I'm writing you from California (Berkeley, to be exact), which is my only excuse for the lengthy lack of verbiage. A relatively short trip in miles but long in mental and emotional displacement....
Plus, I forgot to pack the camera adapter.
So, in roughly sequential order, I give you the following:
--A week ago Saturday I taught a 6-hour workshop called Personalized Fair Isle at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas on Bainbridge Island, a short ferry ride from Seattle. I saw two seals poking their heads out of the steel-grey, still water as I headed across Puget Sound, which seemed like a good omen. I had a great time working with 8 knitters, who gamely rummaged through the collection of Shetland yarns while they tried to set aside their natural desire to know ahead of time exactly what the outcome would be. I am looking forward to meeting up with them next weekend to see what their swatches look like.
--An apropos quote from the artist Julian Schnabel: "Everybody can make up their own rules--they just don't know they can....what's personal is always what's best."
--Kit and John, owners of Churchmouse, took me to dinner at Cafe Nola. I have to tell you that, in addition to the wonderful company, I had one of the best meals I've had in years. Highly recommended if you are in the area and want a tablecloth-restaurant experience.
--On Monday I packed up the car, strapped Shadow into his seat belt (that's right, he's now got a little harness contraption so that he won't go flying at sudden stops or turns--he was markedly more relaxed on this trip, although he resisted, as any self-respecting dog would) and set off for Berkeley. The drive south through Oregon was marked by pouring rain punctuated by a few pauses. When the light had a chance (I can't in honesty say the sun shone, but now and then the day would brighten a tad), the gray of the skies was mirrored in the standing water in the fields--it felt a bit otherworldly, like Frodo in the Dead Marshes.
--When I crossed into California the weather cleared up. It was obvious that it has been a dry year, even in the northern parts of the state. In places, the dried grass stubble had caught pieces of plastic bags, which waved in the wind like ghostly Buddhist prayer flags on a high Tibetan plateau.
--Thanksgiving was a quiet celebration with John and Gingko. Along with the usual turkey and stuffing, I prepared a Tofurkey for Gingko and some vegan mashed sweet potatoes and a walnut green bean salad.
--We celebrated Buy Nothing Day the day after Thanksgiving--we are truly among the fortunate of the world and we damn well know it. I was truly appalled by the relentless advertising of stores that opened at 9 on Thanksgiving night! We did purchase some plants at the local nursery, though, having determined over the years that buying things locally that help us be creative fall outside the no buying rules (known as the Yarn Loophole). We've been happily marking out paths and garden beds in our previously unloved back yard over the last few days.
--I'm knitting away on the Near Solstice Shawl and am nearly at the place I was when I abandoned the first attempt. I'm much much happier with the merino/silk yarn for this design than the thinner, less resilient Baruffa Cashwool I had been using!
--I've been on Ravelry for about a month now (user name: Feralknitter), and I've got to say that I love it! I especially like the Friends Activity and the Favorites features. I'm not sure about the etiquette of Friending, though--there are a few people I'd like to friend because I enjoy their blogs--Franklin, for example--but I don't know them and I'm pretty sure they've never visited this blog. Is it OK to friend them anyway? Opinions welcomed. I've tried to respond to everyone who has friended me, but I'm also worried that I have missed a few here and there. Worries, worries....
--John and I saw What Would Jesus Buy? yesterday, a documentary by Morgan Spurlock (of Super Size Me fame) about Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping's comedic yet serious crusade against the commercialization of Christmas--and by extension, the commercialization of our relationships. Highly recommended if it ever comes to a theater near you.
--Also rented Black Sheep ("There are 40 million sheep in New Zealand--and they're pissed off"). A fake-gory horror/comedy about a genetic engineering experiment gone wildly awry that had us laughing out loud--a lot. Reminded me of Monty Python in some ways.