Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ridgway Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous

The annual Ridgway Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous has started and will be in full swing as the week goes on. Since I can't walk yet, I sent my hubby and daughter to get a cheesesteaks from one of the food booths and take a few photos, so I can see the incredible work. My surgeon doesn't want me putting any weight on the left leg until tomorrow and even then it will be baby steps only.

I do hope to at least get down there one day. Probably Friday because everyone will be working, but the massive crowds that will attend the annual carving auction won't be here until Saturday. There are literally thousands of people who attend, hoping to pick up a piece of original extreme art. Chainsaw carving has increased in popularity since the Boni brothers started this event over a decade ago. The first year it was open to the public, less than a handful of carvers attended. Now there are hundreds that attend and create such beauty out of a log. If you have never seen this unique artistry, you are truly missing out on a treat of a lifetime. It kills me not to be there every day. I've asked hundreds of the carvers how they create the image out of a log. They explain that they look at the log and see the finished piece just waiting to come out. We have several small pieces. My daughter bought the cutest mouse a few years ago and I bought an incredible walking stick that was hand carved by a master artist from down near Gettysburg. I take it on all our walking trips. I tend to stumble when walking, so the staff works wonders.

I've met and interviewed carvers from around the USA and the world. My favorite are the Germans because I speak broken German, so interviews with them are half German and half English. It somehow works! They are always surprised to be greeted in their own language in this tiny town. They should have learned by now, if you want to learn from the masters in painting, go to Paris, if you want to learn from the masters in the extreme art of chainsaw carving, you go to Ridgway. A champion carver from England told me that several years ago and I can never forget it. Everyone in that world has heard of our town thanks to the Boni family. With less than 5,000 people living here in the middle of the Allegheny Forest, that is staying something. We've had international journalists cover the event. It was one of my favorite events to cover every year.

The carvers are all friendly. Even if they can't speak more than a few words of broken English, a smile is universal and there isn't a carver out there that doesn't smile while working for when they catch the eye of a visitor watching them. Their time has come. They finally have respect and their art is finally commanding the respect (and price tag) they so richly deserve.

The art and chance to talk to people from so many States and countries isn't the only draw. There are food booths! My family's personal favorite is the cheesesteak/hot sausage stand. I think I need to stop there tomorrow after my doctor's appointment. There are also the most sinfully delicious dessert ever created ~~ deep fried Oreo cookies! I just give up on my diet this week. It's impossible to go there, smell that delicious food cooking and not stop and buy it.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Black Moon Inn

I'm stuck in bed thanks to knee surgery (I tore my meniscus somehow), so I picked up a new book. It's Laurell K. Hamilton's Black Moon Inn. Her books are incredible. I sit down, intending to only read a page or two and before I know it, I've finished three chapters! She has a way of making things come alive with her use of words. I'm instantly transported to the world where Anita Blake is actually a legal vampire executioner, zombie raiser, dating the city's master vampire and just broke up with the city's alpha werewolf and is the lupa (highest ranking female) in the werewolf pack! There are other shifters in her world. In this book, we're introduced to a young wereleopard named Nathaniel. He's lowest on the pack's rank and had been almost killed when Anita is called in to protect him.

I have almost all of her books, thanks to a find in a second hand store. I think some girl went to college and her mother took the chance to get rid of all that paranormal "romance" her daughter was keeping in her room. I know I'd be upset if my entire collection went missing. I feel like I'm saving her teenage years, even though we've never met.

If you've never sampled one of her novels, be warned they are not rated PG. They are for adults only. Think of them as a paranormal fan's Fifty Shades of Grey! :). With all things vampire and zombie being so popular, we might just see Anita's story come to life on the big screen?

My knee should be fine. The stitches come out in two weeks and I can start trying to put weight on it Monday. It's hurting today and I'm using a walker, so my arms are killing me. I'll be ok though. After all I've survived, a little forced bed rest is nothing.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Hope your Valentines' Day was a good one!

Randy came home from work yesterday with a smile on his face and told me to close my eyes for a minute. Hmmm .... OK, I did this and when I looked up, here was the surprise waiting for me.

We have been together my entire adult life and have known each other even longer. We studied chemistry together in high school and eventually, that chemistry united and here we are -- married almost 26 years and together nearly 30 and the parents of two wonderful adult children. No, I won't lie and say it's always been a bowl of cherries. We've had our UPS and downs like any other couple, but I don't believe in throwing away something just because it isn't perfect. I believe just working harder will help. I took those vows to "love, honor and cherish til death do us part" seriously and intend to do just that.

Even without the flowers and teddy bear, he shows me he loves me and that he's in this for the long run and we're together forever. Randy, I do love you!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Will this winter ever end?

As a infamous movie weatherman trapped forever in Punxsutawney once moaned, "This winter is never going to end." I find myself feeling the same way. I realize it's only mid-February, but I'm already sick to death of being cold. Our pipes have frozen half a dozen times already and I have to keep a heater in the laundry room or the washing machine won't work.

Everyone has to leave the house 20 minutes earlier than usual to dig their cars out of the mounds of snow they have been buried in. Hubby and daughter have auto-starters for their cars, but it doesn't help that much. My son has a manual shift car, so he doesn't have a starter. I start both cars when I come downstairs to pack lunch boxes and feed the cats (not necessarily in that order. The three cats are very insistent that they be fed before anything else is done. They have very loud meows and scream in harmony.)

I hate walking outside and rarely go anywhere except to the doctor or for medical tests. This Wednesday is yet another MRI of my neck and head. The doctor is trying to see if there is a reason in that area that my left arm keeps going numb. They tried to do this test last week, but I freaked out and they couldn't do the test. I'm very claustrophobic and it has gotten worse as I get older and sicker. Being put in that tube, it feels like I'm in a coffin. The loud banging from the machine is awful! I also need to have an MRI of my left knee to see if the meniscus is torn. If it is, the orthopedic doctor said it's an easy scope surgery to fix it. If it isn't torn, then it's probably just arthritis and nothing will help that. I can wear a knee brace or get steroid shots in there every six months. There's no way those shots are going to happen. I go with Randy when he gets those shots and if it hurts him enough that he shows it, then I would be on the floor, curled dupe in the fetal position crying my eyes out. Not going to happen! Besides, I tried those shots for my shoulder and ended up needing surgery anyhow. NO MORE NEEDLES!!! The changing pressure continues to cause horrid migraines.

Lets hope that rotten rodent in Punxsutawney is wrong and we will be an early spring.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

More Surgery

Amazingly enough, this time it's not me having the surgery. My daughter, Arielle, received more than her stunning good looks from me, she also inherited the painful lipomas that grow all over my arms, legs and spine. Thankfully, hers aren't as large or as many as I get. She had a small one removed from the top of her left knee yesterday.

She goes back to the doctor tomorrow to make sure the wound is healing and then the doctor will decide when she's allowed to go back to work and when the stitches will be removed. She's not happy missing work for the 2 1/2 days. She's use to working all day sorting parts for several automobile companies. She has started paying for her own expenses (insurance and cellphone) and it makes her feel so good to be able to do that. The first day she gave her dad her month expense money, the smile on her face could literally light up the world. I'm so proud of her! She said she finally feels like an adult being able to pay for her expenses. She's 21 years old and this is the first time she's had a job that paid enough to do more than put gas in her car.

Rather than spending every penny she earns on junk, she's saving up for the trip to Mexico we're planning for at the end of August. It's the trip we've been hoping to take for several years since my son's girlfriend's parents live in Tijuana. I can't wait to meet them. Her mother and I write on Facebook and have talked on Skype before. It feels like I've known her forever.

I'll post a photo or two of the surgery when I figure out how to move them from my cellphone to my Surface 2. Night ll.