A Year at the Fair

One thing I never got around to doing while I was here for college was going to the Minnesota State Fair. I was either completely unaware of it’s existence (freshman), didn’t know when it was (sophomore), in another country (junior), or too late in arriving to partake (senior).

Last year, however, I was determined to go. And I did  – three times, even! I ate a lot of portable food, discovered fried cheese curds, ignored the part of me that was screaming in horror about being surrounded by thousands of people, and went over the Creative Activities Building with a fine tooth comb.

See, I had heard that you could enter various crafts and get ribbons for them. I’d never participated in anything that handed out ribbons or trophies before and was…intrigued. Despite the fact that the (very flattering) reaction every time I mentioned maybe entering was enthusiastically positive, I wanted to check things out myself first. Also, I had heard it cost money to enter. (Not true.)

There were some absolutely beautiful items in the case last year – stuff that was not only complex in terms of technique, but…well-executed, if you know what I mean. Smooth fabric, tailored details, fine finishing – there were items on display for which the basic knitting had been only 3/4s of the work.

However, I knew that some of my stuff was up to snuff. If not my sweaters and cardigans, then definitely my mittens and other accessories. Plus, the fair allows you to submit work completed in the three years before the start of the fair, so I was able to submit one of my masterpieces.

That’s right, the blanket (the odyssey of which you can start following here) took second in its division this year. A pair of gloves, a hat, and some mittens also placed, in fourth and fifth. The shawls got jack, and I don’t love them anymore. Kidding.

One thing that stuck out this year, however, was that the second, third, fourth, and fifth place finishers (and all other none placing entries) were all crammed into one display case, while the blue ribbon projects got a case to themselves. The displayers had obvious done their best to make sure that every project was visible, but the case was stuffed.

So I thought, next year I want a blue ribbon. I want my stuff in that case, visible as everybody walks in the door of the Creative Activities Building.

Thus begins my year at the fair – a year of knitting to state fair blue ribbon standards, as best I can. Part competitiveness, part personal challenge, part boredom, and part Mauri’s-gone-all-Kaylee-Lee-Frye over those blue ribbons.

Next time…strategy. Yeah, there’s a spreadsheet.

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Yes, I’m Back

DSC05237

I’ve lived in Minnesota for a little over 4 years now…just not all at once. I first lived here for college, which meant I was only in the Twin Cities for nine months at a time (eight if you take into account my fleeing south every January). However, after finishing with the JET program July 2014, I decided to make St Paul my permanent home. At that point, I didn’t have many choices.

Arizona – now occupied only peripatetically by friends and family. Hot. Governed by people with odd ideas about education and culture.

Washington – specifically Seattle. Now occupied by my mother, an unusual concentration of college friends, and a few cousins. Also, likely to fall into the sea in the near future. (I will point out that I knew Seattle was slated for the Apocalypse well before the New York Times did.)

Minnesota – Now occupied by my father and a less concentrated group of friends. So cold and snowy that I once swore out loud that I wouldn’t move back unless I was rich enough to pay the neighbor kid to shovel my driveway. Also the site of one of the top ten schools for public health in the nation.

…I compromised, bought a new pair of boots and moved into an apartment that didn’t have a driveway.

Next time…so why am I blogging again, if I’ve been hanging around here for a year already?

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Did you see that?

Princess

Princess

The site name just changed, appropriately enough because I am no longer in Japan.

I wonder if this means I’m going to start posting again.

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Photo Monday – Abandoned

Assabu Falling Down Chic

Assabu Chic

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Photo Monday – Festival Time

From Otobe's summer festival, two weeks ago. Elementary school students play the drums on the neighborhood floats.

From Otobe’s summer festival, two weeks ago. Elementary school students play the drums on the neighborhood floats.

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Photo Monday – Track and Field

Elementary School Track and Field

Elementary School Track and Field

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Enkatsura

Enkatsura

Enkatsura

Last weekend, a fellow ALT and I went hiking up to Enkatsura, a pair of conjoined trees that my town is known for, over 500 years old. It was an easy hike, only 2km round-trip. I only trip over the wooden trail logs once.

Enkatsura shrine

Enkatsura shrine

It was a nice day, with good weather and we enjoyed a snack of apple and cherries at the end of the trail.

Unfortunately, the area was infested with ticks! After discovering them at home, I am in doubt of going outside again until the snow flies.

 

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