I am glad that we visited Boston, a couple of years ago, walking all over creation, down Boyleston and then around the freedom walk. I had feet on the ground and ancestors in the cemetery plots and had to go buy some gloves, because I was not tough enough for a Boston Autumnal morning, I felt a connection to this town.
I have friends who went to Berklee and thought that they would never survive the Winter and to that I say, you have got to be a tough customer to live there. Hell, I had Pilgrim Ancestors on that boat but don't think that I am tough enough for a Boston Winter but there is a special something about the people of Boston and how they handled the outrageous and murderous explosions, this past Monday. People were saved because folks rushed to their aid, instead of running for their own lives.
Maybe it is the combination of toughness from living in and around Boston and the strength and determination of any and all who would aspire to run the marathon but I think that the combination of all of the human traits present that day saved lives.
I have a dear friend who, with her daughter by her side and according to the tracking device she was wearing, crossed the finish line just three minutes before the first blast. What a life changing event, in every way. Here we were, cheering her on via Facebook and when I saw someone congratulate her by calling her Da Bomb and encouraging her to have a "blast" when she celebrated that evening, it seemed like the craziest of things, seeing that it was posted just before the bonbs went off.
I just want to congratulate Boston for saving so many lives that could have been gone, if the response had been any later. Veterans of wars knew what to do, to tourniquet those injuries and it is a juxtaposition of all of these people coming together that is so remarkable. Stephen Cobert said it so well, last night, essentially ticking off reasons why one should not f*ck with Boston.
One week from today, at this time, we should be setting foot on board the Viking Europe, docked in Avignon, France. As a little girl in the 50's (and one with a grandmother of French descent), I learned the song, "Sur le pont d'Avignon", which has been swirling around my head as I let in the anticipation of our long awaited adventure. I just can't quite believe that I finally get to see the places that populated my youthful dreams for so long, but now that I have reached my early 60's it is time to see MORE of the world.
Of course, the other evening as we were preparing our dinner, up popped something on a national newscast about the Louvre being closed because the VERY French museum guards had more than ENOUGH of the hordes of "Romanian" (Roma) child pickpockets jostling the tourists out of their belongings. Three years ago, when we visited Ireland, we invested in safer satchels and wallets, that are made to foil cutpurses and pickpockets and our city street-smarts came flooding back from the recesses of our childhoods and twenties, living in our home town of Oakland and working in San Francisco. You just hold yourself differently, in the city. (I am still amazed at the oblivious women who leave their purses in shopping carts as they wander the aisles of a supermarket!)
Here's hoping that on the day that we are scheduled to visit the Louvre, the place where all of my childhood "companions" are on display, they will be back in business. Of course, life will certainly go on if I have to miss it and although Paris is a destination, I am actually looking forward to small towns and the countryside, soaking up the scenery for my mental bank.
Our first sailing day will be to Arles, where courageous art was alive in the powerful summer sun, with the likes of Van Gogh and his hard drinking cohorts. Our immersion into French culture will begin with walking and art but I may have to just take a lot of pictures, if jet-lag makes me too groggy, on day one.
We will have the opportunity, on most stops, to either walk the streets of the towns or take extra side-trip tours to historical spots and I want to take advantage of all that I can, on this Once-in-a-lifetime journey to the homeland of SO many of my recorded ancestors. (French and English fancypants kings down both sides of my lineage for many centuries, which means that by the time MY peeps came to The New World, they were the second or third sons, who had to go find their OWN fortune. Hah and buh-bye!)
I love history and used to leaf through books as a little girl, tucked behind my parents big red chair in the living room. So many paintings were part of that education and I remember that for those first 7 years, before my dad left, he would school me in the use of French and Italian words, that as a self-educated man, he felt were so important for me to learn. I am sorry that he never got to go to Europe but thankful that as a kid, his heart murmur kept him from the battlefields of World War II. I will just have to do it for him and my mother, who sang all of the great European operas in her lifetime, neither of them knowing (she was already gone) until just recently about their lineage.
So, this week, I will tie up loose ends with work and pack the suitcases and try not to disturb my sleep TOO much with the bubbles of excitement running around in my brain. This will not be a vacation where you eat too much and get fat from sitting around, this will be an education, in every sense of the word and I, for one, am ready.
So, a little over year ago, while getting hooked into Downton Abbey on PBS, I saw one of those ridiculously enticing commercials for Viking River Cruises. "Oh my, this is what I want to do, for our next adventure" came up over my head in a thought bubble and I was doomed. I started investigating the company and asked for information to be sent so that I could dream from afar. I then had the nerve to put the pamphlets out on the kitchen table for Rod to flip through and we were on our way to planning a trip.
The big high school reunion that became Rod's big project (three classes) has been a part of our history for a year and a half now and in that time, we have lost several friends. Most of them had been on the long runway to the Other Side but their loss helped to remind us that life is short and that we need to keep fit and doing what we dream of, while we still can. (of course, what do I do? I buy a business...)
We are now in the countdown in "sleeps", as my Kiwi friend Rebecca likes to say. In 16 days we will be up early and heading to Sacramento, to catch a plane to LA, where we will catch a BIG plane to Paris and then a smaller plane to Marseilles. Yes, we are taking that dreamed of River Cruise vacation through the south of France up to Paris and from Paris, along the Seine to Normandy with many stops, to and fro. I have always dreamed of going to France, being the great grandaughter of French Immigrants, on my maternal grandmother's side. Although they came from somewhere that we will not visit (Basque country), I will finally see the places that so many ancestors lived and died. (Don't get me started on Ancestry...)
Of course, we put our money down on this trip over a year ago and put the paperwork away for safe keeping. On the 20th of March, we received a package from VIking, with name tags, strong scented leather luggage tags, itinerary booklets and books about the regions that we will be visiting and this just ramped up the excitement that had been kept at bay for a year.
Now then, what did I do, this past February? That's right, I Bought A Business. Yeah, perfect time-ing...wait a minute...I bought a business. Oh emm gee, as they say. What was I thinking, sinking all of my hard earned Dyeworks earnings into this, a couple of months before we were to leave on our dream vacation! I guess that I am just kind of crazy-like-that these days and remarkably it feels right.
The second shipment of beautiful balls of Top arrived yesterday, in a MUCH smaller FedEx van than the moving van sized vehicle that arrived last Friday. In it were the three beautiful natural colored yak tops and one bump of brilliant white Angora top. These boxes had been completely wrapped in packing tape and I think that all of the FedEx people were in love with the shipper, for having made these 5 boxes into tear-proof projectiles for the "muscle men" (as our tiny delivery woman likes to call the guys at the distribution center) to hurl, without worry of breakage. After cutting the bonds on a couple of these balls, we were able to finish off the packages of fiber samples and get them ready to go out to our retailers!
Oh yes, and I went into a conversation with the mill that produces my baby alpaca yarns, about getting that top into the line-up but had to tell him that if he couldn't get it to me before we left, it would have to wait to be shipped and get here by the time we arrived home. Timing timing timing. (Of course, my Merino guy has timing indicative of his culture...he will do it, when he gets to it.) Yes, and there is the timing of getting Mill #1 to bill me for and ship order number two to get here before we go. Feel my heart...thumpthumpthumpthump. It's only money, right?
16 Sleeps until I Let Go and take a VACATION, handing the keys to the house/pet sitter. We can travel to "our" mills and talk to them about this or that, next time, but this trip is for me to let it all go, for almost three weeks. In the meantime, I will do all that I can to get product out to retailers and dyers before I go but I know that it will all be here for me, when I get home and the heart thumping will continue.
Today I will continue putting the fiber through a dyer's paces and then into the spinning cave and on to that process, so that Holly can get some more color up on those neutral web pages. (white, white, cream, beige, brown...) There is never a dull moment around here and you know, I like it that way. It all keeps me on my toes.