15 September 2006

Meat Cake

For the birthday boy--a three-layer meat cake complete with ketchup glaze and mashed potato frosting. What could make a man happier? (Besides, that.)

07 September 2006

Swingin' on the Seventh

My recent experiences have reminded me once again that it is good for one's mental health to run away from home. After escaping to a B&B literally, literally in the middle of freaking nowhere this past weekend and then gallavanting off into the Sheyenne River Valley scenic highways and highways, I have to say that I think we are both feeling much refreshed and renewed.
Does this mean I want to be back at work? No, of course not. However, I feel more adept at dealing with problems here than I was before leaving.
Prior to leaving the solution was either to hide under my desk or shoot hate rays at anyone who was bothering me.
Post-running away, I feel much more available to deal with people reasonably as a human being would do.
This makes the work day go much more smoothly. And it helps to only have a three day week, too.
What can I report about our experiences near Cooperstown, ND? Well, this B&B where we stayed is run by a 73 year old woman who looks 50 and acts 30. Her entire house (a refurbished farmhouse added on to in the most ingenious ways) is completely stuffed with art. Sculpture, painting, drawing, glass work, textiles, etc, etc, etc. It is also filled to the brim with books after books after books after books. She and her husband have lived all over the world, so she had tons of stories of her husband being a military attache and dealing with the KGB when they lived in Russia and so on and so forth--and it was fascinating. Add to this mix random chickens running about the yard (and this was no ordinary farmyard--this was water gardens and sculpture gardens and places just begging to be explored). Add to this the fact that the woman used to throw dinner parties every night at an embassy, so she knows how to cook. It was a good, good time. Fun was had by all. I did yoga in a sculpture garden overlooking the most green prairie I've ever seen in September. I ate peach pound cake three times a day and didn't feel guilty about it. I read books on subjects I didn't know existed. I looked at design magazines and gardening magazines and magazines in other languages. I hung out with my husband on the porch overlooking the Koi fish pond.
Something else we did [mom and dad, you may want to not read this paragraph]: we played a S game. How did this come about? Well, prior to leaving we stopped over at our friends' house, Jason and Becky. Becky was very excited about us leaving for the weekend, and she seemed to be very concerned that we would have good S. She gave us candles to make our room romantic, and then I saw a lightbulb go on in her head, and she exclaimed "We have a S game! You should take it! Here--take it--take the S game!"
Billy: "But, we don't like games. WE don't like board games."
Becky: "It's an S game--you'll like it. Try it out."
Thusly my husband and I ended up in a beautiful B&B in a secluded room on the bed playing....a board game.
If you know us, you know we hate games. But we were trying to be good sports about it.
This game was obviously designed for people who are NOT married and who are frequented with multiple and different paramours at short intervals.
It was kind of ridiculous for we old married types, I guess. Some of the questions were things like, "Share your most depraved s experience with your partner" which is ridiculous if you've only ever had one S partner and you're talkin to him.
Anyway, it was a novel little sort of thing and was good for a laugh and also for the point of being astonished by how some people live their lives. And this lead to more of a philosophical discussion than the result the game intended. Which was just fine. :-)
[Ok, mom and dad, you can start reading again.]
We also drove down the only national scenic byway in ND--it follows the Sheyenne River Valley south of Valley City (and I guess a little bit north). It was a strange experience. It didn't feel like my state at all. It felt like Vermont or something. Lots of rolling hills, gullies, rivers, trees (lots of those), etc, etc. Lots of quaint little towns and little churches and little houses. It is the kind of place that I can see becoming high-end touristy very easily. It kind of made me want to get on the front end of that movement and take advantage of it a little bit.
One of the things on this quest was Destination Writing Rock. The writing rock is a much disputed gigantic rock that someone found in the middle of the prairie that appears to have Tibetan writing on it, and it has been dated 9-10 thousand years old. This is FASCINATING beyond words to me, and I have wanted to see this thing for myself since I heard about it a few years ago. The thing is hotly disputed, some anthropologist going so far as to say that it is a natural phenomenon. But, I look at this thing (at least the pictures), and there ain't nothing natural about it, sister!
So, we tried to find the writing rock which was an ordeal, to say the least--even death defying, but we couldn't get to it, and I was really sad. It was the one disappointment of an otherwise glorious long weekend.
All this to say that I guess there is more to explore outside my own back door than I had realized. It's easy to say that you have to make somewhere far away and glamorous a destination, because it is, but sometimes it is more restful to go somewhere nearby and unexplored.
One more thing: Billy and I are supporting our friends and raising money and walking in an event called Out of the Darkness which is run by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. If anyone has the means to donate money or join the walk, please check it out at www.outofthedarkness.org
We are doing the Island Park walk on October 8th.