- Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Serendipity--n the gift of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for. Chick road trip. Fall scenery. Craft shopping. Bikers. Good food, artfully prepared. Art. Alice in Wonderland acrobatics. And Robin Hood. All these things made up this past rather serendipitous weekend.
Early Friday morning I met up with five friends for a day's outing to our favorite place, Nashville, Indiana. We rarely make these trip anymore because three of our group are still working. For now anyway, as they'll all be retiring by the end of the year. But for this first almost-fall weekend they decided to sacrifice vacation pay for our favorite chick road trip. So, we piled in two cars (in case someone found a great bargain that required plenty of trunk space) and headed across the Ohio River from Louisville for the two hour drive north to beautiful Brown County Indiana, which is at its best in the fall of the year when the hills and countryside are ablaze with harvest colors. (There won't be any photographs of the chicks as they get a bit tired of my using their mugs as blog fodder.)
Nashville, Indiana is home for many artists, and no wonder that so many are drawn to this small town when you see the natural beauty of the landscape all around. There's painters, potters, glass and leather artists. On the one main street that runs through town, the shops are filled with their art. and, as you might suspect, there's plenty of crafty, kitchy stuff that none of us need, but we don't resist when on a chick road trip. Example: I bought the perfect basket for my new collection of Sharpie ultra fine pens (including the new cafe colors of mocha, hibiscus tea, pomegranate grenade, blueberry, and earl grey), an antiqued tin tray and file folders decorated with travel reminders, and a very satisfactory reading lamp. J-1 gave in to a bright red purse in a great poochey shape that she didn't need, but loved. J-2 snagged some bright orange sandals with a rhinestone toe ring for wintering in Florida. S bought a pink "Life is Good" mug for morning coffee on the deck when she retires in just over a month.
We paired off for shopping to maximize our time, arranging to meet back at the Artist Colony Inn for lunch out on the front porch where we could watch the parade of shoppers up and down the main street. And one bonus for the day, we shared the town with a biker's club which was riding in Brown County for the weekend. We had many laughs about the lengths we might be willing to go to to get a ride on a Harley--leather in unexpected places, more adventurous haircuts, torn jeans and form fitting tops, even a few tasteful "tats" for the right offer! :-) We timed our drive home just so we could inch back across the Ohio River in evening rush hour traffic. No worries, just gave us more time to catch up on all the subjects that may come up on a chick road trip.
Saturday serendipity was much different, but shared a common element--good friends getting together to have fun. This time it was with another set of friends and our mission was to help open the 2009-10 play season at Actor's Theater. We're so lucky in Louisville to have one of the best regional theaters in the south. The plays are original, award-winning (as in Tony), and affordable. The theater itself is a beautiful example of Greek architecture , as you can see from this domed ceiling in the lobby and is on the historic register for Louisville.
The season opener was Lookingglass Alice, a crowd pleaser for the whole family. I love seeing little kids in their "play-going" clothes and teen and college groups dressed in their own idea of what cool artsy people wear--all mixed in with the more staid playgoers like my group who have their season tickets and the same seats every year. Lookingglass Alice was described as "an acrobatic adaptation of a beloved classic. . .part Cirque du Soleil, part Victorian storybook. . ." It was great fun to watch Alice soaring far above the activity on the stage, thrilling young and old with her acrobatics as she learns the secrets of growing up from a lively cast of characters. It just cracked me up when the kids in the audience broken out in spontaneous giggles at the antics of all Alice's "teachers."
After the play we checked out a hip, new restaurant that's just opened in a former art gallery in downtown Louisville. The White Oak is one of the new partnerships that are springing up all over the country between chefs and regional farmers. The farm-to-table movement, such as we enjoyed at White Oak, lets availability of local produce and meats determine the menu. We had down home southern dishes with a light touch. Vegetables plates looked like an artist's palette and, according to my dining partners, tasted wonderful. I had fried banana peppers and chicken with one perfect dumpling. Nothing like what my mother made for Sunday dinner, but delicious.
And then to round out a great weekend, I was home in time to watch the premiere episode of BBC's Robin Hood. I'd been impatiently waiting for the show to get to our side of the pond, having to be contented with brief scenes on YouTube. Will Robin continue to fight for the poor of Nottingham? Will he get revenge for the wicked Guy of Gisborne's murder of Maid Marian in the Holy Land? Only the next 12 episodes will tell the tale. . .
(Image credits: Google Brown County tourism, Actor's Theater, The White Oak, BBC Robin Hood.)