Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 30, 2007

OK! Now we're cookin' with gas! I hope this is an easier way for you to read my letters and see my pictures, too! I've put the May 17 letter on this blog, as well as a letter about the last leg of our Mexican trip. Robert put in some pictures--they're not ones I would have chosen, but he tried to show some of the things I wrote about. The first picture shows the Queretero acquaduct, and the second one is the Temple of Quetzalcoatl. We haven't figured out yet how to put in photo captions.

I've been extremely busy lately with volunteer work--most of it involving the cat shelter. When I get home at night I make dinner, then disappear into the basement, where I'm putting together hundreds of pins and magnets shaped like kitty faces. I make them out of painted poker chips, on which I glue whiskers, noses, ears and eyeballs. I'm also making "grown-up" kitty pins, of two cats with their arms wrapped around one another. These are cut out of clay, cured in an oven , then painted. They require a lot more work. I'm also crocheting dozens of colorful pouches, to be worn around the neck, and used to stow sunglasses or cell phones. I've got to get all of this stuff ready for Beacon's hippie-dippy Strawberry Festival on June 10, where I'll be manning a booth, selling the pins, T-shirts and other cat stuff. I may also be painting cat faces on kids again. I am expecting I'll be good and exhausted after six hours or so of that.

The Strawberry Festival is a fun day, down on the waterfront, with music and lots of kids and dogs running around. It is run by the Beacon Sloop Club, an environmental group. They sell homemade strawberry shortcake and give free rides on their sloop, "Clearwater." Later in the year the same group puts on a Corn Festival and a Pumpkin Festival. I hope we have good weather.

Two weekends ago was the Beacon Hat Parade. Beacon was once a big hat manufacturing center, and the home of many famous hat designers, back when everybody wore hats (Quick! How many famous hat designers can you name?) (Yeah. Me, neither...) and the parade is supposed to celebrate that part of the town's history. I thought it might be a good opportunity for some goodwill for the cat shelter, so I made myself a chapeau covered with cats and flowers. You would think a hat this gorgeous would have won an award, but I couldn't compete with the guy who wore a ferry boat and Bannerman's Island, or the lady wearing a horse barn and paddock, or the guy who had a whole working puppet theatre on his head. It was still fun.

This last weekend I volunteered to work at the SCATS sale. This is a combined yard sale, held by an animal rescue organzation across the river. They run a second-hand shop, and once a year they set up a huge yard sale in the parking lot of a pet food store, and invite local rescue groups to set up tables there. At the end of the day all the money is pooled and divided among the groups, and best of all, SCATS loads up all the stuff that doesn't get sold, and hauls it back to their store! We had about a dozen people there from our cat shelter, working all day. We worked hard, got sunburned, and made about a thousand dollars.

I also offered to sell raffle tickets for a Mets baseball game to the millionaire attorneys at my office. You know, it's DANGEROUS, trying to sell Mets tickets-- to Yankees fans! I practically got blasted out of a couple of offices!

You would all of these activities are enough volunteer stuff for one person for one month, but no. My high school class is celebrating its 35th reunion, and I offered to put together a booklet, updating what my classmates have been doing all this time. The internet makes it a little easier, I suppose. It has been fun, trying to find people. I've sent out a lot of questionnaires, but people are taking their time to respond. I'm afraid I'm going to get buried in them at the very last minute.

I called my Mom to tell her that Robert and I will be driving in on the weekend of June 23rd, for the reunion. She then called me, twice, to ask if we couldn't possibly come on another weekend, instead. Our dear pipe Major, Ken Jones, was being honored at the Highland Games in Alma, Michigan, and his three daughters were coming up from Virginia for that. There was going to be a band reunion of sorts, and Mom wanted the whole family to go to that, also she said there was going to be a family get-together involving my nieces from Chicago. So Robert and I changed plans. We told her we'd drive out for the Memorial Day weekend (Robert HATES to travel on holiday weekends, with the increased traffic) and I bought a non-refundable plane ticket for myself, for just one day, so I can attend the reunion later on. We had theater tickets that we couldn't change for a different date so we gave them away (the THIRD play we would have missed this season from our season ticket subscription) and got vacation time approved and did all the stuff necessary to take off on Thursday after work.

Then everything got confusing. It seems there wasn't really any family get-together planned, and Mom wasn't planning on going to the reunion. We decided not to drive out, under those circumstances, and we'll try to do that later on thjs summer. Maybe we'll throw a big party to celebrate my mother's new deck. So Robert and I spent the long weekend doing what we NEEDED to do--backed-up house and yard work. Our neighbors saw us, still at home, and insisted on giving us our theater tickets back (a musical based on Jekyll and Hyde) so we got to go to that, and enjoyed it.

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