Category Archives: Vacation

Aqui estamos!

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The airport in the daytime.

This evening, we arrived at the Xocotlan Airport in Oaxaca.  There were quite a few of my colleagues on our flight, and we were met at the airport by Dr. Stephanie Wood and Yasmin Acosta-Myers.  We all climbed aboard a couple of collectivo taxis and made our way into town.  The airport is about a 20 minute drive from our part of town.  I can’t wait to see everything in the daylight.

Last time I was in Oaxaca, it was 2003 and I came with my father and my husband.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, and mostly stuck to the center of town – with one trip to Monte Alban.  I look forward to living here for a month as a resident!  Our apartment is very close to where most of my classes will be, and that is why I chose it. There are, I think, two other NEH fellows staying here, too.

It’s a nice apartment, but there are a few things we found out this evening when we got here:

  • There is no microwave – that’s okay, but it’s strange to see when most hotels these days (I know, in the U.S.) have them.  The stove is gas.
  • The first big bottle of water is free.  After that, we pay by the bottle.
  • Same thing for the toilet paper.
  • If a third person uses the futon in the living room for sleeping, it costs $10 per night outside of the $695 we have already paid.  (I actually found out about that before we came)
  • There are no screens on the window, and you should close them when you are gone to avoid “visits by the cat”.

Here is the floor plan – we have one of the one story apartments in the little complex of 6 apartments.  Isn’t it cute?  And that little closet looking thing between the bedroom and the kitchen?  It’s just a “hole” in the building where they put the water tank, I think.  I had thought it would be a pantry.

Tomorrow, my husband wants to go right out and find a way to get cell phone service here.  A lot of other people have done it, so it is possible and supposed to be not too expensive.  We also are going to the market to stock up on food and supplies like toilet paper and Diet Cokes.

Our opening reception is on Sunday evening, and apparently Dr. Wood (call her Stephanie) and Yasmin are doing a lot of cooking for it!  Can’t wait!  On Monday evening, my nephew from Louisiana is coming to stay with us for a week.  He’s been taking Spanish and has only been to Cozumel, so I really am happy to be able to welcome him here in Oaxaca!

My dog is the one on the right. But they will both miss me!

Oh, our dog is being cared for by my in-laws in Atlanta, who have a great back yard and two children who are excited about having a dog visit.  That is so great of them, and they were awesome to offer.  It really makes a difference, knowing that she’s in such good hands.

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Oaxaca Projects, Part One

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I made this map to include in my students’ Mayan codices. It looks great laser printed on brown craft paper.  You have to cut the paper to size, however.

At the moment, I have to say that I am maxing out my loafing potential as Summer Vacation begins.  I have all sorts of ideas and projects, but at the moment, I can’t seem to be bothered much.  So… in an attempt to focus, I am looking back at my application for the National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Institute that is four short weeks away.

In order to be considered for the Institute, I had to write an essay of no more than 4 pages, double spaced.  I tried hard not to play with the margins too much, but I had so much I wanted to say.  The excerpt below is the part where I explain what I would like to do while I am down in Oaxaca.  Yes, there will be tours, and lectures, and all sorts of interesting things to see, but the main idea of getting a bunch of teachers together is to create lesson plans that will use the resources we will learn about – as well as any others we can bring to the table.

Here goes – of course, I’ve added notes as I am thinking of them now:

If I am fortunate enough to be chosen to participate in this Summer Institute, I have some specific ideas of what I would like to pursue.  First of all, I am interested in expanding upon my lesson plans on the Mayan Civilization, which is one of the standards that I must teach in sixth grade Social Studies.  I would like to take the idea of creating a Mayan codex (which I did as an accordion book out of cardboard and brown paper this past year) and add more elements to that book.

Glyph with Mayan Long Count Birthdate

This will be a challenge – but I think that my students already have some experience with “creative” spelling.  It may not be as difficult as I envision.

If possible, I would like to have clarification on how to calculate the dates in the Long Count calendar so that this could be aligned with the Mathematics curriculum.  I would also like to collect more specific information about the Mayan observatory – perhaps this information could be added to the Astronomy unit in the Earth Science curriculum.

To be honest, I found some excellent lesson plans, but the Mayan calendar in long count confuses me…  It is true, however, that we do study the planets in Earth Science – I just am not aware of any specific astronomical information in my Mayan resources.

In regards to teaching ESOL and reading, I have also located two young adult novels that portray young people living in Ancient Maya.  One of these books is called The Well of Sacrifice (by Chris Eboch) and the other is Heart of a Jaguar (by Marc Talbert).  The Well of Sacrifice has a female protagonist and Heart of a Jaguar has a young male protagonist.  I would like to organize a parallel book study where the students can identify with life in a Mayan village.  Both books portray vivid scenes of ritual sacrifice and I look forward to sharing ideas about teaching this sensitive subject.  I have supplemented my reading materials with books of Mayan folktales and legends and want to use those as resources, too.

I hate to sound jaded, but for most middle school students, the portrayal of blood and gore only seems to ENHANCE the reading experience.  Truth be told, I am having a hard time getting into these books, so I don’t know how that bodes for younger readers…  I forgot to mention that I DO use Me Oh Maya!, which is a Time Warp Trio series of books.  It’s pretty funny and is a good attention grabber.  In coordination with the new British series I found, it could be good.

In addition to these texts, I have found four texts that illustrate the modern world of the Maya and Mixtec people.  What the Moon Saw and Red Glass by Laura Resau involve heroines that voyage to Oaxaca and encounter curanderas, divination using corn kernels, and the Mixteca language.   Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Muñoz Ryan also involves a journey to Oaxaca, and highlights the woodcarving culture of the region.  Although Colibrí by Ann Cameron is set in Guatemala, many of the traditions and references are similar to those in my books about Oaxaca.  I would like to make the teaching of these texts in more depth possible by collecting information and real life examples and making them available to our school library – to generate interest and understanding in the subject matters and culture described so vividly in these books.

So, there.  I don’t know if I am going to do all of those things, or choose aspects of each.  I do want to do some advance preparations so that I have some idea of the lesson plans before I get to Mexico.  After I made the proposal, I came up with the idea of looking at my collection of folk tales – which is pretty extensive, and using those for a Language Arts lesson plan on elements of a folk tale.

On top of that, I have many interesting picture books about the area that can be appropriate for introducing the culture.  I have a book called Josefina by Jeannette Winter that is written about the artist Josefina Aguilar.  We don’t have a trip planned to Ocotlán, but I could go down there.  She and her family have a pottery studio there.  Dream Carver by Diana Cohn is said to be inspired by the real life of Oaxacan woodcarver Manuel Jimenez.  There is also a series of books by Cynthia Weill which include Oaxacan woodcarvings to illustrate the alphabet and opposites.

So, my problem is not with coming up with ideas – it is with narrowing down the possibilities for the four week Institute!

My New Year’s Day Menu

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Okay, I gave a little thought to our New Year’s Day menu – since I was able to stop by an open Publix after I went to see New Moon.  I already had two pork tenderloins (next time I buy from Costco, I am going to open the little vacuum sealed packages of two and separate the loins out), but I had no greens and no black-eyed peas.

I didn’t even try to find fresh black-eyed peas – 5:00 PM on New Year’s Eve is not the time to be picky!  I got two cans of the Publix brand.  I was able to get my hands on the last bag of Glory brand Collard Greens, and I was set.  Here is what I fixed:

First, I made the Cornbread.   I used this recipe from Celiac.com.   It calls for ground corn meal (I used the Bob’s Red Mill Medium Ground Corn Meal that has been in my freezer for a while) and masa harina (or, Harina de Masa – I used Maseca) as a flour substitute.  I didn’t have any buttermilk, so I substituted SaCo Cultured Buttermilk Blend (I checked the ingredients, and they look to be gluten-free).

The only part of the procedure that needed to change in the recipe was to add the Buttermilk Blend (which is dry) to the dry ingredients.  Then I added the water to the eggs and stirred them up.

I decided to write down my recipe and procedure, since I substituted and didn’t use a cast iron pan.  Try it:  It is a good recipe – my mother found the original last year and used it to make a great cornbread dressing.

Corn Bread #2.1 (Gluten-Free)

2 cups cornmeal (Bob’s Red Mill Medium Ground)
1 cup Masa Harina (Mexican-style corn flour used for tortillas)
8 Tablespoons SaCo Cultured Buttermilk Blend (4 TBSP. per cup of water)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs, beaten
2 cups water
Canola oil spray for the glass pan

In one bowl, combine dry ingredients and cut in oil with a pastry blender (I used a fork). In another bowl, crack 3 eggs and beat with a fork.  Add 2 cups of water and beat with a fork until the eggs and water are mixed.  Then stir the egg mixture into the dry mixture and blend with the fork.

The original recipe calls for a cast iron pan, which I don’t have.  I used a glass pan, about 7 or 8 inches square.  I sprayed it with Canola spray and tried to melt butter in the bottom of the pan, but ended up dumping most of the butter out.

Bake at 425F degrees for 25 minutes, then turn and bake 15 minutes more or until done.

While the cornbread was baking, I made the Collard Greens.  I chopped and sauteed 1/2 red onion, 5 mini yellow bell peppers, 3 cloves of garlic, and 15-20 slices of Hormel Pepperoni (the Original kind – the Turkey is not gluten-free) in 1/4 cup of olive oil and a dollop of dark sesame oil.  When the veggies were soft, I added 4 cups of Organic Chicken Broth, 1/2 Tbsp. of Better than Bouillon Ham base, a couple of shots of balsamic vinaigrette and Wheat Free Tamari sauce.  After the liquid came to a boil, I added the bag of Glory Turnip Greens and tossed them in the liquid.  Then I lowered the heat and simmered the mixture until greens looked done.

Last night, I massaged the pork tenderloin with Williams-Sonoma Coffee and Spice Rub.  Then I added a little olive oil and lime juice and salt and rubbed that in as well.  I put it in the fridge overnight.  Today, I cooked the tenderloin in the oven – it only took about 20-25 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 425 degrees.

Since Williams-Sonoma seems to have discontinued this item (even with a recipe on their website that calls for it), I found someone on Recipezaar who made his own version:

Ancho Chile and Coffee Rub –

1 Tablespoon French Roast coffee beans
1 teaspoon dried ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds

To prepare the rub:  Place the ingredients in a heated heavy skillet.  Shake the mixture over the heat and allow to toast for 1 minute or until mixture begins to release a strong aroma.  Pour into a spice or coffee grinder and grind to a coarse powder.

Finally, I strained and dumped two cans black-eyed peas with a can of chopped tomatoes and mild green chiles, one cube each of Dorot garlic and cilantro, and a cup of chicken broth with some of the collard green drippings.

It all came out great and there are plenty of leftovers, since there are only two of us here.

The only New YAmbrosia: A New Year's Tradition?ear’s Meal traditional item that I compromised on was the Ambrosia Fruit Salad.  Ambrosia is a fruit salad made with orange sections, coconut, and maraschino cherries (some people add pineapple).  My family used to have it for dessert – whether we wanted it or not – becaus it represented happiness in the new year.  I didn’t want to make Ambrosia, mainly because my husband avoids oranges for his gastric reflux and I didn’t want to eat that much salad myself.  So I came upon a compromise.  My husband downloaded a song or two from the band Ambrosia.  Clever, huh?

Then, while I was looking up links on New Year’s traditional foods, I could find nothing about having ambrosia on New Year’s Day.  It was mentioned as a dessert item on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but none of the sites I found required it for a New Year’s meal. I didn’t find it under “lucky foods“, either.  When I mentioned this omission to my husband, however, he asserted that his family also ate it as a New Year’s tradition.  Does anyone else have an opinion?

Well, it sounds like my husband is dismantling the Christmas tree, so I guess that signals the end of the holiday season.  I still have two more days of vacation, then two days of inservice at school before the children come back.  They come back on Three Kings’ Day, so I may have to find a Rosca de los Reyes to serve.

On the way home…

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We left our lovely yurt this morning and headed home via Franklin, NC and then the John C. Campbell School.  As we were driving outside of Franklin on Hwy. 441, we passed by a fairground with a huge tent and a row of smaller tents.  We decided to turn around and check it out, thinking it was a flea market.  After findAmmonitecutPairLging a parking place – the place was packed! – we found out it was a Rock, Fossil, and Gem Show.

We walked through the outside tents only, because you had to have a business/wholesale license to get into the big tent.  But we saw plenty!  There were tons of rocks and beads and geodes and fossils.  I cannot even imagine how one would transport all of that stuff from venue to venue!  There was a cut geode as tall as a man there!  And at one booth, there were all sorts of skulls – including some huge buffalo skull with horns that were 3 feet long!  I really wanted that one!

There were also some pretty non-PC items for sale.  I am not talking about the onyx phalluses – although I have no idea what the market for that might be…  I’m talking about one wholesaler that specialized in glass shadow boxes with everything from butterflies to bats to giant bugs to lizards impaled on pins within.  It was very fascinating and educational, too.

We did buy a couple of things:  I bought a sharks tooth fossil pendant ($1) for my nephew and a lovely golden glass lampwork bracelet ($2) and my husband bought a nautilus shell fossil from Madagascar for only $8.  We were even able to bargain the dealer down to $10 for the whole lot ($1 off!).  I only had a $20 bill, and I knew he would rather give us a $10 bill rather than a $5 and four $1.  I was tempted to buy a strand of carved rose beads – there was one place that had so many colors, but I liked the red and turquoise ones.  They were $14 a strand, but I declined.  Luckily, I found some on Ebay that were comparable.

Here is what I think we attended:

22-25–FRANKLIN, NORTH CAROLINA: 44th annual show, “Macon County Gemboree”; Gem & Mineral Society of Franklin; Macon County Community Bldg., US Hwy. 441S; Wed. 10-6, Thu. 10-6, Fri. 10-6, Sat. 10-6; adults $2, children 12 and under free; minerals, beads, handcrafted jewelry, rough and cut stones, lapidary equipment, demonstrations, door prizes, gold and silver jewelry, findings, jewelry repairs and mounting; contact Linda Harbuck, 425 Porter St., Franklin, NC 28734, (800) 336-7829; e-mail: lindah@franklin-chamber.com; Web site: franklin-chamber.com

b.pendant.sharks.tooth.smIt was great.  We did not stop for long at the John C. Campbell School – just enough time to show my husband the main buildings.  Then, we had to go back to Hiawassee to the barbecue place to retrieve my purse…  Thank you, people of Smoke Rings in Hiawassee!  Great barbecue brisket, too!

So now, I am almost down to the single digits – meaning in the countdown to starting the school year.  I can honestly say that this summer was great – it seemed to go by just slowly enough!  I got to go for a week to camp (John C. Campbell), to Jackson to see the Raoul Dufy exhibit, we got a new bed and bedspread, I was in an art show, and we just got back from a great short break in North Carolina.  Fun!

Now, I kind of want to go back to Franklin to that show!  That’s okay – we have Folk Fest coming up soon.  Even though I cannot afford to be a part of it, I like visiting and looking at the art.  Oh, and I may be going down to Callaway Gardens to meet my sis and her family for one day.

Whiteside Mountain Hike

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This morning, we slept in a bit – I had to get up twice during the night and make my way up to the bathroom.  It certainly makes you think about your evening fluid intake…  We’ll see how it goes tonight.

When we first inquired about hiking over here, the guy at Sun Dog Places who is renting us the yurt suggested that good hiking could be had at Panthertown Valley.  It is a relatively new area for hiking, as I think that the Nature Conservancy had it protected for a while.  I was a bit worried about the distance, but I was willing to consider it.

Unfortunately (but fortunately for me…) Panthertown Valley is not marked for trail hiking.  You need a map and compass and such.  That was a bit too much trouble for a fun day hike, so instead we headed to Cashiers to check into hikes in the area.  After a visit to the Tourist office, we snagged some maps and a recommendation.

We ended up going to Whiteside Mountain, which is a “moderate” loop trail with amazing views.  I am out of shape (an understatement), so even the gentle approach and climb was pretty strenuous for me.  It took us exactly 2 hours to do the whole thing.  After we got back to the yurt, I took a nap!

Yesterday we had gone grocery shopping, so tonight, I used the extremely well-stocked kitchen to cook a stir fry with pre-chopped fresh veggies, pork chops, and plum sauce.  We got boil in the bag rice – which was okay.  Tomorrow, we are supposed to try and use the Big Green Egg to grill steak and baked potatoes.

I am really enjoying our vacation so far – there is absolutely no one else out here – the other yurt has not been rented during our stay.  I think it would be great to rent both yurts as an extended family trip – we are in the smaller one, which has a king-sized bed, but there is also a larger yurt with a king-sized bed and a double trundle bed.  I figured someone could also camp out in front of the fireplace on the pavilion, but they probably don’t encourage that!

We’re at the Yurt! Dinner in Sylva…

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We took it pretty easy coming up to North Carolina – left at around noon and got here at 3:40, after stopping for lunch on the way.  When we got to the business office of Sun Dog Places, Caleb, the manager, had us follow him to the pavilion on Bear Creek Lake.

He showed us how the yurt was set up and showed us around the pavilion, which is this huge outdoor living room with a fireplace on one end and a dining area on the other end.  On the buffet is a satellite television, and there is a fully stocked kitchen and two big bathrooms with all of the amenities.

Our yurt is the smaller one, and it has everything you would need – but you have to walk up a path to go to the bathroom.  We took the dog down to the lake, where there is a small peninsula out from our place – the water was clear and the place is crawling with ANTS!  I don’t know what the deal is – I have never seen so many ants in one place!

After we got settled in, we went in to Sylva, about a 3o minute drives, to get groceries.  We decided to eat out tonight and cook for the rest of the time or eat sandwiches.  We went to this little place called Guadalupe’s – it had high end fusion food with home made cheeses, etc.  I ordered the goat burger, which was great.  My husband had a little more difficult time because everything seemed to have gluten in it – the goat burgers had oatmeal.  Talk about putting the “oat” in goat!

Time for bed.  There’s A/C in the yurt, but I don’t think we will need that at night.  More later!

Two Days to Yurt!

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Yurts on Bear Lake

Yurts on Bear Lake

Next weekend will be our 10th anniversary – Wow!  We were thinking of going to  Asheville for the Belle Chere Festival, but we had already invited people over for dinner the weekend of the event.  Maybe next year!

Anyway, I started just poking around for someplace to go for a couple of days – our honeymoon was one night’s stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead, then we went to the Kelsey and Hutchinson Lodge in Highlands, North Carolina.  Now, it’s called the Lodge at Old Edwards Inn.  It looks like it has undergone a big-time renovation, and is WAY expensive!

So, I found a really neat website called Vacation Rentals By Owner – and inquired about a couple of places from Highlands to Boone, NC.  I finally consulted with my husband and chose Laughing Trout Camp – and outpost of a big property development on Bear Lake.  We are bringing the dog, and I will report later on the experience.  I hope it’s going to be fun: it’s certainly unique!

NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month)

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Well, I just signed up for National Blog Posting Month, and already I am annoyed. On the site is a cute little badge that I am supposed to be able to stick somewhere. But the HTML is wonky. BAhhhh. I did get it shared with my Facebook friends, but it still didn’t look like the badge.

How am I going to write every day? I certainly have the time, but sometimes I don’t have the motivation. Sometimes, I get so involved “researching” my topic that I run out of steam – but I eventually post that info a couple of days later. I also want to upload more photos, but I have two computers, and sometimes I’m not blogging on the computer with the pictures I want to use. I know: excuses, excuses.

Right now, I am in the middle of re-organizing my studio. It takes up the whole bottom floor of our three story townhome, including the garage (that garage had not held a car in years!). Since it’s summertime, and since I have been reading the latest Studios Magazine (put out quarterly by the people who publish Cloth, Paper, Scissors), I am inspired. I have weeded out old magazines, rearranged some storage, and taken note of the many art supplies I need to make use of. Keeping me company are my dog and my video downloads from Amazon UnBoxed.

Today, of course, I am going over to my mother’s place for Fourth of July, so I am prepping to make a potato salad. Fun!

Visit NaBloPoMo

Day Three at the Campbell School

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Today marked my third day of classes.  I have been going almost non-stop, with my basic schedule being:

  • 8:00 – last to roll out of bed – I am sharing a dorm room with 4 other ladies.
  • 8:15 – get in line for breakfast at the dining hall
  • 9:00 – 12:00 – class
  • 12:00 – get in line for lunch
  • 1:00 – 4:00 – class
  • 4:00 – 6:00 – still staying after class – catching up and waiting for the dinner bell
  • 6:00 – get in line for dinner
  • 6:30 – go upstairs and check e-mail; take a walk
  • 7:30 – 10:30 – go back to class and finish up any project I haven’t finished yet
  • 10:30 – get ready for bed; check e-mail
  • 11:00ish – go to sleep

Meals are served family style – we go through a line to get our drinks (or cereal for breakfast), then find an empty seat at one of the tables.  You really need to be on time, because they have a routine: song or grace, trays come around with serving dishes, pass everything around. After dinner, someone gathers up the plates and takes them back to the kitchen.  Only then will they hand over dessert. On the way out, you clean up any other dishes used. If you are late, you risk your table running out of food, and you have to go begging to another table or to the kitchen.  Some people raid the vegetarian buffet.

I made a run to WalMart on Monday and came back with Diet Cokes.  There is an ice machine adjacent to the book arts classroom, so I just bring one bottle down in the morning and one down in the afternoon.  Of course, several people have told me how bad Diet Coke is for me. As if this were news to me… I promised I would try and give it up soon.

So far, we have made 2 books, with boxes or sleeves to put them in. First, however, we carve a block print to contribute to each classmate’s book.  Monday, I carved a Mexican ex voto heart design into a block made of eraser gum like material.  Tuesday, I carved an image of a little Mexican goat onto my first linoleum block.  They came out okay, but I really have to learn to use a lighter touch.  On both, I ended up carving away too big of a chunk in at least one place.  So, being the perfectionist that I am, I took my paintbrush markers and very carefully added texture back to my prints.

We sign and number each one of our prints and collect a set from everyone in the class, including the instructors.  So far, we have made a 5 by 5 inch accordion book with hard binding and a box with a top to put it in.  Our second project was a 6 by 8 inch “stab bound” book, where we learned how to use a drill and how to sew the book together.  I just finished the slipcase for the book tonight.

Tomorrow, we will make what is also called an accordion book, but it just refers to the accordion spine that you attach the pages to.  For that book, the class decided on a theme: borders.  We each made a border or letterhead for a 6 by 6 page. That way, the rest of the page is blank for journalling. I did a pretty fair flourish inspired by the borders on a Mexican amate painting I had.  I really like it.  The accordion spine was a pain to fold – I’ve done them before for my gift card books, but those were only 7 folds: this one was 13!

Okay, time for bed. I did not bring the cable to upload my photos, but I will upload them when I get home.

Arriving at the John C. Campbell Folk School

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So, here I am in my cozy room for 6 – women, that is – sleeping dorm-style.  I have forgotten my toothbrush, but not my toothpaste.  So, I used my finger.  I hope I can sleep – I don’t think it will be a problem.

I am housed in the main HQ – the Keith House.  That is where all of the social gatherings happen, and where there is wi-fi.  I don’t even have to go downstairs to access it – I can get it in my room.  My classroom is in the basement.  The dining hall is a short walk away.  It is ironic, because the Campbell School campus is pretty large, and I expected to have to walk all over the place to get to class, to eat, and to go to functions.

Now, I don’t have to exert myself at all.  But I will – I have to walk off all of the pecan pie I ate tonight.  I also want to see the place, not just one building.

I got here at about 3:30 PM and checked in.  I lugged my stuff upstairs and picked out a bed.  I was going to choose a window bed, but opted for one nearer the ceiling fan and right across from the bathroom instead.  After cooling down a bit and meeting my new roomies, we had a meeting downstairs.  There are a lot of people here – a full house – all taking various classes in arts, crafts, music, and woodworking.

There is also a large contingent of mostly men who are here to raise a new building.  It will be the new blacksmith shop.  They have come from all around to add to their “timber-raising” experience.

After the meeting, we went to dinner.  In camp tradition, we sang our blessing – “Make New Friends”.  There was a marinated salad, meat loaf, heavy brown bread, and mashed potatoes.  Dessert was the aforementioned pecan pie.  It was all very good.

Our instructors met with us from about 6:30 to 9:00 PM, and we introduced ourselves.  There are 10 students in our class, which will center on printmaking and bookmaking.  We did a little preliminary cutting using an eraser.  I carved my initials, and learned that it is easy to take too much off!  That’s okay – I am just learning and I got a good print before I went crazy with the knife.

Now, I’m going to sign off and get some sleep.