Back in the classroom I was surprised to find out fellow Canadian and textile artist Kit Vincent was sitting just across the way from me. She and I are both on the OCC's website and I have long admired her work. Kit and I got dubbed the "Canadian Girls" by our four classmates whom we called the "New York Girls". That's Kit Vincent sitting in the back corner working away.
Susan, Maria, Linda and Suzanne were the best you could hope for in fellow classmates. They never failed to crack me up and they always knew how to have a good time. Maria started bringing me these highly addictive dark chocolate M&M's which I munched on during class. I also loved Joan. She sat beside me and we spent a lot of time laughing and talking. She was such a warm person and made me feel so very comfortable. I'll really miss them all.
When Thursday rolled around I left class a bit early as we had an hour long drive up to Tracy & Doug Helgeson's home. Everyone who reads my blog regularly knows what a fan I am of her work (I know I have said that 100 times and this will be 101). On the way up in the car my oldest daughter said,
"So we are going to visit someone you have never met in person only through your blog?".
I said, "right".
She said, "How do you know they are not psychopaths?"
I knew there had to be at least one skeptic in the bunch.
When we arrived a very happy and friendly Penny ran out to greet us.
Then out came Tracy with Mr. Wilson. The minute my girls got a glimpse of Mr. Wilson I just knew their constant request for a dog would go up a notch or two in the coming days. Once again I'll admit to being a bit nervous (oh dear it sounds like I spent every waking moment in a state of the jitters) you never really know how things will go when you meet new people but I did have a really good vibe. So after all the intros we headed inside and got a tour of their beautiful home and of Tracy's art. When you see her work online it is great but seeing it live and in person delivers a whole other impact that just makes you say "wow". You'll notice I really like that word.
Tracy's husband Doug and John hit it off almost immediately as there was much talk of fishing.
We headed upstairs to see Tracy's new studio which made me want to weep. John knew he was in trouble when we reached the top of the stairs and got a chance to take it all in. What an amazing spot to work in. Another time in which "wow" seems to be the only adequate word. At this point I believe John was trying very hard to not make eye contact with me.
I really appreciated Doug and Tracy's son for all his tour guiding activities. He took the girls around to check things out so they didn't have to stand around with their parents. I know they appreciated that so very much and he was such a sweetie.
Ok, here's the part where I begin feeling inadequate. They have this gorgeous flower garden at the front of their home that Tracy tends to, I'm sure daily. I've got some wildflowers and daisies that have become overgrown with weeds.
We head out to check out the vegetable garden which is blooming and lush. I think of my spindly little carrots that have been pretty much pushed out by my wilting rhubarb. So at this point I'm thinking
1. Amazing artist..........check
2. Great gardener...........check
3. Talented cook..........check ( I checked this one after dinner)
I made a note to myself that when I got home I'd tackle the garden..........as of yet I haven't.
At dinner we sat around enjoying a simply delicious dinner. The pesto potato salad was there and it was yummy. There was interesting conversation and in some ways it felt like we already knew each other. My oldest daughter was quite in awe of Doug. She has always had an interest in archeology and fossils and he had so much knowledge to share. Afterwards she said he was the "coolest" adult she had ever met. High praise coming from a fifteen year old.
After dinner Tracy and I went back up to her studio. She had asked me to bring along some of my work so she could see it in person. As we all know jpegs on the internet just don't quite cut it. We did an art exchange and now her work hangs proudly in my livingroom.
Now you may be thinking this all sounds a bit too perfect and magical of an evening and was it really like that or am I exaggerating just a bit? I can't speak for Tracy or Doug but from my view.........it was just like that.
On the way back to town John mentioned how enjoyable of an evening it was and how everything just seemed to flow so very easily. From the back seat my daughter piped up......... "and they weren't psychopaths at all".
I told her I would pass that comforting news along to Tracy.