What I Did On My Summer Vacation(s), Part 1

Now that I have finished my little bout of traveling, I am back to the frenzy of playing catch-up with unpacking, laundry, cleaning, trying to get kittens adopted and trying to housebreak and socialize a hypersensitive puppy who is so desperate to please that it hinders his training. Oh, and squeezing in some knitting, of course. I have missed my little blog and my blogging friends and I hope to catch up with all of your blogs this week.

First of all, my trip to Charlotte was wonderful. I loved being able to share time with my brother and his family. They have a very warm and welcoming home, and some great pets. There was so much to do in such a short visit, but I did manage to visit a really nice yarn shop in Matthews, not too far from their home, where I did some quick stash enhancement (I find it very hard to shop at my usual leisurely yarn-petting pace when non-knitters are patiently waiting for me). But I think I did a pretty good job of supporting the local economy in less than 30 minutes.

The 4 on the left are Mirasol yarn: the aqua is a cotton/wool, the 3 variegated ones are merino; Noro silk garden and Colinette Cadenza. Each and every one is earmarked to become a gift.

I drove up into the Blue Ridge mountains to visit my dear friend, where we had a fantastic time overall. We had tons of catching up to do, we drove all over her cute little town and up to Grandfather Mountain, doing lots of shopping, but, sadly there were no yarn shops to be found.

I absolutely love being in the mountains, and I love driving in the mountains. There was a lot of demand for rental cars in Charlotte because of NASCAR, and by the time my plane landed, the only car left on the lot was a Mazda5, which is nothing but a pimped-up mini-van. I definitely had my doubts about the little beast getting me up into the mountains (I was going to be about 25 miles from the highest peak in the range), but I am happy to say that it drove surprisingly well and that the faux-stickshift kept me amused.

My beautiful and brilliant niece had her lovely (and mercifully quick) graduation ceremony, and then a chocolate-themed reception afterwards.

America's next top model

They actually trusted me to make the cupcake tree, and I am happy to report there was only one casualty.

My first chocolate fountain experience where I had to sample at least 2 of everything! (I am such a well-mannered guest.)

We lounged around the next day, recovering from our excesses the night before, and got in a really great visit. I got to tour my SIL's pottery studio and see more of her amazing work. I'm trying to encourage to look into selling on Etsy.

This darling girl is my doggy-niece, Heidi. She's a teddy bear dressed up in a dog-suit.

This is just one of my SIL's fantastic creations. I am seriously in lust.

Then I was home for 2 work-packed weeks, then off again for the lake, which is one of my special "happy places" I go to when I am overly stressed and trying to relax. We go to the Lake of the Ozarks, which is in the Ozark mountains. The lake was formed when the Corps of Engineers built Bagnell Dam and flooded several hundred miles of the rocky valleys. Like most waterfront locations, the older lake cabins and cottages have been torn down and replaced with new, very expensive homes and condos, condos, condos. Fortunately, the lake area is big enough so that there is a commercial side and a quiet side of the lake. We stay on the quiet side, in an old cabin that wasn't built with beauty in mind. It's very quaint and charming and is so different from our home that it truly feels like we've gotten very, very far away from all of the frenzy and stress.

This cabin, which a family member generously lets us use a couple of times a year, is in a small cove where the quaintness hasn't yet been replaced with Stepford dwellings. There's no TV, only the radio. We keep the windows open whenever possible, although there is an air conditioner when it gets too hot and humid. And it does have a bathroom with a shower. The beds are dormitory-style, and we have our pick of numerous types of mattresses. We can't go barefoot in the house once it turns dark because the brown recluses and scorpions sometimes like to come out. And chigger bites (to which I am very reactive) are a given. But it's all worth it.

The main room of the cabin

We had to take 3 of the kittens (Curry was the first to find his forever home) and the puppy. The kittens turned out to be made for the jet-set lifestyle. They were very adaptive to everything and were a pleasure to have along.

Catching up on some reading

Kitty Conga!

Mr. Wolfgang (aka "Barf-Breath") suffered from some wicked car-sickness on the way up. But I remembered some of my training as a motion sickness counselor in graduate school and covered his kennel with a sheet, except for a small window looking straight out the front window and he did much better all the way back. he was afraid of about everything and whimpered a lot when he was in the play yard, even though we were never more than 12 feet away from him. Being raised in a puppy mill will do this to pups, which is only one of the hundreds of reasons why puppy mills are so evil.

Unhappy camper

Word spread immediately that there were some new kids in the 'hood, and by the next evening, Wolfgang had him a little welcoming committee, who hung around for most of the day. That is, until they scored some grilled steak, then they were history. Talk about fair-weather friends.

And speaking of the weather, where the fork do you go when you are under a tornado watch (that means there's at least one on the ground), the radio is telling us there's one headed right to the town we are in, it's 1am in the morning and you're in an old cabin, one-room deep, with a full wall of windows, no basement and nowhere to take shelter except for the scary closet where the brown recluses live? And you have 3 kittens and a jacked-up puppy? And a husband who decides he'd rather sleep than be safe? Thank God the tornado heading our way dissipated before I found out, although the kittens were packed up in their carrier, the puppy on his leash, I had a pile of blankets and had the very good sense to put my container full of yarn into the closet first. With a cover so the spiders couldn't get in.

This blog is getting way too long, so I'll stop here for tonight. But I'll be back (tomorrow hopefully) with my knitting adventures on vacation. And I'm looking forward to visiting each and everyone of you to catch up on your knitting own knitting adventures. Sleep tight!


Nicole said...

What did you do to make your cupcake stand?

Nichole said...

Great pics... nice stash enhancement... you'll have to check out Cottage Yarns next time! ;-) Still can't believe we missed each other by ONE day....

Love the cupcake tower!

Sonya said...

Oh my gosh, where do I start?? Why the yarn of course. Beautiful colors, I can't wait to see what they all become. That is a very beautiulf graduate. Wow, that pottery is wonderful. What a way to have your relaxing lake retreat interrupted! Glad all was safe. You drove thru some amazing country. I will be back later to see what else you did. Glad you are home.
P.S. Evil evil puppy mills.

dogquilter said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time! Chocolate is a marvelous idea for a party and your cupcake tower looks great. I'm with you on the pottery lust too. When it comes to food around here, humans get no respect once the food gets to the pups...at least not until they need a refill!!

Firefly Nights said...

Didn't know they had scorpions in your state. I tend to think of them in the SW part of the country.

I wonder about tornadoes when we're in Michigan. Our cabin has a very awkward crawl space that would be better than nothing but our apartment on Lake Superior is over our garage and there's no basement or crawl space of any kind. I just hope the tornadoes stay away.