Thursday, December 29, 2016

Assembly Line

Some things I make one at a time, but most of the things I make these days, I try to organize myself so that I can do them assembly-line style, knocking out as many as I can at one shot.

My recycled sweater owls were a big seller last year, and every time I've used a sweater to make a larger project I've thrown the scraps into a bag.  Post-Christmas I finally dug into that full-sized trash bag and cut up all those scraps into various owl parts.  Well, not that many parts -- fronts and backs and two wings.  The eyes, beak and feet are all made from felt, because (a) my sanity and (b) I ran out of the one good yellow sweater that I ever found.

There are still more wings left in ziploc bags, but this mess here on my dining room table constitutes all the bodies I cut, with matching (or clashing) wings pinned on.  After this was taken, they were sorted into piles by what color thread I will use to attach the wings (there are now about 5 smaller piles) and today I'll start stitching.  Once the wings are on, I can do the detail work.  I can't sew backs to fronts until my new tags arrive, but that, and stuffing, are the least of the work here.

This is 60 owls.  Since I still need to make many more larger sweater animals, I'm hoping to get at least another 40 completed before craft show season starts again in the spring.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Merry

I've shared it before.  I'll share it again.

Christmas, 1968.  This was the year that, while I was listing every Barbie in the Sears Wishbook that needed to come home with me, I also managed to twist my mitten in Santa's beard, so that when I got up, his beard came with me.

There is no photographic evidence of my crime against the holiday, because my mom fell down laughing and nearly wet her pants. (I nearly wet mine, too, but it was fear of getting in trouble -- should have known better with my mom).

And I knew it wasn't Santa.  Mom enlightened me early that the real Santa didn't leave the North Pole until Christmas Eve; all the Santas I saw on street corners and in stores were actually his helpers, who were hired because they looked like him and could talk to children and then report back.

Mom was good, I'll give her that. She even hung bells up outside the house one year and pulled a string through the window so that I would hear him fly over after I'd gone to bed.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Still Here

The roses weren't expecting winter
As of Sunday, craft show season has officially ended.

I'm finishing up a couple of custom orders -- from customers who thankfully understand that ordering on 12/19 does not guarantee delivery by Christmas -- and then I'm going to take a break.

Which, conversely, means I'll probably get back to blogging, because I realized today when I turned on the computer that I haven't actually sat at my desk in the living room for well over a week.  Any Facebook posts or Etsy updates have been done from my phone, or quickly from the desk at my temp job.  Neither of which is how I like to work.

I miss sitting at my desk.  I miss sitting on my couch, next to Mario, with a cat on my lap.  (Probably Annie, who is unexpectedly recovering from a repeat of last year's tumor removal surgery -- it went well, she's almost back to normal, but it was, as these things always are, unexpected).

Right now, all I want for Christmas -- or for any holiday, for that matter -- is the uninterrupted time to go in and reorganize my workroom, which looks like a hurricane, a tornado and a tsunami all hit it at once.  Busy is good; busy and throwing everything to one side to get to the next project, not so good.

Happy whatever-holiday-you-celebrate to you all, and I hope to be back here more regularly in the near future.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Kindness is Everything

Our new yard sign
This is a rough patch.  Still processing the aftermath of the election, including a few things that have happened to people I know.  Also heading full tilt into custom order / craft show / temping season, so if I have time to breathe, turn around and stumble toward the keyboard, I'll be back soon.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Blanket Owl

Add caption

Thankfully, there are blankets out there in the world other than the traditional stripe.  (I'm not complaining, but variety is good).

Here's anoher recent commission: an owl made from a pink and gray-blue striped blanket.  I took the basic pattern that I use for my sweater owls, enlarged it and added more detail, including felt wings, feet and beak, and embroidering the baby's name and birth date on the back (along with a little pocket, which they can maybe use some day as a tooth fairy pocket; I don't know, I just felt like it needed a pocket).

There are still 2 blankets in the works on my sewing table, including one printed all over with multi-colored elephants, and four more either in the mail or waiting to be shipped to me.  Looks like blanket-palooza won't be over until after the holidays.

Which is fine by me.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The only way

Love the sentiment, not the candidate.
It's been a rough couple of days.  I'm going to try to stay off social media for a while (though I'll still be here, just talking about sewing and cats), but I do want to say a few words about the election, and its aftermath.

My candidate did not win Tuesday night. (Actually, my candidate was out of the running a while ago, but you know what I mean).

I know people who voted for Trump and who are happy about the result of the election. I believe most of these people do not actually think that women, gays, Muslims, people of color and other minorities are less than they are.  I hope that is true, and I hope they also realize that others will use this election as an excuse to fear and hate those who are not like them.

One thing I heard on Tuesday night's endless coverage was that liberals took Donald Trump literally, but not seriously, and his supporters took him seriously, but not literally. So maybe he won't build a wall, ban Muslims or do any of the other things I fear on behalf of people I care about.

Living where I do, near the University of Pennsylvania, in a neighborhood which is so multi-colored, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural it's difficult to visually decide who is a minority, with three mosques within walking distance of my house, I know a lot of people who could be affected by the negative rhetoric which was thrown around during the campaign.  Even if Trump walks back his remarks, or changes his tone, the genie of racism and misogyny and xenophobia has been let out of the bottle, and equal numbers of people are trying to stuff it back in while the rest are trying to break the bottle.

It's up to us. Obviously, voting isn't enough. If you care about something don't just tweet or post on Facebook or hash tag. Do something about the causes that matter to you. Because then even if the other candidate wins, you know that you are doing your best to be the change you want to see in the world. And sometimes that's the best you can hope for.

Also, if you know someone from the other side of the fence (and are still talking to them post-election), try to find at least one issue on which you share common ground.  We wouldn't have ended up quite so divided if we still talked to each other, instead of letting politicians and cable news tell us what the other side thought, and scaring us all senseless in the process.

I voted for Hillary on Tuesday, but I really wanted President Bernie Sanders.  I admit that I fear what could come from a Trump administration.  But there are still good, kind, rational people out there, willing to make a difference, talk to their neighbors (and their difficult relatives).  Sometimes a conversation can spur change.  Sometimes a person just needs to know someone to get another perspective on an issue they thought they completely understood.  It may not change their mind, but then again, it might.

I have a cousin that I love.  He voted for Donald Trump.  He is a good, kind man, who loves women and animals and America.  He's intelligent, he's college-educated.  He is pro-gun, but he grew up in a rural area, where they're a fact of life, not a criminal weapon (at least for the most part).  He chose to move to Philadelphia, so he can't have many issues with people not like himself.

We're having dinner soon.  I look forward to finding all the things we do have in common, and maybe even finding an issue we can work on together.  It's the only way.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Bunny Blankets

The receiving blanket animal orders are slowing down.

I'm not complaining about being busy, trust me, but I have to admit that sewing one after another of the traditional striped receiving blanket got a little bit . . . wearing.

Then these arrived.  Two different customers, two different locations (one CA, one FL), but the same unusual blanket.  It's not flannel, it's fuzzier, and it's printed all over with multi-colored bunnies and beach balls.

Interestingly, and I didn't notice this until after I'd cut the bunnies and constructed them, with the beach balls under the eyes so they looked spotted, it says "Hospital Property" in little letters around the circles.


I'd have taken my blanket, too, if it had been this cute.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Santa's Little Sweatshop

It's that time of year again.  The time when, despite all the work I've done during the year, I realize that the holidays are coming and I somehow have almost NO stock available for holiday shows.

I have shows on November 12, November 18-19, December 4, December 11 and December 18, plus a two-week-long in-house show in December at the Arts League where I teach, and I probably have enough things for this weekend and some leftover bits.

This is not a good situation.

The photo here is a load of stockings, dolls and bears dropped off at a local store.  They were the bulk of my stocking sales last year, so they got my entire stock, and I will (hopefully) get more done by the weekend.

I'm almost finished with my receiving blanket custom orders -- there are still two blankets left to ship to me, and other orders will come in, but the large quantity of orders brought on by the Babble and Scary Mommy features is slowing down.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

RIP Bear. And then there were five

Bear before she came in.  Even as a tiny kitten,
she had that "don't mess with me" face
Bear's surgery was scheduled for yesterday.  The orders were the usual: no food after midnight, no water after 6:00 a.m., so the night before, she got a big can of wet cat food.  She scarfed that down and then went to sleep on the arm of the big chair by the window.

In the morning, I put her in the carrier and walked her to the vet (I do love that this new vet is only 3 blocks from my house) and dropped her off.  The vet called about 15 minutes later.  He said that the swelling on her foot had doubled in size since he had seen her last week.  I told him it seemed to have mostly happened over the weekend, but that Monday was the first day she had seemed to notice it -- she was walking okay, but every so often she would stop and shake her foot, like she had stepped in something and was trying to shake it loose.

There's a foot in there somewhere
The rapid growth of the tumor made him doubt the lab reports.  He said if he did the surgery, he would most likely have to remove two toes, because the tumor had grown in between and around them.  It had also grown down and was swelling between her paw pads.  I asked if this would complicate the surgery, and he said even if he removed both toes, because of the rapid growth and the way it had spread in her paw, there was almost no likelihood of removing the tumor and getting wide enough margins to guarantee it wouldn't grow back.  And an aggressive cancer would probably grow back very quickly.  He also said with removing the toes and clearing away all the bad tissue, there wouldn't be enough skin to close the wound, and this would complicate recovery, make it longer, more painful and at serious risk of infection.

This was not the news I was expecting.  I was expecting surgery, recovery and related unpleasantness, but not this.

"Okay," I said.  "Give me your honest opinion -- knowing I might not take it.  Attempt the surgery, put her down now or bring her home and give her however much time she has until she gets uncomfortable?"

Sleepy Bear
He sighed.  "She's uncomfortable now.  Doing the surgery is only going to make it worse, and you'll have the same result, plus you'll have spent money you probably don't have to do it."

I told you this guy doesn't blow sunshine.

It wasn't even really a decision.  And it wasn't about the money -- I'd already spent more at Penn getting the initial round of tests than this vet had charged and was going to charge for the surgery.  But why put her through the surgery and recovery and pain, only to have it grow back before she was even totally healed?
I ent back to the vet's office and we did the right thing.  He was very good, gave her a tranquilizer shot and then she laid on my chest with her head under my chin until she fell asleep.  After that, he did the second shot, which took effect almost immediately.  I stayed with her for a little while, and then walked home with the empty carrier.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Bear update

Bear's surgery is scheduled for Tuesday.

Her test results came back the other day -- her blood and urine were clear, and the fluid and tissue sample for the growth on her foot showed that it is a tumor.  Malignant, the vet said, but as malignancies go, not the worst kind.

He'll remove it Tuesday morning.  "It could come back," he said, "or it might not.  She's 11; you can hope that she'll die of old age before that happens."

This vet isn't everyone's cup of tea.  Most of the "cat" people in my neighborhood avoid him; I actually like him for the same reason they don't -- he doesn't blow sunshine, tells me what I need to hear (as opposed to what I'd like to hear) and his office is a 1970s-era dump, clean but worn.  So my hard-earned money isn't going into keeping up appearances.

I remember taking one of my cats to a cat specific vet in Philly years ago, and she spent 9 hours in the boarding area while they waited for her to decide to give them a urine sample.

This vet called me the other day, said that the lab had lost some samples and he needed another urine from Bear.  I brought her over, expecting to have to leave her for a while.  He popped her out of the carrier and onto the table, handed me a plastic cup, said, "Hold that, and raise her tail," and reached underneath and squeezed somehow, and she neatly filled up the cup.  He then put her back in the carrier while I moved the cup to the faded formica counter, and I took her home.  Total office time: 8 minutes.  Cost: $0.

He's pretty optimistic about Tuesday.  He said that potentially the most difficult part is the fact that the tumor is pushing her little toe out of alignment, and fixing that will probably cause her more discomfort than the actual removal.  I think that walking with her pinkie-toe permanently extended has probably already caused her more discomfort than the tumor, so it's a risk I'm willing to take.

Fingers, toes and paws crossed for a good result.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

London: Day 5

Roman wall 
Our last day.  Although we had crammed a lot into our trip thus far, we'd made an ambitious list for Tuesday.  And somehow, we accomplished it all.

We got up early and went out into the rain-wet streets toward the Tower.  I had done the tour years before and felt no need for another one, but I love getting off the Tube and encountering the Roman wall, 1000 years old and just sitting there in the middle of it all.

In the U.S., we 'd have cut it up into pieces and installed it in a museum, behind glass, where it wouldn't look like anything but a pile of rocks.

The skies had cleared and it was brilliantly blue, so sunny it was difficult to take pictures without the cooperation of passing clouds.

We walked for awhile around the Tower grounds and then crossed the bridge (which I'd never done before, for no particular reason) to get to our next stop, the marvel that is the Tate Modern.

Tower grounds with modern building in background

When I was last in London (fall 1995), there was only the Tate Gallery, which has now become the Tate Britain.  All the modern art has moved to this new location, a spectacularly renovated former power station with 20 foot ceilings that can dwarf even the most enormous artistic impulse and bring them down to human size.

This museum was Mario's choice, not mine; my taste runs more toward what we saw at the National Galleries, but I was very glad to have gone in the end.  Sometimes the setting really can determine how you see art, and this enhanced my experience tremendously.  I only wish we'd had time to go up to the viewing platform, but there was a line, and a schedule to keep to.

The tower (oldest building in center)
After the Tate, and a bacon roll from a street vendor (using up the last of our cash), we walked to Embankment and took the Tube to Westminster.

It was bright and sunny and we could have walked, but we were trying to fit a lot into a short period, so the train it was.  Getting off near the Abbey and coming up above ground to the push of the crowds is one of the "changes" I liked least -- having to stand in line at times to cross the street, being jostled constantly (albeit more politely) -- felt more like NYC than London.

Tower of London
This was my fifth trip to London, and my fifth visit to the Abbey (which is one of the few attractions in the city that has an admission charge).  I don't know why, but I always like to make that pilgrimage.  Even the crowds there don't bother me -- they're quieter, less camera-obsessed (since photography isn't allowed) and I can move at my own pace.

I stop in on Queen Elizabeth I and her half-sister, Queen Mary, entombed uncomfortably close together.  Hopefully in death these two sisters settled their many differences; otherwise, eternity is going to feel really, really eternal.

Traitor's Gate

 Mary of Scotland isn't too far away, adding insult to injury.  (I always did consider her a bit of an idiot).

We had visited the National Gallery and National Portrait Gallery a few days prior, and agreed that the Abbey is where you get to visit all the people whose portraits you stared at a few blocks away.  

The bacon roll was wearing off, but we decided to get to our next destination before eating again.  Mario is a comic book/graphic novel fan, so we had to make a pilgrimage to Forbidden Planet for him.  Since this isn't as much up my alley, I required food and wine first to fortify myself.

Tower Bridge closer to - before we crossed
Topped off by a steak and ale pie and two glasses of wine (a happy accident in that the kitchen staff lost our order and we got a free round while we waited), we spent some time in Forbidden Planet, where Mario mingled with his people the way I do at fabric and garden stores.

A short walk brought back to Trafalgar Square, where we had an hour to kill before our last treat of the day -- and the trip.  I had bought us theater tickets to see Kenneth Branagh at the Garrick.

Kenneth Branagh is tied to London for me.  I was there in 1989, when his film of Henry V came out, and I saw it at the movies there, because I couldn't afford to go to the theater.  (I figured a Shakespearean movie was as close as I was going to get).

Modern London from the Tower area

Full circle 25 years later, grown up and with some money to spend, getting to see him live.  The whole experience at the Garrick was amazing, it's a white and gold wedding cake of a theater in the inside.  We had second tier seats, up but not too high, close enough that we could still see faces clearly, but inexpensive enough that we didn't think twice about buying tickets.  (That never happens at home).

We got in a little before midnight, having walked around London post-show, had a bit more wine, beer and the last of the cheese, and did our packing.  One thing to be said for not shopping on vacation -- packing literally took about 10 minutes for the two of us.

Recycled bottlecaps at the Tate Modern
Because we didn't feel like getting up at the crack of dawn, we treated ourselves to the Heathrow Express train the next morning from Paddington.  The Tube takes about 40 minutes from the airport and makes a lot of stops, plus since we were traveling during morning rush, it would have been packed.  But it's relatively cheap.  The Express is 20 pounds, but it's direct from Paddington to each terminal, takes 15 minutes, and runs every 15 minutes.  We decided that was the way to go.

Once again, we did online check-in, so we got through security pretty quickly, had breakfast at the airport (why are their airport restaurants priced the same as restaurants elsewhere, while U.S. airport restaurants hold you hostage and charge you double? Why?) and then only had an hour or so to wait at our gate.

Once again, the crowd was light, so after a little while, and a snack,  Mario moved up to watch movies and I read for a bit then tipped over in my seat and slept part of the way home.  I would have probably slept more, except the flight attendants were so unoccupied that they kept cruising the aisles, offering snacks, beverages, wine, facial wipes, etc., it felt rude to ignore them.

Tate Modern
Landing in Philadelphia, we waited in line at passport control and the security checkpoint, which was probably the most inconvenient part of the whole trip.  From there, we took the airport train right back to our neighborhood and walked home to greet the kitties.

Tate Modern

Tate Modern 

Tate Modern - mainly for scale.
This place is enormous.

Inside the Garrick Theatre

Understated neon at the Garrick

Sunday, October 23, 2016

London: Day 4

Bodleian Library
When planning this trip -- and there wasn't a whole lot of planning, other than buying tickets and arranging for the flat -- we talked about day trips.  With such a short time there, we only wanted to do one,m and one not too far away so as not to waste too much time on the train.

Mario's vote was for Oxford.  He wanted to see inside the libraries, look at some original illuminated manuscripts, and just see the setting for a ton of British movies.

I had been there before, but a long while back, and was happy to go again.  On the advice of a friend, we purchased our train tickets in advance (at somewhat of a discount -- if you're going, do it as early as you can).

The express train only took an hour, depositing us at the station just before 11 a.m.  We got our bearings and walked around town, fetching up at the Bodleian Library, repository of all the things Mario wanted to see.  They don't allow happy wanderers, however, and when offered the option of a tour or a solo trip down the street to the Weston Library to see the limited collection they had on display, he opted for that, figuring we could walk back for the tour if we still wanted to.

Interior courtyard
The collection was only limited in number, not in scope.  From an original Magna Carta to illuminated medieval texts to a 12th century map of Britain, along with other, more modern pieces, it satisfied his curiosity and we turned to see what else Oxford had to offer (a lot).

We spent an hour or so in the covered market, where I happily explored the butchers' and fishmongers' offerings -- things not for sale at home (pluck your own grouse, anyone?).

Mario found a cheesemonger and a nice block followed us back to our flat and got devoured that evening before bedtime.

Oxford from above
After a restorative cream tea at a pub, we headed for the Ashmolean Museum.  It was large and close to the train station, so we thought that we could fill the rest of the visit there and not have to watch the time too carefully, but alas, they were closed on Mondays.

Instead, we walked through town in the other direction, toward the Thames, encountering a 10th century tower (and climbing it -- amazing views of the city), watching a street performer with a dancing hawk, stopping in a Scottish woolens shop, where I tried on and fell in love with several pieces of Harris tweed, and finding and exploring Christ Church Cathedral and its lovely gardens.

Street musician & his hawk
We made it back to the station with 10 minutes to spare, and journeyed back to London tired and full of interesting sights.  (Plus a rainbow.  It didn't rain on our parade, but it must have somewhere).

Dinner that night was at a small Indian restaurant around the corner from the flat, only 8 tables, rather nondescript from the street, but possibly the best Indian food I've had -- at least since the last time I was in London.  **Per request, it was called the Golden Shalimar, on Spring Street near Paddington.

Afterward, we stopped at a corner shop for a bottle of beer and a tiny bottle of wine, which we consumed with our cheese, sitting cross-legged on the bed, discussing our day and catching up on the latest election news (the 2nd debate was the night before, so we indulged in a little politics before sleep, probably not the best thing for our digestion).

English gardening at its prettiest

Another view of the gardens

Pluck your own dinner

Meat pies at the covered market

The Thames in Oxford

Beautiful timbered building

Saturday, October 22, 2016

More Love

A little more love from Babble for my receiving blanket bears.  This is so cool.

Friday, October 21, 2016

London: Day 3

Sunday was a museum day.  After a full breakfast -- both in quantity and in name (a full English breakfast being eggs, sausage, bacon, beans, mushrooms, tomato and toast) -- we took ourselves toward the Tube.

Staying in Paddington, we're not at the center of everything, but we're right at three major Tube lines and the railway station.  Transportation is pretty quick no matter where you want to go.

Charing Cross lets you out at Trafalgar Square, bright sunlight, glittering fountains, humanity everywhere.  Musicians and other street performers clamored for attention -- and money -- and sidewalk artists busily chalked flags on the pavement in the hope that coins would be dropped on them by patriotic Australians, Americans, Germans, etc.

My favorite performer was outside the National Gallery, where we stood for a few minutes, waiting for them to open, watching a 10K race flow past.  He was an older black man, a dancer, yogi and contortionist of some skill, who managed at the end to fold himself neatly into a clear plastic box not much bigger than a cat carrier.  I'll never think of myself as flexible again, I thought, as I put a few coins in his hat.

This one just pulled you in.  The photo
doesn't do it justice
The National Gallery had never been a favorite before; I'm not sure why.  This time, I could have sat all day in front of their six Van Goghs, and on a wall lined with John Constable's English countrysides, you could almost smell the air.

We've got a Sunflower at the Philly art museum.  I'm not sure if the one in London is better, or if I simply like the way it's hung -- on a gray wall in a room lit from above, it practically pulses with light and drew everyone in the room toward it, even people who were saying, "I don't really like Van Gogh . . . oh, look at this one."

Never seen Van Gogh's crabs before
A breather, a snack and on to the National Portrait Gallery, which has always been my place.  I've read so much English history over the years that my first visit there was like finally meeting people who I'd been hearing about all my life.

Glowing radioactive sunflowers
We spent some time in the earliest section -- my best old pals, the Tudors -- and I ended up butting into a tour guide's presentation.  She was talking about one specific painting, that of Robert, Earl of Leicester, but due to questions had gotten off into the weeds of Tudor relations and how Mary of Scotland had any claim to the throne, and where did poor Jane Grey come from anyway?

Apparently I read too much, but we ended up having a good discussion and I don't think I annoyed her too much.

It was surprising how much London has changed in the 20 years since I've been there.  I don't mean major landmarks like the Eye and all the glass monstrosities springing up everywhere, but even small things like the interiors of museums.  I had pretty specific memories of the Portrait Gallery, and things were not where I left them.

There's a whole new section at the end of portraits from the two war eras, and they're hung on clear walls in a very bright space.  I miss the more "traditional" museum approach, but I have to admit it worked really well for the more modern paintings.  (If Richard III had been hanging out on a glass wall, I might have gotten a little grumbly).

Constable - can't you just smell the air?
I've always had a soft spot for Richard III.  (Ever read Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time?  You should).

Once we were done with culture consumption, we wandered around for a while longer, in and out of shops and along random streets, just looking at buildings and speculating what it would be like to live there.

We ended up at Covent Garden just as a brief rain started, so we ducked into the covered market, which I remembered from years ago as having a nice mix of antiques and other goodies.  Not so much anymore -- it was all pricy tat, aimed at tourists, not an aged knicknack to be seen.  We waited out the rain and moved on toward the flat, to take a little down time before dinner.

He's Henry VIII, he is!
Richard III.  (Not guilty, says I)
Dinner that night was at a place recommended by a crafting friend who spends a lot of time in London.  She said that the roasted goat shoulder at The Smoking Goat was on her best 10 meals list.  We didn't end up getting the goat -- we were both too full from lunch -- but Mario had smoked lamb ribs and I had a fish dish with Asian seasoning that was one of my vacation highlights as well.

Next time, roasted goat shoulder.  Next time.

Anne Boleyn.  My entry point into
Tudor history

Elizabeth I.  Hard-headed woman

Robert, Earl of Leicester.  The portrait
that got me in trouble with the guide

Victoria and Albert in Anglo-Saxon
garb.  They were cute.

Random Victorian gentlemen.  (Judging
V&A's costume competition?)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

London: Day 2

Pastel houses along Portobello Road
There's not much I love more than a good flea market.  Except maybe a good flea market on vacation, in a different country.

There are a ton of markets in London, but I always gravitate back to the first one I found in 1983, Portobello Road.  It's got a mix of antiques / vintage / food / junk, something to appeal to everyone.

The only problem was that on Saturday morning when we got there, everyone was there.

I'd never seen such a mob scene in my life; it felt like NYC at Christmas, just trying to look at stalls along the street.

Street performers.  Their "umbrellas" didn't do
much good when the rain started
We did manage, however.  I always manage.

What I didn't do was shop, which is unusual for me at a vacation flea market.  I think I've just gotten so used to not buying (other than for resale on Etsy -- and I'm not going to schlep stuff home from overseas for that) that nothing really called to me.

Maybe I've just gotten better at spending my money on experiences instead of stuff.

Does food count as an experience, or as stuff?  (I'm voting for experience, because food is still my number one vacation expenditure).

We had a late breakfast / lunch at a stall in the market, then picked up a bag of Belgian strawberries to nibble on back in the room.  (They didn't last that long).

Mario was in charge of food this vacation.  When I went to London before, I was on my own, and it didn't figure as prominently in my plans.  It was fuel to get me from stop to stop, nothing more.  I was also younger, and not as comfortable eating alone in a restaurant as I would be now.
Venison with mushrooms, new potatoes and
sprouting broccoli

One place that was on his list was called 10 Greek Street.  Just the address.  When we found it, there was no sign or anything, either, just the address on the window, and a small menu card.  The menu changes daily, and we were lucky enough to get there on a night that they were serving venison.  I love game of all kinds, but it's not often I can find venison at home, so I went for it.

As did Mario, because he figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't going to share mine.

Both before our meal (there were no reservations, and about a 30 minute wait) we walked around the area.  It's not far from where all the theaters are, so we looked at what was playing and wondered about the cost of tickets and I lamented the fact that we were just a bit too early to try to score Hamilton tickets.  (This has become a serious addiction -- how is an entire soundtrack an earworm?  How?)
No, we didn't go see it - but I loved the theater

There's just something about
hanging lights on a street . . . 
Ran into the theater where the Harry Potter show is playing.  I didn't particularly want to see it, but I though the lighting and decoration outside were pretty cool.

After dinner we walked some more, no place in particular, just keeping a vague awareness of where the Tube stops were so we could meander home when our wine and dinner finally sat too heavily on us.

There were hefty museum-going plans for Sunday, but after all, it was Saturday night in London, so we had to stay awake and try to see some more sights.  We also started to discuss whether or not we could fit a visit to the theater into our plans (and into our budget) before we left, and we decided to try.

Once we got back to the room, we indulged in some wifi.  I checked in on my Etsy orders, we both did a little time on Facebook (indulging in pre-debate reading, and being both sorry and glad we weren't at home to see it) and then I looked up tickets for several plays we had passed in our wandering.

Turns out theater isn't as expensive as we thought, and I picked up tickets for a show on Tuesday night (our last night in London) for far less than expected.

We went to sleep tired, full, happy and anticipating Sunday's activities.