Tag Archives: stomach flu

You are Invited….

It’s that special time of year when tummy bugs, Celtic festivals, busy life syndrome and a host of last-minute “oh crap, is that due today” moments collide to produce….

exhaustionexhaustion. That’s me on the right, having just finished crocheting a pre-ordered SPAY AND NEUTER AFGHAN, a fundraising item to pay for – well, I guess you can guess what it pays for. See the rows of cat faces; that’s what you get if you don’t spay and neuter. (The cat face on top belongs to Owen Meany, who is quality testing.)

Elissa took this photo during the last Celtic festival meeting, held yesterday evening, just before the madness begins tonight at 7. And in the back of my mind as we discussed festival details and I put the last row on the blanket was “where can I get a birthday cake personalized first thing in the morning?” Friends-n-family thing we forgot to take care of.

Thing is, while I’d like to invite you to a pity party for five minutes of self-indulgent luxury, I know Jack and I are lucky to live in a community full of people willing to volunteer time and effort to run a Celtic festival. We’ve been fielding phone calls all week from Cincinnati, St. Louis, even El Paso, from Celti-philes coming to the event. It’s good for the town, it’s good for the musicians, it’s good fun.

(We’re also lucky to have friends who totally deserve really cool birthday cakes, and the fact that we forgot until last night is by no means a measure of our esteem for said friend…. you get that, Frank?)

And while no joint venture in a small town is without politics, if you just walk straight and keep your sense of humor, it doesn’t matter. Jack, Darinda, Elissa – all the members of the Celtic Festival committee – we know we’re having fun, and that other people will, too. So all those planning sessions (I think I crocheted that whole afghan at meetings in August and September alone) are worth it.

So is that look on my face. Go by, mad world. Actually, no: come here and share the mad gay whirl that is Big Stone Celtic. It’s gonna be a great two days.

bsc billboard


Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, crafting, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA

“I Eyed her Risotto Speculatively…”

Wendy and I tend to share cooking duties, swapping back and forth as other responsibilities allow. Actually, when we first met I was mightily impressed with the lasagna she served, thinking this must be the pinnacle of a vast mountain of culinary expertise.

Alas, I subsequently discovered, too late, that said “pinnacle” was pretty much the whole mountain.

A further complication to our shared cooking duties is that I tend towards spicy food. I love Indian curries for instance, whereas Wendy runs from anything spicy as fast as she can, considering cinnamon hot. This often means that we have to find ways of producing two entirely different dishes simultaneously to suit our different preferences. Such are the fancy steps of the dance called marriage!

Just recently I contracted some kind of stomach bug and had a couple days when I wasn’t eating very much at all as it worked its way (pretty much literally) through my system. Wendy followed on by going down with the same thing a few days later–but we didn’t realize it until a critical moment.

At the point where I was feeling much better, and fairly hungry, it was my turn to cook. Being tight for time, I prepared a nice crock pot risotto, very non-spicy for Wendy with a spicy side-sauce for me. Setting the dishes out on one of our porch tables, we settled down to an amiable al fresco dining experience that would include sharing our stories of the day. It had been for both of us a stressful day in a stressful week; the Celtic festival was bearing down on us, Wendy was working hard on a critical juncture for her second book, and we were in the middle of plans to open our upstairs cafe for October, with a workman installing heat and air in the new dining room even as we sat down to dinner. Oh, and they’re about to start filming a movie in our town and some people were scouting locations in our shop. Difficult week.

Wendy took a few mouthfuls of risotto and paused, then sat very quietly as I wittered on – then she got up, went down to the far end of the porch, leaned over the rail, and puked. Coming back she sat quietly again, then got up and went to the rail again as I continued to eat – I was hungry after all! Besides, I knew she wasn’t dying. I’d had it the week before.

As Wendy’s greenish-grey pallor deepened, and she continued to sit VERY quietly, I eyed her risotto speculatively. When she got up a third time, I reached over and retrieved her plate. As she returned, with my fork I wordlessly indicated that I’d be happy to polish off hers as well. She signed that she would have no objection. And continued to sit quietly, waiting for the next wave.

We wondered afterwards how many people observed the whole pantomime and quite what they would make of it. But you know, around here, crazy is the new normal.

Wendy is fully recovered,  but she has gone off rice-based dishes for some reason. And yes, I am a heartless bastard. But the risotto was excellent.


Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, writing