Buns in the Basement
We were due to fly home on Tuesday evening but due to continuing ash plumes from the Icelandic volcanic eruption, our flight was cancelled. We got straight onto BA's website as soon as rebooking opened but the earliest next available flight we could get was 10 days later. This took some time to sink in – it felt exciting to be "stranded" but also very odd not to be returning after an already long and exciting trip. We went off to Wal-Mart for some basic groceries and I bought some sweeties and multi coloured goldfish to take home for the children. The next store was Home Depot, where I was able to buy a couple of imperial socket wrenches for my longarm machine. We called in at Aldi to see what it was like. Instead of cheap European tins of fruit there were budget American brands. I had to make another trip to a liquor store to stock up on gin. Bonnie drove us to see the view of the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River from Rip van Winkle Bridge.
We made a modest start on the spring cleaning in Bonnie's studio. While Tracy had fun sorting out the bolts of fabric behind the 1960's bar, I made a very smart sleeve for my latest gadget... Tracy and I had egged each other on after seeing ipads in Providence and bought one each. Although I have brought my laptop to the States, it is quite heavy to carry around all day. It has been fantastic to just pop the ipad into our handbags. Tracy has been able to keep in touch with friends and family during our extended stay. We can both sit and check messages and forums so quickly and easily, even in coffee shops with Wi-Fi. Ipads are not available in the UK yet and I had already wondered about getting the Amazon Kindle electronic reading device for carrying several books on a long trip. We can't get the mini programmes or apps yet since our iTunes accounts are from the UK but eventually I will be able to word process, blog and load up photos on the fly straight from the ipad. Tracy did the cooking after I deboned the giant chicken joints then we spent the evening typing and surfing the internet. We stayed up late as usual before making an early start at 6.00am to crack on with more studio sorting...
Bonnie had never had the spare time or two willing assistants to sort through stuff that had been packed since her move from Nevada to New York State so there was quite an accumulation of boxes. She was actually a bit shocked at how much fabric she had forgotten that she had. Although we were sorting through and throwing some things away, the studio looked as though it had been trashed – it was at the worse before it gets better stage. We tested every reel of thread because the temporary studio that Bonnie had after moving to New York had been a bit damp after the dry heat of Nevada. We were ruthless and got rid of a lot of thread but it is no use keeping it if is weak and simply keeps breaking.
It was my turn to concoct something for supper so I made a potluck soup with the stock from the chicken bones. It was reasonably edible after the addition of some left over pasta and some corn scraped off the cob. While I was pottering around the kitchen I put some uneaten leftovers in a bag to carry them across to the amazing mechanical compacting trash can. The bag had a weak spot and the bottom burst, spilling lasagne into the clean laundry basket. Luckily, only the shirt on top had to be washed and since the leftovers were cold I was able to pick pieces of pasta out of the bottom of the basket before anyone noticed. There was quite a lot of congealed debris all over the floor but I was able to get rid of the evidence before anyone slipped on the slimy mess that I had created. Bonnie made me a batch of sticky cinnamon buns as a reward for clearing out her studio; they were magnificent! We posted pictures of them on the APQS forum and now people from all over the USA are threatening to come here for buns or inviting us to visit and sort their studios out too. We went for a stroll in the evening and had a nosy around the lovely timber house being constructed on the next property and spotted a huge toad. Frogs and crickets are starting to make a noise in the evenings now but we haven't seen any yet.
On Thursday morning, after an early start, we dropped Siana off at her High School in Albany and sat in on a students' meeting about their forthcoming yearbook. We were a bit puzzled over the lack of discussion in the meeting until we realised that they were instant messaging each other on their laptops so didn't see any reason to actually speak. They were quite subdued in the company of Bonnie and two British Quilters and Siana reported later that they were in awe of my gold boots, specially worn for the visit at her request. Bonnie said that we were the "shock & awe" curiosities for the day. We drove through the centre of Albany to admire the grand old buildings constructed by the original Dutch settlers. We arrived at Joann's Fabrics in Colonie as soon as the doors opened and spent a couple of hours wandering around on fabric overload mode. It was easy to spend a few dollars without even trying. We bought a little bit of funky skull material because it was so unusual even though we may not have a plan for it yet. We recovered over a cup of coffee in Barnes & Noble before scouring the automotive section in Wal-Mart for stick-on "tats" for our quilting machines. Tracy rustled up a fabulous spaghetti Bolognese while I ran up an ipad sleeve for her out of some of the new skull fabric. I quilted it on Bonnie's Millennium which is a very well balanced machine.
We continued with the studio spring cleaning on Friday, squashing boxes and finally putting things back where they belonged. We had a little snack from the amazing carnival issue popcorn maker before fixing the windblown whirligig with a piece of steel tubing and a roll of ducktape. It was a lovely bright and breezy day for drying the washing. Tracy made a deal with Siana that I would make her a camera/mobile phone pouch if she sorted through her laundry.
After breakfast on Saturday morning I followed Bonnie to the County Dump in the Pontiac minivan, making sure that we obeyed the sign by not dumping large dead animals or explosives. Tracy and I pretended to be Thelma and Louise but she kept telling me that I was heading into the ditch. After that we went on a jaunt to a couple of small malls in Kingston. There were a small Joann's Fabrics, Dollar Tree, and an automotive store where I hunted for a magnetic dish to hold quilting pins. Style Fabrics happened to have a 30% discount today so I bought a couple of small pieces, including one printed with Converse baseball boots for Freya. Bonnie picked up a huge rack of ribs at Sam's Club to make sticky ribs with rice-a-roni and corn cobs for supper. On the road back we spotted a turkey vulture and some American bald eagles feeding their chicks in the treetops above a swamp. I finally got around to reloading the Yurt panel that defeated me in Providence and doodled random patterns all over it. It has now been titled, "Yankee Doodle Dandy".
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