Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Here I sits

So, apart from a hole where a tooth used to be, I now appear to have a so far mild head cold. Ah well. All part of life's rich pattern.

What I need to do today is not actually sit here in front of the pc, but get to fibre work - it's a great opportunity. I finished the first sock last night, I would like to cast on the second, also have a go at shaping the tops of the w/c strips. Plus going through and gloating over my SOAR purchases and selecting something to spin.

I couldn't get to sleep last night, so decamped to the other room and tried out my wonderful new Forrester spindle. Wow, cor &etc. Quite wonderful. I think that spindles are getting, by and large, better and better.

I've just heard that the half New Zealand fleece I succumbed to has arrived and might be delivered to me tomorrow or Friday by Freyalyn. I do so need more fleece. Ahem. Actually, I may wash it straight away, I think the weather forecast is ok for the weekend, and it is, if I remember correctly, a rather nice white one which I could then dye. For what? Socks, domino shawl? At least I feel rather more inspired now than a few weeks ago....

But I can't settle to anything today, I'm being distracted by the slightest thing. Probably the effect of a less than perfect night's sleep. Ah, well.


Monday, October 25, 2004

Monday, Monday

First "normal" day after the hols, ie 'imself went back to work having decided that he might just live this time, and I allowed myself another lie-in and then had a few tasks set.
The major one being the twice-yearly Sort-Out of Clothes. If I had another room, or more cupboards....I would be so happy. but as it is, I have to do a seasonal change-over twice a year, and I absolutely hate it. I always know that as soon as I do it, the weather will revert (not quite so certain of that this year....) and I will need something packed away. Then, I look at all the limp rags hanging there in vibrant shades of brown, grey, black, navy and aubergine, and think - blech. However, on the odd occasions I do go mad and purchase something in a pastel or bright colour, I usually regret it afterward. So- there I am thinking that I do most surely wish that I could just bin the lot and Go Shopping...But sanity (!!??) always prevails and I don't. Well, actually, I might just pop in to my favourite place in Manchester on Saturday as we will be right there. Anyhow, it's done, there's a pile of stuff to get rid of and another that I might just put on eBay - some of it is quite nice and also quite unworn, some of those purchases, you know.

And it is grey, grey, grey - and raining. Sigh.

Final holiday report installment. After SOAR, we went to spend a night with an old friend and his second, American wife at their new B&B establishment. Very nice, and well-done. But ohygawd, it's going to kill their marriage if they (he) aren't careful. Playing an affable mine host from the old country as contribution to everything that needs to be done is not cutting it. Especially as it was all his idea anyway.

After that, we nearly killed off our marriage, by a massive miscommunication, but have somehow survived. Way too long a drive up to near the edge of the Catskills, ending up in a rather sad little town that did not cater to many foreign transients. The motel was ok, but when I say that supper that night was a Filet o' fish from McDonalds (whatever that was, it was unidentifiable as anything other than rather thick wallpaper paste)...Need I say more? The next day found us again at one another's throats until we reached a rather nice little place called, I believe, Phoenicia, where I seem to remember wailing pathetically that I needed a nice bowl of home-made soup. Whereupon my beloved in desperation dragged me in to the nearest cafe which had - just that, and a wonderful toasted cheese sarnie and I recovered and so did he and we seem to have lived to tell the tale.

That night, we fetched up in an absolutely charming motel in Woodstock, which is another nice place, although not well-endowed with eateries either, at least out of season it isn't. But it has a nice yarn shop, and a fabulous bead shop. And not too far away a pleasant little State park, with easy walking trails. And the sun shone and it was lovely.
More political conversations at both these places, probably not surprisingly! I did start to wonder if this was one of the reasons why this trip had had a bit of an edge to it - not far enough away from "real life"?

For our last night, we drove down to Connecticut to finally, finally fulfill our ambition of visiting Bloodroot. I don't really want to say too much in what is after all a public forum about a private visit. Except that it was wonderful, interesting, an oasis, a refuge, and that the welcome and the hospitality we received were terrific. I wish there were more places like it in the world.

And now we are home.


Saturday, October 23, 2004

One week later.....

This week has vanished in something of a blur, what with recovering from jetlag and poor old himself having a cold and being at home....I didn't say a word!

Yesterday I was teaching, and though I says it myself, I think it went ok. And I didn't fall asleep, even though one of my group bought me a glass of wine at lunchtime, which I simply could not reject. Enjoyed it, too. Maybe one can be too prissy.

Something of a SOAR report: it was good, but different. I am not sure if that is me, it, other people, Interweave or all of the above.
OK, class first. Good. I got what I wanted from it, although I have forgotten some of it already, I realised in the middle of last night. Oh, well, no doubt it will return. Retreat sessions - well, I never manage more than two my ageing brain can't seems to cope with the quick turnaround. My session with Elaine Benfatto on tapestry crochet was ace, as I had expected. She is a cool teacher, super person, and I loved the technique. Although it will take me a while - if ever - to manage the trick of having both yarns available on the hand.
Partying was good - some new people, excellent; and most of the usual suspects I have grown to know and love. It is sometimes too hard to catch up with all of them, other stuff gets in the way. I need to work harder on persuading some of them to make it over here, especially as we shall not be going next year.

Market. Strangely quiet. Lots of vendors, and some pretty cool stuff, although I was reasonably restrained. Spindles, of course, including the lovely blue flower Golding. One little Forrester was destroyed after Security went through our bag on the return journey and didn't bother to repack things properly. Everything else arrived safely. I bought yarn this year, unusual for me. I will go through it again soon, and maybe log a list........

The difference was all the political talk. Maybe it was with us being Brits, but everyone seemed to want to talk about the forthcoming election, and all the whyevers and what-ifs. It was very heartening (like "The Frogs" audience) and yes, I do know that we get to meet an unusual subsection of the population, but all the same.....Something about all this doesn't really add up.

Anyway, I have spent the week spinning samples for my class yesterday, and knitting. I actually tried sewing two of the waistcoat strips together experimentally, and it looked good, so I shall press on with that. I am feeling very enthusiastic about some of the yarn and fibre I have brought home with me, and am looking forward to a "normal" (I write that knowingly, but hey! Normal, we ain't!!) week to really get going with stuff again.

And finally - talked to a few people at SOAR about photos, and have a few directions to go in. I will persevere, but I will no longer bleat on about it. One day it WILL happen. Until then - silence.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

What can I say? I'm home

It seems as though I have only been gone five minutes - or forever. I'm slowly coming around from the effects of travel and jetlag - melatonin is a gift from the goddess, I must say, and makes life a lot easier in transition, but doesn't cure all the pain. Plus, I set out tired, and pretty much stayed that way, one way or another. We do need to learn not to try to cram every moment full on these trips. I did try not to - quite often had full-blown afternoon naps, with snores and everything. But we travelled and did a lot.

I'm not going to get everything down in one session, that would be too big an undertaking in terms of both verbiage and time. I'll try to get most down over the next few days. It was a very interesting trip....

We started out in NYC, which I love and find totally scary at one and the same time. I loved our hotel, which by now will be a pile of rubble - it was being demolished the week after we were there. Probably 1930s, and all the laughter lines were showing. I could see why it had to go, but still feel sad that it should be so. A massive condominium will arise on the site, that is where the money lies. Sigh.
It was right alongside Central Park, and with the windows open for coolth, we could hear all sorts of fascinating sounds. The subway, horses hooves, tour guides, and best of all, an afternoon's worth of classical piano on a keyboard. I'm not sure why the lady in question gave a free concert lasting several hours, but it made my nap on the Saturday a most enjoyable experience.

The Met was lovely. I enjoyed the opera, Otello, a lot, although I do tend to agree with whoever I read that described the Met as "safe". But beautifully sung and staged. And I managed not to totally disgrace myself when the baby chandeliers rose up as the house lights dimmed and the music began - it is such a magic moment!

The next night, we took a chance and went to the Vivian Beaumont to see "The Frogs". I'm so glad we did. Not the greatest of Sondheim musicals, but clever, funny and with such good lighting, particularly the River Styx complete with waterlilies. And the audience reaction to all the anti-Bush references was unexpected and heart-warming. The other thing we both found pretty cool were the frog recordings outside, so subtle that for one brief moment we thought they were for real, until the penny dropped.

We weren't very adventurous with eating places, stayed on Broadway, but had some good food, especially the Indian meal on Saturday night. Subtly different and very, very good.

Sunday found us picking up the hire car. Oh, har de har, WHAT a scam! OK, so we hadn't read the small print at the very end (does anyone?). Dollar (read that again - DOLLAR) have a clause that says that if you do not turn up to get your car within the specified hour, you lose it. We were eight minutes late, by the time we reached the counter, to be told this. Now, I have not been visiting the US for several years without learning a thing or two, So Did Not Take This Lying Down. Mind you - if it was the scam we think, the end result might have been the same, who knows? Now - the reason given for the car not being there ws that they didn't have room to keep it hanging around. OK - so how come they had room for a freakin' van, eh?!? Faced with the choice of trying Avis or Hertz across the street, which would have been even more expensive even if they had a vehicle available, or nothing, we took the van, at half as much again as the car would have been. I am off to write the letter of complaint. Watch this space.

So, off to Zabar's, amazing deli somewhere or other in NYC. Leave the VAN on a parking meter which like all the others around has the red flag up - yup. Get back to a parking ticket. Need to write the letter about that one, too.....

And so, off to the Poconos, a pretty drive and fortunately, uneventful. Of this, more later.

Currently........Back home to find that a phoenix has arisen from the ashes, and there is a new email list packed with old friends, yay.
I finished the first travel sock, only to find it was too short, so had to rrrripp. Did most of the spindling I took with me, finishing off on the new Golding (the blue flower, yum) now that I am back. Lots of ideas for new projects, maybe the logjam is gone. Again, more of this to come.

I need to do a little work - teaching on Friday.