Back to the Studio

Today we arrived home, again.

In the last six weeks we’ve been north, south, east, and west. In four different road trips we’ve covered more than 5,200 miles. As Jim puts it, that’s more than a fifth of the way around the world. It’s twice the distance across the country from east to west.

Including our home state of Iowa, we’ve been to nine states: Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. We went to several museums, a major league baseball game, a parade, and an auction. We hiked in the mountains, swam inside and out, and soaked in hot springs. We attended a pork throw-down, a family reunion, and the James Taylor-Bonnie Raitt concert in Wrigley Field. We saw animals of all types in Brookfield Zoo. We saw antelopes and moose and bears and coyotes in the wild. We went to a costume party where we danced most of the evening away. We stayed in — good grief — I don’t even know how many different places overnight, including our car. 

We spent time with all three of our children and our son-in-law, and all seven grandchildren, and nieces on both sides of the family, and other assorted family members and shirt-tail relatives and other assorted non-family members. 

We’re home now. Tomorrow I’ll be back in my studio. I’ll need a good list to prioritize the many tasks awaiting me, including sending quilts away to loved ones. It’s good to be home.

Wonder Woman and Angle Man



26 thoughts on “Back to the Studio

  1. snarkyquilter

    I have visions of you crisscrossing the country, dropping off quilts as gifts at several locations. Sounds like a nice break from quilting and a wonderful collection of memories.

  2. KerryCan

    That photo made me laugh out loud–such fun! It sounds like an amazing, very fine, exhausting few weeks–I would need *months* to recover!

  3. Linda Ashworth

    Great trip, super costumes and two phrases new to me: pork throw down ( now explained) and shirt-tail relatives. Perhaps they’re friends or partners of distant relations? Curious!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Hi Linda. Yes, shirt-tail relatives are distant relatives, relatives of relatives (like a cousin’s cousin, or in-laws,) or friends of relatives. We saw all of them! 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting today.

  4. shoreacres

    That photo’s a hoot — mostly because the costume suit you so well. Anyone can put on a costume and pretend to be someone else, but not everyone can devise costumes that reveal more than they hide about their personalities and interests. Well done!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      The theme of the party was superheroes and villains. While that was interpreted broadly, most people chose costumes from the Marvel and DC comics genre. I started with Wonder Woman merely because a cousin offered to send me her (way too skimpy to wear) costume. But I did use her belt and cape. (I found the amazing sox in the gift shop of the National Air Force Museum in Dayton.) We searched for an idea for Jim and found that Angle Man is one of WW’s enemies, and he always has an angle. I think he did a masterful job of creating that persona! 🙂 Thanks much.

  5. katechiconi

    I envy you so much of that, but especially the family visits and the concert. One question I must ask, though… What on earth is a pork throw-down? And any learnings you want to share about long distance, long-term travel, given that the Husband’s long service leave is coming up in a couple of years, and we’re just starting to think about where to go and what to do?

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Ah, the pork throw-down. 🙂 It was a party hosted by a niece’s friends. The guests were to bring a dish to share featuring pork of some kind. After eating we all voted for “best” in different categories. I think “throw-down” generally means a challenge or contest of some sort.

      As to long-term travel, the longest we’ve been away in one stretch is 3 weeks. Even with that, the advice I can give is to remember that you can buy almost anything you might need, somewhere along the way, and you can find places to do laundry, so don’t overpack. Be flexible and decide you’ll have a good time, even when things don’t go the way you expected. And don’t travel every day. Stay in place for a few days at a time, when possible. That let’s you immerse yourself more and enjoy the places you visit.

      1. katechiconi

        Thanks! I had visions of a pig being wrestled to the ground and turned into dinner on the spot, so it’s good to know the affair was much tamer 🙂 As for the travel advice, I’d agree with every point you’ve made, particularly the last: some of the most wonderful adventures I’ve had resulted from following small mysterious signs off main roads, and giving ourselves time to follow our curiosity.

  6. TextileRanger

    I am glad you had such a wonderful trip! Six weeks away from home! Your Wonder Woman costume was an appropriate choice for someone who could organize all that.


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