Monday, October 23, 2006

Chicago! Been there, done that, got the t-shirt!

As soon as life began to get back to normal the next event took us away to America.

Alan was to give a talk at a symposium in Chicago on New Caledonian Geckos...his talk was first so that enabled him to sit back and enjoy the rest of the talks.

This is a map of the pacific island of New Caledonia only home of the Rhacodactylus geckos

One of his babies!
It was a great event, there are so many enthusiasts in the States that we had not met before, but we greatly missed a good friend from Germany and instigator of the symposium who died earlier this year.
The t-shirt is a beauty very wearable,showing two of the geckos that Alan keeps.

Rhacodactylus ciliatus..the crested gecko

and on the back...

Rhacodactylus leachianus...the giant gecko, the biggest gecko of all, grows to 12 inches.

The meeting was timed to coincide with a huge reptile show. I wanted to tat a gecko but didn't have a pattern that was do-able so tatted a snake instead. We are not snake people but there were some beauties at the show as well as geckos, and our favorite chamaeleons.

I was delighted with the way the stripes worked out with this Altin basak thread. the pattern is Dianna Stevens Snake Bookmark.
This Chamaeleon would have been a real challege for my variagated thread!

My second snake in variagated Flora thread looked more like this chamaeleon in his party colours!!

This little gecko was a wow!!

After the show we had a couple of days to explore Chicago an achitecturally stunning city

and then it was off to see some more of the States.
First stop was Lafayette, Indiana, where I was to meet with tatters Gina and Bette.

Living proof that tatting it alive and well all over the world. That was such a treat, virtual friends from the internet becoming 'real' friends. In almost 50 years of tatting I could count the number of tatters that I have met on one hand, I am doing my best to create as many as I can to help this beautiful craft to survive.

That was where the shopping began....for anything tatting related. Michaels and Hobby Lobby I had never been to before and together with Vons beads and others my luggage was going to burst with beads,now I just need to live long enough to use them all!

If it hadn't been for tatting friends we would never have wandered round Indiana and would have missed Purdue University campus, another Indianan treat.

During our time in Chicago the weather had been glorious, almost t-shirt weather but now it began to change exactly as forecast. After we left Lafayette it gradually deteriorated first to rain on our day in the delightful Shipshewana (handcraft heaven), and then to flurries of snow in AnnArbor Michigan.

As we drove north up as far as Grand Haven the weather went from blizzards of snow and leaves to scenes of blue sky and snow inches deep. Never have I seen tree covered in snow and leaves at the same time, it was stunning.

I couldn't believe how much Lake Michigan looked like the sea, huge waves and lots of sand and even dunes. Boy it was windy!!

Driving back down to Chicago the warm weather gradually returned and we ended our stay with a visit to the son of my best buddy, another treat.

One of the highlights of the trip was to go to Ann Arbor. That has been a name in my life ever since I met Alan some 40 years ago. he had lived there for a year in 1949 when he was 7. His parents had been part of one of the first Anglo/American teacher exchanges. It had such an big influence on their lives, they even gave it's name to their retirement house.
In the school holidays they bought a Buick and drove from Michigan to California and back taking hundreds of colour slides. On their return to England his dad was for ever in demand to show his slides, a rarity in those days. Alan always had difficulty distinguishing what he actually remembered and what he rembered from seeing the slides.
We found the street where they lived and wondered if he would recognise the house that he lived in as a seven year old. A bit of a long shot but he finally fixed on one that 'looked right', the right size with the right porch and a shed in the back garden where he remembered his host doing wood turning.

We also found his school but that sparked no memories at all, obviously tobogganing down his street was much more memorable than school!!

When we got home I looked up the number in his dad's book and whoo hoo he was right. Cool!! Quite a feat as it was a very long street, a real trip down memory lane.