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

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

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?

The Out of Towners in Florida

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Anyone who has seen the classic movie “The Out of Towners” knows that it’s about a couple from the mid-west who visit New York because the husband is there for a job interview.  During the visit a series of bad things happen to them.  This past week we traveled to Florida to visit Larry’s family.  I’m not saying that our visit was like that experienced by the poor couple portrayed in the 1970 movie by Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis, but we did have some issues at our hotel.  For the first time we  packed up our bags and walked out. Continue reading

Walking in a Desert Wonderland

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Sunset at the Grand Canyon, AZ

Well, I suppose mid-February is a good a time as any to post my holiday (yes, those holidays) guest blog post.  After months of subtle reminders from Marla dropped over texts, calls, emails, cards, e-cards, in-person reminders, and carrier pigeons (well, almost)… here it goes! Commence guest blog now!   Continue reading

Twas the night before Christmas . . .

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Twas the night before Christmas and in Marla’s house, we were busy preparing for a day that would not interest a mouse,

For we had no presents, no tinsel, no tree, just two grown up people in wait for a  day that was free,

Our fridge was packed, our house nice and warm, as we hunkered down for a quiet day outside the norm,

No children were waiting, no brew was chilling, as we eagerly looked forward to a day that was thrilling,

When what on our lawn did we spy from the door but some deer, a grouse, squirrels, and wait . . . birds galore!

As darkness descended on our small village street we heard the sound of peace, joy, and a new day to meet.

So my virtual friends I send you a warm greeting, in hopes that one day we may be meeting,

And wishing you all a joyful weekend, filled with family, food, good cheer and old friends.
Continue reading