Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dear North Carolina... (Part I)

I don't deny being a cranky New Englander. It's who I am. That's what happens when a girl has to scrape ice off her windshield four months out of the year. But I wanted to take a moment and let you know one important thing: I underestimated you on a couple counts. But before I get ahead of myself, I'd like to introduce the cast of characters...

First is Kias (rhymes with ice; he loves it when people say, "Kias, Kias, baby," so if you meet him, totally go for it). He's my brother's good friend from high school and like a second brother to me. We can talk him into doing just about anything. Maybe all Tunisians are like this? I'll have to meet more and get back to you. We love him. He loves his phone (as we'll see in part II).

Next is Ligia, our Colombian mastermind. She somehow manages to put up with my brother and still smile at the end of the day. I take this to mean that Colombian women are super resilient.

Then there's me. You know too much about me already.

Last is Little Brother. Okay, okay...he has a name. And just to keep a mild racial tinge going in this post, Michael and I are pasty, reserved French Canadians, both with some Swede mixed in--which is weird; we both got that from our separate fathers. Mom? Want to tell us something?

So this was our gang last weekend. Kias and I both left Boston for Charlotte at separate times just to make my brother have to plan more. He's the kind of guy who likes an itinerary.

Which is why I was barely in the state for an hour when we found ourselves at the Carolina Renaissance Festival.

Underestimation #1: I thought I would hate going to a ren fair. 

Nope. North Carolina, I was in geek heaven. I really liked it.

Per Wikipedia, it's a fictional village named Fairhaven.

I won't lie--stilt boy was hot.

We immediately volunteered Kias.

*crosses "be part of balancing/juggling troupe" off bucket list*
What ren fair would be complete without a joust?

We weren't supposed to cheer for this guy, but Ligia and I both know
when there's a hot bad guy in the haus (wink, wink).

I have about 80 pics like this; I'll spare you. It's much better in person.

Did you doubt my ability to find sheep wherever I go?
Award for best job at the fair...

She was transcendentally beautiful.

My unicorn was taken away at airport security.

I learned that there are people who travel with the fair.
After a while, it's hard to know who's a carny, and who's legit.

Award for best father-daughter costumes...
There was a strong man contest. We totally cheered The Fonz Kias on.

You can't see it in this tiny picture, but the thinger just hit the bell. Kias is strong like bull.
Shit got real when Ligia pointed out what she wants for Christmas.

I may have become slightly enamored with these guys. The London Broil.

That chick was very, very scared.

Matt Connolly of The London Broil
(not that I cyberstalked him to find his name or anything...)
We may have headed back to see a second joust.
This was a sad moment for Ligia and me.

One very disappointed wench. We're from New England.
We don't cheer loudly. We apologize.
Sometimes I'm sad that we don't look more alike.

And then someone teases us and we have the same reaction.

"Ligia, look concerned! We're worried about our empire!"
(Yes, I said that. She is kind of the coolest sister in law ever.)

Wait. What? Kias photobombed us.

Kias, Kias baby...

To be resumed in part II...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

When you photobomb the blogger...

This month, when Little brother scolded me for not blogging, he used my middle name. Apparently he means business. Okay, okay. Cool your jets, young blood.

The Deerfield Fair! What is there to say that I haven't already said over the years? Little brother and his wife come up from Charlotte. We eat a lot. We laugh a lot, mostly at each other. Let's take a stroll through the film clip and see what comes up . . . Gerty, roll the tape.
Yes, it's true. They were selling balls. To eat.
Little brother was a complete jerk every time I took a picture.
Seriously. Cranky stepfather is not impressed. But Cranky stepfather is never impressed.
These things are still ugly.

So every fair has its craft exhibits. And it's become clear to me that they let just about any riff raff in.

Exhibit A:

My mom's blue ribbon winner!
Exhibit B:
My imaginary bf Ted Nichols, amazing every year.
A second Ted Nichols piece! I love this painting. Also, this is getting stupid.
The guy lives down the street. I just don't have the lady balls to contact him and tell him I'm a fan.

Exhibit C:
Wait--what's this amidst all the 'merica goods? That there, off to the right...

Gerty, pan closer. Is that a blue ribbon?
 Damn, that thing is stunning! Closer...
Can we see some detail please...
In case you are into this sort of thing, it's one thread
over one square on 40-ct linen. It was a total little bitch to stitch.
 My first entry into the fair and my first blue ribbon! Yay me! When I went to collect my piece days later, a fellow crafter in line struck up a conversation with me and asked which piece was mine:

Me: It's a small cross stitch piece... not sure how to describe it. There's a's really small...
Fellow crafter: Wait...was it the red one?!
Me, whispering inside and mentally high-fiving myself: yessss!

But before you get all "Damn, Kelly's awesome and winnin' blue ribbons 'n shit; how can I be more like her," please note that about a foot away from my painstaking work was this other blue ribbon winner:
Yes. I'm in the company of the iconic Hang In There kitty.

And of course there are the obligatory animal pictures:


Huh, look at that. Little brother is being all nice and stuff.

I came upon this scene. I'm guessing Cranky stepfather and Little brother are
picking on each other. Mom is in hysterics. I love it.

Aaaand back to asshattery.

My heart breaks a little every time I see an apostrophe used this way.

Christmas shopping for Little brother: Check!
Then the sound of screeching breaks:

Wait, let me get a picture before you dig in...awesome.
Thanks for sticking your face into the frame.
So the chocolate-covered bacon. was. not. good. It was too sweet--sigh, yes, I just wrote that. Mom tried her hand at it a couple days later:
At the fair, the chocolate was overpowering. At home, I could barely taste the chocolate over the bacon. I think it needed salt, frankly. Sea salt would give it a little crunch and maybe marry the two flavors. I'm sure someone out there has figured this out. I have faith that there is an answer to the bacon/chocolate question.

Meanwhile, this happened:
An apple? At the fair? I didn't think that was possible.
And frankly, it's like I don't even know you, Ligia.

Truth. No effing fried pickles again this year.

We asked Little brother to take a picture of us. A photographer, he is not.
Poor Mom, popping out of a sprig of tall grass . . .
In case you're wondering, no. Nothing is serious in our family.
So thank you, Little brother, for reminding me to write a blog entry. Where would I be without you, m'dear?