so it’s been an insane few weeks since I’ve posted, so let’s see what I can review in a semi-quick process…
Firstly, I’ve now got Jim with me, who’s flown in from England a month before camp (where he’s also a teacher) to hang out with me and my crazy life. It’s been absolutely amazing to have him here, as he’s such a free, easygoing spirit who’s always up for a good time, which has come in handy considering the insane amount of stuff we’ve been doing!
A few days after Jim arrived it was graduation weekend, so we spent the whole time in Richmond with my grandma, uncle, parents, and my best friend Amy who drove in from Boston for the weekend. We spent the entire weekend trekking to THREE separate graduations (art, honors, and entire university) and intermittently celebrating by going out to lunch at the Robin’s Inn Restaurant in the Fan and visiting Kay Adams up at Anthill Antiques, where mom bought me a beautiful locket as a graduation present.
Jim and I have spent the past week at my apartment in Richmond, him hanging out and slowly working on my car while I’ve been going to a three-week intensive summer school class. Long story short, VCU completely screwed up and is making me take one more sculpture studio class, so I’ve had to do summer school. As much as I hate the idea and the inconvenience, I have to say the class has been really lovely. I love my teacher, who I’ve had before, and there are only two other students in the entire class, so it’s really intimate and really chill. We get to spend all of class time hanging out and working away on our projects, which I really enjoy. Plus I only have two more weeks left, which I can surely manage to suffer through.
Friday night was my other best friend, Melanie’s, last night in Richmond, so Jim and I went over to a massive party at her apartment. It was lots of fun, and I got to see practically everyone I’d ever met in Richmond, but underneath it all it was really heartbreaking to know that was the last night I would [quite possibly] ever be living in the same place as Melanie. It was really surreal and bittersweet to say goodbye to her at the end of the night.
Now Jim and I are back in Natural Bridge Station, where we’ve spent the weekend hanging out and enjoying the muggy hot Virginia weather of Memorial Day weekend. Saturday we took our inflatable kayak down to the river where he got to toodle around and paddle upstream for a while. Annoyingly, one of our dogs Daisy decided that would be the perfect opportunity to go on an upstream adventure along the bank, so she ran off and disappeared.
Well, this is mom’s most prized possession, so of course we had to strike out and find her. She got in the kayak and took off upstream while dad got the canoe that he, Jim, our black lab Eddie and I all haphazardly piled into and set off upriver. Luckily we managed to find her quite quickly, but by this point mom was way upriver around the bend, so we had to trek onwards to find her. Still, it was a beautiful day and great weather to go out in the canoe, even if we were piled in with two dogs that were nearly capsizing the boat while I was sat in muddy water!
That evening we got cleaned up and went over to the Shybunkos, who are close family friends and work partners with mom. We had a big cookout and sat on their deck looking at the spectacular views while we spent the evening chatting away.
Yesterday mom and I went to town and saw the Halestone dance recital and then we all went over to the Sally and Dave’s, our dearest family friends, for dinner. Roger and Jeannie and Norb and Katherine, a bunch of my parent’s old friends, were in for the weekend to have a big celebration of all the awesome things that are happening in everyone’s lives. For example, mom just had her book signed to a publishing company, Katherine was just awarded teacher of the year, I just graduated from college, Sally and Norb just had birthdays and Mrs. H had just survived a horrible bout of appendicitis. We spent the whole evening sitting around the table out on the porch, talking and laughing and joking and celebrating the start of summer.
Of course this decended into slight madness, as somehow it was explained that if you tie two pieces of string to an oven grate, wrap the string around your fingers and then stick your fingers in your ears and bang against the grate it creates an incredible sound. Well, Sally immediately went and got a grate to find out if this was true, and very soon the whole dinner party was up with their fingers in their ears, banging the oven grate against things. It was a very classy way to introduce the whole extended family to Jim, who didn’t seem to blink twice but instead joined right in. He seems to fit in just perfectly around all of us bizarre people and parts of the world.
After dinner and our one-man-oven-grate-band we discovered that there was an insane firefly display going on outside. We turned out the lights in the whole house and all went out on the lower deck, where there were millions of fireflies surrounding us. It was one of the most beautiful light displays I’ve ever witnessed, with millions of flickering little lights filling the entire mountain scape in front of us. You really can’t beat a summer evening in the mountains of Rockbridge County.
As a grande finale to the evening Jim was incredible enough to agree to do a fire poi show for everyone. Nobody at the gathering had ever witnessed a fire performance, so it was great to be able to let Jim show off one of his many talents to an audience in awe. Jim thought ahead and brought a set of fire poi, and we just happened to have spare kerosene sitting around so we were all set for the show! Everyone sat on the upper deck while Jim performed down in the yard and as soon as he started you could hear them go silent with shock and awe.
They were completely entranced through the entire show, gasping periodically and making occasional remarks of wonderment, but mainly just watching slack-jawed. Jim, of course, is very well versed in the art of fire poi and pulled off an incredible show. Everyone was so grateful and shocked when he finished, and they kept thanking him and interrogtaing him about the entire process and the art of poi. It was great fun to watch Jim do something he’s so comfortable and talented with, as well as to see the reactions of people who have never seen such a sight as fire performance.
And now it’s morning and we’re sitting on the couch in the kitchen listening to Cajun music while mom cooks a big breakfast casserole. Today’s probably going to be another lazy day down on the river followed by a big meal and party over at the Biddle’s. Then Jim and I trek back to Richmond for another week of work [at least on my part] and more Virginia heat. Not a bad life, eh?
dancing with momma:
Jim made a new version of the oven grate by using a pot lid… and Roger decided to help