I don't quite know what happened to me yesterday but I suspect that stress took me down for a day. As much as I would like to quit thinking about the suicide of my 87 year old dad, it surfaces now and again, to drag me down the rabbit hole. The day that I received the call from the attorney, it became so very evident that I could not conduct business of any kind with the terrible hum and crackle on our phone line. (Yes, I do own a cellphone but cannot use it, here at the house, for actual phone calls.) So began the campaign to get help from AT&T.
Rod is one of those people who seems to relish the verbal combat necessary to mount phone call assaults, to get results, but this line of warfare has lately proven to be useless. After promises and promises and promises to get someone out here to check the line, to no avail, I mounted my own assault, using Social Media. I felt that my only recourse was to slam the lack of caring on the part of AT&T via Twitter. It took only two tweets to catch the attention of someone from the company and before I knew it, I was in contact with someone who seemed to be able to do something about my feeling abandoned by this communication necessity. I received a call from the social media director from The Office Of The President but of course ROD took the phone and I did not make that communication connection. Fail. We did not see the promised lineman that day and so Rod called and left a message, that evening. He called the next morning but nothing again. Then, after a day of waiting, *I* called and amazingly, not long after the call, I received one from a nice man from that office. I had left the message that this was taking its toll on me and that I needed a callback. He was on it. He promised me that a lineman would be here within a 90 minute window and when I told him that I just did not believe it, he PROMISED me that it would happen because he, personally, had been in contact with the local bosses. So, we waited.
Remarkably, before the 90 minute window was up, I got a call from the lineman, who was heading our way, to take care of our problem. Really??? I had to take the puppy to the vet for another shot and so, when I saw an AT&T truck passing me on the road, I waved, "hopeful as all getout". Of course, when I came back up the driveway, Rod told me that he had seen or talked to no one. REALLY???
We waited and waited and finally got another phone call from the lineman, saying, at almost 6 PM, that he had been working on the problem but would come back the next day. Oh...ok.
Yesterday morning, I was startled by the sound of the doorbell (we rarely have anyone ring it, living up here) and there were TWO trucks in the driveway, ready to attack the problem. (!) Rod said that they left him and drove up our dirt access road. By this time, I just could not shake this nausea. Had to lie down. Rod had his usual Wednesday morning company but I told Lorrie that I just could not work, feeling like I would be sick at any moment.
That was it. I went back to bed and pulled the blanket up over my head and stayed there for the rest of the day. I no longer needed to be in battle mode and the pent up worries and sorrow took me down. Do you know what happens, when you stay in bed for 20 hours? Something about being in a car wreck comes to mind.
I am back with the living and the only noise on the telephone line comes from the ringing in my own ears. We have a PS on that whole thing, by the way. We came away with the phone number of the lineman AND the fellow from the President's Office called back and gave us his direct line, promising that the cable/line would be replaced WITHIN two weeks (it has the potential to go south on us, once again) and if it did not happen, in a timely manner, we were to call HIM. Ok, it's a deal.
I have to say that I was very excited, on Saturday night, to receive a copy of the new and glorious Aello Shawl designed by Marnie McLean for the Spring Summer issue of Twist Collective. I was sworn to secrecy for months but can now show you what Marnie created with one skein of our Montreaux. This yarn is a fine lace weight made with Superfine Superwash Merino and silk, which blocks crisply. The colorway that Marnie used is Flanders, which is a beautiful sky blue with tiny sprinkles of colors that remind me of our visit to France, last Spring.
Photos by James Brittain
I hope that you run right over to Twist Collective and get the pattern. The first person to order the yarn purchased it in Silver. Now I have to decide what color I want to use!
Today is picture day. We begin with the new canine addition, which is fitting, because he is about 11 weeks older than Lily. Teejay is a real character and his pal Trixie is bringing him along nicely.
He is now 12 weeks old and a real pistol. I took this photo yesterday, as I was sitting on the glider on the studio porch. It is a peaceful place and one where the dogs like to hang out, but unfortunately, Teejay has no problem with marching through the plants like a bull in a china shop. I love him so much that I can forgive his goofy behavior.
Our new grandbaby is Lily Olivia and she is a real peach, in every way. This is the morning after her birth, when her hair was washed and her face had begun to look a little less like that of a prize-fighter.
Her siblings are in love with her and have been extra sweet with kisses.
We love her to pieces and welcome her to the world.
So, in honor of Lily, I created a couple of colorways. The first one is called Lily O Lily.
The second one is Cherry Blossom.
I love this new fiber colorway, that I call BellyBeans. This is done in Superfine Merino.
Here it is spun and plied. It just makes me happy.
Not much prose, this time. Just new life and happy times, to replace the pain and sorrow. To my dad, I say...I have always loved you and have missed you for a very long time. I hope that you find peace and happiness on the Other Side and if you have the chance to come back again, this time, I hope that the new life will be full of joy.
I know that it has been a long long time since I wrote to you via the blog but I know that there are some people out there who miss the connection. I have had a roller coaster of life events, these past few weeks, beginning with the failure of my 9 year old friend and companion, Tank.
He was beginning to lose weight and was having difficulties with his digestion, which concerned me enough to take him to the vet. The prognosis was that he was going into kidney failure, which the vet seemed to think was brought on to exposure to Lyme Disease. We did everything in our power to keep him going, for about a month, with antibiotics and diet change but in the end, with broken hearts, we took him for his very last car ride and helped him through the drug induced transition that brought the end to his life. To say that we were heartbroken is an understatement but during the long decline, we promised ourselves that we would love again.
Within about two weeks, I responded to an ad by a gal with black lab pups and that next weekend, we packed Sydney into her car seat which was next to the crate that we had not used since we moved the dogs up here, almost 7 years ago. We took a 90 minute ride up the valley to a beautiful ranch with sheep and chickens and most importantly, the mama and papa of the last two male Lab pups. We were greeted by dogs and a very nice couple, who explained that because the sire of the puppies was 10 years old and the husband's hunting dog, they had decided to mate him to their son's Chocolate Lab, with the hopes of securing an heir to the duck hunting prowess of daddy dog. The fellow struggled with who to keep of the two remaining puppies but when he chose the less dominant pup, we traded an envelope for a wiggly 10 week old little boy we named Teejay. He has turned out to be a wonderful little boy and while he will not reach the size of Tank, who was a very big Lab, he is chunky in the English style and a sweet companion for Auntie Trixie. That was one circle of life that was completed, in March. We realized that this puppy came to us to teach us to get ready for the next step, which was to get our energy up to to be grandparents again.
Yes, on Wednesday, the 2nd of April, our daughter Lauren gave birth to the most wonderful 8 pound 2 ounce baby, with a BIG head of hair, our little Lily Olivia. Lauren had told me a couple of weeks before the birth that she had had a dream and the baby looked just like her. Well, she pretty much did, because Lauren was born with a full head of dark curls and little Lily is a beautiful brunette, like her Mama, unlike her light haired sister. She is sweet and her Mama's new little love and we feel very blessed by her arrival. I will, of course, post photos, as I venture back into connecting with you through this avenue.
The second circle of life came together when, on Sunday, I heard from an attorney in Hamilton Montana. He called to tell me that my 87 year old father had died that day. It was such a shock and I did not ask him the cause of death, figuring that he had left his body in his sleep. That was not the case. Dad, who was very independent and going blind (much like my mother) had decided to take his own life. He thought it out very deliberately and took care of all of the details, so that his two daughters would not have to deal with the physical tragedy, choosing to take care of the mortuary and attorney details before leaving this earth. I can tell you that the flood of emotion has been deep and wide but I am coming to terms with his decision, which he put into motion 20 years ago, when he moved away from family, to live in what became his beloved Bitteroot Valley. My sister Dena and I kept in contact with him over the years and when he and I reconciled, I thought that he was actually in a good place. How can an artist be "in a good place" when the eyes go? I guess that this is why he chose to leave us and not become a burden to anyone. He had done so much to keep healthy, giving up so many things that cause disease but according to my eye doctor, it was probably his years and years of smoking that caused the damage to his eyes. We will never know exactly why he left us this way but we both understand and forgive him. A good friend of mine told me that he chose to leave The Cowboy Way. Yeah, I guess so.
So, my friends, this is my story. Death and life. I promise that next time, there will be pictures, to show you the new additions to the family, both human and canine. Life goes on.
I have said it a few time, I know, but I love this time of year, here in the foothills of the Sierra. We have been having real Indian Summer Days and they will be just enough to get those straggler tomatoes to ripen on the vine, before we get hit with Winter. The Pinecone Prognosticators are watching the squirrels and calling for a cold wet one. We'll see and...I hope so.
We spent a delightful Saturday with our West Coast family, enjoying the special qualities of where we live, by playing Tourists and heading up to the Apple Hill region for all of the delights. I, for one, am a big fan of the caramel apple with just a soupcon of chocolate, and while I can no longer enjoy an apple doughnut, the apple concoction really hits the spot!
The grandchildren are growing and changing and I have to say that I love them more, every day. Rod and I really love hanging out with these two, with their witty jokes and asides.This was at the pumpkin patch at Boa Vista, where we go all year for produce, when the farmer's market is disbanded.
Little Syd had her first pony ride and because she is just two, her protective daddy walked around the ring twice, before realizing that this little old soul had this pony riding thing covered. She seems to have done this "before".
This was up at the ever famous High Hill Ranch, which is always the most crowded, but well worth visiting.
So, other news. We are packing the boxes into the truck for our annual trek east, this time only to Rhinebeck, NY, for The NY Sheep & Wool Festival, on the 19th and 20th. It is an exciting event and one that I would not miss! We have a ton of yarn and fiber that is all for our east coast customers!
The final kernel of wonderfulness is that the website is all brand spanking new. I am thrilled with the new look and this change has been in the works for many months and I am just so happy that it is done. Kudos to my friend and web goddess, Holly, for her hard work, with a "bad mousing finger". :-)
Today was a Thursday, which meant that once I washed out some yarn for an order and took care of email, I could "just do whatever I wanted to do", which is a freeing feeling. Fair enough. I have been in pretty great shape for Rhinebeck and have been dyeing for orders and filling Weaver Creek fiber orders but today was a light day, seeing that there is only one more show, this Fall.
I was wasting some time on Facebook, when a photo came across my newsfeed, from the great young gal who bought Annieberries, a children's store on Main Street. She is a clothing designer and turned the kid's toy and clothing store into a clothing and "some toys" store, as well as a place to buy fabric/and or learn to sew (she had a kid's sewing class, this summer, in her old storefront. Here in Placerville, the stores in our old Downtown swap spaces, quite often.) Here was a picture of a display of adorable raincoats and matching boots and well, I was sunk. I made my mind up that it was "necessary" for me to make a trip to town, because the sizes for Syd are always gone first...well, they ARE. This place, her new location, is SO adorable and so is she, which is why, although I know that I need to Beat Feet down there, when something perfect pops up, I also wanted to tell everyone about one of the treasures of Placerville.
You see, Placerville has been having hard times, since '08, being on the highway 50 corridor and being very much a mostly blue collar town, with smatterings of us arty types tucked away, here and there. (We do have a big representation of Tea Party Crabby Old White People, too.) Our area was hit hard because this region, from Placerville "up the hill" to Pollock Pines is where tradesmen make their homes and when the housing industry went poof, so too did the livlihood of so many of my neighbors.
Downtown suffered and there was no money for sprucing up the historic gold rush town, until someone found out about a little known contest put on by the paint company, Benjamin Moore. Actually, the folks who own the olive oil tasting room, next to Heyday, got wind of it and started beating the drum, getting the downtown merchants and people like me (a merchant outside of town) to get people to vote for Placerville in the contest to revitalize Main Streets all over the country, and Canada. Incredibly, we were one of the twenty winning towns and I don't know what it is, but people have hope again. The BM people and historians have come to town to work with the building owners and sometime in the future, the local BM dealer and local paint contractors will get to work on our town.
We have had a terrible eyesore at the corner that once housed the Hangman's Tree bar, which was two buildings ganged together and holding on to one another as they crumbled toward the wrecking ball. Of course, the local historical society put the kibosh on tearing down the buildings and miraculously, someone stepped up to take on the project to restore these buildings that are across the street from our historic hotel. The man hanging by a noose, outside of the old bar, suddenly donned goggles, a work apron and a hard hat, telling us that the miracle was about to begin. Now, the building has been shored up and now is cloaked in scaffolding, with a promise of things to come. The town is turning around.
I love it here and feel more a part of the place, every day.
I talked Rod into going to town for lunch, at Heyday, which is a tiny bistro tucked into an old storefront, complete with recessed door and dual bay windows. It was there that our real estate agent took me to lunch, for my birthday, 6 years ago and still remains a favorite. He and I settled into a high 2-top against the wall and were being dorks, checking our phones and talking about much of nothing. I noticed a very tall young(ish) woman come from the back of the restaurant restroom area, to head back to her table and she had the tell-tale look of someone who was "not well". She was very thin and looked very unhappy and sat at a low table across the restaurant. I kept looking to see if she was with someone but the table was set for one.
While waiting for our lunch, I was fascinated by this gal, who went into the restroom a couple more times. The guy who runs this place, as well as the Independent at the other end of town, came in, which was unusual these days, since the other location opened, and seemed to be standing guard at the front door. He had some words with this young woman and I watched as he motioned for her to sit down. Weird. She got up once more and walked over to the wine bar area and then I stopped paying attention to her because the owner walked out the door and greeted a cop with the canine unit vehicle, who had just pulled up outside of the restaurant. Next thing that I knew, the gal must have gone down the hall toward the restroom and probably out the back door, because the owner and cop came through the chock-full restaurant and out past us.
After they came back through and the cop got the owner to sign the report, the owner left and I got a chance to say something to our young server about the bit of "entertainment" that I had witnessed. She quickly apologized and said that everyone had left the restaurant but her and that the young woman had consumed and thrown up about $95 of food and wine, before making a run for it. I guess that she had done this before and the boss knew her. Fascinating and sad.
After lunch, we walked up Main Street to Annieberries and happened to mention the encounter to the owner and her helper, which got the helper to pipe up about how this young gal is homeless and bulemic and well known in the area. Wow. How tragic is that? What did she steal? Food and 6 glasses of wine, which barely sloshed around in her stomach before repeated visits to the restroom to remove it from her body. What a story and something that would not be noticed in a big city, but here, she is a part of the fabric of our town. Who can help her?
What can I say? I did buy that raincoat and rain boots, tied up with a ribbon, and came home to thank the universe for my good fortune and for that of my family, knowing that "but for the grace of God" this could happen to anyone's daughter. I can only send up prayers that someone can help her, before it is too late.
So, I am still at it and after another Old Friend email (Thanks, Janice) I downloaded Eating Right 4 Your Type and saw that there is a reason why I no longer had acid reflux. The initial change of diet that I made, as you may remember, is that I gave up all grain, which was mainly wheat products. It turns out that this is the most important thing that I could have done for myself, because according to the author, that for people with my Type O blood, wheat is toxic. Ohhhhhh...really. This makes so much sense to me.
It turns out that people with my blood type are built for lots more protein than others, simply because we are outfitted with an abundance of stomach acid, which is there to help us metabolize that food source. Ohhhhhhh...I am eating more protein and have had no acid reflux, for which I was taking acid inhibitors, which caused my heart Pal-pi-tations. Ohhhhhhhhhh...
My hubby has the opposite blood type and can metabolize wheat and not so much meat but because we cut down on all of that stuff, he has not needed antiacids, either. Interesting.
This book is very interesting and has been another aha moment in this journey of mine. I discovered that I can have some rice and rye, if I want to, and they are grains that I have liked, forever. REAL rye bread is VERY concentrated and not that fluffy stuff from Orowheat, which contains...wheat. I also found Ezekial bread in Raley's organic freezer section and we'll see if I really even want it anymore.
A little sugar is not bad for me and I can have oatmeal again, which means that I can slow up on eggs, which were my only go-to for breakfast, for the past two and a half months. Mild ketosis is the name of the game for people with my blood type, which keeps the blood sugar in the right place. So much chemistry...
Now, I have to make sure that Rod eats his peanuts and peanut butter (he could eat it everyday) because for HIM, they are good...for me, bad. It is just quite remarkable, having begun this journey by giving up certain foods because a nutritionist said that I would feel better and now this other nutritionist is reinforcing why this lifestyle is actually right for me. I might never have had the courage to make the change, years ago, thinking that I could never give up sweets and bread but now I find that I do not feel deprived at all. I do have a problem with the demise of dairy and pork, now, but I will take things slow. The main point is that I am never hungry and feel better. I am slowly but surely beginning to shed the layer that has built up on my body, put there by a lifetime of bread, pasta, pizza and delicious home baked treats. Ai-yi-yi!
Of course, the book says that Type O people are built for lots of vigorous exercise and to that I laugh and acknowledge. I need to be out in the yard more and after vacationing with the family, I would love to swim more, but I can do this. I think that I know how, after all of these years of Having No Idea. I have always been a carnivore and now I know why. Rod has always like salads and now I know why. You should check out this book. It might save your life.
I thought that weight gain, steady and creeping, was just a part of getting older, especially for a woman of a certain age, who had weathered the exit from the hormone fueled life of The Fertile Years. It was just life and I had to get used to it. The problem was that since the time that I became pregnant with my firstborn, I was constantly reaching for antiacid tablets, especially at night. It got bad over the past 10 years and I took a acid reducing pill every night and still had flashes of acid reflux that would burn the hell out of my esophogus and cause me chest pain.
I had an episode, a couple of months ago, when after a couple of days of weird heart palpitations which made my heart skip beats, I got Rod to drive me to the local ER, afraid that I was having a heart attack. I was sent home after a battery of tests, assured that I did not have a heart attack but that my blood pressure was high, which was always the case when faced with the doctor or dentist. I did a follow-up visit with my Kaiser doctor and agreed to finally get treated for this high blood pressure and then come in for a fasting blood screening, which revealed high cholesterol, as well.
I did agree to begin taking cholesterol lowering meds, to help bring down the numbers but also, when faced with this news, decided to drop meat and eggs from my diet, eating pasta and bread, along with the heaps of veggies. I thought that I would have begun to lose weight but dropped only one pound, to my dismay, and still had reflux. I could not figure it out.
Enter an email from a friend, who was battling the same issues and who got radical, going on the Atkins diet. I thought it was pretty dangerous but remembering when Rod and I went on a modified Atkins years ago, losing weight, I did not let it go out of my realm of possibilites, especially because she had lowered her BP and cholesterol numbers without medication. Still...no veggies? I was skeptical.
When Rod went away for a train conference, a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon something that caught my attention and spoke to me. I found a dietary PHD who talked about the issues that keep people fat and feeling crappy and I thought that while Rod was gone, I could test out this theory. I would have to give up starchy foods, including corn and potatoes and SUGAR. Holy crap, what would I eat? Well, I would eat eggs, meat, cruciferous veggies and nuts while initially cutting out fruit, dairy and whole grains. I began the diet change and was pacing, staring down that bowl of grapes and lovely bread from the farmers market. It took three days for me to quit feeling deprived and when Rod came home, I told him what I was doing, telling him that I had no intention of keeping him from anything. I realized that what the dietician was saying made sense, that sugar and things in processed foods are addictive and industry knows this, getting us to buy and consume more and more, while telling us that the low fat something or other will help us shed pounds. BS.
My clothes are looser and I am losing weight. I no longer miss sugary cereal or bread or pasta or pizza. One other thing that I discovered was that there was a study which pointed out that the medication that I was taking, to cut the acid that fired up my esophogus at night, could cause...Heart Palpitations. You know what? Since dumping sugar, flour, corn and potatoes from my diet, I no longer have acid reflux. NONE. Coincidence? I don't think so, because Rod, who is dragged along on this journey, is no longer taking the Zantac. Hmmm...
So, the big test will be the blood tests. I asked my doctor to take me off of Lipitor, because since beginning the medication, I have been having terrible muscle tightening back pain. It was so hard to work and I was worried that it was either the meds or that I suddenly was going down hill, for some reason. The telling thing is that I got off of the meds for two days, when Rod was gone, not being able to remember it at dinner time, as well as taking both meds in the morning. When I got back on it, the searing back pain from working over the dye table started to be debilitating again.
My doctor agreed that I should stop the Lipitor and I have had no muscle cramping since removing it from the line-up. Hmmm. He told me to exercise and improve my diet, which I have been doing, and take a blood test in two months. That will be the telling thing, for me. Let's just say that I can once again bend in my garden and lift heavy dye pots without seizing up.
I feel like a science experiment but if these changes help me to get all of these years of sugar toxins out of my system, I will be happy. I feel no knawing hunger and feel so much better, already. Real food seems to be the key and the next test will be on the road for Stitches Midwest. I am sure that I will find lots of good food that I CAN eat...at a grocery. I will keep you posted. One day at a time.
The Rhone river becomes Off Limits to large River Ships and we had to make a turn, to go up the much more tame Saone, as our journey moved into Burgundy. We also felt the rains that were going to be the bain of the rivers, as the second half of our journey.
Lyon is at the confluence of the two rivers and as we left, we peeled away from the other two ships to which we had been ganged, there in a wide spot in the Rhone. We watched as our upriver facing ship made a slow left arc away from the dock, heading back down river in time to make a right turn around the island that divides the two rivers. We were going to change our whole existence and be sailing up the Saone.
These buildings were put up in an area that has gone through major changes. Check out the orange one!
As we sailed further up the Saone, we came upon the old parts of town that we had walked through, with the smaller copy of the Eiffel Tower, up on the hill, near the cathedral that locals refer to as the upside down elephant. The building on the hill was a convent, if I remember correctly.
Our goal for the day was to get to Macon and it was a long rainy day to out destination, which was only a dock for the night. Our breakfast entertainment was the scenery of the passing Beaujolais and Burgundian landscapes, which were very beautiful on this quiet river. We were joined by lots and lots of swans on this leg.
We had a short docking in a town called Tournus so that those of us who did not want to miss the the ruins of the Benedictine Abbey in Cluny could bundle up and head off on a bus. It was Capital R raining but I found the countryside to be charming.
When we arrived in the village of Cluny, there was a dressage event taking place, with lots of soggy riders slogging through it, while their soggy parents watched. We, however were here to see the ruins of what had been the greatest cathedral in the world, before St Peter's was built in Rome. We got the tour of the areas where the huge church once stood and here you can see the entrance to the back of the picture and to the sides are buildings from the salvaged bones of the church, which built the homes of villagers.
What remains of this colossus is one portion of the building, which has been preserved.
After our tour of the cathedral ended, we were free to walk around the village and although it was really coming down, Rod and I braved the rain to wander around the charming Farmer's Market. I was impressed with how they do it, in France. None of this throwing up an Easy-up for some of these vendors...no, it was more like some food trucks that you see at a fair, with a trailer that opens up to show off the refridgerated cases of meats and fish. I LOVED it.
The region is know for the cheese...
How about THIS for fast food?
We actually avoided buying any food from the vendors and got our soggy selves back to the bus, seriously ready to get back to the ship at the last stop of our journey, where we would have lunch, before heading out again for the main tour of Chalon-sur-Saone. More to follow.
It was not long after we left Vienne that we pulled into Lyon, with the previous night's caveat that we were beginning to enter a "big city" and it was now time to begin really watching out for pickpockets or purse snatchers. We had lunch on the boat and lots of people had made plans to attack the city with the hopes of finding silks and "tissue" (fabric), if they were quilters or collectors. Rod and I set off with our city map in hand and went off to see if we could find the L'Atelier de Soierie factory. Man, we wandered and wandered and never found the place but had a real dose of a city shopping district and large open square, which was over an underground car park. It was actually HOT and every French person that we saw had broken out the sun dresses and shorts and after such a long wet winter, were cavorting around, with their giant bottles of water. (I always grabbed one of the offered water bottles as we left the ship) Cranky and hot, I was disappointed by not finding the one thing that Lyon had always been known for, which was the silkworkers.
Some of the other shipmates took off with the chef (who was the company's executive Chef and who I called La Grande Fromage) to the Paul Bocuse chef's marketplace. Yeah...I should have done THAT...
The surprise that happened during the cocktail hour was that three people from that Atelier that we did not find, brought silks and did a lecture about their screen printing techniques. Needless to say, the scarves were devoured by all of us women, whose husbands said "go for it". One for daughter, one for daughter-in-law and one for me. Score. Now to wait for autumn, so that I can enjoy wearing mine.
Dinner that evening was a fabulous feast with lots of the special things that Madame Chef picked up. I was ready for bed, that night, believe me. I always loved how she would "sell" her menu picks, telling us how the sauces were made and telling us that the tenderness of the meat or sweetness of the dessert were like her (she enjoyed food, let's just say)
The next morning was to be our official tour of Lyon, with the local guides, who took us through the old part of the city, some 2000 years old. We got there early, before the sidewalks would begin to fill with tables and had these cobled alleyways to ourselves. Our guide was the first of a couple of guides who had a penchant for pastries and she made certain to point things out to us, as we meandered, tethered to her by our Tourist Whisperers. She spent some time having us try to guess what the red coloring in certain local pastry delicacies came from and when she said "you will never guess", I piped up Cocheneal? Yes, bugs.
One of the most fascinating parts of the ancient city is the secret passageways. We were standing in a street with our guide and out of a double door, came a family. I assumed that they lived there and were heading out for the day. Nope. We went in through that same door, into and out of a series of walled-in alleyways, which went into and through walled in courtyards and passages.
I would never have guessed that they were there and yet we did cut-throughs along streets, which made the old city kind of a warren. Fascinating, to say the least. She left us in the area, with instructions about how to get back to the bus, which took us back to the ship.
Now was our finite time to wander and shop and press our noses against the glass. I wanted something for Lorrie and was thrilled to see so many top notch artisans among the touristy shops. We went in here and if it weren't for the fact that the shoe constrution was pretty flat (sans support) I could have lost myself, in this cobbler's shop. I should have taken more time and actually tried things on but felt the time constraint, which is now making me kick myself with my non-handmade shod foot. I guess that I kept thinking that I should "wait for Paris"...bad idea!
I had to take a picture of this wine shop, because of our Kiwi friend, Maurice.
When we returned to our docking place, spritzed our hands with hand sanitizer, we were greeted by the wait staff with sparkling cider and an array of Charcuterie specialties, leading us to lunch. Fancy pantsy. Oh yes, and the Portuguese lady, whom I referred to as "Mother" left us a quite wonderful and tall swan for our towel sculpture of the day. Such fun.
The afternoon and evening was spent sailing up the Rhone, under beautiful clear skies, waving at bargemen and people on the sides of the river, as the classical music surrounded us. Yes, heavenly.