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Marilee J. Layman

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07:44 pm: A Wonderful Terrifying Afternoon Trip
First, the DSL progress. When the alarm went off at noon and I hadn't had a call, I called the recording number again and it said "Good news! Your DSL account is active!" That didn't really sound like good news, so when I got home, I tried getting on, checked the diagnostics, and called again. This time I said Main Menu when the recording said the Good News and worked my way to a tech. My ticket is still open. He tried a couple new things, which didn't work. I still don't have an IP address. He talked to the group that's supposed to be handling it, and he said someone will call me tonight or tomorrow. At this point, I've had DSL fewer days than I've not had it.

When I headed out to Sperryville, I wasn't just going into the country, I was going up the mountains. It was overcast here and on the way there, I went up into the gray. On my way through Warrenton, I saw a Red Hot and Blue, which is an excellent BBQ restaurant. We used to have one here, but they left and then a Red Hot and Blue Express came in and they don't have the range of food -- more like fast food. I told myself I'd eat there on the way back.

Nina was sure I couldn't find her sister's road on Google, and she was right (it turns out to be a private road -- about 2 miles of rutted driveway up the side of the mountain with up mountain on one side and down mountain on the other), but I found the road to turn off from. Just as I turned onto her drive, a big buck and smaller doe bounced back and forth across her drive and the buck stood still and watched me go by. It was all wonderfully green, green, green. Nina thought Jeannie's house/studio would be easier for me to get to, but it was very wet stone, so I walked carefully on the wet grass. Then there were two big steps into the studio. That was half of the terrifying part. I'd brought "Sky Robe" with me and Nina had Jeannie take a picture of it. She pointed out that the bulging parts at the sides were the shoulders for the robe -- I'd never guessed that. I thought it was something the sky threw on in the morning.

She had a lot of pieces framed, and although I liked most of them, the only one I really liked she wanted to unframe and add more layers to. She's working with natural fibers that turn like floss when pounded, along with the handmade paper, and there were a lot of interesting ideas. I looked through the unframed pieces and found a wonderful piece that I loved. It's landscape - green and blue mountains with a cream sky and some trees. It's not that neat -- it's handmade fibers -- but that's clearly what's meant and not only did I love it, but it will make a wonderful piece above the sofa in the living room, which is the only room currently without art. It'll probably cost me more to get it mounted on matboard and framed and such than I paid for it, but it will be fabulous. After I paid her and I looked at a really interesting piece of Jeannie's bark work (the cats would gnaw on it), I got up from a chair where I'd been sitting and misgauged my thrust and had to steady myself on Nina's shoulder. That and the steps down and the wet grass back to the van were the other terrifying part.

Jeannie had one of those big dogs and she fell in love with me. She put her chin on my knee and leaned on me. She let me clean her eye, which apparently she doesn't usually do. She jumped and caught and ate a dragonfly just outside the studio door. I did stop at the Red Hot and Blue and had the Pig-Squealing Combo -- pulled pig sandwich (I added hot sauce and the cole slaw they put on the side), small onion loaf, redskin potato salad, and a dill pickle. I used a straw with a drink in a restaurant for the first time in a long time -- the iced tea was served in a plastic pitcher a bit bigger than most restaurant mugs. I was pretty sure I couldn't pour from the pitcher into my mouth accurately. And then, because I hadn't had any in years, I had a piece of Peanut Butter Pie. mmmm Chocolate crust with a peanut butter cream filling (and a baby Reese's cup on top). Boy, that was good. I still have to have my rehydration fluid today, but I think that will be it.

This was the first drive out in the country for a long time and I really enjoyed it. I liked talking art and seeing Jeannie's studio (she used some sculptural stuff to make embrasures around the windows and they have little extruded places to put things on, and it doesn't look at all twee). I wish I'd taken my camera. They invited me to a tour of Jeannie's house, but it's a big step down and a big step up and I couldn't talk myself into it. Maybe another time. But I think I'll try to get out in the country more often.

Kat Richardson's books got good reviews from Book Fetish; I've read and liked Greywalker and just got Poltergeist.

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