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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

quiet week in lake wobegone

It’s been a strange week here in Franklin, NC. A lot has happened. We went on the Smoky Mountain Railroad—which was a very slow train ride around Nantahala Gorge. There were some really picturesque sights to see, if only I hadn’t been so dang nauseated the whole time.

We went to two arts and crafts shows in one day. The only reason we went to the second was because the first one was so horrid. At the second one I got a cool bracelet and a cool ball of yarn that I knit into a pretty cool scarf.

We painted. When I say “we” I actually mean it in the all-inclusive sense: me, my kids, my dad, Cynde, and ART all painted this last week. Art had been talking about trying to paint something for weeks; this week he finally did it. And we all agree that he’s ridiculous. What he produced, having never painted anything before in his life, was absolutely amazing. It made me cry actually. Then, after all his work, he decided the proportions were wrong and he slopped gray paint all over it and started over. We all agreed he was a big perfectionist dumbhead. But still. A dumbhead of hidden talent.

I went to another arts and crafts show. They seem to like those up here. I talked to a guy about making wooden bowls and got a cool lamp glass pendant that looks like the earth.

Cynde and I went to the Franklin Gem Museum. Which was slightly crappy as a museum but had some pretty neat stuff if you like geology. Which I do. The highlight was 850 lb. amethyst geode and the petrified dinosaur poop. We also perused the Franklin Art Gallery, which had the magical effect of making me feel like the most amazing artist ever. I had a difficult time keeping my mockery internal.

We went gem mining. Apparently this part of NC is like a trove of gems and rocks. You buy a big bucket of dirt and pan for stuff. At first I thought it was going to be gay, like panning for gold when you come up with a few chunks of pyrite. But it was incredible.

I got an emerald the size of my kids fist. Plus tigers eye, rubies, garnets, all kinds of quartz, obsidian, amethyst, agates, sodialite, citrine, adventurine…the list goes on. We had a blast doing that. Ilya helped Art pick out “the pretty rocks” and Xander, who was supposed to be helping me, spent most of the time splashing me with the water and putting rocks from the driveway into my pan. Unfortunately our camera was dead so we didn't get any good pics of the fun.

After that we went out to eat, and Art and my dad ate buffalo. Art says it “tastes like a cow smells.” I lived next door to a dairy for 8 years, so I think it goes without saying that I chose to forgo the adventure of consuming tatanka meat.

My granny died. “Went to heaven” is the term my mom used, and I don’t know if that’s because she doesn’t think I’m adult capable of hearing the words “died” or “passed away” or because it’s just easier for her to think of it that way. It’s weird, and hasn’t really hit that part of my brain that recognizes and processes unpleasant facts. At this point it’s entirely abstract. My granny can’t be gone. She’s hiding somewhere, chain smoking and laughing and making fun of all of us for being sad.

Today is rainy and dismal. I painted and read my bible and knit a little bit. Cleaned the toilets and vacuumed the house while Art cleaned the kitchen for the 5,000th time this week. Very exciting stuff. I think I’ll go read some Lemony Snickett books now.


Jonathan said...

Hmmm... grandmothers dying all over the place lately. Both of Amber's have gone, and one of mine is about to. Matt and Stephanie made a surprise visit to the Southland because her grandma just passed, and Brian's is on the edge as well.

I love the pictures of Autumn and the geology stuff. If I didn't detest hurricanes and the awful muggy weather out there during the summer, I might like it in the Carolinas.

BTW, incredibly, I have taken up blogging again. You have to forgive the boring first attempt at reentry, tomorrow I may be more inspired and interesting...

Tell Art that if he ever is satisfied with one of his works it'll mean that he's lost the ability to recognize what makes a good painting. There's always something that you want to fix, but eventually you just have to live with it. You know...

I... am... typing... lots... of... ellipses...

Steve Nelson said...

OK... important things first - buffalo tastes fantastic! They must not know how to prepare it properly that far East!

Secondly, shiny photos! Looks like a lovely time on the train ride! And those gems/rocks/stones/junk are pretty sweet, too! Actually, that kind of thing is really HUGE where we're moving to in Hot Springs, AR. So, hopefully, in a few months, I'll have some shiny gems and junk to post photos of.

We miss you guys, and think of/pray for you often.