Monday, August 29, 2011


Jeepers. it's been a while. Summer time is blasting by. Emma is starting kindergarden tomorrow. The garden is overgrown. We might just get one more camping trip in before it is all over for another year. I wonder if it will go as well as our last trip. If I was a Victorian matron I would word the events in a letter that would go like this:

My Dearest Mrs. Confuffle,

It joys me to inform you of our recent trip to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Where My loyal husband and I decided to take the children for a convivial turn on the Saco river. The weather was pleasant and we had plenty of suptuals and drink to hold us off against even the most remotest hungars and thirst. Our 5 year old daughter and 3 year old son had just completed swim lessons and busied themselves in the shallows, swimming about like little smelts! After a spell we took to deeper waters teaching the children the wonders of  being in a canoe. We spied before us a rather perfect log. Placed in the water just so, it was a prime jumping in spot and we promptly paddled to it. I remained stalwart in the stern, keeping the canoe against the current, pressed to the log where the children and husband could jump in. Oh what fun! Little Zachary leaping off the log, little Emma-Lynn having none of it and Father jumping in most of all.
Father decided to climb back in the canoe after a turn, and Mrs. Confuffle, bless my soul, didn't he then simply swamp the boat with his efforts! Indeed suddenly, everything was underwater! our food basket and paddles and bags and snorkels all lifted themselves up and gently began floating away. I found myself still sitting in the canoe with water up to my neck,  Emma-Lynn, in her most convincing banshee shriek took it upon herself to inform us of every passing event, punctuated by "HELP! HELP!": The paddles are floating away! Help! Help! The food is floating away! Help Help! My brother is floating away! Help! Help! etc.  Zachary thought the whole affair was put on for his amusement and floated away clapping and giggling. The dog tried to get on my head until I convinced him that was a poor idea by shotputting him away. I swam around and collected our son and sundries and my Handsome and Charming husband swam the canoe to shore and emptied it of water, then paddled out and collected us up. Only one shoe and a pair of swim goggles lost!
But I must tell you of the next day's hike, where the children walked a good few miles on their own to and around a beautiful spot called Dianna's Baths. On the way there Zachary was terribly occupied with finding trolls under all the little bridges we passed and, finding none, he was convinced they were probably all taking baths with Dianna. Once arrived at the fabled spot, all beautiful pools of water and natural steps of rock interspaced with waterfalls 5-15 feet in height, our son decided to attempt to leap off every one. Eagerly searching out his doom. To avoid heart palpitations and nervous anxiety, I decided, after an hour of grasping Zachary back from precipice upon precipice, that perhaps I would be better off having his father watch over him and I retired to the sensible company of our daughter and played princess and the frog. There was a concerned mother or two who questioned me about the boy and possibly my ability as a parent, to which I replied: "Oh this? This is nothing. Now, please excuse me." (Before I engage with you in an action that I might regret, as it would likely bring me to the gaol.) I honestly do not understand the pickled gumption of some matrons! Really! concern yourself with your own unruly brood, dear woman!
But I digress. Mrs. Confuffle, and it is a delight to see the children hiking so capably this early on.  The hike back was delightful until we ran out of m&m's (Our bribe of choice for this venture). Also the dog found  chipmunks to obsess over, which was a tad irritating as he managed to escape three times before we drove off. Actually, his third attempt was the most successful, as no one saw him leave, and thusly, we left him behind. Thinking he was asleep in the back, we didn't notice until we were almost home. Fortunately, he was promptly picked up and put into the shelter for the night and it resulted in my returning to the mountains the next day to pick him up. Thank heavens for modern services.
So my dear, I do hope you consider coming along with us on our next venture. We are nothing if not magnetized to adventure and bumbletude.
      With my fondness,
Mrs. K. M. Lincoln

Monday, August 1, 2011

Motor City part2

So, the low-down on my Detroit trip...
I took the time to google earth the place and found some great establishments to visit, but the city is really spread out so I needed transportation. Enter The Wheelhouse bike rental on the river walk. Day 1 I rented a single speed basket bike, which squeaked adorably, and day 2 I rented a hybrid which was really fun because there is so much urban wild land and the bike took me over all of it no problem. I logged over 25 miles a day. Detroit is so flat and there are plenty of places to stop and "refresh" so I barely noticed the travel. Also there are so many interesting things to see. The wonderful folks at the Wheelhouse set me up with a map marked with interesting locations and off I went. Eastern Market was my first stop. A huge indoor/outdoor market surrounded by giant Halal meat processors, bagel factories, corned beef makers, fish markets, bakeries, stuff like that. I got a hand made hat from a lady from west Africa whose hats were so architectural and totally unique. Mine was probably the most tame: a very wide brimmed, curled on one side, crown peaked with a jewel on top straw hat. I LOVE IT. Dennis felt the need to laugh at me, and I got lots of comments throughout the day, but I think they were all just jealous.
Detroit has a raw food restaurant! I tried it, it was great. 15 min later I was starving again so I found a little amazing bakery called Avalon international breads (organic, local sourced when possible) and totally indulged in a cheese pastry with local blueberries and raspberries and sandwich and coffee. Awesome.
next door to that was a great boutique then a place called the spiral collective which was a gallery, bookshop and knick knack place. Got hubby a Detroit lives t-shirt and some handmade lavender and geranium salve pour moi. There is so much cool hand crafted stuff in this city. The shop lady, Sharon and I had a great chat. Within minutes we were divulging all kinds of stuff to each other. I already said it but I'll say it again. I have not met a more open, friendly bunch. People would flag me down as I was biking to chat. Maybe it was the hat? I know Detroit has more than it's share of trouble, racial tensions and poverty and  I saw some extreme poverty, so many trashed neighbourhoods. But Detroit is fierce and rebellious (according to the graffiti I saw) and it overcomes. It makes me think about these racial divides hanging over our society,  dictating how we should expect our interactions to go with people of other races from our own. But when you are on the street, human to human, looking in each others eyes and all that, reality has an opportunity to be different .
I went to the Detroit history museum, Motown museum, lots of galleries, and lo and behold, the PuppetArt theatre for a Russian Folk tale and puppet building workshop. SO GREAT! For some reason, I was the only person over 8 to attend the workshop. Go figure.
I wound up taking some pictures with a disposable and hopefully they will turn out OK. Probably like everyone else who visits the city I got obsessed with taking pictures of the dilapidated mansions and art deco building and urban decay. Including the magnificent Detroit train depot.
Music :great
Food: great!
Greek town casino: gold lame and purple crushed velvet tackiness (we got totally lost in the vastness of slot machines and gambling tables. We really did get lost.) The sound of all the machines was like a digital remastering of heaven according to Mario and Luigi and it made me off balance. We stopped at a roulette table and watched as three rounds of dudes lost hundreds of dollars. The last guy lost 1000$ in about 5 min. He didn't look happy. We decided not to play. Instead we used the 20$ we were going to gamble with on a rickshaw ride  through Greektown.(When we finally found our way out of the casino.) Much more value for our dollar. I totally don't get gambling. Good thing too because most other vices agree with me quite well and I don't need to be saddled with any more.