27 June 2012

awwwwwwwwwwwesommmmmmmmmmmmmme

Wahoo!!  Earlier today, I was at JoAnn's Fabric in Tupelo and guess what I came across?  Ok, yes, there was some awesome fabric.  There always is.  But no, that's not what I meant.

Yes!  Yarn!  Glorious, soft, squishable, furzy yarn!  And even better, I found some for the awesome price of fifty cents per skein.

FIFTY CENTS!

It was Bernat's Pipsqueak.  Twenty skeins in Pretty in Pink and ten in Baby Blue.  Wahootee~hoot!

24 June 2012

doings and such

Well, the year is almost half over and I've only a baker's dozen of entries since January!  I'm not going to do a complete update, which is what has been so overwhelming and actually keeping me from posting; but I will share some stuff that has been going on recently over the next few entries.

Brenda and I went to high~school together in Pennsylvania, stayed in contact thru our college years, and then lost touch in our mid~ to late~twenties.  I'd moved to Georgia and then Alabama and then went with my father to Colorado for a few months.  He still lived in PA, so when I was there visiting, I called Brenda's mother's place and found out that Brenda had moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee years before!  Right around the same time I moved to Georgia!  Turns out that we only lived a few hours apart, so when I returned to AL, we re~established contact and kept in touch over the years, thru my next several moves.

This past week, Brenda came to hang out with me for a week here in Mississippi.  Her daughter was at summer camp at the Tennessee School for the Blind near Nashville and her son was staying with his father for the week.  Brenda's husband had to work {as he already planned to use his vacation time next month, when the entire family will celebrate the daughter's sweet sixteen}, so he wasn't able to join us, but maybe next year.  So this is the first time in six years that Brenda was able to take a trip away from home, without the kids, for an entire week!  Wahoo!!!

Brenda is completely blind.  She can see only extreme bright contrasted with extreme darkness.  So if we were inside a darkened house and then stepped out into bright sunshine, she can sense that change.  But if she were outside when the sun is setting, she wouldn't see the gradual darkness, tho she would eventually know that it is dark.

So I describe lots to her about our surrounding environment, whether it is driving, walking, indoors, and what not.  I didn't realize how much stuff I don't really take an active notice of until I started painting verbal pictures for her.  We even got the various maps out and I showed her the outline and how the road cuts thru the state or county and where we live and where town is and such and so forth.  As a child, she loved maps, and I still do; so that's cool, cuz it helps to orient us in relation to where we've been, where we're going, and where we are.

Last Saturday, I went to Chattanooga and Sunday we returned to Starkville.  The foothills of Chattanooga eventually fade away into rolling foothills in Birmingham, and then the land flattens as we drove west thru Tuscaloosa into Mississippi.  Occasionally, I'd not provide enough detail and she'd ask what river we were crossing, cuz she'd feel the road surface change to a bridge.  Sometimes, it'd be water, but it might be just as likely to be a bridge over a ravine or an overpass, since we stayed on the interstate for the most part.

My mom joined the two of us and we went for soups, salads, and sandwiches at Newk's after we got into Starkville Sunday.  Monday, I took her on a driving tour of Starkville and some of the surrounding area.  We went to the university's library on the main campus; on the fourth floor is the Charles Templeton's Music Museum.  There are scads and scads of gramophones, Edisons, Victrolas, automatic pianos, player pianos, display cases, and such.  Templeton bought these items when they were newly invented and produced, acquiring them from about 1880 thru the 1930s.  The entire collection of Templeton, an area business man who loved rag~time music and lived during the era when that was contemporary, was gifted to MSU.  A student gave us a tour of the holdings, demonstrating and playing several of the pieces for us, including a few models of the Victrola and what was one of the first jukeboxes.  She was very gracious about allowing us to take our time, as I fumbled for some adequate words to describe some of the features that are so very different from our own era of technology.  The student did a wonderful job answering questions and allowed us to inspect several items up close so that mere words didn't have to suffice.  Kudos to her!

We ate at so many local places this past week, including Lil Dooey's, Mugshots, BookMart DownTown's Cafe, Local Culture, La Terraza, City Bagel, HalfWay House, and I am sure that I am forgetting a place or two.  I tend to avoid franchises and chains, preferring to support local stuff that gives local flavor; local eateries help to give a town its identity, like Jim & Nick's BBQ in Birmingham.  However, we did hit Sonic, Logan's and Pizza Hut while on our trips to and from Chattanooga as that was where she wanted to go, and this was her vacation. 

Monday afternoon, we were able to actually go inside the Chapel of Memories.  Altho I've often sat outside the Chapel and listened to the bells and carillon, I'd never been inside before; so that was extra cool.  The Chapel of Memories is a favored site for weddings and such for the MSU alumni.  It was constructed in part, using the bricks from the original old dormitory that had burned a century ago.  So in addition to having some current significance, it also has a bit of history.

Brenda probably now knows more about Starkville, MSU, and the surrounding area's history then most folks who call Oktibbeha County home.  I kept asking her to stop me if I was giving too much detail, but she pointed out that she'd rather have too much than not enough.  So we visited Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum, as well as attending a presentation at our local public library about Mayhew Mission, which started what eventually became the influx of European settlers into the area, pushing out the Choctaws, and leading to the development of the railroad, Boardtown, and eventually Starkville.

I'm not a huge shopper, but Brenda had asked to go to a few specialty stores.  So we went to a few places that are unique, including Aspen Bay Candles, which are made here in Starkville.  That store was awesome, as there are different lines of candles, various scents in each line, complete with a variety of products in addition to candles {like room freshners, reed diffusers, linen sprays, soaps, etc}.  The various lines are all presented and packaged differently, so it was an interesting few hours of leisurely inspecting products.

Most places were really cool about letting us poke around and stuff.  The art galleries and museums were staffed with excellent folks!  The museums here are very small and highly specialized, for instance, there is one that focuses on over four HUNDRED different types of clocks.  We didn't visit that one, but I'll check it out some time in the near future.

On Thursday at noon, the Columbus Arts Council hosted a free mini~concert by several of the students who are taking part in this year's summer camp by the American Wind Symphony Orchestra.  It was awesome!  There was also a show on Saturday night, that we didn't go to.  If you ever have a chance to see this floating ensemble, DO!!  It's well worth it and very unique.

We also watched a few movies here at my place, including the latest X~Men and Despicable Me.  Describing X~Men wore me out, I ended up going to bed immediately afterward.  I had it downpat, the whole describing thing, but some of the action sequences got kinda confusing, what with all the names, characters, outfits, special abilities, who was who and what they did to whom, and all of it is occurring simultaneously.  We started to get a kick out of how many times I ended up saying, "meanwhile" to talk about different engagements of the battle toward the end of the movie.  It took about three and a half hours for us to watch a two hour movie cuz I kept having to pause things and then we'd go back and rewatch a sequence after a detailed description with me just mentioning key words here and there the second time around so it could flow better.

At one point during our driving around, this was in the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge, I bit my tongue and cheek.  Do you realize how difficult it is to talk with a sore tongue?  I was trying not to further irritate it, yet be clear and not slur.  However, I had to take a break from narrating.  As we drove back into town, Brenda was able to say what we were passing as we did, cuz we'd been down that road several times.  So I said, "great!  You drive for awhile!"

Brenda has a great sense of humor, tho sometimes it will take folks by surprise cuz there are some things that folks think are taboo and she pokes fun at herself.  Like saying that she got distracted, missed the sign, had to drive around the block, and by the time she got back, the parking spot was taken.  Didn't see any other.  So she parked in the handicapped spot, do you think that's alright?  She asked, and at first the store's employee was nodding her head, but you could see it dawning on her, and then she didn't know that it was ok to laugh.

One of the favorite parts of the week was our visit to Dandy Doodlez, a local business where you paint the preformed ceramics and then they fire it, so you can pick it up.  Brenda likes dolphins and I like leaves and trees.  So we each painted away.  The folks there were nice and helpful, tho the one woman kept gesturing while talking with us, which is fine, except she didn't use the accompanying verbal cues; but we were able to find everything and had a good afternoon. When I pick up the finished products, I'll take pix and post them!

We stopped in Birmingham on our return trip to Chattanooga and visited with some friends that Brenda knows.  They treated us for lunch at Jim & Nick's BBQ.  It was awesome!  Also, we had the best service ever.  When we got there, it was lunch time on a Saturday, which meant there were people waiting to be seated.  But as we crossed the parking lot, from my car to the restaurant, I spoke to one of the employees to ask if it was ok to park where I did.  She assured me that it was fine, and then she went ahead and I think spoke with the manager.  I'm not positive.  But I think so, cuz he met us at the door, and seated us immediately.  I wasn't expecting that.  On the other hand, we were definitely the blind leading the blind, since we'd formed a sort of chain with me as the seeing~eye person, leading Brenda, who lead her friend, who lead her husband.  We're all different sizes with the two ladies being slight and thin and me being a big girl {which was good since I was leading the way} and the husband being a large man, tall and broad.  We had a good time and there was lots of laughter, both at ourselves and at the various situations, including one of the t~shirts that was available at the restaurant {"you can smell our butts!" with a large smiling pig's face}.

This morning, I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep, so got on the road and traveled back to Starkville, arriving just as my husband opened the door to take Sophie on her weekly tot~run.  Jerry, Sophie and I went to Sonic and got our breakfasts.  Jerry and I had egg and meat burritos, with coffee; while Sophie got the tots.  So that was a great way to start my Sunday!!