Ted is safely home in Canada, after an all-too-brief visit. He is a model houseguest: polite, considerate, neat, and brings wool with him. Come on back any time, Ted.
I will end the suspense right now and tell you that Dolores did not succeed in adding another notch to her lipstick case. It was not for lack of trying. For most of the weekend she was in constant motion around Ted, doing backflips and pirouettes like an errant member of Cirque du Soleil.
On Friday, we visited the zoo and conservatory in Lincoln Park and she trotted out her "Madcap Maisie" routine. Think 1920s flapper crossed with Cyndi Lauper in the video for "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
At first, it seemed like this actually might work. Note this picture in the conservatory garden, in which Ted is obviously enjoying himself.
But then she overshot herself by screaming "I want to live la dolce vita!" and throwing herself into the fountain. Ted got the Anita Ekberg reference, but his inborn Canadian reserve found the gesture just a touch outré early in the morning.
In any case, he was more interested* in the Jacob sheep that live in the Farm at the Zoo. The Jacobs, for their part, were quite taken with Dolores. One of them shouted after her, "Hey baby, do fries come with that shake?" but she just curled her lip and threw a fistful of jujubes at his head.
On Saturday, which was of course Canada Day, Dolores woke Ted with a sunrise serenade: "Maple Leaf Rag" (theme and variations) played on her harmonica. For added frisson she wore my mountie hat. Alas, Ted is not a morning person.
Later in the day, we visited Millenium Park and the Art Institute. Sensing Ted's strong intellectual bent, she tried out her Sophisticated Woman of Culture pose.
But as Ted contemplated Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, her feral nature got the better of her and she couldn't resist giving his tuchus a little pinch. He yelped, there was a confused scuffle in the crowded gallery, somebody got pushed into a Van Gogh, and Dolores was once again asked to please leave the Art Institute and not come back.
Once she was out of the way, we were free to explore the museum at length and Ted's eagle eyes spotted things like this weaver (Penelope, wife of Ulysses) on a panel from an Italian Renaissance marriage chest.
He also pointed out this piece of mind-blowing miniature knitting in one of the Thorne Rooms, a series of dioramas that chronicle the history of interior decoration.
That swatch, which truly is knitted, measures a little less than an inch square. It's the only example of knitting we found in any of the rooms, although some include knitting baskets with balls of yarn. Our guess is that after flirting with blindness while turning out this specimen, the knitter told Mrs. Thorne that if she wanted anything else of this sort she could do it herself.
By Saturday night, Dolores had given up the chase and gone to console herself at the Lucky Horseshoe, which was celebrating the Fourth of July Weekend with male strippers dressed as figures from United States history. It must have gone well, because we didn't see her again until Sunday afternoon, when she stumbled in wearing Lincoln's stovepipe hat and Franklin D. Roosevelt's dickey.
I offered to take Ted to see the strippers, as I assume they're not easy to come by in his corner of Canada, but he demurred and instead we did fibery things.
He showed me a small selection of his lace output. Inspiring.
This is the beautiful "Spider Queen" shawl, which I tried to steal.
Ted and the "Rosebud" shawl by Sharon Miller, which he knocked off on a lazy Saturday afternoon during a matinée showing of Maid in Manhattan.
Ted also gave me pointers on my spinning, and then (wonder of wonders) succeeded in getting me to give the spindle another shot. And this is what happened:
It's merino. And I spun it, on the spindle. And it was fun. And it was not difficult, once Ted had helped me grasp the process.
Will you all please join me in asking Ted why he's frittering away his time at some day job when he's the sort of person who can teach one to do this is ten minutes? Where is Ted's book? Why is Ted not teaching full time? Where is the justice in this world?
He had to leave on Sunday afternoon, far too soon, and now Canada has him back. However, we will need to borrow him again soon, so consider who you might like in exchange. How about Alexis Xenakis? Hell, we wouldn't even ask you to give him back.
*Interested in their fleece, that is. Not, you know, "interested."