Before I relate all the other birthday stuff, I want to thank all of you again. Many of you sent me emails, snail mail cards, gifts, and well-wishes of all kinds. I was truly, deeply touched by each and every thing. You all made me feel loved and a vital part of this community. I am so blessed to have you as my friends, confidants, companions, people who work with me in the shop. I had no idea when I began blogging that my presence here would even be acknowledged, let alone celebrated. You've made me happy beyond belief, and that's priceless. Thank you. :)
On to the rest of the stuff.
The birthday visit to the prison was amazing. Hubster didn't even let on about what he had planned, so I let it ride. When he dropped me off at the prison, Bill was waiting for me and drove me in. When I got inside, my boys were waiting and escorted me to the chapel. A few times, I came out of the office and caught them huddling over the table. Hm. All was revealed when the class began and they made me sit in the "big chair" (it's just more imposing than the others). I was then presented with two cards - one from the Indians, one from everybody else. Then the presents were given. The first one was a necklace and earring set, hand-beaded, with a perfectly rendered turtle at the end of the necklace and earrings. Then the large gift was given. They had procured two eagle feathers and made them into a smudge fan for me. I, of course, burst into tears. They don't know what to do with me when I do that. So two of them wiped my tears away while they shuffled their feet. Then another of my boys handed me a bracelet he had woven out of sinew and beaded. It has a wooden medicine wheel in the center which he carved out with a very small tool; he then singed the wood with a lighter. It's on my wrist as I type. In fact, I don't ever have to take it off. The more I wear it, the better. I stuck out my wrist for him to put it on. I don't think he's put jewelry on a woman in years; he was taken aback for a second, but then he gently placed it around my wrist and fastened it. Perfect. Then they all took turns playing me a birthday song. After the class, one of the men took me out back to show me the sweat lodge and the area where they drum and pray. It was amazing.
As many of you know, I'm allergic to bees and everything else which stings. They had planted a certain plant which attracts bees and butterflies. As we walked down the gravel path through the flower garden, all the bees transferred themselves from the plants to me. I freaked out, but my companion told me to relax. So I did, and I found myself surrounded by bees and butterflies, all keeping a distance of about a foot al around me. We looked like a cloud of flying beauty as we walked down the path. Medicine. It's all medicine. Now that I'm an elder, they respected me (which is how he described it). All I know is that they never touched me (other than the butterflies, who periodically landed on me), and kept guard over me while I was in the sacred area. Then he walked me out, and I left for the day.
Once I got in the car, Hubster gave me my card. On the front was an English Bulldog puppy. Inside, he wrote something like, "The bearer of this card is entitled to one puppy like the one pictured on the front". There was a lot of other mushy stuff, but that was my gift. She arrives this Thursday from Moscow, if you can believe it. She has a layover in Amsterdam, but the breeder has assured me she'll be just fine. I won't stop worrying until she's safely in my hands, though. Emma will be flying into San Francisco at 1:30 p.m., and we'll be there to pick her up, take her out of her carrier, and cuddle her. The breeder is selling her for a friend in Moscow who is also a breeder. What I've found out is that some of the finest Bullies come from that region. Normally, I would go to the pound to adopt a dog, but I've always wanted an English Bull, and they're hard to come by in the shelter. I've already got her signed up for puppy training classes, her first vet appointment, and will be shopping for all her goodies this week. She's also been microchipped, but I'll be sure to put a "regular" tag on her as well. Would you like to see a picture of her? Well, here she is, whether or not you want to see her. Humor me.
After the card presentation, we took off for Reno. We didn't have much money to gamble with, but it was nice to get away for a night. I won one small jackpot, which kept us gambling for the evening, but my luck pretty much stank. They've also switched all the machines over to tickets, so you don't get to haul around racks of dollar coins or tokens of larger denominations. Gone, too, are the buckets for quarters and other coins. They have that fake money-dropping sound when you cash out. Sigh. Another wonderful thing gone. They've even removed the trays and coin slots, so you can't drop a quarter in a machine as you pass by. It's beginning to feel like the Indian casinos. I don't go to Reno for that - I go to Reno for the neon, the noise, smoking at my table in the restaurant (now prohibited). I don't think I'll be going back too often. It's just not the same, and I don't understand why they can't leave some things alone. As for shopping opportunities, forget it. The kinds of things I shop for just aren't there. The only really good thing is that we found Emma on Hubster's computer while we were lounging in the room.
I'm working on a huge update for the shop, which I had hoped to have completely done by now. Since I've slept all week, though, I may not have it finished until tomorrow. I'll also be having a sale sometime this week, but I'm not sure when. I'll announce it here, as well as sending out a newsletter. Look for new vendors, updates to existing vendors, and my siggy yarn back in stock.
That's about it for now. We'll be busy early this week cleaning the house in preparation for Emma's arrival. I can't have crap on the floor for her to eat, and I'm not known for my housekeeping prowess. If I could afford it, I'd hire a maid, but that isn't happening any time soon. We've also got a possible crisis coming up with the house, but I'll tell you about that if and when it happens. We may also go to the county fair tomorrow night or Tuesday - I love the fair. Besides, I want to test out my gimp sign.
That means I'll have less opportunity to fall flat on my face going from the truck to the gate.