We did spend 3 of the last 4 weeks in the US. Kevin wanted to go to the World-con in LA (science fiction convention) and to Dragon Con with his friend Steve in Atlanta. I thought that sounded like too much conning for me, but I was not interested in being left alone here in Aspley. So, I went home. It was fun to visit with my mom and family. We went to the Great Darke County fair not once, not twice, but three times! The last time was pretty sad- everything was closing down. No goats or dogs left- (no pigs, either, but you know how I feel about those of the porcine persuasion... I think I passed my national boards in spite of missing every single swine question.) No flowers. The Fine Arts building was roped off with only those stopping by to retrieve a entry allowed in. Still, they charged full admission. We did plenty of shopping and eating of pie: pumpkin, black raspberry, apple, key lime! Here in the underworld there is very little pie eating. I'm pretty much motivated to figuring out how to make my own. We'll see how far I go with that idea.
August 27 was my Uncle Carroll's 80th birthday. This required two parties. One he planned and an improptu one on the actual 27th. Improptu BUT including the birthday lobster. (Photo here would be nice.)
We visited the Johnny Appleseed museum at Urbana University (http://www.urbana.edu/appleseed.htm). It is really challenging to create a museum for the public for a man for whom there are no photos, pictures, or artifacts. Really, I think the only thing that was really of John Chapman was a piece of bark from one of the apple trees he planted. (If I had been paying more attention I could tell you the name of the family for whom this tree still grows and where it is. Maybe attention isn't the problem. Maybe it is storage or retreival.) A husband and wife team of docents? curators? tackled us at the door and talked us through the exhibits (and more!) for I'm guessing a good hour. It was interesting that although this organization is trying to educate the public on the real John Chapman as opposed to the Disney image a good proportion of their stuff is directly from Disney. Posters. Records (33 1/3 rpm- remember?). Tin pot hats for the kids to wear. They did have a decent sized bookcase of documents from people who knew John- though (I'm pretty sure of this) there are no writings OF John Chapman known to exist. More interesting to me was being back on the UU campus. Once upon a time I taught there. It was my first grown up, full time job. (Why, you may ask, is the Johnny Appleseed museum at UU? Urbana University is actually a religious school founded by the Swedenborgans (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emanuel_Swedenborg). Chapman was a missionary for the church and was instrumental in getting a college established. Plus, he planted a bunch of apples in Ohio.)
We did NOT get to see the production of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". It was rained out. Does Australia have a history of similar literature? Or, does one need a halloween mentality to create it? I thought it would be appropriate to list the website for the performance (except there really ISN'T one- at least not a cool one) so I googled it. Instead, I came up with the following site from the state of Ohio- featuring ghost tours of the Mansfield prison.
"In 1984, the Mansfield Reformatory Preservation Society saved the building from demolition and began restoring it as an important piece of Ohio history. Meanwhile, its darkened halls and dusty cellblocks attract visitors who are curious about prison life or who’ve heard that the Travel Channel placed the prison on both its “101 Things to Do Before You Die” list and its “Scariest Places on Earth” list. Even cheerful visitors are sobered by the cramped and ugly cells, grimy walls, peeling lead-based paint, and rusting bars, while susceptible people stare nervously over their shoulders and hustle to keep up with the tour guide. A few even swear they feel something unnatural in the air.
The MRPS agrees. Each year, they host a number of ghost hunts (the first of their kind), and hundreds of people come from all over the world, armed with flashlights, still and video cameras, thermometers, notebooks, and other ghost-hunting equipment, to search for supernatural activity. According to tour guide Jan Urban (AKA “Queen of the Ghost Hunts”), some seem to find it, too. A cold breeze in a still room, a mist glimpsed out of the corner of an eye, a photograph of an empty cell that develops with a shadow or a gout of flame that no one saw with the naked eye... proof, at least to some, that something was there. "
How cool is that?! Are there ghosts in Australia? http://www.ohiotraveler.com/october.htm
Continuing on the Halloween theme- Went to the news agents today just to see if I could find a magazine that included any Halloween ideas. NOT A ONE! The US magazines were all old (August) and there weren't many of those (Good Housekeeping, Oprah- I think that was all!) No Halloween cards for sale! Oh my! Guess I'll be busy making my own decorations- though my mom and Marianna sent some to me, too. There is always pumpkin for sale at the grocery- but it is typically sold in pieces. I'll have to look around to find a jack-o-lantern worthy one. Wonder if there are any local ordinances against putting candles inside produce?
Getting back to our trip- Zelda spent the time at the Pet Resort, "The Pines" where- get this- she made a friend! The individual runs faced into a center exercise area- with real grass! I tried to play down her antisocial nature when I dropped her off. "She doesn't have much experience with other dogs." While her run was prepared she was placed in the center courtyard. Two wiggly, exuberant cockers (housed together) ran to their fence to meet the new dog! meet the new dog! meet the new dog! They were beside themselves with joy. Zelda was intrigued enough to approach them- tail held very stiffly pointing at the sky. That's my girl. "Who wants to know?!" Anyway, she and Elsie, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, got along famously. They were joined in their shared distaste for dogs. I think this friendship means that the caretakers were able to put Zelda and Elsie out together without any growling or chasing or lunging (not that I've seen Zelda behave in such a way with other dogs....) because they totally ignored each other. Neither was inclined to sniff, play bow, run at, or approach the other- and so peace and friendship was established.