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Entries in events (8)


Away from home

I dropped him off at camp this morning. The real kind of camp, where he has to take a sleeping bag and pillow, and toothbrush which he will have to remind himself to use (along with the shower, let's hope he reminds himself to use the shower, too).

I didn't do very many sleep away camps when I was little. Once. I remember going to horse back riding camp when I was in elementary school. It might have been a Girl Scout camp. I remember helping in the mess hall, and mucking out stalls. I remember that of all the girls for some reason I just couldn't get the hand of the trot, or maybe it was the canter. I remember the frustration. And I remember the fun, but I also remember being very, very homesick at night. That feeling lasted for me long into high school, when spending a week at band camp was a delightfully magic time for me every summer, but with nights that left me feeling bereft of my own bed and family. I even cried sometimes when I was away for simple overnights at friends' houses.

So you'll forgive me if I was a little worried for Calvin. Logically, in my forethinking brain, I have no real concern. Calvin is more easy going than I think I was as a kid, and I think he'll take these first two nights away from home and family (ever!) like a champ. In fact, if anything he's likely to be sorry when the week is up (which is a feeling I also remember very well, especially at the close of band week every summer), but that didn't stop me from worried just a teeny tiny bit somewhere in the back of my uncontrollable reptilian brain. So we all talked about it a bit the day before I dropped him off. We told him that when I was young I suffered terribly from homesickness, but that his dad not, and I told him some of the coping mechanisms I had used when I was young to get through a long week.

Then in the car on the way to drop off, eary on Wednesday morning, Calvin told me that he was really, really going to miss me, and he asked me to take care of his animals for him. I asked him if he was starting to get worried, but he said that no, he just thought that would be a sweet thing to say so that I wouldn't feel sad. He was using my own coping mechanisms on me.

Wisdom is sometimes lost on the old.


Wedding weekend, Indian style

As a stay at home, I don't get to experience glamour very often. Usually I get out of my pajamas, and if I'm going to the store I try to pick out matching clothes and put on makeup, but dresses, jewelry, and heels often escape me. There just isn't any need for them.

So when the opportunity for a glamorous weekend presents itself, I look forward to, and get nervous about, for weeks beforehand. What to wear? How to accessorize? Is Jon's suit clean? Do I remember how to iron? Does the kid have clean underwear? (okay, that last one is a given, but I was scrambling to make sure he had clean socks and dress shoes that fit, especially during sandal season).

And in the end, it's not the style or the glamour of the weekend that has me nervous and excited, it's the people. All those adults! All those adults in one place! All those adults in one place with their real world, real people jobs that I don't know how to talk to. Because your average joe doesn't want to discuss the newest fads in homeschooling curriculum. Time to take the old, dusty conversation starters off that shelf way in the back of my brain—it's socializing time!

Last weekend we were included in the very glamorous, very posh, very exciting wedding weekend (aaallll weekend) of Jon's cousin. The wedding was an Indian culture wedding and all that goes with it. The entire weekend was not only entertaining, but  educational as well. We ate delicious Indian foods, we took part in Indian traditions like the Sangeet (the fun dance party the night before the ceremony) and the Baraat (the groom's procession to the ceremony, complete with dancing entourage), and we got to see a traditional Hindy ceremony (performed in ancient Sanskrit nonetheless). I was loaned a saree, and helped, or folded, into it, and Calvin and I both received henna tattoos.

And the people. The people were so welcoming, both Jon's own family and extended family, and also the bride's family, who could not have been more welcoming or gracious the whole weekend through. It reminded me of my brother's island wedding in a way, because most guests stayed in the same hotel, where all meals were provided, and most events took place either there in the hotel or just two blocks away. There were so many guests at the wedding, in fact, that we ran into others everywhere we went, and enjoyed a sort of companionship that way, even with people we'd never met.

And elephants. Did I mention there were lots of elephants?

And now I can put away the dresses and the heels and return to my homeschool wear, which sometimes really is just pajamas, I admit it.

from our hotel room

on our way to the Sangeet

breakfast for the wedding guests before festivities started

gathering in the hotel lobby for the Baraat

getting the party started—the Baraat took us from the hotel to the performing arts center where the ceremony took place

before the cocktail hour and then reception, which was in the lobby, then at the ballroom in the performing arts center


Grillin' for Food Gatherers

It's an amazing charity program here in our area. Food Gatherers collects all manner of unwanted, unsold, and uneaten food from stores, bakeries, restaurants, etc., sorts it for edibility (my spell checker is going to yell at me for that one), and redistributes it to people in need. You know that mound of carrots at the grocery store that you've always wondered "how can they possibly sell all those?" or maybe, like me, you've often lamented "why do they stock so much of XXXX? There's no way they sell it all. What a waste!" Well, this program does the amazing thing of connecting people in need, with food in need of homes.

My dad volunteers there. He's done this since he retired and needed something else to do with his time (other than all the other fun things in the world, that is). He has ridden in the trucks to pick up or deliver pallets of food, and he's stood in the warehouse sorting. He's met many interesting people, and helped many more that he has never met.

Once a year Food Gatherers hosts a grilling pow-wow at the fairgrounds in Saline. Many delicious local restaurants and catering services donate their food, many more people donate their time or other expertise, and others of us go to enjoy all those donations and all that hard work. Food Gatherers makes their money in the fundraiser on tickets sold to event and on raffles and auctions that takes place within. My dad has worked the beer pouring station for a couple of years now. It's a good place for him, and we take him "out for dinner" on his break.

Our community is pretty supportive of the group, and even this year's stormy weather couldn't bring it down.


Hallowe'en Nights (Greenfield Village)

We've been to the Christmas event at Greenfield Village, but not to Hallowe'en Nights, and never to the special dinner before one of their period events. What a fantastic night! Dinner was delicious, and shared with many in the warm, inviting setting of the town tavern. It was served by reenactors who really seem to enjoy what they are doing, which held true not just for the period people in the tavern, but for everyone staging the event outside as well.

After dinner we walked along a jack-o-lantern lined path on a magical evening that thankfully held it's rain and wind until the night was over. We were stopped here and there at treat stations, but more exciting were the various story-telling spots and staged scenes: Hansel and Gretel, The Tell-Tale Heart, and, of course, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The story tellers were so powerful it would be hard to express their talent in my own words, and the staged scenes (the headless horseman chasing Ichabod Crane, the mob hunting down Frankenstein's monster, the pirate ghost ship) were just just the right balance of humorous and spooky.

Costumes were highly encouraged, and we brought the train out of retirement for this one because he could easily slip it off for dinner. With Calvin chugging around dressed in the era of steam travel, Jon went as a conductor and I as a Victorian traveler. Very appropriate for Greenfield's own target time period, and I like to think that the costumes got us into just the right mood for the event.

We were spooked, but not scared out of our wits, by the spectre in the carousel, the man hiding among the trees, the suddenly living scarecrow, and the portal of the covered bridge. There was a barber shop quartet of jack-o-lanterns, death standing out in a field (watch out, he'll point at you!), and ghostly brides and witches, all followed by hot cider. We ended our evening with a telling of The Tell-Tale Heart just as the wind was picking up, and Calvin fell asleep on the way home as the rain drops just started to spatter down. Timing was our friend this night.


Summertime, and the livin' is easy

This weekend was the annual Ragtime Street Fair at Greenfield Village—good music, fun eats and drinks, and delightful entertainers—so yesterday we headed over late in the afternoon, wearing our summer fair finest, to take part in the music and festivities over dinner. The village, of course, was working as usual, so we watched them blowing glass, printing papers (where the printer took Calvin on as an apprentice for one run), and bringing in the chickens and other farm fauna for the evening. In addition to the usual stuff, though, there was a good old fashioned street fair, with homemade goodies and wholesome entertainment, like suspendered men riding crazy bicycles. We ate sausage and drank minted tea while sitting on benches, in the shade and watching the townsfolk (period actors) take part. We took in a ragtime piano contest, and a Gershwin comedy and dance review (my favorite), and we even got to see Teddy Roosevelt speak on his campaign trail ("Vote Roosevelt in '12!"). We watched the train, we ate blueberry pie. It was hot, but the evening, and the music, were delightful.

Calvin was invited to help make a print with the press.

I had no idea they had cell phones in the early twentieth century.

Teddy Roosevelt!