Saturday, April 30, 2011

Field Trip: The Sequel!

In the normal course of events, I make it up to Hutch every couple of years or so, whenever I start feeling like it's been too long since I went to the fair. Going up twice in one month is unprecedented. This time I went up with the Barricks for Dad's birthday to see Tornado Alley at the Cosmosphere. The movie is entertaining and educational (and is narrated by Bill Paxton, which gave it that touch of Twister authenticity). Furthermore, with my newfound tornado expertise, I'm convinced that what we had in Lawrence in March 2006 was an actual small tornado. Microburst, my ass.

But for me, the highlights of the day were not movie-related. First there was this excellent sock picture:
Socks in Space!
If you're not a sock knitter, this doesn't make sense and you'll just have to trust me when I tell you that this is a pretty cool picture. Those of you who are actually acquainted with this particular sock will notice that significant progress was made in the car on the way up. Now that we're home again, Sockie is ready for her toe.

Moving on. . . .

The second highlight was seeing the two pieces of the Berlin Wall displayed at the Cosmosphere. I remember hearing that we were getting some pieces, but had forgotten about it. The Wall coming down was probably the first politically important event of my lifetime with obvious historical significance that I was old enough to remember and at least partially understand. So rounding a corner and running smack into pieces of the wall was literally breathtaking. 

 Although the display kinda sorta makes sense in the context of the Cold War space race, it does seem odd to display them at the Cosmosphere in a weirdly dark corner. I would think there might be more appropriate venues. I suppose, though, that they are at the Cosmosphere specifically because they're the property of the Smithsonian.

I thought my fiber-loving, needleworking friends would be interested in the following tidbit:

I haven't been able to find any other information on the "little old ladies" (extensive 2-minute Google searches just aren't what they used to be), but I'd be willing to bet that these women were probably a variety of ages and of more or less regular size. 

And then there was supper at Bogey's, a very good, very cheap burger place next to the Fairgrounds that my sister knew about from her time working at the Hutch hospital when she was in nursing school.

American Bliss
See the "DP" on the cup? That stands for "Dr. Pepper." That right there, my friends, is a Dr. Pepper shake. It seems unbelievable that I had to wait 34 years to taste a Dr. Pepper shake. The technology that could create this marvel is at least as impressive to me as the technology that sent men to the moon.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Field Trip!

Sometimes it's hard to remember why I love Kansas. What with all the hateful political nonsense, it's easy to forget that a lot of people in this state are kind folks who are all about helping each other. Foremost among that group are . . .

 Mennonites selling things!

Mom and I went up to Hutchinson this morning for the Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale, where they auction off everything from garden shovels to antique pump organs.

I was going to watch the quilt auction and get some pictures, but the very first quilt that sold after we got into that building went for $4,000. I tend to be a fidgety type of person, so I got out of there before I accidentally scratched my nose and bought a quilt that cost more than my car.

They have smaller items for sale, too. I scored a bag of buttons and some old linens to add to my collection. Antique linen comes in handy at the strangest times, and everybody knows that a well-stocked button bin is essential to any crafty household. This $2 bag of buttons doubles the size of the collection that it's taken me about 10 years to accumulate. 

The Ukrainian Easter Egg exhibit was also worth a look.

This gentleman is 12 years old. He told me that he's been coming to the MCC sale and watching the egg painting since he was 3 years old. Last year he decided to get in on the action, and now he makes eggs as beautiful as any I've seen.

I had already been on the button and linen buying spree, so there wasn't much cash left in my wallet, but I did have enough for a simple egg.

I like it.

And of course there was food. First, I picked up some "New Year's Cookies"--basically large doughnut holes with raisins. These are supposed to be for book group on Tuesday. I hope they make it that long.  I've already started bargaining with myself about how I could eat my share now and just not have any on Tuesday. But I expect that if I get started, no one will have any on Tuesday.

We also picked up a midmorning snack--Russian pancakes (or crepes, if you prefer, I suppose).


For lunch we were going to have the dinner they provided, but Mom wasn't in the mood for German food so we went with a different ethnicity at The Anchor Inn. 

Except for lunch at The Anchor Inn, the money we spent this morning goes to causes like this:

Need I tell you how much I adore spending money and feeling virtuous all at the same time? And I suppose our lunch bill will probably help pay the waitress's electric bill or something, so that's pretty virtuous, too. Between the shopping, the food, and the peaceful drive through dark green wheat fields, I'm feeling pretty good about Kansas again.