Yesterday #2 son had a full day at school followed by gymnastics, so I just went on an urban walk without him.

I had planned to do the official Self-Guided Historic Walking Tour. It begins right where the farmers’ market is and is supposed to last 90 minutes, so that seemed perfect. However, when I got over to the town center and picked up the self-guiding guide, it turned out to be only one mile.

How do you make a one-mile stroll through town last for 90 minutes? I guess that includes lots of time for contemplation of the facts in the brochure.

6However, there is also a 3.7 mile “trail” downtown. Our city is working on a 129-mile system of trails, all of which are eventually supposed to be interconnected, so that a person could walk all over town on identified trails. Most of the trails are in parks or woods or something, which we are calling “greenways,” but the city has also taken advantage of the few parts of the town with sidewalks, and is also calling those “trails.”

And why not? An urban walk can be as nice as a rural one, in its own way.

 Mine began at the farmers’ market, as I was in need of vegetables anyway.

The tomato seller told me that she needed some more slates for her vegetable price signs. A bit later, a woman at the head of a crocodile of preschoolers shouted out “Hey, Miss [insert name of my store here]!” But that wasn’t too bad.6

Here’s the fountain at the town center.

The town center is just a nice public building. It has tourist information in it, which was why I was going there — to get the Historic Walking Tour guide. Sometimes it has art exhibits, but not yesterday.

I did go to one of the galleries later on in the walk, though.

imagesIt was an exhibit of the work of Lee Littlefield, who does curious things like flowers or sea anemones out of wood, latex, and oil paints.

 #2 son and I are going to lunch downtown after his exams this morning. I think I may try to get him to go see this exhibit. He might like it, though it is reported that when Mr. Littlefield came here, someone greeted him with “Oh, you’re the one who made those ugly flowers.” Not very courteous. In fact, there was even vandalism of one of his outdoor installations. I hate it when this sort of thing happens. I have a certain amount of pride in my town, and things like that make us look bad.

You can have one of these spiky things in your house for about $2,200.

6I am also going to go back here, to the LYS. I left my bag of vegetables sitting out on the table in the picture there and went in to pet some yarn.

I am not a good customer at this place. It is such a sweet little store, but the yarns are always very expensive, and most often they are novelty yarns, or bulky yarns, or variegated.

However, they did have some lovely mohair on sale, and I have had in the back of my mind a project requiring a couple of skeins of mohair.

 People who only go the the local shop to buy a couple of skeins of half-price yarn don’t get to complain when 6 they no longer have a local shop. And I agree with the knitting bloggers who remind us that, considering how long it takes to knit a sweater, none of us really ought to be mingy about yarn. If you invest $70 in yarn for your sweater, and you only make a couple of sweaters a year, which is the truth about most of us, then you are only talking about $140 a year, which is a very cheap hobby.

I just can’t get myself to spend that $70 on yarn in the first place. Maybe some day. Until then, I go into this shop rather shamefaced, pet their yarn, and buy needles or a couple of skeins of sale yarn.

I also went into the used bookstore. It has 6been there for a very long time, having managed to survive the opening of the big box bookstore. It is one of those rabbit warren bookstores, where the aisles between the shelves are about 10 inches wide. I love it.

I bought a couple of out of print mysteries, and felt as though I had found treasures. I also saw a copy of Patrick Campbell’s A Short Trot with a Cultured Mind and had to practice iron self-control to keep myself from buying it. I already have a copy, but it is out of print. What if something happened to the copy I own? This is how I end up with multiple copies of my favorite books.

6One of our local controversies is the way this particular street has been gussied up. Lots of new buildings have been built, and they house law offices and relatively fancy restaurants and things like that.

Many of the places that were already here before the gussying up began were unable to afford the new buildings, and had to move elsewhere. Some had to go out of business entirely. There are still hard feelings about this.

I understand that. However, I am thankful that the new buildings are attractive and in keeping with the overall feel of the town. I am glad that the old buildings that were beautiful and in good condition were saved and restored. I figure it could have been much worse. 6

Even 3.7 miles, since I stopped to buy books and pet yarn and visit galleries and there were no Knarly dropins, was more a stroll than a hike, but I did enjoy it.

Following my urban stroll, I went home and cut out the second pattern I am auditioning.

Netflix had sent me “Charade” with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, so I put that on while I did the cutting and didn’t actually get to the sewing.

I had vintage mysteries to read as well, after all. 6

I tore out the edging on Cherry Bomb and went with a knitted hem instead.

I think this will make it more substantial — as would the edging the pattern recommends.

The LYS had on display a really pretty cotton tank with hems rather than ribbing or other edging, and it looked good and did not frill as badly as mine always do.

Of course, it was also hanging up, presumably after having been blocked severely, so that may not say much. Nonetheless, I am thinking about undoing the ribbing that I added at the bottom (the pattern says garter stitch) and doing a hem there as well.6

This is another reason that I ought to buy yarn at the LYS instead of always using mail order because it is cheaper. I take advantage of their displays to get ideas.

Speaking of economics, retail, marketing, and so forth, I read the next section of What to Eat. The more I read this book, the more intrigued I am by the language issues.

It was the section on processed foods, and the first thing that arose was the fact that companies specializing in processed foods claim that pasteurization of milk is not different from Toaster Strudels: both, they say, should be considered processed.

Under that definition, I do have some processed foods in my house. Even under a normal definition, I have some: I buy bread, and dried pasta, and canned beans and tomato sauce. I buy jam when we run out of homemade, and we do not make our own mustard or soy sauce. At the moment, I even have a couple of cans of soup in my pantry.

But I think that the people in charge of lobbying for processed foods must approach it as a puzzle. It is clever to come up with phrases like “Made with whole grains!” or “Made with real fruit!” when they know full well that this is the equivalent of saying “Made from sunshine!” in that there were whole grains or fruit involved at some point in the past. It is really clever to say things like “No cholesterol!” on things made with hydrogenated vegetable shortening. There isn’t any cholesterol in plants, and that isn’t the point, but it gives a spurious air of healthfulness to the product.

Pepsi Co. made up their own health symbols to put on some of their foods which have no nutritional value at all. This implies that their baked Cheetos are in some way healthy. I think that is clever of them. There are many many examples of this cleverness in the book. I guess these guys simply don’t think about what they are doing, but just focus in on the idea of coming up with clever ways to mislead their customers. Then, when they get caught, they move on to some other clever approach.

I did have to wince a little when I read the section on sugars. You may have noticed that I like sweets. There is no special occasion that doesn’t get commemorated with a dessert chez fibermom.

I know that I am not supposed to eat simple carbohydrates, but I rationalize it like this: I don’t sweeten anything (tea, coffee, cereal), I don’t eat processed foods which are nearly always full of sugars, I eat refined grains almost only in the form of pastry, and my desserts are made from real foods.

Not as clever as the folks who are pushing processed foods, but still pretty good, right?

Today the carpet cleaners are supposed to come, and then we are having lunch at the Greek restaurant downtown and perhaps picking up some of that mohair, and then on to a hike around another of our lakes. Following that, we will come home and put all the furniture back in the bedrooms. Be still, my heart!