28 September 2007

very, VERY belated thanks to mr. becker...

remember that little gingerbread house i cooked up nearly a year ago? i just found out today that lynn becker, chicago architectural critic extraordinare, mentioned me in his blog. why oh why didn't anybody tell me? i feel like a goon. never again will i speak ill of those who google themselves, for otherwise i NEVER would have known.

26 September 2007

ah, wilderness!

so i went camping this weekend. it's something kim and our mutual friend kristin do every year, but i've never gone with until now. and up until this point, the only camping i've done are the cabin and RV kind. i haven't blogged about it until this point because i've been laid up with se-vere bug bites on my ankle. (more on that later.) we went to lake kegonsa state park, a very pretty slice of land in southeast wisconsin. a few highlights:

after a hectic half-day at work, we set off for wisconsin. thankfully our campsite was gorgeous, although we can't say the same for our neighbors. we became very familiar with the exploits of one 'skylar' and her hardcore wisconsin mother. oi. the weather seemed hot, but otherwise perfect.. until kim broke out the weather radio. severe thunderstorms, it said. heading our way, it said (in its creepy text-to-speech voice). maybe they'll miss us, we said. alas, it was not to be. rain started falling while we ate our salmon dinner; it was all over after that. it probably didn't stop until around 11, with us falling asleep far before that. we still got in a few ghost stories, though. not the best thing to read before sleeping. i should know that by now, right?

our main activity for saturday was visiting with my aunt judie and cousins micki and dan. i saw judie and micki after christmas, but i hadn't seen dan for about 25 years. yeah. we met at a mcdonald's in janesville, about 25 miles from our campsite, and then went to our family graveyard. jesus, that's weird to write. i've never seen anyone buried that i'm related to, but apparently at westville cemetery near elkhorn, i'm related to everybody there. wild, huh? westville was named after a bunch of folks named west, who intermarried with another family named hodges. a ton of them are buried there, along with some interlopers i don't know about, but who are undoubtedly a part of the family. some time ago, a woman gave my aunt a book that detailed three families, one of them being the hodges; i think it was my paternal grandmother's maiden name. in the book were photos taken of the cemetery in the early '80s, when the book was done. so, in effect, we were able to compare westville today to the westville of 20+ years ago. it was amazing. my little cousins (once removed? i forget how that works when they're the kids of your first cousin), isabelle and zoe, ran around doing crayon rubbings of gravestones, which i've always wanted to do. it's so great to instill a sense of history and familiarity with cemeteries in youngsters. does my black heart good.

we ate lunch in abbel's corners, just a stone's throw away from the cemetery, then went to an ice cream shoppe in whitewater. for some reason i thought a malt would give me less ice cream than two scoops or whatever, so i ordered a blue moon malt. christ, they must have put seven bloody scoops in there. it was good, but i couldn't finish it for the life of me. down the street we found a consignment shop that also had three cats up for adoption. that was where i met my first autistic kitten (which, if it weren't kinda sad, would make a great band name). at least, the shop owner *said* he was autistic (and not to touch him), but i'd never heard of such a thing, nor did i find any info on the 'net when i got home. he was an adorably tiny stripey thing who never stopped moving and hardly ever made eye contact.. he looked ADHD to me. i hope he gets a good, caring home, i really do.

since the weekend was pretty nice (save for the rain), it wouldn't have been complete without a total cluster saturday night. i was a little tweaked mentally.. visiting a family boneyard was a lot to take in, plus i wasn't looking forward to sleeping in a tent in a pitch dark campground again. friday night was effing spooky for me. kristin and kim wanted to take me out to a field to see all the stars. sounded cool. we swung by the flush toilets in the car on the way. while kristin did her business, kim and i sat outside.. and wondered wtf was happening when kristin's car alarm started going off. turns out she dropped her key fob in the toilet. the fob was shot; none of the buttons would work, including the panic button. kim got pissed at the constant alarm and slammed kristin's door, which pissed her off in turn; i just felt creeped out and a little nauseous and wished to god i was in my own bed back home. after a few minutes of floundering, a ranger showed up, summoned by angry campers. thank goodness he did, too; we were on the outskirts of the camp, and it would have been a bitch to find the rangers' office in the dark. he disabled the audible part of the alarm, but the lights still kept going crazy inside the car, especially when kristin tried to start it. no dice. the deactivation switch didn't work and the alarm book had no code or instructions on disarmament. fun. eventually the ranger dug in under the steering wheel, removing fuses one by one and seeing if that would do it. it did. huzzah! thank you so much, ranger brian. i hope kristin made good on her promise to send you a fruit basket. :) and kristin: just thank your lucky stars it wasn't a pit toilet.

overall, i guess i'd give camping a 7 out of 10. yay for nature, getting away, hard work, barns and horsies, flame-grilled burgers, pumpkin farms and helpful rangers...nay to car mishaps, spontaneous t-storms, hungry insects, putting away tents and my own easily spooked self. those damned bugs.. they really went to town on me. i could barely walk yesterday. all the more reason to sit on my ever-widening ass.