Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ship of Fool

London was a whistle stop compared to the portion of the trip spent sailing from Southampton to New York.

I find that I feel odd writing about the crossing. I have my notes, and I have my photos, but I still can't believe I did it.

Here's the thing: I am not from a family that often indulges in life's big luxuries. When I was a kid, five of us (parents, grandmother, and sister Sue) did make an epic journey of sorts; but it was from the Arizona to Ohio in a Plymouth Scamp that was pulling a U-Haul trailer. We stayed at Holiday Inns, we ate at McDonald's, and we liked it.

The last of my relations to travel from Europe by water was my great-grandmother, Anna, in 1910 or so. She came over in a leaky bathtub called the Re d'Italia and (to hear her tell it, and I often did) she spent the entire journey from Palermo to New York in the baggage hold eating her own hair because my great-great grandparents couldn't even afford steerage.

As with the London write-up, what's below is taken from my travel notebook mostly unedited, so hang on tight.

London to Southampton

The romance of travel is dead. How many old, British novels have I read in which Lady Cordelia Tosspot pulls on her gloves and says crisply, "I must dash, or I shall miss the boat train." Then she pops into a cab, and arrives at a soaring train station amid puffs of steam, and is handed into a brass-bound coach and served a drink while a flotilla of eager porters heaves her trunks and hat boxes into the luggage car.

The boat train is no longer how you get there. You now take the boat bus. It is not a luxury experience, though it has a luxury price tag. First, you sit at Victoria Coach Station in a plastic chair, inhaling fumes from the adjacent Burger King and watching the pigeons crap on the cell phone vendor's pushcart. Then you drag your own suitcases out to the baggage van, and pile into an overcrowded coach. You drive for two hours down the motorway listening to the obnoxious Italian next to you (who doesn't think you can possibly understand him, since you're American) rag on American clothes, deportment and culture while noisily devouring a Coca-Cola and eating a ham-and-cheese sandwich from Subway. His elbow frequently digs into your ribs, and you retaliate with a surreptitious lace needle to the arm.

Arriving at Southampton, you stand in line for forty minutes at the Cunard terminal, which is a large, tin shed heated to about 22 degrees Farenheit.

Then, having posed for the obligatory "Welcome Aboard" photograph of yourself looking like a neglected rag doll, you step into the Grand Lobby.


The string quartet is playing. The fresh flowers smell heavenly. The light makes you look ten years younger. Every surface is polished and glowing. And your steward, Charles, welcomes you warmly. This assemblage is waiting on the table in your stateroom along with a tray of hors d'oeuvres.

Welcome Aboard

Suddenly, you feel a whole lot better.

This, by the way, is Southampton as it looked from the balcony of Stateroom 11.136.

Southampton from the Balcony

And this is what happens when you're taking panorama shots but your traveling companion has already popped the cork on the champagne.


A Day at Sea
  • 7:30 am. Room service arrives with coffee (Tom), cocoa (me). Room service is free and they will bring you anything, anytime. Regret now that I did not test this by ordering a chocolate milkshake and a peanut butter sandwich with the crusts cut off at 3:27 am. Maybe next time.

  • 8:30ish. Shower, dress, breakfast in the Britannia Room.

  • 9:30ish. Nab good seat in Sir Samuel's (wine bar on Deck 3 which in early morning provides unlimited access to pain au chocolat). Knit.

    Knitting Spot

  • Alternately, nab choice seat in library looking out over prow.

    My Seat in the Library

  • Or, sit at library desk and work on big project am not supposed to talk much about right now but please stay tuned.

  • Noonish. Lunch in Britannia Room.

  • Nap.

  • Or, go to ship's planetarium and nap there. You're not supposed to, of course, but the chairs are very comfortable and it's dark and the gentle rocking of the waves makes it impossible to stay awake and listen to Tom Hanks talk about mapping the universe.

  • Or, walk on deck. Photograph Transatlantic Hat at work, and admire the ship's funnel, which is the sexiest piece of industrial design I've ever seen. The horns are from the original Queen Mary and can be heard for ten miles.



  • Or, get a massage in the ship's spa. (No photo available.)

  • 3 pm. Needleworkers Group in champagne bar on Deck 3. Meet, over the course of six days, endlessly fun, fascinating and talented parade of knitters, quilters, embroiderers and lace-makers. Learn much. Laugh much. Knit not so much.

    Needleworkers Aboard

  • 4 pm. Friends of Dorothy meeting in Commodore Club. This is, believe or not, an "official" shipboard activity listed in the Daily Programme. We are given our own section of the club complete with fresh flowers and a little sign. Enjoy hearing, at least once a day, loud inquiry from clueless passenger to waitress: "Who is Dorothy? And why are all these men friends of hers?"

  • 5 pm. Dress for dinner. Three formal nights (dinner jacket), one semi-formal (dark suit), two elegant casual (jacket and tie). Would like to point out, please, that I tied my own bow tie.

    The Bow Tie is Real

  • 5:45 pm. Cocktails in the Chart Room. Since I don't drink I only had several very unglamorous glasses of water, but the chairs were extremely comfortable.

  • 6–8 pm. Dinner, Britannia Room. We are extremely lucky with our tablemates. Three entertaining couples, two from the United States and one from Canada. We are usually one of the first tables to fill and almost always the last to empty–the company is that good.

    One of the guys is an independent movie producer and gave us an advance copy of his latest, a Western romp in the good ol' style called Palo Pinto Gold. If you have fond memories of Roy Clark from "Hee Haw" (and I do, thank you very much) or you voted for Kinky Friedman when he ran for governor of Texas, you have to see this movie.

  • 8 pm. Retire to stateroom. Charles has turned down the bed and left chocolates (check flavor, hoping for Dark or Orange) and the Daily Programme for tomorrow. Tom reads aloud highlights from schedule while I knit.


  • 8:30ish. Check out the dancing in the Queen's Room, which you might expect from the name to have been full of Friends of Dorothy but which emphatically was not. Was full of very white people dancing very whitely. Slowest damned waltzes I've ever heard. The rising generation needs to reclaim the waltz as the breathless, invigorating thing that it ought to be.

    This is a shot of the the Officers' Gavotte in full flight.

    Officers' Gavotte

    As you can see, I experimented with a slow shutter to make it appear as though the dancers had actually been in motion.

  • Or, take off tux and put on swimsuit and robe and go sit in hot tub on Deck 12. Perfection, as very relaxing before bed and entire pool area is empty. One memorable night, we took the wrong elevator (there are four elevator banks, it's easy to get confused) and wound up on the open deck instead of at the pool. So we ran, giggling, across the moonlit planks through the Atlantic wind in our robes and slippers. I felt like Zelda Fitzgerald.

  • 9:30ish fall asleep reading fantastic book on Louis XIV from library.


[Written on day two] When housekeeping shows up at my cabin they just knock on the door. But today I noticed there are some Fancy People on this deck, traveling in what Cunard calls "Grill Class." They have suites, butlers, and their own dining room and pool. They also have doorbells. Little shiny brass doorbells.

I am sorely tempted to take the cloth laundry bag out of our closet, ring somebody's doorbell and scream, "Trick or treat!" when they open the door.

The Pet Lamp

The stateroom was faultless except for one of the two sconce lamps over the writing desk, which had come loose and jiggled frenetically up and down, like Paris Hilton on date night. At first we meant to ask Charles to have it looked at, but we kept forgetting. And then we became fond of it. You'd open the door, and it would jiggle happily at you like a puppy wagging its tail.

By the second day it had become our "pet lamp" and I photographed it.

Our Pet Lamp

Being out of sight of land for more than two days can make you act very, very weird.

Don't Get Too Cozy

On the navigational chart that's posted so you can see where the ship is, has been, and will be, the captain helpfully marks the spot where the Titanic sank and lets you know when you'll be passing over it.

New York

It is far too easy to get used to life on a Cunard ship and extremely heartbreaking to give it up. So the night before arrival, everybody gets a little crabby–except the people who are staying on another couple weeks to sail to Miami and the Caribbean. (Those people, if they know what's good for them, don't say much and keep to their rooms until the rest of us disembark.)

When the Queen Mary sails into New York, she doesn't go to Manhattan. She's too big. They had to build a new terminal for her, in Brooklyn. To get to the terminal, the ship sails under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

The top of the funnel clears the bottom of the bridge by about six feet. Here's a picture.

Under the Bridge

That shot was taken at 4:15 am. The temperature on deck was about 18 degrees Farenheit. I am glad I got up to see it once, but will happily to sleep through it next time.

This was New York in the morning.



New York

Arriving in the United States by ship was oddly disorienting. It was very much as though we'd gone to sleep in a British hotel, woken up and found that everything outside had gone American.

I have no photographs of the plane from La Guardia to Chicago. We left New York early, and it only took two hours to reach O'Hare, but the flight seemed to last a whole lot longer than six days on the ship. No dance floor, no elbow room, and when you tell an American Airlines stewardess you'd like a chocolate milkshake and a peanut butter sandwich with the crusts cut off you're not likely to get the answer for which you were hoping.

Getting used to life on shore has been so dreadfully trying, my dears. Dreadfully.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Memory Album

Home, as dear Mr. Stevenson wrote, is the sailor. Home, in fact, from the sea. Here is a picture of said sea from my balcony on the Queen Mary 2, for which I will now forever pine the same way a dispossessed Estonian countess laments her lost ancestral dacha on the Baltic.

Halfway Across on the QM2

But I am getting ahead of myself. Before the voyage back there was the trip over, and three unforgettable days in London. Rather than try to craft a polished and interminable narrative, however, I'm simply going to throw a bunch of raw extracts from my travel notes onto the page and hope they will form, in your eyes, at least a moderately interesting pattern.

Here we go, and hang on because my verb tenses are all over the place.

Query. Why is it that although one may begin preparing one's friends and business contacts months in advance for one's absence, begging them to please be in touch to tie up this loose end or that before one leaves home, they all wait to call until one is going through airport security?

The agony of attempting to sleep while sitting up for seven hours in a roaring airplane, then braving surly British customs agents who make anti-American remarks before stamping one's passport, then struggling to get four big suitcases and a mammoth camera gear bag onto the Heathrow Express and then into a cab at Paddington Station is absolutely worth it, when at the end you throw open the curtains of your hotel room in Trafalgar Square and find that this is your view for the next three days.

View from the Hotel

(Query re: Trafalgar Square. Where the hell did all the pigeons go?)

File under: Good Ideas. On your first morning in London if the weather is fine, do walk down Pall Mall to Buckingham Palace and then walk back through St. James's Park. Your pictures, like mine, may be only tourist-grade snapshots, but your memories will be gilt-edged.


Lamp and Unicorn

Palace Guard


The Boy

This little cottage-looking-thing is in St. James's Park. Would be perfect for me, as has wing at back with pond views ideal for drawing-table and desk. Must remember to make inquiries about summer rental upon return to Chicago.

Cottage in the Park

Wednesday night, a friendly and familiar face in the hotel bar: Jane, who I last saw in my living room in Chicago when she came to be photographed for 1,000 Knitters during a trip to the United States. Even though we are both beginning to droop, we perk up at the sight of her. She kindly offers to shepherd us to and from the book signing tomorrow night, and we are grateful.

And then to bed, which feels awfully good after almost 24 hours awake. We sleep for something like 12 hours.

File under: Good Ideas. Get up very early and get to the Tower of London smack on the dot of opening and go straight to the Jewel House and you can have the crown jewels all to yourself for twenty minutes before Japanese bus tours show up and all hell breaks loose. This will give you time not only to ponder quietly the Big Stuff, like the Koh-i-Noor, but also the small stuff, like Queen Victoria's coronation ring–which was accidentally jammed onto the wrong finger during her coronation. She, being made of Stern Stuff, simply bore the pain until after all was over.

Tower ravens: love them. The sort of bird I would be if I had to be a bird–scary and severe. Also love admirably prim and concise wording on almost all British public signage.

Out of Bounds

Most photographs from this trip disappointing, nice for souvenir purposes but artistically bankrupt. Quite taken, however, with this accidental shot from the Piccadilly Line of the Underground. Clicked the shutter button when I thought I had the camera turned off.

Kid on the Tube

On second day, realized long-time fantasy of afternoon tea at London Ritz, chosen by the delightful Kerrie Allman of
Yarn Forward magazine as location for interview. Remembered reading, at age nine or so, of Madame Ritz insisting to her husband that the Palm Court must be perfectly lit, so the lunching ladies feel would feel pretty. Cesar Ritz therefore ordered delicated, pink-shaded lamps. I was thrilled to find the pink-shaded lamps still in place.

The Yarn Forward ladies surprised and delighted us with a birthday cake (chocolate mousse, thank you very much) for Tom. It was phenomenally good and had a cookie as the bottom crust.

Happy Birthday, Tom!

After interview, took photographs on main staircase while various Ritz employees sneered openly at our
gaucherie. Realize with great relief that finally, at age 37, no longer give a flying fig whether people who work at fancy hotels approve of me.

Signing at I Knit. Jane arrives at the hotel as promised and announces we will travel by bus. I have no problems with the Underground but haven't braved a bus yet and am very excited to try it. The ride through night-time London from Trafalgar to Waterloo is dizzying and thrilling. Less thrilling is watching Tom be nearly thrown down the stairs from the upper level when we are descending and the driver screeches to a halt. Happily, no harm done, and Jane assures us that we have now had a very authentic London transport experience.

At the shop, first an interview downstairs with Elizabeth, extremely sweet writer from
Simply Knitting. Then, upstairs to find shop is packed with knitters. Absolutely not an extra square inch of room. People are backed up against the doors and perched on tables. Am, frankly, overwhelmed and only just able to stop self from fainting and/or weeping. Naturally, forget to take pictures–but Tom remembers, bless him.

At the Reading

Such a crowd. Came from all over England–and at least one came all the way from France. Full of good wishes, kind words, and caring inquiries about our stay. Listened and laughed while I read from two essays from the book, and then queued up for signed copies–which sold out.

At last met in person so many knitters I've admired from afar, including long-time correspondent Judith, and Yvonne Davies of
And All That Stash. (Ages ago, wrote fan letter to Yvonne after hearing her on Marie Irshad's late, lamented Knit Cast. In person she is even more fun, if you can believe it.)


Note the glass of wine. I Knit has a fully-licensed pub
in it.

Presented owners Craig and Gerard, on whom I developed an instant double crush, with drawing of Dolores dressed as Britannia. Wish I'd had more time to talk to them - perhaps during the next visit? Thanks, guys, for giving me such a splendid welcome–and my door is always open if you come to Chicago. (You just might want to wait until spring.)

Craig and Gerard

Afterwards, Jane led us back across Waterloo Bridge–on foot, this time–to Covent Garden and we had a celebratory dinner at Joe Allen. Then a quick photograph, and so to bed, not quite believing all that had happened in the space of a day.

With Jane at Joe Allen

Last full day, beautiful sunny walk from Trafalgar Square to Kensington Palace via Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens. Horse Guards were out exercising in the ring.

Horse Guards

In the afternoon another walk, this time down Whitehall. Gorgeous piles of architecture everywhere, to which this souvenir stand was (I thought) a fun contrast.

Souvenirs, Whitehall

Paused at Cenotaph, which was covered in poppies and crosses.

At the Cenotaph

Am always taken aback by British respect for the wreaths and tributes on public memorials, which can be laid in place without fear. In Chicago, even flowers tied with wire to private graves aren't safe from thieves and vandals.

Then to Parliament, for a very special visit. Liz of Knitting on the Green has offered to conduct us through the Palace of Westminster. On previous visit to London, only saw the clock tower from a distance. This time, am able to spend a while poring over the peerless neo-Gothic details. Am unfortunately too dazzled to get any really good shots, but do enjoy myself nonetheless.

Richard I

Windows, New Palace Yard

Fence, Palace of Westminster

Inside, pictures mostly forbidden but am allowed to catch the magnificent hammerbeams in Westminster Hall, the only surviving part of the mediaeval palace.

And Tom got a good shot of Liz and I on the stairs up to St Stephen's Hall.

With Liz in Westminster Hall

Inside, rendered speechless. I am, please understand, such a passionate disciple of the Victorian Gothic Revival that I named one of my teddy bears Augustus Pugin. And these buildings are the epicenter, the ground zero, the
ne plus ultra of Gothic Revival architecture, furniture, art and decoration.

And that's not even considering the
history–both actual and fictional. After years of reading Trollope's parliamentary novels about the Pallisers, I find myself in the Commons debating chamber where Phineas Finn made his maiden speech. I stand on the very spot from which the Prime Ministers field questions.

In the Members' Lobby I hunt down Disraeli's statue and am (frankly) distressed to find that it–a sugary sweet bit of white marble–is overshadowed by a hideous, gargantuan bronze of Margaret Thatcher.

I probably have no business, as an American, thinking that this is shockingly wrong, but nonetheless I do think it. There is some comfort in noting that Mrs Thatcher in effigy looks like a badly-aged Valkyrie with indigestion. Which upon reflection I feel is wholly appropriate.

Liz, it was an afternoon I will remember until my dying day. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Last morning. Tom waved goodbye from our room (you can see him, faintly) as I photographed from below.

Tom at the Window

Too soon! Though I admit the prospect of six days on a Cunard liner softens the blow a little bit.

About which, more to come.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pond Crossing Imminent

I grew up in a military family and we moved around a lot. To this day, the sight of brown cardboard packing boxes makes me as nostalgic as a whiff of dearest mama's green pepper casserole.

We spent so much time on the road that I was only six or seven when the first of my pre-trip rituals emerged. Books to be read while traveling had to be put into quarantine, literally set apart on their own shelf. They could not, under any circumstances, be opened until we were out of the driveway. I still do this.

Over the years a host of other ironclad customs have joined the first. Together, they form a lovely little framework of neurosis and superstition with which I shield myself from the fears that might, if I gave into them, possibly keep me from going anywhere at all.

The newest tradition debuted when I became a knitter. It comprises a 50-yard dash of finishing, weaving ends, blocking, and then worrying over the piece at it slllllooooooooowwwwwwwllllllyyyyy dries on a towel on the living room floor.

I know there are knitters out there who are much better about this sort of thing. They are never to be found frantically undoing blocking pins while the taxi to the airport is waiting downstairs. But there aren't any knitters like that in my apartment, which is good because I would smack them.

Well, a whopper of a trip is nigh. We're going to England today, Tom and I. It's a just brief jaunt, a whistle stop in London. And then we're sailing back on the Queen Mary 2. I can't believe it. Tom figured out how to do it without smashing all the piggy banks. He's smart like that.

So he gets a new knitted thing, in this case a simple but useful garment I'm calling the Transatlantic Hat.

Transatlantic Hat

It don't look like much but it was an interesting knit. First I did the outside - the cabled bit. Since the yarn is DK weight (the same I used in Grandma's Swallowtail Shawl) that made for a thin hat, not terribly warm. So, borrowing an idea from dear Elizabeth Zimmermann, I picked up stitches around the bottom and knit a lining for it in the same wool. And then, to make quite certain fierce Atlantic winds won't get through, I picked up stitches again and knit a roll-up brim in 2x2 ribbing to give extra protection to Tom's neck and cute little pink ears.

I'm sure there's a more efficient way to do all that, but since I was making it up as I went along I'm just happy it worked. I'm also happy it's finished. Even with a fan blowing on it, it took the sucker 48 hours to dry. At least I beat the taxi driver this time.

I Knit, You Knit, We All Knit at I Knit

I sent Queen Liz a gob of e-mails and kept poking her on Facebook, but she never got back to me so I'm going to hang out with knitters instead. I'll be at I Knit at 6:30 on Thursday evening, and as William the Conqueror said as he stood on the French side of English channel, I cannot freaking wait. I'll sign books and read some and draw some and generally natter away until they all throw shoes at me.

While I'm Away

The Etsy shop has been put into suspended animation for the duration, since there's no point in your ordering things when I can't ship them. The Guys with Yarn calendar will return to stock (along with prints, cards, etc.) when I get back. Meanwhile, the Cafe Press shop (which doesn't require my direct involvement) is still open for business for all your bag, shirt, ornament and thong needs.

During the trip I will have minimal access to e-mail, then no access to e-mail, because there's no way I'm going to pay Cunard's extortionate rates for a bad satellite connection in the middle of the ocean. Talk amongst yourselves, darlings, and I'll be back with a full report.

A Note to the All the Fibertarians

I can only imagine it's been a rough week for those who supported Dolores for President. I promise you it's been even rougher to live with her in the aftermath. She actually disappeared for about two days, presumably working through her disappointment in the company of one or more jockstrap-clad campaign advisors at the Lucky Horseshoe.

When she at last slunk back through the front door, she refused to receive visitors or answer her cell phone. Even very sweet overtures from the Obama camp regarding a cabinet post fell on deaf ears. I asked her if she might not want to issue a statement to all the loyal party members. She screamed "Thanks a million!" and threw an empty bottle of Everclear at my head.

And then, perhaps inspired by the sight of my own open suitcases, she left this note on the refrigerator.

There's no cure like travel. Have taken to the road to
rediscover my soul. Borrowed your rollerblades, your
portable sewing machine and your copy of
The Eustace Diamonds.
Au revoir, cupcake.
P.S. Don't touch my stuff.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I was running around the city doing errands this morning when I stopped dead in my tracks near my neighborhood's train station. There was a woman at the bus stop with a baby dangling from her shoulders in one of those sling-thingies. The baby was wearing what I recognized instantly to be the February Baby Sweater from Elizabeth Zimmermann's immortal Knitter's Almanac.

It's not every day you chance upon a Zimmermann in the wild. Moreover, I've attempted that pattern–which is a total hoot–but abandoned it because I realized the finished sweater was going to be too small for Abigail. This specimen appeared to be expertly executed in an intriguing, lustrous yarn.

Without realizing it, I must have stared a little too long.

"Can I help you?" It was the mother. Her tone could not be described as earnestly helpful.

"I'm sorry," I said, blushing. "I couldn't help noticing your baby's sweater. Elizabeth Zimmermann, right?"

"What?" She backed up a step.

"The sweater–it was designed by Elizabeth Zimmermann."

"What? No. It's not designer. Somebody made it for the baby. Some friend of my husband's gave to us."

"Oh, I see. So you're not the knitter."

"What? Why would I be a knitter? Look, why are you talking to me? Get away now."

She waved her cell phone in a marked manner. I decided the time was right to end our Meaningful Dialogue and head for home. I hadn't had breakfast yet, anyhow.

Must try to remember in future that the entire world does not knit; nor does it expect swarthy, bearded men in biker jackets to field-spot baby sweaters–not even famous baby sweaters.

Come Say Hello

I'm going to be signing copies of It Itches at two different places around Chicago this weekend.

On Friday evening from 6–9 p.m. I'll be at Loopy Yarns, where I'll also be signing prints (Loopy is now carrying a selection of them) and the new Loopy Yarns tote bags (which sport a drawing I created specially for the shop, available nowhere else).

And on Saturday from noon–2 p.m. I'll be at My Sister's Knits in Beverly (on the South Side).

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Okay It Is the Big Day So Please Go Vote Now

Hi there it's Harry! Good morning and happy Election Day to all the Americans from Fibertarian Party headquarters!

Election Day Harry

Franklin and Dolores already went and voted because the lobby of our building is a polling place so it's easy to get there just an elevator ride away. Franklin didn't even change out of his pajamas can you believe that what a slob.

Dolores got all gussied up because she figured there would be reporters and stuff to watch her cast her vote, but there was nobody and then they yelled at her for taking too many cookies off the snack tray and she got real mad and I think she is going to just head down to the Lucky Horseshoe and start the victory party early. Boy I sure hope she wins because if she doesn't I don't want to be here tomorrow morning.

And Franklin finished packing his "just in case" bag and it's by the door with his ticket to Montreal, and now he is hiding under the bed and says he won't come out until the polls close so I am the one who is here to say, Vote for Dolores! And also I will update you on the second part of her campaign tour which was HUGE! Like in some places where she went they totally ran out of chairs!

Okay here goes.

East Lansing, Michigan

East Lansing, MI

So you know how politicians are supposed to kiss babies well Dolores was looking to do that and when she was in Michigan she found a brand new one! I know what you're thinking but my guess is this lady was still too foggy from the epidural to know what was going on and boy I sure hope they cleaned off the baby afterward. By the way congratulations lady your baby is real cute.

Nashua, New Hampshire

Nashua, NH

So this is Dolores with pledged delegates from Westminster Fibers at their annual sales meeting for the Rowan, Nashua Handknits, Gedifra and Regia brands of knitting yarns. Of course these people would like to see Fibertarians running the country because then they could all afford beach houses and stuff and maybe they would invite us all for a fancy party!

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Saskatoon, Canada

Then Dolores was supposed to go to North Dakota but she started talking to this guy and they were having some laughs and she forgot to get off the bus and then she was in Canada! So she got off at a truck stop and found somebody to drive her back to America, but first she spent a couple of days up there and met local yarns at Prairie Lily Knitting. She told me they were a lot like American yarns but they talk kind of funny.

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

When Dolores is president she will have to live in the White House. It is in Washington, DC which is our capital so she went there to check it out and see if her new office is big enough for a dance floor with a DJ booth. Anyway they wouldn't let her into the house so she went over to the National Mall instead, but she couldn't find the Starbucks or the Ann Taylor just a lot of museums. And then she saw this old lady trying to cross the street and well she knows a photo opp when she sees one. So the theme of this photo is if you are really old Dolores is the candidate for you she will help you cross the street.

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica, CA

So then it was off to Santa Monica, California where Dolores shook hands with a lot of really interesting people on the famous pier, including this one guy who said he remembered her from when she was a hat check girl at this one topless bar in Santa Cruz but then she punched him in the nose and he didn't remember that any more.

Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Oak Ridge, TN

So Dolores found out that none of the other candidates had been to Oak Ridge, Tennessee and plus she had been curious to visit the Spallation Neutron Source for quite some time and so off she went. I asked her what is a Spallation Neutron Source, and she said the hell if I know but holy crap do those science types know how to drink.

Marin County, California

Marin County, CA

Dolores wanted to show that she is very sensitive to the needs of immigrants and so in California she posed with this lady who had fled her oppressive and terror-ridden homeland in a homemade raft and risked her life to pursue the American dream. (I am sorry in advance Dolores made me write that.)

Vacaville, California

Vacaville, CA

And then she went to meet up with these sheep friends of hers from California who were working at the Bearded Collie Club of America's herding trials. It was maybe not a good idea because after she gave them a little speech the sheep started pushing the dogs around instead of vice versa and it sort of got ugly and there were police and now she is not supposed to go back to Vacaville ever and I have to write a bunch of apology notes today.

Friday Harbor, Washington

Friday Harbor, WA

So I will have you know that Obama and McCain are not the only candidates with fancy celebrity friends and here is proof, it is Dolores with Cat Bordhi. And if you are asking me I would rather spend the evening with Cat than with Daddy Yankee or Barbra Streisand. Okay maybe I would like to meet Barbra but only if she is in a really good mood. Also Dolores says if she is elected she will put Cat in charge of solving the energy crisis and we should have it fixed in about a week.

Nutley, New Jersey

Nutley, NJ

Okay this picture came with a press release from the guy who is running the campaign out there and here is what he said. "While campaigning in Nutley, NJ, Dolores took time out to pay respects to two other inspiring, strong females. After preparing perfect omelets for her campaign staff, Dolores viewed Annie Oakley memorabilia at the museum, then placed a tribute of preserved Hortensia near the childhood home of Martha Stewart."

(Thank you Jack but what the heck is Hortensia? I hope you don't mean a lady named Hortensia.)

Mobile, Alabama

Mobile, AL

It was not really Mardi Gras while Dolores was in Mobile but the Fibertarians down there said it didn't matter let's party anyway and Dolores said okay fine and then–wait a minute what is the Sphinx thingie about? Boy, Mobile sure must be weird. No wonder Dolores was down there for like a whole week and we never heard from her.

Sand Lake, New York

Sand Lake, NY

In Sand Lake they arranged for a motor parade right through town and Dolores was cheered by seven people! One of them thought she was Sarah Palin but we decided to count her anyway.

Decatur, Georgia

Decatur, GA

In Decatur, Dolores insisted on posing with this pretty statue of President Thomas Jefferson because she says they share many of the same values including sleeping with people who work for you.

Fort Collins, Colorado

Fort Collins, CO

I am not supposed to tell you what happened to Dolores in "Ram Country" but you can probably figure out for yourself anyway.

Hendersonville, North Carolina

Hendersonville, NC

Dolores hooked up with somebody at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair and they asked her to sign their copy of It Itches before leaving the motel room. She said forget about it because Franklin didn't let her write the introduction or thank her in the acknowledgments.

Lacomb, Oregon

Lacomb, OR

So you know Dolores is really a country girl at heart because she was born on a farm and so in Lacomb she went back to her roots and hung out with the chickens. If the rooster is reading this she says you have my email so be in touch.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas, NV

Dolores was going to just relax in Las Vegas after speaking to a small crowd about her pet cause of retirement homes for topless showgirls, but then she ran into this Fibertarian who had tickets to see Jimmy Buffett and Dolores says don't worry, what happened in Vegas stays in Vegas until my next volume of memoirs comes out.

Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, WI

Wisconsin was kind of scary for Dolores because of course she has a thing about cows and it is America's Dairyland but after a couple of drinks at the Badgers game she relaxed enough to go hang out at a local cheese-and-karaoke bar and they all said she did the best version of "Rhiannon" they have heard since Joe Lieberman was here in '04.

London, England

London, England

Then Dolores went to London, which is in England, which is a country that used to own our country and so she went over there to show she is tough in foreign policy and tell that queen not to get any ideas about takesie-backsies. And she went to see this play called Waste at the Almeida Theatre and she got backstage and she made a pass at the cute director Sam West and she won't tell me what else happened but you can see here he was getting hot and bothered. Dont worry Sam we are all coming back to London next week so stop calling all the time okay.

San Mateo, California

San Mateo, CA

They had a rally in San Mateo and Dolores met The Littlest Fibertarian and my goodness don't you think that child will have a story to tell her grandkids or maybe her therapist.

Key West, Florida

Key West, FL

And since had been way up north in Alaska she decided she should go south too and she went all the way which is of course something Dolores is known for.

New Haven, Connecticut

New Haven, CT

And finally Dolores ended her tour at Yale University which she said is a place that proves we live in a fair country, because everyone deserves an education and even if you can barely tie your own shoes you can still get into Yale.

Well that is the report on the campaign tour. Thank you to everybody who hosted, the first 30 hosts will get their souvenir buttons in the mail soon and our secret panel of judges is getting ready to pick the best picture for a prize!

Remember that if you are an American today is a big day to show you believe in what our country is based on, and that is the right of all people to have a say in their government. Also sometimes after you vote they have free cookies.

Secretary, Fibertarian Party of America