at hospitals and studied all night. I didn't meet a single person except, Diane Vanecek, who was also a freshman that somehow ended up on that floor as well. One of the towers was empty, as was much of the campus during our years at Kent.

Here is where Ron and I can visit Kent and have very different emotions about Kent. First, Ron registered to start at Kent for the Spring quarter of 1970. Due to a disagreement with the housing personnel on campus (another story for another time) Ron abruptly left the school  and so was not on campus on May 4, avoiding the massacre and subsequent closing of the school.  I, on the other hand, arrived on campus in 1972, with the event still fresh and lessons to be learned a required course for all new students. We manage to walk the campus, one with a tour of duty in the Navy on his mind, the other the product of the antiwar movement and close friend of one of the protesters there that day, Chic Canfora. This year, I was impressed to learn that the area of the killings is now on the National Register of Historic Places and the university has finally accepted its place in history, opening a Center for reflection and learning about that time.

Brushing somber memories aside, we headed downtown to Ray's, the beer joint that becomes the center for alumni of all ages and stages during Homecoming Weekend. We met Paulette's brother, Tim Smith, there for a liquid lunch with Bob and Paulette. Tim works at the KSU radio station for NPR and so, as proud resident of the City (always a distinct difference from living and going to school IN kent) we toured the improvements of the downtown.

The new shopping area even boasts a sculpture of the infamous black squirrels seen on campus (see first photo above) and it was interesting to see the downtown and university working together, chipping away at the town/gown years of separation. One thing that Ron and I always passionately agree upon, our years at Kent were really some of the best in our lives.  We  love to walk the paths of our memories there, pointing out to each other where we lived ,repeating the same stories to each other that we shared on our first date twenty five years ago this month. JB, '76, B.A. English, '77, Masters, Library Science. RB, '75, Bachleor of Science,Nursing.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hello Kitty pumpkin and other musings

Ok, so you are wondering about the Hello Kitty pumpkin that Paulette made for me. Well, you just never know when something will strike us. While at the Juniper Moon Farm, Susan showed us her sewing machine. Said it was the best basic machine ever, however, it did have one serious was a Hello Kitty edition! Say what? Yep, she said it was only available on for $199. Next thing I know, Paulie has ordered one for each of us! And, here's the thing.....we don't sew! Well, I do a little, and I love my vintage Singer Featherweight. It is very very basic but very very portable and I've taken it over to Paulie's house several times to sew curtains for her. 

Allie enjoyed checking out the well named machine, actually a Janome 15822 Heavyduty Sewing Machine.  We haven't tried them out yet, but I am intrigued with the automatic threader.

I wondered a bit about the Hello Kitty brand, and learned on Wikipedia (don't you just love that) and learned that HK is a Japanese fictional character produced since 1974 by Sanzio and introduced to the U.S. in 1976. The designer got the name from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass where Alice plays with a cat she calls Kitty. I never noticed that Hello Kitty doesn't have a mouth, but the lore states that she communicates from the heart, not from the mouth.
She is a a female white Japanese bobtail cat, now worth $5 billion a year in sales of various products, including our two sewing machines! Having just got our first cat, Allie, I am intrigued with all things cat related.

I know, I know, Paulie and I need another hobby like a hole in the head, but, we have visions of making pillows from vintage fabrics we have collected. Who knows, I've always wanted to have a chair upholstered from some of my antique bedspreads, maybe I can do it myself! Ok, that was just plain silly.

I do know that 1974 was a great year, and 1976 was even better, so, Hello Kitty sewing machines are fine with me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Full Disclosure

It is only fair to disclose the full truth of our knitting/spinning vacation to you, the reader. The photo above, of the sweet knitted pumpkin (2inchesX2inches) is the only knitting or spinning I did on the trip. That includes 20 hours of drive/ride time and 4 days/nights of farmstay. I had great expectations of producing much, much more. In fact, I brought one needlepoint project, enough yarn to finish 3 afghan squares, my cable purse project, socks for Ron project, my new pocket wheel for spinning(with 3 large rovings along), the drop spindle, and 4 books-2 for work and 2 for pleasure. Didn't unpack any of the above! Paulie's report to you would be similar. What happened? Well, we just sat and read the hundreds of books and magazines that Susan had on her shelves. That's all I can say. 
I bet you are wondering what on earth this photo is about-it is on Main Street near the University of Virginia campus and is a parking lot booth. I bought the movie which is based upon it called....yep, The Parking Lot Movie.An independent film by Meghan Eckman, and "hailed as the "most feel-good film" of the South by the Southwest Film Festival....a irreverently funny debut celebrates a brotherhood of eccentric attendants who an a unique parking lot in Charlottesville, Virginia.


On Saturday morning of a home football game day, we explored the main UVA campus area that was designed by Thomas Jefferson as his primary retirement project. Got me to thinking about what I could do in a few years, too. Below is one of the coveted single rooms on the square. It is actually designed just like the slave quarters at Monticello. oops.

This a better picture of the student quarters shown above. Each room has a fireplace.
Below is a photo of Monticello. We toured the house and grounds with friend, June on Sunday before leaving Virginia for home. It was a beautiful day, warm, sunny and a slight breeze.
We arrived in Frederick, Md. around 6pm and stayed at another PEO b&b. Gail works for the State Department in the Budget Division and was busy with end of fiscal year accounting. She travels 2 hours each way to commute to the "District" every day for the past 15 years. Yikes.
 Paulette selected the scenic drive of Rt 68 across Md. and WVA. We know there were beautiful mountains and trees with color, but, all we say was fog, fog, and more fog.
Actually, we pretty much drove as fast as possible with no stopping except for gas, in order to get back to Sandusky before 5pm on Monday. Why, you might ask, did we speed up the trip at the end? Well, the crown I had had applied 15 minutes before we started our trip on Thursday, deteriorated into a major root canal issue and I spent each day counting the number of hours between pain meds and antibiotics. I was down to my very last pain pill, taken at 3pm and we were racing to get to the dentist before it wore off. From 4-6 pm, I was in the dentist's chair, quite an abrupt end to a delightful vacation!