Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Prairie Home Companion- The Hat Fiasco

We heard Garrison Keillor on NPR radio for the past year. Checked out his shows from the library in audio book form for our vacation and laughed heartily while listening. I'm from Minnesota originally so I find his Minnesota humor funny. He really can be funny. So I was looking forward to his performance at the Chautauqua Institute in New York, about an hour away.

We picked up my in-laws and headed to Chautauqua with the threat of thunderstorms overhead. We got there early and got a good seat. Just a couple of rows back from the roped off area and I was sitting second left from the end of the row. We were enjoying ourselves. I took a few photos of my in-laws and my husband and me and then put my camera away. No cameras were allowed during the performance.

It was still about 30 minutes from the starting time when a woman behind me grabbed my shoulder and told me to take my hat off. My hat had a small brim on it but was down on my head and didn't stick up higher than my hair would have. The brim on the side was pushed down so it didn't stick out any more than my hair would have before I had it cut short this past week. Other women wore much bigger hats, even some men had hats on that had brims. I wasn't blocking her view in the slightest as Garrison would be up on stage which is high enough and in the middle that everyone could see him and the seats are raised in stadium style so people behind are higher (check out the photo below) than the people in front. We were sitting on the end of the row to the left of the stage. I was horrified at her demand. I said, "No, my hat is part of my outfit plus my hair is smashed down under it and I'll have "hat head." I told her I didn't think it would block her view and I scooted over closer to my husband who was seated on the very end of the row to make sure she had a clear view. Then her husband said I was being just another a**.

My husband put him in his place. The snooty woman's husband replied that he was saying it to his wife (but he wasn't.) I could have switched places with my husband and sat on the end but my husband is over a foot taller than me so then she would have her view blocked which in retrospect I wished I had done.

Any other time I'd have taken off my hat just because someone told me to. In fact, I don't really like wearing hats. But in the anticipation of the event I went out and got my hair cut. Short in the back, longer in the front and I gave the hair dresser a photo of what I wanted it to look like which I have below.

But this is what I got.

It was so chopped and is only a 1/2 inch long up at the top where it suddenly gets long. The one side is longer than the other. It is a mess but too short to do anything about unless I want to go short all over which I look terrible with. So I'll wear a hat for a few summer months and then see if it can be fixed. I almost was thinking of not going to the performance but decided I'd wear the hat. And the one time I wear a hat I get called an a**.

I tried to put that behind me to enjoy the performance. Garrison came out and sang some sing-a-long songs which I didn't care for much. He was solo, this wasn't a recorded radio show. It was kind of boring. He mostly made Lutheran jokes which is part of his thing. I don't know if Lutherans laugh about it or not but I just don't care for it. Then he had some risque and pee jokes which I think only little boys and old men and embarrassed little old ladies would snicker at and they were. I looked around and thought man, all these old geesers are laughing their fool heads off. They must be on medication. I knew then that I must not be shaking my bad mood off from the episode with the snooty lady.

Everyone was taking photos even though they weren't suppose to. Flashes were going off left and right. Not one to be left out and trying to get to enjoying myself again, I took out my little pocket-sized camera and took two flashless photos (that were totally out of focus and blurry)

and suddenly, out of nowhere, a woman "greeter" leaned over my husband and told me there is no photography. I looked at her, then looked at about 5 people in our immediate area taking flash photos at that very moment and then back at her. She said, "I know everyone is taking them but they aren't suppose to so put yours away." I put it away. I looked at my husband for support and he shrugged his shoulders with a smile and said, "You aren't suppose to take photos." Sigh. No one else all night was told to put their camera away. Everyone else with a camera except me was taking photographs. I was singled out from thousands of people. Must have been the hat, the hat made me stand out.

Then Garrison started on a story-telling marathon which he does well. But I had heard it before or a story almost the same (a few change-ups) that was told on the audio book we listened to while on vacation just last month. I still got a few chuckles out of it but the second time around just isn't as funny as the first time you hear something. I was hoping for new material.

The program was two plus hours and on those antique wooden benches my back and butt was hurting after one. That last hour was a killer. When it was finally over and we were walking, what seems like 1/2 mile, out to the parking lot in the dark, the lightning started, thunder, and a long, long downpour that drenched us all while we were herded like cattle through the gates. We were left to stand in the downpour waiting for the crossing guards to let us pass. What power they wield with those lighted red sticks. We were packed like sardines and the lady in front of me had her umbrella positioned so the run-off landed on my stomach and legs. At that point I stopped saying to myself, "what else could go wrong." And it has rained ever since, flooding our area.

I'm not whining (but maybe I am,) I'm just saying it was one of "those" days.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Geocaching Fun (photos)

What a weekend we had! Friday night the Penguins won the Stanley Cup. Saturday we got most of the garden work done and Sunday afternoon we went geocaching and fishing in Oil Creek State Park.

When we got near Titusville, I pulled out my GPSr and followed the route outside of Titusville to an old cemetery. The headstones dated back to at least 1845. We followed the arrow on my GPS until we were back in the woods. We looked and looked. I was just about ready to give up because there was so much growth that you couldn't see anything. I looked at a log. I wondered.

I took my walking stick and gave it a little push.

I was pretty proud of myself finding this one.

I logged in on the logbook and hid it back the way it was for the next geocacher. Then we headed to the next geocache and it, too, happened to be a cemetery one. These old cemeteries are way out in the woods. This next one had weird GPS readings. The arrow kept changing one way or another. The geocacher that hid the cache warned about this problem in that particular location. We were so fascinated with the fence and cemetery flowers and headstones that it wouldn't have mattered if we found it or not.

The gate was so pretty

The caches are usually hidden outside the cemeteries not right in them. After we came out of the cemetery we did a once around one more time where the GPSr was pointing and it gave me 0 feet left. I knew it had to be there. And it was!

This one happened to be in an ammo box. I like those caches the best. They are easier to find than the micro caches. Inside are lots of little trinkets. Families that geocache love these because the kids get to pick something to take out of the box.

If you take something, you are suppose to add something of equal or greater value. We haven't taken anything yet in our geocaching. We need to go buy a few little things so we can add to the boxes.

The next geocache was at a spring along the side of the road and hidden somewhere nearby was the cache. We couldn't find it. We found the spring, though and it was pretty neat but I wasn't going to go hiking up a slippery cliff looking for it with traffic whizzing by at 55 mph so we went to the next one.

Another cemetery. I didn't realize I was going to be going to 3 cemeteries today. We just were taking them in order of "the nearest to our present position." The next one was a lost cemetery in the state park. The trail was just about non-existent and we literally had to bushwack through the underbrush and growth, much which was thorny berry bushes to get to it. My husband had shorts on. :-o

We were suppose to use a certain headstone as a clue to replace a letter in the coordinates to the actual cache. Well, that didn't go too well because the coordinates were in a different format than what I had on my GPSr and I didn't know how to change it. We scouted around a bit to see if we could spot the actual cache but there was so much brush it was impossible. We came across this nearby.

When I saw the yellow pipe I knew what it meant. I had just read last week that Oil Creek State Park people were going to comb the park in grids looking for old gas and oil wells and dangerous holes from such and mark them with the yellow pipes. This old oil well (or gas) had what looked like a deep hole all around it. Without the right coordinates, we didn't know how far the cache could be from the headstone or in which direction. We left without finding the cache. It was too dangerous to just scout outside the trails until the park marks all the hazards.

It was time anyway to get decked-out in our waders and hit the creek flyfishing for trout and small-mouth bass. The weather and temperature were perfect. The hatch was good. My husband caught lots of fish. I caught 2 bass. The flute of the wood thrush was sounding for quite some time at dusk, it was beautiful. A raccoon appear near us and was hunting crayfish and two Great Blue Herons were down stream in silhouette. Several ducks flew overhead in the failing light. It was totally dark with fireflies blinking away and a light chill in the air when we slowly made our way out of the creek. It was all so much fun!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How I've Changed!

I just gave up my personal blog with a host site. I refused to pay $107 for something that I could do for free. Plus the time factor just isn't there anymore to maintain a blog regularly. I have my GoErie blog This Old Erie House that will take up my time as well as Facebook. Twitter not so much but I still check it out to try and catch up.

So, I'm back to my old blog here. I checked out my blogging posts from back in June 2005. (My old posts can be seen on the side bar by month and year.)

I read some of my first entries and thought, wow, I was much more happy-go-lucky and not so negative back then. I had high hopes for Erie and my house. Now I'm a realist. My house is sooooo much work it drags me down sometimes. Erie will always stay the same no matter who is in office.

That may be why lately I took up bird watching. Watching birds give you a sense of freedom. The challenge of getting that perfect photo or video keeps you coming back. Birds are beautiful to watch. Then there is my new love. Geocaching. I'm only into my 5th successful find but it was fun. I don't like the city hides as I feel like I'm a suspect, trying not to be seen finding the geocache. I like the state park geocaches that you have to hike into the woods to find. You see all kinds of wildlife which is the "real" treasure, I think.

My old posts didn't stay in boundaries of any particular subject. I think I'll return to my roots on that.