Welcome to Planet Nilknarf
Goin' There and Doin' That since 1964 Braggin' & Bitchin' about it HERE since 2008
Salutations Faithful Readers! You may recall that the last square of my first quilt showed a white crayon among its series of images. “Why a white crayon?” You may ask. To the uneducated and uncreative, the white crayon is probably considered the most useless crayon in the box, ignored, unable to let its voice be heard. But with the right entourage on its side, a white crayon can speak volumes! Used the right way, with the help of its other friends in the crayon box or watercolour paints, the white crayon's message can finally be seen and appreciated by all. With our fourth anniversary coming up, it's only right that we have an exciting new motto. At first it was going to be “Goin' There and Doin' That since 2008”. But I decided against that because, obviously there was life BEFORE Planet Nilknarf. I had even thought of “Goin' there and Doin' That since 1991(plus the B&B part) since that was the year I went on my first National Carousel Convention tour. But, I realized that even before then I've travelled on my own and had a pretty adventurous life whether I care to remember it or not! However, this phrase was also coined in memory of what my parents always used to say when I was a kid and I used to see all these commercials on TV for all these wonderful and exciting amusement parks and carousels! “We can't go there! It's in the STAAAAAAAAAAAAAATES!” “We can't do that! It's in the STAAAAAAAAAAAAAATES!” “We're not going ALL THE WAY THERE just so you can ride the Merry-Go-Round!” Well now I DO that and GO THERE pretty much EVERY year and I'm happy to say that most of the time I'm in the delightful company of approximately 300 other wild and crazy kindred spirits who go ALL THE WAY THERE JUST TO RIDE MERRY-GO-ROUNDS!!! I'm Livin' the Dream in SOME FINE STYLE!!!!! And NO ONE can stop me!!!! 1991 may have been my first National Carousel Association convention, but it certainly wasn't my first solo flight. The first time I flew alone was in fall of 1985 when I went to Prince Edward Island as part of
the Katimavik program. To be honest, the less said about Katimavik, the better. It was basically your modern-day slavery program. A dozen of us were living together in a renovated train station where every day, rain or shine, we traveled out to the work site where we were working together to build a log cabin for a kids' summer camp. I was always too cold and at the end of the day I was usually exhausted. Even worse was the two weeks of housework I shared with Debbie. I couldn't do anything right and she was always screaming at me. Of course she'd scream at me even worse when I started crying. It was then they started talking to me about considering letting me go. But at least they let me experience the joy of billeting. I spent two weeks living with a couple who owned a health food store and had a baby daughter. The idea would have filled me with terror if I had to face it nowadays! TWO WEEKS with a family who has a BABY!! At least she was okay most of the time but there was one night she wouldn't stop crying for hours on end. Other than that she was usually a good little girl and I actually used to enjoy taking her out in her stroller and even having people think she was my little girl. Let the bells ring and the banners fly, I actually HAD SOME maternal instinct in those days! And we actually went to a play together, me both parents AND the baby, who actually stayed QUIET during the entire show, except during one crucial scene when the cast on stage had to try not to laugh when they heard a tiny voice say “Wa-tah!” Nowadays the very idea of taking a baby to a play would fill my heart with absolute terror. I guess they just don't make kids like this anymore! And the NAME of that play! A Child is Crying on the Stairs. Nowadays I would rather undergo root canal without anesthetic than go to a play with a title like that. It was an okay play. It was about child abuse, of course. At least there were no actual crying children in the show.. Perhaps one of the best things about billeting was that I got to look after a small farm all by myself for an entire weekend while the family went away. They had a small barn with about a dozen chickens, and a goat named Myrna. Myrna had to be milked twice a day. It was a chore I did better at on my own, unsupervised, because when I was supervised, the woman would yell at me and make me even more confused. Myrna was a beautiful animal, one of those prize-winning Egyptian goats. It was the first time I had ever tasted goat's milk and the best. Goat's milk from the supermarket was never quite as good. And there was no better breakfast than scrambled eggs which I had gathered from the chicken house with milk that I'd gotten from Myrna. Gathering eggs is hardly the idyllic job most people might imagine it to be. It's a wonder I wasn't put off. Once I brought them into the house there was a special rag I had to use to wipe them with under the tap because some of them could be encrusted with at least half an inch of chicken shit!! When I was sent home from Katimavik, it was because, the group leader told me in so many words, I was too fat and clumsy. Perhaps the most significant thing about the time I served in Katimavik was that it was where I encountered my first romance. I guess I was pretty scared and naïve and thousands of miles away from home so I basically let him have his way with me and mistook it for being loved. If I had to do it all over again I now wish I'd never stayed in contact with Will Hobbs. But raging hormones and the need to feel loved clouded over whatever common sense I would have had otherwise. And on the Easter weekend of 1986 I took a bus to Quebec to visit my old Katimavik group and that's where I lost my virginity with Will. And even though we used a condom I had my first pregnancy scare a couple weeks later. My period was NEVER late. But this time it was late by almost an entire week!!
I made the mistake of staying in touch with him and traveling all the way to Calgary to see him in 1987. This really and truly WAS the WORST TRIP EVER and the less said about it the better. I am lucky to be alive after all the horrendous shenanigans that went on in that household! The end of that vacation was the end of that relationship! I wonder whatever became of Will. I guess I'll never know. I'm probably better off not knowing. Prince Edward Island may have been my first solo flight but it certainly wasn't the first time I've ever been on a plane. I was five years old the first time my mom and I went to Holland. November of 1969. I was in kindergarten. We went there for six weeks and I am happy to have had the opportunity of spending Christmas that year in a different culture even though I remember very little of it. Even though I could not understand the language, I got to attend a local Sinterklass party in a neighbourhood kindergarten class. I have to admit at the time I was always a little afraid of Sinterklass and his assistant, Black Peter. Everyone in the class received a gift, including me. I'll never forget what it was. I received a toy clown whose legs fell off within the first ten minutes. Oh well, at least it's the thought that counts. My second trip to Holland was when I was ten. This time all three of us went. It was summer and we had so many places to go and things to see that time. Peter took us to Madurodam, which is something like Cullen Gardens Miniature Village. One of my favorite things there was the coinoperated mini amusement park. Later that same day we went to Scheveningen, where I had several rides on a gorgeous antique carousel. My parents could barely drag me away from it!
We went to the pier where I played pinball. I was amazed at how tiny Dutch quarters are! Their quarters were the size of our DIMES! At the pier there were also Bumper Cars! And I HAD to have a ride on those too. But not by myself. My mom insisted on driving. We were practically the only ones except for two or three young men. My mom was wearing a wrap-around skirt that tied up in the back and they plowed into us and she ended up with a very nasty bruise right where her skirt was knotted. You wouldn't believe the drama I just went to just trying to get this photo album off the shelf! Here it was around 5:30 in the morning and I had to dig around the bottom shelf of the yellow plastic corner unit in my bedroom. Anyway the whole shebang tipped over. There was a crash and a scream! I
thought the whole thing was going to land on my head but I managed to duck away in time. The phone fell off the hook and I think I may have broken that alarm clock which is just as well because I don't use it anyway. I have that battery-operated one on “my” side of the bed. I had to go to my husband's room to make sure he was still alive! I can't believe he slept right through all that commotion!! I woke up and told him what happened. “Are you all right?” he asked “What do YOU think?” I replied. Obviously I must be but I feel like I need a cigarette! I just wouldn't want him to know about it! Anyway, back to my 1975 Holland trip. Another one of the highlights was a carnival I went to with my cousin Peter. I wish we had taken pictures then because there was a most unusual carousel that I rode there that went in TWO directions at once. It was a modern kiddie carousel that had mostly vehicles and a chuck wagon pulled by two horses and the main outer platform went clockwise. But in the middle was a smaller carousel with about six horses that went counter-clockwise. Unusual thing about these horses is that they were covered with real fur. Cow fur. And they had real leather harnesses. I had several rides on that carousel and I rode everything else there as well. Other highlights of my 1975 Holland trip were the Blydorp Zoo and the Euromast in Rotterdam, various museums and the town hall in Gouda, various museums in Haarlem, our canal boat ride and visit to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and much more. I guess there are museums for just about anything you can think of and at one point we actually went to a PIPE museum. If all they had was pipes you wouldn’t think such a place would be very big. It was so long ago I don't remember much but I know my dad bought a few different pipes including a Meerschaum that appeared to be plain white but the nicotine would darken the bowl to reveal a landscape with windmills.
Shocking Truth/Opinion of the Month
It's Not the End of the World if You're Not Married by the Time You're 30 Welcome to my new column. Last month I probably shocked a few people out there by stating that Sex is Not the Greatest Thing Ever. I gave my reasons why I thought so and mentioned several other things I think are a whole lot better. At least in my humble opinion anyway. Many of you have probably seen the Bridget Jones' Diary movies, and/or read the books. I have watched and enjoyed both Bridget Jones movies but I couldn't get into the books. I found them extremely boring and tedious. She seemed to spend most of her time fretting about her weight and worrying about not getting married by the time she was 30. In fact I think I've basically described the formula of the majority of chick-lit out there! What is so crucial about turning 30? Back when I was living in Lindsay I used to go to these Women's Aglow Christian Fellowship meetings. At one of them I met a woman who told me I was oppressed. She handed me a well-worn tract with all the symptoms of being oppressed and blamed it on the music I was listening to. This could have turned me right off. She also insisted we agree in prayer about me finding a husband by the time I was 30. Needless to say, that prayer wasn't answered. God had other ideas. Meanwhile I went through my 20's seeing all the friends I'd made pairing off left right and centre, going to one wedding after another. After my horrible fiasco vacation in Calgary in 1987 and a brief season of tribulation to follow, God saw it in His heart to bless me with a season of wonderful and exciting new friends in 1988. In December of that year, Rose and Albert got married. Then it was Janice and Dan. Then there was the big road trip to London for Pam and Paul's wedding. Then Mark and Christy in September of 1990, the same day as I was moving into my new apartment. I managed to squeeze it in somehow. There was even a wedding at my first Carousel Convention!!! Then the following year it was
Mike and Bonnie. I actually caught the bouquet at that one. They now have three sons and they've recently celebrated their 20th anniversary! Yet all this time I couldn't help but wonder when it would ever be MY turn! As everyone paired off I felt like life was passing me by. For a season I actually had more male friends than females. My mom used to jokingly refer to me as “Maid Marion and her Harem”. Sure I had crushes on a number of my male friends but they basically regarded me as one of the guys even though I wore my prettiest dresses when I used to go out with the gang to the movies or the TV studio where we did our Christian music show. Face it, I was too much of a tomboy. My rough-and-tumble ways were enough to scare the best of them. I cringe when I think about how horribly immature I was back in my 20's. I mentioned about Will. To think I once thought he was my soulmate. Then I met Darren at a Christian retreat. I don't know what I ever saw in him. He was a control freak and a cheapskate who delighted in telling gruesome stories and was always allowing himself to get stolen from at work. There was nothing he enjoyed more than driving. And driving. And driving...! Despite the fact that his car was such a gas guzzler I could see the needle just plummet, he enjoyed nothing more than taking the scenic route everywhere we went despite the fact my legs were getting cramped on the journey. I finally had the thrill of visiting the Alan Herschell Carousel Museum for the first time. But we weren't going to go there if it cost more than $4! It was EXACTLY $4 at the time. And there was his “itchy trigger finger”! Him and his addiction to video games. I would be so bored waiting for him while he had to stop at every arcade and then when it was time for what I wanted to do, the place I wanted to go would be CLOSED!! And he'd waste a beautiful day sitting inside at his computer. I have to admit I'm guilty of that now. Darren was going to be best man at his best friend's wedding. And if we were going to get married, he wanted his Best Man's WIFE to be my maid of honour! HELLO! When and if I was ever getting married I would want JANETTE to be my maid of honour. She's been my best friend since college and she's always been like a sister to me. Darren ended up dumping me when I came back from Holland with my mom. He complained about all the presents I brought back for him and said he couldn't cope with my mood swings. Just as well. He also wanted KIDS! Another reason people fret about the 30 thing! All this nonsense about the Biological Clock! I keep hitting the “snooze” button on mine. In fact I think I've flattened it with a metaphorical HAMMER!! I am too gynecologically traumatized to even think of procreating! My urge to spawn has basically died a slow and painful death since the day I had my first Pap test. “If you think THAT'S painful, wait until you have a BABY!” I would be told. At least a baby isn't SCALDING HOT!! Hot or not, I NEVER want to find out anyway. When I was in my 20's and even in my early 30's, I didn't know who I was or what I wanted anyway. Janette and I pulled up stakes thinking we could win over a certain masked musical trio. Then in 1997 Butthead came into my life and turned everything upside down. Mark and Dawn were two of the first friends Janette and I made in Toronto. Then one day in 1997, Mark was in tears telling me that he and Dawn had just broke up. He brought Butthead to church with him and the four of us double-dated. Next thing you know Butthead had worked a spell on me and ended up living with me for almost a year.
I don't call him by his real name in case he tries to Google himself. He basically stole from me every chance he got and used and abused me in nearly every way possible. He didn't beat me but he did nearly tickle me to death and torture me with cold plastic milk bags. Once I caught him red-handed taking money out of my purse! The last straw was when my cell phone was cut off because he had no intention of paying the bills. He racked up thousands of dollars worth of debt. I kicked him out and my parents bailed me out. I spent the next few years basically re-inventing myself doing EVERYTHING I would NOT be able to do if Butthead was still the proverbial albatross around my neck! I was an extra in the KISS movie, “Detroit Rock City”, I made new friends, I hosted parties and I worked on my music with a vengeance! Going to the recording studio and making my own CD was probably one of the most rewarding things I'd ever done in my life! I may not have become famous but it was the catalyst God used to actually bring Mr. Right in my life when Dave saw me promoting it on City TV's Speaker's Corner. He had been taping the show because he knew he was going to be on there himself. Crazy as it may sound there was a feeling of common destiny when I saw him on the show talking about how he wished it could be an hour long instead of just half an hour. The funny part is his family used to always tease him; “You don't get out enough. The girl of your dreams isn't just going to pop out of your TV!” Well, I guess I did, blue wig, KISS makeup and all!! I was using what attracted me! I had originally come to Toronto because I had a huge crush on a certain blue-haired guitar player. Now things had come full circle and I was that blue-haired guitar player that someone NEW was attracted to. We corresponded for several months until we had our first date in October of 2001 and from that moment on we knew we were inseparable. We tied the knot in July of 2002, him at the age of 40 and me at the ripe old age of 37. And we have lived happily ever after. And if a couple of weirdos like us can find each other in this crazy world and last this long, there is hope for others out there no matter how old you are! Until then enjoy your single years and make the best of them. Pursue your hobbies and dreams and do whatever makes you happiest. Don't waste your time looking for that special someone. Chances are you'll always be disappointed. Love will find you when you least expect it. Don't try to change to attract the right person. Just be yourself and the right person will find you!
The above photo is one of my all-time favorite pictures of myself riding a carousel, even though I am not riding a horse. I am on a Montana Cut-Throat Trout on the Great Northern Carousel in Helena Montana. I like this picture because to me it is the very essence of goofy exuberance. My challenge is to any of you readers out there who are proficient at both Photoshop and flash animation to cut out this image of me riding this fish and animate me flying through the air in front of some wild and crazy, trippy background with major kick-ass music playing! Post your links on YouTube and I will publish them in future issues of Planet Nilknarf! So far. I have the following response, by Alex Strauss-fausto. It may not be animated but it's still delightfully surreal:
Cover Story: Quilt #5 is Finally Finished!!
Let the bells ring and the banners fly!!! Actually I finished it on Sunday, September 2nd, but didn't get to photograph it until Tuesday the 4th because it rained all day Monday. You can read all the details and have a better look here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/105032917/Quilt-Number-Five It will be on display along with my other quilts, my carousel wedding dress and more at the Boyd Heritage museum and gallery from December 1st, 2012 until January 31st, 2013. The museum is located at 21, Canal Street East, Bobcaygeon, Ontario.
Living on the Spectrum: The Base Point System
Those of you who have been my regular readers over the years know that I have something called Asperger's Syndrome. First time readers who have never heard of it before and don't know what it is can Google the term and find a wealth of information out there, maybe even too much. What it is is a type of high-functioning autism. I found out I had it shortly before my 40th birthday. The rest is history. Recently I cam across an interesting concept, the idea of “Base Points” to evaluate your day. The original page was geared at children with autism getting through a typical school day, but I think adults on the spectrum can relate too. A good day typically starts with 18 Base Points and experiences throughout the day either deplete or replenish your points. Meals, naps and other positive activities are examples of activities that would give me more points, whereas if I have to go grocery shopping or wait in line at the bank (especially if someone comes in with a baby) my points go down. Here is an
example of the typical chart that was posted on Facebook:
Today. For example, I woke up with a sore throat after still reeling from yesterday's drama so I estimate that I've awakened with roughly 15 base points, based on the way I feel. Having a shower and getting dressed actually GAVE me two more points so I am at around 17 so far this morning. This chart starts with breakfast. My own personal chart starts with the act of actually hauling my grumpy old keester out of bed in the morning! I tend to think of my base points as a tower. On the day my aunt drove Janette and I to North Bay, her unexpected angry outburst at me was like a plane blasting through the World Trade Centre during 911! All my base points basically crashed and imploded on one another, pancaking downward in a cloud of dust that followed us all the way there and I pretty much felt like I spent the rest of my vacation wallowing through Ground Zero! A few things brought my base points back up; a cigarette, rides on the carousel, meals, naps, a bath, but nothing ever quite totally replenished my points. On a typical day when I don't have to go anywhere or do much my points don't fluctuate much. Yesterday I lost a couple when I walked into the art gallery with a postcard to display on their board and the board appeared to be gone! The security guard said that the board had just been turned around. When I asked if I could put my card on the board he said he'd do it for me. Riiiight. As if I can expect my card to see the light of day now. And my points really started to drain dangerously low when I couldn't find my National Carousel Association jacket in the front hall closet where I knew it was SUPPOSED to be. I'd already torn the place apart looking for the patch that I was supposed t sew onto my jacket. I'd put it off all year, knowing full well that my patch was still in last year's name-tag holder which was supposed to be on my bedside table, but due to the laws of gravity, got swallowed up by the mess of books and magazines on the floor next to my bed. Okay, so I found my patch. WHERE THE F*** IS MY JACKET!? Knowing me, I was afraid I'd been feeling so sick and distraught on last year's trip I probably left it somewhere so I actually phoned the hotel where I'd stayed in Denver. I figured it was probably a long shot anyway because it was already almost a year ago and
something that had been gone that long would probably have been given away to the Salvation Army or something like that. When I hung up the phone I just snapped and had the Ultimate Screaming Meltdown. It was inevitable. It had to happen sooner or later because I'd been so stressed out all week to begin with. During these days leading up to the convention I have been fighting a major depression. This irritable, mopey, melancholy feeling had been dragging me down for quite some time. My poor hubby thought that the police would be at our door any second now, that the neighbours would have thought I was being murdered. Now that my scream is over and done with I basically feel cleansed and ready to move on. I'm glad it didn't happen at any time during the convention, especially at the airport or on the plane. At this point I feel like I'm at around a 16 and will probably stay there as long as I don't have to go out or interact with anyone for the rest of the day. The bank is going to have to wait until tomorrow. BTW I finally did find my jacket. It was in my BEDROOM closet. What it was doing there I'll never understand. Feeling sheepish and kind of chastised, I am embroidering my name and address on the inside so if I ever do misplace it anywhere on route, it can't possibly get lost again! Unless it gets around the house again! Maybe I should stitch one of those sound-activated key-chains into its lining!
Autism Celebration Wednesday, October 17th, 2012, 6 to 9 pm, Father Leo J. Austin C.S.S., 1020 Dryden Blvd., Whitby, ON Sponsored by Kerry's Place Autism Services Geneva Autism Symposium Wednesday, October 24th – Friday, October 27th, 2012 Metro Toronto Convention Centre http://www.autism.net/symposium/symposium2012.html I will be selling my products there on Friday the 27th. The Carousel of Friendship Official Art Display December 12th 2012 – January 31st, 2013 Boyd Heritage Gallery, 21 canal Street, Bobcaygeon, Ontario http://www.theboydmuseum.com/events.html http://www.scribd.com/doc/105933764/Bobcaygeon-Art-Exhibit-Poster
Janette's Niagara Trip
Earlier in September, Janette Tansley made another solo journey to Niagara Falls, this time to see tightrope walker Jay Cochrane. I am delighted to share this video she shared with me. We may not actually be able to see much but I must say the music is really exciting! Iy makes me want to be there! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq5h1EQUJTM&feature=em-share_video_user Janette is currently working on a short review about her latest trip which I hope to share with you in next month's issue of Planet Nilknarf.
The Carousel of Friendship
Latest Goings-On: As mentioned earlier, there will be several exciting events where the public can buy my craft items. There's the Autism Celebration in Whitby on Wednesday, October 17th, The Geneva
Autism Symposium on Friday October 27th, and my big exhibit at the Boyd Heritage museum in Bobcaygeon for the entire month of December until the 19th of January. Thisd is where all five of my quilts will be on display along with my wedding dress, papier-mache carousel animals and more. I am hoping to display a quilt in progress along with a bulletin board where visitors can post their carousel animals drawings for me to take home and use on the next quilt. I am also working on the following quilt:
I want to thank my friend Lisa for the carousel horse fabric, As you can see I've embroidered Gladys and Edna riding on these horses and added sequins their trappings. This particular quilt will alternate these horse squares with my cartoon characters riding them with scenes on solid colour backgrounds of Louella Snugglebunny and the Ewetopia sheep engaged in various activities, usually carnival and amusement-related. They'll be spinning around in a teacup, colliding together in bumper cars, diving around in a colourful ball pit and more! This fabric usually has a “jeweled” pattern around the edge of each square but I chose the red and blue print fabric to give all these squares a more “unified” look. However, nothing gets wasted so that “jeweled” trim was used on the last square of my latest quilt and other squares on my next quilt :
Good news from SATH, John Victor has informed me that the women in Pakistan have embroidered ten squares for the “Project Pakistan” quilt. He will be mailing them to me but I may have to reimburse them for the cost of postage. If they arrive before the big show in Bobcaygeon, I will share my pictures of them in the next issue of Planet Nilknarf if possible and start assembling them to exhibit at my show.
Blasts from the Past!!
Here it is, the day before my Big Trip and I found an album in my room with some long-lost fun photos that I'd like to share! Back when I lived in Toronto, we used to go to our share of street festivals whenever we got wind of the fact that our favorite performers would be there.
On the left is me up on stage taking part in Magic Mike's Guillotine act. This was at a street festival on Eglinton sometime in the early fall of 2000. My friends and I had seen Magic' Mike perform at a few different events prior to this so we were already familiar with his act. Especially his rope trick where he calls one of the knots “George”. Anyway, Janette, having seen his act before, was just going to wander away and pass on it until she heard my name on the speaker and turned around to see me up on stage with my head on the guillotine. I must admit I was a little nervous but I didn't feel a thing. You could say his act was on the CUTTING EDGE and it's been a SLICE! And I'd better quit these corny puns while I'm AHEAD!! And on the right is me on stage during Doo Doo the clown's game show at the street festival on Yonge Street. I forget when this was taken. All I know is that it was sometime after Butthead was no longer in my life. Doo Doo hasn't done his game show in awhile. At least not at any events I've been to recently. But I remember hoping he'd ask the question “What did Cinderella wear on her feet when she went to the ball?” so I could be silly and answer “Her Dad's Bowling Shoes!” At these festivals there would always be a parade for people to march in and by the time it was over most of the people were gone and Mark, Janette and I would be the only ones left along with Doo Doo and his entourage of various costume characters. I just did a Google search on “Magic Mike” but of course I can't find anything about the Magic Mike I remember from his shows at First Night and the street festival. Of course there are tons of pictures of male strippers/Chippendale-type dancers from a movie by the same name. There's also a magician in Britain who calls himself Magic Mike who wears a colourful jester's hat. Magic Mike, if you're out there, please feel free to give us a shout here at Planet Nilknarf. Another performer from my past I decided to look up is magician Jeff Hill. There's plenty of stuff about him on Google. Especially the following YouTube video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sM76w0F8JFY Jeff and I go way back. It had to have been around 1984 when he and I were in the cast of “Camelot” together. He was Mordred the Magician and I was in the chorus. (As usual!) Through the years I've seen Jeff perform at various festivals and events including Lindsay's Homecoming weekend and once at Toronto's Spring Fling. Sometimes he'd bring out a unicorn's skull and call it a “Virgin Detector”. I always liked his trick with the pompoms. His fast-paced talk through that routine was what made it so captivating. When I was living in Toronto, Jeff and I happened to run into each other quite a few times. He must have lived somewhere along Dufferin. I remember just before the first time we ran into each other in Toronto. I had a funny twitch in my eyelid. “That means you're going to see someone you haven't seen in a long time.” my former boss said to me. Sure enough, she was right. Jeff and I just happened to be riding home on the same bus. Jeff, I just want to say hello to you wherever you are. It's good to see that you're still doing what you enjoy after all these years! While I was looking at Jeff's magic video I also came across this vintage footage of the CNE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XkFA4aanzfY&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wx_HP2PgqTs&feature=relmfu I am always on the lookout for vintage CNE footage, especially if I could find any with the old Racing Derby carousel I used to love so much! I did, however find this footage of the Flyer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFQzfs-rudU&feature=related It says that the Flyer closed in 1991 but I could have sworn it's actually been gone since 1989! Same year they got rid of the Racing Derby. The Flyer was the first roller coaster I've ever been on. My dad and I went on it when I was six years old. Same with my first ride on the Racing Derby. I guess the Flyer is pretty tame compared to most roller-coasters I've been on elsewhere since then. Here's another one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4g5No1B97w&feature=related After fast-forwarding through all the auto-racing footage I was amazed that the CNE actually used to have such a thing as a BABIES REST station! You sure don't see anything like that around here nowadays! I guess parents are too scared to let their kids out of their sight for even two seconds, let alone leave them somewhere! It's been interesting to see the kinds of toys and souvenirs they used to have way back in those days. I actually had a couple of those furry monkeys that dangled from bamboo canes and one of those plastic horns. Mine was blue. I believe nowadays they call them voovoozeelas, although I'm not sure if I spelled that properly. And for awhile paper flowers seemed to be everywhere! Even when Canada's Wonderland first opened.
Dear Mom and Dad
Wednesday, September 26th, 2012 Dear Mom and Dad, It's times like this when I really, really miss you the most! How are things in heaven? I am EXHAUSTED! After this year's convention I feel like I'm lucky I'm still in one piece. Don't get me wrong, I had a WONDERFUL time, but it wasn't without its drama. I totally started to crash and burn during the closing meeting. Since I've been home I still haven't been out anywhere. It's been taking me forever to edit my photos and upload my videos. The other night I actually had a dream about Lawrence Sinukoff. It was strange. We met at some kind of banquet. I probably dreamt about being at a banquet because I've been to so many banquet-like settings this past week, often just feeling overwhelmed and zoning out during my meals rather than conversing with anyone. Anyway, he remembered me, of course, and he was STILL teasing me about “boo” and “horsemeat” except this time he wasn't trying to be cruel or malicious. He was joking, lightheartedly, trying to be friendly. Still there are things you just DON'T joke about. I know he could be a pretty nice guy when he tried to be. Mom, I remember when you and his mom tried to make us actually be friends for awhile. I apologize for the things I said in the December issue when I was wondering how he must have treated his family. It was uncalled for and unprofessional. When we were talking at this banquet we were actually having quite a hearty laugh about the Eraser Dust Incident!! Anyway, here is a picture of a Hurdy-Gurdy. This was taken at the Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. Dad, I thought of you when I saw this because I remembered the one that you built. I have no idea where it is now. Jean sold nearly everything on eBay when we cleared everything out of the house. Even my smurfs and a whole box full of “Mad” magazines. My husband thought he was imagining things when I said I was thinking of skipping next year's convention. I need a break from airline travel. You'll find out why when I publish my account of my trip. The link will be in the anniversary issue. I am still uploading videos onto YouTube. The flight itself in both directions actually went very well. There were NO BABIES ON BOARD in either direction, I did NOT need a seat belt extension on either plane and both times I saw really good movies; “Brave” and “The Adventures of Tintin”. There were no pay-per-view movies at the hotel this year but that's okay. At least there was a POOL! And I had a BATHTUB! I made sure I used both at least TWICE! It was WONDERFUL! However, I had to unplug my fridge because the high-pitched ringing sound it made hurt my ears. And I ended up having to strip the bed and put my pillows at the
foot to sleep “backwards” because I am SO USED to having the window to my LEFT!! It's been that way just about everywhere I've ever lived and the previous two hotels Janette and I have stayed at. I'm glad the hotel staff was willing to comply with my eccentric request:
The weather has been pretty dull and overcast most of the time since I've been home and I still haven't been out anywhere. I feel like I'm still recovering from everything. St. Joseph is a beautiful city. I feel like I could be very happy living there. But the hotels aren't big enough for the whole group so the people from MY hotel would always have to be the FIRST ones to get up to get on the bus and the LAST ones to get back to our hotel at the end of the day, drastically cutting in on whatever downtime we had left. Next year's convention is in Kansas. I know it's where Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” comes from, but so far nothing really resonates with me to make me want to go. It's mostly C.W. Parker carousels and two zoos. If we were going to New Your, California or Wisconsin I might really be tempted. This time I just want to save my money and maybe Janette and I will have an extra-special Niagara trip next summer. I'm due to renew my passport. There are new ones that are now good for TEN years. They cost around $134. It's still possible to get a 5-year passport but they are around $90, up from what I previously paid which must have been around 70 or 80. I figure it's worth my while just to get the 10year one. I hope I can get my picture done in black and white because as much as I love having purple hair, it may not always be purple 10 years from now. The store has run out of my colour and have no intention of restocking it because it's a “seasonal” item. Once I get up the energy to walk to the store I think this time I'll touch up my roots with hot pink and add turquoise tips and streaks. Perhaps my favorite part of this year's convention was the opening night reception! It was like a carnival! There was face-painting and fortune-tellers and the museum was open for people to get a better look at everything and there is nothing more magical than my first ride of the tour. What with the technical part of the conference we spent the whole day just looking at the carousel so you can imagine how happy and excited I was to FINALLY get to RIDE it, especially on that magnificent, white medieval charger! Of all the carousels on this tour this one was my favorite because it was the closest to the kind of facility I dream of. It felt like home because the whole layout of the place was so similar to my personal vision for the Carousel of Friendship!
Well, that's it for now. Love, Margaret
Adventures of the Travelling Dolls The 2012 Michigan Trip: Part One
(Above) Left to right: Seahorse outside carousel building, lighthouse in hotel lobby, praying mantis on St. Joseph carousel. Below: Rocket Ride and Pony Cart at carousel museum.
Last two pictures on previous page: Cuddling “Integrity's” Police Dog and posing on an Allan Herschell jumper on display at the opening night reception. (Below:) Pony Cart ride and “Baby” ponies at Crossroads Village.
Deer at Herschell-Spillman carousel in Greenfield Michigan.
See You Next Month!!!