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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holidazed

I am caught up in the frenzy of holiday merriment. And when I say merriment, I mean painting my kitchen, getting a few broken floorboards fixed so no one plummets into the basement on Christmas Eve, and finally having extra leaves made for my dining room table. (Those are going to cost more than the table did, but I can't think about that right now. The table was a huge deal we picked up at an antique festival years ago, so I guess things just balance out. Gulp.)

This past weekend, instead of lowering the frenzy level by working on my Christmas deadline knitting, I made baby hats for Stitches from the Heart. All told, I knit seven. Clearly, I was obsessed. I'd met Kathy Silverton, founder of Stitches from the Heart, at Cat Bordhi's retreat this fall. I was really touched by her passion for the organization and I knew that I wanted to help out. I'm sorry that it has taken me this long to get a box of goodies (plus a donation to help with the enormous postage costs incurred by distributing the knitwear to hospitals, nurses, and social service agencies) sent out to her. I hope to send regular shipments once I get done with the dreaded deadline knitting.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Leg Three: Friday Harbor, WA

So much has happened since my return from Friday Harbor (is it too much to say that it feels like the whole world has changed?), so my post may be a bit short on details.

The retreat that Cat Bordhi hosted (the first of two in October) was phenomenal. If you have ever taken one of her classes, you know what a remarkable teacher she is. My only criticism of her classes is that you always want them to be longer. These four days covered things that I'd done in other workshops with her, but there is always so much more to absorb. And, she is constantly thinking of new techniques and encouraging innovation, so I would never hesitate to repeat a class I'd taken before. There were 20 participants, and the length of the workshop gave us time to get to know one another just a bit. The energy of the group was really wonderful as these things go, and I enjoyed the company. It was held at the States Inn Ranch, and most of the workshop participants stayed there. I decided to stay downtown at a funky, renovated motel called Elements (which appears to have been recently renamed Earthbox), and that worked out well for me. I had enough group time, but also got to enjoy some away time, which was perfect. The rooms at Elements are much nicer than the motel-y exterior would suggest (modern furnishings, wood floors, microwaves and fridges, etc.), and it was great to be withing walking distance of the shops, etc. I did take most of my meals at the States Inn, and they did a phenomenal job with that. The baked goods, in particular, were highlights for me.

We had classes in the morning and evening, which left afternoons free to wander. I took in the Sculpture Garden at Roche Harbor,


visited the island's camel, Mona, went to look for rabbits at South Beach (no rabbits, but I did see two huge Bald Eagles), fed alpacas at the ranch, and did a little shopping downtown. All in all, the balance of time in class vs. free time was perfect.

It was a marvelous end to a two-week festival of fun. (New Orleans, the Kentuck Festival and this retreat all in the same trip? How fabulous is that?!) I already have next year marked on my calendar.

Now that I have recovered from pre-election stress and post-election euphoria, I am concentrating on holiday projects. I have some gifts that need to be finished (um, and started), and I'd like to paint my kitchen before our annual "Christmas Eve with the Feinsteins and the Cohens" dinner party. (I said that last year, too.)

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Cat and a Hat

We are still enjoying the post-election afterglow, but we've had to return to the call of homeland issues here in our actual home.

One of my two cats, Pitch, had surgery on Friday to remove some tumors under his skin. This has been a recurrent issue for him, and this is his third surgery in five years. This time he had nine removed. He is such a trooper, and once we get over the hurdle of getting him into the carrier (he is seriously strong, and he can latch onto me so tightly that he feels like he weighs 190 lbs, not 19), Pitch handles the experience with tremendous stoicism. He doesn't look quite as Frankenkitty-ish as he has before, but he does give the appearance of having been in a hell of a bar fight since several of the incisions were on his dear, sweet face. So far, all of the tumors have been benign, thankfully, but I just wish they would stop. He's 13, and they won't want to keep putting him under general anesthesia for additional surgeries as he gets older.

In knitting news, I happened upon the perfect pattern for my cousin's Christmas gift. I knit something for her every year, and I was planning on a hat or cowl or possibly both. I found Linda La Belle's Cat Hat and knew it was just the thing. (Well, I hope it is, anyway.)
It was a very, very quick knit, done in just a couple of hours. I used one skein Malabrigo Aquarella in the Indy colorway (yea for the stash!), and I think it came out rather well. I may also make a cowl or wrist warmers to go with it, but I have a batch of holiday knitting yet to do, so that will only happen if time allows. (I've got two more skeins waiting in the wings in case I get to it.) Just the thing for a quirky 20-something.

I need to go because Pitch is lying across my left hand (all 19 lbs. of him) and alternately nudging and nibbling the fingers of my right hand as I type this. He clearly wants some undivided attention, and he's earned it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

44*

After months (two years, actually) of hoping, this day is here. Not the day of the election, mind you, but the day after the election, when the guy you thought was elected when you went to bed is actually still the president-elect when you wake up. (I'm looking at you, Election 2000, and I'm giving you the stink-eye.) I am in awe.

I vowed early on that I would not allow myself to be a passive participant in the process this time. I made the decision to spend Nov. 1-4 working for the campaign in Iowa, and I was eventually assigned to Waterloo. My only regret is that I didn't spend more time volunteering earlier in the process, but the time I did spend means everything to me. I feel invested in this election and its results in a way I never have in any election before.

Did I say invested? A while ago, the husband noted that BarackObama.com was appearing on every monthly Visa statement. (Might be true.) At this point, I've got more Obamagear than the average bear. I even made this sweater vest (it's a Picovoli) to wear while working in Iowa:

Fortunately, it now has a shelf-life of 4-8 years, though I may retire it after the Inauguration.

*Barack Obama is our 44th president, and 44 just happens to be my lucky number as well as my birthday. Coincidence? I think not. (Well, actually, I do think it is a coincidence, but a pretty good one!)