Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tutu times two

By popular demand, here are new photos of ViMae and the St. Paul Saints' Brat Favre wearing their tutus and carrying baseballs to the umpire.

Yes, the pig's name is Brat Favre...names in previous years have included Kevin Bacon and Hammy Davis Junior. Dennis, the animal trainer, carries a bottle of sugar water. ViMae needs no such incentives...she loves putting on the tutu and the helmet and she takes plenty of time to approach the umpire and then to turn and wave to the crowd. Very soon she won't need Grandma to keep her on course.

The helmet is now required for any kids who go onto the field. You can understand it for the bat and ball kids, and the tykes who post the "K" signs to mark strikeouts. But kids take balls to the umpire between innings, when nobody is swinging a bat. Still, rules are rules, and we need to set a good example. So she plops the big old helmet on (as does Augie when it's his turn) and off she goes.

This tutu is huge and puffy. I made it with a no-sew method that you can find here and here. I used 6-inch rolls of tulle from the fabric and craft store--nearly 3 rolls of pink and one of purple. You make a loop of elastic a little bigger than the child's waist, and then cut the strips of tulle to double the length you want (I used 26 inches for a 13-inch skirt). You double the piece of tulle and loop it through the elastic. Repeat a hundred times (or whatever). I think I made it a little too full for a 2-year-old, but she handles it fine. It will look all crisp and neat at first, but if it's worn for play (which this one is) it will develop, um, "character." All the more charming.

An extra-special treet was running into Saints mascot Mudonna beneath the stands and getting a special hug. Both kids LOVE Mudonna. She is very good with children, and it seems as though she goes out of her way to be good to ours.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday's Word: Blogiversary

Yesterday (August 17) was the one-year anniversary of my blog. My first post was photos of the grandkids at a Saints game. To celebrate, here are some new pix of the kids at the ballpark.

Augie has made friends with the umpires, and the crew chief recently invited him to join the umpire crew as they rubbed mud on the balls before the game. (Yes, the balls come shiny in the box and have to be rubbed with special mud to take the shine off.) He has no idea what an honor that is, or how unusual it is for umpires to emerge onto the field, turn to the stands, and call, "Hi, Augie!" Not only that, they gave him an official American Association umpire's cap.

On the same evening, ViMae was invited to carry balls out to the umpire. One of the Saints' traditions is that each year a new trained pig totes balls to the umpire. On occasion a fan gets to do the job; Augie's done it a few times. ViMae was wearing her new tutu (which I had just made) and the pig wore his tutu, and they were both very cute. (I'll post a better shot of the tutu another day.)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Relaxing in the north woods

Our week-long lake vacation was wonderfully relaxing, and it renewed a connection to lake life that had once been very important to us. We rented a cabin at the quiet little Pine Terrace Resort on Star Lake in Minnesota's Crow Wing County:

In the late 1950s, my parents had built a modest, much-loved lake cabin in northern Minnesota. It was on leased land, and in 1993 we lost it when the state auctioned off its lakeshore holdings. We couldn't afford a new place, and we never found a suitable place to rent. Coincidentally, the St. Paul Saints started up that same year, so Peter and I threw ourselves into baseball.

We had enjoyed the primitive life at our family place--using natural gas instead of electricity, pumping water at the nearby campground and bringing it to the kitchen in a 5-gallon can, and of course making do with an outhouse. But when we decided to rent a place this year, we didn't really want to live with someone else's decades-old couches and impossibly lumpy beds. We also weren't interested in the big, luxury resorts with golf courses and mixed drinks and noise and Social Life.

I discovered that there are now quite a few small, family-oriented resorts featuring attractive, modern cabins--AND you can find them through the Internet. Our cabin was beautiful--solidly built, well designed, attractively furnished. It is set into a hill, so when you look out toward the lake, you're in the treetops, mostly oak and birch. The resort has 13 cabins, and while the ones along the lakeshore are pretty close to one another, ours was a little apart and very quiet.

The resort is the only one on the lake; there are also about a dozen homes. That leaves a lot of undeveloped shore where we saw a heron, a crane, a beaver, and a family of loons. The owners also have created several nature walks through the woods.

We spent hours in the boat each much that when I closed my eyes at night I saw water and felt myself rocking ever so slightly with the waves. We caught dozens of small crappies (pronounced crah-pees) and bass, and eventually we kept a couple of larger ones. I found that I was eager to clean those fish, to regain my skills after 18 years of not using them. My presence in the fish-cleaning house created a lot of curiosity. The men casually glanced in to see how I was doing. The women asked Peter, "How did you get her to do the fish-cleaning?" He assured them that I loved it, and had been doing it since long before we'd met. He also noted that I drove the boat (although I often had a little trouble controlling our approach to the dock).

The furnishings were lovely and the beds were great. Peter, an every-night insomniac, slept better there than he does at home. He brought his computer and worked off-line a few hours each day. While the resort does not offer internet connection,the owners had WiFi at their home next door, so when Peter needed to send a file we drove over and sat in their driveway for a few minutes. I hasten to add that I did NOT check blogs while there!

The week was just what we'd hoped. If all goes well we'll make it an annual excursion, and we hope the kids and grandkids will join us! . 


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