On the road in the Highlands of Scotland

I have been quiet lately.   After returning from our trip to Scotland life took over.  Since late last year and the tears and the depression, I got back up and into the game.  I volunteered for an organization that I care deeply about and have been on their fundraising committee for their big event of the year.   It was hugely successful and thankfully now in my rearview mirror.  Did I also mention I’m running for local office?  That was another of my post-election decisions.  If you want to have an impact on your community, you have to step up and get in the arena.   I have been knocking on doors and meeting lots of people and listening to their concerns.  More on this later, but first I want to take moment to remember the beauty of Scotland. Continue reading

The Edinburgh Yarn Festival

Two weeks ago I attended the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (EYF),  a  fiber festival in Europe.  After years of going to Maryland Sheep and Wool and New York Sheep and Wool (Rhinebeck), I wanted to see what an urban fiber fest was like.  It did not disappoint.  The Edinburgh Yarn Festival was on held on March 9-12 this year.   Friday and Saturday were market days — codeword for shopping, and 8 – 12 March were class days.  In between there were opportunities for seeing the city, taking a day trip, joining others for knit night, and a traditional Ceilidh – Scottish dancing.  It you’re a fiber fest officianado you probably knew that some of these events were limited and required a combination of luck and dedication to score a ticket.  Esther and I signed up for classes at 9 am on the Saturday of Rhinebeck in October 2016.  Advance purchase tickets sold out quickly as did space at the Ceilidh.  But no worries.  There was plenty to do in the evening in a city that parties hearty. Continue reading

Harry Potter world: where diversity is strength

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In December we went to Orlando to see Larry’s family.  We did something we had never done before:  visited a theme park.  We took an extra day and decided to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I’m a big fan of Harry Potter.  I’ve read all the books and own the DVDs.  We watched some of them to prepare for our expedition.  I have to say here that I generally avoid overly commercial forms of entertainment.   For Harry Potter world, however, I made an exception. Continue reading

On the march on an American island

Our older daughter and a friend at the Women's March on Washington in D.C.

Our older daughter and a friend at the Women’s March on Washington in D.C.

Larry and I got back from vacation a few days ago.  While we are still recovering from jet lag, we jumped back into our lives.  The dogs need to be walked, and laundry awaits.  As I listen to the wind outside and watch the temperature drop, I remember the warm breezes of the Big Island of Hawai’i.  This was our first time in Hawai’i and we decided to get a bit off the beaten path.   No beaches for us.  On the Big Island we were greeted by highly changeable weather and micro-climates, and found common ground with the people we met, both tourists and residents.  The population is diverse.   Native Hawaiians live beside mainland transplants looking for warmer climes, descendants of Chinese and Japanese immigrants, and every other race and creed.   We learned that Hawaiians are not shy about expressing their opinions.  They were enthusiastic participants in the Women’s March on Washington in Kona.  I think this may have been the last Women’s March in the world.  We joined in, and my pussyhat came along for the ride. Continue reading

Film and Fiber, October 2016

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Two weeks ago we went to upstate New York for the New York  State Sheep and Wool Festival, otherwise known as Rhinebeck.  Unbeknownst to us it was also the same weekend as the Woodstock Film Festival.  What luck!  Yarn, knitting, and film.  What more could you ask for but a crisp Fall weekend sporting hand knit sweaters and scarves, independent movies, good food and new friends.   I was in vacation heaven.

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I wrote multiple posts about Rhinebeck last year.  This year I’m just going to touch on some of the highlights.  We only spent one day at the festival this year.   My DH was not willing to go back for a second day.  Boo hoo.  I’m hoping to do a ladies weekend next year so I can fully enjoy all that Rhinebeck has to offer.  That means two days at the fairgrounds.  Woot! Continue reading

A geological tour of Iceland

 

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Here is another guest blog from my husband, Larry.  When we got back from Iceland he said he wanted to write about the geology of the country.  His post is below:

Marla and I have been asked about our recent trip to Iceland.   In an earlier post, my wonderful wife described some of the dining and lodging we enjoyed.  I am going to talk about Iceland’s incredible geology.   When visiting Iceland, it is impossible to ignore the country’s dramatic vistas and unusual geologic formations.    Even the non-geological-minded cannot help to be impressed. Continue reading

Iceland: views from the road and a museum that honors a body part

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I promised I was not going to try to duplicate the professional travel books that have photos and information about  visiting Iceland.   Having said that, I do want to share some of the more awe inspiring and unique sights and experiences we had.   Full disclosure:  at the end is something that is probably not suitable for children.   So, if there are any  young children here that you don’t want to explain this to, time to turn the page and move on. Continue reading

Traveling in Iceland: food, drink and sleep

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One of the guesthouses we stayed at near Budir in western Iceland.

During our one week vacation in Iceland, we only stayed in an actual hotel once.   That was on our first night in the country.  While often spartan and always unique, we enjoyed the diversity of our bed and breakfast choices.  We ate delicious food and drink everywhere, even in the most isolated places.  By the end of our time we came to appreciate the ubiquitous cod and potato meal, and to yearn for Skyr, a yogurt like dairy product made from whey.  Our trusty guide book pointed us to places where we could get a reliable meal in the most out of the way hamlets.  Continue reading

An Icelandic knitting odyssey

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Icelandic sheep hanging out by the side of the road.

Larry and I just returned from a one week vacation to Iceland.  While we saw a lot and I took many photos, I want to start with a post about knitting.  Why, you ask?    I am an avid knitter — that was one of the draws to Iceland.   Also, it’s that time of year when the days are getting shorter and the evenings have a crispness in the air that lends itself to all things wooly.   On top of that, Rhinebeck is coming up next  month, the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival.  I am in a knitting frame of mind. Continue reading

My one year blog-anniversary

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One year ago I wrote my first blog post.  At that time I was embarking on a new life in a new town.  We had packed up the car with our two dogs, and left DC for Pennsylvania.  How have I spent my first year outside the office?  Well, let me tell you, it hasn’t been boring or mundane.   The journey has begun.

Let me count the ways.

I gained a new appreciation for sitting quietly by my peaceful pond and do nothing.

I put in a backyard garden and understood how hard it was to successfully grow food to feed yourself and your family.

I realized that not only did I not miss getting up every day to dress for the office and embark on the morning commute, but I didn’t miss spending the day in the office and keeping the boss happy.

I cultivated an eye for wildlife all around me:  Mallard ducks and woodpeckers, rabbits and deer and chipmunks and butterflies.  I learned to be patient and wait for them to come out and show themselves.

I got back into the practice of cooking not because I had to but because I wanted to.

I lingered in local shops to get to know strangers who became friends.  I let down my guard and learned that trust is easier than it seems.

I left the house without locking my door and didn’t think twice about it.

My blood pressure went down, way down and stayed low.

I stopped worrying about things that didn’t matter.

What about year two?

Now that I’ve taken a look back, what’s in store for me in the coming year?  One of the things I started with at the beginning of the year was genealogy research.  I started a project of finding out more about my family history just over a year ago.   Then life got in the way, most importantly, both of my parents, who are elderly, began to decline and became more frail.  We had to clear out their house to get it ready to sell.  I found a few of my relatives and connected with my second cousin who live in New Jersey.  My year two plan is to start the work of adding more leaves on the family tree and get it in a form that I can share with my relatives and for those who come behind me.

I want to write more, beyond the format of this blog.

My backyard garden project continues, with failures and successes.  Before the season ends I need to map my garden on paper and catalogue what worked and what didn’t.  Over the winter I will begin the task of planning the garden in a more scientific way, putting planting dates on the calendar, starting seeds indoors, and investigating ways to prevent pests from destroying my zucchini and eggplants.

We have travel plans in the next twelve months and beyond.  I will be blogging about that.

I want to try at least three new things.  Stay tuned!  No, I will not be jumping out of an airplane or bungee jumping.  I will be planting fruit trees, spending more time outdoors, and getting creative.

Want to join me?  What new things do you want to try?