Karen, Me, Alexis, Kobe, Dad

My sister flew in from Seattle for Father’s day weekend to hang out with Dad & Karen and Gramps and Tom. It was quite the family weekend. Red eye flights, shopping down town, genealogy exploring and circus playing.

Of course, any time I head to my Mom’s house I pack in my hoops and my fire fans. Open space? Yes please! Mom is so much better at hooping than either of us! Even though I ended up bruised and sun burnt, it was a great afternoon in the sun.

This time as I was throwing my fans and fire box in my car I heard “Performing fire?” Um, yes. Who are you and how did you know that?? Most people have no idea what my fire fans are when I’m carrying them around. Apparently my neighbor is a tattoo artist and sees fire performers at conventions. Awesome! I left my second set of fans with Mom so she can practice. (She promised not to try lighting them till I’m back though. Safety first!!)

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Exploring the Mountain

Before heading to Mom’s to terrify myself with the fire fans, I stopped by Jen and Andrew’s new house. They closed a week or so ago, and have been settling in. The house is set midway up a mountain, which means a very steep driveway, and what looks to be an interesting but not terribly accessible forest. Jen and I took the dogs up the mountain, exploring the new property. It is incredibly steep. Dee Dee, of course, is a well-seasoned hiker and bounded ahead. Nora was more hindered by the pricker bushes and ended up wandering back down the mountain and into the neighbor’s garage. Ever the neighborhood politician.
What a view. I can’t wait to see how it changes with the seasons. Jen and Andrew have an absolutely beautiful house, I’m very happy for the two of them.

Chilling by Sunfish Pond

But it was still nice to get outside. Of course it rained. Its become the big joke- is it pouring? Jen and Nicole must have gone backpacking. This year we were planning for an easy trip- up to Sunfish Pond, camp at Backpacker II for the night, tool around the pond, camp at Backpacker II again and head back in the morning. Somehow hiking through the rain to a new campsite is more appealing than hanging out getting soaked or sitting in a tent waiting for it to stop. So we bailed. We also had our first camping catastrophe.  When the rain first started we were just cleaning up dinner. We were rushing to get our food stuff together to throw into the bear box, Jen threw Dee Dee in the tent so we wouldn’t have to smell wet dog all night. I thought that was pretty smart. Until Dee Dee ripped her way out of the tent.

Bad Dee Dee!

Luckily some of the guys camping near us had duck tape (we were the most ill-prepared for this trip that we’ve ever been). The tape didn’t work 100%, but the thunderstorms all night kept the rest of the bugs to a minimum. I’m going to bring the tent to REI this week after work, I’m a member, so I’m pretty sure they will patch it or replace it or something. They have the best customer service. Also going to pick up a patch kit, should’ve incorporated that into my gear list way earlier for sure.

The group of guys near our camp site really had it figured out. Four friends- enough to carry all the fun things. Like a large tarp. So they could hang out outside while it was raining. Yeah, we need to get a bigger group together- you can bring way more stuff up with you that way! Those guys made pancakes for breakfast. We sat their drinking our tea and eating granola and I plotted ways to rope other people along for the trip. Perhaps next year we’ll actually break away from Sunfish Pond. It is lovely, but the hike is fairly familiar now, and I’d like a change of scenery. Hiking in the Shenandoahs next year has been tossed around… who’s coming with us???

Photo of doing something "Icelandic" for a contest to win a trip

sunset in Jersey

Yeah, I needed this. The weather was beautiful. There were some foxes playing in the yard, but it was too dark to get a photo. Lightning bugs streaked up from the yard. I finally got to wear my black ribs suit (again, too dark for a photo, it was a night swim) and set off the fireworks I bought ages ago. The night wasn’t quite what I expected,  but the water was warm, and the close friends good. Hotter in the city, but its nice to be home again.

VNA Far Hills, NJ Spring Rummage Sale

First weekend in May means time for the VNA rummage sale! Of course, after a weekend sorting through Gramps’ attic the prospect of elbowing my way through crowds for some new used Stuff wasn’t supper attractive. However, the weather was forecast to be beautiful, I was looking forward to seeing a good friend I haven’t seen in ages, and its tough to pass up a nice opportunity to curl my toes in the Hunterdon County grass. Throw in Mother’s day weekend, and a trip to NJ was pretty inevitable. Turned out to be quite nice. I kept my buying to a minimum, mostly focusing on costume materials for the upcoming fire performance (in July).

strange shoes

I did, however, buy these shoes. They’re like decapitated cowboy boots. Or elf shoes. Or shoes to wear when hiding in cottages deep in the woods, planning on how to kidnap children and ply them with candy to get them nice and plump for whatever various spell you plan to cast. Yeah. They’re ridiculous. They don’t look too awful from the side. But from the top… the toes seem to get longer and pointier. I don’t know how I’ll wear them. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to leave the house with them on my feet. But they were the strangest shoes I’ve ever seen, and were $8 and I couldn’t turn away from the challenge.

Other than the shoes, I picked up a few shirts, the aforementioned costume materials, some nice lace curtains and a cute little clay pot that I intend to keep filled with flowers from my front garden. Which, by the way, has increased by another pot. Which I didn’t buy. Its the same kind my block captain gave me after the last planter was stolen, so pretty sure its from her. I’ll ask her about it when I see her, and I put a little note on the pot that says “Thanks!”

playing with the hoop

Hanging out at my Mom’s house on Saturday meant that I could finally play around with my hoop without worrying about flinging it at a car or over my backyard wall into the neighbor’s. I got her in on it, and the two of us tried, with varying levels of success, to do more than just spin the thing around our waists. Those hooper girls make it look so easy, and let me tell you- it isn’t. We spent just as much time falling over laughing as we did hooping. We both agreed some instruction could do us some good. I left my hoop with her, as I’m going to be getting another one from Lauren. She made my first, too. I love it, but its really huge, which is what you’re supposed to use for practicing, but in close quarters in the city, its a bit unwieldy. I hope Mom has some fun with it!

After the craziness that was yesterday, sitting back and reflecting on the lovely weekend I had with my mom and friends is quite relaxing. I swear, I biked around half the city yesterday, mostly in a mad rush-panic. Anger at my own stupidity and frustration at other interactions made me one of those crazy bikers who cuts in front of cars and generally rides like a jerk. I’m sorry to anyone who’s path I crossed and angered…. in this beautiful fall weather there really is no reason to have such a hot head!

Mikes CD

Mike's CD

Anyway, about the weekend past: Well, it was time for the VNA again. Oldest and largest rummage sale in NJ! I’ve missed it the last couple go-arounds, so was very glad that schedules worked out this season. Mom and I spent a fair amount of time in the car, from turning down an ever-narrowing road on the way home from the train (a very Alice in Wonderland moment… ) to the Pattenburg Inn and all its wildness, the VNA to Martinsville to an empty lot of Rakkasah-two-weeks-early… every stop had something strange and interesting, and the whole weekend felt like a road trip.

driving up to the VNA

driving up to the VNA

I got to catch up with a lot of friends I haven’t seen in years at Mike Frank’s cd release party at the Pattenburg Inn, which was wonderful. A late night though, so Saturday started slowly. Lots of random run-ins filled the day, complete with some good shopping (but not over-shopping for once!) at the VNA. I can never get over how massive the rummage sale is. So hard to describe to people… a neccessary experience.

Measuring the window

Measuring for a window blanket

Our plan was to end our Saturday at Rakkasah.  We always get lost on the way there- without fail. This year, amazing. Smooth sailing. Took just the right turns, no problems. We pull into the lot- empty. I don’t know why I thought it was the first weekend in October, but it was not to be. A trip to Rakkasah can never go smoothly with the two of us! It was a fun day anyway, and perhaps better that we didn’t spend too much money on dance goods.

Excited!

Excited!

The weekend closed off with Sippin’ on the River for Chelsea’s birthday. Not sure I’d do the event again, but it was nice to be outside and with friends. Although I’m surprised water wasn’t more readily available at an event centered around beer tasting…

As full as the weekend is, I still have quite a few tasks ahead of me- the Halloween costume is getting near-top priority right now. So fast approaching!! I’ll carve out some time this weekend, and if I’m lucky even get some autumnal themed baking in there!

(**PS- I hate the way my wordpress deals with photos, so tough to get a good layout! Sorry for the sloppiness of it all….**)